Touching a Nerve ~ or ~ Why the pressure on the Faroe Islands is working

The Faroese are a proud people, that much is evident. Yet their practice of slaughtering entire pods of pilot whales has come under scrutiny from the outside world, thanks mostly to the efforts of the Sea Shepherd organisation. The Faroese are not the only ones who ritualistically slaughter cetaceans, the most notable (or notorious) contemporary is the town of Taiji in Japan. However there are many other places this is happening in the world so you could forgive the Faroese or Taijians for feeling victimised, couldn’t you?

Well no. Sure there are violent and atrocious acts against animals, nature and other humans being committed all over the world. Here in the UK we still have the legacy (and illegally continued practice) of fox hunting with hounds which many people in these fair isles would agree is a barbaric and outdated past time that is nothing more than a blood sport. We should indeed be aware of all the other atrocities that are going on in the world and yes, we should be vocal about them also but this doesn’t mean that we should leave Taiji and the Faroe Islands to quietly go about their goulish business.

As globalisation marches forever forward and local traditions are being swept aside, some may argue that this means we should lay off the Faroese for their traditional slaughter. Yet just as the UK didn’t stand by the ‘tradition’ of hunting foxes with hounds neither should the World stand by and allow the ‘tradition’ of The Grind to continue in the Faroe Islands. Sure, for some in the UK, losing their ‘tradition’ of fox hunting still runs deep. The Countryside Alliance and those privileged few, who believe the ban should never have been implemented, were extremely vocal, sometimes violently so as they felt that their way of life was being attacked. Of course it wasn’t their way of life that was being attacked, it was their methods of ‘controlling’ the population of foxes. We are not telling the Faroese that they cannot hunt for food, we are telling them that their methods are nothing shy of barbaric overkill.

Should such traditions be kept alive when globalisation, by its very nature, means that rich western societies such as the Faroe Islands have plentiful food sourced from supermarkets? Of course the answer is no. There is no valid reason, logical or otherwise, why the Faroese should continue their murderous tradition just for traditions sake. This isn’t me being imperialistic, it’s called having a fucking heart.

While the vitriol towards the Faroe Islands seems justified to most decent folk I would urge against tarring the entire population with the same brush. I strongly believe that there are some Faroese who would rather not participate in the vicious cove drives. It is to this minority that we must appeal; be strong and make your own voices heard. Of course this will only happen if someone on that island shows the incredible strength and tenacity required to risk being ostracised by their own people. Yet one voice becomes two voices, two voices becomes four and so a movement grows.

Still the pressure that has been placed on the Faroese by the outside world is being felt by the islanders. Some have resorted to bully tactics to try to ward off anyone who dares speak against their blood lust for cetaceans. By targeting individuals via their emails, social media profiles and even posting negative reviews on their places of employment. These acts of cyber bullying may deter some from continuing to speak out against the atrocities in the Faroe Islands but I would encourage these people to not give in to these scare tactics. The islanders are resorting to such methods because, just like the Countryside Alliance and their cronies in England, they feel their way of life is being threatened.

If they feel their way of life is under threat then it means that the pressure is working. Even though the Danish government has illegally intervened and actively aided the Faroese in their murder sports, the tide is turning. Public outrage is winning over and the Faroe islands are starting to be hit where it hurts as tour companies and big business are beginning to cut ties with the islands. With continued pressure we could see an end to the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands.

The Triggers Broom Paradox ~ or ~ are the Polaris Indian Motorcycles really Indian Motocycles?

What is the Triggers Broom Paradox?

The long running British comedy Only Fools and Horses had some classic comedy moments but only one is currently being discussed by philosophy students in several Universities around the UK. That brilliant moment in the ‘Heroes and Villains’ episode when road sweeper Trigger explains he has just won an award for saving the council money, having owned the same broom for 20 years. The punchline comes with the revelation that it’s had 17 new heads and 14 new handles, to which the other characters wonder how it could possibly be the same broom.

Writer John Sullivan was referencing a much older philosophical debate known as the Grandfathers Axe paradox (I could have called this the Indian Axe Paradox?), which much like Triggers broom, had received several changes in head and handle. The debate is of course, how can this be the same axe?

 

Classic motorcycles and John Locke’s sock

The Grandfathers Axe debate can be transposed across pretty much any item where parts can be replaced. For example another version of Triggers Broom is John Locke’s sock. This version imagines the protagonist wearing a hole into his favourite sock. A patch is sewn over the hole but soon enough another hole appears and that is patched up and so on and so on until the entire sock is made up of patches. Is this still the same old sock?

John Locke’s sock makes a perfect analogy for classic motorcycles. I would wager that hardly any of the machines currently classed as classics are 100% original. As is par of the course for any vehicle used for transport there are components that need replacing after a certain service interval. Parts such as tyres, chains, sprockets, bulbs, spark plugs, filters and gaskets are all items that are regularly replaced as service items. How many motorcycles we consider classics are on the same rubber or hold the same oil as they did when they came off the production line all those years ago?

Other components either get damaged or inevitably wear out over time. Many classic motorcycles have had their seats replace or upholstered, their pistons swapped and wiring looms replaced. How far do you go before this classic motorcycle is so far from original that it can no longer be called a classic? What needs to remain for it to still be the same bike? The engine? The Frame? The registration plate?

 

So what about the Polaris Indians?

Most classic Indian Motocycles (note the different spelling) are used as show bikes and for attending classic rallies. To remain in running condition many of the parts have been replaced over the years either by sourcing new/old stock or by reputable companies who specialise in the manufacture of components for classic machines. One such producer is Kiwi Indian of New Zealand.

Kiwi Indian started by making parts for the buoyant classic motorcycle market and expanded their range of products so much that it was possible to build a complete ‘classic’ Indian motorcycle from their parts alone. This means that you can now buy a brand new 1911 board track racer or 1939 Chieftain. As these are based on parts for classic bikes should these be considered classic bikes too?

However, the big question is are the new Polaris Indians really Indians? The original Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company stopped making bikes in 1953 when the company went bankrupt. Since then many have tried and failed to reignite the flame of this incredibly evocative brand. From 1955 to 1960 Brockhouse Engineering had acquired the rights to the name and was importing English Royal Enfield’s into the US and rebadging them as Indians. From the 1960’s through to the late 1990’s the Indian brand name was under dispute with Floyd Clymer, Eller Industries and various other parties all making claims to the name with various success. Then in 1998 The Indian Motorcycle Company of America formed from a merger of nine companies and was awarded the Indian trademark by the Federal District Court of Colorado. Known as the Gilroy Indians, as they were produced in Gilroy, California, models were sold between 1999 and 2003 when the company went into bankruptcy.

In 2006 the Indian brand surfaced again as Indian Motorcycle Company, owned largely by private equity firm Stellican Limited. Production began in Kings Mountain, North Carolina and produced limited runs using Powerplus V-twin powertrains until Polaris Industries acquired the company in 2011. In 2013 the brand new ‘Thunder Stroke 111’ engine had been developed and production began in Spirit Lake, Iowa.

With the brand being bounced around so much since 1953 do the new Polaris machines deserve to be associated with the Indians built over half a century earlier? You could argue and indeed I will, that Polaris have built machines that capture the spirit of the original Indians better than anyone else. Does this mean the heritage is retained and this company is one and the same as the one that ceased production in 1953?

 

Other motorcycle brands in similar circumstances

Indian Motocycle/Indian Motocycles are far from the only motorcycle brand to be bounced around. There are notable similarities in the history of Harley Davidson, a long-term rival of Indian. Bought out by AMF (American Machine Foundry) in 1969, sold to investors (including Willie G. Davidson) in 1981 the company nevertheless never stopped continuous production. In the UK the Triumph brand began life as Triumph Engineering in 1885 and produced various machines, including motorcycles. With various mergers and acquisitions, including BSA, the firm produced motorcycles until 1983 when the firm went bankrupt. Saved by John Bloor (ensuring the company retains the title of longest continuous motorcycle manufacturer in the world as production began in 1902) the Triumph brand is stronger today than it’s been since the 1960s.

However arguably closer similarities to Indian lie with other recently revived brands such as Ariel, Norton and Brough Superior. All of these brands have a strong history with motorcycles but have had long periods of non-production and brand ownership disputes, yet would anyone buying a current model suggest that they’re not also buying into the history of the brand? Would a new model Norton sell as well if wasn’t branded with the Norton name?

To some extent any argument that a modern motorcycle shouldn’t hold the heritage of the past is null and void. Every year manufacturers produce new models and discontinue others. Just like life, engineering motorcycles is continuously evolving. New technologies make older ones obsolete, styles and fashions change. In that respect every motorcycle model currently in production has a severe case of Triggers Broom Paradox.

 

What do you think?

I’ve laid my case and will argue that the Polaris Indians deserve the heritage. After all, Polaris brought the brand name for a reason; the history associated with it. Along with the sterling job Polaris have done of creating a marvellous motorcycle we’re buying into that brand history too. But what do you think?

Ecotricity Do A Ratner ~ or ~ How to make political friends and alienate your customers

Dale Vince is someone I very much want to like. He is a former New Age Traveller and a vegan, just the type of person who seems to have a good old story to tell. He is also an industrialist, founding Ecotricity, his renewable energy company. I like renewable energy, it’s nice and fluffy and helps reduce my carbon emissions meaning I can ride my motorcycles more. What’s more he has similar haircut to mine and is worried about the sustainability of life – like me. Yes he is someone I very much want to like.

So why do I find myself thinking that actually, this guy is a bit of a dick? Well I’ll come to that in a moment but first let me give you a bit of background on Dale’s company, Ecotricity. As a company that trades under the Green Energy banner it entices altruistic customers who don’t mind paying a premium for their energy requirements under the stipulation that the company invests in renewable energy with the profits. Sounds nice and fair doesn’t it? Well it hooked me and many others too, 155,398 people at the time of writing. The thought that I’m paying over the odds for my energy is easily reconciled as I am helping to invest in a greener future for us all. So far so good.

So Ecotricity = plucky, progressive, sustainability loving company that likes to challenge the status quo? Well I thought so right up until I learned that Dale donated £250,000 of Ecotricity’s cash to the Labour Party. You could say that this made me a little bit pissed off but that would be an understatement. Livid is closer but add a good dose of bemusement and you’ll be right on the money as to how I’m feeling right now. A Green Energy company donating a quarter of a million pounds to the Labour Party. It doesn’t quite compute and it seems that I’m not the only one who has taken offense to this move.

Within hours of making the announcement Ecotricity’s Facebook page was awash with comments from disgruntled customers just as confused, pissed off and bewildered as me. Of course the Labour faithful had also gotten a hold of the story too so there was the odd po-faced detrimental comment from them about the Green Party and the term “Vote Green Go Blue” was branded about without much thought. Though aside from the vitriol there were objective comments from both sides.

It might be true to say that a Tory/UKIP coalition government would be the worst result to come out of the election. This is the reason Dale Vince has given for his actions but there’s no strong evidence that a Labour/UKIP coalition is off the cards either. Which would really be the lesser of two evils? In the wake of an overwhelming UKIP result and a lackluster Lib Dem and Green turn out would Labour really choose not to seek a coalition with the purple party? Regardless of tactical voting how about the very issue that money that we the customers believed was to be invested in renewable energy was now lacing Miliband’s war chest?

Would I be as pissed off if they had donated the money to the Green Party? Probably not but issue remains, as a customer I did not expect my Green Energy company to be making its bed with a Labour government that refuses to condemn the practice of fracking. I expected this money to be invested in renewable energy. A quarter of a million pounds donation to a party I do not believe in because the owner of my energy company wants to try to block the Tories from forming a consecutive government? No thank you. If Dale Vince wanted to donate money to Labour he should have done so with his own money. For a Green Energy company boss to alienate his customers who may vote any other way than Labour (especially the Greens) is a huge faux pas that must be up there with Gerald Ratner?

Ecotricity Web
Ecotricity give £250,000 to the Labour Party

Thanks for reading, please feel free to lend me your thoughts.

Daz

A Brand of Fry and Folly ~ or ~ Russell Brand takes a swipe at Stephen Fry

2015 02 04 A Brand of Fry Russell Brand verses Stephen FryI love Stephen Fry and I love Russell Brand. They are incredible human beings whose views and beliefs often overlap with those of my own. I was therefore somewhat taken back when good old Rusty Rockets took offense over Stephen Fry’s comments during an interview on RTE, an Irish Public Service TV channel. He was so enraged that he made Fry the subject of his regular YouTube programme ‘The Trews’ where he laid into Fry and his blasphemous ways.

Well OK it didn’t quite happen like that, in fact Brand was actually quite benign. His Fox News baiting persona was turned down to disappointed friend mode as he made his case on the subject of spirituality. When it comes to spirituality and religious beliefs I personally think “each to their own” and as long as they are not preaching hate or shouting down ‘sinners’ in the street like the old manic street preacher (no not James Dean Bradfield) who used to hail abuse at my gang of mates as we walked through Dunstable town centre.

It seemed that Brand had taken Fry’s public slamming of a wicked and ruthless ‘God’ to heart and went on the offensive as he turned into a spiritualist zealot delving into questions that had no real answers, logical or otherwise. As much as he was dismantling traditional religious dogma he was in turn pedalling his own spiritual theory and ideology. It was bizarre thing for me to watch and made for uncomfortable viewing.

I like Brand and his feral cat like persona. He is a champion of many good causes and I applaud the way he exposes the flaws in the political systems across the globe. I find myself agreeing with his views on the redistribution of wealth, that a change is needed in our political system and that the decriminalisation and destigmatization of drugs and their users can only lead to improvements in public health and treatment of addiction. For these I applaud his efforts though I am not sure I agree with his simplistic belief in an anarchy system. I don’t think a system where people self-govern would really work in today’s overcrowded world.

I like Fry too. He has done a lot to highlight the plights of depression and like Brand, drug addiction. For sheer entertainment value Fry is a hoot in whatever I’ve seen him in, be it on panel shows or in character. It’s difficult not to love such an apologetic persona. Listening to his answers given to Gay Byrne (the RTE host) I thought what he said was more than justified in the context of the interview. When probed further about spirituality I felt that Fry was adequate in his response, especially as it seemed he was being backed into a corner a little by Byrne.

As much as I would like to take this opportunity to analyse and probe what Brand stated in regards to his spiritual ‘truth’, I fear I would only be doing the same Brand did to Fry. Though Brand’s polite attack on Fry has obviously grieved me I feel it would be hypocritical of me to counter Brand’s spiritualist notions phrase by phrase. Personally I don’t have issue with what Mr Brand does or doesn’t believe in and judging by Fry’s interview I doubt that he does either.

It’s not just Brand who has zoned in on Fry’s comments. Pavan Dhaliwal of the Independent has used Fry’s comments on the subject to highlight the fact that not everybody around the world enjoys the same level of free speech as we do in the UK. Indeed even in Ireland, where the interview took place, there are some rather antiquated laws regarding blasphemy which Fry could well be in breach of. Though it’s highly unlikely that Fry would see any recourse for his blasphemous rantings (other than a whole Russell Brand Trews episode dedicated to the subject) others around the world are not so lucky. As Dhaliwal’s article points out in Saudi Arabia, Muslim blogger Raif Badawi was arrested on a charge for the crime of insulting Islam by running a website that criticized religious leaders. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and one thousand lashes. She also notes that Blasphemy is illegal in 49 countries. So be careful what you say when you’re abroad!

2015 02 03 a FryIt seems though that Fry saw the funny side and responded to The Trews episode with his trademark wit on Twitter. Brand responded and it looks like all is forgiven. But the whole debarkle has raised a valid point.2015 02 03 b Brand In the UK we must be thankful that the worst that can happen for being a little blasphemous on UK soil is you might rile a few angry religious leaders and receive a Russell Brand Trews inquisition. I’ll leave you with this little thought that sums up my beliefs; everything in nature is so awe inspiring and incredible why do we need to invent something which explains it?

Daz

Watch the interview:

Watch The Trews:

Read the article:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/stephen-frys-comments-on-god-could-lead-to-criminal-sanctions-against-him-in-many-countries-10018658.html

The Dazzle Rebel Show on TBFM TONIGHT!

DJ Dazzle Rebel Show 17

Tonights show on TBFM Online Radio aims to take you back to your school days with a Back to School Special! Playing a diverse range of tracks, many of which chosen by TBFM listeners, ranging from Joy Division to Madness, Supertramp to Van Halen plus some great music from emerging bands such as Exit StateBlack Belt KarateTitans & KingsNew Generation SuperstarsJettBlack and Agenda. Also TBFM’s very first play of the new single “Here We Stand” by New Device!

It’s such a jam-packed, hoot-tootin’, banjo-shootin’ show you’ll forget that you’ve got school in the morning!

Tune in 9pm – Midnight

See you in the chatroom,

Daz

30th April – NaPoWriMo

napo2013button2

An Ode to National Poetry Writing Month

So my thirty days of poetry is up
Never before have I been so prolific and writing this stuff
I used to think poetry was a pile of shite
Something for nobbers who value modern art and all that tripe

In the past month I’ve brought you so much crap
So I’ll take a bow and give a tip of my hat
Cus’ there’s something I’ve realised during this month
There’s so many poets I’m just the billy-onth

And so many people are better than me
They don’t just write rubbish but at least I’m gutsy
I’ve told it how I see it, not more I can do
Now this is cliche goodbye, yep from me to you

So my thirty days of poetry is up
Never again will I be so prolific and writing this stuff
‘Cus I still think that poetry is pretty shite
I’ll leave it for the nobbers who value modern art and all that tripe