Status and estate agents   (27.2.13)

This being Britain, having discovered in Jimmy Savile a new social pariah, we must turn to diminishing the state of his dwelling; apparently it was left in a "terrible condition". Cp. the Telegraph's report the other day about a girl with extraordinarily high IQ, which in the second paragraph made reference to the fact that her parents' house was worth £350,000. Human society is very strange.

Peter Tatchell and Simon Hughes discuss the 1983 Bermondsey by-election   (24.2.13)

Pink Sunset   (17.2.13)

Pink Sunset

Republican speaks for equal marriage   (17.2.13)

Let them (have and) eat cake   (12.2.13)

In yesterday's Telegraph, Cristina Odone wrote

When the Civil Partnerships Bill was going through parliament, heterosexual couples were told the law wouldn’t apply to them as they had the option to marry, while gays didn’t. Now that gays will be allowed to marry, shouldn’t straights be allowed a civil partnership with the rights that go with it? I fear the answer is yes.

The irony she misses, of course, is that civil partnerships would not have been necessary had opposition to gay marriage not been so strong ten years ago. Civil partnerships were a compromise, and nobody should be surprised that, social attitudes having mellowed in the light of the sky not having fallen in, most now see the sense in allowing same-sex couples access to the institution of marriage.

The new discrimination in law -- that opposite-sex couples are not at liberty to undertake civil partnerships -- could also be eliminated by repealing the Civil Partnerships Act. This will be politically impossible, though; not least because the churches and a certain stream of conservatives have made such an embarrassment of marriage in recent months that many heterosexuals will now campaign for a more civil arrangement.

A simple point   (10.2.13)

Watching the House of Commons debate over the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill last week, I was struck by one point repeatedly made by opponents of the legislation: that people are diverse and different, and that equality legislation suppresses, rather than celebrates, these differences. Is this true?

1/ Men and women are different. Should there be one law for males, and another for females?
2/ Persons practising diverse religions are also different from one another. Should Christians have some rights that Hindus don't have?
3/ Some have different colour skin. Should black people ride in one part of the bus, and white people in another?

Equality legislation does not suppress differences. It protects people from those who think that they are just that little bit more equal than others.

Harry's House / Centerpiece   (6.2.13)

The Hissing of Summer LawnsHarry's House/Centerpiece by Joni Mitchell on Grooveshark

Having heard the highlights of Joni Mitchell's Blue and Hejira, I turn to The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975). This is an upbeat album; it draws on jazz and rock styles, in contrast with the lighter folk overtones of earlier records. It also features thicker textures, electronic instruments, synth, and more extensive studio editing.

This track, "Harry's House / Centerpiece", embeds an old jazz classic by Sweets Edison and Jon Hendricks.

Heatwaves on the runway
As the wheels set down
He takes his baggage off the carousel
He takes a taxi into town
Yellow schools of taxi fishes
Jonah in a ticking whale
Caught up at the light in the fishnet windows
Of Bloomingdale's
Watching those high fashion girls
Skinny black models with raven curls
Beauty parlor blondes with credit card eyes
Looking for the chic and the fancy to buy

He opens up his suitcase
In the continental suite
And people twenty stories down
Colored currents in the street
A helicopter lands on the Pan Am roof
Like a dragonfly on a tomb
And business men in button downs
Press into conference rooms
Battalions of paper minded males
Talking commodities and sales
While at home their paper wives
And paper kids
Paper the walls to keep their gut reactions hid

Yellow checkers for the kitchen
Climbing ivy for the bath
She is lost in House and Gardens
He's caught up in Chief of Staff
He drifts off into the memory
Of the way she looked in school
With her body oiled and shining
At the public swimming pool ...

... Shining hair and shining skin
Shining as she reeled him in
To tell him like she did today
Just what he could do with Harry's House
And Harry's take home pay

Letter to Gerald Kaufman MP   (6.2.13)

Dear Sir Gerald,

I am one of your constituents in Manchester Gorton. I write to thank you for supporting the Marriage Bill at yesterday's Second Reading.

My partner and I celebrate ten years together this month, and the progress of this Bill encourages us that one day society will be able witness to our relationship on equal terms with heterosexual couples.

As a regular churchgoer of twenty years, I also hope that the leadership shown by you and 399 other MPs will eventually lead the Church of England to see the wisdom of affirming the loving relationships of all its members.

Yours faithfully,

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Newfred is where Andrew Wilshere blogs about
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