Print Story The EU has lifted its ban on misshapen vegetables
Diary
By nebbish (Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 01:28:08 PM EST) (all tags)
I can finally let my son out of the cellar


I suppose I should say something about the credit crunch and Barack Obama and that but I can't be arsed.

POLICE BRUTALITY!!

I had to go to Sutton for work earlier today which meant getting off early. I set off to walk down the River Wandle with my camera afterwards to take a few photos, something I've done before and enjoyed. On the way I stopped to take a photo of the evening sun reflecting off the windows of a block of flats. A few minutes later I was stopped by two “special” constables or whatever they're called.

I was asked what I was taking photos of, why, if I had any reason to do so, etc. I was pretty pissed off and replied with one-word answers. I didn't really have any answers anyway – I was taking photos of stuff for no reason and that was about it. I'm aware that I'm within my rights to take photos of what I want in a public place, but telling them to fuck off didn't really seem like the most sensible option. They weren't happy though, and radioed for back-up.

Two proper PCs arrived. More questions, and a request to look through my photos, which I was happy to show them – the pictures of the setting sun should have exonerated me really. But no, a search followed. I was given no reason for being searched. I would have kicked up a fuss but was a bit worried what might be in my bag – I've got a “tin” which variously hangs round in my pocket or bag or on the coffee table at home and I wasn't totally sure where it was.

The whole thing took half-an-hour. It would have been embarrassing if it hadn't been for kids in the estate opposite shouting “Fucking coppers!” at the police at amusing intervals.

I'm a bit hacked off about it. The questioning is OK, I can understand that, though it could have been more polite – there was a distinct lack of a presumption of innocence. I wasn't that bothered about them going through my photos either, though I might have been if they'd been of something else – it's private. What bothers me is being searched after it'd become obvious what I was doing and what I was taking photos of.

I requested documentation and will be making a complaint. Apparently they should have given good reason for the search, which they didn't. I will also mention their discrimination towards me as a Person of Height.

Books

Read RD Laing's “The Divided Self” a couple of months back as a companion to Freud's “Civilisation and its Discontents”. It has rather a dense writing style which is a bit difficult to hack your way through at first, and I felt the opening chapters could have been more concise.

Laing was part of the British “anti-psychiatrist” movement of the 60s, something which is a lot less hippyish than it sounds – the basics seem to be that psychiatric patients should be treated as human beings and not locked up, given electric shock treatment etc. The most striking thing about Laing's writing is his compassion for his subjects. He talks a lot about the special bond between therapist and patient, which he goes as far as saying should be one of love.

“The Divided Self” sets out the basis for these ideas, that mental illnesses are an extension and exaggeration of normal psychological responses, made abnormal by environmental factors, most usually the family. Patients' “abnormal” exclamations are taken at face value and investigated to find root causes – for example, whereas “They're all out to get me!” would normally be seen as a simple expression of insanity, Laing believes in finding who exactly is out to get them, and unlocking the psychiatric problems behind it.

There are case studies, and at times the exploration of schizophrenia (which the book concentrates on) can be distressing. As an illness it expresses itself as a void of personality which is crowded out by other, more powerful external phenomenae, a frightening process for the patient which results in withdrawal and occasionally an aggressive (or more often passive-aggressive) defence against others.

This is a fascinating book which sets out an alternative but very logical attitude to mental illness and I suppose is even a manifesto of sorts. Despite the sometimes difficult writing, later in the book Laing's compassion adds beauty, and that he ends on a poem written by one of his patients is just perfect.

Also read JG Ballard's “The Unlimited Dream Company.” I'm a massive Ballard fan – I've been to academic conferences! - but my enjoyment of his actual work does waver. His later novels aside he's rarely an easy read, and there are niggling doubts about his ability as a novelist sometimes.

“The Unlimited Dream Company” is like this – a series of fantastic, very visual surreal passages about the London suburb of Shepperton being transformed into an erotic tropical paradise, without that much of a story to link them together. Of all his work this one reminded most of William Burroughs and his use of comic and horror “routines.” There is always a lot to chew on in Ballard's strangely descriptive, dreamlike yet scientific prose, but overall this one felt a little shallow.

I've been reading a lot more recently so more reviews to come: Stephen King's “Duma Key”, Paul Kriwaczek's “Yiddish Civilisation: The Rise and Fall of a forgotten Nation”, and  Dostoevsky's “Crime and Punishment” (or “Crime and Prejudice” as I don't seem to able to stop calling it).

More me

I've been writing a horror review blog for a while which I've been enjoying a lot. An online contact who knows the blog and knows another contact etc recommended me to US genre movie review site Quiet Earth (Google it, I don't like link-backs), who were looking for a London correspondent. They like my work and I got the job. When I say job it doesn't pay, but I'll be getting a press pass to attend film festivals etc and go on-set. I've been warned it might be quite a bit of work but I'm pretty excited, it's good experience. Onwards and upwards!

< I fail it. | Notes on Andalucía. >
The EU has lifted its ban on misshapen vegetables | 37 comments (37 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Police by Herring (4.00 / 4) #1 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 02:10:50 PM EST
As Bernard Manning would say, It's a fucking discgrace. I have heard such tales of people being hassled when taking photographs. There is no legal basis to it, just some faint terrorism suspicion thing (besides, bombing Sutton might not be such a bad idea). You must make an official complaint.

The thing that seems to have been forgotten is that for policing to be effective it requires the consent of the general populace. An awful lot of people these days view the police with extreme suspicion - partly because of these sorts of actions. The police and the public don't seem to be on the same side - which they should be really. Let's face it, the police have signed up to be in the front line to protect the rest of us. The public ought to respect that. Similarly, most of the public aren't Osama Bin Huntley and the police need to respect that. Somewhere along the line, the two groups have divided into sides. This can't be a good thing.

Of course, I blame Thatcher and her political use of the police during the miners' strike.

I am even more tempted now to carry my not-very-compact camera around more and start taking photos whenever I see a policeman.

I was going to diarize on this very subject, but I never seem to have the time or the energy these days.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

Spot on by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 02:37:52 PM EST
One thing that pissed me off is that as I have grown older I have gained a lot more respect for the police, and it's been destroyed in one big clumsy, strangely spiteful SUS. They acted like cunts TBH.

I will be complaining. I actually wrote to my MP about this a while back cos I'm a bit of a amateur photographer (not in the dirty sense) and its a worry, and got a very positive response. I'll be writing again and hopefully get her support for the complaint to the Met.

They really fucked up not giving a reason to search me. I'm glad I didn't make a fuss and they can't claim obstruction.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Oh, and by Herring (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 02:11:37 PM EST
when I heard about the mis-shapen vegetables law repeal, my first thought was: "Oh fuck, does that mean That's Life is coming back?"

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
Like your new sig! nt by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 02:59:19 PM EST

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
You've probably seen these already, but by yicky yacky (4.00 / 3) #5 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 03:02:00 PM EST

while we're on the subject ...

Cops bugging bystanders

Journos unhappy


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
Yeah by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 03:12:49 PM EST
Seeing the first one of those (along with another one from Middlesborough) was the reason I originally wrote to my MP about this stuff a while back.

It's the vagueness of it all that pisses me off. One of the first things I asked was "Am I breaking the law?" and was told "No, but with the way things are nowadays..."

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Officer / constable, Am I free to go? by garlic (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 03:28:34 PM EST
Why am I being stopped officer / constable?


[ Parent ]
and the more important by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #10 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 03:31:59 PM EST
"I do not consent to this search, officer/constable"

Though your rights may vary, nanny staters.

[ Parent ]
Hmm by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #11 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 03:34:32 PM EST
Yeah, I probably could have done this. Cooperation and then an official complaint seems to be a good option though.

Unfortunately I have a natural jumpiness and latent guilt that comes to the fore when questioned by the police.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
There's a difference by ad hoc (4.00 / 2) #13 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 04:13:15 PM EST
between consent and cooperation. You can co-operate (acquiesce or comply) without consenting. Doing it "under protest" as it were and registering your objection at the time.

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The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.
[ Parent ]
Legally sound by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 10:48:36 PM EST
Psychologically though, it gives the guy an excuse to justify his behaviour to himself as you are being stroppy and resisting (though perfectly legally) what he says. He learns nothing. Having the complaint upheld, he may learn something. There's always a risk of the wrong kind of people being attracted to policing. There seems to be  more of them now, or more reporting of it, perhaps.


[ Parent ]
OBPollShouldBeMultiselect by Driusan (4.00 / 3) #7 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 03:22:51 PM EST
(and without the word "either")

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Vive le Montréal libre.
Good point by nebbish (4.00 / 3) #9 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 03:29:24 PM EST
I am the terrorisingpaedobear!

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Link to a photo of my "5090" by nebbish (4.00 / 3) #12 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 03:38:25 PM EST
Which is apparently a badge of honour amongst UK photographers.

Click

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It's political correctness gone mad!

ASBO for the working classes by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #21 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 01:03:13 AM EST
NT


[ Parent ]
Gah by R Mutt (4.00 / 3) #15 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 11:53:50 PM EST
While objectively speaking it's not the worst of the assaults on our remaining liberties, the War on Photography is about the most annoying. At least with airport bollocks it only happens when you're at an airport, not when you're out in public. And it doesn't make any freaking sense at all.

Empty gesture of the day: I just now joined Liberty.

Aye by Herring (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 12:06:51 AM EST
I really can't see what it is supposed to achieve - apart from giving the copper in question a sense of power.

I think I may follow your empty gesture. I've done Amnesty and the NSS so it's a logical next step.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

[ Parent ]
Yeah by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 12:09:37 AM EST
I've done Amnesty, Liberty is another one of very few organisations I fully agree with. I'll sign up too.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Appalling. by komet (4.00 / 1) #18 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 12:14:21 AM EST
At least you could show them your photos. What if it was a film camera? What if your camera doesn't look like a camera to them (I've got one of those)? Perhaps I should go and find out.


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<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.
FFS by hulver (4.00 / 3) #19 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 12:29:04 AM EST
Being stopped for taking photos?

I like the search form "Male advised". Advised what? Carry on not breaking any laws? Be careful when you're going about your lawful business or we'll nick you for it next time?

Fucking ridiculous.

Let us know what your MP says.
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Cheese is not a hat. - clock
As a keen photographer... by Metatone (4.00 / 2) #20 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 12:57:54 AM EST
(although less active now I'm only an amateur) I agree with all the points raised by everyone else:

- It's messing up the social contract between public and police.
- Targeting photographers who are obvious about it is inane, especially in the age of mobile phone cameras.
- I've been lucky enough not to be stopped so far... but an ever growing percentage of the photogs I know have.
- I too wonder what they'll do with a film camera, will it be like when I visited behind the Iron Curtain and they would demand your film?

To some degree I'm loath to encourage you to complain if you're not up for it, because it can lead to more hassle. But if you're up for it, that's great because we all need to stand up to the petty dictatorship...

RD Laing is pretty interesting. A lot of people forget how hideous, violent and repressive psychiatry/psychology was when he was writing, so he gets a lot of overblown criticism for being relativist, IMO. Of course, he was a bit messianic, so he probably wouldn't change his views even as the times change...


Did you used to be a professional photographer? by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #35 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 10:17:47 AM EST
I'm impressed, it's one of the most difficult ways to earn a living I can imagine.

I've heard Laing was a bit of an arsehole in some ways. I'm thinking of reading the recently published "RD Laing: A Life" which is by one of his children and is meant to be quite scathing.

Not sure how much hassle complaining could cause really considering I didn't do anything. I'll be wary though.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Laing... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #37 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 10:30:08 AM EST
was a troubled bloke himself. Depression, alcohol, etc.
I recall one of his sons said something like "it's ironic he's known as a family psych, given how little his family saw of him."

I certainly don't mean to defend him as a person... and I do think that his views of then aren't always a good fit for now, things have changed a lot.... but as I said, I think we forget quite what arseholes were in charge of Psych back then...

I was a pro just before digital really blew the business apart, so in some ways it was slightly less insane than now. A friend of mine from school is still in the business and it's rough going. (Of course, I was better than he was.. but that's a different issue... Boasting requires pintage.)


[ Parent ]
Police State by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #22 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 01:03:49 AM EST
At which point, based on massive prior censure, /me shuts the fuck up.

They don't seem to have filled in the "Stop & Account" section there - is that legitimate?

Notably, the EU ban on misshapen vegetables still applies on bananas (which must be straight, not curved).  At the time of these rules being brought in, anti EU folks were wittering that the reason behind it was because the ex-French colonies produced straighter bananas naturally, as opposed to the more curved shape from the  ex-UK colonies and the bloody Frogs were trying to favour their export companies still operating in the old empire.  How true that is I never found out, but it's an interesting thought as to why the EU thought to overrule nature.

For a while now MBW and I have been getting veggie boxes from Riverford Farms - they deliver many sizes of organic veg and fruit to your door, and it works out about the same as buying stuff from Tesco.  And their vegetables are damnable ugly, but deliciously tasty.


Don't think it is legitimate by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #27 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 04:28:20 AM EST
A bit of a fuck up on their part. I'll find out soon enough.

I've been thinking of getting one of those organic boxes for a while, I should get on to it really. Like you say, cheaper and better.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
wait ... what by R343L (2.00 / 0) #29 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 06:13:44 AM EST
Bananas have to be straight?? I rarely have straight bananas. What's this about straight bananas? Really, I can't wrap my head around this. Bananas must be straight?!?!?!?

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
I am glad to be informed by R343L (2.00 / 0) #30 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 06:18:25 AM EST
That that this banana business is not accurate. Thank god. It would be disappointing if Europe were silllier than California.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot
[ Parent ]
au contraire by hulver (2.00 / 0) #32 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 06:32:33 AM EST
According to the EU Commission Regulation (EC) No 2257/94 of 16 September 1994 laying down quality standards for bananas the banana must be free from "abnormal curvature of the fingers"

Of course, it doesn't specify what abnormal curvature is, leaving that up to the individual host nation.
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Cheese is not a hat. - clock
[ Parent ]
Not quite as stenorian as that by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #31 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 06:32:23 AM EST
'Commission Regulation (EC) 2257/94 says that bananas must be "free from malformation or abnormal curvature," though Class 1 bananas can have "slight defects of shape" and Class 2 bananas can have full "defects of shape."'  From the IHT.

So, whilst there are no hard and fast rules (no more than 20 degrees of curvature, for example), it's left as subjective as to what "abnormal curvature" was.


[ Parent ]
Heh by hulver (2.00 / 0) #33 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 06:47:49 AM EST
Beat me to it. 
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Cheese is not a hat. - clock
[ Parent ]
Horror by Phage (2.00 / 0) #23 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 02:49:53 AM EST
Have you seen this ?

That's brilliant by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #24 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 03:19:15 AM EST
He needs to review this film, by my friend Jay.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Email him. by Phage (2.00 / 0) #34 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 06:54:59 AM EST
I have a passing acquaintance with the bloke, and he will probably would if you ask nicely.

[ Parent ]
Saw it a couple of days ago by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #25 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 04:26:38 AM EST
It's OK. For all the sillyness and ideas bouncing around it should have been a lot better than it was though - it felt a bit flat for some reason.

It's definitely worth seeing though, others enjoyed it a lot more than me and laughed all the way through. It's very tongue-in-cheek.

The director's previous film The Descent is one of my all time favourites, it's fantastic.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
The photography questioning. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #26 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 04:27:00 AM EST
I remember this being in vogue in the US about two months or so after 9-11 and it still is to some degree. If you're taken photos of transportation areas - trains and/or tracks, highways, city streets, etc, the police are not only able, but encouraged to take you for a talk down to the station. It's loosened up a bit, but I still don't go out to the railyards next to the river with a camera. Bad, bad juju to do that.

It really put a crimp in a lot people's hobbies in the US. But it seemed it was quickly swept up in concerns that we weren't being supportive enough of our administration. "DO YOU WANT TO WIN THE WAR ON TERROR OR NOT!?!"



Fit and the Conniptions... by Metatone (4.00 / 1) #28 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 05:04:48 AM EST
http://www.conniptions.org/?20081112


I'd forgotten all about those by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #36 Thu Nov 13, 2008 at 10:18:36 AM EST
Nice long archive to go through at work tomorrow :)

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
The EU has lifted its ban on misshapen vegetables | 37 comments (37 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback