Print Story The horror, the horror
By TheophileEscargot (Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 07:36:09 AM EST) Theatre, MLP (all tags)
Theatre: "Money", "Terror 2009: Theatre of Horror and Grand Guignol". Web.

Finally got around to seeing something by the ultra-trendy group Shunt: Money. Very loosely based on the novel L'Argent by Zola: having Wikipedia'd it I was able to see a few references. However what plot there is is so vague you're probably best off thinking of it an absurdist spectacle.

As an experience though, it's hugely impressive. They've set up a three-storey set in an abandoned warehouse, with perspex ceilings and floors. So as the audience are promenaded around you get to see action in all directions, above and below as well as in the same room.

It's also deliberately disorienting: you start off with a total blackout and loud industrial noises, to create a kind of sensory deprivation.

After that there's a kind of Kafkaesque farce in an panelled waiting room, then disjointed scenes from the rise and fall of a company in a stock market bubble. It's very funny at times, with text on the screens providing a counterpoint to the actions.

Overall, worth going to for the experience, providing your not easily annoyed when things don't make sense.

Review, review, review, review, review.

Theatre 2
Also saw Terror 2009: Theatre of Horror and Grand Guignol at the Southwark Playhouse. Four short plays going for a Grand Guignol fin-de-siecle feel.

Plays are mostly pretty solid. My favourite was "The Experiment", This was the most low-key of the set: just a monologue by immaculately-suited Mark Ravenhill, where he tells the story of a horrible experiment, constantly shifting the facts to try to cast himself in the best light.

"Psychogeography" by Lucy Kirkwood had a dysfunctional middle-class couple inspecting the house of a former killer: good performances and acute observation.

"Twisted" by Anthony Neilson was a nicely twisty two-hander with a psychologist interviewing a killer for potential release.

The last one was "Some White Chick" by Neil LaBute. Mixed feelings about that. Started off very well, with a couple of kidnappers creepily indifferent to their bruised and terrorized captive. However it didn't really seem to anywhere beyond ineffective attempts at gross-out: really needed a twist.

The evening also has some cabaret: including a hilarious music-hall song about self-harming.

Overall, I thought it was a good evening. Seemed like good value: four plays for thirteen quid. R was bored and disappointed though: was hoping for much more spectacular gore.

Review, review.

London. "Sling him under a train". Fare rises announced: good to see drivers aren't getting away free after all. Still reckon it's a great idea to scrap a load of perfectly functional bendy buses and buy expensive replacements? Repeat: Why buses should be free.

Video. Hairdryer. Burning water (via). Drunk. Giant hand on big screen.

Articles. American Beer Snob. Don Bradman best sportsman of all time by standard deviation. The self-destruction of the House of Commons. White working class not racist.

Poetry. Anglo-Saxon poem The Wanderer. The Luck of the Brungers (via).

Pics. Abandoned Mr Blobby theme park.

< another long overdue entry | I am weak >
The horror, the horror | 52 comments (52 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I accept that mass transit by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 08:03:27 AM EST
Is a Good Thing, but who should pay to subsidise it? 

Local governments. by Tonatiuh (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 08:16:31 AM EST
The benefits of good public transport benefit the local people after all.

I am no expert, but I can't believe all public transport is necessarily subsidized, as a matter of fact prive public transport tends to be the worst.

[ Parent ]
So, people from outside the borough by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:13:16 AM EST
Where I work, should subsidise the buses to enable the work borough to profit?

[ Parent ]
Yep. by Tonatiuh (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:34:42 AM EST
It is a social benefit for all the parties involved.

Years of misguided Torism made people forget that there is such a thing as society, even Cameron recognizes that now.

[ Parent ]
So by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:37:34 AM EST
The pensioner who lives opposite me outside zone 1 should pay more in council tax so that I can get cheaper bus travel into zone 1?

Why don't I pay the full amount instead, seeing as I am gaining the most from the bus?

[ Parent ]
Progressive taxation. by Tonatiuh (2.00 / 0) #30 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 02:51:12 AM EST
As if in you are a pensioner yo normally will earn less, and thus be taxed less, both in absolute, and most importantly, relative, terms.

[ Parent ]
I think you'll find by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #31 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 04:38:42 AM EST
That council tax is based on the value of your house.

[ Parent ]
property tax blows by garlic (2.00 / 0) #35 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 10:53:50 AM EST
homes should be exempt. Or, homes under a certain value.

[ Parent ]
I think you'll find. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #39 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 12:28:21 PM EST
That only a small part of council funding comes from the council tax. Which is good, because as you mention, it's a fairly regressive tax, speaking as someone on 70% of median wage living in a Band A house.

[ Parent ]
And the rest comes from... by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #41 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 04:19:57 PM EST
The magic money tree?

[ Parent ]
Of course not. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #44 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 11:12:56 PM EST
Business rates, and central government, whose revenue sources are less regressive. You did read that reply in context, didn't you?

[ Parent ]
Still robbing Peter by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #46 Sun Oct 18, 2009 at 05:35:26 AM EST
To give Paul a subsidy though.

[ Parent ]
But the tug at the heartstrings by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #47 Sun Oct 18, 2009 at 05:51:37 AM EST
with the mention of 'pensioner' is still spurious, though.

[ Parent ]
They'd still have to pay though. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #49 Sun Oct 18, 2009 at 06:29:44 AM EST
And not as spurious as drowning a dog to push the climate change agenda.

[ Parent ]
doesn't this little old lady by garlic (2.00 / 0) #36 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 10:54:56 AM EST
already pay higher taxes so there can be roads into the city? Paying for the bus is a similar sort of issue.

[ Parent ]
Nope. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #40 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 04:19:19 PM EST
In Soviet UKia we have a road tax which is ~130 quid a year or thereabouts; this is supposed to generate enough tax to keep our road networks maintained.

On top of that, we have punitive taxes on petrol, and then on top of that we get charged VAT.  And also an extra tax to insure uninsured drivers when we buy insurance, which is mandatory over here.

So, for cars - driver pays.  Then pays again, is taxed again, and is then taxed on the sum of the payment plus tax.

[ Parent ]
Bzzt. Wrong. by Herring (2.00 / 0) #50 Sun Oct 18, 2009 at 01:07:08 PM EST
What people call "Road tax" is actually Vehicle Excise Duty. This is levied based upon the emissions of the vehicle (so might as well just be added to fuel duty really). Road maintenance is funded from council budgets - except for motorways and trunk routes which come out of general taxation.

If you do the maths, VED doesn't even cover the cost of emergency services dealing with accidents. There is an argument that vehicle insurance ought to pay the costs for emergency services, medical treatment etc. for people involved in road accidents but it would be unpopular and the admin would be a nightmare.

IIRC, there used to be a thing called "road tax" but is was abolished in 1937.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
I stand corrected on this point. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #52 Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 11:03:18 AM EST
But you concede that people call VED "road tax", even if it is not.

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 08:19:41 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth

[ Parent ]
Standard socialist response by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #6 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:12:00 AM EST
Someone else pays.

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 1) #16 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:42:25 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth

[ Parent ]
easy by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 08:22:30 AM EST
The people inconvenienced by its unavailability.

[ Parent ]
So, the users of the bus then? by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #8 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:13:54 AM EST
Pay for the cost of running the bus.  Seems fair to me.

[ Parent ]
ooh look by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #10 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:21:04 AM EST
I caught one:)

[ Parent ]
I let you have that one by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:22:28 AM EST
For free!

Next time though, user pays!

[ Parent ]
Well by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #5 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 08:34:03 AM EST
Unfortunately that study is specific to New York. But he reckons that free buses; and subway fares and car congestion charge that vary by time of day, are the most efficient solution there. You can download the spreadsheet if you want to crunch the numbers yourself.

I suspect London would be similar. London's roads are older and narrower, so it would presumable be even more important to incent people out of cars here.

The point is that even though the driver is paying money to subsidize the bus passengers, the value of the time he saves by diminishing traffic in front of him makes him better off overall.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Hmmm by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:17:21 AM EST
By all means tax private cars coming into the city during the working week, but not those with legitimate business which other businesses rely on, such as couriers and delivery vehicles.

But the buses should be paid for by the end user I think.  With petrol, insurance and road tax so high I don't think that having free buses are required to prise people out of cars.

[ Parent ]
Why do you hate free markets? by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #12 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:32:16 AM EST
Traffic causes massive negative externalities. Road pricing is a market solution to reduce those externalities. The last thing we want is Big Government deciding who is "legitimate" and who isn't. Far more efficient to apply the tax to each economic unit, and let them decide if the value of their journey exceeds the cost of the externality.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Why do you misunderstand me? by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #14 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:35:47 AM EST
Road pricing is a market solution to reduce those externalities.
And making couriers and delivery drivers charge more to the people they servicing is not a negative externality?  At the end of the day the sandwich shops need their bread delivered, the businesses need their servers and so on, these are not optional or luxury items, and as such should not be taxed.

[ Parent ]
Heh, that's standard Marx-Leninism by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 7) #17 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:47:54 AM EST
An efficient market should pass on the externality cost of traffic to the ultimate consumers. If the sandwich shops have to raise their prices to compensate, that's the system working as it should.

What you're proposing is that a centralized state bureaucracy is better at making economic decisions of what is "necessary", than the vast decentralized market network of vans, drivers, couriers, shops and consumers.

Get back to North Korea if you think it's so great, commie.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Hehe by Breaker (4.00 / 3) #19 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:55:54 AM EST
At this point I am not sure who is trolling and who is countertrolling!

Off to sing the Red Flag.

[ Parent ]
Best Exchange Evar by motty (4.00 / 3) #26 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 01:22:05 PM EST
Sevens to the both of you... :)

I amd itn ecaptiaghle of drinking sthis d dar - Dr T
[ Parent ]
I accept that metalled roads are a good thing by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #33 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 06:49:31 AM EST
But who should pay to subsidize them?

[ Parent ]
Oooh that's a tricky one. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #34 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 08:59:33 AM EST
Who do you think should pay for these metallic roads?

[ Parent ]
What I think would be good by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #38 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 12:26:23 PM EST
Is if the state paid for them. Of course, funding that ahead of time might be difficult, so perhaps they could be developed by private enterprise, and the state could pay them back according to how much use the road gets.

[ Parent ]
"The state pays for them" by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #42 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 04:27:31 PM EST
And does "the state" have some magical money generator, other than the printing press?

Those shadow tolls are wrong on too many levels.  First, there is the PFI disaster economics involved, and no obvious accountability so peple can make rational decisions on route planning.

[ Parent ]
Oh good, by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #43 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 11:09:15 PM EST
So you do agree that motorists should be paying more directly for their road usage.

And shadow tolling is wrong because of what, apart from the usual PFI issues (to which it seems less prone than say leaseback of a hospital)?

[ Parent ]
I do by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #45 Sun Oct 18, 2009 at 05:34:42 AM EST
But that money goes into the Big Bucket of State Spending, and I'd lay pounds to pennies that when you factor in the total tax raised when you buy and operate a car, that the government takes more from you than it spends on the roads.

[ Parent ]
Really? by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #48 Sun Oct 18, 2009 at 05:57:59 AM EST
I'm not interested in finding links for that discussion, but there's plenty of evidence going either way on that issue, depending what you count as taxation on motoring (e.g. is VAT on car sales relevant) and what you count as road spending.

And of course the tax disc that you put in your car (or rather, I put in my car, seeing as, IIRC you don't own a car) is an excise duty, not a 'road tax'.

[ Parent ]
That spiked article by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 09:54:02 AM EST
Seems to overlook the "wholly and necessary" part of expenses.  Which was in place at the time.

And for MPs to bleat about retrospective laws is a bit rich given the car tax changes which were effectively a retrospective tax grab.

I think a large part of the problem is calling these living allowances "expenses".  Anyone who has ever worked knows that if you incur an expense on behalf of your work, you must present a receipt and the expense must be clearly of use to the company.  On top of that, many companies also offer an "away from home stipend" to cover entertainement and inconvenience.  But this is not classed as expenses, and it gets taxed.

When I had a company car, it was because I did a lot of travel to clients.  And what happened to that?  It was classed as a benefit in kind, and taxed.  Many of the expenses for MPs do indeed come under the classification of benefits in kind, and yet are not taxed.

If MPs want to put the expenses row to rest, they would do better to follow the rules that everyone else has to follow.

Enlighten a non-Londunner by brokkr (2.00 / 0) #20 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 11:07:18 AM EST
Why exactly is it that bendy buses are bad?
Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjalfr it sama,
ek veit einn, at aldrei deyr: dómr um dau∂an hvern.

(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 1) #21 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 11:36:58 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth

[ Parent ]
Because they have the taint of Red Ken on them. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 11:42:11 AM EST
There is a feeling that they are more dangerous to cyclists and often block other traffic as they are too long for London's antiquated roads. 

I believe that they are a little more dangerous than the standard sized busses, IIRC TE had a link a while back that showed that the busses were involved in a small number of accidents more than the old style. 

It was noted that the routes the bendy busses are on are some of the busiest in London so the fractionally higher incidence of accidents could be attributed to that.  In addition to that, the drivers probably had to spend some time getting the feel of driving them.

Boris Johnson, the floppy haired toff who is now the Mayor of London, declared a fatwa against them as part of his election campaign.

The buses have many Oyster readers onboard - Oyster is a card that you pre-charge with money and hold up to the reader to buy the flat rate ticket for your journey. 

Inadequate policing of this means round my way near Elephant, they are known as "the free busses" as people get on, don't buy a ticket.  If a ticket enforcer gets on, then there is a mad scramble to validate a ticket before the enforcers can get through the whole bus.

Which is why I believe that this is why Boris wants rid of them.

[ Parent ]
Wait? by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #25 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 12:48:03 PM EST
They can't turn off the validators before the inspector gets on?

[ Parent ]
Nope. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #27 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 02:32:17 PM EST
It's quite entertaining watching it though.

Especially if you're standing next to the Oyster point, or when the bus is busy.

[ Parent ]
Xenophobia by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 2) #23 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 12:19:43 PM EST
Traditional large London buses have been double-decker. The bendy buses are seen as strange and alien. Actual data, like this report by the RAC motoring organization says bendy buses are fine.

However, a vague sense of xenophobia has been thinly rationalized into complaints that they're dangerous and liable to fare evasion, though there's no actual evidence beyond vague gut feelings, and the buses have worked fine for many years in other European cities.

Incoming Conservative mayor Boris Johnson capitalized on this, and has begun the expensive process of scrapping them and buying double-decker replacements at enormous expense.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by xth (4.00 / 1) #24 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 12:24:05 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by xth

[ Parent ]
Probably because by dmg (4.00 / 2) #37 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 12:06:36 PM EST
Ultimately it leads to higher fares. Someone has to fund the criminals, that funding is courtesy of the fare-paying law-abiding citizen. 
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Actual evidence, in fact. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #28 Fri Oct 16, 2009 at 02:33:55 PM EST
Maybe my area of London is especially bad, but I can't think of a time when on a number 12 that I've seen people get on and not swipe their card.

Anecdotal, I know.

[ Parent ]
Needs a control case by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #29 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 12:26:27 AM EST
Is there evidence that this is worse than the beloved Routemaster? That also has multiple entrances so you don't have to walk past the driver to get on.

Even if it is a problem, and you don't accept the logic of free buses, the problem is just enforcement. Could increase the inspections, or put a permanent conductor on board, or look at the CCTV cameras and fine the people who only swiped their cards at the last minute, or instruct the driver to look at the camera screens and not let the bus move until everyone's paid.

Seems to me the problem is that the driver's too scared of South Londoners to insist that they pay (possibly with good reason).
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Routemaster by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #32 Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 04:45:52 AM EST
Had a conductor.  Whether Boris is planning this or not, I don't know.  If he doesn't then my surmising that this is all about the money is clearly wrong, and I'd say it's about evens on that.  Because I can't see a reasonable clearcut reason to bin the bendy busses, either.

Yes, it does boil down to enforcement.  And that costs money, sadly.

[ Parent ]
Horror plays sound dead good by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #51 Sun Oct 18, 2009 at 04:35:49 PM EST
I'm on standby for press tickets for the London Film Festival at the moment so can't plan to see it. It's bloody annoying actually, I only got a ticket to one film all last week. I might try and see if I can squeeze it in though.

Bendy buses - the people who want rid of them are cyclists and drivers, ie the people who don't use them and won't be paying anything.

It's political correctness gone mad!

The horror, the horror | 52 comments (52 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback