Introducing Mr Diagonal

Mr Diagonal is frontman for the Black Light Orchestra. According to their blurb:

Combining Belgian surrealism, English pop and classical orchestration, their deranged, wide-ranging theatre music incorporates elements of Brecht and Weil, Noël Coward, Van Dyke Parks, Monty Python, Frank Zappa,
Tom Waites, Douglas Adams and the Residents.

These two videos are the only ones I’ve seen, but they’re definitely my cup of tea. The first video explains Scottish prehistory, and the second relives the angst of school prize-givings.


If you like cats, animation, and murder mysteries, then meet Francis. He’s the feline hero of Akif Pirincci’s 1989 novel, Felidae, the first in a trilogy, and the only one made into a film. Francis is a cat detective, investigating the murders of other cats. If cute brings you out in hives, fear not, for the murders are horrible and Francis wouldn’t be seen dead in a Youtube video. Except this one, of course.

I read and loved Felidae, but not the two sequels, and I haven’t seen the film either. Sadly, the books are out of print, and I no longer have my copy.

Act of Terror: Citizen Photographers


In 2009, Gemma Atkinson filmed the police searching her boyfriend on a mobile phone. The police officers claimed that filming them was illegal under counter-terrorism law and demanded she hand over the phone. She refused, was detained for 25 minutes and handcuffed, while they tried to get the phone out of her pocket. In the end, both she and her boyfriend were released.

Atkinson made an immediate complaint, taking her story and the footage above to the Guardian. She took her case to the High Court to get a judicial review of the Metropolitan Police guidelines, which should clearly state that the Terrorism Act only applies where “the images are considered ‘likely to be useful’ to a terrorist.” The Met changed the language to avoid a judicial review.

Atkinson then made a complaint against the specific officers involved. But the IPCC exonerated them, despite their conflicting accounts, saying they weren’t aware of the law! The IPCC awarded Atkinson compensation, which she used to make an animated film highlighting the right to photograph the police while carrying out their duties.

In fact, they (and us) are being filmed all the time – by CCTV cameras – but the police “own” this footage in the sense that it’s rarely available to the public. Citizen photographers are essential to monitor police activities, to make sure they’re serving the public and not abusing their own positions of trust.

After all, if you’ve done nothing wrong, then there’s nothing to fear.

Below is the link to Gemma Atkinson’s film, with a Guardian comments section, and here’s the press pack. If this bothers you as much as it does me, please consider reblogging or publicising the film. There’s a copy inside the press pack. Thank you.

Act of Terror

You Don’t Know What You’re Doin’!

A surreal Merrie Melodies cartoon from 1931, featuring Piggy and his girlfriend, Fluffy, structured round a brilliant, toe-tapping jazz song. They were only in two cartoons, the other being Hittin’ the Trail for Hallelujah Land, which is no longer available because of the racist portrayal of Uncle Tom.

A great shame because I’m much taken by Piggy and Fluffy – they could have been the Rolling Stones to Mickey and Minnie’s Beatles – more anarchic, subversive, and rough round the edges, therefore much more interesting. I love the wobbly, bouncy animation style, for which there should be a portmanteau word – wouncy, bobbly?  I bet the Hays Office hated it, particularly since it was made during Prohibition.

So here’s one in the eye for the Hays Code and Prohibition: You Don’t Know What You’re Doin’!