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Sunday, 1 June 2008

The Dangers of Being Holier THan Thou. Or How to Build a Kitchen Without Sharon Stone. A Musing by P.Ontification.

In my youth, I appeared with some regularity on Radio Merseyside's alternative music programme "Streetlife", as an ill-informed, but completely opinionated, utterly biased political commentator. This was the heady days before t'Internet, so information was obtained, and reported on, traditionally - telephoning people to interview them, then re-writing their opinions/observations/comments to support whatever angle I had on each issue. One regular source of information, a source I later discovered to be consistently factually accurate was the writer/editor of a fanzine called "Dirty Fingers In Dirty Pies". DFIDP's editor was obsessed with untangling and illuminating the tangled web of global connections that dominate the world. Given that this was 1983 and globalization as a phrase had seldom been heard, Steve, the editor, was way ahead of his time. He was also a member of the Leeds based anarcho-syndicalist collective "ChumbaWumba" who at the time were busy putting out self-funded records with titles like "How does it feel to be the Mother of a Thousand Dead" (a polemical record aimed at Thatcher in the aftermath of the Falkland's War. Later on in their career, ChumbaWumba went on to sign for the global record label EMI, a label that their fanzine "Dirty Fingers in Dirty Pies" had correctly identified as being a member of the Thorn group of companies. Thorn are(or were) a British conglomerate which had massive defence contracts involving providing electronic hardware and software for use in missile systems to anyone who would pay them, including both sides in the Falkland's conflict. Chumbawumba had a massive global hit with 'Tubthumping' while on EMI. The preceeding is in now way intended as a critisizm of Chumbawumba, indeed I signed a very small licensing deal with Sony Records without once Googling "Sony Records environmental policy".

How does all of this relate to Nepal and Sharon Stone, I hear you ask. Well, read on. Last week, two news stories emerged out of Nepal - one was that the ruling monarchy have been given their marching orders after almost four hundreds years and the place has been declared a People's Democratic Republic. The other Nepal-based story recounted the heroic efforts of various Russian, Kazakh, Canadian, Nepalese, Tibetans and Chinese to rescue the Spanish climber Ochoa from the slopes above 8000 metres on Annapurna. The attempts failed, but the individual heroism and bravery of most of those involved was extraordinary. Humans at their best - co-operating selflessly, without political motivation to help a fellow.

Meanwhile, in Cannes, after just having eaten some endangered Atlantic halibut, Sharon Stone, the Buddist, environmentalist and Mensa member has delivered her infamous "Maybe the Earthquake in China is karma for what China is doing in Tibet" remark. Obviously, she has since had to apologize profusely. What she has not apologised for is her movies. One of MS Stone's movies is The One Where She Wears No Knickers, a movie that was distributed in Asia by Panasia, a distribution company owned by Golden Harvest Production Company. Golden Harvest have very close ties to EMI.

The past few weeks at Nickson Towers have been spent planning how we can convert the derelict at the future site of Large Villas into an environmentally-sound building, and furthermore, how we can do this ethically, but this afternoon's work has all focused on Ms Stone. At least some of her millions have doubtless originated from film receipts originating in China, funnelled to her via Golden Harvest and EMI, a frequent sponsor of mountaineering expeditions. But it is not all one way traffic, as the attributes possessed by Sharon Stone have doubtless been as much help to EMI et al, as their company's resources have helped her.

And now, we want to make a kitchen, preferably using ethically sourced materials. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way of doing this without involving Sharon Stone. The reason for this is that EMI are owned by Terra Firma Holdings Limited, based in the UK, but these are owned (ultimately) by Nomura Holdings, a global Japanese company. Nomura, through a convoluted series of holding companies own majority shares in most of the plywood manufacturers in the Uk and Far East. Therefore, unless we grow our own trees, using seeds that we have found on the floor, then make our own manufacturing facility from scratch (including smelting the iron and steel and in paying people we employ only in fruit that we've grown ourselves, thereby not involving ourselves in banks at all), we will certainly be contributing to Sharon Stone's continued ability to say stupid things, AND to ChumbaWumba's royalties.

I suppose the point, if there is one, is perhaps unoriginal, namely that we do live in a very connected world, perhaps more so than ever before. We will still source our materials for our house as ethically as we possible can. The trick is just to accept that Sharon's along for the ride, and not get too hung up about it.


Grasshopper said...

Brilliant! I don't know how you know all that you do. But I'm glad for it. Thanks for the enlightening read!

JoeyMac said...

I think I need a diagram....

MJN said...

It is very complicated. I've been reading some realy interesting network theory on this. I'll try to post on it tomorrow, maybe.