Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Japanese are Mad, part Seventy Three

Some gay Japanese anime cartoon sex characters aimed at girl fans, yesterday.

The Bizarre Japanese Sex Craze That's Coming Our Way

They call it "yaoi". The derivation of the word is obscure. Some think it's just the Japanese way of saying "gay". Others claim the word is an acronym, derived from: "yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi" (which loosely translates as "no story, just the good bits").
Whatever the etymology, the meaning is clear. Yaoi is the name of a bizarre sex phenomenon sweeping Asia: girls who are devoted to comics and pornography which focus on love, sex and romance - between men.
Of course, it's well known that men like the idea of sex between women. Lesbian erotica - for men - is arguably the most popular genre in the porn industry. But hitherto it was always presumed that women were not interested in boys getting hot with other boys.
The craze for yaoi shows that this isn't true.
Yaoi began with anime and manga comics called shonen-ai, which depict, in a rather softcore way, intimacy between young men. These were originally aimed at a homosexual male market. But then the Japanese publishers noticed that many of their readers were heterosexual - and female.
Since then yaoi, also known as BL (for Boy Love), has developed as a genre of its own: with stories, comics and pornography specifically marketed at girls. Commonly these books and movies are written, shot and devised by women artists.
The stories have a formula. They usually feature a dominant male character - tall and masculine - who deflowers a smaller, more androgynous adolescent. Sometimes the stories are seriously explicit. These hardcore yaoi comics have recently attracted a gay male readership: a rich irony.
What do girls see in yaoi? Theories range from the obvious - "it's nice to look at cute boys together" - to the more complex and psychological: yaoi is a way for women to explore and enjoy male sexuality, in a non-threatening way. But no one really knows.
What is not in doubt is the genre's success. Yaoi magazines sell right across Asia, in their millions. They have become hugely popular in Korea, Taiwan and now Thailand (causing consternation in local politicians). In the last couple of years, yaoi has spread to America; a yaoi convention was recently held in California.
And now yaoi is coming to the UK. An English language yaoi magazine has just launched on amazon; there is even a website:
Could it take off in Europe? If the next boyband in the popcharts is suspiciously gay, you'll know the answer is Yes.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Naziphobia, Redux

Some of the vast majority of peaceful British Nazis, at a local village meeting, yesterday.

In the wake of the flap over the Archbishop of Canterbury, and his halfwitted remarks on multiculturalism and the law (AKA "Shariagate"), I thought I'd revisit this blogpost of mine, from a couple of years ago.

(I promise to blog something new and exciting soon. But I'm still in Asia, writing the thriller, as of this moment.)

Naziphobia on the rise, says report

A report from the British Anti-Racist Federation (BARF) has revealed a frightening rise in Naziphobia, following the attacks on Britain by extreme Nazis.

Professor Tim Bimley, director of BARF, told us yesterday: 'Just because a few radicalised Nazis have attempted to attack Britain with large scale bombing atrocities, this in no way justifies any revenge against the vast, peaceable majority of Britain's Nazis, who simply want to live their quiet Jew-hating lives as they have always done.'

Heinrich Sturmer, is a British Nazi from Bradford, part of the growing minority of immigrant Nazis in Britain's industrial cities. 'Ever since these radical Nazis attacked London, life for us has become intolerable,' he says, in the lebensraum of his neat little bungalow. 'People stare at us differently. The other day I was goose-stepping down Bradford High Street, shouting in a hectoring manner and demanding that Jew-shops give me free food, and one small English boy shouted Hitler! at me. Luckily the British police jumped on the small boy, beat him up and carted him off to jail. He is now being charged with inciting ideological hatred. But it was a frightening incident.'

BARF has many such accounts on its records. The small British Nazi community in Leeds had their annual torchlit parade interrupted, before their local 'fuhrer', or community leader, could denounce Slavs and gypsies as vile thieving parasites, as is traditional. A hundred miles south, the significant British Nazi community of Luton claims that a local journalist has written columns questioning the British Nazis' use of eugenics, and forced sterilisation.

'These things are traditional to Nazis,' says one Luton Nazi, Hans Schlenk. 'We've always sterilised our mental deficients and stupid retards. And we only allow breeding between blue eyed Aryans. What's wrong with that? It's our way of life. Likewise,' he adds, his small moustache bristling, 'Nazis have a great tradition of gassing undesirable elements in our own community. Its just racism to say we should stop. We're just different. Why can't the British live with that?'

David Bloony, The Runnymede Trust, concurs. 'If multiculturalism is to mean anything, it means that we tolerate cultural differences. Nazis are genocidal sadists with a long tradition of anti-Semitic hatred, we should respect that.' And the attacks? 'If we let the Nazi bombings change our way of life, then we will have let them win. Because that's what all Nazis want. Er, uhm, I mean some Nazis. Er.. don't I?'

Sunday, February 03, 2008


An African Grey, yesterday.

Greetings. I am in Asia. Writing a thriller. Yep. Maybe I will blog about this at some point, maybe not. Quite frankly, I might not, cause thriller-writing is knackering. Sorry.

Until that moment when I possibly blog about my Asian travels and experiences, or not, as the case may be, here is another piece of warmed-over journalism, lazily culled from all the stuff I wrote for Maxim about ten years ago.

And people say blogging is hard. Cuh.

How to teach a bird to talk

Choose your species
Different kinds of birds have different talking abilities. Macaws are pretty good speakers, but are loud and rough voiced and sound like a Glaswegian after a pint of lighter-fuel. Mynah birds from India are fairly chatty, but somewhat dim and repetitive. Likewise budgies, cockatoos, lovebirds and lorakeets - they can all be taught to speak, but tend to be rather slow on the pick up. According to Irene Pepperberg, the world’s top bird-speech expert, the smartest and clearest talking birds are, without doubt, African grey parrots.

Say some words
Once you’ve purchased your African grey, don’t expect him to be instantly nattering away like a teenager with her first mobile. It takes time. And of course individual critters vary in personality - some are sharp, some retarded. First off, try saying something clear and simple - ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, etc. Say it slowly, close to the bird. Then say it again and again, and again, for ten minutes, then repeat these ten minute sessions twice a day for several months. If this gets boring you can make a tape and play it next to the cage.

Don’t say fuck
Birds like shortish words with hard, clear consonants. That’s why ‘Pretty Polly’ is so popular. It’s also why ‘fuck’, ‘shit’, ‘arse’ and all the other Anglo-Saxon swearwords are so quickly picked up by even an averagely stupid budgie. And remember, it might be, on the face of it, a laff to teach your nan’s parakeet to say ‘suck my dick, muthafucka’, but do you really want to listen to this phrase several dozen times a day? Every day? For seventy years? Parrots are some of the longest lived creatures on earth.

Try a sentence
Once your bird has mastered some simple phrases - and these should come in a few months - you can move on to more complex constructions, and even get the birds to say them at the right time: like ‘are you going out?’ when you are going out. However, if your bird proves to be a total smart-alec, keep him away from irrelevant noises. Quick birds have been known to pick up and repeat baby gurgles, phone trills, human snoring. And the quickest birds, according to Irene Pepperberg, actually understand some of what they’re saying. Which is another reason not to teach them to say ‘wanker’.