fredag den 30. januar 2009


Apropos computer games, Elite is the game that got me interested - or should that be hooked? - in this recreation.

Even today, a full two and a bit decades on, people's eyes get a glint and they make a big smile at the mention of it and the Commodore 64. (And the number of people who curse that they no longer have their C64 is funny!)

You cannot have anything but respect for a game where the docking computer plays the Blue Danube as you approach a space station.

Thief - The Dark Project

I came across a Thief - The Dark Project walkthrough on YouTube recently.

It inspired me to dust off the CD I have of the game and play again! The good thing is I have forgotten most of the twelve levels, so this is like playing the game anew. Thief is definately one of my favourite PC games.

The basic plot is you are the character Garrett, a master thief and something of an expert in concealing himself when he doesn't wish to be noticed. His world is a curious mixture of medieval lords and soldiers, whom possess some modern technology, as well as zombies, ghosts and the religious order of the Hammers, on their guard against an evil figure called the Trickster.

Being a thief, Garrett has no friends and lots of enemies all too willing to kill him if they spot him. The hard setting makes the levels not only more difficult and complex but also doesn't allow him to kill anyone human (or else the mission for that level is failed); so this isn't a first person "shooter" game like Doom. In fact, he is only armed with a blackjack, sword and arrows. It is the Daddy of the sneak and peek, stealth, adventure game.

It is an exciting game which simply has to be played in the dark, wearing headphones. Sure, that can leave one with a nervous twitch under one's eye - you have to take extreme care not to give away your presence to the guards, and the sounds and snippets of music add to the intense, creepy atmosphere. "Return to the Haunted Cathedral" is more or less regarded by Thief fans as the scariest level of the entire game and really not for the faint hearted.

Well worth playing.

The Thief fansite.

torsdag den 29. januar 2009

Planet of the Dead

The slightly shallow types in the Dr.Who community (which includes me!) are thrilled with the news that Michelle Ryan - "EastEnders", "the Bionic Woman" - is going to be in the next special. She is cute. Whether she'll have a dress on like her noteworthy black number is another matter.

Ryan joins a long list of ladies who have travelled with the Doctor; what has changed is their characterisation: they are no longer reduced to screaming and being (completely) helpless.

And some more eye candy! Victoria (Deborah Watling); Peri (Nicola Bryant - and the famous bikini scene from the story "Planet of Fire").

onsdag den 28. januar 2009

Lenin on State Capitalism

Some present, mainstream Histories of Soviet Russia will tell you that 1917 was a socialist revolution and that the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, established a Communist system.

It is a Mickey Mouse account for sure.

The Socialist Party has, throughout its history (and it was around in 1917, don't forget) denied that claim. In fact, we need only refer to Lenin's writings.

One of my fellow SPGB members came across this obscure letter (from 1922) in Lenin's collected works:

The fighting role of the P.C.J. is equally important in the sphere of NEP, and here the P.C.J.’s weakness and apathy is even more outrageous. There is no evidence of any understanding of the fact that we recognise and will continue to recognise only state capitalism, and it is we — we conscious workers, we Communists — who are the state. That is why we should brand as good-for-nothing Communists those who have failed to understand their task of restricting, curbing, checking and catching red-handed and inflicting exemplary chastisement on any kind of capitalism that goes beyond the framework of state capitalism in our meaning of the concept and tasks of the state.

(the full text is here; the italics are Lenin's.)

Lenin saw State Capitalism, under the political control of the Bolsheviks, as a step towards socialism/communism. This we (the SPGB) deny, of course.

lørdag den 24. januar 2009

Do They Mean Us?

Darren "the Ingrate" posted a number of entries on his blog dealing with how others have viewed (and sneered) at the SPGB - apropos the entry on RTP yesterday.

Meet the Russian Capitalists

Roman Abramovitch is the main man behind Chelsea Football Club. In more recent news, the London Evening Standard has been bought by Alexander Lebedev.

No doubt, these two men will be cheered on as examples of capitalism working, instead of that "communist" system the Russians supposedly had from 1917-91.

The truth is Soviet Russia had a capitalist class. All that happened was a change in the way they rob the workers.

Post communist society also is characterized by a wide disparity in wealth and privilege. Although there is no rigid class structure, social stratification based on wealth is evident and growing. The nomenklatura as it existed in Soviet times disappeared with the demise of the CPSU, but many of its members used their continuing connections with industry and finance to enrich themselves in the emerging capitalist system. According to a 1995 study conducted by the Russian Academy of Sciences, more than 60 percent of Russia's wealthiest millionaires, and 75 percent of the new political elite, are former members of the communist nomenklatura , and 38 percent of Russia's business people held economic positions in the CPSU. The wealth of the new capitalists, who constitute 1 to 2 percent of the population, derives from the ownership of private property, which was prohibited under the communist regime; from former black-market transactions that now are pursued legally; and from repatriation of funds that were secretly transferred abroad during the Soviet era.

The above quote is from Country Studies, which was produced "by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress as part of the Country Studies/Area Handbook Series sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army between 1986 and 1998."

mandag den 19. januar 2009

Tony Hart (1925-2009)

I am one of those kids who grew up loving art because of Tony Hart and Morph. I never got any pictures in the Art Gallery on his show, but not for the lack of trying!


So the finalists for this season's Superbowl have been decided: the Steelers will play the Arizona Cardinals.

My money is on the Steelers to win!

It's been great fun learning the rules of NFL football and following the games on Danish TV. It's a bit saddening that the season is drawing to a close now, just when I was really beginning to appreciate football. I cannot wait for the next season to start!

lørdag den 10. januar 2009

If you are in Glasgow this January

Public Debate:


Yes: Hillel Ticktin,Editor of Critique.
No: Adam Buick, The Socialist Party.

Saturday 24 January, 3pm to 5pm. Hillhead Public Library, Byres Road, Glasgow. (next to Hillhead subway)

(NB: Socialist Party meetings are open to all, free admission.)

the Ian Bone (Class War) and SPGB forum