Save Madame Jojo’s!

Nestled in the heart of Soho in central London sits a small, unimpressive looking venue. Push your way through the double doors beneath a seedy flashing neon sign, however, and you encounter a plush world of opulence, red velvet curtains and art deco mirrors.

Until recently, the crowd filling the dance floor was as likely to be clad in baseball caps and chains as burlesque basques and feathers, but Madame Jojo’s – home to some of London’s most diverse nightlife for more than half a century – has now shut down for good.

News that Westminster council had revoked its license this week following an incident outside the club has been greeted with disbelief, both by those who have hosted nights at the venue for years and the many loyal punters who flocked there every week in search of the quirkier side of London’s club scene.

Supporters of Madame Jojo’s say that the closure is part of the council’s drive to gentrify Soho, which is robbing the area of its unqiue atmosphere and heritage in the process.

The venue, known to many as the home of burlesque and cabaret in Soho, hosted some of the earliest gigs played by bands such as The xx and Anna Calvi, and Lorde played her first UK show there. It was also the focal point of Michael Winterbottom’s 2013 film The Look Of Love, in which Steve Coogan plays Paul Raymond, the Soho porn baron who owned and ran Madame Jojo’s in the 1960s.

Well, yes, but back in the day it was a drag palace. With a very diverse clientele actually, including me.

For they had a very enlightened door policy. Unlike some clubs that, when catering to a particular market discriminated against elsewhere, they didn’t discriminate against those who were not part of that particular market.

More specifically, back then, pubs closed at 11. And as a waiter in the West End you’d be unlikely to get out of work by then. A couple of pints was therefore not really on the cards before making for the last Tube home. Pisser really. Except at Jojo’s. Low entry fee, reasonable price for beer. So, the crowd could often be remarkably mixed. On the one side of the place a reasonably typical drag bar, gay meeting place, what have you. Including all the usual enjoyable sights: I particularly remember one regular performer, built like an international second row, 6 ft 5 before the Dolly Parton wig and heels, who would sing out the usual songs in a nice falsetto while being accompanied on the piano.

Round the corner would be a little kaffeeklatch of waiters and waitresses, just finished work, downing a few before that last Tube (with a certain amount of that matching off to equal what was going on in other parts of the club).

It also wasn’t “two crowds”, although it was in one manner. Obviously everyone pretty quickly worked out who was interested in what but interesting people to talk to are interesting people to talk to so there was indeed mixing.

Perhaps the most important thing was that, back then, Jojo’s was what all too many aren’t these days. Tolerant. Sure it was a gay club but you didn’t have to be gay to go there. No one ever asked or even implied that if you weren’t you shouldn’t. It was a boozer really, one with a certain slant, Their gaff their rules (Jojo himself, at least that’s what I recall he was referred to often being around) but those rules were, as I say, not just tolerant of the incrowd but tolerant of all who didn’t actively oppose that incrowd.

Which is pretty much how I think it all should be and for that reason, if that reason only (and I agree, I’m talking through the fog of 30 years of history here) Madame Jojo’s should be saved.

Not that it has much to do with me nor that my support or otherwise is going to change anything but so what? My gaff and I can say what the hell I like, right?

Might I suggest a visit to Aldi?

This looks very much like a bargain:

Among the high-end wines is Chateau Pajzos Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2008, a rare and highly regarded Hungarian dessert wine priced at £18.99.

OK, not everyone likes dessert wines etc. But that does look like a bargain.

And for those who don’t know, Tokay is graded in “puts”. Goes from zero to seven, zero to three (hmm, might be zero to two) not really ever being seen in public. 4 and 5 get better and 7 is known as Angel’s Tears (although you’d have to be very lucky indeed to get to taste 7 Puttonyos) as when some is passed over the lips of a corpse, as if the angels were weeping over it, that corpse gets up and walks.

6 puts is usually a very fine wine indeed. Traditionally, way back when, regarded as the equal or better of Chateau Yquem and the like.

If you’ve not tried it then I recommend you do.

No, this is not a paid advertisement.

And Tristram Hunt can kiss my hairy freckled arse

Private schools would be stripped of £700 million in tax breaks if Labour is elected, under plans being drawn up by Ed Miliband.

The “class war” proposal could add up to £200 a year to the cost of a private school education.

Tristram Hunt, the shadow Education Secretary, is expected to outline plans to “claw back” relief given to private schools from paying local authority business rates.

More than 2,000 private schools across Britain can claim up to 80 per cent cut in their business rates because they are charities, worth around £150 million annually.

Mr Hunt will say that a Labour government will legislate to ensure the schools only qualify for this “subsidy” if they pass a new “schools partnership standard”.

Sigh. They’re charities. So, they should get the same breaks (and face the same costs) as other charities. Providing education is, and has always been seen as, a justifiably charitable endeavour.

And I’d also advise being very, very, careful about how you define “school” or “education” in this sense. For I’m absolutely certain that there’s all sorts of charities out there providing some educational benefits that you don’t want to subject to this taxation because they’re run by your supporters.

But the real problem here is that it’s a gross misunderstanding of what the charitable sector is all about. This is an areas supposed to be outside such detailed and direct governmental control.
Charity is about the things the little platoons do for the little platoons. Civil society: not politically directed centralised society. Government is and should be limited to setting the general rules. You’re a charity? Here are the rules. The same rules apply whether you’re a Labour Party front organisation, a donkey sanctuary or a school.

So here, here is that hairy freckled arse: pucker up matey and then you can fuck right off.

Fascinating case

Babe dates married billionaire for several years.

Then complains about being in a money for sex relationship.

The self-proclaimed lover of a billionaire New York investor is not only suing the financier in court but she has confronted his wife on the popular micro-blogging site.

In an explosive lawsuit, Katherine Nelson alleges that Robert Rosenkranz, a fixture in Manhattan social and philanthropic circles, tricked her into signing a “money-for-sex” gagging deal after a four-year affair conducted in high-end hotels, restaurants and at charity events.

Err, yes, OK dear.

What a wonderful game

Meaty Trumps’ ‘British Nonces’

No, not endorsing it in the slightest. But there’s a certain admiration for the ingenuity. And, of course, for the Englishness.

This might be something that’s more apparent to an expat like myself (as are many readers here of course). But one of the ways that Johnny Foreigner thinks that we English (perhaps British, not really sure) are very odd is that we will and do joke about absolutely everything. You can thoroughly confuse a German business meeting for example, entirely packed with those completely fluent in English, simply by introducing an Englishman into it. Who will try to break the ice by having a chat and making a few jokes about whatever: and our Germanic friends will be going “Jokes? What? This is a business meeting!”.

It might be a coping mechanism, might simply be a cultural trait, but we really do joke about everything and often, the worse it is, in reality, the more we’ll joke about it.

How odd

“I was born with male genitalia with no testicles, but I also have a uterus and no ovaries,” she explains to Radar Online.

This is all about Michael Phelps and the bird he’s been shagging. And it’s all really rather odd.

No, not intersex (and the way that differs from gender identity, yadda yadda). There’s all sorts of fun things that can happen in foetal development, genetics and so on. X and or Y can be turned on or not, clitori can develop in to peni and so on. Testes end up where ovaries usually are: vaginas not appear as they don’t in (most) men but be backed up with entirely functional ovaries and uteri and all sorts of stuff.

But usually it’s about development of what’s there into one or the other. Most of the basic building blocks are there (as with men having nipples), labia and scrotal sacks are the “same part”, glans and clitoris and so on. To be actually missing, rather than to have develop differently, one of these building blocks is more different than the normal differences. To have neither testes nor ovaries is odd odd, if you see what I mean. To have non-functional either is depressingly normal, to have one or the other in the “wrong place” or for them to have developed “inappropriately” isn’t all that odd. But to have neither is odd odd.

What is it about nuclear Admirals?

By day, Vice-Admiral Timothy Giardina was one of the US Navy’s most senior figures – as deputy head of US Strategic Command, he was number two in command of America’s nuclear arsenal.

But by night, at the Horseshoe casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, he was known as Navy Tim, a heavy gambler who was accused of making his own $500 poker chips and eventually banned.

Hmm, not so good. But there does seem to be a thing about Admirals from the nuclear side. I know of one who, err, moved on, after decking a naval Captain in the middle of Dulles Airport. Fella deserved it n’all but it’s rather one of things that isn’t supposed to be done. Not when in full uniform at least…..

Being a wife to become illegal

Theresa May is expected to unveil plans to make psychological and emotional abuse a criminal offence with a lengthy prison term, according to reports.

The new law on domestic violence would make it illegal for someone to exercise ‘coercive control’ over their partner.

The proposals, which could find those guilty facing a maximum 14 years in prison, will be unveiled by the Government this week.

Given that the way wives train husbands is through coercive control (that 100% control of nookie helps here) this makes all wives seemingly subject to 14 years in pokey.

Seems a bit extreme if you ask me. After all, we’ve still got divorce for those men that don’t like it.

I get quoted in the New York Times. Sigh

It’s lovely to be noted of course. Rather less lovely to be misunderstood:

One common claim is that the wealthy routinely violate the economist’s law of demand. A bedrock principle of economic rationality, this law holds that as the price of a good rises, consumers buy less of it. Many analysts, however, portray the rich as people who lust after what are known as “Veblen goods” — commodities whose sales actually increase when their prices rise.

Er, no. A Veblen Good is something that is more desirable because it is expensive. A $1,00 raincoat insists that you are the sort of person who can afford a $1,000 raincoat. It is conspicuous consumption, showing that one is alpha.

However, this doesn’t mean that sales actually increase as price does. A good whose sales increase as price does is a Giffen Good. Long thought to be a mythical creature they’ve now been identified. Rice in South China, wheat noodles in North China (and perhaps potatoes in 18th century Ireland etc). A seriously basic foodstuff, the staff of life (and possibly bread in 18th cent England as well, etc). When you’re only getting 3,000 calories a day and spending 70% of your income to get it, that staff of life rises in price. So, you drop other expenditure (say, that 10% you’ve been spending on the occasional piece of bacon) in order to buy more of the staff of life to continue getting your 3,000 calories a day.

Veblen and Giffen goods are different things. It is, of course, theoretically possible for the former to be one of the latter but it’s most, most, unlikely.

You what?

Mr Farage was revelling in his success in the Rochester and Strood by-election, and waved a £50 note to buy a plate of sandwiches for journalists and activists in a pub in rural Kent.

Blimey, is Nigel feeling well?

(Bit of an inside joke this)

Well, err, yes, I suppose so

A married Church of England priest has lost his job and is being evicted from his home after having an affair with a parishioner.

The Rev Stephen Vincent, 40, said his family had been left “on the brink” after his removal from office as a result of a relationship with a woman he had been asked to mentor.

Copper goes stealing, he loses his job. Spy reveals secrets he loses his job. Man preaching sanctimony of marriage shags around loses his job.

All seems fair enough really.

Timmy elsewhere

At The Register.

One of the little joys of writing for El Reg is the constant straining at the envelope. Will the subs let me get away with this phrase?

A few weeks back it was “the best thing since your inlaws discovered dogging” that made it through. Today it’s:

I often wonder why it is that people bother publishing “research” papers that are obviously incorrect. Is it that they’re getting paid to spout bollocks? Or, is there some thought that we’re all too stupid to realise that they’re teabagging great big hairy ones at us?

It’s not perfect, I agree, but there’s a joy at being able to get something like that into print.

Hasn’t the world changed?

Policeman who was named Mr Gay UK is facing the sack after headbutting a man in the toilets of a nightclub

In my youth I think police used to have lessons in how to successfully nut someone. And entering a beauty contest, let alone a gay one (and at the time of my birth, even gay sex itself was illegal and therefore something a policeman could be fired for) would have been something thought incompatible with being an officer.

Hasn’t the world become a better place?

Big breasts? Then you’re a big SPENDER

Amazing what the Mail can tell us, isn’t it?

Women with bra sizes larger than a B are more likely to be shopaholics

This is Chinese data. And two explanations come to mind. The younger and slimmer lady is also likely to have less income to spend.

Or, of course, the big spenders have already gone out and bought themselves a pair of big tits.


All lists are crude cultural fascism

In The Guardian. In a restaurant review.

The idiocy from the cultural studies departments has sunk deep into our society, hasn’t it? Srsly? It’s cultural fascism to make a shopping list these days? A list of things to do? A bucket list?

The latest report from the High Pay Centre

It’s got some doozies in it:

In fact, this is wrong in every
particular. In law, managers aren’t
employees of shareholders, who
don’t own the business. Firms are
separate legal entities that own
themselves, employ directors
and executives, and to whom the
latter owe fiduciary duty.

Firms own themselves? Umm, I think that’s one of the things that we actually ban them from doing, isn’t it?

On pages 14 and 15 they make the usual idiot comparison between company turnover and GDP of a country. No, sorry folks, this is flat out wrong. You need to compare corporate profit plus the wage bill to GDP in a country. Both are measures of value add: and you’re idiots to get this wrong.

Ritchie is involved, of course, and he might be sailing a little close to the wind here:

The evidence of capture is, then
quite strong. That evidence
continues when it comes to
the creation of tax policy. Take
as an example, the creation of
the General Anti-Abuse Rule,
passed last year. The panel of
people advising were all from
big business bar me, as one
of the major proponents of the
idea, and a representative from
Save the Children, to reflect civil
engagement on this issue. The
other nine were from big business,
or large firms of lawyers and
accountants, and most support
staff to that panel were seconded
from the Big 4 firms of accountants
or lawyers. We wrote most of the
guidance on that Rule. HMRC did
not. Capture looked very complete
to me.
And what was the outcome? An
anti-abuse rule (not even, I stress,
an anti-avoidance rule) where the
effective permission of a panel of
tax experts drawn from the ranks
of private sector tax specialists
was required before HMRC
could pursue a case. Capture
was complete.

How shtum is he supposed to be here?