Potemkin’s gay bar

The Gruniad is reporting that a new development must run a gay bar for at least 12 years. So in an age where discrimination on the grounds of sexuality is illegal, a developer is being forced to discriminate on the grounds of sexuality. But has been demonstrated time and again only some forms of discrimination on the grounds of sexuality incur the ire of the powers that be. That however is by the by, the article claims that queer bars are closing at an “alarming rate”, which whilst it doesn’t specify what that alarming rate is one must assume that it’s substantially higher than the 29 pubs a week that the entire pub trade is seeing. It might be worth noting that the venue that has caused this bizarre planning requirement it located in the borough of Tower Hamlets. Now it could be a complete coincidence but Tower Hamlets has a rather high proportion of Muslims 38% compared to the national average of 5%, and adherents of Islam aren’t known for their propensity for frequenting bars gay or otherwise.

The BBC does make a stab at asking “Why are London’s gay bars closing”. Which raises the possibility that there’s less need for queer specific bars as people are more tolerant these days, and there are dating apps. However such a narrative isn’t allowed to live for long, before it switches quickly back to talking about the community need, and how there is still demand and that people are fighting back to save their bars. However much like many other campaigns to save community bars none of the actions being taken seem to actually involve the very simple idea of : drinking in them!

Bars and pubs have been closing across the board as demand falls: because younger generations are drinking less generally and people have less spare money. This is always going to hit venues with more specialist and thus smaller client bases harder than more open venues. So if your favourite venues are closing down you realistically have two choices:

  1. Drink in them, and get your mates to drink in them so they make more money and can stay open
  2. Start petitions to force other people to pay to keep them open for you whilst you drink else where

One of these will work long term, the other will keep the venue open as a parody of itself unable to adapt. The developers taking over the site of the Joiners arms, will have to keep a queer focused venue open for 12 years even if no one uses it. Subject to some sort of inspector to make sure it’s queer enough, but based on what criteria, does it have to be all drag queens and bears? What happens as queer and mainstream cultures cross and merge and inspire each other as they’ve always done? What trends count as queer enough? But so much simpler that people sign a petition to force other people to fund a social venue they may never use, rather than spending their own money to actually support a venue and keep it viable. So here we have the tragedy of community venues closing due to social changes and financial pressures repeated as the farce of state controlled discriminatory, fossilized loss making Ptomekin bars. All alternative and underground cultures are facing the same problem just ask a goth what they think of the changes to Camden. Now being queer isn’t the same as being a mod, rocker, psycho-billy or mettaller – but wanting to drink in a specific type of bar is. Many historic pubs have been lost to only the tears of the people that actually used them, and self pitying articles of people that liked to talk about how they would or did use them – without having set foot in them in years.

The simple inescapable truth is that if a venue matters to you, the only way to keep it it to use it, and spend enough money in it that it remains viable – anything else results only in state maintained theme parks which won’t be used either by the people that used to support the real venue or those that wrote mournfully about the decline of a “much loved” historic venue.

Breaking : Just 3D print it – lose again


Image by Loubie

News just in Ryan Simms and the other cockwombles over at Just 3D theft have lost another court case. This makes the score 2-1 against Just 3D idiots and the one they won was basically by a very bizarre default and is being appealed. Which rather makes their previous missive to me even more ludicrous.

The highlights of todays order include such gems as :

  • The judge determining that Loubie did indeed hold copyright to her model, despite Ryan Simms claims otherwise. Which unless I’m much mistaken means by implication the judge just ruled that Just 3D Theft did in fact steal other people’s intellectual property
  • 3DR are just as unqualified as Just 3D Theft to publish a legal opinion, but if Ryan D. Cockwomble can publish his opinion on copyright issues, then so can anyone else even if they’re ‘ using somewhat “unflattering” words‘.
  • Just 3D Theft lost revenue for breaking eBay’s policies, but presented no evidence as to what policy they broke, and can’t demonstrate that 3DR’s article had anything to do with it
  • No one knows why eBay shut down just 3D print, it might be due to Loubie’s complaint, but no evidence has been presented to support any reason

I’m obviously summarizing from a position of blissful ignorance of American law. Anyway the tone of the whole judgement is rather lovely and it’s not that long, so go read it yourselves.

Ryan D. Cockwomble may of course choose to appeal the two cases he’s lost so far, he’ll at least be back in court once more to fight the appeal case against Stratasys. Given Just 3D Maroons track record with reality and evidence so far I’m not holding out much hope for them prevailing in that case or any appeals they choose to bring.

Brexit, ideology and abolition

My study/home office is currently in a state of disarray whilst I redecorate and I’m a few pints in on a rather lovely raspberry saision – so this may be a bit rambling. I , like may others, have noticed that most of the arguments still being trotted out against Brexit are entirely pragmatic in nature. There’s no particular case being made for the EU except fiscal and travel. All of the arguments about what rights the UK might abandon and what restrictions the UK might be put in place are things that are entirely mutable from within the UK. If tacking Eu regulations and laws is good, we can choose to do that. If allowing free movement of Europeans into the UK is good, we can do that. If opening up immigration beyond the realms of Europe is good , we can do that too.

The only things outwith our control are those that are within the gift of Europe. Students taking part in ERASMUS, the EU. Sending our goods to the EU with minimal cost and hassle – the EU. Freedom of movement for UK citizens within the EU – the EU. Post Brexit we are free to give the EU and the rest of the world as much freedom to come and live in , co-operate with or trade with the UK as we like. Now what the current negotiating team may or may not do is a different question but governments come and go and if this one closes a door the net may open it. So it’s entirely within our power to let our representatives know what form we want Brexit to take – and it always has been. We don’t have to leave the powers that be reading the tea leaves of broad referendum or inconclusive general elections, we can write to them and tell them “deliver this, or next time you’re out”.

Which rather brings me to the matter of abolition. I’ve been avoiding this for a long time as analogies are tricky and don’t stand up well to scrutiny. However every anti-Brexit article and post I’ve read of late you could quite easily substitute the word “Brexit” for “Abolition”.

If we abolish slavery costs will go up.
If we abolish slavery industry will suffer.
If we fight against slavery taxes will rise.
If we abolish slavery we’ll be the laughing stock of the world.

And so on and so forth. All of the “pragmatic” arguments being trotted out against Brexit, and how it will make us worse off could so easily have been applied to abolition ( and other well known historic events where the UK didn’t follow the crowd ). No it won’t be easy. No it won’t be without cost. No we don’t have the best people in place to handle it. But it’s still the right thing to do. If we want to allow immigration from the entire world based on merit we can only do that outside of the EU. If we want to stop charging crippling tariffs on developing nations – we can only do that outside of the EU. If we want to stop charging tax on tampons – we have to leave the EU.

When you look at the arguments put forth by the remain side, both before the vote right through to the current day – there is no ideology behind it. No sense of what’s right. No vision of a future beyond the convenience to university students traveling abroad, a cheap labour force, cheap goods, and the ability to have a cheap hassle free holiday on the continent. If you went back to the early 1800’s the people arguing to remain in the EU today would have been arguing against abolition, because of the cost and because who knows where it would lead.

The demonisation of ideology, and the abhorrence of paying a price and making a sacrifice for a cause – is somewhat of a plague across the modern political spectrum. Which doesn’t bode well for any of us.