John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 45

by on Oct.14, 2010, under Rum Doings, The Rest

Excuse the brevity in describing episode 45 of Rum Doings, but in an episode in which we don’t discuss the abolishing of the pocket calculator (for children), we do discuss some subjects at length, and sometimes quite seriously.

There are a lot of thoughts on the coalition government, for which you’ll need this as a primer:

Then Banksy and the Simpsons opening:

And then the issues with Art With A Capital A.

Tweet it, Facebook it, as strangers on Formspring about it. Do whatever it is that makes the internet work. And writing a review on iTunes makes us happy in our tummies.

If you want to email us, you can do that here. If you want to be a “fan” of ours on Facebook, sigh, you can do that here.

To get this episode directly, right click and save here. To subscribe to Rum Doings click here, or you can find it in iTunes here.

Or you can listen to it right here!


27 Comments for this entry

  • innokenti

    You’re wrong about some stuff but right about other things!

    Now that’s feedback for you.

  • Rosti

    Awww – if I had more than one follower, I really *would* retweet, you know. I’ve done the Facebook thing for you guys mind.

    Re: 33, 45 and no more exciting numbers – I can’t help but bring up the ancient ‘proof’ of No Unexciting Numbers. That is, if there were any unexciting numbers, then the smallest such number would be exciting: ker-paradox! Obviously, this assumes that you find small things exciting.

    Re: Degrees – Education for it’s own sake is far too appealing to me. A little glad that I got my degree in before any of this Double Top-up Fees thing happened, even if I graduated during Moneygeddon.
    Although surely if we put up Corporation Tax we wouldn’t quite get the numbers as those companies that could trade elsewhere would at least consider it? At least, that’s the counter-argument I hear from the folk I know in the finance sector.

    [For those keeping score, 16 minutes to cream teas. No cream tease today!]

  • kalidanthepalidan

    Art is the best thing since crumpets. Or crumpets are the best thing since Art. I think prefer crumpets though. I enjoy them more aestheticly than Art. Plus I can touch them as opposed to Art. Either way…up with crumpets, down with Art!

  • Matthew

    That was more depressing than OK Computer, so thanks for that. I was already seething about being one of the “stupid duped”; on the ignorant end of the Liberal Democrats’ 419 scam. “Send no money now!” they said, “Make your voice heard in the polls!” they cried. Lo and behold they get in and do nothing whatsoever to curb the Tories’ egregious swingeing cuts, instead reneging on promises made for the whole of the decade before their whiff of power. When I graduate next year from my fully funded PhD I’m probably going to end up in a rather well paid job, safe in the arms of Tory tax policy. I’d much rather pay a bit more into a system to which I owe everything than live in a country with no moral fucking compass.

    Regarding Trident, I am reminded of the second episode of Yes Prime Minister, which was first broadcast when I was two. There is nothing new under the sun.

  • Xercies

    I have to say those people complain about the Debt. have you actually seen the debt, have you seen how really lax it is to pay it off? have You seen how basically when it does go out you don’t notice it really?

    The debt for students is probably one of the most easiest debts that a person could get in their lifetime. No bank would have a debt like that on there sheets they would be mad to. So I really think that side of the argument kind of isn’t that valid.

    But I am glad that i’m going out away from these double fees. But having said that if you look at it, a market place will make it less expensive then now maybe. Like Cambridge and Oxford there going to go up to stupid silly amounts but Unis like mine will probably not change it or maybe even lessen it.

    Not to say your wrong i completely agree with Nick that it is a bit insidious but looking at it it isn’t as bad as people are making it out to be.

    As for Art in paintings i agree its aesthetic alone more then anything meaningful. When people put meaning on paintings my brain shuts off really. Having said that i think film is art and does have deeper meanings lol.

  • Capt Fatbeard

    I graduated last year however I’ve gone back to uni to study for a masters where there is a free market on fees. What I can tell you is that in a dept of 150 there are 15 home students and about 135 foreign students whilst I have no problem with this, this is possibly what could happen to English universities. Where only foreign students and the rich can afford to go to universities here (I’m lucky I got funding) thus lower to middle income families will not be able to support children at university unless they go to cheaper universities and there being a class divide in the universities that people can afford.

    That’s feedback for you! Also I only voted Lib Dem at the last election because of Labour rushing through the copyright law and Lib Dems said they would repeal it something they haven’t looked at since… Plus I lived in Nick Cleggs constituency (work out where I go to uni!) so no real chance of anyone else getting in( hate first past the post system, STV all the way).

  • Arthur

    I can’t really find anything about the Tuition system in Britain. Google keeps just giving me info about the current increase. When was the last time that the cap for tuition increased? And is the tuition fee pegged to the rate of inflation? A doubling of fees does sound like quite a lot, but it kind of depends on what a middle class income is in Britain, it’s a little hard to tell from here. If I was going to go by just the exchange rate (which, admittedly is not really a good way to determine relative value of something in two different economies), 3,000BPS is about 5,000USD. 5,000 is about what it’d cost to go two a party school like University of Nebraska Kerney. A top tier state school is usually about 12,000 to 15,000.

    I don’t know, I’d worry a little if state universities were just free. I knew a lot of people in high school who would probably go to university even though they really shouldn’t. Not everyone needs a higher education degree and not everyone has the ability to get one. I’m not sure it’s a perfect solution to have everyone do one year of school, then the ones who aren’t going to cut it flunk out before they move on.

  • James

    I tend to listen to podcasts while away from my PC, doing things like walking across town, so while you usually make me angry about a whole range of things, I’ve usually forgotten them by the time I’m back at my desk. Today though, I listened while cooking my dinner; so, because I’m a sad lonely man who eats in front of his computer, I can still remember the last thing you talked about.

    Retweeting! Asking to be retweeted is like saying “please spam your friends”. A retweet is a personal recommendation to people who trust your judgement, so to do it lightly or repeatedly is just rude. If I’m going to tweet a link to a specific episode, I’ll do it after I’ve listened to it, and I won’t retweet something that says “PLEASE RT THIS!!!11!!!” It’ll appear thoughtless, and no-one’ll believe it.

    There were several other things that made me angry in that episode. Maybe I’ll come back later and post shouty responses to other people’s comments once they’ve jogged my memory a bi.

  • Arthur

    But James, you don’t like twitter pimping then you could write a review on iTunes, or write them up on you’re blog or something. If the retweet makes you feel queasy, there are other avenues that can feel less cloying.

  • James

    Yeah, I do intend to write an iTunes review at some point, when I’ve worked out a way of doing the show justice. You might well have thought that by 45 episodes in I’d have found the time to do that. Ho hum. I have at times recommended the show both generally and specifically, certainly on Facebook, and I think on Twitter too. I’m just not going to spam all my followers every week.

    Other things that Make Me Angry: Education! The phrase ConDemNation! Arthur, the very thing that higher education pricing certainly shouldn’t be pegged to is the average middle class income, as that would immediately disqualify anyone from a lower income family! Education should very much be open to all. As a society, we owe it to the young to do our utmost to ensure that every child has an equal chance at life. Your ability to enter a top university should be decided on merit, not on ability to pay. Regarding what Xercies said about the student debt being “probably one of the most easiest debts that a person could get in their lifetime”, this highlights one of the most grotesque points to emerge from the whole of the current HE discussion: the proposal to force students to take out loans at market rates. It is immoral to require people to get into debt to obtain something that should be a basic right.

    All that said, I am much less against the coalition on principle than John and Nick appear to be. I was certainly disappointed that the Lib Dems went into government under Cameron, when I had hoped to see them curbing the illiberal tendencies of Labour, but I voted Lib Dem because I actually believe in the idea of the “new politics” the Nick Clegg spoke about before the election. I hate the fact that British politics is dominated by two groups shouting at each other across a hall for no other reason than the fact that the others are on the other side of the hall. I want to see coalitions built around policies. That would mean that a party’s supporters should expect to pass only a limited amount of what they promised, as a less childish government would need to find some grounds for agreement. Of course a coalition is going to pass policy from both sides, and I think the Lib Dems could do with talking up a bit more which proposals they’ve actually brought to this government, ’cause as someone who voted for them it does feel a bit like I’m getting screwed over at the moment. And, of course, there’s simply no justification for voting in favour of something you specifically promised to oppose.

    Still clinging on to a hope that we at least get electoral reform…

  • Alex

    The post-secondary education debate is a bit different in my province. The cost of tuition had been frozen by the government, but at the same time it has failed to increase funding as time goes on. Universities have tried to get around this by tacking on extra fees for lab or equipment use, but it can’t really meet their needs. One of my family membera has had for a while what they call Summer Fridays– instead of cost-of-living raises, she gets extra time off during the months where students don’t place much demand on her department.

  • JohnArr

    You were spot on about the Simpsons Intro John.

    Have you tried black olives? They’re the only ones I enjoy, less bitter than the others. Also, ketchup.

  • Arthur

    I don’t want you to misunderstand James, I don’t think it should be directly connected to the middle class. It’s just that knowing what a middle class income is in Britain would help be get an idea of how much of a burdon 6,000BPS is in comparison to 3,000BPS. I’m also not exactly opposed to the idea of setting a cap, so long as there is a way to allow it to grow with inflation. It’s the idea of making it completely free that I’m not entirely sure about. Again, I don’t really know how everything operates in Britain, but in the US, a great deal of student scholarships are available depending on your grades, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, etc. The FAFSA will give even someone with a middle income background access to Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and Work-Study programs. Student loans are government backed and set at fairly low interest rates compared to bank loans. Do you all just have 3,000 entry fee but no other support mechanisms?

    I’ll be honest, if you have any sort of government based student loan program, 3,000 is, frankly, cheap. An undergrad degree would only put you in for 12,000, assuming you could put up none yourself in advance.

  • mister k

    “I don’t know, I’d worry a little if state universities were just free. I knew a lot of people in high school who would probably go to university even though they really shouldn’t. Not everyone needs a higher education degree and not everyone has the ability to get one”

    If only universities had some kind of method to assess student’s academcic ability. Some kind of… grading system or something? Hmm, sounds nuts to me, charing them a fortune and seeing who can afford it seems much more sensible.

    I know you’re very anti-lib dems currently John, but this is how coalition is kind of meant to work- they have an agreement, with the cons getting far more power because they have greater parliamentary representation. This would be inevitable under and pr system. Not so say I love this coalition, because I don’t, but the lib dems did get concessions. However, what they don’t get to do is keep to their entire manifesto.

    Admittedly in a properly proportional systems parties tend to work out joint manifestos pre elections, which would be much more democratic…

  • Nick Mailer

    mister k:
    The Libdems could have refused in principle to cosy up to the Tories, predicting that they’d be the sacrificial fall-guys.

    That they went into coalition was bad enough.

    The Libdems could have joined the coalition, but refused in that coalition to support policies that contradict their manifesto.

    That they were prepared to turn a blind eye to such policies was bad enough.

    The Libdems could have joined the coalition, supported policies that contradict their manifesto but kept true to their specific key pledges.

    That they revealed their specific promises as worthless was bad enough.

    The Libdems could have joined the coalition, supported policies that contradicted their manifesto, broken their key pledges and not been the ones actively to announce and gloat about these broken promises.

    That they did gloat, and did announce, and did ride gleefully roughshod on all those who had placed hope in them is unforgivable.

  • Matthew

    It’s clear that Clegg has done all this for the referendum on AV but, even if the vote passes (I’m certainly hoping it will, being as it is slightly less unrepresentative than FPTP) he’ll’ve alienated so many Lib Dem voters that they’ll either not show up on polling day or put a 1 next to the Labour candidate and walk away.

  • Neut

    Great rant about Art, particularly the slight detour about the quality of our built environment. I’m studying architecture at the moment and I find that there’s a similar problem with the way we do architecture. It feels like since the advent of modernism, buildings have been made as Architecture with a capital A to venerated the ideas and the genius of The Architect, rather than as simple, nice environments for people to use.

  • mister k

    Nick- I guess you’re correct on those points. But to be fair I don’t think the lib dems had much choice with the coalition- Labour clearly didn’t want to join with them, and they couldn’t afford to go to another election: literally, they wouldn’t have had the money to campaign, and thanks to the press currently being absolutely in love with the tories (the BBC’s coverage after the election was frankly embarrasing. I understand their desire to make the tories like them, but bloody hell), they would have been destroyed. Admittedly that’ll probably happen anyway, but if they somehow manage to get AV (I think Labour will be campaigning for it, which will help), then they’l be better in the long run.

    I have to admit a general depression to how evil the tories are. I wanted Labour out, as they had grown corrupt and authoritarian in government, and expected an unpleasent govt from the tories, but this new govt really does beggar belief…

    On Art (I’m listening to the cast in bits, so hadn’t listened to that part when I’d commented), its surely a bit rich to claim that Swindon exists because of compartmentalisation of art and life. It exists because some people have no aesthetic appreciation beyond their own wallets. The notion that the elimination of a seperate idea of art would encourage people to integrate art into themselves is not supportable to my mind. Art galleries, at their best, encourage people to appreciate art outside of them, and if they ceased to exist we’d simply have no aesthetics in hideous new towns, rather than just in little ports in a storm.

    I’m not even sure the commercialisation of art is necessarily a bad thing. Mr Hirst may be obnoxious, but his success encourages others to try creation, which is surely a good in of itself. After all, arts have always been a commercial endevour.

    Of course I suspect you know this and are indulging in your entertaining (and admittedly often insightgul) contrarianism.

  • mister k

    urgh. Insightgul. I should really work out how to turn firefox’s spellchecker back on…

  • Aaron

    I must say, I do love it when the podcast covers more serious discussions. More like this please!

    Re: LibDems – I’m 19 year old student and this was the first election that I voted in. Of course, I chose to vote for the LibDems mainly because of the whole farce that was/is the DEA. Of course, there were many other issues which I had similar feelings about such as the scrappage of tuition fees so I was sure that my choice was the right one for me.

    Of course, voting for the LibDems has left a bad taste in my mouth and many others. It’s so sad how they’re a part of a coalition yet they seem to exert little to no power on anything that gets passed through government. It always amuses me how, in such a small amount of time, they went from being the saviours of politics to the butt of ridicule.

    For the next election I honestly have no idea how they could possibly garner the same student support that they did this year. I certainly won’t be voting for them again.

  • Coombs

    Great episode guys, unfortunately for the purposes of debate I either agreed with you or was ambivalent on pretty much every point so you’ll here no arguing from me.

  • Alex Bakke

    Agreed with all political stuff.

    And don’t worry about silly episodes, I don’t think you can get much sillier than the second episode that contained Martin Coxall.

  • Duncan

    This was a very good episode of Rum Doings, but perhaps not the best one to listen to just before bedtime. I was hoping for paedophile jokes, and got a entertaining yet distressingly thought-provoking 52(!) minutes.

  • laddy_gaga

    Crumbs, bit of a bad-tempered podcast this week. You’re usually not so surly!

  • Beardy

    This was quite a moribund episode in comparison to the usual fare. But still most interesting, and it’s added plenty of weight to my notion of feeding my Lib Dem membership card through the shredder and posting the remains back to them. So thanks for that, and for 43 hilarious and thought-provoking podcasts (plus this marginally less hilarious one).

  • Jambe

    I deleted my Facebook account because it was driving me insane and I refuse to tolerate iTunes. I do retweet and talk to friends about the podcast, though.

    Good show this time. My friend and I thought this was an unusually… tempered podcast in terms of your palaver. Neither of you seemed to have raised your voices much until right at the end and Nick seemed especially lenient. I appreciated the extra negativity in this podcast but the gal didn’t.

    I have never watched an entire episode of The Simpsons. I just can’t stomach it. It seems half-assed. Whereas Family Guy is flat-out offensive and zany so as to be comically silly, The Simpsons is simultaneously white-bread and half-serious in a way that makes it almost painful to watch. Half of the bits I’ve seen produce an image in my mind of a writer asking their editor “do you think we can get away with—” only to be cut off and asked to tame it down.