John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings 67: Got A Room

by on Apr.08, 2011, under Rum Doings, The Rest

For episode 67 of Rum Doings, you join Nick and John in one of London’s most average hotels, where for some reason they’ve taken a room together. While we don’t discuss whether we’re sacrificing children on the altar of working mums, we do instead moan about the mediocrity of hotels in the UK.

Each of us offers some racism that we exhibit, there’s some discussion of radio continuity, Mel Gibson’s films, and the difference between uninterested and disinterested. We try to stop people stopping the war, the future of Dexter, and British beers. John has forgotten all of his chemistry A Level, and then it turns out we both have precisely the same recurring dream. Dreams takes John onto confessing his sleep-based infidelities, which takes us into a somewhat uncomfortable discussion about the real world.

We’ve both got a new t-shirt, talk about anti-Semitism, and somehow get back to naughty dreams again and the King James Bible. You know, those subjects that always go together.

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19 Comments for this entry

  • Penfold

    Not strictly relevant to this episode, but I thought you might be amused to note that my boss referred to the EU as the EEC the other day. In a disparaging sense (he’s a nice guy, but he reads the Express, and it goes to his head).

  • Alex Bakke

    I was talking with my grandmother today, and the conversation turned to instant coffee – I learned that the coffee wasn’t really that popular in the war; It was only really consumed by GIs, and was never seen as a necessity until supply lines freed up again.

    A factoid, possibly?

    (My grandmother said that all she saw drunk was Camp Coffee, which isn’t really coffee.)

  • Thants

    It’s a little frightening how accurately Nick described the reoccurring dream about school I’ve been having.

  • Alex

    John, I know you get a kick out of weird interpretations of what Christianity is and isn’t, I’ll pass this article along to you:

  • devlocke

    I live in the spiritual home of modern-day racism, and I’ve never heard that black people can’t swim. Is that really a thing? Did you hear that from an American, or hear ABOUT Americans saying that from some British source? I don’t disbelieve it, but I find it bizarre.

  • mister k

    I spent last week in an Ibis hotel in Stevenage, which was as lovely as that sounds. My tiny little room didn’t even have a bin for some bizzare reason, and there was no room service. On the plus side it did have an excellent shower: I’m willing to forgive a lot given a good showering experience.

    I had the same experience as John growing up. While I heard a couple of racist jokes about people who orignated from Pakistan, my first experience of anti-semitism was studying the holocaust. Oh, and a relative who started making jokes about Jewish people. I was genuinely quite astounded by it, and almost said something, but it was a big family gathering and I had never really met him before.

    On anti-semitism, I read the fantastically moving Maus a couple of weeks ago: having read and seen lots of images of the holocaust I had semi-imagined that reading it would have no emotional effect, and was somewhat surprised to be reduced to tears. As I sometimes like to do having read something as good as that, I googled “Maus review” (without the speech marks), and found this . I begun reading, but soon got caught up on various disturbing phrases, and realised that the number 1 hit for Maus review was a goddamn white supremacist website.

    Just lovely.

  • Gassalasca

    I still drink instant coffee! (Jacobs Gold, if anyone’s interested)
    How do I stop? Where do I go for Coffee Enlightenment?
    Please, help!

    Yours, urgently

  • Daniel Rivas

    Buy some real coffee.

    Yrs, respectfully

  • Jambe

    wrt “blacks can’t swim” – I’ve heard it a bit but I’ve never known anybody to believe it’s true.

    mister k: Maus is a moving story but the art was often too busy.

    Gassalasca: it costs about $100 to make a good consistent brew:

    Airtight container for storing whole beans: $5
    Aeropress: $20
    Aroma AWK-290BD water kettle: $50
    Krups grinder: $25

    You can get that shipped free from Bezosland and it should last a good while. I don’t have experience with the kettle but it has great reviews. Also, you can use it for tea. Loads of caffeine daily is terrible for your body; there are plenty of fantastic teas and infusions which have very little or none of the stuff. Decaf is not nearly as good as standard and really isn’t worth the bother. Drink real coffee 2-4 days a week and substitute tea on the other days and that way you won’t complicate your senescence.

  • MrsTrellis

    Apparently there are many easily preventable drownings in South Africa because of the notion that black people cannot swim. Whole families have perished at lakeside picnics :(

    Nick, Humberside was an unloved creation of the 1980s and was humanely destroyed and East Yorkshire was resurrected in its place. You got them the wrong way round.

    Instant coffee has its place I think, but not Nescafe of course. Douwe Egberts is quite nice. I think I only like it because my mum drank it (I of course have it without the horrible saccharine pill).

  • Blissett

    I always find the discussions on anti-semitism interesting as I’ve literally never encountered any whatsoever (aimed at others that is – I’m an atheist personally). Even people I’ve known who have been horribly racist and xenophobic have never referenced Jews in any deluded ramblings that I’ve heard. Makes me curious about the complex inter-community dynamics at play.

    One of the first things I remember discussing in A level Sports Studies class (feel free to mock away) was racism in sport and the dodgy science that is used to justify it. The “black people can’t swim” theory was literally the textbook example. This is particularly an issue as there undoubtedly is a genetic component to sporting performance and proper scientific enquiry of these factors is made much more difficult when myths are allowed to propagate.

  • Xercies

    I’ve never really encountered anti-semitism and I always was a bit confused why it still continued after the second world war, shouldn’t that kind of thing that happenned to them stop the anti-semites somewhat?

  • NM

    No. It just went underground for a while. You’ll notice that lots of “protesters” like to use Nazi imagery when castigating Israel, or comparing Israelis to the Nazis. Rabid anti-Israelism is the modern conduit for it (I’m not talking about criticism of Israel here – it’s certainly worthy of that. I’m talking about that sort of wild-eyed, obsessive, almost psycho-sexual exclusive hatred that you see in the faces of those boycotting Jewish shops in London etc).

  • Blissett

    Nick – I note that in your response to two posts about anti-semitism you have referred to anti-Israelism. Do you believe the two to be synonymous?

  • NM

    They are not necessarily synonymous; however, I believe that the one allows a “respectable” cover for the other very often. I tell them apart like this:

    1) Does the critic acknowledge Israel’s pluralistic strengths as well as its renowned weaknesses?
    2) Does the critic work to minimise the depth of Hamas’s iniquity?
    3) Does the critic focus on Israel almost to the exclusion of all other foreign issues?
    4) Does the critic especially choose Nazi-like analogies when discussing Israel?
    5) Does the critic act as if no other countries were contentiously created in the 20th century, and reserves his hatred and desire for the destruction of just this one?

    If too many of 1-5 are largely true, then I conclude that the individual is either an antisemite, or has been manipulated by one.

  • NM

    1) should be Does the critic REFUSE to acknowledge..

  • Blissett

    But do these questions not focus on the critics attitude towards the State rather than the religion, thereby indicating anti-Israelism rather than anti-semitism?

    Whilst you are certainly correct that some use anti-Israelism as a cover for a more general anti-semitism in the belief that it legitimises their prejudice, surely the reverse is also true? That those who have “legitimate” issues with the Israeli state can be written off as anti-semites by their opponents when it is convenient to use the two as synonyms?

  • NM

    Blissett: No, not really. That’s a tired old claim, and I’ve only seen it wielded by suspicious sorts. Very rarely have I seen legitimate criticism of Israel “suppressed” in this sort of manner. Quite the contrary – Israel’s biggest critics are Israelis.

    And I have no problem with opposing a religion (Islam, Judaism or whatever). But a Jewishness is not simply a religion. It’s quite possible, for example, to call oneself an atheist Jew.

  • Jordan Rivas

    Interesting digression on black culture, cultural ruts and awareness. There’s also a strong influence of media and glorification of gang culture and negative black stereotypes in America that perpetuates the cycle.