The Shabogans are the invisible underclass on Gallifrey. The plebs. The nobodies. The skivvies.  They're not the posh drop-outs.  They're not the soup-making rustics.  They're the unseen guttersnipes trapped inside the Capitol. They always leave the room just before you enter it.  They're the vandals who shoot stasers at the Seal of Rassilon. And maybe, sometimes, they do more than that. Maybe they riot. Maybe they erect barricades. Maybe they throw stones. Maybe they daub things like "GALLIFREY WILL NEVER BE HAPPY UNTIL THE LAST CASTELLAN HAS BEEN HANGED WITH THE GUTS OF THE LAST CARDINAL" on the walls of the Time Toilets. Because if there is hope, it lies in the Shabogans.

I'm Jack Graham.  Gothic Marxist.  Advocate of the struggle in terms of the strange.  Shakespearean villain.  Doctor Who fan.  Less an organic intellectual than a one-man morbid symptom. 

And I did this:


Are You Sitting Comfortably? - First Movement

Stories belong to all of us.  Sounds like a trite, sentimental truism, doesn’t it?  So let’s add a vital corollary: Because we make them

Let’s put it another way: the wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails (and probably any form of class society, if you ask me), presents itself as an immense accumulation of stories.  Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a story.

In the original lines that I’ve just travestied, Marx is actually talking about commodities, but he recognises stories as commodities, as – in other words – one of the things that are made for the market in capitalist societies.  He goes on to say that a “commodity is, in the first place, an object outside us, a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort or another. The nature of such wants, whether, for instance, they spring from the stomach or from fancy, makes no difference”.  Here we shall concern ourselves with those that satisfy fancy.

Just as surely as the material products of human labour should be controlled by those who produce them, just as surely as the ...

Shabcast 23, Part 2 - New Atheism is the Opium of Misogynists, Islamophobes, and Imperialists

Yes, I use the Oxford comma.  I use it because it is sensible, stylish, and clarifying.

Oh, and this is Part 2 of Shabcast 23, featuring the continuation of my latest chat with Daniel Harper.  I think the title is pretty much self-explanatory. 

That's my thing now.  Self-explanatory titles.  And Oxford commas.  They're my thing too now.  And irrelevant commentary on my own style.

Self-explanatory titles, irrelevant commentary on my own style, and Oxford commas.

See, they're nice aren't they?  If that comma hadn't been there, before the 'and', it could've looked like I was saying I now make irrelevant comments about my own style and about Oxford commas. 

And clearly I would never make irrelevant comments about Oxford commas.


By the way, here's a link to Rebecca Watson's video (referred to in the Shabcast), in which she mentions (in passing) that a guy tried to chat her up in a hotel elevator in the wee small hours, and that, guys, it's probably not a good idea to do that.  That bit starts around 4:30.

Further to the discussions about ...

Shabcast 23, Part 1 - The Ruling Class Thinks Idiocracy and Democracy are Synonyms

Please find attached the latest Shabcast.  It's the first part of another long chat between myself and Daniel.  In this episode we talk about the 2006 Mike Judge movie Idiocracy, which is 'relevant' nowadays as loads of people have jumped to the wrong conclusions about the Trump phenomenon and clambered aboard the everyone's-an-idiot-nowadays-except-me bandwagon, using Idiocracy as a cultural touchstone.  (Seriously, google the phrase 'Trump Idiocracy' and behold the avalanche of sneering, purblind, elitest drivel.)  Daniel has little time for the film and isn't shy about saying why.  And nor am I. 

Download or listen here.

The rest of this Shabcast will be available on Thursday, and will feature Daniel and myself moving on to the broader (and connected) subject of the New Atheists, etc.  This little mini-arc of linked posts will then conclude on Friday with Daniel's new written piece about... well, wait and see.


Psychic Landscape 3: Properties of the System

This Post is Based on a True Story


Let's start on familiar but seemingly irrelevant territory.

In the Doctor Who story ‘The Satan Pit’ (and its interesting that this happens in the most openly Horror-inspired story of the new series to that point), the Doctor fights against the possession of the Ood by the Beast, but not against their possession by the humans.  He implicitly sees one form of possession – psychic possession by an alien force – as sinister and illegitimate, while seeing another – the reduction of an entire race to owned things, to property – as normal and acceptable, or at least a non-urgent issue.  (In a relatively rare example of the new series really doing what it claims to do all the time, this ‘mistake’ on the part of the Doctor does actually come back to bite him later, and he does actually seem to learn from it.)  This sort of thing is not unique to the new series, or even to that story within the new series.  But why is it that one form of possession is recognised as evil while the other is seen as legitimate, at least ...

Shabcast 22ish

Another week, another Shabcast. 

Sadly, I haven't been able to manufacture an actual brand-new episode recently, so I've put together a compilation of some of the more interesting bits of previous Shabcasts which had to be cut for one reason or another.  But it does mean that you get more guests for your money.  This episode features myself in conversation with Daniel, Jane, Josh and Elliot.  If it's the most disjointed Shabcast ever, it's also the second-most populous after the Christmas episode. 

Enjoy here

Two Cakes

I'm sorry, but I have nothing substantive for you this week.  I have several things half-finished, but that's obviously not good enough. 

There was going to be a Shabcast this week, but the recording fell through.  My fault.  I've been crazy busy in my offline life lately.  Also, I've been melting.

Anyway, in order to fulfill my contractural obligation and actually provide some content for Phil and yourselves, I will fob you all off with the first chapter of a fiction project I started last year, tentatively called The Abandoned Line.  Let me know what you think... unless you hate it, in which case please be tactfully silent.  I honestly wouldn't be doing this to you if I had anything else ready. 

(By the way, I know the use of the word 'very' in the first sentence is less then ideal, but don't know how else to make the rhythm work.  Suggestions for how to get rid of it would be appreciated.)




When Iza Park found out that her sister Ria was real, they were both very surprised about it.

“Is that me ...

A Message from Ian Chinashop CBE

Hello, I’m Ian Chinashop, and I own and run the Ian Chinashop China Shop Co.™ And I’m here to tell you how I made it in business, and how you can make it too. 

The secret of success is hard work and determination.  Without these things I could never have turned the million pounds my dad gave me on my 21st birthday into a global business empire.  Some hang around waiting for handouts.  That doesn’t work.  You just end up embittered, entitled and useless.  Some people expect life to serve them what they want on a silver platter.  I can’t stand people like that.  I had to work hard to succeed, and there’s no reason why you can’t do that too.  Some people say I had advantages, but who doesn’t?  Even if you grow up in the poorest housing estate in the country, you can turn your desire to escape into an advantage.  If life hands you lemons, make lemonade – as my friend Ian Lemonademanufacturer OBE of the Ian Lemonademanufacturer Lemonade Manufacturing Company™ always says.  He should know.  When he inherited his company from ...

Season Finale

So, the Chilcot Report, end result of ‘The Iraq Inquiry’, is finally out.  I understand frantic, cosplaying fans were queuing up outside bookstores at midnight, desperate to get their hands on a copy.  People were getting seriously worried that Chilcot (or TRHSJCGCB, as fans call him, for ‘the Right Honourable Sir John Chilcot G.C.B.’) was getting too old, and would die before finishing it. 

Personally, I won’t bother.  The TV series overtook it years ago.  The most recent seasons have been especially good, what with all the stuff about the rise of ISIS.  The finale to the series just gone, with the bombing in Baghdad, was very shocking, if not entirely unpredictable.  I was less impressed with the comedy storyline about the attempted Blairite coup within the Labour Party, happening right the away across the other side of the map you see in the opening titles.  It was disappointing that the TV series gave so much space to the keystone palace revolutionaries within Labour, and so much less airtime to the storyline about ISIS terrorism against Muslims, but I guess they know their audience.

I don’t need to actually ...

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