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:

 

The Corbynite Manoeuvre

Okay, first let me apologise for the paucity of long-form written pieces here at Shabgraff lately.  Normal service will (hopefully) be resumed fairly soon, or a proper announcement of some new normal will have to be made.

Next, let me remind you all of the existence of two new(ish) podcasts featuring me. 

There’s a new episode of Oi! Spaceman, in which I join Shana and Daniel to – for reasons that now elude me – talk about ‘The Return of Doctor Mysterio’. HERE.

And there’s a bonus mini-episode of Wrong With Authority, featuring myself in conversation with Daniel about the 2007 David Fincher movie Zodiac. HERE.

We may do more of these (comparatively) short extra episodes in future, with just a couple of us chatting about a movie outside our main sequence.  We’ve decided to call them Footnotes.  Because we’re just so damn cute.

On the subject of podcasts, there are some great Shabcasts coming up, including another Drunken Whocast (which seems to be genuinely becoming a new regular thing) and a fantastic chat between myself and Sam Keeper of Storming the Ivory Tower on Star Wars, Rogue One, etc.  We talked about, amongst ...

Shabcast 33 - the NHS, the Tories, the Republicans, and the US Health System

Hello there... bit of a serious Shabcast this time, though there are some laughs along the way. 

Download here.

(EDIT: I forgot to say that I'm joined by James - who really knows about this stuff - and Daniel - who really knows about this stuff in America.)

This episode was prompted by the 'Dementia Tax' story, and became about the crisis in the NHS generally, and also about the horrors of the American system.  It was recorded before the 'Dementia Tax' story developed (with Theresa May's humiliating kindasorta u-turn) and also before the attack in Manchester, so it's a bit of a relic... but even so, these are live issues, and a lot of what we say hasn't gone out of date.  The NHS is still in crisis, and its still the Tories' fault, but also still tracks back to New Labour.  And the American system is still awful, and the few improvements made by Obama may still be about to be destroyed, and we in the UK are still headed in that privatised, profit-driven direction.

I'd appreciate people sharing this about, for propaganda/electioneering purposes.  You never know, it might help ...

Last Gasp

When the world is a danger to Doctor Who, does it raise up in rage or does it keep getting stranger?

*

Today, suffocation has a very specific meaning.  In America, you can tell upon which side of the divide someone stands by seeing what their t-shirt tells you about their ability – or otherwise - to respirate.  The divide in question is one created by a system of oppression that chokes people.  It chokes them figuratively, and then has the brazen impudence to choke them literally as well.

One statement of resistance is the simple proclamation “I can’t breathe”, which derives its power from its ability to inhabit both the metaphor and the brute reality.

Part of the peculiar power of the metaphorical referent is that it expresses a feeling of helplessness as part of a demonstration of strength.  Weaponised weakness.

‘Oxygen’ flirts with the SF trope of the post-racial future.  The people of the future don’t understand why Bill should face prejudice.  They don’t see colour.  Except that there is the business with the blue man (played by a white actor, of course, because whiteness is perceived as neutrality, blankness, non-ethnicity, vanilla standard ...

Après le Dîner

Phil was nice enough to cite me in the most recent of his (wonderful) 'Proverbs of Hell' series.  I just thought I'd be cheeky and repost a little reheated morsel of the stuff of mine that he referred to... because I think it's quite interesting.

 

In Hannibal Rising, the boy Hannibal emerges from privilege, from the Renaissance, from the Sforzas (a right bunch of bastards).  But he also emerges from the aftermath of Barbarossa.  His childhood tutor is a Jew who escaped the holocaust.  He is adopted by a woman from Hiroshima.  His early years are haunted by mention of the Nuremburg trials.  He is born of the 20th century's ultimate horrors.

Cannibalism is part of WWII-Gothic.  Most particularly Barbarossa-Gothic.  Thanks the Siege of Leningrad, and to Andrei Chikatilo's (possibly bogus) childhood reminiscences, it is linked to the aftermath of the German invasion of the Soviet Union (see also Child 44).  It is particularly appealing to the capitalist culture industries to depict the people of the Soviet Union preying upon each other "like monsters of the deep", for reasons which should be tediously obvious.  Famine ...

Shabcast 32 (Chatting about free speech with Daniel)

Helloesville, my little chickadees, have a 32nd Shabcast.  Why not? 

I'm joined by the ubiquitous Daniel Harper to talk about freedom of speech, its limits, its abuses, what it means to different people, etc.

This episode comes in at a comparatively brief 2hrs 20mins. 

Download here.

 

Wrong With Authority, Ep 4 (The Wolf of Wall Street & The Big Short)

Hello, just a heads up from me today about the existence of the fourth episode of Wrong With Authority, the podcast about movies about history, hosted (in turns) by myself, Kit Power, James Murphy, and Daniel Harper.

As I say, episode 4 is up, and you can download both parts of it here and here, or go to the blog page, here.

This episode is Kit's, and its about The Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short.  It's so long it had to be split into two.  This happened not only because these movies gave us a lot to talk about but because we had recurrent recording problems, which forced us to record in three blocks, which ironically meant we ended up with more content that we would've done otherwise.

As much as it was a nightmare to make, especially for Kit, I think we ended up with something to be proud of (again, especially Kit).

We are considering the future shape of WWA, but we also feel that the kinds of people who want to listen to the four of us talk about this stuff probably

a) want us to go the whole ...

The Anti-Potter, Part 2: Jeremy Corbyn and the Billionaire's Authorthority

Should Jeremy Corbyn somehow manage to win the United Kingdom’s General Election on 8th June, J. K. Rowling will be forced to take a principled stand against his rule.  Which will presumably mean that she’ll go and sulk in a tent for several months.  After all, she’s been vocal, even vociferous, in her opposition to his leadership of the Labour Party since before it started.

Well… it might not be a tent.  She’s a billionaire, remember.  This is something that people seem to forget, at least in effect.  But I imagine sulking would form a large part of it, even if it took place in very comfortable surroundings.  And snarking on Twitter.  That would be a big part of it too.  She’s done a lot of that about Corbyn already.  She has tweeted and retweeted truckloads of declarations of his unelectability, his incompetence, etc.  She piled on in the fake ‘Labour anti-semitism’ row, in which a handful of incidents - ranging from the piffling to the wantonly misconstrued to the fabricated - were talked up by the media into the chimera of a Labour Party stuffed with raging Jew-haters, with Corbyn as either Anti-Semite-in-Chief (Ken Livingstone presumably being his deputy) or as ...

Little Window

You were supposed to be getting another Shabcast - with another great guest - this week, but life had other plans.  So, having staked everything on that, I am left without an essay to post.  So you'll have to make do with the third chapter of one of the novels I'm currently occasionally writing.  Here are chapters one and two.  My Patreon sponsors saw an earlier draft of this chapter ages ago (under a different title).  And if that doesn't make you salivate with an irresistible desire to give me money, I don't know what will.

 

There were times when Iza envied Ria.  Ria didn’t have spiders in her hair, or webs plastered across her face. She didn’t have dust falling into her eyes. She wasn’t losing the skin on her elbows and palms. Her fingernails weren’t splintering as they dug into brickwork. She didn’t have to hold on for dear life. She wasn’t alive. Iza felt guilty thinking this, but thought it all the same.

“This is amazing,” said Ria.  For once, she didn’t sound sarcastic or cynical.

There was no room for Ria in the dark behind the ...

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