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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, August 13, 2006
    I could swear
    "Officer, can you tell me - if somebody phoned up the arms fair and said, 'there's a bomb in the building', would it technically be a hoax call?"

    I've been reading Mark Thomas's book As used on the famous Nelson Mandela (the title an actual proud boast from a small arms catalogue) and though he does it with biting satire and at times breathtaking gall, it does leave you feeling deeply frustrated and sullied - which is probably how any reflection on the arms trade should leave you feeling. Now I'm onto his DVD (Trailer :: DVD info) and that's even more effective.

    This year Greenbelt elevate Norman Kember from his usual position on the festival fringe (see here for evidence) to headline speaker. Understandably, given his recent profile, and justly given his peacemaking work over many years. Shame it took his near-assassination for anyone to take any notice. It strikes me that Mark Thomas would be an equally impressive GB speaker on the arms trade. It also shakes me that Greenbelt (self sadly included) might think twice about asking him. Why? Merely because of his generous use of Anglo-Saxon language (ie, he swears a lot). Or as a grown-up event these days perhaps by now we are over that. Considering what it is he's swearing about...

    (POSTSCRIPT: Since writing this I've learned that GB have invited MT to the festival several times, and that other commitments have kept him away so far ... but maybe next year...)