all systems go!

By amy ~ July 26th, 2013 @ 10:32 pm

spabridgejulyThe very enjoyable short sabbatical is over and I am not only resolutely back, but definitely in at the deep end given the weather (with apologies to this weeks’ visitors – the temperature is something I can do little about in Scarborough since it’s about the only place I can regularly be found which lacks air conditioning).

I will be soldiering on here Monday and Tuesday before heading back down to more comfortable surroundings in Waterloo and not before time – even the sea breeze is failing to impact much and ending appointments looking like the monster from Ringu is unbecoming in the extreme (and probably not especially conducive to repeat custom, even if I do have the best shower room of anybody I know for afterward). Having toyed with the idea for all of two minutes, I will once again be persona non grata this weekend workwise, which is really as it should be at the moment for anybody who lives ten minutes’ walk from something to go paddling in.

In other news this week, it seems our private viewing habits are to be interfered with in the name of Child Protection as Call Me Dave’s new plan to make ISPs automatically block what has so far described only as ‘pornography’ (Mr Cameron has been asked to define pornography, but we’re still waiting for an answer which narrows it down a little further than the ‘different things to different people’ speech; helpful given that virtually anything from an apple to a wheelie bin could be described as pornography to someone, depending on how you’re wired) to all households who do not ‘opt in’ to receive it. In other words, some people can’t be bothered to care for their children properly so everybody else’s enjoyment of their perfectly legal entertainment choice is irrelevant, an argument that my fellow horror film fans and anti-censorship mainstays have been familiar with for many, many years.

As somebody who changed their broadband provider last month (and would urge all O2 Broadband users to do likewise before you inadvertently wind up giving the Murdochs more money) I’m familiar with this ‘opting in’ procedure having dozed through a brief Setup process which included ticking a box asking me whether I wanted TalkTalk’s ‘family friendly’ filters switching on and informing me that this would be automatically activated if I skipped the question. At the time I assumed that TalkTalk’s marketing department were just being exceptionally proactive in the ‘See How Much WE Care About YOUR Children!!!’ sector which is nothing unusual nowadays – like plenty of other folk I had to ‘unblock’ my Vodaphone dongle when I bought it and likewise my O2 BlackBerry (countless times) after sudden and inexplicable meltdowns that resulted in Over 18 restrictions kicking in randomly and denying me access not only to the predictable (Adultwork, Kink.com) but also SAAFE, my own website (which contains boobies and a few adult terms and abbreviations, but no swearing or anything that would be out of place on nhs.uk) and this very blog, which contains none of the above at all bar occasional and unavoidable Tuckeresque language – again, nothing I haven’t often read on the Guardian site (or indeed often thought whilst reading the Guardian).

Porn is a broad church; clips I’ve seen include people sitting on and bursting large balloons, rolling around in custard and baked beans, pooing on other people and dressing up as Nazis, nuns, adult babies, and giant soft toys. There is occasionally some actual run-of-the-mill shagging, albeit shot in the most unappealing and torpor-inducing ways possible and replete with comedy porno faces, awful boob jobs, a total lack of any female body hair and the usual robotic banging away at every orifice in a jackhammer stylee. We also know of the rather more out-there stuff which CMD earnestly alluded to, seemingly missing the point that whatever their subject, these are staged productions played out by paid actors and actresses and produced by a crew who are doing their jobs – if it becomes illegal to possess images depicting rape (for example) then anybody owning a DVD of The Accused with Jodie Foster had better start saying their goodbyes. This whilst the genuinely indefensible material (which effectively documents actual criminal activity with non-consenting participants) is not – contrary to what the Daily Mail would have us believe – one click away from where little Johnny and Janey are doing their homework but buried deep in the darkest recesses of a Tor browser far, far away where nobody who isn’t already conducting a fairly determined search is ever going to stumble across it. Which is why it’s still available despite being illegal for as long as the laws have existed – the ISPs can’t find the source of it.

Nobody is arguing that under eighteens ought to be watching material intended for adults be it xHamster or Luther, but given that most self-respecting eleven year olds know how to use a proxy (even I know how to use one, ffs) telling people they can rely on ISPs to protect their children with some archaic filters, bypassing which is comparable in difficulty to running a bath, will hardly encourage anybody to educate themselves and their families properly about the internet and most importantly, adequately supervise any child using the computer. It’s a crock, and a bloody lazy one.

It didn’t occur to me that the purpose of this Setup question would be to add my broadband account details to a list of folk who may or may not be disgusting perverts for future reference by God only knows who (or I would have gone back and ticked it again just to be on the safe side) but I don’t particularly care one way or the other. If I was a teacher, social worker or childminder, I think I might. For the minute, since yet another situation has arisen where we are asked to do something involving registering our personal information without being given any good reason why, resist. And sign the petition here. Lots of other people have too!

New York dates and booking info to follow very soon. London even sooner! And more tattooing, a couple of new floors, lots of cake and the Five Days Of Frightfest in the middle.

Can’t wait.DSC_1324

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