Hard News by Russell Brown

Barrels and bandwidth

It clearly hasn't taken long for Winston Peters to reach the bottom of his barrel of inappropriate Iraqis in our midst. His new target is a legitimate refugee - and by his own account, a whistleblower who fled the regime in fear of his life.

It's not like Peters actually cares, of course. If the wind goes out this one, he'll just move on, satisfied in the knowledge that his recent scoops appear to be boosting his personal popularity. The Herald has a roundup of a clutch of polls that will have Labour just a tiny bit concerned.

I'll round up some more observations on the British election presently, but for now: what sort of a system delivers a 66-seat majority to a party winning 35.2% of the vote? And Conor Roberts alerted me to this page containing Channel 4's project involving the ads the political parties really wanted to make. Both amusing and thought-provoking.

Australia's Crikey website has the story - and the evidence - of a Sydney radio newsreader's unfortunate experience reading a bulletin on a Saturday morning after a big night out. It's priceless. The link to the MP3 audio is at the bottom of the story.

Missed the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe trailer on 3 News last night? You can see it on the Xtra site as a really crappy Windows Media stream - or as God intended - in QuickTime - at the AOL site, or just download the 53MB hi-res file here. I can't help the feeling that it looks a bit like The Lord of the Rings

New species of mammal discovered in Borneo!

David Cohen came round to interview me on Saturday - an enjoyable, intelligent conversation - and left behind a copy of the Brit music mag Uncut, which contained news I'd somehow missed: the demise of Doors biographer Danny Sugerman. I interviewed Sugerman years ago, after the publication of Wonderland Avenue, his alarming tale of early 70s excess in Los Angeles, and got on very well with him ("You're asking me whether everyone in LA was as much of an asshole as me? Good question.").

I also took the opportunity to ask him about Graham Brazier of Hello Sailor being asked to join The Doors as the new Jim. The tale proved to be a somewhat exaggerated one, but he did remember the Sailor guys. He used to go around to the big house where they lived to score drugs - but he didn't really like it, because it was "too sleazy". Which, if you have read Wonderland Avenue, is really saying something …