Sunday, 3 May 2020

Review of Class Power On Zero Hours by Angry Workers Collective

Class Power On Zero Hours by Angry Workers Collective (Angry Workers Publishing 2020).

The core of this book describes working conditions in Bakkavor’s food processing factories in West London, then moves on to describe how a Tesco distribution centre operates. The opening 100 plus pages are used to set the scene, then there is the central 180 pages, finally after a curious detour into 3D printer manufacture - and leaving aside an appendix - the last 50 pages deal with the question of revolutionary organisation. Cut into the descriptions of contemporary labour and class exploitation is much useful analysis and historical material:

The food and drink industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, accounting for 17% of the total UK manufacturing turnover, contributing £28.2bn to the economy annually and employing 400,000 people. And while a lot of fruit and veg is imported, the shelf life of freshly prepared products (FPP) means that outsourcing this work overseas is not possible. All the FPP found in the chilled section of our supermarkets comes from UK factories. Page 136. 
People in Britain buy around 3.5 million ready-meals a day, which easily makes it the leading ready-meals market in Europe. Working hours are some of the longest in Europe, which perhaps explains the demand. Page 139. 
Bakkavor is one of the biggest UK food companies you’ve never heard of. You’ve probably got a Bakkavor food item in your fridge, but you wouldn’t know it because their name won’t be on the packaging. They employ around 17,000 people across various sites in the UK and source 5,000 products from around the world to supply the largest supermarkets with their own-brand products - from salads, to desserts, to ready-meals and pizzas. Pages 147/148. 
Bakkavor has an ageing workforce, the majority in the 55-64 age bracket. The next biggest age group was workers aged between 45-54, fewer again in the 35-44 age range. I think this was a huge factor in the docility of the workforce in general, even when the union was ramping up its activity. There was an aversion to risk, a palpable fear of going on strike, and a resignation that only comes with living a hard life with few victories. That isn’t to say there weren’t some older workers who were up for the fight. Page 155. 
A toxic culture of disrespect pervaded the factories… All the stress and bad vibes  understandably had a negative impact on peoples’ mental and physical health. One guy dropped down dead in the smoking area. Another guy, a night shift hygiene worker, died in his late forties. A mild-mannered Polish guy from the maintenance department had a psychotic episode and climbed onto the roof, sobbing in front of his workmates. A young office worker who everybody ignored even killed himself. Others had strokes and panic attacks and were taken away by the ambulance, which came with depressing regularity. It wasn’t just that they were old or smoked, although of course those were factors. I think it was also the type of work and toxic culture that drove people to their limits. Page 178.

The poor working conditions at Bakkavor, bad pay and struggles to improve it - alongside the unhygienic methods of food production - are described in detail. The switches from more objective analysis to an utterly subjective position and speculative assertion are sudden and frequent. Some might see this as a weakness but it is actually the book’s strength. It’s a rhetorical device designed to give those who haven’t done these jobs a feeling of insight into them and a sense of empathy with those depicted in the book. Likewise if you have been employed in the industries described you might be drawn to a conscious embrace of the book’s wider analytical perspective in part due to a sense of identification with the text’s more subjective turns. Even even those who have not worked in these industries - or on some other factory floor - will recognise the social relations depicted from shops, offices and other places of employment.

In short Class Power On Zero Hours is worth reading for its central sections about food production and distribution. The opening and closing parts of the book may resonate with some but were less than thrilling to me. I found the initial section about west London especially tedious and almost gave up when I read the following sentence on the first full page:

Nobody on the London left had even heard of Greenford, not surprising due to its status as a cultural desert, in zone four on the Central line. Page 7.

I don’t know - and don’t care - if I’d count as part of what Angry Workers configure as the London left but I’d not only heard of Greenford, until lockdown I was going through it once once a month on my way to an extended training session the martial arts club I belong to has in South Ruislip. Likewise, I have two friends - one born in the same south-west London hospital as me - who work for Ealing council (pest control and a desk job); for those who don’t know, Greenford is part of the borough of Ealing. While I passed through rather than went to Greenford and Park Royal growing up, I spent plenty of time back then in Hounslow which isn’t so far away.

Ultimately the claim that ‘nobody’ was familiar with Greenford reveals Angry Workers’ contact with the working class across much of London when its members first arrived here to have been rather limited. Other things they say point to the same conclusion. On the basis of what the collective writes it would seem that many of those they hung out with in London before moving to the city’s west were students who’d come here to take university courses and who saw themselves as on the left but were clueless about about the place they’d relocated to. The text makes it clear Angry Workers went to great efforts to connect with the working class in west London, but leaves the impression they are still disconnected from it in other parts of the city.

The assertion that Greenford has cultural desert status appears obnoxious, racist and anti-working class: clearly not positions Angry Workers would want to be associated with even if what’s quoted above might be (mis)read as linking them to views of this type. Bourgeois distaste for proletarian culture - sometimes expressed with the absurd assertion that the working class don’t have a culture and exists in a ‘cultural desert’ - can be found among parts of what Angry Workers seem to be describing as the London ‘left’. What ‘the left’ is and whether 'liberal' elements who want to transform everyone into a bourgeois subject are part of it might be seen by some as open to debate, although not by me. In odd places Class Power On Zero Hours lacks clarity in its verbal formulations but on the basis of the entire text, a generous guess would be it is the views of reactionaries who wish to demean working class immigrant communities that are being invoked in the statement about Greenford’s cultural desert status rather than the Angry Workers collective itself believing this to be the case. That said, anyone who was born in the west or south-west of London or who has spent much time there can safely skip the early parts of this book. It is uneven but there is more than enough in its main section to make it worthwhile reading if you’re consciously engaged in class struggle: or even if you're not, yet!

Finally, I really liked the solid pink inside covers of the book, so much so that I’m almost tempted to overlook the fact that this publication really cries out for an index. I’m unlikely to read the whole book twice but it would have been helpful to be able to find the parts I’m going to want to access again easily with an index.

Monday, 27 April 2020


My friend Boris Johnson inherited his visionary spirit from his Ottoman great-grandfather Ali Kema, a freemason with a passing interest in alchemy and the owner of the largest stock of red mercury outside of what was still lodged in the throats of ancient Egyptian mummies lying undiscovered in their tombs. Boris himself had been offered membership of the Guildhall Lodge 3116 but due to his burning desire to impress Catherine McGuinness, he hadn’t joined. If Catherine couldn’t enter this all-male lodge - despite being boss of the City of London Court of Common Council - then he wouldn’t either, even if that meant he never got to be World King AKA Lord Mayor of London.

The Lord Mayor is not to be confused with the much better known but politically insignificant Mayor of London. Freemasons were cunning like that, they installed themselves in an office few knew anything about but which had loads of power and money as well as a rigged election, while leaving millions of Londoners to democratically put their cross against a dupe with a similar title and lots of visibility but little power. This meant that their World King AKA head of the Court of Aldermen would be left alone to plot in secret. When Boris told me this he also said he hoped people would not recall that he had once been Mayor of London but never Lord Mayor.

Even Johnson’s close friend and fellow believer in the bleach cure Donald Trump had been ridiculed for confusing the Mayor of London and the Lord Mayor of London. Those colonials in New York and Washington might only have one mayor but mighty London had two! Boris confided to me he assumed most people were ignorant of the fact that he had been born in New York and wasn’t really Lord Mayor material. He hoped no one would suspect he was anything but a true blue Britisher when he called heartily for his favoured brew of Watney's Red Barrel, a beer that had been initially tested on the public at the East Sheen Lawn Tennis Club in south west London. This was close to where John Dee had his home in the sixteenth century, explorer Richard Burton had his tomb and the 1970s punk rock band Subway Sect hailed from.

To tell the truth it wasn’t just a desire to get stupid fresh with Catherine MacGuiness - and the multi-billion City’s Cash sovereign wealth fund she jointly controlled with the Lord Mayor - that led Boris to turn down ordination into the Guildhall Lodge. He was also concerned that once he was buck naked and dressed in nothing but a blindfold during his initiation, he might be subjected to some indignity he wouldn’t have stood still for if he’d been able to see what was going on. Not that there hadn’t been lots of perversion when Boris had been a member of the Bullingdon Club at Oxford.

At the Bullingdon they’d hired prostitutes to perform sex acts for them, and then there’d been the time Boris had got so drunk that… Well he’d been so drunk he wasn’t sure whether or not he’d taken a fresh corpse borrowed from the local morgue on a date to an expensive restaurant as a dare….. Returning to things that put Boris off becoming a fully paid-up freemason, there was also the issue of what had happened to both his Ottoman great-grandfather and Roberto Calvi. Although he was not related to the latter, Calvi’s death had been much closer to home. The body of God’s banker, a top Italian freemason, had been found ritually strung up under Blackfriars Bridge. This was roughly halfway between Britain’s Parliament where Boris was Prime Minister and the City of London’s Guildhall HQ - where Lodge 3116 met without so much as having to pay to hire a room. Boris had a public image of being a powerful man but he wanted the keys to power that were actually held in the Guildhall. The City of London council got to send a Remembrancer to sit in the House of Commons and tell the government what the City thought of what it was doing, The arrangement wasn’t reciprocal.

Returning to Ali Kema, he'd been assassinated during the Turkish War of Independence. Historians claimed Kema was bumped off for being a traitor to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's cause but Johnson knew that he’d been killed so that the Turkish state could lay its hands on his great-grandfather’s stock of red mercury. Boris had been told this by the freemasons who had engineered his rise through the ranks of British politics in order to repay a debt their grandparents owed to Kema. Once Johnson’s friend Donald Trump had blown their plan to use a bleach cure to rid the world of Covid 19 - by revealing it prematurely and thus having it ridiculed by the press - it seemed like his best bet for dealing with the virus was to lay his hands on his great-grandfather’s stock of red mercury. As every alchemist knows, red mercury is a super-rare substance that will cure cancer or boils or almost any other ailment, so why not coronavirus too? The problem was getting hold of the red mercury. When Boris phoned the Turkish Embassy in London to ask for it they told him he was an Islamophobic asshole who’d betrayed his Ottoman heritage. Ingrates!

In the meantime Boris had been passed 7,500 ring donuts that a food bank in his South Ruislip constituency had been unable to distribute to the needy and which would pass their use-by date in a matter of hours. Some food processing plant in Greenford was donating what they couldn’t sell, and there’d been a huge decline in demand for donuts since a rumour had gone around that eating them while talking on your smartphone caused Covid 19. More than 40 branches of Derek’s Donuts had been set ablaze in the past two weeks and hundreds of supermarket workers whose stores sold the snack had been abused and threatened. Of course Boris had got all of his cabinet members to denounce as idiots those who claimed eating donuts caused Covid 19, and he’d brought in some top scientists too whose secret research proved the same thing. None of which stopped the anti-donut activists from promoting the conspiracy theory and denouncing his favourite delicacy as junk food for cops. When push came to shove the country needed donuts for its police force. They - Boris was never explicit when using this generic term about whether he was invoking donuts or the police or both - were vital to the UK’s infrastructure and without them the virus couldn’t be beaten! Likewise, if the boys in blue weren’t able to eat donuts in peace then Boris would never Get Brexit Done!

As he was chauffeured to number 10 Downing Street with his 7,500 ring donuts, Boris found himself getting all hot and sweaty. Something had come over him and he’d had one of those flashes of inspiration that were common to men of genius. He’d use the ring donuts to worship the goddess in her triple form - not the conventional maiden, mother and crone, but rather mouth, backside and naughty bits! Boris wasn’t too good at maths - he couldn’t even work out how many children he had - but he figured the 7,500 donuts would just about cover three out of seven external orifices for every woman he’d ever slept with. If he’d had more ring donuts he might have indulged himself with nasal sex too. Boris was going to work backwards and imagine doing gross and naughty things with all those he’d known Biblically until every last donut had been abused. Johnson had got as far as Jennifer Arcuri when Dominic Cummings burst in and caught Boris bollock naked rubbing a disintegrating ring donut up and down his manhood.

“That’s a waste of good donuts that is!” Cummings spat as he took in the remains of several dozen ruined sweet fry cakes on the floor.

“A man with your surname ought to understand what it’s like when I’ve got the horn,” Boris whinged defensively, “and besides even a glutton like me couldn’t eat 7,500 donuts with a use by date we’ll have gone past at midnight!”

“The witching hour!” Cummings boomed. “That reminds me, those scientists you’ve got advising you on the pandemic have no respect. They may know about the laws of nature but I know about the laws of spirit, and that means I outrank them all!”

“That’s well and good, but we must do something about the bad publicity my government is getting over a lack of personal protection equipment for health workers!’

“That’s why I told you not to waste the donuts!”

“What have donuts got to do with PPE?” The Prime Minister wanted to know.

“We can turn them into PPE,” Dom explained. “Let’s string lots of donuts together to make protective gowns. Two rings fastened to each other will make fantastic goggles.”

“What about face masks, can we make donut face masks?” Boris asked excitedly.

“Don’t be stupid,” Dom chided, “anyone using donuts as a face mask would start licking off the sugar coating and then chewing on the cake. Donut face masks wouldn’t last five minutes!”

The sugary smell of 7,500 ring donuts had attracted the attention of Larry the Downing Street cat who was mewling like a loon on the other side of the door. Boris let the feline into the room which was a mistake, since Larry was all over the stale fry cakes within seconds. Fortunately it was the ones Boris had used to frontage himself with that most interested the cat. These had traces of dead skin and even blood on them, since the sugar coating had caused a lot of friction when rubbed up and down the Prime Minister’s love muscle.

Boris wasn’t too hot in the fine motor skills department, in fact he probably needed testing for dyspraxia. Cummings certainly didn’t want to risk being exposed as suffering from developmental co-ordination disorder and so his entrepreneurial bent led him to combine three economic sources that were of major significance to the UK - the charity sector’s food banks for unwanted donuts, the government and immigrant labour. The Queensmead Sports Centre in South Ruislip’s Victoria Road was closed due to the pandemic, and so Cummings decided to deploy its unused gym as a base from which to make prototype versions of the ring donut PPE that would turn around the public’s false perception of a poor governmental performance with regard to the current pandemic.

Dom hired a Gujarati woman from Park Royal who’d initially come to the UK to work at the mammoth hummus production part of Bakkavor’s Cumberland site in Greenford. She was extremely nifty with a needle and regularly worked as a seamstress because it was difficult to live on the poor wages paid at local food processing plants. Before 24 hours had passed Johnson and Cummings had what they’d dreamed up the previous night, a medical gown and goggles made of ring donuts! Well, the goggles were made of ring donuts. At the suggestion of the seamstress, the gown had been fabricated from jam donuts since having holes the length and breadth of the garment would have been a health risk to NHS heroes.

Although the donut PPE had been Dom’s idea, Boris pulled rank and insisted that he be the first to try it out. Given it was made from literally hundreds of jam donuts, the gown proved to be pretty heavy but at least it was voluminous enough for a fatso like Johnson to wear. To keep Dom happy, Boris told him he was going to recommend his adviser for a Queen's Award for Enterprise on the basis of his donut recycling activities in South Ruislip. The prototype PPE turned out to be perfect in every way, except for a slight tendency for the donuts at the bottom of the gown to fall off with a soft plop as Boris spun around in his triumph at having saved the National Health Service. That said, as libertarians he and Dom both knew that ultimately private health was much more efficient than haemorrhaging corporate profits to pay for public services. So once Boris had saved the NHS and after everything got back to normal in about 3 weeks' time, he planned to abolish the NHS.

In his moment of glory for having saved the NHS, Boris decided to burst out of the gym and take a lap of honour on a Queensmead Sports Centre football pitch. After all he’d proved once again that England had won its wars - and the battle against Covid 19 was a war - on the playing fields of Eton! The fact that a fuckwit like Boris could get to be Prime Minister demonstrated that his parents had got real value for money when they’d paid for him to attend Britain’s top public school. The fees were reassuringly expensive!

Two unfortunate things happened as Boris jigged across the football pitch. Firstly his smartphone rang, it was a call from a hefty female former professional kick boxer turned gym instructor with whom the PM was enjoying an intimate relationship.

“I found snot all over my dirty underwear when I was loading it into my washing machine just now. Have you been sniffing it again?”

This baseless accusation caused Johnson to sway and he’d never been a good runner at the best of times. He tripped over this own feet and fell to the ground. Seeing red oozing all around him, Boris thought he was a goner. While the British Prime Minister was able to pull the wool over his own eyes about his life ebbing away before him, he couldn’t fool a passing swarm of wasps who knew that what Boris thought was his own blood was in fact strawberry jam that had leaked out of the squashed donuts. Recovering a slight semblance of sense at the sight of the descending wasps and wanting to save the prototype PPE, even if it was now mashed up and in fragments, Johnson tried to shoo the insects away but this only made them angry. Boris quickly discovered that the painful pricks of failure were more or less equivalent to a dozen wasp stings.

In the interests of safety the plans for recycling donuts as PPE were shelved. It was back to the drawing board for Boris and Dom…. they still needed a way to demonstrate their political genius by defeating Covid 19.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Even Masts Must Burn: Telecommunications In The Era of Covid 19

Lockdown in London is insane, the centre of the city is densely populated so there’s people everywhere taking their allowed daily exercise or shopping for essential goods. Lots are still walking around like zombies looking at their smartphones rather than at where they’re going. There are fewer cars on the roads so those still about travel much faster than normal. Cyclists and joggers are everywhere, as are the busybodies shouting at anyone they perceive to be infringing lockdown rules, taking photographs of those they berate and making malicious reports to the police. The pettiness of those acting as amateur cops and trying to enforce their own version of lockdown - which is inevitably more draconian than the already draconian new laws - is unbelievable. And while the cops are equally clueless about the limits of their new powers and appear to be mutating into cut-price versions of the The Sith from Star Wars, they too seem incapable of practising social distancing since it goes against everything they’ve been taught about protecting themselves and intimidating others.

The fact that so many are completely incapable of keeping a safe distance from strangers - and this extends well beyond the cops and amateur cops -  illustrates how alienated people are. Half the population seem to have no awareness of their own bodies or whose in the street or supermarket with them. Meanwhile, the homeless and mad are becoming ever more desperate and have either given up on begging and can be seen huddled together in encampments on Tottenham Court Road and elsewhere, or else have become much more aggressive in their quest for money to buy food and alcohol. The homeless are supposed to be in shelters but most still seem to be roaming around, presumably preferring the relatively greater freedom of the streets to being locked up under lockdown. There’s a shortage of many street drugs but the government recognise booze as an essential and so London’s off-licences (liquor stores) are open. Anyone hoping to sleep on the streets probably needs a drink or two in order to nod off, while the rest of the population are also living out the insane nightmare that is late-capitalism and dependence on alcohol is one way of dealing with it.

Covid 19 has brought out the best in many people and the worst in others. There are wonderful community mutual aid groups doing shopping for the vulnerable and delivering presents to children. Meanwhile hysterical media coverage links burning telecommunications masts and infrastructure to ridiculous conspiracy theories about 5G causing Covid 19. At least one of the fires the press was wringing its hands over recently and blaming on anti-5G activists turned out to have been due to faulty equipment and not suspicious. The papers call those who oppose 5G idiots because the equipment that was maliciously targeted is largely 3G and 4G. Since no one has yet been charged with - let alone convicted - of these acts of arson against phone masts, the fact that it isn’t 5G equipment that was torched might well imply those involved in the vandalism aren’t opposed to 5G and had other motives. The links made in the press between this arson and anti-5G activism are at best speculative.

There are many reasons for setting telecommunications infrastructure alight but even when it’s just teens doing it for kicks it doesn't follow that we shouldn't be thrilled by film and photos of the resultant fires. Baudrillard said more than 50 years ago: “Something in all (wo)men profoundly rejoices at seeing a car burn..” This rings true because cars are a symbol of possessive individualism and have wrought untold destruction on our planet. Given the negative social impact of smartphones - including but not limited to surveillance and an intensification of work - today nothing is more beautiful than a burning phone mast. Technology isn’t neutral, it shapes societies and human relations, and so the health and wellness concerns of anti-5G activists aren’t the reason I get a buzz when I see burning telecommunications infrastructure. Nonetheless media hysteria about torched masts and Covid 19 conspiracy theories mean it’s now nearly impossible to have a nuanced conversation about the joys and broader political dimensions of such vandalism, why everyone should get rid of their smartphone or what’s actually bad about 3G, 4G and 5G.

Under lockdown I like to run around the streets for an hour a day, since it’s quite a kick to see most of the shops and all the restaurants in central London closed, and knowing that even if they were open I wouldn’t be using most of them. I don’t even miss the record and book stores I did sometimes visit before Covid 19. I totally dig jogging through Soho and Covent Garden to visit the places I went as a teen 40 and more years ago and to revel in the fact that the London I knew then has entirely disappeared, just as the hyper-capitalist London of the current millennium is about to disappear. A different and better world is not only possible, it is also very necessary….

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Lee Holmes of Clones of Bruce Lee is Stupid

A reply to the baseless accusations of Lee Holmes of Clones of Bruce Lee.

I’ve no wish to draw others into your attempt to create a spat, so I will not bother to cover all the issues raised by your brickbat on pages I do not run regardless of how obsessively you repost your rant on social media. Here no one else need be involved, unless they chose to involve themselves. So let’s go through your preposterous claims. You write:

“I must say I am pretty annoyed at the reference to me in the book. The author seems to be obsessed with trying to put down other writers who have delved into this genre in some sort of attempt to make himself out as the more superior researcher.”

Here’s most of what I have to say about you: “Within Brucesploitation and the related Chansploitation phenomena, actors who copy and clone Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan make up one strand of these subgenres, but their importance can and has been over-stated. This is evident not just from the title of the book Here Come The Kung Fu Clones by Carl Jones, but also the UK fan site Clones of Bruce Lee run by Lee Holmes. Both Jones and Holmes treat Bruce Liang as a clone. My own view is that when Liang appears as Bruce Lee in The Dragon Lives Again (1977) he is there as an actor playing the Little Dragon in the underworld after death rather than a clone; this is emphasised by dialogue in the English dub addressing head on the fact that Liang doesn’t look like Bruce Lee…. Movies such as The Black Dragon’s Revenge (1975), with a narrative that revolves around a fictional investigation into the death of Bruce Lee, belong to the Brucesploitation genre without even featuring a clone so copyists are not essential to this film category. Lee Holmes on his Clones website at one time listed Black Dragon’s Revenge supporting actor Charles Bonet as a Bruce Lee clone, but given this martial artist’s karate leanings and rejection of kung fu, this is not a claim I take at all seriously. I would further argue that those who see figures like Bonet as clones do so because they approach Brucesploitation in thrall to the misleading idea that copyists define it. Tadashi Yamashita, sometimes called Bronson Lee after a character he played, is another example of a karateka I do not accept as a Bruce Lee clone; despite Jones and Holmes – among others – mistakenly asserting he is one.”

Seeing this any intelligent reader will immediately realise that your claim that I want to pose as “the more superior researcher” is based on a basic category error.  The passage above is focused more on interpretation than research and I certainly wouldn’t damn myself with feint praise by claiming to be a superior theorist to you because you are not a theorist at all. Likewise your clumsy attempt at commentary on something you failed to fully understand might be cited as evidence that I am a superior writer to you; sadly your prose as quoted in the present paragraph is so clunky that this hardly requires pointing out. While I may be putting you down now for a ridiculously over-sensitive and stupid response to Re-Enter The Dragon, this was not what I was doing in the book when I laid out the differences between my positions on Brucesploitation as a genre and dominant discourse on it to date, of which your website simply provides an example. If you don’t want your views of Brucesploitation to be met with anything other than agreement then you’d be best advised not to air them in public, or indeed private.

You write: “…who doesn't think that Fist of Unicorn should be categorised as Bruceploitation? This not some big revelation.”

Newsflash for Lee Holmes, billions of people in the world have never heard of Fist of Unicorn or Brucesploitation, and it is therefore extremely unlikely they think a film of which they are unaware should be categorised as part of a genre they aren’t familiar with. However if you look at what I say in regard to this in context then it is also obvious that I’m not claiming this as some ‘big revelation’ but rather deploying it as part of a broader argument: “I have seen it falsely asserted in a number of places – including Wikipedia – that Brucesploitation movies attempted to exploit interest in Bruce Lee after his death. Fist of Unicorn (1973) can and should be treated as part of the genre, and it was made and released before Lee died on 20 July 1973…” In case you want to check the Wikipedia entry, although it appears you don’t bother to fact check anything very much (see below), there is an archived version of the page here:

Incidentally if you think Fist of Unicorn is Brucesploitation then you implicitly support my argument that the genre predates the Little Dragon’s death, and Wikipedia - among others – was wrong to claim it is made up of movies shot after 20 July 1973. Note that this Wikipedia entry opens with various errors I am attempting to correct in Re-Enter The Dragon: “Bruceploitation (a portmanteau of Bruce Lee and exploitation) refers to the practice on the part of filmmakers in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan of hiring Bruce Lee look-alike actors ("Lee-alikes") to star in many imitation martial arts films in order to cash in on Lee's success after his death.” Alongside the dating error in this opening sentence, there are the misleading assertions that Brucesploitation is characterised by look-alike actors (or clones to use the term found in the title of your website) and about the geographical areas that produced such films (which, of course, also include The Philippines, Korea, Indonesia, Japan and the USA). The claim that Brucesploitation movies are ‘imitation martial arts films’ is particularly silly; in my experience most of those interested in the genre currently consider them to be actual martial arts films rather than imitation fight flicks. That said, such a slippage does serve to illustrate the damage the clone fallacy does to a proper understanding of the genre.

Wikipedia entries are highly ranked by search engines and are influential, therefore misconceptions within them and the sources they draw upon and link to – including in the instance of the one on ‘Bruceploitation’ your website - need to be challenged, which is what I’ve been doing. I would also point out that this Wikipedia entry has for some time contained a link to a review of the Carl Jones book Here Come The Kung Fu Clones that I wrote and published in 2012, and that my understanding of Brucesploitation has changed since then; although I would stand by the review’s premise that Jones in his book was confused about the Bruce Le filmography - this is reiterated in less detail in Re-Enter The Dragon.

You say: “I also don't think anyone has ever said that Bruce Lee A Dragon Story is the first Bruceploitation movie, it is the first Bruce Lee Bio-pic.”

The top two entries of the web search I just did for Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story (1974), both addressed the matter of it being the ‘first’ Brucesploitation movie. I got live links for Wikipedia and Hong Kong Movie Database but I’m providing archived ones here:

Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story… is a 1974 Bruceploitation film starring Bruce Li…. The film is notable for being the first biopic of Bruce Lee (it was released the year following his death), the debut film of notorious Lee imitator Bruce Li, and the first film in the Bruceploitation genre.
“Bruce Lee: A Dragon Story is thought to be the first entry in the extraordinary genre of what are known as "Brucesploitation" films.”

You say: “…how do you know my opinions on Bruce Leung Siu-Lung or Tadashi Yamashita and how they fit into Bruceploitation? I've never published a profile on them on my site. If you wanted my opinion on them, here is a radical idea, you could have just asked me!”

I assume it is narcissism that makes you think I’d be interested in your opinions. To clarify, I couldn’t give a flying fuck about your opinions on Bruce Liang (AKA Bruce Leung Siu-Lung), Tadashi Yamashita, or anything else for that matter. My book dealt with Brucesploitation as a genre and that meant I needed to address the discourse(s) that create and shape it, and unfortunately your website is a part of this and is publicly accessible. On your site you have a page dedicated to ‘lesser known stars of Bruceploitation’, where you mention three major clones and go on to provide a list of others who were ‘impersonating The Little Dragon’. You include both Bruce Liang (AKA Bruce Leung Siu-Lung) and Tadashi Yamashita on this list and therefore effectively treat them as clones. It would have been completely redundant to ask you about this because you’d already implicitly stated your position online. In case you’ve forgotten what’s on your own website here’s an archived version of the page:

You say: “And why would anyone classify Mission Terminate as a Bruceploitation movie? It is only included on my site due to the fact that it features Bruce Le and I cover his entire filmography.”

If you cover Bruce Le’s entire filmography why am I unable to find coverage of it all on your site? For example I can find nothing about Treasure of Bruce Lee or My Name Called Bruce. When I use the search engine on your site for these films it produces no results, see screenshots below. It’s claims like this, which I’m unable to substantiate, that lead me to suspect you may be a habitual liar. Since I’ve never been able to find coverage of ALL Bruce Le’s films on your site, your sorry justification isn’t exactly convincing. There’s nothing on the page containing the Richard Norton interview to suggest you see Mission Terminate as anything other than Brucesploitation. That page is archived here:

Your homepage explicitly states: “This website is dedicated to Bruce Lee exploitation cinema, or ‘Bruceploitation’ as it has become to be known.” This is at the top of the page in capital letters and it is therefore reasonable for anyone visiting the site to conclude that anything on it - such as the coverage of Mission Terminate - you consider to be Brucesploitation, unless you explicitly state otherwise. BTW: your sentence construction is shockingly bad and you really ought to rewrite the dreadful ‘as it has become to be known’ since this sloppy phrasing is very visible on the page.  In case you’ve forgotten what’s on your homepage there’s an archived version of it here:

You write: “I applaud anyone who goes to the effort to bring out a book on this genre that I love I just don't see why you think you had to include my name, and other writers (e.g. Carl Jones) in such a negative way to try make yourself and your book look better. As a fan and researcher of this genre for more than 30 years I wouldn't see the need to try and put down you in anything I write. My research into the genre consists of more than merely watching what i can find online or purchased from the poundshop and writing a basic plot line and sticking it in a book.”

This self-refuting passage really made me laugh. You are attempting to put me down in your brickbat, and it is something you’ve written, so why pointlessly contradict yourself within it by rhetorically stating: “I wouldn't see the need to try and put down you in anything I write…” You appear incapable of making or sustaining a coherent argument or writing a well-constructed sentence. Likewise some of the absurd errors on your part addressed here rather belie your claims to have been researching ‘this genre for more than 30 years’. It would appear that what you call ‘research’ consists mostly of spouting the first piece bullshit that enters your head and deluding yourself into thinking no one will notice you’re utterly clueless. Likewise your claim that me ‘putting you down’ will make me or my book ‘look better’ is ridiculous, since you’re a complete twit who is utterly incapable of making me or anyone else ‘look better’ by comparison. I also hope it’s clear by now I wasn’t putting you down in my book even if I am now. I’m doing that here to demonstrate the difference between civil critical engagement with your website – which is my stance towards it in Re-Enter The Dragon – and personalised refutation with humorous insults, which as I trust this reply illustrates is a style of address that I am also familiar with and that I can deploy as and when is necessary. It would be great if this eventually helped you to understand the difference between the two, although at present that seems rather unlikely.

You say: “And one final thought, I've never seen Bruceploitation spelt "Brucesploitation". I've no idea where you got that idea from.”

I discuss the variant spellings of Brucesploitation in Re-Enter The Dragon and if as you claim you’ve been researching the genre for 30 years then you really ought to have seen the spelling I use elsewhere. Either you’re lying or you haven’t done any serious research, or both. I’m going to give you one example of the Brucesploitation spelling being used here but you can find many more by doing a simple web search, assuming - of course - you’re not too simple to use a search engine:


Sunday, 11 May 2014



At the start of their second year Kitaj was doing very well at the Republican College of Art. Hockney wanted to see whether he could make a better fist of the new term at the RCA than he had of the last. He began with a much better chance of doing so, for he was thoroughly humbled. The discovery that he was not altogether such a hero as he had fancied himself, had dawned upon him very distinctly by the end of his first year as the full depths of his masochism had been revealed; and the events of the long vacation had confirmed the impression, and pretty well taken all the conceit out of him for the time being. The impotency of his own will, even when he was bent on doing the right thing, his want of insight and foresight in whatever matter he took in hand, the unruliness of his temper and passions just at the moments when it behooved him to have them most thoroughly in check and under control, were a set of agreeable facts which had been driven well home to him. The results, being even such as we have seen, he did not much repine at, for he felt he had deserved them; and there was a sort of grim satisfaction, dreary as the prospect was, in facing them, and taking his punishment like a man. Or at least like a girl since he most enjoyed bondage scenes in which he was made to put on dresses and act like a member of the ‘weaker’ sex.

Kitaj was so fully occupied with painting and a muscle-building regime that he’d taken up, that Hockney had scruples about demanding much of his spare time in the evenings. Nevertheless, the two men still wanted to enjoy some kinky sex together, and were able to do so both at the RCA and in their rooms. On the first day of term Hockney checked out the new first year students and had even sucked one of them off in the men’s toilet at lunchtime. He hoped Kitaj would hear about this and would punish him severely for it. And that was precisely what happened towards the end of that first day back at college.

Hockney stood in the corner of a lecture room, his hands firmly planted on the top of his head, muttering at the injustice of it all. He knew that Kitaj was strict, but he was in his early twenties for fucks sake, a post-graduate art student, and he had been standing with a view of nothing but peeling paintwork for the last forty-five minutes. Hockney heard Kitaj step back into the room and the blinds of the lecture hall fell, leaving only the glow of the lights.

"Boy, what did you think you were doing?" Kitaj’s voice was harsher than before, Hockney could tell this time he was in for it.

The sub’s response came out as a mutter: "Nothing, it was just a bit of fun..."

"Just what? A Joke? I'm sure that fresher’s orgasm wasn’t a sarcastic orgasm, was it?"

"No," Hockney was sulking by this time. He was being spoken to like a child, it had just been guys messing around in the john, a quick blow job, and now he was taking a heavy wrap for it.

"No sir, is how you shall address me Hockney! I see it is not just your submissive peers you treat with such disrespect but even your master. Come over to the lecture desk."

Hockney walked over to the most imposing piece of furniture in the room as Kitaj instructed. He lowered his arms from his head and gave them a little rub to improve their numbed circulation.

"They tried punishing you with lines when you were at school I presume?" Kitaj snapped.

Hockney rummaged in his bag with one hand, thinking how cruel it was that his position in the corner had made his arms ache before the hours of endless, repetitive writing.

"And writing lines didn't make an impact on you I see" Kitaj continued as he sat down in a chair behind the lecture desk, "So instead of getting you to write out 'I must not suck fresher cock' a thousand times, I want you to bend over this desk, and we will see if I can't beat some discipline into you."

Hockney jerked his head up to look at Kitaj, and was shocked to see he was done up like a tranny. Kitaj was wearing make-up and a low cut dress, not to mention a sick stern kind of smile that made it clear that he was on some strict school-mistress trip. He even had on long false nails that had been painted with purple varnish! Kitaj hadn’t looked anything like this when he’d left the room. It was sick, in anyone else the way Kitaj was done up would have looked like forced feminisation, but the dom was able to carry it off and retain his aura of authority and masculinity. Still being beaten by a top wearing a dress was a new level of humiliation for Hockney.

Hockney took his time bending over the desk, taking in Kitaj’s female scent – a perfume he was unable to name – as he leant towards him. Kitaj stood and walked round the desk and out of Hockney’s line of sight. The apprehension the sub felt was nearly unbearable and although it could only have been a few seconds it felt like minutes had passed before Kitaj spoke.

"Hockney, earlier today you seemed to think it amusing to suck some boy’s cock without my permission." This was clearly a statement, not a question, so Hockney kept his mouth shut. "I think it is fair that you shall drop your trousers for your caning"

Before Hockney had time to refuse to comply, Kitaj pinned the sub to the desk with one hand. Hockney felt Kitaj’s body against his own and a strange sense of arousal came over him as he once again took in his master’s feminine scent. Hockney was thinking he shouldn't be turned on by this, a master who has dressed himself up in a frock, plastered make-up over his face and drenched himself in cheap perfume. It was a new low in Hockney’s sexual fetishism.

Kitaj practically assaulted Hockney. The sub felt one hand undoing his belt, removing it and then Kitaj used a length of rope to tie Hockney’s hands to a hook on the other side of the desk, stretching him across the wood and pressing his cock against it. Hockney clenched his legs together determined that Kitaj would not remove his trousers, but Kitaj’s strength was astounding, probably the result of all the weight training he’d been doing. Hockney’s overpants were at his ankles, and Kitaj ordered him to step out of them, his smalls did little to preserve his dignity. Hockney snapped his legs back together, determined that Kitaj wouldn't see through to his cock, which was, much to his great pleasure, rock hard. The reason Hockney had a stiffy was because he was completely vulnerable. He clenched his butt cheeks tight together in anticipation of the cane.

"Boy, I am going to give you eight strokes for your cock sucking antics. You are to count them and if you miss one I will start again. If you try to avoid your punishment by squirming, I will start again. Don't give me a reason to make this worse boy."

Hockney heard the cane before he felt it. A swoosh through the air then a thwack as it landed on his clenched buttocks. The pain took a few seconds to register in his brain, being felt as a tingle before it became a sting, and by the time the sub fully appreciated this agony it was every bit as bad as he was expecting. Hockney clenched his gluteus muscles to help him control himself and stay still. "One, sir," then "two sir," almost immediately after.

Hockney wasn’t ready for the second stroke, he tensed up just as the cane hit, and Kitaj saw that all of Hockney’s gluts had contracted. As both Hockney and Kitaj knew the gluteal muscles are a group of four muscles. Three of these muscles make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus muscle, gluteus medius muscle and gluteus minimus muscle. The fourth and smallest of the muscles is the tensor fasciae latae muscle, which is located anterior and lateral to the rest. Without Hockney even thinking about it all of his gluts had tensed. Indeed even Hockney’s hamstrings had contracted.

"Hockney, why are you clenching your buttocks like that? Does the caning hurt too much or are you daydreaming that you are performing squats with a heavy barbell across your shoulders?"

The sub wasn't fooled by the mock sympathy in Kitaj’s voice and didn’t answer.

"Do you know, boy, what they did to naughty boys who clenched their buttocks during a canning in the ancient world?"

"No sir."

"Let us have a little history lesson then…"

Hockney felt Kitaj getting up close and personal with him, and then pulling down his skidmarked knickers. Hockney tried to struggle against Kitaj but it was useless, the top already knew Hockney didn’t have the best hygiene habits in the world, and was often reduced to boiling his shit and piss stained underpants in a pan to get them clean. When he did this, Hockney always feared a knock on the door from his landlady Mrs Longbottom. She would scream at him and yell that she ran a Christian house in which no man was allowed to boil his underpants on a hot plate since the smell was an affront to the dignity of upright and moral women of all classes.

Just as he tried to hide his underpant boiling activities from Mrs Longbottom, Hockney hoped to hide the fact that he now had a raging hard on from Kitaj.  The top’s false nails scraped against Hockney’s cock as Kitaj pulled the sub’s skidmarkded underwear down. But the dom didn't mention the state of extreme sexual arousal the slave just happened to be in.

Hockney wobbled as Kitaj pulled one of his ankles towards the leg of the desk and tied them securely together – the operation was then repeated on the other side. Hockney was trussed up like a turkey at Christmas and hoping he’d end up just as well stuffed. The bottom was unable to move his arms or his legs, but he could still clench his butt cheeks together. He heard the clink of Kitaj’s high heels on the floor and the door opening, but not shutting. He was tied to a desk, naked from the waist down with the door open whilst Kitaj went out for what Hockney wrongly imagined to be a wank in the john.

Hockney had no idea how much time passed before Kitaj returned with what looked like a carved vegetable that had been shaped into a buttplug in his hand. Kitaj stood behind the sub and fondled his butt cheeks, spreading them apart.

"Relax, it will be worse if you don't."

Worse? Hockney wondered what the hell Kitaj was going to do with him. With one hand holding Hockney’s arse cheeks apart, the top slipped something cold and wet into the sub’s anus. Why was Kitaj doing that Hockney wondered? Then his bum started tingling, and the sub tried to clench his rim of dark pleasures tight to stop Kitaj pushing the unknown thing in any further. Despite Hockney’s pitiful attempt to struggle against it, the strangely carved vegetable kept going in deeper and deeper. And while this was happening the tingling had progressed into a burning.

"This Hockney is called figging, the tighter you clench, the more it hurts and burns."

"What is it sir?"

"Ginger, four inches of it, freshly cut and shaped for your naughty little bumhole…"

Hockney winced as Kitaj stepped back to retrieve his cane, The sub had no choice now but to relax because the more he tightened his gluts and pelvic core the more the ginger burned him. He wondered how much the caning would hurt? Determined to stay relaxed, Hockney awaited the third stroke of his punishment. And it came. Harder than the last two on his now bare and figged bottom.

"Ahh shit, fuck, oahh, th-three sir." Hockney had been relaxed for the stroke, but then clenched on the ginger once he felt the pain of it, getting the worst of all worlds. And yet through it all his cock was throbbing, desperate for some attention. For a moment sexual desire took over from the agony.

"That was not three, boy, we had to start again, and your appalling language has done little to help you, counting is clearly too difficult for your hormone crazed brain to handle - that's right, I have seen how hard your little dick has got from me punishing you. Let's try it again, five more strokes."

Kitaj walked around to the desk, and shoved Hockney’s filthy skidmarked drawers into the sub’s gob. The smalls were wet with piss and shit and tasted dirty in Hockney’s mouth, Before Hockney could consider using his tongue to push the underwear out of his north and south, they were taped firmly in place and he was instructed to remain silent.

The next three strokes came in quick succession, one after the other on the delicate fold between the leg and the cheek. That is to say he was being whacked on the gluteal sulcus, also known as the gluteal fold, the horizontal gluteal crease, or the fold of the buttocks. It is an area on the body of humans and great apes described by a horizontal crease formed by the inferior aspect of the buttocks and the posterior upper thigh. The gluteal sulcus is formed by the posterior horizontal skin crease of the hip joint and overlying fat, and is not formed by the lower border of gluteus maximus, which crosses the fold obliquely. It is one of the major defining features of the buttocks in both great apes and humans.

But Hockney was not giving much thought to anatomy. The sting of the cane mixed with the burn of the ginger, leaving him in a state of sexual agony. His anticipation of the next stroke forced his buttocks to clench hard around the ginger, intensifying the burning sensation and immediately making him relax in an attempt to dull the pain. Kitaj waited for that moment before he struck. This stroke came firmer than the previous three and was immediately followed by another swift blow.

As the sixth stroke came, Hockney’s body thrust forward by the three millimetres available to it. The sub’s knob, trapped between his body and the desk, rubbed pleasurably against the tough oak. Hockney let out a low moan despite the shit-smeared gag in his mouth. This cry articulated both pain and sexual arousal. Kitaj heard it and let out a disapproving chuckle. Hockney, meanwhile, thrust his cock against the desk in an attempt to gain some release from that hard and sexy surface.

As the seventh stroke smashed into Hockney’s reddened backside, it greatly added to his sense of extreme sexual arousal, and all pain was washed away by the genetic urges coursing through his core. Hockney awaited stroke eight. The sub was unable to see his master, but he felt his hand, cold against his burning bumhole, making its way towards the ginger plug. And then the pain intensified. Kitaj was fucking Hockney’s arse with the ginger, renewing the sensations that had begun to subside.

Then it finally came! The eighth and last stroke of the cane. It was, in fact, the eleventh stroke - and Hockney’s arse burnt and stung like it had been attacked by a swarm of angry bees who believed their queen to be imprisoned in the sub’s guts. The bottom’s cock was hard and pressed against the art school desk.

Then Kitaj spoke. "Well done, boy. You dealt with that well in the end. Was it really worth making all that fuss over?"

Hockney tried to speak, but through the shitty gag his words came out as an incomprehensible murmur. He wasn't going to argue. His love muscle was too hard and his bulk ached for release too much for him to do anything. He simply found himself grateful for the restraints. They kept him from falling to the floor.

"However, I am disappointed at this." As he spoke Kitaj reached underneath Hockney and cruelly prodded his throbbing member. "It seems I have done little to teach you in the long term about the consequences of unauthorised cock sucking. It seems that no matter what I do you are only able to think with your dick..."

After the figging Hockney was convinced that thinking with his dick wasn’t such a bad idea – since it opened up so many orgasmic possibilities. He even made a student painting on the theme entitled "Be A Man, Think With Your Dick" but unfortunately it has been lost to posterity.