John J Kelly

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Layla and other assorted love songs from Fez

June 4, 2011

Thus has temporarily relocated to the heart and heat of the Arab world’s oldest medieval medina. I’ve been to Fez before so I’m skipping the tourist highlights; the tannery where they cure leather for bags and jackets with pigeon guano and human piss; the curly slippers; the New Age Frenchies. I’m staying in the eclectic Riad Damia with its vast vestibule and TWO 1940s stereograms on the edge of the oldest part of town. The Fez Sacred Music Festival, now in its 17th year,  started last night with a visit from royalty and... More

Hints on Self-Preservation when Attacked by a War Dog

May 21, 2011

. . . is the first published output of one of my most-admired authors, pulp cowboy and science fiction writer, JT Edson. You may not have heard of him: despite a canon of 136 published books selling more than 27 million copies, Edson ceased to be published in the UK from the 1990s, partly due to his somewhat politically incorrect views. He claimed that the American Civil War was about secession, not slavery. Drawing a bead on the Guardianistas, he avowed that  ’liberals’ were almost certain to be intolerant of others... More

The person you are calling is not available

May 16, 2011

Moore’s Law postulates that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every two years, exponentially increasing computing power, lowering costs and putting Star Trek devices within the reach of the Kalahari bushman. Though I personally think Intel founder Gordon Moore was reaching for a soundbite when he made his famous prediction 46 years ago, the general principle has held true. The average mobile phone, much less smartphone, holds more processing power than the average desktop computer of a decade ago. Much good it does us. The ability to get... More

Space Evil proves Japan’s superiority to China

April 17, 2011

In my twin roles of Quality guru and tin robot tycoon, I’m in a unique position to settle the debate as to whether China will unseat Japan as the manufacturing powerhouse of the global economy. In terms of sheer volume, there is no debate: China is already big boss. But quality? If you want a wobbly plastic bucket, a t shirt with unintended underarm ventilation after two washes or a can opener that doubles as an instrument of digital amputation, then China’s yer man. If, on the other hand, you want... More

Yuri Gagarin table lamp blasts into Thus Magazine Quality Hall of Fame

April 12, 2011

50 years to the day after orbiting the earth for 89 minutes in a tiny capsule jettisoned from the mighty Vostok 2 rocket, Hero of the Soviet Union Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin was awarded another gong. A plastic table lamp constructed in his honour has been inducted into ThusMagazine’s Quality Hall of Fame. The event, widely leaked on the Brick Lane Robot Shop’s secretive Facebook page, has thus far attracted no comment from Russian officials, nor has it featured on BBC Radio, seemingly obsessed with Gagarin chitter chatter on this momentous day. The award judges,... More

From Hero to Zero. Is Gadaffi the New Whacko Jacko?

March 23, 2011

Though I hate to say I told you so, this Thus post from August 2009 “Where’s Gordon Brown in the Libyan Desert Storm?” deals at length in customary erudite fashion with the extraordinary rehabilitation of Whacko Jacko Gadaffi, his socialite son Saif, erstwhile cocktail guest of both Mandelson and Osborne and the strange silence surrounding the release of Al Megrahi, the world’s longest surviving terminal cancer patient. I’m particularly proud of the gratuitous and childish captions, by the way. Oh, and let’s not forget Sarkozy, pictured in the same article warmly welcoming Gadaffi... More

Sindhi truck art tin trucks win Thus Quality Awards

March 21, 2011

With feeble and insincere apologies for the interruption in the awards process, I am delighted to announce that The Robot Shop’s Sindhi truckers’ tin trunks have passed all the tests and blasted into the Thus Quality Hall of Fame. Louis Vuitton doesn’t even get to platform one in comparison to the Thus Sindhi hand painted tin trunk Only a loony or a Hounyhym (Thus passim) could find any fault with these life-affirming and unique hand painted suitcases, made in Pakistan’s Sindh region, and coincidentally available at the Brick Lane Robot... More

Thus Spake Portmerion

March 15, 2011

….actually, not true. For once, I listened without fidgeting and kicking the seatback of the person in front. Except during the breaks, over breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, in the bar, walking on the beach, on the bus, where I talked too much – I blame the coffee – listened and enjoyed the company of a group of interesting and informed people. I’m sure that was the point of the Editorial Intelligence ‘Names Not Numbers’ symposium, hosted in Portmerion by my extraordinary friend, Julia Hobsbawm. Back from the Clough Ellis vision... More