North Korea has been getting some fairly rank press in recent years. And in times of such deplorable slander from the “monopoly capitalist media of the West,” we must seek to heal these wounds of persecution, these sores of injustice, and hereby mount a unified resistance.
Oh worthy warrior of Mt Paekdu
leading the stout hearted partisans of
the mighty KPRA to shatter the chains
of Japanese imperialism, shock brigade of
world fascism, to dispatch
the murderous Japs to their doom
Or so Dermot Hudson might think, the UK’s delegate for the DPRK’s cultural-liaison wing, the Korean Friendship Association (KFA). Hudson is also the poet of the subtle words you just read (but probably didn’t). Now, it’s pretty hard to imagine such dubious sermonizing to come from a white guy brought up in England, and you’d be forgiven for thinking these words are lifted directly from an early Kim Il-sung essay, or even a revered piece of Kim Jong-un cinema. But Hudson is truly impassioned by the unity of the people, the enrichment of the “Juché idea,” and the resistance to “Jap” and US imperialist aggressors. He is equally enamored of the Eternal President Kim Il-sung; of Dear Leader, Respected Leader, Great Leader, Wise Leader, Unique Leader, Great Marshal, Amazing Politician, Savior, Invincible and Ever-Triumphant General Kim Jong-il; and of Marshal, Dear Leader Kim Jong-un (he’s young, and the titles come with time).
In other words, this guy is up shit creek. Naturally, I decided to contact him. He told me about the times he saw Kim Jong-il, the famine, Western media, and the attitude toward weed. I learned, among other things, that Kim Jong-il moved with a “very fast, dignified bearing,” that North Korea is strictly not like Ethiopia in the 70s, and that the Pyongyang metro only costs three cents!
VICE: How did you acquire your position as UK spokesman for the KFA? Dermot Hudson: I had been the chairman of Juche Idea Study Group of England and the vice president of the old Society for Friendship with Korea. I joined KFA in 2001, about six months after it was formed, and was appointed official delegate for the UK by the KFA International Organization Committee.
Have you met either Kim Jong-il or Kim Jong-un? I did not meet them in person but saw them in the distance. I was within a couple 100 feet of Dear Respected Marshal Kim Jong-un, and I saw great comrade Kim Jong-il at a national meeting in April 2002. He looked younger than he was and moved very fast, with a dignified bearing. I have seen Marshal Kim Jong-un in the distance about four or five times. In April 2012, at a military parade, he waved at the crowd. He looked like a very happy person.
Are you bored of monogamy? Do you just have an uncontrollable urge to have sex with someone other than the person you sleep next to every night? If so, I have some excellent news: A matchmaking service is offering husbands and wives seeking a fling the opportunity to shit all over their marriage vows in the most secretive and expensive way possible.
In fact, UK-based Infidelities—a “discreet one to one private client personal and bespoke introduction service for men and women who are in a committed relationship but seek an affair”—has been around since at least 2009, but David, the 70-year-old founder of Infidelities (who didn’t want to disclose his real last name as he thought it might damage his other businesses), hadn’t done any press about the site until I met with him recently in the lounge of the Ritz hotel in London.
When I arrived, David was taking a break between meeting clients, who he told me are generally pretty well-off. He mentioned that they’re occasionally related to famous people and said that he once arranged an affair for the sister of a well-known author. “When she gave me her name, it was quite an unusual surname,” he said. “Later, I picked up a book from the library, and it had the same surname as the woman I’d met that morning.”
The UK hip-hop scene is a largely maligned part of British music. It’s often mocked for its propensities for peaked beanies, bad lyrics, silly names, and the overwhelming stench of cheap skunk. Clive and the team headed down to Bristol—the spiritual home of the British B-Boy scene—to investigate if people from the UK can rap, or if they should just leave it to the Americans.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the UK’s Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, the legislation that effectively banned raves and sent the whole British scene into the expensive confines of legitimate clubs and venues. To mark the occasion, photographer Tom Hunter is exhibiting his series Le Crowbar—a documentation of his time traveling through Europe in the mid-90s in a convoy of converted coaches, ambulances, and buses, setting up raves and impromptu festivals. See it at the "Life on the Road" exhibition at LCC in London’s Elephant and Castle.
After relocating from Dorset to London at the age of 15 and spending some time as a tree pruner in the Royal Parks of London, Tom Hunter bought a year-long ticket to America. It was on this trip that he began taking photos, but unfortunately, as he told me, “I came back and [none of the pictures] turned out. The lens must have been broken or something.”
Nevertheless, it was then that he decided he wanted to be a photographer—so, in 1991, he enrolled at what was then the London College of Printing. During his time at college, Tom got involved in the squatting scene in Ellingfort Road, Hackney—a thriving community of travelers, converted vans, and derelict buildings that later became the central topic of his 1994 graduation show.
Khat is a chewable herbal stimulant, popular among the UK’s Somali and Yemeni communities. Despite there being little or no evidence that the drug causes harm to its users, the British government is working to outlaw khat. Home Secretary Theresa May says she’s worried that without a ban, the UK will become a hub for smuggling it to the US and Europe, where for the most part it is already illegal. Meanwhile, experts warn that a ban might alienate Somalis in the UK and cut off vital exports from Kenya, the UK’s largest khat supplier.
VICE News followed the khat trail from the farms of Meru, Kenya, to the suburbs of west London, meeting businesspeople, users, and community members all keen to have their say. With exclusive access to a London khat warehouse and khat cafes in the English capital and Nairobi, we explored the industry and the implications of a ban at home and abroad.
My Boyfriend Tried to Put Tony Blair Under Citizen’s Arrest
Tony Blair’s tenure as prime minister of the UK has been over for nearly seven years now, but some Britons are still extremely upset at him. One British poll from last year even found that a fifth of the country thinks that Blair and his partner in war George W. Bush should face trial for invading Iraq. So far, five people have attempted to place Tony Blair under citizen’s arrest—the fifth being my boyfriend Twiggy on Friday night. I decided to interview him to find out how it went.
VICE: You just placed Tony Blair under a citizen’s arrest—how do you feel? Twiggy Garcia: I feel great. Lots of people have been contacting me to say well done. I’m still in disbelief that I got the opportunity to citizen’s arrest the former prime minister.
Was this a planned scheme? Did you wake up this morning knowing that you were going to try to arrest Tony Blair? Not so much a plan, but it’s something I have wanted to do for a few years. I had been waiting for the opportunity after seeing the website ArrestBlair.org, and it just so happened that we were in the same place at the same time. I believe Blair is responsible for the mass murder of Iraqi civilians after taking our country into an illegal war and breaking articles 31 and 51 of the UN charter, of which the UK is a signatory.
Where did you see him? At a restaurant called Tramshed in Shoreditch—I was working at the bar. My heart rate increased when I found out he was in the building; there was a eerie presence, which some of the other staff noticed too. It wasn’t like any other night. I couldn’t believe he was there. His security people were sitting at the bar directly in front of me and I got nervous because I thought they overheard me say, “Should I citizen’s arrest him?”
Did you act on impulse or did you think about what you were going to do? I thought about it for a while. I went on the ArrestBlair website to see how to perform a citizen’s arrest. Then I spoke to some of the other staff and they said I shouldn’t do it. I then phoned my friend Callum and told him my plan. He said, “Go for it,” and that was all I needed to hear.
What was he doing when you arrested him?
He was sitting at the head of a table upstairs in the restaurant with about eight other people eating dinner. I think he was out with his family and a few friends. I went over to him, put my hand on his shoulder, and said, “Mr Blair, this is a citizen’s arrest for a crime against peace, namely your decision to launch an unprovoked war against Iraq. I am inviting you to accompany me to a police station to answer the charge.”