The songs in the making of this review were…

Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, K. 622 – Mozart
Concerto in A ‘per eco in lontano’ – Vivaldi
Totally wired – The fall
Please be cruel – the Inspiral Carpets
I’m Free – The Who [I don’t really like that one but I was concentrating]
Fall – Devandra Banhart
Exit music for a film -Radiohead
This Charming Man -The Smiths
O’Sullivans March – The Chieftains
Il Gorilla – Fabrizio De Andre
Mars, the bringer of war – Gustav Holst
What makes you cry? – The Proclaimers
Your children aren’t special – Bill Hicks
From Fairy Ring Champion to False Pegasus – The Dials
How Long (Betcha’ Got A Chick On The Side) – The Pointer Sisters

NO INNOCENT BYSTANDERS (Riding Shotgun in the Land of Denial) – by Mickey Z

ADDITIONAL ASIDE NUMBER 1 – One can be ‘overwhelmed’ or ‘underwhelmed’ but have you have ever heard of anyone actually being ‘whelmed’? I think I remember something PG Wodehouse said about that, but I might be wrong. You can look it up, I’m busy.

I have been struggling what to say in reviewing this book.

For a start it is the first book that said it has a section inspired by me, usually people don’t tell me they were inspired by me. They say something like ‘Shut up’ or ‘Ok, you are right but you don’t have to be such a prick about it’.

So I was struggling but then I remembered watching the author on youtube and being somewhat amused at when he asked a crowd of supposed radicals to join with him and take a ‘non-conformist pledge’ or ‘non-conformist oath of allegiance’ or something like that. It seemed like a fair few of the audience fell for it.

Then it suddenly became clear to me. For the purposes of this review I have to be contrary.

Therefore, in the true spirit of revolt, I am reviewing the vegan, martial-arts expert, teetotal [I didn’t check that one], avid New Yorker author while I have been drinking, alone, in a house in the country, and have just eaten some very nice fish.

Q.Why am I doing this?

A. Because the style of the book is so strange that rather than explain it, I have just decided to ape it in this review.

This house in the country has a problem with mosquitoes. I have killed somewhere in the region of 14 of them today. In turn, somewhere in the region of 50 of them fed royally off me last night. I know that because when I killed them my blood sort of spurted out of them. There were no cows, sheep or assorted other large mammals around, so it must have been mine. At this particular moment with all my skin itching and more of the bastards buzzing around my ears waiting for a fresh meal I don’t have too much sympathy for the massacred. And I know I am getting it again tonight.

Of course, the traditional ways of dealing with the mozzies in ancient [a highly subjective term] times would have been covering yourself in mud or something if you happened to be out and about, or sitting by the fire if you were sitting still.

Both of those are things that won’t happen in our current society, or are at least highly unusual, and frowned upon.

So are a lot of the things that Mickey Z said in this book.

Like the mosquitoes I massacred, thousands of people are massacred every day – and to most people it means nothing. Unlike the mosquitoes I massacred, most of those people did nothing to me or to you. We are actually ingenious at finding ways to ignore that fact. Mickey Z  in this book has found an ingenious way to confront our collective disingenuity.

So I agree with the thrust of the book but what sparked this spirit of revolt in me against the flow of the book was Mozart. You see, he came on the random thing on my music player. I will make a list about that later, then I will put it somewhere in the review. I know some people on the left that would abuse me for bourgeois mentality or some such drivel, for just having Mozart’s music.

I don’t think Mickey Z would. I also think he would probably abuse some of the idiots that think like that, in a funny way of course. Just as none of the mosquitoes in my room are safe, there are no sacred cows on the left or right in this book. Maybe that is why he talks about killing Michael Moore and saving Condoleeza Rice.

Mickey Z Sez – Once upon a time I was eating lunch in a Virginia beach diner with a bunch of friends when we heard a deafening roar.

“What was that?” I bellowed.

Our waitress smiled and proudly replied: “That’s an F-14… the sound of freedom.”


In our almost entirely commoditised world we think we can have everything immediately. The supermarket is always open, the tap can always be turned on. This book manages to give a sense of the immediacy of some the problems we are currently facing. The author brings our problems home by mixing some simple yet brutal statistics with looking at every day behaviour in the light of those statistics.

A story with a fat little boy eating a big mac in the back of an SUV is a few pages away from the fact that some rivers are now full of Prozac. A story about looking at breasts in a gym is near a story about someone being beaten to death in Guantanamo Bay. The effect is like flicking channels on a TV that is happily free from corporate propaganda. The information imparted is brutal but I would still much rather watch this kind of TV.

ADDITIONAL ASIDE NUMBER 2 – A lot of Scottish people take pride that John Logie Baird, a Scotsman, invented the TV. Personally, I think we should start apologizing…I’ll start… sorry world!

Also, Henry Rollins is between Carl Sagan and Adolf Eichmann, which I imagine is not a place he ever thought he would find himself.

As well as a sense of immediacy there is something like a sense of ‘finity’. Is ‘finity’ even a word? ‘Finiteness’ is, but spell check doesn’t seem to think ‘finity’ is, nor does, which is funny because we all know ‘infinity’ is a word. ‘Finity’ is probably a word we should start using given the current state of things.

Michael Greenwell sez – You can overfeed all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time but you can’t overfeed all of the people all of the time.

ADDITIONAL ASIDE NUMBER 3 – There are a few words like that…only negatives, no positive example. Have a think about it.

Even the title of the book should make you think. And yet, I imagine that there will be a few people who will read this book and still not connect it to themselves. So removed from physical reality have many people become that you could write a book called “-Insert Name Here ……………….. – It is all your fault” and some people wouldn’t get it.

Harold Pinter Sez – To maintain…power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.

It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.

I think this book could help a few people get the interest back, particularly the kind of people that would take a non-conformist pledge.

Mickey Z sez – I believe all this talk about “preserving our way of life” gets to the heart of the matter. “Our” way of life is precisely the issue.

I suggest you read it.

ADDITIONAL ASIDE  NUMBER 4 – The thing I did that inspired a section of the book was a film I made a few years ago about animal extinctions. You can watch it on youtube or if you prefer you can download a much higher quality copy.


  1. Well, not much to say really. So many achievements to his credit – Stockwell; Forest Gate; unreserved support for 42-day internment; seventy officers and a rather expensive operation required to arrest Brian Haw and some cardboard; the racism row; the awarding of contracts to his personal chums – it’s rather sad that he should now be leaving just because the London Haystack doesn’t care for him. It’s a bit like Capone going to prison for tax evasion, or Dick Cheney falling from power because Condi Rice was sick and tired of seeing his fat face around.

  2. It isn’t just his face, either. Allegedly, an ex-girlfriend of Soames’ once compared sex with him to being fallen on by a wardrobe with the key sticking out of the lock.

  3. very interesting michael.As for the mosquitos,use off 😆
    i think the concern that people have towards certain problems is directly proportional to how much they have suffered during their own lives….otherwise it’s something they can’t relate to, just like we can’t relate to a friend’s pain if we had never gone through the same situation.If the river is full of prozac affects only an underdeveloped country nobody would give a damn about it just like nobody would give a damn about that my father died and thatI don’t have a job at 34!Global warming on the other hand is too much of a big matter to be solved by you and me ,somebody like you or your friend can try to sensibilize(can u say that?) people who don’t care but who really needs to roll up his sleeves is the politician.Alhough when i became a girl guide at 15 I started not to through garbage on the streets,there is nothing more I can really do about it it’s up to the people that count.I don’t know if I’m wrong please tell me if you think so.Anyway ,some of my friends read you know too even if it’s hard for them(it is 4 me sometimes too ,gotta read your stuff 3 or 4 times!)Anyway,hope u did get drunk for your birthday and even if I said happy birthday on your poo king post comment I DIDN’T mean “happy bithday peace of shit”(even though u do think that when those who u consider friends don’t reciprocate your feelings,to your mind comes more something like”happy birthay ass hole” 😆 jut joking ;even if the topics r related ha ha)keep going 😉

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