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Politics & Current Affairs

Bootlicker Ballad

Don’t go to pubs (the posh boys drink elsewhere anyway) but keep the schools open because the peasants can’t miss work just to care for the apprentice-peasants. Gotta keep on keepin’ on for The Man, right?

And you actually voted for this filth. Because the burning need to see your demented hatred of foreigners assume institutional expression was more important than saving the NHS.

Stabbing in the dark here but I reckon when you end up looking at the world over the top of an oxygen mask – if you’re lucky – from a hospital bed – if you can find one – you won’t be too fussed what colour the hands that wipe your arse are.

Have you any idea at all of the complexity, the logistics, the sheer amount of zeros tacked onto the end of the number required to incinerate Iraq?

The zeros tacked onto the number required to bail out the banks?

Whatever it was, and it can barely be counted or measured, such was its almost infinite nature, they did it. They did it in a heartbeat. But the people you voted for consider your kids, your parents, your grandparents just so much disposable detritus. Where’s your bail-out?

My desires now couldn’t be more modest. Couldn’t be any more reduced. I have abandoned any expectation, even the wildest dream, of humanity realising its revolutionary potential & acting in concord as we lift each other toward the stars. I’d settle, in an instant, right now, for you to just stop licking the boots that kick us. Just that.

I could go on for hours & I probably will but I’d sooner put some joy back into this…

 

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Politics & Current Affairs

Rip It Up

The most far-right cabinet in our lifetime. Climate-change deniers, racists, homophobes, misogynists, religious bigots, fundamentalists and sabre-rattling Empire nostalgists.

A clown-car stuffed with demented nut-jobs intent on slicing and dicing the NHS and handing it over to that Mussolini tribute act in the White House; deregulating still further the tattered remnants of our employment rights and making the obscenely rich even richer still.

The only thing more sickening than them are the utter morons with barely tuppence half-penny to rub together who vote for them. Working-class people happy to vote for the people who despise them and see more disabled people bullied to death, more kids plunged into poverty and hunger; racist dunces unmoved by the deporting of our own citizens; just as long as they get their fill of anti-immigrant and anti-foreigner hatred.

Working-class people cheering for Boris Johnson (who proposes to fund the pay rise for his ruling-class mates by hiking up their national insurance contributions), their stupidity is breath-taking. But their lack of self-respect is incomprehensible. Johnson despises we peasants. He’s laughing at you while you fawn over him. I’d rather eat my own colon than have such little dignity and self-respect.
Pitiful.

“Ah but that Corbyn…” blah blah blah. “He hates the country.” Sadly, right now, England deserves hatred. This mean-spirited, semi-feudal, inward-looking, racist backwater; full of creatures suffering from chronic soldier fetish, obsessed with a dead Empire and absolutely deluded in their belief that hating foreigners and sneering at Europe will, somehow, magically, lead to sunlit uplands, a new Jerusalem; a demented belief that a bunch of decadent toffs, who stand to make fortunes from the disaster-capitalism spawned by a no-deal Brexit are, somehow, on the side of the working-class.

England, your England, is a sociopathic child, a dunce toddler, fed lies by its patrician overlords who will destroy the futures of your children and grandchildren, while the parents wave union flags spouting hysterical garbage about two world wars and one world cup.

The birth right of generations sold for the insane pleasure of misplaced, hate-filled, toxic nationalism. Utterly contemptible.

And the upside? Perhaps the break-up of the historical cockpit of imperialism and, finally, a united Ireland. The end of the jingoistic and reactionary United Kingdom. The destruction of this Septic Isle where the gammon hordes bray about democracy, sovereignty and the will of the people – ho ho ho – while fawning and simpering before their unelected and unaccountable monarch. All brought to ruin by the most racist, colonial-minded and white supremacist Prime Minister since Winston Churchill.

Beautiful, wonderful irony. No less delicious in its bitterness.

Come on, kids; rip it up and start again. Your futures depend on it.

Categories
Music

Office Soundtrack: Search For The New Land

Morgan’s commercial success with The Sidewinder means that this date, recorded before but released immediately afterwards, is too often overlooked.

Morgan is in expansive and relaxed form and perfectly in sync with a flawless rhythm section comprising Billy Higgins and Reggie Workman.

By now, the world knew he could tear it up plenty, when the mood took him. But here, he mostly eschews the incendiary feats of virtuosity and, instead, swings and swaggers with a lyrical gusto. Almost reminiscent of the great Harry James.

Where most musicians induce tension via harmonic means, Higgins and Workman ramp it up by stretching the rubato to snapping point. Most obviously on Mr. Kenyatta, arguably the stand-out cut against seriously stiff competition.

No filler, all killer and one of Morgan’s greatest sessions.

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Music

Office Soundtrack: The Colour Of Spring

Japan and David Sylvian blew my mind. I used to listen to Obscure Alternatives, an album I disliked intensely, just so I could then play Gentlemen Take Polaroids and sit and wonder how the fuck they got from there to here. With just the stepping stone of Quiet Life between the two.

Bowie, at least in any serious way, was still a year or two down the line for me. Bryan Ferry, too. And Lou Reed and Eno as well. Maybe if I’d arrived at Japan and Sylvian chronologically they wouldn’t have seemed so other worldly. Who knows? Who cares…

But all my retrospection had been duly done by the time this came my way and still it hammered me. Like something from the great architect of the musical universe himself. It was something that shattered expectations, conventions and understandings.

And even the music itself, eerie & aching with all the yearning of one soul reaching out towards the rest of us, was still less than the sum of its parts. Not since Miles Davis did a musician understand the power of absence like Mark Hollis; the devastating impact of emptiness and the transforming force of the note unwritten; the note unplayed; the note unheard but always felt. But it had to be that way. Those big, haunting spaces made room for all the humanity he crammed in.

R.I.P. Mark Hollis. The world just got that little bit darker.

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Music

Office Soundtrack: Hush!

I bought this purely for Child’s Play. A spirited & infectious freewheeling work-out with Byrd and Coles; both of whom are clearly having a high old time.

The Duke himself, however, always passed me by. No doubting his lyrical feel & melodic sensibility (still less his skill as an arranger) but his improvs too often erred on the side of caution and in a time and place crammed with so much incendiary talent his minor status was pretty much assured.

This, though, is a delight and offers more than just the Byrd/Coles showcase. The short format suits Pearson perfectly and, the irritating fade-out on Angel Eyes aside, represents one of his most enjoyable sessions.

Conventional? Yes. Predictable, even. But a tight, compact session fizzing with energy and high on melody.

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Politics & Current Affairs

White Trash Bonfire Night

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A gang of guffawing racists burn a cardboard replica of the Grenfell Tower, complete with nudge-nudge-wink-wink brown cardboard victims. Recently, too, a woman bludgeoned and battered by a dozen-strong mob for the crime of speaking Spanish. Muslim women on public transport with niqabs and hijabs ripped from them; spat upon, punched, beaten. Christ, Katie Hopkins even published demands in a national tabloid calling fellow human beings “cockroaches” and urging naval guns to mow down drowning immigrants. And didn’t get prosecuted. This is where we’re at – race-hate and literal incitement to commit a crime against humanity and no criminal conviction ensues.

All enabled by the ‘hostile environment’ and decades of utter hate, lies and poison about immigrants, refugees, Muslims, foreigners and the poor. Meanwhile, the real residents of Grenfell Tower – a place where class and race really do intersect – either burned to death or are still homeless while their arsonists remain free and at large. In government and the institutions of the state. While faking outrage at their white-trash bonfire tribute act.

Object to this, though, and the racist mob pile on calling you a ‘snowflake.’ While bigots without a shred of basic, human decency whine about their free speech. As if their freedom to hate, to bully, to intimidate should provoke no consequences. As if anyone objecting isn’t entitled to use their free speech in a vain attempt to stem the rising tide of inhumanity swamping cruel Britannia.

Foam-flecked proto-fascists get all misty-eyed about a piece of cloth, as long as it’s red, white and blue. They’ll swallow lumps in their throats while growing positively tumescent at the sight of a Brit soldier with a gun but empathy? Compassion? Genuine humanity for a non-white human being? Someone poor and desperate? Vulnerable? Terrified?
Not.
A.
Bloody.
Chance.

They contemptuously dismiss the outcry as ‘moral outrage’ while furiously triggering at a footballer, an  Irish footballer, no less, refusing to wear a poppy. Snowflakes, indeed…

We need more moral outrage about the institutionalised hate of non-white, non-British human beings and the forgotten and despised on working-class estates all over the UK. And we need absolutely none about poppies, flags and nations.

Categories
Music

Office Soundtrack: The Black Parade

This is a brave, imaginative and superbly-executed piece of work. The young band deciding, in the middle of the digital, disposable, attention-wrecking noughties, to release a concept album inspired by the great dinosaur rock acts of yore. The listener, therefore, will find a deliberate and brilliantly-wrought homage to Queen, Pink Floyd, ELO, Yes and others.

Turbo-charged 70s stadium rock via post-911 armageddon emo and a nutty vaudeville workout  sounds an unlikely, if not horrifying, amalgam. Yet its genius is not merely the audacious musical alchemy that the band deploy to stunning effect; it’s the humanity. And it rises, defiantly, from the cracks, between the charred and cancer-ravaged corpses that litter the album, like spring flowers defiantly in bloom; it’s the powerful and distinctive voice of a young band at their peak that really scores. All the Emo stereotyping and scorn heaped upon the band’s collective head count for nought in the face of one of the very best albums of the last thirty years.

Gerard Way, far too frequently maligned as a self-indulgent, self-pitying emo poster-boy, turns in a career-defining performance and the lyrics, all bitter asides, witty irony and biting cynicism, nestle snugly with moments of real heart, real beauty and an empathy that moves.

Once described as The Dark Side of The Moon for the Tim Burton generation, The Black Parade is angry and celebratory, tender and bitter and very special indeed. The listener will wade through death before the epiphany arrives; this album is life. And it is beauty unbound.

Haters gonna hate, of course, but listen without prejudice, my friends. The Black Parade deserves nothing less. And so do you.

Categories
Politics & Current Affairs

An Ode to Alan Sugar

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The Apprentice, eh?

The tyranny of neoliberalism in the 21st century, reimagined as ‘entertainment.’ Or, perhaps, a post-modernist take on the scraps between lions and Christians. Closer, though, to some Orwellian dystopia only not in the future but now. This is real life, baby.

You worthless piece of shit. You can’t make money? Fuck you. You can’t make me richer than I already am? Fuck you. You can’t demonstrate the necessary soullessness, the required absence of morality, the mandatory predatory greed? Fuck. You.

And you, dear viewer, if you think the gloating and mean-spirited thrills that run up and down the place where your spine ought to be are grotesque, misplaced and fucking deviant, then there’s no place for you here. Fill your fucking face with fucking food and glug the fucking wine as you thrill to someone losing their job. Cultural values reinforced. The consensus cemented. Tomorrow you can sniff disdainfully as nurses cry in the face of poverty. Get a better fucking job! Start your own business! I did! I hauled myself up and made a success of myself! Look at my fucking wad! Look at my fucking car! Look at my fucking house! Look at me!

If you ever worried, deep into the night, about how the roof over your children’s heads was gonna stay in place, fuck you. If you sweated out the money, only to find too much month left at the end of it, fuck you. The only thing worse than having a job is not having one, right?

Like Charlie said, “How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?” And they sell that you as a dream! Via your TV. The only thing worthwhile to which humanity should aspire.

Fuck your dreams, fuck your hopes, fuck your humanity. If you’ve got any left. The only measure of success, the only barometer of worth, the only gauge of merit is money. It’s all about the money, money, money.

A third-rate fucking spiv, a smug obscenity, more walnut than human, mostly famous for giving the world the worst fucking stereos ever invented, a Lord, no less, will sit in judgment and tell you what’s what. He’ll rubbish a man who spent his entire life trying to better the lives of others while he spent his exploiting, sneering, oppressing. But you know what’s what, don’t you? – money, motherfucker. That’s all the motherfucker cares about. More money, motherfucker. More motherfucking money, motherfuckers.

Fuck you, you fucking fuck. You’re fired.

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Politics & Current Affairs

Julia-Hartley Brewer: Piano Player in a Brothel

I try, wherever possible, to avoid Julia Hartley-Brewer. Dubbed the Waitrose Katie Hopkins by Stevie Chick, she – like Andrew Pierce – arouses in me a disgust and loathing that is nothing less than pathological.

I recall watching her on Sky News, discussing Trump and Jerusalem last December. The woman’s grasp of the complexities, her insight into the motivations of the key players and her understanding of the historical processes didn’t even rise to the status of non-existent.

A vacuous posho with the requisite fake expression of concern, she couldn’t disguise the gaping chasm where empathy should live. If a genuinely perceptive thought ever found its way into the limitless abyss between her ears, it’d die of loneliness.

Then there was the time she compared the liberal left’s Milky Bar Kid, Owen Jones, to Islamic State.

And so to her latest noxious emission, on Talk Radio, where she blames parents for child poverty. “There are millions of people living on very low incomes and we haven’t got millions of children going hungry without proper shoes or uniform and the like, does it not suggest this is more a failure of parenting? If you’ve got two families both on the same low income… if one family has managed to send their child to school with a bowl of cereal or piece of toast in them and in clean laundered clothes and the other family isn’t, it can’t be about the money can it?”

Julia, you privileged pontificator, you are so far removed from the grinding misery and shame of poverty-blighted parents you can afford to sneer in their faces from the comfort of your media platform. Millions of working-class women who, overwhelmingly, bear the brunt of the Tories’ vicious class spite, are making themselves ill; physically and mentally, to shield their children from the deprivation thrust upon them. You are unfit to even speak of these heroic, determined and infinitely selfless women. They are amongst the best humankind has to offer. You, by contrast, are devoid of all moral worth.

You are reduced to excusing a vicious anti-working class government. Your contempt, your disdain, your utter disinterest where the victims of your beloved Tories are concerned is nauseating. Thick and pitiless; a combo as dangerous as it is contemptible.

If I were you, I’d tell your mam you’re the piano player in a brothel; it’s an occupation with more dignity, more integrity and certainly more humanity than being Julia Hartley-Brewer.

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Politics & Current Affairs

Friday Bloody Friday

Murder, mass murder, is nothing new for the Israeli Defence Force, sickeningly dubbed “the most moral army in the world” by former British Army Colonel, Richard Kemp. One would imagine this description would be difficult to reconcile with yesterday’s slaughter. Fortunately, the combined forces of the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Board of Deputies of British Jews were on hand to render assistance to the IDF.

The BBC tweeted and ran headlines on its website that spoke of “clashes” and “deadly protests.” As if the massacre of unarmed civilians clad in jeans, t-shirts, trainers and flags by soldiers of one of the most heavily-armed and well-equipped militias in the world was a spat amongst equals; as if the blame and responsibility were to be equally distributed between the two sides. As the BBC evidently struggles with accuracy, it’s worth pointing out that the protest wasn’t “deadly”. The protest was peaceful. What was deadly, however, were the sniper bullets and tank shells (yes, really) fired on the protesters. In one instance, into the back of an unarmed and fleeing youth.

The Board of Deputies, shamefully, went even further. In a grotesque and obscene display of victim-blaming, the Board tweeted, “Alarming developments at Gaza border as Hamas once again using its civilians – inc children – as pawns.” Apart from being a lie – Hamas did no such thing – to blame oppressed and subjugated people for provoking the bullets fired by their murderers is unconscionable to anyone with aspirations to humanity and decency. Still, from an organisation that fawned and gushed over arch racist Donald Trump, decency would be an unrealistic expectation.

The Board’s Twitter feed was soon filled with outraged Tweets from those it claims to represent.  This, from @msjenifferjames, was typical: “Repulsive comment. How dare you blame unarmed, peacefully-protesting Arabs for their own deaths by Israeli gunfire? On their own land. You do not and will never speak for me or thousands of other Jewish people. You are disgusting.”

Were all this not sufficiently appalling, a now deleted Tweet by the IDF implies that these murders were premeditated, pre-planned and carried out, not as reaction to Palestinian ‘violence’, but as a proactive military operation.

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Now is the time to underline some unshakeable truths. The residents, or rather prisoners, of the Gaza strip are waging a life and death struggle that transcends even national liberation; they are concerned with simply survival. In such a case there is no ‘plague on both your houses’ option available. There is no moral equivalency between a mighty military power invading and then subjugating a poverty-stricken and oppressed people. People who are desperately fighting for their lives and the very existence of the miserable 32-mile strip of open-air prison they call home. There is no quandary, no grey area and no ambiguity; Israel is the aggressor. The Palestinians are the victims. We should unconditionally, unquestioningly and unequivocally support their resistance and right to defend themselves in any way they see fit. Rockets into Israel are the legitimate and just resistance of a desperate people.

Palestinian violence is not terrorism. Israel illegally occupies Palestinian land and visits human rights abuses and war crimes upon the Palestinian people. Any violence by any Palestinian body or person, is justified and permitted under international law. It is not terrorism; it is resistance to an invader.

There is the violence of the oppressor – Israel – and there is the violence of the oppressed; the Palestinians. The former is immoral, illegitimate and illegal while the latter is not only moral and legitimate but unavoidable and necessary. Self-defence is never an offence.