Writings, photos, politics and rants... *Original content - may not be reproduced without my consent.*

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Guess I'm Fallin'in Love

The Velvet Underground blew this small town Ulster boy's brain wide apart back in the mid-eighties. I "discovered" them thanks to the alternatives friend, John Peel, the NME or Sounds magazine.

A commercial, mass produced shiny pop scene was gilded by their short existence. Reed, Warhol, Nico, Reed, Cale, Morrison, MacLise,  Tucker, Yule, Powers and Alexander battered the fuck out of pop norms, beats, melody and instrumentation and propped it up at the bar after a sizeable spliff and an intraveneous hit. And the best eighties music was indebted to them.

It said something about their genius when back then, during my teenaged anxty days, they were streets ahead of anything around. Even the greats of the eighties - The Bunnymen, JMC, The Smiths - didnt hold a candle. But they - and others like the Associates, the Glasgow music scene and the Man/Madchester scene- would not have been anything like they were without Lou and the Velvet's magic.

I remember turning up at a friends barbeque in Newcastle,  County Down on a really hot, sunny day dressed in my black, alternative, scruffy weird self cut hair, smiling amongst pastel dressed Miami Vice "strivers" on an Irish dunescape.

My car blasted out "Guess I'm Falling in Love," "Heroin" "Sunday Morning," and "The Gift." The guys exiting my car cracked open the beer, the girls were goggled up and down by the WASP, good living, sell their granny, white teethed, money marryers and I felt awkward amongst the Christian educated.

My friend, who had invited me was standing frying an animal alongside an upstanding, strong, countryboy of Ulster. He erupted in laughter as I approached.

"What is it?" I asked.
"He asked, are you on drugs! It's your weird music!"

I remember on that hot, sunny afternoon, feeling so far away from those we had joined up with. I felt -I knew- we were being judged. I felt then that I needed to get away, my head full of Nico and Hunter S. Thompson.

I looked at my carload of "outrageousness," and felt proud not to be thought of as belonging to the deck shod and cotton jacket, "normals."

But I felt pissed off I couldn't drink because I was the only driver, so I cranked the Velvets up, lay down beside the Strada and closed my eyes and drifted off...

RIP Lou Reed, you cantakerous oul' genius.

Guess I'm Falling in Love- a song that beat with my teenaged hormones through my body  - is here.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Bearded Revolution... Russell Brand vs Jeremy Paxman

The absolute snobbery of Paxman. The unfocussedness of Brand. But the truth of the man who came from nothing. A man who understands poverty, addiction, inequality, hopelessness, slavery. This is brilliant. These views never make it onto mainstream news programmes.

If this was a politician he would never got near to the studio.

 If this was a politician he would never be this honest - chained by the constraints of the lies and deceit politicos feel is necessary to hide true intention whether noble or, mostly, self serving.

What a contrast to Cameron in PM QT today.

What a contrast to Johann Lamont on BBC Newsnight Scotland tonight (or Scotland Tonight - whichever one of these dreadful programmes that never dare ask real questions anymore).

At least Paxman allowed - or was browbeaten by - Brand.

He hit a nerve. These poshos can cry about their grannies granny from 100 or more years ago on "Who do you think you are?" when they find out they had to clean other peoples pants or lived in squalor. Brand tells Paxman he met someone in that position earlier today.

These posh bastards live in ancient homes designed by the people who designed the ancient schools their ancient families paid for them to go to and on to the ancient Universities of the privileged.

They BELONG.

The world of power belongs to them. Time to throw every part of this system on its back. time for a bearded revolution.



Beards are necessary for the coming revolution.  Make them mingle with your armpit hair... 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Hang the DJ... We're on the eve of destruction.

 Driving to our out of town warehouse of slave made clothing and consumer goods, I was listening to Steve Wright this afternoon and a song came on I hadn't heard for ages. The impact of listening to the lyrics of this song was like an electric jolt – a toaster thrown into a Radox bath. A punch from a dainty handful of impressionist painted daisies. The sudden change over, as we had drove along listening to the oppressive, blandness and hegemonic unquestioning Jeremy Vine, as if I had lived in Flatlander Music-ville and had been flipped high in the sky to survey the guts and workings of the music that had preceded it (and came after); played and talked over by the notorious interrupting DJ who Morrissey once wanted hung. When the song finished, even Wright went, "Wow!"



The eastern world it is explodin',Violence flarin',
bullets loadin',
You're old enough to kill but not for votin',
You don't believe in war,
but what's that gun you're totin',
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin'




Why this reaction to a song that has been doing the rounds since 1965?


Because it sang of where we are now. It sang of the murderous wars we are applauding  by shopping in Primark, Gap and Marks and Spencers. The cost of our oil and cheap veg from Lidl. The cost of voting for best of bad. The cost of our long working hours and repeating the ‘skivers and strivers,’ ‘undeserving poor and immigrants’ terms the Tories, Libdems and UKIP are shouting, kicking, punching, bloodying us in the gutter until we believe. It sang of our media, lying, conniving, driving us to hate our neighbour and our slaves at home and abroad.



The song had, for a long time, been on a BBC restricted list. Those of you who like me, remember the puritan "banning" of Relax and even the Pistols "God Save the Queen," probably don't know about the restriction of Barry McGuire's recording, because it was a restriction THAT MATTERED. A song and a message that almost disappeared from the playlists just like the MC5. A kick at our consciousness – a nailing of the right wing scum who judge and casually blame the foreigner and then sit down and pray over their gravied and hidden slaughter housed dinners. Lyrics and delivery that meant something; that made listeners sit up and survey the bullshit pumped into their ken, their "understanding," by the BBC, the Daily Mail and the Murdoch’s and all of the other murky profiteering liars of the past 50 years- for indeed these lyrics, spat and sneered through tinny transistor speakers are a year older than me. The next anniversary of such pop subversion even pirate Radio Scotland banned it, is its half century.





Even "the blessed DJ" gasped because for once, the music he played this time SAID SOMETHING ABOUT HIS - MY- OUR- THEIR - LIVES as we sit and are blown away by their drones and juggernauts and their tanks roll over us with every increase in their murderous profit taking heating bills, bedroom taxes and "peace making" oil thieving corporate incursions.

Hang the DJ. Or wait- perhaps that "Wow!" was the realisation his Cowell fawning, "lets be rebellious by giving proto fascist Farage airtime," propaganda propagating blandness was his ‘Washing of his hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless - siding with the powerful,’ as Friere would say to him 'YOU ARE NOT NEUTRAL!". His grinning, hand wringing inanity is enslaving, engulfing us all.




Will he go home tonight and listen over and over again and question his neutrality in allowing greedy bastards like Farage and Cameron the air time to promote the destructive, historically one sided view of the cancerous Thatcherism they wank over? Probably not.

But he did say “Wow.” He did for a brief second have his conscience pricked. For a moment he did see through the murk of processed news and “art.” The tranquillity smashed by the Prisoner “Number Six.” It’s all in here –the Middle East; young people fighting and dying in wars they don’t understand; the evils of unquestioning, imperialistic nationalism; race riots; hypocrisy; nuclear war; the space race; conservative bullshit.



Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say
Can't you feel the fears I'm feelin' today?
If the button is pushed, there's no runnin' away
There'll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
[Take a look around ya boy, it's bound to scare ya boy]

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don't believe
We're on the eve
of destruction.

Yeah, my blood's so mad feels like coagulatin'
I'm sitting here just contemplatin'
I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation.
Handful of senators don't pass legislation
And marches alone can't bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin'
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin'




And then the “Rover” recaptured us as Steve Wright interviewed Nigel Farage about his love of beer, his hobbies and his, oh, casual racism, proto-fascist, anti-working class 'ordinary bloke' views.

 Oops, sorry – no he didn't. 

 He kissed and charmed him, fawned and never mentioned his marching through a village with fascist friends singing Hitler Youth songs, or his racist bullying of peers or his professed love of Enoch Powell, his fleecing of tax payers by claiming £2m in expenses; or his wanting to rid the working class of their rights to freedom of association and the human right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment. His racist, cynical dressing up of attacks on those struggling to feed their families as “protecting our freedom” from Abu Hamza (who the European Court of Human Rights wanted to protect from torture – and wanted to protect others from torture in order for undemocratic Jordan to gain his conviction) and other foreigners that must be like him. Hang them all.  Or at least deport them and let other fascists do it for us. 



Wright didn’t care? Couldn’t ask political questions? Agreed with Nigel? 

It kind of seems that if Goebbels himself was sitting opposite him in the studio, he would give him a fair crack at telling us how he loves playing with his kids and dogs. Farage was an all round good geezer. A non-PC real ale supping bloke who mixes with Postmen and Barristers alike “down the pub.”

The “Wow!” had accounted for nothing. A momentary id over ego. Smashed. The Human Right of this millionaire man to spout hate and his warped view of history obviously subsumes that of workers to fight for their humanity and integrity in their place of work.

For “Red China” read “the Middle East.” For Selma Alabama, read Brixton, Manchester, the Gorbals, Easterhouse, East Horsley, Milngavie, London, Birmingham,Grasmere,Carlisle,Dublin, Dundee, Humberside

“Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
You may leave here for 4 days in space
But when you return, it's the same old place
The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace
Hate your next-door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace
And, tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend.”




Hang the blessed DJ
Because the music they constantly play

On the Leeds side-streets that you slip down
Provincial towns you jog 'round.



Dead children in Afghanistan.Victims of US/UK Drone attacks.







Greg Moodie's Cartoon "Farage Woos Scotland" HERE

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Breaking Bad...

Warning... Mild Spoilers...

Watched the last 5 episodes of Breaking Bad last night. What an incredible series. What incredible characters. What sublime, classless writing. It is a series the poshos in control of British media would have turned into Shameless or another "lets laugh at the hapless poor and working class." Isnt it brilliant our posho controlled writing talent is churning out another series of "Birds of a Feather?" World class. Can't wait for the new off spring of "Love Thy Neighbour" where a middle class arse tries to find common ground with his EDL and jihadist neighbours by joining UKIP with hilarious and everso slightly "its only good old British banter" racist overtones.

Breaking Bad is something uniquely leftfield, leftwing American. A superb dissection of insidious, almost inescapable capitalism.

If you haven't already- go watch it.

Bryan Cranston, the actor who played the very anti hero Walter White has played two amazing characters in the past twenty years. Two men trapped by capitalism. Two men who bumble and kick against the drudge of making money for someone else. Hal and Walter. Check out the anti-capitalist last episode of Malcolm in the Middle- an episode that brings a lump to the throat. Cranston plays these characters well- he is the product of something few in the UK escape to become sympathetic, empathetic working class actors - ie. Poverty. Working class actors in the UK are destined for middleclass sneering roles in which the lower order accent is used for comic effect or for Coronation Street or East Enders.

All of the characters were well rounded. All of the dialogue incredible.

"Look– look, you two guys are just… guys, okay? Mr. White... he's the devil. You know, he is– he is smarter than you, he is luckier than you. Whatever–Whatever you think is supposed to happen– I’m telling you, the exact reverse opposite of that is gonna happen, okay?"

"You want me to beg? You’re the smartest guy I ever met, and you’re too stupid to see—he made up his mind ten minutes ago."

"I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And, I was really... I was alive."

62 hours of great telly. 62 hours of amazing dialogue. 62 hours of emotional, real characters. Lessons for life and lessons of writing.

Well done Vince Gilligan.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Sinead - my Danny Boy...

Not since I had watched the Ramones with their defiant "this is me, so?" attitudes smacking the frets with a string orchestra behind them on Top of the Pops in the early eighties had I saw such societal twisting and bending till it broke. Norms we had been sold tangled, turned and thrown back at us to create new ground. New questions. New ways to see the world.  This time it was a woman - a woman breaking the bonds of the patriarchal male gaze.  A woman demanding people to listen.  A woman demanding people to look, but judge for who she was, not how she was packaged.

Photo by me - taken that night in the Europa Hotel, Belfast.


Before her, there had been Blondie. Debbie unabashedly strutting across stages, but unmistakably an all American poster girl, selling clothes and style as well as records. An all american icon, albeit one with attitude.

The Irish were biting back. Political and personal statements of "we are here and we are more than the conservative Irish catholic/protestant at loggerheads about whose unnatural, boxed up, disciplined ideology is supreme." In today's global kiss arse neo-con context, Bono is called a wanker, but for a Northern Irish boy questioning all he experienced in his unionist town, Sunday Bloody Sunday and waving white flags and singing about dead American Civil Rights leaders was pretty radical.

Teenaged visits to Dublin and partying across the wire in Belfast was my rebellion. I guess part of hers was singing in Belfast's most bombed hotel.

The shock of Sinead; the appearance, defiance, rebelliousness -truthfulness- was like the buzz around Boy George after his first appearance on TOTP. He bent gender. He looked incredible. The homophobic commentary from The Daily Mail and its nasty comrades bounced off his young, confident shell of self. Until it became too much.

Sinead stood, self consciously, beautiful and strong. "This is me. I don't do "Dana" nor am I Madonna. I am a woman with something to say. Listen or don't."

The shaved head. The subtle, if any,  makeup. The lack of ra-ra, jewellry or shoulder pads immediately set her apart singing Mandinka without Legs and Co and their nonsense. She bent the Murdoch, BBC, Rothermere, socialised, school view of what a woman should be.

But something about her seemed fragile. Glass. Breakable. In need of a friend, as we all are at 21.

Excited by Mandinka, we wanted to go to the Belfast show. There were threats after some would say, unwise words about our war wounded walled province – or was that a local media creation? A sense of “punk” Irish republican hysteria created to sell newspapers? Tickets? And a hastily rearranged venue. The Europa- protected like almost no other hotel in the world seemed a wise new stage.

Gareth, in the know, got the tickets. I smuggled my SLR camera into the show. The tickets expressly said in those days, “no cameras,” but I would sidle up to the press corp and slip the camera out of my jacket. This was well before the days of people watching live events through their phone screens. I used to watch through my camera eyepiece – trying not to waste expensive, valuable, finite film – waiting for the perfect shot. Hiding behind the camera; self conscious; not wanting to look someone so beautiful straight in the eye. I got few good shots that night – I was too mesmerised by this person.

And she took to the microphone, holding it tightly; looking around the small venue (most venues in Northern Ireland at that time were small). Her eyes scanned the crowd, and then, I felt, they rested on me. Or on my lense. The music was immediate; I couldn’t place it into a box along with my Toyah’s, Debbie’s or Kate’s. This was music with lyrics as important as my Curtis’s, Morrissey’s and Burn’s. The atmosphere she created was electrifying. This was a woman with something to say, but who was saying it through her music. Even the band - made up of ex-Smiths members, couldn't divert our attention from this performer. 

No grandstanding like Bono; no histrionics like The Jesus and Mary Chain. 

I remember being disappointed the concert was so short - but this was a young woman with new songs.  I longed to see her later in her career with more to say.  But that was the last time I did.

This was a woman as I experienced women. This was no media creation. This was someone with opinions; with blood, flesh, colour and nervous, darting eyes. No mannequin. This was someone who didn't demand to be treated like a man – this was a woman who demanded to be treated as a human being. Valued as a human being, and fallible like every other human being I knew. And I was hooked. This woman of truth, but so delicate, so damaged. So aware.

Sinead cried on film; she sang about her lost children. She sang about her lost childhood and the lost generations and scars in her Ireland. She raged at the down presser man. She raged at the tendrils of organised religion. She revealed her inner battles and physical scars. She was hated by the American right and the religiously pompous and patriarchal. Frank Sinatra threatened to “kick her ass” for refusing to play a concert if the US national anthem was played at the start in protest at US foreign policy. And she gave Cyrus advice – sound, motherly advice and was ridiculed in a dreadful way by the young woman whose rebellion has been packaged and sold back at her. A young woman sold as a commodity, but all the time, like all young people nowadays, told their rebellion is theirs while their money is spent or their bodies and minds are exploited. While corporations tell her do this; buy this- adults don’t like or "get" this. Miley’s rebellion has been packaged up and corporations make a mint. Sinead’s advice, the emporer’s new clothes, is thrown back at her.


“He thinks I just became famous
And that's what messed me up
But he's wrong
How could I possibly know what I want
When I was only twenty-one?
And there's millions of people
To offer advice and say how I should be
But they're twisted
And they will never be any influence on me…”



Sinead's My Special Child is my Danny boy - enough to reduce me to tears (in privacy - this damaged male holds the baggage of role models foisted upon him by capitalist stiff upper colonialist lips). 

My Patsy Cline. 

 But unlike Danny, her songs are hopeful, educational and unlike Patsy, she heals.

More music reminisces here

Guilty

Corporate capitalism- which gives corporations the power to move to where workers can be exploited the most because of their desperation, poverty and lack of human rights and real democracy, killed 300 poor people desperate for life. 300 people who had the door slammed on them by a greedy, selfish grabbing western world. 300 people who just wanted some of the perceived opportunity, security and rights they see us, through their media, enjoying. The cheap clothing, high wages, cheap food we import and enjoy because of their subjugation.

We are guilty if we vote for selfish self serving greedy grab all reasons.

We are guilty if we dont vote.

We are guilty if we dont make a stand.

I am guilty.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Daily Heil...

I'm not a fan of Ed's "one nation" new new labour. But the Daily Mail is a scummy paper no-one with a brain cell should buy. The disgusting story - story being the operative word - they sold as reportage about Miliband's father, Ralph, was abhorrent. Basically, what this paper was saying was that if you disagree with the system and hierarchy of the semi-feudal, undemocratic Etonian billionaire run present UK, you don't belong here. The piece also had overtones of anti-semitism and anti-immigration that peppers this nasty rag daily.

The lies and deceit this paper sells as "self evident truth" are disgusting. It is an extreme right propaganda rag that attacks anyone with a modicom of decency and publishes lurid stories and commentary about teenaged girls.

It is just a more sophisticated, and therefore more dangerous,  nazi loving version of "The Daily Sport."

The strange thing is that so many people buy and read it for information on politics and society. This paper has raged a war on the working class and those who try to represent us, for years.

I hope Ed and those biting back at this billionaire propaganda sheet take it down.

These multi-millionaire controlled media outlets confuse and lie.

For truth, read books instead.  Or at the very least think hard about who really represents a fair future for everyone's children.

The photo shows a man who hated Britain- Hitler, Oswald Mosely, the fascists friend- the proprieter of the Daily Mail, Lord Rothermere.