Times, They Are A Changing

A couple of things really:

1> Although loathe to admit it, I rather enjoyed reading a discarded Sunday Times the other week. If that wasn't scary enough I've just found a lovely little article here on Richard Thompson.

Er, he coaches Arnold Schwarzenegger's son? Some weird transatlantic folk-rock dream surely.

2> If I buy two tickets to 'An Evening With Ronnie James Dio' at the Astoria in October will I persuade anyone else to go? I don't want to miss it - he's performing 1983's Holy Diver album in its entirety then following an interval he's back on with a greatest hits set. No support, just classic old-school rock. And the tickets are only £18. Worth it alone for watching old metallers getting rushed out to make way for G.A.Y.

Now, I passed Richard Thompson in the street a year or so ago, but I met Mr Dio in 1992 backstage in Manchester and he was the nicest and by about 2 feet, the shortest famous person I've met. So bless.

Please help me.

"Stone Me. What A Life..."

A tenner says Ricky Gervais will be playing the lead in a Tony Hancock bio-pic before the end of the decade...

Magnitude Magnusson

As I write this the IRA has ceased it's armed struggle.

On this indeed historic day however I can't stop thinking about how pissed off the camera operator who shot the statement being read out must be. I believe Seanna Breatnach was Bobby Sands' cellmate but his pale complexion was truly terrible.

It's important to make sure you white balance when trying to shoot history.

An interesting BBC timeline thing is here.

Fuck Buses, I'm Buying Me A Chevy

'Rich Man’s War' by Steve Earle

Jimmy joined the army ‘cause he had no place to go
There ain’t nobody hirin’
‘round here since all the jobs went
down to Mexico
Reckoned that he’d learn himself a trade maybe see the world
Move to the city someday and marry a black haired girl

Somebody somewhere had another plan
Now he’s got a rifle in his hand
Rollin’ into Baghdad wonderin’ how he got this far
Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war

Bobby had an eagle and a flag tattooed on his arm
Red white and blue to the bone when he landed in Kandahar
Left behind a pretty young wife and a baby girl
A stack of overdue bills and went off to save the world

Been a year now and he’s still there
Chasin’ ghosts in the thin dry air
Meanwhile back at home the finance company took his car
Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war

When will we ever learn
When will we ever see
We stand up and take our turn
And keep tellin’ ourselves we’re free

Ali was the second son of a second son
Grew up in Gaza throwing bottles and rocks when the tanks would come
Ain’t nothin’ else to do around here just a game children play
Somethin’ ‘bout livin’ in fear all your life makes you hard that way

He answered when he got the call
Wrapped himself in death and praised Allah
A fat man in a new Mercedes drove him to the door
Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war

Sell, Sell, Sell

Trying to pull myself out of the quarterly realisation that I live entirely on borrowed money I've been trawling my usual liberal/left web hangouts to cheer myself up.

It hasn't worked.

Which of these statements isn't true?

1. Bob Dylan was offered $2.5 million last year to do a one-off greatest hits concert 'that sounded like the original songs'.
2. I've spent over £250 on dental treatment so far this month, on the NHS.
3. Steve Earle's call to arms 'The Revolution Starts... Now' is being used in a Chevy commercial.
4. There's a new condiment called 'Burn Baby Burn - Revolutionary Hot Sauce' being launched by the Black Panthers.
5. I'm never going to be worth shit.

Well folks, it's No.1 - Bobby wouldn't sell his soul like that. Er.
The Steve story is half-way down here, the Panthers here.

The rest is true but not linkable I'm afraid. I'm off to wipe my bleeding gums...

Boom Town

A week after the bombings I still feel rather down.

After nearly ten years here I guess I class myself as 'a Londoner' and feel all the 'a world in a city' stuff. I also don't particularly relish getting on a bus and worrying about being blown up or indeed having to go to a friends funeral just yet.

But people who by a birth lottery haven't been born into a relatively well-off western country suffer and die every day. Tens of thousands of them. Starvation. War. Natural disasters. Shit, there are plenty of people who suffer terribly in this country, who spend their entire lives desperately grabbing at the shitty coat-tails of a culture far from their financial reach yet dangled daily in their faces.

The world is populated by a massive majority that are born, never get anywhere near where they could and die. Some starve and die at 12. Some work in factories and die a mile from where they were born. Others die fighting bullshit wars.

And it happens to us all. No matter our beliefs, colour or nationality.

And equally, a class of people exist, a tiny minority, that start the wars, that uphold the inequality for the sake of profit and self-gratification. That couldn't care less about people's lives.

Like us they're all colours and creeds, and we let them run the show. Let them run a system that leaves the vast majority of the world wallowing about in a psycho-fiscal cess-pool of one sort or another for their benefit. And no, there's not enough wealth in this system for us all. It wouldn't allow it.

The fact that we don't eat each other alive is proof of the inherent human need to cooperate and defy those that want us to live as self-serving individuals. The bottom line is always solidarity in the end.

Well, there we go. Watching Richard and Judy speaking in Trafalgar Square yesterday brought a little blood back to the university-educated, post-ironic cynicism vein at least. So I'm sure we'll be back to the normal bullshit post-haste.

Meanwhile, here's a couple of links to folk doing more than writing a blog:

What George Galloway actually said in Parliament last Thursday is in Hansard here. Note the following that didn't seem to make the news:
'I condemn it utterly as a despicable act, committed against working people on their way to work, without warning, on tubes and buses. Let there be no equivocation: the primary responsibility for this morning's bloodshed lies with the perpetrators of those acts.'

A great article by Seamus Milne in The Guardian is here.

A thoughtful statement from the SWP is here.

And Salma Yaqoob, whom I only respect more and more, is also in The Guardian here.

Making Poor History

The true face of ideologies clashing is finally showing itself after the Live8 diversion.

I have little time for the Womble types who ponce about chasing police but never doing any real work to organise change but then what the fuck do I do? Reading here though it seems the usual police tactics of being nice to the demo that isn't really challenging anything and coming down hard on real dissent, however monosyllabic, is the order of the day.

And it's bound to get worse by Wednesday.

And by the end of the G8 there'll be a triumphant declaration of victory against poverty, Gandalf will be declared King and Tony and Gordon will drown in their own smugjuice.

And the whole thing will be bollocks. As of course Mr Pilger puts so well here.

So after the Pimms and Midge and Madge, Trevor, Dubya, Bill and Dido and the Golden Potato Salad it would at least suggest we're not all doomed if Gleneagles was blockaded tomorrow and our great leaders had to fuck off back home....

Live8 Shmive8

Oh God, some of it was truly awful.

Yes that means you Madge. As if the poor woman hadn't been through enough already she had to stand completely confused in front of a billion people while you sang 'Livin' On a Prayer'. Three cheers to the interpreter chap who finally managed to sort the situation with some dignity intact.

When all said and done though, it was about nothing if it wasn't about having a barbecue and getting pissed in the garden. Which I wholeheartedly did.

There's too much to be said, so I'm taking my mind off it by watching the video to Hayseed Dixie's version of 'Roses' which is here and is brilliant.

See y'all soon...

Live8 My Hamster

'Tis the job of the middle classes, of all political persuasions, to join together and spend hours and inches discussing issues like Live8 while doing nothing practically to change anything other than their curtains. I will be no exception.

I hate Queen. Even in an ironic way, they're shit. And I genuinely like 70's and 80's rock that in many ways is far more preposterous than those idiots. And Queen fans are always weird. Like people who still go to church every Sunday. (In addition, Ben Elton can cash my fuck off cheque right now. It won't bounce).

Bob Geldof, Midge Ure and Bono are deeply suspect. Midge showed his deep commitment to Africa by releasing his autobiography at the same time as 'Do They Still Know It's Xmas' last year. Geldof is pictured with his head resting on Blair's shoulder on the front of The Guardian today. Bono is a bit of a twat who has shades tattooed to his face. To be fair the second Bob or Ure said anything that threatened the status quo (enter your joke of choice here) they'd be shut out like terrible pygmies. But Bono could declare himself Trotsky reincarnated and he'd still be huge.

If you want to see the bands on the London bill, you're an idiot. Er, apart from Pink Floyd, who although showing terrible taste in launching a reunion tour are still great.

If you want to see the bands on the Canadian or Eden Project bills, you're probably ok. Probably

It will change nothing. The only way to solve all this bollocks is to fundamentally up-end the way we organise our wordly existence. This isn't going to happen through more aid, or more Annie Lennox or more free trade or by us discussing Joss Stone again. The G8 gives about as much of a flying fuckbox about an equal world as a Manager who calls you a 'partner' and buys you a drink every Xmas, while earning 80 times your wage.

Though it just might... It just might, just, possibly make a few people put two and two together and start to discuss the world. Certainly they'll be more discussion of politics watching Live8 than while gawping at Wimbledon, or (sadly) on what remains of Gay Pride.

So, I don't know, I love live 'event' tv, so I'll be watching £50,000 Ross on Saturday and wearing a white band and arguing about neo-liberalism as much as the next man. And who knows, maybe for one day the next man might actually be doing the same.

Tonguing A Pupil

In amongst a whole host of shitty dreams last night I dreamt a man was torturing me by putting his tongue in my eye. I liked it not a jot.

An interesting article on Live8 is here.