Thursday, October 14, 2004

'Dancing With Tears in His Eyes'*

A quick one.
Mention in a previous post of Iain Banks political gesture of burning his passport in protest at the actions of Her Majestys Government, reminded me of the following anecdote, cut and pasted below, that appeared in Jim Higgins uproariously funny political memoir, More Years of the Locust.
The background to the anecdote recounted was the arrest of ex-IS member turned Anarchist, Stuart Christie, in 1964, whilst trying to cross the French-Spanish border with a rucksack full of explosives and a plan to assassinate Franco. Arrested, and apparently as part of the last of the thirty attempted assassination attempts on Franco's life, the eighteen year old Christie could have been executed by garroting, but was instead sentenced to twenty years and, following international protest and campaigning, was released in 1967.
It says something for the shallow roots that Anarchism has in British political life and public consciousness that forty years after the above episode and thirty years after the juvenile antics of the Angry Brigade, Stuart Christie still qualifies as the best known Anarchist in Britain. (Chumbawumba's 'Tubthumping' always playing on the pub jukebox doesn't really count.)
A grisly episode, but if it is good enough for the late Jim Higgins to write about, then who am I to pass up the opportunity to cut and paste a funny anecdote to gratuitously fill up my blog? Take it away Jim:
"In Glasgow, the IS comrades organised a protest at his sentence outside the Spanish consulate. Ian Mooney prevailed on his mother to run up a fair replica of a Spanish flag that could be symbolically burned outside the consulate. As the man who provided the flag, Ian insisted on being allowed to set it alight. To ensure a merry blaze he first soaked it with lighter fuel. Unfortunately he was extremely shortsighted and, while he successfully soaked and lit the flag, he also soaked and lit his own boots. Thus what might have been an easily forgotten protest has danced – along with Ian Mooney’s flaming boots – into the annals of Glasgow socialist folklore."
* The title of the post is in homage to Reidski's habit of using the title of classic pop songs as titles of the messages to his blog. If he can namecheck the songs of such great artists as Blondie, the Buzzcocks and the Stranglers then why can't I namecheck Ultravox?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Looks like someone is going to Saltcoats for his holidays next year.

Hat tip to the Scottish Patient


In the comments section to this post, Backward Dave comments on Banks as a person and as a writer. I agree with Dave that what I have seen of Iain Banks, when he is being interviewed on the television, he seems like a good bloke and all that. And, like Dave, I agree that Bank's friend and fellow Sci-Fi novelist, Ken MacLeod, is probably the better writer of the two - from reading Macleod's blog and from reading the non-Science Fiction bits of his novel, The Stone Canal, which is as good a thumbnail sketch of the British Far Left in the seventies and eighties than anything I have read before.

Why did I feel the need to mention the above? Simply 'cos it gave me the excuse to link to the following article that MacLeod wrote for the Special Centenary Issue of the Socialist Standard, monthly journal of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, in June of this year. Gratuitous plug for said article, in the journal described as the Beano by Petty Bourgeois Deb, over, I can get on with other matters.

Now, where did I last leave my armchair?