Still smarting from the indifference received from a marvellous hot beverage pun and a
clever paraphrasing cynical bastardisation of a famous quote from the Billy Wilder classic, Sunset Boulevard, I've fallen back on the standard of a music survey whilst I nurse my blogging wounds. Feel free to chip in; I'll feign indifference in response, as it does appear to be this season's brown:
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Still smarting from the indifference received from a marvellous hot beverage pun and a
The poor misguided fool will be me, 'cos the following quote sticks in my throat for its naked commercialism:
"But Lawwell added that the club's recent signing policy has been conducted with market growth in mind.
He said: "We've got (Shunsuke) Nakamura from Japan, we have brought in two Polish players - Maciej Zurawski and Artur Boruc - and last year we brought Roy Keane to Celtic in order to squeeze growth out of the market in Ireland." [Quoted from here].
I mean, he's probably right and being tremendously far-sighted, and you can maybe even half-acknowledge his candour, but I hate him for spelling it out so explicitly, so that even this poor misguided fool can see what really matters - what's really the bottom line - when it comes to matters relating to Celtic.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
From an interview with ex-Arsenal wing wizard, Perry Groves:
How did it feel when the St Johns Ambulance people dropped you off a stretcher at Highbury?
Atletico de Madrid
How did it feel? The only thing I felt was my face smashing into the dirt! It wasn't a stretcher, it was a wheelchair and my arms were strapped in. As they wheeled me round the corner the chair got stuck in the pitch and as they were so old they didn't have the strength to stop me falling, so they let me go, so my face hit the track. In the pouring rain, in front of Liverpool fans. I was annoyed at the time, but looking back it's funny.
Where's YouTube when you need it?
Monday, November 27, 2006
JHE: "His little party was founded in 1904."
Ingrate: "It's not that the party got little, it's just that the working class's indifference to us got bigger."
Daggi got me bang to rights, and the ever present self-deprecation schtick will be the political death of me.
The 8th Comment? - it would have been far more authentic if it had been posted at 'Seven Minutes To Midnight'.
If it really was the "PART-TIME ROCK STAR, FULL-TIME LEGEND" who checked out the blog, all I can say is that the cheeks are moist at the very thought. 'Story of the Blues', 'Comeback' & 'Sinful' are some of the best pop singles of the eighties. He was the most talented one out of The Crucial Three, and in a just world would have been bigger than Cope and McCulloch combined.
Better nip out to get that comment laminated.
Quick search on google reveals that I was blogging about Pete Wylie and fan letters 18 months ago - scroll down to the final paragraph. I really need to get some new material.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Today in Canada and the States is Buy Nothing Day, "an informal day of protest against consumerism observed by social activists", which coincides with the day after Thanksgiving when people apparently go on a buying frenzy. (A variant on the January Sales back in Britain?). The campaign was originally cooked up Ted Dave - and promoted by Adbusters in Canada - and has now spread across the world. Let's be honest, most of us are unable to observe the day truly - being woken up by hungry cats with no food in the cupboard put paid to my political gesture - but it is something to think about.
Anyway, I don't know about 'Buy Nothing Day'; I think it should be 'Eat Nothing Day', as I don't think I've eaten so much food in my life as I did yesterday, when Kara's pal, Maddy, cooked Thanksgiving dinner for 14 people. The food was absolutely delicious, but I think I may have to lie down for a couple of days.
Recovering just in time to be met with this bloke and his special pleading over the next four weeks:
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Attila the Stockbroker continues with his trip down memory lane on his MySpace page.
Latest post has him recounting the leg up that Gary Bushell - when Bushell was a music journalist at Sounds - gave to his career whilst also speculating how it is Bushell went from being a journalist on the Socialist Worker (working under Paul Foot) to the present day right wing gobshite who has made a small fortune spouting hateful bile for the Sun, Daily Star and the Sunday People for the last twenty years.
I really wish that there was an online link to the article that Foot wrote about Bushell - in the 80s? - that was reproduced in his book, 'Words as Weapons'. Responding to a personalised attack from Bushell that appeared in the Sun, Foot totally took Bushell's bullying bullshit apart in the most gentlest of terms. It was a real pleasure to read, and all the more enjoyable knowing that Bushell would have been smarting from the reply.
Now that I think about it, Bushell is a Charlton Athletic supporter. Hope the Addicks get relegated.
Not wishing to come off as overly morbid, but as a strange twist of fate, the Dead Socialist Watch reveals that the late Al Richardson, founding editor of Revolutionary History and historian of the British Trotskyist movement also died on this day in 2003.
Whilst looking for a link for Robert Barltrop for the previous post, I stumbled across this link for Barltrop with the accompanying fascimile of a handbill advertising a debate between the SPGB and the Revolutionary Communist Party on the nature of the class nature of the Soviet Union, that dates from 1948. What's that got to do with Richardson? Well, Richardson, along with Sam Bornstein, wrote a two volume history of British Trotskyism, the second volume of which, 'War and the International - A History of the Trotskyist Movement in Britain, 1937~1949', covers the period leading up to the founding of the RCP in 1944, and its five years of existence. To the best of my knowledge, the only time there has been a unified Trotskyist movement in Britain.
No idea who Fenwick, the SPGB speaker, was. Surprised that it wasn't one of the big guns such as Turner, Wilmott, Young, Groves or Hardy from that period, but the RCP speaker, Roy Tearse, was a well known political figure on the fringes of left politics at the time. As Industrial Organiser of the RCP during the Second World War, alongside Jock Haston, Heaton Lee and Ann Keen, he was arrested and imprisoned under the Trades Dispute Act of 1927 for their support for an unofficial Apprentices' Strike that took place on Tyneside in 1944. The coalition government's Home Secretary during the war was Peter Mandelson's grandfather, Herbert Morrison, and, being an old lefty hack* himself, took the trouble, alongside Bevin, to keep tabs on the RCP, as they had stole a bit of the CPGB revolutionary rhetoric 'cos of the latter's support for the war effort during this period.
I'd be curious to know how the debate went. '48 was the year that Tony Cliff's The Nature of Stalinist Russia** was published as a duplicated internal document of the RCP, and it was also the year that the SPGB pamphlet, ‘Russia Since 1917: Socialist Views of Bolshevik Policy’ was also published. Not wishing to sound like an ortho-Trot from that period, but from reading political memoirs from that period I think the war years mindset were still in place for people at that time, with there still being a residue of expectation that a social and economic transformation was possibly on the agenda, and it was only after another couple of years that people withdrew from politics, retreating back into the private sphere, and leaving the politicos hankering after the good old days.
Getting back to Tearse again, it would be curious to find out what happened to him in the years after '48. The leading member of the RCP, Jock Haston, left Trotskyist politics to pick up a career in trade union education with the Electricians' Union, whereas Grant, Healy and Cliff started their own wee vanguardist franchises that were to have a major imprint of British Trotskyism (and student politics) for the next fifty plus years but in the case of Tearse, little is heard of him until he turns up as a leading member of The Discussion Group, perhaps the smallest and most discreet of the rebellions to take place in the SWP forerunner, the International Socialists, in the early seventies.
Christ, this post has more tangents than paragraphs. I think I'm still in shock from losing that post on Celtic slaughtering Man Utd 1-0. "And then I woke up, and it was all a dream . . ."
You've got to love the old standards
*Trust me, Morrison was John Reid, Alan Milburn and Stephen Byers all rolled into one. A member of the SDF in his early political life, he was recounting anecdotes about SPGB platform speakers fifty years after the fact in his autobiography published in the mid to late fifties.
**Better known as State Capitalism in Russia
As part of his Dead Socialist Watch series, Chris Brooke at Virtual Stoa mentions that it was ninety years ago today that Jack London died at the age of forty. London had a roundabout impact in my political thinking because it was through picking up a copy of Robert Barltrop's biography of London that I ended up reading Barltrop's 'story' of the SPGB, 'The Monument'.
Anyway, this waffle is just an excuse for me to link to an excellent review of London's 'The People of the Abyss' that appeared in the Socialist Standard a few years back when the book was reissued.
What's the explanation for the absence of the expected write-up on the blog marking this momentous victory?
The little matter of an evil black cat by the name of Peanut deciding to scarper around the back of the computer just as I was seconds away from publishing the post, thus sending the computer crashing and the post lost forever in cyberspace. Hence the 'some more tears' in the post.
I may try and recreate the lost post but I wouldn't bet on it. In the meantime, I'm waiting with baited breath for Reidski's write up of the game on his blog and, if you have cable, you can tune in to this show in the coming weeks and at some point you will see me featured as I get bundled into the back of a police car with my hands cuffed behind my back, as I mutter under my breath: "That bastard cat had it coming".
Would you like a standing ovation on an American talk show? Just talk of 'our troops', and you will raise the roof every time.
I know that in the great scheme of things that this clip doesn't mean a lot amongst the deaths and the carnage of Iraq, but the mean spiritedness really sticks in my throat. The fact that the sick fucks made a video of the episode only maddens me further. File under misanthropy.
Hat tip to Pandagon for the clip.
Not So Hard Bastard Talks About Common Ownership. I'm Not Going To Argue With Him. I'm Just Going To Blog About It.
What the hell is going on? First, a
hard bastard "highly skilled athlete", otherwise known as Jeff Monson, speaks of the abolition of the wages system and now a Man City supporting Guardian columnist is writing of common ownership. Granted, rather than getting mentioned in Hansard, it gets pride of place in Pseud's Corner in Private Eye, but as I've turned clutching at political straws into an art-form I think this requires further monitoring.
I think from now until Christmas, I might run a book on the most unlikeliest celebrity* to talk up the case for socialism. What sort of odds could I get on this bloke? Probably the same as this bloke.
*There is a wee bit of history to this. In the mid-nineties, the Socialist Standard carried a two page article on Sinead O'Connor after she stated in one interview that "We should abolish money". It wasn't the Standard's finest moment.
More from the West Country wag here.
There is in fact a decent fan page for Banksy on MySpace which carries an interesting interview with him from a few years back. Not exactly sure where the interview was published originally, but at a time when everyone and their snotty cousin has an opinion on the bloke - genuine subversive or artistic sell out? - it's nice to read some words from the bloke himself.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Sadly he lost his title fight on Saturday against Tim Sylvia, but nevertheless the YouTube clip above is a fascinating interview with Jeff Monson, the UFC competitor who at every turn knocks down stereotypes: looking like that one at the back of the Fordham Baldies gang in the cult film The Wanderers, he is in fact an anarcho-syndicalist with a BA and MA in psychology who puts the average football player to shame in the articulation stakes in this calm and considered interview. All the more impressive 'cos it appears that he has just finished training. (Doubly impressive when you consider some of the moronic comments in response to this interview tagged onto the original clip on YouTube.)
Hat tip to Alan J. Bonecrusher at the MaleStrong blog who, like me, couldn't punch his way out of a wet Socialist Standard.
Big thanks to Will Rubbish for the new design for the blog. As he has previously shown, in his makeovers for both Dave Osler's blog and the Strop's blog, in amongst the wordy philosophy that has me reaching for the dictionary and the political invective that has me reaching for the swear box, the bloke has a canny eye for blog design. I am both grateful and jealous in equal measure.
Love the three column design as it gives pride of place for the details of the Socialist Standard on the left of the screen - publicising the mag is the purpose of the blog after all - and also ensures that the links to blogs, publications and political websites are now further up the screen on the right hand side. I always felt a bit guilty that they were too far down the page.
The typeface for the blog title is not me outing myself as a Star Wars geek, but Will doing the honours of giving the top of the page an Art Nouveau type appearance, which was apparently the design of the banner for the Socialist Standard way back when it first appeared in September 1904. That also explains the one penny pricing and the 1904 reference. The grey background? Either the miserablism of my politics or it's the same shade as Bobby Robson's hair.
Whatever, next time I'm back in Britain, I'll let that man buy me a pint.
Done Tolpuddle a few times, but I never made it to Burford, but hopefully some of the more greying and sedate Party members will recognise the potential of spreading the word on 'yoof sites' on the internet when the news reaches them that even the Levellers Day now has a MySpace page.
At this point I should attempt some lame arsed joke along the lines of how the Stalin Society will soon have a page on MySpace, such is its phenemenon, but real life is always funnier than my attempts at humour.
Those pesky mischevious scamps; what are they like?
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Latest post from John at the SPGB's blog Socialism Or Your Money Back:
"Only those suffering from selective amnesia will not recall the nauseating lengths to which Tony Blair went in promoting the case for the invasion of Iraq, how he used 10-year-old information gleaned from the internet, and some student’ dissertation to boot, to argue that Saddam Hussein was quite capable of lobbing a missile at Britain within 45 minutes." READ MORE
Friday, November 17, 2006
I thought it should have been the soundtrack of the summer but to no avail, so I'm hoping that with the release of his debut album this week, 'Cunts Are Still Running The World', might get a second wind. Maybe release a reworked version with a school choir providing backing vocals for the chorus, and the next thing you'll know it'll be the best Christmas number one since Shakin Stevens 'Merry Christmas Everyone'.
The video was found courtesy of Eric at the Drink Sots, who also thinks it could be the Crimbo number one but loses brownie points for thinking that the album is a grower. Daft man, bloody daft: as well as this hidden gem on the album, 'Fat Children', 'Big Julie' and 'From Auschwitz To Ipswich' are instant classics. The bloke's still got it.
Silly, but I'm late posting details of the November Socialist Standard on the blog, and December will be quickly upon us. Therefore, I'll keep the intro brief and to the point.
For those readers of the blog not up to speed on what's going on in British politics - no, I'm not referring to members of Lancaster Branch - the bloke on the front cover of the November Socialist Standard with too much red blusher and misapplied blue eyeshadow on his face is Gordon Brown who, barring him getting run over by a double decker bus driven by someone answering to the description of Peter Mandelson, will be the next Prime Minister of Great Britain. (Probably May 2007, when Blair is airlifted to heaven by Saint Peter to be presented with beatification and a millennial subscription to Prospect Magazine.) Brown's big idea is to embrace patriotism and (our) Britishness. I attribute this to the fact that Brown supports Raith Rovers, and he is therefore the political version of those football supporters who follow the England team abroad, and who all turn out to be from 'blink and you miss it' places like Cobham, Warminster and Uttoxeter. For what it's worth, I'm unsure of why this was the lead article in this month's Standard, other than the fact it lended Neil and Paddy the opportunity to once again conjure up another brilliant cover for the Standard.
Moving on, the best articles in this month Standard are the centenary article on Upton Sinclair's muckraking classic 'The Jungle', and the review of Benjamin Franks on modern day British anarchism. Both worth checking out.
In my usual fashion this intro is neither brief nor to the point, so I will just provide you with the link to the PDF version of this month's issue or, alternatively, you can take advantage of the links to individual articles that are provided below.
Reviews & Letters
Voice From The Back
Thursday, November 16, 2006
"When I got out of the plane in Greensboro in the US state of North Carolina, I would never have expected my host family to welcome me at the airport, wielding a Bible, and saying, ‘Child, our Lord sent you half-way around the world to bring you to us.’ At that moment I just wanted to turn round and run back to the plane."
Pandagon provides a cautionary tale for those of you out there thinking of seeing the world. Unlucky sod.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
MEMOIRS: 1981. The Jam, Seething Wells, Chris Dean, 'A Bang & A Wimpy' . . . and a cameo from Paul Weller's dad
Attila the Stockbroker - for the unitiated, think Eminem in an old style Tesco plastic bag tunic - is currently serialising his memories, libels and anecdotes in a punk and dole style for the greatest year in the history of music - 1981 - on Myspace. The latest post chronicles touring with Patrik Fitzgerald, two in a bed with Seething Wells* and exchanging small talk with Paul Weller's dad.
Attila's blog is worth a bookmark on anyone's desktop.
I actually had the Cherry Red compilation, 'Pillows and Prayers', that Attila mentions in his post, on vinyl many, many years ago. I seem to remember that the Monochrome Set track was the highlight of the album.
*Steven Wells - Punk Poet, NME journalist and SWP hack. The original Lenny.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
It can be cold this time of year when you're standing outside
Foodtown Tescos with your fake petition carefully covering your fake politics, so check out the tunes, slap them on your iPod or mp3 player and you'll have something to tap your foot to when meeting and greeting the masses.
I think I'm going mad 'cos I think 'The Ego Has Landed' is a boss tune. And, there is the added bonus of the repetitive beats on both tracks clearing up one longstanding mystery: I always wondered what the second E in RESPECT stood for. I knew it couldn't really stand for 'equality'. We are talking about the SWP, after all.
It was one of those double take moments.
Last night, half-watching the tv whilst the adverts are on, and out the corner of my eye I see a car whizz by on the screen but what's that music accompanying the ad? I recognise those crunchy guitars and the Salfordian whine. Christ, Mitsubishi is using The Fall's track 'Blindness' to sell their Outlander Suv! You don't believe me that the sonic boom of Manchester's greatest mianthrope is on American national tv every night? Check out the advert via You Tube.
Christ, I'd love to have been a fly on the wall of that meeting between the advertising agency and the people at Mitsubishi where the matter of the proposed soundtrack for the ad campaign came up. How do you explain Mark E. Smith to the unitiated? Better still, what prompted them to chose that particular song? I've racked my brains and I can only guess that it was this couplet from the song - not featured in the ad - that swung it:
'I was only on one leg
The streets were fucked'
That sounds like a bloke in desperate need for some smooth transportation.
Mark E. Smith has just heard the news that lawyers acting on behalf of the landlord of his local pub have had the royalty cheque from Mitsubishi seized and redirected to their client, so that it can pay off Mark's bar tab.
Lisa cherry picked 9 and 11 which are, on balance, the best of the lot but I also have a soft spot for number 6 in Michael Moore's 'A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives':
"6. Even though you have opposed environmental regulation, when we clean up our air and water, we, the Democratic majority, will let you, too, breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water."
And before you chime in - like Lisa - I know that Michael Moore can be problematic in the politics he puts forward and the link falls outside of the remit of revolutionary socialism but I can't help myself in enjoying the schadenfreude feeling when anything bad befalls the Republicans. It's the Tory Party all over again.
As a counterbalance to my creeping reformism, check out Bill's 'Open Letter to Michael Moore' which appeared in the Socialist Standard a few years back. One of the best articles Pik Smeet ever wrote for the Standard.
Thanks to Wired magazine and to Ken McLeod I can now say that I've actually read some Hemingway. For what its worth, my favourite six word short story is the one from Margaret Atwood. Damn, I can also now say that I've read some Atwood as well.
PS - I thought I would chip in with my own contribution. The title above is for the follow up to Barltrop's 'The Monument: the story of the Socialist Party of Great Britain'.
Friday, November 10, 2006
From the BBC Sports website:
Residents of Hertfordshire town Tring are upset with Graham Poll's inability to stay out of the spotlight. "Once upon a time if you told people you were from Tring, they'd say, 'Oh yeah, that's where Walter Rothschild is from'," said one resident. "Now they say, 'Oh, that's where that bloody referee lives'." (Times)
It was never my favourite Clash song*, and he's never been my favourite Labour leader** so no minor heart palpitations from my corner with Tony's version of 'Should I Stay or Should I Go'. Blair always struck me as more of a Tom Robinson Band type.
Hat tip to Eric, who is also drink soaked today.
*'Safe European Home', since you ask.
**That leader has yet to be born, since you don't ask.
Turns out that Diana Ross was number one with 'I'm Still Waiting' the day I was born. Waiting for what exactly? Socialist revolution? For David Baddiel to tell a funny joke? Maybe for Gordon Legge to take his ballpoint pen out of his ear and actually publish another novel or collection of short stories?
Find out who was number one in the British charts the day you were born via Hit40UK Birthday Calender.
Don't blame me if you find Jive Bunny staring right back at you. That will be your parents fault.
Hat tip to Will Rubbish in his drink soaked capacity.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Though I'm probably with Alan J on the subject of the Republicrats, I still have a soft spot for any political satire that makes use of the Mr Men. Shame it was 25 years too late for Arthur Lowe* to provide the voiceover.
Hat tip to Popbitch. (Like they need me to provide a link to them.)
*Wonder if there is any truth in the story that as an ardent Tory, Arthur Lowe based his best loved character, Captain Mainwaring, on Clement Attlee?
Paul's spitting feathers about the news but that might be to do with the fact that, as a loyal Tribunite, he's experienced more financial calamities than a Leeds Utd fan. However, I can only see the funny side to the news that as the surviving relative of Alfred and Tekla Hess, the chair of the Communist Party of Britain, Anita Halpin, has netted $38 million from the sale of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's 1913 painting Berlin Street Scene at yesterday's Christie's auction in New York.
The short term news is that this target will probably be met sooner than usual; 'Robbie Rix' will make some barbed comment about the windfall in the next Weekly Worker when s/he is doing their financial appeal next week; and the North Korean embassy will be on the phone saying that the Korean Workers Party would like to send a delegation to Ruskin House in Croydon, rather than the past practice of the CPB sending fraternal delegations to North Korea.
Long term? Labour Party Treasurer, Jack Dromey, will be testing the auto-labourism of the CPB, by asking Anita for a donation to the fighting fund for the next General Election; the leadership of the SWP will think it's a tremendous idea for the CPB to reverse its previous decision not to join Respect, with Chris Bambery penning an 'Open Letter'; and the Morning Star . . . the Morning Star . . . will continue to be the Morning Star. In depth with TUC news, advertising CPB/Morning Star jumble sales at the Marchmont Community Centre in Camden and that one copy remaining unsold at newsagents around the country.
That wailing noise you can hear in the background? That'll be Reidski coming to terms with the fact that he can't find his old membership card.
C . . . an't stop laughing. No doubt the archetypal R*ngers fan will be
kidding consoling themselves with the knowledge that they're still in Europe, but it doesn't matter: I bet it hurts like hell that they're 15 points behind Celtic at the start of November. Le Guen will be catching the Eurostar back to France, and Billy Davies will be the next manager of R*ngers. Maybe not in the next few months, but that is what will happen.
From the November issue of News From Nowhere:
With great sadness, we must report the passing of Len Feinzig in the early morning hours of October 25.
Born in 1917, he joined the WSP in 1936 and was an active member of Boston Local until there was no more local to be active in. He was part of the core group who continued monthly meetings to mail out the Socialist Standards and keep the bare bones of a socialist movement alive during the 1980s. After the renaissance that the WSP began to experience in 1987, he continued to take part in every activity except those requiring computer skills.
Lenny’s greatest contribution to the organization was as a speaker, both on the soapbox and indoors. He was arguably the best debater in the WSP, frequently impressing large audiences in debates with groups from Harvard, MIT and Brandeis. He also spoke on Local Boston’s radio program during the late 1960s and early 70s.
Comrade Feinzig served on both the NAC and the Editorial Committee for many years. He wrote articles for the Western Socialist under the name 'L. Fenton.' He also made it his personal project to increase the circulation of the Western Socialist dramatically during the 1950s (not at all an easy task in that period of history!) by instituting a successful nation-wide Library Campaign.
His life was long and productive. He will be long remembered.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Despite my habit of reaching for the Joe Strummer line "Turning rebellion into money" at the drop of a hat, the Clash were never one of my favourite bands of the punk era but I think I'll have to check them out in more depth following this funny and fascinating interview in today's Guardian.
Kudos for Paul Simonon for the nice line in self-deprecating wit and, yep, Rude Boy is probably one of the worst films I've ever had the misfortune to sit through.