Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tangerine Nightmare Celtic sign Eric Stoltz

Further to this old post comes the news today that, subject to a medical, Barry Robson has signed for Celtic.

You can't really blame Robson for jumping at the chance of signing for the big club. It's a nice turnaround for a player who started his career at R*ngers but never really made the grade at Ibrox. And it's a canny bit of business by Dundee Utd: buying a player for £50,000 in 2003 and selling him for £1m five years later.

I'm not going back on my previous post. I'm still pissed that Celtic and R*ngers continue to cherry pick the best players in the SPL, thus ensuring their grey dominance of the SPL.

It was a pleasant surprise to see Dundee Utd and Motherwell doing so well this year, but it looks like it was a one off. Wait another 20 years before a club other than the Auld Firm wins the SPL.

I just hope that Robson's Celtic career doesn't go the way of Riordan's, and it begs the question of whether or not Scott Brown will still be at Celtic this time next year.


Ronaldo has a Narey like moment.

Bulletins Posted Out Of Necessity

Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (31)

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 31st of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

We now have 1166 friends!

Recent blogs:

  • The making of "killing machines"
  • Why governments can't just spend and spend
  • The Continuing Trade Cycle
  • This week's top quote:

    "But capital not only lives upon labor. Like a master, at once distinguished and barbarous, it drags with it into its grave the corpses of its slaves, whole hecatombs of workers, who perish in the crises." Karl Marx, Wage Labour and Capital, 1847.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Another Piggy Back Post

    Sorry, I should have mentioned that the Nick Heyward pic is from this old BBC Story advertising a photographic exhibition that was entitled 'Made in UK: 10 Years of British pop '76 - '86'.

    The photographer exhibited, Janette Beckman, has a rather fine website that should be checked out at your leisure.

    Wednesday, January 30, 2008

    The Boy He Used To Be

    I was going to do it eventually, but as Stuart has now outed himself as a fellow Haircut 100 fan in response to the previous post, I thought I'd draw people's attention to this excellent old article from the Church of Me blog that was linked to in the last post but was buried deep amongst the self-absorption and mono-mania.

    It's a track by track breakdown and celebration of the Haircut's debut album, Pelican West. The Smash Hits generation know of the Postcard connection when talking about Haircut 100's style and influences but were you aware of Pelican West's tipping the hat to No Wave and Steely Dan, amongst others?

    It also pleases that there is a few knowing barbs aimed at those bands that were supposedly inspired by new pop of the early eighties but bit the hand that fed it by sucking all the joy and life out of what was a great period for music. I mean, I do have a soft spot for a couple of early tracks from the Kane brothers but I know what the blogger means when he writes of Hue & Cry:

    " . . . despite borrowing an album title from Baudrillard, [they] always came across to me as Haircut One Hundred with a Lanarkshire Ben Elton on vocals."

    The mid-eighties has a lot to answer for.

    Tuesday, January 29, 2008

    Dolphins or triangles?

    - A word.

    - yeah?

    - What happened?

    - What do you mean?

    - A few months back on the blog, every other week it was "morphing into a music blog this, wannabe music blog that". And then nothing. Quieter than a John Cage classic. Like I said, what happened?

    - You didn't believe that guff, did you? It was filler to keep the blog ticking over.

    - I did believe it and, what's more, you half-believed it. What happened . . . Are you listening to me?

    - Sorry, I was distracted. Flamini just scored a scorcher against Newcastle Utd. Keegan should never have gone back. It wasn't a wise move. *snigger* What were you saying? Wannabe music blog?

    - aye

    - Well, the more I thought about it the less I thought it was a viable idea. There are so many cracking music blogs out there that when I chewed it over, I realised I couldn't be arsed to come up with the half muso, half walk down memory lane schtick to accompany any mp3s I might post on the blog. Paul Morley might be a pretentious prick, but at least he can crank out the 1000 words when writing about a Crispy Ambulance b-side. For that, if for nothing else, he has my admiration. And . . .

    - Yeah?

    - Bendtner was definitely offside for Fàbregas's goal.

    - Forget about Arsenal for feck's sake. They flatter to deceive. They aren't winning squat this season.

    - I'll remember you said that come May.

    - I'll remind you I said it come May. And, btw, why do you keep mentioning Paul Morley in the blog? It's bordering on a Galloway/Tim-like obsession.

    - The same reason I keep going back to highlighting the fact that Nicky Campbell and David Baddiel are wankers on the blog. It less to do with me obsessing and more to do with the fact that they are the self-absorbed types who will google-search themselves with their morning coffee and croissant: I want them to know that they are admired from afar.

    - "Self-absorbed types"? Look in the mirror, narcissus. You're having an imaginary conversation with yourself on a blog.

    - This is filler for the blog you cheeky bastard, but as you are just resorting to abuse, I'll restate for the record why there is a near-absence of music posts on the blog in recent weeks. It's a chore to spew out 200 words to accompany the posting of an mp3. You know. Why you should listen to this . . .blah! blah! . . . . why it's important. . . blah! blah! . . . why it will make you laugh/cry/rage/protest (delete as appropriate) . . . produced by Kim Fowley under the pseudonym of Rome Forte during his Psychobilly Skiffle period . . . blah! blah! bastard blah! I end up tongue-tied and fall back on, "You'll like X cos they sound like Y." That can be so aggravating after a while when all you're really trying to do is bring joy to other people's lives by shoving your music taste down their ears. LISTEN TO THE RECOMMENDED TUNES, YOU BASTARDS. Leave the furrowed browed music appreciation for the brylcreem boys slumming it over at Pitchfork Media.

    - What's with the caps? No need to shout.

    - Sorry. Realised the post was dragging on a bit and thought I'd actually jemmy in an excuse for posting this ramble.

    - I understand. Remember, I've read your blog before. I have to click on it to get to Dave O's blog. Your blog is my glorified bookmark.

    - . . . .

    - Not talking? Sorry if I hurt your feelings. It's the same reason that guy from Thames Valley University clicks on your blog every morning for 1 minute 37 seconds.

    - No, not that. But, yeah, who is that bloke? I have my theories. I use the blog as a bookmark bar as well. The silence was because I was surprised you didn't go with the obvious gag about X sounding like Y.

    - You mean some lame arsed gag about the seminal early eighties punk band from Los Angeles? I got it . . where do you want me to put it? I thought conversing with you was indulgence enough.

    - So there's no point in throwing out the Blue Rondo A L Turk gag or the zinger about The Woodentops?

    - Like you have a joke about Blue Rondo A La Turk. You're just going for the google alert traffic. You're so transparent, I can see what you ate for breakfast.
    - Yeah, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo soup. I'll say this for the Americans. Their soup is better than their crisps.

    - . . .

    - By the by, I'm looking at the clock even if you're not. You're supposed to be meeting Kara in twenty minutes and I can't see where this post is going.

    - OK, smart arse. As YOU kicked off this conversation, why don't you wind it down?

    - Never thought you'd ask. Mind, I thought you should have asked earlier. Will Rubbish stopped reading this post when you mentioned Crispy Ambulance; Reidski's still in the pub and Kara will click on the link to Pandagon's blog as soon as she spots the football references. It's just you, me and the funny shoe salesman who are still reading this post.

    - "funny shoe salesman" Tutti Frutti. First episode, when Danny and Suzy are walking through the Glasgow School of Art. I'll give you that sideway pop culture reference if you give me an ending to this post.

    - OK. Short and sweet solution? Having trouble with accompanying blurb? Stream of consciousness pish. Why bother what anybody else thinks. We've already established your limited readership. Failing that, do what every other fucker does: cut and paste from wiki or discogs. Nobody will notice and, at worst, it'll just be like that music project you did in third year for Mr Larkin. Remember? 'Cos he thought you were such a pain in the arse in school, he couldn't believe that you'd did the project by yourself . . .

    - I know what you're trying to do. Throwing in a personal memory to bring life to a song. I've tried it. It doesn't work. I haven't led that interesting a life. And, anyway, that bloke from the chip shop does that so much better. I'd come off looking like the Brotherhood of Man to his ABBA.

    - OK, what about lists? You like lists. Remember that poll of favourite bands you did when you were 12? . . . sorry, pissing on the chip shop guys chips. But you are always banging on about how you could swap your iPod for a 1981 Walkman, and you do have your playlists.

    - Thought about it but, again, 17 Seconds does that sort of stuff par excellence. He's doing a sterling series on old Peel Festive Fifty's at the moment. Not always my cup of tea, but there's always something there that hits the spot. My pale version of such an undertaking would be my Bardo to his Bucks Fizz.

    -*Sigh* Fuckzake, you're hard work sometimes. Well, how about going against the habit of a lifetime and putting a bit of time and thought into a post? Why not do a considered piece about a neglected classic or why a band that have been sneered at in the past should be reassessed? You were always havering on about ABC sophomore album, Beauty Stab, being a neglected classic. Make a case for it. You know, actually do a smidge of research. Write a draft and don't just press the publish button 'cos a repeat of Malcolm On The Middle has started on the telly.

    - Fucksake with a Z and "sophomore"? Don't get all American on my arse. Your worst idea so far. The whole point of my blogging block was down to the fact that I couldn't be arsed to penning a few hundred words and now you're suggesting a post in four parts . . .

    - . . . *smirk* I'm doing a word count on this post after its finally published.

    - . . . .aye, aye. Patter like that, I take it that your writers are still on strike? Kudos for their class consciousness . . . and their taste. As I was saying, before you interrupted my interruption, it would be a non-starter. Blogging should be like an early Wire album track. Short, snappy and finished under 1 minute 37 seconds. And anyway, again, better people are doing that sort of stuff. I know you think that they are overrated but check out Owen's piece on The Cure or Marcello's daily pieces over at Blue in the Air blog. They do that sort of stuff for kicks. I'd be the Haircut 100 to their Orange Juice.

    - You like Haircut 100

    - I know I do. That's just my lead into this old post about Pelican West. That Marcello bloke has the chops when it comes to writing about pop matters.

    - *sigh* You finished? You talk of posts resembling Wire album tracks but this post is coming off like a track from Don't Stand Me Down. Not often Kevin Rowland comes off as the more lucid and succinct in a compare and contrast. Hurry up man. Axl Rose will finish Chinese Democracy before you finish this post.

    - Finish it for me.

    - As I see it: You can't be arsed to push the boat out but you still want to shove your musical taste down peoples's ears. Is that the bottom line?

    - I guess so.

    - Then could I suggest that you just carry on with what you were doing. Talking up the occasional lucky find on myspace with a wee bit of blurb; grabbing a music meme with both hands and running with it until you collapse into a exhausted heap; maybe signposting a good blog article with accompanying mp3 (for sampling purposes); and the occasional linkage to music blogs that know what they're talking about.

    - You mean like Power Pop Criminal$ and Mutant Sounds?

    - Yeah, amongst others.They're sprouting up on the internet like Ron Paul supporters.

    - Wait up. You didn't mention my Friday Playlists when suggesting I do what I did before.

    - Kill the Friday Playlist. No one was interested. Now about meeting Kara in twenty minutes?

    - Of course. Thanks for reminding me.

    - Any chance of picking up the latest issue of the Indypendent at Vox Pop for me?

    - Sure, no problem. And thanks for the 'word'. It's a weight off my mind.

    - No worries. You've got impeccable taste in music and it was hurting us both that you were blocking yourself from foisting it on blogdom.

    - About The Indypendent. Are you actually going to read it this time?

    - Your writers on strike as well, wee man? Very droll. If you think about it, that line makes us both look bad.

    - I'll get my coat.

    SPGB: matchmaker

    If this was a country and western song, it would be entitled: 'They lost the Party but found each other'. But I'm just teasing.

    Congratulations are in order.

    I miss record covers

    Aah, the joy of brilliant record covers. I miss them.

    More details about the above image over at Spinster's Rock.

    Sunday, January 27, 2008

    Getting Around

    . . . the t'internet.

    Man City: the SPGB of the FA Cup?

    "Balloons not to blame - Eriksson"

    Sven takes defeat with good grace, despite the fact that it was the balloons behind Joe Hart's goal that contributed to Sheffield United's first goal.

    Who'd be a Man City supporter? Who'd have a Man City fan as a supporter? Not to say that they bring misfortune on themselves, but they are the sort of fans who would fall into a barrel of lollipops and come up sucking up to a prick.

    Saturday, January 26, 2008


    Benayoun can score a hat trick . . . . . . it doesn't matter: the moral victory is all H & V's.

    Paddington Bear

    Crouch can score a double hat trick in the second half . . .

    . . . it doesn't matter: the moral victory is all H & V's.

    In Case You Were Wondering . . .

    I Know I was.

    Bring Me The Head Of Rupert Murdoch

    The Liverpool vs Havant & Waterlooville game is not on the telly.


    Somebody's hacked the BBC Sports website

    A Screen Grab Moment

    . . . 'cos it won't last.

    Friday, January 25, 2008

    Latest News From Red Mars

    From next week's Weekly Worker:

    American Spartacist spotted doing paper sale outside meeting of the Martian Communist Party.

    Looks Like The Posadists* Have Landed On Planet MySpace

    *Posadist who? I thought this was a wannabe music blog?" Let an old article from the Fortean Times bring you up to speed on what I'm wittering about.

    A million raging ids

    Apropos of the Facebook Album Cover Thingy, comes its bastardised cousin.

    Hat tip to Will Rubbish.

    Dance with a Stranger

    From I was Morrissey's roadie:

    "Then I am asked: “What was the first record you ever bought? Moz asks everyone that, I’m told. What would your answer be?”

    Being involved in music I have often been asked this question and my policy recently has been honesty. It wasn’t the Velvet Underground, Sex Pistols or the Jesus and Mary Chain, it was Rocket Man, by Elton John. “F*** me, Andrew,” he says. “Don’t tell Moz that, you’ll be right out the door. T. Rex is always good.”"

    Never meet your heroes . . . or put them on google alert . . . it always disappoints.

    The Vanguard Speaks . . .

    It's still early in Brooklyn, but no one will top this as the (unintentional) funniest comment of the day:

    ". . . But no matter who he manages to hook up with (The CPGB perhaps?) the question will remain: Who's gonna hand out the leaflets?" (My emphasis.) [From here.]

    So that's what they meant by a 'Popular Front of a Special Kind'. I always wondered.

    Finding 1981 in 2008

    Sometimes I think when it comes to music matters and 2008, I'll only give it a glance when it concerns music dating from 1981. Sad but true.

  • Kissy Sell Out vs The Human League - 'The Things That Dreams Are Made Of' mp3
  • Hat tip to music blog, Paul's Ramblings.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008

    Howard Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States' 8/8

    The final part of the audio book of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, as read by Matt Damon.

    This episode deals with an overview of the audio series and also includes an epilogue from Howard Zinn himself.

    DOWNLOAD LINK: A People's History (8 of 8)

    FILE NAME: a peoples history 8 of 8.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~35.04 megabytes

    LENGTH: 51:02

    Further Reading on Howard Zinn:

  • Howard Zinn's Official Website
  • Online text of A People's History of the United States
  • Howard Zinn's 'History' comes to TV
  • Howard Zinn's 'Je Ne Suis Pas Marxiste'
  • Miller . . . Hansen . . . oh shit, Shengelia

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (30)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 30th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1158 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Russia was never socialist - and why
  • The Futility of Reformism
  • The Cause of Violence
  • This week's top quote:

    "Governments are not social organizations that represent all people. They are class institutions. They do the work of the class that owns and rules." J.A. McDonald, Western Socialist, 1960.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008

    "No wonder he's in the fucking reserves"

    Priceless 'Arry Redknapp YouTube clip.

    Looks Familiar?

    Bendtner just can't help himself when it comes to using his head in games against Spurs. The pic above is from the league game in December of last year.

    Beautiful Goal

    The video clip doesn't do it justice.

    Howard Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States' 7/8

    The penultimate part of the audio book of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, as read by Matt Damon.

    The seventh part deals with the emergence of the United Farm Workers movement led by César Chávez; growing opposition to US Foreign Policy in Central America in the eighties; and the left's response to the rise of the 'New Democrats' in the nineties.

    DOWNLOAD LINK: A People's History (7 of 8)

    FILE NAME: a peoples history 7 of 8.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~35.04 megabytes

    LENGTH: 51:02

    Further Reading on Howard Zinn:

  • Howard Zinn's Official Website
  • Online text of A People's History of the United States
  • Howard Zinn's 'History' comes to TV
  • Howard Zinn's 'Je Ne Suis Pas Marxiste'
  • A Fragile Ego Writes . . .

    *snigger* Wonder what prompted this little spewage?:

    "The second thing is, the Sitemeter at the bottom of this page is inaccurate, and not in the good way (ie, it doesn't inflate the numbers). I've only recently discovered that Sitemeter and other similar services have a reputation for seriously undercounting visitors. It is true that another service that doesn't appear on the site gives me an extra hundred unique visitors a day, Google Analytics ditto, and a system that used to exist but went out of business gave me a couple of hundred more. However, some say that no free service really tells you how many page views, or unique visits, you get. The professional services that you pay for, or get free with certain packages like Wordpress, apparently describe five or six times more unique visits. Now, since I don't have advertisements on the site, I would generate no revenue from having five or six times more visitors - this is entirely an ego issue. As such, I'm not going to change the hosting service or pay for some package or other. But I am going to piss and moan about it. And perhaps find some way to get a proper counting device free."

    PS - I also think it's sweet that Lennie keeps been drawn back to the swamp of "sectarian blogging". *Cuddles*.

    Monday, January 21, 2008

    An Inveresk Exclusive. Just in and you will only read it on this blog . . .

    . . . Ken Livingstone is a politician and acts accordingly.

    More revelations tomorrow.

    Do Something. Do Anything

    Does Strachs finally realise that he is some quality on the bench or is he just trying to eke out a few more quid from Owen Coyle?

    Celtic need a wee bit of extra quality if they are to retain the Championship this season, and he's already in place at Parkhead. Phuk it . . . I hope Keegan buys him.

    What Have The Unions Ever Done For Us?

    Wait up. As I'm a supposed armchair ultra-leftist, I should be denouncing this as yellow propaganda, put out by the union bureaucracy to derail the spontaneity and revolutionary potential of the rank and file.

    As the title of the book goes: From the people who brought you the weekend:

    Hat tip 'Urbanblues' over at Urban 75.

    Recent Additions to the SPGB Website

    A packet of three for the Left Anoraks.

    Some old SPGB pamphlets added to the website in a more accessible format:

  • The Communist Manifesto - And the Last Hundred Years (1948)
  • Nationalisation or Socialism? (1945)
  • Russia 1917-1967 (1967)
  • Howard Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States' 6/8

    Apologies for the delay in putting up the rest of the Zinn audio book. The last three parts will be uploaded over the next three days.

    This is the sixth part of the audio book of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, as read by Matt Damon.

    It continues with the emergence of the American Indian Movement; deals with protest music and politics; the growing anti-nuclear movement; and the left's response to the new political climate of Reaganomics.

    DOWNLOAD LINK: A People's History (6 of 8)

    FILE NAME: a peoples history 6 of 8.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~31.02 megabytes

    LENGTH: 45:10

    Further Reading on Howard Zinn:

  • Howard Zinn's Official Website
  • Online text of A People's History of the United States
  • Howard Zinn's 'History' comes to TV
  • Howard Zinn's 'Je Ne Suis Pas Marxiste'
  • Beautiful Sanchez

    Repeat after me: two was better than one.

    Friday, January 18, 2008


    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (29)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 29th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1147 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Artificial scarcity
  • Nationalisation or Socialism?
  • Socialism and the State
  • This week's top quote:

    "The slave frees himself when, of all the relations of private property, he abolishes only the relation of slavery and thereby becomes a proletarian; the proletarian can free himself only by abolishing private property in general. Engels, Principles of Communism, 1847.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    Tom Cruise extols the virtues of scientology

    *UPDATE* - YouTube have pulled the video, but you can see a longer version of the clip over at Gawker.

    Apparently, the Church of Scientology aren't too pleased that this clip is doing the rounds on YouTube. I can't say that I can blame them. Cruise comes off as creepier version of his character in Magnolia.

    The American Maoists must be kicking themselves that the scientologists got their claws into Cruise before they could. The bloke is in need of a cult.

    Hat tip to Harry's Place. And hat tip to HP commentator, DavidMWW, for the info that "KSW = Keeping Scientology Working" and that an "SP" is "Suppressive Person - what you are declared to be if you don't follow KSW." You couldn't make this shit up.

    Sorry, a typo. I meant to write: L. Ron Hubbard made this shit up.

    Monday, January 14, 2008

    They're A Facebook Phenomenon, But Where's The Japan Album Covers?

    I'd bet my milk bottle top collection that really is JAMC's Jim Reid.

    Hat tip to Yadogg. More laugh out loud inspiration over at the Facebook Group dedicated to rescuing vinyl for a meaningful purpose.

    They Blogged About Andrew Glyn, So I Don't Have To Pretend To

    Old Etonian Oxbridge academic was apparently a member of the Militant Tendency in the 70s and the 80s? How did that square with their much celebrated workerism during that period? Mmm, where's that quote again from the 'Communist Manifesto'? There it is:

    Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the progress of dissolution going on within the ruling class, in fact within the whole range of old society, assumes such a violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole."

    That's the one. I bet he had it typed up in bold, laminated and carried it dangling from his neck at Millies get togethers. It would have helped avoid misunderstandings.

    As a pre-eminent economist in his day, I wonder if he reined in Ted Grant's 24/7 millenarianism during that time, or did hee supply the number-crunching to back it up?

    OK, enough waffle from me. A few links about the recent passing of Andrew Glyn are in order:

  • From Stumbling and Mumbling Blog: Andrew Glyn
  • From 1/888 Branch News blog: Andrew Glyn - Marxist economist and socialist fighter
  • Andy gets in on the plaudits: Socialist Unity Blog
  • Labour and Capital get in on the blourning: Andrew Glyn
  • Nice comments accompanying the piece: Andrew Glyn is Dead
  • SPGB gets snotty (again): Andrew Glyn
  • The British Security Services allegedly tapped his phone in the eighties. A Foreign & Commonwealth Office blogger eulogises him in the naughties: Andrew Glyn
  • Finally, I did like this comment attributed to Glyn by one of the commentators over at Crooked Timber:

    "Towards the end of the term in which I was taught by him, the film ‘Rosa’, about the life of Rosa Luxemburg, came out. After remarking on how the film made no mention of Luxemburg’s criticisms of Lenin, Andrew’s next comment was something like: ‘Her life shows that it is actually possible to be both a serious revolutionary socialist and a human being."

    Sounded like he was a decent bloke.

    They Talk About The Smiths, So I Don't Have To #2

    'This Charming Man': The greatest pop song of all time?

    Quite possibly. It depends what day you catch me when asking that particular question.

    Professional irritant Paul Morley tests my patience to the limit with his trendy sixth form English teacher deconstruction of the lyrics of 'This Charming Man' on his BBC4 programme, Pop! What is it good for? Simon Armitage is excused from my bile, as I love his prose - though I do wish he wouldn't go to the same barber as Stuart Maconie - and Mike Joyce? . . . well Mike Joyce has the best line of all in the clip.

    Hat tip to Urban 75 for bringing the programme to my attention.

    They Talk About The Smiths, So I Don't Have To


    Ian Bone reports on Smiths fans in Salford getting spikey at the thought of David Cameron securing a photo-op outside the Salford Boys Club.

    Doesn't matter if Cameron claims it's his favourite album of all time, it restores my faith a tad.

    Friday, January 11, 2008

    They Blog, So I Don't Have To #3

    Lennie's got a point.

    They Blog, So I Don't Have To #2

    Mixing Footie and Lists

    Midfield Dynamo is the new addition to the footie blogroll. With its mixture of the humorous and the off-kilter it's nearest we'll ever get to a half-decent When Saturday Comes website. (Yeah, I know that WSC has a website, but it's a bit tight-fisted with the material it makes available to the reader.)

    A few lists to give you a flavour of MD:

  • The Top 10 Car Crash Interviews in Football Check out the Walter Smith interview. *shudder*
  • Books All Football Fans Should Read Before They Die What no 'Soccer Syndrome' by John Moynihan? *bollocks*
  • 10 Classic Cloughie Quotes Cloughie, the Musical? Only if Luke Haines does the honours.
  • Cult Clubs: St Pauli What was the name of their goalie who went to Nicaragua in the 80s?
  • Top 10 Teams Who Didn't Win the World Cup Hungary was robbed.
  • They Blog, So I Don't Have To


    Via Leftpost blog comes the intriguing news that The Beatles recorded a track as long ago as 1962 in support of Tommy Sheridan. On reflection, it does makes sense and not just because of Lennon's protest music in the early seventies. Hamburg and Manchester should have been twinned if the film, Backbeat, has any veracity to it.


    No truth in the rumour that Tommy's partner, Gail, is returning the compliment with a cover version of 'Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey'.

    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    The Black Cats Inside Man

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (28)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 28th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1142 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Science versus spoon-benders
  • Questions Answered - and Asked
  • The waste of maintaining capitalism
  • This week's top quote:

    "The idea that the "Soviet system" is equal to a definitive break with all the former, bourgeois, forms of revolution, therefore, serves as a screen behind which - imposed by exterior factors and the inner conformation of the proletariat - there are again set in motion methods that have featured the bourgeois revolutions. And those revolutions have always been accomplished by transferring the power of a "conscious minority, supporting itself on an unconscious majority," to another minority finding itself in an identical situation." Julius Martov, Decomposition or Conquest of the State, 1921.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Tuesday, January 08, 2008

    Monday, January 07, 2008

    This Should Explain All . . . Definitely . . . Maybe

    Hat tip to El Hombre Molècula.

    Missed this and it's killing me #4

    The way they woz

    Cracking post over at Crying All The Way To The Chip Shop music blog.

    Shout-a-long tunes, canny pictures and musings that prompts a few thoughts:

  • How come 9/10 black and white photographs depicting kids from Britain of yesteryear make me think of Oscar Marzaroli? Doesn't matter if its 1967 or 1977, Thamesmead or Toryglen, I think of his wonderful black and white prints and I have to resist the urge to listen to a Deacon Blue album.
  • Reminds me once again that I have a hankering to see Stephen Frears's 'Bloody Kids' but I've got more chance of finding a copy of Alan Bleasdale's 'Scully and Mooey' at a stoop sale in Greenpoint. (i.e No bastard chance.)
  • Makes me think of Ian Walker and the New Society's 'The Other Side of Britain'. But then again, the current primaries in New Hampshire make me think of that book. It's on my mind 12/7.
  • The number 333 and the 1979 Panini sticker album. Barry Daines, you broke my heart.
  • January Socialist Standard 2008: Democracy Gets A Re-tread

    January 2008 Socialist Standard


  • Why the Green Party is wrong
  • Regular Columns

  • Pathfinders Why the minus 16.3 percent happy face?
  • Cooking the Books #1 Dreaming of a super cycle
  • Cooking the Books #2 Bottom line building
  • Material World Iran in the crosshairs
  • Greasy Pole Money, Money, Money...
  • 50 Years Ago Upset in Accra: Dr. Nkrumah upsets his friends
  • Main Articles

  • Jack London’s The Iron Heel London’s widely read book of this title was published a hundred years ago. But how realistic was it and how much of a socialist was Jack London?
  • And they call this Democracy? “It’s a truism, but one that needs to be constantly stressed, that capitalism and democracy are ultimately quite incompatible.” (Noam Chomsky).
  • The nature of human nature The cultural anthropologist Ashley Montagu once said that what cultural anthropologists were really interested in was “the nature of human nature”. So what do they think it is?
  • “Socialism is Illogical and Irrational” Free-market capitalism, left to its own chaotic and predatory devices would self-destruct in very short order.
  • The thoughts of Premier Brown (thirty years ago) In 1975 Gordon Brown edited The Red Paper on Scotland, a collection of articles by leftwing Labour activists.
  • The trouble with gods Those fortunate enough to live in relatively secularized societies should not underestimate global power of religion
  • What they did to Thomas Hardy The writer Thomas Hardy died, eighty years ago, in January 1928. Here’s what we said at the time.
  • Simon the Sociobiologist Cartoon strip
  • Letters, Reviews, Obituary & Meetings

  • Letters to the Editor: 'Silly Ceremony'
  • Book Reviews: 'Chew On This' by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson; 'All Knees and Elbows of Susceptibility and Refusal' Edited by Anthony Iles and Tom Roberts; 'The Class War Radical History Tour of Notting Hill' by Tom Vague
  • Obituary: Edmund Grant
  • Socialist Party Meetings: Birmingham, Central London, Manchester, Norwich, Salisbury & West London
  • Voice From The Back

  • Land of the Free; Death in a Harsh Society; Heiress on the Run; Old Age Fears; Promises, Promises; The Price of Gold
  • Howard Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States' 4/8

    The fourth part of the audio book of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, as read by Matt Damon.

    It continues with the history of opposition to the Vietnam War; the emerging Women's Movement and prison revolts in the early seventies:

    DOWNLOAD LINK: A People's History (4 of 8)

    FILE NAME: a peoples history 4 of 8.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~35.17 megabytes

    LENGTH: 51:13

    Further Reading on Howard Zinn:

  • Howard Zinn's Official Website
  • Online text of A People's History of the United States
  • Howard Zinn's 'History' comes to TV
  • Howard Zinn's 'Je Ne Suis Pas Marxiste'
  • Thank You Kika Markham

    Missed this and it's killing me #3

    Sunday, January 06, 2008


    The bloke's a tube:

    "Top-flight players using the new 'A-star' goal celebration are 'encouraging kids to follow role models who don't glamourise crime, guns or drugs'. It's a decent message - and less mixed up than last year's try: the Government unveiling Rio Ferdinand as official ambassador against gun and knife crime. 'Kids are led astray by violent computer games,' said a Government source. 'Rio's the perfect role model.' Five days after the launch, Rio unveiled his own new goal celebration - firing a rocket launcher into the crowd in tribute to stealth stabbing, body-bag heavy console game SOCOM US Navy Seals. 'The players love it,' said a Man United source. 'It's combat on and off the pitch.'" [A-star: Take two]

    Addition to the Sidebar

    Posted the 'Socialist Thinkers Series' on the sidebar. It's just below the Socialist Standard on the left side of the page.

    Note to self: Update the Socialist Standard sidebar with the most recent issue.

    Missed this and it's killing me #2

    Howard Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States' 3/8

    The third part of the audio book of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, as read by Matt Damon.

    It continues with the history of the growing opposition to the Vietnam War in the late sixties:

    DOWNLOAD LINK: A People's History (3 of 8)

    FILE NAME: a peoples history 3 of 8.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~34.77 megabytes

    LENGTH: 50:38

    Further Reading on Howard Zinn:

  • Howard Zinn's Official Website
  • Online text of A People's History of the United States
  • Howard Zinn's 'History' comes to TV
  • Howard Zinn's 'Je Ne Suis Pas Marxiste'
  • Saturday, January 05, 2008

    Republocrat Chic

    Kerry Washington with Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and his wife, Elizabeth, at Susina Bakery in Los Angeles. Zac Posen knit jacket, $2,200, linen-and-silk blouse, $850, silk skirt, $1,500. At Bergdorf Goodman. Yves Saint Laurent vintage belt.

    Morphing into a fashion blog?

    Rebel chic has had its fifteen second airtime on the blog so, for balance purposes, it's only fair that I link to this weekend's New York Times Magazine fashion spread featuring Kerry Washington meeting (some of) the Presidential candidates.

    To flesh out the *cough* “guerrilla artistry”, click on the link.

    Howard Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States' 2/8

    The second part of the audio book of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, as read by Matt Damon.

    It covers such subjects as the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement, the emergence of such groups as League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and the growing opposition to the Vietnam War:

    DOWNLOAD LINK: A People's History (2 of 8)

    FILE NAME: a peoples history 2 of 8.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~34.84 megabytes

    LENGTH: 50:45

    Further Reading on Howard Zinn:

  • Howard Zinn's Official Website
  • Online text of A People's History of the United States
  • Howard Zinn's 'History' comes to TV
  • Howard Zinn's 'Je Ne Suis Pas Marxiste'
  • Radical Chic

    Socialism back in fashion? Or rather, socialism in the back of the fashion pages? As it should be.

    Found in the latest issue of Arthur Magazine, is a four page photo spread entitled RED SCARE! which, according to the blurb, is: "A glance back at early 20th century radicals Louise Bryant and John Reed–an essay with clothes. Styling by Jaclyn Hodes, photography by Annabel Mehrain."

    Being the fashionista that I am, I immediately recognised that Hat tip to Kara for spotting that Built By Wendy is heavily represented in the feature. She can spot a Wendy Mullin creation at 400 paces.

    Bloggers Block + Six Web Pages of Separation = Random Recommended Links

    Following on from Shiraz Socialist's Jim D recent admission of his love for the good/bad film, Galaxy Quest, I thought I'd point you in the direction of a blog post about Walter Hill's 1984 musical mishap, 'Streets of Fire'.

    Nope I can't remember it either, but coming on the back of the brilliant 'Warriors' and the underrated '48 Hours', it was Walter Hill's 'John Squire Moment' . . . the cinematic equivalent of the Stone Roses second album and subsequent risible recordings with The Seahorses all rolled into one.

    To come crashing down in such a magisterial fashion brings 'losing the creative plot' to a whole new level, but nine times out of ten will eventually result in blog posts 20 odd years after the fact where budding Roger Eberts' will make the case for the film's rehabilitation. Early nineties through the night tv has a lot to answer for.

    'Streets of Fire' is not to be confused with that other musical mishap of the 1980s, 'Hearts of Fire'. The latter film falls into the bad/bad film category, and also provides the explanation for why Bob Dylan failed as many as six auditions for a role in Todd Haynes's latest film, 'I'm Not There'.

    The Internationale, Finnish google and a rememberance of Finns impact on North American Radicalism

    Funny sometimes how people stumble across the blog.

    Someone in Finland wanting info on a Ja Rule song ends up landing on a page about an article in a past issue of Industrial Worker about 'The Internationale'.

    Sort of cool when you think of the role that Finnish-Americans played in the building up of the American Labor Movement in general, and the Industrial Workers of the World in particular.

    Missed this and it's killing me

    Pissing Off Dixie

    Tying in with the first part of the audio book of Howard Zinn's 'People History of the United States' is a review in yesterday's New York Times of Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore's 'DEFYING DIXIE The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950'.

    Morgan Freeman receives his Radiohead In Rainbows Discbox

    Hat tip to 'firky' over at Urban 75.

    Friday, January 04, 2008

    Howard Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States' 1/8

    Following on from the uploading of the Socialist Thinkers Series, I thought I'd turn my attention to posting the audio book of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, as read by Matt Damon.

    It's in eight parts, so please bear with me.

    A note of information: though the book of the same name covers the period of 1492 onwards, the audio book focuses on the twentieth century. Part one covers the subject of the Civil Rights Movement, and the earlier period of American-African self-organisation in the twenties and thirties:

    DOWNLOAD LINK: A People's History (1 of 8)

    FILE NAME: a peoples history 1 of 8.mp3

    FILE SIZE: ~34.87 megabytes

    LENGTH: 50:47

    Further Reading on Howard Zinn:

  • Howard Zinn's Official Website
  • Online text of A People's History of the United States
  • Howard Zinn's 'History' comes to TV
  • Howard Zinn's 'Je Ne Suis Pas Marxiste'
  • Manchester, So Much To Answer To

    Found via the SPGB discussion list, Manchester Branch's mini-quiz for the end of 2007:

  • 1. ‘Rise like Lions after slumber/ In unvanquishable number —/ Shake your chains to earth like dew/ Which in sleep had fallen on you —/ Ye are many —they are few.’ Which poet, which poem?
  • 2. When was Bolton Branch founded?
  • 3. Who wrote 'And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda'?
  • 4. In which city was Jim Finnie for many years the Party contact?
  • 5. What was Shengwulian?
  • 6. Where is Edgeley Lane?
  • 7. What does OBU stand for?
  • 8. When did Jack Fitzgerald die?
  • 9. Who was Samuel Bamford?
  • I'll post the answers in the comment box when I get the answers myself.

    Thursday, January 03, 2008

    Obama, Edwards or Clinton?


    Wanker claims "bragging rights".

    He Ain't Heavy, He's My Political Big Brother

    AWL apparatchik, Mark O, always insisted that Ken Loach had a major political crush on Alan Thornett (if Loach had ever adapted Jack London's 'Iron Heel' for the big screen, I'm guessing that Thornett would have been his Ernest Everhard), and up pops a love letter in 'The great and the good 2007' article in the Independent on Sunday's Review section that suggests that Mark O. might have had a point.

    The rebel: Ken Loach on Alan Thornett

    Ken Loach, 71, is a film-maker. Alan Thornett, 70, is a left-wing political activist, journalist and writer

    "I met Alan in the 1960s at political meetings; he stands for those many people who struggle to keep the idea alive that society can be organised in another way socially, industrially and politically. He was a senior steward at the Cowley car plant through the 1970s, and like many union members, didn't think his union leadership represented the workers' interests. He was victimised for his views and subsequently lost his job.

    He wrote about that period and has this ability to be clear and articulate on the issues he cares about. He contributed to a documentary series I worked on in the 1980s called Questions of Leadership, about the willingness of rank-and-file union members to take on the government. It was never broadcast because it was deemed, wrongly, to be defamatory.

    Since then Alan has been speaking and writing really persuasively in left-wing newspapers. There's a whole other world that runs parallel to the mass media, a real political alternative, and Alan is prominent in that world; he is also senior in the Respect Renewal party. Alan has battled illness over the past few years, yet he is finding renewed energy in his work as a Marxist and a Socialist. Mike Higgins

    Loach met Thornett "in the 1960s at political meetings"? Christ, that means that Loach was in all probability part of the luvvie brigade of the Socialist Labour League during that period. What with his long working relationship with the late Jim Allen, I guess it makes sense but it's still depressing to read. Anybody who tries to tell you that an organisation led by Gerry Healy was still a viable and healthy political option in the sixties is kidding themselves on. It was warped from the get go. Have a flick through the autobiographies of Harry Ratner or Bill Hunter or Brian Behan if you don't believe me.

    Hat tip to Liam Mac Uaid.

    The 1982 'Socialist Thinkers – People Who History Made' Lecture Series

    Don't Go Back To BBC'Ville

    The curse of the updated BBC webpage.

    With regards to this post, whose original BBC link has unfortunately been updated beyond original recognition, I was of course referring to Hogan Ephraim as my favourite quasi footballing Dickensian character.

    I guess it should be bleeding obvious. But, if nothing else, I can fall back on Matthew Connolly being my favourite Joycean character, but where does that leave me with Akos Buzsaky? Reading Tibor Fischer's 'Under The Frog' 15 years ago doesn't necessarily make me an expert on Hungarian literature.

    This post is so lame that I feel barrage of YouTube clips bubbling to the surface to push this post south of the front page.

    Wednesday, January 02, 2008

    Nazis, Communists and Swedish Punk

    Check out Killed By Death Records, a brilliant music blog newly added to the sidebar.

    It focuses mainly on the early 80s US punk scene, and features a truckload of bands you've never heard, releasing records on labels you never knew existed with a barrage of indecipherable lyrics that will have you clutching at the title of the song, in the hope that it explains all. It doesn't.

    A few songs that songs that caught my ear. There's hundreds more:

  • Stains - 'John Wayne Was A Nazi'
  • The Eat - 'Communist Radio'
  • Slobobans Undergang - 'Atomkrasch'
  • Great Expectations

    My favourite Dickensian character has just signed for QPR.

    Embracing Your Inner Utopian

    Not so much quote of the day, but a nice thought nonetheless:

    "Utopia is on the horizon. I move two steps closer, it moves two steps further away. I walk another ten steps and the horizon runs ten steps further away. As much as I may walk, I'll never reach it. So what's the point of utopia? The point is this: to keep walking." - Eduardo Galeano

    Hackney sinks Hartlepool

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (27)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 27th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1132 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • The nature of human nature
  • Martov V Lenin
  • Robert Tressell and the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
  • This week's top quote:

    "Superstitions die hard. The absoluteness of the individual ethically, apparently still finds supporters is quarters where the absoluteness of the individual economically has been given up. Socialism proclaims the regeneration of the individual in and through a regenerate society. For Socialism there is no effective moralising or raising of the individual that is not the result of changed economic and social conditions."E. Belfort Bax, The Ethics of Socialism, 1889.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain