Thursday, February 28, 2008


I don't think the blog is racy enough. Apart from the perennial raincoat brigade in search of Kika Markham pics, I never seem to get those type of random hits. It's the usual hot-potch of footie, music and lefty politics that lure the passing stranger onto the blog. Must try harder.

Via the sitemeter, the last ten random searches:

  • More people read this blog, than watched last Sunday's Oscars.
  • Sweet dreams are made of this.
  • Duff search engine reveals mid-nineties musical gold.
  • Sinclair CSE
  • Caught between Korsch and a hard place.
  • Listen to my dreams.
  • What's cooking on your stereo?
  • Hitchens has google searched himself on the blog, and found this old post.
  • Corrupting the nation's youth.
  • Breaking the mould.
  • Must update links

    "Que puisque tous les partis politiques ne sont que l’expression d’intérêts de classe, et étant donné que l’intérêt de la classe travailleuse est diamétralement opposé aux intérêts de toutes les sections de la classe dominante, le parti qui a pour but l’émancipation de la classe travailleuse doit s’opposer à tout autre parti."

    The hostility clause sounds so much more chic in French.

    Mutant Dreams

    So The Cardiacs are taking a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about gigs played in toilets, and it literally fast-fowards (re-winds) to footage of them playing in a public toilet.

    They're decked out in these cheesey seventies wedding suits . . . . crushed velvet, colours probably in homage to a Coventry City away kit of the time - which does in fact conjure up memories of the only time I ever saw them on the telly, and they had the same type of clobber on on that occasion and they were banging out a skewed version of the old Kinks song, 'Susannah's Still Alive'.

    The toilet gig is absolutely packed. You can't see where the bands ends and the audience starts. The guy on the keyboards is excellent, really jamming away and then I spot David Niven - an older but still raffish David Niven - in the cubicles (did I mention the cubicle doors weren't there?), and he is in the band strumming away on second guitar. He's sitting down, but he's not sitting on a toilet.

    The dream then takes a detour to present day Hemel Hempstead and fear of being robbed/ burgled.

    I probably needed a piss.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008

    It's not me. It's the other guy.

    Excellent joke via Marx and Coca-Cola:

    Can We Be Frank?

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (35)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 35th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1191 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • 'Pro-life' hypocrites
  • How We Live and How We Could Live
  • Upton Sinclair and 'The Jungle'
  • This week's top quote:

    "But first, I will say what I mean by being a Socialist, since I am told that the word no longer expresses definitely and with certainty what it did ten years ago. Well, what I mean by Socialism is a condition of society in which there should be neither rich nor poor, neither master nor master's man, neither idle nor overworked, neither brain-sick brain workers, nor heart-sick hand workers, in a word, in which all men would be living in equality of condition, and would manage their affairs unwastefully, and with the full consciousness that harm to one would mean harm to all - the realization at last of the meaning of the word COMMONWEALTH." William Morris, How I became a socialist, 1894.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    Stone the Roses

    I knew that Manchester's Timperley's Monkey Man was long in the tooth, but I wasn't expecting him to be staring back at me at the bottom of the page of this excellent post from Mine For Life music blog.

    It's the cheek bones and insolent stare that gives the game away, but does he go by Robin George or Ian Brown when curled up on the sofa with his laminated copy of the Timperley Village Anarchist? And you have to check out the chorus to 'Robin George's' 1985 non-hit, 'Spy':

    "The FBI or the CIA or MI5 or the Red Brigade

    I don't know

    They're getting closer

    Moving in on you

    The FBI or the CIA or MI5 or the Red Brigade

    I don't know you, moving in on you

    Pisses all over 'Illegal Attacks'.

    Taking the Cliffite Pledge

    Via the ongoing feuding between the Socialist Unity Blog and Lenny comes the petty, sectarian but very funny quip of my day:

    #307 I imagine that Seymour’s relationship to Rees is similar to his “The Simpsons” namesake’s relationship to his mother, Agnes.

    “Seymour, are you reading those anti-SWP blogs again?”

    “No mother!”

    Comment by Anon — 25 February, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

    [Via Here.]

    Sunday, February 24, 2008

    Election Upset

    Rank outsider wins the gold statuette.

    Really surprised by the result. I, like everyone else, thought Daniel Day-Lewis was a shoe in for his performance in 'Millwall Fan Chews Up The Scenery: Part II'.

    But then, I thought Dan the Geezer - as he's known down the New Den - was going to win the gold statuette for 'Millwall Fan Chews Up The Scenery: Part I' back in 2002.

    I was gutted when he lost out to Pat Nevin.

    That'll Do

    The worst haircut in football outside of the Argentinian Primera División wins the cup for Spurs.

    First time since 2004 that a team outside of the 'Big Four' have won a domestic trophy.

    The Gasheads for the FA Cup.

    Love Comes In Spurs

    Come on Tottenham, turn over those wankers from West London.

    I won't even mind if Hutton scores the winner.

    Saturday, February 23, 2008

    Armchair Theatre

    Comrade John B of Class Warfare blogging fame has set up the new blog, Socialist TV.

    I'll let John's blurb do the talking:

    "It's tag line states it is: "Televising the revolutionary case against capitalism and promoting the socialist case for the establishment of a global social system in which the earth's natural and industrial resources are commonly owned and democratically controlled, and in which each person has free access to the benefits of civilisation"

    And its introducton states the site "aims to focus on film/video presentation of arguments for Socialism. If a video, not produced by socialists, nevertheless argues an aspect/s of the Socialist case, it will be used."

    So far it contains 4 videos produced by members of the SPGB."

    SPGB TV? Excellent idea. Camera, lights, inaction . . .

    Further Linkage:

  • Capitalism & Other Kids Stuff
  • Capitalism and Other Kids Stuff - An Update
  • Daniel Day Lewis is in the Paul Thomas Anderson film, 'There Will Be Blood' . . .

    . . . which is loosely based on Upton Sinclair's novel 'Oil'.

    Upton Sinclair is best known for his novel about the Chicago stockyards, 'The Jungle'. A recent article from the Socialist Standard on Upton Sinclair and the Jungle has been posted on the SPGB MySpace page:

  • Upton Sinclair and ’The Jungle’
  • For those of you have only just stumbled across the blog for the first time - after googling for nude pictures of Kika Markham, perhaps? - The Socialist Standard is the journal of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.

    Gordon Warnecke, who was the star of the 1980s British film, 'My Beautiful Laundrette', was the son of Eddie Warnecke, a longstanding member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.

    'My Beautiful Laundrette' was also the breakout role for a very young Daniel Day Lewis. (One of his best roles, and before he decided to adopt the 'Chewing Up The Scenery' school of acting.)

    You have just read the worst attempt at a 'six degree of Kevin Bacon' in the history of film trivia. No beef and very little bacon.

    Daniel Day Lewis and Gordon Warnecke, on the set of 'My Beautiful Laundrette', laughing over the good old days when the Socialist Standard carried album reviews.

    Friday, February 22, 2008

    When Chomsky met Hitchens

    My Life Story

    Just realised that I've had a 'Suzi moment' after clicking on the Marx and Coca-Cola blog.

    Of course, I knew that yesterday was the 160th anniversary of Fred and Charlie's classic agit-prop pamphlet. I forgot to mention it on the blog because I just happened to be distracted by a minor mid nineties agit-pop classic.

    Marx and Coca-Cola's JM provides the killer quote from said pamphlet, whilst I do a cut and paste job from Mike Leigh's classic late eighties film, 'High Hopes':

    Later in the afternoon, CYRIL and SHIRLEY speed along their street on their bike. They overtake SUZI, who is scuttling along, carrying a large, bulging plastic bag. SHIRLEY waves to her as they pass. She waves back.

    Moments later, as CYRIL and SHIRLEY alight, SUZI appears round the corner . . .

    SUZI: (Saluting) Wotcher, comrades!

    SHIRLEY: Hallo, Suzi!

    SUZI: Long time no see.

    SHIRLEY: You all right?

    SUZI: Yeah, I been fine.

    (CYRIL and SHIRLEY take off their helmets.)

    Where you been?

    CYRIL: Highgate Cemetery.

    SUZI: Oh! Someone dead?

    CYRIL: Yeah - Karl Marx.

    (He walks off. SHIRLEY laughs.)

    SUZI: Oh, yeah, 'course!

    CYRIL: I'd 'ave thought you'd 'ave known that.

    SUZI: I did know that - I just forgot.

    (SHIRLEY and SUZI follow CYRIL towards their block of flats.)

    "I've been expecting you."

    Winter grows in Brooklyn.

    "Excellent Buzzcocks tunes are many, laughs on the Shelley sitcom were few."

    Tony who?

    OK, as I've now come clean to the fact that, for me, mention of the name Shelley in 1981 meant a miserabilst half-hour sitcom of non-laughs on Thames TV, rather than the joyful melodic punk noise on 'Singles Going Steady', I should also clear up the matter of 1981 and all things Morley.

    In 1981, when someone mentioned the name Morley in my company, my hackles didn't rise at the thought of a gobshite NME journalist. That displeasure was to befall me many years later.

    Rather, the mention of the name Morley in 1981 meant the hairs on the back of my neck stood to attention at the thought of the brilliant Aston Villa footballer, Tony Morley, who, for a season and a half, was up there with John Robertson as the best left winger in British football.

    And of course there was that goal against Everton at Goodison Park which won the goal of the season in 1981. It was a goal that ensured that Aston Villa were my favourite English team for a couple of years, and allowed me to glory hunt their European Cup triumph the following season. (And you thought we were all affecting scouse accents in the early eighties.)

    Funny, I can't remember the subject of this month's Socialist Standard editorial but I'm sure I can remember Villa's team that won the Championship that season: Rimmer in goal; Swain, Williams, Evans and McNaughton in defence; Mortimer, Bremner, Cowans and Morley in midfield; with Withe and Shaw up front. [This old article from The Observer fills in the gaps.]

    Cowans and Shaw in the same sentence? A beauty and the beast combination* that surely a foreshadows the teaming up of Ronan Keating and Mikey Graham many years later. I seemingly can't get away from drawing comparisons between perfect football and perfect pop on the blog. I need a cup of tea to wake me up.

    *Bit harsh on Cowans, I know. In truth, I could have paired Gary Shaw with Bremner, McNaughton, Evans or Withe for the B & B line. They all fit (im)perfectly for the barb. Any thoughts of 'Spice Boys' was a lifetime away.

    Paul Morley Tony Morley was once my hero

    Further to this post on the blog from a few days back, Snappy Kat was kind enough to post a link to the 'notorious' 1981 TOTP appearance by Magazine.

    Sad to discover that it wasn't the 'event' I was expecting from the vivid description in Simon Reynolds post-punk bible. Any stage fright from Devoto had less to do with caught up in the occasion, and probably owed more to being struck dumb by David 'Kid' Jensen's positioning when introducing the band. I always wondered where Ricky Gervais got the inspiration for that pose in the second series of 'The Office'.

    Should have known that any story that had the name 'Paul Morley' attached to it would have a certain je ne sais quoi.

    However, every cloud had a silver lining and, via the comments accompanying the YouTube clip, I discovered the following nugget of useless post-punk information:

    "The guitar lick in 'Lipstick' was given to Devoto by Shelley for use in Magazine's 'Shot by Both Sides', one of 2 Magazine-recorded songs co-written by Shelley, the other being 'The Light Pours Out of Me' by Devoto/McGeoch/Shelley. 'Lipstick' was actually written before 'Shot by...', even though 'Shot by...' was released first on Mon, Jan 16, 1978." [Info via here.]

    Shelley, as in Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks fame, not that other Shelley anti-hero bloke from the post-punk era.

    What with my trained tin-ear for all things musical, I find it difficulty to hear the overlap between the two tracks. And that's despite the fact that I've listened to both tracks on numerous occasions down the years. But it is a good excuse to post some early eighties stuff on the blog for sampling purposes:

  • Magazine - 'Shot By Both Sides' mp3
  • Buzzcocks - 'Lipstick' mp3
  • "Didn't you used to be on the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers Party?"

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (34)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 34th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1182 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Cuts, cuts and more cuts
  • Why the Daily Mail Hates Karl Marx
  • The white death
  • This week's top quote:

    ""A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties. " Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1, 1867.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain


    David Moyes gets all lyrical when singing the praises of last night's hat-trick hero Yakubu Ayegbeni:

    ""the way he sent their two for a pie and a Bovril was terrific," said Moyes of the striker's turn inside two Brann defenders . . . " [Everton 6 Brann Bergen 1]

    Chic Charnley was unavailable for comment.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Random Depeche Mode Record Sleeve

    All explained over here.

    The Two Souls of Glasgow

    A quote from Lionel Messi from earlier this season:

    “It’s incredible,” Messi told the Spanish newspaper, Sport. “Rangers didn’t want to play football. They practised antifootball from the first minute and it’s a shame we couldn’t take victory because we created a good number of chances. We just didn’t put them away. I think that when they come to the Nou Camp everything is going to be very different.

    “We need to find a solution for breaking down a team who close down so much, but I don’t believe we will come across many teams who play this way.”

    [From the London Times.]

    Celtic go down fighting against Barcelona. Yep, they were dominated and the better team won and all that jazz but at least they gave it a go and they'll do the same at the Nou Camp in the return leg. And I did love Red Robbo's stop-start looping header.

    And hit tip to the Scottish Patient for correctly predicting the scoreline . . . sort of.

    Shot By Your Own Side

    Excellent music blog, Spinster's Rock,' is currently posting the entire Magazine singles discography on their blog.

    Come on: it's late 70s/early 80s post-punk; Howard Devoto had the best cameo in Michael Winterbottom's '24 Hour Party People'; and I currently can't get the Magazine album track, 'Suburban Rhonda', out of my head. I'm obliged to link to the posts.

    Mmm, wonder what Simon Reynolds said about Magazine in 'Rip It Up And Start Again'?:

    "On the brink of the Top 40, Magazine were invited to appear on Top of the Pops. At first Devoto refused. Asked again the following week, he buckled to pressure from Virgin and agreed. But he remained extremely uncomfortable about miming to the song ['Shot By Both Sides'] on television. 'It was very artificial. The whole thing seemed absurd . . . and scary.' At the last minute he decided to make a gesture that would indicate his disdain for the corny charade. 'I didn't want to jump around in an obedient, "here's your entertainment" way. I wanted to be bloody-minded, but in a fairly understated way.' He got the BBC make-up girl to do him up in whiteface, but instead of a striking glam alien, 'he looked like Marcel Marceau', recalls Paul Morley (who was glued to the TV because seeing a band like Magazine on Top of the Pops was 'so rare' in those days). 'And then Devoto decided, because his mind was racing so quick, that he was far ahead of the game and he'd just be still. Very, very still. And thid great song was playing, but Devoto stood stock-still. And the next week the record went down the charts - possibly the first time that's ever happened in the history of pop, that you get on Top of the Pops and the single goes down the next week. And from then on, everything shut down. Killed stone dead.'

    *Nips over to YouTube to try and locate the car crash tv clip.*

    Hillary Clinton - Old Labour

    Wait up, Hillary's doing a nice line in Old Labour rhetoric. It can only mean one thing: the Ohio Democratic Primary is coming up:

    "People sometimes ask me, when you are president will labor have a seat at the table? Here's my answer - labor built that table. You better believe labor will have a seat at the table." [From last night's speech.]

    Oi, you heckling at the back there: please don't bring up the small matter of Hillary and Wal-Mart. It's impolite.

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    Fade Away

    I think I might have been onto something with this post on the blog from December of 2006. Recent and not so recent press reports suggests that there really is a connection between professional basketball and left-wing reformism:

  • An old YouTube clip that dates from 2005 but still fascinating nonetheless. Washington Wizard, Etan Thomas, speaks on the platform at an anti-war demo in Washington DC. An athlete speaking passionately and eloquently for seven minutes? Alan Shearer was unavailable for comment. Radical Sports journalist, Dave Zirin, has more on both Thomas and his speech.
  • Former NBA all-star Charles Barkley rips the Republicans a new one on CNN a few days back. A professional athlete speaking out in favour of gay marriage and being pro-choice? Robbie Fowler was unavailable for comment. More info on Barkley's politicking over at Huffington Post.
  • Today's Football Guardian carries an interview with Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, the NBA's MVP for two out of the last three years, and contains this wee nugget of information:
    "Nash . . . disconcerted media outlets in the US by speaking out against the war in Iraq and by reading the Communist Manifesto and Alexander Solzhenitsyn . . . "

    An athlete reading The Communist Manifesto? Joey Barton was unavailable for comment.

  • Phil Evans - Political Cartoonist

    I'm forever getting hits on the blog from people searching for info on the brilliant political cartoonist, Phil Evans, but because of my novice blogging skills at the time they never get a taste of Evans's work, just the blurb about his work from this old post.

    Therefore, to make amends, I thought I'd repost an example of his work on the blog again - with the appropriate post title this time - to ensure that future Phil-Evans-Seekers don't miss out.

    I'm good like that.

    But does he have 'The Secret Melody of the Class Struggle' mixed cd?

    From today's Guardian:

    "Paul Mawhinney calls it the World's Greatest Music Collection, and he might just be right. He is the owner of a music archive numbering more than three million records and 300,000 CDs, from "the first CD ever produced" to Elvis Presley's Sun Records 45s, but he's finally had enough. The entire collection, indexed and catalogued, is now for sale." [World's Greatest Music Collection goes on sale]

    At the time of writing, it has yet to receive a single bid on eBay.

    Forget what I said about McGeady and the pint of guinness qualification rule

    Monday, February 18, 2008

    Activity in Captivity

    February 2008 Socialist Standard


  • Democracy matters
  • Regular Columns

  • Pathfinders Emission control we have a problem
  • Cooking the Books #1 Ever heard of tryvertising?
  • Cooking the Books #2 The price of bread
  • Material World Nuclear weapons are still here.
  • Greasy Pole The mass debaters
  • 50 Years Ago Old familiar faces
  • Main Articles

  • Work as it is (and could be) Work is a "four-letter word" today under capitalism, but our view of it might change in a society where it is solely a means of improving the quality of our lives.
  • Profit laundering what has justice got to do with it?? "Tax Havens Cause Poverty" proclaims the home page of the Tax Justice Network. No, they don't. The profit system does.
  • Social responsibility and corporations Can corporations be trusted, or even expected, to have any social responsibility?
  • Thicker than water/Obituary of a capitalist The Stagecoach story: a lesson in the random nature of business success.
  • Capitalism Chinese-style Chinese capitalism is becoming less and less different from the kind found in the West.
  • The last time the police went on strike What we said in 1919 about the police unrest and strikes of that time. Ironically today's demonstrations are organised by the Police Federation, the company union set up in 1919 to stop a real union being organised.
  • Ire of the Irate Itinerant Cartoon Strip
  • Letters, Reviews & Meetings

  • Letter To The Editor: Social Improvement?
  • Book Reviews: 'Multi-nationals on trial' by James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer; 'Selling Olga' by Louisa Waugh; 'Economics transformed' by Robert Albritton;'Bronterre O'Brien and the Chartist Uprisings of 1839' by David Black
  • Socialist Party Meetings: West London & Manchester:
  • Voice From The Back

  • Ten Wasted Years; No Immigration Problem; This Is Communism?; Chinese Booming Death Rate; Prophets And Profits; Progressing Backwards; Poor And Desperate
  • Macro Micro

    Sub-editor's Note

    Should have been posted yesterday, but I was sidetracked.

    Some more links relating to Microdisney:

  • Andrew Mueller's sleeve notes to the Microdisney's compilation album, 'Daunt Square To Elsewhere'. (No, I hadn't heard of it either.)

    Being a proper journo-type, Mueller has the skewed compare and contrast off-pat:

    . . . " a decent approximation of what might have resulted had Jonathan Swift ever joined The Beach Boys, Bertholt Brecht co-written with Steely Dan, Ambrose Bierce displaced Hal David by the piano of Burt Bacharach."

    Pisses all over my "Walter Becker on a lost weekend" quip.

  • Over at Julian Cope's website, Head Heritage, somebody going by the nome de plume of 'Valve' has done a track by track retrospective review of 'Crooked Mile' (For half a minute, I thought it was Copey who had done the review. I'm a tad disappointed that it wasn't him.)

    The 'Valve' blokewas a fan from the start, and draws an early musical comparison with Band of Holy Joy and the Young Marble Giants. Not two bands I know a lot about.

    Valve throws a barb Phil Daniels way - "“See you then” I shout after him (meaning: “They’d be wasted on you yer talentless mockney twat. . . actually I quite liked you in Quadrophenia”)." - which is unworthy, if only for Mike Leigh's 'Meantime', but he redeems himself by being on the same page as myself with the view that the final track on 'Crooked Mile', 'People Just Want To Dream', is the bona fide classic track on the album. I loved that track so much that I put it on the 'The Secret Melody of the Class Struggle' mixed CD. There's no greater compliment in my mixing pop and politics book.

    The other snippet from the review that has to be mentioned on the blog is the quote from Roddy Doyle's 'The Commitments' that opens the piece:

    "“—We’ll ask Jimmy, said Outspan.—Jimmy’ll know.

    Jimmy Rabbitte knew his music. He knew his stuff alright. You’d never see Jimmy coming home from town without a new album or a 12-inch or at least a 7-inch single. Jimmy ate Melody Maker and the NME every week and Hot Press every two weeks. He listened to Dave Fanning and John Peel. He even read his sisters’ Jackie when there was no one looking. So Jimmy knew his stuff.

    The last time Outspan had flicked through Jimmy’s records he’d seen names like Microdisney, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Otis Redding, The Screaming Blue Messiahs, Scraping Foetus off the Wheel (—Foetus, said Outspan. —That’s the little young fella inside the woman, isn’t it?

    —Yeah, said Jimmy.”

    —Aah, that’s fuckin’ horrible, tha’ is.)"

    First Lenny Kaye, and now Roddy Doyle's 'Barrytown Trilogy'? What else does Kara want before she finally embraces Microdisney?

  • Some random Microdisney (and post-Microdisney) links:

  • Excellent Microdisney fansite
  • Microdisney page in The Irish Punk & New Wave Discography
  • Microdisney MySpace Page
  • Fatima Mansions MySpace Page
  • The High Llamas MySpace Page
  • And, feck it, some samples of Microdisney at their best.

    Best track off of Everybody is Fantastic:

  • 'Come On Over And Cry' mp3
  • Best track off of The Clock Comes Down The Stairs:

  • 'And' mp3
  • The best track off of the Crooked Mile:

  • 'People Just Want To Dream' mp3
  • Best non-album track. B-side to 'Singer's Hampstead Home'

  • 'She Only Gave In To Her Anger' mp3
  • Wannabe Music Blog

    OK, what's 'Math-Rock?'

    And why is a band from Oxford, England saying Math rather than Maths?

    Advance Notice

    Bronterre O'Brien Again

    Just noticed that the latest issue of the Socialist Standard carries a short review of David Black's book on Bronterre O'Brien.

    On cue, a gentle reminder to the reader that the blog has a link to Steve Coleman's 1982 talk on Bronterre O’Brien and Working Class Radicalism. Read the review whilst listening to the talk.

    That's me done.

    Sniffing Around

    Mmm, what's going on here then? [Someone from Keighley College.]

    Sunday, February 17, 2008

    Reasons To Be Cheerful

    Neil Williams commenting over at the Socialist Unity Blog is right; this is a bit of a nugget of left trainspotting information, if true:

    "“Mark Steele [sp] spoke to a packed Green Left fringe on saturday and was very funny and radical, good on how socialist need to rethink strategy, good on climate change and good on the media. He said he had left the SWP which surprised me”. [The exclusive is buried in amongst Derek Wall's post, A Good Conference - Green Party of England and Wales.]

    Begs the question, though: will the Harry's Place mob finally admit that the bloke is funny now that he's apparently left the SWP after nearly thirty years of membership? Thought not.

    And He Descended Into Muso Hell

    Naturally somebody mentioning Microdisney means that I immediately have to wrap my lugs around some of their music.

    I've been listening to 'The Clock Comes Down The Stairs' in recent weeks but as it was 'The Crooked Mile' that first got me into the band - was it seeing the 'Town To Town' video on The Tube that caught my eye? - I thought I'd check it out again. It really does stand the test of time, and I remember how I went through the album on cassette (twice). That's an indication of how much I listened to it at the time.

    That was part of the problem with cassettes: their tendency to chew up on you at the most inopportune moments. I seem to remember the same happening with Orange Juice's 'In A Nutshell' cassette and a Cure best of.

    Of course, the other problem with cassettes was the lack of information on the box. It' wasn't like a piece of vinyl where you would pore over the album sleeve notes whilst listening to the album or nowadays with a wiki or discog page for every conceivable album at your finger tips.. With a cassette, you'd be lucky to get a picture of the band and the tracklisting.

    That's why I'm a bit embarrassed to finally discover 21 years after the fact that Lenny Kaye produced the 'Crooked Mile'. How was I to know that the bloke whose been Patti Smith's closest musical collaborator for nigh on 30 years and the guy who helped put together the Nuggets compilation was twiddling the knobs on the album? If I'd been asked to hazard a guess on who was the producer of the album, only working on the clue that it was a major American musician from the seventies, I would have guessed that the album was produced by Walter Becker during a lost weekend.

    21 years too late but, with the new information to hand, Kara might look kindly on Microdisney from now on.

    "I found New Wave, and so I was saved"

    Ctelblog over at Vinyl Villain has a post on Microdisney, who just happened to record my favourite album of 1987, The Crooked Mile. What more is there to say or write? Except . . .

    1) I really should read a post in full before firing off comments (see said post). It's a bad habit that always come back to bite me on the arse. 2) What is it about the city like Cork that produces Roy Keane, Cathal Coughlan and Danny La Rue?

    Before They Were Famous

    Early promo pic of Goldfrapp*

    Post-Punk + Liverpool + music reference = incredibly tenuous link to 'The Zoo' Uncaged 1978-1982, and the best track off said album:

  • Lori & The Chamelions - 'Touch' mp3
  • Check it out. If Aneka's 'Japanese Boy' had had kids with Bucks Fizz's 'Land of Make Believe', this would have been their bastardised offspring. Bill Drummond before the KLF bollocks.

    Further Linkage:

  • Excellent post on Lori & the Chameleons over at Spinster's Rock music blog.
  • Everything you wanted to know about Zoo Records, but were too cool to ask.
  • *Don't care if you don't get the Goldfrapp joke. It works at this end.

    "I haven't felt that good . .

    . . . since Nakamura scored that free kick against Man Utd."

    Absolutely superb. Why football is the best sport in the world. Injury time throws up the little matter of the ref bottling the penalty decision before the Kop End, only for Brian Howard to pop up seconds later with that sweet shot in the left hand corner.

    Submit the drama of the game as a spec script and 'Escape To Victory' would be considered social realism by comparison. Could not make it up . . . could not make it up.

    The Gasheads for the cup.

    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    " . . . clichés are there for a reason"

    I hope the moderator is on time and a half for moderating the cruel but very, very funny comments to this blog post from Guardian Travel.

    Hat tip to Ian Bone. The bloke can sniff out nepotism at 400 paces.

    Found! The Cult of the Personality Within the SPGB

    I'll only ask you once more

    You only want to believe

    This man is looking for someone to hold him down

    He doesn't quite ever understand the meaning

    Never heard about, can't think about

    Jack Fitzgerald and Moses Baritiz,

    Tony Turner, Steve Coleman.

    Ted Wilmott, Charlie Lestor, Alex Anderson and cde Hardy

    [Apologies to Kevin Rowland]

    *Sigh* Apparently there's a cult of personality within the SPGB.

    Funny thing is that in recent years, if anything, there has been a move away from certain members being put on a pedestal. Attribute that to the SPGB being smaller, the decline of the outdoor platform and the lack of public meetings and debates in recent years. Sadly the decline in the Party's fortunes and activity has also contributed to a climate whereby members tie themselves in knots and turn in on themselves.

    Welcome to the 1950s. Where did I put that music blog?

    An American Soap Opera

    More cartoon goodies found here.

    Club Apostate

    Gary Bushell; Peter Hitchens; Wendy Henry; Will Rubbish's mate; Jim Fitzpatrick; Gus MacDonald; Roger Rosewall . . . Ahmed Hussain?

    Andy N over at the Socialist Unity Blog is the cat that got the cream with the news that SWP member and Tower Hamlets councillor, Ahmed Hussain, has been in talks with the Tories over the little matter of him probably possibly defecting to the party of Margaret Thatcher. Things haven't been finalised yet as Councillor Hussain has also been having chats with the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats, apparently.

    I guess this means that the right/left split that was cited by the SWP as the core reason for the fallout between Team Galloway and themselves has to be re-examined in light of one of their Party members leaving by the blue door. No jokes about the much vaunted "Popular Front of a Special Kind" are necessary at this point.

    Poor old SWP. Gotta feel a wee bit sorry for them in their current predicament. As the bonafide vanguard© of the working class, they have got that far ahead of the rest of us, that on looking over their shoulder they've suddenly realised that there's nobody behind them. We're such ungrateful bastards.

    If they're open to a wee bit of helpful advice from a concerned abstract propagandist, could I suggest that the next time they consider participating in the democratic process - bourgeois or otherwise - perhaps they could apply some democratic practice to their own organisation. That way, maybe next time they won't be played like a cheap fiddle.

    Remember kids. Vanguardists are better than us . . . and they know what they're doing.

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    A Sleeve To Your Art

    Further to this old post comes BBC online playing catch up. . .

    . . . still waiting on those Japan album covers.

  • Further Linkage: Sleeveface
  • Street Fighting Men

    The revolution has been put back three weeks. Billy and Tom Morello have to work on their backhands:

    "The night before in the hotel bar, Tom Morello had issued a challenge to all the bands to take part in a ping-pong tournament on Rage Against the Machine’s travelling table. The Big Day Out Invitation Tourney took place backstage during the afternoon.

    "Having defeated Adam from Silverchair, I was knocked out in the semi-finals by Win Butler, lanky lead singer of the Arcade Fire. His final match against Zac de la Rocha of Rage was a thriller. As the light faded, the wind was getting up and playing havoc with the finer parts of each players style. Zac won the first game and for a while, it looked as if Win might pull level and take it to game three, but he went down fighting 21-18."

    *Still looking for a jpeg of Billy's table tennis bat - with the words "This bat kills fascists" etched on the handle - to accompany the post.*

    Barricades and Bulletins

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (33)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 33rd of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1169 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • The death of ideas?
  • Assumption and Ignorance Versus Reason and Reality
  • Upload, download, freeload!
  • This week's top quote:

    "Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind then that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; and while there is a criminal element, I am of it; and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." Eugene V. Debs, Statement to the Court Upon Being Convicted of Violating the Sedition Act (1918).

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Can You Guess Who It Is Yet?

    Phutball Pheories

    Some killer and/or off-kilter quotes:

  • "This is a sharp, smart, outstanding human being and he's just been sucked into that awful Premier League vacuousness. It's sad to see *** ***** bullshitting. But there you go. It happens." Who's talking? And who are they talking about? Click on the link.
  • "Just be done with it and give ***** ******* the player of the year awards now, both Scottish Football Writers' Association and that of his fellow professionals. It's shootie-in." Not too fussed by who said it. The bloke's a blowhard, but interesting to note who he is havering on about. This time last year, Reidski was incandescent with rage about the young chap but apparently he's now come good. And when you see the nifty bit of footwork he employed when setting up the third goal on Sunday, you have to wonder if it'll be Liverpool or Man Utd that will be his next destination. (Turns out that Sunday wasn't a one off. He's been known to make a habit of it. Only difference Sunday was that it resulted in a goal.)
  • ". . . . It's a nonsense idea. I am sure (Fifa) will never accept it because it's not good for football . . . In England, you already have no English coach, no English players and maybe now you will have no clubs playing in England. It's a joke." Somebody chipping into the 39 games debate, and going up in my estimation in the process. The bloke has class both on and off the pitch.
  • Album Cover of the Day

    Via Lost-In-Tyme music blog.

    ". . . let's go on to World of Pooh, a very promising band from SF, that didn't last enough to get known, yet their few releases are objects of desire in certain circles - not only because of their rarity but for their musical value as well."

    Never heard of the band, probably never will hear the band - despite Lost-In-Tyme providing the musical link - but I am taken by this album sleeve for some reason.

    Put it down to my skewed fascination with all things Tin Tin.

    Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    Mixing Pop and Politics - Scrambling For The Yoof Vote

    Damn, I've seen Saturday Night Live sketches that were funnier. Less Death Cab For Cutie, more Death Knell For Hillary's Campaign.

    Hat tip to Gene over at Simon's Place.

    Monday, February 11, 2008

    Mixing Pop and Politics - outakes

    What goes around gets reposted . . . eventually

    Anarcho-punk blog/fanzine, 'Kill Your Pet Puppy', has been kind enough to post a link to Ian Walker's old New Society article on 'Anarchy in the UK' that I previously posted on the blog.

    I'd love to repost some more Ian Walker articles on the blog but unfortunately my copy of 'The Other Side of Britain' is still on the other side of the Atlantic.

    On the subject of mixing anarchism and politics (Crass is heavily featured in the Walker piece), interesting to see Kanye West's endorsement of anarchism on last night's Grammys.

    It's been that long since the last Chumbawamba album that it's nice to see someone else picking up the black flag.

    Saturday, February 09, 2008

    Resting, Not Absconding

    The lack of picture in the top left hand of the blog is due to the fact that the World Socialist Movement website is currently down. I'd love to claim sabotage or an exceeded bandwidth has temporarily crippled the cause of impossibilist socialism, but it's probably more down to a "The cheque is in the post" type scenario.

    In case some SPGB anoraks are suffering withdrawal symptoms, I thought I'd post an old Socialist Standard cover as a stop gap. It holds a special vice like grip on my heart, 'cos it was the first Socialist Standard I ever got my grubby little mitts on.

    The little matter of a three line advert in the back pages of the New Musical Express, coupled with the mid-eighties being a shit time for music - "Mmm, will I read a three page article on the Age of Chance or write off for a introductory pack about a political party I've never heard of?" - led me to the fateful decision that day of dipping my toe into the murky waters of abstract propagandism. Falling in - and never learning to swim - I've been waving and drowning in equal measure ever since.

    OK, I need to get back to working on that time machine to take me back to that fateful day in 1986 but, in the meantime, here's a couple of articles from the above issue and an mp3 from the same month that fuelled the teenage political angst:

  • 'Jewish Anarchists'
  • 'Bar Room Rebels'
  • The The - 'Heartland' mp3
  • Mixing Pop and Politics (5)

    Obscure Factoid of the day.

    It's hard to believe but - to the best of my knowledge - Style Council's 1985 album, Our Favourite Shop, was . . . . sod it. I'm too embarrassed to admit it on the blog . . . though I've probably mentioned the shame of it on the blog before. Can't remember.

    Might come clean about it tomorrow.

    Thursday, February 07, 2008

    Mixing Pop and Politics (4)

    Obscure Factoid of the Day

    Leading SWP apparatchik, Chris Nineham, was the one time drummer of Twee indie-popsters, The June Brides. (That's Chris on the ultra-left in the picture.)

    Further Links:

  • MySpace page for The June Brides.
  • [To impress Kara.] An article from the Guardian from a few years back where Dave Eggers declares his long-term love for The June Brides.
  • Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    Scary Wednesday

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (32)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 32nd of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1170 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Our enemies' friends
  • Emission Control? We have a Problem
  • Changing the system
  • This week's top quote:

    "When a firm makes a profit this means that productive factors have been properly employed and corresponding human needs have been duly satisfied." Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 1991.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Friday, February 01, 2008

    Sarah Silverman and Matt singing "I'm in a meaningful relationship with Matt Damon"

    Not for the faint-hearted, but it's nice to see that Matt Damon has finally got another cutting edge gig since narrating the audio book of Howard Zinn's 'People's History of the United States'.

    Old familiar faces

    The sentiment of this still rings true today:

    "If that were true — “the full scale of man's activities” — it really would be interesting. But, of course, it isn't. Search the Universities and Left Review, and only in a line here and a phrase there will you find the working class mentioned. Professor Cole has a good word for them, and there is a little lofty patronage from David Marquand (“in the thirties, there had to be an effective mass movement for the intellectuals to join”) and E. P. Thompson (“the experience of rank-and-file political activity teaches us and keeps our ideas on the ground”). The names in the Universities and Left Review see themselves (bear witness, the articles on art, the cinema, architecture) as members of an élite: the General Staff on that beach-head, the upper crust of the “genuinely socialist society.” ( . . .)"

    Not sure about this bit from the same article:

    "The most useful left-winger we ever saw was Tom Finney. The day he scored against the Arsenal—now, that was worth three-and-six."

    I thought the SPGB membership passed a Islington Branch resolution at its Conference in 1937 that stated that Cliff Bastin was the best left-winger ever? I hope they had a Party Poll to rescind that policy position before going into print about Tom Finney.

  • Further Reading: Universities and Left Review archive
  • When Sunday Lunchtime Kick-Off Comes

    Christ , why does this old picture of Feargal Sharkey remind me of the Croxteth Roonaldo? It doesn't make sense.