Thursday, December 31, 2009

Truth that hurts

I'll hazard a guess that Alan J over at the SPGB blog, Socialism Or Your Money Back, got a few bound volumes for his Xmas 'cos he's been peppering the blog in recent weeks with reprints from the pages of the Socialist Standard.

If you ask him nicely he might post that classic mid-eighties review of Our Favourite Shop. In the meantime, here's a smattering of his reposts:

  • Communist Commotion (1957 article on the sorry history of the British CP.)
  • Walking the Plank (1932 article on the expulsion of JT Murphy from the CP.)
  • Is Nicaragua Socialist? (No, not Latin Quarter's follow up single to Radio Africa. A 1987 article from the Standard.)
  • Chile: myth and reality (An article from '73.)
  • Background to Cuba (An article from 1961. Kennedy in the White House and Paddy Crerand still at Parkhead.)
  • Russia's Afghan Hound (1980 article on . . . you can guess.)
  • Solidarity, the Market and Marx (As I posted yesterday about Ian Bone's youthful days in Solidarity in South Wales, I have to include this 1973 Socialist Standard article about Solidarity that was penned by a socialist originally from South Wales.)
  • There's a shed load more of old articles from the Socialist Standard over at the SOYMB blog, but as Kara just called and wants the kettle on, I'll let you find them for yourself.

    Wednesday, December 30, 2009

    Leighton Rees versus latent rouse*

    Very funny anecdote from Citizen Bone's blog about the halcyon days of Solidarity in South Wales. Apparently it's the kick starter to an ongoing blog series about cock-ups on the radical and anarchist left. I'll look forward to that.

    I wonder if that particular anecdote is included in John Quail's threatened history of Solidarity? I wonder if that bastard will ever get round to publishing it? Six years and counting. Slow burning fuse? Indeed.

    *I wonder if there's still time for me to submit my entry for 2009's 'Worst use of a pun in a blog title' award? I've got a fighting chance with that piss-poor effort.

    Touched by the foot of Hod

    Stumbled across this wonderful old Joy of Six article from the Guardian's Rob Smyth in the draft section of the blog and I realised it would be a dereliction of footie duty if I didn't bring it to the attention of my readership.

    Check out Krankl's volley against West Germany at the '78 World Cup in Argentina. Is that not a nugget of bastard genius? When you have a left foot as sweet as that you can be forgiven for abominations like this . . . maybe.

    Sit down with a glass of mulled wine and the bottom layer of a Terry Old Gold box and check out the YouTube clip of the best goals of the Serie A season from 1990-91. It's like a re-enactment of my best volleyed goals from Greenfield Recreation Park circa 1980/81, and Man City's board may be a collective shower of shithouses for their treatment of Mark Hughes but Roberto Mancini's goal at 1:52 in the clip is a thing of splendour.

    With regards to Rob's selected six, it has to be said that one goal is missing from the collection that has to be there front and centre in any discussion of the best volleys of all time.

    Maybe the YouTube clip wasn't up at the time of writing? Maybe Rob's on the steering committee of the British Humanist Association? Or maybe 'It's Goodbye' was one song too many? Whatever the reason there's no discernible footballing explanation for why this piece of genius from Glenn Hoddle was omitted from the article:

    The quick free kick, the one-two between Ardiles and Hoddle and the latter's balletic grace in striking that volley past Bailey. People bang on about his goal against Watford a few years later but it doesn't hold a candle to this goal (and that other lauded goal was against Steve Sherwood, for christ sake.)

    The first leg of a second round League Cup game from August 1979, and I can remember that goal as if it was yesterday. That's a sure fire indication of magic when it's imprinted in your memory like that thirty years after the fact.

    I hadn't remembered that they lost the return leg at Old Trafford 3-1 and went out 4-3 on aggregate. Typical Spurs. Happy ending all round.

    Frozen River (2008)

    Monday, December 28, 2009

    Wall Communism

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 130

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 130th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1557 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Snowfall
  • Happiness, happiness
  • Breakdown At The Hague
  • Quote for the week:

    "The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men’s brains, not in men’s better insights into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange." >Engels, Socialism: Utopian & Scientific, 1880.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    The Road to Socialism - Kropotkin, Morris and Marx

    A date to put in that new diary you got from your Auntie Rhea:

    Hat tip to Fraser for the image. Three months to read this old piece on what Marx should have said Kropotkin.

    Make Over

    It appears we are in a period of website revamps, make overs and general over haulage so it would be remiss of me if I didn't mention on the blog that the World Socialist Party of the United States website has recently gone through all of the above.

    Front page articles include:

  • Marx's Conception of Socialism
  • The Latest from “Comrade Žižek”
  • Climate Change?
  • The Economic Crisis: Will Capitalism Fail?
  • Click on and on and on . . . .

    You know you're up too late . . .

    . . . when you mistake Janis Ian circa 1968 for Susannah Hoffs 'sweeting it' up in 2009 on iTunes shuffle.

    A Christmas Miracle

    Recovering from a 111 point deficit? A modern day miracle at Christmas.

    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    A burning sensation in my left arm

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 129

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 129th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1561 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Capitalism and Climate Change
  • Intervention USA
  • Banks and the crisis
  • Quote for the week:

    "Common sense, in so far as it exists, is all for the bourgeoisie. Nonsense is the privilege of the aristocracy. The worries of the world are for the common people." George Jean Nathan, 1882 - 1958.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Manchester, So Much To Answer Three

    It's that time of year again, people.

    Anarcho-Stalinist-Wobbly-Zapatista surfer dudes have the Christmas number 1, and Manchester Branch have once again issued details of the quiz from their end of year Branch social.

    It's the usual routine on the blog. I reproduce the quiz questions below. I place my own pisspoor answers in the comment box. Not ONE of my seven readers join in the spirit of the season by trying to supply their own answers and I then post the correct answers in the comments box at a later date.

    . . . .Oh, and I once again use a variation on the same post title that I always use for the Manchester Branch end of year quizzes because I can't think of any wittier alternatives.

    Your starter for ten:

    1. 'On a summer day in the month of May a burly bum came hiking/ Down a shady lane through the sugar cane, he was looking for his liking./As he roamed along he sang a song of the land of milk and honey/ Where a bum can stay for many a day, and he won't need any money.'

    Which song?

    2. What is the subtitle or alternative title of News from Nowhere?

    3. In 1907, why did the Party pay £2 to Richard Bell, secretary of the Amalgmated Society of Railway Servants?

    4. What happened in Derbyshire on 24 April 1932?

    5. Which Party member was known as 'Two Shirt'?

    6. Which footballer refused to give a Nazi salute when England played Germany in Berlin in May 1938?

    7. Which year were the big Party meetings at the Metropolitan Theatre?

    8. Who were the four people who threw Engels' ashes into the sea?

    9. Who was Ishi?

    10. Where do Blackburn Rovers play?

    Get guessing.

    Sunday, December 20, 2009

    "What a great wake up call!"*

    Damn, is it too late to jump on the bandwagon?

    Fuck**, if Thatcher was to pop her clogs this week there's a good chance that Ian Bone would spontaneously combust before that promised party in Trafalgar Square.


    *I had been napping, but the quote is from a Radio 1 interview with Zack Da La Rocha

    **The random fuck thrown into the conversation in honour of RATM getting to number one.

    Rage Against Mister Sheen

    This Christmas Number 1 business? Rage Against The Machine versus Simon Cowell's latest spawn for the Christmas Number 1.

    What with me being Brooklyn-based I can't say I've been following the spectacle too closely but I do have a liking for the mashed up parody video below, and I have been lapping up the bitter split storm in a strongbow can within the British Anarchist Blogging Community (BABC for short).

    On one side of the barricades, those lining up with RATM and their shouty call to armed insurrectionism and, on the other side of the keyboard, those whippersnapper anarchos making a case for supporting any council estate urchin with a cover version and a dream . . . even if they've got X-Factor branded on their forehead.

    Come seven clock tonight (Greenwich Mean Time) it'll be all over bar the blogging and we'll know who has gained entry to that illustrious pantheon that includes Benny Hill, Little Jimmy Osmond, St Winifred School Choir, Mr Blobby and Bob the Builder.

    Is too early to start a Facebook group calling on the Human League to release a Christmas single in 2010? According to this page - be warned, it makes for grim reading - they were the last popsters to have a brilliant song reach the top spot at Christmas.

    In truth, the only one since The Beatles.

    Quote of the Day

    Via Lew H. over at the SPGB's discussion list:

    Wikipedia has launched an appeal for funds. Below is a interesting tribute from a donor:

    "Wikipedia stands for the principle that no one owns knowledge, that people cooperating voluntarily and without external incentives (such as greed or fear) can produce a public good useful to all of a caliber as high if not higher than commercially driven and created sources -- not merely in accuracy but in accessibility of use and excellence of design. Wikipedia is living refutation of those who assert that wide-scale, complex, long-term cooperation by a large number people working on a very large enterprise requires hierarchy, subordination, authoritative supervision, or motivation by money or even less savory incentives. In many ways it's not too much of an exaggeration that the Wiki principle exemplifies the animating principle of a different kind of society, and by Wiki's persistence and longevity shows that a cooperative order is not a utopian fantasy, but as real as your computer and as close as the Wiki URL. Thanks, Jimmy! And all of you whose work, unrewarded except by the knowledge that it is constructive, well done, and helpful, make this project possible."

    But isn't 'Jimmy' a Rand'ite? I'm confused.

    Friday, December 18, 2009

    Bolshevism and Other Kids' Stuff

    Plastic gangsters or toy-town bolsheviks? I can't decide.

    Someone thought it was a good idea to make lego figures of Trotsky, Lenin, Gorky and Stalin.

    He - am I being too presumptious in assuming it's a he? - also has a go with Marx and Engels and Che Guevera. I'm intrigued on so many different levels. Especially on the question of whether or not the Karl Marx lego figure looks more like Charlton Heston's Moses or Billy Connolly in his dotage?

    Not coming to a toy store near you this Consumermas.

    Hat tip to sks over at Leftist Trainspotters (though I have a sneaking suspicion that Ally had previously blogged about this kids stuff.)

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Melting Mowbray

    Oh my. I wasn't expecting that.

    I will always remember where I was when Celtic recovered from a 3-0 deficit, to steal a 3-3 draw against the best team in Austria: lying on the couch . . . with the laptop on my belly . . . half-watching the Magnum PI segment on BBC's I Love 1981.

    Good night from Vienna?

    Go on, chaps. Prove us all wrong.

    'Quick . . . quick . . . .no show'

    What a thing to wake up to:

    Looks like it's shaping up to be Artmedia Bratislava and Neuchatel Xamax all over again.

    Can the fact that the team in green and white is winning be considered a silver lining?

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    'Nothing looks the same in the small print'

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 128

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 128th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1565 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Free is Good
  • This year’s Nobel Prize for Economics
  • Debating the 'S-Word'
  • Quote for the week:

    "The Agrarian law, or the partitioning of land, was the spontaneous demand of some unprincipled soldiers, of some towns moved more by their instinct than by reason. We reach for something more sublime and more just: the common good or the community of goods! No more individual property in land: the land belongs to no one. We demand, we want, the common enjoyment of the fruits of the land: the fruits belong to all." Gracchus Babeuf and the Conspiracy of the Equals, Manifesto of the Equals, 1796.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Gnome Chomsky

    A festivus present for the anarcho-reformist in your life this choming Christmas:

    Place it in their returned garden of eden. Possibly next to a hitchens post. (Now that would have been something.)

    Popbitch provides more details for the must have anarcho-consumerist ornament for next year's ten year anniversary of the guerrilla gardening spectacle in Parliament Square.

    PS - Whilst I'm on matters Chomsky; What's with 'Noam Chomsky' plus 'broken english' all of a sudden? What does my sitemeter know that I don't?

    PPS - The same company would also like to interest you in a Monkish Howard Zinn for good measure:

    What do you mean you don't have 134 dollars going spare?

    Wednesday, December 02, 2009

    Mark'us in

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 127

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 127th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1563 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Too Good to be True
  • Banks, who needs them?
  • GB Shaw as a Guide to Socialism
  • Coming Events:

    Radical Film Forum, Sundays 6pm - 52 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UN.

    13th December - Earthlings

    17th January - Manufacturing Consent (part one)

    31st January - Manufacturing Consent (part two)

    Capitalism and the Arctic - DVD

    Tuesday 15th December, 8pm

    Committee room, Chiswick Town Hall, Heathfield Terrace, London W4

    Advance notice:

    Debate with Dr Eamonn Butler of the Adam Smith Institute

    Thursday, 4th February, 7pm

    Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1

    Quote for the week:

    "Those who busy themselves with State-Socialism, that is to say, those who demand the nationalisation or municipalisation of certain services, do not trouble at all about the lot of the workers engaged in them; but even admitting that they sought to improve the lot of those employed would they be able to do so? If they can, let them begin by improving the conditions of the underpaid workers in the Post Office, in the State tobacco factories, railways and State ironworks. The workshops of the State and municipality are prisons quite as bad as private workshops, if not worse." Paul Lafargue, Socialism and Nationalisation, 1882.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Tuesday, December 01, 2009

    Let's Rock Again! (2004)

    December 2009 Socialist Standard: Down and out in Mayfair

    December 2009 Socialist Standard


  • Copenhagen: another predictable failure
  • Regular Columns

  • Pathfinders Calorie counts and pet scans
  • Cooking the Books 1 This year’s Nobel Prize for Economics
  • Cooking the Books 2 Free is good
  • Material World The advance of capitalism
  • Greasy Pole BNP – Question Time Without Answers
  • Pieces Together Capitalist Paradox; Drug Pushers Pay Off; All Right For Some
  • 50 Years Ago Second thoughts
  • Main Articles

  • Down and out in Mayfair We still live in a society that if you don’t have the ability to pay you ‘goes’ without.
  • Capitalism and food security – an oxymoron Food security for all the people of the world will only be possible when the profit motive is taken out of food supply.
  • The World Around You Someone employs you, and you work for them, and they control a big part of your waking hours.
  • Too good to be true We are conditioned to accept the absurdities and contradictions that capitalism throws up.
  • Debating the “S-Word” Is any word more over-used and misunderstood today than “socialism”?
  • On modern life (Eric Fromm ) Some selected quotes from Fromm's 'The Art of Loving'.
  • How I got to be a socialist “… I came to know about ‘mine’ and ‘thine’ but always preferred ‘our’.”
  • Ire of the Irate Itinerant Cartoon Strip
  • Book Reviews, & Meetings

  • Book Reviews:Why not socialism? By G. A. Cohen; Where the Other Half Lives: Lower Income Housing in a Neoliberal World Sarah Glynn, ed; Critical Social Theory and the End of Work By Edward Granter; Free. The Future of a Radical Price. By Chris Anderson; Plebs. By Colin Waugh.
  • Socialist Party Meetings: Clapham, Chiswick & Norwich:
  • Voice From The Back

  • End of a dream; How about socialism?; Capitalism is gangsterism; The new gangsters
  • 'Before it gets shoved under the bed next to the boworker . . . '

    As closing lines to articles goes, you'd have to go some to top the closing line to last month's Pathfinders column in the Socialist Standard

    Capitalists think they can save money by forcing puritanical self-denial on workers, but with the stress of exploitation we face, we don’t need temperance, we need to lose our tempers. [My emphasis.]

    The link to the article is here and, if you start at the top, you get the full benefit of the pay-off line.

    Now, where is this month's Socialist Standard

    Saturday, November 28, 2009

    Can you name the top 200 Premier League goalscorers?

    Too much hair on your head? Can't afford a haircut?

    Take the 'Can you name the top 200 Premier League goalscorers?' quiz and you will have torn out half your hair in a matter of minutes. I spent five minutes hitting the table top whilst trying to remember the name of a current Premiership striker who scores every bastard week.

    Oh, and word of forewarning; don't go near the various well know Scandinavian and Dutch forwards of yesteryear unless you have the patience of a saint and the spelling chops of one of those geeks from Spellbound.

    I scored 77/200. You can do better.

    Hat tip to 'kained and able' on urban 75.

    Love it

    If Bullard stays fit, Hull stay up. As simple as.

    Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Mixing Footie and Politics (7) Shankly, Socialism and Glasgow Celtic

    Just spotted this.

    Ian Bone raises that most important of political questions: 'Is there a socialist way of playing football?'

    Ian shows his age (and his dress sense) by mentioning the great Hungarian side of the early fifties.

    Arguably the greatest International team never to have won the World Cup, they lost the '54 final against West Germany in disputed circumstances, and one of the great ifs of football pub talk is, but for the Soviet tanks rolling into Budapest in '56, how they would have measured up against the Brazil of Pele and Garrincha in Sweden in '58.

    Anyway, back to the matter in hand. I show my good taste and access to YouTube clips by pointing you in the direction of the definitive answer to Ian's question.

    Bill Shankly describes the great Celtic side of the Jock Stein era:

    That wee nugget should be on a T shirt, not this silly bollocks which is currently doing the rounds on the left blogosphere.

    "Socialism without the politics." I like that.

    Whatever did happen to World in Common?

    Hard To Get (1938)

    Injury time

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 126

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 126th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1563 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • The illusion of freedom
  • WSPUS Manifesto on the War, 1917
  • 1789: France’s bourgeois revolution
  • Coming Events:

    Radical Film Forum

    Sundays 6pm - 52 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UN.

    29th November - Sicko

    13th December - Earthlings

    Quote for the week:

    "Scientific socialism considers our views dependent upon our material needs, and our political standpoint dependent upon the economic position of the class we belong to. Moreover, this conception corresponds with the aspirations of the masses whose needs are in the first place material, while the ruling class must necessarily base itself on the deductive principle, on the preconceived unscientific notion that the spiritual salvation and the mental training of the masses are to precede the solution of the social question." Joseph Dietzgen, Scientific Socialism, 1873.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Word of the day


    prep. 1. In spite of; in opposition to; notwithstanding.

    A man must needs love maugre his heed. - Chaucer.

    This mauger all the world will I keep safe. - Shak.

    So, mauger Darren not even knowing that the word mauger previously existed, he just scored 42 points with it on Lexulous.

    Does that make sense?


    Apologies for referring to myself in the third person. Darren won't do it again.

    Friday, November 20, 2009

    Strip Pain-T

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 125

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 125th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1551 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Capitalism or Socialism?
  • A Man Before His Time - Gerrard Winstanley
  • The Myth of Soviet “Socialism”
  • Quote for the week:

    "Money is a new form of slavery, which differs from the old form of slavery only in its impersonality, its annihilation of all humane relations with the slave." Leo Tolstoy, What to do?, 1887.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Meano Keano has a Beano

    Like the rest of us, he can't remember the last time Ipswich won two games in a row, but some things Roy Keane never forgets.

    In Roy's mansion, FAI stands for 'Feckin' Arrogant Ingrates'.

    Missing the revolution for the football

    . . . but in fact this is my favourite football quote (quote? OK, maybe more anecdote) of the day:

    At a meeting in Manchester in around 1970, I hears the following exchange:

    Speaker: "The bourgeoisie needs football. Football is part of the way they control the working class. It's virtually the only thing preventing a revolution. If they got rid of football there'd be a revolution in Britain."

    Heckler: "Yeah... three o'clock next Saturday!"

    Anecdote by 'jgw' in the comments box of Luna 17 blog.

    Hurly Burley

    This should have been my football quote of the day (or even yesterday:

    "I don't think what he wanted to do got across to some players and also I think some of them are too thick to take it on board – and not good enough to take it on board, anyway, to be perfectly honest with you . . . " [Craig Burley commenting on the sacking of his uncle, George Burley, as manager of Scotland.]

    Nice to see that even after retirement, Craig is still tenacious in the tackle.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Down in the tube station at 18:48

    Just spotted this intriguing picture of Engels plastered* across a London Underground tube train advertising panel over at Solomon's Mindfield blog.

    No, it's not Workers Power trying to do Banksy but part of London Underground's most recent 'Art On The Underground' campaign. (See the Mayor of London blurb in the bottom left hand of the picture? Boris will be pleased.)

    I say 'recent' but it dates from June and July of this year. What can I say? I came late to the Party.

    By way of an apology, please follow the link which will explain that the poster (and quote) is part of an art project devised by Jeremy Deller, which is entitled 'What is the city but the people?'

    To quote the bloke Deller himself:

    ' . . . I came up with the idea to give [London Underground] staff a collection of quotes and the idea grew from there. I often wish announcements were more personal and reflected the realities and absurdities of living and working in a big city. I think the travelling public enjoys some humour and unexpected insight during their journey.'

    As well as the Engels' quote in his project, Deller also includes quotes from Ghandi, Napoleon, Sartre and Goethe amongst others. The idea behind the project was that from time to time, London Underground drivers (and others) would insert quotes from the great and the good in amongst the usual pronouncements of 'Mind the Doors'; 'Next stop Russell Square' & 'I used to be someone, you fuckers'.**

    It's been a while since I've travelled on the Underground in London but if their tannoy system is anything like the mumbled, garbled and strangulated announcements of drivers and others on the NYC Subway system, then they could have been reading from the collected editorials of Daniel De Leon all this time and I'd have been none the wiser.

    More on the project (and the public's response to it) from the LA Times; Open Magazine; and that natural institution, Arthur Smith.

    Before I forget: that particular quote from Engels? I understand that the original plan was to place it as it as massive poster in the Clapham North tube station, but the Executive Committee of the SPGB had a word. No need to take the piss, is there? we're just working up to our second wind.


    * 'plastered' - Insert your Marx and Engels boozing it up on Tottenham Court Road joke here.

    **'I used to be someone, you fuckers'. - Allegedly said by a tired and emotional Jah Wooble over a London Underground tannoy system sometime in the mid-eighties whilst he was working for said organisation.

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Tricots for goalposts

    Diplomatic incident between the Republics of France and Ireland over the small matter of Sarkozy and last night's World Cup play-off game in Dublin.

    Hat tip to a Urban 75er.

    Radical Film Forum - 'Matewan'


    Sunday 15th November at 6pm 52 Clapham High Street, London SW4 (nearest tube: Clapham North)

    John Sayles's 1987 classic drama ". . . illustrating the events of a coal mine-workers' strike and attempt to unionize in 1920 in Matewan, a small town in the hills of West Virginia."

    From John Sayles's book, 'Thinking in Pictures: the making of the movie Matewan (1987)

    Why Matewan?

    There's no place in America like the hills of West Virginia and eastern Kentucky. There'll be a river, usually fast running and not too wide, and on the flatland along its banks a railroad track and maybe a little town, only two or three streets deep before the land starts rising up steep all around you. You've got to look straight up to see the sky and often there's a soft mist shrouding the holler. The hills hug around you - stay inside of them for a while and a flat horizon seems cold and unwelcoming. It's always been a hard life there, with not enough bottomland to farm and no easy way to get manufactured goods in or out of the area. The cash crops had to be torn out from the ground, first timber and then coal. It's a land that doesn't yield anything easily.

    In the late sixties I hitchhiked through the area several times and most of the people who gave me rides were coal miners or people with mining in their families. They spoke with a mixture of pride and resignation about the mining - resignation about how dark and dirty and cold and wet and dangerous it was and pride that they were the people to do it, to do it well. The United Mine Workers were going through heavy times then. Their president, Tony Boyle, was accused of having his election opponent, Jock Yablonski, murdered. The coal companies and most of the political machinery that fed on them and even the UAW hierarchy denied even the existence of black lung disease and refused any compensation for it. All this was added to the usual mine accidents and disasters and wild fluctuations in coal prices. But every miner I talked to would shake his head and say, "Buddy, this ain't nothin compared to what used to go on. I could tell you some stories." The stories would be about their grandfathers and uncles and fathers and mothers, and the older men would tell their own stories from when they were young. The stories had a lot of Old West to them, only set in those embracing hills and coffinlike seams of three-foot coal. It was a whole hunk of our history I'd never heard of, that a lot of people had never heard of.

    In 1977 I wrote a novel called Union Dues that begins in West Virginia coal country and moves to Boston. Before I wrote it I did a lot of reading in labor history, especially about the coal fields, and that was when I came across the story of the Matewan Massacre. In a book about the Hatfield and McCoy feud in Mingo County, there was a mention of a distant cousin of the Hatfields named Sid, chief of police of the town of Matewan, who was involved in a bloody shoot-out in 1920, during the mine wars of the era. It got me interested, but accounts of the incident were few and highly prejudiced. The rhetoric of both the company-controlled newspapers of the day and their counterparts on the political left was rich in lurid metaphor but short on eyewitness testimony. But a few characters stuck in my head - Sid Hatfield; the mayor, Cabell Testerman, who wouldn't be bought at a time when the coal companies routinely paid the salaries of public officials and expected their strike breakers to be deputized and aided in busting the union; a man known only as Few Clothes, a giant black miner who joined the strikers and was rumored to have fought in the Spanish-American War; and C.E. Lively, a company spy so skilled he was once elected president of a UMW local. Aspects and details of other union showdowns in the area also began to accumulate - and transportations of blacks from Alabama and European immigrants just off the boat to scab against the strikers; the life of the coal camp and company store; the feudal system of mine guards and "Baldwin thugs" that enforced the near slavery the miners and their families lived in. All the elements and principles involved seemed basic to the idea of what America has become and what it should be. Individualism versus collectivism, the personal and political legacy of racism, the immigrant dream and the reality that greeted it, monopoly capitalism, at its most extreme versus American populism at its most violent, plus a lawman with two guns strapped on walking to the centre of town to face a bunch of armed enforcers - what more could you ask for in a story? And yet it was a story unknown to most Americans, untold on film but for a silent short financed by the UMW in the aftermath of the massacre. The movie was called Smilin' Sid and the only known print was stolen by coal company agents and never seen again.

    Though there were familiar Western elements to the story, it had a unique character because of its setting. The hills of West Virginia, the people and the music have a mood and rhythm to them that need to be seen and heard to be felt completely. There is a cyclical sense of time there, a feeling of inescapable fate that in the story resists the optimism and progressive collectivism of the 1920s workers' movement. Politics are always at the mercy of human nature and custom, and the coal wars of the twenties were so personal that they make ideology accessible in a story, make it immediate and emotional. It was this emotional immediacy that made me think of making a movie about the events in Matewan.

    If storytelling has a positive function it's to put us in touch with other people's lives, to help us connect and draw strength or knowledge from people we'll never meet, to help us see beyond our own experience. The people I read about in the history books and people I met in the hills of Kentucky and West Virginia had important stories to tell and I wanted to find a way to pass them on.

    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    Wales 3 Scotland 0

    What a thing to wake up to on a wet Saturday morning.

    It gets worse:

    "Scotland have not beaten Wales since 1984 and that did not look like altering here as the Scots suffered their fourth successive away defeat - and their fourth road trip on the trot where they have not scored." [BBC Report]

    25 years since beating Wales? Frankie were number 1 in the charts with Relax, for christ sake.

    What makes it even more depressing is that when you dig out the stats for that Scotland win way back in February 1984, the scorers that day were Davie Cooper and Mo Johnston in a 2-1 win. To have that sort of quality in the team today.

    I'm away out to drown my sorrows in a Chinese.

    Industrial Worker interviews Noam Chomsky

    Spotted over at Mind Glow blog:

    The editor of the Industrial Worker, Diane Krauthamer, spoke to Noam Chomsky at his MIT office in Cambridge, MA, on October 9th, 2009.
    The Industrial Worker is the official newspaper of the IWW (the Industrial Workers of the World), a radical union.

    For more info, please visit: The IWW official website

    The interview is in 4 parts on YouTube:

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4
  • A word of warning; I found the sound in the videos a bit spotty but that may just be me. An interesting enough interview with Chomsky discussing the revival of sit down strikes, his father's 'membership' of the IWW and the rise of the populist right, amongst other things.

    Hat tip to Jason for the links.

    A novel approach to politics

    Back to the Socialist Standard.

    There are long term plans to digitise every issue of the Socialist Standard going back to September 1904, in order that they can be made available online for anyone and everyone to read but, in the meantime, the work of posting articles of interest from old Socialist Standards falls on the shoulders of a few members who do the work off their own bat.

    So, therefore, kudos to my old Central London Branch mucker Rob S for recently posting on the Socialism Or Your Money Back blog three old articles from the Socialist Standard on novelists and thinkers who have been of interest to socialists going back several decades:

  • From the March 1971 issue of the Standard, Robert Barltrop's review of the (then) recently published paperback version of the four volumed collected essays, journalism and letters of George Orwell: Coming up for Orwell
  • From the May 1987 issue of the Standard, Carl Pinel's Leo Tolstoy: author and anarchist
  • And from the November 1973 Standard, Paul Bennett's Camus: Portrait of a 'Rebel'
  • It'll come as no surprise to seasoned SPGB watchers that of three authors under discussion, Tolstoy comes out best from the three review essays. (Though with obvious qualification.)

    To be honest, despite being a long term fan of Barltrop as a writer, I'm rather disappointed by the tone of his article on Orwell. A bit too sniffy and vinegary for my liking. Maybe, as someone who had just returned to the SPGB after ten years of other political activity, he was playing to a particular gallery a bit.

    I much prefer both Brian Rubin's article on Orwell from the December 1983 Socialist Standard and (I believe) Les Dale's article on the Political Ideas of Orwell from the October 1986 issue of the Standard.

    Of course Orwell knew about the SPGB. As an avowed anti-Stalinist writer and journalist in London in the 30s and 40s how could he have not crossed paths with the SPGB? There is the mention in passing to the SPGB in the aforementioned Collected Essays but it's also the case that I remember from a few years back a comrade mentioning that when he looked at Orwell's collected papers for research purposes in London they contained a number of SPGB pamphlets, with scribblings in the margins.

    I wish now that I'd asked him what Party pamphlets were in Orwell's collected papers and what were those damn scribbles.

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    You Left Me Seering Stars

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 124

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 124th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1547 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Out of control
  • Conspiraloons
  • Free is cheaper
  • Quote for the week:

    "Irrespective of the uniforms we wore, we were all victims." Harry Patch, WWI Veteran.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    More cold water. comrades. More cold water.

    Much too frivolous for the 'Do They Mean Us?' series but if you happen to type 'Socialist Party of Great Britain' into an anagram generator, it comes up with PROFITABLY RAINIEST CASTIGATOR.

    It's got everything: the social composition of the membership, the ingrained pessimism and the on-the-surface hostility to all and sundry.

    And you thought the Thatcher link was going to be the most frivolous post of the day?


    My heart raced for a moment.

    Five Go Mad in Dalston

    Ian Bone brings details of what will be the Must See Film of 2015. (I'm pegging it for a 2015 release date unless the lottery commission is still doling out the revenue from the poverty tax for funding British films that won't make any money.)

    The suggested chapter headings look intriguing. It looks like a mix of Green Street Hooligans and Channel 4's 80s comedy Dream Stuffing. If the filmmaker, Greg Hall, is taking requests for what scenes to pre-screen on YouTube, I'm especially interested in chapters 29, 38 and 41.

    I wonder if David Baddiel will appear as himself? Surely only one man can play the late, grate Joe Strummer. But can he master the mockney accent for the part?

    More info on the proposed movie adaption of Ian Bone's 'Bash The Rich' over here.

    Until Pixar finally get round to adapting Breaking Free for the big screen . . .

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Swift blog tailoring

    Only four Weller songs? I'm getting better.

    Check out Cornershop's cover version of 'Waterloo Sunset' if you can. It's not half bad.

    PS - click pic to enlarge and to be enraged.

    Edward Hopper vs The Blue Nile

    Oh, this is beautifully done. A marrying together of the music of Blue Nile and the art of Edward Hopper.

    Kudos to music writer, Chris Roberts, and YouTuber, prodriguez, for making magic happen.

    One caveat, though; the Hopper painting that you see at 3:17 in the video is not how I remember it.

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    November 2009 Socialist Standard: Free at last . . . . Twenty years beyond the Berlin Wall.

    November 2009 Socialist Standard


  • Socialism was never tried
  • Regular Columns

  • Pathfinders Gullibility Travels
  • Cooking the Books 1 Out of control
  • Cooking the Books 2 Free is cheaper?
  • Material World Malawi: Children of the Tobacco Fields
  • Greasy Pole TV Debates - much ado about nothing
  • Pieces Together Warren's Wallet; Silent Tornado; Bombs Wa-Hey!
  • 50 Years Ago The Darwin Centenary
  • Main Articles

  • The fall of “communism”: Why so peaceful? Twenty years ago the Berlin Wall came down, symbolising the collapse of state capitalism in Eastern Europe.
  • The Myth of Soviet “Socialism” Vladimir Sirotin from Russia explains how that country was never socialist.
  • Workers State? Pull the other one How could anyone have seriously argued that the workers ruled in Russia?
  • Joining the killing machine The campaign to win the young to war has come a long way from the ‘Your Country Needs You’ poster with the pointing finger of Kitchener used in the ‘First Great War’.
  • Afghanistan – lying about dying The pressure to misinterpret the deaths, as the bodies come back, as nobly purifying is a cynically orchestrated propaganda exercise intended to justify the war.
  • Billion dollar bribery The duplicity, fraud and criminality that lies at the heart of world capitalism.
  • Ire of the Irate Itinerant Cartoon Strip
  • Letters, Book Reviews, & Meetings

  • Letters To The Editors: Getting from here.
  • Book Reviews: Che Guevara and the Economic Debate in Cuba. By Luiz Bernardo Pericás; Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History. By David Aaronovitch; The Trouble with Capitalism. By Harry Shutt; Enough. By John Naish.
  • Socialist Party Meetings: Glasgow; Manchester, Clapham, Chiswick & Norwich:
  • Voice From The Back

  • Too much Month at the end of the Money; Famine and Feast; Up in smoke; Onward Christian Bankers
  • Tuesday, November 10, 2009


    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 123

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 123rd of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1544 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Afghanistan - lying about dying
  • Joining the killing machine
  • The myth of Maastricht
  • Coming Events:

    East Anglia Region Branch Meeting

    Saturday 14 November, 12 to 4pm

    Quebec Tavern, 93-97 Quebec Road, Norwich NR1 4HY

    Funny Money - DVD followed by discussion.

    Tuesday 17 November 8pm

    Committee Room, Chiswick Town Hall, Heathfield Terrace W4, Chiswick

    The Zeitgeist Movement

    Wednesday 18 November, 8.30pm

    Community Central Halls, 304 Maryhill Road, Glasgow

    Discussion on The Case for Socialism

    Monday 23 November, 8.30 pm

    Unicorn, Church Street, Manchester City Centre

    Radical Film Forum, Sundays 6pm - 52 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UN.

    15th November - Matewan

    29th November - Sicko

    13th December - Earthlings

    Quote for the week:

    "Everyone who knows anything of history also knows that great social revolutions are impossible without the feminine ferment. Social progress may be measured precisely by the social position of the fair sex (plain ones included)." Karl Marx, Letter to Kugelmann, 1868.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Perhaps I'm the only one?

    'Another Girl, Another Planet' is so fucking overrated.

    Granted, it's a good song, but in no way does is it qualify as great. It's nothing more than the bastard cousin of Richard Hell doing the guest vocals on a Motors song.

    It's taken me 15 years to pluck up the courage to voice that opinion out loud. Even know, I expect Pitchfork to turn up at the front door with the . . . erm, pitchforks. Knowing my luck, Peter Perrett will break a guitar string tomorrow and his fan base will hunt me down via google alert.

    Someone disagrees. That person needs to put on a loud shirt and listen to Wham!'s debut album.

    File this post under 'An iTunes Shuffle Epiphany'.

    Sunday, November 08, 2009

    It's official . . .

    . . . apparently it seems that my most devoted reader is googlebot. If only it would leave a comment every once in a while.

    The Californian one. Not the European one. The latter is still blanking me because of that regrettable incident with diggit.

    Friday, November 06, 2009

    Are You Smarter than a 4th Internationalist?

    How are you with your knowledge of the history of early British Trotskyism?

    Do you know your Heaton Lee from your Ralph Lee? Ted Grant's real name? The first bullshit myth Gerry Healy spun about himself? CLR James's batting average for the Old Fractionians Second XI? The name of the De Leonist organisation in Scotland which turned towards Trotskyism in the thirties? Who debated for the Bolshevik Leninists' against the SPGB's Adolph Kohn at the AEU Hall in Doughty Street in London in 1936?

    Well, the answers to all of the above questions will not be found in the following clip from Mastermind, but what does follow is Paul Moorhouse answering questions on his specialist subject,"British Trotskyism Until 1949'. (What's the odds that all the questions were cribbed from Bornstein and Richardson's two-volume history of British Trotskyism?)

    This edition of Mastermind dates from March 13th of this year but I've only just now stumbled across the clip. I got nine answers right but that's only because I'm from the Menshevik-SadBastard Tendency.

    Give it your best shot:

    But there's more.

    When Paul returned to the black chair for the second round, John Humphrys asked him about his specialist subject in the first round and inquired, in an amused tone, if there were any Trotskyists left?

    Paul resisted the temptation to leap upon the black chair and declaim 'The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International' in its entirety but he did lean forward in his chair like the seasoned cadre that he is and gave a fifty second thumbnail sketch of what it is to be a Trotskyist today.

    Humphrys said nothing in reply, thus confirming the suspicions of two million Daily Mail readers that the initials BBC really do stand for the 'Bolsheviks Broadcasting Communism'.

    A quick google search reveals that Paul Moorhouse is a longstanding member of the Millies (SPEW/CWI) down in Bristol.

    I'm sure he got muchos-kudos from his comrades for putting his politics before an audience of a few million (back in the eighties, Mastermind could be watched by up to 15 million people), but I wonder if he also got his nose tweaked by the local full timer for not mentioning Peter Taaffe's name at least twice during those fifty primetime seconds.

    The Menshevik-SadBastard Tendency member in me can't help heckling to the computer screen that he should have said: 'Trotskyism? Past'

    More on that particular episode of Mastermind over at Life After Mastermind, the blog of 2007 Mastermind winner, David Clark.

    Wednesday, November 04, 2009

    Today's (Old) Quote of the Day

    I love this quote from the late Stephen Jay Gould that caught my eye on Facebook yesterday:

    “I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.”

    Within minutes of spotting that clip I stumble across this picture - and its accompanying story - on Facebook. LabourStart readers have just voted it their Labour Photo of the Year.

    If I had any fingernails, I'd dig them into the palm of my hand to remind myself that it's 2009.

    Hat tip to MM for the quote.

    Tuesday, November 03, 2009

    'King Me!'

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 122

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 122nd of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1535 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Postal workers out on strike
  • Fat Cats: creaming off profits
  • Who’s afraid of the BNP?
  • Quote for the week:

    "If the workers take a notion,

    They can stop all speeding trains;

    Every ship upon the ocean

    They can tie with mighty chains

    Every wheel in the creation,

    Every mine and every mill,

    Fleets and armies of the nation,

    Will at their command stand still."

    Joe Hill, Workers of the World, Awaken!, c.1914.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Monday, November 02, 2009

    A word from our sponsor . . .

    One for the Party archives?

    Abstract propaganda front and centre in The Merry Frinks, a madcap comedy from 1934.

    And there was you thinking that the Hays Code was enforced in 1934 because of Mae West's single entendres and Joan Blondell showing a bit of thigh. How wrong you were. Jack, Harry and Daryl apparently viewed Utopian Socialism as more dangerous than Upton Sinclair during this time period.

    The commie curmudgeon in the clip is Allen Jenkins, who some of the more infantile older readers of the blog will recognise as the voice of Officer Dibble in Top Cat. A worker in uniform.

    Of course I'd love to claim Allen Jenkins's Emmett Frink as one of us, but how do I explain away the earlier scene in the film where he's carrying under his arm a portrait painting of Joe Stalin? Despite my best efforts, I can't.

    More Comintern Third Period than Great Dover Street Impossibilism, but a very funny film, nonetheless. It's worth hunting down.

    Monday, October 26, 2009


    We've had the staples: Small Party of Good Boys and Simon Pure's Good Brand are the best known, for instance.

    We've had the witty Small Party of Glesga Bookies (as the local branch in Glasgow was known in its early days because, it turns out, a number of its members were bookies) and we have had the just plain abusive Smug Pricks and Gobby Bastards (just made that one up but I've yet to copyright it).

    But I think the old school playground nicknames all fall by the wayside with Julian V from Enfield and Haringey Branch's recent suggestion on the Party's discussion list that the SPGB now stands for Senile Pensioners in Geriatric Bathchairs. The bloke's got form in the witty stakes. It was Julian who came up with the title of 'Socialism Or You Money Back'.

    Sterling Cooper's loss was the SPGB's gain.

    Cheeky opponents and the usual malcontents will riposte that they've been referring to us as that for years, but it's no good now mentioning that now on the commentary of your latest dvd. Prove your point by providing the requisite YouTube clips from those Arena specials you were on all those years ago. Otherwise, button it or we'll send the youth section around to have a word, brew a pot of tea and share some Werther's Originals.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Breakin' (1984)

    Mellow dramatic

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain 121

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 121st of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1527 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Market behaviour
  • A girl's best friend?
  • UN World Food Day
  • Quote for the week:

    "Some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen." Woody Guthrie, Pretty Boy Floyd, 1939.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Sunday, October 18, 2009

    Forty Days of Tucker J. by Robert Leeson (Fontana Lions 1983)

    Tucker walked outside. Paddy was still there.

    Hello, Peter, then. I see you've joined the toiling masses.'

    'Wish I had, Paddy. Are you out of work, then?'

    Paddy smiled: 'No, I'm not. I'm doing this for a friend. Just to give a hand, like.'

    Tucker took a leaflet and walked away reading it.

    'Fight for the Right to Work' said the leaflet.

    They must be joking.

    Saturday, October 17, 2009

    Bend it like Bent

    Love it.

    No jokes please about beach balls, freakish goals and Liverpool having to cut short next year's summer holidays so that they can try and qualify for Europe via the backdoor.

    That joke is redundant now that they've abolished the Intertoto Cup. Europa League it is.

    A year and a day

    Owen's first birthday.

    The orange giraffe moomin horse gatecrashed the party. Ostler Owen had to bring it under control.

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    World Socialists a twitter

    Being the slow reader that I am, I've only just spotted* this most excellent competition in the September issue of your soaraway Socialist Standard:

    Competition for the Twittering Classes

    The latest fad for micro-blogging is coming under fire, with a study showing that 40 percent of ‘tweets’ are ‘pointless babble’ and only 8.7 percent pass along ‘news of interest’(BBC Online, 17 August). Considering the gargantua of garbage which is the printed book output, this is not a bad batting average. However, keen as ever to raise the bar of public discourse, Pathfinders proposes a competition for the best expression of the Party Case in 140 characters or less. Brief reflection offers: ‘World for the Workers, not the Rich W**kers’ however you are sure to do better than that. Emails or letters to our Clapham office. Closing date 10 November, for our December issue, and best ideas will be printed. First Prize will be, of course, comradely adulation, as we socialists are trying to move away from material remuneration systems.

    Why not? I'm sure I read somewhere that someone has been putting The Communist Manifesto on twitter (bugger if I can find it, though). And, no doubt, someone from Aufheben will eventually get around to serialising The Grundrisse on twitter . . . but we may get socialism before that particular exercise in twitter publishing is actually completed.

    My contributions to the comp are the following:

  • world socialism - for a world without war, want, wages and the fat controller.
  • Banish the gods from the sky, the capitalists from the earth and the chuggers from the high street.
  • I thought I'd play it safe with a careful tweaking of the classics.

    I can already feel the "comradely adulation" coming my way, and I don't like it. It seems so unnatural: comradeship and the SPGB, I mean.

    *'just spotted' roughly translates as 'this post has been in draft for three weeks'.

    The Snapper by Roddy Doyle (Penguin Books 1990)

    Sharon sat down again. She whispered to Jimmy Sr.

    - Me uterus is beginnin' to press into me bladder/ It's gettin' bigger.

    Jimmy Sr turned to her.

    - I don't want to hear those sort o' things, Sharon, he said. - It's not righ'.

    He was blushing.

    - Sorry, said Sharon.

    - That's okay. Who's tha' fuckin' eejit, Darren?

    - Can you not just say Eejit? said Veronica.

    - That's wha' I did say! said Jimmy Sr.

    Darren laughed.

    Veronica gave up.

    -Da, said Darren.

    - No, yeh can't have a bike.

    Darren got up and left the room in protest. That left Jimmy Sr and Veronica by themselves.

    - There's Cliff Richard, said Jimmy Sr.

    Veronica looked up.

    - Yes.

    - I'd never wear leather trousers, said Jimmy Sr.

    Veronica laughed.

    Jimmy Sr found the remote control. He'd been sitting on it.

    - He's a Moonie or somethin', isn't he? he said as he stuck on the Sports Channel. - And an arse bandit.

    - He's a Christian, said Veronica.

    - We're all tha', Veronica, said Jimmy Sr. - Baseball! It's worse than fuckin' cricket.

    He looked at it.

    He looked at it.

    - They're dressed up like tha' an' chewin' gum an' paint on their faces, so you're expectin' somethin' excitin', an' wha' do yeh get? Fuckin' cricket with American accents.

    Jimmy Jr stuck his head round the door.

    - Finished with the paper yet?

    - No.

    You're not even lookin' at it.

    - It's my paper. I own it. Fuck off.

    Jimmy Sr switched again; an ad for a gut-buster on Sky.

    - Jesus!

    - You've got the foulest mouth of anyone I ever knew, Veronica told hi. - Ever.

    - Ah lay off, Veronica.