Tuesday, June 30, 2009

'Young Rosa'

A gentle nudge from my sitemeter and the latest post from Louis Proyect's blog reminded me of this old post from the blog.

That's not what's important. What's important is that you take time out to read the article/interview, “With the hard disk full of socialism”, linked to in the original post.

I'm truly humbled that there are such brave people in the world.

That Elvis Presley cover!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ready Brek Trev

Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (101)

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 101st of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

We now have 1511 friends!

Recent blogs:

  • A simpler way of doing things
  • Positively socialism
  • Euroelections: the case for the SPGB
  • Quote for the week:

    "It was the first time that I had ever been in a town where the working class was in the saddle ... There was much in it that I did not understand, in some ways I did not even like it, but I recognized it immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting for . . . " George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia (1938).

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Don't forget to click to enlarge . . . as the blogger said to the reader of the blog.

    Never let it be said that this blog misses out in the opportunity in signposting Noam Chomsky appearing in a cartoon strip.

    No jokes about the real life Chomsky being a cartoon character, please. That gibe is for the self-satisfied over at Harry's Place.

    I just like to spot *cough* public intellectuals in the most unlikeliest of places. It also takes me back to the good old days of avidly reading Roy and the Rovers every week, and the genuine thrill of that storyline where A J Ayer turned up in the pages of the comic face to face with Roy Race. Something about Ayer being the leader of a Spurs hooligan gang who decided to invade the pitch in a FA Cup sixth round replay to try and get the game abandoned after Melchester Rovers went 3-1 up with five minutes to go. I can't remember how it resolved itself - mind, it was a storyline from 30 years ago - but I suspect that 'Blackie' Gray despatched Ayer with a kick to the nether regions and the rest of the Spurs hooligan crew melted back into the terraces. That's how those cliffhangers usually got wrapped up if memory serves me right. If you see the particular issue on eBay, drop me a line. I'd like to read it again

    The Chomsky cartoon? From the pen of Mitch Clem. His cartoon strips aren't really that political which it makes it all the funnier when Chomsky pops in from an alternate universe to make a guest appearance as this week's curmudgeon.

    If you fast forward through about 217 songs, this too could be your random 25.'

    The return of a long forgotten series on the blog.

  • Four of the songs are faves of Kara's but only three are strikingly obvious.
  • Owen stomped his feet to Level 42.
  • Kara asked, 'Who is this?' when The Delgados came on, which I interpret as a good sign. Maybe I won't have to play their albums in secret in the future.
  • I'd forgotten how spiky the Long Blondes were. They would play a terrific double bill with Sons & Daughters.
  • For the life of me I can't remember 'Shaking Through', even though I've played Murmur to death for a period of four months. I guess it suffered from B side syndrome. In the age of mp3s 9/10 songs that self-same fate.
  • I have to investigate that Steve Earle album further. It's time for me to get past his twenty year old statement that what the United States needed was someone like Neil Kinnock as their President.
  • For me, The Seeds will always just be another group on a Nuggets compilation but I noted that their lead singer, Sky Saxon, died this week. iTunes Genius obviously noted it as well.
  • What else makes the 25? Dionne Warwick murders the Cilla Black classic. Franz Ferdinand croon their Brooklyn song. Simple Minds remind us once again what a fucking brilliant band they once were. Wreckless Eric makes a strong case for being the bloke with a thirty five year old career based on one song (but it's a great song). Malcolm Middleton's sounds like he's covering Fatima Mansions but the song lyric doesn't contain half the wit of either Cathal Coughlan or the cover of the album that the song comes from. Tears For Fears get all vaguely political, as was obligatory for pop bands in the eighties after Live Aid. And Jellyfish. Whatever happened to Jellyfish? Did I miss anyone out?
  • Misplaced Pronouncements (Part 36)

    A fool has one of those 'D'oh moments':

    The setting is a Brooklyn apartment on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

    Kara - [Reading BBC Sports News.] US have just scored. They're winning one to zero.

    Me - I honestly can't be bothered going next door to watch it. It's a Mickey Mouse game. People are only interested in the tournament 'cos there's no other football on the tv at the moment.

    World Socialist e-book now online

    One for the kindle lovers amongst you:

    "A World Torn Apart is a collection of forty articles on diverse topics written from a world-socialist perspective by Stephen Shenfield (Stefan). Organized in nine sections entitled: profits versus needs; working to survive; politics in various countries (U.S., South Africa, Israel/Palestine, China); popular culture; international relations; war and peace; non-military global threats; historical reflections; thinking about socialism. Includes analysis of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, Congo, and Gaza and discussion of such issues as patent law, disaster management (Hurricane Katrina), paying for air, advertising, U.S. presidential elections, children's TV, national sovereignty and globalization, exploitation of Arctic and lunar resources, naval confrontation in the South China Sea, humanitarian intervention, nuclear disarmament, 9/11 and the "war against terror," Iran, global warming, pig/bird/human flu, the Neolithic Revolution, religion, literary utopias, technocracy, and free access."

    You can already access some of the articles from the e-book over here. Get scribd.

    Stop me if you've heard this one before

    Via Slackbastard blog:

    Two Greek anarchists are making molotov cocktails. One says to the other: "So who will we throw these at then?" The other replies: "What are you, some kind of fucking intellectual?"

    Help me out here: is that an old joke that just gets updated every time someone looks at a police officer in a disgruntled manner somewhere in the world? I could have sworn I heard that joke years ago but I can't remember where.

    PS - It doesn't detract from the joke itself. Most of my jokes go through the spin cycle again and again and again.

    Sunday, June 28, 2009

    In Between Talking About The Football by Gordon Legge (Polygon 1991)

    The old guy and the Rangers supporters are quizzing each other now. They start by exchanging old football jokes. Who was the only man to score past Pat Jennings with bare feet? Tony the Tiger in the Frosties ad. Name all the teams with x's in them? Choo! Choo! They rhyme off the classic sides: Real Madrid at Hampden, Brazil in '70, Leeds United at Hampden, Aberdeen in the Cup Winners' Cup final; Manchester United in '68. The pub supplies questions and debates the answers. Who was the 'keeper when Willie Donachie scored his own goal? Jim Blyth. What was the highest attendance at Cliftonhill? 27,000. How old was Arthur Graham in the 1970 Cup Final? Seventeen. Who was the only English team ever to field a side made up entirely of Scots? Accrington Stanley. Who was the only second division team ever to win the Cup? East Fife. They go on and on. Everybody's got their own special question to ask. Jim asks how many goals Falkirk scored in season 35/36. The old guy says '132'. The Rangers supporter says it was the third highest total ever. The old guy says Raith Rovers had the highest and the Rangers supporter agrees. The guy who used to hang about with the nutters asks what season Bo'ness United were in the first division. 'Season 27/28,' says the Rangers supporter. With a glint in his eye the old guy agrees and says they were relegated. This is serious. It's like High Noon without the shitty bits. The bell signals last orders but it's more like the command to come out fighting. The old guy and the Rangers supporter quiz each other about the other's team. Names fly like bullets in Beirut: Bertie Peacock, Willie Woodburn, Pat McCluskey, Iain MacDonald, Ally Dawson, Willie McStay. From where did they come and where did they go? They move from the past to the present and back again. They're naming the Cup Final sides easier than they could list their grandchildren. Games they, and tens of thousands of others, were at. They talk about matches that are twenty years old as if they took place last week. The old guy says, 'Name the side, the classic side, that lifted the Cup in '63?' Without thinking, the Rangers supporter rhymes off the classic side: 'Ritchie, Shearer, Provan, Greig, McKinnon,Baxter, Henderson, McLean, Millar, Wilson.' The old guy hollers with delight and does a jig of joy. He says, 'Fucking diddy you are, there was a replay and . . .' The Rangers supporter screams 'BASTARD!' at the top of his voice while the old guy goes on to remind him of how Ian McMillan replaced George McLean in the replay. The Rangers supporter says, At least we won. 3-0. Destroyed you. You lot left at half-time, you were that disgusted.' The old guy concedes that that was a good Rangers side but says the reason Celtic lost was cause they bottled out of playing Jimmy Johnstone in the replay. He goes on to say Rangers were always jammy in replays and blames the referees. The old guy won't shut up. He starts listing the Rangers sides involved in replays. He looks a bit demented and were it any other subject he would be more than whisked away in a white jacket. There's nothing nobody can tell him about football. The Rangers supporter threatens to empty the ice-bucket over the old guy's head if he doesn't shut up. This has the desired effect and they shake hands and agree they're both pretty smart. The Rangers supporter vows he'll one day get his revenge.

    From the short story 'Baby on a String'.

    Here Come The Robots

    SPGB Public Meeting:

    The meeting is being held at:

    Socialist Party Head Office

    52 Clapham High Street

    London SW4 7UN

    I'm still messing

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Take It or Leave It (1981)

    Filling You In

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (100)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 100th(!!) of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1508 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Whose news?
  • Let's make a real socialist revolution
  • Global Warming: Is it (or will it soon be) too late?
  • Advanced notice:

    The Socialist Party of Great Britain holds its annual Summer School 26 - 28 June 2009 at Harbourne Hall, Birmingham. Members and friends from across Britain and beyond will gather to exchange ideas and experiences in all aspects of socialist activity and thought. The theme this year is "Revolution: The Theories, The Past, The Future".

    Quote for the week:

    "In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic." Marx, German Ideology (1845).

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Monday, June 22, 2009


    And you thought Bono would always be the biggest wanker in U2. Looks like Larry Mullen Junior is giving him a run for his money.

    Milk, Sulphate & Alby Starvation by Martin Millar (4th Estate 1987)

    I make it out of hiding across the road to the park one Saturday because there is a festival being held there, it is organised by CND and I feel I should support it on principle besides I wanted to see the bands and I suppose that in amongst all these thousands of people I'll be safe-enough.

    So I wander over and the park is absolutely full of millions of young people all not minding too much that the weather is threatening to wash us away and taking advantage of the occasion to show off their new hair colours to everyone including the police with binoculars high above on the surrounding rooftops.

    The festival is fun with foodstalls and badges and kiddie entertainments and old clothes and books and small political parties and everything would seem not too bad were it not for the fact that all those young people make me feel old, I'm sure some of them are laughing quietly as I go by.

    I keep my head rotating as if constantly looking for someone so no one can focus on my wrinkles and when the DJ plays old records from my childhood I pretend convincingly to myself that I've never heard them before, in fact I deliberately look puzzled as each record comes on so people will see I don't know what it is.

    South Of The Border by Barbara Machin (The Women's Press 1990)

    'The petrol gauge has always been knackered, you know that,' grumbled Finn as they rolled to a stop on a dirt garage yard outside a small bar. 'You've got to keep track of the mileage - I've warned you before.'

    'But it never seems quite so crucial down Deptford High School, does it?' They'd glared at each other in the orange neon of the bar sign. 'OK' it flickered on and off uncertainly. Finn was unforgiving.

    Striding across a yard littered with crashed cars, Pearl headed for the bar to find the owner. This is what she hated about foreign travel, she decided: this loss of balance, the confusion between the grateful smile and the come-on. A line so clearly visible in South London and so blurred here. She could be letting herself in for anything, just by being there. And smiling. Smiling was dangerous, but how else was she going to charm the guy into opening up his petrol station.

    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    The Mo-Dettes - White Mice - Rare Video

    You can keep your big budget glossy vidoes. Nothing beats the scratchy, cheap looking performance videos from the late seventies and the early eighties. The more amateurish the better.

    One of my favourite singles from the post-punk era. If this song isn't on your post-punk compilation then you have to send that rar file back to rapidshare.

    File this video next to Josef K's 'Sorry For Laughing', Orange Juice's 'Rip It Up' , and The Jam's 'Going Underground'.

    PS - have to be polite and cut and paste the blurb from YouTube:

    RARE - possibly unique! Shot in the primitive studio at the London College of Printing in 1979 - with Ian H at the video colourizer controls... All I have left is this dodgy quality VHS - so, with apologies for that, sit back and enjoy one of the most under-rated bands of the 80s... All hail the Mo-Dettes... Remember - No girl likes to love a wimp..."


    Fascinating bit of gossip from the Vaux Populi blog.

    I wonder how much truth there is to the suggestion that Scargill's Socialist Labour Party was going to join the No2EU electoral front but pulled out at the last moment because of Scargill's insistence that he take the top berth in the London region?

    On the one hand there is an air of plausibility to the story because of Scargill's colossal ego - with Arthur insisting, in the third person, that he be the top candidate in London. On the other hand, the story didn't first appear in the Weekly Worker, which is the usual messageboard for such rumours on the left.

    The lash up would have made sense. Anyone who watched both the SLP's and the No2EU's election broadcasts back to back would have seen two film crews working from the same rough script. Would such an arrangement have received more votes? Totally dependent on what they would have decided to call themselves. Yep, it's a shallow as that.

    Saturday, June 20, 2009

    Stop The War Website

    What's the deal with the link to the Stop The War website? Very strange business, indeed. (And I haven't just put in the wrong URL. Check it out yourself by cut and pasting http://www.stopwar.org.uk/.

    I would delve deeper but I have to investigate the new link further to see if it's got that Stephen Doyle bootleg from School Assembly 1986.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Pic of the day

    In place of a post.

    A pic from yesteryear. One dead Tory MP and one Celtic legend.

    The pic was snaffled from this blog.

    Friday, June 12, 2009

    "It's football, Jim, but not as we know it."

    You've got to love this picture.

    It's from an IK Brage game (sorry, I don't know the team playing in the black) and, as my Swedish is a bit rusty at the moment, I can't work out if it's an attempt at a Guinness World Record for how many footballers you can fit onto a penalty spot at any one time or if it's the result from last season's Swedish Spot The Ball competition.

    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    A wait on my mind

    195 Elvis Costello tracks on iTunes and shuffle still insists that I should be listening to early Faust!.

    Blog Light

    I had a similar experience back in 1996 when I popped into Housmans to buy a copy of Radical Chains.

    Anyway, shouldn't that guy be paying Ben Stiller royalties? And what are they selling again?

    Hat tip to Exile On Moan Street.

    Tuesday, June 09, 2009

    Lost In Music: a pop odyssey by Giles Smith (Picador 1995)

    In 1985, the year before I became an official band member, one of Newell's regular mail-order clients in Germany took the cassette version of a collection of songs called Under Wartime Conditions, pressed it up as a vinyl album and distributed it to the stores. Newell was jubilant. This was, he reckoned, a real anarchist's triumph, a giant petrol bomb through the record companies' corporate windows. An album of songs made in his house in his spare time, using only a raddled guitar, an old piano with drawing pins in its hammers, a bass which was a barely modified plank, and a rusty xylophone, had gone down the system's blindside and made it right into the shops. 'And', he said victoriously, 'no one with a pony-tail and stupid plastic glasses came anywhere near it.'

    So this was the Martin Newell whom I joined full-time in the Cleaners from Venus: an angered pop guerrilla with his own agenda, a one-man music-biz resistance unit.

    Demo Porn

    Why the SPGB doesn't do demos.

    The people behind SCP would blow a gasket.

    Word of the Day


    Main Entry: men·di·can·cy

    Pronunciation: \ˈmen-di-kən(t)-sē\

    Function: noun

    Date: 1711

    1 : the condition of being a beggar

    2 : the practice of begging

    Remember it for later on. It may be important.

    Wednesday, June 03, 2009

    Blog Exclusive!: In his first act as the new Sunderland manager, Steve Bruce unveils their new kit for next season.

    Weekly Bulletin of The Socialist Party of Great Britain (99)

    Dear Friends,

    Welcome to the 99th of our weekly bulletins to keep you informed of changes at Socialist Party of Great Britain @ MySpace.

    We now have 1498 friends!

    Recent blogs:

  • Flying pigs and the Euro elections
  • Orwell's nightmare
  • The Class Struggle
  • Quote for the week:

    "Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948.

    Continuing luck with your MySpace adventures!

    Robert and Piers

    Socialist Party of Great Britain

    Monday, June 01, 2009

    'Your name is on the ballot, you're not coming in'

    Via the Vaux Populi blog:

    The SPGB caught between a rock and haringey place.

    As the Vaux Populi poster says, it's all very well for friend and foe alike to politely enquire of the SPGB, 'but aren't you lot really just parliamentary anarchists?' but maybe said friend and foe can also taken the time out to forward that particular memo to the anarchists?