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Wake-Up Call

Nobody tells me anything. Here I am. slaving away at the bitface, all the world’s information only a mouseclick away, and only today — today, mind — do I discover that Mick Jones has a new band: Carbon/Silicon; with Tony James, formerly of Generation X and Sigue Sigue Sputnik.  And, more significantly, of the London SS, with Mick Jones.  Here’s an interview with Mick.

I had to learn this from NTK.  It just seems wrong, somehow.

Then rhubarbfool  told us about a new Joe Strummer exhibition, and from that BBC site I found various other pieces of Clash-related information, like one about a tape of Joe from before the 101ers.

Metropolitan Drive-By

It’s kind of customary for me to miss out a whole month of posting (in that I missed out on July last year); but two?  That’s really very poor.

Oh well.  I cite summer holidays and OU work, as well as general everything else in life, as excuses.

I’m posting now mainly to express my surprise at seeing a review of the new album by the mighty Drive-By Truckers in the appalling Metro daily freesheet that litters London transport of a morning.  Short, but positive, too.  I can’t find it on the site, or I’d link to it. 

So, anybody got it yet (the new album, obviously, not Metro)?

More good US commentary

Moby is prone to quoting entire articles from other sources in his blog.  I worry that he’ll be charged with many copyright breaches.  However, the latest he quotes, Conservative for Kerry, from the Orlando Sentinel, shows that there is some sanity on the American right:

People who think of themselves as conservatives will really display their stupidity, as I did in the last election, by voting for Bush. Bush is as far from being a conservative as you can get. Well, he fooled me once, but he won’t fool me twice.

[F]rom a low-key lounge groove to a scorched-earth crescendo”

Good to see that some people in America remember the Reagan years as we experienced them: Reagan’s Punk Rock is an article about the punk bands of the time, and their present-day successors:

But no band inveighed against the president with the intensity of the Rock Against Reagan tour’s headliners: San Francisco’s Dead Kennedys. The DK’s first record, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, was an eclectic and sardonic take on late ’70s California. Reagan drained practically all the subtlety out of the band. In 1981, they released their greatest post-Fresh Fruit offering, the raw and furious EP In God We Trust Inc. The sleeve featured a gold Jesus crucified on a cross of dollar bills.

From Bob Mould’s blog.

Post-election injury report

Who’d have thought Tony Wilson would have been so sensible? Just watching the election results on BBC1, and Anthony H was interviewed in a Manchester bar, saying, Stick with what you believe in … Blair made a terrible mistake in Iraq, and probably even he realises it now … we’ll get a bloody nose, but we’ll still be breathing. All downright good sense from where I’m sitting.

Which reminds me, I must see Twenty-Four Hour Party People.

In my last post I mentioned my uninjured right leg, but I realise that most people reading won’t know about my injury. A couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, I fell down from a raised area in our back garden. I landed with pretty much all my (not insigificant) weight on my left leg. and twisted my knee quite badly. The consultant thinks I’ve busted my anterior cruciate ligament, but I’m still waiting for an appointment for an MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis.

So I’m hobbling around with a crutch and a knee brace, mostly annoyed with myself, because if I’d stepped more carefully, or been wearing different shoes, it probably wouldn’t have happened. The offending, extra-slippery trainers have been cast out into the recycling bin where there will be weeping, gnashing of teeth, and, hopefully, recycling. But it’ll be a long time, I fear, until I’m cycling again.

Back on politics, who are these people who, apparently, want Britain to leave the European Union? What kind of madness is that? I mean, aside from the probable contribution of the EU and its predecessors to keeping peace in Europe for the last fifty years, and the advantages I listed here; aside from all that: who the hell do they think we’d trade with?

They’ve just announced that UKIP have won a council seat in Hull. Mental. Ooh, the BNP have lost a seat in Burnley. Good.

I’m writing this on my Psion (surprisingly hard to find a decent link for that nowadays) while sitting watching the TV. Said Psion broke down the other day. I sent it to POS in Streatham to get fixed.. It came back today, and it has turned green (from being black before). There was no explanation, but I assume that what they’ve done is, rather than repair my one, they’ve transplanted the guts of it into a reconditioned body. It’s quite fetching, really.

I like the mood of the discussion on election-night programs: it’s serious, of course, but there’s a lightness. You get a bit of banter between the presenters and the guests. Of course, it was a lot bleaker during the dark-blue days of the eighties and early- to mid-nineties…

I don’t understand why there’s so much fuss over the postal ballots this time: we had them for the last two elections here in Hackney (first London Mayoral and local council). This time it’s back to proper polling booths, though. I much prefer it that way. How to increase turnout: let polling go on for, say, three days, and/or make polling day a national public holiday, as someone was suggesting in The Guardian the other day.

Voting decisions

It is my custom (or has been at the last two general elections, at least) to broadcast, shortly before an election, to those I know, my thoughts and advice on the forthcoming event.  Should the mood take you, you can look back at what I wrote in 1997 and 2001.  Back then I did it by emailing a load of people.  Nowadays we have blogs.

This time, though, I haven’t managed to get my thoughts out in advance.  Then again, it’s not a general election.

I’ve voted Labour at every election since I’ve been able to vote.  Oh, I think I might have thrown one of my transferrable votes to the Greens in the London Mayoral and Assembly ones last time, but basically its been Labour all the way.1

This time, though, I wasn’t sure.

You know the reasons, I’m sure: Iraq; ID cards; err, that’s enough, really.  Did I still wan’t to support the part that I hadn’t been entirely happy with since it got the “New” tag?

But what are the alternatives?  The Greens, I’ve been thinking recently, are too luddite for me.  Obviously we shouldn’t pollute the environment, and we should do all we can to reduce energy use and carbon emissions; but I fear the Greens are largely anti-technology, and worse, are bordering on the being the type who put animal rights above human rights, which I can’t countenance.  Note that I have no hard evidence to hand for either of those concerns, but I could probably find some with a little research.  if not, and I do them a disservice, well, I’m sure they’ll live.

I thought about the Lib Dems, who are clearly the most pro-Europe of the parties.  I’m sure they’d be fine in many ways.  But in London, for example, they don’t want to increase the size of the Congestion Charge zone.  I think it should cover the whole city.  Or at least come out as far as Hackney.  Anyway, despite my Labour concerns, I was always going to vote for Ken for Mayor again.

I would cut off my uninjured right leg before voting Tory, of course (hey let’s see who says they would scrap the Congestion Charge: Tories, BNP, UKIP; hmmm, is there a common theme there?)  And none of the smaller independents really seem to have it.

Last night I decided. and today I went out and voted.  Labour, in all available boxes.  Because the London Mayor, and Assembly and MEPs aren’t Tony Blair or David Blunkett.  And when it comes to the next general election I’ll probably conclude that Brian Sedgemore, my MP, isn’t them either, and vote for him.

If you haven’t been to your friendly local polling station or postbox today, get on out there.  Remember: all those D-Day heroes that were on the telly recently died so that you could.

1. Strictly speaking, voting for Ken for mayor wasn’t a Labour vote, but I think you know where I’m coming from.

Lyrics quiz: answers

For what it’s worth.

1. I’d like to dream my troubles all away
Billy Bragg & Wilco: California Stars

2. She wears the clothes of an emperor/But her paintings are a sham
Belle and Sebastian: It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career

3. They couldn’t tell Lou Reed from Doug Yule
The Fall: Shoulder Pads

4. I’ve got a heavy coat, it’s filled with rocks and sand
Pavement: Trigger-cut/Wounded-kite at :17

5. Having no future, it’s a terrible thing
Chelsea: Right to Work

6. I do not want your pearly gates, don’t want your streets of gold
Slaid Cleaves: This Morning I Am Born Again

7. Punished for speaking and praise for the silence
Penetration: Silent Community

8. She stumbled in sometime last loneliness
The Birthday Party: Deep in the Woods

9. It shows/While that bastard is in, unemplyment grows
Newtown Neurotics: Kick Out the Tories

10. I’ve met these fractured thoughts before/They grin and wander round this place
Sleeper: Shrinkwrapped

11. House is on fire, vipers in the grass
Bruce Springsteen: Lonesome Day

12. Woods full of crazies where the alligators chomp on you (chomp! chomp!)
OR: Got blues, and jazz, and country and western too
The Long Ryders: State Of My Union

13. Cash is gonna flow down by the old mainstream.
Wilco: Someday Soon

14. Take your time and take a bow/This place is gonna blow
Thea Gilmore: Gun Cotton

15. A purple dog that wears spats
The Velvet Underground: I can’t stand it

16. The flower looks good in your hair
Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros: Mondo Bongo

17. They, they always try to blame it on the blacks/But it’s really those in Newtown Neurotics: Living With Unemployment
power who’ll stab you in the back

18. Louie, Louie, Louie, Louie, Lou
The Long Ryders: Looking For Lewis and Clark

19. Black is a cast/Two is a crowd
Pete Yorn: Black

20. It feels like we just got started
Sleeper: Sale of the Century

It seems strange to find two Sleepers, Two Long Ryders,  and two Newtown Neurotics.  Not to mention two Wilcos, one with Billy Bragg and one without.  It sort of makes me wonder about the randomisation in WinAmp.  But then again, if every track is equally likely to turn up, you could get an entitre album’s track’s. in order, with as much probability as anything else, I suppose.

Lyrics quiz by randomness

Oh, go on then. A lyrics quiz based on the first twenty tracks that a randomised playlist turns up. This is an old-school quiz: no poll, no screening, just argue it out in the comments.

Oh, and it’s bloody hard: I think that, if I were to look at it next week, I wouldn’t get half of it. To help, though, three-and-a-half bands or artists turned up twice. Or three came up twice and one came up one-and-a-half times, you might say.

Edit: Bonus point details and hint added for number 17.

1. I’d like to dream my troubles all away

2. She wears the clothes of an emperor/But her paintings are a sham

3. They couldn’t tell Lou Reed from Doug Yule

4. I’ve got a heavy coat, it’s filled with rocks and sand

5. Having no future, it’s a terrible thing

6. I do not want your pearly gates, don’t want your streets of gold

7. Punished for speaking and praise for the silence

8. She stumbled in sometime last loneliness

9. It shows/While that bastard is in, unemployment grows

10. I’ve met these fractured thoughts before/They grin and wander round this place

11. House is on fire, vipers in the grass

12. Woods full of crazies where the alligators chomp on you (chomp! chomp!)
OR: Got blues, and jazz, and country and western too

13. Cash is gonna flow down by the old mainstream.

14. Take your time and take a bow/This place is gonna blow

15. A purple dog that wears spats

16. The flower looks good in your hair

17. They, they always try to blame it on the blacks/But it’s really those in power who’ll stab you in the back (Bonus point if you can name the original artist and what the song was called when they did it; hint: the lyrics and title are totally different between the two)

18. Louie, Louie, Louie, Louie, Lou

19. Black is a cast/Two is a crowd

20. It feels like we just got started

The post-scarcity tutorial

In my OU course we’re studying Rousseau at the moment.  So at tonight’s tutorial the tutor asked us to, in groups of three or four, discuss our ideal society.

As the good SF-fanarchist that I am, I suggested Iain Banks‘s Culture as a model.  Not by name, and I didn’t mention spaceships or Minds — we don’t want to raise too many demons at once. I suggsted to the others in my group that a perfect society could only be achieved in a post-scarcity environment, with unlimited resources freely available to all.  This led logically to the absence of money and government.

Admittedly I had no mechanism by which this could be achieved, but it was fun to discuss for ten minutes or so.  My group (none of whom I know, really) were surprisingly receptive, though the woman who had been taking notes somewhat misrepresented the points we had discussed when we reported back to the class.
It was disappointing how tame the rest of the ideas were; and what was really surprising — no: shocking — was that one of the other groups suggested increased patriotism as one of the points they wanted.

That’s one of the things they wanted in their ideal society.

More patriotism. Really.

I kind of wish I’d been (and I’m kind of glad I wasn’t) in that group.