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A day in the hive

August 31, 2015

August 30th was a very strange day to be travelling with the Internet as a companion.

It started with the heartwarming photos of German football supporters and their “immigrants welcome” banners. I later found out it is part of a movement offering spare rooms to immigrants so they can have basic comfort without the indignation of mass camps or over cramped housing whilst they settle. Incredible. I was then informed that some of these houses are being burnt down. I concluded that the language barrier is an issue and I have no up to the minute source of counter cultural, international social affairs. Does such a thing exist? New Internationalist but in 140 characters. Any suggestions?

Next came Blair and the “looney left.” The idea that Corbyn supporters would listen to Blair is as misguided as the idea that ol’ Jez is a bin laden loving commy who is hell bent on taxing us 80% so we can all ride in our own (nationalised) private carriages. I think people like Jeremy Corbyn because he shows a genuine compassion not seen in politicians in almost 2 decades. For many, their whole lifetime. The threat that this “ideology” processes to the imperialistic core of capitalism is making a lot of money for those at the heart of the story. Comment might be free but someone’s getting paid. In a democracy, this level of support for new thinking should be encouraged. Isn’t challenging the status quo important? Why do the media get to decide what is electable? In a country of increasing inequality and social divide, surely this was inevitable? Either way, the man deserves a chance to at least stand for what he stands for and not be demonised for what he doesn’t.

Few side distractions up next. Those who constantly lambast “trolls” taking pleasure in “trolling.” The term is as ridiculous as the action and it needs to stop. It’s petty and unhealthy. The pride of being blocked works both ways. Apparently Moose Blood were amazing at Reading. I really must check them out. Norwich need a striker on the pitch, shame their options on the bench have forgotten why they were signed for big money. It’s a shame as they could be a proper side. I hope they stay up.

On the subject of football, Man United fans lost it. Again. The level of money and ego in the premiership has hit a new level of insanity. £250m should be enough money but clearly it’s not, at some point it needs to be mentioned that it is operating debt and £75 is too much for a Chevy advert t shirt. Van Gaal and Mourinho battle for the back pages, stroking their egos by blaming anything that’ll make a Friday presser dominate a Saturday breakfast. Swansea and Palace show how a team game is still best won by a team. No one gives them credit of course.

I then go and play a festival. Victourious in Southsea. It is brilliant. A 50k festival in conjunction with the council, great bands, friendly atmosphere, perfect organisation. A model in how to do such an event, I highly recommend giving it a look next year. Basement Jaxx are a national treasure and Ben Ottewell still has one of the best voices ever to come out of the UK.

Apparently the Libertines were both life affirming or awful at Reading, depending on who you ask. Hopefully the 4 practises were enough to appease a fan base who missed out on the one decent Astoria show.

Vmas were the penultimate shit storm. Kanye is running for president and can do no wrong, if you’re a culture journalist. Taylor Swift and Nikki Minaj made peace over a United enemy, Miley Cyrus (and the truth.) Shame an important issue had to resort to this. Oprah text a friend and folk blew a gasket. Taylor swift is friends with everyone. It’s a shame nobody is talking about the size of venues or quality performance on the mammoth 1989 tour, but then the music was always a sideline in this campaign. Social media rules the roost and no one has greater shared value than a squad (unless Brendan Rogers is in charge.)

Finally Diana day by day. Most took pleasure in mocking this. I heard it was a product of the Express group but it’s really hard to tell what anyone would gain from this. Nostalgia and voyeurism come together to celebrate the death of a young mother in a media culture that has learnt nothing.

24 hours in the world of Twitter. What fresh hell will tomorrow bring. Something is going majorly awry. I hope our hive mind can fix it before we do some serious damage.

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Shortlist Cover

July 22, 2012

I hate writing blogs, I’ll lay that down from the outset. I find it difficult to articulate how I feel when writing things down and often find myself having to fight my own in-articulations over the point I was trying to portray. However I feel it might be time to write a few words.

I find it very difficult to stomach the idea that iconography is open season, as if to say free speech deems history irrelevant. Having the internet and a seemingly finite knowledge base, does not allow us to act as we please and brandish offensive imagery.

Skrewdriver were a deeply offensive and violent uk skin head punk band. They were the poster boys for a white power movement that was very violent in the 1980s. They were members of the national front at a time when open racism was rife in Britain. People were persecuted and died in the resistance movement.

In a time where kitsch, revivalist culture is rife, It didn’t cross my mind that I would be arguing, that wearing a Skrewdriver (or photo of, for the pedantic out there) t shirt is a socially unacceptable thing to do. I’m not calling Plan B or Shortlist magazine racist by this action. I await to hear what they say on the matter and hopefully the misunderstanding will be cleared up.

However it is my firm belief that fascist iconography is not up for grabs. Its not clever and its not controversial. It is insulting to the people who fought so hard to make this country easy, for people like me, to live in.

I find myself struggling to come to terms with the notion that a fascist t shirt will appear on the cover of one of the UKs biggest magazines and it would not be deemed offensive. Its a Skrewdriver image on the cover of a magazine, how did this happen? Maybe I’ll come under attack for questioning rights to free speech, but I don’t want to live in a world where fascist iconography can appear unchallenged in the media.

I hope this is an oversight and can help to educate people about a difficult time in British history and we can continue the excellent strides made towards equality and understanding.

For some context as to why it would be deemed offensive, I recommend watching Alan Miles superb film, who shot the sheriff, here: http://vimeo.com/11494489

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#Occupy Tomorrow

December 20, 2011

What is #occupy? Who are those nutters in the tents? I want to get involved, how can I? What for the future?

Come join us by steps of St. Pauls to question, to think and to enjoy the company of others.

An afternoon and evening of comedy and music, conversation and a special General Assembly.

Comedy slam featuring:

Chris Coltrane, Josie Long, Nick Doody and Tiernan Douieb

Live music from:

Chris TT, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Itch (The King Blues.) Lowkey, Shoes and Socks Off

4:30-9 – come and see what democracy looks like 🙂

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Who Shot The Sheriff?

May 2, 2010

Who Shot the Sheriff? – Guerrilla Screening

Punk rock changed our culture, there is no arguing that. From its impact on graphic design and fashion, to its no holds barred, anyone can do it philosophy, the hall marks of punk rock are evident in everyone from lady gaga to the rage against the machine. Punk also had a great part to play in the political and social changes taking place in this country (and all over the world) in the 1970s/80s. In the breaking down of the racial, sexual and gender barriers, punk rock empowered a generation to be proud of themselves and their community.

Rock against racism played an important part in the breaking down of the stereotypes perpetuated by the National Front, the fascist hypocrisies of Enoch Powel and acted as a peoples army in a time of deep social and economic unrest. Starting with a letter printed in Melody Maker challenging the views of Eric Clapton, via the political insight and challenging design of Temporary Hoarding to its final hurrah with the Specials AKA in Leeds, RAR was at the front line.

Debuting at the East End film festival last Wednesday, the re-edit of Alan Miles sterling documentary “Who shot the Sheriff” is a fast moving, powerful insight into British life in the late 70s/80s and how punk rock politicised a generation. It is also a wake up call to the re-emerging problem of racism and the fascist ideologies of the British National Party and English Defence League.

With the kind permission of the documenter and its inspiring message in hand, we would love you to be able to watch the film and hopefully get inspired too. We will be streaming the film for 24 hours over at getcapewearcapefly.com from Midnight on May 4th, through to 12am on May 5th. Hopefully this film will provide you with some inspiration before your trip to the ballot box and will act as a challenge as to what we can do to prevent a rise of fascism within this beautiful and diverse nation.

Please join the Who Shot The Sheriff facebook group on the link below as we will be touring with the film later on in the year (it looks great on a computer, but you just can’t beat it with the full cinema experience.)

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Who-Shot_the-Sheriff/117113108311663

Thanks for your time and hopefully you enjoy the film and find it as inspiring as I did.

Samx

Who Shot The Sheriff – Guerilla Screening
http://www.getcapewearcapefly.com
Tuesday May 4th 12am – Wednesday May 5th 12am.

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Albums of the Decade

December 1, 2009

My Favourite Albums of the Decade

This took a lot of thought but was also a lot of fun. The only rule I had was only one album per artist (don’t ask me why but it seemed like a good idea at the time.) In no particular order….

There were too many albums I loved over the last 10 years, so have decided to do a shortlist of 50 odd and then pick my top 10 albums of the decade.

The Shortlist (in no order)

Original Pirate Material – The Streets
Once Like A spark – Jetplane Landing
Zero For Conduct – Jetplane Landing
Vehicles and Animals – Athlete
Demon Days – Gorillaz
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots – The Flaming Lips
United By Fate – Rival Schools
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – Wilco
Think Tank – Blur
Stay What You are – Saves the Day
The Artist In The Ambulence – Thrice
Save the World Get the Girl – The King Blues
Kid A – Radiohead
Neon Bible – Arcade Fire
Funeral – Arcade Fire
You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine – Death From Above 1979
A Grand Don’t Come For Free – The Streets
In Reverie – Saves the Day
600 Miles – Hitchejet
Walking Concert – Walking Concert
Pylon – Pylon
Caution – Hot Water Music
Casually Dressed… – Funeral for a Friend
Owen – Owen
All my Friends have to go – Some Water and Sun
Oui – The Sea and Cake
Relationship of Command – At the Drive in
Pilots – The Copperpot Journals
Dear Catastrophe Waitress – Belle and Sebastian
Dear Science – Tv On the Radio
Best Loved Goodnight Tales – Tanaou
Baaba Maal – On The Road
Plans – Death Cab for Cutie
From Here to Infirmary – Alkaline Trio
A Living Room Hush – Jaga Jazzist
La Radiolina – Manu Chao
Ideas above our station – Hundred Reasons
Magpie – Steven Fretwell
Jay Z – The Blueprint
Sound of Silver – Lcd Soundsystem
Leaders of the free world – Elbow
Cast Of Thousands – Elbow
Contact Contact – Tellison
War all the time – Thursday
Kingstons Current – Dave House
We are the Romans – Botch
Worship and Tribute – Glassjaw
…Is a Real Boy – Say Anything
Boy In The Corner – Dizzee Rascal
In Rainbows – Radiohead
Civil Disobedients – Capdown
Songs of Innocence and Experience – Adequate 7
Illinoise – Sufjan Stevens
Rings around the world – Super Furry Animals
For Emma, Forever ago – Bon Iver
The Budos Band – The Budos Band
A song to ruin – Million Dead
Love ire and Song – Frank Turner
Boys and Girls in America – Hold Steady
American Idiot – Greenday

My top 10 favourite albums of the decade in order:

1. Original Pirate Material – The Streets
2. United By Fate – Rival Schools
3. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots – The Flaming Lips
4. Relationship of Command – At The Drive In
5. Neon Bible – Arcade Fire
6. Demon Days – The Gorillaz
7. Stay What You Are – Saves the Day
8. Plans – Death Cab for Cutie
9. Kid A – Radiohead
10. Dear Science – Tv on the Radio

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The Demolition Ball

January 26, 2009

Many thanks to all who came along to the final Astoria show, it was a great night. Was mad trying to book a show within 2 weeks (really makes me appreciate the role of promoters and agents- my head was a total mess by the end!), but thanks to all the bands and special thanks to Larry and Som for helping to pull it together. We’re still trying to work out all the VAT issues but ex vat we raised £8000 for 4 charities, which adds is a nice upside to the sad closing of an old friend. Below are some photos I’ve stolen from various peoples Facebook pages from the night (thanks and apologies!)

 

The Final Astoria Crowd (from the Balcony)

The Final Astoria Crowd (from the Balcony)

The Final Astoria Crowd (from the Stage)

The Final Astoria Crowd (from the Stage)

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Our last Astoria show 😦

Our first Astoria show

Our first Astoria show

Can't believe it was 2 years ago...

Can't believe it was 2 years ago...

Astoria RIP

Astoria RIP

I think Frank summed it up when he said that the building, although a great venue, is just bricks and mortar and its the memories, friendships and ideals we forged in the venue that make it so special, long may they live on.