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Barque to the Future…

This is USS Zumwalt…

Just launched at a cost of umpty billions. Now I know aeroplanes and bugger all about ships but does that not look rather similar to a US Civil War ironclad to you? Like this…

The Zumwalt class is designed to have the radar sig of a fishing smack. I guess you might get much the same from the CSS Albermarle not, obviously, that it was an issue at the time. It is possible (and the USN has been ickling on about railguns for some time and a planning sea trials in 2016 which is when the Zumwalt is due to enter service. So clearly looks may deceive and it might look the same but be bigger on the inside so to speak.)

So… It’s kinda odd but for completely different reasons the naval architects have gone back to the future. Either that or the Confederacy had some unknown naval genius beavering away and designing a low radar-return ship almost a century before radar.

But, and this is a biggy for me. Now it might sound nit-picking but how the heck is that a destroyer? It displaces 15,000 tons, it is 610ft long. That is a cruiser at least. Surely. Is this some bizarre ruse to get the funding past Congress? Because the Zumwalt class is essentially designed as a 1-1 replacement for the Iowa class battleships.

That is a broadside from an Iowa class (Actually BB61 USS Iowa). Those are 16″ guns. Who needs railguns when you can hurl a shell the mass of a VW for a couple of dozen miles. I’d be much more impressed by railguns on the Zumwalt if it was nuclear powered and therefore had practically unlimited electricity. Hell’s teeth I’d be going for a fully nuclear navy! No need for oilers and fill ‘er up every 25 years! You’d buy a car that did that. Especially if it had a railgun. It has to be noted though that we won the Cold War partly (thank you Ronnie!) with recommissioned Iowa class battleships and the off-key caterwauling of skanty-clad songstresses. I dunno which scared the Kremlin most. But they are very big guns indeed and Cher is wearing very little indeed. That was the ’80s and that is how we won. Hard and soft pressure. Ronnie and MTV – an unstoppable alliance.

I mean can you imagine how dull communism must have been?

Yeah, and inevitably here’s the video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G4O5AMSevc

Yeah, I liked the ’80s. We seemed to be going somewhere and that dear reader is a guilty pleasure from the era. But that’s one hell of a ship whatever you think of Cher.

And if we had another Ronnie then Vlad would be hiding under a table in the Kremlin with stained trews. And if we could take out Comrade Kim and the Ayatollahs and dear old Bob and… I can dream. But that video speaks to me of serious belief in our moral, social, military and economic might. We believed it then. That is why I liked the ’80s.

PS. The Iowa class were designed to be Panamax. They had 18″ wiggle room so never again complain about parking in TESCO.

PPS. This has been edited by moi. This fecking Toshiba is at the very end of the tether.

The Miller’s Tail…

So Maria Miller, Sec State for Culture has fallen on her sword (for I am slain iDave!) due to her diddling expenses.

What the flying fuck do we have such a position for, apart from some croney of iDave diddling expenses, obviously?

Have you been to the National Gallery (it’s free by the way – and my favourite art gallery in the World*). Did Turner need a Department of Culture to paint his piccies? Did Francis Bacon? I recently saw some of his in Amsterdam recently**. Did Tolkien need one to write Britain’s favourite books? Did Elgar? Did the Beatles? The Stones? Does Adele? Do you or me? God help us Shakespeare managed to make it without the state!

Culture is simply what we do. In a sense it is what we are. We just do it. From posting video of a cat doing something amusing on Youtube to the Elgar violin concerto we just do it. In this case “we” is Kyung-wha Chung. She is my fave fiddler ever -do listen to the rest – it’s great***. And I have a weakness for the violin concerto. And that is her with the LSO conducted by Solti. Neither are Brits but Elgar was. And in a real sense that kind of sums up “culture” for me in the sense that here we have a piece of music played by a Korean/American with the orchestra conducted by a Hungarian/mainly American with an honorary British knighthood. What I mean is Elgar has “stretch”. All true culture has. Elgar is quintessentially English and not from a rich background (at one point he was employed to conduct an orchestra in the local lunatic asylum) but that his music can reach from Seoul to Budapest to Chicago and touch people enough to play it that well says something.

I have been to a folk festival (for my sins). It was curious. Apart from getting Brahms und Liszt (it was a stag do) it struck me how parochial (and in extreme cases nationalistic – not in a good way****). True culture is in a sense beyond borders. God help me I am English but I can’t stand the Tory club Little-Englander with his G&T any more than I can stick the “shop local, think global” lot with faux tribal tattoos. I was going to get one if I’d completed my PhD – my equation. Alas for me and an inker this did not come to pass. Folk is shite anyway. But what I was really trying to say is… I once came across in Georgia (USA – not entering the Putindoom) a fellow who expressed surprise at my mere existence. He declared a desire (and he was well adult) not only to never leave the USA (for there be dragons elsewhere ) but to never leave the state of Georgia. I’d just done a 2,500 mile road trip round the SE USA. I guess I just like globalization and that Huge Furnished Shitting-Stall can get his locally-sourced onions off behind his organic arras.

Anyway, that is getting seriously off the point (if there ever was one*****). This I like. (Aside – there is a shop in central Amsterdam that sells Brit stuff called “Arkwrights”).

Yes there was. Culture. It is universal and natural. It should be allowed to just happen but it is intrinsically global (and that scares people). Now don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against “local colour” but our culture is increasingly self generating and global. That does not mean it is less diverse. Gods no! You can get decent sushi in Manchester******. If that means the Eccles cake is heading the way of the sauropods then so be it. Mind, in Porthmadog you can get excellent fish and chips (but fuck all else). And they all speak Welsh! But that is not my point. You expect good fish of whatever sort in a fishing port. And good chips anywhere (apart from Amsterdam).

Culture happens. It can be global. It can be local. It can be both. Concentrating on the local is absurd in the age of jet planes and youtube in my eyes. The more it goes global the better I think. I have God knows how many channels off my Sky dish. I can watch a Nigerian soap opera if I want – I don’t because they are piss-poor but… Why do we need a culture secretary at all? Why when we have Easyjet? Why when we have the internet? Why when within walking distance I have have Chinese, Italian,Spanish and Indian take-aways/restaurants? Why have a culture secretary?

*I’ve been to quite a few of the greats.
**See, I’m not uncultured. I could have gone to the ‘Dam and spent my time bombed out of my box sucking dope from bongs shaped like penises. I went to the maritime museum, the Jewish history museum and… Mind the food over there ain’t great. I did eat kangaroo mind (a first for me) but it was bloody awful. Having said that it might be just due to the Dutch tendency to serve Flintsonian portions and bugger the quality. And chips with everything.
***But not as great.
****Not that that was anything like that.
*****There wasn’t really.
******My brother would disagree because he’s lived for several years in Japan.

Quote of the Day.

Go home and put your best music on. Turn it up as high as it will go, and know that is something the Darkness can never take away from you…

Detective Inspector Fred Thursday.

Yes been watching the Agatha Christie channel (ITV3) again, twiddling my thumbs till the site came back up. And in the spirit of the message…

It’s nice to be back!

The Catholic Mass in 155 A.D.

The Catholic Mass in 155 A.D.

Full disclosure: I really posted this mostly because of the music, but the history is interesting too. :>)

YouTube URL;
Video URL as posted on randomjottings.com’s Sept., 2009 directory page

September 30, 2007
Anno Domini 155…

Justin Martyr was one of the early Christian writers. He was a Greek philosopher, and argued his Christian beliefs quite openly with the other philosophers, relying on their common code of being willing to consider all points of view to protect him from official persecution. (Eventually a jealous philosopher did betray him.) He is famous for having sent a letter, The Apology, to the Emperor Antoninus Pius, who was a Stoic philosopher and the father of Marcus Aurelius. Fr. Jay Toborowsky tells how he used Justin in the classroom… [Link to rest of Fr. Toborowsky's piece.]

Read the whole thing at the Anno Domini 155.com’s archive page for Sept., 2009.

Mozzer strikes again…

If you know The Smiths that’s quite witty.

Morrissey has attacked President Obama and the tradition of turkey-eating on Thanksgiving, in a blog post on his website entitled ‘Thankskilling’.

My sides nearly split with mirth.

Morrissey described the annual lighthearted turkey ‘pardon’ ceremony that Obama takes part in, where turkeys are saved from being slaughtered, as “embarrassingly stupid”.

Well. apart from describing Mozzer as an ageing Ted with a chronic masturbater’s complexion. Yup, the greatest export Manchester ever made… But traditions are “stupid” (aren’t they?) and traditions (pretty much by def don’t include the presidency of Barack Obama – a tradition going back to 2008 is not exactly traditional is it?) It is is silly but then so is wearing a paper crown on Christmas Day. Very silly but Mozzer, we is just trying to have fun – which appear to be something Mozzer who once wrote that real upbeat ditty, “Girlfriend in a Coma” fails to get at any level.

Otherwise I would drone endlessly about the wit and wisdom of Chairman Mao over a buggered tannoy whilst some fucker arse-vogeled a 1980s Casio keyboard to accompany. Without Johnnie Marr you are nothing. Just a (poor) voice wandering alone in the wilderness…

“Please ignore the abysmal example set by President Obama who, in the name of Thanksgiving, supports torture as 45 million birds are horrifically abused; dragged through electrified stun baths, and then have their throats slit. And President Obama laughs. Haha, so funny!”

Do I detect the voice of a left-winger betrayed?

Furthermore, “As Ingrid Newkirk from PETA points out, turkey ‘meat’ is one of ‘our nation’s top killers’, causing heart-attacks and strokes in humans due to saturated animal fats and cholesterol. And President Obama laughs.”

A very strange use of quotes around ‘meat’. Either it is or it isn’t meat. The moral discussion about eating it (or not) is not furthered by scare quotes any more than PETA’s dismal attempt to rebrand ‘fish’ as ‘sea-kittens’*. And in any case eating turkey and having a heart attack is one’s own choice. I can’t stick turkey anyway. Dry and insipid, much like chicken and roast pork.

Morrissey has long been a campaigner for animal rights, vociferously promoting a vegetarian diet – and sometimes tipping into controversy. He said that the 2011 Utoya massacre by Anders Breivik was “nothing compared to what happens in McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried shit every day.”

The news that he is now scheduled to play a Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo has upset some in Norway, given his earlier comments.

Well, the Nobel Peace Prize is not worth a penny-weight of Arafat’s giblets really but that is offensive. I am now deeply tempted to obtain a moose burger just for the hell of it!

In 2009 he left the stage at the Coachella festival saying: “The smell of burning animals is making me sick. I can smell burning flesh . . . and I hope to God it’s human.”

Would Mozzer have been happier at Auschwitz than in the vicinity of a hot-dog stand? I’ve been to both in my time. I have also been a vegetarian (sort of – I could never make a chilli that really worked) and am married to a vegan but that casual moral equivalence is appalling. Utterly wrong. It is that sort of attempt at making a KFC the same as a NAZI death camp the reason I fear for the future. That it can even be said is very scary. Killing 6 million Jews is not on the same moral map as getting a hot dog. It is indeed chilling rather than chill dog. Animals of course require our care but they are not us. Up to a point they are moral agents (my cat knows he’s done a bad thing when he pukes on the duvet) but they are not the same. Very similar in many ways but not the same. We once lost Timmy. We were moving and he fled the house due to the disruption at something like the speed of heat.**

He came back after a tense while. We spent an extra day sitting on orange boxes (so to speak) with not even the telly waiting for him. My wife was in tears – there were a number of kebab shops in Levenshulme. Then a paw scratched at the door. That night he insisted on sleeping between us in our bed. So, stick that up your arse-trumpet Mozzer. I do care for animals. And Timmy has a lovely big garden to prowl and get into fights with other cats who invade his territory. He also eats meat for a certain value of meat. He only likes the cheapest stuff in terms of pouches. He’ll go insane if I have fish. I once got some smoked mackerel from Aldi (and very good it was too) and had to exfiltrate the kitty from the bin for he’d gone in head first after the skin. I was alerted by a terrible mewling and the sight of a tail. Daft bugger.

“Bring me the head of Elton John… which is one instance in which meat would not be murder, if it were served on a plate.”

Now, I’m no fan of the Rocketman but might it be apposite to say he’s sold more records than Mozzer? That he isn’t a total twat? And perhaps more to the point, whilst I might want to eat a nice sirloin, Mozzer wants, for whatever obscure reasons (mentioned above) to eat Elton John’s head which is a bit too Heston for me? You’d have to get through the rug first apart from anything else. But you do have to wonder if John’s success over decades in the pop business doesn’t irk the Salford One? Or the fact his HIV/AIDS charity has done more good than Mozzer’s sanctimonious posing? I mean I was never a Smiths fan (and the solo stuff is drivel) but to the extent the Smiths were good was down to Johnnie Marr and not the gladioli-wielding bard of Salford.

At a moral point why is it not allowed to eat critters but OK with people you don’t like? All totalitarianism (and Morrissey is a totalitarian – well, a wannabe one anyway) is about this.

Morrissey is a sort of eternal recurrence of DH Lawrence. The sort of quasi-socialist who hates the “little people” who don’t get him. Lawrence once wrote (and this was published, I think) about how he wanted to set-up a circus big-top and have the lumpen proletariat shoved through to be exterminated to the sound of a band playing popular songs. Yes, he did. I lack refs for it but yes, he did. Is this much different from Mozzer? No it isn’t.

They are both utterly overrated. Check!

They both have chips on their shoulder you could sink battleships with. Check!

They both despise the people they allegedly seek to help. Check!

So that’s that. The quotes are from here.

*An odd one as my little cat loves to eat his sea-kittens. More interestingly, if I have a sea-kitten then we have a Rommel v Patton situation. He’ll lurk then strike but then I am smarter being H sapiens sapiens and he’s Felis silvestris catus. He made an elaborate encircling manoeuvre round the back of the sofa last night whilst I was eating pizza.
**USAF fighter-jockey slang for anything between the speed of sound and that of light.

Morrissey, the consumer monkey.

Both the Mash and the Guardian (!) have both kicked Mozzer.

Excellent stuff.

From the Mash…

“On The Smiths re-forming, he writes: “Work with those trio of twats? Sod that. Mike Joyce has still got my belt sander and he bleeding well knows it.”

Morrissey never had a belt-sander. Does he look like the kinda guy who even has a set of screwdrivers? Does he fuck! If you want a shelf putting-up ask me, ask your Dad but don’t ask Mozzer. He will recoil in horror because you have cheese in the fridge. And then write a dreadful song about it.

The Guardian has this (but read the whole thing, like the whole Mash article)…

Sod Morrissey, a bitter, old hasbeen who a couple of years ago told the Guardian that “it’s a relief to feel relaxed in more places than just one” (he has homes in Los Angeles, Rome, Switzerland and Britain) and who called the Chinese a “subspecies” for their treatment of animals.

The class that he now represents – a middle-aged, capital-rich, metropolitan elite – doesn’t give a toss about you. They’ve proved it in every way it is possible to prove.

Like HS2, like windmills, like all the rest? Yup. Mozzer is the ultimate last twat up the ladder onto the Zeppelin and laughing self-righteously as he does it. He is the “Last of the international playboys”. He is a complete and utter wanker.

The Guardian article goes on to witter on about how 40-something white males are Mozzer’s last fans. Well, speaking as a 40 year old white male I never liked him when I was 15. Oh, there were Smiths fans at my school but they were all professional miserablists like Mozzer himself.

I prefer Blondie.

Bon Jovi

I always liked Bon Jovi. The “hair-rockers” epitomised the eighties for me in a way professional miserablists such as The Smiths (“Girlfriend in a Coma” anyone?).

Profundity can be about happiness as well you know. I think I got that from reading about Rouseau and him stealing a hobo’s boots. Oh, the deliberate vileness!

Anyway, this is a supercool story.

Can you imagine Mozzer from The Smiths doing that? He’d meditate on the meaningless of being (in his personal case not without reason) then throw a fucking paddy because there were sausage rolls at the finger buffet afters. There are pots that are tossed into but Mozzer tosses into barrels from stratospheric heights without the aid of a Norden sight. He makes Moby look fun to be with. And Moby who is celibate and doesn’t drink, smoke or say cuss words and is into “environmentalism” and all that assorted Stingulent shite.

Is it just me or does the ’80s seem a period of massive optimism? You know like life got better and all that. The ’70s were an unflushable turd in the water pipe (thank you Heath and Wilson – you ineffable brace of cunts) but with Ronnie and Maggie we projed on and it like gets better. My life did anyway.

Oh, they weren’t perfect by any means but there was a “feeling” in the air. A positive feeling. I guess I also felt that in the ’90s too but we were running on fumes then but…

Hell’s teeth…

This is the version of “Livin’ on a Prayer” by some Nana Mamunchkin on Hex factor…

And this is the original…

Please listen to both and tell me which is “half-way there”. Because if you ask me the original is a song of hope and the other is not.

Anyhows, hats off to Jon Bon Jovi for pitching-up for the wedding. Good on you sir!

PS. My wedding anniversary was yesterday and Bez didn’t turn-up. Fortunate really because if he didn’t stop – whilst my wife and I enjoyed dinner at an Italian restaurant – we would have had further hilarity as the A&E team at the MRI attempted to remove a maraca from his arse. But heh! Bez is at least fun unlike certain Manc “musicians” I may have mentioned.

Bez would have been cool. Just like Jon Bon Jovi.

The prognosticators of Doom are not.

Anyway, best of luck to Bon Jovi! Top Marks.

And Yeah, that’s you Blandplay fellow. I don’t care how much the Blanchett -2.0 spent on the kitchen we’re commin’ to ignore ya!

Maggie

I was born in 1973 so Margaret Thatcher was PM for my formaive years.

I very vaguely recall “Sunny Jim” and have no recollection of that fat treachorous oaf Ted Heath or of that deranged buffoon Harold “bloody” Wilson. He thought MI5 were gonna kill him. If only…

So she was my PM. In eleven years you can do much good and much bad and a heck of a lot that is just expedient. She of course did all three but overall she was more on the side of the angels. I am not going to eulogise her here because that has been done both here and elsewhere.

Instead I shall make some random points about my experience as a kid under Maggie. And about the BBC coverage of her death.

When she took over it, Britain was on it’s arse wearing trousers you could x-ray with a petrol station flash-light. Something I don’t remember but experienced was my Mum and me (I was in a pushchair) shopping in Newcastle’s great department store, Fenwicks by candle-light. In Newcastle, in the 1970s. Jesus Christ! Try telling that one to the youth of today. The trash wasn’t collected, the dead weren’t buried and it was kinda like Mogadishu with a worse climate.

Like it or not something had to change. Otherwise I’d be eating dung.

Previous commentators on stuff here about MaggieT (that’s her blog-name that is) have said basically “Know someone by their enemies”. So true.

But also know them by their friends.

Now I’m not sure how conservative I am. I am not sure how patriotic I am. I’m British for fuck’s sake! I don’t need to be patriotic. Being patriotic would be an indulgence. As Margot from “The Good Life” (the character was based on Thatcher) might have said, “Enough with these Latinate histrionics!”. Do I need to explain British achievements? Nah, didn’t think so. The Argentine Emisary is not cracking out the Ferroro-Roche for the funeral. He or she shall be sadly missed.

No, I’m not celebrating Britishness (though we have much to celebrate) but Maggie was British to the core and it came as no surprise that at her funeral this will be played:

watch?v=7MG27BKwjaI

But her reign meant so much more to me. It meant colour TV, a microwave and a ZX-Spectrum. It meant things moving out of the horror-show of the ’70s. The era of Thatcher and Ronnie meant a scantily clad nymph capering about the fore-deck of a Panamax* battleship** and straddling a 16″ gun and leaving very little to the imagination of me, you and hundreds of sailors. We weren’t gonna lose the Cold War after that!

And the movies were so good and up-beat! It was a different world to now. It was a world of immense leaders and great fun and a massive hope for the future. The future was not feared. Think of the movies of the time! They didn’t play Les Buggeurs Risible about ersatz “moral ambiguity”. No, they said life was good and getting better.

The past was another country. It was better and that was Maggie’s country. And Ronnie’s country.

I wish I could turn back time.

In some ways.

I certainly don’t want a full-scale Cher comeback!

*The Iowa class fast-battleship was built with 18″ clearance for the Panama Canal. Now you might think parking at Tesco is tricky in a Ford Focus but…
**The USS Missouri. Interestingly enough the warship upon which the Japanese signed their surrender in 1945.

Fiddling with your hair.

Now a little known fact about me is I have a visceral love for the the concerto. Especially the violin concerto. As a certian (forget the name) English conductor once said “Madam, you have an instrument between your legs (she was a cellist) capable of giving pleasure to millions but all you do is scratch it”. OK, that was very off. Perhaps it she had thrush. I don’t know. But this is Soyoung oon plying the Sibelius concerto in D-minor Op.47. Now she ain’t quite as good as the utterly incomparable Kyung Wha Chung but she is pretty bloody good and the whole thing is on Youtube. Enjoy

Those bloody Koreans! When they aren’t doing top-flight violin-work they make my TV or my computer. Ok, she ain’t Kyung wha Chung but she is bloody brilliant. And that is not an easy concerto. Jean Christian Sibelius was oddly enough a fiddler. He just missed on being a soloist and had to to settle for being a composer instead. It is a harsh life at times. I guess it shows that something good apart from phones and Stalinist rhetoric comes out of Korea. And Kim’s dreadful haircut. But that is the Nork regime which is totally fucking mental. What is it about totalitarians and hair? And this odd idea of “Western haircuts” that Norkland opposes. But it isn’t just them is it? When my parents worked in Zambia in the early ’70s haircuts were proscribed in a neighboring state (forget which one) and if a man had long hair (this was the early ’70s when that was common) then to the barbers with them! And yes the border post had a place for bribing with 200 Marlies and a bottle of Scotch getting your visa stamped in your passport with a barber’s shop. And that mentalist in Iran had a campaign against hair-gel and the Taliban had rules on beards. Didn’t Peter the Great of Russia tax beards? Obsessed with hair the lot of them.

Why? Might it be that whilst folk will risk everything for freedom (some people, some of the time) and are prepared to take the risk of the secret police (or whatever) hanging them by the ankles over the scorpion-pit (or whatever) they aren’t prepared to go round looking like Just-in Beaver to make a political point. Or is it a savvy realization by despots that if you can control something as personal (and essentially unimportant) as a hair-style you have total control over your subjects?

Does it feel the same to you…

watch?v=ORv-LaZCeJg

Well does it? Listen to the lyrics again.

One Way or Another…

I was speechless – literally – when I heard of this cultural malfeasance. It was like some scrote had drawn a cock and balls on the “Rokeby Venus” with a magic marker and then sniggered. This is sheer musical vandalism.

The epically crap “boyband” One Direction have “covered” (under the aegis of the deranged and creepy Louis Walsh) the Blondie song, “One Way or Another” (from “Parallel Lines” – the Greatest Album Ever).

But wait there is more! It includes a wankensteinian “mash-up” with “Teenage Kicks” by The Undertones. And just to make Jesus Christ himself vomit choleric stools with inchoate rage it also includes iDave.

They are doing it for “Comic Relief”. God help us! If comics want to help starving Africans then send Dawn French with a cooking pot and a bouquet-garni to the frigging Congo and be done with it! It isn’t just the music it is the sheer patronizing nature of the video. Nothing to do with helping the poor but all about looking good to naive fans. And for the rich to salve the consciences for being rich which is pathetic.

You appreciate it’s a song about stalking?

One way or another I’m gonna getcha, I’ll getcha, I’ll getcha getcha getcha getcha…

… Oh yes! If Ms Harry wants to do that down a back-alley somewhere I shall applaud and if Fergal Sharkey then decides to give those teenagers kicks “All through the night” then I shall be even better pleased!

It has nearly 20,000,000 hits on Youtube. And people seem to really like it. Dear God!

I wonder how many of those have even heard of the originals.

PS – For those fortunate enough not to have heard of these bum-fluffed troubadours the press, which is always reporting on them, call them, “1D” for short. This appeals both to the music lover in me and also to the mathematician.

Kevin Ayers. RIP.

Bugger! another good man gone.

I have at least 2 other posts going round in my head that I have been meaning to put up for you delectation, but I had to do this one when I heard the news.

So who was Kevin Ayers? I’m sure most of you will never have heard of him, but he was a founding member of Soft Machine, one of Britain’s first Psychedelic bands alongside Pink Floyd. The Floyd became world famous, Soft Machine didn’t. They went from being quirky avant-garde  with lots of vocals to being almost totally  instrumental  Jazz by 1970. Kevin had left by then and continued to plough his own idiosyncratic furrow. He could have been a contender, he knew and worked with all the right names, but ultimately he couldn’t be arsed. Preferring to live the life Libertarian/Libertine in Majorca, Ibiza and the South of France.

Your humble Music Correspondent saw the Floyd support Hendrix, when he was just 15 (me not Hendrix) and naturally checked out where this crazy weird music that was then mainly driven by Syd Barrett’s wacky songs was coming from, and he discovered Caravan and Soft Machine and later Gong and Hawkwind. So when Kevin Ayers Joy Of a Toy came out in 1969, I bought it and loved it. Here’s one of my favourites that set me on the road to Libertarianism, anarchy and self discovery without knowing it…

And for those of you familiar with Robert Wyatt’s singing and phrasing, um who do you think stole what from whom, considering they were in the same band?

Happy New Year Y’all!

Well do the best you can in the circumstances , eh?

Some of you will be seeing it in with Jools’ Hootenanny, but I give you this…

 

Counting Cats lyrics and sentiments for the New Year…

“Cause talk and suspicion, give an exhibition, find out what it’s all about…”

And you can’t whack Garcia in full lyrical flow, now can you?

Love RAB

Hell’s Bells!

RING IN THE OLYMPICS! Aunique bell-ringing event will soon be taking place nationwide.

Martin Reed, the Turner-prize-winning artist and musician was commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad to create a piece to welcome the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games.

Work No.1197. All the bells in the country rung as quickly and loudly as possible” by Martin, a former attender at Glasgow Meeting, will be performed throughout the UK on Friday 27 July, between 8.12am and 8.15am.

Thousands of people are expected to take part. John [?] Creed wrote to Eye to say “BBC Radio 2 and BBC TV is including it in their programmes. Groups and institutions have organised special bell ringing events throughout the UK, which you can join or just ring your own bell[-end?], whether travelling to work on a bike [but not in the Zil lanes obviously otherwise you are alerting yourself to Lord Coe's Strength through Joy STASI and you will be taken out with a Rapier missile], a doorbell.

- From “The Friend” (The Quaker paper) 27/7/12 edition.

Check out the web site. This actually happened. Our local campanologists enthusiastically but tunelessly went absolutely fucking mental (a technical psychiatric term at 8am and didn’t stop ’till 8-20am. It was as if the bastarding Wehrmacht had landed. This country has gone the totally twatting bonkers. How much are we pissing-up the wall on this farce? How much did they pay Creed for this storming musical composition? I mean Elgar it ain’t is it. And the BBC was tenting it’s collective y-fronts about this. They showed everyone joining in apart from grinches like me. Including a baby with bells on it’s teething-ring. The baby was wearing a “Team GB” T-shirt as well. I found that almost as sinister as the labrador guide-dog with a Union Flag neckerchief ringing it’s little bell. Maybe it’s appropriate after all because it seems to me that we have fallen to a sort of National Socialism conceived by Fred Carno’s frigging circus. I am being unfair to the great impresario there.

Frankly I’m beginning to get really annoyed at this utter travesty. Can we coat Seb Coe in treacle and release the honey badgers? See if he can still run a four minute mile. We are spending a bloody fortune we don’t have to make this country into an international laughing stock.

Peter Hitchens – Miserable Sod.

Pop goes the Monarchy: The Queen listened to Paul McCartney – and I heard the end of the Royal Family

- So says Hitch.

The worst moment of all was the Buckingham Palace concert, where the poor Queen pledged allegiance to the vile new culture of talentless celebrity. Any institution that has to suck up to Grace Jones and Paul McCartney to get down with the kids has plainly lost the will to live.

Sir Paul McCartney and “getting down with the kids”. Where has Hitch been these past fifty years? Did he go into some form of stasis when Lord Reith retired? “The kids” parents weren’t born when the lovable Scouse mop-tops were first storming the charts. I would agree mind that Grace Jones hula-hooping was a bit odd but then Ms Jones is a bit odd – so what? Entertainers tend to be. Quite a fewer “classical” composers of yore were barking.

It is a measure of how bad things have got that Her Majesty has to pretend to like the cacophonous, semi-literate, musically trite rubbish that seems to have invaded almost every space in this country.I bet she loathes it, really.

But you don’t know do you Hitch? Or has the Mail hacked Her Majesty’s iPhone? As to the rest of Hitch’s tirade against popular music. Has he actually listened to any of it. Oh, and as an amusing aside does Hitch know the origin of the word “cacophony”? It was coined in a review of the premiere of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony.

Actually, though it is almost dangerous to say so, there are still quite a few people who actively dislike pop music, not just because of its ugly intrusiveness but also because of the sort of people who make it, and because of the message it ceaselessly spreads through millions of loudspeakers and millions of headphones clamped to millions of heads.

The sort of people! Wow!

Its songs are the hymns and anthems of the modern religion of The Self. Self-pity. Self-indulgence. Drugs. Loveless sex. They are the exact opposite of the Queen’s pledge, made on her 21st birthday in 1947, that ‘My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service’.

That isn’t so much a shark-jump as a triple salko over a great white. And the comparison Hitch makes is bizarre. A pledge of allegiance is one thing. Pop music is just about fun. Get over yourself Hitch! You sound like some deluded quasi-feminist railing against pictures of models in Cosmopolitan.

I really do wonder how all the complacent commentators, who have praised the Monarch for trying to live up to this pledge, can square this with their equally gushing praise for the concert.

Oh Gods! Where to start…

The Britain celebrated last week was one which laughs at ideas such as duty and service, and which has jeered at the Queen for most of her reign precisely because she stands for these things – which it regards as stuffy and outmoded.

Only by treating her as a harmless, meaningless old granny, to be simultaneously indulged and ignored, can the Beatles generation bring themselves to clap along to a funky electric version of God Save The Queen. It’s them she needs to be saved from.

It goes on but I just can’t.

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