30 May 2010

Trouble is Chris...

Trouble is Chris, war in the 21st century ISN’T about stacking up WMD’s anymore. If only things were that simple. It’s much more complicated than that. It’s a war of the control of the minds of the world. And their pockets. It’s about securing workers, goods and markets and making money and fucking lots of it thank you very much. Maybe in the past that WMD argument would hold up but when ‘war’ can be created by some silly sod, dogmatised by ‘religious’ extremism or whatever, strapping some cheap and shit explosives to himself or herself and walking into a MacDonald’s anywhere in the world and detonating it, or simply flying a plane into a building, somehow the threat of WMD’s evaporates somewhat. How do you nuke a ‘terrorist’ ‘state (of mind)’ that doesn’t exist in a country but only in the minds of its perpetrators? Or as a concept or an idea? If that were the case would we not nuke every ‘terrorist’ or ‘non democratic’ country immediately? The threat of WMD (behave or we nuke you / we got em, leave us alone) doesn’t stop, even for one microsecond, so called ‘terrorist’ organisations (financed/created by Hezbollah/hamas, Israel, al Qaeda, china, north Korea, Cuba, breakaway soviet states, Palestinians, USA-CIA, France, UK or who the fuck ever; it doesn’t matter who in the context of the big picture). Iraq and the whole Middle East question is a question of oil oil oil (supplies) and thus power power power (create/expand) and don’t kid yourself it’s anything less. If the US had independent oil supplies they would not give a fuck about the Middle East. It’s not about resurrecting the old Christian/Muslim democracy/dictatorship argument.

No one gives a fuck about the isolationist North Koreans (members of the UN since 1991) except the US and they probably just stick in their throat because they’re old commies and the US lost the war over there (superior fire power does not win ALL the wars); what do they have we could possibly want? What threat are they to us? They are a bunch of repressive communist totalitarian dictators on their last legs financed and propped up by china only because of the possibility they could use it as leverage on the west in their quest for Taiwan and of it’s proximity to South Korea – who it is still at war with - the most technologically advanced nation on earth and incidentally a ‘democracy’ (woo-wee, put the flags up). The ‘old world order’ of communism vs. capitalism is far behind us. China creates ‘capitalist’ ‘zones’ in order to trade with the west and get access to and to sell us goods and technology and to lend us money whilst the same old Maoist/Communist regime still operates behind the metaphoric ‘iron curtain’; shitting over human rights and restricting the freedoms of its citizens to shit/live/work/leave or to vote some twat into power who would probably treat them in exactly the same way anyway.

Democracy or more specifically parliamentary democracy ain’t the answer to all the worlds’ problems the west thinks it is. It’s shit. Yeah, maybe it works as an excuse to exercise aggressive foreign policy initiatives in order to secure goods and markets. That’s all it is; capitalism and the ‘free market’ wrapped up in a sugar coated ‘democratic’ wrapper. If it was about dealing with these regimes because they are ‘good’ for us or because they are repressive, or dictatorships or non democratic then why not just nuke the fuckers now and be done with it? Why? Because the threat of WMD and MAD no longer has the same power to deter it once did. Far better to become like those regimes we so detest and use the threat of ‘war’ or ‘terrorism’ to implement a series of restrictive laws on freedom of movement and speech, restrict human rights and to use identity as a means of repression and then, get this, impose them on the citizenship of their own countries (genius). Let’s restrict freedoms and personal choices, impose ID cards, and let’s shit up the population into scared submissiveness. That way it’s easier to sell them stuff and make shit loads of money. Oh, the by product of all this? Capitalism survives and mutates and takes out the competitors. Job done.

Iraq was attacked because Saddam reneged ‘on the deal’. Not because he did or didn’t have WMD’s. As long as he was doing as he was told, sold us his oil cheap, guaranteed supplies in the long term, attacked Iran (a bonus!) and bought our arms we (i.e. the west) didn’t give a fuck how many of his own citizens he killed. All the world’s ‘dictators’ use fear and hatred of the differences in people and are propped up by one of the superpowers and wouldn’t exist without them; as long as they ‘represent’ certain political ideologies they are far preferable to the alternatives; i.e. socialist/Maoist/fascist/left wing/soviet dictatorships or western style capitalist ‘democracy’. Depends which ‘side’ you’re on as to which is worse. Besides the old ‘ooh, you’ve got/are going to get WMD’s’ is a great and bloody workable excuse to steam in there and destabilise regimes and impose ‘regime change’ and justify extremist foreign policy from the western right wing hawks. Far better anyway to do that and then we can sell them bricks or what ever to rebuild the infrastructure we bombed the fuck out of in the first place. Let’s make some money! And the weapons work and all the dodgy regimes on earth queue up to buy the new weapons and the whole sad sorry carousel spins round again. It’s a win win for capitalism and that’s what’s gonna happen and there’s fuck all you can do about it.

Capitalism, far from failing, is fucking turning round and bitch slapping the fuck out of the world. Iran is/could be next and if taking a speech out of context or blatantly lying about what is said in it then that’s what they need to do to justify whatever they have already planned to do. Sad but true. We need to get the world, OUR WORLD, back from these extremists, Bush/ bin Laden et al, and return to, what?, some middle ground based on peace and equality for all…?

That article you linked to was about what Iran's President said in 2005. You think that was the beginning of the west’s ‘argument’ with them? If it wasn’t for the west putting in the puppet shah (oh, he’ll be alright he ‘supports’ the west!) there wouldn’t have been a fucking revolution in Iran and them religious nutters wouldn’t be in power now. Is an interventionist foreign policy based on regime change and the imposition of democracy justifiable? The problem with giving ‘democracy’ to countries with ‘hard liner’ is that the people just vote the ‘terrorists’ back into power anyway.

They say peak oil is on the way but only because the world’s reserves are not being plundered thoroughly enough. Remember Bush gave the green light to drilling in Alaska recently. And we ain’t even touched Antarctica yet.

They ain’t even started….

28 May 2010

Texted Aurelia

Texted Aurelia to see if she was still up for a drink and a film. She didn’t even bother texting back for 2 and a half hours and by that time the bloody film was long gone. In fact it wasn't long gone at all. It had been cancelled. But I didn’t mention that to her. She made some excuse about having a cold. I didn’t believe it for a minute. She then sent me a series of bizarre texts that finally convinced me she is an absolute, as MDM would say, ‘nutter’.

26 May 2010

Fergus The Forager

Been exchanging a series of emails with T. Been getting on a lot better lately. See, it’s alright having ‘a new boyfriend’ but as she says herself ‘you got to have something to talk about after’.

Unfortunately he gets, or rather got the sex, whereas I just get, or rather am pleased to get, the talking, supporting, listening friend role in this entire little scenario. Do I get the better deal? I think so. I do so. Now he's no longer on the scene. She was very keen to know if I was going to the 'big chill' this year. I told her I am. She said that as the sale on her 1st house was going through (more on this later) she’d have her garden to grow plants and funny shaped vegetable in and not have to bother about having a love life. Bless. She’s still in recovery after dumping Jay. He gave her a real hard time when he came to pick up his possessions from her flat on Sunday. She was supposed to be meeting me down the beach for a drink but ended up having a 6 hour hard time off J who, she says, gave her a blow by blow account of why her personality needed assassinating.


Spent some pleasant time with Aurelia and Jenny the other night sharing some nice food. At the end of the month Jenny and I have arranged to spend the day with John and Jayne mucking around on their boat and having a picnic. Or so I thought. She’s already talking about ‘having some mushrooms’ and ‘painting me all day’ as well as staying the night at J&J’s. ‘There’s nothing wrong with lying naked in bed together and seeing what happens; is there?’ she says. I can see the Julia thing happening all over again here. Sleeping with long term female friends is not to be recommended I would say. Especially if you’re in a drugged up state of mind.


Anyway, with Aurelia I told her I was still seeing Sarah on and off occasionally. She was pretty cool about it and I got the commission for her brother’s website off her. He’s a guy called Fergus the Forager and does just that; forage woods for foodstuffs. He wanted his website changed and up by Tuesday night gone. This was because of his imminent TV appearance on the ‘The Urban Chef’ (BBC2 6.30, weekdays). This is a show about a London chef who is trying to source all his produce from within London for the restaurant he is about to open; the snag? Everywhere has to be reachable by the tube network. He decides to forage in the woods for food. He ‘researches’ on the internet and finds Fergus. Despite his website being crap he got the call, was dumped in some woods with a film crew and told to ‘forage’. He actually found fuck all but that’s by the way but what he did fine he made wild mushroom bruschetta from it. It spurred him on. He wants his website sorted out. Its www.wildmanwildfood.com. Only we can’t get access to it. The guy who looks after it now can't remember the username or password. Doh! I suggested we just scrap that and go for www.fergustheforager.com. He said the picture on the front page makes him look like a looney and has a big bit of 'snot' right over his face. Still waiting back for that one.


Sarah has 2 small children and has just come out of the other side of a messy custody/access court battle. She lives in a battered women’s refuge in Sittingbourne. We’ve been seeing each other for nearly 6 months. On and off. Sometimes only once a fortnight. On Sunday she has arranged a day out with me ‘and the girls’. It’ll be the first time I’ve met them; and I’m dead nervous. I've got a barbeque to go to tonight and am providing a rig and DJing at a house party on Saturday. The BBQ is for Scouse Steve. The host wants us all to wear 'scouse wigs and 'taches'. Must not have a late one. Repeat, must not have a late one.

24 May 2010

A FRIEND IS SOMEONE WHO LIKES YOU

A friend is someone who likes you.
 It can be a boy... It can be a girl... or a cat... or a dog....or even a white mouse.
A tree can be a different kind of friend.
It doesn't talk to you, but you know it gives you apples... or pears... or cherries... or, sometimes, a place to swing.
A brook can be a friend in a special way.
It talks to you and lets you sit quietly beside it when you don't feel like speaking.
The wind can be a friend too.
It sings soft songs to you at night when you are sleepy and feeling lonely.
Sometimes it calls you to play.
It pushes you from behind as you walk and makes the leaves dance for you.
It is always with you wherever you go, and that's how you know it likes you.
Sometimes you don't know who are your friends.
Sometimes they are there all the time, but you walk right past them and don't notice that they like you in a special way.
And then you think you don't have any friends.
Then you must stop hurrying and rushing so fast...and move very slowly, and look around carefully to see someone who smiles at you in a special way...or a dog that wags its tail extra hard whenever you are near...or a tree that lets you climb it easily...or a brook that lets you be quiet.
Sometimes you have to find a friend.
Some people have lots and lots of friends...and some people have quite a few friends...but everyone in the whole world has at least one friend.
Where did you find yours?

JOAN WALSH ANGLUND.

21 May 2010

New Model Army Unplugged!

Orange Street Music Club in Canterbury played host to an acoustic gig Justin Sullivan and Dean White from New Model Army. It was a privilege to catch such a hoary rocker with a reputation honed over nearly 30 years of performing.

Getting tickets was the tricky part as they were limited to only 100 but luckily Jenny and Rob came up trumps and purchased me and C two of the last remaining at the Orb gig the week before.

It was a hard evening; the air was balmy, the fatigue factor from work overload high; ensconced on the sofa in the early evening watching “The Road” on DVD unable to contain our comments as we shouted out differences to the book; an easy sport considering the book takes 6 hours or so to read and film is only 2 hours. I was saying I hope the “coke can” scene is in (it was); the filmmakers moved some scenes around and changed the order and duration and plain made some stuff up (the cannibal house scene in the book events happened with the protagonists a fair distance away but in the film they created dramatic tension by having them trapped in the house). It was all the better for it as the film was fantastically grim and uplifting at the same time. Just like the best tunes; they make you feel a bit sad and yet happy at the same time. A film confirming that appreciating the really small, good things in life really does help you survive and carry the flame of hope.

Justin and Dean did the same thing to us later that night. That mix of melancholy, anger, indignation and the celebration of life affirming action. The melodic, acoustic nature of hearing a few old NMA songs unplugged really opened them out to me and made me appreciate their, there is no other word for it, folk-rock-r&b roots. Always genre defying in their approach the folk side played out the best allowing the vocal front of stage. “We’re going to do a few songs about the sea coz we’ve got loads of songs about the sea” Justin said at one point. C goes “I wish they had subtitles for their lyrics”. The OSMC may be a nice, cosy intimate little club but their sound system leaves a lot to be desired and at times understanding the words became an end in itself. Dean walked calmly around the stage; sometimes doing nothing, sometimes adding a few keys here and there sometime adding a bit percussion; always just complimenting and never stealing the limelight. Two old friends easy in each other’s company just playing a few of their favourite tunes for a gathering of friends.

Maintaining their independent spirit; doing what they wanted; no compromise. At all! Now that’s the attitude I want to see those 50 something guitar heroes exhibit. A spirit of punk, a spark of rebellion, politics, humanism
and indignant anger still glinting in their eyes.

Now, I must get off home and get to bed. I’ve got work in the morning.

20 May 2010

Simon DK (DiY) at The Glee Club

There can only be one way to describe the effect Simon DK had on us. Devastating. With two hours of superb, flowing 'grooves', he had us in the palm of his hand. Deep, soulful vocals vied with extended, jazz tinged dub excursions and complemented the overall laid back, and most definitely classic US pumping groove. Quite literally, it took our collective breath away.


Now, cynical bastards that we are, we do see a lot of DJ's in our wide travels round hovels, including a lot of 'names', and quite frankly some of them do leave a tinge of disappointment on the ol' palate. It may be that we, the party people, ourselves build them up to be some kind of seamless, statutory provider of good vibes. Or some star. Their charisma somehow 'making' the party. Or the press hype the fuckers up to gargantuan levels of expectation. So much so that they can never really fulfil these exalted expectations. 


The truth is that the party is completely dependant on the people present, their state of mind and their input into the atmosphere. All a good DJ can do is take this enthusiasm, latch onto it, and take it a notch higher than say, a mediocre DJ can.So imagine the effect DK had on the 100 fluffcore here tonight. His reputation and status are richly deserved. Cheers Simon. It was a great pleasure and er, religiously ecstatic. Expect him down to 7th Heaven as soon as we can set a date. Now, there were a few 'small' problems we ran into during the setting up. To begin with, we'd spent most of the late afternoon and early evening setting up our rather superb feel-a-round bass-tastic and of course house music complementing sound system. The club management walk in, when we've finished, and tartly informed us "No way". We were gutted. We tried the in-house rig. It was fucking shite. We left ours up, but unplugged. 10pm came and went. The people slowly trickled in. Then complaints began to be voiced. Some people even began to leave. We were so fucking embarrassed we decided to fuck the consequences and at 2am fired up our rig. 


The atmosphere changed instantly. Throb Felt, the first DJ on after the switch lifted up the vibe to somewhere near normal level. Swamp and Donkey carried on lifting it up (oo er) so that by the time DK arrived we virtually had it up to the desired level, and some of the earlier damage had been repaired. With the plug pulled at 6, it seemed that the party had only lasted 4 hours (it had).Spotted - Smartyn nearly weeping after all the aggro of the afternoon, not being able to stroke his compressor, and on top of all that, losing his little friend (a replacement was sought and found), Pam and John having a snog!, Pam rolling around on the floor, Pam threatening to get a taxi to Club UK with Lampy our not so faithful sound engineer extraordinaire, Pam rolling around under a table, on her own, John losing 2 hours, one of the door staff that come with the club asking DK if he'd paid and who the fuck he was when he arrived (and not as politely as that either!), the same door person threatening to punch a DJ coz he was 'fucking shit', Evs and Sall, LF number 10 or what?, Now Ey pulling out his wares, Kier gurning away blissfully to Simons set, Sara and Nick back from their hols in sunny climes, Sue with her home prepared vitamin drink, Simon leaving the keys to the brand new hire car outside, in the car door, in the street, and it was still there when he went back (much to his relief) and we're meant to be in Brixton, on the front line?!!, Nick having a breakdown or a total character re-arrangement and being frightened all night, Randy pissing all over his new wheels on his van like the dawg that he is and lots, lots more that are too sensitive or incriminating to talk about but come and see us, and for a small fee (a pint of beer'll do) we'll let you know.


After a post mortem at the Bar and Bra in Fav The Glee Club is now looking for a new London venue. Oh, and as a footnote, try and get a copy of the Dk tape. There's 35 of them and, take it from me, hearing is believing.


Another person's Eyes


Well, the evening was a roller coaster ride from the depths of shite, to the peaks of beauty. At one point I was contemplating going and hiding in Martyn's van, as I just couldn't take the embarrassment any more. The vibes were heavy and down, the music sounded awful through the farty PA, the room was cold and unwelcoming, everyone was very subdued, despite being so shitfaced (or because of). Lots of friendly faces were missed, sorely and the club seemed unbearably empty. Everything seemed beyond being able to improve. And then, just when everyone was just about giving up and some started to leave, Ramsden went 'fuck it' and illegally plugged his own PA in which we had been forbidden from using. And the effect was nothing short of miraculous, combined with the pleasing tones of Throb's groove-arama. At last, I could start to relax, as what should have been happening from 10 o' clock began instead to happen at 2. Still, at least it did. And the evening went up from there. Ending on an ecstatic high with everyone raised to a trance-like state. There was an abrupt turn-around from there being no atmosphere at all, and everyone sitting huddled on the stage, to a lovely pumping, sweating, heaving throb of happy smiling peeps. Cheers to Martyn, Simon and those of you that managed to stick it out that long. I'm sure you'll agree, the end of the night put a perspective on all that had gone before.

18 May 2010

For today's Dongas, read yesterdays Levellers...

George Monbiot draws lessons from the past on direct action against changes in the countryside - and the repressive force of law.


To the authorities, the people squatting in the woods a few miles from Bath, disrupting the upgrading of roads, were "filthy ruffians" living "without government or conformity in idleness and dissoluteness". The dissolute roads protesters were not the Dongas of Solsbury Hill but the colliers of nearby Kingswood, monkey-wrenching in 1714.The colliers and the other squatters and vagabonds who joined them in the woods complained that the new roads were damaging the environment - furze and heather were being cut for road repairs - and were being turnpiked (or privatised) and upgraded only for the benefit of the rich in their wheeled carriages, rather than the poor, who travelled on foot or by horse. Dressed absurdly in women's clothes and high-crowned hats, they destroyed the structures erected by the turnpike trusts - the road construction companies of the 18th century.Direct action against the changes in the use of the countryside is as old as peoples exclusion from the land: the activists fighting the roads programme today extend the ancestral struggle for political rights more faithfully than any others. But the tradition in which they are engaged has a corollary: throughout history the enclosers of the land have drafted laws restraining the dispossessed.


The clauses of the Criminal Justice Act addressing hunt saboteurs, road protesters, travellers, ravers and squatters are in some cases so uncannily similar to the lawsof an earlier age that one cannot but wonder whether, for want of ideas, the government has raided the House of Commons library.The first, though least satisfactory, congruity emerges in 1723, when the Black Act created 50 new hanging offences, for crimes as momentous as painting one's face or chasing deer. The aim of the new law - repressive even for those times - was to stamp out Britains first recorded hunt saboteurs.Windsor forest - which then extended to Reading in the west and Sandhurst in the south - was the Kings most treasured hunting ground. It was also the home of thousands of people, embracing farms, villages and private manors. The forest had been mismanaged by George 1's corrupt officials, and when the King complained at the lack of deer they sought to make up for their incompetence by persecuting the villagers. They curtailed people's customary rights to graze their animals and gather fuel in the forest, and enforced severe penalties for poaching.The people exercised their only means of resistance: they took direct action.


Blacking up their faces, wearing fancy dress, they chased away the deer, damaged the orchards and fish ponds belonging to the King's officials and assaulted the gamekeepers. It was not, of course, the hunting itself that the Blacks objected to, but their exclusion from land they felt was rightfully theirs. The severity of the punishments was a measure of hunting's importance as a perquisite of the privileged. The Criminal Justice Act suggests that its significance has scarcely diminished.The Black Act was later enlarged and amended to deal with protesters outside the royal forests and chases but in most cases it was used as a brutal and unnecessary adjunct to the riot act. This was passed into law in 1715 by Walpole's deeply unpopular government to deal with mobs whipped up by the Tories but it soon became the principle legal instrument for surpressing enclosure riots.Throughout the 18th century, peasants gathered to protest against their dispossession from the land, setting light to hayricks and trying to pull down the landlords houses. when an officer of the law deemed that a riotous assembly had formed he would warn the crowd of the provisions of the riot act. if the people did not disperse, they could be arrested. in 1994, an officer of the law, when he deems that a tresspassory assembly has formed, can warn the crowd of the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act. If the people do not disperse, they can be arrested.


But both the black Act and the Riot Act were isolated measures, drafted to deal with specific public order problems. Neither was, as the CJB arguably is, an attempt to constrain social change by eliminating certain ways of life. For that we need to go further back, to a crisis of authority and an abandonment of age-old beliefs even more profound than those of the last 30 years, and the attempts of a bruised aristocracy to uphold the status quo.The New Model Army drew upon the ranks of the dispossessed. Before the Civil War, enclosure riots had been taking place all over England, as peasants were forced from or cheated out of their place in the countryside, largely by a new class of landed entrepreneurs. The rioters aimed to "level the land": to pull down the hedges and fences excluding them from their commons and open fields systems. Many of them believed the parliamentary army would address their complaints.They found themselves, ironically, serving under some of the very men responsible for their misery, but their ideas so inspired the army's rank and file that, by the end of the first Civil War in 1647, the Levellers had effectively taken control of entire regiments. Extending their analysis from the enclosure of land to the enclosure of liberty, they called for universal male franchise, sweeping law reforms, the abolition of the House of Lords and the sovereignty of parliament: for the levelling, in other words, of society as well as hedgerows.In 1649 groups of "Diggers" or "True Levellers", occupied commons all over England and argued the right of every man to dig the ground and grow food. Their spokesman, Gerrard Winstanley, insisted that the land belonged to everyone and that private property was a Norman invention contravening the laws of God. He called for equal education for all people, women as well as men.


No period of English history has ever held such potential for sweeping social change. For a few months, the Levellers almost took the country: in 1647 the Government was forced to concede some of their demands and in 1648 their notions sank deep into the ideology of the first Rump Parliament. But then Cromwell, the Huntingdonshire squire, hit back. In 1649 he routed two mutinous regiments of the New Model Army , calling themselves the Constitutional Levellers, and executed their leaders. the Diggers were beaten up, their crops destroyed and their huts burnt. The movement went underground.In 1660, following Cromwell's death and Parliaments inability to perpetuate itself, Charles 11 was invited back from exile. Almost all the gains made by Parliament were immediately reversed, and the Government slid back towards the basics of traditional autocracy. viciously reactionary, premised upon the prestige of the sovereign and the maintenance of the status quo, it feared above all the things the radical and Nonconformist groups still roving the land.The Levellers, though hidden and dispersed, continued to raise minor rebellions. The Quakers had evolved similar ideas: they rejected secular authority, social distinctions and the exclusive ownership of land. "Masterless men", dispossessed by enclosure and squatting the woods and commons, disseminated notions of anarchy and agrarian reform. In 1662 the ruling aristocrats, anxious to protect their lands, drafted new laws designed to mop up the dissidents.The first of the Statutes at Large recorded for that year is an act for preventing "Mischief's and Dangers" by Quakers. Accused of assembling themselves "in great numbers ... to the great endangering of the public Peace and Safety and to the Terror of the People"., the Quakers could be punished for their ecstatic gatherings with a fine or three months' imprisonment. Only a laughing God could have prompted Michael Howard to impose exactly the same penalty on 20th century ravers.




A couple of months later, a law was introduced prohibiting "Rogues, vagabonds and Sturdy Beggars" from settling in makeshift dwellings in the countryside, or from moving from place to place in search of parish welfare funds. The same law called for the building of more workhouses and Houses of Correction. In a further provision, it forced errant fathers to pay maintenance for their "bastard Children" in order that the parishes should no longer have to provide for them.There is, despite these incongruities, a fundamental difference between 1662 and today. by the time these old laws were drafted, the radicals were already in decline. Today the rise of the radical movements and the political backlash are taking place simultaneously. The new Levellers are on the move, the Government is at it's weakest and there has seldom been a better chance that repressive legislation will unite rather than disperse its intended victims. The nonconformists - who seem, despite all odds, to be achieving what the Kingswood colliers could not- are broadening their vision. They present for the first time in one third of a millennium, a serious challenge to the lords of the land.

17 May 2010

tvc @ alberrys

Me and Si played at Alberrys in Canterbury on Friday night. I’m not usually partial to playing in a venues basement with a ceiling so low anyone over six foot can’t even stand up without banging their head on the brick arches that predominate throughout the basement area. 


Although, saying that I’ve been playing on and off at this venue for over 20 years and have a strange love hate relationship with it. Loving the late license. Loving the dark and dingy basement. Hates? Where’s the seats; expensive drinks.




Anyway, partial as I am to not playing here we’re so gagging for a gig and a little play that, of course, we accept any gig we get offered these days and are bloody grateful for it. What got old tVC started in the first place was a dearth of venues that catered to our music. Tiring of the warm up chill down spots, nothing wrong with them I must admit, and if pushed I would say I prefer the chill down spots. Means I can get a lie in a put the alarm on for 4am and pootle down to the field or venue and have a lovely crack with the people still standing and play them some nice deep house to soothe their souls. No, what I mean is we like to hear our music all night hence the promoting of our own parties.


Starting at 11 (a warm up gig if ever I had one) gives me time to get home from work, go to Lin’s to get my records, pick up a car full of people who want to go with me, park up, have a beer, play AND still get home at reasonable hour so that I can pursue my middle aged centred Saturday activities and proclivities without losing one minute of my teenage level of sleep requirement .

Acquiring Tickets - Alex Patterson @ Orange St

Ended up acquiring a ticket or 2 for the New Model Army gig at the end of the month in Canterbury. We were outside the Orange Street Music Club in the rain. Jenny was waving a tenner around in front of the promoter, an ex colleague of mine from when I worked at Canterbury Wholefoods, who had just informed us it was “well” sold out. I was explaining how I’d seen them first time round back in the day etc blah and how it would be lovely to see what they are doing now and to pay homage etc blah when he suddenly says “Oh, although I did save a few tickets back. For fans. I’ll just go and get you one”. “Get another one as well”, says Rob waving another tenner around. Alex Paterson from The Orb was looking at us in a way best described as “you nutters”.


I had previously briefed Jenny, or should that be primed Jenny about Alex Paterson asking her not to mention “Little Fluffy Clouds” to him. Of course the first opportunity she got, which was at the end of the rather lovely gig he did and we were all outside on the pavement waiting for cars, lifts, taxis she goes “oh, you didn’t play Little Fluffy Clouds and I came all the way to hear it”. He rolls his eyes and sighs. That song still following him around after all these years but instead of despairing he tells us about his young daughter who is just getting into music and who really loves that tune and how he loves her loving that song. We all smile. Alex describes himself as a “leg end”. We all nod in agreement.


Speaking of legends Just got a text from C. We’ve just acquired the, da da, last two tickets for Dan Kitson’s new show “66a Church Road - A Lament Made of Memories and Kept in Suitcases”. It happened like this; it’s the day one of my regular appointments at St Thomas’ is happening. An examination to see if it is time to remove the oil and put back the jelly. I ring C and ask her if she fancies it. Shed to loves. I’m at work. I give her the theatre number. She rings it. She’s on the phone for ages. The seller lost them. Then got them back. She texts me “it was very tense”.


"Let's have a great day out in London?" she suggests. "Yeah, let's!"

16 May 2010

“Ooh, you guys use records?”

“Ooh, you guys use records?” says the friend of Jay Wulff, the next DJ on. I had to laugh out loud. What? These weird-ass round things my ol' man keeps taking about

It reminded me of the thought I had after a quick listen to my set BJ had put up on soundcloud. He’d labelled it dec09 and I realised that I was basically still playing the same set now. I didn’t have the luxury at the moment of that extra spark £60 quids worth of new tunes gives you; that feeling when you just can’t wait to get on and cracking through them to hear what they sound like real loud, to see how people dance or react to them. Always a pleasure to see them smiles. Always them bills flow in like tide. Need to get the cost of buying tunes down.

Was a great turnout for us at Alberrys in Canterbury on Friday. Car sharing our way into town, tv parking (well near as damn it), friends bubbling with social froth, pitchers of cocktails on the table and full glasses all round; well, not of the ‘blue  something or other’ I’d bought. No one touched it and I had to drink the whole lot myself. It was the same colour as the mouthwash I’d used before going out.

Me and Si, threes up, him with his new tunes fresh bought the day before, me trying out b-sides, obscure tracks, hoping for something I’d not actually played out that much, then sticking with a few old, scratchy bullets, wishing I’d brought out my other bag as well, Si, with his new tunes, listened to with intense interest; luke Solomon, moody manc; more deep succour and goodness from the usual suspects; mixes dropping in without friction; with love. The jobbing DJ wage of £40 going towards some replacement styli. Job done.

Four pitchers and two hours pass in a blur of snached, rolled up cigarette conversations; the world put to rights. Reinforcing the cement of relationships long forged; hugs and handshakes galore. Out into the chilly night.

On to the Liquid party, back to Emma’s in Whitstable or get dropped off home to the door by Rosie?





14 May 2010

So the time has arrived. The thinking time that is.

Me and Si are playing at Alberrys in Canterbury tonight, Friday 14th May 2010. I’m not usually partial to playing in a venues basement with a ceiling so low anyone over six foot can’t even stand up without banging their head on the brick arches that predominate throughout the basement area. It’s affectionately known as the Rave Cave. Although, saying that I’ve been playing on and off at this venue for over 20 years and have a strange love / hate relationship with it. Loving the late license. Loving the dark and dingy basement. Hates? Where’s the seats; expensive drinks and if I bang my head once more on that air conditioning unit right above the decks I’m leaving. Now!


Anyway, partial as I am to not playing here we’re so gagging for a gig and a little play and a chance to hang out with each other a bit that, of course, we accept any gig we get offered these days and are bloody grateful for it. The money we earn is going towards replacement styli. No money we ever make goes in our pocket; it always goes into that big black hole in my life; the sound system. A recent trip to Brighton secured us 4 lovely little sub bass bins. Nice. Cost £650. We’re doing Darren from the Neptune’s 40th birthday party; fee £200; going, you guessed, to Brummy John towards the cost of the new subs.


What got old tVC started in the first place was a dearth of venues that catered to our music. Tiring of the warm up chill down spots, nothing wrong with them I must admit, and, if pushed I would say I prefer the chill down spots, we decided to promote our own parties. Means I can get a lie in a put the alarm on for 4am and pootle down to the field or venue and have a lovely crack with the people still standing and play them some nice deep house to soothe their souls. And, plenty of energy left for any after party DJing duties that are required. No, what I mean is we like to hear our music all night long, and, if possible all through the next day and night, hence the promoting of our own free parties.


Starting at 11 down Alberrys (a warm up gig if ever I had one) gives me time to get home from work, go to Lin’s to get my records, pick up a car full of people who want to go with me, park up, have a beer, play AND still get home at reasonable hour so that I can pursue my middle aged adolescent centred Saturday activities and proclivities without losing one minute of my teenage level of sleep requirement. One can burns ones candle at both ends you know? Although don't tell Si that or he'll be off the rails quicker than you can say 'he got the job'. If having a lie in (wink wink) with my girlfriend, finishing off series 5 of the box set of Battlestar Galactica (finally got round to watching it), reading the Saturday Guardian, cooking a slow breakfast, playing Arkham Asylum or Mass Effect 2 on the old x-box when I get up and, most importantly of all, not going to work is considered a wasted life then so be it.


So the time has arrived. The thinking time that is. After Si’s trip up London on Thursday for a job interview – he got it! Well done mate – he decided to go to Black Market to purchase a few vinyl records. A quaint late 20th century form of media distribution that both he and I cling onto like barnacles on a rock. It’s as if everything we believe in and fight for in this industry of ours manifests itself wholly in the 12” records we continue to hump around the pubs, clubs and fields of this fair land. Our belief in this medium, which is the message, of underground music, of the beliefs and philosophy of free party culture, our politics our ideals are all channelled and funnelled into these precious objects. They represent the history of “us”; our memories of getting those mixes just right, our honed talent, the hours, weeks, months and years of practice; the beat mix was our skill; the precision despite the pressure, the heat. It was all about the beat and the dropping of the record at just the right moment in time, to be able to engage with the foibles, the tolerances, the fact that records speeded up the closer to the centre spindle they got and constant adjustment was necessary. The ability to compensate for that; to work the mix; to pay attention; to keep it in time; to keep the beat synchronous; to drop the perfect cut; the power and the pleasure of successful programming.


So the time has arrived. The thinking time that is. The time to think that the absurd notion of laying these belief principles solely onto vinyl 12”s needs to be rethought; needs to be changed. We were always chasing the technology; the new records, the latest cartridges, this new driver, that new mixer, that sequencer, that microphone; the lust for tech was integral to the love we had for the music and the scene.


So the time has arrived. The thinking time that is. Now thinking of using that effing laptop and putting some decent software onto it and putting it to good use. Being inspired by our peers and friends who embrace this tech more readily than we do; and it’s got nothing to do with disposable income; nothing to do with lines like ‘we can’t afford it’, ‘we don’t know how it works’ or ‘how to set it up’. These are just excuses not to engage with the future.


So the time has arrived. The thinking time that involves purchasing the necessary equipment and learning how it applies to us at this time. To extend our love of technology and to use it the best way we can. To give up beat mixing and let the tech do the beat lining up work. To focus more on finding good tracks, on programming a set that really works the dance floor or the bar or the field or beach properly. To, and here’s the real nub of all the vinyl versus tech arguments, get cheaper tracks; oh, ye Gods, how much cheaper are they to download?


After Si’s trip up London to Black Market to purchase a few vinyl records he rings me up and goes ‘there was hardly anything there’. He loved this Tim Green tune; one sided only, £9. How can a DJ afford to buy records when they are that price? I have never seen a single downloadable track cost anyone £9.


The closure of vast swathes of record shops up and down the country only confirms the impending approach of the inevitable; alas poor vinyl, I knew him Horatio. It pains me, yet pleasures me at the same time, to see a 4 track vinyl record that cost £6.99 being offered for download at a quid a track; tracks offered for download that will never make it to record or tracks released for download before we vinyl junkies ever see it on record. Pain after pain after pain. It pains me I can have a thousand tracks on my phone, 16gb of tracks on a memory stick, even 500gb of tracks on my laptop yet still I insist on carrying 25kg of records up and down the country, well maybe county, while my digital cousins put everything in their pocket or in a little bag on their back. At clubs up and down the country decks are becoming marginalised or serratto-ised or traktor-ised. Vinyl lovers are scoffed as Cylon lovers were scoffed on Battlestar. I don’t want to hear comments like ‘that box looks heavy’ or ‘ooh, records, I haven’t seen one of them for a while’ or ‘hang on, I think we got some decks backstage’ or 'ha, ha that sounds scratchy'. I want to hide my laptop under my car seat like everyone else, change to buying tracks from damnnoisy or juno and not pay any p&p ever again. I want the power to acquire tracks 10 minutes before I go on stage and have the ability to swap them with my mates. I want to rediscover my love of technology again.


Part 2 – how did the fucking gig at Alberrys go? - tomorrow

no effing idea

good news about the styliiiiii! Does it leave anything left to get a flight case for the mixer? I'm hoping my old neighbour will do one for £40


About Saturday- my boundary is about not being up til 3 am and getting out of it when I've got the boys, I don't mind getting a sitter for a few hours while I DJ> So that's why I thought I shouldn't do Tim's party. But actually, I could just exert some self-control, we play for a couple of hours and go, I don't necessarily have to get mashed and be no good to my boys the next day now do I? And he's had a horrible loss and would really appreciate it. Or we could do the Smack. It actually should be about my need to exert some self discipline, not where we play or who we're playing to. So which do you think we should do? And what does Steve want us to do about the Smack? He's cancelling the open mic I think as he doesn't want to pay for the PA any more, has he said anything to you about our Saturdays and the tab? Having said that it'd be more use to me to have £15 for the child minder and buy my own diet cokes....


Si,


no word from steve re smack. i'll ring him. i think we should do smack, but hey? can do tim after? unfortunately, there's no money for the smack. we get a bar tab. end of. drink it. don't drink it. the choice is yrs...


prolly be able to get a case for the mixer, but only from the 12th coz i spent all the money from alberries on drink and other things on NYE!!!


the old issue of you exerting some self control (ie have the opportunity but choosing not to) doesn't seem to be happening any more me old chum. i've never really seen you do it. talk about it, yes, do it, no. you have to be in control of your life for this to work and you are/have been lunching out something terrible lately and committing all sorts of "crimes" that are upsetting the people around you who love and care about you.


yr the new MDM? he had no effing idea how to exercise any self discipline at all when it came to DJing/home life balance etc. just like you. ish. i'm not being harsh but you're starting to bleed profusely into your compartmentalisation boundaries and that is just not good enough my friend. i thought you were smart? i'll reiterate your boundries for you in case you've forgotten; your boys, your work, your "play". they cannot, should not and will not 'bleed'. you are effed if they do and the system, compartmentalisation, simply will not work. although you set your own boundaries; not me. you don't have to get "mashed". why do you? something up in yr life that yr unhappy about? something you can't cope with? don't like? why "mash it" unless yr upset about something? try a bit of "straight edge" living. google it...

12 May 2010

job I didn't get speil

In total, 85 per cent of the young offenders (In Medway) failed at least one of their supervision requirements. A quarter were returned to custody before the end of their sentence. Another quarter were sentenced to a new custodial sentence before the old one was finished.
http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/2000/11/30/29020/securing-a-positive-future.html

I feel that all my experiences of working with young people to date have prepared me for applying for this post. My role is to support young people.

My current post is as a functional skills tutor with Nacro, the crime reduction charity. Nacro works on many levels to give ex-offenders, disadvantaged people and deprived communities the help they need to build a better future. I totally and fully believe in the Nacro ethos;

“Nacro is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all its activities. We are proud of the action we take to eliminate discrimination and prejudice and ensure inclusion and engagement for all the people who work for us and with us. We will continue to strive towards a culture that is diverse and which recognises and develops the potential of all staff and service users. This means promoting equality and diversity for black and minority ethnic people, men and women, people of all ages, people with disabilities, people of every sexual orientation, refugees and asylum seekers, people of all religious faiths and beliefs, people with diverse communication needs and ex offenders.” (http://www.nacro.org.uk/about/index.htm)

Most obvious challenges would be engaging with the young people and keeping them engaged. Firstly, in conversation to ascertain what they would require from their training plan; to help them articulate their needs or interpret their requirements to adapt to the requirements of the Youth Offending Service. I have experience in this from my previous and current jobs in that I interviewed potential students that wished to attend our college to ascertain their suitability; this involves filling in application forms and running confidential risk assessments; determining their previous experiences, including garnering details of their prison experiences or police records. To do this I have to be both professional and approachable and have the ability to foster trust in the young person. Together we can set objectives and targets that are both achievable and specific.

I also, in my current job, have to liaise with managers and prepare reports and support logs, continuing progress reviews as well as liaise with multi agencies such as Connexions, YOT, education establishments and parents, guardians or carers. All this is done with the aim of securing the young person into ties with the community, to endeavour to get the young person to commit to an educational or vocational path that will reduce their risk of reoffending.

I also have to prepare and deliver programmes of education to young people; at the moment in literacy and numeracy but also in personal and social development (e.g. teamwork skills, confidence building, stress management etc) so have a full understanding of these programmes, how important they are and how they have to fit into the life of the young person, particularly when they are on the outside.
A great, and new, challenge to me would be the resettlement aspect of the job. I would hopefully base my skills towards socially integrating the young person back into society. Supporting them through every aspect of the process of resettlement. Knowing their needs and understanding what they require. I would constantly be advocating and accessing the systems they need to achieve this (e.g. ensuring they claim housing benefit entitlements etc). I think resettlement work must start before they are even sentenced. Prior forward planning seems a necessity for the job. Foe example, can they keep their flat if they are sentenced? Can they keep their college place? Family ties?

In the job I’m in at the moment I'm fully aware literacy and numeracy levels are low for young offenders. In this new role i can extend my service to ask, and answer, questions such as what can i do that will enable this young person to have the best chance of having an offending free life the moment they get out of custody? If I were that young person in prison what do I want people on the outside to do for me. I’d want someone to be rooting for me and I’d want that person to be my YOS Project Officer.

As regards the day to day practicalities of the job I’m used to taking on a considerable amount of driving and readily accept that it would be an integral part of the job responsibilities.

3 May 2010

THREE STEPS TO HEAVEN - The final mix from Zombie Face.

1. To get really high is to forget yourself and to forget yourself is to see everything else. And to see everything else is to become an understanding molecule in evolution - a conscious tool of the universe. And every human being should be a conscious tool of the universe. And that's why it's important to get (and stay) high. I'm not talking about being unconscious or zonked out. I'm talking about being fully conscious...Garcia.

2. It's all very well taking twelve trips a day, but where's the health? It' s the same problem as in India. Self. In other words all those fakirs are holding their arses up for a thousand years or standing on their nose for self. It's a hang up. We're not here for self, we're here for service. We're here to multiply... we're here to make like three dimensional chess. We're here to accentuate. In other words we're made in the image of the co-creator, companion and we want to be outgoing. It pleases us. What is left? Giving........Casady.

3. Real love: 1. Hold your fist up.2. Imagine you've got love held there in that fist.3. You think you can put that fistfulof love inside you and keep it there - all to yourself?4. Well.... what do you think your rib cage is? A police cell man?You can't hold love in your heartlike that!5. Realise that's not real love!6. Real love you don't hold on to atall - you let it go.7. Rip open your rib-cage - you can throw that love out and it comesright back to you.That's real loveso....... Open up that fistOne finger at a timeMaybe all fingers togetherWho cares .... just get them openAnd LEAVE them open....Brent Mydland.

THE EPILOGUE (from Jimi)

I used to live in a room full of mirrors,All I could see was ME, But I took my spirit and trashed my mirrorsNow the whole world is here for me to see...

Footnote and reference freaks will be pleased to learn from Jerome Beck & Marsha Rosenbaum's essential text 'Pursuit of Ecstasy: the MDMA Experience' (State University of New York Press 1994) - which we are promised will soon be purchased and circulated around the gang - that the first 'Rave' was the Family Dog Dance, held at the Longshoreman's Hall in San Francisco on October 16 1965. It was a 'lengthy extravaganza' which attracted a 'huge crowd of diverse celebrants, decked out in weird costumes, dancing through the night to the music of the Jefferson Airplane'. If you want to know who they were, just ask your very own Uncle John from Margate.....

Mental Continuum is shortly to travel India for three months.

1 May 2010

BLUE ROUTE BLUES

Reading this won't cost you anything. It may even turn out to be quite interesting. There was I sitting in my favourite tree, breathing the clear air and attempting to put my petty problems into perspective, when my eye fell upon a yellow post, stuck in the bank at the edge of a ditch. And then: strike me if I don't spot another one, and then another...

About this point my problems fell neatly into place. For I suddenly remembered that some idiot had drawn a squiggly line across these fields and given it a name: THE BLUE ROUTE. I must admit I'd had a real good laugh at that (I laughed so mush I fell out of my tree), because, surely, no one in their right mind would choose to carve up this beautiful, peaceful countryside, when the alternative Green Route was so much more reasonable. After all, these days EVERYONE is acutely aware of environmental issues, aren't they? It's common knowledge that the Earth is under pressure and that we're already doing more damage than can be repaired. So, nothing to worry about, right? I can carry on perching here, watching the cattle, water rats, birds and clouds, secure in the knowledge that the powers-that-be won't do anything silly, like building a road where one isn't required. Right?

WRONG. Very, very wrong. THEY don't give a damn. They truly don't. Because against all the odds, against the best environmental advice, THEY ARE going to do it. THEY ARE going to slice up farmland, THEY ARE going to destroy wildlife habitat, THEY ARE going to destroy natural beauty, peace, fresh air: the very fabric of life.New roads only bring more cars. It's a statistical fact. You would have thought that the planners would know this? But apparently the world is a little barmier than I thought. And to cap it all -can you believe this?- they are going to spend vast amounts of taxpayer's money digging a tunnel under Chestfield golfcourse (near Canterbury)! Logical, isn't it? I guess it's just my brain that's failing to take all this in. And then they've got to buy up large swathes of countryside, and nine or ten houses, when they already own the land either side of the existing road. I can't understand how what started out as a simple road-widening scheme has evolved into a plan to carry out wholesale destruction of the countryside. Can you?

Solve the following simple quiz. First prize: a job with the DoT. Which of the following options to you think is more sensible? A) Simply widen the existing road, as has happened at either end of it. B) Build a completely NEW road, across virgin countryside, complete with a tunnel project that will cost millions. If you ticked B): congratulations! A cushy job for you. If you ticked A): you're obviously mentally deranged. See a psychiatrist for the appropriate drugs.Fen

"Happiness might not be bought for a penny, and carried in the waistcoat pocket: portable ecstasies might now be corked up in a pint bottle."Thomas de Quincey.

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