Saturday, November 30, 2013

Author of bookie-wookie sticks it to the Dirty Digger and all who sail in him.
I used to dislike Russell Brand intensely (cf. "bookie-wookie"), but no more. The scum he's offended will even now be raking through his dustbins, waving cheques at his ex-girlfriends, and perhaps, hacking into his phone. After all, as he points out, they appear to have learned nothing from the revelations of their criminal activities.

"More importantly these corporations, whether they're selling information or consumer goods, collude in a pervasive myth and toil to keep us uninformed on important matters such as the environment, economic inequality, and distracted by vapid celebrity claptrap. The Sun don't want an informed populace rejecting their bigoted dogma and daily objectification of women. Tescos don't want engaged and educated consumers recognising the damage that their corporate marauding does to communities, agriculture and local businesses. Their agenda is the same."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Hull is ranked number one debt hot spot in country
(Hull daily Mail)

Welcome to Hull - city of culture 2017; city of poverty 2013 (or any year you choose). The town that gets its priorities right.
And please! None of that cobblers about creating thousands of jobs; or hundreds of jobs; or jobs.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Some confused thinking here -
Domestic slavery is wrong, perhaps even a crime. Commercial and industrial slavery, however, are not only acceptable, they are to be encouraged. So we have zero hour contracts and workfare.
Where, I wonder, does the trafficking of sex slaves lie in this contradictory situation. It is, after all, a business. Perhaps Mrs. Thatcher's tutor, Sir Keith Joseph, could our guide: "We must teach the young that there is nothing immoral in making a profit". Or Milton Friedman: "a corporation cannot be ethical; its only responsibility is to turn a profit". These gentlemen would surely have approved of slavery in all its forms if it was profitable.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Someone whose appearance is almost as cadaverous as mine, but a great singer and songwriter. This is called "Avec le temps", about love that doesn't last. "Avec le temps ... vraiment ... on n'aime plus." I just bought a CD with this song on, and I'm playing it all the time.

I almost forgot to name the gent, the great Léo Ferré.
If the video isn't working, and it isn't for me, then here's the link.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

This is Clancy Sigal's tribute to his old friend Doris Lessing. She took him in when he was an illegal immigrant in this country, a fugitive from the McCarthy bloodhounds in the USA.

Thanks to all of you who offered condolences. The New Republic magazine asked me for this.

The Doris Lessing I Knew: Young, Passionate, and Struggling to Keep It Together


From her obituaries, and the serious critical assessments of her work, I hardly recognize the Doris Lessing I knew. I don’t fault the obit writers (I used to be one) or critics and admirers for attempting the tricky job of collating into a coherent narrative the Bunyanesque episodes and human contradictions in Lessing’s life and work. Indeed, it was not the later “Great Author” who I knew, but a young, romantic, passionate, fiercely ambitious single mother pounding away at a portable typewriter trying—as we all did—to keep it together. For her, that meant raising an adolescent son on her own, coping with England’s male-dominated literary establishment, and splitting her loyalties between an old-fashioned, collapsing communism and taking in the gritty gray sooty messy life in post-Blitz London.
Lest we get too solemn, she also had a wonderful sense of humor. Nothing pleased her more than to be dragged unwillingly to the local Odeon cinema showing the latest double-entendre “Carry On” low-class comedy (try Carry On Up The Khyber in cockney slang and you’ll get it) and then fall about laughing. Her famous waspishness and judgmentalism I’ll leave to others; we just had a lot of fun.
The “other” Doris I knew was a fabulous improvisational cook, a good friend, wryly skeptical comrade, temperamental lover (she had lots to be temperamental about!), a sturdy anti-racialist (without illusions about the black nationalist comrades), a fighter against the Left’s inherited philistinism and its fear of deviating artists. And—like me—a born protester.
I came to England not yet a writer. She tried to calm my fears, sternly telling me it was all “writing pains.” At the time, she claimed to be blocked on the novel that would become The Golden Notebook; I was struggling with a first book. We may have helped each other through a log jam.
It was fascinating at first to see my new, adopted country through her eyes: wary, open, generous, unillusioned, at all points sexual even more than political. What a pity The New York Times and some other newspapers, no doubt out of misguided respect, chose to illustrate their obituaries with those ghastly photos of Doris in her late “Mother Earth” incarnation! Last time we met, for a semi-date, I said I’d supervise a makeover—a new haircut for starters—which once she would have agreed to. But, sadly, she confessed she was “through with all that”, meaning sex, it was so much trouble and for what? As always, we argued. She won.
Others are more competent to deal with her work. Let me quote a friend who read Lessing in his last semester in college. “I read The Golden Notebook at age 20 & it had some huge & eerie effect on me…Out there was a writer who understood far better than I what a political life was like & what it was like to be overwhelmed by doubt & fear, but more, what grown-ups were like when they loved & hated each other. The Golden Notebook was full of the dirt & mess & craziness of everyday life, the back-&-forth of working out politics & lostness & honor on the run…the passion & wildness of it.”

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Not much on the civil war in Libya in the UK media, even though the oil supply has virtually dried up.

Yet another example of Israeli heroism in the face of fearful odds.

Friday, November 15, 2013

At the beginning of the month I quoted the Wobbly slogan, "In November we remember", and the current edition of the 'Industrial Worker' has a list of Wobs who lost their lives in the class struggle. Also remembered are some non-members killed by trigger-happy cops and deputies as they fired on our Comrades.
The list starts with an unidentified IWW picket killed in explosion in 1907, and ends with FW Frank Gould who disappeared in the Philippines in 1974. There are certainly some names missing from the list, and others were unidentified. Then there were those who couldn't even be numbered as no records were kept. There were Wobblies who died at Kronstadt, men who had returned to Russia to play their part in the revolution. Likewise the Wobbly miners who worked in the Kuzbass mines until their independence became a nuisance to the Soviet authorities. Officially some stayed on in the "workers' state" and others returned to the USA. The IWW claims that an unknown number were liquidated.
How many died in the militias in Spain is also unknown, not all died fighting the Fascists. Stalin's hit squads were at work on the Republican side. A particularly chilling example of their methods is reported in the list -
September 1938, Ivan Silverman and two unknown IWWs were "forced by commies onto a bare field to face fascist machine guns".
Wobblies were killed in Canada, Mexico, the USA, and Australia. December 1916, Frank Franz and Nicholas Roland Kennedy, "framed for murder and executed during a time of IWW hysteria, New South Wales."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tom Courtenay, son of Hessle Road, grandson of Killaloe, County Limerick, introduces us to a would-be City of Culture.
His dad was a good dancer, according to my old lady.
According to my missus this is not representative of Hull because nobody uttered the f-word.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lifted from Martin Deane.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Who knew - eh?

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Untitled poem by Ms. Margaret Rooney -

A woman in here just shouted on her son.
That's his name.
I thought I misheard, but she shouted again.
Still Jay-Z.
She's talking to him.
Still Jay-Z.
This wean is called Jay-Z.
She called her wean Jay-Z.
Even Jay-Z's maw didn't do that.

The meaning of 'wean' should be obvious from the context - right?

Addendum: I've been informed by the author that this is not a poem. Well it reads like a poem to me.
Another offense to add to the BBC's rap sheet - theft.
Once more they are caught misusing film for propaganda purposes, but this time with stolen property.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Poor old BBC - a worldwide Million Mask March on the 5th November. Cops "kettling" marchers in London; Buckingham Palace a protesters' target. And the poor old Beeb knew nothing about it. Or did it suppress all news of the event?

I just checked the BBC News website; it gets a mention there. But the thousands who blocked Parliament Square have been whittled down to a "few hundred", and no mention of the march being a worldwide event. Well done, thou good and faithful servant of the ruling class.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Then he stopped wearing his poppy. I asked him why, and he said that he didn't want to see "so many damn fools" wearing it – he was a provocative man and, sadly, I fell out with him in his old age. What he meant was that all kinds of people who had no idea of the suffering of the Great War – or the Second, for that matter – were now ostentatiously wearing a poppy for social or work-related reasons, to look patriotic and British when it suited them, to keep in with their friends and betters and employers. These people, he said to me once, had no idea what the trenches of France were like, what it felt like to have your friends die beside you and then to confront their brothers and wives and lovers and parents. At home, I still have a box of photographs of his mates, all of them killed in 1918.
(Robert Fisk)

The poppy crop was early this year. Usually it's the 1st November that the BBC orders its well-trained employees to sport the symbol of dead soldiery, and none dare disobey. But this year the last week of October was the starting point for unthinking and uncaring commemoration. Sky News too heard the bugle call to go over the top and adorn suits and dresses with the free handout. If only one individual demurred and appeared onscreen without a poppy we might believe that some thought had gone into the wearing. But no, verboten
I walked round town today and saw not one person sporting a poppy, only some old geezers in berets, medals on chests, manning a stall full of poppies and collecting boxes, but devoid of customers.
The hard sell isn't working in this burg.

Friday, November 01, 2013

"In November we remember" is a saying of the Wobblies. Here's a poem by FW Ralph Chaplin, best known for the anthem of organised labour, "Solidarity Forever". I hadn't seen or heard it before FW Viola posted it online -

Red November, black November,
Bleak November, black and red.
Hallowed month of labour’s martyrs,
Labour’s heroes, labour’s dead.

Labour’s wrath and hope and sorrow,
Red the promise, black the threat,
Who are we not to remember?
Who are we to dare forget?

Black and red the colors blended,
Black and red the pledge we made,
Red until the fight is ended,
Black until the debt is paid.