The Big E

I suppose in some ways I should be grateful to Margaret Thatcher. It was during her time that I first took an interest in politics and the news, during the Falklands War (which as a 12 year old I wasn’t too clear about the rights and wrongs of) and then especially during the Miner’s Strike (which I was rapidly clear about the rights and wrongs of). I should be grateful that the repeated right wing attacks on any sub-group which wasn’t ‘one of us’ (her words) led me to develop my own thinking and views- essentially that if I could define myself by being opposed to whatever she did. As time goes on you views may change and develop but my basic political education was formed during the 1980s and the Thatcher governments. When my parents moved us from Manchester to semi-rural Cheshire in early 1987 I was stunned to discover that there were people my age who were Tories, actual Tories, who thought Clause 28 was right, who believed that the market was the be all and end all (and lost money in the 1987 crash), who believed the poor should look after themselves, and who thought she was sent from heaven to save the country from the left. Again I should be grateful for this- arguing with people, taking positions, being put on the spot, was good, educational.

I should also be grateful that so much great art came out in the 80s, that defined itself against her and against the times she created- I don’t need to list them, you know who they are. The bands and writers and artists who fought back, explicitly or implicitly, and created the sounds that formed the bedrock of my musical tastes (and so many other music bloggers, middle aged men and women that we are now) And there are plenty of sociologists who’ll posit the theory that without Thatcherism we wouldn’t have had the brightly coloured, futureshock of acid house- the way  was received over here and the cultural effects; can 20, 000 people standing in a field be a political act?

Her death was curious. I didn’t feel the way I’d long thought I would. None of the fuss should be a surprise- the right wing press and figures shouldn’t be too shocked to discover that there are people who didn’t like her and who want to protest at her funeral. She divided the country into two, for and against, and often seemed to be in open warfare against the other half, those that weren’t ‘one of us’. That was how she did politics- if you are a conviction politican, you can’t complain when half the country have convictions against you. The press coverage has been absurdly over the top and I suspect the only way to get through today is to go nowhere near a television set, pull the blinds down, put your fingers in your ears, ignore the pomp of this massively over-the-top funeral and hope that tomorrow morning, once she is in the cold, hard ground, it has all gone away.

This is A Certain Ratio from 1990, the year she lost office (and let’s not forget, her own party removed her, suddenly and ruthlessly, when it looked like power was ebbing away).

The Big E

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Forsooth

Alright?
I got back from North Yorkshire a few hours ago- 5 minutes back in Manchester and it started raining. The photo above is of the Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club in Bridlington. Brid was great- the old town bit up the top of the town was lovely and for a seaside town it isn’t too tatty. The RYYC was formerly The Ozone Hotel and was the home for several months in the 1930s to Lawrence (TE Lawrence, of Arabian fame, not him out of Felt and Denim). Lawrence rejoined the RAF under an assumed name (Shaw) and spent some time testing speed boats in and around Bridlington Harbour. While I’m here a very nice woman has opened a vintage clothing shop including seafaring inspired clothes she makes herself- Wayside Flower. Nice second hand bookshop a few doors down as well. I liked Bridlington. If you’re really lucky you might get some more of my holiday snaps.

Anything happen while I was away? Oh yes, Thatcher died. I can’t say I was sorry but the death party stuff seemed a bit, well, distasteful. Her government was a blight on us, many of us, and I loathed her and her policies but I’m not sure about the celebrations. The press have gone way over the top the other way and the funeral’s a fucking joke (and an expensive one at that). I’m guessing Elvis Costello’s Tramp The Dirt Down and Pete Wylie’s The Day Margaret Thatcher Died have been doing the internet rounds. Internet signal, Wifi, 3G etc was very poor, I really don’t know how people up there cope. I mean, I could hardly get on Twitter all week. Sheesh.

Re: Bandwidth – my bumper Weatherall birthday post has used up all my monthly Boxnet bandwidth before the middle of April (like spending all your monthly wage by the same date- done that too). Readers last month reported some problems using Mediafire so I’m going to revert to 4Shared I think. Let me know how it works out. I (legally) downloaded Edwin Collins new album Understated before we went away and spent sometime listening to it in the caravan. I like it, and you should too. Try this one, then go and buy it.

Forsooth