Green Milkshake

I thought it was interesting that the message the two major political parties took from the local elections three weeks ago was that ‘the British public want Brexit got on with- get us out of the EU’. That I suppose was one interpretation, despite both of the them losing seats nationwide (Tory losses admittedly outstripping Labour losses by some distance). Another take on the results was that the parties that gained the most at the local elections were those explicitly taking a stance against Brexit, who have opposing Brexit as policy. Today we have European elections, three years after voting to leave which is a small victory in itself, and it seems that this is an ideal opportunity for those of us still against leaving the EU, those of us who have seen and heard nothing to convince us that leaving is in the national interest, to send a loud and clear message. The only way to do this is to vote for parties who have remaining in the EU as their policy.

The Tories want to leave, it’s their baby, they started digging the hole and have kept on shovelling. Labour, despite Keir Starmer’s efforts, are a leave party- it is party policy and they have spent the last three years fudging it. The ongoing attempt to appeal to both leavers and remainers, for fear of ‘losing the north’, is misguided and unprincipled (which is odd in itself for a party led by people for whom principles are supposedly the key to their politics). Labour’s stance on Brexit is political, has nothing to do with principles, and is failing. Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will undoubtedly mop up lots of votes, from disillusioned Tories and ex-UKIPers, from people who voted Leave in the referendum but rarely otherwise vote and from Labour too. I’ve been told repeatedly in the media recently that having voted Labour at the 2017 general election (as I have throughout my adult life) that I am one of the 81% of British people who voted for a party who want Brexit. I’ve seen Farage staring down the camera telling me this even though I voted Labour despite their Brexit policy not because of it. That won’t be happening again. These are European elections that matter (for once), where our votes may count more than usual and where the whole election is about the future of Europe and our relationship with it.

The advice I’ve read is that if you want to vote for remain/oppose Brexit you should do the following depending on where you live- vote SNP if you live in Scotland, Plaid Cymru in Wales and either Lib Dem or Green if you live in England. I can understand why some people on the left will have a problem with voting Lib Dem, memories of the coalition lingering, but going off the local elections there are increasing numbers of people able to vote for them. There are plenty of good arguments for voting Green and their stance on Brexit is one of them- I voted Green at the local elections three weeks. Putting my X in a different box really wasn’t that difficult under the circumstances.

This is Brian Eno’s lovely piano remixed beautifully by Mojo Filter.

Another Green World (The Blue Realm)

While we’re in the political arena the rise of the milkshake as the weapon of choice against fascists and rabble rousers has been a real highlight of 2019. I know some people have said it adds little to public discourse, that reasoned debate and discussion should always be the way to win arguments, and that the throwing of milkshakes is the thin end of the wedge but these people – Farage and Tommy ‘Robinson’- have been spreading the seeds of hatred, xenophobia and racism in the public realm for years now and it’s no surprise that when faced with that some people will use more direct action. For two men who like to pose as outsider tough guys, they also go scuttling off quickly crying ‘foul’ when small quantities of dairy products are used against them. Violent language will always breed similar responses and you reap what you sow. Plus, it is very funny and maybe humiliating these people is the best way to deal with them. This article by Aditya Chakrabortty is a much better articulated piece about the milkshake spring. All of this can only be soundtracked by Kelis.

Milkshake

Monday’s Long Song

Sometimes things just come together really nicely. I had something else planned for today’s long song but then Twitter throws this photo up and one thing leads to another and we have Neu! instead. Krautrock against Brexit!

Fuer Immer

I originally wrote a long post here about the ongoing Brexit disaster but then deleted it- does anyone need any more opinions right now? Then I remembered Daniel Avery’s ambient/techno track from last year, a track named after the label our Prime Minster (at the time of writing) gave to nearly half the population a couple of years ago back. On Wednesday night Theresa May claimed on live TV that she’s on ‘our side’ and that actually parliament is to blame. Nice bit of anti-democratic demagoguery there. Thankfully, in a world increasingly full of right wing demagogues and populists, our own version is a shit populist, completely lacking the common touch and with little actual popular support.

A Very British Coup

This week Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested that if The House Of Commons continues to make every effort to avoid a no-deal Brexit the Queen should suspend parliament. There you have it, if there was every any doubt, the actual face and voice of a right wing coup, not by thugs in jackboots but by Old Etonians with upper class accents. Suspend democracy to get what you want. ‘If Adolf Hitler, flew in today, they’d send a limousine anyway…’, as Strummer put it in 1978.

So this is very well timed indeed, a new song from a very post-punk line up of Jah Wobble, Keith Levene, Richard Dudanski, Youth and Mark Stewart and this fantastic musical melting pot, a comment on the madness of Brexit, a piece of 2019 brilliance. Even more excitingly, there’s a Weatherall remix to follow. Levene and Wobble’s former PiL colleague, Brexit and Trump cheerleader Lydon, is nowhere to be seen.

Flying

I last posted this song three years ago in January 2016 and it’s fair to say a lot has happened since then. Theresa May stumbles on, unable to act, held hostage by her own red lines, her own party and the wingnuts and closet racists of the right wing, and her deal with the DUP. A government that can’t deliver whatever it was the 52% imagined they were voting for. The vox pop sections of TV news and the papers are currently full of people saying they want it over, they want out and they’re happy with a hard Brexit so ‘we’ can get back to being ‘great’ again (never mind the fact that almost everyone who uses that phrase seems to think that the word Great in Great Britain means amazing or powerful and isn’t actually just a geographical term to describe a landmass containing England, Scotland and Wales). Many of these people seem to have an unlived, deluded nostalgia for a England of the early 1950s, a post-Dunkirk and World War II but pre-Suez Crisis country, with an Empire overseas, where the milkman came every morning whistling as he left glass bottles on doorsteps, the birds chirruped in the trees and you could get an appointment at the doctor’s the same day (and there weren’t any people with darker skins or eastern European accents living down the road). I fear we are heading for a No Deal Brexit and that there are plenty of people happily welcoming this, all of whom are also suddenly experts on WTO rules and tariffs. How leaving the E.U. is going to achieve this is unclear to me. From where I’m sitting, it looks like a total disaster, for all of us. People that want to live in the past usually get stuck there. Does any other nation other than the English have such an obsession with its past, a past that never really existed? The only faint glimmer of hope is that the Tory Party will have to own this fuck up forever (and if this whole debacle led to the break up of the United Kingdom, that would be an even sweeter irony).

Back to the song and a total change of mood. St Etienne’s third single was Nothing Can Stop Us, an uptempo slice of indie/dance/northern based around a Dusty Springfield sample and the then new vocalist Sarah Cracknell. The single was a double A-side, the flip being Speedwell, a chunkier, deeper, house influenced tune. The 12″ single was followed up by second 12″, released a week later, with two remixes of Speedwell and an instrumental version of Nothing Can Stop Us. The remixes of Speedwell were by Dean Thatcher and Jagz Kooner, as The Aloof, and are superb. Totally 91.

Speedwell (Flying Mix)

Mindfighter

Despite her woeful performance as Prime Minister, unpleasant views, potential alliance with a highly dubious Northern Irish political party and the nasty tone of her election campaign there’s a good part of me that wants Theresa May to carry on, limping on for months as a Prime Minister with no authority, unable to choose her own cabinet, unable to get what she wants through parliament, constantly hamstrung by her decision to have a general election. It also holds off the grimness of Boris Johnson.

Totally unrelated, this is a track from a forthcoming Timothy J Fairplay ep on Hoga Nord. Mindfighter is like an 80s video game soundtrack with everything turned up, tuned up and sped up.

Racunari was a magazine for computing enthusiasts published in Yugoslavia in the 1980s and 1990s. If you want more front covers on a sexy, retro-futurist, former-Communist theme, then go here.

For The Many

Getting up this morning to find that the exit poll which caused my jaw to drop several inches when it was announced at 10 pm last night was petty much spot on was a wonderful feeling. I stayed up for a while but went to bed before it was clear what the result was. This morning’s news- Theresa May’s cynical bid for a personal majority completely scuppered, hanging on as the leader of a minority government was good enough on its own. The massive increases made by Labour, the collapse of UKIP, the high turnout especially among younger voters, the rejection by the voters of an entirely negative Tory campaign- these are the things that put a smile on the face. Having been on the losing side so often politically, Friday 9th June felt like victory.

With perfect timing, to celebrate, here’s a new Andrew Weatherall remix, this time of Nancy Noise.

Non-UK readers- the man in the picture is Lord Buckethead.

Push The Sky Away/Harder Than You Think

Right then, time for action, time for change, time to see what is going on. Today is the day. By this tomorrow we should know what we face. The way I see it there are three potential outcomes of this general election.

1. A victory for a socialist Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn. If I am to believe my Twitter timeline this is a completely plausible outcome, but I fear it is unlikely.

2. A hung parliament. Seeing as there can’t be any parties out there who would prop up a minority government led by a politically damaged Theresa May, I’m guessing this would result in a progressive alliance of Labour, SNP, PC, possibly some Lib Dems, and the Greens. I am happy with this as an outcome.

3. A Tory government, a cabinet of barbarians, who will hold power for the next five years, driving us off the cliff face and into some sort of post-EU, post human rights, right-wing elective dictatorship where the poor are left to fend for themselves and Britain becomes a Poundshop, Daily Mail outpost off the coast of northern Europe.

I’m not looking forward to this.

In 2013 Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds released an album called Push The Sky Away, the first without long term cohort Mick Harvey. It has a warmth that singles it out in Nick Cave’s back catalogue and on this beautiful closing song, a most un-Bad Seeds sound, an almost post-club sound with some optimistic, life affirming lyrics…

‘I was riding
The sun was rising from the fields

You’ve got to keep on pushing and keep on pushing
Pushing the sky away

And some people say that it’s just rock and roll
Oh but it gets down right into your soul

You’ve got to keep on pushing and keep on pushing
Pushing the sky away’

Push The Sky Away

It’s a thing of beauty, even if you’re not much of a Nick Cave fan. But it’s not a song to take to the barricades or the polling station. This is though, Chuck D and Flavor Flav telling it how it is…

Harder than You Think