capitalism

Black Friday – are we angry?

So, Black Friday originates from Philadelphia, USA; a holiday in some states ‘celebrating’ the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or enjoy being in the black. It takes place the day after Thanksgiving Day, where I believe the majority of Americans “give Thanksgiving and Praise to their beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”. Put another way Black Friday is the day when the gullible, greedy, skint and willing public trample and stab their fellow shoppers for unnecessary goods the day after supposedly being thankful for what they already have. Clearly the British have embraced this great day, like a feeding frenzy of loyal and obedient consumerists. Continue reading

Quadrophenia_(album)

The Who – Quadrophenia

My life in music No.16 – 1982 The Who – ‘Quadrophenia’ Emotionally, as a soon to turn 16 year-old, my internal thoughts, insecurities and voyage of discovery were just about to go into overdrive. The usual teenage dramas were prominent, fuelled and fanned by the music and lyrics that I was consuming daily with fevered gusto. Over thirty years on and I would say with some certainty that the one album that has done more to develop and change, to challenge and question, to confuse and ultimately to inspire me is Quadrophenia, The Who’s glorious homage to the Mod scene of the 1960s and Pete Townshend’s story of Jimmy’s own tortuous voyage of discovery. Continue reading

ragged

Russell Brand and The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Russell Brand, the man of the moment, whether he’s loved or loathed, hero-worshiped or hated, is causing quite a stir with his revolutionary hullabaloo. Everyone is having their say, from celebrities to social commentators, right-wing politicians to left-wing footballers, he’s being shot down or smothered with love from every angle. Good. Even his biggest critics can see at worst he’s encouraging debate and activity. For a long while (the Big Brother years) I couldn’t turn off the TV quick enough when he appeared with his cock-sure, overtly sexual gesticulations, which were as off-putting as the piece of shit programme he was presenting. But people change. Or some become better entertainers. Continue reading

tesco-generation

Laughing at the fantastic Tesco fiasco

So, Tesco shares have closed the day 6.5% down after they announced profits have been overstated by £263m. Easily done I suppose. Apparently underlying profits have slumped to (a miserly) £783m, down almost 47% on the previous year and sales continued to fall. Good. Fuck ‘em. Some chief exec fella is on his way out too, no doubt with his pockets bulging under the weight of a sizeable cheque and a lifetime of clubcard points. Continue reading

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World Mental Health Day – are we learning?

Today is World Mental Health Day. A day to raise awareness and understanding, to encourage discussion and learning, and boy is it needed. Yes, we are getting there slowly. Very slowly, through intelligent discussion and the work of many fantastic charities and organisations, but as long as our understanding of mental health conditions falls way behind our knowledge of physical problems, our ability to help and support those in need will continue to drop woefully short. Continue reading

International_Day_Of_Peace

International Day Of Peace – spread the love…

Where are the headlines? Where are the cards, filling the shelves and feeding the capitalist dream? Where is the shared love, the hash tags and social media frenzy, the public obsession or worldwide attention? Who knows today is the International Day Of Peace? This is nothing new. Established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly, every year the 21st September is marked as a day to honour non-violence and cease-fire, a day to educate and raise public awareness on all peace-related issues, and a day to spread a message of love and compassion, essential for the full attainment of our human rights. What could be more worthwhile? Continue reading

oneWorldPainting

One world – independence is a state of mind

So this morning I woke up to the news that we are still the same United Kingdom. It looked for a few days recently like that was all about to change as the No Thanks campaign was on a mission to self-destruct, that was until Gordon ‘The Lionheart’ Brown stepped up to the plate. Brown’s passion, intensity and bravado clearly showed up Darling’s consistently feeble efforts, almost willing Scotland to part. Continue reading

elo-Jeff-Lynne

Jeff Lynne’s ELO party like it’s 1979

After working nearly 24 hours over the weekend in Speyside, the prospect of a four-hour drive home to Edinburgh late on Sunday was not an enticing one. It was dark, I was knackered, I had little money, food or energy. The packet of crisps, bar of chocolate and can of glucose beside me was of little comfort. But then I switched on the radio, and quite unexpectedly and magnificently my mood lifted completely. Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra made it happen, such is the wonder of his music. Continue reading