" Madam Miaow Says

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Cat conversation on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership contest

Madam Miaow of Cats for Corbyn translates:

"Waddya think of this leadership contest?"
"It don't half exposes the contradictions in the bourgeois democracy."
"Ya reckon?"
"Just a bit!"
"They really don't want the one with the beard to win, do they?"
"The one with the eyelashes fancies his chances."
"I don't. He's deader than that mouse you found."
"At least the mouse didn't beg for his life the way eyelash boy did."
"The little one looks like she'd confiscate your bikkies given half a chance."
"And the other one would rub your nose in your own poo if you even looked at her funny."
"Better than rubbing it in her poo, for which I hear she has form."
"Beardie would give you the prawns off his own plate. 'Stroo!"
"Let's go and rub ourselves against his legs."
"Okay but try not to trip him up. No point doing their job for them."
"Race ya. Last one on his lap's got fleas!"
'C'mere. You need a wash first. You always show me up."

Monday, 24 August 2015

Poem for Jeremy Corbyn: Labour Pains by Anna Chen

No slouching towards Westminster by JC.

Here's my poem about the current welcome rush to the heart and head. I guess that makes me a Poet for Jeremy Corbyn too.


We snapped on a light
and in the glare all was laid bare.
Suddenly Yvette Cooper wasn’t so super,
Kendall won’t mend anything at all
‘cause Liz fights tooth and claw for biz.
As for principles, Andy says burn ‘em.
But the latecomer nails jelly to the wall,
walks tall among the fallen,
cuts a swathe through those in thrall
to the false gods in the shopping maul.
Looking like Santa, cast as Satan,
working like a dynamo, everybody’s smitten.
Bottle what he’s made of, someone nab the patent,
before the bloody Blairites get their twisted knickers straightened.
Groping in the gloom we’d forgotten how to stand,
the air up here so fresh and clean, the view they tried to ban.
Blinking in the sunlight, nerves and sinews flex,
this is how hope feels, it’s betterer than sex.
A pole star restored, a fiery dawn,
this way something bright is born.

Anna Chen
3rd August 2015

Anna Chen's collection of poetry, Reaching for my Gnu, is published by Aaaargh! Press

Margaret Thatcher Died at the Ritz (2013)

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Chopsticks At Dawn on BBC Radio 4 Extra, Thursday 2nd July

My programme, Chopsticks At Dawn, about chinoiserie clichés in music, is on tomorrow BBC Radio 4 Extra & iPlayer.

It's on four times: 6:30; 13:30; 20:30 and again the next morning at 01:30, so no excuses.

First broadcast 2010 on BBC Radio 4.

Produced by Chris Eldon-Lee and Mukti Jain Campion for Culture Wise.
With musicologist Dr Jonathan Walker

Chinese decorative arts are revered in the West. From Willow pattern dinner plates to the Brighton Pavilion, their designs are regarded as beautiful and sophisticated. But for the past two centuries European composers and musicians have had no qualms about mercilessly parodying what they thought of as 'Chinese tunes'.

As a girl growing up in Hackney, the opening orientalised-flute strains of the 1970s pop record Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas were enough to send future comedian Anna Chen running for cover.

The same cliches haunt Turning Japanese by The Vapours, Hong Kong Garden by Siouxsie And The Banshees and David Bowie's China Girl. They have all followed a pattern set by Claude Debussy, Malcolm Arnold, Albert Ketelbey and Lancashire Linnet George Formby, who were equally guilty of taking Chinese musical motifs and mangling them - or simply making them up!

How did this mocking abuse of a handful of venerable Far Eastern notes begin?

Musicologist Dr Jonathan Walker accompanies Anna on a historical mission, picking out examples on the piano and explaining why and how our western ears hear certain note configurations as "oriental" - from Chopsticks to Chopin.

They explore the pentatonic scale that chartacterises so much Chinese music, delve into the story of the Opium Wars which triggered a deep British disrespect of Chinese musical culture and unveil the earliest dubious examples of Chinoiserie in Western Music.

And we hear from a new generation of British born Chinese musicians who are putting right the discordant wrongs of the past 200 years.

Chopsticks At Dawn
Producer: Chris Eldon Lee
A Culture Wise production for BBC Radio 4.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Austerity, economics and a sense of proportion ...

... instead we get lies, damned lies and government spin. A simple placard tells us what the forces of ehvul and their media wing don't want us to know.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Thousands of Chinese seamen forcibly repatriated after WWII deserve justice

Peter Foo writes in his Change.org petition, addressed to Home Office Minister Theresa May, seeking justice for men who risked their lives for this country and Allied interests in World War Two:

We are seeking an acknowledgement and apology from the Home Office for the 1946 Forced Repatriation of thousands of Chinese Seamen based in Liverpool on behalf of their families, wives, children and grandchildren.

On behalf of all of the children, I have started this petition because my father disappeared in 1946 and this event has had a bad reflection on my life.

It is reasonably well known and well documented that thousands of Chinese seamen made up the numbers to crew the British merchant ships during the Second World War, the majority manning cargo ships on the renowned North Atlantic run. They all played a part in the allied forces victory.

It was brought to light and made available to the general public in 2002 that in July 1946 the police under the supervision of UK government agents indiscriminately rounded up thousands of these Chinese seamen and forcibly deported them from the UK to the Far East.

Due to civil conflict between the Communists and the Republicans the coastal areas of main land China being inaccessible the majority of these seamen were not repatriated but were put ashore in foreign countries thousands of miles from their homes.

The families of these seamen were totally ignorant of these events thinking that the men were killed at sea or they had been deserted and left abandoned with no form of income.

A number of the Liverpool Chinese seamen forcibly deported over a period of two days, were married to Liverpool women or were in relationships with British women and were fathers to young children.

These ‘children’ are now in their late sixties - early seventies and have realised that their lives have been affected by the emotional upset of finding out that their fathers who had disappeared had probably been forcibly repatriated. Some of the women affected have found out in the last three years that they had been adopted and this has caused much upset to them and their children and grandchildren.

On the 18th October 1945 representatives of the British government along with the Chief Constable of Liverpool, Herbert Winstanley and the Liverpool Immigration Inspector, Ted Holmes attended a meeting chaired by a Home Office civil servant, Carew Robinson representing the Ministry of War Transport to organise the expulsion of 2000 ‘undesirable’ Chinese seamen. A decision was made that the women who were in relationships with Chinese seamen were prostitutes.

The consequence of this historic illegal deportation created a detrimental effect on the lives of innocent British citizens and has arguably had tragic and psychological life changing implications including financial difficulties and cannot be measured in any shape or form.

Peter Foo

Please sign

Friday, 29 May 2015

BBC gladiatorial combat and poverty porn in Britain's Hardest Grafter

Beyond satire! The BBC has commissioned Britain's Hardest Grafter, a "game" series described as "Benefits Street meets The Hunger Games" which pitches the poorest among us — the unemployed and the low-paid — against each other for a cash prize. They Shoot Horses, Don't They? is an early model for this latest hate-fuelled poverty porn but they should actually be shooting (metaphorically, anyway) the inhumane nobs at the once-great BBC who are making this garbage.

In one fell swoop, BBC controller Kim Shillinglaw flushes any remaining dignity enjoyed by her employer down the waste-pipe.

Few members of a civilised society would derive pleasure from the suffering of the weak unless they were either only an inch away from falling through the gaps themselves and harbouring a lot of fear, or else they were themselves doing well off the backs of such inequality. As the master of ceremonies (played by Gig Young) says of his revolting audience in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, "They just want misery to make them feel better."

In case we need reminding, it is the government's job to run an economy that provides proper jobs, housing and health for Her Majesty's subjects (for we are still denied the grown-up status of citizens). It is neither moral nor ethical to have their propaganda wing sow even more hatred for Brits laid low by the failings of their own government.

Emboldened by the Tory victory in the general election, all sorts of creeps are crawling out from under their stones and revealing themselves. Not that it should have come as much of a surprise to see Prince Harry, the druggy, womanising second-born to Prince Charles and the sainted Diana, (he who threatened to have his inferiors beheaded when he was at school), demanding that the lost generation of youth on whom the government has given up be compelled to do "national service"; fight and be killed in his granny's army.

The wealthy heaved a sigh of relief when the Tories won. No mansion tax, no extra homes built or protection for hard-working, rent-paying tenants. Instead, Foxtons, the rich persons' estate agency, saw an immediate jump in their stock value of 14 per cent while the buy-to-let sector rolls on like a big tax-sucking juggernaut. Especially ripe for picking under the proposed new Right To Buy rules, is the last remaining sector of semi-public affordable housing now fated to end up in the hands of private landlords via Housing Association residents who've lived there for three years or more.

And yet it is still the poor who have to pick up the bill for bankers' profligacy. To people using food banks as a result of institutional misfeasance, cruelty (hello, IDS), and a bad case of couldn't-give-a-fuck-itis, our rulers are asking, "Do you want relish on that?"

BBC output stormed to the right under Chris "Lord" Patton's reign as chair of the BBC Trust, and the odious former Director-General Mark Thompson. Barely a day passes without the glorification of the armed forces in drama and documentary, or the promotion of demagogues like Nigel Farage and shrink-the-state tycoons such as vulture capitalist Jon Moulton given airtime way beyond that accorded to left-of-centre progressives such as the Greens. Now that we have a Culture Minister in John Whittingdale who is virulently opposed to the entire raison d'être of the TV license that allows the BBC to produce quality without commercial pressure, we can wave bye-bye to the glory days of a benign public service (up to a point!).

I hear that there's more blue-sky thinking at the Beeb concerning an exciting new witch-burning series. A cross between Judge Judy (for it must always be a woman who is seen to do the patriarchy's dirty work and, as they couldn't find Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins, they're getting Katie Hopkins to front it), Jeremy Kyle and It's A Knockout (the hilarious ducking-stool section of the show), with a star of ISIL regularly on the panel.

Watch this kids — THIS is your future ...

Here's a petition to sign.