" Madam Miaow Says: September 2009

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Honest Scrap Awards: yippee! More blog appreciation



Back from Cornwall and a virtual signal black hole to find Willis at Old and In The Way has been kind enough to have given me an Honest Scrap award. (Yes, it does sound like "honest crap" when said fast.)

Willis blogs from across the pond and hails from a generation for whom I have the greatest respect — 1960s hippies who had plenty to fight for. Hard-hearted would-be tuff-nuts who say they hate hippies should remember that many of these guys were in the thick of some real struggles; civil rights, segregation and the Vietnam war.

This blog being firmly opposed to deregulation, I'm pleased to see that rules is rules:
1. You must brag about the award.
2. You must include the name of the blogger who gave you the award and link back to that blogger.
3. You must choose a minimum of seven blogs that you find brilliant in content or design (not sure how I fell through the cracks on this one!)
4. Show their names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with this award.
5. List at least ten honest things about yourself.

My seven favoured blogs:

1)  Harpy Marx. No surprise here, or any of my first three choices. Harpy is a committed leftie who refuses to check in her brain at the door and continues to be a thorn in the side for her Labour Party associates and their rightward drift. Terrific on both political and cultural matters, she's also a fine photographer, documenting current protests by ordinary people.

2)  Splintered Sunrise. This Northern Ireland-based blogger is perhaps stylistically the best writer on the left. Sensitive and choc-full of brainy goodness, he wields a shiv where so many on the left go at it with a baseball bat. More arch than Marlene Dietrich's eyebrows.

3)  Slacker Chic. Mrs M goes from strength to strength entertaining us with her caustic wit and imaginative turns of phrase at her showbiz and fashion blog.  She's now writing a book about her experience as an army wife with a husband in Afghanistan and wondering what the hell the war's for. Read it here.

4)  My mate Steve has just started the St Ives Cornwall blog having been running his informative One St Ives website for a couple of years or more. It's been amusing watching everyone else down there treat the internet like it was the monolith at the beginning of Kubrik's 2001: A Space Oddysey and they were all our simian ancestors. I think they're catching on at last. His blog is the best website covering St Ives and has been a must-read during the recent St Ives Arts Festival.

5)  Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan before he was sacked for blowing the whistle  on the unsavoury habits of our friend and ally in charge over there. He says he has seen the heroin factories next to army bases in Afghanistan that cast doubt on whether this war is really about drugs as claimed by the Western powers. Oh, did I mention he was sacked?

6) China Smack describes itself as carrying hot internet stories, pictures and videos of China – a popular tabloid look at the Waking Dragon. When you've had enough of midget grooms and "crazy haircuts" sported by the yoot, you can always try China Labour Bulletin for heavier fare. Plus brilliant China stories at East West North South blog. The inclusion of these alone probably guarantee I fall foul of the Great Firewall. Burn, baby, burn!

7) Lastly, Christina Martin, hilarious stand-up comic, and the first and, for all I know, the only woman to write for Viz. Sadly, I'm recommending her to you just as she announces her last Viz blog. Smart and always has something intelligent to say about religion and other social matters such as disability.

Ker-rist! It's half one in the morning and I still have to write out my life story, according to the award rules. Sorry, being a lifelong rebel I'm closing down for the night and getting some kip.

One honest thing — I miss my cat Trotsky. Second honest thing, if a Certain Person doesn't stop snoring I may have to do to him what I did to my cat.

G'night, all.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ...

Honest Scrap Awards: yippee! More blog appreciation



Back from Cornwall and a virtual signal black hole to find Willis at Old and In The Way has been kind enough to have given me an Honest Scrap award. (Yes, it does sound like "honest crap" when said fast.)

Willis blogs from across the pond and hails from a generation for whom I have the greatest respect — 1960s hippies who had plenty to fight for. Hard-hearted would-be tuff-nuts who say they hate hippies should remember that many of these guys were in the thick of some real struggles; civil rights, segregation and the Vietnam war.

This blog being firmly opposed to deregulation, I'm pleased to see that rules is rules:
1. You must brag about the award.
2. You must include the name of the blogger who gave you the award and link back to that blogger.
3. You must choose a minimum of seven blogs that you find brilliant in content or design (not sure how I fell through the cracks on this one!)
4. Show their names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with this award.
5. List at least ten honest things about yourself.

My seven favoured blogs:

1)  Harpy Marx. No surprise here, or any of my first three choices. Harpy is a committed leftie who refuses to check in her brain at the door and continues to be a thorn in the side for her Labour Party associates and their rightward drift. Terrific on both political and cultural matters, she's also a fine photographer, documenting current protests by ordinary people.

2)  Splintered Sunrise. This Northern Ireland-based blogger is perhaps stylistically the best writer on the left. Sensitive and choc-full of brainy goodness, he wields a shiv where so many on the left go at it with a baseball bat. More arch than Marlene Dietrich's eyebrows.

3)  Slacker Chic. Mrs M goes from strength to strength entertaining us with her caustic wit and imaginative turns of phrase at her showbiz and fashion blog.  She's now writing a book about her experience as an army wife with a husband in Afghanistan and wondering what the hell the war's for. Read it here.

4)  My mate Steve has just started the St Ives Cornwall blog having been running his informative One St Ives website for a couple of years or more. It's been amusing watching everyone else down there treat the internet like it was the monolith at the beginning of Kubrik's 2001: A Space Oddysey and they were all our simian ancestors. I think they're catching on at last. His blog is the best website covering St Ives and has been a must-read during the recent St Ives Arts Festival.

5)  Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan before he was sacked for blowing the whistle  on the unsavoury habits of our friend and ally in charge over there. He says he has seen the heroin factories next to army bases in Afghanistan that cast doubt on whether this war is really about drugs as claimed by the Western powers. Oh, did I mention he was sacked?

6) China Smack describes itself as carrying hot internet stories, pictures and videos of China – a popular tabloid look at the Waking Dragon. When you've had enough of midget grooms and "crazy haircuts" sported by the yoot, you can always try China Labour Bulletin for heavier fare. Plus brilliant China stories at East West North South blog. The inclusion of these alone probably guarantee I fall foul of the Great Firewall. Burn, baby, burn!

7) Lastly, Christina Martin, hilarious stand-up comic, and the first and, for all I know, the only woman to write for Viz. Sadly, I'm recommending her to you just as she announces her last Viz blog. Smart and always has something intelligent to say about religion and other social matters such as disability.

Ker-rist! It's half one in the morning and I still have to write out my life story, according to the award rules. Sorry, being a lifelong rebel I'm closing down for the night and getting some kip.

One honest thing — I miss my cat Trotsky. Second honest thing, if a Certain Person doesn't stop snoring I may have to do to him what I did to my cat.

G'night, all.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ...

Friday, 18 September 2009

Anna May Wong Must Die! and Yellowface acoustic videos: Anna Chen at the St Ives Arts Festival

It's been unbelievably sunny and warm down here in Kernow for the St Ives Arts Festival while London shakes itself out like a drowned rat aprés le deluge.

Here are a couple of videos from the lunchtime sessions in Norway Square. I'm trying out Yellowface, one of the raps from Anna May Wong Must Die!, playing this coming Sunday at the St Ives Arts Club.

And there's also an acoustic version of the Anna May Wong Must Die rap, both accompanied by Charles Shaar Murray on slide guitar and Buffalo Bill Smith on harmonica.

Having a fab time. Wish you were here.


YELLOWFACE


ANNA MAY WONG MUST DIE!

Anna May Wong Must Die! and Yellowface acoustic videos: Anna Chen at the St Ives Arts Festival

It's been unbelievably sunny and warm down here in Kernow for the St Ives Arts Festival while London shakes itself out like a drowned rat aprés le deluge.

Here are a couple of videos from the lunchtime sessions in Norway Square. I'm trying out Yellowface, one of the raps from Anna May Wong Must Die!, playing this coming Sunday at the St Ives Arts Club.

And there's also an acoustic version of the Anna May Wong Must Die rap, both accompanied by Charles Shaar Murray on slide guitar and Buffalo Bill Smith on harmonica.

Having a fab time. Wish you were here.


YELLOWFACE


ANNA MAY WONG MUST DIE!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Anna May Wong Must Die! at the St Ives Arts Festival





One mo' time ...

Anna performs Anna May Wong Must Die! at the St Ives Arts Cub, Westcotts Quay, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26, 7pm, Sunday 20th September, as part of the St Ives Arts Festival. Tickets: £6.00 More Info: 01736 797122

Anna May Wong Must Die! is Anna Chen's one-woman show about Hollywood's first Chinese movie star. This personal journey through the life and crimes of Anna May Wong grew from a half-hour programme about the actress, A Celestial Star In Piccadilly, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January 2009, written and presented by Anna.

Part comedy, part social critique, this funny, fascinating look at the movie icon dismantles Chinese stereotypes and reveals the human side of the dragon lady of dragon ladies.

Venue: St Ives Arts Club, Westcotts Quay
Date: Sunday 20th September 2009
Time: 7pm
Tickets: £6 from the Guildhall festival box-office
Info: 01736 797122 or steve.mcintosh@onestives.co.uk

More info here

NEW DATE ADDED TO ST IVES FESTIVAL.
Anna Chen reads from her novel-in-progress, Coolie, her story about the Chinese workers on the transcontinental railroad who went on strike in the 1860s.

In a scintillating double-bill, she appears with Charles Shaar Murray who will be reading from his novel, The Hellhound Sample, a spooky tale about three generations of a black American music dynasty and an English guitar hero, about to be published by Headpress.

Venue: The Salthouse Gallery, St Ives
Date: Wednesday 23rd September 2009
Time: 6:30pm
Details to be confirmed

Photo of Anna by Sukey Parnell

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Blair behind Lockerbie bomber's release in secret Libya deal


I wonder what Tony Blair's American fans, currently shoveling money at him through the lecture circuit, book deals and various "awards" (presumably for services rendered to their government), will make of the news that it was he and not Gordon Brown or the Scottish executive who orchestrated the return of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi to Libya.

Doubts over whether Megrahi carried out the Lockerbie bombing aren't going away and government agencies are increasingly antsy over what might be revealed in a full-on enquiry. Looking at the evidence, my trust lies with the relatives of the victims who have concluded that Megrahi is merely the patsy for some extremely dirty tricks going on behind the scenes.

According to a damning report in The Independent, at a top-secret meeting in London's Pall Mall in 2003:
Nine top-level MI6, Foreign Office, CIA and Libyan officials were present for the negotiations at the Travellers Club. The revelation that two senior American officials were present risks causing embarrassment to the White House, as Washington has made clear its criticism of the release of Megrahi by the Scottish government last month.

Blair followed this up two days later with direct telephone talks with Colonel Gaddafi and a meeting complete with hugs in Libya, and yet bravely remained silent throughout the media bombardment of Gordon Brown since Megrahi's return to Libya last month. Some might consider this characteristic of the former prime minister that he do sneaking deals and then let someone else carry the can. Especially if it's his old compadre and Granita dining companion. I couldn't possibly comment.

Jack Straw's assertion yesterday that the deal was about oil, while bad enough, has been exposed as a smokescreen while something much darker was taking place behind the scenes. Libyan Foreign Minister, Musa Kusa, insists the release was "nothing to do with trade". How typical of this dissembling political class that it would rather be found guilty of the banal crime of naked greed than be caught red-handed carving out the New World Order.

Blair behind Lockerbie bomber's release in secret Libya deal


I wonder what Tony Blair's American fans, currently shoveling money at him through the lecture circuit, book deals and various "awards" (presumably for services rendered to their government), will make of the news that it was he and not Gordon Brown or the Scottish executive who orchestrated the return of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi to Libya.

Doubts over whether Megrahi carried out the Lockerbie bombing aren't going away and government agencies are increasingly antsy over what might be revealed in a full-on enquiry. Looking at the evidence, my trust lies with the relatives of the victims who have concluded that Megrahi is merely the patsy for some extremely dirty tricks going on behind the scenes.

According to a damning report in The Independent, at a top-secret meeting in London's Pall Mall in 2003:
Nine top-level MI6, Foreign Office, CIA and Libyan officials were present for the negotiations at the Travellers Club. The revelation that two senior American officials were present risks causing embarrassment to the White House, as Washington has made clear its criticism of the release of Megrahi by the Scottish government last month.

Blair followed this up two days later with direct telephone talks with Colonel Gaddafi and a meeting complete with hugs in Libya, and yet bravely remained silent throughout the media bombardment of Gordon Brown since Megrahi's return to Libya last month. Some might consider this characteristic of the former prime minister that he do sneaking deals and then let someone else carry the can. Especially if it's his old compadre and Granita dining companion. I couldn't possibly comment.

Jack Straw's assertion yesterday that the deal was about oil, while bad enough, has been exposed as a smokescreen while something much darker was taking place behind the scenes. Libyan Foreign Minister, Musa Kusa, insists the release was "nothing to do with trade". How typical of this dissembling political class that it would rather be found guilty of the banal crime of naked greed than be caught red-handed carving out the New World Order.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Cartrain nicks Damien Hirst's pencils: milllionaire artist in a huff

Who'd break a butterfly on a wheel? Damien Hirst gets out his blunderbuss and enters a new round of gnat-squishing with renewed hostilities against the 17 year-old graffiti artist, Cartrain.

If you remember, last year the multi-millionaire "conceptual" artist threatened Cartrain with legal action over his use of an image of Hirst's diamond head (For The Love Of God sold for £50 million) resulting in the mischievous teenager having to surrender the Xerox copies of the work and the measly couple of hundred quid he'd made to the art world's favourite pantomime villain.

Which is rich considering the controversy over the origins of some of Hirst's own work. Imaginative "borrowing" is okay for anyone with deep pockets but not for impoverished upstarts learning from The Master.

Cartrain is said to have walked into Tate Britain in June and removed a box of "FABER CASTELL dated 1990 Mongol 482 series" pencils from Hirst's Pharmacy installation. (Ker-rist, is Damien still doing that?) He's been arrested for causing £10 million worth of damage and £500,000 of theft. Not only that, but one condition of the case resolution is that Cartrain has to replace the pencils himself. Mmm, I'll have that with relish. Nuthin' like a bit of public humiliation to teach the whippersnapper who's boss.

Cartrain says:
For the safe return of Damien Hirst's pencils I would like my artworks back that DACS and Hirst took off me in November. It's not a large demand. He can have his pencils back when I get my artworks back. DACS are now not taking any notice of my emails and I have asked nicely more than five times to try and resolve this matter. Hirst has until the end of this month to resolve this or on 31st of July the pencils will be sharpened. He has been warned.

Either this is a cynical publicity stunt and Hirst really loves Cartrain and this is way of sticking him in the public eye, or else he's totally lost his sense of humour and needs to get out more.

More in The Independent and The Telegraph.

Cartrain nicks Damien Hirst's pencils: milllionaire artist in a huff

Who'd break a butterfly on a wheel? Damien Hirst gets out his blunderbuss and enters a new round of gnat-squishing with renewed hostilities against the 17 year-old graffiti artist, Cartrain.

If you remember, last year the multi-millionaire "conceptual" artist threatened Cartrain with legal action over his use of an image of Hirst's diamond head (For The Love Of God sold for £50 million) resulting in the mischievous teenager having to surrender the Xerox copies of the work and the measly couple of hundred quid he'd made to the art world's favourite pantomime villain.

Which is rich considering the controversy over the origins of some of Hirst's own work. Imaginative "borrowing" is okay for anyone with deep pockets but not for impoverished upstarts learning from The Master.

Cartrain is said to have walked into Tate Britain in June and removed a box of "FABER CASTELL dated 1990 Mongol 482 series" pencils from Hirst's Pharmacy installation. (Ker-rist, is Damien still doing that?) He's been arrested for causing £10 million worth of damage and £500,000 of theft. Not only that, but one condition of the case resolution is that Cartrain has to replace the pencils himself. Mmm, I'll have that with relish. Nuthin' like a bit of public humiliation to teach the whippersnapper who's boss.

Cartrain says:
For the safe return of Damien Hirst's pencils I would like my artworks back that DACS and Hirst took off me in November. It's not a large demand. He can have his pencils back when I get my artworks back. DACS are now not taking any notice of my emails and I have asked nicely more than five times to try and resolve this matter. Hirst has until the end of this month to resolve this or on 31st of July the pencils will be sharpened. He has been warned.

Either this is a cynical publicity stunt and Hirst really loves Cartrain and this is way of sticking him in the public eye, or else he's totally lost his sense of humour and needs to get out more.

More in The Independent and The Telegraph.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The Shock Doctrine and Enron: nightmare TV review

Enron chief execs, Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling

Last night I watched The Shock Doctrine followed by Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room on More 4 in a truly wrist-slitting binge of disaster telly from which I am only now recovering with a mug of Earl Grey.

The main thrust of The Shock Doctrine, based on Naomi Klein's disturbing and brilliant book, was that the public sphere is being raided by private business using the shock of disasters — man-made and natural — to steal everything that isn't nailed down and privatise every aspect of our lives.

With his assertion that democracy goes hand in hand with the liberalisation of national economies — smashing them open for corporate raids leaving the population impoverished in order to further fatten an already bloated super-rich — neo-con guru Milton Friedman and his Chicago School of Economic hell looked like the very devil.

This embodiment of evil was happy to see democracy in Chile destroyed in the 1974 coup and General Pinochet installed through murder, torture and the rest of the tyrannical repertoire taught in the notorious School of the Americas in order to secure profits for American companies. And yet, ten years after implementing Friedman's economic wet dream, Chile was facing bankruptcy. The one industry Pinochet never dared privatise — the Chilean copper mines — ended up bailing them out providing 85% of their income during the lean years.

Despite this failure of their theory in practise Chile became the model for the neo-cons' destructive swathe through human society in the 1980s under Reagan and Thatcher, and continues today with the rape of Iraq and the ethnic cleansing of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

I was trying to work out why Naomi Klein had her name taken off the credits and distanced herself from Michael Winterbottom's sprawling film. Harpy Marx thinks its something to do with too much narration, but there are other problems, too.

The film should have fed the throughline but there was so much contemporary footage, with an emphasis on visual spectacle (or shock) rather than film that reinforced the thesis, that it became flabby and ended up distracting from the central story. I felt Winterbottom was himself dependent on too much shock and had lost faith in the story he was telling. Using footage of Naomi's lectures was a cheeky way of getting her to narrate despite her protestations.

According to Channel 4, Klein felt the film " ... did not carefully lay out the thesis or explain the economics but instead made unproven assertions".

The ironically titled Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room was a fascinating tale of hubris and the brutality of Friedman's capitalism given full reign. So sociopathic was the corporate greed practised by Bush favourite Ken Lay, Jeffrey Skilling and their trader hordes that the misery produced by a year of deliberately "rolled-out" power cuts in California was a source not only of undreamt of profits, but of lurid merriment for the perpetrators as caught on tape. (After each power cut the price of electricity soared, enriching the company way beyond the mere provision of energy.)

Extensive footage of Jeffrey Skilling giving evidence, Ken Lay's golden boy genius and a man too smart by half, was a mesmerising sight. Skilling was a blue-eyed picture of deceit, a classic Central Casting corporate villain, while the others looked merely pathetic when stripped of their power and wealth.

In the business of making money when they should have been providing energy, they spent years artificially inflating Enron's stock with the direct connivance of banks willing to kick in the odd $25 million at a time, the lawyers and the creative accountants. Once the game was up Skilling was the first rat to flee the sinking ship, skipping out only four months before the collapse and taking millions with him. Ken Lay took out $300 million while telling his traders and employers what great shape they were in; a real shark fight.

In their fight to deregulate the Californian energy industry and make it ripe for plunder, Enron successfully ousted Governor Gray Davis and put in their own man, Arnie. So let's keep our eye on him.

Skilling got 24 years while Ken Lay died before beginning his lengthy prison sentence. So there is some justice but we still have the Governator.

The Shock Doctrine and Enron: nightmare TV review


Last night I watched The Shock Doctrine followed by Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room on More 4 in a truly wrist-slitting binge of disaster telly from which I am only now recovering with a mug of Earl Grey.

The main thrust of The Shock Doctrine, based on Naomi Klein's disturbing and brilliant book, was that the public sphere is being raided by private business using the shock of disasters — man-made and natural — to steal everything that isn't nailed down and privatise every aspect of our lives.

With his assertion that democracy goes hand in hand with the liberalisation of national economies — smashing them open for corporate raids leaving the population impoverished in order to further fatten an already bloated super-rich — neo-con guru Milton Friedman and his Chicago School of Economic hell looked like the very devil.

This embodiment of evil was happy to see democracy in Chile destroyed in the 1974 coup and General Pinochet installed through murder, torture and the rest of the tyrannical repertoire taught in the notorious School of the Americas in order to secure profits for American companies. And yet, ten years after implementing Friedman's economic wet dream, Chile was facing bankruptcy. The one industry Pinochet never dared privatise — the Chilean copper mines — ended up bailing them out providing 85% of their income during the lean years.

Despite this failure of their theory in practise Chile became the model for the neo-cons' destructive swathe through human society in the 1980s under Reagan and Thatcher, and continues today with the rape of Iraq and the ethnic cleansing of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

I was trying to work out why Naomi Klein had her name taken off the credits and distanced herself from Michael Winterbottom's sprawling film. Harpy Marx thinks its something to do with too much narration, but there are other problems, too.

The film should have fed the throughline but there was so much contemporary footage, with an emphasis on visual spectacle (or shock) rather than film that reinforced the thesis, that it became flabby and ended up distracting from the central story. I felt Winterbottom was himself dependent on too much shock and had lost faith in the story he was telling. Using footage of Naomi's lectures was a cheeky way of getting her to narrate despite her protestations.

According to Channel 4, Klein felt the film " ... did not carefully lay out the thesis or explain the economics but instead made unproven assertions".

The ironically titled Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room was a fascinating tale of hubris and the brutality of Friedman's capitalism given full reign. So sociopathic was the corporate greed practised by Bush favourite Ken Lay, Jeffrey Skilling and their trader hordes that the misery produced by a year of deliberately "rolled-out" power cuts in California was a source not only of undreamt of profits, but of lurid merriment for the perpetrators as caught on tape. (After each power cut the price of electricity soared, enriching the company way beyond the mere provision of energy.)

Extensive footage of Jeffrey Skilling giving evidence, Ken Lay's golden boy genius and a man too smart by half, was a mesmerising sight. Skilling was a blue-eyed picture of deceit, a classic Central Casting corporate villain, while the others looked merely pathetic when stripped of their power and wealth.

In the business of making money when they should have been providing energy, they spent years artificially inflating Enron's stock with the direct connivance of banks willing to kick in the odd $25 million at a time, the lawyers and the creative accountants. Once the game was up Skilling was the first rat to flee the sinking ship, skipping out only four months before the collapse and taking millions with him. Ken Lay took out $300 million while telling his traders and employers what great shape they were in; a real shark fight.

In their fight to deregulate the Californian energy industry and make it ripe for plunder, Enron successfully ousted Governor Gray Davis and put in their own man, Arnie. So let's keep our eye on him.

Skilling got 24 years while Ken Lay died before beginning his lengthy prison sentence. So there is some justice but we still have the Governator.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Early Politics: Political Meme


The Political Meme currently doing the rounds requires the dredging up of memories of youthful political activity which I'm sure makes the security forces job easier when compiling their lists. I was tagged by Harpy Marx. I, in turn, shall ask Random Pottins, Political Custard, Renegade Eye, and Hagley Road To Ladywood to help the lads with their enquiries.

First political experience: In our home, everything was political — you try watching Tom & Jerry at six and giving a political analysis of power struggles and black maids! A little later, trying to organise school strikes in support of the pupils of Sir John Cass in the East End who were protesting against the sacking of Chris Searle, a wonderful teacher who gave us our souls and brains back.

First vote: Can't remember. Very possibly for Labour.

First demo: As a child I was taken by my mother to anti-Vietnam war demos. Plus a local one in Islington protesting against the killing of a local boy when police were said to have smashed his head against the bus stop in Upper Street. My mother, a good artist, painted the placards with police heads morphing into pigs.

Last vote: Green in the local elections. Not because I have any illusions in them but because I can no longer vote for the warmongering New Labour which gets worse with every passing day, and I will never vote Tory.

Last political activity: My last major activity was to create and run the press office for the anti-war movement when CND leadership diminished around 9/11 and the SWP-led Stop The War Coalition, who were good at organising demos but always ignored in the media due in part to STW's refusal to even issue a press release, were treading the same old ground that had kept them in obscurity for decades. But then seeing how the STW leaders behaved at the first sulphurous whiff of "celebrity", "fame" and all the baubles socialists are supposed to reject or at least put in a proper political perspective, I returned to my art which has always been informed by my politics, thoroughly immunised against the predations of a movement that eats its own.

Early Politics: Political Meme


The Political Meme currently doing the rounds requires the dredging up of memories of youthful political activity which I'm sure makes the security forces job easier when compiling their lists. I was tagged by Harpy Marx. I, in turn, shall ask Random Pottins, Political Custard, Renegade Eye, and Hagley Road To Ladywood to help the lads with their enquiries.

First political experience: In our home, everything was political — you try watching Tom & Jerry at six and giving a political analysis of power struggles and black maids! A little later, trying to organise school strikes in support of the pupils of Sir John Cass in the East End who were protesting against the sacking of Chris Searle, a wonderful teacher who gave us our souls and brains back.

First vote: Can't remember. Very possibly for Labour.

First demo: As a child I was taken by my mother to anti-Vietnam war demos. Plus a local one in Islington protesting against the killing of a local boy when police were said to have smashed his head against the bus stop in Upper Street. My mother, a good artist, painted the placards with police heads morphing into pigs.

Last vote: Green in the local elections. Not because I have any illusions in them but because I can no longer vote for the warmongering New Labour which gets worse with every passing day, and I will never vote Tory.

Last political activity: My last major activity was to create and run the press office for the anti-war movement when CND leadership diminished around 9/11 and the SWP-led Stop The War Coalition, who were good at organising demos but always ignored in the media due in part to STW's refusal to even issue a press release, were treading the same old ground that had kept them in obscurity for decades. But then seeing how the STW leaders behaved at the first sulphurous whiff of "celebrity", "fame" and all the baubles socialists are supposed to reject or at least put in a proper political perspective, I returned to my art which has always been informed by my politics, thoroughly immunised against the predations of a movement that eats its own.

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