100,000 Iraqis Killed By Us

The first scientific study of the human cost of the Iraq war suggests that at least 100,000 Iraqis have lost their lives since their country was invaded in March 2003.

More than half of those who died were women and children killed in air strikes, researchers say.
(Source: The Independent)

One hundred thousand dead. One hundred thousand.

Nearly a fortnight ago, I marched in an antiwar demo of around 100,000 people. I remember the sea of faces, the surges and knots of protesters along the route to Trafalgar Square.

I’m trying to imagine that number of people dead. It’s very difficult. The population of Derby is 226,000. So, imagine walking round Derby and everywhere you go, the streets are littered with the corpses of nearly half the population. It’s hard to keep in your head, isn’t it? But what about the proud boasts of Bush and Blair, the claims that things have got better for the average Iraqi now we’ve got rid of Hussein?

The study, which was carried out in 33 randomly-chosen neighbourhoods of Iraq representative of the entire population, shows that violence is now the leading cause of death in Iraq. Before the invasion, most people died of heart attacks, stroke and chronic illness. The risk of a violent death is now 58 times higher than it was before the invasion.
(Source: The Guardian)

I’m trying very hard no to cry as I type this, to keep making sense. I’m so furious, I can’t put it into words adequately. I cannot believe that Butcher Blair is still in power, still spouting his lies and still smiling, sitting on top of the pile of Iraqi corpses he created. Of course, I’m outraged by the actions of Bush and the PNAC Nazis too. But they’re not leading my country, Blair and his New Labour scum are.

Bush and Blair: two righteous, pious Christians. Is their God pleased with their slaughter? Will he shake their blood-caked hands when they get to heaven? Does killing so many innocents, so many women and children, guarantee them a seat next to their Lord?

The world is insane. It keeps on ticking over, football matches and Hollyoaks, parliamentary blustering and EU scandals, the illusion of normality, the lie of sanity. But all the while, our troops are pounding the Iraqi people into the ground.

The bones of 100,000 Iraqi dead will form a tiny line in the layers of the Earth. Maybe future archaeologists will puzzle at such mass murder. Perhaps they’ll pore over the remains, re-assembling babies’ skulls. Will they be able to tell, with their microscopes and fine tweezers, that these bones were liberated bones? The bones of Iraqis granted their freedom from Hussein and, unfortunately, life by the intrepid US and UK forces?

The biggest death toll recorded by the researchers was in Falluja, which registered two-thirds of the violent deaths they found. “In Falluja, 23 households of 52 visited were either temporarily or permanently abandoned. Neighbours interviewed described widespread death in most of the abandoned houses but could not give adequate details for inclusion in the survey,” they write.
(Source: The Guardian)

And why has Britain re-deployed its troops recently? Why, to free up US forces so they can increase their level of attack on Fallujah. How long before the US adopts the Israeli government tactic and just bulldozers Fallujah to the ground, tiresome occupants and all? But of course, our TV news keeps telling us that the people being killed by us are all “insurgents.” Yes. Anyone troublesome, anyone questioning why there are foreign armies occupying their homeland and running their country is an “insurgent,” aren’t they? It’s such a conveniently vague term. So, I guess the 50,000 women and children killed must have been hardline “insurgents,” eh?

Alan Simpson, a member of Labour Against the War, said: “Iraq has not seen this scale of slaughter since its war with Iran. At some point, the slaughter of civilians in the name of peace has to become a crime of war. This is not a matter of indifference but criminality. These figures are horrific, but it is a scandal that the world remains silent.”
(Source: The Independent)

If today’s death toll figures don’t change Britain and America, we’re beyond hope. If this report doesn’t shock people into protest and action, then those people aren’t actually alive in the first place.

At this time, nothing matters more than our illegal occupation and murder of Iraq. Nothing, not your petty concerns about your money our your sex life, not TV or music or who said what about who. All of that is shit, all of that is totally irrelevant.

We have to wake up out of this nightmare. We have to wake up and do something to stop Butcher Blair.

It’s exactly 1pm. The BBC TV News has just started and what’s the top story? That cunt Blair signing the EU constitution, along with all the other powerful politicos who care so little about ordinary people’s lives.

Obviously, 100,000 Iraqi dead isn’t as important as a fancy ceremony that means fuck-all.

EDIT…
It’s just come on now. Third story down. After the EU story and a story about fraud. Obviously, mass murder is less important than fraud.

The Irreplaceable John Peel

Peelie

This isn’t a proper biography or eulogy. For that, click here.

When I found out today that Peelie had died, I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t, to be honest. It just feels a bit unreal. Like one of the terrible sick jokes after Christopher Reeve died. I keep waiting for the unfunny punchline so I can fake a smile. But it hasn’t come yet.

When I talked about his death with my wife, she wondered what it would be like if you did an ‘It’s A Wonderful Life‘ with Peel.

If John Peel had never been born, imagine all the bands who wouldn’t have been played on radio. There is no other DJ I know of who’s had such an enormous impact on popular music as Peelie. Imagine a pop music world without T.Rex or Joy Division or The Fall or The Human League or… well, you see my point.

Peel always pushed his audience, he forced people to listen to genres they wouldn’t normally seek out, whether that was hip hop or grindcore. If you were a regular Peel listener, you expected not to enjoy at least a couple of songs in each program but that’s precisely why you listened.

In these days of tabloid DJing, where the audience is just given repetitive lashings of what they slaver for, that kind of musical exploration and education is dead. British radio is now nearly as genre-bound and cackly niche-marketed as US radio. Indie kids just listen to indie shows, hip hop fans listen to hip hop shows, every genre is separated and equally poorly served. Only on a maverick show like Peel’s did you ever witness their joyful, confused collision.

I’ve been ripping-off Peel for years, since I first started getting paid for DJing. I’ve never had as impeccable or wide tastes as he had but I’ve always tried not to play just the one genre of music. I loved Peel for the light and shade, for the fact you could have Carcass and Bis rubbing shoulders. Or Bolt Thrower and Bobby Lewis.

If the stuff you’re playing is an endless rotation of the same piss-stained playlist, as most of Radio One is, how can that serve the music? It becomes a cloying mush, or, as Peel himself called it, ‘porridge.’

John Peel made me feel less of a freak. Whether that was in 1979 when I first tuned into his welcoming voice or years later when I was depressed and wondering if I’d ever get my songs played on the radio.

Well, in 1991, Peel played a song of mine on his show. It was my first ever airplay on Radio One. Instantly, I got letters from his listeners around Europe and from loads of fanzine writers. It made a difference to me, just to have that little bit of airtime, that 3 minutes on The John Peel Show. Eventually, because of a fanzine address Peel read out one night, a fanzine that featured me, I met the girl I’m married to now. The tiniest of actions has consequences that spread out like ripples on a pond.

Just think about how many people those ripples reached out and changed. For a lot of music-obsessed kids like me, the freaks and the geeks, John Peel was our saviour.

We’re the ones who are passionate about music, we get bored with the charts so we look a little further. We may not be good-looking or get picked for football but we’ve always had the music. We’re the fat kid in school or the girl who’s too shy to speak or the gay lad in a fistfight, we’re the people who end up forming bands and making records. And in Peel we always had a supercool older brother who’d play us a great new band we’d not heard of yet, even if it was sometimes at the wrong speed. He had that closeness: I always felt like he was playing stuff just for me. Silly, isn’t it?

That’s a life fully lived. To have weaved yourself, as Peel did, into the hopes and dreams of so many people, to have joined them together with strange, new music they would never have heard otherwise. To have given so much to an entire culture as Peel did, faithfully serving his listeners despite being shoved all round the schedules by an un-caring, increasingly Thatcherite (as opposed to Reithian) BBC. Now, that’s a real hero.

Tonight in Scream, the DJs put on ‘Teenage Kicks.’ The dancefloor quickly filled and after it finished there was a completely impromptu round of applause and shouts of ‘John Peel! John Peel!’ It was a fitting mark of respect at the passing of one of the greatest champions of new music.

My thoughts go out to his wife and family.

Bless Playlist 25/10/2004


The Invisible Cities. Neither invisible nor cities…cuh!

Tonight’s top new tune was ‘Instaglo’ by The Invisible Cities, taken from their cracking debut album, ‘Watertown.’ It’s a classic indiepop album, full of thrumming geetars and honeyed boygirl singing. It’s also very varied and full-sounding for a debut, sounds to me more like a third album in terms of the breadth of songwriting. But don’t just take my word for it, follow this link and check it out for yourself.

The best old tune was Randy Newman‘s beautiful theme for the film Ragtime. One of my favourite films, it’s made sublime by Newman’s score.

Where’s Emma Goldman when you need her, eh?

Alex Cortex – Untitled
Beachbuggy – Kickin’ Back
Mates Of State – Halves and Have-Nots
Pantera – Mouth For War
Karate – Tow Truck
Robag Wruhme – Hugendubel
Chubb Rock + Mr. Blue – Me
The Lucksmiths – Camera-Shy
Converge – Death King
Ricky Nelson – Stood Up
Neutral Milk Hotel – The King Of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1
Biffy Clyro – Strung To Your Ribcage
Masta Ace – Conflict Ft. Guru
String Theory – Eugelab
Cosigner – Sorry
Snapcase – She Suffocates
Bernard Herrmann – Taxi Driver (Thank God For The Rain)
Pixies – Dead
Modest Mouse – Paper Thin Walls
Atom – He110
The Invisible Cities – Instaglo
Delinquent Habits – 1 Adam 12
Ben Folds Five – Where’s Summer B.?
Earth Crisis – Provoke
The Divine Comedy – Songs Of Love
Eight Miles High – Latein
The Plastic Constellations – East Cleveland
Operation Ivy – Officer
Puffy AmiYumi – K2g
Porn Theatre Ushers – Blah, Blah, Blah
Emotional Joystick – Eight
STARS – What I’m Trying To Say
Teenage Fanclub & Jad Fair – Behold The Miracle
PJ Harvey – Sheela Na Gig
2mex Ft Awol One – Baby I Aint Joking (Ant Remix)
Limp Wrist – Punk Ass Queers
The Vaselines – Son Of A Gun
Skanfrom – Eleven
Get Up Kids – How Long Is Too Long
Lena Lovich – Lucky Number
Non Phixion – Rock Stars
Boards Of Canada – Roygbiv
Plans And Apologies – Eggbound Mutebone
Death Cab For Cutie – I Was A Kaleidoscope
Poison The Well – Rings From Corona
Sparks – This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us
Anthony Rother – Freaks
Rilo Kiley – It’s A Hit
The Wedding Present – My Favourite Dress
Randy Newman – Ragtime
Elliott Smith – A Fond Farewell

Some People Are Like Wasps

Some people are like wasps
Haplodiploid in their hatred
Of creatures better feted
By smiles and kisses, the fleeting embraces
Of lonely apes clinging to each other
On a mudball whirling through nothing

Some people are like wasps
They’ll sting you on the dancefloor
They’ll sting you at your desk
They’ll sting you in your bed
You can’t avoid it: your joy is sugar

Yeah, some people are like wasps
But don’t point at them or swat at them
Or they’ll get their mates
To kick your fucking head in

Les Quatre Cents Coups

Tonight, I stayed in. I had a lot of writing to do. Plus, this film is starting in twenty minutes:

Les Quatre Cents Coups

What can I say about Fran├žois Truffaut? There are many scholarly books written about the Nouvelle Vague and its protagonists, Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer. There are books about Truffaut and books by Truffaut. No film fan should leave Truffaut’s book on Hitchcock unread, it gives such great insights into the minds of two masters.

I won’t compete with any of the above, this rant is just about what Truffaut means to me.

I remember seeing and being hugely moved by ‘Les Quatre Cents Coups’ (‘The 400 Blows’) when I was a kid. I didn’t think it was a fictional story, I thought it was some kind of magical documentary since Truffaut had captured being a young, angry lad so well. The confusion, the joy, the anguished isolation – they were all there. It shocked me. At the time, I didn’t even know who Truffaut was. I assumed he was the boy. It turned out I was half-right, since the film is partly autobiographical. But don’t think this a dreary, worthy film: there’s the sharpest humour here too, as when Antoine has to think of an excuse for skiving. I won’t spoil it but what he blurts out to the teacher always makes me laugh.

Then, in my early twenties, I joined the dots. I saw a marvellous film called ‘L’Homme Qui Aimait Les Femmes’ (‘The Man Who Loved Women’). And I realised I knew the director’s name. So I searched out more films by him… ‘Jules Et Jim,’ ‘L’Enfant Sauvage,’ ‘La Peau Douce,’ ‘Fahrenheit 451.’ They were all brilliant!

I was an addict. I had to read every book about him as well as watch every film. Others males my age were obsessed with Scorcese, Kubrick and Coppola or, later, Tarantino. For me, it was Truffaut. Always Truffaut.

I’ve watched ‘Les Quatre Cents Coups’ many times. I’ve analysed the mise-en-scene, the angles, the acting. But it remains beautiful to me, even though I’ve peeked behind the curtain.

Jean-Pierre Leaud, as the young tearaway Antoine Doinel, is always casually, effortlessly mesmerising. Leaud would go on to play the Doinel character through Truffaut’s entire cycle of Doinel films. Surely, this is the greatest series in cinema, more moving because Truffaut brings back the same actors as the same characters sometimes decades later. The last film, ‘L’Amour En Fuite,’ was released in 1979 so we get to see the grown-up (though not necessarily matured) Doinel as he continues to barrel through life.

But that journey starts here, with young Antoine racing through the streets in that checked jacket.

Apparently, tonight’s treat is the first in a short season of Truffaut films that BBC2 is showing. If you’ve never watched a Truffaut film, give them a go. I believe they are the most perfect films ever made.

And now, the film is starting so I’m off!

Bush And Blair Help Al-Quaeda Recruit

The war in Iraq probably helped boost al-Qaeda recruitment, according to a report from leading Western think-tank.

The report, the annual Military Balance by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, does not dwell on the causes of the war.

But it does consider its effects and has some highly critical comments.

It says that the risks of terrorism to Westerners and Western assets in Arab countries “appeared to increase after the Iraq war began in March 2003”.

It says that al-Qaeda was forced to disperse after the invasion of Afghanistan but remained “a viable and effective ‘network of networks’ “.

“It is probable that recruitment generally has accelerated on account of Iraq,” the report concludes.
(Source: BBC News)

Thank you, Mr. Bush! Thank you, Mr. Blair!

Thanks to you, we can all sleep a little less safely in our beds tonight. Because of your warmongering, extremist terror groups now have a steady supply of people ready to commit suicide in order to avenge their massacred relatives.

Well done, you murdering fuckwits.

Bless Playlist 18/10/2004

McCarthy – Write To Your MP Today
Cex – Destination: Sexy
Statik And Nat III – 50-50 1 Mc 1 DJ
Refused – Summerholidays Vs. Punkroutine
The Lucksmiths – Camera-Shy
Atom – He110
Strife – Grey
Caroline-Paris Studio Group – Accroche Toi
Plans And Apologies – Eggbound Mutebone
Masta Ace – Conflict Ft. Guru
Eight Miles High – Latein
Get Up Kids – Red Letter Day
Wilco – The Late Greats
Converge – Black Cloud
Belle And Sebastian – Mayfly
De La Soul – He Comes Ft. Ghostface
Ove-Naxx – Wabisabi Violence
XTC – Generals And Majors
Cosigner – Sorry
Fugazi – Full Disclosure
Max Greger & His Orchestra – Big Train
Adeem – Broken Right Wing
Camera Obscura – Eighties Fan
Zao – Ember
Tears For Fears – Pale Shelter
Alex Cortex – Untitled
Aesop Rock – No Jumper Cables (DJ Pawl Remix)
Puffy AmiYumi – Teen Titans Theme
Schoolly D – Aqua Teen Hunger Force
The Arcade Fire – Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
Huoratron – Male Bonding
The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979
The Duellists – Starters, Alfriston
Musab – Dyno Spectrum
The Plastic Constellations – East Cleveland
The Guild League – Jet Set … Go!
Architect – Tot Mann
Weezer – Tired Of Sex
One Man Army F. Majestik Legend – Behind The Music
The Decemberists – July, July!
Throwdown – Raiseyourfist
Flanger – Music To Begin With
Kings Of Convenience – I’d Rather Dance With You

October 17th Antiwar March: Give Them Sport And Soaps Instead

It’s 1.38pm. I’m watching a special live broadcast from Trafalgar Square. There’s a pitifully tiny crowd, a few thousand at best, being assaulted by some terrible live music. It’s some Olympic bullshit.

But it’s obviously very important. Hence the live broadcast. My licence fee money has gone towards covering this event about the British 2012 Olympics bid.

Yesterday, I marched with at least a hundred thousand others in protest of Britain’s occupation of Iraq. Here are the pictures. Did that make the BBC TV news? Nope. What was the top story that day? Something about the change in GCSE / A Level structures.

Look at all these people:

Ignored people

That line of marchers just kept coming and coming. Many times, as I was taking pics, I got stuck at what I thought was the end of the march. But after a minute or so, a whole new segment of protesters would turn up, tens of thousands of people protesting at the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Just ordinary people, the same as me, who’d given up their time and money to protest at the evil our government committed and is continuing to support.

Stop The War estimates around 100,000 people were on the march on Sunday. The police estimate 20,000, typically low. But even if their laughably political estimate was true, that number of people would dwarf anything to do with the Olympic bid or any other recent political demonstration not concerned with Iraq.

This is how you rewrite history. If political marches are inconvenient to your government, ensure that there are no reports of them on mainstream TV. Therefore, for most of the population, they hever happened! A lot of people I know didn’t even realise there was a protest on Sunday, they thought I’d been to London for some business thing. They had no idea that 100,000 people had gathered in London, that Tony Benn, Richard Key’s father and Che Guevara’s daughter had spoken at the rally. So how well is BBC TV doing their job if they leave the population in ignorance of mass politics in their own capital? But don’t worry: you’ll know the footie scores and Eastenders will be on every half hour.

The continuing huge antiwar movement in Britain is a thorn in Blair’s side. We know he’s a murderer, we know he’s a war criminal, we know he’s killed thousands more Iraqi babies than Saddam did, even though the graves of Hussein’s victims may be discovered at convenient times for New Labour. We know that the pictures of Iraqis butchered by our “liberation” get censored from our TVs. We will never see the babies killed every day by us in Fallujah. Those slaughtered children are “insurgents” or “militants” which means we have the right to slice up their young bodies with cluster bombs.

We must only see the Iraqis Hussein murdered – when we murder Iraqis it’s for their own good, just a little hiccup on their grand road to democracy (i.e., their rule by our new installed puppet government). After all, the West cares for and loves the Iraqi people: look how well our last installed dictator, Mr. Hussein, took care of them. We, the West, will civilise these damned ignorant savages even if we have to bomb their entire country flat in the process. God bless America! God bless Blair and Bush! We are so lucky to have such strong leaders in the fight against terrorism…

Meanwhile, back in the real world, we are being lied to every day by our mass media. Events which are inconvenient, like the torture of Iraqis, only appear in our media when people like Seymour Hersh irretrievably expose them. The US government knew about the torture for four months before the story got out and what did they do? They just sat on it, such is their love for truth and human rights. Oh, but I forgot – only Americans have human rights in the eyes of the US government. Iraqis, Nicaraguans, Afghans, British Muslims, they aren’t really human, are they? If you think that’s yet more loony lefty hyperbole, then you’re obviously ignorant of this US policy.

I will never vote for the Labour Party again as long as Butcher Blair and his cronies control it. I don’t just want Blair’s resignation, I want to see him tried for his war crimes, for taking Britain into the pre-emptive attack on a non-agressor nation. An illegal act, a war crime:

Such aggression violates U.S. treaties, including the UN Charter (1945) and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, renouncing war as an instrument of national policy (1928), which Nazi war criminals were charged with breaching. Richard Perle, as a Bush defense adviser, admitted the invasion of Iraq was illegal but favored it anyway (Guardian, UK, 11-20-03).
(Source: Lew Rockwell)

A lot of the people I marched alongside yesterday used to be, like me, Labour Party activists. We were the backbone of the Labour Party, the kids who’d go out canvassing and leafletting. Now, we march against New Labour. In fact, more people have marched against Tony Blair than ever marched against Margaret Thatcher. Blair is a winner there, at least: he’s the most unpopular Prime Minister in British politcal history to date.

I will march again. I will campaign against Butcher Blair in any and every way I can.

And, whatever the media may or may not report, I know that I won’t be alone.

McCarthy, C86 And The ‘P’ Word

(There is zero point in reading the following if you’re under thirty. )


McCarthy – really saying something

So you know how it goes…

…you’re googling around the cyberwent, just passing time till the dishwasher finishes and you can get blasted in the face by eggy steam as you open it, when…

You find a fabulous page about a magical period in pop music.

I ended up there because I was looking for McCarthy info. For me, they’re another of the great lost pop bands of history. I nearly got to see them live at The Dial but Gary Baker broke his arm and the gig was called off. Bugger. It didn’t stop me shamelessly trying to rip them off, though. Fast, jangly, angry guitar pop – McCarthy wrote the required text. And I plagiarised it.

And then, looking through the stuff about Jamie Wednesday, I came upon Bob, another forgotten indiepop gem. I did get to see them play and it was an amazing gig. They played a jaunty, boppy variant of indie, like that purveyed by The Brilliant Corners or, more recently, Milky Wimpshake. I’ve still got a copy of Bob’s ‘Swag Sack’ and it makes me smile whenever I listen to it. It’s ultrapop.

I got to drive round Bob for some reason. I can’t remember why, maybe getting them some chips or something. They were lovely blokes, very silly and friendly. A bit like The Family Cat, who White Town were lucky enough to support. (I’ve not gone insane and started using my band name as a strange third-person thing, that was back when White Town was a guitar indie band. Not just me and a load of synths.)

I’m rambling. Forgive me, I must have swallowed some Deep Heat by accident.

I was 19 / 20 when C86 happened. It made a lasting but subtle impression on me (had to be subtle – I was too fat for paisley). It changed my brain. It was a kind of post-punk burp, a late-80s flowering of hapless, passionate and mostly commercially pointless pop music. It wasn’t weird to form a band just to play gigs for yourself. Or, like I did, to book a gig before you actually had a band. Or any songs. Or could play the guitar.

It wasn’t uncool to sing about your own life, your politics or perhaps your fascination with Katherine Hepburn. Getting signed? Well, yeah, that’d be lovely but who to? It’s not like EMI were keen on the shambolic bedsit agitpop of most of the C86ers.


Wonder what? Wonder what the fuck you’re on about…

When labels who had a roster of C86 bands did score big, it wasn’t with those acts but with appalling ham-fisted karaoke like Oasis. Welcome to the arid, crapulous ’90s. Hello Chris fucking Evans, fake football fans and Loaded. The only good musical things in the ’90s were Riot Grrl and hip hop. The rest was lardy, apolitical, parka-wearing, stadium-filling utter shite.

Oooh, sorry – I mentioned the ‘p’ word again, didn’t I? Look, I’m not claiming that everyone with a bowl cut and a Jasmine Minks t-shirt in 1988 was some kind of Narodnik but there was a fundamental difference in musical aesthetic then. I think it was a musical version of Italian Neorealism. There was a connection with the artist’s outer world, documentary pop. What that pop documented varied from artist to artist, certainly, but it was all more real than now. More connected.

And something else… How can I explain it… ah yes: bands were crappy and proud. Prog was anathema, the sonic atrocities of post-rock and mathrock had yet to be invented (prog by any other name) and if you knew how to play a bit too well, people would eye you with distrust and invariably try to set fire to the laces of your Docs.

The idea was all. What are you trying to say? What do you want to express? Never mind if you only know three chords, anything more is jazz funk anyway. Just get it out, form a band, play a gig, record some stuff somewhere cheap or free and then release it. Could be on cassette, could be, if you’re very lucky, on a flexi or 7″. Just GET ON WITH IT! The personal is political: the act of releasing your own music, of not waiting for permission from some cokehead, arsefaced A&R raccoon is a fundamental rejection of the model corporate capitalism has for the production of music.

Now, we have a different music scene. We have bands who can record 64+ audio tracks on their own home computers, maybe at 24bit / 192KHz if they feel like it. We have musicians who are immensely technically able. Hey, those guys can really play! The average home computer can burn a CD! You can make your own CD of your own original music, no record companies involved at any time – how magic is that?

There is nothing logistical standing in the way of a new explosion of creativity. If you’re too poor to afford your own music computer, use one at school/college/Uni/work. Or do it on a cassette four track, who cares about recording quality anyway?

And yet…

All the guitar lessons in the world can’t create a mindset. All the gear in the world won’t suddenly make a songwriter connect with that world and try to represent/change it, like a lot of the C86 bands did. And yeah, I know it was an overwhelmingly white, male, middle-class scene: believe me, I felt that all too deeply, often being the only non-white face at indie gigs. But despite the demographic deficits, there was a lot of hope, integrity and fervour there.

Being very cynical, I guess you could say it was cool to be independent and anti-major so that became the prevailing zeitgeist. Now I think it’s become cool to be a dead-fish-eyed celebrity whore. You don’t form a band to make music, you form a band as a stepping-stone to FAME! Why do you want to be famous? Ummm…. to fill that yelping, whimpering hole inside you. Just look at some of the “musicians” applying for X Factor.

Yes, I’m being nostalgic. Yes, nostalgia is always wrong, as wrong as a Tory MP telling us their hip music tastes. But I’m every so slightly right, too. If something as stupendously evil as the Iraq invasion had happened during the C86 era, you can bet it would have set the musical world on fire. Just as the Miners’ Strike did a bit earlier. Things weren’t so brain-numbingly safe and apolitical then – I do believe the average band did more and cared more.

Nowadays, indie bands don’t even care enough to pay lip service to the most evil event of the last ten years. The average indie songwriter is a very handsome bloke pretending to be a nerd, mewling about some failed relationship that never even happened. Why? Because that’s what indie is: whingeing by numbers. Let’s keep mining that teenage angst seam, it’s where the money is!

Reality doesn’t touch modern indie bands, they’ve retreated into an imaginary 1950s, a seaside postcard Britpop dream. All mockney swaggering and fuck-all to say about the real world. Videos shot on appropriately grimy council estates that cost ten times the average resident’s yearly income. Fake poverty, fake angst, fake second-hand clothes. Real?


ADF – the true heirs to the C86 DIY aesthetic?

In the real world, I’m going to this protest on Sunday. The always excellent Asian Dub Foundation are playing at 5pm. Since music scenes like C86 and bands like McCarthy don’t exist any more, there’s no indie band playing.

********** New Bit! ************

Turns out I’m half wrong and half right about the apolitical nature of current indie bands. Tomorrow night at the Brixton Academy, there’s an indie gig on in benefit of The HOPING Foundation which works with Palestinian children in refugee camps. So there you go, an indie band actually connecting with the real world. But who’s the band?

Primal Scream.

Yep… C86 band Primal Scream. They started off jangly, went rock and now have become bastard heavy disco. Here’s what Bobby Gillespie has to say about it:

When I was growing up in Scotland, my dad, a print workers’ union leader, made trips to Nicaragua to support the Sandinistas. He would persuade factory owners to donate paper, and he sent school books, pens and jotters to the children. It was the obvious thing to do then, and it’s the same today with Palestine. The way it looks to us, every Palestinian is a political prisoner – and every Palestinian has the right to be free.

The band has been wanting to do this for a long time. We are all so upset and appalled with what is going on there. Of course, we’re not the first musicians in this country to try to use our music to help those who need support. John Lennon used his name and money to oppose the Vietnam war and support the workers on strike. If Lennon were still on this earth, he’d be doing Palestine. In fact, he’d be rocking the Brixton Academy tomorrow night.
(Source: The Guardian)

Good to see at least one indie band with a functioning heart.