How White Is Black

How White Is Black
Closer to the truth than racists would like to admit…

Gene tests on a sample of “indigenous” Englishmen have thrown up a surprise black ancestry, providing new insight into a centuries-old African presence in Britain.

The research, funded by the Wellcome Trust, identified a rare West African Y chromosome in a group of men from Yorkshire who share a surname that dates back at least as far as the mid-14th century and have a typical European appearance. They owe their unusual Y chromosome to an African man living in England at least 250 years ago and perhaps as early as Roman times, the researchers say.
(Source: New Scientist)

When Nazis and Tories moan on about “the multicultural experiment” and “alien cultures,” I tend to find it hilarious for four reasons. Firstly, that anyone who claims to be English can claim to be pure-blooded. Pure what? Angle? Saxon? Norman? Dane? Roman? There’s no Nordic purity going on in the English genepool, however much wishful thinkers might like to invoke Thor and wear badly-researched Celtic symbols.

Secondly, Britain’s long history of slavery must have had an impact on the genepool. I remember watching an episode of Eddie Izzard’s ‘Mongrel Nation’ where he revealed that at one time, a significant percentage of Londoners were black (I forget the exact amount, I think it was around 10%). Now, pre-Windrush, that visible black presence had all but disappeared. But then they carried out the same kind of test as the one above on “white” Londoners and found many of them had African genes. Humans had done what humans love to do: shag like bunnies. Although there must have been many coffee-coloured kids in the first few generations, the skin tone eventually faded while other genes didn’t.

So, if you’re a London racist who can’t stand black people, there’s a good chance you may be hating yourself and your own ancestry. I’d love the leaders of the BNP to get gene-tested in this manner. 😀

The third reason is the most obvious. When Nazi ideology talks about “purity” what it really means is an impoverished gene pool. Imagine if you did just breed from stereotypical, blond, blue-eyed people and killed any mutant babies. If you kept breeding from the same stock for long enough, it wouldn’t be long before some kind of hereditary dysfunction showed up. This is exactly the reason why breeders of race horses, pedigree dogs and royal families need to infuse “new blood” every now and then. Too much purity kills you, whether you’re a snuffling dog or a haemophiliac aristocrat.

Purity equals stagnation, diversity equals strength. If you have a genetically very uniform population, all it takes is for one killer disease to come along and it’ll be wiped-out. If the population were more genetically diverse, there would be a far higher chance of some members having a lucky natural immunity or resistance. This is why it’s bad news if you’re a cheetah with a cough:

The cheetah is unusual among felids in exhibiting near genetic uniformity at a variety of loci previously screened to measure population genetic diversity. It has been hypothesized that a demographic crash or population bottle-neck in the recent history of the species is causal to the observed monomorphic profiles for nuclear coding loci. The timing of a bottleneck is difficult to assess, but certain aspects of the cheetah’s natural history suggest it may have occurred near the end of the last ice age (late Pleistocene, approximately 10,000 years ago), when a remarkable extinction of large vertebrates occurred on several continents.
(Source: PNAS)

What Hitler and his gaggle of loons tried to do and what the BNP and other neo-Nazis seek nowadays is a man-made evolutionary bottleneck: they want to gas any humans who don’t meet their standards of “purity.” Bad news if you’re a Jew but also if you’re black, brown, gay, disabled or just like speaking your mind. But don’t worry – if Nazis ever did get their wish and created their “master race,” it wouldn’t be long before some plague came along and wiped all the fuckers out. Zero genetic diversity = zero future.

The fourth reason is a doozy. Still feeling sad for the poor cheetah? Well, save some for yourself since we went through the same kind of evolutionary bottleneck:

A new hypothesis about recent human evolution suggests that we came very close to extinction because of a “volcanic winter” that occurred 71,000 years ago.

Some scientists estimate that there may have been as few as 15,000 humans alive at one time.

The volcanic winter lasted about six years. It was followed by 1,000 years of the coldest Ice Age on record.

It brought widespread famine and death to human populations around the world. It also affected subsequent human evolution.
(Source: BBC News)

Think about that. Every sane person accepts that humans eveolved in Africa but most people dismiss it as being millions of years ago and therefore unimportant.

But this is only 70,000 years ago. A mere gnat’s cough in geological terms. Imagine the whole human race comprising only 15,000 Africans. That’s not a lot of people. We all come from that stock. Every one of the 6 billion plus people on the planet is a son or daughter of that group of survivors. We very nearly didn’t make it at all. Our genepool holds echoes of that disaster even now. We survived and did what we love to do: shagged like bunnies. I think the professor puts it more poetically:

“When our African recent ancestors passed through the prism of Toba’s volcanic winter, a rainbow of differences appeared,” Professor Ambrose said.
(Source: BBC News)

The racial differences you see around you are there precisely because those 15,000 people didn’t follow Nazi breeding theory. If they had, well, there wouldn’t be any white people for a start. They would have killed any mutant babies who happened to be bit lighter than their parents. If that group of Africans and their descendents had been as foolish as contemporary fascists, it’s highly likely that the human race wouldn’t be here today. In all its rainbow glory!

So the next time you hear some BNP nutter ranting on about their history or heritage, ask them if they’re proud of their African ancestors who managed to make it through the biggest disaster in human history.

Ten Years Ago Today!

White Town - 'Your Woman'

On Sunday 25th January, 1997, my song, ‘Your Woman,’ went to number one in the UK singles chart. It was soon number one in eight other countries (twice in Spain, apparently).

That song, recorded in my spare bedroom in a small semi-detached house on Silverburn Drive, Oakwood, Derby, went on to sell 400,000+ singles in the UK and a shitload in the rest of the world too. Although the album it was from, ‘Women In Technology,’ only sold 47,000 in the UK, it went on to sell 250,000+ in the USA and Canada.

Not bad for one bloke and some basic equipment:

* Tascam 688 Midistudio (8-tracks on cassette)
* Atari 520STFM running Sequencer One (free prog off the front of ST Format magazine)
* Emax II (Akais – yeuchh)
* Casio CZ101 (cost 50 pounds)
* Roland JX3P
* Casio VL-1
* Crappy old electric guitar.
* Tandy PZM mic.

For a while there, my life was a whirl of interviews and promo trips, airports and TV studios.

Of course, it couldn’t last.

Within a year of being signed, EMI couldn’t wait to drop me and I couldn’t wait to be dropped. I can’t work the major label way, I’ve never been a fan of art-by-committee and that’s the definition of working with a major. Everyone sticks their oar in: A&Rs who know nothing about music and less about recording start questioning mixes, MDs start choosing singles, label heads force ugly covers on you. It’s not for me. If you’re a stage-school kid or an artist who is immensely obedient and likes having a lot of money/drugs, it’s probably perfect.

It looks like I’ve been pretty lax in the decade that’s passed since then. I’ve only released two albums, a few singles and a handful of compilation tracks. But, seeing as I went barmy, bought a mansion, sold it, moved to Norwich, went even barmier, bought a studio, sold it, moved back to Derby, got a little less barmy… well, I’ve not been twiddling my thumbs.

Here would be a good place to plug my new album, ‘Don’t Mention The War.’ If you click on that linky, you can have a listen to clips of it to see if I’m still mentally unstable. I seem to have come full-circle in that I’m now back to being completely DIY. I’m very happy being my own label. Of course, if somebody waved wads of money in my face, I would be tempted since there’s a lot of useless gadgetry I want to buy. But I know that as much as I covet HD plasma screens and collecting every synth manufactured, I can’t work with major labels. (Not that they’re queuing up to work with me, mind!)

I feel immensely lucky and happy that a decade on I’m still married to the same gorgeous, silly woman, still making music and still in love with life. I didn’t go mad on cocaine, I didn’t buy a Ferrari, I didn’t go on all the crappy TV nostalgia shows that persist in emailing me. I loved having that bit of commercial success and, as much as people think I must hate it, I’m proud of having written a song that made so many millions of people both happy and slightly puzzled.

The older I get, the easier I feel with my own creativity. I love photography, DJing, I love writing on here but most of all I love being a songwriter. I know that if I hadn’t been a songwriter for the last 24 years, I would have gone even more mental. It’s truly a perfect form of deep auto-psychotherapy! And you get paid for it! 😀

I also know that if nothing had happened all those years ago, I’d still be a musician now. There’s nothing like writing a song and then sitting in front of an audience, singing it to them. That emotional connection, that shared moment is the most wondrous, beautiful feeling.

So, even though you may have to struggle on for years, like I did, even though you may never “make it” in the financial sense, a life in music is its own reward. It’s ace! 😀