Friday, July 22, 2011

go johnnie go

A pie in the face works best when the target is well known as somebody who is pompous, arrogant and thinks they're above the rest of us, someone with too much power, someone who will be riled that any lowling dared to challenge them.

As such, Peter Mandelson was an ideal target. Jeremy Clarkson was less so because, whilst he's a rampantly egotistical fuckweasel of the highest order, he was bound to take it in good spirits.

Frankly, I cannot think of a better target than Rupert Murdoch, target of a pie attack by Johnnie Marbles (who explains it himself here).

The venomous bile he's spewed into our lives, the racism, sexism and homophobia he has promoted and entrenched, the countless thousands of lives he has permanently ruined to get one day's titillating story, the governments he's hijacked, enfeebled and bent to his will. Really, who would weep for him ever, let alone being unhurt by foam?

And yet they pretend to. The Daily Mirror fumed that the outrageous news of yet more City banker bonuses were buried because Murdoch's pieing got the front page, and this is somehow Marbles' fault. As if Murdoch's appearance at the Select Committees wasn't going to be the front page anyway.

Had Marbles not lobbed his custard (so to speak), should we blame Tom Wilson for hiding the banker bonuses by having Murdoch come into parliament that day? Or is this a paper desperately trying to find outrage somewhere but knowing that, really, you can't stick up for Murdoch because we all hate the fucker and he needs less of a pie in the face and something more like a trial for crimes against humanity?

It's not just the usual press gripers though. On Facebook, Billy Bragg posted

We finally get an opportunity to see Rupert Murdoch for what he really is - a frail 80 year old who is out of touch with the day to day running of his empire - on what must be the worse day in News Corps history. Then Jonny Marbles steps up with his pie prank and gives the The Sun, The Times, Sky News and Fox News the chance make Murdoch look like the victim. Thanks a lot, you idiot.

So Fox News were poised to report it properly were they? They hadn't already drafted their portrait of Murdoch as the victim of aggressive axe-grinding politicians?

Tailoring our action to what won't make Fox News and the Sun dislike us is not going to get us far. Doubly so when the target is the Sun's owner. For floundering unthought-throughness, Bragg exceeds even the Mirror.

Direct action is rarely popular with the media. They tend to call it anti-democratic when it is actually almost always about plugging gaps in democracy, reining in or smacking up against power that is far in excess of what is fair and just. Murdoch bestrides the earth designing our tax regimes and picking our leaders. He came into the select committee, once again made the politicians dance for him, then flew away in a private jet.

Jonnie Marbles is the first one to stick something back at him, to give Murdoch's victims a laugh at their tormentor's expense, for who knows how long. But at the end of the day it made no real difference either way. Contrary to what Billy Bragg and co allege, the world is not awash with a spontaneous wave of tender love for Rupert Fucking Murdoch. Neither did it derail the questioning - it's not as if without the pie Murdoch might've spilled the beans on the corrupt police and politicians on his secret payroll.

It did not profoundly shake Murdoch's power. But then neither will any number of attacks be they desserts or select committees. And that was part of the point. It did, for just for one moment, make the self-appointed king into a clown.

Monday, July 18, 2011

they're all in it together

So the other day I mentioned that the attention given to News International employees shouldn't distract us from the guilt shared by politicians and, especially, the police who colluded; that this wasn't just lowly constables accessing police files but something much more institutional.

After the police killed Ian Tomlinson in April 2009 they put out a string of lies to try to get away with it. They claimed to have had 'no contact' with Tomlinson, that their officers tried to revive him whilst protesters threw a hail of bottles (in fact protesters tried to get an ambulance for him whilst the police refused to speak to medical staff). They had a dodgy autopsy done saying it was all natural causes. They had the 'Independent' Police Complaints Commission say there was no CCTV in the area, and after people published photos of the cameras they amended that to say they 'weren't working'.

And they did almost get away with it. Then the Guardian published the footage of the police assault. The response was to go round to the Guardian's offices and (glove puppeting an IPCC official) tell them to take it off the website. Anything to keep themselves in the clear.

Yesterday the head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Paul Stephenson, resigned because of the phone hacking scandal (and Assistant Commissioner John Yates looks set to follow today). Like a thousand guilty coppers before him, he knows if you resign there's no real investigation and you keep your pension.

Press reports made much of the fact that Stephenson had a £12,000 stay in a health spa that the owners had 'forgotten' to give him a bill for. It's easily done, my workplace is always doing twelve grand's worth of work for a solitary client and then and absent mindedly neglecting to ask for payment. And a copper taking a massive freebie is in no way suspicious at all.

The spa and the Met both employed Neil Wallis, ex-Deputy Editor of News Of The World, to do their PR. Both sides say this is a coincidence and they didn't know about it. Stephenson now says the real reason was that he should have told the Prime Minister that Wallis was implicated in the phone hacking scandal.

However, it's interesting that the resignations comes less than 48 hours after it was revealed that the toppest of the Met's top brass, including Stephenson himself, made not one but two intimidating visits to the Guardian to tell them that their coverage of the hacking scandal was exaggerated. They particularly disliked the claims that the police were in any way colluding in the hacking.

These visits came two months after they started employing Wallis. If they didn't know Wallis was implicated, and if they didn't know the full extent of the hacking and the police's integral part in it, then it's a bit of a coincidence and pretty poor detective work (especially for professional investigators). From here, it looks very like the same tactics used on the same newspaper to cover their guilt on the killing of Ian Tomlison.

Resignation is no substitute for prosecution and conviction. It's time for the police to start arresting one another.

The Times - a Murdoch paper glad of an opportunity to deflect blame - says today

Journalists who bribe policemen are indicative of a flawed industry. Policemen who can be bribed are indicative of a flawed state.

This is true, but ignores the fact that the media barons, politicians and police are all prongs on the same fork. They share the same aims and values, and seek to maintain the same powers for one another.

And, just as the police response to the final damburst of information about the Mark Kennedy/Ratcliffe affair was to throw some blame on to the Crown Prosecution Service, so Stephenson has lost no time in waving an accusatory finger at David Cameron. He points out that the Met's man Wallis had left the News of The World without a hint of impropriety, whereas Cameron's man Coulson - Wallis' boss - had been forced to resign because of the phone hacking scandal. The implication is that if Stephenson had to go, it counts doubly for Cameron.

We can dream, can't we? They didn't imprison Al Capone for the Valentines Day Massacre, they finally got him in jail for tax evasion. By the same token, I want to see Coulson go down, not for the phone hacking but for getting Cameron into power. But like the feds with Capone, I'll take whatever I can get.

That said, if there's one thing this last week has taught us it's that we can't tell what's coming. This story is *still* gathering pace and is finally beginning to properly bring the Tories and police into it.

Even if it doesn't bring Cameron down, it can certainly be his Dodgy Dossier moment, the point at which the wider public consciously understands that the leader is a duplicitous scumfuck and that the real power is held by a shady swarm of evil people around him whose names we don't know.

Friday, July 15, 2011

phone hacking and spinning the police

The phone hacking scandal has been amazing. One day there's a move to refer the takeover of BskyB to the Competition Commission that looks like an attempt to sweep it under the carpet till the fuss dies down, the next day the entire bid collapses.

This story is moving so fast - and every move making it worse for Murdoch and News Corp - that The Guardian have a live updates page, they way they do when they're reporting a trial or inquest.

Interestingly, the American end of this may still be barely beginning. If there is proof that News International paid police for information then it is against US law - as an American corporation it is bound by legislation not to bribe officials of any state. And if there is any proof of attempt to hack 9/11 victims and their families, it's game over for Murdoch.

Top marks to Billy Bragg for already releasing a song about it (free download here), with a major nod to the Scouse boycott of the Sun ever since their foul lies about the Hillsborough disaster.

Reflecting on it all, it strikes me that there are several parallels with the Mark Kennedy affair. A scandal was passed off as the act of one bad apple, a rogue that the bosses didn't know about. Then it becomes clear that it was endemic, a policy run from the top. Then beyond that, it becomes apparent that it was the product of the shared political values of the police and the organisations they work with.

The police kept quiet and covered their arses for as long as possible, then when that became untenable they leaked the Crown Prosecution Service's guilt in the Kennedy affair; similarly with the phone hacking they did a lalala fingers in the ears inquiry but now it's blown up they're busy telling us how evil News International have been all along.

There is a major difference though. The guilt in the Kennedy affair lies primarily with the police, whereas in the phone hacking it lies with News International. However, the police were the source of much of the initial seeds of information that led to stories. It appears around £100,000 was paid to officers, a few hundred quid at a time. News International should go down for that, but so should the officers.

If the journalist who wrote the stories on Jennifer Elliott - daughter of Denholm, found begging on the streets with drug problems and being an occasional sex worker - can tell Radio 4 that he feels his work contributed to her eventual suicide, then that culpability is shared by the police officer whose tip off instigated the story in return for a slender envelope of cash.

The family of Jean Charles de Menezes have written to the government urging them to ensure the inquiry into hacking covers the police's involvement. The fact that their phone numbers were on the hack list points the finger squarely at the police.

Given the baseless personal slurs about de Menezes that came out in the tabloids, the relationship was more than bent constables taking a bung from a low-level journo hacking to try to get a story. It is the kind of thing that comes from media management strategy at a high level.

It is certainly a scandal that a senior News of The World executive was working for the Metropolitan Police at the time when the Met were investigating the hacking. But what really caught my eye in the story was that the guy's police job existed at all.

Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the tabloid, was paid more than £1,000 a day to work two days a month at Scotland Yard as a consultant to Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police commissioner.

You fucking what? £24,000+ of public money for a total of two weeks spin doctoring?

And Wallis' pay isn't the half of it.

Neil Wallis, who was questioned for several hours on Thursday, was employed as recently as last year as sick leave cover for the force's deputy director of public affairs

Presumably the actual Director of Public Affairs gets even more than the deputy.

Yet there are still people who say that the police do a good honest job with the resources they've got, people who deny the police are a political force who manipulate the media.

Like the Conservative Party leadership, the police are desperately wriggling at the moment, trying to hold News International at arms length. Yet it is plain that all of them share information, personnel and tactics, because they have shared values and a shared mission.

Friday, July 08, 2011

glastonbury 2011

Many people leave Glastonbury having not slept the night before after five days of excessive drink and drugs. Whilst that was true of me too, I was also among the much smaller number who arrived at the festival that way. That, as you can imagine, is a whole other story.

It was a muddy Glastonbury. But so what? It's not actually cold and as long as you've got wellies there's no problem. Walking is a bit tougher but there's just as much fun to be had. Anyone who says otherwise is a pathological grump.


Despite the lack of a Climate Camp this year, their field has been retained as the Tripod Stage with the same frontline political attitude, and amongst the politics there were performances from Get Cape Wear Cap Fly, Chumbawamba and a host of others. I loved the beardy folky band doing Minnie Riperton's Loving You.

It was there that Rabble Rousers - performance poetry triumverate of me, Danny Chivers and Claire Fauset - started off our input to the festival in the Thursday lunchtime sunshine. We began with about six people in front of us but it soon swelled. Everyone's on a bimble on the Thursday and keen to engage. The enthusiasm is matched by the paucity of stuff on the big stages, so stuff like the Tripod Stage and the Bandstand down in Babylon do really well.

And sure enough, cider in hand, we passed the bandstand as the Beau Bow Belles were in full swing. And I do mean swing. Hilarious, theatrical, quirky but underpinned by serious musicianly prowess - god their harmonies! - they're a proper festival band. Why the fuck aren't Madam Laycock and Her Dabeno Pleasures on the bandstand? They would go down a tropical storm.

A huge sweep around the site to the twisted Blade Runner dystopian weirdness of Shangri La, with daylight baring its scaffolding supports made it a bit like seeing the Wizard of Oz as a bloke pulling levers behind a curtain.

During the festival proper it was understandably empty in the day - one daytime band in the Snake Pit had three people watching, blatantly a mum, dad and girlfriend of band members - but on Thursday afternoon the goodtime seekers had congregated and Womp were belting out a manic ska party that made the anticipatory party energy just erupt into the humid sky.

The official schedule is stretching properly into Thursday now. With the increase in punters, Glastonbury keeps adding more acts over a longer period and new stages too. In that way, the festival gets better and better. All those whining turds on the Guardian comments talking about how mainstream it is and why would anyone want to go and watch Beyonce and Coldplay, they just betray their ignorance and can fuck right off. The Pyramid Stage may be the largest, but it has never been what the festival is about.

At, say, Cropredy Festival there's only the one stage so if you don't like what's on then you're stuffed. They guard against that by having Richard Thompson headline the Friday and Fairport Convention healdine the Sunday every year, but still. Being in a place where you can't escape Nik Kershaw is not my idea of fun.

There is seemingly a rite of passage at Glastonbury, loads of people camp within earshot of the Pyramid Stage their first time and then learn to get as far away as possible in future. Indeed, the Pyramid's proportion of the festival is diminishing with all these new stages coming in.


And really, that underground acoustic candlelit piano bar in the Dragon Field is proper, classic, weird, poor health and safety, rollicking festival lunacy.

You go in through a metre-wide concrete pipe into a room mostly underground about the length and height of a double decker bus, and about twice the width. Steeply banked benches run up either side and at the end bands play. They have no amplification so must get the audience to sing along if they're to be heard. When I went in a trad jazz outfit were doing Staying Alive. There is a candle chandelier and bootleg liquor for sale. As Pete The Temp said, it is a carnival of abandoned logic.

It's off the side of the Stone Circle field, at the furthest reaches of the site, and there must be many a pharmacologically altered munter-punter who wakes the next morning with no idea where they found it and starts to wonder if they imagined the whole thing.

I'd planned to see Jimmy Cliff on Friday. Saw him at Glastonbury a few years back and he was superb, piling through his immense repertoire - Many Rivers To Cross, Wonderful World Beautiful People, You Can Get It If You Really Want, The Harder They Come - with all the gravitas of an original reggae pioneer but also the luminous exuberant delivery of a soul singer. However there was a rumour - I always believe the rumours, they've led me to secret sets from Madness and Thom Yorke, and never been wrong - that the special guests on The Park were


The Park is a poorly laid out site. The stage faces a slope side on, so if you come in the bottom of the field you just can't see. We went round the top for Radiohead, mingled well down but still, it was too small a soundsystem for so large a crowd.

When you're listening to music in a fairly noisy car, you need to play things you know well so that your brain can fill in the gaps made by the engine noise. By the same token, Radiohead doing mostly very new stuff with a few In Rainbows tracks to a crowd who mostly couldn't hear it was a bit meh. Given how utterly transcendent they can be, how they make music into something others can't even allude to, it was odd to walk away none the richer.

Jimmy Cliff, meanwhile, had played a blinder including updating Vietnam to be Afghanistan over at West Holts. Incidentally, honourable mention should be made of


It's a more or less tasteless pear cider base into which they mix flavoured syrups. It tastes about as sickly and artificial as it sounds when drunk in an urban environment. But out there in the spliffing fields it is the best drink imaginable. Silly, fizzy pop that is somehow stronger than beer. Perfect for keeping you on an uneven keel, and in its way it contributes as much to the weekend as any Arcadia pyrotechnics, bump into a dear old mate, K-hole psychonautry, or blinding set from a band.

Nicely positioned at the side of West Holts field it's easy to get to the Brothers bar no matter who's on stage. West Holts, come to think of it, is sort of an anti-Park. The sound is loud and full no matter where you are, clear view of the stage for far more people than want it.

Anyway, from Radioheady underwhelm down to


They've headlined the Other Stage a couple of times and mates have always come back saying they were mindblowing. Unexpectedly, properly mindblowing.

They are not my favourite band by a long, long way. I respect their excellent taste but find them really derivative. You can so tell what records they're thinking of when you hear them. Not that that's so terrible. As Julian Cope said, rock n roll is a strange artform in that a facsimile is the real thing. Oasis are obvious, unoriginal and meaningless, but nobody can deny that they're a real rock n roll band. So, you know, total originality isn't a prerequisite for being great, but nonetheless it does separate the great from the godlike.

Primal Scream have been doing one of those classic album tours, playing the entirety of Screamadelica. And they came out and did it. And truly, minds were blown. It scooped everyone up and swirled them into the music. It opens with the pop euphoria of Movin On Up and is by turns trippy, euphoric, edgy, sweeping, and has such deep groove running through it, touching on everything I need from music, melded into one huge rich symphony.

They've never split up so, like the Rolling Stones, they've stayed committed to their band and got to a stage where they deliver everything with such push, such penetrating confident swagger. Every moment, individually, was utterly perfect. I'd forgotten gigs could do that. Total strangers were arms round each other, bouncing and singing to the sky. It was quite simply the best gig I've ever seen.

I remember after Bowie at Glastonbury in 2000 - also a glorious and perfect gig that frankly I thought I'd never see the likes of again - I was one of many people checking with strangers at the end that it was indeed the best thing anyone had ever seen. With Primal Scream it happened again.

At the end of Primal Scream someone came up and said they'd lost their mates and come on their own 'and it was the best decision of my life'. I was there with Joe, the random stranger I'd been gurgling and singing and swooning with, and said, 'and your mates won't believe you cos it's only Primal Scream. But you, me and Joe here, we *know*', and we left the field feeling like we were walking on acres of fluffy pillow about two feet above the ground, like an invisible bouncy castle.

I was, it barely needs saying, ripped to the tits for the whole thing.

After I ran out of friends and strangers at the festival to gush at I had to spend the rest of the evening calling and texting everyone to enthuse. I knew that in the cold light of day I'd try to revise it cos, you know, what are Primal Scream next to Bowie or REM or whoever? But really, it was the best gig I've ever seen, anyone, anywhere, ever.


Meanwhile, over at the Pyramid Stage, the U2 protest went off pretty well. U2 complain about low levels of poverty relief from Western governments yet they are registered in the Netherlands to avoid the taxes they would pay if they were an Irish company, rather like the way Boots is run from their vast estates that take up half of Nottingham but are technically based in a PO Box in Switzerland. So Art Uncut inflated a 20 foot high balloon saying 'U PAY TAX 2?', and got their fingers broken by security for doing so.

Holding up banners at stadium rock bands on the Pyramid Stage? Did a bit of that myself back in the day, but that's another story.

U2's set included a mere four songs from the latter two-thirds of their career, a ton of Achtung Baby stuff, and no pontificating from Bono, which is as good as I would've dare hope for if I were there. Wouldn't have swapped that, nor most things I can think of, for being down the front at Primal Scream though. And I still feel weird about saying that.

On Saturday down at the Cabaret marquee


did an epic set, well over an hour long, talking about his recent walk along the length of the Israeli apartheid wall. The energetic passionate delivery is infectious, the way he can find comedy in anything holds you there, yet he can talk of the most harrowing experiences in unflinching detail and it doesn't lose you but pulls you in further. It's a hell of a talent, and what you get for only working on things you really deeply care about.

In some excellent billing he was followed by


who also does something peculiar with comedy. Like Bill Hicks, he says funny stuff but then wanders off into just saying what he thinks politically and philosophically. The openness he's created with the humour is used to make us amenable to his perspective.

More than that, he's optimistic. It is far easier to write slagging things off than being positive (as a visit to the Comments sections that form the bottom half of the internet can attest). Comedy tends to generalise and ridicule, and whilst Hardy's stuff certainly does this, his underlying position is one of hope, his hatred (where it exists) is for the way we've been made to feel dull and powerless.

He knows he's largely talking to older folks ('good to see so many people here; I have a Radio 4 demographic and it was a harsh winter'), and he uses that to stir people to break through their crust of jadedness. 'Young people aren't being daft when they protest, they just haven't thrown in the towel. They're thinking about globalisation instead of what's on offer at Topps Tiles'

The rumour - yet again, true - was that Saturday's special guests at the Park would be


I know that they really mean a lot to people who were 14-24 in 1995. And I like the big choruses, the knowingness. Jarvis' subsequent solo stuff is intelligent and continues the same line, bold and inventive and catchy and with a real edge. Cunts are Still Running The World is just marvellous.

But still, I never got on with Pulp. There's a sneeringness in the lyrics, something arrogant and somehow hollow. The heavy irony is laid on so thick that you can't tell what point is actually being made, and I suspect Jarvis himself can't tell either.

When he sings 'is this the way they say the future's meant to feel? Or just 20,000 people standing in a field?', what does he mean? Blatantly he's having a great time and genuinely loving it, as are the 20,000 people singing along. Yet the line is clearly there to say that they don't like it, that it is rubbish. It's the kind of relentlessly dismissive smug aloofness common to people who want to dress up their fear of intimacy and enthusiasm as some form of cool superiority.

Of course, now the whole thing is nostalgia and so it doesn't matter. We can sing along all manner of songs of heartbreak or gibberish and they really mean something to us if we've cherished them in our bones for years and years.


Headlining the Saturday night on the Other Stage, Chemical Brothers were massive. With them, as with folks like Orbital and Fourtet, seeing them live is kind of like watching someone check their email whilst listening to Chemical Brothers CD. But at full-on festival volume the dark nebulous elements come out in full, the depth and complexity of the music splatters you in a way that no headphones or home speakers can ever allow.


The Speakers Forum where we Rabble Rousers do our thing was its usual great self all weekend. Climate politics analysis from the person who conceived Contraction and Convergence, Aubrey Mayer who - hell, you're on stage at Glastonbury so milk it - ended with a viola piece.

Sunday brought a truly weird moment for me though.

In Bob Geldof's autobiography there's a picture of him on stage at the end of the Live Aid concert. He is being carried on the shoulders of Paul McCartney and Pete Townshend while David Bowie looks on, applauding. Geldof captioned it 'spot the non rock god'.

Two years ago we were on before Nick fucking Clegg (and I did a seven minute poem about what duplicitious freemarket fundamentalists the LibDems are). But this year the bill on Sunday ran; Mark Thomas, Michael Eavis, Rabble Rousers, Tony Benn. Kinnell. Spot the non folk heroes.


We had to leg it down to my only visit to the Pyramid Stage this year. It's that Sunday late afternoon slot, everyone's a bit minging and a bit musiced-out. You need a legend who touches your soul. In previous years I've seen Al Green, Brian Wilson and Van Morrison in this slot. Paul Simon is a total box ticker for it. It amazes me he wasn't higher up the bill. With such a phenomenal back catalogue and songs that absolutely everyone adores, he'd close the festival so well. What sort of event has given Roger sodding Waters the headline slot yet relegates Paul Simon to 4th?

You've gotta feel for any drummer Paul Simon hires. You're going to dread him saying he wants you to play 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, a song with a drum pattern so languidly loose and grooving that the original drummer, Steve Gadd, gets a royalty from the track.

As is often the case with going in with high hopes, Paul Simon was disappointing. What was good was wonderful - four or five from Graceland, an album that half the world seems to regard as a dear friend - and some gorgeous sunshine stuff like Slip Sliding Away and (the one time that I cried this year) Hearts and Bones. But there were four from the new album, and no Simon and Garfunkel tunes whatsoever. I know he must be sick of Bridge Over Troubled Water, but how about America, Hazy Shade of Winter? As opposed to coming to Glastonbury and encoring with Kodachrome? Erk?

From there to the BBC Introducing stage, oddly situated in the Dance Village, to see a well deserved headline slot from the mighty


BBC Introducing have put video of pretty much their whole weekend online. You can watch the whole Vessels set here and you'll be a smaller sadder creature if you don't. Try it at the loudest that you dare.

Vessels were magnificent, but then again they always are. Like Radiohead they can take the peculiar time signatures, grandeur and segmentation normally associated with wanky prog and make something epic and rocking that makes you think that the band are telepathic and all other pop music, even the stuff you love, is essentially nursery rhymes.

From there a shlurp back through the mud for the closer on West Holts,


Not many places'll give you Kool and the Gang supported by Vessels and Paul Simon.

Coming from the American soul revue tradition with its roots in playing for dancing before the advent of DJs, the music never stopped, it was one long bouncing party.

Tight as a gnat's chuff and yet all ten of them on stage arsing around and having a hell of a time, they bundled through all the hits - unfortunately that included two I Just Called To Say I Love Youalikes, Cherish and Joanna - they hit with with more funk than I'd dared to hope for. In my mind's ear stuff like Get Down On It is a bit slick and shiny, but that night the sheen became sparkle and there was a real proper dirty funk chassis that it rode upon.

And as I'm obeying the instructions to get down get down, as if the gods of festivalaciousness wanted to make sure everything felt unified and joyous, bouncing in by my side is Joe from down the front at Primal Scream. And, as anticipated, when they closed the set with Celebration, being in the field at the end of the boistrous festival with ten thousand people singing that first 'wahoo' was a real Moment.

As ever, people who don't go to festivals always ask about the bands, and as always it's easiest to cite the bands rather than the thousand little interactions, joys, positive exchanges with strangers and weirdnesses that make the real vibe. Glastonbury would be worth it without any of the bands listed above.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

the sinking of the arandora star

I'm quite glad there's no Glastonbury next year, I think it'll take two years to get over this one. I'll try and do a write-up about it soonly. in the meantime, I've got a guest post up at On This Deity.

Today is the 71st anniversary of the sinking of the Arandora Star, the predictable deaths of 800 German and Italian civilians who'd been interned by the British who had been deported in an overcrowded ship with no civilian markings and not enough lifeboats. The callousness and racism of the British government was matched by the common humanity of the British and German troops on board who evacuated the boat, and the locals along the Scottish and Irish coasts who found the funds to bury the tide of bodies amongst their own.