Saturday, October 02, 2004


A post on Unitedite in support of Uncy and a certain Mr Bragg.

I wonder if you would all be so kind as to allow an ennui inducing, wrinkly anal expulsion of noxious gases to offer non-surgical support to a favourite uncle and also to add a few more gems to the collection of some of the finest music ever committed to vinyl.

For the benefit of younger readers, I should maybe explain that vinyl is the material from which are made those rather ’interestingly’ shaped fruit bowls of your parents…and you have my heartfelt apologies for writing such a clumsy sentence. Anyway, onwards ever onwards.

Au Pairs…Armagh
Medium Medium…Further than Funk Dream
The Beat…Dream Home in New Zealand
Capt Beefheart…Love Lies/Floppy Boot Stomp
Funky 4+1…That’s the Joint
Denis Bovell…Better
Elvis Costello…Alison
The The…Kingdom of Rain
Robert Wyatt…Shipbuilding

Throw in a bit of Black Uhuru and Aswad, add a soupcon of Television and Talking Heads and I would say that between us, we had it all just about covered. Not representative of my entire musical taste by any means…not even a large part of it but what we have here is the music of an era. An era about which, I suspect, a whole lot of people on here know diddly and one during which it was impossible to separate music from politics.

The Thatcher years. A nomenclature far too anodyne for this correspondent. An era defined, for me at least, by frustration, anger, utter helplessness and a deep and abiding despair. I lost my faith in my fellow countrymen. How could they not see through her? How could they stand idly by while she flung wide Britannia’s thighs to the trident thrust of Ronnie’s blunt simplicities?

She set out to annihilate socialism and it is a tribute to her genius that she succeeded to the extent that even today, B. Liar = Thatcher Lite. She divided and conquered. We were to be afraid and consume, a state of affairs that people like Marilyn Manson are railing against even as we speak.

Most of our sense of community, of belonging and yes, socialism (for what is socialism but an acceptance that we exist in a wider society) has its roots in working class communities. Those who had nothing, shared everything and it was this sense of communality that she had to destroy.

She took on, divided and beat the miners. She decimated manufacturing industry in the country to the extent that today, working class means not going to work. The fear bit was easy. The fear of losing your job…keep your head down, work for what we give you and don’t even think about organising labour. The fear of the red menace and of nuclear armageddon…protect and survive…hide under the kitchen table, guys…you’ll be alright.

Another masterstroke was the realisation that she had to create competition, an illusion of betterment. The right to buy allowed many into the mortgaged classes, into debt and under control. The further up the money/property ladder you go, the more your ambitions may become individual, concerned only with you and your immediate family. She made the pursuit of the purely personal aspirational.

So is it any wonder that Mr Bragg went a tad over the top? Faced with such on-yer-bike, rampant right-wingery, just what the fuck was he supposed to do? Is it really such a surprise that music served (as it always has) as a focus for the disenfranchised and seriously pissed off?

Look around you. Greed. Me, me, me. Chavs. Big fucking Brother. Silverdale v Abbeydale, State v Private, Happy Clappers v Warnockers, Rich v Poor. Divisions all widened by 12 odd fucking years of Tory bastard rule.

Oh, fuck it. I’m too old and tired to care much any more and, to borrow a Majorism, not a little bitter and twisted. I had the good sense and the fortune to get out, to escape to a country where people still give a shit. And yes, it IS probably her fault that we only got a point at Brighton this afternoon.

And Millwall? Fradi shat ’em.

Oh, well. If you have been, it’s your own bloody fault.

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