From the monthly archives:

May 2011

#191: 1986, The Woodentops, Well Well Well

May 31, 2011

I went to see Belle and Sebastian at the Roundhouse last night – it was a superb gig with the usual cast of millions on stage.  Stuart Murdoch’s geeky indie boy dancing is alive and well and the band look, as ever, as far away from a pop band as it is possible to be […]

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Cleaning FIFA’s Stables

May 31, 2011

Cash allegedly passing hands in brown envelopes for votes, a World Cup bought by an authoritarian cash rich oil rich statelet according to the chief executive, corruption allegations against allies being peremptorily dismissed, corruption allegations against foes leading to suspensions.   This is the state of the governing body of the world’s most popular sport under […]

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#190: 1974, Patti Smith, Piss Factory

May 30, 2011

The first recording that Patti Smith released, the year before her utterly brilliant debut album Horses, was a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe.  She added in a spoken word section about Patty Hearst, but it is its B-Side, this track, that really marked out what she would become. Ray North wrote about The Doors […]

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The Coalition One Year On: #5 Health Policy

May 30, 2011

In the run-up to the 2010 General Election, David Cameron sought to convince voters that the NHS was safe in Tory hands.  Posters across the land were plastered with Cameron’s shiny air-brushed face and the reassuring words: “I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS.”  Internet spoofs suggested scepticism, but an Ipsos Mori poll prior to […]

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Cornwall Boundary Changes Revisited

May 30, 2011

Robert Webber posted a response to my piece on the Cornwall and Devon boundary changes from earlier this month.  In it, he suggested that instead of pairing Truro with Newquay and St Austell with Bodmin that these pairs should be swapped around.  I’ve had a look at this, and it yields the map below: The pairing […]

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John Redwood’s Sophistry

May 30, 2011

I learnt that word, sophistry, at University; a place I was lucky enough to go to by virtue of a full grant with all my fees paid. It enabled me to better myself. It seems like a quaint idea now – the taxes of the richest allowing me, a lad from North Wales, to go […]

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Pain all round from North Wales boundary changes

May 30, 2011

In my last post, I described the reductions in the number of constituencies in Wales as a result of the Coalition passing The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011.  I identified that North Wales would be most significantly affected, losing three of its current ten seats.  Even then, its constituencies would need to have […]

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#189: 1980, Motorhead, The Ace of Spades

May 29, 2011

I remember seeing Morothead singing this on Tiswas and being quite scared by Lemmy. But the fact that I remember that demonstrates what a superb record this is: a truly great two and a half minutes of unadulterated adrenalin pumping guitar rock. There’s no politics in this song (or if there is, I look forward […]

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How Wales loses a quarter of its MPs

May 29, 2011

I am returning to my series on the impact of the boundary changes. To date, this series has covered the Isle of Wight, Wirral and Devon & Cornwall. This is the first of two posts this evening looking at the part of the country facing the largest reduction in seats. Wales is losing a quarter […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies: Fire In Babylon

May 29, 2011

I was lucky enough just to catch the end of the great West Indies cricket sides that dominated world cricket from the mid 70s to the mid 90s – to see live the majesty of Viv Richards at the crease and the late Malcolm Marshall bowling.   I was not lucky enough to see the terrifying […]

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Week 21: Prat – Ryan Giggs’ Legal Team (or Ryan Giggs)

May 29, 2011

This week’s Prat of the Week Award goes to Ryan Giggs’ Legal Team (or Ryan Giggs) It wasn’t exactly difficult to discover that Ryan Giggs was the ‘premiership football player’ who had obtained an injunction in respect of his alleged affair with ex-Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas (someone who to describe as a Z-list celebrity […]

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Week 21: Hero – Barack Obama

May 29, 2011

Our award for Hero of the Week goes to Barack Obama. May has undoubtedly been the month that Obama got his mojo back.  After the disastrous Mid-Term Elections and his humiliation on The Daily Show just before, he ended 2010 on a low.  He regained a bit of momentum after thr shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, […]

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Week 21: Villain – Ratko Mladic

May 29, 2011

This weeks award for Villain of the Week goes to Ratko Mladic In June 1996 I was privileged enough to spend a month in Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. The things I saw and experienced during that time will stay with me forever. Mostar, rats running through the streets and the valley with Muslim crosses […]

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#188: 1954, Ray Charles, I Got A Woman

May 28, 2011

When I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s Ray Charles seemed to be the very personification of old people’s music.  He would always be on the telly in American light entertainment programmes or live from Vegas, singing sentimental crooner songs dripping in manipulative strings.  The very opposite to what even my pre-teen years […]

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Back Of The Net With Ray North: The Fat Lady Has Sung (well almost).

May 28, 2011

Save for the pomp and hype of the Champion’s League Final, more of which later, and the play-offs, the Footie Season is over – the fat lady has sung, the referee has blown his whistle, the lads have given 110%, when all’s said and done, all has been said and done. So, first, how were […]

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#187: 2009, Florence and the Machine, Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

May 27, 2011

I know that George East may differ on this choice, but I think this has to be one of the real stand out late noughties tracks from the wave of female artists that have dominated the charts in recent years.  From the harp intro onwards, I think this is a truly special piece of pop. […]

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Nick Clegg and the NHS Stand Off

May 27, 2011

Things have been getting interesting this week in the battle over the future of Andrew Lansley’s Destroy the NHS Bill.  There are even signs that Nick Clegg for the first time since he brought his party into the Coalition, is actually playing a smart political hand.  Hard to believe, I know, but bear with me. […]

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UK Economy Deathwatch: Growth Figures Revised Down Again, Second Financial Crisis Ahoy!

May 26, 2011

Ray North wrote earlier imploring David Cameron to recognise the government’s Thatcherite austerity programme is not working and reverse course on an economic policy which is self-defeating.  There is, of course, no chance whatever of this happening because this is a government led by a deeply ideological Conservative Party hierarchy slathering over the possibilities for […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies: A Screaming Man

May 26, 2011

  Chad is not a country you hear very much about.  Landlocked, French speaking, Saharan, er very big – I can’t pretend I know much more about it than that.  African cinema (other than from South Africa) does not get much exposure in the UK, films from Francophone Africa even less so.    Most films about […]

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So Davey Cam: the Big Society’s knackered, the Economy’s dying – what’s next?

May 26, 2011

When the Coalition came to power a year ago – David Cameron’s mission was two-fold: save the economy and unleash the big society on us. The Coalition would see us right, he said, hurrah! Huroo. A year on, those twin pillars of his government’s programme lie shattered on the floor, victims of poor thinking and […]

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#186: 1994, Portishead, Glory Box

May 26, 2011

In the flesh Portishead are not the sexiest band that ever walked the planet – Beth Gibbons (what a fantastic voice) is a pair of dangly earrings away from looking like a social worker; guitarist Adrian Utley, is the English teacher who ‘really understood the artist in you‘; whilst the drummer Geoff Barrow looks like […]

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The Coalition One Year On: #4 Foreign Policy

May 26, 2011

The Coalition’s record on foreign policy is confused: what is it all about? Is it liberal interventionism? Is it Is it isolationist anti-europeanism? Is it the hard thwack of British common sense jackbooting across the foreign stage? I have to say – I’m not really sure, but I don’t think that the Coalition is really […]

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Some Encouraging Signs For Obama

May 25, 2011

As Barack Obama tours Europe, there are some encouraging signs back home for his re-election, albeit that both have important caveats. Upstate New York The more significant is the result yesterday of the special election (the US term for a by-election) in New York state’s 26th congressional district.  This district has been Republican since its […]

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Brum Night-mayor

May 25, 2011

I’m a bit of an agnostic when it comes to directly elected mayors. They work well in some places and terribly in others. For example, I think Ken Livingstone showed what a directly elected mayor could achieve that a traditional council leader could not in his two terms in London: his leadership over introducing the […]

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#185: 1998, Mercury Rev, Goddess On A Hiway

May 25, 2011

I was on my way home from work on the tube on Monday flicking through the Evening Standard (which is still awful but not as unforgivably so as it was in the days when it was part of the Daily Mail group) and they had a review of the Mercury Rev gig on Saturday at […]

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Cable: ‘You Can’t Just Deal With This By Cutting Cutting Cutting – It Does Not Work’

May 25, 2011

  So said Vince yesterday and we at Allthatsleft heartily agree.   Cable was referring to the dying Greek economy as it faces further austerity measures and a fire sale of public assets (which will involve a huge transfer of wealth to the banks) in order to meet the demands of the EU and IMF.   However, […]

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Shame on the US Congress!

May 25, 2011

The hypocrisy is breathtaking. The sycophancy is cringeworthy. The lack of moral integrity and credible intellectual rigour is utterly and profoundly depressing. Those were my conclusions as I watched the US Congress reward Prime Minister of Israel (and recent winner of Allthatsleft villain of the week) Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to them yesterday with a series […]

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Roger Helmer: A Real Tory Neanderthal

May 25, 2011

A week ago today Ed Miliband called on Ken Clarke to be sacked as a result of his comments in the Radio 5 Live interview with Victoria Darbyshire.  This seemed to me then to be ill-advised. There was very little chance that Ken Clarke would be sacked and Leaders of the Opposition begin to look […]

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#184: 1965, Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

May 24, 2011

It’s Robert Allen Zimmerman’s Seventieth birthday today, and we at Allthatsleft  heartily join in the birthday congratulations for Bob Dylan, as he is more commonly known. I really scratched my head about which Bob track to pick: we’ve had two of his early hits before (#21 and #103), but CBS have had both You Tube clips […]

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London 2012: Olympic Hopeful # 1 – Zoe Smith (Weightlifting)

May 24, 2011

I love the weightlifting events at the Olympics. I doubt I’d love them anywhere else, I mean if someone invited me to watch, say, the Cheshire Amateur Weightlifting Championships, I’d probably give it a miss, but at the Olympics the sight of diminutive Turkish blokes lifting something akin to a Mini Clubman over their heads […]

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