From the monthly archives:

June 2011

#219: 1992, The Lovelies, Jo’s Party

June 30, 2011

Continuing the theme of ‘controversial’ week – I have to say, I struggled long and hard to think of anything that could remotely compete with George’s selection of Tiffany, then, I thought, Ray, you’re going in the wrong direction, you’re thinking too mainstream – and so, I dug up and dusted off this classic from […]

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Ed Miliband: Picking the splinters out of his arse

June 30, 2011

I can’t emphasise this enough – I AM NOT A WILD EYED LUNATIC FROM THE TROTSKYITE FRINGE! There, how was that for excessive use of uppercase. Worth it though, to highlight the fact that this piece is not written from the perspective of someone who calls for a general strike everytime there’s a row over […]

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Greece: What Happens Now?

June 30, 2011

As was always likely, given the survival of the confidence vote last week, George Papandreou’s government has managed to pass its austerity package.   Although the markets have initially reacted positively to this news as it means that the prospect of an immediate Eurozone crisis recedes, this is likely to reflect nothing more than a collective sigh […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies: Mammuth

June 30, 2011

  Gerard Depardieu is now 62 years of age.    He, along with perhaps Daniel Auteuil, is the most recognisable and familiar French actor to British audiences.  One of the few stars to have largely made his name in non-English speaking roles who nevertheless is instantly recognisable by the public in this country generally.    This is […]

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#218: 1987, Tiffany, I Think We’re Alone Now

June 29, 2011

  There was much complaining from Ray and Jackie about my choice of Glen Campbell’s fantastic Wichita Lineman as my last Song To Learn and Sing as not being controversial enough.  So they only have themselves to blame for this.  This is, of course, objectively shite.  As safe and predictable as AC/DC and as manufactured as […]

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More gloomy economic indicators as household spending plummets

June 28, 2011

Right, when it comes to economics it’s unlikely that my ‘c’ grade at ‘O’level is going to get me the next professorship that comes up for grabs at the Harvard Business School – but even I understand the coalition’s argument: it’s alright to squeeze the bejesus out of the public sector because the job losses […]

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#217: 2006, Girls Aloud, Something Kinda Ooooh

June 27, 2011

We are now at song five of our Songs To Learn and Sing Controversial Week. I have to admit to questioning how controversial the last two picks have been: Glen Campbell may be a bit easy listening, but both Ray and I agree with George that Wichita Lineman is a great song.  Similarly, I commented yesterday […]

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The end to an automatic right to a solicitor – another attack upon our civil liberties

June 27, 2011

When the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill was published last week, most people were more concerned about Ken Clarke’s U-turn on sentencing to be bothered about the minutiae of the proposed legislation. If they had read on, they would have come across Section 12 – which is potentially one of the biggest […]

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Great Recruitment Decisions of Our Time #1 – The World Bank

June 27, 2011

File in the box you can’t make this shit up.   The World Bank have appointed the former Head of Risk at Lehman Brothers, Madelyn Antoncic, as their new Treasurer.   I bet the finance ministers of developing countries will sleep soundly now knowing they can rely on Ms Antoncic track record of vigilance and risk management.    After seeing Andy […]

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Latest Mayoral Poll shows Ken lagging behind his party

June 27, 2011

Last week, YouGov caused a bit of excitement in London with its latest poll of voting intentions in the capital. It held good news for both Labour and the Conservatives, and marginally better news for the Lib Dems than some polls last year. The bad news for Ken Livingstone is that his support is lagging […]

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#216: 1980, Peter Gabriel, Biko

June 26, 2011

  Following on from AC/DC and NWA, George East tried to enter the spirit of ‘controversial’ week by selecting Glen Campbell’s superb Wichita Lineman, suggesting that the mustard yellow polo-neck jumper being worn by Glen gives it ‘controversial’ status – bah! Now Peter Gabriel on the other hand is definitely controversial, not because of his […]

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Ed Miliband: Dancing Like It’s 1994?

June 26, 2011

Tony Blair liked nothing better than giving the party he led a kicking.  He was always lecturing the Labour Party on how it needed to change, on how its ideas were outdated, how it was not organisationally fit for purpose.    Some of this was understandable after the dark days of many of the Labour Conferences […]

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Week 25: Villain(s) – U2

June 26, 2011

This week’s villain(s) of the week are…U2 Although there are plenty of reasons to consider U2 villains for their deeply tedious, overblown, humourless, vapid stadium rock, it is not the reason they are our villains of the week.  No in the week that U2 headlined Glastonbury and the admirable protest against them by Art Uncut […]

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Week 25: Prat – Nick Clegg

June 26, 2011

For the fifth time, our Prat of the Week award goes to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Nicholas Clegg MP As the third party in opposition, the Lib Dems often came up with eye-catching, but ill-thought through, gimmicks. It is a tactic that made sense: it generated headlines for a party that would […]

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Week 25: Hero – Brian Haw

June 26, 2011

The Hero of the Week award goes to ……. Brian Haw Brian Haw’s death was a shock – he was one of those people who you expected to be about forever – brave, stubborn, intelligent, a dash of bonkers and most important of all utterly principled. Where most of us will moan about something we […]

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#215: 1968, Glen Campbell, Wichita Lineman

June 25, 2011

  Jackie has declared that it’s controversial week and yesterday posted NWA’s Straight Out of Compton, like the bitch ass nigger he isn’t.  This follows Ray’s posting of Status Quo AC/DC’s Whole Lotta Rosie.  One of those  two songs is even pretty good.  I’m game. Controversial it is.  But controversial comes in different shapes and sizes.  […]

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For the family of Milly Dowler rough justice is still justice

June 25, 2011

Levi Bellfield is a vile killer who has been properly convicted and imprisoned for his crimes; he will never set foot on our streets a free man again. Predictably and understandably, there have been calls from the family of Milly Dowler to reintroduce capital punishment and kill the bastard – one can sympathise with that […]

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#214: 1988, NWA, Straight Outta Compton

June 24, 2011

Our plans for another themed week seemed to be going so well: in song #212, George announced female soloist week. I was all prepared to go for some long-haired woman in a billowing dress strumming an acoustic guitar. And then Ray screwed it all up by picking AC/DC. We seem to have performed a body-swerve […]

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By-Election Special: Inverclyde

June 23, 2011

Next Thursday, 30 June, sees the Inverclyde by-election, caused by the tragic death of David Cairns MP. The constituency is formed by the land tucked in the elbow of the Firth of Clyde and is co-terminous with the Scottish council area of the same name. Inverclyde (literally mouth of the Clyde) itself is a bit […]

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#213: 1977, AC/DC, Whole Lotta Rosie

June 23, 2011

Now, let me think, was it suggested that I put on a beautifully poignant song by a celebrated female vocalist or was it suggested that I put on a completely misogynistic song by a bunch of Aussie stereotypes one of whom insists on dressing up like little Jimmy Cranky! Ah, fuck it, let’s go for […]

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Back of the Net Special: in support of a British Olympic Football Team

June 23, 2011

What are they thinking? The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Football Associations should be placed in a dark room and spanked to within an inch of their collective lives. I write this as a Welshman and a football fan. Sadly I am far too young to remember the last time Wales qualified for the World […]

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#212: 2010, Caitlin Rose, Own Side Now

June 22, 2011

  Jackie posted Joan Baez’s cover of folk standard, John Riley, yesterday.  Baez was, of course, one of the first of the great female singer songwriters.  In the circumstances it seemed appropriate to post my current favourite new female singer songwriter, Nashville’s Caitlin Rose. As her home town suggests she is much more in the […]

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Our Afghan Shame

June 22, 2011

It looks as though President Obama will tonight announce the withdrawal of the 30,000 US troops who made up the Afghan ‘Surge’ last summer. Some will welcome this, saying, with a certain amount of force – that the ending of any period of conflagration is a good thing. Others, including, it appears the American senior […]

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#211: 1960, Joan Baez, John Riley

June 21, 2011
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Coalition taking its criminal justice policy from the Daily Mail

June 21, 2011

As a rule, I don’t have any problems with politicians who perform u-turns, rethinks or volte faces in regards to policy and I always sigh when I hear a politician who has found themselves being urged to change tack by the opposition being derided for doing exactly that. But, in the midst of a seemingly […]

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Greece: The Vote of Confidence is Today

June 21, 2011

‘What is going on in Athens at the moment is resistance against an invasion; an invasion as brutal as that against Poland in 1939. The invading army wears suits instead of uniforms and holds laptops instead of guns, but make no mistake – the attack on our sovereignty is as violent and thorough. Private wealth interests are […]

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#210: 1979, The Pretenders, Brass in Pocket

June 20, 2011

I love this song – by far Chrissie Hynde’s finest moment – sung with understated sexuality against the backbeat of this wonderfully chugga-chugga guitar riff that grooves sublimely carrying it from its foot stamping start to its crescendo. It reminds me of Saturday morning TV and Top of the Pops where its video got loads […]

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The Church of England: Bashing the Bishops

June 20, 2011

Right – let me get my poor befuddled atheistic head around this one: if you want to be a Bishop in the Church of England, you can be gay, but, you can’t be a civil partnership because that would create ‘family ties,’ and is akin to a same-sex marriage (no shit, really!?) and you definitely […]

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Greece Has The Upper Hand

June 20, 2011

For some reason the EU has today decided to pile even more pressure on a beleaguered Greece, making not only any further bail out money but also the release of the final tranche of €12Bn of the bail out money agreed last year conditional on the Greek parliament passing the further package of harsh austerity […]

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#209: 1980, Bruce Springsteen, The River

June 19, 2011

  The sad death today of E Street band saxophonist, Clarence Clemons, provides the perfect excuse for a long overdue entry on Songs To Learn and Sing by The Boss.  To be fair, Clemons doesn’t really figure in this song (though he can be seen clearly as the band come out on stage at the beginning […]

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