From the monthly archives:

October 2013

Week 42: Hero – Barack Obama

October 20, 2013

This week’s hero of the week award goes to Barack Obama for refusing to back down against the Republicans over Obamacare, the shutdown and the debt ceiling. In doing so, the Republicans eventually conceded defeat, and the US Congress endorsed the last minute bipartisan legislation to end the budget crisis, pulling America away from the […]

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#780: 1986, The Smiths, Cemetery Gates

October 18, 2013

So Morrissey‘s autobiography has been published, to much piss-taking.  And some of it is undoubtedly deserved – the demand by Mozza that the book be published as a penguin classic (not even a penguin modern classic) is, of course, risible.  The reviews though have been mixed – John Harris was underwhelmed in today’s Guardian.  On […]

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Am I A Sexist?

October 18, 2013

The failure of any single Member of Parliament to get up and offer 7 month pregnant MP Jo Swinson a seat as she stood watching PMQs yesterday doesn’t surprise me. Some MPs will be ashamed at this, they were probably too absorbed in the ‘cut and thrust’ (yawn) of PMQs to notice a heavily pregnant […]

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The A-Z of World Politics #E: Ethiopia

October 18, 2013

Welcome to the next destination on our world tour of politics. This blog is brought to you by the letter E and our first visit to Africa. E is for Ethiopia. Ethiopia has won international plaudits for delivering an economic miracle for much of the past decade. Once known for “Red Terror” regimes of the […]

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#779: 1971, The Rolling Stones, Brown Sugar

October 17, 2013

I was at a friend’s wedding reception at the weekend. For me, the highlight was the utterly fantastic wedding disco music: undoubtedly the best I’ve heard, surpassing even those at the nuptials of my mates George, Ray and Bobby. It was practically an All That’s Left playlist: featuring this, this, this, this, this and, yes, even this. […]

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Food Banks: Dickensian Tories Recreate Oliver Twist

October 17, 2013

“I don’t buy the value sliced loaf. But, you can buy a loaf in the supermarket for well north of a pound. I’ve got a bread-maker at home which I delight in using and it turns out in all sorts of different ways. But, I’m trying to get my children to eat the sort of […]

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Sportsnight #22: 1982, World Cup Finals, Scotland v Brazil

October 16, 2013

Good evening and welcome to Sportsnight. As England supporters continue to celebrate their national team’s qualification for next summer’s World Cup Finals in Brazil, tonight’s action comes from the Stadio Benito Villamarin in Seville and a celebration of all that is great about Brazilian football. The thought of a World Cup Finals being hosted in […]

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Republican Insanity: US Debt Default Goes Down To The Wire

October 16, 2013

I wrote a week ago today about the government shut down and how it raised serious questions about the governability of the United States.  At that point there were 10 days to go before the US government runs out of borrowing authority and potentially starts to default on its debts.  A week later, we have no […]

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Police, Plebgate, Austerity and the Pursuit of Justice

October 16, 2013

Hmmm, may have to rethink the title of this piece – it sounds a bit like the title for an album by some Prog-rock band – but, I wanted to pen a few words about these subjects which have all, loosely formed an orderly queue in my head. It all started with an incident at […]

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US Elections: New Jersey senate special election

October 16, 2013

Although 2013, as an odd-numbered year, will not have the extensive biennial US congressional elections of last year or next, there are still a number of interesting races happening over the next couple of months. 5 November sees most of these: the governorships of New Jersey and Virginia and the mayoralties of 31 cities, most […]

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The Album Collection #17: 2006, The Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

October 15, 2013

When their first album came out, by happy coincidence, I was in the middle of a lengthy trial in Sheffield – and this album is brim-full of references to The Arctics’ home town -it made what is undoubtedly a great debut album into an even more memorable experience. It was perhaps the last album I […]

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Allthatsleft Book Club Special: Whatever Happened to Billy Parks? By Gareth R Roberts

October 15, 2013

Ok, confession time – this is my book. It is published today as an e-book and will be out as a proper book with proper pages and a cover and everything in January. I’m proud of it. It is my second book, the first being published about five years ago by a small independent publisher […]

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UK Immigration: Opening the door for China and closing it to everyone else

October 15, 2013

Last week, Theresa May published the Immigration Bill, which set out an insular anti-immigration policy framework aimed towards creating a “hostile environment” for UK immigrants with a set of new rules and regulations such as a £200 charge to use the NHS. Yet, George Osborne and Boris Johnson continue their dumb and dumber tour in […]

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#778: 1989, The Blue Nile, Headlights On The Parade

October 14, 2013

I have just returned from a weekend that I will never forget. After my stubborn insistence that I wanted to fly below the radar and have minimum fuss surrounding my 40th Birthday, Mrs East-West set about surreptitiously hatching a plan titled “Operation 40” to whisk me up to Edinburgh for a weekend of fine dining […]

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Week 41: Villain – Vince Cable

October 14, 2013

This week, Business Secretary Vince Cable picks up our award for being the greatest villain of the last seven days Vince Cable likes to pose as the rebellious cabinet member, the one who shows the old Lib Dem party faithful that there is a bit of fight in the Lib Dems and attempts to give […]

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Week 41: Prat – Owen Paterson

October 13, 2013

This week’s prat of the week award goes to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson for stating that the failure to reach government badger cull targets was due to badgers moving the goalposts. A pilot badger cull in west Somerset is likely to be extended after the government missed their target to kill 70 per cent of […]

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Cine-East Film Club Presents #26: 1943, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger)

October 13, 2013

Major-General Clive Wynne-Candy: ‘But, but…war starts at midnight!’ When the Cine-East Film Club re-launched in July, the chosen film was one of the greatest films in film history and the film that a British Film Institute survey of critics and film industry folk in 2000 named the greatest British film ever made: Carol Reed’s, The […]

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#777: 1993, Radiohead, Stop Whispering

October 13, 2013

In another time in another place, I am sat at my desk in a flat in Hackney above a plumber’s merchants. In front of me is a piece of lined paper. I am holding a pen. I am sitting quite still. The pen has failed to make any meaningful contact with the paper for about […]

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Week 41: Hero – Malala Yousafzai

October 13, 2013

This Week’s Hero of the Week is Pakistani school girl Malala Yosafazi who once again demonstrated more bravery and balls than our entire contemporary political class The Malala story is an extraordinary one.  Born in the lawless and deeply conservative Northwestern Territories of Pakistan, she has been an outspoken activist for the rights of girls […]

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The A -Z of World Politics #D: Denmark

October 12, 2013

Being a big fan of Borgen, I feel that I know everything there is to know about Danish Politics – the Statesminister is a sassy, attractive, clever, centrist, woman called Brigitte Christiansen who leads the Moderates who are in a wonderful coalition with the Labour Party and occasionally the Greens; everyone says the word ‘Tak’ […]

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#776: 1988, The Pogues, Thousands Are Sailing

October 11, 2013

Tuesday brought the sad news of the death of Pogues’ guitarist Phil Chevron, who had been battling cancer of the throat since 2007.   The genius of the Pogues was always the combination of absolutely top drawer folk musicians (like Chevron, banjo player Jem Finer, and tin whistle player, Spider Stacey) with Shane MacGowan’s poetic lyrical […]

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Songs To Learn and Sing Golden Years #10: 2008

October 10, 2013

With the posting of Lady Gaga’s pop classic Poker Face a couple of weeks back, 2008 became the first year from the 00s and the tenth year overall to have had 20 songs on our daily music feature, Songs To Learn and Sing.  The others in order of entering the Golden Years pantheon are: 1967, […]

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Sir Menzies Campbell: Mastering the Art of High Standards in Public Life

October 10, 2013

Yesterday, Sir Menzies (Ming) Campbell announced that he is to step down as a Liberal Democrat MP for North East Fife at the 2015 election – bringing to an end his parliamentary career which began when he was elected in 1987. Ming is what I consider an old Liberal. A moderate social liberal. He is […]

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#775: 1967, The Velvet Underground, Femme Fatale

October 9, 2013

Once upon a time, I suggested that we might end up over time posting all the songs on The Velvet Underground and Nico, in sequence. That was over two years ago, so we are well overdue song three on the album, Femme Fatale. This is the first of three songs on the album sung by […]

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Sportsnight #21: Wembley October 17th 1973, England v Poland

October 9, 2013

Good evening and welcome to Sportsnight, for tonight’s action we’re at Wembley Stadium for the crucial World Cup Qualifying Match between England and Poland. Draws against Wales and Poland in Warsaw, have meant that England must beat the Poles if they are to qualify for next summer’s World Cup in West Germany. Poland on the […]

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Holding the Economy to Ransom: Are the Republicans Making the US Ungovernable?

October 8, 2013

It is now day 8 of the government shut down in Washington.   In a further 9 days the money will run out for the US government to meet its bills.   The implications of US debt default are not just potentially catastrophic for the US, but for the world as a whole – it is, after all, the world’s […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies 2013: Museum Hours

October 8, 2013

How much more would we get from life if we looked carefully at our surroundings rather than simply seeing them, is the question posed by this highly recommended and  compelling feature film debut from American independent director, Jem Cohen.  It is one of the most original films of the year so far. The film, co-produced […]

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#774: 1973, Status Quo, Caroline

October 7, 2013

It’s Charlie’s ‘fortieth birthday, so I thought I’d pick a tune from 1973. This has proved surprisingly tricky, 1973 wasn’t a great year for the charts – in fact when young Charlie poked his head into this world, the number 1 was the theme tune to Van Der Weld (Eye Level by the Simon Park […]

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The Album Collection #16: 2013, Johnny Borrell, Borrell 1

October 7, 2013

Welcome to the next entry into the pantheon of our Album Collection, and for this one I am going to be a bit contrary and offer you a complete and utter stinker of an album. It is from the former Razorlight singer, Johnny Borrell, and his recently released first solo album called Borrell 1. Quite […]

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Week 40: Hero – Alistair Campbell

October 7, 2013

‘This Weeks Hero of the Week Award goes to the former Labour Spin Doctor, novelist and Burnley fan, Alistair Campbell.’ I was the first to nominate Alistair Campbell this week – and I did so without reservation or hesitation, and I did so on behalf of all those who detest the Daily Mail with a […]

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