From the monthly archives:

December 2013

Week 51: Villain – Lord Hanningfield

December 23, 2013

This week’s villain of the week award goes to the ex-Tory peer, Lord Hanningfield for regularly “clocking in” to the House of Lords to claim a £300 daily attendance allowance – despite spending less than 40 minutes inside the House of Lords on a daily basis. Lord Hanningfield – who has a bit of form […]

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The A-Z of World Politics #L: Louisiana

December 23, 2013

We have reached the letter L in our globe–trotting series. I waited with some trepidation for the tickets to arrive. Countries beginning with L … well, the obvious ones in the news of late have been Libya and Lebanon. After my previous visits to Bahrain and Iran, I was dreading having to shake the sand […]

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Week 51: Prat – Nigella Lawson

December 23, 2013

This Week’s Prat of the Week is Nigella Lawson. This is how it would have gone: someone in the Lawson/Saatchi household will have made a complaint to the police that the Grillo sisters were defrauding them; they would then have made a statement to the police, who would have investigated the complaint, arrested and interviewed […]

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Cine-East Film Club Presents #35: 1941, Suspicion (Alfred Hitchcock)

December 22, 2013

Johnny: ‘Well, if the worst comes to the worst and there’s no other way out, I’ll have to… Lina: ‘You’ll have to what Johnny? Johnny: ‘I’ll have to borrow some more’   This time of the year they seem to drop like flies.  Last Saturday’s announcement of the passing of Peter O’Toole, was followed the […]

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Week 51: Hero – Michelle Bachelet

December 22, 2013

This week, we’ve chosen Chile’s president-elect Michelle Bachelet as our most significant hero of the last seven days South America’s politics are rapidly coming to resemble the red hues that represent it on the Risk board-game: ten of its thirteen countries (if you include French Guiana) have left-of-centre governments, with the only exceptions being Colombia, […]

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Top 10 Christmas Songs of All Time

December 20, 2013

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas everybody! As a bit of festive fun, here are my top 10 Christmas songs of all time. Now of course you are not going to agree with my selections, so please feel free to list your own top ten Christmas songs. 1. Frank Sinatra – Silent Night – he takes […]

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How to destroy the internet porn industry

December 20, 2013

If the government are serious about trying to regulate and discourage internet porn use, this image should be used as the home page to immediately discourage people from visiting any porn sites…

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#822: 1966, Dean Martin, Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! (Alternate Version)

December 19, 2013

Ring-A-Ding-Ding! It’s Dino time. This song is one of my favourite festive related songs of all time. Or rather, one of my favourite seasonal songs of all time. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! was originally written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne in July 1945. It was written in California during […]

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Happy 50th Birthday to Brad Pitt

December 18, 2013

Brad Pitt is 50 today. I repeat…Brad Pitt is 50 today. This news makes me feel rather nervous about the unrelenting passage of time. He seems to have gone from 20 to 50 in a split second. Where the hell has the time gone? He has become like a life imitating art ageing process opposite […]

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Why I’ll be ‘On Strike’ on the 6th January.

December 18, 2013

It sounds ludicrous, barristers going on strike – well, I say strike, we’re not actually talking donkey jackets, pickets and braziers here, but I’ll return to the actual form of industrial action that is to be taken by Criminal Barristers on 6th January in due course. Let’s start with the principle. Imagine this: there you […]

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#821: 1954, Ray Price, Release Me

December 17, 2013

Today has brought the sad news of the death from pancreatic cancer of country legend, Ray Price at the age of 87.  This time of the year they really do seem to drop like flies.   Price, who played in a band called the Cherokee Cowboys with Willie Nelson in the 1950s, was famous for inventing […]

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Afghanistan: If the Mission Has Been Accomplished, What the Hell was the Mission?

December 17, 2013

In a flying visit to Afghanistan on Monday David Cameron declared that when British troops come home next year they will be able to do so knowing that it is ‘mission accomplished’.   It was a typically shallow, inane and offensive comment from our PR Prime Minister.    He did not, of course, set out the nature […]

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Privatisation – is it still the answer, indeed was it ever the answer?

December 17, 2013

The argument used to go like this – the state was rubbish at running things, so if we wanted cheaper more efficient, more modern and generally better utilities and transport systems and just about everything else, then privatisation was the way forward; and, it doesn’t just stop there, so we were told, because, if we […]

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Sportsnight #29: 2012, Taylor University Basketball, Silent Night

December 17, 2013

Good evening and welcome to Sportsnight. Tonight’s festive season action comes from Taylor University, Indiana, USA and their annual pre Christmas Silent Night Basketball match that takes place on the Friday night before the University’s final exams of the year. During the match all the spectators and students remain completely quiet. It is so quiet, […]

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#820: 1972, Jimmy Cliff, The Harder They Come

December 16, 2013

Last week, George posted on the first 800 tracks to feature here on Songs to Learn and Sing, and asked which artists were the glaring omissions. For me, Jimmy Cliff is definitely one. This is reggae with attitude: managing to pull off the combination of cool, laidback swagger with an adrenalin rush. It was of […]

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Cine-East Film Club Presents #34: 1962, Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean)

December 16, 2013

Auda abu Tayi (in disbelief):  You will cross Sinai? Lawrence:  Moses did! Today brought the sad news of the death of Peter O’Toole.  This week’s Cine-East Film Club Presentation is dedicated to his memory. O’Toole was one of the most gifted actors of his generation.  However,  in many ways O’Toole  (like Burton, Reed and Harris) […]

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Week 50: Villain – Kim Jong-Un

December 15, 2013

This Week’s villain of the week is the Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army, the First Chairman of the National Defence Commission, First Secretary of the Workers Party of Korea and the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim-Jong Un It is easy to take the piss out of the absurdity that is the Stalinist […]

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Week 50: Prat – Premiers Obama, Cameron and Thorning-Schmidt

December 15, 2013

Yep, this week’s Prat of the Week Award, goes, jointly, to President Obama of the USA, Prime Minister Cameron of the Uk and President Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark. We had a difference of opinion here at Allthatsleft this week over who should be the recipient of the Prat of the Week award – I don’t […]

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Week 50: Hero – Barack Obama

December 15, 2013

This week’s hero of the week award goes to Barack Obama for his wonderful speech in tribute to Nelson Mandela at the Mandela memorial on Tuesday in Johannesburg. Taking a selfie photo at this event does not matter. Giving a brilliantly fitting speech does matter. Below is the full transcript of U.S. President Barack Obama’s […]

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#819: 1978, Lene Lovich, Lucky Number

December 13, 2013

There I was, 7 years old, taken to Anfield for the first time by my Uncle Stan, December 1977, thirty six years ago. Thirty Six years! Bloody hell, where have they gone? Anyway, for me, that day, was miraculous – being a son of the manse with two older sisters, my life, up until then […]

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The A-Z of World Politics #K: Korea

December 13, 2013

Hello World. Welcome to the next destination on our A-Z globe trotting tour of world politics. So far, I have had the good (Hong Kong), the bad (Ethopia) and the ugly (Albania) in terms of destinations. On each destination I have rather unfortunately bumped into Tony Blair. So, gagged and blindfolded by the rest of […]

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A reminder that politicians are human after all

December 13, 2013

We like to think that our elite politicians are a bunch of humanoid, tribal and stubborn individuals who all behave in a buttoned up manner that does not resonate with the public at large. Just occasionally however, we are all reminded that politicians can actually hang out and socialise with their opposite number and have […]

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#818: 1970, Elvis Presley, Tiger Man

December 11, 2013

As a response to George East’s comment that rather disgracefully, Elvis Presley has only been chosen four times on Songs To Learn and Sing – my chosen song for today comes from The King. Elvis can be compartmentalised into different sections, and everyone has a particular favourite version of Elvis – whether that be early […]

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The Last Chance Saloon…

December 10, 2013
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Songs To Learn and Sing: The First 800

December 10, 2013

This post is a little late, which is partly deliberately so as not to overload the Blog with review posts and partly because these posts take bleedin’ ages to put together.  By coincidence the 3rd anniversaryof this blog, the first 150 songs from the 1980s, and the posting of the 800th song (Blur’s Song 2) […]

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Mandela’s legacy: Rediscovering the lost art of reconciliation

December 10, 2013

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” – Nelson Mandela Sometimes I feel that humanity is just a giant widescreen movie on rewind:- With lots of sex, arguments, wars, competitions and piss ups until just two people are left wondering what […]

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#817: 2012, Palma Violets, Best of Friends

December 9, 2013

Last Thursday, as news was breaking of Mandela’s death, I was not sat in front of the telly taking in the news.  No I was at a former cinema in the Elephant & Castle with Jackie South and occasional commentor Multiplex to see the homecoming gig of South London’s Palma Violets. I first saw the […]

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The Secret MP #7: Are MPs worth an extra 11%?

December 9, 2013

You can call me Keith. Though that’s not my real name. But I am a Liberal Democrat MP. I could be wrong, but I think that Ray may have been drunk when he left me a message on my answer phone the other night – in between expletives, he accused me of being, with varying […]

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Week 49: Hero – Nelson Mandela

December 8, 2013

There was little debate this week about who we would declare our Hero of the Week. Or indeed, hero of our lifetime. I wrote earlier about how I first heard about Nelson Mandela through the Special AKA’s song. By the time of his release six years later, I knew far more. It is easy, of […]

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Cine-East Film Club Presents #33: 1927, Napoleon (Abel Gance)

December 8, 2013

Regular readers may have noticed that there was no Cine-East Film Club Presentation last weekend.  There was a good reason for that, which was that probably the cinematic event of the year took place last Saturday and it took up practically the whole day, leaving me with very little blog time.  The Royal Festival Hall […]

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