From the monthly archives:

February 2014

#854: 1988, The Proclaimers, Cap in Hand

February 13, 2014

George Osborne is a bully. Today’s playground target is Scotland. He is currently up in Edinburgh braying upon the idea of Scotland using the pound, without going cap in hand to ask for his permission – despite this being something that the Westminster government cannot prevent. It appears that a lot of people – even […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies 2014: The Wolf Of Wall Street

February 13, 2014

Martin Scorsese’s latest film has certainly divided people who have seen it.  Some critics have hailed it as a return to form – his best for more than 20 years (for which read his best since Goodfellas) others have hated it, seeing it as misogynistic, solipsistic and a tired re-visting of past glories.   The reactions […]

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Sportsnight #33: 2002, Women’s Olympic Curling Final, Salt Lake City

February 12, 2014

Good evening and welcome to Sportsnight – tonight we go to the tense atmosphere of the Ogden Ice Sheet for the final of the Women’s Curling between the UK team led by the brilliant and irrepressible Rhona Martin and the Swiss, led by the exciting Luzia Ebnother. After nine nervous ends, the scores were tied, […]

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#853: 2000, Smog, Dress Sexy At My Funeral

February 12, 2014

For one reason and another 2014 has been a slow gig going year so far.  However, my second gig of the year was an absolute corker:  Bill Callahan at the Royal Festival Hall, supported by the wonderful Scottish folk singer Alasdair Roberts.  Callahan was absolutely superb playing a nearly 2 hour encore-less set with an […]

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What would Nigel Farage’s UK be like?

February 12, 2014

I don’t see Nigel Farage as being a loveable bafoon, the type of bloke who you could quite happily go out for a pint with, before sneaking out the back for a fag and a bit of a perv about the barmaid – Nigel Farage, is a politician, he should be seen as a politician, […]

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In Defence Of The Foreign Aid Budget

February 12, 2014

Amazing, bloody amazing – once again I am left speechless by the appalling quality of political debate in our country. At the present one of the arguments doing the rounds goes a bit like this: – we are currently suffering from floods someone should be blamed (perhaps rightly) the environment agency has been underfunded and […]

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“Charity begins at home” – The right wing’s misplaced response to the flooding crisis

February 12, 2014

“Money is no object” – David Cameron is forced to act like a social democrat and implement state spending to address the flooding crisis. In other words, if it is affecting Tory voting Home Counties, then it is goodbye to austerity and hello to spend spend spend. The Tories just can’t let those croquet lawns […]

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#852: 1979, The B-52s, Rock Lobster

February 11, 2014

We have reached song number 852 in our Song To Learn and Sing series. 852. Squint a bit, and that looks like B52. Hence today’s pick from a band we have got through 851 songs without featuring, a little unfairly to my mind. Rock Lobster was one of those great songs that seemed to come […]

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Floods and Free Market Fiascos

February 11, 2014

The last few weeks have been a wonder to behold.    Firstly, they ignored it .  Then they blamed the last Labour government and a Labour Peer who is the head of the Environment Agency.  Then they indulged in some pointless photo opportunities, then they fought amongst themselves like ferrets in sacks. The sheer scale of […]

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#851: 1968, The Peddlers, On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)

February 10, 2014

I’m currently watching Breaking Bad. It is without doubt some of the best Telly I have ever seen. As ever with good American shows, the acting, script and production are fantastic – utterly superior to anything you get anywhere else. But, what makes Breaking Bad even better than some of the other great US shows, […]

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Week 6: Hero – The Winter Olympians

February 10, 2014

This week’s heroes are the Winter Olympians with a special mention to Alexey Sabolev ‘Politics and sport don’t mix,’ that’s what people say. Well, I disagree. After all, politics happens whenever people get together – politics is about people and their human spirit and the way they interact, and sport is another manifestation of that. […]

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The slow death of Scottish rugby

February 10, 2014

“Oh Flower of Scotland, when will we see your likes again?” This is the first line of the Scottish national anthem. It feels particularly relevant when applied to the Scottish rugby team and the general state of Scottish rugby today. Scotland 0 v England 20. Another woefully abject performance. Scotland are now staring down the […]

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#850: 1966, The Beatles, Tomorrow Never Knows

February 9, 2014

Harry Styles from One Direction has compared his band to The Beatles – in terms of fame. I will come back to his comments later on… The Beatles were recently placed as our first artists entered into our Songs to Learn And Sing Hall of Fame. A back catalogue as brilliant as The Beatles deserves […]

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Week 6: Villain – Boris Johnson

February 9, 2014

This Week’s Villain of the Week is the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson for being the primary cause of the current tube strikes in London We are in the middle of two weeks of 48 hour tube strikes. Last Wednesday and Thursday saw chaos for commuters trying to get into work in London, as the […]

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Week 6: Prat – David Cameron

February 9, 2014

This week’s prat award goes to David Cameron for failing to grasp the enormity of the floods in Somerset, and failing to visit Scotland to deliver a speech on the Scottish Independence debate. David Cameron does old school easy charm extremely well. But, charm only takes him so far. Throughout his time as Prime Minister, […]

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#849: 2009, Tinariwen, Lulla

February 8, 2014

As I have visited Mali this week in our A-Z of World Politics, it is only right that I capture some of that country’s amazing music by way of today’s Song To Learn and Sing. Tinariwen are a Toureg band from the deserts of Mali, some of whom are former guerillas who fought against the […]

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The A-Z of World Politics #M: Mali

February 7, 2014

After a month off, Allthatsleft is back on its travels.    This week to the Saharan country of Mali.   When I was about 9 years old, I had a picture book of illustrated lists of  world facts.  These lists included all the usual record breaking statistics like the  highest mountains, deepest parts of the Ocean and […]

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#848: 1994, Oasis, Supersonic

February 6, 2014

Whilst we have featured six songs by Blur to date here at Songs To Learn and Sing, we have had only one by their great Britpop rivals Oasis. How come? Well, Oasis’ good stuff was pretty much limited to two albums and Blur‘s quality output lasted much longer and was far more varied. But go […]

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The government’s response to the flooding crisis: too little, too late

February 6, 2014

It is bloody grim outside. As I look outside, I can see grey skies, trees bending in the wind, and incessant rain. It has been the same every day since Christmas. It is bloody dreary in Cornwall. The real winners are local tradesmen. The extereme weather has become a paradise for tradesmen. East-West towers has […]

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By-Election Special – Wythenshawe and Sale East

February 5, 2014

When Paul Goggins went out running a few days after Christmas, he set in train the events leading to next week’s by-election. On that fateful run on 30 December, he collapsed and was admitted to hospital for emergency surgery. Nine days later, he died of a brain haemorrhage at Salford Hospital. Labour has been particularly […]

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Allthatsleft Book Club #8: David Peace, Red Or Dead

February 5, 2014

This is a lush, gigantic, bible of a book. The story of Bill Shankly. The story of Liverpool in the latter half of the 19th Century. The story of England in the latter half of the 19th Century. The story of football. And yes, it is a novel, but it in the same way that […]

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Sportsnight #32: 1980, Lake Placid Winter Olympics, Ice Hockey – The Miracle On Ice

February 5, 2014

Good evening and welcome to the second of our Winter Olympics Sportsnight specials to coincide with the Sochi Winter Olympic Games which start tomorrow.  Tonight we are coming live from the Field House Hockey Arena for the banner event of the entire games, the showdown between the USA and the mighty Soviet Union Ice Hockey […]

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Of Course I Was Bloody Inconvenienced This Morning…But I Still Support the Striking Tube Workers

February 5, 2014

A journey that normally takes me about 35 minutes from home to work took me the best part of two hours this morning.   The tube strike was solid, the buses were rammed full and the roads congested to the point of stand still.   Like many other Londoners it was a deeply frustrating journey into town, […]

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The Curse of Modern Living #11: Shit Britain – The way we are / The way we live

February 5, 2014

Something has been troubling me of late. The problem isn’t going away and it is only going to get getting worse. It is like a scar that time won’t heal. I have come to the conclusion that living in Britain is shit. Yes, Britain is shit. I have thought long and hard about its unremitting […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies 2014: 12 Years A Slave

February 4, 2014

Hollywood’s relationship with the Old South has always been problematic.  From the depiction of the Ku Klux Klan as saviors of civilization in D W Griffith’s Birth of A Nation to the romanticisation of aristocratic plantation life of Gone With The Wind or Jezebel, the vision of ante-bellum life depicted in pre-War Hollywood failed wholly […]

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#847: 2013, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Higgs Boson Blues

February 3, 2014

A few months back I came home after a night in London, where I’d stayed with my esteemed and learned friend George East. That evening I sat down with Mrs North and bored her for quite some time about George’s new record player. ‘George has got a record player,’ I said. ‘That’s nice,’ said Mrs […]

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Does Michael Gove have any clue at all?

February 3, 2014

Michael Gove’s speech today was a dangerously pernicious piece of political polemic. The thrust of Gove’s argument is that Public Schools are so superior that state secondary school will be classed as a failure unless they are able to appear in every way like their fee paying counterparts. And it is on this point that […]

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Week 5: Hero – Michael Dugher

February 2, 2014

This Week’s Hero of the Week is the Labour MP for Barnsley East and Shadow Cabinet Office Minister for launching the Justice For The Coalfields campaign The release of the Thatcher papers from 1984 at the beginning of the year confirmed many things that had long been suspected about the great miners’ strike of 1984-85.There […]

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Week 5: Villain – Owen Paterson

February 2, 2014

This week’s villain award goes to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson for his dithering response to the Somerset floods and of his failure to take the flooding crisis seriously. Owen Paterson has form as a serial ditherer. His response (or lack of) to the horse meat scandal, badger culling (“the badgers moved the goalposts” has to […]

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Week 5: Prat – Congressman Michael Grimm

February 2, 2014

This week, our panel have awarded New York Republican congressman Michael Grimm the dubious honour of being our biggest prat of the last seven days Michael Grimm is a unique beast: a Republican congressman for New York City. His behaviour this week could well spell extinction for that species. Former soldier and FBI agent Grimm’s […]

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