From the monthly archives:

March 2014

#873: 2014, The Orwells, The Righteous One

March 31, 2014

There I was the other night, in the Old Monk in Sheffield watching the Liverpool Sunderland match, when who walks into the pub but, Krist Novoselic of Nirvana. I could tell straight away that he was embarrassed to see me, I mean, standing there, with his new mates, wearing his grey suit – clearly, these […]

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Week 13: Villain – Chris Grayling

March 31, 2014

This Week’s Villain is the Minister for Justice Chris Grayling. I really don’t like this man. I mean, really, really don’t like him. As a Minister he is hell bent on destroying my profession. As a jurist and, effectively, most senior lawyer in the land, I have absolutely no confidence in him – the man […]

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Week 13: Prat – Liverpool City Council

March 30, 2014

This week, Liverpool City Council wins our regular award for prattishness. I quite like Liverpool City Council – Joe Anderson seems like a capable council leader. But this week has seen them indulging in some world-class stupidity. I have to confess not to knowing the city that well, but I have had a few enjoyable […]

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#872: 1962, The Crystals, He’s A Rebel

March 30, 2014

Well, not The Crystals at all, actually.  They were just the group that Phil Spector decided that the record would be attributed to.  The Crystals didn’t even know that it was  going to happen.  They were on tour, when they found out they had a hit record on their hands, that they hadn’t even heard […]

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Week 13: Hero – Carol Ann Duffy (and the Howard League)

March 30, 2014

This Week’s Hero of the Week Award goes to poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and the Howard League’s protest against Chris Grayling’s ban on sending books to prisoners Fyodor Dostoevsky once said wrote that ‘the degree of civilization in society can be judged by entering its prisons’.  The decision of Chris Grayling (extraordinarily backed by […]

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#871: 2002, Sugababes, Freak Like Me

March 30, 2014

Perhaps a little surprisingly, not our first Sugababes song here at Songs to Learn and Sing. However, it is to my mind the best thing they did, and Ray North’s recent posting of Are Friends Electric? has inspired this pick, given its extensive sampling of the Tubeway Army’s masterpiece. It seems strange that this is […]

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The Secret MP #8: Clegg v Farage

March 28, 2014

You can call me Keith. But that’s not my real name. And I am a Lib-Dem MP. The Allthatsleft boys asked me to write a review of the Clegg Farage debate – funny, until they asked me, I wasn’t even sure that I was going to watch it. I knew I was supposed to watch […]

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Grayling .v. The Bar – Who’s The Real Winner?

March 28, 2014

The news filtered through in the form of a rumour followed by an e-mail from the Criminal Bar Association and the Leader of my circuit stating that Chris Grayling had capitulated and postponed the proposed cuts to the Legal Aid budget for criminal barristers until the Summer of 2015. I was shocked – all the […]

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World Cup Special #2: GROUP B

March 26, 2014

78 days left. 78 days left to dream. So, let’s move on to the second group of the 2014 World Cup – Group B – Spain, Netherlands, Chile and Australia. Oh My God. My mouth is watering at the prospect of this one. The Group of Death? Not quite, but certainly, the group of violent […]

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#870: 2006, The Arctic Monkeys, Fake Tales Of San Francisco

March 26, 2014

I am in Sheffield.So,obviously, I’m going to choose a song by a Sheffield band. It has a good pedigree Sheffield actually – The Human League, Pulp, Richard Hawley have all featured on our pages and all come from Sheffield, and there’s probably loads of others I’ve forgotten. As it happens I’m on a case where […]

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Chris Grayling: The Cruel and Vindictive Face of Modern Conservatism

March 26, 2014

Ray North has written eloquently in the past about the potentially devastating consequences of the government’s proposals to radically reduce funding for the criminal justice system   He has rightly described how this will inevitably result in more miscarriages of justice and indeed more of the guilty walking free, as skilled advocates exit the profession because […]

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Labour: Now is not the time for faint hearts

March 25, 2014

I’ve said it before on these pages and I’m happy to say it again – I like Ed Miliband. Unlike many others I do not find him robotic and tedious and I am not put off by his looks. In fact I find intelligent and shrewd and remain convinced that he would be a good […]

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Cine-East Film Club Presents #41: 1945, Rome Open City (Roberto Rossellini)

March 23, 2014

Major Bergman:  ‘It would mean an Italian is worth as much as a German.  It would mean that there was no difference between a slave race and a master race.  It would mean that there was no reason for this war.’ Rome, Open City is a film often referred to in film histories as a […]

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Week 12: Prat – Grant Shapps

March 23, 2014

This week, our regular award for the biggest prat of the last seven days goes to Conservative Party chairman, Grant Shapps “MICKEY GREEN, NUMBER FIFTEEN!” Unlike, I suspect, most of the Cabinet, I learned about bingo at my grandma’s knee. She taught my brother and I the rules and the calls. I remember being disappointed […]

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#869: 1923, Ma Rainey, Bo Weavil Blues

March 23, 2014

I was toying with breaking the 2014 duck with my song choice today – quite incredibly we are almost at the end of March without a single song so far from this year. However, in the end I have gone to the other end of musical history, with this classic of the early blues and […]

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Week 12: Villain – George Osborne

March 23, 2014

This Week’s Villain of the Week (and sometimes it feels like every week’s Villain of the Week) is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne Last week was budget week and it ends with the Chancellor triumphant.  The polls have narrowed to a 1 point Labour lead that may have disappeared completely within a few […]

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Week 12: Hero – Marc Kamionkowski, Bruce Partridge et al Theoretical Physicists)

March 23, 2014

This week’s winners of the Hero of the Week award are the team of physicists responsible for discovering the radiation waves that were emitted a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. At least I think that’s what they’ve discovered. When I nominated these boys for this week’s Hero award, I have to say […]

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The A-Z of World Politics #Q: Qatar

March 22, 2014

We have reached the letter Q in our A-Z of world politics. With not many places in the world beginning with Q, are back in the Gulf. Last night’s Question Time saw Andy Burnham suggesting that the annexation of Crimea should lead to an English boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. But surely […]

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#868: 1969, The Stooges, 1969

March 21, 2014

This week saw the sad death of Scott Asheton, The Stooges‘ drummer. If you had taken a bet back in the day on which of the original Stooges would outlive the rest, you would have got pretty good odds on Iggy Pop. Yet he is the last man standing: bassist Dave Alexander’s drinking killed him […]

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What Was Budget 2014 All About?

March 19, 2014

UKIP.   There we are, a simple answer to a simple question.  The 2014 budget was about the Tories abject terror of UKIP and was designed to burst the Farage bubble before he gets a boost from the forthcoming Euro elections. The average UKIP supporter is a retired white bloke of middling means.  The kind of […]

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Budget 2014: More Thatcher, Less Fairness

March 19, 2014

Ok – what are the headlines. Removal of the 10p tax on savings; increase in amount that isn’t taxed from a pension lump sum; reduction in duty on beer; removal of the tax on fuel; increase in the rate at which people start paying tax from £10,000 to £10,500; increase in the amount that mid […]

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Charlie East-West is ‘indisposed’

March 19, 2014

Some of you will come to notice over the next few weeks that the Allthatsleft team are deficient in the Charlie East-West department to the tune of one. Sadly, Charlie has had to become indisposed in order to spend more time with his Facebook and Twitter accounts. We will miss him – his enthusiasm, prodigious […]

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#867: 1979, Gary Numan and the Tubeway Army, Are Friends Electric?

March 18, 2014

Ah, I can remember it as if it was yesterday – Renee North calling me up to her bedroom and showing me the weirdest thing I had ever seen – a vinyl picture disc. ‘What’s that?’ I asked. ‘A record,’ she said. But it didn’t look like a record to me, it wasn’t black it […]

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Allthatsleft Book Club #9: Stoner by John Williams

March 18, 2014

After Waterstones declared it as their book of the year, Stoner become a bit of a publishing sensation of 2013. Which, I suppose, for a book that was written in 1965, by a relatively little known author, and has nothing whatsoever to do with Warewolves, Wizards or sado-masochism is no bad thing. What Stoner is, […]

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Week 11: Villain – The Board of the Co-Op Bank

March 17, 2014

This Week’s Villains are the Co-Operative Bank. I just feel so let down by them. The Co-Op used to stand for a certain type of integrity. You’d go into their shops and there would be posters telling you how they didn’t invest in unethical causes or countries where there were dictatorships or oppression. You felt […]

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Week 11: Prat – Paul Burstow MP

March 16, 2014

This week, we are giving our award for the biggest prat of the last seven days to Paul Burstow, the Liberal Democrat MP for Sutton & Cheam It has of course long since stopped being a novel experience to have a Liberal Democrat MP to talk big when it suits him and then wimp out […]

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Week 11: Hero – Tony Benn

March 16, 2014

This week’s hero is Tony Benn – who died at the age of 88 this week. Tony Benn was a great politician. He was one of the most radical and influential left-wing politicians of all time. He influence within British political discourse will be sorely missed. Politicians love talking with three statements. So, in the […]

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Cine-East Film Club Presents #40: 1966, Daisies (Vera Chytilova)

March 15, 2014

‘This film is dedicated to all of those whose sole source of indignation is a trampled-on trifle’ They are dropping like flies.   The last five weeks have seen as many cinematic greats shuffle off this mortal coil.  Back at the beginning of February we had the tragic early death of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the […]

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Jackie, George, Tony Benn and Me

March 15, 2014

It must have been the spring of 1991. We were counting down to graduation. Our finals were a matter of weeks away and we were already starting to think of life after University, life after education, life as an adult. And it was scary. We had grown up in the Thatcher years – the ethos […]

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#866: 1969, The Jackson Five, I Want You Back

March 14, 2014

Welcome to the last in our series of great bass line songs. My chosen song, I Want You Back by The Jackson Five has not just one but two great bass lines. The first Jackson 5 single to be released on the Motown label, I Want You Back features what is unarguably one of the […]

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