From the monthly archives:

March 2014

Tony Benn: R.I.P

March 14, 2014
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The Album Collection #24: 1969, Nick Drake, Five Leaves Left

March 14, 2014

Listening to Nick Drake’s Five Leaves Left is like gently flying at a low level over a field of corn and allowing your hand to wistfully brush against the heads of softly whispering crop. It is a stunning debut album from one of Britain’s greatest singer song writers. His story is an interesting one – […]

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#865: 1972, Curtis Mayfield, Pusherman

March 13, 2014

) For the penultimate song of our great basslines theme week, I am going to join Charlie East-West and Jackie South in moving away from the rock canon.   Funk is all about the bass and on Pusherman the great Curtis Mayfield uses the bassline which holds the whole song together as a jumping off point […]

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Sportsnight #35: 2014, Brian O’Driscoll’s Retirement from International Rugby

March 12, 2014

) Good evening and welcome to a special edition of Sportsnight. Tonight we pay a special tribute to the one and only Brian O’Driscoll, who is about to play his last ever match of international rugby. With one more game to go – and the chance to finish his international career with a Six Nations […]

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Bob Crow: Agitate, Educate, Organise

March 12, 2014

High profile individuals in public life usually fall within two distinct categories:- those who are effective and those who are ineffective. Bob Crow definitely fell within the first category – a category where the minority of our political elite currently reside. Bob Crow was hugely effective. He was a hugely charismatic and uncompromisingly brilliant militant […]

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The Cheltenham Festival 2014: Preview/Tips

March 11, 2014

The Cheltenham Festival begins today. I love the Cheltenham Festival. I have always preferred the down to earth nature of National Hunt racing compared to the sugar daddy billionaires playground of flat racing. Some of the most interesting and eccentric individuals in sport lie within the confines of jump racing. Cheltenham is where all of […]

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Cine-East Film Club Presents #39: 1992, Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood)

March 9, 2014

William Munny: ‘It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man’. After a weekend off last week for Oscar Sunday (the traditional occasion of the posting of my top 10 films of the previous year), the Cine-East Film Club is back.   Inspired by last week’s Academy Awards and the thoroughly deserved success of 12 Years […]

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#864: 1978, Chic, Le Freak

March 9, 2014

We have reached our sixth song in our series on great basslines. Rather than go for the more predictable rock, punk or indie canon, like Charlie East-West I’ve opted for a bit of disco. Unlike many of our other picks, you have to wait until halfway through for Chic‘s bassline really to come into its […]

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Week 10: Villain – The Met Police

March 9, 2014

This week’s Villan’s are the Metropolitan Police. The bastards. I’ve always tried to have a healthy respect for the Police, I’ve always tried to resist calling them nicknames such as pigs and filth and what have you – then you hear the stories of undercover police officers entering into false relationships with environmental protection activists […]

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Week 10: Prat – David Cameron

March 9, 2014

This Week’s Prat of the Week Award goes to the Prime Minister, David Cameron for yet further examples of his paper thin PR-man approach to running the country. As time goes on it becomes increasingly clear that David Cameron is the least serious Prime Minister the country has probably ever had, at least in the […]

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Week 10: Heroes – Sir Patrick Stewart and Rob Delaney

March 9, 2014

This week’s hero award goes to actor Sir Patrick Stewart and comedian Rob Delaney for lampooning David Cameron’s selfie photo image of himself on the phone to Barack Obama. David Cameron often gives off the impression of treating politics like a bit of fun. A born to rule mentality but without any gut instinct. So, […]

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The A-Z of World Politics #P: Poland

March 7, 2014

With a population of nearly 40 million, Poland is  by a distance the most populous of the former Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe, with a population almost double of that of second placed Romania.  Poland is also comfortably the most religiously observant country in the European Union.  The Catholic church is not only a […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies 2014: Bastards

March 7, 2014

Claire Denis is one of the finest directors currently working.  Her last two films were near masterpieces.  The beautiful tale of a working class father/daughter relationship that was 35 Shots of Rum and White Material, the West African set tale of a colonial coffee plantation family coming to terms with the political realities of independence […]

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Fusilier Rigby, Whole Life Tariffs And The Usual Lack Of Debate

March 7, 2014

By Guest Blogger, ‘Nice Guy’ Eddie Kaye “We build jails for people we’re afraid of, and fill them with people we’re mad at.” Not as you may think the words of a namby-pamby, wishy-washy, bleeding heart, Guardian reading liberal. The one thing that never ceases to amaze me about political life is that once in […]

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Great Political Speeches #3: Tommy Sheridan on Scottish Independence

March 6, 2014

Welcome to the third in our series of Great Political Speeches. After featuring the barnstorming oratory of Jimmy Reid and Neil Kinnock – we now present to you the one and only Tommy Sheridan. Forget all that other stuff about Tommy Sheridan. Just take half and hour out of your day to listen to his […]

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In Praise of #3: World Book Day

March 6, 2014

Hermione Granger and The Wimpy Kid left my house to go to school today. No, this wasn’t some weird pre-caffeine early morning hallucination, it was my children dressing up as their favourite book characters for World Book Day. All across the country, thousands of school kids will trudge into school with an extra spring in […]

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#863: 1969, Led Zeppelin, Dazed and Confused

March 5, 2014

So far in Basslines week, we’ve enjoyed some absolutely belting New Wave stuff and a cracking bit of funk courtesy of the Fatback Band – thus far, in all these songs the bassline has driven the rhythm of the song, provided the boom to dance to. By contrast this Led Zep song with possibly one […]

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Crisis In Ukraine: George ‘Jimmy Carter’ East’s 7 Point Peace Plan

March 5, 2014

Right, it is time for me to come over all Jimmy Carter and propose a potential diplomatic way through the current crisis in Ukraine and the Crimea.   As of the somewhat bizarre statement from Vladimir Putin yesterday that there were no Russian troops in Crimea, merely enthusiastic locals who had bought Russian uniforms from the […]

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Christ Grayling’s Quest For Injustice: Part 2 – His Real Agenda

March 5, 2014

We had a meeting of the Criminal Barristers in my Chambers the other day to discuss the day of action on March 7th. It was an unhappy meeting – we don’t want to be in this position, all of us have cases that we want to do, clients who need to be represented, defendants who […]

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#862: 1975, Fatback Band, (Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop

March 4, 2014

The Russians are coming. Are you scared yet? If I was Vladimir Putin, I would stop all of that bareback horse riding and interventionist posturing and just get on the dance floor. He should instead funk out to today’s song of choice, (Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop by the Fatback Band. After listening […]

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Shouldn’t The Crimeans Get A Say?

March 3, 2014

There are very real reasons for being critical of Vladimir Putin and the developments in both Crimea and eastern Ukraine. It seems all too easy for him to roll the tanks in to crush neighbours that oppose Russian interests, as happened six years ago in Georgia. It feels very much like a resumption of the […]

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Chris Grayling’s Quest For Injustice – Part One

March 3, 2014

This might shock you. Imagine this – you get into an incident, some kind of dispute which culminates in you pushing another individual forcefully to the chest, sadly, nay, tragically, they fall, bang their head and die. You are arrested at the scene and transported to a police station where you are accused of murder. […]

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Ukraine Crisis: The Hypocrisy of the West

March 3, 2014

As the crisis in the Ukraine continues to escalate towards potentially dangerous outcomes that are yet unknown, the collective powers in the West ratchet up their quasi-imperialistic warnings against Russia. As always with any conflict in Eastern Europe or the Middle East, Russia is the major player in the game of geopolitical chess, and of […]

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#861: 1982, The Jam, A Town Called Malice

March 2, 2014

We are into day 3 of our latest theme week here on Songs To Learn and Sing: songs with great basslines.  A cracking theme week, I think – so a hat tip to Ray North for that. With this song we are yet again we are in the post-punk world that produced so many of […]

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Week 9: Hero – Judge Orlando Garcia

March 2, 2014

This week, we hand our regular Hero award to Texan Judge, Orlando Luis Garcia Back in 2004, the Republicans organised referenda across a swathe of American states to outlaw same-sex marriage. This flurry of activity was, in part, an attempt to create a ‘wedge issue’ for the Presidential elections taking place that year to ensure […]

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Week 9: Villain – Royal Bank of Scotland

March 2, 2014

This week’s villain of the week award goes to The Royal Bank of Scotland – for making a financial loss last year of £8.2bn, and yet, still finding a way to put aside £576m to pay staff bonuses in 2013, which we the taxpayer will continue to fund. As well as this continued cycle of […]

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George East’s Top Ten Films of 2013

March 2, 2014

As it is Oscar Sunday it is traditionally time for the final list of 2013 (even if it is March 2014): my top 10 films of 2013.  Because of the nature of distributors release schedules, most of the films that are in serious contention for Academy Awards tonight have only been released this year.  There […]

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Week 9: Prat – Grant Shapps

March 2, 2014

This Week’s Prat of the Week Award goes to Conservative Party Chairman for the absurd suggestion that the Tories should rebrand as the Workers’ Party Sometimes I think that Grant Shapps is a Fast Show character.  It is hard to believe that someone who is such an out and out spiv, with his alter ego […]

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