From the monthly archives:

May 2014

World Cup Special #6: GROUP F

May 31, 2014

Group F – or as I call it Groupos Los Politicos Yes, the group for political types – it’s got Bosnia, well there was a war there not so long ago, Nigeria, there’s always something tasty going on there, Iran, well, need I say more and Argentina, who, er, had the Colonels thirty odd years […]

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#900: 1983, This Mortal Coil, Song to the Siren

May 29, 2014

It isn’t very long, it doesn’t have massive guitars or drums or a rousing chorus, nor was it a massive hit (well not in the mainstream charts, was pretty huge in the old Indie Chart)- indeed, quite a few of you will have probably forgotten about This Mortal Coil – but, to mark our 900th […]

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Understanding UKIP #1: I Am Disillusioned Too

May 28, 2014

Part of UKIP’s appeal is plainly their stance on immigration, which much more than ‘Europe’ explains, I think, a large part of their growth.  In times of economic insecurity many feel threatened (and some are in fact threatened) by immigration as competition for jobs is perceived to increase and there is a downwards pressure on […]

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The Secret MP #9: Lying in the hull of a sunken ship.

May 27, 2014

I am a Liberal-Deamocrat MP. You can call me Keith. But that’s not my real name. I’ve picked up the phone. I’ve put it down again. I’ve picked up the phone. I’ve put it down again. At least five times, I’ve picked up the phone with the intention of calling Nick Clegg’s office to ask […]

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#899: 1960, Roy Orbison, Only The Lonely (Know The Way I Feel)

May 27, 2014

As we approach our 900th song, surely one of the biggest and most embarrassing omissions from Songs To Learn and Sing thus far, is the Big O, Roy Orbison.  Those shades, the black, that extraordinary multiple octave voice, the drama of his songs at their best as he sat on the border between rock n […]

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12 Months to the General Election: State of the Parties #3 – The Lib Dems

May 26, 2014

In the Euro Elections the Lib-Dems have had their worst set of results since 1990, whilst polls suggest that they are in danger of actually losing every one of their MPs at a general election. Things couldn’t get much worse for the Lib-Dems. So, let’s analyse their performance: What do the Lib-Dems need at the […]

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Week 21: Hero – London

May 26, 2014

This week, our panel decided to give our regular Hero of the Week prize to the capital city for resisting the allure of UKIP Whilst the rest of England and Wales bought into UKIP, London by and large stayed immune to their charms. In the European elections, UKIP took 27.5% of the vote, and was […]

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Week 21: Prat – Prince Charles

May 26, 2014

This week’s Prat of the Week is the Heir to the Throne, Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and all that….HRH Prince of Wales Prince of Prat’s more like. Though he’s always had massive prat tendencies. But, I mean, what was he going on about private conversation or not, telling a Canadian woman he’d […]

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Week 21: Villain – The Thai Military

May 25, 2014

This Week’s Villain of the Week is the Thai Military for overthrowing the democratically elected government in a coup d’etat Anyone who has had the privilege to go to Thailand will know that it is a beautiful and extremely welcoming country.   However, anyone who follows the politics of that country will know that it is […]

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#898: 2006, Jarvis Cocker, Running The World

May 25, 2014

The mixed messages of Thursday’s elections made this a timely pick here at Songs To Learn And Sing: a reminder about what politics is really about. Jarvis, with a bitter humour, pretty much sums it all up in his expletive-toting refrain. So, if you were tempted to vote UKIP to show your anger at all […]

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World Cup Special #5: Group E

May 24, 2014

Yes, you wait for ages then two come along together – the second in a single day of my World Cup Reviews and this time I focus on Group E – and if Group D, was the Group of Death, then, and I apologise to followers of Ecuador, France, Switzerland and Honduras, this the Group […]

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World Cup Special #4: GROUP D

May 24, 2014

Group D: Oh yes, we’ve finally arrived at it, every World Cup has one, and this is the Brazil 2014 version – The Group of Death. Le Groupe De Mort, oh yes. And, what makes it more fascinating for those of an English persuasion is that it involves England, it involves Italy and it involves […]

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Allthatsleft Book Club #11: FAN by Danny Rhodes

May 22, 2014

I wasn’t at Hillsborough on 15th April 1989 – though I’m a Liverpool fan, by then, I had left the North West and was an undergraduate in London – and football for a while was something that I had left behind as well. Danny Rhodes was there. As a Nottingham Forest fan he sat in […]

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Local election briefing: London

May 22, 2014

Labour’s partial consolation for losing the 2010 General Election was winning control of a majority of the London boroughs the same day: more than doubling the number where it held an outright majority from eight to seventeen. That of course limits the number of London boroughs it can gain this time around, and so the […]

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Songs To Learn and Sing Hall of Fame #2: The Clash

May 21, 2014

With my posting a couple of weeks back of Janie Jones  the lead off track from their extraordinary adrenalin fuelled eponymous debut West London’s finest became the second artist, after The Beatles, to enter the Songs to Learn and Sing Hall of Fame by having 10 songs posted in our daily song feature. Like the […]

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Prince Charles Should Shut the Fuck Up

May 21, 2014

Not because he compared Putin’s actions in the Ukraine with Hitler – though that is pretty moronic.   However cynical and brutal some of Russia’s actions have been, it really is a far cry from Hitler’s treatment of the same part of the world in the Second World War. That is not to say that Prince […]

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12 Month to the General Election: State of the Parties #2 The Conservatives

May 21, 2014

The Conservatives. Right, I’ll put my objective hat on and try to be as fair as I can to the Tories. Here goes. What do the Tories need at the next general election Well, their aim is to become the largest party in parliament and thus, form a government on their Jack Jones without the […]

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Local Election Briefing – Harrow

May 20, 2014

For another of our looks at the forthcoming local elections, we turn to the north London borough of Harrow. At the last general election, the Labour Party in London had some consolation as Brown’s government lost: it more than doubled the London boroughs where it had a majority of the councillors from eight to seventeen […]

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Week 20: Hero – James O’Brien

May 18, 2014

This week, our regular Hero award goes to LBC presenter James O’Brien for Friday’s interview with Nigel Farage I must admit not to knowing much about James O’Brien before Friday. But like Eddie Mair, he has entered the pantheon of interviewing gods for taking a self-styled maverick right-wing politician down a peg or two by […]

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Week 20: Prat – Sepp Blatter

May 18, 2014

This weeks Prat of the Week is the President of FIFA and good old fashioned Prat – Sepp Blatter. I decided to carry out an piece of empirical research: Sepp Blatter is the 78 year old President of FIFA, who has been involved as a technocrat with one of the most powerful international organisations for […]

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Week 20: Villain – Richard Walden

May 18, 2014

This Week’s Villain of the Week is the Chairman of the Independent Schools Association for his remarks that state schools are churning out amoral children If you want the clearest evidence possible of the distance between those who rule and the rest of us, look no further than the remarks this week of the Chairman […]

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Top of The Pops Special: Songs To Learn and Sing Readers’ Top 50 – Skynyrd Toppled

May 18, 2014

Thursday marked the three and a half year anniversary of this blog, which also means the three and half year anniversary of our Songs to Learn and Sing feature.   It is therefore also time for our 6 monthly readers’ chart of the most popular songs we have featured, as chosen by you.  As of Thursday […]

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#897: 2014, Conchita Wurst, Rise Like A Phoenix

May 16, 2014

http://youtu.be/ToqNa0rqUtY Me and Mrs North sat down, we opened a bottle of something French and we watched the Eurovision Song Contest – every last minute of it. We watched Polish girls with their knockers out rather unsubtly singing about milking cows; we watched some French fellas sing a song about moustaches; a bloke who looked […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies 2014: Stranger By The Lake

May 14, 2014

Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger By The Lake was French film magazine Cahiers du Cinema film of the year in 2013.   The film, set entirely on a nude gay cruising beach adjacent to an idyllic lake, is a psychological thriller, which explores the potentially deadly nature of erotic obsession. Every afternoon Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) arrives at the […]

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Why David Cameron Is Wrong On Knives

May 13, 2014

On Sunday Jackie South wrote a post supporting David Cameron’s position on sentencing on knife crime: that a second conviction for an offence involving knives should automatically result in a prison sentence  This post puts the alternative case. Nick Clegg has publicly opposed the proposal and bragged about how he has used his veto in […]

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#896: 1954, Elvis Presley, Good Rockin’ Tonight

May 13, 2014

About time for something from the King, I think.    Good Rockin’ Tonight, his second single for Sun Records, is I think the moment that Presley announced himself musically on the world as something far more exciting than anything that had gone before, even if it would take his major label debut (and Songs To Learn […]

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John Smith and The Death of Social Democracy

May 13, 2014

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the tragic death of John Smith, the last Labour leader to be unequivocally committed to a society based on social democratic principles rather that those of marketisation and neo-liberalism. Like the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v Gore in 2000, it is one of those great contingent moments of […]

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Cine-East Film Club Presents #46: 1936, Sabotage (Alfred Hitchcock)

May 13, 2014

When I first came to live in London in the late 1980s, the threat of terrorism was ever present.   The IRA campaign remained active and it seemed barely a week went past without mainline train stations in London being closed because of bomb scares.   Occasionally in the late 1980s and early 1990s there were actual […]

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12 Months to the General Election: The State of the Parties #1 Labour

May 13, 2014

It is, as I mentioned in a recent post, only 12 months before we will have a general election and over the next week or so, I’m going to be having a look at the state of the parties a year before that date, and assess what they might have to do to improve their […]

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#895: 1976, Gil Scott-Heron, Johannesburg

May 12, 2014

In his recent run-through of the songs we have posted from the current decade, George mentioned in passing the lack of political songs, and how they were fairly mainstream in our youth. There are a few exceptions, but where is Austerity Britain’s Ghost Town? What was an important current of popular music between Dylan and […]

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