The Republicans Can’t Dump Trump

August 8, 2016

As Donald Trump’s chances of becoming the 45th President of the United States have plummeted over the last ten days (13 points behind Hillary Clinton among likely voters in the latest Monmouth University poll released today) there has been growing speculation that the Republican Party might need a Plan B to stay in the running. […]

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#1083: 2009, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Home

July 25, 2016

We had a couple of days of sunshine up here – which was strange as it was July, school holidays and up here, is North Wales where things don’t tend to get sunny. What was even stranger was that the sunshine co-incided with me having a few hours off work – so, I decided to […]

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Jeremy Corbyn and the Cult of Personality

July 25, 2016

Battle is joined. After Angela Eagle had the balls to step up and challenge Corbyn for the Labour leadership and then nobly stood aside for Owen Smith so there was a unity challenger, we now have maybe the last chance to save the Labour Party as a coherent political force. Something that after Brexit and […]

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Cine-East Film Club Presents #69: 1971, Wake In Fright (Ted Kotcheff)

July 23, 2016

John Grant: ‘What do you do?’ Doc Tydon: ‘I drink’ The title is misleading. This is not a horror movie. Well  maybe it is in a way, but it is certainly not a horror movie in a traditional sense. There isn’t actually a bad character in it, let alone an evil one. Pretty much every […]

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#1082: 1977, Suicide, Ghost Rider

July 23, 2016

Last week saw the sad death of Alan Vega, the lead singer of New York electronic punk act, Suicide, who have so far never had a song in Songs To Learn and Sing. With their minimalistic electronic sounds and repetitive drum machine backing, Suicide were in their way almost as influential as Kraftwerk. Famous for […]

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Euro 2016: Well done Wales and why England are so woeful….

July 18, 2016

Let’s take some brief morsel of respite from our increasingly bizarre world and consider the recent European Football Championships. I predicted before the competition that the last four would comprise of Poland, Italy, Germany and France – I got two right, but the Poles and Italians, who both looked good in the group stage, perished […]

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Will You Be My Running Mate?

July 14, 2016

To take my mind off the car crash that is British politics, and the Labour Party in particular, I am having a look at the key decision that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be taking over the next eight days on the eve of the two parties’ conventions: who will stand to be […]

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Does Jeremy Corbyn Need the Support of 51 MPs to be on the Leadership Ballot?

July 11, 2016

By the end of Wednesday we will have a new Prime Minister, as Theresa May succeeds David Cameron, without challenge. The Tories will to power is once again triumphant – they made the mistake once in 2001, choosing IDS over Ken Clarke – we know now that they won’t make it again. Andrea Leadsom will […]

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I was wrong about Jeremy….

July 11, 2016

This time last year, I embarked upon a short-lived and rather embarrassing Summer romance. I was tired with my relationship, bored with doing the usual things and listening to the same old stories; I wanted something new and exciting, I wanted something different. I wanted that button popping passion that comes an illicit and dangerous […]

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Labour’s Catch 22

July 10, 2016

Given that there is now going to be a leadership challenge to Jeremy Corbyn, as he refuses to stand down despite losing the confidence of the Parliamentary Labour Party, the position seems to be: (i) Labour’s NEC implementing the Rules keep Jeremy Corbyn off the ballot (as he will not be able to get the […]

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Some Initial Thoughts On Chilcot and the Legailty of the Iraq War

July 7, 2016

As if we haven’t had enough to be thinking about in the last couple of weeks, Sir John Chilcot chose this week of all the weeks in the seven years he has been writing his report on the Iraq war to release his report.  The media has focused heavily on the report’s criticisms of Tony […]

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#1081: 1957, Elvis Presley, Jailhouse Rock

July 7, 2016

A couple of reasons for my pick today.  Firstly I went to see Elvis & Nixon with Jackie South last Sunday.  A small but entertaining enough film (with a superb performance by Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon) about the bizarre true story of the King of Rock N Roll turning up announced at the White […]

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Britain. Stop it now. Go home. You’re drunk.

July 6, 2016

Britain. Stop it now. Go home. You’re drunk. Success lies in the choices. And when you are drunk, you tend to make some pretty stupid choices. Our choice on June 23rd was a spectacularly stupid choice. Voting to leave the EU is a bit like what happens when you try and fix a faulty watch […]

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What, in the name of God, is going on?

June 30, 2016

Right, so let’s get this right…. The Tories don’t like Europe, but some Tories dislike it an awful lot more than others. So, David Cameron, to try to unite his party and take the steam out of UKIP (and for that matter the more pro-European Labour and Lib-Dems), declares that he will hold a referendum […]

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#1080: 2016, Meilyr Jones, Refugees

June 23, 2016

Our ‘europop’ theme on Songs To Learn And Sing has faltered and lacking inspiration for it myself I’ve decided to post this instead – a beautiful, touching song from my current favourite album, 2013. In some uncertain indirect way it feels appropriate on this big political day with so much at stake. PS Bear with […]

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Why I’ll Be Voting Remain

June 21, 2016

We are now only 40 hours or so from polls opening on the most momentous vote the British public has been asked to take since, well since last time we were asked to vote on this very same issue in 1975. The difference is, of course, this time it looks very close indeed. Given the […]

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The EU isn’t perfect, but it is so much better than the alternative

June 20, 2016

Of the All That’s Left gang, I was the one who hadn’t made my mind up on the day the EU Referendum was called. After all, the criticism that the EU is not that democratic and instead is a club where deals get made behind the scenes is a fair one. What is worse, it […]

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Week 24: Villain – Donald Trump

June 19, 2016

Last Week’s Villain of the Week was Donald Trump This is an Award we can be pretty sure that Donald Trump is going to win a lot between now and the General Election on the first Tuesday of November. He is the most egotistical, most bigoted and least suited candidate to have won the candidacy […]

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Villain: Week 23 – Tyson Fury

June 19, 2016

Villain of the Week for 2 weeks ago was Tyson Fury Tyson Fury is obviously a very talented boxer. But sadly he is also a bigot. He has in the past made a series of anti-semitic, misogynistic and homophobic comments.   Sadly, despite the controversy around his nomination for BBC Sports Personality of the Year for […]

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Week 22: Villain – Alexander Gauman

June 19, 2016

Week 22’s Villain of the Week Award went to Alexander Gauland, the Deputy leader of the AfD We are a few Villain of the Week Awards behind. This is wholly down to me and a crazy month. But in an attempt to catch up and rather pertinently given both the nasty racist rhetoric of a […]

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By-Election Special: Tooting

June 15, 2016

Today sees the by-election in Tooting following the resignation of Sadiq Khan as he takes on the Mayoralty of London Much of the talk about today’s Tooting by-election has been about the tightness of the result last year. Without the advantage of Sadiq Khan’s 11 years’ incumbency, is Labour in trouble in this part of south […]

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Week 24: Prat – Sarah Wollaston MP

June 15, 2016

This week, Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston wins our regular award for prattish behaviour It is, of course, entirely acceptable for politicians to change their mind. That is particularly true of course if they change their mind to agree with me, for example deciding to vote Remain rather than Leave in next week’s EU referendum. It […]

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Week 24: Hero – Welsh Football Fans

June 15, 2016

Last week’s Hero of the Week Award goes to the 50,000 Welsh football fans who gathered in France to celebrate their nation’s first appearance at a major football tournament for 58 years. I hope that this award doesn’t signal the kiss of death for the Welsh fans, because, thus far, they’ve been amazing, a source […]

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#1079: 2005, Tiësto, Adagio for Strings

June 10, 2016

Welcome to the second song in our Euro 2016 / EU Referendum Europop theme week. Adagio for Strings by Dutch DJ Tiësto was released in January 2005. The song is a cover of the original composition by classical composer Samuel Barber. It was voted by Mixmag readers as the second greatest dance record of all […]

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Back Of The Net Special with Ray North: The Euros

June 10, 2016

It finally happened. Last night, whilst watching a documentary on S4C about the, sadly forgotten and neglected 1976 Wales European Championship team (Toshack, Leighton James, Brian Flynn etc), I got my first Euros tingle. I’m hoping that it will now work like a party which you haven’t really wanted to go to, but turns out […]

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#1078: 1993, Haddaway, What is Love?

June 9, 2016

Oh yes! C’est Oui! Ja Ja! Siiii! (er I’m struggling now) It’s a uniquely Eurotastic time for all of us! Tomorrow the European Championships start (I’m actually struggling to get enthused about them), and next week is the Euro Referendum (I’m starting to worry about my will to live on that score as well). So […]

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Week 23: Hero – Mohammed Ali

June 9, 2016

Last week’s Hero without doubt, former Heavy Weight Champion of the World, Mohammed Ali. Mohammed Ali died last week. A man who has been a hero in three decades of illness as he was in the previous three decades of near physical perfection. Mohammed Ali is one of those few sportsmen who managed to transcend […]

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Bernie: It’s Time To Back Hillary

June 6, 2016

Tomorrow’s batch of primaries will see Hillary Clinton secure the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency. I’ll explain that in a bit more detail below, and why that is the right result. The bigger story though will be how the supporters of Bernie Sanders react. * * * * * But first, a quotation from […]

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Week 23: Prat – David Cameron

June 6, 2016

This week’s prat award once again goes to David Cameron for his half-arsed attempts to convince British voters to stay in the EU. After watching David Cameron get grilled by a selected studio audience on why Britain should stay in the EU, I was left with the impression that he simply cannot deal with any […]

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How I’ll be voting in the EU referendum: Ray North

June 4, 2016

I’ve always had my reservations about the EU. Not because I have a problem about Poles, Portuguese or Albanians coming to live in my town – far from it, I was brought up to have no fear of other cultures and so I fight the instinct to wrap myself up in the familiarity of my […]

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