Jul. 17th, 2015 09:43 pm
keresaspa: (Reiko Ike)
Is this thing still on? Only one way to find out I suppose:

London )
keresaspa: (Karl Marx laughing)
It's May Day so sod reconstruction, sod post-modernism, sod elections, sod the running dogs, sod the whole bloody lot of it. Long live the Left and to hell with reaction. Fuck the Right and up the revolution.

keresaspa: (Cynthia of Witching Hour fame)
You may well remember that in the chaos that was summer 2013 Donegal Celtic forgot to apply to enter any cup competitions, such was the uncertainty about their future. With an altogether calmer close season this time out such oversights were not repeated and so on Saturday the club finally made their return to the Irish Cup fourth round with a home tie against Ballyclare Comrades (I checked, they were formed by ex-soldiers not fellow travellers).

Given that the local game decrees DC take part in five knockout competitions (League Cup, Steel & Sons Cup, County Antrim Shield, Irish Cup, Intermediate Cup) I'm generally rather blasé to the whole affair but that turned to outright hostility when I went to pay in and found that the usual admission price of a fiver had been bumped up to eight quid. Apparently the tie required the best referees that money could buy, meaning a nigh on tripling of ref fees to £590 and a 60% increase on the gate in an (ultimately failed) attempt to make up the difference. Sod that for a game of soldiers.

Inevitably given how much he cost the ref was, well, as crap as they always are. He booked DC players seemingly at random, didn't even book any Ballyclare Comrades players after a 22 man melee broke out, disallowed a perfectly good goal for reasons unknown and his linesman awarded a Ballyclare goal that was about three yards offside. The usual in other words. Mind you, DC only have themselves to blame for the eventual extra time defeat as they were 2-0 up at one point and had a penalty saved after an extremely tame effort. On balance Comrades were worth their 3-2 win and no amount of crap refereeing can disguise that fact. It was especially disappointing given that the week before the exact same match had happened in the league and DC had destroyed their south-east Antrim opponents 4-1.

C'est la vie, I suppose. If Irish Cup games are to mean an extra three knicker on the door then I'm not particularly bothered about going out of it. It'll also mean a couple of free weekends as, as much as I've enjoyed missing only one DC match all season (and even then I was in Bradford so it was unavoidable), I'm rather starting to experience withdrawal symptoms from the non-league fayre I also took in last season and so will relish the odd free Saturday to reacquaint myself with the delights of Paisley Park, Skegoneill Avenue, the Diamond, Good Shepherd Road and the rest. An Intermediate Cup tie away to Carrick Rangers awaits on Saturday (probably a defeat in that one too) before the first blank Saturday of the year and a chance to return to lower levels. After all, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the Northern Amateur League, now would it?
keresaspa: (Ivy the Terrible)
And so we have it, after all the hot air expelled (mainly be me, admittedly) the dirty deed is finally done. As I intimated I went for the Anna Lo of the Alliance in the European election as a personal endorsement of the lady herself as an individual rather than because of any love for chosen political party. Either way, I'll offer her my commiserations in advance for her failure to get elected as I have yet to vote for a winning candidate in my life and that run is sure to continue. When it came to the local elections I looked at the paltry selection of limp lettuce leaves placed in front of me and decided "sod the lot of them" and destroyed the ballot by drawing a hammer and sickle and writing "none of the above" in block capitals, thus paying homage to my two great loves in life - communism and Brewster's Millions. Well, one great love and one don't mind and will watch if it's on and I've nothing better to do. Nonetheless the nastiness has been completed and I can now sit back and await the grim and depressing spectacle of the results trickling in. You know it will be bad but you can never prepare for just how bad.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
There are few characteristics more becoming in humanity than compassion. One of the side-effects of Thatcherism has been the gradual elimination of compassion in many people, leaving behind a bunch of warmongering nimbys, turning their hatred on the poor and the immigrant simply because they're weak and can't fight back, the sort of people who will say with a straight face that an odious little bastard like Nigel Farage "seems like a good bloke". One of the very few people in public life to demonstrate compassion as a matter of course was Tony Benn and as such his death is a huge blow to the increasingly quaint notion that it is possible to enter politics without being a total piece of vermin. We may not have agreed on everything (his ideal of democratic socialism would never have been an end in itself to my mind, rather a staging point on the way to proper communism) but I can think of no figure in British politics that I admired more, a man of the utmost principle, a tireless friend of the republican community at a time when many of his countrymen viewed us as untermensch to be repressed as brutally as possible and above all somebody whose thought processes were always informed, not by concerns for himself or his powerful chums, but by what would help the people most.

Driven by principle above all, Benn sacrificed the easy life of the House of Lords for the simple reason that he didn't agree with its existence. There are plenty of posh boys who like to play at being lefties but fall into line when the time comes but not Wedgie, who told them where they could shove it and devoted much of his energies to attacking patronage, the monarchy and the whole corrupt lot of them. A tireless opponent of monetarism, which he rightly warned would lead not to greater freedom but to greater authoritarianism from the right, it's just a crying shame that his warnings were ignored and instead petty selfishness and an anti-humanity outlook was adopted as the norm. Equally shameful has been the increasing lurch towards militarism but that didn't for a second stop Benn from opposing war and the suffering it engenders with all his might. As the man so rightly said "if you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people".

That the very fact he was a man of principle was used against him during his life (and no doubt will be in the right-wing press tomorrow) is a sure sign of just how cancerous British society has become. That someone should ever face criticism for putting the welfare of the people, not one group, not certain sections, but ALL the people, above money and capitalism is a revolting reality to have to face. The passing of one of the true greats and I look around and see no one even close to him who can take his place. Rest in peace Tony, we'll never see your like again and that's the greatest shame of all.
keresaspa: (Brigitte Bardot)
All I seem to have been doing on this thing recently is leeching ideas off [livejournal.com profile] caddyman in order to fill up entries. Well, today is to be another instalment in that rip-off sequence as the man himself has presented another of his memes and I'm jumping on the bandwagon. The basic plot of this one is to provide eight facts about yourself. Apologies in advance for the boring nature of these but I'm a boring chap I'm afraid.

1) I had only just started walking when I toddled my way through a glass door in the house in which I was born. Whilst I cheated death that day it had been by a whisker as had the cuts gone an inch in either direction I would have severed major blood vessels and most likely carked it. The scars left behind on my forehead were very prominent until fairly recently but now the deep worry lines that have sprung up on my forehead have largely merged with them, rendering them almost invisible.

2) Around the age of five I took part in, and won, a foot race against other children from my school. I was rewarded with a bag of sweets for my trouble. Hardly a big deal in itself, but it must be balanced by the "bulky" frame I have sported ever since and the complete aversion to running that has dominated my thinking. I reckon Douglas Bader with have a chance in a foot race against me these days.

3) I was about 12 when I first decided to become politically aware but I didn’t fully embrace communism until the age of around 19. As a youngster I was a firmly moderate social democrat whose political allegiances belonged to the Labour Party and the SDLP. I began to move to the left around the time Blair took over Labour (the two occurrences were not connected however) when I was about 14 and from then until about 17 I looked more to the likes of the SWP and the IRSP, whilst maintaining a strong admiration for the authoritarian Left in the developing world. By the age of 17 I was more open to communism and finally declared for it around 19, following a very very brief flirtation with anarchism.

4) At GCSE I was put forward for the Additional Mathematics exams but, after getting a B in my one year normal maths, I completely lost the thread of what was going on and effectively gave up. As a result in both papers for the subject, which were two hours long, I was finished after about fifteen minutes and had an hour and three quarters to just sit there bored (my school wouldn’t permit you to leave when you were done). The fact that I got an E in the subject (a fail in my day, not so sure now) rather than the U I deserved probably pinpoints the exact moment when they started marking GCSEs too easily.

5) Although I now find it impossible to go a Saturday without attending a football match I didn’t actually go to my first live match until the age of 16 (Cliftonville v Standard Liege in the Intertoto Cup) and I was absent entirely between 1998 and 2011.

6) I once brought a half bottle of whiskey with me along with my standard haul of several bottles of ale and a bottle of Buckfast to a goth carry-out disco. The resulting levels of drunkenness that ensued on my part became legendary in the local scene for several years to come, although for my part I have little memory of it.

7) Having said that, although my hell-raising reputation was well-known once upon a time I did not taste a drop of alcohol until the legal age of 18, which was the same time I first smoked a cigarette. Incidentally I had smoked at most ten cigarettes before I made cigars a regular part of my routine.

8) Despite being a heterosexual adult male with no children, and despite not liking cats, I possess several toys and pieces of ephemera of Hello Kitty and I feel absolutely no shame in admitting that fact.
keresaspa: (Henrietta emo)
When we examined the Twaddell Avenue protests recently you will remember that they included banners with the command "respect our culture" thereon. Leaving aside the benefits of occasional iconoclasm and the fact that not so long ago this, this, this and this could all be termed culture but are now thankfully condemned to the scrapheap where they belong the order was there - whatever we do is culture so love it or leave it.

In that case I presume the same courtesy must be extended to the other side. Apparently not:

Yup, a recently painted mural celebrating the league success for the traditionally republican Cliftonville club as well as their (non-existent) communist heritage is defaced with a dose of nakedly sectarian graffiti expressing fairly irrelevant disapproval for the pontificate of Francis I. So I suppose it's a case of "respect our culture but we reserve the right to crap on everybody else's". Good to know where you stand I suppose - special treatment for a chosen people and the Fenians must know their place as the second class citizens they once were. And I'll resist the temptation to end with some bitter rebuke to the concept of "shared future" as even I'm getting tired of that sign-off.
keresaspa: (Edwige Fenech)
I don't suppose I'll cause much shock when I reveal I'm not one for sending Christmas cards. Being both a Marxist and a misery-guts I'm hardly likely to be a big fan of forced jollity and rabid commercialism, now am I? Close family get them because it's expected and they like them but otherwise , none are sent and, for the most part, none are received either. Splendid isolation as it were.

Mind you, there is one that I expect every year and sure enough it arrived today, slightly earlier than usual - my card from the Iran Liberty Association. I'm not sure what it is I've done to get myself on the Christmas card list of the Iranian external opposition and I'm even less sure how they got my address in the first place but every year, regular as clockwork, for the last seven years or so I've received my card, newsletter, begging letter and envelope to send money. The card is a nice gesture and I may even put it up this year (I didn't know Christmas went down a storm in Teheran but you live and learn) but I'm afraid I won't be parting with my fortune to fund your struggle this year. Declare for an Iranian dictatorship of the proletariat and I may reconsider (do you take postal orders?) otherwise what I have I hold.
keresaspa: (Piggy Banks)
Yeah, still alive, just not very much to tell you. Operation back garden continues apace but is nowhere near reaching its climax for a number of reasons. For one I didn't realise just how much of a forest the place had become, meaning that the clear-up operation is proving a massive task for a lone chap without any mechanical tools. Suffice it to when you start discovering unexplained tree roots you know you have a bloody big job on your hands. There's also the issue that seemingly as much as one third of the garden is composed of unwanted bricks, paving slabs and stones, all of which have to be cleared without a skip as well as my generally low energy levels (a combination of haemochromatosis giving me its usual kicking and all that extra weight I insist on sporting) and a sudden turn for the worse in the weather to be taken into consideration. That and recent jaunts to Bangor, Ballymena and Dublin eating away at my time, as well as a general weariness of gardening as a whole. I'll get there in the end of course but for the minute I do believe I've had enough for a little and will, at least temporarily, put the bent spade, the 89p hand trowel and the child's rake into cold storage.

Meanwhile outside my door we have the G8 turning back the clock to the days of the Troubles by placing Northern Ireland under virtual martial law. It's in Fermanagh, which is nowhere near me, but on Saturday there was all manner of sundry protests against their presence, notably in Belfast city centre where a big rally was held at City Hall alongside the standard fleg mobs (yup, they're still going on). There was a time I might have gone along but I gave it a miss this time. It's not that I don't detest the G8 simply that the days of demos making any difference are long gone, if they even existed in the first place. Governments are corrupt and always will be and people power won't change that as Egypt has so starkly shown. People power may have gotten rid of Mubarak but his replacements are just as sleazy and repressive and if they go too whoever replaces them will be as well. It's true communism or nothing for me, folks - ethical capitalism is an oxymoron and social democratic governments still involve a small elite group having their fingers in the till. That and the fact that the protests were organised under the aegis of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, an organisation that is frankly about as radical as the Women's Institute and was until very recently in the pockets of successive conservative governments down south. And it was pishing rain, but we'll not mention that reason.

Still, I suppose we should enjoy it whilst we can. With an EU withdrawal probably looming large, China already well in front of them and India and Brazil not far behind the nonsense of calling Britain one of the eight richest countries in the world will be over and done with soon enough and all this sort of old rubbish will be a distant memory. The sooner the better.
keresaspa: (Fidel Castro)
With Donegal Celtic up the country today facing Dungannon Swifts in, surprisingly enough, Dungannon, my usual port of call would have been the Cliftonville-Ballymena United match up at Solitude. But not today. For whatever reason I decided I didn't fancy. Whether my two recent visits as an away supporter have soured me or whether my innate disdain for success has kicked in with Cliftonville top of the league (remember, all communists are at heart losers) I just didn't feel like cheering for the Reds today. So after a bit of consideration I settled on spending the afternoon at Dundela vs Larne.

Of all the Irish League teams in Belfast Dundela are the second closest to me at three miles away (Linfield are closest at under three miles, although the nearest non-league team is Rosario at a few hundred yards) and yet I have never set foot in their Wilgar Park. Their status as a Protestant team in the heart of east Belfast has always put me off but after finding Brantwood to be no bother I decided today to finally put in an appearance.

Wilgar Park is in an odd area, solidly Protestant but uncertain of its status. The grim nightmare of the lower Newtownards Road is but a stone's throw away but the leafy suburbs of Ballyhackamore and the Hollywood Road are very close too and as a result Dundela is a bit of a twilight zone, not quite sure whether it is loyalist or simply unionist. The comparisons with Brantwood are relevant as Wilgar Park reminded me of Skegoneill Avenue, being a ground nestling inconspicuously in the middle of a residential area within the catchment of a much larger club and giving off a whiff of faded glory and decline. They've never been a senior club but Dundela did once win the Irish Cup and their crumbling ground looks like it might have been pretty good once but is now on the slide.

Unlike Brantwood however Dundela have maintained some status and sit in the second tier of the local game, the Championship 1. Today's visitors were Larne, themselves a former senior club with a couple of Ulster Cup wins under their belt but who have fell on black days. Perhaps the lack of space on the tiny Wilgar stands made it seem that way but the ground seemed to have attracted a good crowd, no mean feat given that Glentoran were at home under a mile away. Larne had a decent enough travelling support too, bolstered by an unusually high percentage of females, with local crowds being predominantly male (even exclusively at a few very low level matches I have attended). It may be a harsh judgement on my part but I have to say that Larne's away support is possibly the worst I have encountered outside the top division. Gobby, argumentative, bad-tempered, blinkered, loud tosspots, not helped by possessing one of the most unpleasant accents in the world, they failed to endear themselves to the home support, a stout bunch of mostly very elderly individuals whose other hobbies seemed to revolve entirely around the Presbyterian Church. Larne's support was led by one shrill harpy, the loudest of the bunch and thus inevitably possessed of the most horrendous accent of the bunch, who decided that the constantly harassed Dundela number three was a bit of a diver. "He's more often on his arse than on his feet" the Patsy Rowlands-lookalike opined to slight laughter the first time. By the tenth time even a member of the God-fearing home crowd was move to respond "ach, f**k up" in her direction. Well said, granddad.

On the pitch Dundela dominated the first half completely but singularly failed to make it pay, missing an absolute shitload of chances to go in 0-0 at half time. It was the same story in the second half but this time they finally made it count with one of their number (didn't catch any of the names, unfortunately) curling in a neat little curler past the flailing grasp of Larne's portly keeper. A few more could have followed but again they didn't take their chances and Larne began to come back into it. Their number ten, a strapping but mouthy young man with a bit of a beard, became a bit of a hate figure for the home crowd as he was fond of niggling fouls, overacting when tackled and attempted to give backsass to home fans when they gave him a bit of gentle ribbing. Knobhead. Still, he was the one to score the equaliser in the dying seconds of injury time as chaos ensued following a corner and he was able to intercept a pass from the chubby keeper, who had taken to coming up for corners, and rifle home. Having taken the home side's part throughout this ending felt flat and I trudged away disappointed at the result and nursing a new found grudge for Larne. The bad blood even spilled onto the pitch where a bit of handbags followed the final whistle, much to the chagrin of the referee, who appeared to stand around three and a half feet in height.

Nonetheless overall it was an interesting change of pace. Fair play to Dundela, they're holding on well despite the obvious pull of Glentoran on their doorstep and I hope that they continue to do so as the patchwork of smaller clubs dotted around Belfast help to give the local scene a bit of both variety and familiarity. I would hate another old Belfast side to follow Brantwood's lead in leaving the league scene but if today is anything to go by Dundela seem to be in comparatively rude help. As for Larne, sod that shower of East Antrim arseholes, I hope Bangor overhaul them at the bottom and send them down to the third tier.

And finally as per a request recently received:

Internet fuel )

keresaspa: (Cartman)
Well I don't often write on here at any length any more but thanks to the timely intervention of [livejournal.com profile] bombardiette I am about to. Finally a meme that has allowed, nay forced, me to think deeply and even allowed me the opportunity to get all ideological on your arses. Corking stuff. So anyway -

The rules: "Comment to this post and I will list seven things I want you to talk about. They might make sense or they might be totally random. Then post that list, with your commentary, to your journal. Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself."

The seven topics I have been given are as follows:

1. The Irish Diaspora
2. America
3. The Catholic Church
4. The EU
5. Literature
6. War
7. Look at the city from an outsider's perspective. What do you see?

Very long-winded and pretentious waffle herein )

That's one from the golden days of livejournal when people used this as a forum for extended free form essays before Twitter and Facebook killed off brain cells and reduced communication to a couple of half-formed sentences. Well, I certainly enjoyed doing it even if you didn't enjoy reading a little of it before thinking "sod this" and playing Angry Birds instead. O tempora o mores!


Dec. 19th, 2011 06:01 pm
keresaspa: (Communism)
And then there was one. There was a time when we were stocked from truck to kelson with the sort of crazed "Third World" dictator that hacks love so much because they give them licence to be casually racist but now that Kim Jong-Il has joined Colonel Qaddafi in the big exile mansion in the sky we are left with only Robert Mugabe as a great Ooga Booga that the media can throw their vitriol at when they're struggling to fill column inches. Well, a case might be made for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but he doesn't quite have the flamboyance the classic bonkers dictators whilst Hugo Chavez falls more into the Sandinista category of ones who attract sympathy from the Left. Now I'm no Carson Robison but I'm no Stalinist either so whilst I have professed communism on here it certainly wasn't the extreme etatism of North Korea that I had in mind. As such I'm certainly not mourning the passing of a great revolutionary hero here.

Nor however will I be reacting like our own William Hague, who only seems to appear now when somebody dies in order to gloat about it happening. Has he done anything since the Tories got in apart from smirk at death and that whole business with that guy that never gets mentioned now? Also interesting to note that that bastion of impartiality that is Channel 5 news covered the story in passing, in between promoting failed X Factor contestants and doing a story about Holly Willoughby wearing a jumper (I wish I was kidding about that, but it actually was a news item). Much was made of the money North Korea wasted on vanity projects and nuclear warheads whilst their people battled poverty. Good point well made there Channel 5 - so glad we don't have a government that leaves people in poverty whilst blowing money on rubbish like Trident and the Olympics. And before anybody suggests anything I was passing through a room where somebody else was watching Channel 5 as I haven't looked at it since the axed Football Night a few years ago.

No, Kim Jong-Il was no hero of mine and I will shed no tears for his passing but a few people need to remember Matthew Chapter seven verse five ("Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye") before they start chuckling.

And do you know for years I though his name was Kim Jong the Second as I had only ever seen it written down.
keresaspa: (Trotsky)
One of the grand old men of Red Clydeside John Maclean, found his wavering faith in the value of the trade union movement as an instrument of real social change reinvigorated by a visit to Belfast in 1907. Witnessing the tens of thousands involved in dock strike convinced Maclean that in the trade union movement real revolutionary change could occur. Were Maclean's ghost to rise and visit the same city today I suspect his faith would obliterate after the non-event (here at least) that was the public sector strike. For my part that is down to a number of problems, varying from the lack of a single union to the fact that many of those worst hit by the cuts are non-unionised and even the fact that the aims of the strike are not only unambitious but a little on the selfish side. One big problem however was the response of a lot of the union members who, rather than picketing treated today as simply a day off and spent it swanning about the town getting in each others way. Too many of these people have been bourgeoisified and, rather than being the radical trade unionists that Maclean hoped for, swan about in their cars and their fancy middle class houses and speak of nothing except their job, their kids (the word Children being illegal now), their holiday, their car and anything else, as long as it involves them. Obviously people are entitled to care about their own lives but equally people don't exist in a bubble and the sort of self-absorbed bastards that too many people now try to be like will never effect real change. Plus alongside the general rubbishness of too many trade union members is the general rubbishness of the trade union movement as a whole and the concept of this one day strike. Since Margaret Thatcher onwards, including under the government of the so-called Labour Party, trade unions have been castrated time and time again to the point where there is sod all they can do now. Strikes have to be planned months in advance, solidarity has been eliminated to the point where there are always scabs lining up to cross the increasingly absent picket lines (no doubt because Charlotte "needs" viola lessons or some other self-absorbed, middle class reason) and the shift of employment into the hands of private companies specialising in "recruitment" (God, I hate that term in any context other than a military one) means that an army of non-union people in shitty terms exists to fill the gaps anyway, excluded and desperate for their bite of the middle class cherry. Besides what huge difference will a one-day stoppage make anyway? The powers that be called one of them easily enough because Billy was taking Kathy up the nave so sod all. Had the unions called a week or even month long strike then things might have happened but there are too many laws preventing that and too many members with one eye on Jonathan's new rugby boots for it to ever happen.

I've never been a syndicalist but I would happily settle for syndicalism if it came along. Unfortunately this was nothing even close to syndicalism but just a bunch of people taking a day off over pensions, happily ignoring the fact that the whole bloody system is rotten to the core and needs to be taken down. If this is the start of the revolution I rather fear that the finish will involve 4x4s and "property" makeovers.
keresaspa: (Arthur Atkinson)
So it seems that Theresa May is at it again, this time handing out a ban to some mob calling itself Muslims Against Crusades. Their only activities seem to have been staging rallies, fighting members of the English Defence League and burning pieces of red plastic that they made themselves but I seem to be in a minority of one on the whole poppy and the disrespecting of the heroes of Bloody Sunday/Springhill/Ballymurphy/New Lodge issue so I'll say no more on that.

The reason I actually mentioned this was not so much to do with the group banned today but rather the slightly unusual list of groups already banned. They certainly have a theme going there, something along the lines of: big beard + no booze + circumcised = illegal. Plus me las in N17, the ETA and the DHKP/C, all of which have a whiff of a Cold War hangover about them. It's all about them darn Islamofascists now, let the past go. I notice on the list that there is no place for Combat 18, not to mention the National Socialist Group, Anti-Communist Commando, Column 88, National Socialist Action Party, National Democratic Freedom Movement, White Wolves, Wolf's Hook White Brotherhood, Racial Volunteer Force or any of the other myriad extreme right terrorist groups that have sprung up down the years. Does the government believe that terrorism can only be based on Islam and communism and that racial hatred and neo-Nazism are perfectly valid reasons for violence? Alan Clark and Enoch Powell may be dead but their spirits remain at the black heart of the Tories apparently.

The Northern Ireland section also makes for an interesting read. There can of course be few bigger threats to our lives and freedom to express our beliefs (as long as that doesn't involve criticising our troops) than a couple of hefty birds from Wicklow wearing berets, knee-length green skirts and sensible walking brogues so obviously the ultra-dangerous Cumann na mBan belongs on the list but Saor Eire and the IPLO? What, seriously? It's nigh on twenty years since the IPLO were blown out of existence by the Provies and as for Saor Eire they robbed a couple of banks in the early seventies, briefly counted Tariq Ali among their supporters and then quietly disappeared after the Sticks killed their leader. Still we can all rest easy in our beds, safe in the knowledge that our government is there to protect us from non-existent terrorist groups.

Does this also mean that the most recent claimant to the Óglaigh na hÉireann name is legal as I don't see them on the list and, as has been covered, translating it as "Irish Republican Army" is not strictly correct? Come to think of it I don't see the long defunct Ulster Resistance on there either but given how much they were controlled by the security forces I suppose that's no big surprise. But their absence changes everything. When I knew that the no members of Saor Eire and the IPLO were being held in check I felt happy but now that I know the assembled no-one of Ulster Resistance are allowed to not operate legally the terror has returned. Theresa if you are reading this I suggest a blanket ban on any and every group not directly connected to the British government or the Conservative Party. After all they might use names like the Jubilee Sailing Trust or Send a Cow but it is obvious to all that these are terrorist fronts operated by Óglaigh na hÉireann and Ulster Resistance. They're under the bed I tell you!
keresaspa: (Communism)

Forty-four years ago today Ernesto "Che" Guevara was murdered in cold blood by the agents of the brutal Barrientos regime. Backed by the CIA, General René Barrientos had come to power in Bolivia via a coup that overthrew the democratically-elected centrist government of Víctor Paz Estenssoro. He proceeded to mercilessly crush all opposition to his hard-line conservative military junta, using the army to kill striking miners and consistently leaning on his own people in the name of anti-communism. Guevara's image may have been co-opted by the sort of annoying hipster whose closest brush with Marxism was that time he watched Duck Soup but there can be no denying that in terms of taking the fight to the oppressors nobody has matched his indomitable zeal before or since. That no one has emerged to take his place is undeniable and as a result we are left in a world where governments are free to ignore poverty and it is accepted and ignored that the masters are free to feather their own nests at the expense of the rest of us. A different world is surely needed but without the likes of Che that prospect becomes more amd more remote with every passing day.


May. 27th, 2011 07:00 pm
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
If it's Friday and it's the big junction near the bottom of York Road it must be a bomb alert. I'm not sure what it is that makes that area ever so attractive to "suspect devices", bar the possible proximity to the Alexandra Bar, formerly the favourite hangout of the Shoukri brothers, but once again the area round Yorkgate shopping centre, where the careful shopper can stock up on cheap salmon, has attracted the supposed bombs.

Around 1974 a series of letters were sent to the press, purportedly from the Ulster Citizens Army, in which this supposed loyalist group claimed to have endorsed left-wing beliefs on paper headed with the starry plough emblem favoured by our own James Connolly. Rumours circulated that the Ulster Citizens Army was in fact the UVF under a different name and that they had adopted communism, a dirty word in the right-wing world of unionism and loyalism. Despite the fact that this was one of those rare occasions that the National Front had made the UVF their best mates over here (instead of their usual pals in the UDA) the rumours stuck and the UVF's attempts to organise their own Volunteer Political Party floundered before they had got off the ground. It subsequently turned out that the Ulster Citizens Army never existed and that the letters were the work of the dirty tricks department of the British Army as at that point a politicised UVF did not suit the government's agenda.

I mention all this because my own belief in the veracity of these bomb scares that keep cropping up is not really registering with me. At a time when Northern Ireland is preparing for the full brunt of the malevolent cuts from their DUP and Sinn Fein masters one would think that an easy way to save money would be to ditch some of the thousands and thousands of cops that the Troubles saddled this place with. If they need a place to start might I suggest the short-arsed little shit who stopped me entering Dock Street today. The sort of little turd who reckons himself a hard man because he is carrying a machine gun but whom you could destroy in a bar fight in ten seconds.

But what better way to keep these thugs in uniform in work than a slew of suspect devices, none of which has so far turned out to be an actual bomb? I'm not suggesting that the dissident republicans are nothing more than an establishment canard (although I do wonder for some of them) but isn't it also convenient that the same day the wife of our great dictator Peter Robinson is cleared of all shady dealings (despite the fact that the dogs in the street know she gave public money to her young lover) a bunch of "bombs" suddenly take top spot in the news? Another way to save money - stop all these pointless inquiries when the outcomes are decided in advance. If the state wasn't involved in the deaths of Rosemary Nelson and, as much as I was glad to see the back of him, Billy Wright then I'll eat my hat. A little bit too much nonsense going on to keep the establishment in work at the expense of everybody else if you ask me.
keresaspa: (Mrs Mack)
As George Spicer didn't sing but should have "it's jolly good luck to Avram Grant, luck to the Portsmouth FC". I actually had a feeling in my water that that old rent-a-geezer Harry Redknapp was going to lead his gittish Tottenham side to the FA Cup this year but big congratulations to the bold Pompey on their win yesterday. OK, both their goals were a bit dicey and Spurs should have had a penalty but after a season in which they have been whipped lick a government mule Portsmouth were due a bit of luck and Redknapp's smugness has been insufferable this season. If there's any justice Portsmouth, a club I respect for the good grace of their supporters in joining in the celebrations during Bryan Robson's finest hour*, will go on and win the Cup but I fear that might not be the case as pretty much every final since 1995 has went to form and I reckon Chelsea will be doing the double this season anyway. Still, that's for a few weeks time and in the here and now it's well done Pompey and I hope you win.

Elsewhere, and despite my little tantrum about the election the other day, I see that the new manifesto for the Communist Party has been launched. Looks a winner full of sensible ideas (if a bit short on actual communism) but one that will no doubt be ignored by the lumpenproletariat in favour of a straight choice between the three posh boys and their bourgeois ideas. A pity too that the Commies are only standing in a handful of seats but I suppose if you can't win why be in. Not a lot to say on it overall, I just wanted to throw it out there as I doubt it will get much attention anywhere else and some weirdo might pass this way and be convinced to vote by my unpersuasive lack of argument.

Still, back to the shit tomorrow as Millie Jackson would so eloquently say as I'm due another blood-draining for the old haemochromatosis. Interesting that as I type last.fm should decide that I need to hear the Distillers doing "Drain the Blood", indicating that not only is Brode Dalle a very pretty face but that she is also able to foretell the future in song and as such should be burnt as a witch forthwith. Now if you'll excuse me I do believe that today's sunshine has scrambled my brain a bit so I'll leave you all to whatever it is you do. Bye-ee.

* Which had nothing to do with Southampton going down in Albion's stead. No honestly!
I'm sure were you to ask Jean Broke-Smith she would tell you that it is the sign of a true lady that she takes one shoe off when being photographed making a fudgie.
Which, of course, she is. No, don't be unkind, you at the back!
keresaspa: (L7)
"Music was my first love" opined John Miles in a song that everybody thinks is ghastly but I personally believe to be a fine piece of work and on a day that Big Cards says is about love rather than the martyrdom of an early Christian what better topic than the one Miles crooned about? Of course we all have our own opinions of what constitutes good music but it is interesting to think of why we ended up with the opinions we hold on that score. Thinking about it I believe that in my time I have encountered a few albums that have proven seminal in the development of my taste. Whilst these might or might not be my favourites they are still pivotal for the impact they had on my taste. I've managed to isolate eight that I think have had a big impact on my taste and they are:

Bad Manners - Height of Bad Manners The first album I bought and as such an important part of framing my future taste. I was about seven when I bought this gate fold vinyl best of from Woolies and it marked the beginning of me caring about music at any level beyond taping the charts off the radio. I still have it to this day and it was from there that I first became interested in music.

Small Faces - The Complete Collection I lost interest for a while in my early teens (even though that's supposed to be the age you go gaga over pop music) until I started to get the notion of listening to music again. Then one day at about 14 I wandered into the recently opened HMV and picked up a copy of a cheap no-name compilation of Small Faces hits, despite the fact that I was still a few years away from owning my own CD player. Either way it meant I was a music fan once again.

V/A - Progressions This prog compilation was doing the rounds in our house for a while before I took an interest in it. To say that it sparked what has become a lifelong enjoyment of progressive rock would probably be true as once I heard "Living in the Past" I was hooked.

Bal-Sagoth - Battle Magic I had dabbled slightly in metal but it was not until I was about 18 that my passion for that wonderfully ludicrous genre really kicked in when a slightly odd little chap I went to school with taped me a copy of the Bal-Sagoth classic. The extreme metal kick that dominated my early 20s and that is still a part of my musical taste began there and then.

Frank Zappa - Son of Cheap Thrills One of those days of undergraduate poverty where you were hanging about Virgin Megastore determined to buy some sounds but unable to afford nearly everything in the days when "2 for £20" was considered good value. I spotted a copy of this Zappa sampler lingering for around a fiver and decided to take a chance, having only previously encountered Uncle Frank as a name on TV. Again hooked from the word go and "We're Only in it for the Money", which remains my favourite album, was bought soon afterwards on the strength of this purchase.

L7 - The Beauty Process Similar scenario to above, only this time I had sank a few pints earlier in the day and, as I recall, it was nearing six o'clock closing time in the self-same Virgin Megastore. They had a bit of a sale on and I noticed a copy of this album and felt that I had to buy it. Given that I was none too sober at the time I suspect that cover image may have appealed to me as dark-haired women with a feg on were my thing at the time! Whatever the reason it was a decision well made and the genesis of my love of all things riot grrrl.

Fats Waller - The Centenary Collection I had flirted with jazz as a youth but left it aside early on. Then another big sale at Virgin Megastore saw me touch for a three CD set of Fats at the knockdown price of three of your quid. Suddenly I realised that jazz wasn't just for old farts (or perhaps that I was becoming an old fart) and I widened my mind not only to it but also to blues, country and other things that I had hitherto considered music for the elderly.

Shonen Knife - Let's Knife A couple of years ago this one and in fact I covered it here at the time but given how much Japanese nonsense I listen to now this was definitely a seminal purchase.

So what of the rest of you? I don't for a minute imagine that you all woke up as proggers or goths one morning by chance and indeed you all must have certain albums that helped to mould your various tastes. Do tell.

Anyway just to ensure that the usual quotient of misery is met here I will move on to that meme that is doing the rounds where you describe five things that everybody else loves and you don't and say why. I've tried to think of something a bit different here as I have riffed on a lot of popular stuff that I hate in this dusty, unloved corner of the web before. As such:

1) Coffee - All you hear from people is how they can't function without their coffee. I don't know how many times I have drunk the fetid stuff in my life but I can tell you this - it has bugger all effect. Not only that but no matter which version it is they all taste like crap. Americanisation at its worst if you ask me. Give me a cup of tea any day.

2) Mixed Martial Arts - I follow professional wrestling from time to time but I can't for the life of me fathom what the appeal is of two men hugging each other on the floor with the odd rabbit punch being thrown. Well, perhaps I can but I know for a fact that the audiences for this rubbish aren't ALL frustrated women and gay men. At least pro wrestling can be a bit exciting even if it fake whereas MMA is as dull and tedious as amateur wrestling. For me MMA is no better than dog fighting and I look forward to that craze falling by the wayside.

3) Science fiction - I can't really justify my dislike of this on any level other than "it's crap because I say so" but really the appeal of the genre, be it TV, film, books or comics, has always been lost on me. It's just greasy kids stuff trying to pretend that it is intellectual and worthy as far as I'm concerned. No, actually it is just a case of it being crap because I say so!

4) Cannabis - I might like me reggae but I don't care for collie at all. Why people rave so much about not being able to walk properly (the only impact I ever experience) is beyond me and, just like coffee's mythical properties, I found it no more relaxing than building a house of cards in a hurricane with Lizzie from the Football League Show yammering in my ear.

5) The Rolling Stones - Sad old tramps making pedestrian blues rock. Please just lie down. I may have defended listening to old man music above but an exception is made for these useless granddads.

Happy Communist Martyrs Day people!
keresaspa: (Cynthia of Witching Hour fame)
Never being one to ignore a bandwagon I will now present that five questions meme that is doing the rounds, the questions in question having been donated by [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks:

1) Do you think there's still a place for a Marxist approach to economics?

Obviously to my mind there is and I personally think a lot less has changed between now and then. The only difference between capitalism in Marx's time and capitalism now is that the exploiter is less likely to be some local patrician factory owner lording it over his people and more likely to be a faceless multinational acting like a country. Admittedly there is a lot less actual industry and a lot more fairly pointless work these days but it still boils down to the same thing - exploitation, alienation and the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few. Heck compare the money Katie Price has for doing nothing to the poor mares forced into sex slavery because of their status as illegal immigrants and tell me a radical overhaul of the whole rotten system is not a priority.

As to whether anybody will be able to convince the wider electorate of the need for a Marxist approach to economics I am fairly doubtful. If people didn't turn to Marxism after the whole banking fiasco then there is little hope that they will in the near future.

2) Who's your greatest hero from Irish history?

There are a number of names that could potentially be offered as the person I most admire from Irish history. They would include Wolfe Tone for recognising that the independence struggle was about real change rather than just changing government, Roger Casement for sacrificing his own fairly cushy position for his beliefs, Constance Markiewicz for being an inspiration to Irish women, James Larkin for his efforts in building a cross-community socialist unity, Liam Mellows for taking a final stand against the conservatism that was engulfing post-treaty Ireland, Frank Ryan for combining real leftist convictions with the knockabout adventurism that has endeared the Irish to the world, Seamus Costello for the last attempt at a revolutionary Ireland and the Ten for making the ultimate sacrifice against possibly the most fundamentally wicked British government in history. However the title of the greatest belongs to James Connolly as he combines great attributes of those already mentioned and more. He has left behind real attempts to develop a coherent Irish strand to Marxism and combined that with the grand old Irish tradition of glorious defeat and stoicism in the face of British brutality. No question, he is the top Irish hero for my money - what a shame that modern Ireland has moved so far away from the vision that he died for.

3) What is your favourite Edwige Fenech film?

Given that the plots in most of her films range from dire to non-existent I can only choose by other means. As such it is a tie between Samoa, Queen of the Jungle in which Edwige is the eponymous wild woman but still manages to inexplicably carry off a perfect late 60s hairdo or Case Of The Bloody Iris in which Edwige bears a passing facial resemblance to Nigella Lawson, a thought that will probably mean I never sleep again!

4) Bomber Brown or Super Bob Taylor?

Tough one. The Super One coincided with my teenage years when I was the only Albion fan in my school so he has a special place for me as a supporter given that he was about the only player recognised as being any good by other people. He also deserves a lot of credit for his second spell at the club when he helped Albion into the play-offs and helped to begin their conversion from second level also-rans to a yo-yo team (hey, progress is progress). However for the sheer length of service he gave to the club, for the number of goals he scored, for the fact that the played in Albion sides that were actually half decent and for teaming a perm with a Hulk Hogan moustache Bomber just about shades it.

5) Any new old prog-rock discoveries this year?

I'll take this year to mean the last 12 months as I haven't discovered any new prog in the last four days ;D Over the last year though I've lost track of the number of bands I have encountered for the first time, including within prog. I'm not going to list them all as we'll be here all night but instead I'll name the best prog discoveries of the last twelve months as Harvest Flight (what's not to like about Christian psychedelic folk), Sarolta Zalatnay (debatably prog but brilliant nonetheless), Turkey's Ersen, some crazy Dutch outfits like Earth & Fire, Alquin and the Fool and Window who were described previously. Yup, been a load of great discoveries in the last year.

You all know the drill: if there is anybody left who hasn't done this and wants to feel free to ask me for five questions. Goodnight all.
keresaspa: (Rasputin)
Were I a sensible man I would be in bed right now, sleeping off the after effects of the week in London. Still, despite my physical exhaustion, I still feel compelled to come on here and report on events whilst I can still remember them in relative detail. A silly boy I surely am but these things need to be recorded for posterity before I go senile. So without further ado:

2009: A London Odyssey )

So all in all London proved a rare old treat. Good times had with delightful people, plenty of exploration done and loads of new stuff to keep me amused. Top banana, although now my bed is calling me too much to resist so I'll end this hoo-ha and let you all get on. Ta-ta.


keresaspa: (Default)

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