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Sunday, 27 May 2007

Stealth Banana, Smart Fruit...




...Bob proudly presents...

(with a little help from his friends...:)

Bill Hicks
Sly & the Family Stone
The Fall
T.S. Eliot
Alfredo Marcucci & Piacevole
Merle Haggard
C.S.S.
Abdel Aziz El Mubarak,
Orishas
Susana Baca
Vivian Stanshall
David Bowie and many, many more...

Download or listen to it here...

"A splendid time is guaranteed for all!!"



L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob

Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!

Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!

Visit me in MunterSpace - 10,000 Goth Girls Splattered in Feck Blood Can't be Wrong!!!!!!!!

Watch Bob's promos on Youtube

Listen to Bob's songs at indie911.com!

Listen to Bob's songs at GarageBand.com!

Listen to Bobcasts #1-34 here!



© 2007 Swipe Enterprises

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Bobcast #37...




.....is now up. Listen/download here.........

A very big thank you to Subversive Boy for his enormous contribution to "the surprise song at the end"....

Notes below:

I just thought as there will be a lot of stuff from all over the world and people might want to follow up stuff they like, that I'd put up some notes here - I know I'll forget all the important details when I come to do the talking bit! I don't know the running order yet, but I'm hoping to play the following, plus a few others...

There'll definitely be something by Cesaria Evora, from the island of Sao Vincente in the Cape Verde archipelago off the coast of Senegal. The album I have is called Cafe Atlantico and I was initially a bit disappointed when I played a few tracks for S. and Stray Photon last night in between the footy and The Apprentice. It's a grower though, and Cesaria teases out every last drop of fragile sadness from the beautiful tunes. The piano playing is also lovely - reminiscent of some of the flourishes with which Mike Garson graced the Aladdin Sane LP. Surprisingly perhaps for music that comes from a former Portuguese colony in sight of the African mainland, the feel is very South American.

Fatala hail from Guinea, although leader Yacouba 'Bruno' Camara travelled widely across the continent before pitching up in Paris, that hotbed of musical cross-fertilisation and musics from around the world. The group combine dance with the traditional tribal music of pre-independence Guinea. The more percussion oriented tracks are stunning, but they use guitars too and if I play the track I think I will, they can be evocative and delicate as well as drum-frenzied and powerful. Vocalist (the beautifully named) Mabinty Sakhu was, according to the sleeve notes, a mere child when the featured album Gongoma Times was recorded. She doesn't sound it.

Led by and named after Cuban percussionist Elio Reve, Orquesta Reve represent the more pleasant contribution to the world of Guantanamo Bay. The region around that now notorious place gave the world Changui, a highly percussive version of Cuban son adapted from that used in traditional religious ceremonies. If this music is anything to go by, those ceremonies would have been about as far as you can imagine from being 'church'. Like the Fatala album, their CD La Explosion del Momento! is available on Peter Gabriel's Real World label.

I'm listening to Orchestre National de Barb├ęs as I type this. Their music is a wonderful blend of African, Arabic, dance and rock influences. Again, blame it on Paris. I remember hearing a piece on the radio that blew me away when I was there in the mid 80s, scanning the radio dial and taping snippets of stuff that sounded interesting. It was a massive sound - funky, ominous, strange and I clung on to the disjointed and static-heavy tape for ages just for that one song before it disappeared or was wiped. This group and some of the other North African music I've heard on the Rough Guide CD are the closest I've come to redicovering that elusive moment of clarity, otherness and power. I will probably play a couple from the RGTTMONA - it really is stunning stuff and is the best of that series I've heard. The range of styles and flavours it hints at - running from street-funky Rai grooves, brassy Nubian folk to the haunting yet familiar desert music that seems to contain the seeds of cajun and country blues.

I'll also be playing something from the Camille LP I mentioned in yesterday's post, possibly a Joanna Newsome (athough I fear that the lengthiness of even the shortest of her tracks may preclude that!) and, if Stray Photon can remember to mail the MP3s to me, a couple of songs by a pair of good old English legends...



L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob

Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!

Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!

Visit me in MunterSpace - 10,000 Goth Girls Splattered in Feck Blood Can't be Wrong!!!!!!!!

Watch Bob's promos on Youtube

Listen to Bob's songs at indie911.com!

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Listen to Bobcasts #1-34 here!



© 2007 Swipe Enterprises

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Cami Soul...




A CD by French singer Camille arrived at work the other day. As I didn't know if she was a jazz or pop or modern classical performer, I had to do a bit of research before cataloguing the album (Le fil) in such a way that no one who might be reasonably interested in it could ever find it short of scouring the entire CD collection (...and before you ask, yes, they *are* your taxes that are being wasted in this scandalous fashion...) The blurb I read compared her to Kate Bush and Bjork (so you see, I was right - uncategorisable...), so on the strength of that I took the CD home.

When I *finally* managed to get it loaded onto the PC (the copy I had was a "special edition" which contains its own programme to burn the CD into your music library - it defaults to the Windows Media Player burner for some reason...I thought Apple & EMI had buried the hatchet..??!!) it proved well worth a listen. Camille has a genuinely soulful voice and, given that, being somewhat easy on the eye, she could so easily have allowed herself to be marketed as a bit of a Dolly bird, there's an obvious musical intelligence at work here that's refreshing in the current climate where record companies seem to think that a woman thrusting her twat in your face is the only thing that will persuade anyone to listen to their warbling. (Don't they realise there are *plenty* of clubs for that sort of thing where you don't have to put up with them *whining* all the bloody time..??)

I suppose the closest musical similarity would be to describe her as a female Sign o' the Times-era Prince - appropriate, as the acceptable face of JWdom adopted the very same monicker (Camille, that is) for his varispeeded female altar-ego on that album. It's pared down, groovy and sassy in the same way that tracks like 'If I was your Girfriend' and 'Forever in my life' are.

This album features the unusual idea of a vocal drone, a looped note sung by Camille (a sort of Francophone 'OOOOMMMM') that runs the entire length of the piece (I think it's called a 'bou' in the credits - I'll have to have a look...) It's very effective and testament to the absorbing quality of the music that you stop noticing it after a few tracks. Camille is also unusual (although Bjork pulled this trick too, I believe) in that she uses her voice in place of instrumentation whenever possible. That too is surprisingly enjoyable (this is no Lady McFerrin) and when a real piano starts playing halfway through track 5, the effect is quite beautiful and transcendent.

As it's mainly sung in French, I couldn't give you a clue as to what she's on about half the time - although I did hear the word menage at one point, which can't be bad.... But she manages that time-honoured French chanteuse trick of sounding completely up for it and totally unapproachable at the same time with effortless ease. The last track, 'Quand Je marche' clocks in at around 38 minutes - 3 minutes of song, thirty of 'bou', stretching out to the last few ones and zeroes of disc space where we hear C. doing a bit of moaning and pouty-shrug talk. I'm ashamed to say I fast forwarded to the end, which is the only reason I know about the moany bit. It's worth a listen if the chatlines are all engaged, I suppose.

Still, sounds like she is up for it after all....

I will put a track up on the next Podcast - trouble is, which one? They're all pretty good...

There's an even more pretentious review of Le fil (it means, the thread, apparently...) than my Newsome one from yesterday here.

Oh, and if you see it, buy The Rough Guide to North African Music CD....it's fab, and I will be featuring stuff from that over the next few weeks (and probably blogging something about this fantastic, strange-yet-familiar music...)




L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob

Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!

Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!

Visit me in MunterSpace - 10,000 Goth Girls Splattered in Feck Blood Can't be Wrong!!!!!!!!

Watch Bob's promos on Youtube

Listen to Bob's songs at indie911.com!

Listen to Bob's songs at GarageBand.com!

Listen to Bobcasts #1-34 here!



© 2007 Swipe Enterprises

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

A Word to the Ys...



I'm guessing that Joanna Newsom may not be to everyone's taste. If you're in any doubt, there's a quick test that should establish whether it's worth your proceeding with this post any further. If you can't get past the opening lines of her latest album, Ys, then I think you may be better off scuttling across to see who GWAOTM has had inside her over the last week than reading my thoughts on Ms. Newsom's opus:

The meadowlark and the chim-choo-ree and the sparrow set to the sky in a flying spree, for the sport of the pharoah.

(Can one of you close the door on the way out, these ivory towers can get *awfully* draughty you know....) But if you can get beyond the pre-Raphaelite daintiness of some of the conceits - the symbol-laden, Rossetti-style portrait of JN that prefaces the weighty, gilt edged lyric book (notice the absence of a -let there - wordy is not the word...) may prove too rich for some - this is an extraodinary piece of work.

For anyone with an interest in the canon of classic pop, the presence of former Brian Wilson collaborator Van Dyke Parks alone should prove sufficient enticement to at least give it a go. If you do, his mercurial, sympatico orchestral framings of Newsom's voice and harp will delight. You're struck by how magnificent Parks and Wilson's doomed epic Smile could have been had the pair been able to bring to bear the same novelistic focus upon their material that Newsom does to hers here.

If the ambition and scale is that of a novelist, she has the short story writer's gift for description:

Peonies nod in the breeze,
and as they wetly bow
with hydrocephalitic listlessness,
ants mop up their brow.


*And* it rhymes!

You'd be forgiven the inference from that extract that this is a pretty difficult listen. And yet, and yet...these aren't songs (that term seems insufficient somehow, but songs they are...) to listen to so much as to *bathe* in. Although it's normal LP length, there are only 5 tracks. Closer 'Cosmia' weighs in at just over 7 minutes and is made to appear lightweight by it's lengthier brethren for not stretching out over double figures. Notoriously flighty and shuffle-fixated as I am in the morning, I listened to Ys twice through on the way in to work this morning - testament to the wonderful imaginative spaces that Newsome and Parks have spun. You will go back to them, just as you do to a hot bath on a cold day.

The stories and subjects seem oddly chosen, wilfully perverse at first - a family transfixed by a meteor show in 'Emily', a dancing bear and chimp suited accomplice in 'Monkey & Bear', the Gothic taxidermy and mechanical menagerie of 'Sawdust and Diamonds' and the astonishing centrepiece, 'Only Skin' which has a similar deep southern panoramic sweep to Gone With the Wind or To Kill Mockingbird. But like the best pre-Raphaelite poetry, the symbolism and metaphor functions best as a veil (however ornately brocaded) for trenchant social comment. So, when Newsom sings ""so, enough of this terror. We deserve to know the light", it doesn't take the keenest imagination to see beyond the world of stuffed birds and dancing bears that inhabit her songs to our own.

In a stunning passage in 'Only Skin', she pulls back from her tale of a child freeing a stunned bird to observe what could easily be contemporary America seen from the window of an SUV:

... the cities we passed were a flickering wasteland...
while down in the lowlands, the crops were all coming;
we have everything...Life is thundering blissful towards death...


I'm really pleased I overcame my initial resistance - the voice, at first seemed to me to let the venture down; that generic, well-read, youngish-woman-with-something-to-say-American voice that's beginning to become a bit too well-worn and safe through repetition. But then her larynx does that cheese-grater thing as she sings,

you came and lay a cold compress upon the mess I'm in; threw the window wide and cried 'amen amen amen'...

...and you realise that something very deep and ancient and beyond the trappings of pop stylisation is being tapped into here. In fact, she sounds like Billie Holiday - well, how Billie Holiday would sound if she was wearing a whimple...

So, if you like good narrative song writing, this is a must listen. If you're a fan of poems like 'Goblin Market', you may see a similarity in Newsom's rich, vivid parables and greet with wonder and surprise the fact that American culture can still produce artists who can write like like this;

Bear would sway on her hind legs;
the organ would grind dregs of song,
for the pleasure
of the children, who'd shriek,
throwing coins at her feet,
then recoiling in terror.


Not just any old Joanna.




L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob

Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!

Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!

Visit me in MunterSpace - 10,000 Goth Girls Splattered in Feck Blood Can't be Wrong!!!!!!!!

Watch Bob's promos on Youtube

Listen to Bob's songs at indie911.com!

Listen to Bob's songs at GarageBand.com!

Listen to Bobcasts #1-34 here!



© 2007 Swipe Enterprises

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Tanya Beckett and Sophie Raworth are *STILL* Waiting for Godot...



TB: .....here, Soph. Can I ask you something?



SR: Mmm hmm.



TB: Which do you prefer; salad cream or mayo?




SR: ...ummm......oooooh.....ummmmm....



TB: Christ on a bike, it's not as if I've asked you what's the square root of 64,036 or something...

SR: Alright, Little Miss Impatieosity....I was just weighing up the pros and cons....oh, alright - mayo. Ah, and it's 8,006 by the way...

TB: .....how did you work that out?




SR: Well, some of us actually bothered to pay attention during maths lessons, Miss Hoity-Toity, "I've-got-my-own-Business-Brunch-Supplement-come-and-stare-at-my-knockers-on-BBC-News-24-that-*nobody*-outside-the-Swiss-Banking-fraternity-watches-anyway" - which is why we do the prestigious 1 O'Clock News slot and not just filling in for Declan Curry on the Breakfast Business Bulletin when he's had one too many Caffrey's in the Stock Exchange bar of an evening...

TB: ....excuse me??..

SR: Well, it's *true*. Tans, much as I love you Babe, I'd be lying if I said otherwise. And, while the gloves are off - you're a pale shadow of the woman you once were. I doubt you'd even get a job saying "Sir Alan will see you now" if - as they surely will - the Business unit ever finds out about your £13,000 a day coke habit and perverse sexual peccadillos. I mean, how do you get them back in the stables without anyone finding out??




TB: That's utter nonsense - isn't it, Desiree?

Desiree: Talk to the hand sistah - I ain't gettin' involved in *no* shit* with you two again, innit? Give me Sian Williams *any* day. She might be Welsh, but at least her ain't got no errs 'n' greeces on 'er...

TB: Thanks for nothing, Desiree.

SR: I mean, look at you now, even as I speak to you - busting out all over the place, flashing your hindquarters at every Tom, Dick and Turnbull like some cheap, over-perfumed lady of the night, half of Columbia shoved inside a vix inhaler and stale piece of marmite on toast hanging from your VPL...

TB: Oh SHIT! - me garter's gone again! And me Vix's run out - I think I'm hyperventilating...



SR: Anyway - how about you....Salad cream or Mayo??

TB: Well, at least there's *one* thing we can agree on Soph. Not only is salad cream common as muck, it tastes like Suzannah Reid's teddy clips after a *particularly* heavy session on the anaerobic treadmill.....Here have these just to show there's no hard feeling and as a symbol of our eternal sororiety in all things mayonaisse...

SR: Oh Tans, they're lovely! Sorry if I was a bit hard on you. It may all be true, but you have a heart of gold really. Where did you get them?



TB: Sally Army. I use them to smuggle my toot past the sniffer dogs at St. Pancras. Couple of lines and a quicky behind the Salvation Hall and it was sorted...

SR: Ah - how sweet - and look, there's a bag of sulpher poking out of one of the begonias..*just* the thing to wash down.....minty choc drinks all round, eh girls??

ALL: Mmmm hmmmm!!


L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob

Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!

Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!

Visit me in MunterSpace - 10,000 Goth Girls Splattered in Feck Blood Can't be Wrong!!!!!!!!

Watch Bob's promos on Youtube

Listen to Bob's songs at indie911.com!

Listen to Bob's songs at GarageBand.com!

Listen to Bobcasts #1-34 here!



© 2007 Swipe Enterprises

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Riot in Beijing...



....there is one, you know.

Full reports here....

L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob

Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!

Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!

Visit me in MunterSpace - 10,000 Goth Girls Splattered in Feck Blood Can't be Wrong!!!!!!!!

Watch Bob's promos on Youtube

Listen to Bob's songs at indie911.com!

Listen to Bob's songs at GarageBand.com!

Listen to Bobcasts #1-34 here!



© 2007 Swipe Enterprises

Spinster Watch...

Domain Name ***.ac.uk ? (United Kingdom)
IP Address ***.***.***.# (******** University local area network)
ISP ******** University local area network
Location Continent : Europe
Country : United Kingdom (Facts)
State/Region : ********shire
City : ********
Lat/Long : **.*, *.**** (Map)

Language English (United Kingdom)
en-gb
Operating System Microsoft WinXP
Browser Internet Explorer 7.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.30)
Javascript version 1.3
Monitor Resolution : 1024 x 768
Color Depth : 32 bits

Time of Visit May 15 2007 9:13:43 am
Last Page View May 15 2007 9:14:24 am
Visit Length 41 seconds
Page Views 2
Referring URL http://www.professio...inster.blogspot.com/
Visit Entry Page http://rswipe.blogspot.com/
Visit Exit Page http://rswipe.blogspot.com/
Out Click Zoe Margolis AKA GWAOTM's current Comment is Free post on the Grauniad
http://www.guardian....y/0,,2079794,00.html
Time Zone UTC+0:00
Visitor's Time May 15 2007 2:13:43 pm
Visit Number 113,534


*41* seconds?????



L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob

Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!

Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!

Visit me in MunterSpace - 10,000 Goth Girls Splattered in Feck Blood Can't be Wrong!!!!!!!!

Watch Bob's promos on Youtube

Listen to Bob's songs at indie911.com!

Listen to Bob's songs at GarageBand.com!

Listen to Bobcasts #1-34 here!



© 2007 Swipe Enterprises

A Friendly Warning...

..anyone tempted to post a comment on Zoe Margolis (AKA GWAOTM)'s current Comment is Free post on the Grauniad might like to know that they apear to be screening comments - which gives a somewhat, shall we say, *Chinese* slant to the whole concept of free...but there you go.

All I wanted to know was if her rash had cleared up....

L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob

Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!

Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!

Visit me in MunterSpace - 10,000 Goth Girls Splattered in Feck Blood Can't be Wrong!!!!!!!!

Watch Bob's promos on Youtube

Listen to Bob's songs at indie911.com!

Listen to Bob's songs at GarageBand.com!

Listen to Bobcasts #1-34 here!



© 2007 Swipe Enterprises

The Charity Shop Lottery Scandal...

Just for clarity, especially after Istvanski missing the tongue in cheek nature of my description yesterday of Neil Warnock as 'lovely', I'll just preface this with an irony warning. It's a bit like those ones for excessive violence, bad language and scenes of an overtly sexual nature that elicit hearty cheers and choruses of "way-hey!" from myself and S. every time we hear them before The Sopranos comes on: "the following post may contain ideas that aren't meant to be taken completely seriously and, indeed, the views expressed may, on closer examination, be diametrically opposed to those held by the author him/her self..."

There, I hope that leaves no room for ambiguity. Or subtlty, for that matter.

Anyway, in time-honoured Ronnie Corbett fashion, I digress. Without boring you all rigid with any more ramblings about my producer, tottering in on his slingbacks and so on, they've opened a new charity shop in the town centre, where the 7/11 used to be. Sign of the times or what? 7/11, that bastion of Thatcherite union-bashing, open-all-hours-we'll-have-this-place-functioning-like-a-third-world-country-before-you-can-say-cheap-labour-supply-plus-knock-off-goods-sold-at-a-hideous-mark-up-equals-maximum-profits, its very name made to seem lightweight by the new Blairite insistence upon 24/7 (what a *hideous* use of numbers that is) replaced by a Romanian Relief store. One can't help but wonder how, ten or fifteen years down the line, the opening of the first British Relief store in Bucharest will be greeted - "bloody Brits - they come 'ere, work for 400 Leus (yes, don't worry, I did have to google it - and, shamefully, Bucharest too...) under the minimum wage - sleep in their white vans, wake us up at 5 in the morning blaring out Level 42's Greatest Hits and then expect us to clothe and feed their families back home..."

Obviously this is great news for me - another place to spend hours rootling around for Steely Dan L.P.s and hardback copies of the first three Martin Amis novels and so on. But it did start me thinking about the ethics of it all. I know competition is "a *good* thing" and everything, but can you have too much of a *good* thing? I mean, take our high street. The new kid on the block will be battling it out with the following good causes (and Oxfam):

British Heart Foundation
Scope (Cerebral Palsy)
MIND (Mentalists)
Cancer Research
Princess Alice Hospice
FARA (More Romanians)
PAWS (Pets/Animal Welfare)

Now, obviously, we British are very charitable people, but our pockets are only so deep. So, which of these fine and upstanding charitable enterprises (and Oxfam) would be first against the wall in the event of another Cameron-inspired Black Wednesday style economic down turn? (Gordon is *so* gonna whup his arse over that, isn't he?) Indeed, as consumers, which of these fine and upstanding charitable enterprises (and Oxfam) should we be favouring? I mean, is Cancer more in need of our moolah than Heart Disease? Or Africa than Romania - I mean, is there a Which guide? Or a League table we can consult?

Let's cast aside any quibbles that these places shouldn't be cast in the same light as other businesses. Sure, British Home Stores would probably make a better fist of getting rid of the odour of the deceased's clothing that seems to cling to these places no matter how much they rebrand and up-market themselves), but they seem to want us to treat them as businesses so, perhaps we *should* let the market decide...But in the old days (ah, the good old days!), a deeper, more compassionate impulse of fairmindedness - the same that enabled these stores to operate with voluntary staff and consequently lower admin. costs and overheads that their current, well-salaried overseers allow for, btw - would have prompted the average Charity shopper to distribute their largesse as equitably as possible. So, the concerned shopper might pick up a duplicate copy of Wings Greatest from, say, the PAWS shop for 50p, a couple of Tom Robbins novels you knew you'd never read from the MIND (40p) and still have some shrapnel left for that complete Fawlty Towers video set from the SCOPE shop (£1). Nowadays, you're lucky to find a badly creased and dog-eared Mills & Boon for less than a quid. So, perhaps we're right to shop more discriminatingly - and correspondingly resent the notion that because a cause is good one can expect to be fleeced in the same joyless fashion one is in every other walk of life. It's sad though to think that nowadays, the fates of Romanian orphanage, Cancer and Heart disease patient and maltreated puppy alike rest, like so much else, on the whims of the market...


L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob

Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!

Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!

Visit me in MunterSpace - 10,000 Goth Girls Splattered in Feck Blood Can't be Wrong!!!!!!!!

Watch Bob's promos on Youtube

Listen to Bob's songs at indie911.com!

Listen to Bob's songs at GarageBand.com!

Listen to Bobcasts #1-34 here!



© 2007 Swipe Enterprises

Monday, 14 May 2007

"A Cheap Holiday in Other People's Misery"...

A lovely Sunday afternoon spent in the company of an old college pal. Courtesy of my local's somewhat dubious Al-Jazeera beam-back service, we watch Wigan keep themselves up at the expense of lovable Neil Warnock's Sheffield United whilst keeping an eye on Geoff's lot's (not to mention the Arse's titanic struggle with Tim's Scummers...) progress at the (self-styled) 'Theatre of Dreams' via teletext. A Tevez goal on 45 minutes is enough to keep the Hammers up, suggesting that perhaps one world class foreign individual is preferable to 11 homegrown triers, no matter how committed.

In between the clashing heads and fluctuations of fortune, we chat about globalisation before heading off for a curry. J. runs a print shop and was telling me how his firm had offered some Polish drivers a bit of work. These guys were on £3 an hour and had been offered double that by J.'s firm to do the same kind of work. They'd turned it down. Because even though the rate would be higher, they'd be tied to the European Work Directive and so would only be able to work for 40 hours a week. They could earn more working all the hours God sent at the lower rate - sleeping in their trucks (or, as apparently is the vogue, in those 20p entry station lavatories - well, you laugh....more comfortable than sharing a bed-sized room with three others...hot and cold running water...etc.), jetting back pound-laden to Warzawa via Easyjet every so often, whenever the batteries needed recharging...

As if propelled by an overly thematic narrative, we left the Arabic news service as its coverage of the US Jujitsu finals kicked off, heading off in J.'s new planet-friendly Japanese-made company car to our favourite Indian retaurant. J. flicked through the canon on the car's super-dooper multi-CD changer (it cost almost as much as the car!) - some Motown, The Queen is Dead, Sign o' the Times, Appetite for Destruction - before alighting on Never Mind the Bollocks..."A cheap *hol*-i-*day* in other people's *mis*-er**eeeeee*. You couldn't make it up...

We're unusually chatty, the meal going on for a lot longer than our usual post-footy scoff and bolts. J. tells me of a visit to his niece's school he made last year. Her mother's daughter, another J., was about to be expelled and refusing to go with her Mum (teenagers, eh?) J. attended in loco parentis. They'd arrived early and J. was struck by the bulletin boards for the huge variety of different after-school clubs and societies. Once in her office, the headmistress' outlined the list of complaints against J.'s niece and after this presumably lengthy pre-amble, asked my mate J. what he thought. "It's all very sad..." he began, before highlighting the story of his own Thailand-born wife. Orphaned at 13, A. had had been consigned to a sweatshop - a school with such facilities and opportunities as this one a distant, mirage-like dream....and so on until both headmistress and pupil had been reduced to tears...

We're both astonished at how prescient 'Holidays in the Sun' was, how fresh and relevant it still sounds 30 (*thirty*!!) years on. When Lydon was writing, modern-style package holidays were in their relative infancy. Now, the formerly exotic feels astonishingly accessible to most of us. Thanks to Gordon and our own "reasonable economy", "carbon-neutral taxes notwithsatnding, most of us can have our "cheap holiday in someone else's misery" provided we can resist the guilt-tripping of all those Tory industrialists turned rainbow-warriors, of course. Only now, you don't really have to go abroad for the other people's misery bit. They're right here, under your very nose - getting some shut-eye in the vans you pass on the way to work, or kipping in the cubicle next to yours as you have that last pre-Eurostar dump before taking your family on that Grauniad/Cameron-freindly non-flying city break. But as J. asked - can you really call it exploitation, when they apparently choose it this way?



L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob

Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!

Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!

Visit me in MunterSpace - 10,000 Goth Girls Splattered in Feck Blood Can't be Wrong!!!!!!!!

Watch Bob's promos on Youtube

Listen to Bob's songs at indie911.com!

Listen to Bob's songs at GarageBand.com!

Listen to Bobcasts #1-34 here!



© 2007 Swipe Enterprises

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Two Faces of Iran...

Whatever your politics, it's hard not to sympathise and respect the bravery of Iran's Mayday protesters. I know Murdoch-owned myspace isn't exactly the Grauniad, but even on there you get a sense that it's a pretty unpopular regime. Coming from the other end of the political spectrum, Maryam Namazie is no less critical than the young men and women who bemoan the loss of their old, and great (as one young lady put it) country. Perhaps we won't all share Maryam's belief that Iran could light the blue touch paper of a global socialist revolt, but it's encouraging to know that the machinations of that particular regime against one's fellow trade unionists is at least being monitored. Whatever else you may disagree with her on, I think there's common ground for us all in the idea that people should be free to organise and protest peacably at least once a year.

But resistance can take many forms and you sense that there's a very refreshing attitude brewing in some of the young people of the Islamic Republic. I mentioned to another myspacer that I'd read about the restrictions imposed on non-authorised mucic and musicians and her response reminded me a little of the old punk ethos. "It doesn't matter", she said when I'd asked if it made it hard to hear certain music, "we listen to it anyway"...

And then there's Laleh Siddigh What (apart from *phwoar* amd *wow*, obviously) can I say about Laleh? what can you say about Unfortunately, she's either been nobbled by the regime or Iranian cyberspace is even worse than ours!



L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob

Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!

Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!

Visit me in MunterSpace - 10,000 Goth Girls Splattered in Feck Blood Can't be Wrong!!!!!!!!

Watch Bob's promos on Youtube

Listen to Bob's songs at indie911.com!

Listen to Bob's songs at GarageBand.com!

Listen to Bobcasts #1-34 here!



© 2007 Swipe Enterprises

Monday, 7 May 2007

A Lovely Day in Africa...


I was intrigued by this article in last week's Observer. It's inspired me to write something that would perhaps counteract the negative images of Africa with which we are continually bombarded whenever the media of the privileged north deigns to check on how things are progressing on the continent we've been happily plundering for the last few centuries. I don't for one moment want to pretend that there aren't a lot of horrific things going on in many parts of the continent, but it just seems to me that it's all too convenient a reality to present - you know - those poor, poor Africans helpless, famine-ridden, toting machine guns (and usually hampered by those ubiquitous flies crawling over their passive, sorrow-filled faces...) The repetition of these images causes a drip-drip effect that begins to erase all the other possibilities of what the place might be like - or could become. And I'm afraid that the people who profess the most concern for the continent's future have been at the forefront of hammering that same nail. Something in my gut suggested this isn't the whole story, so I did a little vox pop research.

Well, I tried to... The idea was simple: message a few folks on myspace and get the lowdown from the horses' mouths, as it were. Just tell me what do you think a lovely day in Africa would be like? I asked them. What could be simpler? Well, the first search results were immediately surprising. I looked for people from Rwanda. The first two screens were almost exclusively populated by white faces - a fact that perhaps tells its own story. Undaunted, I fired off a few messages to random locations - Morocco, Togo, Tanzania, Uganda and waited for the Brotherhood of Man thing to kick in, a host of repressed and thankful Africans eager to share their life stories with the anarchic West London blog legend....Well, quite sensibly, the majority of the people I contacted chose the silence of J.M. Coetze's fictional Friday from the novel Foe. On those terms, who could blame them?

But good fortune was at hand. I had a couple of really pleasant "yeah, go for it - whatevah" type responses from a couple of young white lasses. And then along came Joan. Joan is in her early twenties and lives and works in Kampala, Uganda. She was really happy to talk about how things were in her part of Africa. Sure, to the north of the country things are pretty bad - boy soldiers, poverty, rape and abuse; all the things we've come to expect to see bemoaned on our TV screens. Worse, although the aid agencies raise a lot of money, it only seems to translate into blankets and meagre aid of that sort when what these brutalised and abused young souls really need (according to Joan, at least) is counselling and support and jobs and - well, in short a future with some hope in it. And there is hope. All the time Africa is producing people with Joan's fierce intelligence, clear sightedness and compassion, there is plenty of that. Her church is moving to set up a refuge in the troubled north and I wish her and her community every success in their endeavours as well as sharing with my readers here my delight at having had the pleasure of corresponding with her. If you read this, thank you Joan for your inspiration and friendship.

But Joan also told me something else. She describes a lovely day she'd just had with her friends - a coffee, some shopping - in fact, most of the things many of us here in the UK would do on a day off. There - I had my song! So, here, offered in the spirit of hope that there can be a few more of them spread around - is 'A Lovely Day in Africa'.


L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob

Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!

Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!

Visit me in MunterSpace - 10,000 Goth Girls Splattered in Feck Blood Can't be Wrong!!!!!!!!

Watch Bob's promos on Youtube

Listen to Bob's songs at indie911.com!

Listen to Bob's songs at GarageBand.com!

Listen to Bobcasts #1-34 here!



© 2007 Swipe Enterprises

Thursday, 3 May 2007

When Parky Met Larkers....



[Parkinson theme, applause, Parky sashays down steps and sits down. To camera:]

Parky: Good evening, my first guest this evening...mumble mumble...incomprehensible slur...cramming the last 14 syllables into one at the end of a sentence ...something about Barnsley...."they f**k you up, your Mum and Dad..."...Geoffrey Boycott maiden test century...lazen gelmen, Mr. Philip Larkin...

[Philip Larkin sashays down the stairs as the Ronnie Hazlehurst Orchestra plays a jazzy arrangement of the Damned's 'I Just Can't Be Happy Today'...]

Parky: Nice to have you on the show, Philip...



Larkers: Tosspots.

Parky: Ladies and gentlemen - Mr. Philip Larkin!

[audience applause, exit theme....]





© 2007 Swipe Enterprises