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Red Days

The publishers blurb…

Challenges the conventional narratives about English popular music and
the counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s

“The passion, intensity and complexity of the popular music produced in
England between 1965-75 is the work of an extraordinary generation of
working class and lower middle class men and women (in alliance with a
handful of middle-class men and women) who saw in the new music the
remaking of something bigger than themselves, or more precisely,
something bigger than themselves that they could guide and shape and
call their own. In this the ?use-values? of popular music underwent an
unprecedented expansion and diversity during this period. Red Days
presents how music and action, music and discourse, experienced a
profound re-functioning as definitions of the popular unmoored
themselves from the condescending judgements of post-1950s high culture
and the sentiment of the old popular culture and the musicologically
conformist rock ?n? roll seeking to displace it. The remaking of the
popular between 1965-1975, accordingly, is more than a revision of
popular taste, it is, rather, the demolition of old cultural allegiances
and habits, as forces inside and outside of music shattered the
assumption of popular music as the home for passive adolescent
identifications.”

Bio: John Roberts is Professor of Art & Aesthetics at the University of
Wolverhampton. He is the author of a number of books, including /The
Necessity of Errors/ (2010), /Photography and Its Violations/ (2014),
/Revolutionary Time and the Avant-Garde/ (2015), /Thoughts on an Index
Not Freely Given/ (2016) and /The Reasoning of Unreason: Universalism,
Capitalism and Disenlightenment/ (2018).

PDF available freely online: http://www.minorcompositions.info/?p=981

Ordering Information: Available direct from Minor Compositions now for
the special price of £ 10 + £2 P+P.

Minor Compositions is a series of interventions
& provocations drawing from autonomous politics,
avant-garde aesthetics, and the revolutions of everyday life.

http://www.minorcompositions.info

https://progressive.org/dispatches/strange-fruit-caused-the-murder-of-billie-holiday-180220/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-50672876

“After the 1994 exhibition, the Glasgow-based artist was disappointed at the war museum’s decision to select just six of the less brutal paintings for its permanent collection.”

David Bowie, however, did buy the most brutal painting of a rape.

He was unprepared for an experience of war and after his war artist experience in 1993 in Bosnia he had a lot of mental problems. PTSD, but maybe on top of earlier stuff. At the age of 6 his first painting was of the crucifixion.

https://peterhowson.co.uk/peter-howson-on-art-and-politics/

PH: “Art was always political, it’s only recently that it’s become very vapid. I always separate the art from the person. I don’t rate new Scottish art at all, a lot of it looks like advertising. Real art is Otto Dix, George Grosz, Goya, Michelangelo and Ken Currie here is the only artist doing serious stuff at the moment, and when I say serious I mean social commentary – art has got to speak to people, it’s got to communicate.”

Once we stayed in Edinburgh in a room with one of his earlier paintings on the wall – it didn’t contribute to a homely feel!

Howson in room

 

 

 

There is great local work that is done all around the country in UK and probably everywhere that needs more support to get through the local bureaucracies to get out into schools, libraries and inform cultural events. Here’s  a sample from my area led by Sean Creighton.

“Musical Heritage. The recognition of the importance of Croydon’s heritage is recognised (Plan. p.15). However, this section is flawed and superficial. I urged the Cabinet of 20 June 2016 to ensure that the report Towards a Cultural Programme for Croydonshould recognise ‘heritage as a major component of culture and as a stimulus to cultural activities and tourism’.  The Plan report is particularly weak on the history of the musical heritage. The fact that famous performers like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones performed at venues like Fairfield Halls, is important and interesting, but they were just passing through. It ignores the rich classical and folk scenes. There is no mention of the classical composers Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and William Hurlestone who grew up in Croydon and ran musical events involving local musical talents like the Petherick sisters. Nor does it mention other residents such as Ralph Reader (Gang Shows),  Kathy Stobbart (jazz saxophonist), and Ewan McCall and Peggy Seeger (folk singers nor the musical importance of the National College of the Blind. Nor does it mention the rich music hall history or the way in which music was central to the social and public activities of the wide range of faith, charitable, labour movement, friendly society, and faith organisations, and of campaigners such as the suffragists and suffragettes. There is no excuse for this, given that some of the detail has been written about in Croydon Citizen, given the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor year long Festival in 2012 organised by Jonathan Butcher with the help of Surrey Opera and the Borough based Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Network, and the Petherick family exhibition at the Museum.

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/history/talented-pethericks-family-album

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/culture/rich-stories-fairfield-halls

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/culture/samuel-coleridge-taylor-croydon-music-scene

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/culture/discovering-selhursts-history-part-2

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/history/samuel-coleridge-taylor-remembered

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/culture/politics-culture-remembering-paul-robeson

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/history/keep-singing-along-pete-seeger

https://thecroydoncitizen.com/history/samuel-coleridge-taylor-civil-rights-movement

Of course there is also much recent EDM  and Grime history relating to the area, especially Thornton Heath, where I live that is not yet recorded…

 

Sentenced to a year in prison for insulting the police in this video. This is the fate of the Moroccan rapper Gnawi. I’m looking for an English translation for the Lyrics.

“Young people make up a third of Morocco’s 35 million inhabitants. A quarter of those aged between 15 and 24 are unemployed and out of school, according to official figures.”

I have to admire the guts of this guy – Mr.Guti . Apparently Basra is run by gangs and it is somewhere you can be in danger if you espouse western modernist forms in public. I saw a programme on Youtube influencers in Iraq the other night. One has been killed and another, in Bagdad, was running a legal  battle against people threatening her (which she was winning!) and had to live almost in isolation with her daughter. These people are fighting for basic freedom of expression which we take for granted. This was in Baghdad which is reckoned to be generally much safer to live an and more stable than Basra.

The video above start in Arabic and then about half way there is an version in English. The lyrics area protest a bout the desperate poverty of the mass of people…

For more see:

http://www.studentnewspaper.org/iraqi-influencers-are-risking-their-lives-to-fight-for-womens-rights/

The algorithms that select material for me to see on my social media have somehow not come up with the name of Raja Meziane. In spite of my having just spend a week in ESAD Valence in France with some immigrants from Algeria making an Agit Disco Dispersal. It took the state controlled BBC to tell me that Raja has become the ‘sound of the youth revolution’ in Algeria with 35 million views on YouTube this year…

Despite failing to secure a record deal in Algeria, she has continued to post her anti-government songs online.

She was forced to emigrate a few years ago and lives in Prague where she is studying International Law as well as continuing to record. She is one the BBC’s 100 Influential Women of 2019.

Last night I heard this singer on Radio 6 on Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone programme.

Lingua Ignota is a classically trained singer who, after as that in life as a Catholic chorister, got into noise music. But now is bringing all her experience together in an album about her experience of domestic abuse. She’s really thought about the issue, and speaks articulately about its many facets, but the tracks of her latest album are all about communicating the pure pain, and lasting trauma that it leaves in the victim. Somehow noise music plus her complex overtone singing seem perfect for representing trauma, Still, its not easy to listen to!

https://linguaignota.bandcamp.com

“CALIGULA, the new album by LINGUA IGNOTA plunges into the ocean with the visionary force of the 12th century mystic who inspired it”

“The unsayable, the unspeakable, the traumatic repressed has become, over the last two years, and perhaps more than any other contemporary artist, the theme and keynote of Kristin Hayter’s music.”

from Robert Barry’s review in the Quietus

I’m wary of the way people like Diamanda Galás appeal to the political right, with the allure of unhinged violence that has parted company with any restrain or moral compass.  But hearing Kristin talk about how this was based on her own experience of being abused at the hands of a widely admired member of the left community she lived in, you have to consider that this is an art version of the screams that must accompany any expression of the experience of extremes of abuse suffered by anyone. I do believe that far-right people have actually experienced harsh cruelty, usually when they are young, that disconnects them from human empathy in a way that exceeds that of everyday oppressors.

Her intense pain is like that that must drive other people to commit suicide, and or plotting to harm others. Lily-livered people like myself really find it scary but that’s the point I suppose.

“Northampton-based rapper Slowthai caused the biggest stir by performing with a dummy of Boris Johnson’s severed head, which he held aloft as he performed Doorman, a track about wealth disparity in modern Britain. … he explained the song, like the rest of his album, aimed to give a voice to “the people from small communities that have been forgotten about”.

“It’s time to let people in,” he said.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-49754224

Paper cutting from 20th May – Manic Street Preachers. Song from 1999…

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I’ve never been a Manics listener, but this caught my eye as of obv Agit Disco classic. And as it plays my 14 year old daughter calls out ‘One of my favourite bands’. They do really they have place in importance in British/ Welsh working class musical history.

Considering the fight against fascism we are again faced with…