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Author Archives: Szczelkun

artist, author, parent, blogger,

Probably my biggest musical influence – and politically like minded.


War will end when

Women say NO

Adelle Stripe’s blog post: Songs They Never Play on the Radio #agitdisco
Adel writes: “In this week’s episode I am discussing James Young’s Songs They Never Play on the Radio and a pile of other quality music books for your perusal including Brett Anderson’s Coal Black Mornings, Nick Tosches’s Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story, Jon Savage’s England’s Dreaming and Anthony Joseph’s Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypso Icon

“Moushumi Bhowmik’s music from Bengal is ‘deeply political but she does not write or perform the stereotypical protest song … [her songs are] characterised by the politics of the everyday and the images of the everyday … they appeal for empathy and write about emancipation and they write about the power of the dream.’ (Professor Sumangala Damodaran, singer and author of ‘The Radical Impulse: Music in the Tradition of the Indian People’s Theatre Association’.”

In addition to writing, composing and singing, Moushumi is also a music researcher and archivist (The Travelling Archive: Field Recordings and Field Notes from Bengal

After the performance, MayDay Rooms will be in conversation with Moushumi and Oliver, alongside Dr. Priyanka Basu, about their practice and approach to archiving. Drinks provided!

The shocking execution of PHYO ZEYA THAW this week by the Myanmar junta can perhaps be seen as a measure of the progressive power of global hip hop.

“Phyo Zeya Thaw was one of Myanmar’s original Hip Hop artists at a time when people didn’t think Hip Hop would work. His band released their first Hip Hop album in 2000, and it soon went to the top of the charts. The band was political in its lyrics and really struck a nerve with the people of Myanmar.”

I don’t think the Pet Shop Boys were mentioned in the Agit Disco book (2012) but they are perhaps ever more political…  and looking ahead to their June 2023 Greatest Hits – Dreamworld tour.

A top ten from Wayne Studer PhD with thanks (cut and past from his blog with slight edits) Links take you to his website.

1. Integral

Government bureaucracies that treat people like depersonalized, digitized entities without any rights that they’re obliged to respect.

2. We’re All Criminals Now

Governments and their law-enforcement agents who assume that everyone is a potential terrorist—even to the point of killing innocent people—and the associated decline in personal privacy. The bitter irony is that, in the name of making us safer, we’re quite possibly becoming less safe.

3. The Theatre

Casual disregard by the privileged for the plight of the destitute among them.

4. DJ Culture

The fact that people are often willing accomplices in their own deception, whether it’s by warmongering politicians or by commercial interests that try to dissuade them from accepting themselves as they are.

5. Birthday Boy

Hate crimes—or, perhaps more pointedly, the bigotry that underlies them.

6. A Red Letter Day

The fact that, even today, gay people still don’t enjoy many of the same rights that heterosexuals do. This is now less a problem in some parts of the world (such as the U.K. and U.S.) than it was at the time the song was written and recorded, although in much (probably most) of the world it’s still just as serious.

7. Shopping

Government privatization efforts (the selling of government-owned national industries to private corporations) in the United Kingdom during the administration of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. But does this one deserve bonus points or demerits for going completely over the heads of 99% of everyone who’s ever heard it?

8. After the Event

The pop-culture phenomenon of mass expressions of superficial collective grief, especially when they take the form of spontaneous public shrines composed of photos, flowers, balloons, stuffed animals, and the like.

9. It’s a Sin

The fostering of personal guilt by religious institutions in general, and the Catholic Church in particular.

10. How Can You Expect to Be Taken Seriously?

Preachy, pretentious rock stars whose social causes come across as excuses for self-promotion. As music critic Chuck Eddy has described it, this is an “anti-protest song”—or, to put it another way, a protest song against protest songs.

In case you’re wondering, while all of the songs on the Boys’ 2019 EP Agenda are certainly protest songs—in fact, they’re among the most overt protest songs of their career—none of them, in my opinion, match in quality those I’ve listed above, perhaps in part because they are so overt. Thus I don’t rank them among their ten “greatest.” Nevertheless, I would be remiss not to make note of them here:

See also:

Dafydd Iwan was imprisoned in 1970 for his refusal to pay fines for defacing English-language road signs as part of the fight for Welsh-language rights, serving three weeks of a three-month sentence. One of the most moving songs to be sung in Wales…

The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians   [11th May 2022]

An extraordinary event.  From the moment the assembled Orchestra of Syrian Musicians stepped onto the stage at the Brighton Dome  ~  to collective empathy and rapturous applause  ~  the evening became endowed with magical properties.

Ancient Arabic rhythms brought to life by an ensemble of various displaced persons (escaping from a war-ravaged Syria)  ~  the sheer power and artistry of their wondrous musical constructions  ~  preserved intact through time  ~  and performed here on flute, oud and qanun  ~  brought the Festival audience to its collective feet in true heartfelt appreciation.  The genuine free-flowing mutual love and respect betwixt performers and audience  ~  and vice versa  ~  was evident from the very start and more than tangible (spontaneous outbursts of cheering and clapping etc) as the evening wore on… 

Proud to have contributed ticket money  ~  and proud of Brighton Festival 2022 to have staged such an emotional and unquestionably life-affirmative event  ~  here tonight  ~  at The Dome.  

PS:  We originally purchased two tickets for this particular concert.  At the last moment Sooty was suddenly stricken with severe stomach-ache and unable to travel (needed to be near her own bathroom for obvious reasons)  ~  so she stayed at home and watched a livestream of the show  ~  online on her PC  ~  while I was actually there in the audience.  

We compared notes once I got home.  

So glad that the “Festival Livestreaming” option was available for her…   and yes she is feeling much better today

Alexandra Skochilenko, Russian political prisoner, known as Sasha

 She is also a musician from St.Petersburg.

She replaced price tags in supermarkets with antiwar leaflets such as ‘love is stronger than war’, and ‘violence is never a solution’.

Russian court has sent her to jail. She faces up to 15 years in prison.

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“Oxxxymiron was announcing a series of charity anti-war gigs under the banner Russians against War (RAW). The first concert in Istanbul on March 15 raised $30,000 (£22,000) for Ukrainian refugees. The second concert, at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on March 24, raised$50,000 (£38,000).”

Legendary Russian rock star Boris Grebenshchikov: “This war is insanity and a disgrace for Russia.”

“Russian rock star Zemfira has re-released her old track “Don’t shoot” with images from the Ukraine conflict and a clear anti-war message. This is quite a big deal – she’s sold millions of songs in Russia and is a household name…”

The song by Makarevich from seven years ago needs a revival.

Be happy to hear of more!

“On a red carpet in February 2020, Grian Chatten, the front-man and vocalist for Fontaines D.C., was asked about the recent general election in Ireland, which had seen a historic plummeting of support for both of the traditionally dominant (centre-right) parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail. The election was proof, Chatten responded without hesitation, of “the power of youth in numbers”, and that “people can conduct change from the ground up.” The insight and inspired radicalism of his reply would have come as no surprise to fans of the band’s music.” ….. a post from