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Tag Archives: London

Skepta is now top of the tree and his Konnichiwa album has protest songs (so says the BBC). But how long can you sing songs about being held by cops; when you are a slick hitmaker? The glamour, the people, the money, the need for minders that surround you… the busy schedule that steals your day away …. he may have got there by a DIY route and kept control late in the day. Will he be able to keep it real when its all red carpets and feigning models. I mean Puffy Daddy has run his own businesses for many years; there comes a point when DIY ceases to mean much. It was cute that just before his album started the Time Out rolled up this house and found it used as a storage place for his business. but even then he wasn’t sticking stamps on himself like wot real DIY publishing means.

How long is he gonna rap “The feds wanna shift man / Wanna put me in a van / Wanna strip a man / I ain’t a Chippendale / Wanna strip a male / Put me in a prison cell / Got me biting on my finger nails.” with any conviction?

The analysis will have to get more political, more theoretical, more abstracted from his personal situation. And probably threatening to his own pro feet ability…

Can integrity survive success? Can a radical message survive institutionalisation or being framed on corporate media?

But for now Ok this Tottenham boy wants people to ‘shed preconceptions’ that’s not bad thing. I’m reading Mike Hales book on ‘Thinkwork’ from 1980 and he had this idea of ‘pre conceptualism’ and it set me thinking about whether cultural works can reach out into that pre-idea stage of thinking. There’s a hope music or art might be able to get past the normalisation of our thinking as it enters onto cultural or intellectual platforms… But to do that it would have use very undercapitalised platform, autonomous underground venues, collectively run shows, illegal shebeens maybe, but not a gallery. How is it done? How is it done?

 

for more thoughts in this vein see my now FREE ebook…

Vinyl Therapy lets people play three tracks on the theme of the month – This month it was politics! photo(1) photo(2) the tracklist for #vinyltherapy Politics (2/5/15) London was:

Gianna ‘The Ballad of Ho Chi Minh’ Ewan Macoll ‘The Times They Are a’ Changin’ Brothers & Sisters ‘Fight the Power’ Public Enemy

Worth ‘For What It’s Worth’ Stapel Singers ‘Political Science’ Randy Newman ‘I Spy (for the FBI)’ Jamo Thomas

Simon ‘Synthetic World’ Jimmy Cliff ‘Lie Down and Be Counted’ Neil Innes ‘Abraham, Martin & John’ Marvin Gaye

Marc ‘Oh Bondage! Up Yours!’ X-Ray Spex ‘Venceremos – We Will Win’ Working Week ‘Struggling Man’ Jimmy Cliff

Carmel ‘I’m Going Left’ Syreeta ‘Clean Up THe Ghetto’ Philadelphia All Stars ‘Takin’ It To The Streets’ Doobie Brothers

Gill ‘Diet’ Au Pairs ‘Little Hitler’ Everything But The Girl ‘Children of the Revolution’ T-Rex

John ‘Get Up Stand Up’ Big Youth ‘Inner City Blues’ Grover Washington Jr. ‘Funky President’ James Brown

Kim ‘Graffiti Limbo’ Michelle Shocked ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ Joan Baez ‘You Haven’t Done Nothin’ Stevie Wonder

Sally ‘(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang’ Heaven 17 ‘News at Ten’ The Vapors ‘White Riot’ The Clash

Christine ‘Hard Times’ Human League ‘Somesay’ Wah! Heat ‘Sweet Talking Guy’ The Chiffons

Rachel ‘Part of the Union’ The Strawbs ‘I’m Alright Jack’ Tom Robinson ‘Big A Little A’ Crass Eva ‘Glad to be Gay’ Tom Robinson Band

Pete ‘Johannesburg’ Gil Scott Heron ‘Right On Be Free’ Voices of East Harlem ‘Hell’ James Brown

Billy ‘This Is Your’ Captain Sensible ‘Floating Anarchy Radio’ Here & Now ‘Kill For Peace’ The Fugs

Clive ‘How Can a Poor Man Live Such Times?’ Blind Alfred Reed ‘Outlaw’ Eugene Macdaniels ‘Mao! Mao!’ Claude Channes Maya ‘Keep On Keepin On’ Redskins ‘Babylon’s Burning’ The Ruts ‘English Civil War’ The Clash

Bryan ‘Wind of Change’ Robert Wyatt & Jerry Dammers ‘Breadline Britain’ Jimmy Sommerville ‘Handsworth Revolution’ Steel Pulse

Lisa ‘Margaret on the Guillotine’ Morrissey ‘Good Evening Mr Waldheim’ Lou Reed ‘Belfast’ Boney M

Matt ‘The more that I see (the less I believe)’ Fun Boy 3 ‘Comrades’ Test Department ‘Economics’ Bumbites

Mick ‘If a Peanut Framer can do it (so can I)’ Ed Townsend ‘Get Involved’ George Soule ‘I’m Backing Britain’ Bruce Forsythe

Wayne ‘Dirty Laundry’ Curtis Mayfield ‘Independant Intavenshan’ Linton Kwesi Johnson ‘Same Song’ Israel Vibration

Ian ‘The Last of England’ Simon Fisher Turner/Derek Jarman ‘Bonzo Goes to Bitburg’ The Ramones ‘Kennedy’ The Wedding Present

Rod ‘Nixon’s The One’ Kathryn Duffy & The Enemies ‘(For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People’ Chi-Lites ‘Revolution’ The Beatles

Andy ‘Holiday In Cambodia’ DJ Lebowitz ‘Jerusalem’ Mark Stewart & The Maffia ‘I am the fly’ Adam Sky

Denise ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ Johnny Cash ‘Kill The Poor’ Dead Kennedys ‘Forward To Death’ Dead Kennedys

******** Extras included: ‘Elected’ Alice Cooper ‘Crazy Baldhead’ Bob Marley & The Wailers ‘I hate Hate’ Razzy & The Neighbourhood Kids ‘The Message’ Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five ‘Gonna Be a Showdown’ Archie Bell & The Drells ‘Harlan County’ Jim Ford ‘Autonomy’ Buzzcocks ‘Cunts are still running the World’ Jarvis Cocker

Their archive of past events:   https://thelisteningcure.wordpress.com

Photo by Deirdre McGale

Photo by Deirdre McGale

Nature Study Notes is a collection of 152 written instructions or ‘scores’ that was published as a booklet by Cornelius Cardew at the beginning of the Scratch Orchestra in 1969. The scores are called ‘rites’ and were used in many of the early Scratch Orchestra concerts. This was a music improvisation and visual performance event an hour and a half long. See photo documentation like below:

Performed by an ensemble of original Scratch Orchestra members and new performers: Jane Alden, George Chambers, Linn D, Carole Finer, John Hails, Bryn Harris, Les Hutchins, Petri Huurinainen, Eve Libertine, Robbie Lockwood, Geraldine McEwan, Christian Sancto, Matt Scott, Hugh Shrapnel, Howard Slater, Stefan Szczelkun, Emmanuelle Waeckerle & Ali Warner.

A radio programme by Carol Finer made before the event:

Photo documentation of the event at Cafe Oto:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mcgale/sets/72157650612639168/with/16430928357/

“Our improvising, it seems to me, is a matter of entering into relation in the widest possible way: relation with our unconscious, a relation with our materials and expression, a relation with the medium of expression, a relation with imagination, a relation with the recipient of our attempted communications etc. The wider the scope of potential relation then the more possibilities there are to both come across ways in which our activity and expression is determined (by the hidden social messages in language, by the technique of virtuosity, by the closure of product) and to modify and change this determination; to maintain that the social is never fully determined, and its potential for freedom is never closed but persists as the outcome of experimentalism.” – Howard Slater.

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 Owlboy – Conspiracy
RECORD LAUNCH EVENT

Owlboy | Conspiracy
Tuesday 13 January 7-9pm
Free admission, no booking requiredConspiracy is the latest track by West London-based rap artist Owlboy written as a direct result of his involvement in the London riots in 2011. The music video, a 12-month collaboration between Owlboy, Reveal Poison (an Iranian born, London raised hip-hop artist, writer and ethnomusicologist), Sam Hepworth (producer and filmmaker) and The Showroom, has been produced as part of The Showroom’s Communal Knowledge programme.Conspiracy is the story of many told through one: including original footage and documentation, it re-tells a series of local events that directly resulted from the larger-scale riots of 2011. Chronicled from the perspective of a young person who was not only present, but who was also reprimanded and imprisoned as a result of his involvement, the narrative serves as an integral chapter in the larger media story dubbed the ‘UK Riots’.This collaboration will extend into 2015 with further music video productions, and will feed into Dutch artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh’s How to work together commission in spring 2015.
THE SHOWROOM
63 Penfold Street
London NW8 8PQ
T 020 7724 4300
info@theshowroom.org

Showing at Gimpel Fils Gallery, London until the 11th October 2014 M-F 10 – 5.30, Sat 11 – 4pm  The film is a visual performance to an eleven minute section of the soundtrack of Spielberg’s 2005 War of the Worlds, starting 22 minutes in when the war is underway. This is made in a domestic setting in a Tel Aviv suburb by various means: short scenes are acted out in a playful way with the use of domestic tools and everyday objects as plausible sound makers used by foley artist impersonators; children and adults lip sync to the moments of dramatic dialogue and action; the main interior room used is the kitchen. Inserted into this is a restrained use of theatrical props, mainly a rubber severed hand, and short snippets of news footage of war in Israel. The Spielberg sound design, mixed with the music composed by John Williams, is of course high-end and this contrasts, sometimes to comic effect, with the make-do quality of some of the props used to mis-represent the causes of these sounds. To rise to the challenge of the ‘War of the Worlds’ action a lot of things are smashed up including a basketball that crashes through a real window. Alarm clocks, hoovers, blenders, gas flames, spillages and domestic accidents appear to contribute their sounds. Who knows, some of these things may have actually been used by the Hollywood foley artists who are famous for their inventive use of everyday objects. Guy Ben-Ner Soundtrack2 The film is very affecting after the recent Israeli offensive but was in fact made at the time of the previous somewhat smaller scale conflict in 2012. The lightness of the playful action makes us feel the relation between our domestic lives and its comforts and the violence that is inflicted in other parts of the world. Perhaps it is not necessarily as a result of the production of domestic commodities but it is certainly a product of capitalism as a whole. We benefit whilst others suffer. This is all conveyed with frying eggs, children’s balloons, toddlers plastic trikes and the other paraphernalia of family life. Read More »

Best ever Agit Disco album just republished on SoundCloud in August 2014

It is really great to see this important and little known album re-issued again on SoundCloud after twenty years. It was first issued as a cassette tape for those who frequented 56a Infoshop and its networks in South London. I was struck by its eloquent and radical lyrics and beautiful, inventive instrumental backing when I first heard it. Certainly it was the stand-out album of political songs of the Nineties in South London. I had seen Steve Cope perform his songs solo on a few occasions like at a St Agnes Place squat party, but these recordings of the songs with other talented local musicians frame Cope’s powerful lyrics with a musicianship that makes them works of art as much as heart-felt protest songs.

Each track on Soundcloud now has a carefully chosen image that adds something to the digital presentation that the analogue tape could not of course have. I wondered if this was the result of a particularly magical recording session but Martin says “It was essentially live music, so I never thought of the recording (on Fostex 8 track) as being exceptional, just a different thing.” Also looking at the cassette liner notes it looks like different tracks were recorded at different locations.

The song ‘Animals’ makes me cry every time I hear it. Such a passionate and

poetic song. My favourite of the whole album. It addresses peoples in-humanity in a deeply felt alliance with all animals, with nature even, against the violence of oppression and exploitation targeted by the callous few against the majority of people. It also works as a statement against cruelty to all life. For me it achieves a singular artistic statement that sums up the righteous anger that liberation needs. An important and necessary emotion that is hard to express most of the time. Its key chorus-line: “I’m with the animals” is spat out over a rolling and hypnotic bass rhythm. About 4 minutes in there is some brilliant growling trumpet playing by Martin Dixon that expresses the build-up of outrage in a way that reminds me of the expressive power of some of the best modern Jazz playing.

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The first live event since the launch of the Agit Disco project six years ago. This benefit for Housemans Bookshop had 16 Agit Disco selectors working simultaneously on two floors of the Surya Centre from 7pm until 12 or later. Thanks to Nik Gorecki at Housemans for organising it. Plenty of people came and there was a good vibe in spite of the rather short sets.

PHOTOS OF THE EVENT HERE:

Agit Disco1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selectors included:

Mark Faulkner  (ex Room 13 Scotland) who had come down from Fort William!

Caroline Heron with a video set

Sian Addicott with a set of Welsh resistance,

Stewart Home with Rebel Soul

Andy T  with his varied but tight set,

Neil Transpontine did a set on the Miners Strike,

John Eden – dancehall and reggae

Tom Vague – Post punky reggae party related to Notting Hill area

Luca Paci – resistenzia Italiana

Nic Gorecki – Roots rockin

Martin Dixon – old vinyl agit disco rediscovered

Micheline Mason – Political folk

Marc Garrett – his own mainly contemporary set

Sharon Kivland – French agit disco selection

Tracey Moberly will be at North Pole so we played her CD.

https://www.facebook.com/events/597993830284675/

One of the headline acts to go on at 11pm is PAUL JAMROZY who was co-architect of ‘Agitative Industrialists’ Test Dept formed in the decaying docklands of South London in the early eighties. TD created percussive music with industrial debris and electronics, producing large-scale location responsive projects. Their infamous sonic assaults were regarded as a test of physical endurance that pushed the sonic envelope. Their work developed with the advent of new technology journeying through the underground dance scene and into hybrid global music.

http://www.testdept.org.uk/

Post TD his individual practice evolved within the wider digital diaspora of experimental sound artists and electronic practitioners. He has worked under many guises including Satellitic, Deep Face, Full Spectrum Dominance and most recently C.3.3. inspired by his music workshops inside Reading Gaol. His Polish background has also had a strong influence on his work and led to the formation of Bigos Planet an Anglo-Polish cultural radio programme for Resonance FM.

http://www.satellitic.org.uk/

 

 

The Smears were a South London band in 1979 with Mike Dignam, on drums and Rob Gell on vocals…. One of their early performances has just been unearthed.   The Smears on YouTube

I notice that The Smears name has now been taken on by a girl grunge band.

Went to a brilliant youth performance by Kinetica Bloco the other night in the foyer of QE Hall on London’s Southbank.

It was a carnivalesque celebration of London themed songs with dancers, steel band, drummers and a large section of brass. It was inclusive of many levels of musical ability but arranged so well that the impression it made was of a very musical blast! The deep bass drums resonated through my body. Then the poly-melodic arrangements were like wave after wave of exhuberant sound and movement. There were three conductors all with their own passionate approaches and set of signals. The free-wheeling complexity all gelled like a dream under Mat Fox’s laid-back, good humoured and mobile musical direction.

The tune list:

Hum Allah by Pharaoh Saunders

Dance with Me by Dizzie Rascal

Remedy Mash Up by Sam Agard

Caravan by Juan Tizol

English Country Garden trad.

Israelites by Desmond Dekker & Leslie Kong

Streets of London by Ralph McTell

Down by the Riverside trad.

London Calling by The Clash

A Nightinggale Sang in Berekely Square by Manning Sherwin

Colonial Mentality by Fela Kuti

London is the Place for Me by Lord Kitchener

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I have always thought that London’s rappers get a short straw on the meanstream Medjas.

There’s a lot of talent out there that shows itself off in the open mike events which have a speakers corner buzz about them. The freedom is there, the szpiel is there, the wisdom of the people is bubbling up there, the raw voice of anger is there, the voice of the oppressed gets it airing in such subterranean public spouting holes.

One particularly talented individual is known to me through my son Lech, one of whose oldest mates is  the London rapper Mc Wildeye who has also been performing as part of  LondonCitySoldiers and Bassline circus. See LCS clipped on my phone from a Form 696 benefit in Vauxhall here:

Londoncitysoldiers 2

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