Exeter City Council PSPO proposal would criminalise buskers, the homeless and many more.

Exeter City Council PSPO proposal would criminalise buskers, the homeless and many more.

Please sign our petition against the criminalisation of the homeless, buskers and others in Exeter

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https://www.change.org/p/exeter-city-council-don-t-criminalise-exeter-s-rough-sleepers-or-destroy-their-belongings

Labour-led Exeter City Council’s new ‘Public Space Protection Order’ (PSPO) will give the police and council officers the power to criminalise activities that they deem to be ‘antisocial’ such as rough sleeping, begging, or even busking. Those who breach the order could be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £100 or a fine of up to £1000 and a criminal record. The order also gives the council the power to seize and destroy the bedding and personal possessions of homeless people (A measure, which, especially during winter could leave them incredibly vulnerable to adverse weather).
Please take a moment to complete the online consultation about these measures after reading this article by clicking on the link below:
Exeter City Council online PSPO consultation

 

Homelessness has risen by 50% since 2010 under the current government and a recent study demonstrated that nearly 100,000 children in England alone are homeless, a figure that the chief executive of children’s charity Barbados Javed Khan called ‘a national embarrassment’. A measure that effectively criminalises rough sleeping and associated behaviours in Exeter city centre will only increase (already high) levels of stigma surrounding Exeter’s homeless population.It privileges the appearance of Exeter over its’ citizens’ wellbeing, and risks treating rough sleepers as a problem to be dealt with, as an inconvenience, as a threat, rather than as individual human beings. We already know that homeless people are amongst the most vulnerable in our society and are already victims of exceptionally high levels of violence, crime and victimisation which is often committed by the general public and largely goes unreported.
These proposals could also see some of the most impoverished people in the UK facing criminal charges and unpayable fines of up to £1000 just for refusing to remove their bedding when ordered to by a council official, or busking ‘without authorisation’. The PSPO would also give council officers the power to order any person, or group of people to leave the city if they thought it was ‘likely’ that they might behave antisocially, a power that is wide open to abuse and misuse. Taken together, these powers are not only  an attack on the cultural life of Exeter’s public spaces, they are also an attack on freedom of expression and freedom of association as well as an attack on the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.

When Hackney Council introduced similar proposals, over 80,000 people signed a petition causing them to abandon their plans. When Oxford City Council introduced similar proposals over 72,000 people signed a petition asking them to think again and Liberty issued a legal challenge calling on them to abandon their unlawful attempts to criminalise homeless people and buskers. Liverpool City Council abandoned similar proposals at the consultation stage after a public outcry. Chester City and Cheshire West Council also abandoned their plans to criminalise busking and rough sleeping after a petition was signed by nearly 16000 people.

As Rosie Brighouse, Legal Officer for Liberty rightly pointed out in their legal challenge to Oxford:

“If somebody is forced to beg or sleep in a public toilet, that’s not antisocial behaviour – it’s poverty.  Oxford City Council should focus on finding ways to help the most vulnerable people in their city, not slapping them with a criminal record and a fine they can’t possibly afford to pay”

The Keep Streets Live Campaign is a not for profit organisation which advocates for public spaces which are open to informal offerings of art and music and other community uses.  We are calling on Exeter City Council to abandon their PSPO proposal. The council and police have strong existing powers to deal with the small minority of people who cause genuine antisocial behaviour, they have no need for the proposed sweeping and arbitrary measures.  We have seen public pressure prevent similar measures being adopted in Oxford, Westminster and Hackney and know that public pressure can stop this from happening in Exeter too. Let’s make sure that councils like Exeter and policy makers deal with the causes of homelessness such as lack of affordable housing rather than making the lives of the most vulnerable even harder.

This post was written by
Singer-Songwriter/Professional Street Performer/Campaigner/Wandering Minstrel

181 Comments on "Exeter City Council PSPO proposal would criminalise buskers, the homeless and many more."

  • * Justice By Tesco Express

    I’m glad you’ve raised this issue of local authority ‘control’ orders etc again ( tho’ I must admit its beginning to seem a little bit like a ‘compulsive’ habit ! ). Again its to do with so called anti-social policing & the use/misuse of PSPO’s to combat percieved problems in our town/city centres.

    I’m not as dogmatic as you on on this issue, what you ‘automatically’ appear to label as the plight of the poor, impoverished & dispossessed in this country ( those ‘forced’ to beg on the streets & in public toilets etc ). No my rhetoric is a little bit more down to earth ( & hopefully honest! ) in that regardless of the ’causes’ ( including personal liability & responsibility ) in the name of justice, fairness ( & civilisation! ) I don’t wish to see civic ‘social’ cleansing going, in my name, either in or on, our streets.

    I don’t really care about the ‘financial’ costs ( austerity ) etc I just think amply budgeted, hands on, town centre, ‘good’ policing’ is far better & ‘effective’ a solution than any ‘new’ city management PSPO, ‘control’ order culture in dealing with complaints. I’ll be honest with you, as a Street Performer of a few years now & out this very week on Birminghams Xmas German Market, I’m sick & tired of being ‘cadged off’ by city centre ‘junkies’ & ‘alcoholics’ eg. Here I am not making much money after 1hr ‘busking’ in the ‘freezing’ cold, when to cap it all some Geezer, ‘tinnie’ in hand, casually strolls up to me & asks for a quid ( very, very annoying! ).

    Yes I’m well ‘peeed’ off about this sort of thing( a regular ‘street’ episode! ) & this kind of person ( a typical ‘street’ character! ), but no need for ‘draconianism’ here. Rationally it makes no sense to hit these albeit morally selfish, self-destructing idiots & addicts with ‘unpayable’ on the spots fines. For me, & upon ‘experience’, a simple sympathetic ‘police’ prescence would do the trick i.e. more than enough to send them on their way, & stop this kind of nuisance character from troubling the likes of me.

    I’d also like to express a wider concern on this whole issue i.e. that it is also a simple matter of general civic freedom’s ( albeit our ‘sense’ of them! ) not being sacrificed in any way to combat such social problems. In other words its very much a matter of importance that a certain ‘civic’ tone of ‘public freedom’ is preserved & maintained over & above tackling petty nuisance & crime on our streets & thats in the very important wider interests of public community ‘psychic’ health & ’emotional’ well being.

    You see when local authorities ( the powers that be! ) start introducing new anti-social behaviour policing powers & using for example PSPO’s as ‘law & order’ tools, even as ‘well-meaning’ deterrents, what tends to happen in ‘reality’ is they merely add to an already creeping ‘restrictive’ sense of everyday life. Untowardly affecting the ‘innocent’ law abiding citizen, rather than effectively acting as a ‘practical’ solution to everyday misdemeanor & crime, & ‘specifically’ targetting the actual culprit.

    Ironically, what we end up with as ordinary members of the public, is not ’emotional’ security, but rather the politically perverse reverse i.e. a sense of the encroachment of a police state ( yes, 18th Century, ‘continental Enlightenment, Pre-Revolutionary France Style ! ). Ironically under the present ‘austerity’ regime, due to ‘dramatic’ cuts, ‘good’ police have been disappearing off our streets in droves, in large ‘noticeable’ numbers ( & I’m all for fighting, ‘petitioning’ to save them, together with their more ‘reasonable’ method of policing! ).

    The current Tory government openly states that it is on a mission to bring about a future radically reduced state, but to replace it with what?. A 1984 style ‘neo-liberal’ nightmare beauracracy!, I’d say, i.e. Justice by Tesco Express!.

    • * Nb

      The problem with these kind of ‘draconian’ measures & this kind of ‘dogmatic’ discussion is that they don’t adequately ( nor fairly! ) distinguish between ‘good’ & ‘bad’ beggars, good & bad rough sleepers.

      The ‘reality’ is that there ‘are’ some people that you would ‘instinctively’ & automatically reach out to help, you’d feel that were truly ‘desparate’, in fact needed your aid & importantly that they deserved it!. Relative good grace can also be offered, recieved & given in some cases.

      However there are some ‘unsavoury’ characters ( ex cons etc ) out there that you would’nt like to wake up to sleeping on your doorstep, your backyard, nevermind your shop-doorway!.

      • * Nb 2

        One point I ‘directly’ agree with you on Jonny, a ‘serious’ concern I share with you, is over the potential misuse of these kinds of ‘new’ anti-social laws, PSPO’s. What with often ‘unclear’ definitions as to who or what kind of behaviours count as ‘anti-social’ nuisance, the whole practice is open to abuse.

        Before you know it the obvious targets become displaced by less obvious targets, nuisance Buskers by ‘general’ Buskers, anyone who a particular police-officer or Warden just simply does’nt like, has a prejudice against, could end up being ‘on-the-spot’ fined, unfairly ‘banned’ from a hitherto public spot.

        Even if later cleared in court, much damage has already been done, they have been humiliated & inconvenienced. Such a ‘grey’ area this, one could simply be ‘targeted’ for political reasons, or out of a local authorities desire to look after ‘vested’ interests eg. ‘property’ developers etc.

        • * On Busking ( An Addiction? )

          A brief point on the crazy & wayward ( ‘misguided’! ) notion(s) I’ve picked up from certain quarters, from what I can remember actually read in some brand of creative ‘non’ fiction or another ( tho’ don’t quote me on this my memory is hazy at the moment! ) & thats the idea, the proposition that busking in itself is an ‘addiction’.

          Yes I’ve stumbled across more than a few commentators recently ( in their few but ‘various’ writings, Blogs, or should I say Buskers Diaries – ok not so various, a ‘representative’ collection of fairly empty narratives, full of vacuous life platitudes I would say ) who describe their ‘initiation’ into street performing as an ‘addiction’ & recall with enthusiasm & vigour how they have become ‘addicted’ to busking.

          Addicted to what? Is the question I would like to ask in this context Q. Is it the money, the attention or indeed the outdoors life ? that has so ‘hooked’ you onto Street Performing?. Speaking as the classic ‘Outsider’ ( an ethnic minority of sorts! ) & an individual ‘prone’ to sticking out like a sore thumb, I can say that I have spent much of my life ( from early childhood ) trying miserabley to stave off ‘unwanted’ looks & the gaze of others.

          So no, as a ‘working’ Street Performer ‘attention’ is not an issue for myself ( neither an overwheening need nor want! ) cos’ I get plenty of that already. – And in many ‘key’ ways neither is the money nor the great outdoors a ‘motivator’.

          You see I’ve spent most of my life living a ‘Counter Cultural’ existence where money is not the prime value, a certain kind of ‘community’ is. Ok if I have ever had a compulsion for anything it was ‘going out’, but these days ( what with the collapse of most city suburban post 60s communites due to amongst other things contemporary high’ property prices! ) I tend to live the rather ‘solitary’ life of a Trappist Monk & significantly I’m now healthily used to this & in fact ‘benefitting’ from it. So as a Busker I am not addicted to that factor of circumstance either i.e either the streets nor the ‘open’ air, I’ve had plenty of it already.

          So Q. Why do I busk? A. First & foremost ‘survival’, its very much a matter of life & survival for me & I suspect this is the case for at least a ‘few’ other folk ( loose canons! ) also. So whilst to a certain extent its about the money ( paying the rent etc ) secondly for me, given my ‘moral’ character, & the simaltaneously ascribed/’chosen’ social ‘status’ of L’Homme Difference i.e a Bohemian type, it s also very much a ‘lifestyle’ choice.

          As a man in my, though increasingly popular still ‘peculiar’ predicament, I would’nt describe myself as a struggling pop musician ( pop wannabee, starlet ) either, nor a weekend hobbyist, or a ‘high street’ entertainer no I’m none of these things. In all ‘truth’ ( the ‘literal’ truth ) I exist more along the lines of a Gypsy, an English ‘street’ Gypsy that is what I’d ‘happily’ call myself.

          Anyway ( reflecting on! ), thirdly I guess the bottom line is that this whole endeavour ( it will hopefully turn out to be a ‘creative’ ‘cultural’ journey for me! ) represents a ‘real’ hungary & thirsty quest for ‘freedom’, that plus more fully developed mode of ‘indivdual’ Artistic Expression & the social good.

          Funny ( I look back with wry ‘humour ) at how my desire to finally ( ultimately! ) ‘beat the man’, began with me finally dropping out from the ‘mainstream’ (Nb, a life on the dole, secondary labour market i.e. with various job ‘agencies’ etc ) 4 years or so ago now, & the ‘early’ busking experience of street performing in Stratford upon Avon.

          Yeah, ironic ( quite blackly so! ) how as soon as I had ‘escaped’ battle with one set of Authorities eg. job centre staff, employment agency ‘sales’ teams, Call Centre Team Leaders & security staff etc, I found myself yes out in ‘the open’ but in this instance a life & death struggle with in many ways more ‘highly’ motivated ( jobsworth! ) town & city-centre ‘management’ authorites. Albeit in the form of ‘front-line’ City Centre Wardens or in the case of Stratford upon Avon ( Shakespeareland! ) ‘Town Hosts’ intent on running & controlling the ‘public’ space like Factory Floor Foremen & Supervisors!.

          On refection, ‘busking’ for me is definitely not an ‘addiction’ its a ‘valued’ way of life ( it has to be to ‘survive’ such challenges, to want to beat such social barriers & difficulties ). My advice is, if you’re starting to feel ‘addicted’ to what really should be a relatively healthy & creative cultural activity it could be time to stop & re-valuate your ‘values’.

          Its a bit like the woman or guy who’s New Years Resolution is to lose weight & with ‘driven’ intensity ‘do’ begin their diet ( & excercise ) plan. If what drives them is a ‘desire’ to look like their ‘favourite star’ well then l ( or any professional Life Coach for that matter! ) will tell you they are doomed to failure.

          But if they are looking to simply bring out the ‘natural’ beauty in themselves & achieve true ‘health then theres every chance they will succeed. Most importantly with that kind of quality ‘focus’ they will build up & mantain that so ‘necessary’ reserve of ‘will’ ( & tenacity ) for when the ‘real’ ‘challenges’ ( ‘real-life’ problems ) some may call them ‘sticking points’ come – & like the life lot of ‘the Busker’ they will!.

          • Nb. Trappist Monk ( or Hidden Homeless? )

            Please note that whilst I refer to myself above, as ‘these days’, like a trappist Monk living a ‘solitary’ life of relative seclusion I don’t of course live in an actual monastry.

            No, no such ‘luxury’, I live in shared accomodation situated above a restaurant/shop on a suburban city High Street ( a rapidly transforming, some might say ‘fading’ traditional English pre-war south Birmingham suburb ).

            Does that mean then that I’m really an example of that increasingly typical’y ‘alienated’ modern male class type ( i.e. poor & excluded ) living in a cheap, ‘substandard’ shared flat in an undesirable location ( i.e. above a ‘noisy’ main road ) rather than a Monk. Well the answer is yes & no! i.e. in reality its more morally ‘ambiguous’ than that.

            On the one hand I do live in the ‘light’ ( a kind of ‘holy’ tho’ I’d say ‘naturally’ sublimely beautiful light! ). Theres a glorious translucent ray that streams into my living room ‘mid-afternoon & has served to continually feeds & lift the soul, in this Tolkien land ( yeah theres a hint of cultural myth & ‘magic’ too about this area with its green belt & ‘Sarehole Mill’ tracing its boundaries! ).

            Its also worth mentioning that I share the place with the Landlords ( a respectable member of the Bengali community! ) Nephew, who with his kinda ‘authentic’ aristrocratic bearing ( & ties! ) renders a kind of ‘noblility’ to the ‘relative’ kind of material poverty that ‘we’ do live in.

            You see the socio/economic truth is , that where I’m currently living ( have been the last 5 years! ) is like many properties you now find on the High Street ( the flats above) i.e substandard! ( eg. last decorated, ‘fitted’ out in the 1970’s, 60’s, 50’s even, what with their characteristic ‘formica’ kitchens & olive green carpets etc ).

            So yeah while I am very much living like a ‘modern-day’ monk, enjoying the seclusion & relative ‘solitary’ peace that goes with it ( – very good & productive it is ‘creatively’ too! ) I could also be aptly described as one of the ‘hidden’ homeless!.

            I live in ‘degraded’ standards ( no I’m not a masochist in anyway, circumstantially having to put up with this! ) , certainly the sort of environement ( unless you’ve got the ‘tenacity’ & good psychological skills ) could threaten to not only drag you down but bring you down & keep you there!.

            Too more fully understand my predicament tho’ ( a richer & more complicated one than what you might at first imagine! ) you must read up on that interesting cultural phenomenon that is the the Ethiopian Aristocrat ( Nb, I’ve read about these class types in ‘travel’ books, & ‘anthropology’ ie. high bearing, ‘cuturally’ rich but essentially living in penuary. The lifestyle of many a naturally ‘high’ status African! )

            Just like my ‘flat’ mate that is & whose ‘nobility’ does in this sense rub off on you in a ‘positive’ way ( this Bengali from a m/c family & background eg. Bankers, Teachers, Landowners etc, & now residing in the UK ) someone I wd describe as one of the ‘noble’ poor, or at least currently living as one!. ( Tho’ in other significant ways he’s maybe not so noble! The Jury is out?. And ‘ironically’, for other reasons which I won’t go into here, is today possibly my enemy !)

            Of course its true ( only natural! ) that I as a human-being ( I myself! ) do hunger for a little bit of ‘modernity’ ( i.e higher standard of modern living or at least desire to taste at least some of its ‘benefits’! ). Nothing wrong with that of course but also as a ‘moral’ individual, yeah ‘enlightened’ ‘romantic’ ( a quality reinforced somewhat over the last 5 years ) I do also appreciate & see the value of a ‘simple’ life.

            The problem is ( the wider ‘moral’ truth, indeed social fact! ) is that a ‘healthy’ simple life these days, what with todays ‘property’ prices does’nt come cheap. A nice little secluded old Keepers Cottage situated on the edge of some old ( ex! ) ‘landed’ estate somewhere will cost you an ‘arm & a leg’ eg. half a million ( £500,000 ).

            Now thats a ‘simple’ private dwelling for an ‘individual’ like myself, but if you were pt of an actual aspiring ‘community’ like eg. the Monks of Mt Athos in Greece ( see the Athos Diet bytheway the healthiest in the world apparantly incl plenty of seafoods plus greens etc ) a whole ‘monastry’ network in the mountains would amount to something like 10, 20, 50 million ( Nb. with todays rapidly rising ‘real-estate’ prices possibly even more, many millions more, eg. the ‘money’ equivalent of buying your own ‘Caribbean’ island like Richard Branson more!. No, not a very realistic ‘target’, or life aspiration for most of us! ).

          • * Epilogue ( On Noble human aspiration- An Anecdote! )

            Speaking of which heres a brief ‘anecdote’ on ‘noble’ aspiration for you i.e. that ‘rare’ young, enthusiastic & ‘honest’ kind of ambition that can & sometimes does crop up on the ‘moral’ radar these days & which in your own genuine way you can just as eagerly bear witness too & shout out about .

            A yg guy I had’nt seen for 18 months or so popped up on New Street whilst I was out busking in Bham last Xmas. I was excited to see him as he’s a real ‘muso’ & I’d enjoyed a few conversations with him on music, classical guitar, piano & other issues in the past.

            He was with his Father – a very cool father, dressed in ‘contemporary’ bikers leathers & with a gitano hairstyle like flamenco virtuoso ‘ Vicente Amigo’. Both father & son had bike helmets held in their hands!.

            The yg guy opened the conversation by telling me how he was at music college in London now & living fairly centrally in the capital with a friend. The expense of living in London doe’snt surprise so much these days ( what with the ‘social’ cleansing of w/c estates going on I am fairly familiar with the issues ) neither did the fact that he ( a yg ambitious music student ) was having to pay sky high rents eg. £790 odd squid per month for living in only ‘one’ room.

            What did raise my eyebrows a little tho’ was when he went on to describe how to survive ( i.e. cut living expenses ) he was not only having to share this one room with his ‘mate’ but that ‘they’ were also having to ‘share’ the bed ( yes!, hes not Gay, he did’nt have to but he was eager to point that out, yet to survive ‘super high’ ( highly inflated! ) London rents he was having to sleep in the same bed with his best mate so as to live, so as to afford to have a roof over his head whilst studying.

            Now thats ‘drive’ & ambition for you & demonstration of little bit of tenacity too for that measure. You can’t help admire this yg guys ‘human’ spirit & ambitiousness. I wish him the very best with his degree & future career in music!. Yeah hes’ an inspiration! ( well not quite! )

          • * Reflection ( On the opportunity that is Busking, Street Performing & as a Public Musician )

            Gosh how I’d wished I’d discovered ‘busking’ when I was a lot younger, not just strumming a few chords n’ singing ‘Knocking on Heavens Door’ by Bob Dylan ( I went thru’ a phase of doing just that along with a few’ Doors songs eg. Light My Fire in my late teens, early 20’s ) but the kind of ‘proper’ street performing I aspire to now i.e. using the nylon string guitar.

            Again not as some ‘high street’ classical pseud in a tuxedo but as a Gypsy – an authentic fully immersed ‘outdoors’ performing street corner ‘romantic’ gypsy ( this is my ‘standard’, the way I feel the need to do it! ). Oh my! it would have ‘transformed’ my life!, my status!, everything!.

            Just wish I cd have got hold of a roland ‘battery’ powered amp back then. On reflection I think it really was in significant part the ‘technology’ not just the cultural imagination n’ self confidence holding me back, back in the day. I certainly remember desiring the ‘freedom’ & as a ‘doley’ I cd have done with the ‘money’!.

            ( In fact I’m convinced I’d be living in an ‘ex Keepers Cottage’ somewhere on an estate in Cornwall right now, if I had’nt been hindered by lack of the ‘right’ equipment back then that plus of course the ‘internet’ ( a revolution that has provided much of the authentic ‘opportunity’ currently in my life!. )

          • Some people may think that the life of a ‘Busker’ is the life of a loser. I tell you point blank no!, street-performing for me has been the exact opposite i.e. its been a life-giver.

            The truth is from my early 20’s right up until only 4 or 5 years ago ( & now! ) my whole life course has been a complete ‘mis-direction’. I tell you if I had started then what I’m doing now & in the same ‘state of mind’, I would ‘today’ not only be living in an ex Keepers Cottage in Cornwall, I’d be ‘financially’ free!. Of that have no doubt! ( I may have also realised a few other ‘related’ ambitions n’ things a lot earlier too, tho’ in this case ‘maturity’ may prove the dividend! )

          • It all begins with ‘awareness’ ( its the ‘right’ kind of knowledge that is key! ) ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

          • …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

          • …………………………

          • * ‘Black’ Oxbridge

            Byeway just watched a debate on Andrew Neils ‘post’ Question-Time programme ‘ This Week ‘.

            Interestingly featured Bham Saxophonist & Oxford Graduate ( ‘History’ from what I can remember? ) Soweto Kinch – yeah one of the ‘Jazzers’ who first ‘opened’ up Stratford upon Avon for ‘area’ Buskers.

            The issue on tonights programme being ‘failure’ & why not enough Black men are getting into Oxbridge Universities?

            Funny speaking for myself I’d feel like a ‘failure’ if I actually went to a University such as Oxford & thats despite the ‘fact’ that I’ve never felt so naturally ‘comfortable’, so at home, the last time I visited Cambridge!.

          • Of course the ‘early’ & equal! opportunity to ‘contend’ & compete to get into these kind of educational ‘insitutions’, tho not in ‘reality’ actually forthcoming, wd have been nice!. Wd be great to be able ‘reject’ these places from a positon of genuine pride & honest grace!.

          • * Will Self ( Professor of Contemporary Ideas, Middlesex University )

            I note Will Self ( Writer, Comedian ) ‘now’ ‘Professor of Contemporary Ideas’ at Middlesex University has finally joined-in the fray ever the ‘Privatisation of Public Space’ Issue.

            Better late than never I guess, in a recent Guardian Article/Interview he’s even even talks about ” the spiritual well-being of our cities being eroded by creeping corporatisation ” potentially stifling ” the ludic, playful activity ” that can add much colour, good ‘mood’ & atmosphere to our towns & cities!.

            Mmmm, yess! ‘my’ words exactly! ( See Blog comments on Freudian v ‘Adlerian’ Psychoanalysis, the ‘Talmudic’ Scholar, & ‘Tom Crabtree’s Guide to Coping ‘ – found elsewhere on this website! )

            Notes
            1.See.Newspaper Article ‘ Will Self Joins London Mass Tresspass Over Privatisation Of Public Space ‘ – The Guardian 13 Feb 2016.

          • ‘No Dust’ Evening, Conway Hall, London 5/9/2016 ( Chris Arning Performance Poet, Semiotic Branding Expert & Speaker )

            Just watched the post Brexit ‘No Dust’ Evening at Conway Hall, London, struck by the performance of Chris Arning ‘stage’ poet cum’ Semiotic Brand Expert ( Warwick Universtity ) & Speaker at this event. My impression ? Stuart Hall must be turning in his grave ! .

          • I also managed to catch a reading of a ‘poem’ by WB Yeats ‘ The Second Coming ‘, yes Yeats that ‘poet’ cum’ Mystic, cum ‘obscurantist’ Theosophist or who WH Auden rightly described as ” that deplorable spectacle of a grown man occupied with the Mumbo Jumbo of magic & the nonsense of India ” .

  • * Nb 3

    The phrase ‘ Justice by Tesco Express ‘ I picked up from another fairly well known on-line Bloggers site. Sadly she is no longer ‘active’, & although for ‘various’ reasons ( both ‘tragic’ & good! ) I can’t in person mention her name here, I dedicate this ‘comment’ to her!.

    Not always an example of ‘balanced’ thinking & restraint, in the spirit of liberal democracy & ‘free’ speech ( plus, this time of year, at least a touch of human kindness & generosity! ) may she rest in peace, yes RIP ( I’m speaking rhetorically of course! ).

    • *
      Again I won’t go into ‘case’ details ( court case! ) but may she also prove to be a ‘moral’ lesson on how too much ‘online’ activity can get you into ‘serious’ trouble, ones own ‘ego’ ( nevermind cultural alienation/social isolation ) leading a person into the dark recesses of ‘excess’!.

      On a ‘positive’ note however, & in remembrance ( celebration! ) of the good side ( acually intelligent side! ) of this at the end of the day human being, I leave you with this memorable if not tellingly ‘insightful’ blog ( or was it Twitter ) quote, it’s certainly inspired me,

      ” So called Activists take much too much credit
      for changing attitudes they put me off! ”
      ( Source Withheld )

      • *

        You know simply from an ‘individual’ standpoint theres a much ‘richer’ way to do this ‘whole’ busking thing. A kind of street-performing thats much more fulfilling, more ‘skilled’, more real, closer to ‘authentic’ folk culture, to art even.

        The common ‘alternatives’ are in all truth ’empty’ ones, a kind of ‘illusory’ short-cut, in reality only achieving for the person a sort of short term gain & profit! ( ok yes you may ‘survive’ but in all honesty its a shallow form of survival ). Artist in any way? Hell no! at best all you can hope to do from this approach is to ‘re-produce’ a form of homgenous ‘mass’ culture, 2nd, neigh 3rd rate at that!.

        All is ‘ego’, what we end up with is a facile, leftover manifestation of ‘infantile’ ego projection, even the ‘public request’ becomes a kind of ego projection, very rarely is it genuine, & very rarely can it be honestly responded to & delivered by the performer!.

        A sponaneous, healthy, creative Street Culture from this what is a very common street performing perspective ( i.e. the ‘ 3 chord’ norm! )? Once again a big NO!, only a culture in a ‘toxic’ state of ‘mass’ hysteria would conform to this nonsense notion, either them or the ‘lone’ Sucker!. The end result is cultural ‘hype’, these day’s a kind of social ‘disease’ & yes rapidly transforming every day shopping consciousness into a ‘junk’ brand of consumer fascism.

        Don’t get me wrong tho’ ‘hypsnosis’ ( & other more contemporary ‘mind’ tools ) have their uses. Self hypnosis springs to mind, programming oneself with the courage & confidence to first & foremost actually become a ‘real’ musician Eg. one that is not only thoroughly ‘habituated’ to the ways of the street but also can truly ‘enhance’ it & perhaps the ‘passing’ individual too.

        You know its right, the ‘authentic’ Artist ( Public Musician ) has in their artistic ‘musical’ armory a ‘real’ song for every occasion, & I’m ‘serious’ here, for me this is a very important concept ( if not ‘value’! ) i.e. ones that the ‘other’ ( the listener, audience! ) does’nt actually know!.

  • * Activist Sites ( Q A Source of Valuable Information? )

    Whilst I’m critical of many of the ‘reported’ approaches ( incl brands of petty rhetoric, often mirroring the ‘common’ platitudes of our politicians ) ‘activists’ ( incl Street Activists ) take when protesting important social issues, obviously as an ‘interested’ party, ( tho’ impt not to be totally dependant on them! ) I often find their sites, facebook accounts, Twitter feeds etc can be ‘valuable’ sources of information.

    Take the ‘Manifesto Clubs’ tweet that the town of Kettering has ‘now’ banned begging, loitering, Under 18’s out at night, foul language etc using PSPO’s as the tool to do so. Echoing the exact points contained in my comment(s) here ( & elsewhere ), I agree with your line ‘Jonny’ that the ‘petty tyranny popping up all over the country is becoming overwhelming.

    As a ‘street’ activist tho’ Jonny is the ‘informational’ solution though to plaster news of these events over your general campaign site category?. You may or may not agree but I think it may be wise to ‘priortise’ this category for ‘major’ towns & city’s whilst creating a ‘dedicated’ subsection to house info’ about the current political happenings ( ‘trends’ ) in smaller towns, of course coupled together with the ‘relevant’ petitions!.

    I’d be interested to know what you think?

    • * Life of an Activist ( the ‘eternal’ struggle )

      Q.Feeling overwhelmed ? Don’t Worry!. We’ve all heard the words ” when the going gets tough….”. Heres some more pertinent ( & should I say ‘timeless’ ) advice!

      ” The first lesson a revolutionary must learn is that he is a doomed man ” ( Huey P. Newton )

      • * The Huey P. Newton Story

        On just as ‘serious’ a note, I’ve had the ambition for a while now to stage ‘ A Huey P Newton Story ‘ ( the play by Rogeur Guenveur Smith ) in Stratford upon Avon. Ok by that I mean me perform the ‘lead’ acting role in this ‘theatrical’ monologue, with actual staging & production ‘professionally’ produced by somebody else.

        ” ( Entrance Huey ).. I’m actually a rather shy individual. I would’nt consider myself to be very charismatic; I never did anything hero-like. I just worked on some community programs. I do have a role however – I’m a theorist of sorts – I work on theories. But really I do not enjoy discussing the details of my personal life, except in as it relates to the moment. I hate cameras, microphones stuck up in my face. To tell you the truth, I hate stages cause they put you up on a stage and they expect for you to entertain them and I keep trying to tell them I’m not an entertainer ”.
        ( Huey P Newton, On Himself )

  • * Activism ( & its many contradictions! )

    A final comment, I’ve just picked up on one of your ‘tweets’ Jonny boldly stating that ‘ Muslims are welcome in my country. They are my brothers & my sisters ‘. A tad hypocritical don’t you think given past contrary ‘outbursts’ of yours exhorting that ” the creation of Israel was a ‘moral’ imperative ” .

    Ominous signs of an abrasively pro-Zionist, ‘underlying’ Christian Evangelist fundamentalism too methinks!. You may be their brother but you’re certainly not the Muslim nations keeper are you Jonny?.

    • Q. Political reasons ? These are ‘moral’, civilised rational, reasons for never mind a Muslim, but any ‘conscientous’ human being ( me included! ) to not like you Walker, nor not want anything to do with you – on close examination a rather ‘shallow’, self promoting egoist !.

      • For this & other ‘good’ reasons I’m saying a big ‘No! on principle to any ‘code’ or scheme you or your tribe – eg. friends ( incl members who want to cut off the fingers off ‘rival’ teenage female buskers see.Bham Mail Story(s), plus ‘comments’ on this website eg. blog ‘ Stop Swindon Councils Attack On Street Culture ‘ ) & family!, at streetslive support, esp in conjunction with local authorities ( tho’ evidence that ‘some’ Councils have actually backed ‘your’ streetslive scheme ideas is hazy at present we only have ‘your’ words, ‘boasts’, for this at present! ).

        You’re one ‘activist’ group that I for one simply can’t take seriously, not on the moral, honesty level anyway & ( unlike the typical ‘politicians’ thinking on this level) on the practical everyday, ‘working’, street level too!.

        • Further Comments

          See Blogs 1. Stop Swindons Council Attack On Street Culture 2. KSL Response To Chester 3. Clampdown PSPO Consultation in Birmingham ( bottom 5 or 6 comments ) for further relevant ‘points’ on this issue.

          • 4. ”The Gravesham Borough Council Joins The Attack” Blog is worth taking a look at too!.

          • See also ‘Noam Chomsky on Palestine & Israel’ by films of conscience – An Alternative Perspective!

          • * Postscript ( Busking & democracy! )

            You know I’ve been busking for nearly 4 years now as a ‘self-emplyed’ street entertainer & mainly ‘centred’ in Birmingham & Stratford upon Avon.

            Major changes have been proposed & busking inititatives underfoot in both of these places ( & elsewhere ). Both ‘major’ & petty & very much affecting for better or worse the quality of mine & others busking livelihoods.

            One thing that has struck me ( quite forcibly! ) with regards these ‘processes’ ( public, political ) is how little personally I have been ‘actively’ consulted or called upon to be involved ‘formally’ in anything ( i.e. stuff ‘seriously’ impacting stuff on my life! ). Not even as a ‘concerned’ citizen & in the relatively harmless realm of problem solving or ideas.

            Busking amazingly has taught me alot including helping put a microscope on ‘civic life’ & how it ‘truly’ operates. Frankly it amounts to a serious structural flaw ( a disgrace even ) how little ‘true’ democracy goes on in this country & how ‘alienating’ the whole system is, unless you’re in some membership group, or pt of some ‘activist’ campaign ( often in reality, tho’ in various guises, some ‘traditional’ politically dogmatic formation. Nb Most so called ‘activist’ groups boil down to being either ‘religious’ in nature or of the ‘hard-left’ !).

            I for one ( & many ‘rational’ others ) don’t want to have to ‘form’ my own ‘campaign’ organisation so as to be taken seriously each time an issue crops up that affect me. Its absurd, its wrong, its totally ‘impracticle’.

            The simple practice of putting together ‘civic’ arrangements for Buskers can only be achieved if transformed into some ‘bigged’ up manouvre ( not via an established progressive ‘local’ democratic forum network but only thru’ the impetus of a ‘mass’ movement! )

            Council ‘panel’ meetings, BID votes, policy reviews none of it covinces me that I truly live in an anything like an ‘open’ democracy & i.e. free from ‘authoritarian’ rule. Busking schemes, street-performing codes & ‘groundbreaking’ good practice guides, I’ve really heard it all!.

            You now what really wd be ‘unique’ here, prove a ‘real’ breakthrough? , yes you’ve got it, democracy in ‘action’, yes some actual frickin’ ‘democracy’!.
            ( That plus some ‘objective’ common-sense! )

            I think tho’ following that old adage ‘ how to turn a negative into a positive’ I have finally managed to find my ‘forte’ for the future ( yes a ‘political’ one, & under the guise of good citizen! ) .

            Thats to ‘join’ up with & enlist with those other ‘active’ imaginations currently embroiled with the task of coming up with interesting ways of empowering the ordinary citizen. Yeah truly empowering them ( us, all of us! ), in the name of ‘progress’ & the future- call it ‘blue-sky’ thinking if you will!. ( & me, I wanna be, a ‘Blue-Sky Thinker! ).

          • Aghh! the nature of power, power & how it works! ( or should work? )

          • ……………………………………………………

          • ……………………………………………………….

          • ……………………………

          • Andy Burnham on tonights Question – time ( BBC1 ) spouting nonsense about those who question the existence of Israel being ‘anti-semites’. Like many of the ‘new’ Labour left the guy comes across as a Zionist Nazi ! .

          • ( In memory of the Heysel Stadium Disaster 29 May 1985, Brussels, Belgium. ” English Footballs Forgotten Tragedy? ” See. BBC News 29 May 2015 )

          • As for Owen Jones on The Andrew Marr Show today & speaking against Ken Livingstone on what is really the totally blown up issue of ‘anti-semitism’ in the Labour party I’d say he’s being totally ‘anal’ on this whole affair. The guy clearly does not know his history, & yes very, very naieve on what is seen by many ‘critics’ as really an attempt to both detract from Israels oppression of the Palestinian people & ‘destabilise’ Corbyns leadership. To me ‘Jones’ is himself ‘self-destructing’ on his own ‘heady ‘brand’ of accusatory hysteria!.

          • Yeah extremely ‘ignorant’ of ‘modern’ history yg Jonesy, yet uncannily seems to know his Old Tesmament well enough tho’ i.e. the role & ‘function’ of the ‘tribal’ Scapegoat ! .

          • There again perhaps he does’nt, yg Jonesy that is, you know the simple truth cd be that he’s just off on one, Owen Jones is just off on his own politically ’emotional’ trip, ha! ha! ha!

            In this case, once more it wd be interesting to hear what someone like ‘Chomsky’ has got to say on this whole issue ( & you know theres got to be at some point a more ‘serious’ debate ! ). Yeah, him being both a ‘jew’ & a Zionist tho’ one who believed ( if my understanding is correct ) in the creation of not Israel but a ‘bi-national’ state called, yes you have it, in one, Palestine! .

          • ( in memory of the forgotten ‘Left’ of the Jewish Zionist Movement )

          • You know if we can’t, we really can’t question Israels existence, we certainly can question its ‘formation’ ( or ‘initial’ foundation ! ) . )

          • In condemnation of the ‘myth’-makers, the ‘recipe’ makers of ‘eternal’ conflict & war ( or is the ‘historical’ truth that Arab hegemony in the region is more dangerous ? ) . Perhaps this ‘is’ a question whose ‘solution’ is best left to a ‘hysterical’ fool ! .

          • Speaking of Owen Jones, his background & qualificaton to speak on such matters. Whilst some, quite rightly. will point to it being intrinsically politically problematic, to me it provides the simple testimony that an ‘Oxbridge’ education in the wrong hands is ‘useless’ if not a ‘dangerous’ thing ! .

          • * A ‘Grammar’ School Education ( & ‘training’ ? )

            Its no ‘coincidence’ I’m sure that all the subjects I’ve always had an interest in were not taught at school. eg. Philosophy, Anthropology, Cosmology ( ok there was always ‘physics’ ), Literature ( other than far from the Madding Crowd, Romeo & Juliet taught to a bunch of pretty disinterested ‘industrial’ city ‘youths’ from Bham * Nb. the social ‘arts’ expt ‘Macbeth On The Estate’ featuring ‘pupils’ from deprived Ladywood was ironically a ‘success’ a few years back ) etc.

            As for ‘music’ ? it simply was’nt taught at my school ( a ‘transitionary’ ‘technical’ – Comprehensive School ). No, ‘music’ was seen as a ‘free’ lesson ( a bit like R.E. ) by both ‘official’ Teacher ( cynically encouraged by him ) & ‘pupils’ ( largely on reflection out of ‘naieve’ response not intrinsic dis-interest ! ).

            He an ‘eccentric’ classical afficionado, extra-curricula hobby ‘restoring’ buses for the Derbyshire Tram Museum, once we ( the ‘music’ class ) had settled down, just played ‘records’ on the classroom gramaphone player. Don’t get me wrong this was not an ‘alternative’ music appreciation seminar, he simply cracked ‘jokes’, ‘acted’ out etc while the music played, an hr later ( ‘time’ killed ) the class was dismissed ! .

            These days the Birmingham Conservatoire ‘jazz’ dept have ‘links’ with my old School. Classical Guitar ( & stuff like that ) is taught at King Edwards Grammar School via the Classical Guitar Centre, Bearwood ! .

  • * Postscript 2 ( ‘Ward’ Councillors & Local Democracy – a ‘closing’ anecdote! )

    Thinking about places like Exeter indeed London, Chester, my home town Birmingham or any town or city in the country where ‘local’ issues crop up I’m struck ( ‘personally’ struck ) by the utter & complete indifference to nevermind ‘street’ homelessness ( vagabondry! ) but problems like ‘generalised’ poverty & ‘hidden’ homelessness in their said various constituencies by ‘elected’ Councillors!.

    Ok I maybe in an ‘isolated’ position & quite ‘alienated’ even in terms of current busking politics but believe me I’ve had my dealings ( run-ins! ) with local ‘ward’ councillors ( & MPs – one I remember actually ‘interviewing’ when I was younger – i.e. profiling – for a local paper in Handsworth, her name Claire Short! ).

    One of my most recent encounters with the local ‘political’ establishment was a year or so ago after getting involved in ( the only seriously ‘pro-active’! neighbour! ) in tapping local funds that had been set up towards purchasing & installing ‘security’ gates for premises plagued by ‘vandalism’, graffitti, local Youth hooliganism & crime.

    The back of where I live ( the ‘service’ quarters a row of ‘high’ st shops & restaurants ) had been long troubled by ‘gangs’ of yg guys smoking, shouting, messing about & spitting in the ‘yard’ of the resaurant during the late afternoon & night. Theres a lot of ‘sludge’ where I live & this proved one too many psychological stress points for not necessarily ‘me’ ( at first I was alright with them, tried to get on, was ‘ taken the p… of’ but tried to get on with ’em) but the neighbours eg. mainly indigenous ‘asian’ families, & ‘new’ immigrants plus an elderly Irish couple & their son living on the corner House.

    Despite it being a time of ‘moral’ panic about ‘violence’ & youth gangs eg. a guy getting kicked to death by a teen attack gang in Warrington, Ned ‘stabbings’ in Glasgow, the local’ ‘police’ were useless at tackling this particular problem here ( perhaps one of the ‘key’ quality of life issues in the community! ) – they just did’nt turn up when called, seemingly did’nt give a damn ( only ‘low’ priority! ) even in the event of ‘criminal’ damage eg fences, gates being malicously smashed & kicked in!.

    After weeks of pressure, a ‘few’ meetings, getting organised etc, ‘security’ gates for the back were finally ‘arranged’ ( given the go-ahead! ) by our local ‘liberal’ democrat councillor ( not an independant poltician tho’ by any means, her being part of ‘on the surface of it’ a husband & wife team – she in a wheelchair her husband ‘carer’ pushing her around everywhere! ).

    We were all very grateful, I was at first ( despite the typically beauracratic hooha! involved in getting ‘gates’ put in – cd have been avoided if the police did there job etc ! Jury is ‘still’ out on why in this kind of instance they don’t?. ). All this sense of ‘pleasant’ & positive expectation changed though at the key handing over ceremony ( for me anyway!) cos’ when ‘excitedly’ I went over to finally pick up the keys on behalf of the ‘neighbours’ she ( the Councillor ) refused to hand them over.

    She insisted that only the ‘owner’ have them to in turn hand them out to us! why? because he was the ‘owner’ & me merely the tenant!. ‘Hes not in’ I said, everyones waiting, we;’re eager, we can’t wait to try out the new lock. No matter only the owner cd recieve them off her – & all in a terribly patronising, undermining, sneering tone she uttered this, as tho’ compelled to demean me & the neighbours in turn!. Its then that i realised that ‘we’ ( tenants – commonly ‘ordinary’ people1 ) really are – in terms of ‘land’ law & status – still ‘positioned’ as treated as living in the 17th Century in this country, England. She was ‘serious’ in her utterances, at this moment I was merely a ‘peasant’, an outcast almost in her eyes!.

    A few days later her husband turned up, as promised, at the ‘back’ with equipment to remove the ‘graffiti’ wrecklessly & gratuitously sprayed on the yard wall. A bit of a ‘bagpuss’ of a guy noticibly overweight, obese, despite all the apparant wheel-chair pushing around within five minutes had stopped the chemical spraying & scraping, out of breath stating ‘ its no good, can’t remove it! ‘.

    Rather than ‘openly’ cursing him ( i did under my breath! ) I took the opportunity to point out the ‘cowboy’ building that had took place next door over the ‘hairdressers’ yard & on ‘next door but ones’ ‘side’ wall eg a wall that had been so dodgily renovated that the builders ( vandals! ) had left a housebrick precariously prodtruding ( hanging out loose) from the wall & seemingly ready to break fully loose & drop at any time.

    I stated that it if it were to completely dislodge it cd fall & easily kill one of the ‘girls’ ( hairdressers ) below when out in the yard on her break. ‘Sorry’ he said ‘nothing I can do’. What? I replied. Him with complete & utter indifference ‘theres nothing I can do!, I’m not the owner!’. A few minutes later he hobbled off, out of breath & seemingly exhausted after the 5mins work & cursory building inspection!.

    This councillors husband with ‘green’ credentials eg. part of the local Hall Green ‘Sarehole’ Mill, ‘greenbelt’, River Cole ‘clean-up’ team out in the ‘waterflows’ every weekend part of the ‘heroic’ community effort to drain it of human pollution ie thrown away rubbish, I spotted a weekend or so later. This time he was dressed in a flurescent yellow ‘community watch’ outfit ( part of an obscure ‘self-elected’ group out watching the area at this time! ) in the Co-op Supermarket car-park situated over the road from my home. I discreetly observed them out of my living room window.

    Him & a colleague were this time busy inspecting the waste bins, recycle bins, bus stops seemingly for unwanted ‘flyposters’. A noble ‘deed’ you might think, cleaning up the area from various ‘junk’, especially doing this ‘voluntary’. That is until you witness ‘him’ bypass the dodgy ‘driving school’ ad, ‘the how to make £800 extra a month’ ad, plus a poster on ‘feng shui! practioning, to then angrily tear down the one cool looking, nicely designed ‘music’ poster on the telephone box. You know the type of Toulouse Lautrec ‘graphic’ that can ironically add a touch of true ‘artistic’ colour to an environment, a suburban ‘high street’ area!. Once he’d expressed his ‘rage’ at this sight, he & his colleague then both casually walked off!.

    Looking out my living room window at this it was then that I came to realise what in many instances cd be the ‘true’ natue of the relationship of local politican to ward constituent today. Yes in many areas across the country its one of ‘pure’ contempt ( a ‘malicously’ psychopathic hatred & contempt! ) on behalf of the councillor ( & relatives ) not the voters!.

    The lesson? Never be as naieve to trust your local politicans on any issue ( especially the most apparantly urgent, needy, sensitive ones! Anything to do with poverty & the like! ). No matter what the ‘apparant’ status quo i.e. on the surface one of ‘mutual’ recognition & respect do ‘not’ trust them!. I’ve found thru’ experience ( not just common ‘folk’ wisdom! ) that ‘councillors’ rather than being morally conscientous, concerned, community ‘active’ individuals can in ‘reality’ be quite callous, morally indifferent people.

    Now don’t be ‘surprised’ nor shocked by this, afterall remember the ‘folk’ wisdom, but you have every right to be ‘angered’ & sickened by the fact that your ‘rulers’ ( key decision makers ) are no more in terms of their character emotionally ’empty’ & exploitative ‘sharks’. Not all MPs are like this but many are just arrogant, egotistical ‘narc’s! ( trust your instincts on this, despite the ‘surface’ cleverness, for sure they’re easy to spot! ).

    As far as my local Councillor & husband are concerned its easy to see that they view the likes of me & my neighbours ( on the poorer, more ‘dilapidated’ side of the street ) as ‘deserved’ nobodies – not ‘exploited’ tenants, poorly treated ‘invisibles’. The political fact is no genuine ‘distinction’ is made between the ‘deserved’ poor & the ‘scapegoated’, abused & downtrodden, its simply a ‘social fact’ thats conveniently brushed over or ignored! And of course wd take a lot of money to fairly resolve, a fair bit of cash to put right if it were! ( squarley faced up to by ‘politicians’ & honestly ‘acknowleded’ in public that is! )

    • * Sub-edit

      Clare ( not ‘claire’ ) Short, Labour MP for Birmingham ‘Ladywood’ I983-2010 ( ‘resigned’ the party whip in 2006 & served the remainder of her term as an ‘independant’ ).

      • Bytheway if you read some of my ‘comments’ below ( eg. See’ A Contemporary Slave Narrative ‘ ) you’ll see why I’m not big fan of ‘Dianne Abott’ either.

        Nor that other ole’ Socialist stalwart ‘Billy Bragg’ ( well theres at least a few ‘key’ areas where certainly me & him don’t see eye to eye! ) e.g. his Twitter ‘mantra’ states that he’s a ‘progressive who wants the kind of society that accesses everyone the means to reach their ‘full’ potential’ . Q. Your vision of ‘utopia’, does it include the means to realising ‘ones’ potential as a ‘musician’ Billy? ( * some added ‘comment’ Footnotes )

        • Its also where I reach the conclusion ( by ‘default’ i.e. not stated outright! ) that the best sort of ‘schooling’ ( educational institution ) for the likes of me wd have been ‘home-schooling’ ( some sort of given the ‘true’ state of ‘comprehensive’ schools! ) & if I were to pursue ‘music’ eg. Classical Guitar ( & ‘musicology’ ) as a career/vocation some kind of Eastern European ( ‘ Russian style ) Academy’!.

          This judgement is based on reading Yehudi Menuhins ‘ autobiography ‘Unfinished Journey’ & given the fact that some of my ‘favourite’ ( Street ) Musicians are Russian ‘trained’ Classical Guitasrists i.e. intelligent ( extremely so! ) but importantly ‘non-bourgeoise’!

          Certainly not 6th-form Grammar School types, u know yer typical ‘Guardianista’ type offspring with ‘musical’ tastes running from Kate Bush to Florence & the Machine & perhaps a little ‘classical’ thrown in ( i.e. the popular stuff Andrew Lloyd Webber to Vanessa Mae! ) the girls that is. Pseudo Classical types in ‘tuxedos’ the boys ( ok the odd Lang Lang, Joanna Macgregor! ).

          • Anyway then it wd be on to doing a 2nd MA in Philosophy in Germany ( not France! ) or perhaps back in England or over the ‘pond’ in the USA ( eg. New York! ) – yeah!, my ‘ideal’ moral career!.

          • If you read ‘Nigel Kennedys’ early autobiography ‘Always Playing’ you’ll see theres a very good reason for not studying ‘music’ in New York ( & its not only to do with that vitally ‘missing’ Gypsy ‘aesthetic’! ).

            For example when he was at the ‘Juilliard School’ he was told ‘point-blank’ that if he carried on playing ‘jazz’ ( which he did for pleasure in his spare time & at various New York night-time haunts! ) his career on the classical ‘concert’ stage would be over full stop!.

            Yeah well worth a read this interesting personal biography & very ‘insightful’ into the ‘true’ workings of the music industry ( the classical one & ironically the ‘pop’ business too! ).

          • The usual ‘social’ barriers still persist today in our ‘music’ schools etc. A Bham busking associate of mine David Lloyd Henry ‘Gabby’ during a ‘stint’ on Birmingham Conservatoires ‘Jazz’ Course a short while ago had a yg ‘female’ student approach him & tell him to get out off the computer & out the ‘computer’ room i.e. she thought he was one of the cleaners ( & all seats were full!. ).

            Yeah its still an ‘unfair’ yet wider social ‘truth’ that if you’re a ‘white’ girl who has happened to learn the ‘treble’ clef at the age of 5 or 6 with much support from ‘proud’ parents & ‘private’ teachers you’re much more likely to be ‘favoured’ & get on compared to a ‘naturally’ talented Black Man in today’s ‘educational’ institutions ( incl, the Arts! ). Byetheway ’nuff respect Gabby’!.

          • *See Above – The Issue of Race & Class in the Arts!.

          • On ‘Career’ Politicians ( Jo Cox – True Socialists v ‘Career’ Politicians )

            Just been taking note of the BBC & other media headlines & it seems ‘tributes’ have been pouring out in the memory of ‘Jo Cox’, the Labour MP attacked & killed yesterday in her Leeds constituency.

            I note a ‘temporary’ halt has been put on European ‘election’ campaigning in her honour & an alternative debate ‘triggered’ already on tv etc ( eg. BBC ‘Newsight’ ) on the question of whether MPs in general deserve more respect, should get more ‘postive’ public recogniton for the work they do ( the backdrop here of course being that there exists a culture of ‘open’ ‘criticism’ of polticians, cynical public bile towards them even, at present ) .

            I’m sorry to hear about Jo’s death, I don’t think she deserved necessarily to be ‘brutally’ killed ( for some ‘murdered’ ) in such a way. I ‘honestly’ wish that the guy who committed the brutal ‘act’, cd have somehow held on in his ‘dark’ state, ‘toughed’ out his painful emotions, & expressed his bitter hate by ‘alternative’ , less ultimately ‘destructive’ means.

            Forget all the ‘media’ platitudinising at present & the ‘usual’ somewhat ‘boorish’ calls for Lennon like ‘love’, peace, healing etc & expressing no doubt the deep down ‘childish’ hope ( ‘infantile’ wish ) that somewhow all this will simply, magically blow away. Cos’ believe me, it won’t, it will return ( watch todays ‘news’, & tomorrows & next weeks ! ) cos this kind of ‘hate’ is real ( not some ‘fringe’ irrational ‘human’ state to be glossed over & brushed aside ) but very very real amongst a significant strand of society. Yes, that ‘hidden’, submerged & very much oppressed class, who themselves, thru’out their own lives are ‘victims’ of what Peace Academic Johann Galtung wd call ‘structural’ violence. Of course this ‘hate’ does’nt always express itself in such ‘dramatic’ ways, buts its there ‘festering’ in many individuals ( like ’em, sympathise with ’em or not ) & simply won’t go away. Yes you ‘career’ politicians, you ‘chattering’ classes, you Guardianista best acknowledge it, & yes ‘fear’ it ! .

            My ‘personal’ experiences of dealing with ‘local’ MPs, councillors etc has itself been not just unsatisfactory but a ‘negative’ one. I don’t recognise at all, I don’t identify with any of the ‘media’ chat about ‘democracy’ in this country, local ‘open’ surgery, & down-to-earth politicians. Of the relative ‘few’ times I’ve felt it necessary to visit an MP, a concillor ( very ‘rare’ in life ! ) & call on their ‘help’ & visit their ‘surgeries’ for support & advice i’ve come away disappointed ( on these ‘rare’ occasions in fact leaving more angry, fuming, indignant at ‘percieved’ unfairness &injustice than when I entered ! ).

            In Perry Barr a few years back ( over a decade ago now & recalling this I still feel the ‘strain’ of injustice! ) I cd’nt even get to see my MP on the then UCE campus. I wanted to talk about, gain help on a ‘serious’ issue of ‘substandard’ housing & was met by assistants instead ( believe I don’t expect the ‘red’ carpet when I visit MPs but I don’t expect to be ‘fobbed’ off poltically either esp. in the interests of ‘crooked’ Landlords ). I visited his ‘weekend’ surgery in a Handsworth junior school a week later, arrived there Sat morning & with no explanation found it ’empty’ yes closed, ‘others’ left stranded outside without help.

            Earlier in the year I visited a Labour MPs advice clinic in Selly Oak following a ‘related’ Housing Association issue this time to do with a ‘neighbours’ from hell ‘ problem ( see this issue commented upon elsewhere on this website ) & was met with practical indifference & ‘negligent’ help ( i.e. an innocuous, ‘perfunctory’ letter to a housing Manager ! ). As a non-white Male I was clearly ‘discriminated’ against by this ‘careerist’, female Labour MP in a case that involved ‘false’ allegations of assault by ‘new’ troublesome tenant neighbours ( I was later ‘cleared’ in Magistrates Court ! ) .

            Most recently my local Hall Green Councillor wd’nt even hand over the ‘keys’ for a new gate at the back of shops/flats, following a campaign ( partly initiated by myself ) to block out anti-social behaviour, youth problems etc at the back of residences. It seemed she’d treat ‘me’ ( us residents ) as 18th century ‘landless’ peasant(s) refusing us the ‘keys’ & stating she wd only give the keys to the ‘owner’ Landlord. No real interest in ‘our’ welfare as ordinary tenants demonstrated here, just further petty ‘grievances’ stirred alongside ‘ole’ school ‘class’ prejudices.

            You know these ‘liberals’, these ‘Socialists’ ( self-proclaimed ! ) including their Guardianista colleagues & essentially provincial ‘conservative’ commentariat ‘friends’ eg. Owen Jones ( both author Chavs & Zionist apologist at the same time it would seem – ! ) would command a lot more respect from the likes of me ( & other ‘true’ w/c folk ) if they’d have taken more ‘active’ steps to conscientously avoid an Oxford, Cambridge education & attended ‘courses’ ( truly w/c in orientation ! ) at Universities like Ruskin College instead.

            As a male of ‘w/c background & ‘race’ I feel that I’d be in a better place to trust this type of politician ( political player! ) & yes relate to them in a more ‘postive’ ( poltically constructive ! ) sense if this were so, rather than with ‘real-life’ angst & suspicion, You see I view this type of political folk as not ‘true’ moral convictionists at all but rather petty ‘driven’ ( often zealousy so ! ) conventional ‘management’ types, driven by ‘personal’ ambition. Yes, at the end of the day, ‘scratch’ away the surface’s ( incl ‘media’, party spin ) & what you’ve got are merely ‘career’ politicians.

            Please no unnecessary futher ‘disrespect’ intended for MP’s, nor do I intend to de-spoil the public ‘memory’ of people like Jo Cox but when the ‘media’ & ‘party’ colleagues etc appear to stand back aghast, innocently describing her as one of those ‘true’ women politicians of the people, I can’t help but feel a further tad of disgust. Alongside noting how while she went to Cambridge, her husband is a ‘senior’ Director of a ‘major’ Charity, she being a recent Member of Parliament prior to this ‘job’ herself a ‘senior’ on the board at Oxfam. I have to say thru’ my eyes she does’nt come across as a ‘true’ socialist rather She & her family coming across as forming part of an ‘elite’ ( new’ ) establishment, her & her husband, ‘media’/party colleagues about ‘personal’ ambiton’, rather than being champions of the poor & oppressed. These kind of people representing an ‘arrogant’ false ‘brand’ of leadership, so typical of ‘politics’ today. Mock tv interview Q. A ‘voice’ of the people ? A. Just another ‘patronising’ boss! .

            These days ( Nb. working for an ‘institutional’ charity was once highly regarded in all walks of society ! ) a Charity Boss, ‘charity’ workers – particulary ground ‘activists’ eg. Chuggers, by a significant quarter of society ( not just the extreme ‘right-wing’ ! ) are just as likely to be ‘sneered’ at as cheered, ‘mocked’ as socially applauded. Many mistrust what was once seen as the ‘good’ work of charities, in fact when I see the term Oxam, Shelter, esp. as a ‘jobbing’ Busker I think ‘ oh know, Chugger ! ) for me what I once respected have been ‘reduced’ to ‘brand’ names with bad associations & ‘contradictions’ ! ( i.e. ‘cynical’ organisers of the rude ‘abusers’ of the public space whose strategies wd destroy my ‘job’ opportunities rather than ‘international’ Charities working for world justice & peace ) .

            An ‘article’ in yesterdays Spectacle titled ‘ A Day of Infamy ‘ talks of the ‘multiplier’ effect in relation Jo Cox’s killing yesterday, suggesting that ‘toxic’ style poltical campaigning ( ‘hate’ speak, virile rant etc ) has something to do with, ‘directly’ contibutes to the ‘negative’ climate, dark ‘consciousness’, leads to such ‘poison’ deadly acts. You know I’ve read Shakespeares Macbeth a thousand times & unless you’ve actually ‘killed’ someone yourself, despite all the ‘dramatic’ insight, empathy, as an ‘onlooker’ ( public spectator ) you never quite understand why someone finally takes someone elses life.

            But what you can understand, & as a ‘human’ being, identify with, is that thing called ’emotion’ & that includes ‘hate’, yes at times ‘extreme’ anger, rage, hate. Of course some sections of society ‘know’ this state more than others eg. I’ve heard yg black ‘gang’ members openly talk of ‘blood-rage’, yes in the common light of day they describe ie.a kind of bile emotional state where you don’t just talk about it you actually ‘do’ kill, perhaps a ‘rival’, perhaps somone who’s disrespected you out of ingignant rage, ‘justified’ revenge ! .

            I myself up until say 10 years ago ( Nb. during my ‘unemployment’ experiences Post 911 at Handsworth Jobcentre, Bham ) was like Jo Cox &, most other m/c yg idealists, seemingly like them having had ( up until this point, the crux of ‘New’ Labour Government ) never felt ‘hate’, no never, not ‘real’ hate & of course cd’nt understand it in ‘others;. Yet 6 or so years ago I found myself in a ‘home’ situation ( influenced by an extreme sense of ‘injustice’, involving a ‘negligent’ greedy Landlord & ‘rogue’ DIY merchants, dodgy builders, ‘personal’ degradation, my ‘pride’/ego piqued etc) where if things had of gone ‘wrong’ I cd have killed somebody, maybe murdered, most definitely committed ‘manslaughter’!. I’ve reflected quite alot on this ‘incident’ since ( & ‘unusual’ state I’d got into, what I call that emotional ‘bridge too far’ ! ) One technique I’ve learned to counter-act this type state – which incidently kind of ‘terrified’ me ! – is ‘breathing’ ( yoga or ‘box’ breathing ! ) & yes it works ! .

            So here are 3 ‘proposed’ solutions to ‘poltical’ rage killing 1. ‘Socialist’ MPs get ‘real’ & get a Ruskin college type education not Oxbridge one, better still forget ‘credentials’/social status & become a ‘true’ humanist i.e. ‘seriously’ self study & then become ‘active’. Try not to be a ‘hypocrite’ !. ( or importantly percieved as one ! See Machiavelli ) .

            2. Increased ‘real’ social ‘awareness’ across the ‘politcal’ divide, ’empathy’ & ‘action’ to combat ‘hidden’ poverty, homelessness, behind doors anger, hatred at ‘home’ & in this country not just abroad i.e. via ‘international’ corporate-style ‘brand’ charity.

            ( * Note. Housing policy, ‘economics’ policy over the last 30 years has led to a form ‘of conservative social ‘utilitarian’ capitalism that involves excluding a large ‘minority’ of the old w/c at the benefit of a newly conceived ‘m/c majority. I regard this new’ submerged’ underclass ( people like myself included ! ) as todays ‘collective’ sacrifical lamb. I again am personally very familiar with the kind of ‘structural’ violence that society surreptitiously uses to bring this kind of utilitarian ‘class’ degredation into effect i.e to keep people ‘quietly’ down & under control. Check out classic ‘black’ USA literature /history on this theme. Check out Sociey & the Scapegoat ) .

            3. The Spectator article ( see above ) makes ‘some’ useful points – if not limited ones – on this issue & talks of a ‘multiplier’ effect. When I brood on this issue I immediatley think of & talk of the ‘green’ light i.e. what finally gives ‘individuals’ the ‘green-light’ to killing, dark ‘action’, to at once atctually carry what they’re feeling out ?. Ok yes ‘mental’ illness, bad ‘state’ & faulty ‘reasoning’ in the heat of the moment ( a poor ‘lonely’ set of circumstances to find oneself in! ) all seeminly ‘rationally’ contribute to the ‘final’ bloody deed, however this is not the full ‘picture’. Its not just ‘bad’ culture/consciousness & ‘toxic’ democratic political campaignig that ‘adds’ to this process its also ‘dangerously’ aided & abetted ( i.e. ‘encouraged’ if not ‘directly’ influenced ? ) these days by what I call the post 911 ‘Murder Incorporated’ Franchise. An ‘ideology’ now very much a part of the ‘cultural’ fabric, ‘unwittingly’ disseminated by the ‘conventional’ ‘media’ not just with ‘bad’ intent online.

            Furthermore this is a ‘franchise’ that ‘transcends’ race, class, religion, appealing not just to Moslems but to anyone with a deep ‘grudge’ & offers ( on the surface anyway ! ) ‘blessed’ relief. Anyone ( white or black, christian or moslem etc ) who finds themselves ( pretty easy these days! ) in a state of ‘everyday’ hatred & ‘active’ contempt, & perhaps seeks revenge, is ‘openly’, indeed ‘morally’ advised’,not to ‘stop & think’ when in such a condition but rather to take the breaks off & ‘act’ ie. actually carry out the dastardly deed ( nb. echoes of the wife of Macbeth, not just ‘witches’ on the heath ! ). Yes, against ‘normal’ moral restraint you’re ‘urged’ take an assault rifle, a couple of handguns ( ‘bombs’ even, method book available on the ‘dark’ net ) & ‘blow’ all these motherfu//rs away, afterall you’re justified & who knows what may happen, in ‘fact’ you may even get a pass thru’ the gates of St Peters, & on to Heaven, in the process. A ‘golden’ seat besides God & his angels or indeed Cherubs. Who cd resist such a ‘heavenly’ prospect ? .

            Anyway contrary to most ‘religous’ belief, ‘Socialst’ belief even heres a solution ( my answer!) to this latter day problem & how to break up the cycle of ‘evil’. Please note that what I endorse here is not just ‘revolution’ but yes, here we have it, the crux of the matter, individual ‘responsibility’!. So back to ‘box’ breathing technique & ‘imagining’ yourself in one of those ‘familiar’ modern day situations of ‘extreme’ stress eg. very painful, overwhelming even, you’ve been wronged, the extraorinary desire for ‘revenge’ flooding your veins… I simply ‘instruct’ you to take a deep breath inwards, slowly inhale for 5secs, halt & hold for 5 secs, then breath out slowly for a further 5 secs. Repeat this process until you find yourself in a state of centred, calm, focus & yes peace! ( then ‘act’ accordingly ! ).

            *Afterward

            You know they ought to ‘teach’ these ‘principles’ in schools eg. ’emotional’ intelligence, ‘logos’ reasoning, self-mastery techniques, so why not now get onto the likes of Michael Gove, ‘petition’ his parliamentary support online, yes begin the campaign ! . In the meantime my heart, & public felt sympathies go out to Jo Cox & her family ( & not forgetting the ‘perpertrator’ himself, not just one of the ‘living’ dead but now one of the ‘actual’ dead, perhaps just as many in ‘society’ wd wish it ! ) .

  • Street Epilogue ( The Cop & The Anthem – O.Henry ).

    Re-read the classic short-story ‘ The Cop & The Anthem ‘ recently by infamous USA writer ( America’s ‘Chekov’ ) O. Henry ( ‘french’ Maupassant more accurately with his ‘twist’ in the tale endings! ).

    Set in New York ( written 1904 ) the story ‘opens’ in Central Park, its late Fall, the onset of winter & street ( ‘sidewalk’ ) tramp ole ‘Soapy’ is beginning to feel the pinch of the cold, out there sleeping on his usual ‘park-bench.

    Its a long arrived at decision but after a bit of ‘tough?’ thinking he decides his only ‘solution’ is to get himself a ‘nice’ warm prison-cell for the winter i.e. get himself ‘locked’ up in the ‘slammer’ ( sing-sing! ) for the cold season. The question is Q. How?.

    He tries everything, initially managing to drag himself of his park-bench, hobble downtown & try to get the attention of the ‘local’ ‘irish’ beat officer,. He even manages to summon up the ‘energy’ to smash a shop window with a brick even but to no avail, no matter what he tries to do to get arrested, no success, he can’t.

    Depressed & suffering the painful pangs of abject ‘failure’ Soapy casually walks past a church. Suddenly as if out of nowhere a bright ‘transclucent’ light appears, ‘divine ‘eureka’!, completely out of the blue the ‘idea’ strikes him like a hammer blow that in actual fact his whole life has been an utter failure!. Its time now, with the help of ‘blessed’ light of course, to transform, to change.

    Its at this point, completely out of the blue, that the ‘cop’ appears around the corner, spots poor ole Soapy, his ‘whistle’ is blown, & he shouts ‘arrest that man! ‘ etc etc etc O. Henry does not spell out the end ( i.e. in terms of Soapys’ plight from this point forth in the narrative, we the reader are simply left ‘hovering’ in suspense, left alone to ponder, to guess what happens next! ).

    Yes God certainly is a black ‘jokester’, a cruel prankster, or at least he is in the literary ‘satirical’ universe! i.e. the world of ole Soapy. Lots to learn, reflect about with regards this tale, the kind of ‘moral’ tale that kinda makes me wonder why Jesus ( Gods’ son ) when he was around, all those 2000 years ago, cd’nt have let us ‘all’ know ( the human race ) that in fact the ‘plague’ ( Black Death ) killing thousands, millions ( ‘wiping out’ the whole population of the famous ‘Galacian’ cathedral town of the Santaiago de Compostela in NW Spain ) was in fact caused by ‘the brown rat’ sneaking in land, & off fishing boats!. Yeah wd have saved us all including ‘science’, a lot of time & trouble!

    Historically modern ‘society’ may not have taken so long, indeed a ‘couple’ of centuries, hundreds of years to evolve either. Neither wd ‘Mans’ healthy evolution & the remedy to the ‘many’ diseases plaguing us in ‘contemporary’ times be taking so long to appear. Could have lovingly & kindly put the minds to rest of the many amongst us still waiting for the ‘return’ of a miracle!. Yeah like all great ‘classic’ writings O.Henrys’ little gem raises all the right questions.

    * The Thames Reach Charity

    Byethe way if your imagination is piqued in any way, perhaps by the ‘stories’ of great story Artists like O.Henry & you’re now ‘hooked’, your general ‘interest’ in issues like human illness, disease & poverty ( ‘street’ homelessness even ) aroused, then you could do no better than learning more about & visiting the website of the charity organisation working with ‘homeless’ men & women in London called ‘ Thames Reach ‘.

    This ‘charity’ organisation has ‘a mission’ & thats to help people who use their services develop supportive relationships & lead ‘meaningful’ lives. They’ve been involved in many ‘street-level’ campaigns too, including issues like eg. Super Strength Drinks, Begging & Drugs etc. If you want the ‘truth’, a real ‘insight’ ( not ‘urban’ myths! ) into the real ‘nature’ ( cause ) of long-term homelessness & ‘real’ solutions to this ‘endemic’ social problem then check this particular ‘charity’ outfit out !

    • * Devon, Cornwall, ( ‘Santiago de Compostela’ )

      As a busking adventurer ( english ‘street’ gypsy ) I quess Devon, & yes ‘that’ sister peninsuala, Cornwall would have an interest, ‘romantic’ attraction, for the likes of me.

      Interestingly so does the ‘cathedral’ town of Santiago de Compostela in Galacia, NW Spain, albeit a more ‘naturalist’ one, this famous site of ‘christian’ ( spiritual! ) pilgrimage.

      An ‘ancestral’ pull here as well, as a man of ‘duel’ heritage ( England/St Lucia ) who tends ( likes ) to think of his historical ‘ethnic’ roots as that of a Viking/Moor perhaps African Norman, I’m always reminded of my pt ‘Celtic’ origins, often ‘forgotten’ but deeply reflected in my Mothers ‘maiden’ name ( shes St Lucian bytheway! ).

      Aghh! let us be off & explore these ‘fascinating’ regions & why not ‘spritually’ explore ( in the ‘true’ human sense of course! ) like many an Artist or Philosopher has done in Italy or the ‘southern seas of the mediterranean !.

      • * To Stratford upon Avon, Birmingham ( ‘Middle’ England )

        Always felt comfortable here too, where I’m writing ( ‘commenting’!) from eg. Stratford upon Avon, Birmingham, ‘Middle’ England. Its my Grandmother on my ‘fathers’ side originating from Lytham St Annes ( lancs! ) that has the Viking blood ( & blond hair like i.e. just like my Dads! ) – my Grandfather on that side, slightly ‘darker’, swarthier, a ‘Saxon’ thru n’ thru!.

        Also fascinating places ‘n ‘haunts’ to found in this part of the world!. Whether you’re a man of nature or man of God spiritually ‘uplifting’ too!.

  • * The Busking Bobby’s Blues ( or Begging the question? )

    I’ve got quite a bit of experience of life on the streets now & from a ‘variety’ of perspectives. Whether its working as a ‘project’ worker in one of Bhams more ‘notorious’ hostels eg. the now ‘derelict’, & abandoned Mayfield Court in Moseley, or facing the potential humiliations of ‘short’ -term begging ‘myself’ in Bham city-centre, or whether its finding myself actually ( ‘unjustly’ ) homeless & living in a tent in a north Bham ‘green’belt ( somewhere nr West Bromwhich ) as I did a decade or so ago, or today working as a Busker! I like to think I’ve learned a little about the ‘reality’ of ‘urban’ ( or should I say ‘street-kerb’ ) living!.

    As for ‘solutions’ to at least some of the many problems of the street, specifically ‘homelessness’ & related issues, it does beg the question?. For example, Thames Reach as I’ve already mentioned ( See above ) are a fine ( superb! ) charity organisation, positively ‘active’ in this area & having a relatively ‘huge’ scale positive effect too, their ‘mission’ being to actually put an ‘end’ to homelessness.

    I applaud this, but what of the other end of the scale, what of those more ‘independant’ type ( style ) of initiative around today, i.e. active ( selfless! ) ‘individuals’ involved in combatting the scourge of ‘homelessness’ that ‘they’ would have ( how they see it! ) currently ‘plagues’ this country eg. Bham’s ‘Busking Bobby’ aka Ian Northcott BEM springs to mind.

    I personally have never seen Ian doing any busking on the streets of Bimingham, but I did come across his name via a YouTube video ( Summer a few yrs back! ) ‘appearing’ with ( ‘strumming’ a guitar along with! ) Tony Scott ( see above – yes the guy, male Bukser recently convicted, sentenced to a suspended prison sentence for ‘terrorising’ a yg teenage ‘female’ Busker Demi Marriner! ) & one-time ( off & on! ) busking partner of his back then Esther Turner.

    Northcott who built his ‘charity’ reputation on that video ( Choc’s & Socs! a ‘solo’ charity project for the homeless! ) has since recieved ‘civic’ honours for his ‘charity work’ ( a Brummie man of of the year type award, I can’t remember which specifically? ). The ‘award’ itself stands pictured in my mind tho’ because of the fact that the ‘nomination’/winners ceremony at the Town Hall ( I think thats correct? ) took place around the same time as the annual Tory Party Conference at Birminghams NIA ( or was it ‘symphony’ hall, I don’t know, I always get the two confused, along with the NEC & other places of the kind? ) – actually I think its called the Red Bull Arena now or is it the BarclayCard I don’t know?

    Anyway a rumour went around ( or was it a joke, ‘disguised’ jibe or prankshot? ) the very next day after it was announced that the Busking Bobby had won his award, that somebody in their undoubted ‘charity’, one ‘human’ soul, had kindly delivered a ‘couple’ of ‘mattresses’ ( Slumberland ‘Duck’ at that, or was it Goose feathered, I don’t know? ) on the streets!.

    Yeah talk about ‘street’ solutions, I recall how back in the 1980’s ‘folk’ ( PO ‘shareholders! ), the media ( not just the ‘popular’ press! ), used to talk about the ‘ kind side of Capitalism ‘, yeah that was the ‘political’ buzz word back then. I guess today & perhaps more correctly we’re talking about ‘ the kind face of ‘neo’ liberalism! ‘.

    ( *Postscript

    Please note that, a few days later after ‘both’ events – Tory Conference & Busking Bobby Awards – one such ‘mattress’ was found floating down the ‘ Gas Street Basin’ i.e. Bhams recently ‘cleaned’ up canal district & of course ‘new’ development zone!. Yeah spotted it was ‘floating’ right by the National Sea Life Centre, home of not only the caledonian ‘sealion’ but the ‘giant’ seven legged Octupus & 7ft long ‘hammerhead’ Shark! )

    • * Social Injustice & ‘Homelessness’

      Yes, 10 years or so ago, I found myself in the very ( ‘seriously’! ) ‘unfortunate’ position of being ‘homeless’ & importantly ‘unjustly’ so ( I won’t go into the details here! ). Yeah, I managed to hold on thu’ this rather unpleasant experience & ‘actively’ demonstrate this to be the case 2 or 3 months into my situation!. In this sense I guess ‘society’ to a certain extent managed to redeem itself!. However this is not always the case, things do not always turn out so perfectly!

      Hats off to the ‘genuine’ homeless out there who have suffered ( are painfully suffering today! ) what can be the mighty ‘social’ injustice of finding themselves ‘out in the cold’ & without a ‘roof’ over their head!.

      • * Outstanding Issues ( & justice! )

        Still ‘some’ outstanding issues tho’ concerning the above. My situation was never ‘properly’ resolved, & at a later ( what I thought then ‘less important ) stage totally ‘mis-managed’ & I have suffered ‘further’ injustices reaching right up until today. Yeah its true ‘homelessness’ can have quite unseen ( unimagined! ) long term consequences!.

        • So lets have just a bit more ‘knowledge’ & understanding of the ‘genuine’ homeless & their plight & a little less ‘tolerance’ of the ‘fakes’!.

          • And a little more ‘reality’ consciousness & more actue awareness of the way out of this kind of mess.

            To be ‘reborn’ agin & begin a ‘new’ life course, to embark on a ‘fresh’ perspective & ‘alternative’ moral career. Thats the ‘key’!

            Speaking for myself, I tell you one thing, & as I mentioned ‘somewhere’ earlier ( see ‘somewhere’ above! ) when it comes to ‘busking’ as a way of life ( & way out ), I recall a ‘phase’ as a youth ( late teen/early adulthood ) when I used to go out & sing ‘Knockin’ on Heavens Door’ by Bob Dylan & ‘ Come on Baby Light my Fire ‘ by the doors in Bham city-centre.

            Now all this is fine when you’re younger, & your ‘soul’ knowledge of music & the guitar is the ‘acoustic’ guitar handbook & the 3 chord trick ( yeah just 3 chords in perhaps one or two ‘primary’ ( ‘easy’! ) keys eg Cmaj & Gmaj.

            Whilst this sort of ‘music’ practice has its ‘practical’ uses eg. it is high st ‘convenient’, & ‘infantiley’ impressive & can get you a ‘little’ money, the problem is wheres the artistic ‘integrity’, the satisfaction in this?

            I tell you theres no ‘true’ fulfillment in its more ‘adult’ ( middle-aged ) variety ( ‘cultural’ incarnations! ) too. Creative ‘pastiches’ & doggeral imitations of Bob Dylan? Wheres the ‘real’ value to be found in producing this kind of ‘cultural’ junk?.

            This is how best selling author & creative writing teacher John Gardner’ describes it i.e as nothing more than ‘highly’ polished mediocrity, a sort of mutton dressed as lamb!.

      • The ‘truth’? Don’t be decieved people, this is ‘lazy ‘art, nothing more than a very very ‘lazy’ form of art! ( in ‘reality’ a lazy form of public service too both in ‘practice’ & in its aspiration & not deserving much reward! )

        • * On ‘Misguided’ Idealism ( Art Snobbery! )

          As for any ‘misguided’ idealism ( i.e. art snobbery! ) as exemplifed by the ‘new’ Boss of the National Gallery, London ( Chairman, Dr Gabriele Finaldi! ) who wants to see established Buskers & Street Performers re-moved & that pt of Trafalger Square radically transformed into a Park ( talk about reactionary Regency ‘enlightenment aesthetics! ).

          I don’t want to see the streets of city-centre Bham turned into a ‘landscaped’ park i.e. cold, impersonal & neo-classicist ( albeit there is a cultural ‘imbalance’ in the the 2nd city i.e. it is a present a USA mass culture ‘Macdonalds’ theme park plus the Bull Ring ) I just want to see a few of the regular Buskers ( take courage! ) and simply improve, get better ( & thus authentically ‘enhancing’ the local ‘colour’ & importantly ‘enriching’ the style of public entertainment!.)

          • *Ref – ‘Article’ from ‘The Independant Newspaper’ ” National Gallery Plans To Demand Trafalger Square Buskers Leave So That It Can Create One Of Londons Great Parks ” Online sources, 17 Feb 2016.

          • Further Notes

            On the topic of self ‘improvement I include myself also, we’ve all got to start from some place i.e. ‘below’ average!.

            Plus I think I’d rather see the ‘streets’ as a cultivated ‘space’ where this kind of ‘creative’ growth can take place. Put it this way I’d much rather it than the kind of ‘fake’ gentrification of the public arena as seemingly proposed by the Dr Finaldi & The National Gallery!.

          • Oh Yes!, I’d also like to see something ‘new’ ( genuinely ‘new’ ) i.e. something other than the ‘bourgeiouse’ Art that typically would ‘dominate’ the place & its corrollary ‘mass’ pop culture. I’m sick of both these ‘cultures’ ( norms, values ) & its ‘aspirations’. So safe, so boring, so vain & ‘manufactured’! ( comprised of zero truth & dis-honest sentiments & feeling! ).

          • Besides you only have to ‘travel’ just down the road & beyond Richmond to see that London already has its vast parklands & pretty poetic ‘pastoral’ scenery. I ‘myself’ know this part of the world pretty well my yg Sister living in West London ( S.Ealing ) for many yrs & a Bham ‘ex-housemate’ of mine ‘now’ living slap bang in the middle of this rich & ‘beautiful’ suburb.

          • Esther Turner ( the ‘new’ Becky
            Sharp? )

            Byethway Busking Bobby protege & ex busking hubby of Tony Scott ( Bhams very own Bluebeard! ) Esther Turner ( from Birmingham, well ‘Halesowen to be correct & yes there is a difference! ) is playing down in London’s Leicester Square these days,& out promoting her soon to be released first ‘single’ Close! no doubt.

            What with some rather out of character ‘bookish’ references to Thackerays ‘comic’ classic Vanity Fair cd this be the event of something fresh & new in ‘Turners’ itinerary of verse & lyric. In fact word is out on the street ( & amongst A&R , industry ‘scouts’! ) that what we cd have here is the ‘new’ Becky Sharp!.

          • Q. Bytheway who came up with that supposed ‘wise’ adage ‘ Appearance is everything ‘ ? .A. Some ‘smarmy’, American, 1970/s Evangelist/’PR’ Expert, no doubt!.

          • Or a New-York Book publisher!. Wooweee! check out the ‘cover’ for my ‘next’ book, ‘anthology’, or magazine!.

          • I’ve got the ‘title’ anyway, its going to be called ” Street Doggerel – A Buskers Meditations! ”.

          • Any pre-orders are welcome,’cash-back’ upon non-delivery!.

          • Nb. Check out the ‘blog’ of the same title ( when it arrives, when it arrives! )

          • Not a ‘poor’ brand of pastiche this either, no no!, my very own ‘doggerel’ ( yeah, yeah! ‘serious’ doggerel ! ).

          • The reflections of an ‘ole’ Street Dog ( save a few ‘private’ exceptions, & only a few!, warts n’ all, not a stone unturned, not a skeleton left in the cuboard. Covering topics & themes ranging from ‘ my first & hopefully last ‘stalking’ experience in Stratford upon Avon last Summer to my first ‘caning’ at school, on the hands ouch! during the first yr at Norton Priory in Cheshire! i.e both Adulthood & Youth ‘universal’ subjects are ‘examined’ in the book collection!. )

          • And yes I am on the look out for ( may be in ‘need’ of, very much interested in ) extra copy, ‘new’ experiences ( i.e. ‘current’ affairs!. ).

  • * Reach For The Sky!

    That ‘superannuated’ state where ‘good’ habit, unconscious ‘drives’ & human ‘free-will’ converge with ‘Super-ego’ & external material ‘reality!!

    • An ‘idea’ that dawned on me one ‘freezing’ cold night, 3 weeks into sleeping ( out ‘rough’! ) in a tent in Sandwell Valley ( ‘green-belt’ land & ‘nature’ reserve, situated between West Bromwich & North Birmingham!. )

      • Ok the 2nd statement ( above ) is only a half truth that actual ‘idea’ occured to me in relation to & when out busking! However the rest of it i.e. my brief sojourn living out in the ‘wilds’ homeless is true enough, yeah a good ‘few’ months actually spent living in the wilderness!.

        • Reference

          For further reference on the concept of the ‘superannuated’ state & the ‘creation’ of a natural ‘spontaneous’ order for busking see the blog entitled ‘ Clampdown/PSPO Consultation In Birmingham ‘ i.e. the bottom 4 or 5 comments!

          Where I lay down the ‘foundation’ stone philosophy & ‘arguments’ for an ‘alternative’ parallel code for busking in Bham!.

          • As for Council ‘consultations’ i.e. for those of us who actually ‘regularly’ busk in Bham, its a case of Q. What consultations? In all truth there have’nt been any, not concerning us anyways!

            ( But to tell you another truth I for one am beginning not to give a flying fig anyway, I don’t care what ‘they’ plan to do, because another reality has dawned & most definitely, i.e. that there are ‘alternatives’, valid ( & ‘rational’ ) ones at that! )

          • And finally to tell you another ‘truth’ the ‘underlying’ philosphy of what I propose is’nt mine at all i.e. it does have its ‘precedents’ – common-sense principles of justice and ‘human’ freedom not only universal but long-established! ( stretching back longer than 2000 years anyway, back to ancient Rome neigh classic Greek antiquity! )

          • See Blog ‘ Clampdown/PSPO Consultation In Birmingham ‘ ( the bottom 4 or 5 comments! )

          • See Further Reading ‘ On Why I Do Not Support Jonny Walkers ‘Streetslive.orgs’ Good Practice Guide!

            1. Blog ” Stop Swindon Councils Attack On Street Culture ” ( eg. the hypocrisy of Busker On Busker Violence! )

            2. Blog ” KSL Offical Response To Chester And Chester West ” ( a short debate ‘run-in’ with Jonny Walker! )

            3. Blog ” Clampdown/PSPO Consultation In Birmingham ” ( bottom 4 or 5 comments! eg an ‘alternative’ busking code for Bham! )

            4. Gravesham Borough Council Join The Attack On Street Culture ( various comments on the London’s SouthBank Scene or Buskings Gt Expectations! )

          • Crikey ( I won’t use the word God! ) its just dawned on me, I’ve been effectively ‘homeless’ all my life. Well the whole of ‘adult’ life that is i.e. since leaving home at the age of 16 ( ok ‘kicked’ out! ) right up until now!.

          • *The ‘new’ Government ‘ISA’ for First Time Buyers

            Yeah time to really get busy, rush down the high street & ASAP open up a ‘new’ bank account i.e. the ‘new’ Government ISA for first time buyers.

            One problem tho’ you whilst you can make a ‘first’ month ‘savings’ down-payment of up to £1, 500 the account holder is only allowed to save up to £200 per month henceforth towards their ‘first’ deposit. You’re then entitled after ‘saving’ for example a tidy sum of £15,000 a £3,000 ‘top-up’ from the government towards your ‘final’ deposit!.

            I just done the ‘calculations’ & reckon that by such a method it would take me 6 years to save up such an amount. Boy! a man cd be dead by then & besides I need at least £20,000 – £25,000 for the ‘first’ property I acquire.

            No its time for a ‘dramatic’ alternative approach i.e. aiming at at least triple or quadruple the savings & getting the ‘start-up’ money I need in half or better still a third of the time. Yeah so be it, decision made, & ‘ good hunting! ‘.

          • And an ‘ordinary’ ISA it is! ( can save up to £15,000 per yr with this little baby! )

          • Plus theres that little ‘village’ school in Africa ( mmmh! or is it to be Bangladesh? )

          • Its ‘true’ but funny!here I am living in a ‘shared’ house/flat above a shop on a high street & its ‘the best’ accomodation I’ve ‘ever’ lived in, well since leaving ( being ‘kicked’ out of ) the ‘parental’ home during my teens ( & that includes experiencing ‘housing association’ flats, sofa surfing, & living with ‘various’ girlfriends ( a few! ) etc.

            I’m also ‘today’ working as a Street Performer ( a ‘jobbing’ Busker ) finally in a ‘position’ where I cd be said to be reasonably able to look after an other person, perhaps take ‘full’ responsibility for somebody else eg. an ‘elderly’ relative, a child etc ( well ‘theoretically I am, I’m capable of it now &/or very much approaching that ‘critical’ stage! ).

            But as for actual ‘quality of life’ at present ( the 21st Century, 2016 to be precise i.e ‘post’ New Labour, currently Tory! ) eg. social life & friends, going out & ‘authentic’ leisure, sense of ‘real’ community ( i.e. life amongst ‘my’ tribe! ), joy & leisure etc ?. Well that was by far better way back in the 1990’s, when basically I was spending my life with ‘very little money’ & on ‘ the dole!.

            From what I can remember its was also a better quality of life for all the people I knew who had family ( or should I say ‘children’ responsibilities ) including those ‘independant’ & strong ‘baby’ mothers I knew who also survived on relatively ‘little’ money but were happy ( & their kids were ) especially living in a ‘progressive’ community like ‘Moseley’ village, Bham.

          • * From ‘Dakkha’ Bangladesh To Moseley Village ( See above! ).

          • * Notes

            Hopefully I can repair the ‘slightly’ fractured relationship with my ‘housemate at present too!. Underground Man I call him ( after the very character upon which Doestoevsky based his classic ‘short’ Novel! ).

            Yeah ( one of the ‘noble’ poor! ) but still I’d describe him as a kind of mid to ‘low ‘ranking ‘civil’ servant at present & he annoyed me the other week by walking up & down & speaking ‘loudly’ on his mobile in the room above me, unceremoniously & on purpose – well so I thought? ( again the jury is still out but hopefully coming to a closing civil ‘verdict’ soon! ).

          • Yeah I hope so because I really was beginning to think that his ‘sudden’ ( out of the blue! ) behaviour was the beginnings of a ‘devious’ plot to first ‘harrass’ & then to actually get rid of me!

            ( Nb. we currently have an ‘unwritten’ agreement, a ‘gentlemans’ contract if you will, that for ‘space’ & convenience ‘needs’, he spends most of his time living in the one room above ( ‘left’ ) & I the same in the one room below ( ‘right’ )!. A ‘contract’ that, as far as I was concerned was about to be broken! ).

  • * New Beginnings ( & ‘memories of things past! )

    Chapter 4 ( or By 8years Old I Was Already a Socialist! )

    ”…………….My ‘life’ moral career was however more or less cemented by the age of 12 when I left Runcorn having been sent back to live with my ‘natural’ parents down in Birmingham. Runcorn had abolished the Grammar school system and in Birmingham I was given no preparation whatsover for Grammar School entry and so ended up predicably at the local Comprehensive School – & it was all down hill from there!.

    I was placed in the ‘top’ sets, still managing to preserve some of my ‘maize’ bright confidence and status, however by the 5th form I had been ‘suspended’ & consequently ‘expelled’ being made the ‘scapegoat’ of the ‘new’ Headmaster of the school.

    It began with the curious incident of the fight on the school block stairway landing. Some guy was heading up the staircase isle and I down we bumped into eachother and a fight broke out – he started it!. Anyway I got the better of it and he ended up hostpitalised with a damaged eye I was later sternly told. Thank God though the injury was not permanent, ‘I’ still managed to end up suspended.

    By sheer coincidence or bad luck later that week I ended up in another ‘conflict’ this time with the school ‘psycho’ ( ironically my best friend at the time, such is life! ) . In a prank he snatched one of my skates during a ‘free’ games period on ‘mid-week’ afternoon spent at the ice rink in town.

    Not being one for taking foolish liberties lightly, and certainly not one for being put on the spot or indeed ‘picked on’ by other school kids , I lost my temper and chased him out the rink. I ‘legged him’ to the very edge of the town centre. The next day I chased him around the biology lab with a chair. Later that evening
    I stood outside his parents home shouting up at his bedroom window I’d break every bone in his body if he ever ‘efffffed’ with me again. The next day I was formally called into the ‘new’ headmasters office and I was ‘unceremoniously’ expelled.

    I spent the remains of the school 5th year stuck at home under the nose of my mother ( a Black Jane Goodie is how wd describe here – ‘warm’ in a socially gregarious kind of way i.e socially very clever if not bright!, a down-to-earth sensitivity yet in other ways emotionally ‘flat!’, her leisure spent lying on the settee eating ‘peanuts’ & not eating it ‘watching’ cheese such is her predilicition for ‘old-time’ Saturday afternoon movies & mid-evening Soap Operas eg. Dallas springs back to mind!.

    Ironically ( shes’ most definitely not an ‘academic’ nor intellectual!, nor is my ‘father’ for that matter, tho’ a Union Official, no ‘books’ int the house he ( unlike my Grandfather, Grandmother ) ‘they’ never read! ) she ( my mother ) seemed to very much enjoy my company now formally reprimanded & kicked ‘out of school despite me spending most of the day engrossed in & left going through reams of past exam papers they’d sent me from school. Every Tues morning I was allowed to pop down the school and visit Mrs Marvins office ( the deputy Head ) for English lessons.

    Suffice to say that this sorry pattern of persection, angry response, and ‘disproportionate’ punishment that has been my life curse. This sorry trajectory & my brief and erratic forays into Further and Higher education remained the same i.e. following the same course of Bullying/harrassment, fighting and then exclusion, its been the moral career of my existence therein…..

    I am the Frog Prince, the eternal scapegoat, the archetypal persecuted minority. and it has taken me 20 or more so more years to finally break the chain…………( to be continued! ).

    ( excracts from Nigel Snookes aka Romanza Rose – A Working Class Autobiography or ‘The Narratives of a Contemporary Slave!’ )

    • Biography ( extracts! )

      After getting into bits & pieces of ‘minor’ trouble as a youth eg. 8, 9, 10 years old ( what do you expect when spending your time hanging around the shops with the ‘Scallies’ on a New Town Housing Estate up north) & despite my ‘essential’ geekiness i.e. I am a at heart an ‘encyclopedic’ kid, soon came my ‘inevitable’ first ‘criminal’ conviction eg. nicking a bottle of milk from a doorstep!.

      Well it was 5 or 6 years later at the age of 16/17 & after I’d been ‘kicked-out’ of the house by my parents ( my father in fact! ) following an argument! & then Living in a ‘Bedsit’ ( sharing it with a ‘friend’! ). The back-story is we were both walking down a ‘side-road’ to the local ‘high’ street shops when my ‘flat-mate’ ( me quite unawares! ) suddenly dashed over a front-garden wall, to a doorstep & grabbed a bottle of milk, sticking it ( hiding it ) down his ( I won’t give you the details here! ).

      Anyway as soon as we reached the high st & were walking around the corner we were ‘arrested’ by 2 police officers who were coincidently situated in the local florist shop as we were walking past, catching eye of us just as the incident ( crime ! ) was reported over their walkie-talkies.

      Yeah, as you can guesss, it was my ‘psycho’ mates fault, not me ( the theft not prompted by me in any shape or form! ), yet at ‘magistrates’ court I was convicted as an accomplice!. Yeah a ‘life’ lesson on how to get a criminal record! ( Nb Please note that I am now surely & safely rehabilitated! ).

      • Q. A ‘self’ fulfilling prophecy! A. Not necessarily, you know sometimes its simply too difficult to tell the truth & plead – Not Guilty!.

        • Q. Your ‘new’ book ( w/c autobiography ) a meditation on ‘life’ & ordinary ‘People’? A. No, no, no!, an attempted ‘honest’ reflection on ‘my’ life – i.e. out at sea & quite at home amongst the ‘sharks’!.

          • No irony meant here tho’ I will ‘truly’ miss the company of ‘the dolphins’ who have provided much ‘warm’ help & in fact ‘life-saving’ support on this arduous journey back home. If I make it that is, if I make it?. Gods-speed! ( or alternatively ‘natural’, beautiful, wonderful, ‘speed of light! ).

          • This being ‘reality’ not a myth!

          • Book ( ‘Dedications’ )

            One book ‘dedication’ will definitely go to my old ‘partner’ in crime, & ‘psycho’ school friend ‘Judge’ as we used to call him.

            ( Nb. not his nickname but surname actually, I won’t give his first name here but I will tell you that before he changed it by deed-poll he went under the name of ‘Lindsay’ ( yeah Lindsay Judge, boy what a ‘poncey’ name! ).

            Q Where is he now? A. From what I gather he’s currently running a ‘gentlemans’ outfitters store down in Brixton, London!. ( yeah ‘sue’ if you will ‘Judge’, you can but try! ).

          • Oh yeah I remember ‘Judge’ a huge ‘David Bowie’ fan, he did lend me his copy of ‘Aladdin Sane’ back then, albeit not a big follower myself ( believe it or not I was into ‘metal’ – heavy metal eg. Led Zep, ACDC, The Scorpians at the time!” ).

            In fact I wonder if he was at the recent David Bowie celebrations in Brixton square, if I know him bound to be!. I know ‘Adam’ ( Spider Johns Son from Moseley ) was there, caught glimpse of him on the news ( & ‘social-media’ ) at the front of the ‘bereaving’ crowd brandishing an ‘acoustic’ guitar!.

          • Arrgh yes! ‘Judge’ to think we once slept in the same ‘room’ together, but thank God ( or more appropriately ‘nature’! ) not the same bed!.

          • Finally if I were to ‘forward’ a 2nd dedication in the ‘acknowledgement’ section of my book ( when I’ve written that is, in fact its not quite started yet, not ‘editorially’ anyway! ) if not my Father then its got to be to my Mother.

            I remember once, I think I was about 14 years old at the time ( before I was actually ‘kicked-out’ of the house that is! ) I remember her discovering under my bed ( in a ‘slit’ hideaway to be precise! ) 10 benson & hedges ( unsealed & packet already opened i.e. with 2 or 3 cigarettes ‘fags’ already smoked! ), a cut-throat razor taken from the ‘Biology’ Labs at school, plus a pretty torn, worn, but still intact ‘Noddy Mag’ I’d found discarded on the street ( or was it the ‘fields’?. )

            I implore you to please believe me tho’, when I state that in all ‘truth’ the only actual ‘orgasmic’ experiences I was having back then ( at this ‘stage’ anyway! ) whilst ‘entertaining’ myself on my own in my bedroom ( day or night! ) was listening to lead ‘rock’ guitar solos!. Ooh yeah! ‘music-centre’ in full volume blasting out Young, Schenker, Moore, & Page!.
            ( RIP Blues & ‘ex’ Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore who unfortunately is no longer with us! )

          • * Epilogue ( End Chapter ‘On Submergence’ )

            Q. So really should I have tried a bit harder, had more ‘courage’, developed my ‘natural’ talent, & lived my ‘Dream’ & become a ‘lead’ guitarist in a Rock Band?

            A. Well such is life, no not quite. My passion for ‘rock’ guitar solos ( & they were a passion, they cd send me into a heady, pleasure ‘frenzy’! ) arose during my ‘mid-teen’ years eg. a phase 13yrs-15yrs old!.

            My ‘truly’ authentic artistic vocation ( if I was ever to have one at all! ) had been hinted at much earlier eg. around 5 or 6 years old & inspired by a still influencial ‘primary’ school teacher, a methodist ‘puritan’ ( i.e. non-tv watching!) from Widnes, Merseyside ( Mr Marshal! ) who despite my w/c ‘origins’ ( or more accurately ‘social’ situation! ) piqued at an ‘early’ age my interest in the classical world, particularly in my case classical guitar & especially from an intellectual point of view ‘music’, as a topic in itself ( i.e. how it works etc! ).

            My natural curiosity & ‘connection’ with the solo romantic Classical Guitar actually stems back to this ‘early stage’ ( its not something that I ‘realised’ late or very recently picked up! ) its just that for a ‘variety’ of reasons ( class, circumstances, culture, human weakness, pettiness & meanness of parents & other ‘cruel’ ‘distractions’!) it all got humanly ‘submerged’!.

            Like many Human-beings somehow, some way, my ‘natural’ instincts, my primary ‘consciousness’ & desires got driven underground. I’ve lived perhaps 20 or so years of my life in this state & its only now that I’ve managed to cut myself adrift in the ‘positive’ sense & live more truly, ( get anywhere near to living more authentically! ) & in ‘proper’ alignment with myself ( my deepest felt values both ‘aesthetically’ & morally!. )

          • Edit

            Now time to ‘edit’ ( re-write ) this literary ‘brainstorm & shape it into an actual ( editorially acceptable ) chapter of some sort!.

          • Eg. Jade Goody not ‘Jane Goodie’ ( see above! )

          • Eg. Revise paragraph ‘statement’ about your early experiences living in Runcorn with your Grandparents i.e. not as ‘troublesomely’ juvenile as you first make out eg. shoplifting, ‘fighting’ the woolibacks etc.

            No, in fact more genuinely ‘adolescent’ romatic than that, & joyously filled with a wonderfully ‘poetic’ set of aventures eg. exploring Cheshire villages like Moore, Frodsham, ‘mythical’ Scouser Island. My youth experience here? More like a English Northern ‘scally’ Huckleberry Finn!.

          • Plus add 2 ‘early’ childhood/juvenile ‘trauma’s’ eg. 1. ‘Race’ 2. Cars !.

          • Plus add ‘Parental’ ( mom & dads! ) ‘good’ points eg.

            1. My ‘Mother’s’ appearance in a TV Debate on ‘race’ ( the ‘common’ issue of ‘institutional’ ‘racism’ & racism in the work-place! ) chaired/presented by Ludwig Kennedy & when I was a kid ( tho’ at the time actually living at my nan & grandads ).

            My mother relayed pretty effectively in ‘live’ performance & during the TV discussion her ‘experience’ of ‘discrimination’ whilst attending an ‘interview’ for a job in the ‘kitchens’ at a local school!.

            2. My ‘Father’ recieving an ‘award’ for ‘bravery’ from the Lord Mayor of Bham ( & featured ‘front’ page of the Bham Mail ) after saving the life of a local ‘photographer’ trapped in a raging ‘garage’ fire adjacent to his photography shop & over the road from my parents house!.

            My father ‘dashed’ in, seriously risking his own life, & dragged him out ( him actually burning, clothes aflame! ) to safety!.

            Up until the ‘photographers’ more natural ‘later’ death ‘my father’ & my mother recieved an Xmas card everyyear from a ‘grateful’ & very lucky man!.

          • End ( edit )

          • Further Edit

            Oh & what to do & what not to do if you have the ‘misfortune’ ( a light/dark life-phase! ) of ending up with ( finding yourself with! ) a ‘platonic’ friend/ girlfriend like ‘Janine’ in East-Enders!.

            ( Or chapter title – ” What yer Mother does’nt teach you & what they don’t teach you in school either for that matter, about love, liberty & real ‘lifes’ affairs! ”).

            End ( edit )

  • The Future ( 50yrs, 60yrs, 70yrs, 80yrs, 90yrs from hence! )

    Real ‘balanced’ growth, coupled with ‘net’ migration, allowing ‘freedom’ of movement ( i.e. no points systems, no ‘border’ restrictions! ) & thus achieving ‘equality’ of access to living ‘wealth’ for all regardless of race, nationality or ethnicity!.

    • The young & broadminded, the ‘future’ is yours, as for the old & ‘petty’ there is’nt one, the ‘blinkered’ nothing but ‘eternal’ recurrence!.

      • The ‘fixated’, angry & embittered nothing but a sore-head when you go to bed at night & a sore-head when you wake up in the morning!. Your last days ( seemingly forever! ) spent ‘grasping’ for ( clutching!) that bottle of gin!.

  • Living In The Now ( Quotes of the Week! )

    ”This is a tricky age to be living in”
    ( Natalia Wierzbicka aka ViolinBiscuit )

    • Unless you’re very much ‘alive’ today & an ‘untamed’ Tom Cat of course Natalia, an untamed, shy & reclusive Tom Cat! ( & not to be mistaken for a Ginger Tom i.e. a deep rich chocolate ‘orange’ brown one at that! ). Then surviving lifes ‘hurdles’ becomes ‘2nd nature’, even in the whoops & whelps! of 21st Century Europe or should I say contemporary ‘western’ civilization!.

      • But even then a well ‘seasoned’ Tom Cat like myself can’t afford to get too complacent, always on the watch, on the lookout! for the ‘most’ dangerous ‘animals’ on the plain ( it does still exist, that nether, nether world out on the cusp of civilised living, & one that still today I find myself ‘hunting’ in & foraging in often! ).

        As for those ‘dangerous’ beasts, you all know what I mean eg. the ‘female’ Hyena! ( especially ones that are known to hunt in packs, or at least ‘pairs’ & especially when they are hungry, very, very hungry, you know they’re actually starving! ). No, I won’t mess with this type of ‘vicious’ predator, naah!, noooooh waay!.

        • Yeah from ‘wild’ hunting dog to Tom Cat, & all ‘me’, not only many ‘perspectives’, but several ‘lives’, & yes all in one ‘lifetime’!. Is’nt the world ‘truly’ a potentially ‘wonderful’ & not only beautiful place! ( bytheway this is a ‘rhetorical’ question! ).

          • As for my ‘new’ practical life philosophy, I’ve decided. Yeah! I’m always going to be ‘trying it on’ (screaming out loud if necessary & energetically!) whilst living with ‘rejection’ happily, contentedly!.

          • I’m waking up man, I’m waking up!

          • Slowly but surely, I’m waking up!

          • Meeeeeeooooooooooooow! ( Even at the dead of night! )

  • Death On A Park Bench ( or On The Pop Star Prince, Paisley Park & Death )

    Prince is dead, yeah the pop star who ‘created’ what some cite as one of the greatest ‘songs’ (hit singles ) in contemporary art ‘rock’/funk Pop namely ‘Paisley Park’, was found ‘encorpsed’ today in his mansion house in Minnesotta.

    Like Michael Jackson, Elvis, the Beatles despite having ( as for almost everyone ) a very ‘real’ presence in the cultural backdrop to my life eg. TV ‘top of the pops’, video footage etc was not to my ‘heartfelt’ taste musically. Its funny but generally true that Prince is/was one of those ‘popular’ figures ( serious ‘pop’ icons even ) who despite their fame ( in his case ‘real’, deserved maybe ) who in reality floated by my ‘true’ listening ‘consciousness’.

    However friends of mine in the past ( my bohemian/countercultural Mosely days ), very good friends in fact, Gary a ‘sociology’ lecturer/DJ mate of mine, Malcolm the F.E. English Lecturer & later Dept Head ( both ‘graduates’ of the highly regarded & academically world recognised CCCS or Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham University ) talked of Prince as a ‘genius’. No doubt I was persuaded of his ‘creative’ & prolific talent as a songwriter & performer, most definitely not ‘mass-culture’ but ‘good’ pop! .

    I don’t like ‘heroes’ nor endorse the idea of ‘models’ for behaviour, except in the ‘literary’ Greek, classics sense ( See Homers Iliad for a telling commentary on love, war & the human condition ) too fascist, to ‘new’ model army for me. However Scott Weinbergs comment ( ‘word’ homage ) to this ‘passing’ Star found in todays BBC News Article ‘ Prince, Singer and Superstar Dies aged 57 at Paisley Park ‘ carries some integrity for me & also bears an important & relevant message ( see Below ) ,

    ” Prince was a great role model for my generation. Be yourself. Work hard. Be wierd if you want. Do your own thing no matter what ! ” .

    Well said Scott, here-here, a fine tribute to one of those rare ‘creative’ individuals, who in many senses was a ‘true’ Artist albeit pop.

    ( Scott Weinberg comment on news of Pop Star Princes death BBC News 21 April 2016 )

    • * Note. On The Centre For Contemporary Cultural Studies or CCCS ( or The Death Of An Academic Subject & Discipline & The Age of Pavorotti ! )

      Back then ( before the death of the discipline that was contemporary cultural studies ) the ‘fledgling’ discourse was on what was at the time being discussed as ‘Posh’ Pop & ‘Pop Posh’. An opaque language Cultural Studies speak so let me explain.

      ‘Posh pop’ is ‘ posh talk about popular culture or in other words applying ‘literary’ theory & academic methodology to subjects prior to this not taken too seriously by academies of higher learning eg. the study of tv soap operas, the popular press, the likes of Madonna etc ‘.

      ‘Pop posh’ is best understood ( defined as ) ‘ popular posh culture ‘ ( or specifially popular posh music ). Remember this was the time of the ‘world-cup’ & ‘Nessun Dorma’ getting to the top of the charts, ‘the age of Pavorotti’ ( or the time before the death of this great Opera Singer now himself of course long since gone ! ) .

      • ( In Memory of Professor Stuart Hall, Cultural Theorist, Sociologist & one of the founding figures of this academic school of thought known as British Cultural Studies or The Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. See Wikipedia )

        • * Laura Nyro ( Album: New York Tendaberry )

          RIP singersongwriter Laura Nyro too who I lovingly discovered during this period often left alone during the day in my mate Malcolms flat ( him at work! ) & upon perusing thru’ his pretty extensive record collection back then.

          Yeah ‘Stoned Soul Picnic’, ‘Elis Comin’, the Album New York Tendaberry musicially expressively wonderful. I remember ‘sub-editing’ ( he commissioned me, paid me! ) his Cultural Studies Phd ( on Post 60’s counter-culture Bohemian Moseley ) whilst juxtaposing & carefully listening to the ‘lyrics’ off his Prince Albums ( upon his insistance ! ) & then discussing them alongs side the works ( Marxist Intellectual ‘texts’ ) of French Sociologist Louis Althusser.

          Great days these, I remember them well, & yes ‘happy’ memories, a good few years of ‘Eden’, life in the Epicurean Garden, the ‘bubble’ of the suburban/urban post-60s south Birmingham commune, Byronic ‘poet’ inherited wealth! .

          ( a tribute to Laura Nyro & her Album: ‘ New York Tendaberry ‘ )

          • Laura Nyro long may you rest in peace. RIP! ) .

          • Secretly tho’ I long to see you resurrected. Listening to my ‘favourite’ album of yours right now ‘ Smile ‘ & one of the most played ‘tracks’ eg. ‘Stormy Love’ ! .

  • The Calm Before The Storm ( or a ‘nation’ of Cow Munchers? )

    I speak above ( see ” On Career Politicians or Jo Cox ‘True’ Socialists v ‘Career’ Politicians ) about in times of ‘overwhelming’ life stress the yoga ‘box’ breathing technique can be of great help ( ‘relief’ ! ) , even more than that I stress, it can be a ‘real’ life-saver! .

    Of course ‘music’ too has to be cited for its therapeutic value, & today many ‘health’ experts wd agree that listening to ‘baroque’ music for instance has ‘deep’ psyho/emotional benefits on the listener. From an ‘art’ critics perspective & my own i.e. sensitive appreciater of ‘good’ music I highly recommend listening to true folk ‘Artist’ singer songwriters like ‘Hattie Briggs’ ( see her ‘Official Audio’ channel on Youtube ) for ‘authentic’ aesthetic release & ‘psychic’ peace.

    On the other side of the coin its must be recognised that ‘stress’ rather than a ‘killer’ can actually be ‘good’ for you & ‘exposure’ to certain levels actually ‘toughen’ you up & as a ‘human-being’ preparing you for success in ‘real’ life. So on the other hand its certainly not wise to do away with all of it, indeed recognising the existence of ‘good’ stress ! ). Again its a matter of ‘honest’ life & health balance ! .

    The New Mayor & London Ad’s Bans

    This brings me to the issue arisen recently in London, involving the ‘decision’ by the ‘new’ Mayor Sadiq Khan, upon his recent ‘election’ win & ‘mayoral’ appointment to ban ‘ads’ on the London Underground by the company ‘Protein World’ featuring beautiful & ‘slim’ women ( no doubt ‘air-brushed’/photoshopped ! ) clad in Bikinis, & ‘framed’ ( scripted ! ) ” Q. Are you beach ready ? ” .

    Apparantly Khans ban is on the back of a 17,000 persons ‘petition’ calling for the so called offensive ‘ads’ to be removed, Khan himself citing ‘body image’ issues & advertisers putting undue pressure on women incl. his ‘own’ daughters, to live up to such ‘perfection’ ideals. These ‘ads’ posing the rather ‘stressful’ rhetorical question ” Are You Beach Ready? ” .

    Mayor Khan seems to claim that such questons/ad’images’ hurt the ‘sensitivities’ of many ‘transport’ commuters thus justifying his outright ‘ban’ restriction on these ‘summer’ advertising posters. I find myself ‘surprisingly’ agreeing with The Spectator Magazine here & agree that the ad ban ‘ shows he’s an illiberal censor at heart ‘ . I don’t believe in ‘censorship’ ( even of ‘junk’ culture mass media ) on the grounds of pampering to the ‘whims’, faux emotional sentiments of essentially ‘weak’ & neurotic people who its claimed by certain ( extreme ! ) political quarters are driven to ‘anorexia’, nervous breakdowns by such consumer ‘marketing’ ! .

    In fact Khans argument here kind of reminds my of ex London Mayor Boris Johnsons response to questions put to him not long back ( yes ‘pressurising’ him to public accountability ! ) concerning busking ‘freedoms’ in Greater London – his response to issues like ‘Camden’ licencing, the demand for more ‘spots’ etc ” lets show some sensitivity here ” to shop keepers & the like. No, for me the real ‘answer’ ( honest ‘response’ rather than ‘poltical’ sidetracking !) wd be lets ‘check’ or test the actual ‘veracity’ of shopkeepers, offices, ‘interested’ parties more ‘negative’ claims about ‘street-performing before making any ‘prejudicial’ ( or ‘petty’ self-interested! ) decisions. The same goes for Advertising, my ‘main’ concern here would be Q. Do ‘Protein Worlds’ claims that its ‘product’ can transform the av. looking woman’s body into that of a ‘beautiful’ beach model ring true ?. Political decisions I argue ought to be based on ‘rational’ argument & facts ( some reasonable ’emotional’ points allowed but ! ) not reached on the basis of outright ‘false’ human ‘insecurities’ nor ‘malignant’ pathos ( i.e. conscious or ‘unconscious’ envy & the uncomfortable feelings, or ‘ontological’ insecurity that goes with it ! ) .

    Going ahead with such ‘bans’ not only does Khan undermine the ‘healthy’ established ‘liberal’ traditions of this country & according to some not just on ‘faux’ PC committee /’control’ freak ‘Socialist’ grounds but ‘puritianical’ religous grounds. But also Its true, that ‘he’, by making ‘decisions’ that pamper to essentially ‘human’ weakness, ‘malign’ motivs eg. envy, rather than holding up ‘higher’ human rights ( & ‘values’ ) ends up merely propping up ‘mediocrity’ & in the process significantly contributing to ‘all’ of us becoming a ‘nation’ of what Philospher Friedrich Nietschze described as, ‘ Cow-munchers ‘ ( Nb. in fact this is how he described his typical ‘fellow’ academic of the late 19th Century i.e. essentially the institutional manifestation of the common ‘herd’ mentality ! ).

    The London Underground & Busking

    Back to the London Underground & in hindsight, the ‘recent’ illiberal & ‘foolish’ banning of ‘Bikini’ Beach ads by the London Mayor. It does’nt take a giant leap of ‘imagination’ to reason ( consistently that is! ) that if you’re going to ‘ban’ certain ads on the grounds of the undue ‘pressure’ ( I just walk past ads without a ‘blink’ personally ! ) on people then you’d have to ‘seriously’ consider banning all advertising including eg. the sort that entice you to having a ‘perfect’ kitchen, the perfect wife, perfect kids, the kind that ‘seduces’ your appetite for a a burger, a beer, a glass of wine – when you should be doing ‘home’work, out talking a walk, ‘excercising’ etc -, the type that picques the ‘ego’ & greedy desire to purchase a ‘new’ car eg. the gas guzzling station wagon, so that the ‘wife’ can pick up the squeaky clean ‘kids’ after school !.

    Busking ‘New’ Wave Honaluloo Beach Babes

    And where does it stop, this type of spurious ‘cultural’ censorship? Not just ‘advertising’ either, ‘beautfiful’ actresses in the movies ( & on posters ), pop star/event show marketing etc, in fact note that theres a few ‘slim’, sexually attractive, & enthusiastic ‘female’ Buskers these days too to be found on the London Underground, yeah, visibly performing on Picadilly/Victoria line right now ( & this morning at 7.30am during the ‘commuter’ hrs! ) yes & I know this because they passed the ‘official’ auditions what with their seductively swivelling hips & sexy Ukulele playing. Q. What you going to do Mayor ‘Khan’ ? ( Nb. ‘he’ who has recently come out in support of London Busking – like Boris Johnson – by announcing a ‘competition’ for under 25’s !) A. in hindsight ‘ban’ all these ‘naughty’ but nice, busking ‘new-wave’ Honaloolu Beach Babes ?, Launch another attack on our increasingly ‘fragile’ liberal democracy ? ( there again are busking ‘auditions’ democratic? is this ‘oudoors’ performance arena set-up really busking? Mmmm anyway for now thats another issue ? yes let the ‘wider’ debate go on ? ) .

    References ( Nb. some very ‘unlikely’ references ! )

    1. Hattie Briggs – Folk Artist Singer/songwriter ‘ Official Audio’ channel YouTube eg. Album ‘Red & Gold’ playlist.

    2. Spectator Magazine Article by Brendan O’Neil ” Sadiq Khans Advert Ban Shows He’s An Illiberal Censor At Heart ”. 14 June 2016.

    • 3. Hackney Gazzette by Harriet Orrell ” UK Biggest Street Music Search Ends With Grand Final ” 8 Sept 2014.

      • Further Reading

        1. Plato’s ‘Republic’ ( See Chapter Paragraphs on The ‘Democratic’ Politician )

        2. Adam Smith’s ‘Theory of Moral Sentiments’ See. in particular his ideas on human nature i.e. of ‘benevolent’ & ‘predatory’ Man ( plus the ‘canon’ of Western/World Literature on ‘light’ & ‘dark’ human desires ! )

        • Plus for ‘serious’ ( possibly ‘academic’ ) study some further ‘viewng’ ( Film media, graphics, posters )

          1. ‘NYC Downlow’ Glastonbury Festival 2016 ( See ‘online’ promotion ) Q. Glastonbury today is a ‘mainstream’ BBC presented ‘family’ oriented festival ( the likes of me no longer go there i.e. remnants of post 1960s/70s counterculture ) so therefore should this ad ‘image’ be banned ? .

          • 2. A Case ‘Field’ Study ( or ‘personal’ experience ! )

            On a hot Summers Sunday afternoon a few years back, a ‘female’ Security Guard tried to stop me from entering ‘Cannon Hill Arts’ Centre in Bham because I had my shirt off & insisting I put it on again before my gaining entry & access to the ‘toilets’ – her justification? this is a family area!.

            Truth is she’d ‘singled’ me out for confrontation, as loads of guys ( incl Dads etc ) were walking around ‘bare’ chested that ‘hot’ afternoon, incl the usual ‘bodybuilder’ youths & ‘black’ guys with chains ( Nb. I’m no Yardie but its customary for black men to off their ‘tops’ in the ‘park’ mid- Summer ! ).

            In the ‘context’ I barged passed her, went to the loo, & on ‘exiting’ the doors, she called other security incl a Manager on me, & yes you’ve guessed it, she threatened to have me ‘banned’, I simply scoffed at her & walked off nonchalantly ! .

          • Q. Should I have been ‘banned’ from Cannon Hill Arts Centre ? ( & ‘singled’ out by a ‘security’ guard for walking around a Park with ‘no’ shirt on during a ‘hot’ Summers afternoon ? )

          • ‘Cultural’policy at Cannon Hill Arts Centre, Bham has been devised in collaboration with SAMPAD ( South Asian Arts. ) .

          • 3. The ‘theatre’ stage & any ‘classic’ modern existential ‘drama’ will do. Ohhhh ‘memories’ of Samuel Becketts ‘Waiting For Godot’ Midland Arts Centre ( MAC ) May 2002 !. Q. Should any ‘modern’ European play severely ‘critical’ of ‘dominant’ religion be banned for upsetting the sensitivies of ‘muli-ethnic’ faith-based communities ?.

          • Q. If so what about ‘iconic’ images of Christ on stage, screen & ‘art’ myth, tunic draped to the waistline, ‘bare’ torso whipped to the bone, & deliberately exposed as an ‘exemplar’ for everyone to see ? ( sunday school infants, & ‘male’ choir Boys incl. ? ) .

          • Q. Should ‘any’ percieved ‘indecent’ images of Jesus Christ be banned ? ( & as casually, innocuously, perfuntory as a public ‘park’ sign, boldly stating ” Keep Off The Grass ! ” ) .

          • Western Civilisation, World Philosophy & ‘Humanism’

            I say No!, I want my ‘reasonable’, liberal, philosophically ‘tolerant’ country back ! ( ok actually I don’t, I’m not a ‘nationalist’ at heart, but a more ‘general’ adherant to the hard won, ‘tightly’ argued, ‘historical’ tenets of actually ‘humanist’ Western Civilisation ! ) .

          • Reasonable ‘freedom’ & civilisation thats what I want ! .

          • A ‘Human’ freedom ! .

          • A ‘natural’ justice ! .

          • I ‘believe’ ( unless we ‘destroy’ ourselves beforehand & this is a possibility! ) that by & large this is what we’re going to have in the future ! .

          • Bytheway a ‘strong’ & humane message to the French Government & European Court ” Un-ban the Burqa ” ! .

          • ” Let us be human ” ( Peter Cave )

          • & be ‘allowed’ to express ourselves as such, adding a little ‘local’ colour, & let us do that ‘regionally’, geographically even. You know ‘aesthetically’, my ‘tastes’ being a little ‘exotic’, I’ve always had a ‘preferance for the Italian Lira, French Franc, Spanish Peseta ! .

          • Not ‘stifled’ by ‘unblanced’ beauracratic economic micro-management & culturally ‘homogenised’ law, blandly ‘glossed’ over by Gov ‘office’ graphics in ‘library’ pamphlet form ! .

          • People, friends, ‘fellow’ human-beings its time to get up off the bench & ‘celebrate’ ! .

          • Cos’ yes the British ‘poor’ have spoken ! The great ‘tragedy’ being that in their own, in many senses ‘valid’ protection, ‘other’ poor ( the ‘new’ European Poor eg. Poles, gypsies ) have to suffer, sadly ‘bound’ to!.

            The likes of Sadiq Khan, Tony Blair, the PC Brigade, clever Racists, ‘health’ freaks, ‘neo’ liberal utilitarians like Chuka Umunna, 1990’s Spin Doctors, Peter Mandelson, Nigel Lawson, Bankers, ‘Petty’ front-line public officials incl housing officiers, town wardens etc, Joseph Stalin, Brussels ‘technocrats’ & the rest have wittingly ( & unwittingly ! ) combined to ‘destroy’ this country over recent years, along with the basic ‘tenets’ of ‘true’ liberal, decent ‘western’ society ! .

          • ( Nb. Add to my list ‘naieve’ bright yg things who think ‘globalisation’ & the EU represent honest prospects & ‘true’ cultural ‘internationalism’ ! )

          • ” At the age of six I wanted to be a cook
            At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And
            my ambition has been growing ever
            since ” ( Salvador Dali – On Youthly Ambition, Dreams & ‘Broken’ Promises )

          • A lesson in ‘political’ life for the poor dears. Wake up! to ‘remain’ on the ‘inside’ does’nt necessarily bring change. Thats why many of Jeremy Corbyns supporters jumped ship before, during & after the Milliband debacle & are now in the Green Party ! .

          • Its a matter of political ‘judgement’ ( or should I say ‘calculation’ ! )

          • Reccommended Reading ‘ The Prince ‘ ( Niccolo Machiavelli )

          • A ‘humanist’ classic to learn from not necessarily ‘model’ ! .

  • The ‘Post’ Referenda Poor ( a telling ‘andecdote’ ? )

    I’ve long believed some pressure ‘reform’ is necessary for the EU, particularly given its ‘outwardly’ neo-liberal ‘economic’ agenda & greater care, attention & ‘provision’ directed to the ‘need’s of ‘marginalised’ less privelaged sectors of the community not just ‘migrants’ i.e the ‘many’ otherwise ‘callous’ social victims of such an ambitious ‘economic’ agenda – Of course ‘official’ EU commentators have ‘stressed’ that it was the British Gov who ‘pressed’ for A.8 countries to join the ‘club’ – ‘Others’ i.e. critics of Gov policy have pointed out how the issue of unbridled ‘mass’-migration post 2004 was poorly managed by the then Blair office ( & in ‘reality’ ensuing Government ), if not practically ‘ignored’ & the ‘consequences’ enusued – I say even if you don’t like these people i.e. the ‘English’ Working Class – & ironically many ‘Labour’ MPs esp. the ‘new’ sort it seems don’t, todays ‘Factory’ Bosses preferring to employ pleasant mannered Polish Blondes instead – like ‘migrants’ eg. Syrian Refugees, I don’t think they should be simply ‘abandoned’ & treated like Australian Aborogines, their ‘territories’ colonised, communites ‘depressed’, they left to die-out, rendered ‘extinct’ in the Bush, ‘reservation’s just politcal ‘nail’ varnish covering up the brutal, nasty, in ‘reality’ ugly process. See. Bham City Centre at lunchtime, Street People in sleeping bags, drinking ‘special’ brew, laying straddled everywhere.

    A Telling Anecdote ?

    ( I have some ‘sympathy’ & compassion for some members of this ‘class’ i.e. under current labour ‘conditons’ those who can, but not want to work for ‘the Man’. However I have less human ‘warmth’ for those amongst them who harnass ‘traits’ of the Man themselves, or should I say ‘corrupt’ Gangmaster. For example, I was ‘busking’ in Birminghm the other week ( before the ‘referendum’ ! ) when a ‘guy’ sitting with ‘others’ in an ’empty’ doorway aggressively shouted over ” give us £2 quid mate ! ” & when I ignored him, threatened. ” you won’t be working here tomorrow ! ” ) .

    Of course this ‘particular’ city-centre ‘scenario’ begs the question Q. Can all this, this bedraggled sight be blamed on ‘migration’ ? A. No, speaking from personal ‘experience, not all of it, I remember only 2 years ago Bham centre was a different city, no ‘drinking’, no swearing, no shouting, all this seems to have appeared following the climate of recent ‘cuts’ i.e. ‘austerity’!. It also has that ‘uncanny’ feel of being deliberately ‘orcestrated i.e. someone in the council, in the Police allowing this too happen & not necessarily out of ‘kindness’ or charity, the ‘local’ Environment Officer led campaign to introduce ‘draconian’ measures & social policy solutions eg. PSPOs etc having been itself recently thwarted. Looking ahead abit to the ‘near’ future nevermind the long-term ( i.e. short-term ‘practical’ realities ) I currently have perfectly fine, respectable working ‘Eastern’ European ( eg. Romanian ) ‘extended’ families living next door Q. Whats the plan, that they’re ‘shipped’ out & that those mentioned ‘above’ eg. Bham’s Street People, i.e. some of the ‘current’ homeless become my ‘new’ neighbours ?. If so should’nt they be ‘re-habilitated’ first, some of them ‘morally’ rehabilitated ? .

    • * BBC 1 News ( latest ‘housing’ statistics )

      Latest housing ‘statistics’ by Shelter announced on BBC1 News tonight ( 6 o’clock’ ) show a ‘record’ no of 1 million people in ‘temporary’ accomodation & on the Council House ‘waiting’ list in England & Wales waiting for places to live that do ‘not’ exist eg. ‘ordinary’ families are pictured living 3 or 4 to a room. ‘Analysts’ are talking of a ‘perfect’ storm of ‘high’ rents, housing shortage, ‘benefits’ cuts ! .

  • Ukulele Tom’s Videos ( or Never Give Up Theres Always Hope No Matter What Age You Are )

    Under the Oxford ‘Letters’ Blog I cite a ‘series’ of busking ‘video’/vlogs that I’ve viewed as part of ‘my’ Busking Studies ‘education’ routine. The viewing usu’ taking place on Sunday nights after a long ‘busking’ weekend, with ‘films’/documentaries cropping up that I highly ‘recommend’.

    One such ‘video’/ vlog/ film Diary that I did’nt mention in my short list of 3 or was it 4 ? is the one I’ve stumbled across by Leed’s ‘Ukulele Henry’ eg. Busking at Trinity Leeds – YouTube. You know I’ve heard other Buskers in their short ‘video’/ talking heads exclaim how whilst they ‘like’ busking ( or have pretty well ‘adapted’ to it ) they have no intention of busking in the ‘years’ ahead – the ‘idea’ being ‘they’ wd be too old, they joke about it ‘openly’ on their social media. Ukulele Henry’s videos push a very ‘different’ perspective, one very ‘positive’ about busking & ‘age’.

    My ‘inspiration’ on this point or ‘theme’ about ‘busking’ in later life has always been the Fr. Dir. Francois Truffaut style ‘social’ realist’ images of the Columbian ‘maestro’ guitarist Gentil Montana busking ( ok a ‘representation’ of him street performing ) in Paris eg. River Seine, Art Markets, Eiffel Tower etc. Not only is he ‘filmed’ performing outside on the ‘streets’ in his late 60’s, his are amongst the most ‘poetically’ entertaining films/ street’ video’s I’ve seen regards ‘outdoors’ staging, far out stripping the filmed ‘works’ of younger performers.

    I do like Ukulele Henry’s attitude on this ‘issue’ tho, a ‘realist’ & a very much down to earth commentator too on this ‘issue’, yes in every sense of the word ( i.e. very honest about the ‘nature’ of the pop industry’ & ‘chances’ of ‘success’ ! ). Oh yes, his ‘orientation’ on the theme of busking, entertainment & ‘age’ ( & what anyone can do at this ‘stage’ in life if they’re ‘honest’ ! ) is a welcome ‘antidote’ to the kind of ‘insidious’ cynicism of an ‘industry’ that appears to ‘champion’ youth over everything, or should I say perpetuate he ‘shallow’ notion that everything must begin in ‘youth’ ! ( * Yes, forget the ‘illusions’ & categories’ cast by ‘talent’ shows like the X=Factor eg. the over 25’s ).

    No, Ukelele Henry’s ‘late’ video Diary’s are very ‘hopeful’ sign indeed. Perhaps the ‘most’ hopeful one & most ‘convincing ‘inspiration’ at that, for those who want to perhaps start out in ‘music’ later in life, or ‘try’ it out, or go ‘busking’ even.

    • * Note (s)

      Please note that in no way or under any circumstance am I or any ‘others’ endorsing ‘special’ funding, grants, or Arts Council support for these practices mentioned above, here in this ‘comment’. This is ‘not’ a government sponsored ‘advertorial’. Thankyou !.

      • * Further Notes

        A slight ‘editorial’ correction to the ‘title’ above See. ‘ Ukulele [ Henry’s ] Video Diary – Busking At Trinity Leeds ‘ YouTube. A pretty good ‘example’ of why you should never give up no matter what age you are !

        • * A Few More Notes

          There again taking a look at this ‘video’ again, you know one cd take to living on a park bench !.

          • Sitting in a ‘shopping’ centre with a Ukulele singing ” I Did It My Way ! ” is not my idea of fun. Think I’d rather count sheep & ‘eat’ grass.

          • A Ukulele on ‘my’ lap ? Even at that age ” No way ! ”.

          • Back to Ukulele Henry tho’ his ‘diary’ entries I find much better than a lot of mainstream ‘Pop’ Stuff, You know ‘big’ vids, zero content ( or pretty ‘mediocre’ anyways ! ) & like the ‘music’ all dressed up. Anway what else can I say on this topic, oh thats it ” Baaaah ! ” or there again, should I say ” Bleeeeet ! ”.

          • This is ‘not’ meant as either a ‘direct’ or ‘indirect’ insult to other Buskers out there bytheway. By this ‘comparison’ ( I don’t often do e’m but feel compelled to here ! ) I most definitely mean contemporary ‘mainstream’ Pop.

          • With much of what stands as up & coming ‘mainstream’ deep, heartfelt, Singer Songwriter stuff, coming across to me as alarmingly ‘vacuous’ & dull !.

          • Anway Bedtime, or should I say, time for my ‘afternoon’ 40 winks, Zzzzzzzzz !.

          • * Dream ( Born To Lose ! )

            One other difference between me & ole’ Henry ( besides the Ukulele ! ) is that I’ve been thinking like I do ‘all’ my life i.e. when it comes to ‘pop’ & the pop industry way before my 20’s. Make no ‘mistake’ about it, I’m talking here before the age of 8. Yeah ” Born to lose ! ”.

  • To Sleep by John Keats

    O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
    Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
    Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
    Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
    O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
    In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
    Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
    Around my bed its lulling charities.
    Then save me, or the passed day will shine
    Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
    Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
    Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
    Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
    And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.

    * Note ( s )

    Another misguided & ‘irrelevant’ reference ( tertiary ‘quote’ ) from one of the ‘greats’ ( gosh I’m beginning to ‘hate’ that word ! ) of English Romantic Poetry. Sounds good tho’, so read ( if not listen ? ) on.

    • Addenda Memorilia

      John Keats, who died at the age of twenty-five, had perhaps the most remarkable career of any English poet. He published only fifty-four poems, in three slim volumes and a few magazines. But at each point in his development he took on the challenges of a wide range of poetic forms from the sonnet, to the Spenserian romance, to the Miltonic epic, defining anew their possibilities with his own distinctive fusion of earnest energy, control of conflicting perspectives and forces, poetic self-consciousness, and, occasionally, dry ironic wit. In the case of the English ode he brought its form, in the five great odes of 1819, to its most perfect definition.

      On John Keats – The Poetry Foundation

      [ Nb.” Addenda Memorilia ” an extract from my personal Diary/ Journal Sept 2017 ]

      • ( *See. ‘Swindon Council Attacks Street Culture’ Blog & follow the ‘links’ & ‘natural’ trajectory of the further ‘related’ comments found below )

        • Incl. a brief meditation on the ‘true’ nature of evil & a ‘hint’ at what really amounts to the ‘good’. Tho’ you cd begin with the ‘Romford’ ‘Blogs’ & the cocopea of comments contained underneath this particular Buskers ‘column’ for that. Ok in the ‘absolute’ literary sense of the word ‘Shakespeare’ does do it better i.e. address this impt theme. So why not read or better still ‘watch’ him too, while you’re at it. )

          • ).

          • A ‘tribute’ to lifes ‘solitary’ wanderers ! )

          • * Afterward

            [ Yes fitting relief to contemporary lifes ‘late’ afternoon ‘travellors’, for whom time is a mere ‘afterthought’. This social media age, where life is a ‘mere’ album cover. Time a hungarily licked cut paper square urgently pasted into in a yg kids ‘stamp’ book. Transcendance breezy & casual as a ‘childs’ lost toy ballon !. ]

          • A ‘picture’ indeed, one comely photograph, up, up & away in its beautiful balloon ]

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