Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The English Defunct League

Update: should add that Hope Not Hate are doing a good job of actively campaigning against the EDL and their Welsh counterparts

For a while the white racist was left to stew in his own stimuli, getting lazy and fat, enjoying the credit boom, maybe just a bit of domestic violence here and there and a random act of thuggery at the kebab house to offset his prejudicial urges. A bit of a ruck at Oldham and Burnley in 2001 and that. But now, in more circumcised times, he and just a few of his kind they think they’re ready for the fight: eight years after the towers and four after 7/7, the English Defence League is rising with a self-declared mandate to target ‘Islamic extremism’ on our shores. Football is just diving, handbags and foreigners, and they can’t even have a fight with each other at the yearly Oasis gigs now (a real shame, them quitting). So they reckon it’s time to act, what with the Muslims taking jobs that aren’t there etc, and the EDL is a perfect leisure vehicle for those who can’t take the full-on commitment and dogma available elsewhere in the racist marketplace.

The EDL are on the rise, if you believe the press, and crucially like a many racist before them their calling card is that they are not actually racist. ‘No surrender to Al-Qaeda’, they instead state on their polo shirts, whatever that means. They have tried a few demonstrations in Birmingham only to be penned back by local Asian and anti-fascist groups. The action on a Harrow mosque again saw the chunky thugs in Lenin’s term comprehensively outnumbered and outmanoeuvred. So they then decided to stage a protest against the ‘Slamists on Al-Quds day, the day of unity and support for the Palestinians – not an issue that usually has much comeback on the suburban streets of the UK. They were given a fair amount of leverage to do so when the GLA allowed them to protest at Trafalgar Square, meaning the original rally had to move to the Pall Mall.

The EDL is branding like the BNP/C-18/NF would never be able to achieve, almost sounding like a football organisation/firm, and it’s happy for some of its cadres (it wishes!) to dress in the hoolie ‘casual’ style that is somehow still fashionable nearly 30 years on (romanticisation of the look in remakes of the Firm will keep it going for another few) and to adopt rumble/ambush tactics (large-scale rushes are hardly viable with their paucity of numbers and scale of opposition).

As the moves to get Griffin on Question Time and the hyperbolic coverage of Harrow prove, they will get a disproportionate amount of press from a media content vowing to defend free speech at the cost of making many paranoid about social tensions (same truck with the Home Office regarding EDL’s planned Manchester demo in October even when the council have expressly advised against it). They will protest they are not racists while targeting normal Muslims – or will they actually target avowed extremists such as Al-Muhajiroun, the reason why the BNP bloke from Luton started this up in the first place – and the ‘battles’ that ensue will be perfect BNP press/recruitment fodder. They may get more followers from disaffected white males in the major cities, including blue- and white-collar workers confident their employers are comfortable with their activism (again, this isn’t the BNP, honest), but will remain one of those groups unwilling to attribute cause and effect to what isolated examples of Islamic extremism do exist back to its government’s foreign policy.

They are up against an ANL/militant left/local Asian/Muslim opposition more than capable of making it skulk back to the pub, defeated and bitter. And as the Luton case showed, it’s a nasty swig of truth for the EDL that ‘normal Muslims’ are probably doing a better job of getting rid of Islamic extremism on our streets than they are.
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Monday, September 21, 2009

One for the Blues

I tried to avoid clunky relativism when looking for something to sum up the galling events of yesterday. Stone Roses, favourite failed retro-indie band of the 'One Love' Old Trafford crowd, were contenders with How Do You Sleep, but i couldn't bring myself to embed anything with a flat Brown vocal. And i kept coming back to this:

It's been a funny period. just a few days ago i was finishing an affectionate 40th birthday invitation for the United fan partner of my wife's sister. Putting his surname and years on the back of his hero cantona's rolled up collar wasn't being infected with the red peril. it was just a design twist on an iconic image. Now the revulsion is back, even as i know that's pointless against a transparent cartoon criminal such as Baconface and his patently ridiculous views and manipulation of a genuflecting, cum-hungry media, and i am digging up old-school hatred such as this. Haven't felt this wronged since they were given a penalty to settle the Cup derby in the mid-90s, after that Rosler opener.

What gives me succour is that we will inevitably knock Fergie off his fucking perch, and United off theirs. As with all obsessions, like they have with putting us down, it will end in tears. We will get our own modern take on the Dennis Law back-heel. But if football keeps degrading itself at the rate we're currently experiencing (most of it City's fault of course! Look, Bellamy's twatted a Red! Adebayor's raked the Nazi! What next?), I'd have long since taken refuge in something more wholesome like islamofascism instead. 'Course not, Keep the faith.

ps, United fan on a forum: "[I'd also like] a club captain less intellectually challenged and charmless than Gary Neville. I felt ashamed of his behaviour yesterday. I once saw him on Bury Market trying to strike a match on some tripe."
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Alma mater calling

Mrs Truth first walked off Lewisham Way and into Dixon Road to study music at Goldsmiths in 1990. Nineteen years later, she’s back there, doing the music PGCE. It’s at this stage that I honour the blogger’s unofficial visual anonymity code and resist uploading images of her distinctly permy hairdo back then. Whether it worked in more baggy days or was an 80s hangover is not clear. I had a bit of an undergrad reminisci when I saw all the promotional material for the unions, Palestinian solidarity (typos aplenty), what’s on in fresher’s week, Where Can I Get Pissed Cheaply flyers, etc. I was half expecting to see one of those old NME student guides where Miki from Lush tells us what a soak she is and Newman and Baddiel are on the cover.

Impressed to see that in among the standard issue societies - Christian Soc, Sufi Soc, Only Wear Clean Socks on a Wednesday Soc, etc – that there is a Bass Soc dedicated to furthering the worthy cause of sonic bassweight. They put on club nites, basically, and have managed to get Bristol purple wowlers Joker, Gemmy and Guido in for a night at the student union venue, the Stretch. At a fiver each that’s worth going to, although be mindful of Carl’s recent underwhelmed reaction at a similar night at Corsica Studios.

Dubstep forum post on the event with flyer
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

My night out/off

We’d had Waterloo drinks with commuter-friends and were keen for a few hours extra. Cellular research had found us the place – the free afterparty for the new Pull and Bear fashion store at the recently opened and restored Bathhouse in Bishopsgate Churchyard, in the city but just a macbook pro’s throw from Barleyland up the road in Poxton. We were mindful of the trustfund trendy crowd, but resolved to give it a go as the draw was DJs like Cooly G and Brackles, and him from Hot Chip. Down the church alley and the outside is rammed with scenesters, the place smells of Event. We get in the plebs queue, thinking it wouldn’t take long.

After nearly an hour of being prodded and aurally abused by the incessant babble of the Barleys behind us going on about, I dunno, grimestep or something and then doing their own horrific mc routines (how the accent changes then and when they were talking to the door staff), we sack it. Matey on the door said something about needing to have replied to a Facecock invite so our slim chances got even slimmer. They were also making sure everybody from the party was in first. We were now relying on Tommy’s natty shorts being our biggest pull. I need to hear some good music being played out and, sure, the buzz of being in the matrix but not that much. Bye bye idiots. My thoughts were with the angular male quartet who had been up the front, doing their best to appear cool after all that time watching people go past them in and in.

All in all a reminder of other pathetic failures in my clubbing ‘halcyon days’. Later I cycle back and see that the final throngs were getting in at half 2, ready for a half an hour’s bobbing about.
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Park strife

‘Pub in the Park’, featuring the runt of the 80s nost circuit such as Paul Young and T’Pau and the latest psychologically abused from the TV talent circuit, has been cancelled due to a lack of ticket sales. The bookings guy for the Greenwich park event has presumably had to answer a few questions about the lacklustre line-up; their fanbase would much rather pay £25 to see them at the 02.
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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Top 10 of the decade - sixth entry

Appleblim – Vansan (Skull Disco 06 – 2007)
(series growing here)

It was ironic that by the decade’s midpoint the loose federation of dubsteppers had fashioned a slower head- (and bass-) music that was getting people on the floor and ‘dancing’. My clubbing nights were coming down to a couple a year and far too random to require a regular pattern or scene to attach it to, so it was great but personally too late to have sounds come through that re-energised 90s techno/IDM as well as being only a step or two down from Garage. Most everything now would be assessed in Club Crofton, aka my attic in SE4, only one person permitted on most nights.

So curiosity in Skull Disco probably came from the well established route for aging bedroom refugees – the blogosphere and Boomkat, one for hyping, the other for trying before buying. I’d liked Appleblim’s Mystical Warrior on the first release. It was ravey half-step, arguably overindulging in shuddering Duck Fart that connected me back to my late 90s Virus cocoon, but very effective and it would hold its own against the Caspa midweight schlock of this world when played out now.

But this was merely a starting point for Laurie Osborne, the ex-Monsoon Bassoon man, and his moment came on Skull’s sixth release, Vansan the flip to Shackleton’s You Bring Me Down. A perfect fusion of German and Jamaican groove and space, British kick and Detroit escape, it’s the tune I long since imagined was out there if anyone could sublimate the key elements. I’m a sucker for every element on Vansan, the cold Detroitesque space chords reverberating further and further out each time they come round (further nagging at a depleting memory whether I’m imagining any specific tunes that contain this element), the thin bass pads (the low-end has no need to dominate), fluttering top-end ticks twinned with lysergic synth lines, and a nagging note echoed out of all recognition that I liken to the doors on the spacemachine opening and shutting, or more prosaically an aural indicator of a continued high, a narcotic filament flickering back and forth.

All of it is arguably stylistically very singular, everything seems to come through a Tubby-sized echochamber, everything extremely processed in a way that some ‘naturalist’ producers may disdain, but overall effect is the main thing and the instrumentation works brilliantly. The rhythm too remembers the overall function and is hard enough on the bass and snare to keep the tune going, to still be a ‘dance’ tune. Albeit a dance tune for replicants, escaping the chase. If you listen carefully Shackleton buries those orchestral-concrete Detroit slabs in his swirling You Bring Me Down. (When it comes to the bracketing, Shackleton deserves his own section for his jittery orientalist sounds – I’d recommend his creepy El-Din on Mordant as well as the paranoid In the Void on Hobbs’ Evangeline comp. ’Blim’s mix for Dubstep Allstars is also highly recommended.)

But for top 10 purposes I did question Vansan’s inclusion. Appleblim and Peverelist’s Circling, two releases later, came at us with similar tactics and in some areas is arguably even stronger. It takes a variant on those space chords, adds even more anti-freeze and bolsters it with a processed guitar line that crops up on releases every now and then (Peverelist also used it on some mixes for STP, I first heard it on Leftfield’s rmx of Renegade Soundwave as the dreaded ‘trip-hop’ was homing into view, but it emphasises the connection back to mid-90s techno). But in the end Vansan cannot be vanquished as its other elements are more individual – Circling is great but perhaps just a little too aware of its likely audience.

For Skull’s Vandals remix package, German Torsten Profrock as T++ remixed Vansan, putting a but more step into the sound, noodling up the incidentals in his usual style and burying the signature sounds for a more traditionally club-friendly mover. A reasonable job with such golden elements, but like 2562 and FlyLo taking on Martyn’s Vancouver unnecessary and perhaps foolhardy. What can you do but make it more linear? The original Vansan has an atmosphere of its very own, a dub-techno classic out of time and space.

Appleblim in oldish feature on Resident Advisor.
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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Nuum talk veteran

The name's important, says an elder of the dance, but it's the mash-up that counts.

Hugh who had Armando Ianucci's ear, in his self-titled series released on the Murdockhian ownership-is-everything imprint, Fremantle. Saints, get my legal boots a-ready! Bit of Cool Down in the background too.
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Friday, September 04, 2009

Found: Antichrist’s evil sonic twin

It came darting out through thick digital undergrowth yesterday, alerting my hapless humanity to its evil presence with a conceited triumphant howl. Happy to make diabolic pact with nature, the better to wrack psychological ruin on its listeners, Yoga’s Megafauna combines the primal (ie, guitars loaded up to the hilt with FX for full distortion) lurches of a very dark ambient sound with subhuman violation on the cover. Darker still if not as heavy than the mere isolation/alienation of Sunn O))) and co, it’s a potent brew, out on the Holy Mountain label. Check some of the track titles – Seventh Mind, the Hidden People, Chupacabra’s Rotten Flesh, entreaties to ditch rhythmic surface to lose yourself in wooded depth. Overdub some of these tracks on the centrepiece scenes with Willem ‘the arse’ Defoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and we’d be even more bewitched by their/our endless post-lapserian descent. Don’t smoke a number beforehand.
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