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Wow.

In case you’re not familiar, the usual preamble needs to be laid down, in order to enable readers to gen themselves up. Classixx are a duo who base themselves in the city which embodies American frontierism and the promise of a better future, the ultimate destination for anybody who sets off from anywhere, in true Sal Paradise style; that city is of course Los Angeles.

They make music. That is all you really need to know. Just listen to the song “Holding On” and you will understand. Usually I sneer nonchalantly and with an almighty amount of disdain at almost anything which receives an unfair, as the case usually is; amount of hype. 

Sometimes though, very occasionally, something blows you away. You grow to realise that any pretence of “not liking” it becomes futile because it is so damned good.

Do you remember the late nineties? When songs were in vogue, you know proper danceable tunes, with structure and vocals. Not just blaring, distorted, dystopian synths. Not just “drops” but melodies. I’ve written before how the American bastardisation of “EDM” (whatever that means, anyway) has had a detrimental impact on the quality of “dance music”.

Classixx, though. They’re clever. They haven’t gone in for the usual sonic atrocities meted to our ears from american producers. No. They’ve done something which is rare, it is to be cherished and nutured and played on repeat all summer.

The song. My goodness, is it an anthem. Not insofar as its lyrics will really place the authors at some sort of vanguard for people, but because it is anthemic. I hate myself for the comparison, but I feel this needs done: If you think Daft Punk’s catchy, but essentially throwaway; “Get Lucky” is the best song ever, you need to hear this.

It completely wipes the floor with that song. This is applicable to all situations, all contexts. Whether it be an english beach barbecue or a balearic set closer. It is, in the truest sense of the word, epic.

Even if you do not get FedEx to ship you a copy from Austria, get it in your life. It is six minutes, twenty seconds of pure, summer infused bliss.

“I’ve been holding on/ I can’t take it anymore”, goes the vocal. You know what? It is correct.

I’m just going to lose myself in this song.

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So as not to trick you into reading something which will potentially offend you, I will start off by being blunt: I hate the charade that surrounds Armistice Day. If this idea offends you, and your mind is closed; then by all means click the “x” on the tab and away yourself to enjoy your day. That is your prerogative. As it is mine to not wear a poppy, and to not support the British Legion or Help for Heroes.

The problem emanates with people, unfortunately. In Britain, it is the correct thing to “support our boys” as “heroes”. Most of the time, people who do not engage with, and participate in; such behaviour tend to be viewed as subversive, as outsiders, as inflammatory. I’m none of these things, I’m merely anti-War. People say that Remembrance Day is about showing “respect” and “honouring the dead” of wars. It would be great, except that isn’t what it has become.

Really showing respect and honouring those who have died in wars, would be to either ultimately end all war or to live as the society they died to defend. One where to have a contrary opinion is not a crime, is not going to be a dark mark against your name and character, is not going to paint you in the most noticeable of colours.

I detest war. I detest the capitalist state because its end function is war. War generates revenue. War acquires resources to sell. War is capitalism.

But it is not only that. The Red Poppy is the fundraising tactic of the British Legion. They in turn give the monies to British soldiers. They make no distinction between the Conscripts of the First World War, the Anti-Fascist War of the thirties and forties – and wars like the Falklands and Afghanistan and Éire. The Red Poppy crowd want to whitewash over history, to paint an image of the archetypal British Soldier as somebody who only engages in conflict with the very best of intentions and as a very last resort. Somebody who would never kill unarmed civilians who are fleeing, would never skink a ship sailing away and outside the conflict zone, somebody who would never attempt to cover up a massacre in a “British” city.

The truth is, it is not that simple. The British Armed Forces are neither heroes nor villains. They do what they are told. There is no heroic spirit. Merely killing as a result of killing. Which begets more killing. Also, there is the question of whether or not the British Army is in fact even an army anymore, when it is deployed more as a paramilitary police force. It is pre-emptive, first to strike and heavy-handed. Ask the Irish people, if you want to have your views challenged.

War is not a nice little abstract idea that happens “elsewhere”. That is what people who organise them would like us to believe, as it is good for morale; and there’s less chance of people turning against it if it isn’t on their doorstep; people other than british soldiers die in War. Where is their remembrance? Is there room for the civilians of Dresden on the Poppy? For the Fourteen murdered in Doire? Baile Átha Cliath? Muineachán? The Argentinians on the Belgrano? The Mau Mau?

See, the problem is, the Red Poppy is about normalising war and reducing dissent. It encourages people to think only in terms of “black and white” wherein the army is on the side of the Angels, and the Enemy is Satan reincarnate. It encourages people to forget that civilians, too; are damaged beyond repair by shrapnel, by poor planning and by callousness.

Remembrance Day has become a propaganda tool. Wear a White Poppy to remember all War dead. Or wear none at all to show that you are living in a country that the men and women from the Second World War would recognise. One where dissent is considered a vital part of the due process of “democracy”.

People often go on and on about what it is that separates those born amongst those united states they collectively call America, and those who happened on being born in the fractious barely-united-anymore kingdom. These seem people often note it is language, a shared tongue that somehow became corrupted.

This is indeed true, and people emphasise this point by highlighting the english “become” and the american “gotten”. Both different words, as I’m sure you’ll attest but one is a more correct version of the other. Where this point is really emphasised though, is in connotation.

Take sports teams. In the US, the refrain is “Let’s go X!”, whereas in england it is “Come on X!” and if you’re incredibly well-travelled and versed in the nuances of supporting a team in the uk, you’ll hear “Come oan tae fuck X!” if you’re en ecosse. Let’s delve into this. It’s semantics, and also a question of anger. Of psychology. Of mentality.

The american way of showing a support of one’s team “Let’s go!” is really a polite request. “Let us” is not as assertive as the variations found in the british isles. It is, on a subconscious level; asking – “let” is the speaker seeking approval for what they’re about to do. Quite quaint really when you consider what an amusing juxtaposition this is. This is also a nation that has no problem forcibly spreading their form of governance using the sword and the unmanned drone.

The english way, as is ever so often the case; appears to be offering annoyance, that the team has not already performed such perfunctory tasks as keeping possession rather than playing to win and ultimately lose. “Come on!” is a shout of rage, of disbelief of pure snobbery. The fan finds it incomprehensible that the team is yet to acquiesce with their demand of scoring or defending or clearing or passing the ball. It is contempt for anybody not tuned into the same tactical frequency. They therefore must be stupid, because as anyone who has watched sport in england will attest; there is no better qualified expert to discuss the nuances of the preceding match than the fan.

Ironic too, is this cry as the english person is not one whose stereotype indicates a churlish, crass character; but instead one of reverence. Of stoic protestant ideals, of keeping schtum, of doing what is necessary to get by and not much else.

“Come oan tae fuck”. This is the best cry to your sports team. Whilst being a little bit intentionally uninterpretable, what does “come on to fuck” actually mean…; it is also incredibly aggressive and assertive. Everything for which the scots acquired their reputation in the past. And they make no bones about it.

Unambiguous, unifying, alienating.

Now, if you’re no gonnae read any moor, get ye tae fuck.

Armando Ianucci is a superb mind, and has a superb knack of displaying a vision of how we think the country is run. During previous seasons of TToI, it was genuinely satirical because there appeared to be an air of “we know what we’re doing” emanating from within the gilded hallways of power. This series seems to fall a little flat, admittedly after only three episodes; because it is no longer mocking anymore. I believe that, the LibDems’ characters aside; it is how government happens.

So far it has felt a little forced. Now with three parties all vying for attention, it makes the stories a little more fraught and all-encompassing. Obviously the idea of TToI without Tucker et al is not possible – but taking us to their “ShadCab” feels unnecessary. We know how unloved the opposition is because we are the people ignoring them, it seems a bit redundant to show us the opposition in a room feeling unloved.

Whilst it has felt messy, the stand-out characters have been Peter Mannion MP and Phil. Once TToI is approached from an emotionally disinvested viewpoint, Phil becomes really a good character. Rather than being a twat in a suit, he becomes a walking joke. Something even funny as Phil himself is acutely aware of just how out-of-place, and out of love he is.

Mannion feels very much like Ken Clarke. Someone who originally felt like a radioactive spillage – something to avoid and leave well alone; now feels rather human. Rather, dare I say it; likeable. His mishaps are not evil engineered by the party machine, but rather an inopportune moment with a lens thrust in his face. I hate his policies, but I could accept his existence.

The real meat of TToI has always been in sweary, creative put-downs. This doesn’t really work in the environment of a coalition government. The key idea being to work together, so everyone is trying to get along. When things do go wrong, the outbursts are funny (see Stewart breaking Phil’s phone) but it is more out of angry spontaneity instead of genuine cold calculation and the desire to embarrass Ben Swain/ Nicola Murray/ anyone else.

I love TToI, and you’d have thought that a government split between the industry killing Tories and pointless Lib Dems would be a haven for Ianucci. A shame that the new characters get in the way. Obviously, for continuity reasons the actors couldn’t just become a different party in the same universe. That would be simple lunacy. But there is no empathy, not even through a malevolent dose of Schadenfreude. For it to really work, the characters have to make you believe they are worth investing in.

It makes even grimmer viewing for somebody who is well acquainted with Ianucci’s recent work in the USA, Veep. Much the same sort of set-up as in TToI, but focusing on the Office of the Vice President. Maybe it just seems better because it is fresh, the characters and situations are new. Whether or not that is the case, TToI needs to buck its ideas up, otherwise this last season will forever be remembered as the show on its last, confused legs.

Specifically in music. I’m conflicted here. I will explain why. In 2006/7 me and one of my friends chanced upon an up-and-coming rapper whose guise was satire. He’d rap about topics in a light, almost nonchalant manner which would belie his often serious observations. It was witty. It was real. It wasn’t important that he was relatively unknown. We didn’t much care for that; “hipster” was a dirty word yet to be invented in the universe we inhabited.
So what’s my problem?
I can’t decide if it is morally just to completely change everything about you as an artist, because you know that is what appeals to record label suits, and people who listen to Radio 1. Is there merit in distancing yourself from your niche, from where your true talent resided in order to play festival stages at 3pm.
I feel at this juncture I ought to explain that I have no problem with a natural progression of styles. I love “Humbug” just as much as I love “Whatever People Say I Am…” for example. What concerns me, is how quickly and willingly artists are shedding their former skin for a chance at pop success.
I am also aware that living as an impoverished artist is not ennobling. Alas, we all need to have something we can market and exploit for financial gain. That is sadly the state of the world. But to what end? Is it callous and cynical to switch from making challenging music about nuclear weapons to songs about saying nothing? It is not that it sounds like the sort of thing that the blokes from Panic! At The Disco and The Killers would throw up after a heavy night out “clubbing”, but; there is no substance.
Also, I suppose with the change in target audience, there is (paradoxically) a lowering of expectations and criticism from your fan base. If the only reason they listen to your music is as a soundtrack to drinking holidays in the south of Europe or for lounging in a field, then they aren’t really too fussy. So long as it has absurd synths and vocodaed vocals. The more successful you are, the more your fans think you are capable of driving the bus per se.
This is not an anti-Example rant. I own lots of his early stuff on records, I’ve seen him in intimate venues and supporting Faithless. He was just the best example I could find, when considering wholesale changes in style for popularity. I wish him all the success he can garner, I really do; I just wish he would sometimes acknowledge and perform as his persona from What We Made.
Artists should never be bound by convention, that is a given. True art is forever pushing taboos and tastes and expectations. That is what art does- it holds up a mirror to reflect how distorted a people we have become.

 

If Example’s latest stuff is reflecting the true state of this people, and this generation then I am definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time.

i know that in the Buddhist scriptures it tells us not to attach meaning to material objects. i know this. i also know that as a human, i am fallable. i am nowhere near able to collapse such a part of mind. i am trying. i am getting there. i will not buy something because of an advert, for example.
but there’s just something about vinyl. it is alluring and beguiling. it is physical. it is permanent and a symbol of the human ability to make things which will far outlive our own individual existences.
nasa even sent records into space on the deep space probes. they’re beautiful.

You know sometimes when you get the feeling that something or someone isn’t being entirely honest with you? They are probably aware that you know you don’t trust them, and can not rely on them to be there for you; so instead of admitting it- they just ignore your problem and try and force down your throat a completely unrelated topic?

I’m pretty sure that’s what is happening with these olympics. The ever-so-inept “bastard Tory” governmnet knows it can no longer fob people off with “it was Labour! Blame them! shut up !” so they distract everyone by making the state-run television broadcaster report ceaselessly on whether or not anyone who gives a fuck can get to Stratford.

(The answer is yes. But at the cost of everybody who gives precisely 0 fucks).

It’s not that I am anti-sport. I love sport. There are few more socially inclusive and rewarding experiences than going to a park and taking a football. I am anti this olympiad. I am anti the fact that it is enough to get you evicted from your home for raising the idea that having SAMs on the top of your flat is maybe a bit absurd.

Think about the “security” aspect. Surface to Air Missiles; Destroyer class war ship docked (I’ll say this in italics, so as to convey my astonishment) in Central London; more troops on the streets than I have ever known; 3 hour searching procedures at the venues; a combined effort by G4S, the police AND the crown forces to “secure” the games.

Against whom or what, are the games being protected? The rationale is that the SAMs etc are merely a deterrent to “anybody who is protesting, or trying to make a point” as I saw on the BBC News Channel recently. So the olympics are not only “politically neutral” (ahem bollocks) but they infringe upon the right of the Human which was set out in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”

So LOCOG and the IOC really mean to say that they are happy to break Human Rights Law, so that what? Visa and McDonalds are happy? This is absurd. The truth of it is there is no “terrorist” threat. Only once have the games ever been attacked. The real threat, or perceived threat, to London 2012 is branding. The Ministry of Information refuses to accept that people may wish to pay by cash, or eat something OTHER than the shit McDonalds throw at you. At a time of great economic hardship, as we are constantly reminded weekly on the tele-screens that we can not turn off and which monitor our every reaction; when there have been and will continue to be massive ideological cuts to ensure the poor stay where we are and the rich never get investigated again- was it so wise to be so opulent? The billions wasted on a stadium that will never be re-used in its current form could have “helped reduce the deficit” as our Dear Leaders are always telling us we must do. The quaterly reduction of the deficit has not yet met its required quota, Comrades!

So, yeah, enjoy the sport by all means. But, if you’re willing to accept the drug taking, the tax avoiding, the lack of promised development, the stifling of free speech, the monopolising, the great behemoth of utter wretchedness that is “The Olympic Games”, then by all means continue.

I just want to see sport without all the suits.

What did i do to deserve the contempt? Why does the media portray me as someone who contributes nothing; something worthy of no considerate treatment? Those with employment often talk or write as though envious of us. Please let’s swap then. If you want to live on c. £200 pcm go right ahead.
I will personally swap with you. So you can see all the council housing i don’t have, the lcd tvs i don’t have. D’you see where i am headed?
I have 4 A levels. I played the ‘go to uni even though you’ll hate it game’ thus here I am. My A levels include 2 foreign languages. Am i really worthless? The media never stops to think that people suffer from unemployment. It is damaging psychologically. The stress is awful. The threats pen pushes come out with would be farcical were they not dangerous.
You all clock watch, I get that. Everyone gets bored. However, you know nothing of boredom until you waste hours everyday hoping in vain for just one piece of good luck. That’s all it is. That’s the margin between happiness, acceptance and security -and failure.

So Martin, who was never involved in the war, has shaken hands with the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army. He has
now accepted the partition of Éire.

Vote 32CSM or éirígí.

Spending the day listening to soundcloud, in a chat roulette sort of way.

And waiting for the Red Kite to fly back over this way. Majestic bird flying in perfect spirals. Gorgeous.

Looking for early Adele 7″ on the net too. Elusive.