Now, true, I have not listened to a Supergrass album since their second one, In It For The Money, a dissapointingly serious affair after the punk rock exuberance of their awesome debut, I Should Coco. I nicked it from an Our Price in Redditch, I think, which says something about just how long ago it was that Supergrass released their second album. Indeed, it was that halycon summer of 1997, the year before Freeserve introduced the internets to the country and everything changed, forever.
That year I was in Redditch. We did a lot of hedge jumping to that Richard The Third joint. 10 years later me and Bizzle supported them at the Dublin Castle in Camden. Warners were considering signing me at the time, and me and my band came on in crazy ninja wrestling masks and scared them off. I got everyone in the crowd to turn around and swear at Wade, then chastised them for doing something soc ruel just because someone told them to.
Brejep – 14
OG score 16. Minus 1 for "So Solid – 21 Seconds" & mMinus 1 for "Rockwell – Somebody’s Watching Me". I should aput that in though, damn.
ChristVon – 18
OG score 20. Minus 1 for "T.I. - Rubber Band" & minus 1 for "Rob Zombie – Never Gonna Stop"
DaveIsAnIdiot – 26
OG score 32! Dave wins Most Wrong Answers. Well done Dave! Minus ½ for "David Hasselhoff - Jump In My Car", Minus ½ for "MC Hammer – Hammer Time", minus ½ for "Wu-Tang Clan – Shimmy Shimmy Ya", minus ½ for "The Klaxons – The Bouncer", mMinus ½ for "U2 – Living Without You", mMinus ½ for "Kelis – Baby I’ve Got Your Money".
OG score 63. Minus 1 for "Kylie – Can't Get You Out Of My Head", minus ½ for that "AIDS video only" weirdness, minus ½ for "Snoop - The One And Only" (did Snoop do a Chesney Hawkes cover I've never heard of?!), minus ½ for "Wade Crescent & Akira The Don – Go DJ".
So there you. Congratulations CripesOnAFriday. YOU WIN! You should celebrate!
Hell, there were a couple of herculean efforts in there. Hunchbakk, brother, you did awesome. Fuck it. You're all winners! You don't all win shoes, them shits are too rare and expensive... but you win something. Even Joey! So send me an email - akirathedon at googlemail.com - with your name, address, T shirt size, etc, (Cripes, I need your shoe size) and I'll see what we can do for y'all.
F! T! W!
Oh, yeah. Agter all that, I guess you want the REAL lost of songs?
It's over here, down the bottom. You can also download the mix, from the same location. GET IN!
That up there's John Pilger speaking at Socialism 2009 in San Francisco on the 4th of July. Forsooth:
"George Bush's inner circle was PC par excellence... it was also the most reactionary. Obama's very presence appears to reaffirm the moral nation. he's a marketing dream... but like Calvin Klein or Beneton, he's a brand that promises something special, something exciting, almost risque... as if he might be radical. As if he might enact change. He makes people feel good. He's a post modern man, with no political baggage. And all that's fake...
I think the real tragedy is that Obama the Brand appears to have crippled or absorbed much of the anti-war movement, the peace movement. Out of 256 Democrats in Congress, 30 – just 30 – are willing to stand up against Obama’s and Nancy Pelosi’s war party. On June the 16th, they voted for $106 billion for more war. The Out of Iraq Caucus is out of action. Its members can’t even come up with a form of words of why they are silent. On March the 21st, the demonstration at the Pentagon by the once mighty United for Peace and Justice drew only a few thousand. The outgoing president of the UPJ, Lesley Kagen, says her people aren’t turning up because, and I quote,
“It’s enough for many of them that Obama has a plan to end the war and that things are moving in the right direction.”
Working to elect a Democratic Presidential candidate may seem like activism, but it isn’t. Activism doesn’t give up. Activism doesn’t fall silent. Activism doesn’t rely on the opiate of hope.
Woody Allen once said, “I felt a lot better when I gave up hope.”
I like that. Real activism has little time for identity politics, which, like exceptionalism, can be fake. These are distractions that confuse and sucker good people. And not only in the United States, I can assure you."
Oh, Pilger, how I have missed you. The speech he gives is quite brilliant, and you can find a full transcript here. He has also adapted some of it in the following article, which I lift wholesale from his home at ITV (and I still find that a little odd).
Mourn on the fourth of July
9 Jul 2009
In an essay for the New Statesman, John Pilger argues that while liberals now celebrate America's return to its "moral ideals", they are silent on a venerable taboo. This is the true role of Americanism: an ideology distinguished by its myths and the denial that it exists. President Obama is its embodiment.
The monsoon had woven thick skeins of mist over the central highlands of Vietnam. I was a young war correspondent, bivouacked in the village of Tuylon with a unit of US marines whose orders were to win hearts and minds. “We are here not to kill,” said the sergeant, “we are here to impart the American Way of Liberty as stated in the Pacification Handbook. This is designed to win the hearts and minds of folks, as stated on page 86.”
Page 86 was headed WHAM. The sergeant’s unit was called a combined action company, which meant, he explained, “we attack these folks on Mondays and we win their hearts and minds on Tuesdays”. He was joking, though not quite. Standing in a jeep on the edge of a paddy, he had announced through a loudhailer: “Come on out, everybody. We got rice and candy and toothbrushes to give you.”
Silence. Not a shadow moved.
“Now listen, either you gooks come on out from wherever you are, or we’re going to come right in there and get you!”
The people of Tuylon finally came out and stood in line to receive packets of Uncle Ben’s Long Grain Rice, Hershey bars, party balloons and several thousand toothbrushes. Three portable, battery-operated, yellow flush lavatories were kept for the colonel’s arrival. And when the colonel arrived that evening, the district chief was summoned and the yellow flush lavatories were unveiled.
“Mr District Chief and all you folks out there,” said the colonel, “what these gifts represent is more than the sum of their parts. They carry the spirit of America. Ladies and gentlemen, there’s no place on earth like America. It’s a guiding light for me, and for you. You see, back home, we count ourselves as real lucky having the greatest democracy the world has ever known, and we want you good folks to share in our good fortune.”
Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Davy Crockett got a mention. “Beacon” was a favourite, and as he evoked John Winthrop’s “city upon a hill”, the marines clapped, and the children clapped, understanding not a word.
It was a lesson in what historians call “exceptionalism”, the notion that the United States has the divine right to bring what it describes as liberty and democracy to the rest of humanity. That this merely disguised a system of domination, which Martin Luther King described, shortly before his assassination, as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world”, was unspeakable.
As the great people’s historian Howard Zinn has pointed out, Winthrop’s much-quoted description of the 17th-century Massachusetts Bay Colony as a “city upon a hill”, a place of unlimited goodness and nobility, was rarely set against the violence of the first settlers, for whom burning alive some 400 Pequot Indians was a “triumphant joy”. The countless massacres that followed, wrote Zinn, were justified by “the idea that American expansion is divinely ordained”.
Not long ago, I visited the American Museum of History, part of the celebrated Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. One of the popular exhibitions was “The Price of Freedom: Americans at War”. It was holiday time and lines of people, including many children, shuffled reverentially through a Santa’s grotto of war and conquest where messages about their nation’s “great mission” were dispensed. These included tributes to the “exceptional Americans [who] saved a million lives” in Vietnam, where they were “determined to stop communist expansion”. In Iraq, other true hearts “employed air strikes of unprecedented precision”. What was shocking was not so much the revisionist description of two of the epic crimes of modern times as the sheer scale of omission.
“History without memory,” declared Time magazine at the end of the 20th century, “confines Americans to a sort of eternal present.. They are especially weak in remembering what they did to other people, as opposed to what they did for them.” Ironically, it was Henry Luce, founder of Time, who in 1941 divined the “American century” as an American social, political and cultural “victory” over humanity and the right “to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit”.
None of this is to suggest that vainglory is exclusive to the United States. The British presented their often violent domination of much of the world as the natural progress of Christian gentlemen selflessly civilising the natives, and present-day TV historians perpetuate the myths. The French still celebrate their bloody “civilising mission”. Prior to the Second World War, “imperialist” was an honoured political badge in Europe, while in the US an “age of innocence” was preferred. America was different from the Old World, said its mythologists. America was the Land of Liberty, uninterested in conquest. But what of George Washington’s call for a “rising empire” and James Madison’s “laying the foundation of a great empire”? What of slavery, the theft of Texas from Mexico, the bloody subjugation of central America, Cuba and the Philippines?
An ordained national memory consigned these to the historical margins and “imperialism” was all but discredited in the United States, especially after Adolf Hitler and the fascists, with their ideas of racial and cultural superiority, had left a legacy of guilt by association. The Nazis, after all, had been proud imperialists, too, and Germany was also “exceptional”. The idea of imperialism, the word itself, was all but expunged from the American lexicon, “on the grounds that it falsely attributed immoral motives to western foreign policy”, argued one historian. Those who persisted in using it were “disreputable purveyors of agitprop” and were “inspired by the communist doctrine”, or they were “Negro intellectuals who had grievances of their own against white capitalism”.
Meanwhile, the “city on the hill” remained a beacon of rapaciousness as US capital set about realising Luce’s dream and recolonising the European empires in the postwar years. This was “the march of free enterprise”. In truth, it was driven by a subsidised production boom in a country unravaged by war: a sort of socialism for the great corporations, or state capitalism, which left half the world’s wealth in American hands. The cornerstone of this new imperialism was laid in 1944 at a conference of the western allies at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire. Described as “negotiations about economic stability”, the conference marked America’s conquest of most of the world.
What the American elite demanded, wrote Frederic F Clairmont in The Rise and Fall of Economic Liberalism, “was not allies but unctuous client states. What Bretton Woods bequeathed to the world was a lethal totalitarian blueprint for the carve-up of world markets.” The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the African Development Bank were established in effect as arms of the US Treasury and would design and police the new order. The US military and its clients would guard the doors of these “international” institutions, and an “invisible government” of media would secure the myths, said Edward Bernays.
Bernays, described as the father of the media age, was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. “Propaganda,” he wrote, “got to be a bad word because of the Germans... so what I did was to try and find other words [such as] Public Relations.” Bernays used Freud’s theories about control of the subconscious to promote a “mass culture” designed to promote fear of official enemies and servility to consumerism. It was Bernays who, on behalf of the tobacco industry, campaigned for American women to take up smoking as an act of feminist liberation, calling cigarettes “torches of freedom”; and it was his notion of disinformation that was deployed in overthrowing governments, such as Guatemala’s democracy in 1954.
Above all, the goal was to distract and deter the social democratic impulses of working people. Big business was elevated from its public reputation as a kind of mafia to that of a patriotic force. “Free enterprise” became a divinity. “By the early 1950s,” wrote Noam Chomsky, “20 million people a week were watching business-sponsored films. The entertainment industry was enlisted to the cause, portraying unions as the enemy, the outsider disrupting the ‘harmony’ of the ‘American way of life’... Every aspect of social life was targeted and permeated schools and universities, churches, even recreational programmes. By 1954, business propaganda in public schools reached half the amount spent on textbooks.”
The new “ism” was Americanism, an ideology whose distinction is its denial that it is an ideology. Recently, I saw the 1957 musical Silk Stockings, starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. Between the scenes of wonderful dancing to a score by Cole Porter was a series of loyalty statements that the colonel in Vietnam might well have written. I had forgotten how crude and pervasive the propaganda was; the Soviets could never compete. An oath of loyalty to all things American became an ideological commitment to the leviathan of business: from the business of armaments and war (which consumes 42 cents in every tax dollar today) to the business of food, known as “agripower” (which receives $157bn a year in government subsidies).
Barack Obama is the embodiment of this “ism”. From his early political days, Obama’s unerring theme has been not “change”, the slogan of his presidential campaign, but America’s right to rule and order the world. Of the United States, he says, “we lead the world in battling immediate evils and promoting the ultimate good... We must lead by building a 21st-century military to ensure the security of our people and advance the security of all people.” And: “At moments of great peril in the past century our leaders ensured that America, by deed and by example, led and lifted the world, that we stood and fought for the freedoms sought by billions of people beyond their borders.”
Since 1945, by deed and by example, the US has overthrown 50 governments, including democracies, crushed some 30 liberation movements and supported tyrannies from Egypt to Guatemala (see William Blum’s histories). Bombing is apple pie. Having stacked his government with warmongers, Wall Street cronies and polluters from the Bush and Clinton eras, the 45th president is merely upholding tradition. The hearts and minds farce I witnessed in Vietnam is today repeated in villages in Afghanistan and, by proxy, Pakistan, which are Obama’s wars.
In his acceptance speech for the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature, Harold Pinter noted that “everyone knew that terrible crimes had been committed by the Soviet Union in the postwar period, but “US crimes in the same period have been only superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all”. It is as if “It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening, it wasn’t happening... You have to hand it to America... masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”
As Obama has sent drones to kill (since January) some 700 civilians, distinguished liberals have rejoiced that America is once again a “nation of moral ideals”, as Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times. In Britain, the elite has long seen in exceptional America an enduring place for British “influence”, albeit as servitor or puppet. The pop historian Tristram Hunt says America under Obama is a land “where miracles happen”. Justin Webb, until recently the BBC’s man in Washington, refers adoringly, rather like the colonel in Vietnam, to the “city on the hill”.
Behind this façade of “intensification of feeling and degradation of significance” (Walter Lippmann), ordinary Americans are stirring perhaps as never before, as if abandoning the deity of the “American Dream” that prosperity is a guarantee with hard work and thrift.. Millions of angry emails from ordinary people have flooded Washington, expressing an outrage that the novelty of Obama has not calmed. On the contrary, those whose jobs have vanished and whose homes are repossessed see the new president rewarding crooked banks and an obese military, essentially protecting George W Bush’s turf.
My guess is that a populism will emerge in the next few years, igniting a powerful force that lies beneath America’s surface and which has a proud past. It cannot be predicted which way it will go. However, from such an authentic grass-roots Americanism came women’s suffrage, the eight-hour day, graduated income tax and public ownership. In the late 19th century, the populists were betrayed by leaders who urged them to compromise and merge with the Democratic Party. In the Obama era, the familiarity of this resonates.
What is most extraordinary about the United States today is the rejection and defiance, in so many attitudes, of the all-pervasive historical and contemporary propaganda of the “invisible government”. Credible polls have long confirmed that more than two-thirds of Americans hold progressive views. A majority want the government to care for those who cannot care for themselves. They would pay higher taxes to guarantee health care for everyone. They want complete nuclear disarmament; 72 per cent want the US to end its colonial wars; and so on. They are informed, subversive, even “anti-American”.
I once asked a friend, the great American war correspondent and humanitarian Martha Gellhorn, to explain the term to me. “I’ll tell you what ‘anti-American’ is,” she said. “It’s what governments and their vested interests call those who honour America by objecting to war and the theft of resources and believing in all of humanity. There are millions of these anti-Americans in the United States. They are ordinary people who belong to no elite and who judge their government in moral terms, though they would call it common decency. They are not vain. They are the people with a wakeful conscience, the best of America’s citizens. They can be counted on. They were in the South with the civil rights movement, ending slavery. They were in the streets, demanding an end to the wars in Asia. Sure, they disappear from view now and then, but they are like seeds beneath the snow. I would say they are truly exceptional.”
Adapted from an address, Empire, Obama and the Last Taboo, given by John Pilger at Socialism 2009 in San Francisco on 4th July
"If you stuck Iggy Pop, James Brown, David Bowie and, um, Shirley Bassey in a lift... you'd have our band! Ha ha ha!"
Where's my SMH gif?
Ah, there he is.
"We'll be at home, kocking up some beats or whatever on reason or Logic or, you know, Ableton or whatever, then we, we kind of... we get together... and mash... you know, hy... two types of songs... sort of a hybrid... of songs, really. Delia Smith style, you know, Phsychedelia Smith, chuck it all in and see what happens."
Only a gif can describe my feelings right about now. Where's that gif I use in times like this?
Aaaaah. There he is.
There's a part two. You want a part two?
Well, have one anyway.
Oh dear Lord I just did some kind of awful scretching cackle at 2:01 and freaked out my neighbours. Ray Gun descibes what their song, Waiting, is all about.
We waited eight years to get the record, out. You know, we'd been writing for eight years, there was time, when, you know, we had no work, and, there was, there was a time when I was at the job centre, trying to get a... job. In music. And they couldn't even get me a job in one of the record stores."
There is no gif for this. Anyone got a suggestion?
So, they had a festival next to my house this weekend. Naturally I was away, at a surprise 60th birthday party, honing my uncle skills, playing with balloons, hiding behind bushes, and mopping up sick. "You didn't miss much," said Jeres. "I think it would have made you angry."
He's probably right. While my shopkeeper and his manchild lackey are lovely, my neighbours are mostly pretentious art snobs, and a whole festival full of them and their pals does indeed sound quite hellish, especially compared to hanging out with my three year old common law niece, who can't hold her chocolate but is fantastic company regardless. The artholes had a party the other week and kept me up until 4 in the morning playing terrible Michael Jackson bootlegs. My Quit Smoking With Paul McKenna hypnosis CD won out in the end, but still. I am in danger of breaking my all-people-loving bubble and going Hulk - splitting my wifebeater and re-entering that world of pain I used to rage around in, like a drop of water in a hot chip-pan. Grah!
How long, Dear lord, how long? I am assuming there is a light at the end of this rotten tunnel, but what if there's just another fucking tunnel? My cells are fading and I hate all that God damned drip-drip-dripping. There is hole forming in the centre of my skull. I would have hoped it to have been my third eye opening, but I fear it may be a second arsehole.
Ho hum. Radio 4 tells me, monotonically, that Barclays just announced six month profits of £2.98bn (billion), "slightly below analysts' forecasts"... HSBC, meanwhile, made $5bn (billion). Why they relay their glad tidings in dollars and Barclays do it in pounds is beyond the ignorant likes of myself, but I know one thing, and that is that we are being taken the fucking piss out of, on a fucking gargantuan scale, and that I haven't run amok in The City with some nunchakus and a bazooka is merely a byproduct of my not being able to afford nunchakus and a bazooka.
Ha! When I told you to "make sure you’re here at the start of next week... I am gonna be getting up to some of my old tricks," I didn't mean moaning like an old gitbag about crap I shouldn't be concerned with. (Damn, I used to be fucking good at that.) No, I meant something else. Hold tight, tomorrow's looking good OK.
Another festive akirathedon.com exclusive, this comes from former Piranah Deathray frontman and occasional Women melodicist Blonde Jeremy Deacon. It is a haunting, beautiful thing (Debenhams' Store Santa says it sounds like The Shadows) and I am most proud to be able to present it as if t'were part of a mating ritual. HAVE AT YE!
So, I got some (ha!) sleep, and I listened to the noises Birddogg was making up here while I was down in New York, doing whatever it was I was doing in New York. Like, there's some ill stuff. But one in particular is just tremendous. it is mighty. It fills my heart. And prefectly fits so many of the raps I was writing in New York, tempom flow, everything. So, what I've done, is draw various raps, and bits of raps, together, to create this New York song that's been brewing all the time I've been here. It is best I get it out now, before I FORGET.
Annoyingly, the necassary component is missing. So piss.
Bad: All the stuff I bought last week - food, drink, socks, weed - is gone. Mostly. I got a lot of Ritz crackers, peanut butter and macaroni.
Good: There's a Death's Head Moth on my window. (See right)
Bad: There is animal shit by my window.
Good: The air outside is fresh and envigorating.
Bad: The air in the top level of the house, in which I am supposed to be dwelling, is thick with the stink of animal and of animal excrement.
I went to turn on the sauna earlier, and nearly trod in cat shit. Or dog shit. It could be both. Whatever. It's like, wow, sauna! Oh, catshit. Wow! Oh. Wow! Oh.
Etc. So, I wanted to go into town and get a job today, to pay for my ticket back to New York, but waited about for people to come with me rather than just doing it, and the end result is it's super late now, too late to get a job anywhere, and everyone's going into town to go out, save me, who must stay at home cos he has no ID (this is a worry), and it's too far to chance not being allowed in anywhere.
So I should write more now. I wrote a bunch earlier. Phil is worrying that Amy has forotten his ass, as she went in her tiny car to take Cecelia and James over an hour ago. But she hasn't forgotten him. It's just miles from ShanGayKen to Woodstoock! A HA!
I just asked Spiky if he has a message for the world. He said, "spitroast!" So there you go.
So, there were a bunch of updates and pictures and things, and they got wiped! Oh, the tragedy.
So, a recap. On my last day on Rivington Street I saw a white thug in an open-top Hummer drive by blasting out 'I Want The One I Can't Have' and nodding along with a serious expression about his face.
Then we went.
Wade and I ended up on the coach, as there was no room in the van, or car. We got there early, and checked out the scene. The scene is small.
We don't actually live in Woodstock. We live in Shandaken, outside. Well, just outside. Half way up a mountain, hidden away by forest, amongst bears and chipmunks and what have you. In a big old dusty house full of weird porn and broken stuff, with brown water and giant ants. Like, there's a jacuzzi, but it doesn't seem to work. There is the biggest TV you've ever seen, but it's got a big black tear across the front and doesn't tune properly. It's a two hour walk to the nearest shop, whihc is a petrol station, and does a good line in biscuits. The local girl's got a lot of guns.
It is very lovely to look at up in Shandaken. Mountains covered in trees, mainly. Streams. Clouds so low you can jump up and punch them.
I miss Wade, who is back in London sorting out affairs. All my stuff is in boxes.
So I fell alseep on the sofa after 5, and was awakened gently by Super Phil at 6:20, and it transpired Bird left my bag with my passport in it at the venue last night. But Bird's got me another ID card, so we're outside waiting for Jeff to pick us up at 6:30.
And at midday we're in LA, and soon after that we're in Interscope's offices,and I'm filling a bag with Nirvana, Guns N Roses, Gilbert And Sullivan, Dre, Peter Gabriel, Police and other such back catalogue. Jimmy Iovine has a signed letter from Tupac and a video console that won't switch on. And loads of ideas. A balcony. A lush view. LA is lush to look at, from these places of advantage. Like, later we visit Jeff and Trent's, and there's this fucking alien cat that loves me, and an incredible, incredible view, of this desolate wilderness spattered with money.
It was a lovely day.
But in the nighttime it is hard not to see that LA is awash with cunts. It is a sad and massive amount of cunts, and I am not sure whether it is sad because this is what the world did to them, or because this is what they do to the world, or because they are cunts, and you can see their faces rotting right in front of your eyes.
After a nice little rest, I am back in London with a pink pack of eyeballs on my case. That shit looked nice on IE, but fucked up Mozilla. I don't know what it was doing to Macs. So he will live to the right.
Read a bunch of Hilaire Belloc's The History Of England Vol XI, From The First Invasion By The Romans To The Ascension Of King George The Fifth on the train. I now realise that we are living in an oligarchy. Well, a strange, new fangled sort of oligarchy masked as a democracy. With a bit of a monarchy. But it is an oligarchy, nonetheless.
This book was published in 1915, and, interestingly, predicted that Russia would do what America has. The author is also in favour of true aristocracy, and I can see his point.