Bernard Butler’s People Move On is 17 years old.

In 1998 Britpop was on it’s last legs as people moved onto other things. People bought Kula Shaker albums. Things were pretty poor, but one album came out that for me is the last great burst of what Britpop was at it’s best when it created great forward looking music with a tinge of what influenced it, rather than tired retreads of what Noel Gallagher heard in his mam’s record collection.

That album is Bernard Butler’s People Move On. It didn’t do especially well on it’s release though I remember it being quite critically praised, mainly for it’s Nick Drake/Phil Spector influences. The big single, Stay, grazed the UK top ten as did the album but didn’t hang around as long as it should have.

Butler by this point had left Suede (and I’ve mentioned before my love for Suede) due to ‘creative differences’, which led to a splendid collaboration with David McAlmont, but this album came as  something that at the time I adored and still do. So when pottering around this morning I realised this album is 17 years old it doesn’t make me feel depressingly old, it makes me feel sad that such a fantastic album is nearly lost in the history of music, which is sad as you can hear a lot of acts that seem like they’ve listened to this album and drawn from it. None though have that talent for melody, tune and song Butler has.

Anyhow, here’s the album in it’s Youtube version. Enjoy.

The SNP didn’t inflict Thatcher on the UK by stabbing Labour in the back

There’s a line being used by mainly Labour tribalists as well as people that weren’t even born, let alone having any idea of Scottish or British political history, that the SNP stabbed Labour in the back and let Margaret Thatcher in.

 

Here’s just one example from this afternoon of someone not bothering to check that what they’re saying is actually not a lie Labour have dragged out over and over for decades.

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The fact is that it’s a lie as pointed out in this excellent Wings Over Scotland piece, and this one that has now been trimmed into a handy graphic.

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The fact is that people bleating ‘the SNP gave us Thatcher’ miss a point that not only did the Tories get voted in by the people outside of Scotland, but that the Labour government of that time was falling to bits anyhow. It was a dead duck government along the lines of John Major’s in 1996/1997 that was limping along as much as possible to remain in power.Also, have a look at this here. This is a map of the UK constituencies after the 1979 election, Note the blue in Scotland.

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The sad truth is that the people voted the Tories in at the 1979 election and that included a large number of people in Scotland. Of course the next election was different as Thatcherism bit hard but Scotland still returned a lot of Tory votes and even the last election Thatcher fought as Tory leader saw Scotland voting Tory in large parts of the country. It wasn’t until 1997 that the Tories were wiped out in Scotland, though there’s still a large Tory vote that returns MSP’s for Holyrood.

So the idea that 11 SNP MP’s inflicted personally upon the British people Thatcherism is simply ludicrous. History shows the truth that they didn’t but yet people insult the intelligence of many by pushing this insane line that Jim Callaghan failed because the SNP stabbed them in the back. They didn’t.

Perhaps if Labour want to have people turn back to them they can stop lying or living in the past and start presenting a positive socially democratic vision rather than squirm around convincing children that the SNP=bad!

Cameron versus Milliband: The Battle for Number 10

The first debate of the election is raging as I type this and David Cameron has just batted off some hard questions from Jeremy Paxman, and is now struggling with some of the softest, most softball questions you can imagine from the studio audience. The lack of sincerity is amazing but not unexpected, while the format has been engineered in such a way that it suits Cameron yet it’s making him look cold, aloof, fake and well, slimy. Again, this isn’t a surprise.

Cameron’s clearly learned from the debates last time and last year for the Scottish independence referendum that the status quo candidate or representative looks terrible, so has tried as hard as possible to mitigate that effect. Yet, he’s still terrible and the foundation he’s slapped on to make him look less shiny is just hilarious.

Now it’s Ed Milliband’s turn. His first question as some pish about why he doesn’t cheer up. This is blatantly ridiculous.As regular readers of this blog know I’m no longer a Labour voter having seen the party leave me some time ago, but it’s clear Milliband is getting tougher questions from the audience but is remarkably handling it well which isn’t saying much. There is however no questions about Scotland until Jeremy Paxman asks Milliband about ‘Alex Salmond’s blood money’. So yeah, fuck you Paxman.

At the end neither leader came out on top, though possibly Milliband shaved it yet even so he still looked a bloody shambles, but at least seemed not to be a shiny reptilian like Cameron. Though Cameron’s foundation to calm down his shininess was hilarious in its vanity.

As I write this now it’s the next morning and according to one poll in the Guardian, Cameron won the debate which even a SNP/Green voter like myself finds extraordinary. Now both men were playing in a one-legged arse kicking competition and as bad as Milliband was (how many millions cringed at the ‘hell yeah’ moment?) he at least came out and answered questions, and didn’t evade, obfuscate and openly lie (the UK was not ‘as broke as Greece’) as Cameron did.

Did that convince anyone? Possibly it made a few people havering to go for Labour, and all it did was to play to Tory confirmation bias, but there was a paucity of debate, intelligence and genuine actual passion for the causes both men are supposed to represent. It’s the utter opposite of the debates during the Scottish independence referendum and for me, shows not only how far behind politics outside Scotland is, but also the lack of decent, intelligent leaders compared to people like Nicola Sturgeon or Patrick Harvie. Hell, even Ruth Davison would be more palatable than that Cameron dick.

Next week it’s the only time Milliband and Cameron get to face off, albeit with Sturgeon, Bennett, Wood, Clegg and the far right UKIP leader Farage. That should be a sight to behold…

The Labour Party have no plan for the future

I’ve just had an email from Labour asking me to vote for them in my constituency here in Bristol.

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Thing is I’m going to vote for the Greens as they stand a chance of winning, aren’t mired in corruption, supporting illegal wars, voting for austerity, scandal ridden careerists many on Labour are. Also, the Greens are in an alliance with the SNP and Plaid Cymru, so it’s only way I can show my support for a progressive group of parties that should hopefully reform this country once and for all. Of course this is all wishful thinking and anyhow, I know all about my local MP having mentioned his actions previously.

The problem is that Labour aren’t campaigning here on a positive vision for the people of Bristol West, but using the same tactic they are in Scotland of negative campaigning to get the sitting MP out, or live on past glories or in this case, top all that with nothing at all about what Labour will do for this area, which as I’ve pointed out, is a pretty complex area mixing extreme poverty, middle class comfort, hipster-led gentrification and astonishing riches.

No, the astonishing thing is Labour trying to get cash and using this line.

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Labour are painting a image of them making a new type of campaign, yet only a few days ago it was revealed they’ve got their own millionaire backer which is only one in a line of them.

Truth is both Tories and Labour are funded by a small group of millionaires as well as party memberships, but it’s these massive donations that allows both parties to have a iron grip on campaign spending and therefore what you and I see in the next few weeks before the election. Labour has no intention of fighting a different sort of campaign as anyone paying attention to Scotland can tell you, but the truth is that at the start of the election campaign both parties are going to lie, cheat, obfuscate and simply talk shite while all the time we get no positive vision of a country. Just this shite about voting to keep the other lot out and endless bouts of entitlement from the pair of them.

Be warned, this is only going to get worse in an election where Tory and Labour know neither stand any good chance of a clear majority so are going to pull every trick in the book.

What I thought of They’re Not Like Us #4

Thoughts about #1#2 and #3.

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This issues title comes from The Jam and thanks to this comic I heard a song I’ve probably not heard in a couple of decades at least since I used to hang around sleazy clubs in Leicester during the times they had alternative nights and it was ‘grab a goth’ Mondays. Oh happy days….

So, as for this issue it opens with Blurgirl having a nightmare about her parents, speaking to Syd about it and Syd finding out that all the kids in this house may have superpowers but they all dream of their parents.

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The Voice however hasn’t got time for Syd to come to terms with her new situation, let alone have her parent find her. There’s also the problem for this group that Syd isn’t a killer, and that matters with this group that fight to defend themselves from people such as the policeman trying to track Syd down.

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This isn’t just a story of teenage superheroes trying to come to terms with their abilities as you’d see in the X Men, but this is about teenage angst, pain and the manipulation teenagers suffer and inflict upon each other. Yes there’s the sort of angst you might get in a mainstream teen superhero comic but there’s something nastier, darker and crueler about  where this is going, and with next issue promising to tell the story of The Voice we might as readers be getting answers to what exactly is his agenda.

I’d like to see a more political agenda come to the front here to temper the angst, but They’re Not Like Us is good solid storytelling, a little obvious at times, but it’s developing quite nicely as a drama that happens to involve kids with superpowers.

What I thought of The Wicked and the Divine #9

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5#6#7 and #8.

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This issue of the increasingly excellent The Wicked and the Divine is about answers to little questions that have been dropped in throughout the series so far. Of course it’s not for everything, but there’s enough to tease along the story quite nicely as Annake (the ‘mother’ of these young Gods) reveals some secrets.

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Apart from being sagely and wise, she’s also got a nice line in putdowns.

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There’s a lot of chat here as various people draw answers from the mysterious Annake reveals some truths about the creations of the Gods and just what their purpose is.

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This is a big issue in terms of plot. There’s the introduction of the twelfth god to complete the pantheon, a dark plot, some revelations, and on top of all this something has happened to Laura. It’s a cracking issue for something that’s really pages and pages of people talking to each other but this works mainly because Gillen and McKelvie keep it always interesting. In effect it’s an opposite of last issues big dance scene, and this is the morning after chat that often happens after a big night out.

The Wicked and the Divine has become possibly, the best superhero-type comic out there right now. If you’ve been missing this then get on board now, but give it a few issues as it’ll be worth it by the time you get to here as it’s a splendid example of how to do mainstream comics.

What I thought of The Multiversity: Ultra Comics

Thoughts about The Multiversity #1,  Society of Super Heroes, The Just Pax AmericanaThunderworld AdventuresGuidebook and Mastermen

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Multiversity comes to its penultimate issue and it makes us, the readers, part of the story from the off.

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Right away Morrison attempts to draw the reader in and make them culpable for the events within it, but this is hardly something new as Morrison is really taking this from the Flash stories of Gardner Fox and Julie Schwartz from the 1950’s and 1960’s. This though is the ‘haunted comic’ that’s popped up in most issues of this series, and that by reading it to the end the reader is going to unleash something terrible upon our universe.

The idea is that Ultra Comics is alive. the very comic we’re reading is sentient so it reacts to the reader. This allows Morrison to get more meta than he’s even been before as he makes a few comments about superhero comics or every era.

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We’re also warned at regular intervals that we can stop reading, to turn back and to leave this comic alone, which really is lifted from Fox and Schwartz but there’s a slight difference in tone.

multiversity28Morrison has the reader connect directly with Ultra that allows him to fire out some comments you’d expect to hear bloggers like myself say (and indeed, have said) about Morrison’s work, not to mention superhero comics in general.

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Ultra Comics is an interesting experiment that on one hand is the most interesting issue of Multiversity so far but there’s little bitter barbs that are perhaps more than just Morrison trying to have a living comic that’s reactive to the thoughts of the readers.  There’s an oddly bitter tone Morrison takes that isn’t just about the story but a reaction to the criticism he’s taken over much of the last decade or so. This is what makes this an odd read as Morrison is trying to do something different here in the entire narrative structure of this comic, but I can’t help feeling this is letting him preempt a certain amount of criticism before it’s even been made. As said, it’s interesting but doesn’t always convince. The art by Doug Manhnke is good but fairly unspectacular.

With one issue left to go Morrison has to wrap everything up. It’s not that Multiversity hasn’t worked as this issue fills in the gaps that makes previous issue work better in the context of the larger series, but it’s been a series that’s never fully convinced although its worked hard to make it work. Perhaps if Morrison is going to crack on doing superheroes in the future he should so a simple adventure story just to shut his critics up?