Snowmageddon Strikes!

It is snowing in Glasgow. It has been snowing in Glasgow for hours and hours and hours.It is also cold, oh so very, very cold. Apparently with the wind we’re looking at -10 in places, including my hallway which isn’t full of the cosy, warm heat of my living room.

Now if you’re reading this from say, Canada, you’ll be pissing yourself laughing at our idea of heavy snow but we’re not used to this in terms of severity.I  think the worst is being caught in a flurry of snow and being blinded by the snow getting in every orifice. Ah, the joys of winter…

It is deep out there. A level of deep where a slip means you could vanish into a snowdrift til your frozen corpse is found in the spring.

So with the snow falling the city comes to a halt as it waits for it to stop and things to actually feel like spring!

And it’s still snowing…

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Happy 41st birthday 2000AD

41 years ago the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic hit shelves all over the UK and the world of comics, not to mention culture overall changed forever as 2000AD was born.

So happy birthday, keep going til the 50th birthday in 2027!

The Old Grey Whistle Test revival was a remider as to why Punk needed to happen

Last Friday BBC Four broadcast a live Old Grey Whistle Test one-off revival show with Bob Harris presenting. Within five minutes I remembered why I hated the programme til it dropped endless sessions with Santana or Yes and started to bring on new Punk or early electronic music to give the programme a jolt of life because to be blunt, the show was mainly fucking tedious for much of it’s life, and when it did have something with a bit of balls it was sneered at.

When growing up the sound of Bob Harris used to fill me with dread because he may introduce Bowie or Marley (and lets not talk about how little the programme supported black artists) one minute.

We might even be luck and get a bit of Roxy Music weirdness.

But most of the time it was endless plains of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Emerson Lake and Palmer and endless Bob Harris whispering at you like that weird guy you’d later meet at Glastonbury in 1992 talking about that time he saw Lindisfarne in 1973.

Then at some point the BBC realised the programme needed dragged into the present, brought in Annie Nightingale and started giving more and more Punk and new bands a chance.

Most of all the programme on the whole stopped speaking down to kids like me who gave zero fucks about how long it took to record one guitar solo when I wanted to hear stuff that was exciting and felt alive. By the mid 80’s it was essential telly for things like this wonderful Jesus and Mary Chain performance

For a generation the show wasn’t tired old men talking earnestly about rock music but it returns with this version of the show that reminds me of being bored, annoyed and fed up wishing something exciting would happen but it’s time has past and it should remain locked in the cupboard.

So please don’t bring it back. The last thing we want to do is expose a new generation to Bob Harris talking about Dire Straits.

 

 

 

Come to Rutherglen Comic Con this Saturday and buy comics from me

This Saturday at Rutherglen Town Hall, in (oddly enough) Rutherglen, is this year’s comic con.

So if you want some Alan Moore Swamp Thing’s, or some godforsaken Doomsday Clock comics, or what little Black Panther related comics I’ve got left after the buzzards on Ebay stripped me bare, then come on down on Saturday. I’ll be near local artist Gary Erskine who’ll be drawing comics I assume.

Anyhow, come spend money on Saturday!

Two years ago I nearly died but I got better

Two years ago today this happened to me. I basically nearly died but managed to avoid that by having (as one doctor said to me) ”the best type of stroke you could hope for”. Two years on my life is very different as I’m now living in Glasgow having moved back from Bristol for a number of reasons ranging from wanting to shake things up to basically not wanting to die where I was.

Although the stroke has left me disabled with right sided numbness which means essentially my right leg often doesn’t work, or is just so numb/painful that it’s just a sore lump of flesh I’m using to support myself that day-to-day life is a chore. Doing ordinary things as I did prior to the stroke takes time, if I’m able to do them because one of the other after effects is post-stroke fatigue which means I’ll often nod off as my brain shuts down. Mixed with my post-cancer fatigue it means that staying awake can be an effort. I am, to put it bluntly, quite fucked.

But sitting around being miserable isn’t good, nor is dwelling on the stroke as if I’d not had it, my cancer would never have been found before it became inoperable & I’d not be sitting here typing this today. Life is being rebuilt & right now the future is unclear but I’m in the fortunate position to have a future which in many people who’ve went through what I have isn’t a prospect to look forward to.

So here’s to the next few years. What’s to come I dunno but the worst is, hopefully, behind me.

15 years ago we protested against the Iraq War…

Back in February 2003 people from all over the UK marched to protest the then proposed invasion of Iraq. About a million or two of us took to the streets in London on a cold later winter afternoon to march through the city to hear a number of speeches in Hyde Park and to show that we, as the people of this country, won’t stand for what was proposed being done in our name.

It was an amazing day. As the Channel 4 report says, there was a mix of people, and as a painfully ill Mo Molam pointed out, the war was indeed used as a recruitment tool plus as we know, from the war came ISIS not to mention an almost permanent state of war in Middle Eastern countries and radicalisation of the likes we’ve never seen.

Yet that march and those like it across the UK and the world, should have sparked a Golden Age of political involvement. Indeed it did have political consequences in that it helped along such divergent political events like the election of Barrack Obama to the Scottish independence movement as people tried shrugging off the old order to try to create a new, and better one. The facts are that for all our marching, speeches and protests it was for nothing. Tony Blair got his war thanks to enough Labour MP’s as well as Tory support, and we’re still there 15 years later.

As for the glorious mixture of people on those Stop The War marches, they’re all gone after the SWP & their ilk managed to take a broad, vibrant coalition from all political viewpoints and change it into one that served them. On that day 15 years ago in London I met people from Labour, Tory, Lib Dems, Greens and across the board. There were kids who knew exactly why they were there articulating themselves brilliantly and the general feeling of change was for many, lost.

But we marched to hear speeches and to be honest, most of us only heard these speeches on the TV news later because it took so long to get from Paddington to Hyde Park, and also because the sound was crap so you’d hear Tariq Ali through crackle while hoping the wind changed direction. The fact is most people wanted to hear George Galloway’s speech even though people like myself knew him to be a hypocrite at best, he could articulate what many of us thought that day. Thing is looking back, none of the speakers had much to lose. Galloway, Tony Benn and Tariq Ali were the main speakers and they were doing what was expected of them. Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t a big name back then and once he made his speech remained with Labour on their back benches rather than quit as many did. These folk didn’t put their entire career on the line as then Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy did.

The media savaged Kennedy. People in has party who wanted to go to war gunned for him after this. He stuck to his guns, voted against the war and in the 2005 election managed to grab a huge amount of support from people who saw Tory and Labour as two sides of the same coin. Kennedy’s actions were essential because there was an argument for invading Iraq along the lines of intervention in the Balkans in the 90’s. I sat with mates in the pub who were agonising over what to support because they knew (as we all did) that Saddam was a monster.  It was Kennedy’s rational argument for the law and decency that swung so many people to the cause. His subsequent treatment by his party and untimely death left a hole in UK politics that’s been replaced by people unfit to call themselves ‘liberals’.

I digress slightly…

Even if I’d had some sort of future knowledge o events I’d still have marched in 2003. It needed to be done and a line needed to be drawn. It didn’t work, but we needed to try because if we hadn’t tried we’d have failed everything, and everyone. The aftershocks of this can still be felt today with things like Brexit where people voted to leave to have their voice heard to the general distrust, even hatred, of mainstream politicians.

But still, for one cold day in February 2003 we felt the world was going to change for the positive. If only it had.

Shoot to kill

There’s been yet another mass shooting in the US. Yet again people are asking for ‘prayers’ even though by now people should realise either god doesn’t exist or s/he is an utter fucking bastard. People there are having the same old debate about gun control/mental health and of course the usual suspects are saying ‘now is not the time’.

My only answer to this is this Tweet below from a girl who attended the school and who has lost friends in the mass shooting.

What will happen is some outrage for another week, maybe less, til the next mass shooting and the cycle goes on and on and on and on while this becomes normalised in a society that fetishes the gun.

Will it ever change? I don’t think so, or at least it won’t until one of these mass shootings gets close to someone in a position of power and seeing as a mass shooting happens in America once every 2.5 days then chances are that’ll happen eventually and even then they’ll still be asking for thoughts and prayers.

I despair as there’s solutions there from an actual healthcare system that’s a service not a business to gun control, but nothing will be done and in a few days we’ll have moved on before we’re outraged again and somewhere in America multiple coffins that are too small for adults will be ordered again…