Save the Thekla in Bristol

The Thekla in Bristol is a familiar sight for people living in the city, and if you’ve went out for a night since the early 80’s in Bristol it’ll have been someone you’ve probably turned up at in whatever state your alcohol tolerance decides is good for you. You’ve possibly even seen a gig there in its long history. In both my spells in living in Bristol in the early/mid 90′s and from 2000 for 17 years, I’ve enjoyed a night at the Thekla from seeing Edwyn Collins turn in a show in the 90’s to drunkenly trying to not fall over last time I went whenever that was?

Basically, the Thekla is part of the fabric that makes Bristol what it is.

However there’s a redevelopment across from the boat at Redcliffe Wharf where private developers promise…

a riverside location to work, live relax and enjoy

And…

Extensive external seating, a high quality public realm, and the proximity to a lively and active waterfront will all contribute to the attractiveness of Redcliffe Wharf as a place to work, live and enjoy.

Except take away the Thekla and you remove part of what makes that area unique, but then again you take the Thekla away and you don’t have any competition for the ”event space” and bars promised by this new development. Ah, ‘but you’re just a cynic’ you may say, but the system has been gamed against the Thekla because when the venue was tested for soundproofing it was their quietest days of the week.

Their main issue with the development’s application is that the sound assessment for it was carried out on a Monday or Tuesday night, when Thekla was not at its busiest or loudest, meaning the soundproofing installed at the new development might not be adequate, making it more likely for people to complain.

Now that’s a dirty trick. It also saves the developers money while getting rid of a problem. Of course Bristol Council will fight the Thekla’s corner as they wouldn’t want somewhere that helps gives the city the image it has to die surely?

Oh.

So the council is working with the developers. There’s good reason why the people running the Thekla are resigned to the development gaining planning permission and the venue having to close because the council will ensure it happens.  Too many people will be making money out of it, and if a vital part of Bristol’s cultural soul is ripped out then so what? The people moving in won’t give a fuck and as far as the developers and council are concerned it is these people who matter. So what if some teenagers won’t get to have fun, or people can go and see a gig when you’ve got a shiny, bland vacuous development probably selling £12 loaves for people to buy.

This sort of gentrification isn’t new, nor is getting rid of venues for redevelopment, but the fact is in cities across the UK it’s one-way traffic in terms of who wins these battles. If Bristol City Council want to turn their city into a bland paradise for people fleeing London then they risk destroying what Bristol is and the spirit that attracted so many people to come, stay and add to the city’s culture rather than replace it with over-priced flats in a tediously cold development.

I’m now back in Glasgow having moved last year from Bristol, and we’re facing the £12 fish supper as the Barras starts its path to gentrification (which threatens the future of the Barrowlands as a venue) but Glasgow, like Bristol needs jobs and housing, and housing that is affordable to people on minimum wage however those in charge of Bristol have decided the city isn’t going to be for those people hence the Thekla’s likely end.

It isn’t all over of course. Public opinion can change things especially if it shames a council and a mayor, so sign this petition, share it and if you live in Bristol write to your councillor, MP and MEP in order to cause as much of a stink as possible and hopefully the Thekla will survive. I’m not optimistic but I want to be proven wrong and just for once, the developers are the ones who have to jolly well fuck off.

 

 

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Facebook have replied in regard their deletion of the JFK FIles

Last week or so Facebook decided to spark the conspiracy theorist node in my brain and flagged a CNN article about the recently released JFK files. Well, they sorted it out but it’s only taken me til today to notice as Facebook ensure you don’t actually see updates or important things like this.

I’ve sent them another message basically saying what the bloody fuck? but I’m not holding my breath for a reply as to why out of the thousands of news items I link to it takes issue with this one which just happens to be the granddad of all conspiracy subjects??

I blame it on chemtrails.

Why the United Kingdom needs to die

The New York Times has an interesting take on the state of the UK in 2017. Titled No One Knows What Britain Is Anymore, the NYT goes in for the kill with this brutally true paragraph;

The ambitious Mr. Johnson was crucial to the victory of Brexit in the June 2016 referendum. But for many, the blusterings of Boris have lost their charm. The “great ship” he loves to cite is a nationalist fantasy, a remnant of Britain’s persistent post-imperial confusion about its proper place in the world, hanging on to expensive symbols like a nuclear deterrent while its once glorious navy is often incapable of patrolling its own coastline.

The point made that the UK can’t patrol its own coastline came up during the Scottish independence referendum, but during the Brexit campaign was never mentioned as all the supporters of leaving the EU had this vision of the UK that was rooted in the past where a ”British Empire” was still a thing.

The UK is seen as an international joke. A bit like the mate who’s broke up with every girlfriend but never blames himself while living off past glories.but the UK, or to be more exact, England, hasn’t gotten over the loss of empire and that’s something that needs to be dealt with at some point but that isn’t going to happen soon.

The Empire is dead. True we live still with the trappings of Empire, but as some have pointed out, we don’t have to endorse such things and before anyone says anything about Corbyn’s Labour changing things all they’ll do is tweak down the edges of the British state. and the entire Brexit process is about regaining central power from the devolution process.

So what to do if the state won’t change and the establishment won’t let it naturally die? Well, if the series of scandals we’re seeing now continue the entire thing might collapse anyhow, but it’ll survive this as until we realise that Unionism has become one of the last defenders of neoliberalism, even fascism, in the mainstream then we won’t change anything.

The UK needs to be broken down so something can come out of it which benefits all of us, not just an increasingly distant elite because what the UK is mutating into isn’t something to be proud of. Hopefully the dark times that are coming lead us into real reform rather than a more extreme version of what we have right now.

Star Trek: Discovery has become essential television

Back at the start of Star Trek: Discovery (abbreviated to STD which will never stop being funny)  I was cautiously optimistic about it. We’re now nearly halfway through the first season and I think I can safely say this is the best bit of Star Trek we’ve had since Deep Space 9. This Cracked article covers many of the reasons why this series is head and shoulders above expectations, though I’d not say it was the ‘best ever made’ as the series has a long time to go with a second season confirmed and a third likely.

Every Star Trek series has reflected the times. The original series reflected much of the upheaval of the 1960’s, Next Generation was at times very 90’s, DS9 dealt with a post Cold War world and threats coming from religious fanatics which predicted the future a tad. Even Voyager and the mainly terrible Enterprise occasionally had some depth in them. STD is different because the crew aren’t perfect human beings, nor are they the cardboard cut-outs of the last few films.

Take Captain Lorca (wonderfully played by Jeremy Isaacs) who is the warrior the Federation needs in their war against the Klingons.

He’s also a psychopath who is out of control and has only been saved from being locked up because his admiral has been captured by the Klingons. So Lorca is free to scheme and plot.

Lorca though isn’t the main character. That’s Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham who starts as a first officer, before starting a war which is killing millions. It’s Burnham’s story we’re following which is STD’s strongest and weakest point. Strong because it means we have a character taking us on their story. Weak because it means the focus on the ensemble (I especially like Cadet Tilly) is lesser which is a shame as this is a strong support cast.

There are problems. The supporting cast are sometimes neglected, the scripts sometimes have holes in them and by keeping most of the action focused on the Discovery we have no idea of how the war is affecting the galaxy barring the odd passing mention. The positives outweigh the negatives. Star Trek needed a kick up the arse as well as being redesigned while still remaining familiar while still being Star Trek, and on the whole they’ve done that. Of course a section of fans are crying like the man-babies they are that ‘it doesn’t look like the Kirk era’, or ‘do we need a female lead’, but it’s easy enough to ignore most of this as wankers crying about a programme not being endless fan-service.

Then of course there’s the prudes and religious loons whining about the programme’s use of the word ‘fucking’.

But they too can be ignored.

Star Trek: Discovery isn’t perfect.It needs work, but a Trek series that I want to watch each week in 2017 is a nice thing, and I hope the programme improves and continues to try new things because this is what Star Trek should do. The series is being shown on Netflix here in the UK. Go try it out.

A quick word about people who are blind to the disabled

I am quite clearly disabled. I walk with a stick, move like a glacier in reverse gear and am clearly in substantial pain at times. I want to try to be as independent and able to get around as possible but there are times when pulling myself on a train or bus that I appear to become invisible. I’ve probably encountered more disabled bags taking up seats in the last few months than I’ve seen in my previous non-disabled life and loads of people think their seat is more worthy of a seat than someone walking like I do with a stick, or pregnant women, or anyone is obvious distress at having to stand when seats designed for the likes of us are taken up by someone’s shopping or laptop bag.

Every fucker seems to do it.

Of course it isn’t everyone, but if you’ve woken up after a bad night, the painkillers aren’t doing their normal job & all you want to do is get to work ASAP it is a pain in the fucking arse to struggle onto a train/bus to find someone so engrossed in their phone, or holding their poorly bag/enormous pursething tightly on the seat next to them.

What I’m asking for is basic humanity not to mention some awareness of what exactly is going on around them. Essentially don’t be a prick and give folk like me the seats intended for us. It actually means a lot and can help make my day a wee bit better so thanks if you do, got to hell if you don’t.

Have a nice weekend all…

Halloween is dead…

For another year at least which means that tsunami of Halloween inspired clickbait washing over you like spooky waves of green scariness is over.  Websites with lots of videos like this;

Is over for another year and here in the UK at least we start the road to Guy Fawkes night where we celebrate burning a Catholic and David Lloyd and Alan Moore make some loose change as V For Vendetta masks are sold to students around the country.

All that stuff gets packed away as the looming blood-soaked horror of Christmas comes looming towards us like Jason Vorhees wrapped in tinsel but next time out I’ll unleash one last tale of Halloween this year…

The Guardian and the censorship of horror films

The Guardian is the so-called ‘liberal voice’ of the UK, and now proposes itself as one of the leading liberal voices online. It often comes out against horror films and this week, Jigsaw (a return of the Saw films) is released as this particular film series returns from the dead.

An article by Benjamin Lee was published in the paper decrying the ‘return of torture porn’ and yet again the paper sets their sights on the horror genre and in particular, ‘torture porn’ which they’ve written more or less the same article since 2007.

I get why middle class liberals at the Guardian may hates films like Jigsaw. They are after all designed for mass audiences and this sort of middle class sneering is aimed at all mass forms of entertainment, but it’s the priggish sense of superiority from the contributors and commentators mixed with a barely suppressed push for censorship that should be concerning. This isn’t to say I think Jigsaw will be a good film, it probably won’t be as barring the first Saw film there’s pretty thin pickings in that series but I get why people watch them. These are rollercoaster rides. The audience can safely wallow in gore, enjoy a few mild scares and go home safely. Yeah, the films are shite without any real importance but so what? Censoring them wouldn’t work but it’d make these middle class liberals happy they’re controlling the ‘masses’ for what they think is their own benefit.

Violent and gory stories are part of our culture. They’re embedded in religion, history and culture, so while things like Jigsaw may be bad films but they’re just part of who we are. Censoring for the wider public good is simply, bollocks and perhaps the middle class media shouldn’t be so sneering at such entertainment because people might enjoy them for what they are?