A word of appreciation for Poppy’s ”3.36 (Music to Sleep To)”

Poppy is one of those internet pop sensations that happen seemingly daily. The big difference is that the fact she’s a construct of the music industry and media is etched into her entire persona creating what is a rather wonderful post-modern publicity stunt mixed with an art project that’s funded by a major label in the shape of Island Records. Aside from her music she’s best known for stuff like this…

Masterminded by Titanic Sinclair, Poppy is his latest project after the vastly underrated Mars Argo, but in among all the vaguely ironic videos and pop songs is a work of genius which is Poppy and Sinclair’s ambient album 3.36 (Music to Sleep By).

Poppy clearly shares some DNA with the KLF, and this album is reminiscent of Space, while at the same time being very much its own thing, and oh, it will help you get sleep, or even comedown nicely from whatever high you’re on. Which ultimately is the test for a good ambient album and this is very much a good ambient album so stick the headphones in, relax and enjoy.

There’s nothing glorious in what Remembrance Day has become

When I was young Remembrance Day was a strange day. Parents and older family members would solemnly wear poppies, give what they could to the old boys and women who’d be collecting for the survivors of WW1 and 2. Latterly Remembrance Day became about remembering the dead of all of the UK’s wars from the world wars through to Korea, then on and on and on and on…

Remembrance Day was a chance to reflect; to hope never again would men and boys be sent to fight for the gain of politicians, tyrants and crooks. It was a chance to remember the horror of war and what the 20th century’s industrialisation of war could do to people. This pretty much was the case as I grew into adulthood until around about a decade ago when Remembrance Day became less about the solemn idea of Remembrance as in remembering the dead while hoping for it to never happen again, to one where the dead became ‘glorious’ and they died upholding a UK to keep it’s place in the world today.

Remembrance Day was in effect stolen by the ancestors of those who sent boys to die in muddy fields on barbed wire with their guts falling out. Politicians like David Cameron and demagogues like Nigel Farage ensured Remembrance Day became more of a celebration of the dead who died for the glorious cause of the United Kingdom and all it represents. The dead have become ‘glorious’ and violence has become the ultimate force of the state from which all other authorities are derived.

So we’ve had ‘Poppy fascists’ leap on people for choosing not to wear a poppy, and the poppy itself become a symbol now forever corrupted from its original intention.┬áThe poppy itself has always been a political symbol, but now it’s being used as a symbol of some sort of supreme imperial loyalty to the UK, and if you don’t wear it then you’re some sort of quisling and deserve public shaming or worse.

Remember the dead today. Remember how they died not in glory, but in pain and agony while the idea of ending all wars was lost for celebrating war as something to prove the power of a faded empire. Remember how they died in mainly pointless wars for the gain of politicians who never lost anything, and how they died for corporations to turn a profit because war now is not about defeating evil as WW2 was. Those days are long gone now.

Poppygeddon is upon us

We’re coming up to Remembrance Day so rather than a solemn time remembering the dead it has become a time where people wear offensively ostentatious poppies and people go ballistic if you don’t wear one. Last year I saw people wearing them at the start of October. This year, I’ve seen them in September. Kay Burley will be wearing one any minute the size of the Isle of Wight. Footballer James McLean will suffer his annual ritual of abuse earlier as he doesn’t wear one. Nigel Farage will wear poppy patterned socks in memory of ‘our boys’. The UK will turn into one giant poppy and if you don’t like it then even the children will attack you for not wearing as big a poppy as humanly possible.

Every year it gets worse. Every year the concept of the poppy gets further away from the idea of remembering the dead to one where it somehow celebrates the dead while encouraging young people to join up to die to be celebrated. It is in effect the dystopian world of Robert Heinlein where citizenship is only validated through armed service and the next war will be one where the children of poorer families are sent to die yet again.

And each year we loose sight of the concept of remembrance as too many play to the outdated ideas of British exceptionalism and imperialism, so strap that sick-bag to your head and be prepared for the next three weeks.

Welcome to Poppygeddon

In the UK we’re coming up to Remembrance Day, and that means we’re seeing people wearing poppies earlier and earlier. This year I’ve spotted people (mainly on TV, but a few in real life) wearing a poppy at the start of October which if this carries on will mean poppy season will start just after Easter by 2030.

In recent years there’s those who not only try to show how much they ‘care’ about ‘our boys’ by wearing the most ostentatious poppy you can buy, but will rip the head off and shite down the neck of anyone not wearing one. One of those people is Kay Burley who said this about the Daily Mirror’s Kevin Maguire.

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When asked what business it is of her, Burley said this.

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Actually it is none of her business, or anyone’s business if anyone choose not to wear a poppy, or wear it during Remembrance Week as used to be the case before this insane poppy fascism crept in some time during the early 21st century.

I sometimes wear a poppy, sometimes I don’t. Some years I wear a white poppy, some years I don’t. I have that choice because during WW2 soldiers died for the right of people to have that freedom, and we’re to believe that in subsequent wars they died for the freedoms we had in the post war period. Yet all the Poppy Stasi do is insult the idea that men and women died for freedoms by imposing their own authoritarian will upon others in this annual burst of media bullying where anyone not wearing one is metaphorically lynched by harridans like Burley.

But people like Burley get misty eyed about ‘our boys’ yet they work for organisations who gleefully cheered on sending British troops to die in the Middle East for no reason at all. Rupert Murdoch (who Burley works for) has helped the UK go to war many, many times by ensuring a section of public support for that war, and for a decade and a half has cheered on troops dying overseas in a fetishisation of war, and the act of serving in the armed forces unquestioningly. That for me, is fascism, and to subvert the idea of the poppy to make it almost a celebration of war is repulsive. See, Burley sees herself as an enforcer, which is as said, entirely not what the poppy is there for or how it should be intended so if you want to remember the dead, then do it in the way you want. If you don’t want to or even protest it, then that’s fine too. People may hate you for it, but this is your right and it hasn’t past my attention that many of the people leaping up in faux offence for those not wearing a poppy are also those who cry ‘free speech’ when their own bigotry or xenophobia is called out.

So lets not take note of the poppy fascists. Going with the masses isn’t always the best, or the right thing and populist neo-fascist shills like Burley should be treated with the contempt they deserve along with anyone questioning why you don’t wear a poppy. That’s your right, use it as you see fit.