Our fault

I know that my friends in the EU and me will continue to enjoy continued strong relationships moving forward. Indeed, I’m vowing to make extra effort to develop our friendships all the deeper. I know that we don’t need a political union in order to do this.

I’m not tempted to call out anyone who I know voted to leave either. I am certainly not going to go and request they unfriend me, as I believe that to be a root cause of the problem. I’ve had some quite intelligent discussions with leavers. Of course I profoundly disagree and I’m utterly empty inside at this result.

Telling people to unfriend you is fucking childish: “Either-agree-with-me-or-fuckoff.”

There are people not like you, who like music, art, creativity and are perfectly rational, actual human beings. What is more, if you really do seek to bring folks to your side how are you going to reach them!? Isolationist elitist pricks!

Izzard, Festivals, Industry, The City, Music Industry, Academia be DAMNED. Clearly the “people” don’t give a hoot. In fact they’ve mobilised against this. They’ve mobilised against you. They’ve mobilised against me.

Those people in London looking to make their statement in a referendum for London to stay in EU: YOU ARE VERY MUCH THE PROBLEM!

The sickening thing when I write this is that voters have been convinced by stealth, by sinister players YET FURTHER away from their concerns. I’m hardly the voice of the working man (I feel a good distance further from it right now than ever) and my complacency and that of “London Northerners//Working Class” is shameful.

When watching the results come in last night it was crystal clear that it was poor areas versus rich. I found myself rooting for the big (rich) metropolitan areas. What the fuck!?

It’s my fault, and my fucking bourgeois complacency.


Work Abroad FFS

(this had been sat in my drafts for too long!)

In 1992/3 I spent a year living in Aix-en-Provence for college and upon returning would often get a hard time for starting too many anecdotes with “when I was living in France…”, like a pretentious student version of Uncle Albert in Only Fools and Horses. The truth is that it was a magical time and it still has a profound influence on who I am and how my life has been shaped.

Chris Waddle had just left Marseille and there was graffiti about the stadium demanding that “Chris! Revient!”. Kids were still walking about with that mullet hairdo of his. It made me very proud.

I taught English for a while after college and have all the understanding of what it feels like to get to a place for the first time and understand nothing.

Angered since the summer I have wanted to write about English players not playing abroad for a wee while. It’s been interesting watching folks go on and on about our national team but not enough noise is made about the fact that English players travel terribly at present.

There are a few thoughts which have come to mind… Last time England played in a semi final at the world cup there were 4 Rangers players and one Marseille player. The best they’ve done for yonks.

Euro 96 and Ince was at Inter and Gazza at Rangers.

Not massive differences to the 2014 squad which had one Celtic player (keeper Fraser Forster).

Same when Lineker was at Barca, Beckham at Madrid and so on…

Alan Shearer recently admitted in some TV show that he would probably have been improved by a move abroad. Ashley Cole has come out saying that English players are too afraid to go abroad. I think he’s right,. But it’s sweet coming from him, nipping over to Rome in the twilight of his career.

I was so disappointed when Campbell went to Arsenal instead of to a big EU club. (And he goes on like he’s a big wordly bloke too!)

When Wilshire is touted as having the possibility of a move to Juve, you just *know* that he’s not going to go.

Since living in France (did I tell you I’ve spent some time there?) I am a subscriber to l’Equipe – their sporting magazine. It’s so impressive how supportive they are, of their exports. They’ve a weekly roundup of who’s done well in the English, Spanish, or Italian leagues. They’re rightly very proud of how well their lads do, around the place. And look how well their national team does. Think of Germany, Holland, Argentina, Brazil, Italy and Spain. And think of where a good % of their players play. ABROAD.


Reading, and not. And Stress. And writing from beyond the grave.

I just finished You Shall Know Our Velocity and it’s the second of Dave Eggers‘ books I have read in which the narrator speaks from the grave. Ok the first time it was a dog and a short story, but this time the narrator himself. I was surprised you didn’t get to read about how he does die but it made for a weird feeling of expectation when reading the book.
I wondered if I’d read any other dead folks narratives and I remember just one (again a short) – in Julian Barnes ‘History of the World in 10.5 chapters‘. This time involving loads of cooked breakfast in bed.
The above are not the reasons I am writing. It’s something to share I reckon, to have finished a piece of fiction. For me at least.
In times when I am particularly stressed or anxious about something (usually work) I generally cannot read fiction. I struggle reading at all but factual stuff is by and large easier to read than anything creating a world of it’s own.
I spoke to some folks recently about this and they had their own stuff they couldn’t do when stressed. Theirs was reading anything, listening to BBC Radio “Particularly Radio 4 and Steve godawful Lamacq” and another was “I totally stop taking in the outside world. World shrinks to the room that I’m in..” Funny what stress can do to you right?
I get advised often enough to breathe very deeply and through my nose if possible. This helps a great deal to alleviate stress and anxiety. And it’s dead simple. Do it.
Then take a big deep breath and open up a book.

Can’t be arsed

I’ve had two quite connected emails today one from an artist another from an industry person.

Artist says please don’t remove me from the bill, because in spite of not mentioning the 6-weeks confirmed show on my website I have bought a train ticket and I can start to promote now less than a week before the show. And in any case, I promote events myself and would never expect the artist to do the promoting for me.

Industry person says the argument that PAY TO PLAY PROMOTERS ARE COMPLETE CUNTS doesn’t totally stack up and that given they’re the bank, holding the risk, what’s so bad about promoters trying to protect themselves in the face of a tide of lazy bands who promise 30 mates and bring nobody.

There’s a lot of grey between the two arguments. And to start from either position is wrong.

One thing is certain: when you’re doing a show and you check the acts websites and the show isn’t mentioned, it’s just completely soul destroying. This process could be got through far quicker by just handing out some money to some acts, and not actually doing the “event” part.

Christ, my band used to make our own flyers and posters on top of what the promoters did, and hit the promo *hard*.


The Marathon and me. Bawling, Therapy, Guilt, Bawling

When I was a kid, the only Marathon I was interested in was the chocolate bar now known as Snickers. Having said that, I was a little chubby kid and didn’t like a lot of foods, and peanuts back then were a no go area. I would hate discovering a nut in my chocolate, and couldn’t stand the fact that nanny and grandad only ever had whole nut or fruit and nut…  anyway.. I digress before even properly starting…

I did start to run as a kid and remember the first times I went out on a run. I knew I was a little fatty, and I wanted to try and do something about it. (today I measured the distance of the first run I did, it’s just over a mile). I felt very self-conscious. I still do at times when out running now. I kept up running occasionally through college, as a smoker, and in 2006 I used running as a way to give up smoking. I signed up for a marathon, and stopped smoking.

The fact I was doing it for The Alzheimer’s Society was down to my mum having been diagnosed. With Mild Alzheimer’s. That’s how you dealt with it. You say “mild”. Like as if it’s any different than if it was really strong. Or like it was going to just be a little brush with Alzheimer’s and then it’ll go away. Here’s the first instance of the symbolic nature of running. Like you’re running away from something. I think always with running, for me at least, I’ve been running either away from or towards something. Depending on how good I am at applying spin to how I’m feeling at the time it could be to/from a bad marriage, a sick mother, a smaller waistline, health, a new personal best.

This guy’s piece in the Guardian about how he HAS to run marathons is a really good example of how training for a big run can be a decent strategy for good health. It takes a good 4 months, a third of a year, to train properly, so it can be quite habit forming and you’re likely to be still benefiting a good while later.

There’s something most existential about running. Not being able to get your head round something and then going out for a run. The Forrest Gump thing. The doing of an activity for the sake of doing the activity. It helps you to breathe, to concentrate on breathing (much like Yoga). I’ve been able to think about the symbolism of a long run like a marathon. How it’s an achievement in life which might be a suitable enough replacement or substitute for no great achievements in work, love, family etc… How it might be symbolic of an understanding of the longevity of things. “A marathon not a sprint” and all that. It can be very therapeutic.

Recently I joked to a friend that his enthusiasm for running was equal only to the guilt he felt in his personal life. This is classic projection really. My own enthusiasm has diminished the further away from a bad marriage I get, and the closer I move, to a decent set up both at home and at work. I do think the amount of penance in the name of charity x or y does come from a guilt position. It’s a very public display of good-doing.

A friend asked on Facebook last week whether anyone else got all teary when watching the marathon and a few replied yes. I was one of them. Given the stuff I’ve covered above I think it’s hardly surprising. Seeing folks put in so much effort with a picture of “dad” on their backs, or similar is very tear-jerking. For me it’s enough just to see people running.


CULTURE.

I gave Maria Miller a chance. I blogged here that the arts should ask for less money just one time in return for more once it had been proven that the arts can be entrepreneurial, smart, and make more money, be less dependent. I thought her speech telling the arts that it needed to prove its value was just the bluster of a new person in a new job (they all say that, or a version of that don’t they). Man, when you’ve given someone a chance and they act with such arrogance. I’ll never forgive her. I gave her a chance.

In broad terms this new chap needs to be given a chance. I’ve read that his dad was a bus driver from Rochdale. I’m proud and glad that Rochdale is just tenuously on the map for more than just some new horror. But I don’t want to speak too soon. Please don’t be *another* reason The ‘Dale is implicated in something horrible. I’m worried, but I don’t think it’s particularly constructive to make snide comments about the art or culture that he likes though, Guardian.

I know very well where I sit on the debate around secondary ticketing, but I am aware of an argument for many free marketeers, of ownership, and then reselling something that you own. It goes far deeper than some surface level argument of course, and Sajid Javid might not have researched it too well. I want to give him a chance. I think he might be more responsive to my suggestion at the top of this piece,of rewarding entrepreneurship. He might be. He has in the past been quite complimentary about ticket touts/secondary ticketing… I do want to give him a chance. He’s not making much in the way of good noises thus far.

I was once on a late bus home from Finsbury Park. A full one. I sat downstairs at the back, in the corner, and a boozy fella sat down next to me (I think I might have been a bit boozy too). We got chatting. He was a scouser. He’d been to see The Coral at Brixton and had a great time. He told me he was a tout and had done ok that night. He touted at gigs he liked, and went to them too. It was hard not to see this as a decent little bit of enterprise from a loveable rogue type character, and I certainly didn’t get on my high horse and attempt a reprimand. I wanted to give him a chance.

When the entire arts/music/sports industry roundly condemns something it’s going to be hard for our Sajid to stand tall. But it’ll be just one bit of his job. I’d like to give him a chance. Please don’t fuck it up Sajid. For music’s sake, for arts sake, for your dad’s sake.

I’m not into open letters too much. This one is a good one. But I do want to give him a chance. After Maria Miller, I’m going to be watching this closely.

 

 

 


Welcome to the party… BBC… ART ON TELLY!

I remember a meeting we had one time when I was at the Arts Council, where we were brought into a presentation about Arts Programming on the telly. It was being suggested that the rafts of crappy competitions on early evening prime time Saturday slots was a reason to be giddy about arts programming. There is was… THE ARTS… on PRIME TIME TELLY!

I have to say I was a little skeptical and I probably said as much (my voice wasn’t one which was often listened to given I wasn’t in that kind of role there). It might have got a little more collegiate since I’ve not been there but them in charge definitely are in charge in the classic sense.

I’m not totally against these shows (I hardly watch them but the dancing ones are alright I guess) but they can no more be called arts programming than that one about diving be labelled a sports programme.

When I saw the headline that the BBC will be giving the arts a central role from now on I got most excited. In a week when I read about how chastening it is to be reminded the distance most people are away from the arts, I thought it was timely that our major broadcaster be doing its bit.

A little underwhelmed by some of the suggestions of shows.. looks like the usual suspects in many ways, doing the usual stuff for the usual people… Someone needs to get the people from the shows I allude to above and FORCE them to think of an exciting arts based show which DOESN’T involve people being humiliated, or any kind of contest at all.

If they want some ideas on any music programmes they can always give me a shout.

I’m mostly very very pleased with this announcement and look forward to some of the shows!

 


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