|Who Says We're All In This Together?|
"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
" —Franklin D. Roosevelt
Do you ever get the feeling we are being conned?
The banks created an international financial crisis, but it is the population as a whole who will have to pay for it. We bailed them out, and then they paid themselves huge bonuses. Meanwhile the sick, the disabled, children, the unemployed, public service workers and the low-paid are expected to foot the bill.
Some of what the large banks in the United States did was tantamount to fraud. They took dodgy mortgages and repackaged them as Triple A-rated investments
. They then sold them around the world, effectively undermining the whole world financial system.
Has anyone ever been gaoled for these fraudulent practices? Of course not. It’s their own corporate lawyers who are in government these days. So not only was no one punished, but the banks were rewarded by huge injections of public cash.
A similar thing is happening in the UK. There’s a clever narrative being constructed. Whenever a minister is questioned about the cuts he puts on a regretful face. It’s all down to the profligacy of the previous government, we are told. This may be true, but the degree and the severity of the cuts, and the sections of the population who are being attacked, is entirely down to this government.
NOW AVAILABLE FROM GONZO MULTIMEDIA
"Stone writes with intelligence, wit and sensitivity."
Times Literary Supplement
"Wry, acute, and sometimes hellishly entertaining essays in squalor and rebellion."
"The best guide to the Underground since Charon ferried dead souls across the Styx."
Independent on Sunday
|SOME OTHER BOOKS BY C.J.STONE|
|Hardcover: 372 pages|
Publisher: Omnibus Press (17 Sep 2013)
Language: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Hindi, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Welsh
Peter Gabriel is one of those music icons who has amassed a huge following both as the singer in the original Genesis and since as a solo artist. He is a quiet, unassuming, shy man who is a tireless proponent of charity work and was one of those involved in launching the now famous WOMAD festival, which was founded in 1980 and had its first event at Shepton Mallett in Somerset in July 1982.
In this book from Omnibus Press, the author – Daryl Easlea - covers the life and career of this remarkable man. Not quite “CHAPTER ONE: I Am Born”, it does introduce us to him at a young age, when he played on his family’s farm and undoubtedly formed many ideas from the world around him for the songs that were to come. As I am sure a lot of children do, he thought he could fly. And, what is more, he could. Well sort of, decades later I saw him ‘flying’ at a gig.
This book covers his time from being a Carthusian at Charterhouse in Godalming, Surrey - his first night there clearly something of a shock for the quiet lad from the peaceful countryside - and finishes with him talking to astronauts on the International Space Mission via satellite link from Houston Mission Control in 2013.
If you are a Peter Gabriel follower, you will not be disappointed by this book. Yes, I may be biased - I first heard and saw Peter Gabriel in 1972 at Brunel University in Uxbridge. I last saw him in 2013. That’s 41 years; a lifetime of following the man who transformed into a flower, the watcher of the skies, and Britannia amongst other characters. But, even if you are just an avid reader of music biographies I would still recommend this book to you. It is interesting, well-written and a fascinating journey into the life of this remarkable man.
And with the title of a chapter being ‘Unquestionably Rhubarb’, who could resist?
MORE FROM XNA
Thanks for all the kind words and support -- it truly is deeply appreciated. At rehearsal yesterday, we were discussing all the recent praise we've been getting and feeling great momentum. It truly affects us in a very positive way. Thanks for Archie, Master Sleuth, too! Was that in honor of Season III of "Sherlock," by chance?
Hope you're well,
I blush to admit it, but I must be the only person in the western world who hasn't yet seen Sherlock. So, David, I'm afraid it was just happenstance...
I read Gonzo with interest every week, (I don't have time for the daily) suffice to say I enjoy most of the mag. Just a FUI, I am a moderator of a guitar web site called Chordie, which is a site dedicated to helping other musicians, good or bad experienced or new with any problems they may have. It's also a search engine for song words, tabs and chords. We've had a lot of complaints that Beatles songs are blocked from UK computers by (I expect) the copyright owners Sony? So I was wondering, as I read your bit about the Beatles song book for uke, how the writers would get on?
I also agree with the 1980's story, there just wasn't any worthwhile music in that decade or the 90's, that's my opinion anyway.
It would be great if Christine McVie would rejoin the Mac permanently. And finally, Can't wait for the new Yes album.
Keep up the good work.
(The Masters of the Universe do seem to have a steady stream of interesting stories featuring them, their various friends and relations, and alumni). Each week Graham Inglis keeps us up to date with the latest news from the Hawkverse..
|Hawkwind's plan for a tour of North America, already postponed from 2013, has been thrown into some turmoil after new announcements by the band and the cancellation of the March Toronto show.|
Hawkwind have said they're going to delay confirming upcoming gigs until contracts have been exchanged. And, regarding the Toronto date-scrub, the band said:
"As no contract or deposit is forthcoming from Inertia Entertainment [promoters] to confirm the booking, it is with great sadness that we have to concede defeat on this as we simply cannot afford to finance the show ourselves in advance, with no deposit or guarantee of any payment when we arrive."
The statement also includes a reference to a possible external factor:
"Inertia Entertainment admit to having been contacted with unfounded rumours that Hawkwind are not coming, not surprisingly this has shaken [their] confidence and may go a little way to explaining the situation.
The stories put about that Dave [Brock] has not been granted a visa have been very damaging.."
Gonzo's Graham Inglis says: "I saw one of these visa allegations on Facebook several months ago. At the time, I gave a snort of contempt, and just dismissed it as trivial crap. By 2014, though, it had become clear this was just part of a wider smear campaign, presumably intended to derail the tour preparations. Not so trivial, after all.
"The Internet being what it is, allegations and counter allegations abound. Of course, Hawkwind fans know that the Hawkwind Mothership has had its moments of crisis throughout the decades - the words 'chaos' and 'Hawkwind' fit together as snugly as the words 'toast' and 'cheese' - but when sniping from the cheap seats morphs into active sabotage, and impinges upon actual gigs and actual fans, one wonders where it'll all end."
The Hawkwind website currently lists no upcoming dates in March, and American fans have to just wait and wonder...
|With Rick preparing to do his expanded Journey to the Center of the Earth show, Doug checks in with a review of the Cheltenham show last year, where most of Journey and Arthur were performed, along with the very special concert the prior day with his family.|
|THE YES CIRCULAR - FRIED GREEN TORMATOES|
|The Court Circular tells interested readers about the comings and goings of members of The Royal Family. However, readers of this periodical seem interested in the comings and goings of Yes and of various alumni of this magnificent and long-standing band. Give the people what they want, I say|
|However, there is a whole slew of Rick Wakeman stories, starting with an amusing review of his Tel Aviv show. Next comes his involvement in a new Black Country media initiative, and two excerpts from his BBC radio appearance which can be found here and here. Finally there is aspecial offer from those jolly nice chaps at Classic Rock magazine.|
I am probably getting a bit OCD about all of this, but I find the Yes soap opera of sound to be absolutely enthralling, and I for one can't wait to see what happens next!
Changing the world one gift at a time
The worldwide Freecycle Network is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It's a grassroots movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. Freecycle groups match people who have things they want to get rid of with people who can use them. Our goal is to keep usable items out of landfills. By using what we already have on this earth, we reduce consumerism, manufacture fewer goods, and lessen the impact on the earth. Another benefit of using Freecycle is that it encourages us to get rid of junk that we no longer need and promote community involvement in the process.
|LOOKING OUT OF MY MORNING WINDOW|
@snow in my hair and age lines on my mirror
Grass weeds frozen to attention-
one stick tree branch shivering in chill factor
one tiny sparrow bounced up
and played in the air,on that dead branch
animating the frame and all frozen into alertness
Now picture one tiny smile with wings
vibrating with Sufi Zen abandon
on that family tree branch dervish dancing
just choosing this one spot @random
to demonstrate how life pulses mornings
and every wing has breath enough for a day's flight
how tiny lives can extend our eyes-
to see beyond this life-and to remember
to stay alive!
In Victorian times every well-bred Gentleman had a 'Cabinet of Curiosities'; a collection of peculiar odds and sods, usually housed in a finely made cabinet with a glass door. These could include anything from Natural History specimens to historical artefacts. There has always been something of the Victorian amateur naturalist about me, and I have a houseful of arcane objects; some completely worthless, others decidedly not, but all precious to me for the memories they hold.
But people send me lots of pictures of interesting, and, may I say, peculiar things. But once again this week it is over to my lovely wife...
|We are back this week with one of those interesting little snippets of information from Curious.com . With such a deliciously irresistible name involved as The Wiggles performing their song, 'Shaky, Shaky', how could I possibly resist? And how could I not share with you such a video that will either make you smile, cringe, scream or just wiggle along contentedly. I think it may also become one of those tunes that will haunt you while you push your trolley around the supermarket. Just ‘shake a little faster’ by the deli, and ‘shake a little slower’ by the fresh fruit and veg. Oh yeah.|
However, I am – in fact – digressing somewhat here. The article is actually more about a five-day Elvis festival (but then he did wiggle and shake too) so, without further ado:
“If Elvis is really dead, somebody might want to tell the people of Parkes, Australia. That's the tiny town in the Australian outback, where over 15,000 Elvis fans recently descended for a five day festival around The King's 79th birthday. Despite having no connection to Presley--he never even visited the continent--the Parkes Elvis Festival, in its 22nd year, is one of the largest Elvis events in the world. Why all the newfound love for The King down under? Nobody knows for sure, but one theory is that Elvis style music was subliminally broadcast to an entire generation of children via the Australian phenom known as The Wiggles…..” READ ON.
Watch and get your wiggle on here:
Oh, and doesn’t that guy in the red on the right look like he just walked off from a scene of Star Trek?
More details of the annual event can be found here and here
Or you can read an old 2009 article about nasal lavages for sale or to be more precise: “So if you had a spare $2500 would you splash out on a nasal lavage to clear out the King's sinuses?” here. Erm probably not. My sinuses are just fine and dandy thank you.
|SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION TIME|
Just in case you are interested, here is yer beloved Editor at iTunes
Check it out now...
|INTRODUCING THE NINE HENRYS|
There are nine Henrys, purported to be the world’s first cloned cartoon character. They live in a strange lo-fi domestic surrealist world peopled by talking rock buns and elephants on wobbly stilts.
They mooch around in their minimalist universe suffering from an existential crisis with some genetically modified humour thrown in. I think Peter McAdam is one of the funniest people around, and I cannot recommend his book The Nine Henrys highly enough. Check it out at Amazon.
Each issue we shall be running a series of Henrybits that are not found in his book about the nine cloned cartoon characters who inhabit a surreal world nearly as insane as mine...
The Weird Weekend is the largest yearly gathering of mystery animal investigators in the English-speaking world. Now in its fifteenth year, the convention attracts speakers and visitors from all over the world and showcases the findings of investigators into strange phenomena.
Cryptozoologists, parapsychologists, ufologists, and folklorists are descending on Woolfardisworthy Community Centre to share their findings and insights. Unlike other events, the Weird Weekend will also include workshops giving tips to budding paranormal investigators, and even a programme of special events for children. The Weird Weekend is the only fortean conference in the world that is truly a family event, although those veterans of previous events should be reassured that it is still as anarchically silly as ever!
The event is raising money for the Centre for Fortean Zoology, the world’s only full time, professional cryptozoological organisation. The profit from food and beverages goes to a selection of village charities, mostly working with children.
|the running order (so far) for the 2014 event|
|THE WORLD OF KEV|
|NECROWRETCH Bestial Rites 2009 – 2012 (CENTURY MEDIA)|
|Brutal death metal. There, that’s it, and really that is all you need to know. If you like this style of music then you are going lap this up, if not then don’t bother. What we have here is a compilation culled from four demos recorded by France’s finest, and although the sound quality does suffer a little between the different sets of originals this is in fact a superb release. If I didn’t know the history (and the title does rather give it away), then I would think that these recordings stemmed from the beginning of the genre as this level of brutality and rawness is definitely from that time. Just playing this lets you feel the sweat and volume taking place in a hell hole of a club somewhere near you. If I had to place a geography on these guys then I would have said Birmingham, or south Florida, certainly not France. This is incredibly intense, over the top, yet always with a clarity and finesse that shows that Necrowretch are far more than just riff hard and turn it up merchants. Refreshingly heavy and definitely over the top.|
|OCEANS 5 Road To Mingulay (MELODIC REVOLUTION)|
|Now, I am a proghead and a metalhead, but to be honest my tastes are actually way more diverse and complex than that, so while the only framed record on my study wall is a 60 year old jazz album, I also listen to and enjoy folk music. Not just folk rock you understand, but good old fashioned folk, and have been known to attend folk clubs (and not just for the real ale). So, when I was presented with this album I was somewhat intrigued as the two main protagonists are from quite different areas as while Andy John Bradford (vocals, 12 string) is a folkie, guitarist Colin Tench is a proghead with a tendency to pull off wonderful runs and plenty of riffs. So what are they doing together?|
|Apparently Andy wanted to record a version of the 200 years old “Road To Mangulay”, and had so much fun with Colin that they decided to make it a project and bring in some others to join in the hilarity. But, in fact this is no laughing matter, as what we have here is an album that in many ways defies normal description, but that’s not going to stop me from trying.|
At the heart of this album is Andy, and if you just listen to his guitar and vocals and block out everything else you will find music and vocals that could have come straight from the mighty Show of Hands, minus the fiddle. In fact, that one band kept coming to mind as I listened to this, and I kept thinking of the lyrics to “Roots” from ‘Witness’, “A minister said his vision of hell, is three folk singers in a pub near Wells”. Well, I wonder what he would have thought of this as this is folk Jim, but not as we know it. So, firstly they brought together a band to give this a much fuller sound, and then decided to let Colin have his way. There are times when he is hardly playing, just the odd touch here and there, and others where he is right in your face and the combination of folk, prog and classic rock come crashing together into something that very special indeed.
If I had to pick just one prog band as a reference then it would be Floyd, especially with some of the Gilmour style noodlings, and they convinced Lorelei McBroom to add some of her very special vocals to “6000 Friends”. But, that is just one standout track among many, and if like me you have eclectic tastes, or if you just enjoy great music whatever the style then take it from me this is immediate, accessible, and above all an incredible piece of work. For more details visitwww.bunchakeze.com/Oceans5.php - you won’t regret it.
|PARADISE LOST Tragic Illusion 25 (CENTURY MEDIA)|
|When one sees that this is subtitled ‘The Rarities’ then one will realise exactly what we have here, a compilation of tunes from throughout the band’s career that somehow didn’t make it onto an album. One thing about a collection over this period of time is that it really displays just how many styles the bands have worked through, all in their own distinctive style. This is an album for those who already know and love the band, as opposed to a newbie, but I don’t think anyone could fail to fall in love with their Spear of Destiny cover “Never Take Me Alive” which is dark and heavy, yet light and appealing all at the same time. There are times when they are broody and dramatic, others when there Pete Steele’s bastard offspring and others when they show just how|
|musical and thoughtful they really can be. Of course, it isn’t possible to listen to “Missing” without comparing it to the original by Everything But The Girl, but they have given it much more depth and passion than I would have though possible and this is way better than the pop version.|
Alongside the 12 rarities, the guys have also included two new version of old songs that they deliberately recorded as if they were demos, bringing back producer Simon Efemey, who of course worked on their ‘Shades of God’, ‘Icon’ and ‘Draconian Times’ recordings. These are all about the guys having some fun in the studio, and it shows. So, this is indispensible for fans of the band, and if you have ever wondered what all the fuss is about then this actually isn’t a bad place to start, and is way better than most ‘B-side’ compilations you’ll come across.
|THE PRODUCERS Run For Your Life (YESTERROCK)|
|The Producers released their first album in 1981, when it reached #61 in the Billboard charts, and toured with the likes of Cheap Trick, but after just one more album they were dropped by their label. So, in 1985 they released their third album on a small local label and it is only now that it has been made available on CD. To be honest, this is generic 80’s AOR with an annoying drum sound, which does nothing but keep the beat, and while there is nothing really bad about it, there is certainly nothing any good about it either. But, some will find that this is an album that they will have to have as it contains the original of “Can’t Cry Anymore” which appeared on Kansas’s ‘Power’ the following year. It is really interesting to play them back to back, as although the Kansas version is a full minute shorter it contains far more drama and passion than the original. In many ways this shows the vast gap between the two bands, and while I have played ‘Power’ quite a lot (although it is one of my least favourite Kansas albums) I can’t ever see me returning to this one.|