Category Archives: Politics

➤ Maxine and Marr: heard the deeply serious tale about the actress and the rock star?

Johnny Marr, rock, theatre, film, Maxine Peake, Guardian, interview, homelessness, Royal Exchange ,working class , Manchester

Maxine Peake and Johnny Marr: “You can’t avoid homelessness in Manchester. It touched us both”

Marr: “There are so many things about being working class that never leave you entirely. A certain gratitude. A kind of humility, whether it’s forced on you or not. You could even call it guilt, I guess: working-class guilt.”

“There is a guilt, yeah,” says Peake. “A friend said to me, ‘Are you sure you’re not a Catholic? ’Cos you’re riddled with guilt.’ It’s tied up with a work ethic. You’ve got to be seen to be grafting for what you’re doing. You know what I mean? Constantly.”

➢ Today’s Guardian interview by John Harris delves into the serious stuff behind a blossoming showbiz friendship:

When the musician Johnny Marr met and the actor Maxine Peake in 2014, they “clicked straight away”, bonding over a mission to bring back socially conscious art. The first fruits of their partnership are now about to be released: a five-minute piece entitled The Priest, which has been turned into a short film, co-directed by Marr, set in the centre of Manchester, as a vivid first-person account of homelessness. Here they talk about shamanic rock stars, working-class guilt and how their spoken-word album about homelessness strives to be a modern Cathy Come Home. . .

Marr says of Peake at one point: “I’ve actually met someone who probably works even more than me, if that’s possible,” and Peake’s résumé suggests he’s not wrong. Next year will see the release of Funny Cow, in which she stars as a female standup trying to push her way through the grimness of 70s Britain, as well as the staging at the Royal Exchange of Queens of the Coal Age, the play Peake has written about the true story of four women resisting the closure of a Yorkshire coalmine. . .

PLUS MARR ON THE M-WORD

Marr says he was “crushed and heartbroken” by the vote for Brexit, whereas his former creative partner Morrissey seemed to rejoice in it. Though Marr has remained firmly on the political left, Morrissey now seems to champion the reactionary right. “I’ve stayed the same. I’ve never changed. But … people tend to forget that it was 30 years ago that we were in a band together. Stop and think about it: 30 years. It’s a long time. So I honestly don’t care very much. . . / Continued at The Guardian online

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2017 ➤ “It may be false, It may be true” – The life and times of Christine Keeler

Christine Keeler, John Profumo, politics, sex, scandal, obituary, Lewis Morley, Terry O’Neill, Swinging Sixties,

Immature? Alternative unused shot of 21-year-old Christine Keeler from the famous 1963 photo session in Lewis Morley’s Greek Street studio. . . Right, in 1990, a fully-clad Keeler returned to the pose she made famous for a photograph taken by Terry O’Neill

“THEY NEVER STOPPED CALLING ME A PROSTITUTE.” So said the notorious “showgirl” who helped bring down a Tory government, quoted in today’s impressively well rounded Times obituary of Christine Keeler who has died aged 75. Despite posing naked for a now definitive photograph on a plywood chair in 1963, she fell victim to the mores of those times in the whole sex-and-spying soap opera enacted by a cast of deeply sleazy characters. Found guilty of perjury, she was sentenced to nine months in prison.

“Her only real crime was immaturity,” according to The Times obituarist. The war minister John Profumo lied “again and again” throughout the scandal, also according to The Times, whose own editor back in the day thundered that adultery “is a moral issue”. Well worth reading as a comprehensive slice of social history just as the Sixties began to swing.

Christine Keeler, John Profumo, politics, sex, scandal, obituary, Lewis Morley, Terry O’Neill, Swinging Sixties

Telling her own story – News of the World from June 1963

➢ The Telegraph has a moving tribute from Keeler’s son, Seymour Platt – He says: “I don’t think there is any celebrity or star or interesting person from that era who she didn’t meet.”

“IT MAY BE FALSE,” SINGS DUSTY

❏ One sympathetic reappraisal of Keeler’s reputation came with the powerful 1989 feature film Scandal directed by Michael Caton-Jones who created an even-handed and realistic evocation of the saga, with an immaculate cast. Best of all for pop-culture fans was its title track by the Pet Shop Boys who had the brilliant notion of bringing Sixties icon Dusty Springfield out of retirement and she rendered the vocals beautifully. Among a classic collection of tunes for the soundtrack, Chubby Checker even re-recorded The Twist because his original had been embargoed for rights reasons.


This video compilation intercuts clips from the film Scandal with authentic news footage of the rum cast implicated in the Profumo affair of 1963, all overdubbed with Dusty who sings the film’s soundtrack, Nothing Has Been Proved. And yet, nothing about the story was fake by today’s standards.

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2016 ➤ Van Jones reveals Prince’s humanitarian activities to CNN

➢ American political activist and friend reveals extent of Prince’s philanthropy on CNN – reported at Bring Me The News:

Stories about the Purple One’s generosity are starting to emerge in the days following his death, with his close friend Van Jones lifting the curtain on his humanitarian endeavours in an interview with CNN (which you can watch above).

Prince, YesWeCode

July 2014: Prince at the #YesWeCode Launch, at Essence Music Festival

As a practising Jehovah’s Witness, Jones says, Prince was “not allowed to speak publicly about any of his good acts” but Jones felt that now was the time people knew more about his charitable giving over the years.

Chief among the projects he helped fund is #YesWeCode, an initiative led by Jones aiming to teach 100,000 low-income, urban youths learn how to code to help them get jobs in the tech world. Jones says 15 major technology companies now work with “kids in the hood” to help them break into Silicon Valley through the project.

According to the L.A. Times, Jones said the inspiration for the idea came following the Trayvon Martin verdict, with Prince saying to Jones: “Every time people see a young black man wearing a hoodie, they think, he’s a thug. But if they see a young white guy wearing a hoodie they think, oh that might be Mark Zuckerberg. That might be a dot-com billionaire” . . . / Continued online

➢ Elsewhere at Shapersofthe80s:
Prince ‘A funny cat’ and ‘sole authentic genius’ of the 1980s

➢ Elsewhere at Shapersofthe80s:
Prince’s raunchy earliest videos and his last

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➤ Glenda Jackson silences Tories in Commons tirade against Thatcher

Glenda Jackson ,video, Commons ,debate, Thatcher

Glenda Jackson lets rip: click on image to run video in a new window

By far the most heinous demonstration of Thatcherism was across the whole country in metropolitan areas where every shop doorway became the bedroom, the living room, the bathroom for the homeless. They grew in their thousands, and many of those homeless people had been thrown out onto the streets from the closure of the longterm mental hospitals. It was called care in the community. What it effectively was was no care at all in the community.

During her era London became a city Hogarth would have recognised. Everything I had been taught to regard as a vice was under Thatcherism in fact a virtue: greed, selfishness, no care for the weaker. Sharp elbows, sharp knees, they were the way forward.” – Glenda Jackson MP, in today’s Parliamentary debate which “considered the matter of tributes to the Baroness Thatcher”

London, Gin Lane, Hogarth, prints

Gin Lane (1751) by English artist William Hogarth: shocking scenes of infanticide, starvation, madness, decay and suicide in London

➢ “If the measure of a great political leader is the extent to which they leave a footprint on those that follow, Margaret Thatcher, for better or worse, was a great leader,” writes Patrick Wintour in The Guardian – “David Cameron has never been able quite to embrace or reject her politics. He, like many of his contemporaries, has almost internalised the trauma of her premiership and ejection from Downing Street in 1990… / Continued online

➢ The politicised argument over how to remember the former prime minister is not about the past,” writes Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian – “The wider Tory tribe seems determined to use the nine-day limbo between her passing and her funeral to define Thatcher in death in a way that would have seemed impossible, if not outright absurd, in life…” / Continued online

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2013 ➤ Want to know the future of nearly everything? Vice magazine has the answers

Vice magazine, future, forecasts, Football , Africa, Drugs , Architecture,Crime, internet, fashion, clubbing,politics,culture,guitars, cool

Boombox clubber: “attempting to look like their MySpace profile”

➢ So, Vice Future Week – what is it? – Alex Miller, Editor-In-Chief, Vice UK, writes: “Well it’s a series of blogs (or essays – that’s how I’ve explained it to people who I’m intimidated by) about THE FUTURE.” Right ºOº. Fortunately, the essays mostly prove compelling, so here are a few online soundbites from Alex’s more focused commentators…

➢ In The Year 2022: Looking Back at the Decade – “The Islamic Republic of Catalonia seemed new and scary to a lot of people, but Islamic city-states are hardly an innovation in Spain. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was such a laughline ten years ago, like Mayor Boris Johnson before, that I think most people were prepared for it…”

onesie,fashion,Vice magazine, future, forecasts,

Soft fashion: weighing us down

➢ Things That Need to Die Before British Culture Can Move Forwards – “British culture is in a weird place right now. Teenagers are buying their drugs on the internet, but getting their clothes from Hollister. Hardbody MCs are beefing with each other about the merits of Ed Sheeran, and Mail Online’s Sidebar of Shame is a cultural staple on which careers are born and killed… There are many facets of our culture that are really weighing us down. The albatrosses slowly breaking our necks, the clips on our cultural wings. So let’s name those things: gentrified fun… cocaine… bedroom vanity… consensus cool… soft fashion…”

➢ The Future of Fashion – “I’d like to think I’d be braced for the following bombs to drop in the next decade: China is set to rise from consuming only ten per cent of the world’s international luxury goods, to 44 per cent… The internet means that very specific city-based subcultures are catching on globally… Shops “will become more like showrooms”… The effect new browser systems will have on fashion will be similar to how East London venue Boombox was “a nightclub full of people attempting to look like their pictures on MySpace”. People will “try to look 3D, or like a computer”…”

Vice magazine, future, forecasts, politics,consensus, cool

Inevitable: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and consensus cool. (Illustration by Julia Scheele)

➢ The Future of Guitar Music – “Guitar music, despite my best efforts, isn’t dead… Somehow, according to industry insiders at Radio One, NME and (that most respected and time honoured bastion of rock’n’roll) Kiss FM; without it ever having gone anywhere, the guitar is on its way BACK… Last year, Jack White, Linkin Park, Bruce Springsteen and Matchbox Twenty all scored Billboard number one albums in the US, while The xx, The Vaccines, The Killers and Muse all enjoyed number one records over here…”

➢ Other topics at Vice include Future of Football… Africa’s rise… Drugs… Architecture… Crime…

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