Category Archives: Politics

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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➤ Do they know? How modest Midge wrote the biggest selling pop single of his generation

Do They Know It’s Christmas?, Band Aid, Live Aid, Midge Ure, Bob Geldof, 1984,pop music, UK charts,

Pop artist Peter Blake’s Band Aid sleeve… The original vinyl can be yours today for £6.99, US$11.25, €8.60 at eil.com

◼ 1.1 BILLION VIEWS FOR GANGNAM STYLE at YouTube!!! Merry Christmas, pop pickers. Now spare a few minutes to listen to the original demo of the tune that in its day became the biggest selling UK single of all time. In 1984 was at No 1 in the pop charts.

Midge Ure: recording the Band Aid single, here with Paul Young and Tony Hadley © 1984 Mercury Records

Midge Ure: recording the Band Aid single, here with Paul Young and Tony Hadley (© 1984 Mercury Records)

It was recorded under the artist name of Band Aid by a megagroup recruited from 47 of the biggest hitters in British rock and pop. It raised huge funds for famine relief in Africa and a year later led to Live Aid, the biggest global rock concert ever, viewed by two billion people in 60 countries, who coughed up still more dollars. Live Aid is said to have raised £150m (about £400m or US$650m at today’s prices).

The idea for Band Aid was proposed by one down-on-his-luck musician, Irishman Bob Geldof, who had been moved by a horrifying BBC TV news report on the famine in Ethiopia. The project sprang out of a telephone call with Midge Ure of Ultravox when he was appearing on The Tube, the weekly pop TV show broadcast from Newcastle. The song was written and produced in a flash by Scotsman Midge, who has emerged as one of the most genuinely multi-talented shapers of the 80s.

WALKING OUT OF THE SHOPS

Do They Know It’s Christmas?, Midge Ure, Bob Geldof, Band Aid, Record Mirror, cuttings
❏ The Band Aid single became the fastest seller of all time in its first week of release, ironically keeping one of its participants, George Michael and his band Wham! off the coveted No 1 spot in the Christmas singles chart, which would have been their third No 1 in a row. Bob Geldof, mover and shaker behind the charity project, told Record Mirror in the December 1984 page shown here: “It’s NOT a Geldof plot to get back in the limelight as some people are claiming. It allowed people who understandably felt a sense of impotence about Ethiopia to express their support.” DTKIC endured as the biggest-selling single of all time in the UK for 13 years, until it was overtaken in 1997 by Elton John’s Candle in the Wind, released following the death of Princess Diana.

HERE’S MIDGE’S ORIGINAL SOLO DEMO…

AND HOW IT SOUNDED A YEAR LATER AT LIVE AID

MORE BAND AID STORIES AT SHAPERS OF THE 80S

➢ 1984, Band Aid, when pop made its noblest gesture but the 80s ceased to swing

➢ 2001, Hear about the many lives of Midge Ure, the Mr Nice of pop

➢ Midge Ure and Gary Kemp lift the lid on the shenanigans that led up to Band Aid

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2012 ➤ Gongs for newbies and oldies creating the UK’s new golden age of TV comedy

Hunderby, Sky Atlantic, Julia Davis, TV series, British Comedy Awards,

Hunderby, bowing in: “Daphne du Maurier on ketamine.” (Photo: Sky Atlantic)

➢ There was plenty to howl about at last night’s British comedy awards, and well-deserved gongs for The Thick of It and Hunderby – Bruce Dessau in The Guardian writes:

At the British Comedy Awards 57 judges, drawn from journalism, TV production and performers, shortlisted Olivia Colman against herself for best comedy actress in Rev and Twenty Twelve, only for her to go home empty-handed. She lost, however, to Rebecca Front, whose ministerial meltdown in The Thick of It was undeniably compelling television. It was a particularly good night for The Thick of It, with Peter Capaldi bagging best comedy actor for his portrayal of demented spinmeister Malcolm Tucker. The performances on The Thick of It were exemplary.

British Comedy Awards, TV series, Rebecca Front,Peter Capaldi , Thick of It

The Thick of It, bowing out with series 4 of the political satire: Best comedy actor awards for Peter Capaldi, left, and Rebecca Front, right (BBC)

A genuine shock was the double success of Hunderby. Julia Davis’s cold-hearted period piece, screened on Sky Atlantic, was a favourite to win best new comedy, but for it to win best sitcom too, beating Rev, The Thick of It and Twenty Twelve, was a vindication of Sky Comedy head Lucy Lumsden’s investment in original output. Not bad for a show that stretches the definition of sitcom to snapping point.

The real mystery though, was the absence of some shows that did not even pick up nominations. There has been frustration about Fresh Meat missing out, but it was no surprise that its posh boy Jack Whitehall won the Public Vote for king or queen of comedy… / Continued at Guardian online

➢ Why Hunderby is the best British period sitcom in 20 years – Matt Grundy writes: It’s set in the bleak 1830s somewhere in England after a shipwreck, where our Helena is brought back from the dead on the beach by a pastor. The two must have a baby within a year or they lose Hunderby. Strange, but it works. Hunderby is not only one the best British comedies of the last 20 years, it’s also the best period piece I’ve ever seen. Although I don’t watch many, to be honest… / Continued at Sabotage Times

➢ Guardian review of Hunderby and Davis’s “potty pen” Yes, sometimes it feels as if Davis is showing off, simply demonstrating that she dares to go to places no one else does (especially places “down there”).

Fresh Meat,British Comedy Awards ,TV series,Jack Whitehall

King of Comedy Award: Fresh Meat’s cast with Jack Whitehall, left. (Photo: Channel 4)

➢ Fresh Meat: behind the scenes of the new TV series Channel 4’s comedy drama about six students mismatched in a shared house was devised by Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, the creators of the sitcom Peep Show… The comedian Jack Whitehall, who plays the incorrigibly posh JP, wanders around the set in a vest and boxer shorts. The sneaker-clad feet of Joe Thomas, who plays Kingsley (an everyman similar to his character, Simon, in The Inbetweeners), stick out of one of the bedrooms (he’s trying to sleep off a hangover). Kimberley Nixon, the Welsh dentistry student Josie, ferrets around in a spotted dressing gown; Charlotte Ritchie, who plays the English-lit student Oregon, is in a long printed charity-shop dress; while Greg McHugh, who plays the bearded and bespectacled outsider Howard, struggles under the lights in a thick woolly jumper. “We haven’t come here to play some cool, foam-party-loving students living it up and having a great time,” says Zawe Ashton, who plays the tough-as-nails Vod” … / Continued online at The Telegraph

➢ VIEW Fresh Meat, Season 2, Oct 2012:
It’s a new term and the gang have returned to uni

INTERVIEW WITH THE GODFATHER OF 21C SATIRE

The Thick of It, Armando Iannucci ,Bafta Award,

Writer Armando Iannucci: collecting a Bafta for The Thick of It in 2010

➢ Armando Iannucci interviewed as The List’s hottest star after a triumphant year when The Thick of It won two Comedy Awards, his new show Veep broke in the US and he won an OBE

Whether we will ever be allowed to return to the dank soul of spinmeister Malcolm Tucker is uncertain now that the final series of The Thick of It went out in a blaze of recriminations and desolation earlier this year. While Iannucci admits that having thought he had severed himself from Alan Partridge a decade ago (a feature film with North Norfolk Digital’s foremost DJ is due out this summer) he can’t say for certain that he will never bring back Tucker, Nicola Murray, Glen Cullen and Co.

It was actually quite sad when the last couple of episodes went out, but it was the right point to draw a line under it. I just felt that with the phrases in The Thick of It being used by politicians themselves [Ed Milliband’s use of ‘omnishambles’ immediately springs to mind], there was a danger that if you didn’t stop, it would become too neat and cosy. So I thought stop now rather than carry on for another five years and have guest appearances from David Milliband and Michael Gove and then have a Christmas show with Alex Salmond… / Continued online at The List

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➤ David Frost salutes TW3, the TV show that pioneered satire 50 years ago tonight

Hugh Carleton-Greene, David Frost, TW3, BBC, satire, 1960s,Private Eye, Bernard Levin, JFK, Christopher Booker, Millicent Martin,

Satirists on their firing range: at left, David Frost leads the TW3 team in the studio

❚ THE MOST INFLUENTIAL TV SERIES in British history – the lodestar for all future comedy, and more – won no fulsome retrospective from the BBC on its 50th anniversary today. Only a brief item on the Today show reminded us how the earth tilted at 10:30pm on this night in 1962 with the launch of TW3 – the adopted shorthand for That Was The Week That Was. New research reveals that this politically insolent television voice of Britain’s nascent satire movement attracted complaints by the thousand. “No other programme has so many files in its correspondence section,” we were told this morning by historian Morgan Daniels on the Today programme. What it had done, according to Private Eye’s first editor Christopher Booker in his landmark 1969 book The Neophiliacs, was finally to break free from the Presbyterian straitjacket of Lord Reith, the BBC’s founder. Within weeks pubs started emptying on Saturdays as the nation made a ritual of rushing home to catch TW3’s 37 broadcasts which grew an audience of 12 million in less than a year.

A galaxy of leading “Northern Realist” writers and national newspaper journalists contributed razor-sharp sketches and what little remains available on video makes today’s comedy seem lily-livered. TW3 made the career of Sir David Frost who was its “classless” front-man at the age of 23. Though many satirists say they achieve no lasting change, on tonight’s Loose Ends radio show, Frost insisted that satire does have a knock-on influence in its day, even if it may not reform legislation in the long term. TW3’s second series was curtailed on December 28, 1963, for fears it would unbalance the general election campaign of 1964.

Roy Kinnear, David Frost, Lance Percival, TW3, satire, 1960s

At the TW3 bar: Roy Kinnear, David Frost, Lance Percival

TW3 captured a zeitgeist unique to the 60s before they began to swing. Booker argued in The Neophiliacs: “It was a final drawing together of almost all those threads which had been working for ‘revolution’ and sensation in the England of the previous seven years.” [Namely, since the election of 1955 when slippage of the tectonic plates supporting Britain’s centuries-old class system saw the subsequent rise of the “unposh” intellectual and of John Osborne’s “angry young man”] … “[TW3] brought the destructive force of the satire craze to a mass audience.”

Britain was changing. Deference was on the way out, The Beatles were on their way in. The satire boom was in full swing…/ Continued inside

➢ Read on inside for a fuller analysis by Shapersofthe80s
of the 60s satire boom – plus a gallery of rarely seen images from TW3, and more vintage videos


❏ Year-ending round-up of TW3 highlights, Dec 1963 (above) – includes notorious Mississippi number with black-and-white minstrels in the week a white protester walking from Alabama to Jackson was shot dead by the road … The consumer guide to religion … Timothy Birdsall draws the Duke and Duchess of Eastbourne … MPs who have not spoken in Parliament are named and shamed … Bernard Levin harangues a pride of lawyers with their failings.

➢ Click through to compare and contrast the satirists of the 60s with the “alternative comics” of Alexei Sayle’s generation when they formed the Comic Strip – Analysis by Shapersofthe80s from 1980

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➤ Shapersofthe80s is declared an “invaluable website” by British historian

“winter of discontent” ,  Leicester Square, strikes,

Britain’s infamous “winter of discontent” that brought down the Labour government in 1979: as public service workers went on strike, rubbish piled-up even in London’s Leicester Square

Seasons in the Sun,Battle for Britain, Dominic Sandbrook, books, history, Allen Lane,❚ AN “INVALUABLE WEBSITE” — this is the verdict on Shapersofthe80s by historian Dominic Sandbrook, author of the rich new cultural analysis, Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974–1979. It’s a doorstep of a book, yet highly readable, which reveals numerous upbeat aspects to the chaotic decade many write off as worthless.

Chapter 31 is especially inspirational! Sandbrook gives generous credit to key characters who Shapersofthe80s has long maintained deserve recognition as movers and shapers pivotal to the energy of the 80s. And, having quoted chunks from our own texts, the historian gives due acknowledgement in his extensive bibliography. Indeed, the scope of his research is more impressive than for much other contemporary history, as Sandbrook not only cites political and economic mandarins, but also sifts fine detail from popular culture and eye-witness reportage across the whole social spectrum.

Sandbrook writes: “Behind the lurid news stories, the late 1970s were the decisive point in our recent history. Across the country, a profound argument about the future of the nation was being played out, not just in families and schools but in everything from episodes of Doctor Who to singles by the Clash. These years marked the peak of trade union power and the apogee of an old working-class Britain – but they also saw the birth of home computers, the rise of the ready meal and the triumph of a Grantham grocer’s daughter who would change our history for ever”

Seasons in the Sun is the fourth title in Sandbrook’s survey of postwar Britain. His unstuffy combination of high and low life is behind the BBC2 series The Seventies currently viewable live and on iPlayer.

BBC2 series The Seventies,Seasons in the Sun ,Dominic Sandbrook

Sandbrook’s Seasons in the Sun forms the basis of the current BBC2 TV series The Seventies

REVIEWS OF SEASONS IN THE SUN

❏ “The first three volumes of Dominic Sandbrook’s epic history of Britain between 1956 and 1979 were exceptionally good. The fourth, Seasons in the Sun, is magnificent … marked by its pace, style, wit, narrative and characterisation as by its exhaustive research.” — Roger Hutchinson, Scotsman

❏ “Sandbrook has created a specific style of narrative history, blending high politics, social change and popular culture … his books are always readable and assured, and Seasons in the Sun is no exception … Anyone who genuinely believes we have never been so badly governed should read this splendid book.” — Stephen Robinson, Sunday Times

1977, Jayaben Desai, Grunwick, strike, picket

August 1977: Jayaben Desai, treasurer of the strike committee at the Grunwick photo-processing plant, had been picketing for a year, supported by white, male trade unionists while postmen blocked the company’s mail. (Photograph by Graham Wood/Getty)

EVEN WIDER PERSPECTIVE FROM LEADING PLAYWRIGHT

➢ Playwright David Edgar draws together the Sandbrook quartet in The Guardian, May 9, 2012: The 1970s was the moment when our century arrived… As Sandbrook insists, the women’s liberation movement was as much about Hull’s fishermen’s wives and female machinists at Ford Dagenham as feminist activists disrupting Miss World. In 1971, workers campaigning against the closure of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders borrowed the student tactic of the sit-in. As 1970s chronicler Andy Beckett argues, the gay groups who stood shoulder to shoulder with trade unionists outside Grunwick prefigured an alliance which “would become commonplace in the decade to come”. The identity politics that were to become such a satirised feature of the left of the 1970s arose not just out of campus and culture but class war… / continued at Guardian online

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