Scab Aid

For profit, stars, and company
Consumers of the world agree
Nothing sells like disaster, let it be.

Rather appropriate The Scum & Let It Be by Chumbawamba – originally in response to The Sun and others cashing in on the Zeebrugge Ferry disaster, but just as well applies to any of these charity songs. Also a good reminder of how evil Rupert Murdoch is, and how Cameron and co. want to take up back to that terrible time, of Miner and Printer Strikes, well actually they’d prefer you didn’t struggle and peacefully went into the workhouse or gas oven.

Guardian Microplays

Love the two Guardian Microplays (very short 5 minute plays with the Royal Court) so far – the second on the mixtape – Groove Is In The Heart is a subject very close to my heart. It features Ride, New Order and Neneh Cherry but also points out the sort of time travel we all regularly take part in with recorded media. Those memories as I’ve found with going through the old Radio Clash podcasts onto Mixcloud, aren’t always good ones, nor totally welcome. As I said on the 35th episode of Radio Clash, the one I intentionally avoided for nearly a decade due to the raw subject matter of the London Bombing – you should run away screaming from history, making history is usually messy and Not Good. As sometimes are these memories, they can be as much millstones as they can be cushions.

Sadly I can’t embed these, which I think is a bit of a fail for the Guardian – then again they think in terms of advertising so I bet it’s intentional – but the other play so far is a hard-hitting one about food poverty ‘Britain Isn’t Eating’ which includes the very talented Katherine Parkinson, and was created with Jack Monroe, one of my favourite bloggers. Love the dual-stage element to this, and dual role.

Make Bono History & Sex Aid 30

Not original – Culturcide did this with We Are The World back in the 80’s but glad to see someone still pricking their supercilious charidee bubble. Better than ‘charity’ would these people all paying their tax – rather than Myleene Klass style moaning about tax and avoidance schemes like the entitled right-winger non-doms they are?

And as many Africans have said – yes they know it’s Xmas, by the way they have their own better ebola charity single, and despite the condescending lyrics of doom it’s only 3 countries – not even close to covering West Africa – and the rest is very ebola free, thankyouverymuch. And by the way what about the HIV, the malaria, the respiratory disease that kill millions more than ebola ever has? When do they get a nice charity single? Oh sorry, those won’t spread to rich white people or we have combination therapy for HIV but only for rich westerners? Oh, ok.

Personally I was saddened when I went to Ethiopia – a green, hilly, almost cold yet thriving vibrant place – 25 years after the first Band Aid I was still getiing jokes and questions whether I’ll have ‘enough to eat’ – or even genuine concern that the place might be somehow dysfunctional, desert, hot, starving. Going there I realised how wrong those images are, even in my own head although I knew that it wasn’t like that now – and out of date – if they every were in date, since the area with the famine was one small corner and as much to do with tribal politics as extreme famine.

As someone who has been to and loved various parts of Africa many times, this patronising ‘we will save you’ attitude just makes me angry. Sure some things could be better, sure poorer parts need help, and sure the three countries with ebola do need that infrastructure – this is what DECS, Medecin San Frontieres and others have been doing since early this year, without negative fanfare. But the negative vibe as with the first Band Aid in Ethiopia just lingers…and causes more damage. That is truly the ‘kiss of death’ for the region.

And yes I know a rampant U2 critic on a bike nearly wiped out Bono after the plane incident, but it seems sadly Bono is still with us. Maybe his near-death experience might mean he might ‘give us your fucking money’ and pay full tax in Ireland, along with the rest of his terrible group? That would be nice, rather than being a sanctimonious yet hypocritical prick, and along with Geldof again foisting another terrible charity single on us. Give us your money, while we refuse to give ours? Hmm.

And don’t get me started on Tracey Emin’s ‘contribution’ – 5 minutes terrible scrawl while some ‘little man’ does the neon for her, I bet.

Steve Albini faces up to the music industry (again)

Great if long video / transcript of Steve Albini’s speech at Face The Music in Melbourne which echoes his classic ‘The Problem With Music’ from 21 years ago. Although I’d not describe Prince’s music as ‘poison’ I do think the purple dwarf’s attitude to the internet is poisonous, and all the people who try and control digital media and how music is heard today. Total control is not only unwise, it strangles any new or transformative uses of music, and actually silences music from being part of culture, like the background of a YouTube video, or orphaned 78s and dusty 45s being lost because no-one can find the original owners.

As he said: “Inside that trite sentence, ‘We need to figure out how to make this work for everyone,’ hides the skeleton of a monster” – you hear a lot of defences like this, and he’s right to tear that apart, because what it means is that those who grew fat off the bands and artists while they starved, the ones who brought guns and heavies to deal with bootleggers and contract deals, the ones who strung out the musicians on drugs to make them easier to control or get their money stream, the ones who gouged fans with CDs…the list is endless.

That system can burn for all I care – music, the listeners and those who create it will be fine, even if it goes back to live music only, that would be better than the last 90 years which have been a bit of a cul-de-sac in the thousands of years in history of music where music was always live.

// // //