A backdrop for the girls and boys who just don’t know or just don’t care

Auto Tune and lip synching.  The scourge of modern music.  It wouldn’t have happened back in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, right?  People believe music back then was authentic.  And great acts like Queen would never mime.  Right?

Some of the most blatant miming ever – and still a command performance by Freddie Mercury.

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Lonely Starbucks Lovers

For the last few years I’ve been using Taylor Swift to irritate hipsters; using her either as an example of authenticity in modern music or a singer/songwriter/musician of the sort some claim have died out.  But not actually listening to her for most of it (and most of her music, and particularly her early music, is not written for me).  And certainly since Kanye West invaded the stage at the VMA awards people have been looking for excuses to take potshots at her. Me, I find the whole thing interesting.  Taylor at least as much as her music.  She’s an outlier – someone who invented her own market (teenage Country music).

And before the fold I’m going to mention her current row with Spotify.  She claims they don’t pay enough when 60% of their revenue goes to the labels.  The problem here is a step deeper.  Spotify gives consumers a level of access that people who’ve bought the albums have, but charge as if they were radio.  The record labels make their money out of back catalogue – but it doesn’t help new artists (or even minor labels like hers).

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Progress through Blood and Fire

It’s December 1.  I’ve just seen my first brass band of the year and seen my first red kettle.  Which means that it’s about time for the annual “Don’t give to the Salvation Army” posts to start appearing.  I wrote up why a couple of years ago.  (There are of course plenty of others around the net).  But this is not that post.  This is instead one to say “We’re winning”. Continue reading

Do you hear the people sing?

I was at the London March for a Future That Works yesterday (October 20).  And my answer to the title question can be best summed up with the fact that I considered titling this post ‘The People’s Flag is Palest Pink’.  The march was … a big march.  I’ve been on them before and because you are all marching in the same direction you don’t get to see much of what is going on.

I arrived in Hyde Park to be greeted by a Green activist telling me I’d just missed Mr Millibean being booed for saying he’d be implementing cuts. Or more accurately telling us that Ed Miliband had been terrible.  He did not, contrary to Twitter, arrive in a Rolls Royce; that picture was taken in Hull (see the watermark). But from the linked video you can see exactly how bad a speech that was give to that audience.

Of the speeches I saw, little needs saying.  There was plenty of red meat for the crowd (some provided by Osbourne attempting to fare-dodge) including the union leaders and Bob Crow in particular calling for a General Strike.  Hint: This isn’t 1982.  Or even 1926.  There hasn’t been the will or the strength for a general strike in my lifetime – it’s nothing more than seeking one big battle to be crushed in.

And this brings me on to the core of my observations.  I was walking round and looking at the crowd far more than I was the speakers.  They were far more interesting.    And far more of an indication of what sort of unrest there was.  They were claiming 100,000 people at the time and the official claim is over 150,000.  Which is 100,000 down on the march a year ago – a very bad sign.  But worse was looking round the crowd and seeing who wasn’t there.

To quote the Billy Bragg version of The Internationale “Freedom is merely privilege extended,
Unless enjoyed by one and all.”  And the people there?  I’d estimate UNISON were the largest group, followed by the other unions (PCS, RMT, NASUWT, etc.).  The SWP were there, of course.  So were the other various socialist parties.  The Quakers.  Oddball left wing groups like the Red Leicester Choir.  Various local Labour party groups.  The Stop the War Coalition.  In short it was just about all left-wing rent-a-mob.

And who was missing?  My first observation on hitting the rally was that I didn’t think I’d seen a crowd that white in London since I lived in Eltham (the site of the Stephen Lawrence murder).  My second thought was that the students were missing.  There may have been a group of students from Warwick – and the two trolls carrying signs (one asking ‘Haven’t the bankers paid enough’) may have been students.   There were also other students in the crowd – but a distinct lack of students groups.

And this lead me to my second observation.  The overwhelming majority of the crowd were either people who I thought would have marched in the 70s or their children.  It seemed that the crowd was almost entirely a subset of the white upper working/lower middle class.  So much for “International Solidarity” –  they couldn’t even manage to attract outside a specific wedge who will be completely ignored by this government because I believe 99.9% of the crowd that turned up wouldn’t vote Tory if you paid them.  Marches are supposed to show strength.  That showed weakness.  It showed a lack of solidarity and a group that almost can not affect this government.

So no, I don’t hear the people sing.  The group preaching solidarity have turned into a pressure group.