Death of a Party

“Oh, plenty of hope, an infinite amount of hope – but not for us.”

Franz Kafka

I had almost an entire piece written about the Labour Party…. but it depressed me too much so I deleted it. There has been so much analysis of the issues confronting us that I don’t think it helps me writing my own take – which is normally my way of trying to come to terms with a situation.

I write this as a Labour member, a party I joined without huge expectations after the general election, but the reality has been so much worse. I’ve always considered myself to the left of what has been the standard Labour position during my years eligible to vote. In theory I should have been pleased that Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership election last year, but I was very worried.

Corbyn represents a strand of left wing politics that has got into bed with some fairly horrific regimes, as well as (despite what they try and deny) having a strong record of anti-Semitism. He also, as far as I can tell, doesn’t actually seem to be for anything. Some very clever people have written some very convincing arguments about why we should support Corbyn, but most of it boils down to people projecting their own thoughts and theories onto Corbyn. He does not necessarily stand for those ideals himself.

When Corbyn does talk on policy matters, EU membership, Trident, ending tax relief on pharmaceutical companies research, he comes across as unconvincing, and lacking any real understanding of how the world works. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Corbyn has marketed himself as an antidote to “career politicians”, which is impressively as that is exactly what he is. It is just that the causes that he has been interested in and worked towards over the last 32 years have tended to be on the margins of British political life. It is why he is comfortable talking to people who agree with him, but he is utterly hopeless when confronted with those who do not share his own viewpoint. Unfortunately for him, the job of opposition leader is not to bask in the adoration of the devoted, but to win round the couple of million people Labour needs in order to win the next election. Not only does he not seem able to do this, he doesn’t seem particularly interested in trying.

Doubtless Corbyn will win the next election and will lead Labour to a record breaking defeat at the next general election. If I was Theresa May I would call a general election the day after the Labour leadership results are announced. However, even if Owen Smith does somehow beat Corbyn and become Labour leader I don’t see how he can win a general election either. There will doubtless be a huge fall-out with the membership which will have a big impact on finances. He has tacked left in his leadership pitch so far, but doing so will make our rabidly right wing press attack him with a fervour that will their treatment of Ed Miliband seem benign. There will also be the fact that, that the core Corbyn supporters will see him as a traitor and will be unlikely to vote for him, despite the fact that at the moment there seems to be little difference in policy platform between Smith and Corbyn.

In conclusion, I can only see a hideous shit show. The right wing will continue to rise, increased nationalism will lead to another war, and if the USA elect Trump, well, all bets are off. There are lots of people doing good work in the world, trying to make it a better place. I hope that their example will shine through, but it won’t be enough over the next few years. Time to learn how to grow your own food and brew your own beer.

How Diagnosis Murder Saved my Life

In September 2001 I moved to Brighton with two of my friends. I knew nobody else in the city, had no job lined up, no particular savings, and no real idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I was recently graduated, and the only things I could be sure of were that I didn’t want to continue studying and that I had no desire to get a proper job. I had vague ideas about forming a band or writing a book but in truth I lacked the dedication to bring any ideas to fruition. My notebook from that time is filled with first pages of stories that were never finished, and although, with one of my flat mates, I did manage to write some songs, we never played them live, let alone recorded them.

 

Four days before I was due to move to Brighton, I sat on my parent’s sofa and watched the twin towers come crashing down. It was obvious watching that the world was about to get crazier, that this tragedy would be the start of more death, more bombs, another war. I vaguely wondered how this would affect my chances of getting a menial job to pay the bills, but pushed it to the back of my mind.

 

Things started to go wrong pretty much as soon as I moved in. We had taken an unfurnished flat as this was cheaper than a furnished one. However, none of us had much furniture, or any money to buy some. I had rescued a foldaway bed that my parents were about to throw out. After a couple of hours of sleeping on it however, it became clear that I may as well be sleeping on the floor for all the protection it offered.

 

The heating was meter operated. None of us had any money to put in it and so we were freezing all the time. In the evenings we would sit around on small garden chairs we had rescued from a nearby skip, wearing as many clothes as we could physically fit. I soon took to going to bed fully dressed and wearing my coat and beanie hat. As I lay on my useless mattress, swaddled in layers of clothes, I watched my breath move in the air in front of me and desperately hoped that tomorrow would be better.

 

Tomorrow was never better. Our landlord had neglected to plumb the washing machine in, so the first time we tried to wash our clothes we flooded the kitchen. As we cleaned the mess up, a furious knocking at the door startled us. It was the man who lived in the flat below us. The water from our washing machine was dripping down, through his bedroom ceiling. I remember him stood there, tall, wild dark hair, dishevelled, red eyed, calling us wankers. We joked afterwards that we had probably disturbed an axe murderer. It was a way of making light of the situation, but part of me took it seriously. Why wouldn’t we be murdered here?

 

My early confidence about getting a job quickly started to unravel. I applied for lots of jobs, all of which I was perfectly qualified for and heard nothing back. I got an interview at HMV. This, I was sure, would be the answer to my problems. Not only would I have a small amount of money, I would also get a discount on CDs and maybe make some friends in the city. Part of the reason we had moved to Brighton was because of its reputation as a bohemian, arty city with lots going on. Not knowing anybody meant that if there was a cool party scene we were not able to find it. My interview went well, and I walked back to the flat feeling confident that I would get the job – and that my real life in Brighton was about to begin. Two days letter I got an automated email saying that my application was unsuccessful. A few days after receiving the rejection email I was sat in a pub in the city centre when a small group of people walked in wearing HMV uniforms. I looked at my would be colleagues, would be friends and eavesdropped their conversation. There had been over 200 applicants for the job I had been interviewed for – and only two positions. For a brief while I felt better about my failure to get the job, but then I started to think. If there were that many applicants for the job – how was I ever going to get a job in this city against all this competition? It was still early but I finished up my drink and walked back home, in the opposite flow to dozens of people who were just heading into town to start their night out.

 

Sitting here now, fifteen years later, writing this whilst bored out of my skull as I manage the stand at London Book Fair for the small publisher I work for; it is easy to laugh at these memories. At the time though, there was nothing funny about it.

 

One of my flatmates, Stuart, had a job when we moved into the flat. Somehow he had got himself a job as a guidance counsellor in a sixth form near Croydon. I wasn’t jealous of the job, but I was jealous of the fact that he had some money to buy non-value range goods from Tesco, and also, the fact that his days had a purpose, even if it was not one that he enjoyed.

 

For myself and my other flatmate, Olly, our days were formless, long and depressing. We were time rich but we couldn’t afford to do anything and we didn’t know anybody else in the area who could entertain us. I became so desperate to talk to other people that I started to stop in the street when people asked me if I had considered letting Jesus into my life and talking to them at such length that they became keen to get rid of me. For a while we pretended that all this free time was a bonus – that it would mean that we were able to create our masterpiece. For a very short period we worked hard, writing songs, drafting and re-drafting lyrics, and working on a back story to throw to NME journalists when we got signed. Soon though, we drifted into apathy. In the morning we would walk into Brighton, visit the job centre, and look around the town to see if there were any jobs being advertised in shop windows. This done, we would trudge back to our flat. If the trip into town had been particularly futile and depressing I would buy bottles of white lightning on the way back home. Once back in our freezing, almost empty flat I would drink them, quickly, my complaining getting more bellicose and self-righteous as I worked my way through the bottle, cursing at the posers and fakes that made up the entirety of the population of the city as far as I could see, not that any of them had spoken to me.

 

If our visit to town hadn’t been quite so spirit-sapping, than Olly and I would play lounge cricket with a sponge ball that had been a toy for his parents dog that he had accidentally brought with him and a rolled-up copy of Metal Hammer magazine. These games would sometimes go on for hours, as bizarre rules were invented, and we desperately tried to take our frustrations out by hitting the small, soft ball as hard as we could. Occasionally we would mix it up and play football instead, but it just wasn’t as satisfying as winding up to take a huge swing at the ball, even if we both missed more often than we hit.

 

What really stopped me going under however was discovering Diagnosis Murder, broadcast in the post-Neighbours slot on BBC1. In Diagnosis Murder Dick Van Dyke plays Mark Sloan, a doctor who is a special advisor to the police force. Dick’s real life son, Barry Van Dyke, plays Mark’s son in the programme. Barry’s character (Steve) is a police officer, who fundamentally is unable to solve a crime without his dad (and a couple of other Doctors) doing all the work for him.

 

Watching Diagnosis Murder was the only time I was genuinely happy when I lived in Brighton. I loved it. I loved the theme music; the shot in the opening credits where Dick Van Dyke pretends to play the clarinet; the convoluted crimes; Barry Van Dyke’s total reliance on his father; the way that Dick Van Dyke was able to waltz in at the last moment, contradict all the detectives working the case, present some paper thin evidence and that would be enough to get an arrest made. I’ve heard it said that great art can lift you out of the everyday … well, in my experience, so can shit daytime murder mystery programmes.

 

I became obsessed with Barry Van Dyke. It must be tough being the son of a famous father, difficult not to feel that you are always in their shadow. Not only did Barry Van Dyke have to deal with this in his actual life, he even had to deal with it in a fictional setting. Barry’s character could occasionally get to be the muscle in a situation, but he never, ever got to be the brains. At best, he trailed in his dad’s wake, at other times he tried to challenge his father, putting forward his own theories on who was guilty to a crime. He was inevitably proven to be hopelessly wrong. I used to sit and watch the show and imagine the bullying his character would get from the other police officers – or did they all get to bring a parent in to work to solve a murder as well?

 

No matter how low I got, no matter how deep my shame was from my behaviour the night before (did I really get so drunk that I fell into a man using crutches outside McDonald’s knocking him to the floor?); no matter how futile everything seemed as the rejection letters piled up, no matter how lonely I was, no matter how much I longed for a woman to just talk to me let alone touch me; no matter how close I felt to just walking out into the cold East Sussex sea with my coat weighed down with pebbles from the beach, I always had Diagnosis Murder to look forward to.

 

Since those months in Brighton I’ve had several periods in my life when I have felt helpless and useless, when my life has collapsed in ruins around me and I have been close to falling to pieces. I’ve never truly succumbed to those feelings though because I remember that once I sat in a deckchair in a lounge, wearing an overcoat, hat and gloves with my breath pushing out in the air before me, knowing that my rent cheque was going to bounce, waiting for Diagnosis Murder to start and feeling nothing but happiness. If I was capable of enjoying Diagnosis Murder it meant that I was capable of finding something else that I enjoyed just as much, and maybe today would be that day, or if not today, then it would probably be tomorrow and I wouldn’t want to miss that would I?

Stranded in Pasadena

“To know a landscape, you must walk it.” Did someone say that? Or is it a phrase that is so self-evident that nobody famous bothered actually uttering it? Regardless, it is true. You can learn more about a place from walking every inch of it than you ever could from books or google.

I was too exhausted to do much of anything when I first arrived at the Ramada Inn on the E. Colorado Blvd in Pasadena, California. I’d been awake for over twenty hours when I finally got into the taxi to take me from Los Angeles airport to the hotel and I kept on dozing off in the back seat, finally coming to, staring at a burnt out piece of wasteland, the Colorado Auto Service Muffler & Glass unit, and there, in the distance, the San Gabriel mountains. Confused, I turned my head and saw the Ramada Inn on the opposite side of the street.

Like a lot of things in America, my room was enormous – big enough for four people – but with a number of important functions broken. Neither the shower nor the TV were working and every now and then an alarming sound came from the fridge that made me think the wiring was about to fuse and burst into flames at any moment. I decided the only way of dealing with the situation was to sleep for 14 hours.

When I woke up I felt a lot better. Even though I was in Pasadena on my own, for no reason at all, I felt good. I studied the shower again and realised that although the shower was indeed broken, the bath was working fine … which was good as I have a shower every day and frankly I was due for a change. After getting out the bath I had another look at the TV and realised that there was no way of getting that working. It occurred to me that this was also good; otherwise I would end up doing what I always do in the USA, and watch FOX news, which would inevitably make me furious and culminate in me getting into a drunken argument with a Republican supporter in a hotel bar at 2 in the morning. I realised that I was in a good mood and didn’t want this to happen again, besides, since the last time I was in the US the Tea Party had become popular so my argument would probably end up being even more ridiculous and in defiance of logic and plain decency than I was anticipating …. So no TV was also good.

The fridge continued to make intermittent popping sounds but I figured that it hadn’t exploded during the night so maybe this was just some sort of design feature that I hadn’t understood. I walked over to my balcony and calculated that I would be unlikely to die if the fridge did explode and I had to jump out of the window to escape the fire. I looked in my bag and checked the work travel insurance document again. Feeling reassured that the policy would cover me for work on a broken ankle I decided that I could accept the possibility of the fridge turning into a fireball as well.

After filling up on coffee, orange juice and muffins from the breakfast buffet I headed out. As I had originally been anticipating having no free time in Pasadena I hadn’t bothered to look up anything about the city – assuming that all I would be doing was getting a taxi from my hotel to the conference venue and back again. Therefore I wasn’t really sure which way to turn out of my hotel. In direct opposition to voters in the UK, my default position when I am lost or just unsure is to turn left … so I turned left.

If you want to know a landscape, you must walk it. Also, if you want to know what it is like to be poor in the USA you must walk. The sun was just starting to burn through the smog as I started walking. In the distance it was just possible to make out the mountains and the temperature was warm but not unbearable. In short, it was perfect conditions for a walk on a Saturday morning. In California though, the only people who walk more than a block are those who have no choice.

Waiting to cross the road just past the Liquor Mart, a short chubby man in a crumpled white shirt, holding a cigarette in his left hand whilst clutching a tatty plastic bag in his right, came and stood just behind me.

 

“Have I told you about the real human genocide?” he asks.

 

I don’t look at him. I don’t feel threatened, but nor do I want to engage with him.

 

As the sign switches to cross and I step out on to the road I hear him say:

 

“I’m still right here.”

 

I look back slightly, his face his turned upward to the sky, his lips are moving but I can no longer hear the words.

Moving on, I walk past a number of garages, spare part shops, tyre and exhaust centres. Two men walk slowly past me, pushing a shopping trolley, their faces resigned and empty. As I get further from my hotel and closer to the city college I start walking past restaurants with names like “Top Restaurant” which always makes me happy. I think it is the simplicity of the name that does it – and also the hope that it is done with SEO in mind … “what should we call our restaurant?” “Well, I always search for ‘top restaurant’ when I go to a new city” “Brilliant … that’s the name sorted.”

In the middle of a number of nondescript units hosting Panda King and Starbucks there is a pink house. ‘Psychic and Advisor” says the sign. I think about ringing the doorbell and making an appointment, imagine trying to persuade Kelly to sign it off as a legitimate business expense … maybe I was just looking for a way to accurately predict the revenue phasing for 2016 … but I realised I was kidding myself, that I wasn’t going to go in; that this was just another way that America both fascinated and repelled me. In amongst all the capitalism, the hard-nosed realism, there is the hope offered by a psychic. A hope based on lies and delusion … just like the American Dream.

A long walk

Late-capitalist, western society is not built for walking. We are filtered through non-essential spaces direct to where we can be productive – our desks or the shopping mall. If we want to walk we should do it in designated zones, heritage sites, national trust properties – accessible through the gift shop and tea rooms – you’ve got to keep contributing to the God of mammon after all. Walking in non-designated zones is treated with suspicion, and anyone relying on the privatized mess of our once public transport structure for any reason that other to get to an office in London is considered mentally ill.

Why is walking treated with suspicion? After all, there are regular exhortations for us all to lead less sedentary lives, so one would expect that choosing a 30 minute walk over a 5 minute car journey would be the norm rather than the exception. Is it just the lack of efficiency that means choosing to walk is frowned upon?

I suspect that this is part of it. We are under pressure to account for every minute of our lives – deliberately choosing to take longer to do something, and therefore limit the amount of time you have for other activities is suspicious to a society that worships industriousness. If you ran rather than drove, it wouldn’t be quite so frowned upon as running is considered an activity … walking is just something you do … a non-activity.

Walking as a non-activity is exactly what I like about it. When I am walking it means I am not checking my phone, not browsing the internet, not caught up in the 24 hour cycle of connectivity. Even if I start off the walk thinking about issues at work, it is very unusual for these worries to occupy my mind for the entire duration that I’m walking. I suspect this is part of the reason why so many writers and philosophers have been great walkers, as your feet walk so your mind picks itself up and roams free. Whatever problem you are stuck on, whatever nightmare is plaguing you, slips off somewhere as you walk, and suddenly you realise that what you’ve been worrying about is not the whole world.

Whilst you are walking you are in a state of non-time and non-place. Somewhere between where you’ve been and where you are going. Here lies walking’s potential as a radical activity. Whilst you are in this non-place there is the possibility that you might decide to change your destination. Many of my walks these days are circular during my lunch break from work. At some point on the walk the thought “what if I just don’t go back?” always pops into my head.

Walking always carries with it the thrill of departure, a sense of leaving behind, and part of this is generated by the uncertainty of where you will end up. If you get in the car and drive to the shops, you are herded by the road and your own muscle memory to your destination. There isn’t the time to change your mind. If you decide to walk however, you not only have time to change your mind, you often have a myriad of potential distractions to explore. Slacking off, discovering something new through just following an impulse or idle curiosity, these are some of the best things about being alive – but we are not supposed to admit it. There are countless different paths we can take in this world, we shouldn’t always take the quickest one.

Inside the tent

It’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.
Lyndon B. Johnson

I’ve always been someone who has preferred to be outside the tent. I have always had a deep-seated suspicion of joining anything. I don’t want to be co-opted – why would anyone want to co-opt me?

So what I’ve just done has taken me by surprise … I’ve joined the Labour Party. I know they’re not perfect, and they never will be, but this election result has booted me up my complacent leftie arse and made me want to get involved in whatever small way I can to make this a fairer country, and to improve the lives of the poorest and the most vulnerable. Labour can do this, even if they will never be as radical as I would like …. in the gap between a Labour government and a Conservative government lies death, misery and waste. If the Conservatives get elected again in 2020 I at least want to be able to look myself in the mirror and know I at least tried to stop it happening, I tried to take small, practical, measurable steps to make this country a fairer, more equal, more hopeful place.

I’ll always call out Labour policies I don’t like. I am not a fan of austerity-lite or their ridiculous position on immigration, that’s never going to change. What has changed is now I want to build and contribute towards policies that I do like, on disabled benefits, on minimum wage, on workplace protection, on human rights, and to get involved in local policies on housing and education that are coming to a boil. So, as of now, I’ll be inside the tent pissing out … want to join me?

I’m going to get myself deported

This election is making me want to leave the country.

Driving down the A34, passing houses draped in UKIP posters, the bookshop … the fucking bookshop! … round the corner from my house has a 3 page article pinned on the shop doorway urging Britain’s to vote UKIP in order to make Britain great again.

What the hell is wrong with people? Why can’t we see the real enemy? Except … this surge in support for UKIP actually starts to suggest that people are starting to train their sights on the true culprits for this absolute mess we find ourselves in during the foul year of our lord 2015. Not the people who are voting for UKIP rather than BNP. There probably isn’t much that can be done for them. However, a number of people give their reason for voting UKIP as that they are sick of the political class, they want to shake things up. This instinct is absolutely correct. Unfortunately we live in a country where a middle-aged, white male, employed by Rupert Murdoch and until recently the BBC, who counts the prime minister as a personal friend, can be seen as some sort of figure of rebellion. It isn’t surprising that our notions of how to shake-up the status quo are a little off.

To make it quite clear, a vote for UKIP is a vote for the establishment. Funded by billionaires (Richard Desmond, owner of the Daily Express, hasn’t given his journalists a pay rise since 2008 has donated £1.3 million pounds to UKIP, evidence to anyone that it isn’t immigrants keeping wages down it is greedy owners), and with a core of candidates and members drawn from a lifetime in the Conservative party, city banking, and wealthy landowners, a vote for UKIP is, with apologies to Elton John, a vomit directly into a strong wind. For 99% of people who vote for UKIP, a UKIP government would literally be the worst thing that could happen for them. Maybe by the 2020 election they will have figured this out and we can start having a sensible debate about politics in this country? Maybe, but I am not optimistic. Race, Europe and immigration appear to be three topics that will always lie outside of rational political discourse in this creche of a country.

Not that any of the other parties are exactly making a compelling case for voting for them. Anyone who votes for Liberal Democrats frankly deserve everything they have coming to them. David Cameron’s campaign must rank as one of the worst of all time. When the SNP win a massive majority in Scotland and call another referendum in 5 years time – which they will win – you can blame the break-up of the union on a prime minister who has spent much of the last few weeks telling the world that any government that is made up of votes from a quarter of the kingdom would be illegitimate. It is an act of unprecedented constitutional recklessness that is being supported by a mainstream media that is increasingly not seeing the need to even try and dress up the fact that they are essentially the cheerleaders for the Conservative party. I mean, does the Telegraph even read the nonsense that the Conservative press team feed them or do they just print it verbatim?

As for Labour, well, they haven’t been quite as disappointing as I thought, but that really is setting the bar pretty low. Out of a bad bunch they would almost certainly cause the least damage, but they are still so wedded to the false rhetoric of austerity that all they really have to offer is diet tory. Where are the progressive policies on environment, transport, housing and wages that we need so desperately? If Murdoch really isn’t so important any more, where are the policies that would make the old bastard’s blood boil? Labour still seems to be trying to keep a foot in tory territory. Fuck privatisation. There’s a winning campaign slogan for you right there Ed, but we all know you’ll never say it.

Politicians have too much invested in keeping the show turning and to hell with the rest of us. Which is why I understand that impulse that makes people think of voting for UKIP, but you wouldn’t shit in your bed out of choice and then settle down for your 8 hour sleep in it, and voting for UKIP would be worse and would enable more of their racist, sexist, homophobic bullshit, so please don’t do it. 99% of us are in it together. We should concentrate our anger on the 1%, the elites, the corporations, the troika, the political classes, and UKIP are ball deep in with them. Whoever wins this election, our work is only just beginning.

If football clubs were political movements ….

I don’t support Newcastle but have been reading a fair bit about them recently, partly because of Pardew leaving – and also because of Mike Ashley’s attempts to strengthen his grip on the club formerly known as Glasgow Rangers.

Ashley’s Newcastle are a metaphor for wider austerity Britain. Celebrate mediocrity (8th place as a success) despite having the potential resources to do better (Newcastle have gates of over 50,000 and Ashley is one of the 5 richest men in Britain – although we’ll come to that in a second), sell off public property to private enterprise (the renaming of St James Park to the Sports Direct Arena), treating fans as mindless consumers who should just keep on paying their money and shut up about any demands they have for enjoyment (an attractive, attacking team, a cup run) as that is not the primary reason for the football club to exist. Generating a profit for Mike Ashley is.

Reading the back pages of the newspaper about Newcastle is like reading the front pages about coalition led Britain. Like Newcastle consistently selling their best players we are regularly told that we can’t afford benefits for the disabled, art centres, libraries, refuges for victims of domestic abuse, etc despite the fact that we have the 6th largest total GDP and have no problem affording Trident apparently.

Just as the government continues to sell off public assets like the Royal Mail, the NHS and the East Coast Mainline to their friends and family in the private sector so Mike Ashley treats the history of Newcastle football club as expendable in order to increase advertising opportunities for his business (Sports Direct). The worldwide exposure of the premier league increases brand recognition of Sports Direct on a global level – never mind the history of St. James Park the shareholders of Sports Direct need an increased dividend.

Invest little for maximum profit. Ashley’s Newcastle is pure capitalism that is probably a gold standard for sports business management graduates to emulate. It is also joyless, depressing, elitist, exclusionary and soulless. Just like ConDem Britain.

Save the world, fight capitalism

Something strange is happening to me. I am becoming an environmentalist. For years environmental issues have been secondary to me behind social, political and economic concerns. Now I’m realizing that they are all the same.

It’s been happening incrementally. I work for an inter-governmental not-for-profit organization. A lot of the work the organization does concerns maximizing crop yields, minimizing the impact of invasive species and generally trying to ensure small farmers, often in some of the poorest regions in the world, have a sustainable business in a world where food security is increasingly impacted by climate change. This is self-evidently an admirable thing. It isn’t enough though.

As an inter-governmental organization we are hampered by being politically neutral. Our projects rely on donor funding – often the people who are funding our work are the very governments whose policies are causing (or at least exacerbating) the problem in the first place.

Climate change is a political issue. Assuaging our conscience by trying to clear up after ourselves is no longer enough. Alongside this we also need to work at a policy level because to combat climate change we need to remake our society – to make it fairer, more equal and not concerned with economic growth at the expense of everything else. Even in the UK, with the extensive flooding in early 2014, we have seen how our stripped back state is unable to deal with the effects of climate change. The private sector, the market gods are not going to save us from drought and floods.

Naomi Klein’s new book This Changes Everything explains this far better than I ever could. I don’t think I have ever read a book that I have agreed with more – or that has made me understand the urgency of the situation it describes.

So, the time for action is now. The time for making the argument for change is now. I’ve started volunteering, I’m looking for opportunities to get my hands dirty, to put my time and money where my mouth is. Hopefully I will talk about some of what I get up to in this blog.

The time for radical solutions is now. Save the world, fight capitalism.

 

III by The Black Heart Procession

I’m listening to III by The Black Heart Procession again. I think it is one of the most underrated albums of all time. I only know one other person who likes it, and he writes on this blog. It isn’t even the album that comes up first when you search for it on YouTube.

It is yearning, hopeful, deeply romantic music. I always come back to it when a certain mood sets in. I’m not entirely sure what that mood is, it isn’t sad or nostalgic but there is an element of melancholy I guess. It speaks to things that we have lost. People, feelings, time. Most of all time. It keeps on passing on and we don’t seize hold of it.

If you like Tindersticks you should listen to this. Sometimes I find myself singing track 3, ‘Once Said at the Fires’ without even realizing it. Music that sings to you is magical. It doesn’t happen often. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where this album doesn’t exist.III by Black Heart Procession will make you dream and smile and cry and think. If it doesn’t touch something in you we will probably never be friends.