POLiTRiCKS: Toryism Out Of Control…

It’s really saddening to find ourselves in a state where Jonathan Pie and The Daily Mash are better and more reliable sources of news than any of the mainstream screen media.

I’m a staunch supporter of the BBC, as a ‘national good’, a publicly owned and run non-politically affiliated institution, there for the benefit of all in the UK, free from commercial exploitation.

Ever since its inception most Tories have disliked the BBC, and even as they continue to disassemble and co-opt it, from within, they still caricature it as a hotbed of leftist ne’erdowells. In actual fact it has been infiltrated and taken over by bean-counting place-serving yes-men/women, appointed by the Tories for so long now I’ve lost track.

It’s gotten to the point now that even so called news items are actually party political broadcasts for the Tory agenda. I heard a piece on the NHS ‘collaborating’ with private healthcare on BBC R4 the other day, and couldn’t believe how blatantly Tory it was.

Essentially it portrayed the private sector as coming to the rescue of the ailing NHS. No examination of why this has come to pass. Nor what it means for the future of the NHS, beyond the programmes’ blatantly biased message that public/private cooperation can only be good.

But coming to Pie’s latest rant; it’s a theme many on the left are slapping their faces at. When Starmer recently took Sunak to task over the economic meltdown the Tories have gotten us into, and in particular the role of Tory self-serving greed – in the latest form of Mone – in all of this, Rishi did exactly what Pie is talking about.

Rather than address the blatant theivery of the super rich, at a time when the nation was and still is supposedly ‘all in it together’, this City millionaire instead tries to steer the conversation towards blaming those sections of the ‘lower orders’ who are having the temerity to strike, in pursuit of such outrageous demands as living wages and job security.

And let’s not forget that Toryism has always campaigned for the erosion of workers’ rights. That’s why we’ve seen a thermonuclear mushrooming of ‘zero hours’ contracts. That’s what Brexit was always really about. Removing that pesky EU red tape, aka deregulation, has always been about taking away rights and powers from those lower down the food chain in order to benefit those further up it, making it easier for them to skim off the cream.

As Mick Lynch is constantly saying, to anyone who’ll listen, these rich greedy fuckers are getting wealthier by parasitically exploiting all of us. And yet, because they have vast wealth, they brazenly use it to manufacture a ‘divide and rule’ scenario, in which the middle and working classes blame each other, and especially those at the bottom of the pile – from those fleeing poverty, persecution, war, etc, to those who actually serve us day in day out (teachers, posties, rail workers, nurses) – it’s literally fucking insane!

As The Daily Mash have noted, we’re drifting dangerously close to outright fascism. A right wing one party state, run by a wealthy clique whose rapine self-interest is gradually being set in legal stone.

Two World Wars and the sacrifices of rivers of blood, mostly the blood of the cannon-fodder workers, saw the demise of the Victorian and Edwardian era of aristocracy, and – in response to those collective sacrifices – the setting up of many national and international forms of governance.

The NHS and the EU/NATO, etc, were all born out of those bouts of unprecedented blood-letting that occurred really quite recently. And we’re seeing it all carved up, flogged off and destroyed by greedy capitalists whose self-interest and short-termism are totally unsuited to a world in which we face so many human-made (and other) threats to our collective existence.

Nuclear proliferation and war, chemical and biological (never mind ordinary) weapons, pollution, climate change, mass extinctions for which we are the chief cause, all these require strong and morally directed governance. Not rapine neo-liberal capitalism.

It’s grim out there right now. And I’m not talking about the winter weather.

CARS: CaRSE!!! Pt.2 – Further MX5 Battery Stuff…

The battery in my MX5 is in the boot!

Having had to postpone my Wednesday teaching to today (Thursday), I had to cancel it altogether. On account of the car still being a frozen block of ice!

However, the sun was out today. And despite the temperature remaining zero or below, it meant I could more easily defrost the car.

This thing seemed to (eventually) do the trick.

Not only had the Arctic conditions drained my battery. They had also meant that the door locks weren’t working as the should. Somehow the electrics for the door locks were going mental, or just seizing up altogether. Squirting WD40 into the locks seemed to ease them a bit.

Around midday I decided to try to start the car again. I’d defrosted it, partly with the sun’s help, and the locks were now responding to my keys (at one point the locks had been so seized up I couldn’t even insert my keys!).

Our local Halfords gave the battery the all clear.

And, lo! The car didst start!! We drove to Halfords, where I’d bought this battery (prob’ about three years ago?), and they tested it. Somewhat to our surprise they told me it was fine. Fine!? Oh well… saves us some more unwelcome expenditure. I just hope tomorrow she’ll start up on, as it’s fookin’ freezing again!

CARS: CaRSE!!! Pt.1 – Dead battery on MX5 (again!)

Not a great pic. But car is all frosted up!

Aaargh! For the second time in about one week, my MX5’s battery appears to have died/drained.

First time it happened I was in the middle of nowhere. Luckily for me there were a few houses about a 1/4 mile away, and I was at a scenic spot where folk walk their dogs or just stop to look at the riverbank.

A local chap tried to help me start with jump leads. To no avail. So I enlisted the help an older guy sat in his Merc’, no doubt relaxing, and we all three push-started my little motor. Since which time she’s been running fine.

And then this morning, at about 7am, getting ready to take Teresa to work – on account of the train strikes (which I wholeheartedly support; up the workers, and boo-sucks to our crypto-fascist Tory state), nada… totally dead!

Tried to jump start via cables again, with two neighbours pitching in. But no luck! After a bit of anguished searching, we located a small battery charger I got via Amazon Vine.

The manual for the charger (a Noco Genius 1!) says it’ll take 9 hours – trickle charging, I guess? – to recharge a 12V battery, such as our MX5 has.

So, it’s no work, as we’re stranded at home. And instead I’m going to do lots of practice pad stuff. Finger and hand technique: fast finger rolls, open-close, push-pull, Moeller, etc.

MiSC: Politics & Media

This post arises out of my despair at being mugged every month by Virgin Media.

My loathing for Toryism grows and grows. Cursed with the Thatcherite style ‘choice’ of a shower of money-grabbing swindlers, aka broadband service providers, and currently being fleeced by Virgin Media, I can only marvel at how Boris, with his execrable ‘bus of lies’, had the bare-butt-faced-cheeks – the goddamn effrontery – to swindle, nay, to rape our nation so effectively.

Un-fucking-believable! Bohnson, you neo-fascist shitbag.

According to Bozo, Corbyn’s pledge to give all in the UK free internet was a ‘crazed communist’ plot. Instead of publicly owned assets that serve us all, we have shitty privately owned corporations intent on robbing us blind, the ongoing nightmare of Brexit, recession and rampant inflation. And still the billionaire press barons prop up the rotten Tory establishment, merrily scapegoating the weak and poor at the bottom of the collective heap, whilst they and their fat cat ilk wallow in the cream at the top.

A neo-liberalist wet-dream. AKA a nightmare.

Evil? Unquestionably. Beyond fucking disgusting? Indubitably. And these evil fuckers are currently embarked on a process of gutting the UK of any rights to protest. The real reason for Brexit. At a time when many scientists are saying humanity is teetering on the brink of self-annihilation, it’s business as usual for the robber barons.

Smiles and suits belie pure evil; a cabal of self serving right-wing hooligans.*

* I know there’s been a changing of the guard since these cyphers were photo-collaged together. But you can take pretty much any set of Tories, and the putrid essence of evil remains unchanged.

For the meat and potatoes, try this, in which some of the reasons for my anger are elucidated. For many years I’ve allowed my own personal issues and petty problems to contribute to almost total political apathy. But these self-serving bastards and their rapine policies are driving me back towards activism.

Abysmal (unelected) architects of the UK’s self-destruction.

So now we have Rishi Sunak, a product of The City, whose tax-dodging wife epitomises exactly what’s so rotten about Toryism. Another unelected (by the people of the UK) neo-liberal capitalist stooge. So he’s going to fix the appalling mess years of Tory misrule have brought about!?

Rishi to the rescue…

Pull the other one. Oh, wait… there is no other leg to pull. All the limbs of the rotten cadaver of British politics have already been torn off. The corpse of British Democracy has been sent to the Tower, hung, drawn and quartered.

The UK needs to see Toryism killed off. Banished. Fired into a black hole. Exorcised. Otherwise we are, er… royally fucked.

If only this were the end of such backwards ways.

MiSC: Bank Holiday Monday, 2022

Labour MP Clive Lewis.

An interaction with family today has made me reflect on the incredible depths of penetration that politics really has. And how the establishment so totally owns and runs and controls the ‘status quo’.

The dominant narrative in the UK right now is that we’re all united in grief over the death of Queen Elizabeth II. And any dissent from this position is automatically negative and therefore despicable. This position silences debate, playing very powerfully into the interests of retrograde Conservatism.

And the ‘shut up and don’t complain’ card is very powerful. So I’m very happy to see and respectful of those few brave souls taking a principled stand against the ongoing propaganda and lies that swaddle our monarchy.

From Labour MP Clive Lewis to barrister Paul Powlesland, and the guy caught on film pointing out to Charles the costs to ordinary people of the monarchy, it’s refreshing to find that some people are not being hypnotised by all the pageantry.

Paul Powlesland.

Powlesland said “One of the many things that makes me proud to be British is our freedom of speech. It’s one of our most precious and sacred rights and it’s far more precious to me than the royal family is.” Amen to that! And, as he experienced, when making a very mild protest in London, these freedoms are being systematically attacked by our current Tory (mis)government.

And in the UK today amongst some of the most powerful groups serving and enabling Tory repression are those very large swathes of people who are doing alright. The ‘I’m alright Jack, don’t rock the boat, with your carping negativity’ crowd are helping silence dissent, or alternative views/possibilities.

And, lest we forget, we wouldn’t have things like weekends, holidays, sick pay, the eight hour day or 40 hour week, etc, if it wasn’t for the dissenting voices. Or even the NHS, which is really and fundamentally a response to the massive blood sacrifices made by the working masses in two world wars. If we’re required to make such sacrifices for the state/nation, shouldn’t that state/nation look after us? Damn right it should!

I like history, including the colourful Napoleonic wars, with the ridiculous peacock finery of uniforms that were often destined to be torn into bloody pieces, along with the ‘soft machines’ wearing them, by shot and shell. I love cathedrals, but I loathe religion. I can see the appeal of the pageantry. But I also see the oppressive institutionalisation of inequality such mummery represents.

Tory propaganda nowadays looks different, but is essentially the same.*

It’d all be fine if nothing meant anything – a position that appears to have escaped the genie’s bottle of left-wing ‘postmodern’ academia and infected the entire organism of modern culture with a very pernicious form of relativism – but alas, stuff does mean something. And in this case it means ‘shut up, know your place, and march in step with us, backwards towards a fantasy feudal past’.

No thanks!

I’m inevitably going to see some of today’s tomfoolery. Teresa likes that sort of thing. I can hear she’s watching it now. So I’ll get sucked in as well. Hey ho!

Gillray’s prodigious talent was very effectively deployed by the Tories.

As I’m typing this the soporific harmonies of High Anglican service waft up the stairs. It seems as if, thinking back to the ECW – what Royalist history calls ‘The Interregnum’ – with the Stuart Restoration, and then later the Glorious Revolution, England, or what became the UK, awoke momentarily from the stupefied slumber of monarchy, only to lapse back into a deep sleep. A sad state of affairs that continues to this day. Wake up!

* Gillray was a brilliant satirical political cartoonist. But his fabulous talents were deployed by the oppressor, to maintain a conservative status quo. Nowadays Gillray’s job is accomplished via the predominantly right wing media, be it print, TV, or online. At least Gillray left us something we can still admire and enjoy! The tawdry disposable ephemera of our own times barely exists beyond the few minutes or hours it’s required to do it’s job.


Ever since hearing the news of the Queen’s passing, I’ve been thinking, who else died that day? How many took their own lives, amidst poverty and despair? How many of those who died, anonymous unlamented (relative to the Queen that is), might have lived longer and better lives – richer lives, even if not in the fiscal sense – if our society was less wealth and power crazed, venal and uncaring?

MUSiC: Gabor Szabo, live in Hungary

Amongst other stuff – largely Jap’ jazz-fusion – I’ve been really digging Gabor Szabo recently. Perhaps especially his Magical Connection album, of 1970. I’ve known and loved a lot of his stuff for many years. But some recent re-releases have re-kindled the flame.

Searching for more stuff by him, I stumbled upon this concert (see the YouTube vid’, above). And, with wonderfully serendipitous synchronicity, he kicks off this performance with that very same John Sebastian number.

What a totally groovy album cover!

One real downer, however, is that all the music I’m currently loving, turns out to be pricey. And I’m stone cold broke! The Szabo albums I’m after are all circa £15 a pop (not inc shipping), and the Casiopea albums (and other Jap J-Fusion stuff) are more like £30 each. Aaargh!!!

I’m currently agonising over the temptation to shell out £30+for the two Ebalunga Szabo reissues, Dreams and Bacchanal

At the time of writing this part of this post I’m returning to this concert footage for a second time (and it certainly won’t be the last!), and I’m even more blown away than first time around.

Searching around the internet for the credits, it was Doug Payne to the rescue! I also found out that someone put the audio out on CD (limited edition). I’d love to have that! But for now, here’s track listing, and personnel:

Magical Connection (John Sebastian)
My Foolish Heart (V. Young/N. Washington)
Fly Me To The Moon (Bart Howard)
As Eso Ed En (The Rain & Me) (T. Somló/A. Adamis), w. Kati Kovács, voc.
Sombrero Sam (Charles Lloyd)
Django (John Lewis)
Thirteen (Szabo)
My Love (Paul & Linda McCartney), w. Kati Kovács, voc.
Reinhardt (Wolfgang Melz)
Guitar - Gabor Szabo
Electric piano - János Másik
Acoustic/electric bass - Aladár Pege
Drums/percussion - Imre Köszegi
Congas/percussion - István Dely

The material Szabo chooses is perfect, and the musicians he picked – and he was free to choose whomever he pleased! – are astonishingly good. Bassist Aladár Pege, a new name to me (but apparently Hungary’s premier bassist at the time), is pretty astonishing!

The only slight dip for me comes with Kovács’ vocals on the McCartney’s number, My Love, which are just a bit too ABBA for my tastes. But the music, probably more how the band interpret it than the original piece, is still great.

Intriguingly Szabo plays two numbers, Django and Reinhardt, respectively, in the set, kind of tipping his tile to the great Gypsy jazz pioneer.

I feel obliged to include a link to Doug Payne’s excellent and informative entry on this stuff, so here it is. This includes a translation of the interview Szabo gives (which is in Hungarian, naturally!), which is an interesting read.

MiSC/MUSiC/HOME: ARSE!!! Hard Times Force Sale of Beloved Geetah…

Sold this beauty today.

You hear on the TiVvy that times are tough. But it’s usually only when it comes home to roost, when you feel the burn, that you really get hipped to the pain of poverty.

I’ve never ever been a bread-head. Indeed, I’m actually quite proud of my anti-capitalist anti-monetarist stance in life. Ok, I may not have set the world aflame, or even achieved very much on any level. But for the most part my time has been my own. To ‘spend’ or ‘waste’ – such dumb-ass hooman ideas – as I choose.

So shiny!

But sometimes these ‘lifestyle choices’ can hurt a bit. Today is such a day. Some money went out of my account today to pay for a holiday. The first and only real holiday we’d have had – excepting only Abbie’s glorious wedding! – in about three years. Indeed, we hardly leave the house, except to work, or buy stuff.

That last observation makes me realise I haven’t escaped the rat race treadmill half as much as I’d like to! The money leaving my account to pay for the AirB&B accommodation would take (indeed, may have already taken) me over my overdraft limit. Like Louis Cole… ‘I don’t want to, check my…’

Anyway, to meet the costs of other regular commitments, I’ve been trying to get some casual cash in hand work, and I’ve signed up with Amazon Flex, to do deliveries. But so far, nada. So in the meantime I’ve been flogging stuff.

And now we get to the rub, the pain, the hurt… Today I sold a resonator guitar that I only bought, I dunno, maybe six months back? I’ve hardly even played the damn thing! And whenever I have I’ve really enjoyed it.

In mint condition.

It’s a cheap Chinese jobby. I only paid £60-70 for it (and I just sold it for £75). But I didn’t want to sell it! It was worth a lot more to me as a thing; a thing of beauty capable of the magic that is music. Indeed, checking it over prior to selling it I got ‘in the zone’ for a bit, which only makes parting with it all the harder!

Oh well, easy come easy go. I guess…