Breaking news, broken poems have arrived. Welcome to my blog, which I will develop over the coming days, weeks and years... It is a rare mix of poetry, performance, photography, art, film, comment, musings and diatribe connected to my work, politics and life... scroll through over 2,000 posts and over 100 links on the sidebar
Talk of Ed Miliband being replaced as leader of the Labour Party is apt. Yet, it is not just Miliband who has fallen away but the Labour Party hierarchy itself.
Labour jumped into bed with the Tories to defend the UK 'union' in the Scottish Referendum. Indeed, Cameron could stay under the covers while Labour's Darling and Brown undertook the pillow fight above - backed by the entire UK media.
This was a disaster for Labour, whose campaign for "No" to Scottish independence, faced with defeat, turned into the Max-devo (maximum devolution) alternative Cameron had denied the Scottish Nationalists could be on the original Scottish Referendum ballot paper.
Miliband cannot deliver maximum devolution to Scotland because this is close to independence. So, not only did Labour love up to the Tories, they knew the lie they were telling the Scottish people - a lie very many Scottish Labour members and supporters could see days after voting.
Worse, Labour has slavishly followed the Tories' austerity agenda across the UK. Thereby, what is the difference in a Tory vote or a Labour vote?
We are in weird territory because the NHS is not safe in the hands of either Miliband or Cameron.
If Red Ed (sic) had stood up for the NHS and against the immigrant bashing UKIP he could have stood a chance of leading Labour to victory in the May General Election 2015. Not now. I think Ed Miliband will have to be deposed and replaced within weeks for Labour to stand any chance of government.
In reality, Labour jumped into bed with the Tories under Tony Blair. Blair set in place privatisation of the NHS, Education and Welfare. Worse than any Conservative or Liberal in modern history, he oversaw Orwell's nightmare for this country - Britain as USA's "airstrip one" - our further subservience to US military hegemony. Yet, Blair kept workers and Labour members and supporters onside.
He came to a 'deal' with the TUC around 1996 (before he came to power). He wouldn't repeal Thatcher's anti-trade union laws but he would totally overhaul electoral reform and enable devolution (key to this was a Northern Ireland settlement). Also, he did introduce the Minimum Wage and the apparatus for unions to pursue labour relations through worker tribunals.
Under Blair's leadership only a momentary independent Ken Livingstone as London Mayor embarrassed him. Ken quickly lost his independence to be back with Labour and then lost to the ridiculous high Tory Boris Johnson - much loved by BBC executives. That is, Tony Blair's turn from real reform to "democracy" enabled Blair and his leadership to claim a notion of reformism - enough to assuage union leaders from ever considering opposition to him and Labour.
He won three general elections because Thatcher was his mentor, the union leaders loved him and in place of real reforms for ordinary people, he provided peace in Northern Ireland, devolution in Wales and Scotland, and deflected what was happening at home with utterly terrible wars abroad. Blair was addicted to war - is addicted to war.
Thus, the Tories can never really recover from Thatcher, Labour can never recover from Blair.
This is small beer as to what is happening across the globe - but for all working class people "small beer" is what life is about. Labour no longer supports strikes. Workers involved in growing independent actions against pay freezes, attacks on conditions and much more, see through Labour and their union bosses. Thereby a majority of workers feel wholly unrepresented.
This is why workers and the Left must ditch the Labour Party and unite to fight for representation in the General Election in 2015. Many are turning to The Green Party, who have many excellent people who fight war, austerity and Climate Change. But The Greens can too easily turn to coalition with the status quo, as they have in Europe.
While the Left is terribly fragmented, there are possibilities of a Left organisation emerging as a pole of attraction. Key at present is the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition - TUSC.
TUSC brings together unions and left wing groups, united in fighting austerity, opposing war and opposing UKIP's racism.
Whatever, Ed is on his way out within weeks, in my view. Do we plug the dam once more, or do we bring together a new Left?
'HARD TO PIN DOWN' INTERNATIONAL JAZZ AT MILESTONES JAZZ
CLUB This month’s concert at Milestones Jazz
Club on Sunday 1 November features an international band of young
musicians at the top of their game suggesting a new direction for jazz –
Paragon. Paragon are
Anglo-German quartet performing hard to pin down music that moves from creeping
explorations to exhilarating groove, all imbued with a sense of life-affirming
Co-led by saxophonist Peter Ehwald and pianist Arthur
Lea, Paragon were formed in 2006 and have just released their fourth album,
Paragon drummer Jon Scott's
description of the band's music as "the sound of four people listening to each
other" is an apt one - melody is carried
from one to another, time keeping
is shared and new ideas are continually introduced into the
Paragon's influences are
many and varied - Wayne Shorter, Joe Lavano, Keith Jarrett and Herbie Hancock is
mixed with everything from Brooklyn ballads and Venezuelan merengue to Balkan
folk bands and Bollywood bhangra.
The band also features a
bass and drums partnership of real depth in Cologne based double
London drummer Jon Scott, one of the most in demand players on the UK modern
The band have performed at prestigious
venues in the UK and across the world from Europe and the US to South America
Paragon are the sound of contemporary European
jazz at its finest and this is a concert not to be missed!
This concert is the only East
Anglian date on a UK tour supported by Jazz Services to promote the new
The band’s full
line-up features Peter Ehwald (tenor/soprano saxophones), Arthur
Lea (piano/Fender Rhodes), Matthias
Nowak (double bass) and Jon Scott (drums).
All Milestones gigs are held
on the first Sunday of every month and take place at Hotel Hatfield, Esplanade,
Lowestoft with the doors opening at 8pm.
On January 15, 2015 Rupert's Blog will be ten years in the making. To celebrate, from this November to March 2015 I will be inviting poets, artists, musicians, activists and others to contribute to Rupert's Blog.
Rather than social media I have kept faith with blogging for one simple reason - it is an archive. Too many websites of artists, poets and others have been killed off or prematurely died, so as to make the internet ephemeral.
There will be lots of features and so much will be updated for the decade ahead. I will also be setting up a Blog Magazine. All will be revealed over the coming weeks.
While our art, poetry and literature is entirely flattened by for forces of neoliberalism in 2014, I think we're on the cusp of cultural change via an engagement with the near past - the 1970s.
This isn't about a general engagement but a lifting up of the phenomena of the little press and little magazine - mostly related to poetry and art but not exclusively.
The Internet Revolution has failed poetry. Poetry cannot fail because it is timeless and yesterday is 2000 years before or can be but months. Poetry is everything and nothing.
Poetry is all form - Poetry is free association through dream
Poetry is the mundane - Poetry is Universal and political
Poetry is the truth - Poetry is all lies because people lie
Poets can become politicians - All the world is a lie
Poetry is empathy - let's rob a bank
The brilliance of little magazines from the late 1960s to the 1980s was that abstraction coexisted with realism. This is not so in 2014. The internet has created a self-rhetorical poetry. All is in the box poetry wise. In our universities poetry is very sick via postmodernism - which is now an in joke.
In the 1970s a magazine would arrive in the post and you'd empathise with the insanity of the contributors and realise later that one of the contributors was yourself!
It was a low level democratic involvement and exchange. Sure, we all wanted a few quid from writing but we never imagined we'd given John Cooper Clarke would be a floater.
was a family myth when was a child that my father, the writer and artist Tom
Mallin, had received training from the King’s speech therapist, Lionel Logue,
when he was a boy. Tom talked well as an adult and I couldn’t imagine he had ever
had a stammer, so I thought this might be false embroidery to his life.
these years later I find that it is entirely true. Following the hit movie, ‘The
King’s Speech’ was published by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi. Obviously, the
book centres on Logue’s coaching of George VI. However, in 1943 Lionel Logue,
despite his royal engagement, still required clients to supply an income. One
of those was Tom Mallin, then aged 15 to 16.
sent a letter of gratitude to Logue from his home in Sutton Coldfield,
Birmingham, in July 1943: “My friends all say I have “changed” – yes – but for
continued: “Now I can begin to realise that the voice is so beautiful,
satisfying and expressive, it is a wonder I haven’t tumbled to it before… Sir,
how can I ever thank you for making me happy!”
the vehicle that brought my father to Logue’s therapy was part of the reason
for his stammer – The Masons. Tom was an ‘orphan’ border at the Royal Masonic
School, Bushey, and Logue had the masonic connections.
TOP GUITARIST AND FUNKY
ORGAN TRIO RETURNS TO MILESTONES JAZZ CLUB
The next concert
at Milestones Jazz Club on Sunday 5 October features the return of
a band that captures the energetic spirit and gritty Hammond organ format of the
1960’s Blue Note style - The Nigel Price Organ
Trio. When jazz guitarist Nigel Price
performed with his band at Milestones Jazz Club in 2009 they recorded tthe
majority of their acclaimed album, appropriately titled,
At this concert Nigel once again leads
his funky and hard-swinging band in the spirit of Wes Montgomery, Grant Green,
Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff through fiery originals and well-chosen
petrol is thrown on the fire by the band’s other members - the brisk, quick-fire
playing of Hammond organist Ross Stanley and drummer Matt Home, leading London
musicians in their own right.
Nigel’s fluid and confident voice skilfully fuses flowing bebop
lines, the earthy wail of the blues and a will to swing and has made him
instantly accessible and popular with jazz audiences.
Since the late Humphrey Lyttelton called
Nigel ‘a really class performer’ it is not surprising that he has fast become
one of the UK’s leading jazz musicians, often performing at Ronnie Scott’s Club
and working with the likes of Pee Wee Ellis, Bobby Wellins, Alan Barnes, Peter
King and the legendary David Axelrod at the Royal Festival Hall.
As guitarist with the standard bearers
for the UK jazz-funk and acid jazz movements, The James Taylor Quartet, Nigel
spent a number of years recording and touring Europe making him equally at home
with modern jazz, funk and blues.
"We’re really looking forward to playing in Lowestoft again as
concerts at Milestones are always some of the best of the tour," says Nigel,
"The recordings from 2009 were so good that we could easily have released a
‘Live at Milestones’ CD".
The band’s full line-up features Nigel Price (guitar), Ross Stanley
(Hammond organ) and Matt Home (drums).
Listen to Nigel Price’s music and watch
You Tube footage by visiting the club website at http://www.milestonesjazzclub.co.uk This concert is part of a national
tour supported by Jazz Services.
All Milestones gigs are held on the first Sunday of every month and
take place at Hotel Hatfield, Esplanade, Lowestoft with the doors opening at
you remember. Alex Salmond leader of the SNP, proposed that the Scottish
Referendum should carry three options: Yes for independence, No for the present
UK status quo or a Devo-max option (maximum devolution short of independence).
David Cameron rejected this.
with only a couple of days to the Scottish referendum on September 18, Cameron,
Clegg and Miliband vowed that a No vote would enable Devo-max (maximum
devolution for Scotland without independence).
as the Scottish arrived at the polling stations the choice of Yes or No to
Independence had totally changed to a vote for independence (Yes) or a vote for
Devo-Max (No). That is, while 55 per cent voted No, they actually voted for
maximum devolution for Scotland. That is, one hundred per cent of Scottish
people are against Cameron’s original framing of the question – a straight Yes
or No. Any backtracking or betrayal of these “vows” therefore is against all
the British State and global leaders throwing all efforts into securing a No
vote – including the bias and propaganda of the BBC and 37 newspapers - Alex Salmond’s Option B of the original draft
for the ballot paper has been achieved!
“vow” must provide far greater democratic rights and powers to reside with the
Scottish parliament of Holyrood.
“vows” from David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are, just three days
later, tormenting each leader.
Tory back benchers are calling for an English Parliament if such concessions
are given to Scotland. This would enable only English MPs to vote on English
only legislation, because Holyrood would have more powers and, perhaps, limited
tax raising powers. However, English nationalism isn’t Scottish nationalism.
nationalism is British nationalism as the raising of Union Jacks in St. George’s
Square, Glasgow, on Friday after the referendum aptly illustrates.
if Cameron is able to deliver the “vows,” then what of maximum devolution for
Wales and Northern Ireland? And if Northern Ireland has more powers then Irish
reunification will rise as a question again.
effective of any politician, Clegg looks set to lead the Lib-Dems to oblivion.
Increasingly, his coalition with the Tories seems like the ullage (the gap of
air between top and shoulder of a good bottle of claret enjoyed at the
Bullingdon Club). That is, “a waste of space.”
has no spine and clings to the rocks of Cameron for survival and hopes Ed will
be his raft next year.
Miliband’s position is entirely more interesting as before September 18th
he could rely on working class Labour voters in Scotland – like Tories rely on
their votes in Surrey. The Yes vote last Thursday was 45 per cent – the greatest
number among the working class of the cities. The more rural areas of Scotland,
where the SNP have been strong, largely voted No and suggests quite a number of
previous SNP voters switched to the Devo-Max option.
apart from the huge vote from those who had not previously voted, the greatest
swing in votes was from Labour’s ‘Better together’ to the Scottish independence
Yes Vote. There are possibly 500,000 Yes voters, once traditionally loyal to
Labour, who will be loyal to Labour no more. This is the most historiceffect of the Scottish referendum returning a
See Miliband, Brown and Darling snuggling up in bed with Cameron will turn many
who voted Yes away from despair, to anger with Labour.
historic duty of the Left in Scotland – the radicals, campaigners and
socialists – is to quickly create a party that unites around key demands,
supports workers’ campaigns and strikes, and builds unity to stand in the May
2015 General Election. This “45” project must also respond quickly to the
engulfing crisis in Westminster. Such a party must include Tommy Sheridan who
has been a tireless campaigner against Trident, the bedroom tax and always fights for social
justice in Scotland.
and, perhaps politically, the game is up for the status quo, for the
limitations of democracy placed on the peoples of these islands by the elite.
Half of Scottish people no longer believe the BBC or the UK newspapers.
Scottish people have long loathed the Tories and now Labour are on the edge. There
are swathes of great Labour supporters on the No side who will be watching if
the “vows” happen – or is this another betrayal Labour is part of?
England far, far greater democracy needs to be handed on to every city – not through
mayors and the like – but to give powers back to Local Authorities to run our
schools and services and to protect them from privatisation.
begins in the heart of Scotland can quick become the heart on fire in London.
You would hope that The Guardian of all newspapers in Britain would have at least sat on the fence during the Scottish Independence Referendum. No. It has joined with The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail in supporting the Ruling Class of the posh boys from private schools who run Britain - the media, the judiciary, the markets, Westminster, the police and the armed forces.
Indeed, over recent months it is The Guardian that has travelled further right than any other newspaper. The turn of the Scottish working class to vote for independence found The Guardian - once a proud paper of independent investigative journalism and international reportage, second to none - reflecting the views of the ruling elite. .
In the latter stages of the Scottish Referendum Campaign its editor has entirely capitulated to its financial interests and left any sense of critical judgement behind.
The Guardian has squeezed out the best of columnists to enable Darling and Brown to vindicate the 2008 economic crisis they helped to create by painting these Lab-Tories saviours of a union that is only in the interests of neo-liberal capitalism.
The Guardian now ignores the working class - there's no profit in them! And certainly, it has over recent years nurtured an increasingly middle class readership. The trajectory The Guardian is on will leave even these behind as it competes for Telegraph and Times readers.
Guardian columnists and journalists shouldn't fall for its editor's pull to the right. I just hope the working class of Scotland give The Guardian a bit of a metaphorical kicking tonight!
Oh, Scotland! Just days ago the NO vote of 'Better Together' - the Westminster Establishment of Conservatives, Labour and the Lib-Dems looked secure. The London led status quo seemed to be made of concrete. Not now. We're on the edge of an earthquake as YES to Scottish independence seems entirely possible - according to the latest polls. I am not a nationalist but I am a socialist and I am absolutely with the YES campaign and vote. Why?
Democracy. If the YES vote wins it will be entirely down to those who feel disenfranchised previously now finding their voice, particularly across the council estates in Glasgow, Edinburgh and elsewhere.
The Labour Party believed those who bothered voting would vote Labour. So, in Miliband Oxbridge 'speak,' if Darling and Co called for a NO vote from the Scottish working class they would follow Labour loyally. Why should they? For over 100 years the Labour Party leaders (nationally and locally) have betrayed the working class of Scotland (and England).
Things began to change in 1989 when the Tories imposed the Poll Tax on Scotland before it was cast across the UK in 1990. Tommy Sheridan and socialists independent of Labour fought back across Glasgow, Edinburgh and other Scottish cities. The Scottish working class rose against the Poll Tax and this fuelled the rebellion in England and Wales which culminated in the Anti-Poll Tax Demo in Trafalgar Square in 1990 which ended the tax and Thatcher.
Real democracy is about debate - debate in meeting rooms and halls - and pubs and coffee bars - among neighbours, in families. Real democracy is not social media. Westminster doesn't want 'living' debate. They want Democracy to be a paint-by-numbers exercise that TV and the internet can provide.
A YES vote in Scotland would also expose UKIP - the racist, homophobic, sexist right. They could no longer call themselves "United Kingdom" and with Scotland "independent" what "independence" but more Tory Rule would UKIP offer?
A YES vote in Scotland could bring David Cameron's PM role to a swift end and will leave Ed Miliband a fish out of water. The Scottish (British) Labour Party will find it difficult to retain its prominence north of the border. A YES vote will enable the majority in Scotland to struggle for the best of their NHS without privatisation, the best of Welfare and enable Scotland to be free of Nuclear Trident. It will enable Democracy writ large to determine the future.
In England and Wales a YES vote in Scotland will undermine all that is Westminster, the Stock Exchange, the BBC and ruling ideology that profit is master over people. It will also call into question independence for contested regions in Europe.
Even if there's a narrow NO vote in Scotland, the centre can no longer hold.
The Left can be proud that they've won this position - not the SNP alone. YES or NO, Scotland shows the rest of us that Socialists tirelessly campaigning among the majority, bringing ordinary working people to democracy, have the power for social change. The Radical Independence YES campaign is a source of inspiration for all of us.
VIRTUOSO SIMON SPILLETT BRINGS THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF TUBBY HAYES TO MILESTONES
JAZZ CLUBThis month’s concert at Milestones Jazz
Club on Sunday 7 September features a return visit by one of the
most the UK's top saxophonists playing a tribute to one of this countries all
time jazz greats – Simon Spillett and The Chris Ingham Trio : The Life
and Music of Tubby Hayes. Virtuoso tenor saxophonist Simon Spillett is a player of jaw-dropping
ferocity, who has risen in the past few years to become one of the most dynamic
and distinctive tenor saxophonists on the UK jazz scene.
At this special Milestones concert Simon
will be telling the story in words and music of Tubby Hayes, one of the most
respected and loved musicians in the history of British jazz.
A formidable musician and composer playing and
writing in an uncompromising hard bop style, Simon always delivers a high-energy
performance and shares with Tubby Hayes a love of dare devil tempos, all-out,
no-holds-barred, intensity and heart breaking ballads.
His driving, energised style and
passionate commitment to unabashed, straight ahead jazz has attracted much
attention and garnered prizes that include the BBC Jazz Awards 2007 ‘Rising
Star’ and the 2009 Record of the Year from the prestigious Jazz
Since becoming a professional musician aged 21, Simon has worked his
way through a very practical jazz apprenticeship, playing at clubs and festivals
across the UK including top venues such as Ronnie Scott's, The 100 Club, The 606
and The Jazz Café.
Alongside Tubby Hayes, Simon's main saxophone influences include John
Coltrane, Ronnie Scott, Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon and Sonny
Simon is also a
regular member of The Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra performing with all of the
UK’s leading jazz musicians and has accompanied stars including veteran jazz
singer Jon Hendricks, pop icons Will Young, Mick Hucknall, Andrea Corr and
this concert Simon will be given the all-important muscular support needed from
some of East Anglia’s finest players - the trio of pianist Chris Ingham includes
the solid double bass of Ivars Galenieks and fiery drumming of George
The band’s full
line-up features Simon Spillett (tenor sax), Chris Ingham (piano), Ivars
Galenieks (double bass) and George Double (drums).
Listen to the music and watch You Tube
footage of Simon Spillett by visiting the club website at www.milestonesjazzclub.co.uk All Milestones gigs are held on the
first Sunday of every month and take place at Hotel Hatfield, Esplanade,
Lowestoft with the doors opening at
Admission - £7 / £6 (concession).
NB Milestones Jazz Club takes place in a
basement room that requires the use of stairs. If you have a disability please
contact email@example.com or (01502)
568684 for more info and help in entering the building.
Norwich City Council initially posed many conditions on ASDA building a supermarket on the historic Bally Shoe Factory site, Hall Road, Norwich. All those conditions were swept away last week by our Labour-blue council.
I can't get a cigarette paper between Labour and Tories in Norwich. In the same week as ASDA is given permission to build an out of town supermarket very few want, the City Council is promoting the city centre's historic market because it is under threat of closure. This is the best market in the region but more and more stalls are empty. Labour City Council laments BUT they're the problem!
A. Why on earth the ASDA supermarket when the city centre is being run down?
B. Support the Market by lowering stall rents.
C. Promote the city NOT supermarkets for neo-conservative profits.
We oh so need a Left Alternative to our fossilized Labour councillors!
August Thirteenth is Left Handers Day. I am left handed. My mother in the 1930s and 40s had her left handedness drummed out of her. Muriel Mallin became a successful landscape painter with her right hand. Or, for most of the time (most of us thought) she painted right handed. Perhaps she cheated?
The notion of 90 per cent right handers as some kind of genetic makeup of humankind is purely a reflection of our terrible history of division. Back in the times we lived as primitive communists, flint tools don't show the 10 to 1 bias of right handed napping. We were far more 50-50.
It wasn't until class society began, via warfare, that protection of the heart (considered slightly more Left than now) would find the right hand covering it - with or without shield or weapon.
Christianity, as it developed, took biblical texts literally: via the right hand is Heaven, via the left hand is Hell.
During the heights of British Imperialism left handedness was literally beaten out of children. Though we no longer discriminate against children who are left handed, the bitter legacy of this history continues.
Recently, I have taught in many high schools and from my anecdotal evidence I can say that youngsters in lower 'sets' are more likely to be left handed.
If you're right handed imagine this: at five years old you are taught to play the recorder. Everything is set out for the right handed child. Indeed, in nearly every activity of learning, the left handed child has to learn twice: a) to learn the activity and b) to interpret the activity for their left hand.
That is, given some left handed understanding - and action - I reckon the Lefties in the lower sets are probably brighter than the Righties in the top sets!
DEBUT APPEARANCE AT MILESTONES JAZZ CLUB FOR TRUMPETER DAN
FRIEND This month’s concert at Milestones Jazz
Club on Sunday 3 August features the debut club for a thoughtful,
swinging musician more than capable of also turning up the heat – The
Dan Friend Quartet. Dan Friend is a trumpeter,
composer and teacher, based in East Anglia, highly regarded by audiences
and fellow musicians for his warm tone
and considered style.
Dan studied at The Royal
Academy of Music and the London music colleges of Trinity and Goldsmiths and in
turn has spent a lot of his career as a teacher,
specialising in teaching children with autism.
Although his primary jazz
influences are Miles Davis and Keith Jarrett, Dan's inspirations can be found in
everyone from composer Igor Stravinsky to reggae legend Bob Marley and are
reflected in the diverse territory covered by
his other musical projects that touch on 'techno swing', funk and hip
Dan's warm and precise instrumental style
reflects a musical philosophy summed up by a quote attributed to to Duke
Ellington: "There are only two types of music in the world - good and
"I believe that anybody can be
musical," says Dan, "Through composing, playing and teaching my aim is to
encourage this universal language. Through thoughtful work and encouraging
enjoyment, music enriches all aspects of our lives".
Dan has toured Europe, recently performing
in the city of Bethlehem in Palestine and has composed music for the stage
including Limbik Theatre’s 2011 production of ‘Ghost Town' and the Framlingham
College production of 'Hamlet' in 2013.
At this concert Dan will be leading his
own band through a choice selection of lesser known standards and a few
The band’s full line-up features Dan
Friend (trumpet), Matt Hodges (piano), Ivars Galenieks (double bass) and Jesse
Barrett (drums). All Milestones
gigs are held on the first Sunday of every month and take place at Hotel
Hatfield, Esplanade, Lowestoft with the doors opening at