The Banning of Free Festivals, not by locals,but by the police…again.


Hello Good People who still might read this blog

I have become lazy in writing and today is no exception however I had to share this rather bad news.

The Strawberry Fair due to run on June 5th 2010 has been cancelled due to police objections. I have personally attended many Strawberry Fairs and thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing and friendly atmosphere, the entertainment, featuring local bands rather than those elected by the music business, encouraging local performing arts , local traders and alternative people to gather publicly for one day . This historic Cambridge  free festival which has been running for 37 years was due to run until this recent decision.

They were awarded a license by Cambridge County Council on March the 2nd.However, according to the Strawberry Fair website: “At the licence hearing that the police spent a great deal of time and money attempting to get the fair closed down, employing a London-based law firm and barrister to present the evidence they had gathered at significant cost to the tax payer.”

When the license was granted the police appealed and as a voluntary group the Strawberry Fair organisers cannot afford  the same kind of legal representation. On their site they write “It is going to be a very tough task for us to prepare for the appeal hearing both in time and money, we hope that the people of Cambridge will support us in our mission to secure the fair for 2011 and onwards and give generously whilst not doing anything to exasperate the situation unnecessarily and damage the future of the fair.” ( http://www.strawberry-fair.org.uk/)

Here is a youtube clip of Strawberry Fair 2007, I was there somewhere! Nice pictures sorry about ads at beginning!

Here are some alternative people with dangerous bubble making equipment at Strawberry Fair. I hope they don’t mind me broadcasting their dangerous bubbles on my blog.

If the police keep banning festivals which organisers have taken great pains to organise legally and safely in conjunction with the local community, then the alternative is to go back to random unchartered free festivals that are not legal, not properly organised and not safe!

You can’t stop similar minded people from gathering and celebrating together. It’s a basic human need.

Love and Peace

Born2rant


Advertisements

From the Sixties to the End of the Noughties..did it match up to expectations?


Hello Good People who read this blog

I am listening to music over the headphones while I write this, to keep me focussed and calm,so I might as well start by sharing what I am listening to. Some English sixties folk, Sandy Denny with an acoustic home recorded demo version of Who Knows Where the Time Goes?

Across the purple sky, all the birds are leaving…

Well everyone on TV and radio seems to be reviewing the noughties. I can’t believe a decade has gone by.

I feel a sense of foreboding in broaching the subject of the “noughties” as I think for me it was a decade that started with high hopes and ends in doubt, fear and disappointment. In my personal life that is not the case but in terms of an alternative type of person living in London, it has not been a great decade.

************************************************************************************************************

I guess for me this decade started in the sixties. As a child, the year 2000 seemed like an impossibly long time away. I wondered if I actually would live to be that old.

In 1968 , this is what we thought could be happening in 2001:

At school in the sixties,one of the favourite essay topics of teachers, was to ask us write about how the world would be in the year 2000. We all wrote about world peace, wearing silver suits, having robots to do all our housework, going for holidays in outer space, an absence of disease, poverty and famine and extraordinary futuristic and sophisticated pop music,together with the occasional time machine and transporter room ( in the style of Star Trek). It is hardly surprising that we were so optimistic, the sixties was an amazing time of progress, with the peace movement, breaking down of many prejudices,new fashions made of new synthetic materials, amazing ground-breaking pop music, advances in medicine and the proliferation of science fiction which speculated on how new technology would affect us all in the future.

Some of the predictions made by scientists were very misguided.

Tomorrow’s World (BBC)  in the late 60s

At other times the predictions were petty spot on. Here is a clip I found called Britain of the Future . It features mobile phones, CCTV in banks, luxury short plane journeys to Sydney, computers and the internet, how we will select our children for mathematical ability, flatscreen TVs  and more.If you play it 5 minutes in, you will find some predictions for 2000. The population figures quoted must be for Britain only. In fact according to the National Statistics office the UK population in 2008 was 61 million and not quite the 65 million that they anticipated for 2000.

It is hardly surprising that in the sixties, a time of great creativity, invention and hope, that we looked to the future with great excitement. Could we say the same now? How do we see the future in these fearful times where every TV programme seems to warn us about some threat : climate change,  terrorist attack, or timeless pleasures that are a danger to our health, as well as the possibility of financial ruin or new diseases that will wipe us all out unless we wash our hands 20 times a day.

Do you know any teachers who ask their class to write an essay about how exciting life will be in the year 2050?

Poor kids today!

In 1969, western consciousness was full of hope. Everyone with access to a TV,remembers the day when Apollo 11 landed on the moon.  The music of The Beatles, Hendrix and others was so new, young and exciting , we hoped that with new technology  we would be creating the most amazing music ever by 2010…OOPS! We didn’t account for those forces that kill creativity: trying to make money by trying to appeal to all, trying to look perfect, marketing, advertising, selling your soul to Satan Cowell etc..

I remember sitting with some friends back in the eighties, after listening to all four “sides” of  Electric Ladyland and saying:  “Just imagine what music Hendrix would make if he’d survived until the year 2000 , with all that technology!” and others agreeing and imagining this amazing music with  new synthesizers and effects and even computers.

Now I think:”Yep…if Hendrix had survived, I bet his record company would be re-issuing all his old stuff. Maybe having gone through a brief “Unplugged” tour during the nineties.” Cynical me…

But technology has brought some interesting new music, even if it is sometimes rehashed old music from the sixties. Recently this was recommended to me by two people in their twenties. DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing” ,first released in 1996 and re-issued in 2005.This album is created entirely out of samples. D.J Shadow combines these skillfully to make a totally new, and some would say,genius, classic album.

Is this the future of music?

Building Steam with a Grain of Salt  by  DJ Shadow.

I like it, but I prefer Dark Side of The Moon which uses samples of speech but where  the music is less repetitive and  the lyrics have a message.( Or do I have a case of middle-aged “They just don’t write tunes like they used to and don’t police officers look young”etc.?)P.S. 3/1/2010 However this track has definitely “grown on me” in the past few days. I find a lot of good music plays that trick.

Another PS!!!!

I recently interviewed Andy Leung for another  little radio documentary, he is the keyboard player from the band “Introducing” a nine piece band who play “Endtroducing” live at gigs and festivals. Now  this has become one of my fav tracks , here they are playing “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt” and other tracks for the album at the Skylarkin, Carling Academy Oxford in December 2008. What do you think?

I hope that the future of music in 2010 and beyond goes back to live performance, more thought-provoking contents, and originality. Unlike in previous decades, the music business is no longer the only way for independent minded musicians to get their music aired. The internet has liberated us and trapped us at the same time.

As far as file sharing goes, my feelings are mixed. The musicians I know,mostly don’t mind file sharing, they also like using open source materials and all the free things on the internet to help them, from myspace, to music lessons on youtube. But the musicians I know don’t make a whole lot of money. Internet file sharing is nothing new, ever heard of cassette recorders and photocopying machines? As a child/teenager I had very little pocket money. We used to record the entire chart show on Radio One on an old reel to reel recorder. I still have the tapes!

Here is Kraftwerk being futuristic in 1978.Will music in the coming decade be progressive or retrogressive? It all depends on what our collective consciousness or fashion dictate.

The Robots ( nevermind playing synthesizers, will they design robots to do the bloody housework next decade?)

**********************************************************************************************************

Like the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, there have been some moments in life, commonly shared with others, where I remember where I was and who I was with, and every feeling and thought impressed  up there in my memory.Preceeding the beginning of the nougthies, there was the eclipse which I saw on Hampstead Heath in London, together with several hundred others.Each one of us forwarned eternally by the media not to look straight up at the sun. It was a special and spiritual moment, I spoke to many Londoners who I didn’t know there, and strangely I bumped into all sorts of music people I knew,but who were equally surprised to see me there. The eclipse reminded us that day, that we were only on a small, rather vulnerable planet, I felt united with others, but for some reason it made me feel sad too.

New Year’s Eve 2000 itself was also a strange time for me personally,  I remember having ventured alone into Central London around the Thames surrounded by thousands of others.I have never felt so lonely! London can be like that. Luckily I went to a friend’s place later.

I guess the main events from the Noughties that affected everything else in our daily lives in London, was September the 11th 2001 followed by the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Both events completely changed the London I knew into a place where CCTV and police apparently took over. I also remember the bus and tube bombings of July 2005 and the further aborted bombings a couple of weeks later. My entire neighbourhood was cordoned off that day, and a friend had to stay at my place because the police wouldn’t let him go home.

Immediately after September the 11th , I was very interested to hear all the “ins and outs” of why the “plane crashes”  could have  happened.

I knew both Americans and Lebanese people at that time, who knew a lot about politics. Before the full story broke out in the news, it was pretty obvious from my conversations with them, that it was bound to be a group from the middle-east over Palestine.

The protest march against the invasion of Iraq in February 2003 was another day I will never forget. I have been on a quite a few protest marches, but this was exceptional. The political apathy of the British public was dispelled for once and to take part in the march was amazing. It was freezing cold and slow, but I was so pleased to see others of all ages and backgrounds united in not wanting a war.

I had written a detailed letter to my MP at the time, Michael Portilo, a month or two beforehand, giving him five well-thought out reasons why we should not invade Iraq. One of my main points was that London would become a target for terrorists if we got involved in America’s attack. I stated that we were still regarded as neutral until we committed to invading Iraq. I wrote that I thought that central London would become a less friendly, and more dangerous place with armed police, and that there would be a threat of terrorist attacks on the tubes.

To my surprise, and to his credit, Portilo wrote back me ( or maybe someone in his office wrote it for him) . It was a long letter, replying to each one of my five points in detail. The letter is somewhere up in my attic I think, I could not find it to quote here unfortunately ( I may add it later).

Portilo assured me that if we did not invade Iraq, that London would become a terrorist target and a dangerous place to live. Although a conservative MP, he  fully supported the labour government’s actions. I might have sounded hysterical in my letter,but I was right.  Our tubes were bombed and London did become a far more paranoid and fearful place, with new detention laws and the police, at times taking over tube stations with an aggressive and intimidating presence,compounded by stories of police torture at Scotland Yard, police brutality at recent climate change protests etc…

I have subsequently met Kurdish refugees from Iraq and Turkey, living here in London, who were extremely happy to see Saddam go. One guy I knew lost not only his family, but all his friends,school teachers and everyone he ever met in his entire life, through one of Saddam’s mass gas attacks of the Kurds.

I am still a pacifist and think we were wrong to invade Iraq, but these things are never entirely black and white.

*************************************************************************************************************

I guess my main worry for the next decade is the impact of climate change, I do think life for people will have to change whether we plan for it or not.

On a positive note, I am a great believer in Mother Earth. Before all the patriarchal religions ( and yes I know I will upset many by writing this!) there were religions in most parts of the world based on the concept of the great mother, the giver of life. The planet and all living things , and sometimes non-living things such land,rocks and hills etc. were sacred and respected.

If we don’t adopt a better attitude, then the forces of nature which are stronger than the forces of man, will take over.I believe the planet will be self-regulating. This is a very harsh image and of course I don’t want anyone to die or suffer. If we think of the planet as a kind of living being under threat (from billions of  little human parasites), then I believe that it could rebel and kill enough people so that it can restore itself back to health.

Well let’s see if we can prevent any great tragedy from happening by using  less, and thinking more about the way we treat our planet within this gigantic, wonderful and mysterious Universe. We must choose to either plunder or to care for this beautiful, delicate, live-giving planet Earth.

Happy New Year 2010,

May the next decade bring us Wisdom and Peace

Born2rant

The Police harasses some terribly nice middle-class white English people in possession of terrorist crayons.


Hello Good People who read this blog ( this is a revised version of earlier entries. I do this sometimes when I think of extra things…sorry if it is irritating)

To begin some more meditative music to generate peace in the world

I forgot how completely amazing this piece of music was until  I just listened to it again:

Yes it’s got to be Steve Hillage “the Glorious Om Riff” from the “Green” album ( 1978) , quite appropriate for this post. (If you listen to this wearing headphones you get the full ping-pong  synth effect .)

Om!

My son sent me this film ( below this little rant) showing the police trying to disrupt an environmental climate camp which is organised totally legally.

I don’t think the police should meddle in politics. I think they should just be there if the public needs them in an emergency, when they are being violated, robbed, burgled etc..

Who is instructing the police to violate, rob, burgle and occasionally kill the public?

Once the police start to harrass people for their politics isn’t that what a police state is?

This is how Wikipedia defines a police state:

“The term police state describes a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.

The inhabitants of a police state experience restrictions on their mobility, and on their freedom to express or communicate political or other views, which are subject to police monitoring or enforcement. Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state.[1]”

Here is the little film my son sent me :  “Investigating the Police” from the Kingsnorth Climate Camp last August. Crayons, felt-tip pens and chalk sticks are confiscated as dangerous weapons that could be used for writing political messages on banners.You may find some of the images of police violence in the second half of this film disturbing.

In many way it is reminiscent of the Battle of the Beanfield and other incidents of police violence. I heard many accounts of police violence over the years from friends being taken in the back of the van and given a “good kicking” for being alternative .

All the private “kickings” were illegal but now there is legalised harassment and violence against the public evident in this film. (if you can’t see this film and you have “No Script” on your computer, enable “blip.tv”)

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1878593&dest=-1]

They have given the police way too much power and surprise, surprise,  they are abusing it. In this film the police can legally force someone to be searched who is not wearing anything suspicious or behaving in a suspicious or agressive way.

If you refuse to be physically searched then they can legally, make you lie on the ground and set seven police officers on top of you and legally press your pressure points to inflict pain.

Some of the scenes in this film are of innocent people being violated legally by the police. Can you honestly say that the nice protesters in this film were a threat to anyone?

If the actions of the police were illegal then at least we could put a stop to it.

Compare and Contrast the wikipedia definition and the film clip!

What do you think?..Do you think? or do you just party?

A musical interlude:

Here & Now another band from the Gong rock family tree. I saw this band 10 trillion times in the late seventies and throughout the eighties. The first time I saw them was at Meanwhile Gardens with “Blank Space”and possibly  “The Androids of Mü”, Grant Showbiz was doing the desk.

Here is Here & Now with “Floating Anarchy Radio”

Here’s Here & Now playing in 2005. In the foreground on synth, Joie Hinton ( ex-Eat Static/Ozrics/O’Roonies etc…I was once told that he played for Steve Hillage as a teenager..not sure about this).

Today I am also a bit concerned about the police deciding about whether or not MPs should be arrested for fiddling their expenses.

Of course I think the MPs should pay back the money they fiddled and made to live on a council estate for a year with only income support and housing benefit to live on.

However I don’t agree with the principle that the police can arrest the democratically elected government. That really would make us  a police state.

It would be better for democracy if the government itself forced every single dodgy MP to resign and pay back the money and be fined.

I don’t see that happening because the ones at the top are the dodgy ones!

Some more excellent music. I love Egg.

Weird difficult and complex music is never boring or pretentious as long  as you can either tap your foot to it or sing a bit of the tune in the bath.

This track is one of my favourites and  has some of those appetizing complex bits!

According to Wikipedia ( my font of all knowledge for today) Steve Hillage plays on this track:

“Wring out the Ground” from “Civil Surface” by Egg (1974) …yep a couple of minutes in, that’s got to be Steve Hillage!

Love and Peace

Born2rant ( voting Green in European Elections ..will stop editing and revising this post now promise! 16/5/09)




It’s the same old story…stormtroopers in the street (and I don’t mean the Star Wars variety)


Hello Good People who read this blog…

(I have just realised that I’ve been taken off the Google search engine..a bit weird…anyone know why?)

I thought I’d post a quickie about the police assault on Ian Tomlinson, who died as a result.

Even though now I know for sure that my emails are copied and I could  be identified.

**** it , my mother was in the French Resistance which was far more dangerous!

Here is the Ian Tomlinson story in film. I’m glad for once that the media put this on the TV. Maybe the media are more powerful than police or politicians and that is why the journalists of the BBC and other news channels must take a stand, take a risk and be the “resistance”. We need alternative media and news coverage to get broadcast as well.

The Police Story ( I think they need to get one of their detectives on the case and get those responsible on trial for manslaughter and those covering up charged with perverting the course of justice)

Ian Tomlinson’s Son


Is wearing balaclava helmets standard police procedure?

(Bumbling Boris was not available for comment. He was probably busy at home, reading the Iliad for moral guidance.)

Jimi Hendrix and Machine Gun seems like appropriate music:

I hope to bring you something a bit more cheerful next time.

Love and peace

Born2rant

P.S. Maybe we need an anti-police violence protest, but I guess the headlines would be even grimmer afterwards.

Police Force (intimidation of Londoners by the police)


Hello good people who read this blog

First of all you might see I got another comment from Matthew Wright of The Wright Stuff on Channel 5 ( scroll down to recent comments or go to “Freaky coincidence” post June 5th ) .

Thanks a lot Matthew unfortunately I only saw your comment to be moderated after I saw today’s show. One of his guests was Tony Robinson who is known as that guy who keeps digging up bits of Britain at the weekend in search of archeological treasures along with the only scruffy eccentrics you ever see on tv and of course as the genius Baldrick from Blackadder.

Well Matthew and Tony did an excellent job of putting across how awful the law is that can detain people for 6 weeks before they are charged, now ironically contradicted by the Conservatives. I hope they put the clip of the panel’s discussion up on youtube. Tony Robinson is an excellent eloquent intelligent speaker.

We need to defend our right to freedom. ( But I don’t want the Tories to lay claim to this! )

But what about the terrorists? Some will argue. The terrorists have won totally if it means that your average person ( or your average alternative slightly eccentric creative person) can no longer go about their lives without being spied on, searched, arrested etc…The best way to be defiant to terrorists is to live your life in freedom without allowing them to interfere with your movements or liberties.

But the thing is it isn’t really about terrorists.

Police Intimidating People in the Park:
I was going to write about other things and had written a rough draft to be posted but I’d been stuck indoors for some hours alone and decided to take a break and go for my usual walk in the park.

Now I am very lucky, I happen to live in a beautiful safe part of London and my nearest park is Kensington Gardens where I have been for walks for decades. I go there to escape the stress and crowds and dirt and polution of the city and talk to the ducks and parakeets etc… Anyway it is normally a good refuge from the stresses of central London.

When I got to the gate there were loads of police. They would not let anyone in but they were allowing people out. Earlier there had been a police helicopter flying over the area for a long time so I assumed that maybe there was some high security event at Kensington Palace. I walked along to the next main gate at Queensway. This time there was a major police presence and people wanting to go into the park many cycling or walking home from work during the rush hour were made to queue up and go into a white and orange marquee with a big sign saying ” SEARCH AREA” on it.There was a police van and many police officers and none of them looked friendly in a British bobby type way. In fact they scowled at people trying to look intimidating.

I looked on from outside a bit frightened and indignant as the park is MY park, my refuge from stress. I was wondering what on earth could be going on. Had they found bombs in the park? Would I see something on the news later? I stood in Bayswater Road at the entrance with these thoughts not wanting to go in. Another man standing next to me, a black man in his thirties was suddenly grabbed by two young plain clothes policemen. They made him put his arms up and were searching him saying ” Have you got any drugs on you?” . The man looked terrified and said no and I was scared too and decided to walk on before I got stopped too.
I was determined I would get in there for my walk. So I went along to the next gate it was locked and the next one policed by two women police officers who were big and butch and not any less threatening than the others. But eventually getting up towards Lancaster Gate I found a deserted gate and walked in. There weren’t many people in the park but most of them like me were curious onlookers. There was a very sinister atmosphere it was very quiet and there weren’t the usual sounds of children’s banter , blokes playing football etc..

I walked back towards the palace and bought a tea in the deserted cafe by the playground. I asked them why they were searching everyone or stopping them from coming in. The manager seemed quite excited ” It’s a new campaign! ” he said” they’re searching kids for knives”.

I was annoyed and I said “Well I’m not a kid and they wouldn’t let me in without going through the “Search Area”. He didn’t seem to understand this and kept saying ” No they are only stopping children”.

This was nonsense. The only children you generally see in that park have parents or nannies with them. I have been to that park 100s of times in my life. I’ve climbed over the fence and walked there at night , I’ve spent a huge amount of my life in that park and I have never encountered any crime whatsoever.

I decided to take a closer look at the “Search Arch”( not sure if the sign said Search Arch or Search Area) and stood not far but groups of policemen stood looking at me sternly so I moved.

I had nothing to hide, but that doesn’t mean I want to be bodily searched and interrogated by strange people at their whim or not be able to go for a peaceful walk in MY local park.

I left the same way I came in but before that I saw them stop and search a group of young black teenagers who were laughing and found it funny when their friend was stopped and detained
( hopefully not for 6 weeks without charge or even the current 4 weeks).

On my way back I walked past the main gate again in Bayswater Road and looked to see if they really were only searching teenagers. I then saw a group of very respectable well-dressed middle-aged white tourists being ushered into the large gazebo/orange and white tent thing, they were looking at eachother in disbelief as they were having to open their handbags and possibly to be bodily searched. I stood there shaking my head saying out loud:

” This is crazy, it’s just crazy!”

But then these two men heard me and told me to move along, they must have been plain clothes policemen again.


Police Intimidating People on the Tube:

I have already endured the unpleasant experience of police taking over tube stations at rush hour . Armed police and plain clothes policemen and sniffer dogs lining the walls of the tube station and looking at people in the most intimidating threatening way. I have experienced this several times now and it’s not nice.They usually do this in the rush hour often on a Friday evening.

Once there was this guy getting off the train in front of me he had been on the same carriage as me and caused no trouble. He was dressed smartly but he looked like a foreigner coming home from work and definitely not a thug. He had a smile on his face and possibly he had been drinking or smoking a joint on his way home on a Friday evening ( most people do not smile on the tube in the rush hour!). I was walking up the stairs immediately behind him.
Once he got to the top of the stairs without a word two policemen came up behind him and just grabbed an arm each and took him to one side. He looked at both of them with a silly grin on his face also saying nothing, clearly this man was not a bomber, he was not violent and he wasn’t currently breaking any laws although he might have been a bit stoned rather than a bit drunk. I found it shocking at the time to have this happen on my normal route home. I felt like I was in some kind of 60s spy movie behind the iron curtain.

Another time as I was going into the tube station on a “police day” two very sweet and innocent looking young Spanish long-haired tourists were suddenly stopped as one the dogs quite liked the way they smelt. I guess they probably had smelt of cannabis, the boys looked absolutely terrified and they didn’t speak a word of English. As I passed them the police told them they were being arrested and were confiscating their passports and one of boys looked like he was about to cry. I wanted to stop and help them maybe by translating but being surrounded by about 30 armed and scowling policemen I was scared and walked on.

So that’s my piece for today. It’s not what I wanted to write about .

I don’t want to have to move out of London or leave this country but I’m finding myself suddenly living in a place that is more like Nazi Germany or some communist regime than the London I grew up in.

We are becoming a police state gradually as this is how it happens and if we want to live in a place where we still have some freedom and democracy then we have to speak out against this and complain.

Love and Peace

Born2rant

P.S. George Bush’s visit and protest march on June 15th 2008

“The Stop the War Coalition has been informed by the Metropolitan Police that a proposed march, co-organised with CND and the British Muslim Initiative, to protest George Bush’s visit will not be allowed. The Coalition has organised scores of marches on this route, including during Bush’s last visit in 2003.” (taken from the Stop the War website..let’s see if they protest anyway and if so how many are arrested)

( sorry if there are mistakes in my post I am having problems with wordpress technology that automatically deletes words and bits of sentences and also with my brain due to an illness..however I do assure you that what I have written is as accurate as I can make it and not fantasy!)