Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Beware The MCD Hoover.

The MCD hoover must be on over drive and surely about to choke on its own stupidity? Threads on linked to the recent consumer backlash over security and crowd disturbances at Oxegen are only the latest parts of the net to be disappeared. Various net hosts have been back ing down in the face of what can only be percieved as an onslaught of brand protection, exposing the more vicious side of the music business.

Pantone247 shares a lot of my concerns about the upcoming launch of supposedly alternative Dublin station Phantom Fm which now has its lips firmly puckered on the asses of half of the main players in the Irish music scene, including MCD:

"...and here's the news, exciting, happy, fun, yet safe and ordered, time had at wonderful, super, special, Oxegen festival, fans rejoiced and celebrated our glorious leader Denis Desmond and his infinite wisdom... in other news evil communist Aiken promotors festival cum death camp Electric Picnic is predicted to be not as good as superb, amazing, Oxegen festival..."

Simpering away in the background of all this reaction to MCD's remarkable campaign to silence dissent among a makret it usually expects to big up its events, is a ridiculously high pattern of class prejudice and snobbery that is rife on the net and especially amongst the supposed cultured ones inhabiting a variety of online communities that pops up at any given opportunity, with most of the debates homing in around wheter security, MCD or those unruly "scumbag" fuckers should be taking the wrap over it all. And they say class is dead? No surprises here though.

Labels: , ,

(0) comments

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Oxegen, Poxegen: The Modern Rock and Roll Experience.

There’s a long standing tradition of music festivals in Ireland, from the Fleadh’s of yore with their bizarre intersection of trad and hippy folk revivalists, to the self organised beauty of the anti-nuclear festivals at Carnsore or the hilarity of a Dylan gig at Slane that broke out in a riot. The most romanticised of recent Irish festivals is the Semple Stadium Feiles, when sprawling night time chaos descended across a quite Irish town leading to jammed Liveline phonelines for about a week after and infuriated auld ones tearing the nation’s youth a new arsehole with verbal condemnation.

The tightening of planning legislation around festivals as a result of the chaotic nature of the Feiles led to a tragic respite from the multi-day festival from 1997 onwards. With a generation lacking any similar major rites of passage, the massive Slane one day events reigned supreme and there was always some fucker of a mate’s older brother to regale you with boastful tales of pissing, shitting and shagging all over Thurles in contrast to the placid state of Slane. But lets see these thirty something suckers dance now cos we've been pissing ourselves and getting our stomachs pumped at our own Feile - OXEGEN - or so Denis Desmond's main man Brian ‘Biggie' Spollen would have us believe.

Full rant and more discussion at Indymedia with a full set of photos..

Labels: , , , ,

(0) comments

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Not surprised but still . . .

Living in the a new building in an old working class area brings a few things. Issolation from the rest of the community and abuse from the kids. Everyone who lives around here knows this. We will always be blow-ins. But not only will we not be accepted ito the community the way these new buildings are built creates a lack of communication.

The other day on my way home I was biking past the School Street flats and noticed a group of kids in front of me. There were seven of them, six that looked no older then nine and then one that was pushing twelve. Since it was almost midnight I noticed them and was not surprised that they started to shout abuse as I cylced by.

They started chasing me shouting "hey miss give us your bike" I wasn't too concerned since I can outbike a few kids, yet they didn't give up and next thing I was at home. There was an neighbour about to open the door, I thought I was safe. As the mysterious neighbour opened the door for me the kids caught up to me and started to pull on the carrier.

I'm used to kids messing, shouting random things but one look into these kids eyes and I realised they were high and not messing. I got the bike back but after the handle bars got bent back and my lock stolen. All along the neighour held the door and didn't offer to help. When I got the bike back and watched the kid run down the road with my lock the nighbour dropped the door and walked away without a word.

Labels: , ,

(1) comments

Monday, July 03, 2006

Whack The Paddy At The Molly Malone.

Look to the photo on the right and many of you will instantly cringe. A diminutive figure on the Dublin street scene, the plastic Paddy who spends his day sitting on the plinth of the Mally Malone statue pretending to play the bodhran while a wrecked transister blasts out a concoction of Irish noises more than anything to sum up the tourist season once it hits Dublin every summer.

Today he didn't have the dancing line of lebrachauns that respond to vibrations with him, instead he was just surrounded by about forty bibbed Spanish students who delighted as their group leader was mauled by this tragic case in a duet of "Molly Malone" complete with a broken English chorus from the kids. Given the ratio of extreme nationalists and barstool republicans to square foot in Dublin, isn't it a wonder that this man hasn't yet being found bludgeoned dead with his head peeping through the fake goat skin on his Bodhran? Judging by his reddened facial features, some of those Carrolls gift shop fans are giving him something at least for his whisky.

Labels: , ,

(0) comments

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Loach: The Coronation Street Of Class Struggle

Just after returning from watching Ken Loach's Palm D'or reaping drama The Wind That Shakes The Barley and like most feel slightly compelled to add one or two words to the flurry of type and hype that has accompanied the movie's release on these shores. The Wind That Shakes The Barley is a typical Loach movie betraying many of the core techniques developed in his previous outings. Again he relies on plunging a shallowly crafted personal relationship, this time between two brothers, into a set of tragic circumstances. These circumstances provide an emotional cover for an overly didactic political approach to popularising alternative historical mythologies that challenge the authors of a victors' history. This time the contested historicity is an Irish text book rabid nationalism, that sweeps aside socialist and labour based movements in the process of consolidating the free state.

As in the Spanish Civil War epic Land and Freedom, his pastiche of Orwell's experiences in Homage to Catalonia given a romantic streak that nearly ends on two opposite ends of the barriacades outside the Barcelona telephone exchange, he creates his alternative historical narratives brilliantly. Like the Catalan epic he returns to his routine technique of using moments of extended tense political debate to foreground the various shades of the arguments operating within the historical juncture he is focussing on. In Land and Freedom this was deployed around collectivisation of the village as well as militarisation and in Bread and Roses it was used during the discussions on joining a union. Here he pushes an anti-treaty agenda, one based on the social policy of the democratic programme of the first Dail, to the front during arguments in a republican court that challenge the extortionate income charged by a local gombeen man and later again prior to the Treaty vote itself.

Equally a quintessential part of Loach's work is his use of characters that roll across the screen as near archetypes, each representing different political persausions and social back grounds. Its no surprise again to see Loach fall back on the idea of the "sell out". The reformist who takes the uniform of the new state and falls back in line with wealth and elites. In this new film, it's the Cillian Murphy character's brother who takes the bait - while in his Catalan epic, a college educated American communist plays the same role. Another routine stereotype from Irish folk history here is Dan, the Jackeen train driving union man who brings the workshop's and field's socialism of Connolly down to the rural backwater village where the films terse action takes place.

The routinely wheeled out movie critics of the Irish media really managed to display a tremendous historical ignorance in discussions of this movie. Many accused Loach of brushing over IRA thuggery and painting an anti-imperial propaganda piece that leaves the English nation damned. Loach does neither of these things. Despite the 2-d nature of much of his character development there is marked moments of subtlety in painting the black and tans. He makes it apparent they are the shell shocked victims of a British ruling class who have left them "up to their necks in shit, blood and vomit for four years in the trenches." This is a tension that is completely excorcised from the standard nationalist narratives of the war of independence,. The moment where a young British soldier effectively mutinies and frees republican prisoners is a wonderful adage hinting at disaffection among the lower ranking British tommies during WW1 and the popular slogan "mutiny is the conscience of war" painted on trench walls.

With so many claiming Loach romanticises the irregular movement during the period, it was odd to find myself thinking that the most apt commentater in public yet has been the arts minister John O'Donaghue. O'Donaghue displayed on Newstalk a keen knowledge of the submerged role of socialist ideas and the Connollyite legacy on the anti-treaty side with his argument that Loach was far from a fantasist. On a popular culture level Loach is doing nothing new with this movie. But that noone remembered, Rebel Heart, Ronan Bennet's controversially scripted mini series for RTE back a few years ago is odd and foregrounds the importance of the Loach brand. Dealing with exactly the same theme, of how dreams of a workers republic were betrayed and stunted, the lack of note given to this RTE series is telling in how willing people are to slide back into the myths of Mother Ireland and perhaps explains quite a bit of the muffled response given to Loach's movie by both conservatives and revisionists.

Left wondering why Loach didn't just make a movie on the Limerick Soviet or concentrate on the exploits of Peader O'Donnell or Saor Eire put me in the mind that Loach really is someone who should be placed in the same category as Brecht. These are dramatists of little subtlety, who use their work to foreground a system of exploitation and recuperation that transverses different historical periods. This is a very modernist sense of mass education, popularising the idea of struggle from below and celebrating the undefeated and utterly indefatigable spirit of all under dogs. Mike Leigh summons a darker, microcosmic reflection on the effects of class on people's lives making him sit straddled across the legacy of kitchen sink drama with all the brooding prowess of an Eastenders marriage break up. But Ken Loach's movies are the Coronation Street of class struggle, ordinary everyday good natured folk thrown into moments of severe historical rupture and forced to deal with the constant betrayal of the working class by leaders and elites. That such lessons can be drawn so often, goes some way to explaining the cast iron soap like stereotypes, templates and routines that he resorts to so readily to illustrate them in his work.

Anyone interested in checking out another Loach movie can do worse that headling along to the next fundraiser for the IWU, which is hosting a showing of the excellent Ken Loach film ‘Bread and Roses’ on the struggle for Trade Union rights faced by workers. The night will also include revolutionary music from Ireland and across the globe. The screening is on Friday 28th July, Lloyd’s Bar, Amiens St, Dublin 1. The time was never mentioned on the event listing on this site, so maybe someone out there knows? For the moment I'd say stay tuned to this and someone might add it seeing as I've mentioned the abscene of a time.

Labels: ,

(0) comments

Soundtracksforthem specialises in iconoclastic takes on culture, politics, and more shite from the underbelly of your keyboard. A still-born group blog with a recent surge of different contributers but mainly maintained by James R. Big up all the contributers and posse regardless of churn out rate: Kyle Browne, Reeuq, Cogsy, Chief, X-ie phader/Krossie, Howard Devoto, Dara, Ronan and Mark Furlong. Send your wishes and aspirations to

Label Cluster
In no certain order... Politics, Guest Bloggers Interviews, Music, Internet, Guest Bloggers, Travel, Blogging, TV, Society, Film, Gig Reviews, Art, Media.

The Neverending Blogroll
A Womb Of Her Own
Arse End Of Ireland
BBC One Music Blog
Blackdown Sound Boy
Buckfast For Breakfast
Customer Servitude
Counago & Spaves
Candy PDF Mag
House is a Feeling
Indie Hour Blog
Jim Carroll
Kid Kameleon
Kick Magazine Toronto
Matt Vinyl
Modern Cadence
One For The Road
Old Rotten Hat
Newish Journalism
TV Is Crying
Una Rocks
Village Magazine
Radical Urban Theory

February 2002 October 2002 April 2003 September 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 June 2004 September 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008

Gig Review: The Fall Tripod
Gig Review: Gogol Bordello
Broken Pencil Gets It's Irish On
Fecking Civil Servents
Fake Pharma Ads
Vidiot: Data Entry
Life and Debt
Last Night Cosmo Baker Saved My Life / Hip Hop His...
Eye Candy: Dufferin Hoarding Gallery
Review: Heads for the heart of the Sun – The Welco...
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from antrophe. Make your own badge here.

Irish Blogs

Irish Bloggers

| Soundtracks |