Thursday, 24 September 2015

Doomed Youth?

*New Guest Blog alert* 
Here's Jason Smith's review of The Libertines' new album, released on Friday 11th September 2015.
Be nice. He doesn't bite.  

Chemistry in evidence: Frontmen Carl Barat and Pete Doherty
 headling Leeds Festival earlier in August.
It has been over ten years since The Libertines released an album. 

A life of constant substance addiction, various side projects and a ‘one off’ Reading and Leeds headline set later, Peter Doherty admitted himself to rehab in Thailand and The Libertines started writing for a third studio album. 

The gap between their second self-titled album and Anthems for Doomed Youth (AFDY) doesn’t appear present at all, and in fact, AFDY sounds as though it’s a direct follow on from the 2004 album. This may be owing to the fact that several of the songs on the album are re-mastered versions of early demos from the famous Albion sessions undertaken in the early 2000’s. However, such songs are in a minority and it is safe to say that the Doherty/Barat spark remains and their ability to write raucous, abrasive indie anthems still remains. Although The Libertines require some new management (they postponed two exclusive intimate shows which were never to be rescheduled, contrary to the band’s ethos) AFDY is definitely a must-listen, with every song bringing its own style and content, from arena anthems such as ‘Gunga Din’ to charming melodies such as ‘You’re My Waterloo’ and rough punk/indie tracks e.g. ‘Glasgow Coma Scale Blues’. This is an album that already sounds timeless and looks forward to a future of being showcased at the world’s biggest arenas and festivals. 

The album takes inspiration from the Wilfred Owen poem of the same name

Thursday, 7 May 2015

The 2015 General Election: Live!

Tonight will be long, difficult, and tedious battle.

No, I'm not talking about Cameron vs Miliband; the real battle tonight will be between me and my duvet. Will I make it to 6:00am? Probably not. Will I try my hardest? Hell yeah! (*groans*)
So here's my very first attempt at a liveblog. 
I'm armed with my laptop and unhealthy amounts of caffeine. 
Let the challenge begin!

Minutes to go now. Who will win? Toss a coin.

David Dimbleby's tie is rather sombre tonight. I hope it's not an omen!

First reaction: Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck.
That's all I can say. I hope you weren't expecting insightful political journalism. I may as well be sitting in a corner and rocking back and forth all night.

Speechless. Absolutely speechless. No one saw that coming.
The Tories are on 316 seats, to Labour's 239.
I keep hearing people repeating '1992'  over again. I'm fervently praying that it's not, ALTHOUGH, encouragingly, The BBC's exit polling was wildly off in 1992.

Paddy Ashdown is currently promising Andrew Neil that he'll eat his hat if The BBC's exit poll is right.

Is this the end of politics as we know it? Will First Past The Post be receiving it's last rites in the coming days? Are Clegg, Milliband and Farage finished?

It's going to be a long, and very interesting night.
All we can speculate on is the nature of Paddy Ashdown's marzipan sombrero.

I need someone to hold my hand.
Less than an hour ago, I was feeling confident in a progressive Labour SNP coalition. Now I'm not even sure what my own name is!
The results should start arriving soon; Sunderland is expected to deliver first.
I'm off to go and make a cup of tea.

The results for Sunderland South have just been announced. Labour have held a safe seat. Notably, the Liberal Democrats have won just 791 votes, meaning that they've lost their deposit.
Stay tuned.

Rumors are flying around twitter that Ed Balls is likely to loose his seat in Morley and Outwood. Less than 4 hours ago, I was sitting in a sunny pub in Headingley and jokingly predicting that this might happen. Everything feels very surreal.

The big beasts are out now, Alastair Campbell has told David Dimbleby that the exit polling 'doesn't feel right'.

Pictures of Ed Balls are circulating. He has a look on his face which can only be described as a Turkey at Christmas.

"There was no Green surge, was there?" Taxi for Andrew Neil.
Green membership has surpassed the 50,000 mark and more than quadrupled in recent years. Moreover, The Greens beat the Lib Dems in Sunderland South, winning 1,095 votes. We've also beaten the Lib Dems in all of the seats declared so far. Baby steps!
In my own college's mock elections, we came second, with 31.1% of the votes; a result I'm very proud of.
The Greens look set to be the surprise winners of the night.

I'm keeping a very close eye on both of my constituencies; Bradford East and Pudsey.

David Ward, the incumbent MP for Bradford East, has a majority of just 365. He's been running a very interesting campaign, bombarding our street with leaflets and very carefully distancing himself from the Central Party. Nick Clegg barely appears in his leaflet at all, and the focus is very much on his record as a constituency MP.
To his credit, he voted very strongly against increasing tuition fees in 2010, although he was suspended from the Parliamentary Party in 2013 for 3 months after making anti-semitic comments.

His main challenger, Imran Hussain has been doing the exact opposite. He's relatively unknown and has been associating himself closely with the central party. Cue lots of photo ops of Imran looking broody outside an A&E department, promising to 'save the NHS'.
The most surprising thing is that there has been a distinct lack of energy in Bradford East. It's number 10 on Labour's list of target seats, so I would naturally expect the party leaders to be flocking here like a mob of seagulls to a fish supper.  So far it's been pretty tame.

Stuart Andrew, the incumbent MP for Pudsey, has a majority of just 1,659.
Jeremy Vine has already predicted that he will loose his seat to the Labour candidate Jamie Hanley.

In contrast to Bradford East, you can barely drive through Pudsey without seeing electoral stakes every few meters, and even George Osborne popped up earlier in the week.
I've chatted to many people across the last few months, and absolutely nobody has had a bad word to say about Stewart Andrew. He's a fantastic local MP (I can vouch for this, he's eaten jaffa cakes in my living room!) and many people will have faced a difficult decision tonight.
I'll point you in the direction of his fantastic speech during the gay marriage debate, which can be read here
Apparently, Leeds city council had to send re-enforcements to the polling booths due to very long queues.
Nail biting stuff!

West Yorkshire will definitely be significant in deciding the outcome of the election.

I can feel the quality of my tweets deteriorating as the night goes on. Peter Mandelson just popped up (or should I say 'sassed up'?) on my telly and all I could think to tweet was "MANDELSON".

Although only 4 seats have been declared so far, the all consuming fear and panic which I felt at 10:00pm has been replaced by a sense of weariness and resignation.

I think it's time for another cup of tea. I might even push the boat out and have a biscuit.

It's looking like Galloway has lost his seat in Bradford West.

A few of my favourite twitter accounts from tonight : @RobPestonHair @Paddys_hat @LibDemDeposits

Having a conversation with someone on twitter about Tristram Hunt's beige tie. Only 11 seats have been declared so far, and the BBC's commentators are making all sorts of sweeping statements. There are still another 638 seats still to declare...

BREAKING NEWS: I'm going for a nap for half an hour.
I bet Bradford West is announced just as I nod off.

I knew something important would happen just I was nodding off!
The Tories have easily held Nuneaton, and actually increased their majority by +4%. This is a clear early indicator of a poor night for Labour.
Some commentators are suggesting the possibility of a strong Tory majority.

I wonder how Paddy Ashdown likes his fedora?
Grilled? Mashed? Fried?

Favourite comment of the night so far: "The SNP are not the VietCong." - Andrew Marr
Douglas Alexander and Jim Murphy have both lost their seats to The SNP.  Not really surprising but still embarrassing, nevertheless. 
Miliband's speech in Doncaster North: "It's clearly been a very disappointing and difficult night for The Labour Party... A surge of nationalism has overwhelmed us and I am deeply sorry..." 
It might as well be a eulogy. #EdStone

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been re-elected in North-East Somerset, with 50% of the vote. My faith in humanity is severely diminished.
I apologise if my spelling has deteriorated. It's a symbolic representation of the state of Britain.

I've decided that Lucy and I are emigrating to Scotland together to live on a remote highland Island. I can't be arsed with life anymore.

Just what exactly is the point of Danny Alexander? What is his function? What on earth does he do?

Imran Hussain has won in Bradford East with 47% of the vote, replacing David Ward to become my MP.
South Thanet should be declared soon.

George Galloway has lost his seat in Bradford West, with just 8, 557 votes. His face is priceless...

Just had some news from George at the count in central Leeds: They're in the process of a re-count but Ed Balls is looking extremely likely to have lost his seat in Morley and Outwood.

I'm going to bed now.  I'm still in a state of shock. Hopefully when I wake up this will all be a bad dream. 

Heartbroken. Absolutely heartbroken.
Here's the final result:

Conservative Party- 331 seats   (36.9% of the votes)
Labour Party- 232 seats   (30.4% of the votes)
Scottish National Party- 56 seats   (4.7% of the votes)
Liberal Democrats- 8 seats   (7.9% of the votes)
DUP- 8 seats   (0.6% of the votes)
Sinn Fein- 4 seats   (0.6% of the votes)
Plaid Cymru- 3 seats   (0.6% of the votes)
SDLP- 3 seats   (0.3% of the votes)
UUP- 2 seats   (0.4% of the votes)
UKIP- 1 seat   (12.6% of the votes)
Green Party- 1 seat   (3.8% of the votes)
Independent (Lady Sylvia Hermon)- 1 seat

Therefore, David Cameron has become Prime Minister, leading the Conservative Party into Parliament with a 12 seat majority.

The turnout was 66.1%.

This result has been a complete surprise.
Nobody (not even the pollsters!)  had any idea of the outcome.
Usually, like an insidious cancer, there are early warning signs. Coughing blood. Policy leaks. Stumbling over questions. Instead, today's result has hit Britain like an out-of-control juggernaut, leaving behind a scene of utter devastation.

There have been many high-profile casualties: Clegg, Farage and Miliband have all resigned. Ed Balls has gone. Jim Murphy has lost his seat.

The British people have spoken. We have chosen austerity. We have chosen to privatise the NHS. We have chosen to slash benefits. We have chosen to increase carbon emissions. We have chosen to renew Trident. We have chosen to condemn our students to a life of debt before they even begin to work. We have chosen food banks, zero-hours contracts and poverty. We have chosen to make our schools into exam factories. We have chosen to decimate Britain's stock of social housing. We have chosen to make thousands more people homeless.  We have chosen the bedroom tax. We have chosen to demonize immigrants. We have chosen to give a tax cut to the oligarchs, bankers and media barons.

**Except that we haven't.
63.1% of us did not vote for The Conservatives!

In recent months there has been a growing movement calling for reform of The UK's First Past The Post electoral system, lead by groups like 'Unlock Democracy!' In fact, just a few days ago, Owen Winter, the youth Parliament's representative for Cornwall, began a petition on calling for a proportional voting system. This momentum will only increase following today's result.

One of the most striking statistic of the night is this:  The SNP won just 4.7% of the total votes cast, but gained a staggering 56 seats. By way of contrast, UKIP won a huge 12.6% of the total votes cast but gained just 1 seat.
It's not often that you'll hear me sticking up for UKIP, but even a small child could understand that this isn't a fair system.

In January, I conducted some interviews around college to gauge people's political predictions for the year ahead.  Again, absolutely nobody predicted the outcome of the election. Most people, including myself, anticipated a Labour minority government propped up by The SNP.  (The full predictions can be read here
I managed to get 1 and a 1/2 out of 3 correct... Firstly, I correctly anticipated that The Lib Dems would be absolutely annihilated and Nick Clegg would resign (Although I predicted that Danny Alexander would be a strong contender for the leadership- this is looking very unlikely after loosing his seat).
The second one is a bit more difficult to judge. I thought that Ed Miliband would have a catastrophic 'bigoted woman' moment, and see his personal poll ratings dip significantly. He didn't. Labour have led a good campaign, and Miliband managed not to commit any horrendous blunders.
Murdoch's dirty campaign to undermine him pretty much failed. We had such low expectations of him that the fact that he turned up to the debates and didn't poo himself was a bonus.
Although there must be a grain of truth in this somewhere...

So what went wrong for Labour? It's too early to conduct a full post-mortem, but, it seems as though they've spread themselves a bit too thinly. They've been perceived as too left-wing for the likes of middle England, but not left-wing enough for Scotland and their traditional socialist supporters. I was hoping that loosing votes to The Greens, Plaid and The SNP might force Labour to return to their roots, but this catastrophic election defeat will leave the Blairites baying for blood.

Oh dear.

But surely there must be some positive news?
Yes,  there is, if you squint hard enough.

Firstly, Bez! He won 703 votes in Salford and Eccles, for 'We are The Realist Party'. (No, I'm not
twisting your melons...) In addition to this, The Monster Raving Loony Party received over double the votes of The BNP.

Secondly, Stuart Andrew was re-elected in my own constituency of Pudsey, nearly tripling his majority. He's a lovely bloke, and is a lesson to us all that politics doesn't always have to be a nasty, tribal thing.

And last, but not least, Caroline Lucas has been re-elected as Brighton Pavilion's MP. We may have lost Bristol West, but the continued presence of Caroline's sassy and independent voice in Parliament can only be classed as a force for good. We salute you Queen Caroline! (Meritocracy FTW.)

Also huge congratulations to our very own Dr Warnes, who has retained his Shipley council seat, and also saved his deposit in the general election for the very first time! He won 2,657 votes, which equated to 5.3%, up +2.3% on 2010.
I shall take great pride in telling him that he's more popular than the Lib Dems on Monday morning!
And finally, George Walker also deserves a mention for leading a fantastic Green campaign around college and coming 2nd with 31.1% of the votes. George, I still owe you a drink!

Right. I'm finally going to bed. Tonight has been an emotional rollercoster, but I'm hopeful that something positive can arise from the ashes. Stay tuned, as I'm sure I'll be blogging more in the coming weeks. 

Here are my final thoughts: 

(To quote Conchita Wurst) We will rise like a phoenix. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Meeting a Hero

Today I had the honour and privilege of meeting Holocaust survivor Arek Hersh.
I feel as though what ever I write in this blog post will not accurately convey how I felt about meeting a true hero, so please excuse me if I get emotional.
He came to Benton Park to talk about his experiences as an 11 year old boy during the Holocaust. His story of how his childhood was stolen from him is humbling. I make offhand comments about 'being starving', 'loosing the will to live' and 'being governed by Nazis' but here is a man who has genuinely lived through all of this. A real, physical, visceral reminder of a period in history when Jews were stripped of their rights, dignity and finally their lives at the hands of their fellow human beings.
I had the pleasure of sharing a Kosher lunch with him and he is such a lovely man. He commands an air of silent reverence and everyone that met him was deeply touched. It struck me that I was sat next Arek Hersh, an 86 year old man eating a houmous sandwich , whereas he had once been prisoner B-7608, a small boy, eating the burnt leather from the soles of his shoes in order to survive. 

When asked what message he would give to the young people of today, he told us that we should value our right to vote in democratic elections when we come of age and ignore dangerous extremist parties like the BNP. In his words; We are the future. 

I will always remember Arek, and also his Mother Bluma, Father Szmuel, Sister Itka, Brother Tovia and Genia, his First Love who weren't so lucky and lost their lives to hundreds of years of anti-semitism. 

I urge you to read Arek's book 'A Detail of History' and also watch the harrowing documentary about his life called 'Arek' by Unison Films.  

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Political Apathy

I'm not doing very well with this blogging thing, am I? In September I wrote a brilliant blog entitled 'Miliband the Magnolia' about Ed Milliband's lack of policy ideas. Unfortunatley, the lightning-paced nature of politics meant that by the time it was ready to publish, he'd practically re-written the Labour Party Manifesto!

Anyway, someone that's been worrying me recently is Russell Brand. Surprisingly; it's got nothing to do with his sex-addiction, old heroin habit or questionable dress sense. Instead; it's got everything to do with his interview with Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight.

For the first time in my life, I might actually agree with what Jeremy Paxman has to say. When I watched the interview I was literally dumbfounded. Shocked and speechless can't really describe my reaction.  Here was Russell Brand, a man whom I quite admired, actually encouraging political apathy! This is a guy who has lived on the very fag end of life, suffered mental health problems and overcome addiction. He has championed the cause of the Tibetans, hugged the Dalai Lama and supported Chelsea (Formerly Bradley) Manning. On paper, you'd image him to some trendy bohemian comedian with a heart and a passion for politics.
Instead, he's appearing on Newsnight ranting at Jeremy Paxman like an angsty 17 year old that hasn't got chest hair yet. It's embarrassing. He sounds like he's stolen 'Das Kapital' from his local library and suddenly become a revolutionary. He appears eloquent, but his argument has no substance.

The worrying thing is that his argument has gained some momentum. Ed O' Brien of Radiohead recently came out in support of Brand on the band's website Dead Air Space. His argument just re-enforces the idea that "All politics is crap and therefore worth ignoring."
 Fortunately there have also been some voices of dissent, such as Robert Webb's who is 'renewing his labour party membership' in response to Brand.

As a 16 year old who will be 5 months too young to vote at the next general election, it massively irritates me when people like Russell Brand just carelessly discard their vote like an empty crisp packet. Sitting on your arse and eloquently moaning about the political class does not change anything. Be the change you want to see!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Christine the freefall parachutist

Not blogged in a while, but as you can see I have a lovely new layout. The birds are meant to have a calming effect. As you are aware, summer not only heralds Glastonbury and midges but the dreaded exam season.

I've often wondered who it is that sets the questions. Who are these mysterious people that get paid to set exam questions? What do they do in their free time? Sit around playing bridge and smoking pipes in matching tweed separates?  Also, who are the people in the exam papers? Is Christine the freefall parachutist real?  What about Sumeet with his triangular prism shaped pool? And poor Viv, who lacks enough mincemeat in her quest to make 45 mince pies in June?

Ahh, questions questions questions.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Pinch me, I must be dreaming

Hello hello hello,
I've got some questions that need answering. For the sake of my (questionable) sanity.
Firstly, I must ask; Am I dreaming?

In all seriousness, we're a mere 21 days into the new year, and already some pretty bizarre stuff has happened.  Correct me if I'm wrong but, on the same website #Cut4Bieber , #OrwellDay and #CBB have been trending. (Ironic, no?)
David Bowie has made the sneakiest comeback in musical history, still managing to exude cool at the age of 66 and with his head superimposed onto a doll's body.
Tesco have managed to alienate Jews and horse lovers alike, by including cute little piggies and ponies in their beef burgers.
The Pope has found new and interesting ways in which to erm... reach out to the youth of today.
Unfortunately, armageddon has hit the British Isles in the form of frozen flakes of water falling from the sky, resulting in a severe impairment to the U.K's journalism and many broken dreams. The effect of falling snow may have even caused several mental health conditions to form in the brains of 'wannabes', as 'Becoming famous' now constitutes sucking a used tampon and filming yourself in the act .However if turning vampire doesn't appeal to you, you could 'do a Katie Price' and  marry your 3rd husband in 8 years because a psychic told you so.

That's not all though. My personal favourite of this month's crop of non-news stories has to be Jimmy Savile's guest appearance on the tweenies. Not only was it tear inducingly funny, the song Jimmy introduced was 'one finger one thumb keep moving'. Again, another triumph of the BBC over the British taxpayer.

This is the stuff that makes history folks. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Now that's what I call broadcasting

 I sometimes listen to the radio.

Okay, that's a really banal statement, but you'll see where I'm going with this in a minute.

Anyway, the other day I was listening to  BBC Radio 4, when suddenly, an article about soft drugs came on.  The broadcaster in question was speaking about the beauty of 'weed bags'. Yes, I-SHIT-YOU-NOT, there was a fully grown man, on a national radio station, almost at the point of orgasm... over little polythene baggies used to store cannabis in. According to the aforementioned bloke, Weed bags should be "Stored in a museum, so people of the future can fully appreciate the beauty and hedonism of the 21st century." Apparently for him; "Finding them on the floor gives me a tiny insight into the mysteries of a total stranger's life."

Yeah, I wasn't quite sure I was fully awake either, but after establishing that I'd not nodded off after eating a large quantities of Brie, I realized that I bloody love the BBC.

Not only do I want to hunt down Mr Weed-Bags and force him to teach Year 10 PHSCE in Leeds secondary schools, but I also want to hugely thank the BBC for spending tax payer's money on gems like this. 
I smile a little to myself every night in the thought that 'Hard working British tax payers' like this man here:

 are paying for the casual Radio 4 listener to be informed of the beauty of Weed bags.

So let's forget about scandals involving Jimmy Saville, Andrew Sachs and senior Tory MP's, The BBC is worth every single penny of tax payer's money. 

Aunite Beeb deserves a bit of love. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Hey, last night I went to go see a fantastic production of Tennessee William's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the West Yorkshire profile, courtesy of The Guardian,  and they published my review!! But because I'm so completely un-original I thought I'd publish it here too:

 The scene was set. On stage, a fan whirred monotonously round, doing little to dispel the thick soup of the Mississippi delta air, or the sense of frustration at the forefront of everything.
Maggie flounced on stage, and so 3 hours in the company of the dysfunctional and deeply unhappy Pollitt family began.
Admittedly this is not the smoothest of metaphors, but the only thing I can liken the play to is a 1950’s style EastEnders. Although Phil Mitchell fails to make a surprise cameo and denounce the Pollitts as liars in a booming cockney accent, he may well have done. All the parallels are there. Suicide, alcoholism, homophobia, a loveless marriages and deceit.  Lots, and lots of deceit.
The whole play is centred on the various family members lying to each other. Brick lying to Maggie, Maggie lying to Big Momma, Big Momma lying to Big Daddy, Big Daddy lying to Gooper and so forth.
All this is done with the utmost precision from the cast.  Zoe Boyle’s portrayal of cat like Maggie, oozing sexiness and beguilement is darkly contrasted to Jamie Parker’s portrayal of Brick and his cold indifference to anything but whiskey.

 Although not always mentioned in a review, it’s hard to imagine what the play would have been like without the score of lurking bass and crashing cymbals, courtesy of the Leeds Improvised Music Association.
To say that a few skeletons are un-earthed during the course of the play is an under-statement. Skeleton after skeleton surfaces from the dark waters of the Mississippi- and hit the audience right where it hurts.  In one scene, Brick lurches at Maggie with a chair, and narrowly misses sending her sprawling to the floor.  This sent up an uneasy ripple of laughter from the audience, which I found very disturbing.  Perhaps it is because Brick’s chair forced us to reflect upon our own lives, and realize that sometimes we are not so different from the Pollitt family.  Ensuring that long after the set was dismantled, and the saxophonist caught the bus home, the story of Cat On a Hot Tin Roof would lurk somewhere at the back of our minds.

If anyone else went to see it, feel free to comment below, I'd love to hear everybody's thoughts.
You can see it on the guardian site here, and add comments there too. 

*Also, sorry about the strange font arrangement- my laptop is menstruating.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

My life is now complete

Okay, I'll apologize in advance for this blog post. I've been a fan of Radiohead since the tender age of 11 and could probably do them as a specialist subject on Mastermind.

I know! I still can't believe it either.  

And guess what.........?
                                    THEY WERE BEYOND AMAZING!!!

And I don't say that lightly either. Even my Mum who is a staunch hater of any band that uses more than four chords in  a song had a good night. 
After Caribou had finished their set, Thom introduced the band with "Hello, I'm lady gaga!" and they stormed  straight into Lotus Flower. Manchester arena was up on it's feet screaming and doing Thom's dance. At this point my brain exploded. It really did, and plastered itself JFK style all over the neighboring seat.  

The rest of the night involved lots of dodgy dancing, several life affirming moments, Jonny Greenwood's fringe and a bit of vomit. 
I think the whole night can be summed up with a transcript of the conversation between the blokes sat behind us. 

Bloke 1: "The fact that they can play with two percussionists in such an odd time sig...."

Thom Yorke: "We're going to play a really, really old song now."


 I can assure that the other 21,000 people singing along to Paranoid Android had a good night. Not only was the set beautiful and the songs perfect, the musicianship was seamless. I understand that Radiohead aren't everybody's cup of tea, but you can't say that they're not good musicans because they really, really are. In fact the whole night was just brilliant. Every single second of it.

Anyway, I'll stop orgasaming over Radiohead and let you eat your tea, but before I go I would also like to remind you that it it's Thom Yorke's 44th birthday today, so happy birthday, you legend. He head a 'Free tibet' flag over one of his amps. You can't get more awesome than that. 

If you'd like to find out more about my night in Manchester, checkout the setlist here, some reviews of the gig here and here and the rest of the tour dates here

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The revolution is live

As you know, I occasionally have a stab at some DIY poetry....and if it's not completely rubbish it ends up on here.

So, here is a poem I have cobbled together entitled 'The revolution will be televised' as a tribute to the late Gill Scott-Heron. It was inspired by a recent Philip Larkin reading I went to at Ilkley literature festival, and of course Gill Scott-Heron himself. 
Now I hope everyone here is familiar with the legend that is Gill Scott-Heron, jazz musician and soul poet. His works were mainly about consumerism in 1970's/1980's America, and racial segregation.  He's someone that inspires me greatly, and I was incredibly sad when he passed away on the 27th of May 2011. I just wished he was still alive now, to witness the effects of the Arab Spring, and an underground revolution amongst the youth of Russia!
But anyway, here it is. 

The revolution will be televised,
In 4 parts on prime time ITV2,
Sponsored by with an interest rate of 4214 percent.
The revolution will be televised.

The revolution will be televised,
Hashtag revolution
With a facebook page and multiple tumblrs,
Highlights published in newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch,
The revolution will be televised.

The revolution will be televised,
Featuring soundtrack by Adele, Coldplay and Gary Barlow doing a closed fist open fist key change,
Page 3 models will make philosophical comments,
And the revolution will be televised.

The revolution will be televised,
With a montage of the Olympics and Mo Farrah’s twin girls.
Margaret Thatcher as the first women prime minister and the elimination of the working class.
A disabled soldier will hand out awards,
Because the revolution will be televised.

The revolution will be televised,
And during the break refreshments will be available
 Drinks of caffeine mixed with cane sugar and chocolate sprinkles
Colonel Sanders grinning down, with sachets of ketchup and polyethene cutlery,
The revolution will be televised.

The revolution will be televised,
It will not feature sax solos from Gill Scott-Heron, because he passed away in the spring of last year.
                  Available from freeview, Sky T.V and other satellite providers,

The revolution will in fact, be televised. 

If you're interested in Gill's original song,  here's a brilliant montage I found on Youtube.  

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Scotland and psychedelics

Eyyup campers!
I don't wanna bore you with holiday stories or anything,  but our annual family holiday was to sunny Glasgow this year!

The hotel was gorgeous and the Scots were friendly, however I had an interesting few I mainly spent the holiday vomiting into a wastepaper basket and inspecting the Scottish National Health Service! In the end me and Mum had to go home early, but not before we went to the amazing Gallery of Modern art! 
We saw lots of really weird and wonderful exhibitions, including the handprint of one of my all time favourite authors!

Aldous Huxley himself. An author loved by millions, famed for his surrealist influenced novels and being off his head on Mescaline in the name of art and science. 

That's Scotland for you! 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sisters, we salute you.

Hey Folks!
At this point, I'm sure you're all aware of er...Russia's pussy situation. (okay, stop laughing it's actually quite serious) 
If you haven't, you need to escape from whatever woodland you've been living in, and head over to 

A balaclava clad Russian punk band, criticizing the Russian Orthodox church (and it's vice like hold over Russian politics) and Putin's regime, has been imprisoned for 2 years on the medieval charge of 'Blasphemy'.

Whilst you may not agree with gatecrashing a church service and singing punk songs, Pussy Riot's message is a far deeper one.
Their aim is to highlight what really happens underneath the veneer of Putin's regime. In recent years Russia seems to have been making small steps of progress towards respecting human rights, but this is clearly a crumbling facade.

Although now cruelly imprisoned, Pussy Riot have achieved their aim. Everyone from Paul McCartney to my Gran is watching Russia's every move, with the message that Russia is wrong, and the hope that Pussy Riot will be freed. 

So, whilst you're drinking a brew, all cosy and warm in bed tonight, spare a thought or two for the martyrs of Pussy Riot, in a freezing prison cell, missing their families, all in the name of free speech and punk rock, whilst Putin relaxes in comfort and grandeur. 

                                                             Girl Power!! 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

We didn't do too badly, did we?

So, the Olympics are over.
That's it for another 4 years, but bloody hell, we went out with a bang.
Now I'm not your stereotypical patriot. I don't have 'England '66' tattooed in fading ink across my bicep. I'll never sacrifice my life or kill another human being in aid of my country. I don't hate The Queen, but I'm not her biggest fan either, and I certainly do not agree with the amount of taxpayer's money we spend on her each year. I'll also happily admit that I don't attend church on Sundays, and my stint as a Girl Guide was short lived.
However, during two weeks in the middle of August, I felt quite proud of our tiny little island.
Our tiny little island that is famous for it's class system, sarcasm, and the national drink of some Chinese leaves in hot water,  which will now be remembered for the Olympics.

As I've said before on this blog, the London 2012 Olympics are far from perfect, but we did a pretty decent job! We hosted them with a smile (albeit sometimes a forced one), which turned into mild surprise when we ended up 3rd in the medal table with 29 gold, 17 silver and 19 bronze medals, and realized that we are much better at sport than Eurovision.

So anyway, I'll stop rabbiting on about my national pride, and give the closing ceremony a mention.
Other than the questionable decision of inviting One Direction, Jessie J, Take That, Ed Sheeran (who murdered a Pink Floyd song) The Spice Girls and er... Naomi Campbell (Blood diamonds anyone?) 
It was pretty damn good!
I'll refrain from making George Micheal jokes, but you really can't fault The Pet Shop Boys accidentally  dressed as The KKK!

Another highlight was 80,000 people erupting into John Lennon's Imagine, whilst a sculpture of his face was constructed  IKEA style with some white boxes.  Somewhat ironically, this was set to the background of some confused North Korean athletes, who will probably never understand peace, and unsurprisingly  won all the medals involving weapons. 

By far though, the best part of the night was Beady Eye's (sadly not Oasis, but you can never have it all) rendition of Wonderwall, which brought back memories of Year 8 music lessons and also brought a tear to my eye. 

The Who then played everybody out with My Generation, in an explosion of tears and confetti. 
At this point I received a text from one of my mates, enlightening me to the fact that the guy playing bass for The Who, was wearing a suit made of wool  from her parents factory. 
I shall take that as my Olympic claim to fame (however tenuous it may be) and politely decline to mention my wool allergy. 

                                                 So, that was the Olympics 2012.  

I shall leave you with a picture of some constipated divers.


Friday, 3 August 2012

Postcards from far away

Well, summer has been eventful so far!
As well as generally lazing around and drinking tea , I have the Olympics.

Now, I know what you're thinking. I have moaned incessantly about the Olympics, from the moment 7 years ago, on the 6th of July 2005 when we found out we'd won the bid. For 7 whole years, I have groaned, complained, protested and whinged. There's no denying that the Olympics isn't perfect, so far, there have been: deaths, un-acceptable and shameful corporate sponsorship,a horrific scandal concerning DOW chemical, and a cancelled Glastonbury! 

However we've also had Mr Bean playing a synthesiser,

 a gigantic 100ft Voldermort, 

15 gold medals for Team GB, 

                                             and er....Boris Johnson dangling from a zipwire. 

Only in Britain. 

So, as much as I want to hate the Olympics,  well...I'm actually quite enjoying them, and so far, the opening ceremony has been a highlight, I loved it, and I'm sure the 27 Million U.K. viewers and the rest of the world (even if some of the Korean viewers weren't quite laughing at the classic British humour) loved it too. Especially the Arctic Monkeys. (Or to be even more specific, Alex Turner.)

The only complaint I would have that whoever said "It's a small world" Has evidently never had to sit through the calling out of the countries at the opening ceremony...bloody hell, I managed to have 3 cups of tea just through the S's!  I swear at one point they were just making countries up to make sure Her Maj was awake. Poor sod, I wonder if she was allowed Gin in the stadium? 

We'll remember the opening ceremony for years to come, and if I was old enough to bet, I'd put £100 on Danny Boyle getting a knighthood. The word legend is overused, but not in this case. 

So yes, as much as I have moaned about the Olympics, I will be avidly watching from my sofa, eating some custard creams, but sadly not dreaming. Because any one who knows me well, will know that Fran and sports don't really mix. Okay, Fran and sports do not mix AT ALL. I cannot throw, I cannot jump and I most certainly cannot  run. The only sporting talents I posses are the ability to walk to the fridge plus some mouldy swimming badge, (that will be floating round in my Gran's knicker drawer) saying that I can jump into a large body of water in my pjamas, and swim breaststroke for 100m. 

I think even John Prescott doing the hurdles has more sporting talent than I can only dream of. 

So please don't hold your breath to see me at Rio in 2016. 
Anyway, enough of my ranting, GOOD LUCK TEAM GB!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Love will er....set you free.

Hey there Kidiwinkies,
I realise that I have neglected this blog for a while, I am incredibly sorry.
I understand that some of you will have been feeling pain and depression to an extent that you have considered suicide, but do not worry because......


Okay, so I realise that it's a full 11 days late, but you can't have everything.
Aside from Azerbaijan's appalling human rights record, it was actually alright this year. Well, funny bad anyway.

First of all, I would like to mention this bloke.
Engelbert Humperndinck (Affectionately nicknamed 'The Hump'.) 

Did we honestly think we had a chance of winning? He is 76. And wearing eyeliner.

His song was about 'how love will set us free'. Free from what Engelbert? The chains of a hip replacement?
We got 12 points, mostly because he didn't die on stage (although he came fairly close with that huge note at the end.) 
According to his official website ( he was 'the victim of political voting'.  Says it all really doesn't it?

Now on to Russia's entry.

Russia. A country not even in Europe. 

6 Grannies. 6 teeth. They sung a song called 'party for everybody'. Although the best bit was the scones. Half way through one of the Grannies took some scones out of an oven. Why they need scones I have no idea, unless Putin was hidden in the oven with a pistol, screaming "DANCE FOR MOTHER RUSSIA!"
Surprisingly they came second, although one of the Babushka's did not live to see the results. 

I have to say though, the highlight of the night was Graham Norton, and his comments about the legality of gay sex in Azerbaijan. What a legend. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sod Glastonbury, it's Disability that rocks!

Hey there campers,

Remember when I told you about disability rocks?

Well after months of careful planning and organisition, Disability Rocks was a total success! Even the unpredictable English weather rallied round and shone over Nell Bank. (I bet there are quite a lot of red necks this morning!)

There was everything from a brass band to a sensory yurt, and a drumming workshop to a silent disco. A particular highlight was the beethovens, an epic disabled band from Liverpool. I got roped into doing the satisfaction questionaires at the end, and AJ gave me a sneaky autograph!
I really didn't want to leave, I met so many amazing people and wish the party would have gone on for ever!

Hopefully there will a be a disability rocks next year, it's such a fantastic idea that can only go up from here!

If you want to find out more about disability rocks, go to:


Sunday, 13 May 2012

It's not the winning, it's the free buffet that counts.

Hello Folks!
I take it you all want to know what I've been up to?

Well, other than being up to ears in chemistry revision and having the Scooone/Scon debate with any one who'll listen (Scooone obviously) I went to the guardian offices and the Amnesty UK headquarters on Wednesday for the young human rights reporter of the year competition! That was 2 days I'll never forget, trust me!

4 Yorkshire girls dive head first in to London culture. Yeah, we got lost, yeah we set a carrier bag on fire with my straightners and yeah we went swimming and walked in on a fully naked woman with a beaver like an afro, but we also had an absolutely amazing time! (Yes, that really did happen, I fear it may have left lasting and irreparable emotional damage)

On the day before the awards we travelled up to London, went swimming and had a lovely Italian at Strada which I thoroughly enjoyed.

On the actual morning of the awards we had a journalistic workshop at the guardian offices and generally got treated like V.I.P's!! (Hey, we even got interviewed on camera!) After the workshop wegot a taxi up to the human rights action centre and heard some extremely inspirational speakers, amongst them was Martin Powell, an amazing performance poet, Jack Shenker, a hilarious and empowering journalist, and the lovely Ellie Crissell (who my 8 year old self desperately longed to meet) an ex-newsround presenter.

I was up against Georgia Gilholy, who wrote a really interesting article about Child Brides, and Alice Renynolds who wrote a a powerful article about labour camps in Vietnam. Unfortunately I was only runner up (Alice Reynolds was the deserving winner) but I'm just really honoured to have been there with the cream of British journalism.
It shows that contrary to what the scaremongerers think, the written word isn't dying out, and when used effectively really has the power to change lives. It was also a beacon of hope in a landscape ravaged by the recent collapse of the Murdoch empire.

So if anyone from amnesty or the guardian happens to be reading this blog, I'd just like to say thank you.

Also, here is a photo of me and Ella at the guardian offices for all you nosey people.

If anyone would like to read about the young human rights reporter competition further, here are some links:

  This is my article, (a copy of it also exists somewhere in the archives of this blog, if you fancy digging round) 

This an amazing piece the lovely Miss Shah wrote about our time at the guardian. (She deserves a medal!!)

This is a piece Emily Drabble ( From the guardian teacher network) wrote abut the winning articles:

 And Finally, this is a piece about past, previous and future young human rights reporter competitions, and how to enter the 2013 competition, which I strongly suggest you do! 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Disability really does rock.

Ladies and Gentlemen, lend me thine ears!

This post is about disability.

Disability can be many things. It can mean a physical disability like paralysis, or motor neurone disease, or it can be a learning disability like Autism or downs syndrome. There are some disabilities with obvious symptoms, and some that aren't that visible.
I guarantee you though, that you will not regret letting someone disabled into your life. 
I know a little boy called Max Sutton. He is the most amazing child  you could ever wish to meet.
He loves cricket, badminton, his hamster Leo and standing in his pants like he runs the world.  Not even Paul McCartney has as much swagger as Max Sutton does.
(Read all about him at

Max Rocks. He knows he does. And Max thinks that disability rocks. Which is why his parents, Caroline and Richard Sutton have created a festival to rival the mighty Glastonbury. 

After having a bit of an epiphany whilst on holiday in Ibiza, Caroline and Richard realised that there weren't any disability friendly music festivals in Yorkshire, and decided to do something about it. 

Tickets are only £15 (£10 for young people and disabled folk) and the line up is spectacular, it has everything from bearded men with guitars, to witty comedians, to drum workshops to a 5 piece Jazz band.
All situated in the best place on earth; Nell bank, West Yorkshire.

So, what exactly are you waiting for? Get yourself off to  and go buy tickets. Buy tickets for yourself, as a present,  just go buy tickets. All the profits go towards local disability initiatives, but you better act fast, tickets are selling faster than Lady Gaga's knickers.

What are you still doing here? Shoo.