Tuesday, 23 May 2017

RIP Roger Moore

And if today wasn't sombre and saddening enough, Roger Moore has passed away at the age of 89. He was an absolute hero of mine and will be much missed.



I haven't the words really to describe my feelings on what happened to such a beautiful city last night, nor have I the words to convey the grief, anger and fear that exists today. But I do know that the bravery, solidarity, comfort and respect displayed is to be commended, and that those who seek to score political points from such a tragedy (such as our old 'friend', the failed sitcom writer Tim Dawson, and The S*n who callously posted an editorial that continued to spread the lie about Corbyn and the IRA just hours after the attack) are just as despicable as the perpetrators of the act (and ISIS have now taken responsibility)

Manchester is a beautiful city, and it's also a strong one. My thoughts are with the families and those personally affected by this attack, but we will get through this and we must not play into the hands of those who deal in fear or prosper from it.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Corbyn and The IRA: The Tories Mud Slinging Avoids The Truth

"I condemn all the bombing by both loyalists and the IRA"

That's what Jeremy Corbyn said to Sophy Ridge on Sky News yesterday. He also said;

"You condemn the violence of those who laid bombs that killed large numbers of people as I do"

So how come Sky News headline was Corbyn Refuses to Condemn IRA - even though the article quotes those comments?

How come Andrew 'Brillo Pad' Neill at the Bias Broadcasting Corporation and those jokes at The Daily Fail are all reporting this outright lie?

Because the Tories are running scared.

They know now that Labour is performing well in the polls and reaching out to people with their manifesto and positive message about ending austerity and governing for the many, not the few.

How much more does Jeremy Corbyn need to say to lay this IRA ghost to rest?

Well, let's wonder what Tory councillor Maria Gatland said to lay her own links to the IRA to rest, shall we? Because in the 1970s Gatland went on an arms buying mission to Zurich, Brussels, Amsterdam and Paris in an attempt to smuggle guns for the IRA to use on military and civilian targets. She has even said; "I agreed with the shooting of British soldiers and believed the more who were killed the better" 

Let's wonder what unelected Tory peer David James said to receive forgiveness from the party over his laundering of IRA money?

The truth is that Jeremy Corbyn openly negotiated with Sinn Fein (not the IRA) for a peaceful settlement, and he did so when Margaret ''we do not negotiate with terrorists'' Thatcher was doing it in secret, just as her predecessor Edward Heath had, and long before Corbyn's leader Tony Blair did in the spotlight.

If Corbyn's actions are unforgiveable and worthy of our contempt - despite his repeated public condemnations of terrorism - then why are actual Tory party councillors and peers given a free pass for their genuine terrorist sympathising actions?

This is nothing more than the press indulging in a spot of Tory authorised mud slinging.  

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Out On Blue Six: Chris Cornell, RIP

Shocked to hear of Chris Cornell's suicide. The singer songwriter performed in the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave and, in 2006, kickstarted the Daniel Craig era of the James Bond franchise with his hit theme to Casino Royale, You Know My Name which was as fast, bombastic and aggressive as the new incarnation of the secret agent proved to be


End Transmission

Girl on a Bike

Nice headlamps!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Fighting Back: Petition on BBC Bias

I've shared this petition before, but it needs a push. Now, more than ever, the BBC's bias has become even clearer during this election campaign. I needn't point out to any discerning reader I'm sure of the recent furore over at Question Time when the show planted a sitting Tory councillor in the audience and gave him unprecedented opportunity to air his (or rather his party's) views. Today, that Fox News reporter in the making, Laura Kuenssberg (pictured below with a brilliant piece of photobombing going on behind her as the Labour manifesto launch), has not only shown that she's literally cribbing her 'impartial' political comment about said manifesto from the Tory website , she also deliberately ignores key points in her summing up and tonight, she concluded a report on the Tory manifesto citing it as a 'hardheaded' statement on 'getting the job done', as opposed to 'a hearts and flowers manifesto'....yeah because wanting to end elderly loneliness, child poverty, homelessness and unfair work capability assessments and reassassments for disabled people is just 'hearts and flowers' to be sneered at isn't it? 

Sign the petition, complain to the BBC about this Fake News and clear bias, and above all vote Labour on June 8th.

Wordless Wednesday: Statement of Fact

Monday, 15 May 2017

RIP Powers Boothe

The actor Powers Boothe has died aged 68.

Texas born Boothe first came to fame in 1980 with his acclaimed performance as infamous cult leader Jim Jones in Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones, and he went on to star as Raymond Chandler's detective hero in the HBO series Philip Marlowe, as President Noah Daniels in 24, and as the scheming Cy Tolliver in Deadwood (pictured above).

His films included Walter Hill's Southern Comfort, John Milius' Red Dawn, Oliver Stone's Nixon, Tomsbstone, the Sin City films, MacGruber, and most recently The Avengers, which led to a role in the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D


The Truth Behind The NHS Ransomware Attack

If you get your news from the mainstream media, such as the BBC, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the cyber attack that has devastated the NHS is 'just one of those things'.

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt - who has seemingly been hiding from the press and public since the attack came to light on Friday - finally popped up today to pretty much repeat the idea that this kind of hack is commonplace and that there are things you can do to prevent it from happening.

Yes there are Jeremy. For a start you can invest in the NHS. You can stop giving the IT systems over to private contractors who care more about profit than they do protection and security.

Did you know that the NHS still operate on an extremely outdated Windows XP system that no longer has effective security measures in place?

Did you know that the Conservative government were offered to purchase a one-year renewal on the XP system in 2014, but that they rejected it as part of their austerity measures?

Did you know that the average annual spend on the NHS's IT systems is just £22,000? 

Just £22,000 a year spent on the IT systems of the NHS. That's effectively the annual wage of just one junior doctor. Think about that.

Did you know that some NHS Trusts have admitted that in some years nothing is spent on IT security and that several years have gone by without any new desktops even being purchased?

Did you know that the day before the cyber attack occurred, the BMJ published an article by Dr Krishna Chinthapalli warning that lax security measures makes them ideal targets for hackers?

Did you know that Edward Snowden has confirmed that Ransomware is a US government security service technology that was originally produced by the NSA?

The malware was made by the US government - why is no one mentioning this on the news?

Jeremy Hunt can promise 'wifi in every hospital' all he likes - but what's really more important here; that a patient can watch the iPlayer whilst waiting for surgery or that NHS staff can do their job without the computer freezing or logging them out every five minutes?

What this story shows, if you delve beyond what the mainstream media is telling you, is that it is the chronic underfunding of the NHS by this Tory government that has led to this attack. Theresa May, in her role as Home Secretary, was responsible for cyber defences and she's clearly sat on her hands and done nothing for seven years.

Please don't give her the opportunity to run the country in the same careless manner.

If you believe the NHS deserves the very best, then please vote Labour on June 8th.

Help Save a Man's Life Today: Sign this Petition to Stop Deportation

Amitt Bhatt is a UK based investigative journalist who has written extensively about the corruption and human rights abuse in his native Kashmir. Now, Bhatt faces deportation from the UK. If he is sent back to the Kashmir he will face imprisonment and even death. Please sign the petition to help keep him safe.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Out On Blue Six : Robyn feat Kleerup

Remember Robyn?

For my money, this track from 2008, was the Swedish singer's attempt at channeling '80s era Kate Bush

End Transmission

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Current Mood: Optimistic, thanks to Labour's Manifesto

I don't want to say too much because I don't want to tempt fate, but the response to Labour's Manifesto today has been really encouraging. It genuinely feels like we've turned a corner that I hope will translate into votes next month.

It's simply a Manifesto full of great stuff. Here's just a few of them;

An extra £8bn on Social Care 
The banning of zero hour contracts
Strengthening unions and workers rights
Scrap the public sector pay cap
Increase income tax for highest earning 5% to fund the NHS
Build at least 100,000 council houses per year
Reserve 4,000 homes for rough sleepers
Cap extortionate rents
Ban fracking
Cut the voting age to 16
Abolish tuition fees
Universal free school meals
Renationalise the 6 big energy firms, the railways and the Royal Mail

Of course it hasn't all been met with enthusiasm. The bitter right wing press whose interests thrive on the capitalist economy and a Tory government are already answering Jeremy Corbyn's statement that Britain can be better with 'no it can't' trotting out the tired old argument that this is a party determined to take the country back to the 1970s. 

It's an argument that simply doesn't hold water. For a start, the 2.4% economic growth these critics hold up as an improvement in Thatcher's Britain of the 1980s is EXACTLY THE SAME level as it was in Callaghan's 1970s, an era they castigate as the very doldrums of this countries history.

The only thing different about Thatcher's Britain was the savage deflation methods that effectively destroyed our industries as they ploughed their interests into private energy companies simply to destroy the coal industry as revenge for the miners' victory against Heath. 

What exactly is wrong about going back to a time when workers rights were strong in this country? When ordinary working people had a share of the power and a say about things, instead of just the privileged few?

The Labour Manifesto is a glorious promise that pledges to end elderly loneliness, and still there are some critics baulking at it. What is wrong with these people?

Whilst the Tories pledge to bring back fox hunting, Labour are promising to ensure every child in this country can have a school meal.

Please use your common sense next month. Turn the corner with us and make Britain better again.

Vote Labour. Because when Labour win, we - the ordinary people - win too.

RIP Geoffrey Bayldon

The great Geoffrey Bayldon has sadly died at the age of 93.

An actor of far too many credits to mention, the Leeds born Bayldon held a special resonance for fans of cult, sci-fi and fantasy drama and anyone of a certain age now thanks to his most famous role, the eccentric medieval wizard Catweazle, from the 1970s series of the same name, who found himself transported to the present day.

Born in 1923, Bayldon served in the RAF during the war and trained to be an architect in peace time. However, a change of heart saw him take up study at the Old Vic with an ambition to become an actor, an ambition that was soon met; Bayldon was pretty much a regular face on British television from the 1950s onwards. He was considered for the lead role in Doctor Who not once, but twice; first in 1963 when the programme was commissioned and again in 1966 when the original lead William Hartnell stepped down. On each occasion, Bayldon said thanks but no thanks, but eventually took a guest role in the 1979 story The Creature from the Pit as the astrologer Organon opposite Tom Baker and Lalla Ward. In more recent years, he relented enough to play an alternate reality version of the Doctor in two Big Finish audio adventures; Auld Mortality and A Storm of Angels. Other famous roles include the sinister Crowman opposite Third Doctor Jon Pertwee in Worzel Gummidge, the title role in 1995's Magic Granddad and as Weston, the cynical teacher in the film To Sir, With Love.


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Out On Blue Six: Robert Miles, RIP

DJ and legendary trance producer Robert Miles has died at the age of 47. Reports say he had been suffering with cancer for several months.

Born Roberto Concina, Miles' biggest hit was the 1996 'dream house' club hit Children, a big favourite of mine.

Originally written in response to the images from Bosnia of child victims from the conflict in Yugoslavia, the hit took on a different life when Miles saw the 'Saturday night slaughter' on Italy's roads; numerous car smashes that took the lives of young clubbers returning home from parties. Determined to offer a more sedate, chilled beat to close the night and bring clubbers down enough to drive safely, Miles penned Children; with its natural thunderstorm start and melancholic piano riff, the track made the youth of clubland think and feel nostalgic and reflective, as opposed to still attempting to chase the buzz from earlier in the night.

It remains a beautiful track that hasn't dated a day in the twenty-one years since its release.


End Transmission

Wordless Wednesday: Branches

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Out On Blue Six: Billy Bragg

This photograph, taken in Belfast's York Street in 1935, offers such a strange and alien juxtaposition that is still striking to this very day, despite growing up during The Troubles. On the one hand there's the heavy militaristic presence of the armoured Rolls Royce and the RUC man, and on the other there's the ordinary everyday of the trio of young girls going to work or going about their business. The latter means the photograph could have been taken anywhere, but the former makes it unmistakeably Belfast. 

It reminded me of Billy Bragg's 1996 track Northern Industrial Town, which rightly reminded us, at a time when The Troubles were still rife, that thereis far more which ties us together than there ever is that separates.

End Transmission

Monday, 8 May 2017

Taskafa, Stories of the Street/Estate, a Reverie: Two Films by Andrea Luka Zimmerman

This DVD from Second Run features two wonderfully satisfying and symbiotic documentary features from filmmaker and creative artist Andrea Luka Zimmerman, Taskafa: Stories of the Street from 2013, and Estate, a Reverie from 2015.

Read my full review at The Geek Show