Archive for racism

Form 696

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on 9 December, 2008 by Ally

From The Independent:

Teenage kicks will be harder to get if publicans and managers of other small venues are forced to comply with a new piece of bureaucracy called Form 696, a former punk rock star has warned.

The form demands that licensees give police a mass of detail, including the names, aliases, private addresses and phone numbers of all musicians and other performers appearing at their venue, and the ethnic background of the likely audience. Failure to comply could mean the loss of a licence or even a fine and imprisonment.

The police say they need the information demanded on Form 696, which runs to eight pages, so they can pinpoint which acts and venues attract troublemakers, and make sure venues are safe. But Feargal Sharkey, who rose to fame during the punk era as the vocalist on the single “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones, is so angry about what he sees as a threat to live music that he is consulting lawyers about how to stop it.

I am truly stunned and sickened by this development. That the government feel entitled to such control over live music is worrying enough, but to specify ethnic background as a cause for concern is massively offensive. It is institutionalised racism, plain and simple.

You attend concerts at your own risk. It is the police’s responsibility to protect the public, but not at the cost of our civil liberty. Preventative measures should not be in the form of constrictive and racist laws, but in the upbringing of a nation of people wise enough not to perpetuate unnecessary violence. Pushing thugs out of music venues simply relocates violence, like leaving the roots of weeds in the soil. Not only that, but it will lead to the disenfranchisement of decent, innocent people who merely want to hear, play or promote live music.

One of the few outlets of uncompromised creative expression is in serious risk.

Quote of the Day: Stewart Lee

Posted in Of the Day with tags , , , , , , , on 8 October, 2008 by Ally

Stewart Lee: 41st Best Stand Up Ever

Stewart Lee has spoiled me. His work is so precise, so honed and controlled that it puts most other stand-up comedians to shame. His delivery is slow but perfectly timed, his choice of words impeccable. Sometimes he deliberately irritates his audience with repetition or sly insults, but I find that very funny indeed. At times he even picks apart his material on stage, explaining why it may or may not work and how he came to that conclusion.

In short, he knows what he’s doing. Which is more than can be said for a lot of comedians, many of whom I suspect went into comedy because their mates down the pub told them they were “well funny”. Stewart Lee is to other comedians what John Coltrane is to a kid with a kazoo. And what that kazoo-playing kid is to Kenny G.

His latest DVD, 41st Best Stand Up Ever is not quite as great as his previous one, but still most enjoyable. But the first half is so funny I’m actually too exhausted to laugh by the end, whereas I always find the necessary energy to laugh at his Standup Comedian DVD. However, it does feature a wonderful bit about the Celebrity Big Brother racism scandal, and the absurdity of light entertainment stars trying to make a serious statement.

When Martin Luther King saw racism in 1960s America, Martin Luther King called it out in the strongest, most visionary, eloquent terms possible. Martin Luther King said;
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King.

And when Russell Brand saw racism in his place of work, Big Brother, Russell Brand said;
“Oooh! There’s been some bad racism and stuff going down today, and no mistake, my liege. It’s made Mr. Winky go right small it has. Oh yes it has, oh yeah. And my ballbag, my old ballbag, has only gone up my bum. Here’s H from Steps.”