For A Free Scotland!

Yes, run from Tory England as FAST AS YOU CAN, Scotland! And then, when there’s an INDEPENDENT SCOTLAND that is also still part of the EU, watch companies and personnel drain north of the border.

Face it, if you were a bank, where would you rather have an HQ ~ xenophobic, Brexit England or Free Scotland?

If Scotland goes indie, I’m gonna be very tempted to move my studio up there. I want to live in a European country, not Farage’s festering armpit.

Derby Anti-Trump Demo, 30/1/17

Today I found out that there was an anti-Trump demo on in Derby so I scrambled to get ready and made it into town.


It was a good turnout for such sort notice and we all chanted and listened to the speakers.


I was most moved by the guy talking about his family’s history of persecution in Nazi Germany and how he would fight to never have that happen again.


One of the more liberal protestors shushed a kid next to me cos he was making up his own chants about punching Nazis. His pithy reply was, “I’m Jewish, of course I’m gonna stomp them!”

Onwards and upwards with the resistance to international fascism.


A Beautiful Picture

Now, I’m not a fan of Obama. He’s murdered innocent people with his drones so how can I be?

I am, however, a fan of this photo:

(Source: BBC News)

At the top, you have the crowds for Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

At the bottom you have Trump’s 2017 ceremony.

You know, the neo-Nazis currently re-branding to alt-right talk loudly. Sometimes it’s easy to fall for the hot air and think that those idiots are the mainstream, the majority.

Look at that pitiful picture below.

They clearly are not.

Israel Threatens UK Minister

Israel’s ambassador to the UK has apologised after a senior member of his staff was secretly filmed saying he wanted to “take down” Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan.

(Source:  BBC News)

Take down how? Politically? Physically, with an assassination via Mossad?
Can you imagine *any* other government getting away with this kind of threat? What if China or North Korea had been caught on camera saying it?
Yet, as it’s Israel… free pass, carry on illegally occupying foreign land and threatening senior UK ministers.

White Town, Always

(On seeing this post on diversity in alternative music)

You know, it’s made me ridiculously happy to see my band in this list, thank you!

White Town has *always* been on the outside of the immensely white, middle class indie(pop) scene since I first formed the band in 1989.

The third gig we did (I say we as it was still a guitar band back then), we supported Primal Scream. It was a great gig but my strongest memory is a sneering racist white indie kid asking me if I was there to do the accounts. (This is *after* we’d played.)

Another time, a big act on the Sarah Records label and his cohort of minions spent five minutes laughing at my band name and basically saying that racism was “all in my head” and that I was yet another darkie with a chip on my shoulder.

That’s just a couple of times out of… well, too many to list, really. I’ve left out the actual physical fights with racist Morrissey fans, playing at venues that turned out to be full of Nazi skins… the fact that I recorded a lot of indiepop bands but you never see that in the reverential tomes on Sarah or white histories of indiepop. It goes on and on.

But if you try and talk about this with white indie kids, you get labelled as ‘touchy’ or ‘crazy’ or ‘paranoid.’ All the labels that white people apply to non-whites who won’t stay in their place, who refuse to remain silent. 

Today, indie and indiepop remain overwhelmingly white scenes. The supposed left-wingness of the scene is a superficial lip-service; most of the people I meet are liberals or outright Home Counties Tories. There is the exact same sneering attitude to racism as there was decades ago. If you haven’t got white skin, the same doors remain closed, the gig offers don’t come in and you basically have to put up with shit white artists don’t even know exists, safe in their privilege.

In my frustration at decades of discrimination, I’ve given up on trying to explain all this to white people, even if they’re well-meaning. I haven’t got the time or energy to be a walking google on the history of erasure of non-white people in alternative music. (But start with The Monochrome Set if you want.) Nowadays, I do my best to help young non-white artists in alt bands whether it’s with advice, free recording, production lessons or whatever.

If you’re reading this and you’re a South Asian kid in a shoegaze band or a black kid in a goth band or whatever and you’re feeling isolated and excluded, please drop me a line,

I’ll help if I can! 🙂

Israel Ignores UN Resolution

Barack Obama appears set for a final showdown with Benjamin Netanyahu after Israel said it would ignore a UN Security Council resolution and push ahead with the building of more Jewish settlements in Palestinian areas.

Last week, in a rare condemnation of Israel, the UN said it settlements had “no legal validity”. The criticism went ahead after the US decided to abstain, rather than use its vote to veto the measure.

Mr Netanyahu, who has long had a difficult personal relationship with Mr Obama, immediately announced that Israel would not “turn the other cheek”.

(Source: The Independent)

The best news of 2016 was last week’s UN resolution against Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. And what does Israel do? Ignore it.

SO – when Iraq ignored UN resolutions, we sent in our military, the US sent in its military.

Will we be doing that here? Will we be defending the Palestinians against Israel’s illegal occupation?

Oh, what a surprise. No. Instead, the US gives Israel another $38 BILLION in ‘aid packages.’

Yes, that makes total sense.

Destination Star Trek 50 @NEC, Birmingham, 7-9/10/16

Waiting to break a Guinness World Record for number of cosplayers! #dst50 #destinationstartrek50 #tos #tas #tng #ds9 #voyager #enterprise #fb #fl #startrek

After the original series was cancelled, there was no Star Trek on television until the animated series in 1973. When the producers were casting the cartoon, they initially decided not to use George Takei and Nichelle Nichols. It would save money to get their roles played by other actors.

But Leonard Nimoy refused to work on the series unless the entire original cast was brought back. He believed that the message of Trek was one of diversity and no two actors better represented that ideal than Takei and Nichols. He stood up for his fellow actors in a way that is very rare in TV and film.

This is what Star Trek is all about. This is what Star Trek means to me.

Destination Star Trek 50 - 130

My feet hurt. I have Euclideanly flat feet so walking any distance is always a painful chore. My feet are red and will take a couple of days to recover from the weekend. They’re in that state because I spent the last three days walking round the NEC, the venue for Destination Star Trek 50. (The 50 stands for the fifty years since the original series’ first episode was first broadcast, way back in 1966.) My Trek buddy Nat and I joined thousands of others who all flocked to Hall 4 to see our idols in person and perhaps get their autograph or even a photo with them.

Destination Star Trek 50 - 093

The event was chocker with Trek actors; Marina Sirtis, Alice Krige, Garrett Wang, Armin Shimmerman, WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER…. Well, you get the idea. It was wall-to-wall famous faces. I heard Marina, Alice and Christoper Lloyd take part in a great talk about the differences between TV and cinema (well, it was meant to be, it covered a much wilder gamut, thanks to the always fabulous Ms. Sirtis).

Destination Star Trek 50 - 135

I also heard Adam Nimoy talk about his beautiful documentary, For The Love Of Spock and I have to confess that I was crying through a lot of that event. For me, Trek and Spock and my Dad are all interconnected. I miss my Dad so much and he loved Spock / Nimoy as much as I did. It was my Dad who introduced me to SF and Star Trek, we used to love watching it together, right up to the reboot films. When Nimoy died, my Dad was truly saddened by his passing. He would have loved Adam’s documentary had he lived long enough to see it.

Nat and I dropped in on other talks and competitions too. But we both agreed that the best part of the whole event was, as Adam Nimoy and Marina Sirtis both stated separately, the fans.


If you want a feeling of inclusion, if you want a feeling of being an un-judged member of a family, go to a Star Trek con. I talked here about the utopian and profoundly progressive DNA of Trek and the proof of that is in the fandom. In no other place will you find such open minds and open hearts. We don’t care about race or gender or sexuality or religion or physical shape. Hell, we don’t even care if you only know one show or only like one character. The MRA-fuelled bile of the gaming scene, the gatekeeping, bullying and sexist vitriol has no place in Trek fandom. Any Trek convention you go to will be the anti-matter version of a Trump rally. Take all that right-wing paranoia and hatred and fear and pessimism about the future and replace it with throngs of people who accept the beauty of infinite diversity in infinite combination.

Destination Star Trek 50 - 067

I wandered about all weekend, getting pics of fellow Trekkies and you can see for yourself the diversity of our cadre. Some of us are blind, some of us can see, some of us are bipedal, some of us are tripedal or roll on four wheels. Some of us are old and wrinkly, some are tiny, enthusiastic children, leaping about with glee. Me, I’m hugely fat and look uncannily like a perplexed walrus. None of that matters because we are the best people.

Destination Star Trek 50 - 022

Why? Because we dream of a future that is the opposite of Theresa May’s desperate Norsefire manifesto. We dream of a future where Earth is at peace and education, healthcare and food is universally available and accessible. The people I met at DST50 are the best people. Overwhelmingly friendly, charming and geekily garrulous, I had a fucking blast this weekend.

Destination Star Trek 50 - 106

If you get the chance to go to a Trek con, pick out a costume (or don’t, if you’re shy, doesn’t matter!) and then GO. You won’t regret it. Promise.

Until then, live long and prosper.


When you next worry about DANGEROUS TERRIST MUSLAMIC RAYGUNS just look at the stats for America.
The media is whipping up fear internationally. You have to ask yourself: why? And who is making money out of it?
Always follow the money…


@bzangy what do you think of post-capitalism (ha, i guess post-work) via automation? (note: i’ve only read nick srnicek’s book) xxx


I’ve not read that, gimme a pointer!

The trouble with capitalism is that it’s an economic system whose time has passed. It’s as relevant and progressive as feudalism now. The profit motive is incompatible with paradigm-breaking innovation (where’s the profit in an ever-lasting lightbulb?). And it tends towards concentrations of wealth and thus huge inequality (hence the 1%). It also fosters monopoly and other hugely restrictive and anti-innovative practices.

For me, the basis of bourgeois economics is flawed *now*. We nearly have access to unlimited energy and unlimited resources. All it takes is one breakthrough in materials (100x more efficient solar cells / room temp superconductors) and we’re there. As for resources: if we could co-operate enough to get off this planet, think of all those tasty asteroids out there, even discounting the Oort cloud.

So, if you want an example of a post-work, post-capitalist future, that’s Star Trek. No money, no war (between humans at least), poverty and inequality wiped out. Star Trek is really COMMIES IN SPACE but I don’t think Roddenberry could have got away with calling it that.

Or, Iain M. Banks’ Culture. That’s very explicitly a socialist future paradise because we’ve relinquished control of a lot of autonomy to AIs. As with Trek, the major conflict is when The Culture encounters unfriendly outsiders.

Imagine if every human, all seven billion, could wake up tomorrow and know they had water, food, shelter, healthcare and education guaranteed. Throw in free childcare and broadband. Imagine the possibilities of all those humans liberated from subsistence drudgery. Free from war, from violence.

The little girl who invents room temperature superconductors may be alive now but if she’s going to be blown apart by one of Obama’s terrorist drone attacks tomorrow…. well, we’re fucked, aren’t we?