Sunday, 30 December 2012

Patti Smith (b 30/12/46) - Happy Birthday Warrior Poet.

In this video, Patti Smith reads from Woolgathering and shares memories of growing up in Jersey and New York. The Los Angeles Times described this book as a " mix of the practical and the mythic, like the marriage of rock n' roll and poetry". A wonderful 80 minutes worth of her genius. So happy birthday to this warrior poet, 66 today, still fighting for beauty truth and  and justice. Long may she continue to inspire.

Patti Smith: Poem about Arthur Rimbaud
clip from Stephen Sebring's 2008 film documentary
"Patti Smith- Dream of Life.

Patti Smith - Howl, Florence 10/9/09

Wilderness - Patti Smith

Do animals make a human cry
when their loved one staggers
fowled dragged down
the blue veined river

Does the female wail
miming the wolf of sufering
do lilies trumpet the pup
plucked for skin and skein

Do animals cry like humans
as I having lost you
yowled  flagged
curled in a ball

This is how
we beat the icy field
shoeless and empty handed
hardly human at all

Negotiating a wilderness
we have yet to know
this is where time stops
and we have none

Reprinted from
Auguries of Innocence

Friday, 28 December 2012

Charles Baudelaire ( 9/4/1821 -31/8/1867) - CROWDS

 ' It is not given to everyone to take a  bath in the multitude; to enjoy the crowd is an art; and only that many can gorge himself  with vitality, at the expense of the human race,whom, in his cradle, a fairy has inspired with love of disguise and of the mask, with hatred of the home and a passion for voyaging. Multitude, solitude: terms that, to the active and fruitful poet, are synonomous and interchangeable. A man who cannot people his solitude is no less incapable of being alone in a busy crowd.
The poet enjoys the incomparable privilege that he can, at will, be either himself or another. Like those wandering spirits that seek a body, he enters, when he likes, into the person of any man. For him alone all is vacant, to his eyes, they are not worth the trouble of being visited.
 The solitary and pensive pedestrian derives a singular exhiliration from this universal communion. That man who can easily wed the crowd knows a feverish enjoyment which will be eternally denied to the egoist, shut up like a trunk, and to the lazy man, imprisoned like a mollusk. The poet adopts as his own all the professions, all the joys and all the miseries with which circumstance confronts him. What men call love is very meager, very restricted and very feeble, compared to this ineffable orgy, to this holy prostitution of the soul that abandons itself entirely, poetry and charity included, to the unexpectant arrival, to the passing stranger.
It is good occasionally to bring home to the happy people of the world, were it only in order to humiliate for a moment their inane pride, that there is a happiness superior to theirs, vaster and more refined. The founder of colonies, the pastors of peoples, missionary priests exiled to the ends of the earth, doubtless know something of this mysterious drunkeness; and in the heart of the vast family which their genius has created for itself, they must laugh sometimes at those who pity them for their destiny that is so unquiet and for their life that is so chaste.'

Reprinted from Petits Poemes en Prose
Translated as Twenty Prose Poems by Michael Hamburger (22/3/24-6/07)

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

HAPPY CRASSMESS | There Is No Authority But Yourself

The above  'There is No Authority But Yourself' is a Dutch film directed by Alexander Oey documenting the history of anarchist punk band Crass. The film features archive footage of the band and interviews with former members Steve Ignorant, Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher. As well as reflecting on the band's past the film focusses on their current activities, and includes footage of Rimbaud performing with Last Amendment at the Vortex jazz club in Hackney, a compost toilet building workshop and a permaculture course held at Dial House in the spring of 2006.
The tile of the film is derived from the final lines of the Crass album Yes Sir, I Will; "You must learn to live with your own conscience, your own morality, your own decision, your own self. You alone can do it. There is no authority but yourself."
There is No Authority But yourself premiered at the Raindance Film Festival at the Picadilly Circus, London Trocadero in October 2006 and was part of the Official Selection film programme at the Flipside film festival in May 2008.
I remember when I first  heard Crass many moons ago, their lyrics taught me to question and took me on  a journey of discovery.Led by radical free thinkers   Penny Rimbaud, a ex-art teaching, middle class situationist and Steve Ignorant who was a working class street punk.Their songs offerered meaningful angry thoughts on societies many ills, and led many people to question injustice. Their angry defiant polemics and messages at the time chiming with the underclass that was emerging from the wreckage of Thatcher's Britain. They based themselves at their Essex communal house called Dial House, and from 1977 until their demise in 1984 released a succession of powerful provocative albums and singles. With words they articulately explained the ideas by which they were living, and with deeds , promoted a fierce critical viewpoint, financially supporting the peace movement and a whole myriad of radical causes.Many people taking their ideas further in a series of anti-capitalist Stop the City demonstations, held in the financial centre of London, between 1883-84, and the emerging New Age Traveller movement. They came to be seen as central to the opposition of  the cruel redundant social and economic policies that were being pushed at the time, which have direct parallels to what is being pushed by our current incumbents..
Their refusal to compromise was inspiring then, and  continues to be today, to all who dream of  peace, freedom, love and justice. Cental to their core was a a  D.I.Y Punk ethic which they used to preach subversion,whilst  living by their ideals and words, advocating a form of  individualism, hence the title 'there is no authority but yourself.'
I have never personally  been a purist, but there are some  people around today that say that Crass sold out. Crass were accused  of lifestylism, back in the day, not engaging with wider struggles.Currently there are  arguments raging about copyright law, with Crass apparently not allowing people to share their music on file sharing sites,  like Media Fire, but their original message for me still worth savouring, still worth sharing, which will  hopefully continue to inspire, and perhaps tomorrow  there will emerge people with even deeper truths. Perhaps the higher we set our ideals the deeper we fall, but the overall result is the fact that none of us are perfect. Crass only offered us suggestions, they served as a pulse, absorbing and spreading ideas, and it was directly because of Crass's ideas that many people engaged in the battlefield of radical ideas, some taking up the ideology of anarchism, some taking their own path, but inspiring many to start creating another world, and challenging the system, and all its failures,  it is I guess, up to us, in which direction we take it.
At a time of socio-economic decline, we should not get sidetracked, distracted. Division does not make the world a better place, Crass promoted  solidarity,by action as well as words. That for me is something we should be grateful for. Am also eternally grateful to them, because they inspired the artist and musician Jeffrey Lewis, who released one of my favourite albums in recent years, with his own homage to Crass.
The message still rings out, another world is not only possible, it is inevitable. We must not give up on our dreams. Become your own spark.
Almost 30 years later Crass's legacy still ripples with much symbolic potency.

Not sure when I'll be back, probably when the libraries reopen.
Next year sometime...... in the meantime Happy Crassmess.
All the best.....heddwch/peace


You must learn to live with your own conscience
your own morality,
your own decision,
your own self.
You alone can do it.
There is no authority but yourself

                                                     Crass - Yes, Sir , I will, 1983

Monday, 24 December 2012

"It was meant to be great but it's horrible- - Santa Claus 1968

Poster done by King Mob
The late British Revolutionary Situationist Group
based in London from  the late 60s onwards.
An old message for today......

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Albert Einstein (14/3/1879 - 18/4/1955) - A human being is part of a whole, called by us 'the Universe' - a part limited in time and space.

'A human being is a part of the whole called by us 'the Universe', a part  limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something seperated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricts us to our personal desires and  to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely for such achievement is itself a part of the liberation and a foundation  for inner security.'

Friday, 14 December 2012

Breadline Britain by Luciana Berger


At the moment almost seven million working age adults are living in extreme financial stress. 3.6 million households have little or no savings, nor equity in their homes, and struggle at the end of each month to feed themselves and their children adequately. People are increasingly unable to cope on their current incomes and have no assets to fall back on, many people across Britain are now using food banks to get their daily sustenance.In 2008/9, 26,000 people in the U.K relied on emergency food aid, now as 2015 draws to a close   this figure is set to reach the truly shocking level of a million people and counting. The sad fact  is in 21st century Britain a significant number of people are going hungry.Welfare cuts are a significant cause. I know of many people who at the moment are probably skipping a meal or two in order to ensure their food supplies stretch out a bit.
This is a savage indicment of Tory Party policies which are increasingly taken us back to the dark old days of Thatchers Britain, a direct result of their savage economic/political austerity programme.. Food prices are rocketing, bills are getting higher. It's going to get even worse.
This scandal of British food poverty should shame us all.

Breadline Britain - The Communards

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Ravi Shankar( 7/4/20 - 11/12/12) Legendary Indian Sitarist R.I.P

It was with great sadness, that this morning I heard of the death of the  legendary Indian Sitar maestro, who collaberated with such greats as the Beatles and John Coltrane, taking the instrument to the world, inspiring the 60s psychedelic sound.
It was uncanny because only last night I had been listening  to a work of his Chants of India which was produced by George Harrison, a wonderful soothing collection, like balms for the soul, in these tepid times that we are living in.
He had been ill for several years but still his passing came as unexpected, he seemed timeless like his beautiful music.
He was still performing up to November of this year, playing with his daughter Anoushka. He was I guess one of my first introductions to what  is now known as World Music, introducing me to a melting pot of sounds, his mastery of his chosen instrument long inspiring me, eventually getting drawn to music that was even more out their, but that is another story.
He was born Robindra Shankar in 1930, in the city of Varanas, spending his earlier days in poverty. Initially he was a dancer performing with his brothers Indian and classical folk dance troup, but by the 1930s he had become a master of the Sitar, along with other classical indian instruments. I first became aware of him through watching old performances of him plaing at the Woodstock and Monterey Pop Festivals and later at the 1972 Concert for Bangladesh. Every time I heard his complicated music, it was like their was some kind of magic in the air.
Over the years I was still drawn to his playing, and I regarded him as an almost visionary figure, who became a legend as his life traversed nearly a century, his music transcending trends and cultural barriers becomming one of Indias most effective ambassadors.
His influence soon spread, maintaining a purity of vision, but  was not afraid to collaberate.His the work with Phillip Glass and  with Yeudi Menuhin, in the 1960s and 1970s are now regarded classics, where east truly did meet west.
And now he has gone, aged 92, but his sounds still rythmically breathing so to speak, beyond the melancholy of this world, still stirring hearts, lingering in moments of peace, and satori's twinkling stars.
R.I.P Ravi Shankar.

Dub Syndicate - Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar at Monterey 1967

Ravi Shankar & Phillip Glass - Ragas in a Minor Scale

Yeudi Menhuin & Ravi Shankar - Jungalbandi

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Arthur Rimbaud (20/10/1854 -10/11/1891) - extract from A Season in Hell: Ravings II

' I became  a fabulous opera. I saw that all beings have a 
fatality of happiness. Action is not life, but a way of dissi-
pating some force - an enervation. Morality is the weak-
ness of the brain.
    Each being seemed to me to have several other lives due
to him. This gentleman does not know what he is doing he is
an angel. This family is a pack of dogs. In the presence of
several men I have conversed aloud with a moment of one
of their other lives. Thus, I have loved a pig.
    Not one of the sophistries of madness - the kind of madness
that is locked up - have I omitted. I could recite them all, I have
the system.
   My health was threatened. Terror would come upon
me. I would fall into sleeps lasting several days, and on
rising would continue the saddest dreams. I was ripe for
death, and by a road of dangers my weakness led me to the
confines of the world and of Cimmeria, country of darkness
and whirlwinds.
  To divert the enchantment assemmbled in my brain, I had 
to travel. On the sea, which I loved as though it would cleanse
me of a defilement, I saw the comforting Cross erect itself. 
I had been damned by the rainbow. Happiness was my fatality,
my remorse, my worm. My life would always be too huge to be
devoted to strength and beauty.
 Happiness! Its deathly-sweet tooth warned me at cock-crow -
ad matutinum, at the Christus venit - in the darkest cities.

Reprinted from:
Norman Cameron's translation of 
'Ravings II' from Arthur Rimbaud,
A Season in Hell
( Anvil Press, London,1994)

See also

after Rimbaud: The kidnap and murder of David Cameron

Monday, 10 December 2012

I support Palestinian Human Rights!

Sixty four years ago today, humanity took an inspirational step forward when the United Nations General Assembly, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
Article 1 of which states:

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."

                                Photo credit: United Nations

To mark this occasion, we celebrate today International Human Rights Day, but with a heavy heart because Palestinians are systematically denied their human rights by Israel's apartheid policies, which are funded and protected by our government.

Former anti-apartheid icon and South African President Nelson Mandela said it best: "Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."

In the spirit of the beautiful clarity of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I ask you to take one simple action today: declare your support for Palestinian human rights.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Smell of Welsh Cakes

Well the silly season is well and truly upon us, as those in power are determined to make or lives a little more hard, thought it time for a joke, the original one I had of Patrick Moore's demise, felt a little to sour, even though he was a great astronomer, I knew him primarily as a racist, homophobic, sexist so and so, who despite playing the xylophone credibly, I will remember mainly for his ultra right wing views, he liked animals too, but so did Hitler, anyway back to the joke.

Gwyn and Betty lived in a little cottage  in the village of St Dogmaels, down the road from me here in Cardigan. Their cottage was immaculate, for Betty was a fierce and tidy woman who liked to see everything in its place. She worked to a strict daily schedule, and was considerably inconvenienced when her husband fell ill and looked as if he might die.

One day, after a visit from thedoctor confirmed that he had not long to live, Betty had to go shopping. "Gwyn," she said. "I won't be gone long. I has to get some flour and raisins. But if you feels like dying afore I comes back, mind to blow out the candle first."

Gwyn was still alive when his wife came back, and indeed it appeared that he might recover, for there was a bit of colour in his cheeks. Betty tucked him up nice and cosy in his bed, wiped his nose, staightened his night-cap, and then went into the back kitchen to get on with her daily tasks. Soon the unmistakable smell of Welsh cakes on the griddle wafted into the bedroom, and Gwyn was greatly moved. "Betty bach," he cried "I smell fresh Welsh cakes on the stove! I think I could manage one or two!"

"Hush now husband," came the reply. "You'll manage nothing of the kind, for those are for the funeral!"

Boom, Boom.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Money can't buy our Love

a spontaneous response

Impotent  in the face of death, impotent, perhaps, in the face of life,
we substitute one for another,money can buy power, but not human rights,
medicine but not health, decorations but no happiness,
impossible to love, can often  make us feel inhuman,
a paradox then, that leaves many bankrupt and broken,
has become an idol of the rich, destroys the joys of the poor,
if it lasts , it lasts because of us, it shines  in dour emanation
paper burns, gold melts at 1063 celsius, copper melts at 1583
Zinc at 419, silver at 961, you see it's all a matter of degree,  
in our pockets slides like a dark turning point of no return,
buys us illusion,  figments of crazy imagination,
turns us into machines, with its numbness and sham,
impotent in the face of death, impotent, perhaps, in the face of life. 
Money can't buy our love.


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Bugger The Bankers

Song for our times
Bugger the Bankers, performed by the Austerity Allstars

and as for this tawdry lot

they can rot in bloody, bloody hell. hell, utter contemptuous bastards. They simply don't care, never have , never will, and if they think we're going to sit back for the next 3 years, they really must be taking the piss.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Montgomery Bus Boycott

                               Don Craven/Time Life/Getty images

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a 42-year old African American woman who worked as a seamstress, boarded a Montgomery City Bus year old  to go home from work. On that bus on that day, she initiated a new era in the American quest for freedom, equality and justice.
Hers was a brave, spontaneous act of defiance  that sparked a flame of rebellion.

                                          Rosa Parks  

She was arrested and convicted of violating the laws of segregation, known as 'Jim Crow Laws' Mrs Parks appealled her conviction and thus formally challenged the legality of segregation. In cities across the South, segregated bus companies were daily reminders of the inequalities of American society.
The next day Dr Martin Luther King proposed a city wide boycott of public transportation at a church meeting.On December 5th, 1955, the Montgomery Bus Boycott began. Since African Americans made up about 75 percent of the riders in Montgomery, the boycott posed a serious economic threat to the company and a social threat to white rule in the city. Out of Motgomery's 50,000 African American residents, 30,000 to 40,000 participated. They walked or bicycled or car pooled, depriving the bus company of a substantial portion of its revenue.

The boycott lasted 381 days, and proved to be effective, causing the transit system to run a huge deficit.After all Montgomery's black residents were not only the principal boycotters, but also the bulk of the transit system's paying customers. The situation became very tense, with members of the White Citizens Council, a group that oppossed racial integration firebombed Kings house.
In June 1956, a federal court found that the laws in Alabama and Montgomery requiring segregated buses were unconstitutional. However an appeal kept segragation intact until Dec 20, 1956 when the US Supreme Court upheld the district court's rulings.The boycott's official end signalled one of the civil rights movements first victories and made King one of its central figures.

                               Marin Luther King after Montgomery Bus Boycott
                               Time life/Getty images

With new self respect and a new sense of dignity , it was part of the beginning of a call for revolutionary change, the oppressed were determined to stand up and struggle until the walls of injustice had crumbled. It would be a long and hard journey, which would see them take on and triumph against the dominant  repressive forces of evil.
This movement has echoes with the divestment movement  and the campaign of boycott against apartheid South Africa, and currently again against the policies of apartheid Israel.Where people are once again daily defiantly taking nonviolent direct action in defence of oppressed people.

                                          Montgomery Bus Protest

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Nocturnal Blue/ Silouettes

Nocturnal Blue

Past midnight, I went for a walk
down to the estuary to roam alone,
under the moonglow, where thoughts alighted
anquished anger welcomed strangers kindness.
It was cold but clear, and a freezing hum spoke to me
I have long believed in prophecy,
remembered beginnings, passing its time
between the gnarled roots and the shadows,
brooding upon heavy lidded eyes
shoots shouting, yes you can,
breath congealed, confused murmours
returned to me , again and again,
like a shaman, that had hit me full force,
then tumbled away. moved downstream
as the burnt clearing of memory
penetrated into the bowels of the earth.
Headed home, to plant seeds
chant some passionate verse,
to stubbornly repeat, the science of practice
pray to an unfathomable god
that has vanished from this world.
This heart gulped a glass full of wine, left out
concealed myself in another constellation
slowly dissapeared, underneath, unseen.


the afternoon rolls on, we follow the testimony of brothers and sisters, tonight, we will bask in defiant
thoughts, step by step, the same night fall, we speak to all or nothing at all, at first we tried to be
different, some of us boiling were left unattended, but hopefully now we share, hearts content with
nothing short of justice, joining hands, outside the world is ours.