I’m settling down right now to watch the latest instalment in the British blockbuster of political theatre; Brexit of Bollocks – A Song of Sheiße and Saturdays. Having been an avid follower of this debacle of drama since season one: The Big Vote – What the Fuck Did You Think Was Going to Happen???
Way back in 2016 I was pretty confident that the referendum result was going to be for Leave. A mixture of decades of anti-EU sentiment peddled by the media, a desire to tell the political class to go and fuck themselves following years of the economy being in the gutter, and good old British Bigotry, made it a sure thing. I was pretty pissed off to be proven right but not really surprised.
As the drama following season one’s predictable conclusion unfolded over season after season I was always pretty confident in how each new chapter was going to end. I was, for the most part, right every time. With a cast of characters as inept as this it was always quite clear that a mix of self interest, clumsy and obvious politiking, and general fuck wittery would ensure that drama and farce would never tip over into tragedy. But then they sent in the clown and my confident belief in the bumbling incapability of the British political class was rather dented.
It was dented not because I thought that the clown was in some way a superior politician to the rest of the sorry bunch but rather that their sheer imbecility and/or self interest would ensure that some of them would be likely to vote for the deal brought back by the floppy haired flaccid fool. Because some of them don’t have the political nous of a drunken Oxbridge student debater and wouldn’t realise, or care, that Rambojo is clearly planning on getting this vote passed and then tanking the negotiations a year or two down the line. Why else would the headbangers of the European Research Club have done an about face in order to vote for what is essentially Theresa “Evil Anglepoise Lamp” May’s deal?
So, for the first time in ages, I’m feeling supremely pessimistic today. Hopefully I’ll be ok with regards staying in Germany and off that fucking island but for everyone else that matters there it really fucking blows. Getting this through will mean the Tories take the wind out of Farage’s sails (which is why he’s opposed) and win back Tory votes whilst also driving Remain voters to the Lib Dems, effectively further splitting the ‘opposition’. Which means handing the key’s to the kingdom to the worst bunch of cunts possible. Which was exactly what I said would happen in the run up to the Referendum in 2016. Le sigh,
Still, there’s always one way we can get a good result today…
I’ve been looking for a copy of this wee comic for years. It’s by the fantastic Pete Loveday and describes the day that we shut down the financial heart of London for a day, had fist fights with mass murderers… I mean bankers and traders, fought running battles with police, and generally had a whale of a time smashing the spectacle in he very belly of the beast. Thanks to faraway at the 1000 Flights blog for preserving this.
The riots of June the 18th 1999 were part of a global “Carnival Against Capital” that was timed to coincide with the G8 summit in Kölne, Germany. The idea was to show that the resistance to the degradations of capital are as global as capital itself. It was a fantastic idea that saw demonstrations in over 40 cities around the world including in Montevideo (Uruguay), Port Harcourt (Nigeria), Tel Aviv, Minsk, Madrid, Valencia, Prague, Hamburg, Cologne, Milan, Rome, Siena, Florence, Ancona, Amsterdam, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Lancaster, Zurich, Geneva, Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Austin (Texas), Boston, and Eugene (Oregon). Cracking eh?
Unfortunately this was the last of the “global street parties” saw gawd knows how many people all over the planet come out in protest against capitalism and the machinations of the bourgeoisie. After this a group of, for the most part, middle class full time activists decided that we should all go to the places where the elites were holding their shindigs. Great idea if you can easily take a week or more off work and can afford to travel across the planet. Not so great if you’re a single parent or have other care responsibilities, are unemployed (without middle class parents), or working a shitty minimum wage job. So after this we had the WTO protests in Seattle (which, predictably, is where many Americans seem to think this stuff started), the IMF/World Bank meeting in Prague, and the G8 summit in Genoa in 2000. These protests carried on in ever reduced form until the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles Scotland whereafter things really petered out.
One day I may write a book about my experiences in all this, perhaps I’ll call it “It Was Shit and We Achieved Nothing.”
Still, we got a brilliant Pete Loveday comic book out of it at least. 🙂
Hahaha, I can now tweet twats from my website. So, that’s a thing I suppose… Can’t believe I spent all afternoon configuring this…
So now you can subscribe to me occasionally talking shit in small snippets (shittets?) via an RSS feed rather than relying on Twitter. Which I’m sure all of 0 people are going to do. Next, set up some way of posting to Twatbook without actually using the big blue beastie.
So, Brexit Day Mk. 1.0 is rapidly looming, to be swiftly followed by a sequel next month it seems. I’ve been taking a rather unhealthy interest in the proceedings in the House of Commons of late. Something that shouldn’t be surprising given as I’ve been living in Germany since shortly after the vote in 2016. I’ve also been relentlessly scrolling through #Brexit on Twatter. I don’t even like social media, let alone Twatter! Yet I just can’t help myself. It’s like picking a bloody scab (rather than lobbing rocks at them like you’re supposed to. He-he-he).
Obviously I really want the whole shit show to be cancelled. I live in Germany but I’ve not been here long enough to guarantee that I’ll be able to stay here with my partner. I really like that I can travel anywhere I want in the EU and move anywhere that I can find work. I also really like that anyone else can too. It makes things more interesting.
It’s staggering to look at it from the outside, whilst still having a vested interest, and to see the utter nonsense being spouted in the media and in parliament.
One thing that’s clear, especially when watching parliament, is the fear that politicians seem to have of annoying the people that voted to leave. Regardless of whether a) many of them have now died and been replaced with remain favouring young people, or b) many others appear to have changed their minds. Now, they’ve never really given much of a flying fuck about what the people of the UK want. We all know that.
Back in the days of cheap drugs and free parties the Neo-Labour government, and the rest of them in parliament, decided that they really really wanted to murder a bunch of people in Iraq. Something like 1.5-2 million people marched against that. The largest movement of people in the UK since the Peasant’s Revolt in the 14th Century. They basically see the British people in the same way that Richard the Second saw old Wat Tyler. They’re clearly more frightened of the right wing press like the Mail and the Murdoch.
They also make a big hoo-hah about “respecting the referendum”. Despite the clear fact that the Leave campaign were lying through their teeth. Shouldn’t they be up on charges for something like that? I suppose not because we’d have to arrest half of parliament as well. The lying bloomin’ liars.
Some of them have balls of steel mind you. The ability to keep a straight face whilst saying that a second referendum would be undemocratic is impressive. Balls of steel.
“Respecting the referendum”. What a joke. The question was basically “Who’s your favourite Star Wars character? Doctor Who or No?” The whole thing was a farce.
Shit. Are there any people on the island that don’t really, in their heart of hearts, not realise that this is all a result of a power struggle in the Conservative Party? A Conservative Party made up of millionaires who are so disconnected from normal people that they didn’t realise that many people would vote leave just to say “Fuck you” to politicians in general. Twats.
Now, given that I’m a lousy “Remoaner” who has a selfish interest in Article 50 being revoked, you could be forgiven for initially thinking that I’m some sort of EU fetishist. You know, like those tits with wanky placards and blue faces like some low-rent version of William Wallace you saw on the People’s Vote march last Saturday. See below.
I get most of my UK news from the news feed on my phone so I mostly end up with articles from The Grauniad or the Indescribably Boring Independent. Middle class liberal papers that speak to and for middle class liberals. Also the only major newspapers that are predominantly remain. They often run little pieces about how “Brits in the EU” are going to be affected by Brexit. Every single one of these stories is about posh people. As I said on Twatter a while ago:
Something that has been bugging me about the “UK citizens in the EU” stories is that it’s all people I have zero sympathy for. Fucking retired bankers worried about their vineyards or lawyers. Where are the stories about normal Brits in Europe? 1/2#Brexit#BritishinEurope
I’ve been in Germany for 2+ years now and I’ve yet to meet a single retired stock broker or a lawyer. Plenty of Barmen, and builders, and, you know, regular people. If someone in the UK is watching the news and there’s a story about… Ok, 2/3.
…about fucking Tarquin and Jemima from fucking Tunbridge with their cross border corporate law firm why would they care? Bollocks to the Tarquins and Jemimas of the world. Fucking normal people are the ones most likely to be shafted by Brexit whether they live in the UK or EU.
It isn’t people like this, your Tarquins and Jemimas, that will be most affected by Brexit. It’s your regular workers, both EU in the UK and UK in EU, that will be shafted. People working on ‘flexible’ contracts or working multiple jobs to make ends meet. It’s not just people with cross-border businesses that will be affected. Europe is full of borders, even if they’re only marked by a wee blue road sign, and it’s really common for people to work in an area that’s not defined by the old national border. It’s easy to live, for example, in the south of Germany and work one day in France, the next in Germany, and the day after in Switzerland. You’re screwed without freedom of movement.
So, am I ‘pro-EU’?
Not at all.
The EU is a neo-liberal club that serves the interests of the parasitic rich in siphoning wealth from the work of ordinary people like us. Fuck that shit. I’m also not one of those people who want the UK to stay inside the EU in order to reform it from within. Capitalism can’t be reformed. Please see this instructional video for more on what needs to be done to sort that out.
But! There is no way that leaving the EU helps the people who are suffering the ravages of neo-liberalism in the UK. It isn’t austerity measures brought in by the Tories that have caused this (though they have certainly made things worse) but the way that successive UK governments have screwed over working class communities all over the island. Leaving the EU will hit in the pocket those on the island with the money. Therefore that pain will rapidly will poured downhill to hit even harder working class people from Dundee to Doncaster to Dartmouth.
There’s no credible left wing in the UK (and no, the Labour Party is not left wing) that can realistically fight to protect people from the immediate hits of Brexit; and parliament represents interests that are not ours.
Staying in the EU won’t solve the problems faced by the workers being hit hardest by government policies of impoverishment and abuse. The only thing that will sort that out is people working together to fight against said policies and said government.
Leaving the EU won’t do anything to solve these problems either. All it will do is give succour and strength to people like Jacob Rees-Mogg. And do you think that Lord Snooty gives a toss about people killing themselves because of being screwed over by Universal Credit or having to carry piss bottles with them because they’re too scared to take a bathroom break in the Amazon warehouse? Does he fuck.
As I’m writing this the muppets in Westminster are about to start voting on a raft of motions that the government has already said they are probably going to ignore. Because, you know, democracy and stuff. We’ll see whether they’ve chosen the Shit Sandwich or the Giant Douche in a couple of hours. I think though that I can firmly predict that they won’t vote to revoke Article 50 and admit that they’ve just been a playing silly buggers for the last three years. It’s like they’re in too deep with the lie. You know, like when you tell your wife that you know nothing about the massive porn bill and then she calls the papers?
So, basically. The EU isn’t good for ordinary people but leaving the EU isn’t good for ordinary people and it also strips them of opportunities to live and work elsewhere.
Revoke Article 50 Kill the Rich For Fully Automated Luxury Communism
I grew up in South Wales on a blue hill; my bedroom looked north towards the mountain of stone and Mynydd Twmbarlwm -the twmp. When I was a child the twmp of Twmbralwm occupied a special place in my young psyche. Looming above the valley below drawing the horizon into the forground -dark and haunted as the sun sank, green and verdant when it beat down from the clear summer sky.
As I grew I asked about the strange shape of the far/near horizon. The general theory amongst the kids my age was that it was a Norman fort or a prehistoric burial mound, some also said that it was where the Romans kept an eye on the subjugated but ever rebellious Silures -the tribe who gave their name to the nearby Roman fort of Isca Silures (which later became the birthplace of Arthur Machen, Caerleon). It turned out that all of these theories were right and that the site had been in use from the Iron Age through to the Norman invasion. Until relatively recently it was still a site of a pilgrimage of sorts for local people on Good Friday.
Whilst I found the history of the site interesting my young mind was turned more and more by the folklore surrounding the mountain. Folklore that was, in its entirety, dark and grim and therefore of great fascination for a prepubescent boy such as I was. When I was 10 my mother, who worked in the giftshop of the local museum, brought me home a pair of books by local author Alan Roderick: Ghosts of Gwent and Folklore of Gwent. I was thrilled by these books and read them until the binding crumbled and they were but a collection loose leaves. The volume on folklore had plenty to say about Twmbarlwm.
According to Roderick in the early 1800s (the exact date escapes me though I think it was the 1830s) a local antiquarian led a team of navies up the mountain to excavate the mysterious mound. It was a clear summer’s day as they climbed from the village of Risca yet as they approached the summit the sky rapidly darkened as storm clouds rolled from all directions. As the team neared the summit lighting began to strike the ground all around the twmp causing the superstitious navvies to flee and the excavation to be abandoned. To the best of my knowledge there still hasn’t been an archaeological investigation into the mound itself.
Some years after the aborted excavation it seems that people noticed that the number of honey bees in Britain had dropped drastically. Their whereabouts were soon discovered when thousands upon thousands of bee corpses were discovered to be covering the twmp and the top of the mountain. As if all the bees in Britain had migrated there and fought to the death.
Then there were also the tales of missing children on the mountain. In stories dating back to, at least, the 18th Century children playing on the slopes of the mountain hear the sound of music, and no I don’t mean Julie Andrews, drifting on the breeze. One of the children inevitably goes to find the source of the music and is never seen again.
Like I said, dark stuff.
As I grew into a teenager the place continued to dominate my mental landscape and, as a young teen, friends and I would cycle up the mountain and go camping on its slopes. Then I grew older and discovered the various alternative subcultures that thrived in the local area I began experimenting with all the usual things that kids experimented with at that age -drink, drugs, and as much sex as possible.
Being as this was South Wales one of the main recreational drugs that we experimented with were the local mushrooms -Psilocybe semilanceata or Liberty Caps. ‘Camping trips’ soon became a regular feature of autumn and early winter for me and my friends. We would spend days wandering the fields picking mushrooms in order to make insanely strong ‘brews’ from hundreds, sometimes thousands, of the strange little mushrooms. We would then go camping in the coniferous woodlands below the twmp and spend an evening expanding our consciousness. In fact I had my most powerful and vivid hallucinogenic experience on that mountain, at a friend’s bachelor party, which had me seeing clockwork maggots crawling red hot from the embers of the fire, stars swirling in the night sky above our clearing and figures on horseback ducking impossibly through the trees around us.
These experiences were all fun and games as I completely understood that the things I was seeing and hearing around me were the product of imagination and Wales’ most famous botanical product. However one evening we did have a genuinely strange experience. An experience that has many explanations, none of which are satisfactory.
It was maybe 17 years ago that this occurred and it was right at the end of mushroom season so it would have been early November. We had the last of our super brews bottled and were just waiting for an excuse to indulge. Just such an excuse cropped up, though I forget what it was, and so we decided to drive up the mountain one Friday night. Five of us drove up the mountain to start setting up the camp at around 9 o’clock in the evening. Four of us got a fire going, gathered enough firewood so that we wouldn’t need to gather any whilst we were altered, and the fifth returned to town to pick up the last of our party who had been working in a local pub.
Well, it turned out that our bartender friend had gotten home from work and fallen asleep on the sofa. Our driver having something of a crush on her decided to wait, rather creepily now I think about it, outside her house until he could wake her up.
Whilst we were waiting we opened a beer and those that smoked rolled a couple of spliffs to pass the time. After a while of sitting around chatting we inevitably experienced periods of quiet where our gazes were drawn hypnotically to the fire. It was during one of these lulls in conversation that we heard twigs snapping in the forest around us. Now bear in mind that it was approaching midnight in November and we were a good half an hours walk away from the nearest houses. So the sound of multiple people walking in circles around our camp did unnerve us slightly.
We shone the one torch we had into the narrow gaps between the oh so straight trees around us but we couldn’t see anyone, even if we shone the torch where just a moment before we had heard a twig snap. Over and over this happened and then, as we were starting to get seriously freaked out and called into the night “Hello, hello, who the fuck’s there?” We heard it. A child giggling -first to one side of us, then the other. A high pitched giggle that would sound right and natural on a primary school playground but at midnight in November far from the nearest houses sounded decidedly unnatural.
Those giggles were the final straw and we poured water over our fire and struck out for the road. As we walked in single file following Ryan, the only one of us who had thought to bring a torch, the sounds of people running around us continued, as did the giggling. It would get nearer then farther making us jump and urging us on until we were as close to running as we dared in the dark.
It was such a relief when we finally cleared the trees and bundled out into an open field bathed silver by the moon. We walked rapidly away from the woods glancing back over our shoulders at the giggling woods as little voices rang out “Goodbye! Goodbye!”
That was the last time we went camping on Twmbarlwm.
So, I’m currently on attempt #1726 to give the evil cancer sticks the old heave ho and, five days in, it’s actually going pretty well. I’m doing an overnight job dismantling the Rolling Stones gig in Hamburg on the weekend though. We’ll see how well it’s doing after four or five hours of lugging lights and speakers about for geriatric millionaires.
One side effect that I’ve noticed on this attempt is that I’m starting to remember my dreams. Now, for some (or even most) of you this shouldn’t seem like anything strange. Well, I think it’s probably more than ten years since I really remembered my dreams, probably closer to fifteen. So to have them return now is, to be honest, pretty bloody awesome. Especially given how vivid and downright weird they have been.
I want to record some of this one here before it completely slips away. That I can still remember it more than twelve hours after waking is also pretty amazing for me.
So, from what I can remember, the dream mostly featured me and a friend with their young daughter. The friend in my dream wasn’t anyone I recognise and nor was their daughter. I also don’t recall much of their personality. But we’re travelling together. Actually; fleeing is a better term. We’re fleeing through my home town in South Wales desperately trying to escape a terrifying woman who is pursuing us.
The woman is only walking after us but she never seems far behind. She has shortish dark hair and is wearing a hospital gown. She can’t walk properly and her one foot drags slightly behind her as though she is heavily medicated but fighting through it. In one hand she limply holds a sawn off shotgun whilst her other twitches and clutches at the air to her side. Her face is contorted in either anger or fear, or possibly sorrow, and she’s screaming. She’s screaming and wailing and it’s the most terrifying sound that I’ve ever heard.
No matter how far or how fast we run, we even steal a really classy 1950s American car at one point, she is always just behind us. We can tell when she’s drawing near as the people around us begin to get paranoid and begin to blame us for things that have gone wrong in their lives. One of them, a bald man in his late fifties or early sixties, was blaming us for his first wife leaving him decades ago and the way that his father treated him as a child.
At one point we were stood high upon a hill, a cartoonishly steep version of the hill I lived upon as a boy, and we could see her walking along the road far below us. As she walked; those around her stopped what they were doing, those who were driving slowed and stopped before stepping out of their motors. They stood staring blankly ahead as she shuffled between them and, after a few moments of staring, their jaws dropped open and blood poured from their mouths red-washing their clothes and pooling about their feet.
I’m not sure how the dream ended though I get the impression that we were in a Gothic European castle in the American outback. Which was also South Wales. Dream logic eh? 🙂