Friday, February 11, 2005

Going Underground

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One of the tricky things about writing a regular blog is that, inevitably, it reflects the mental state of the person writing. At the moment I'm stuck in a downbeat anti London, anti Blair, anti New Britain groove. I've been trying to write my way out of it but every day brings more material from my personal life, from the media and from friends who cheerfully add to my list of woes by filling-me in on any little snippets I may have missed.
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Claire is the latest offender. She's just sent me a link to a spoof cover of Going Underground by the Jam. Other people have sent me various links to this song over the last few weeks but Claire's version comes with a natty flash animation. It's rather good. No, it's more than that, it's fantastic.
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If you’re one of the handful of net-connected people in the UK who have not listened to this file, do so now. But please bear in mind that the language, in keeping with life in London, scores about 9/10 on the f**king c*nt scale.
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(NB The original link seems to have died since I first posted this a few days ago. Until normal service is resumed, I'm temporarily hosting a mirror of the file here ...
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Listening to this song is particularly poignant for me as I was massive Jam fan. I can still clearly remember hovering over the record button on my Binetone cassette recorder back in 1980 waiting for BBC to play the track for the first time. Britain was a very different place then and kids knew what they were angry about. I pity anyone who is 15 in Britain now. They're all losers and they know it. Keep buying Franz Ferdinand CDs you muppets.
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On a brighter note, I do detect the beginnings of a serious anti New Britain movement. Without merging two posts into one, I'm picking up on material, like the song link above and in the darkest corners of the media such as BBC3 that is critical of the Britain that is being shaped around us. Yet, at the same time, most of this material is essentially apolitical. Well, as far as traditional politics are concerned.
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I've mentioned this before but the old distinctions between Left and Right are increasingly meaningless. Does a couple of pence on income tax either way really matter when you consider the much more fundamental and sinister changes that are taking place around us? But, like I said that's another post.
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The finest example of the material I'm talking about is the very excellent Monkey Dust. Billed as a biting cartoon-based satire of modern urban life it's becoming increasingly more of a documentary series, and certainly more accurate than anything played on the conventional news programmes.
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Per the blurb on the BBC website ...
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The series is set in a permanent urban nightmare - a nocturnal world inhabited by the sad, the lonely and the emotionally crippled. Its satirical targets range across the whole spectrum of British society, from dysfunctional families to heartless government departments.
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This is a world of mass murderers and divorced dads, of illegal aliens and wannabe terrorists, of perverts, tramps, hookers and liars. Monkey Dust is a show that brings out the loser in everybody.
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Yup, sounds like Lambeth to me.
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In particular, the latest series, Season 3 comes over with a very strong sense that the production team really didn't give a damn, said 'bollocks to it' and set out to lay down their observations without any inhibitions at all. They have achieved almost perfect television.
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Coupled with the excellent The Power of Nightmares documentary a few months ago I'm left satisfied that my TV licence fee has been well spent this year, even if 99.5% of it went on other guff. Sadly, The Power of Nightmares was arguably the most important TV program made in the UK since 2001 yet hardly anybody noticed it. But a few people did and that's better than nothing.
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Yes, I think there are a growing number of kindred spirits out there. Disappointed optimists who despair of the way society is being manipulated. Admittedly, their stuff doesn’t make prime time but it exists and that's a big comfort in itself.
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