Emerging as a sound system concern and then band, Asian Dub Foundation have fused a wide variety of music styles (including, dub reggae, drum ‘n’ bass, punk, ragga, electronic and traditional South Asian genres), in a highly original, dynamic and incendiary manner, that has won them plaudits for over two decades. Seen as one of the most exciting of all live acts during this time, ADF, though not one dimensional or simply a ‘political band’, were never ones to shirk from tackling contemporary issues head on (capitalism, exploitation, racism, domestic violence, climate change…). One of their members even refused to accept an MBE some years back.
Category: TV & Radio
Rose Island is delightful. It is funny. It is sad. It is intriguing and compelling. And it is ultimately inspiring. I wish I could see it in the cinema.
In 1984 I found myself running an arts and disability agency for the north of England, and encountered the tail-end of the mass segregation programme that had resulted in millions of people with mild to severe physical and mental disabilities being locked away in large institutions, forced to do menial work for pocket money and with little say about any aspect of their lives. The arts activities that my organisation ran often opened up deep emotional scars from years of abandonment, disregard and abuse. Paintings, poems and performances were littered with powerful symbols of imprisonment and freedom.
Following its festival launch, Tynedale Transformed is now holding a series of events throughout the winter called The Second Sunday, where they will hold events around a particular issue. The topic on Sunday 8th November is,” From the High Street to the Villages; Keeping our Communities alive”:
Plastic Glass is no stranger to the local live scene, having played sold out headline shows at venues such as Think Tank (Newcastle) and Independent (Sunderland) as well as supporting indie outfits The Snuts, The K’s and The Pale White. Now working with nationally acclaimed promoters Scruff of the Neck and This Feeling, the Sunderland four piece are travelling further afield, having already played shows in Leeds, Glasgow, Carlisle and Manchester this year before being cut short.
Each of the songs in the album contains a truth and a mood of our times. In their different ways they narrate the course of our lives since the referendum in 2016, and what is most remarkable, through their combined wealth of intelligence the artists offer us hope. Listen to ‘Tea with the Devil’ by Rosemary Schonfeld and you will smile at the clever portrayal of an urbane Devil who has pocketed the consciences of Prime Ministers and Presidents, or throw your arms in the air with delight as Mitch Benn sings all the things you ever wanted to say but didn’t dare.
“Parkinson’s Law –
“Work expands so as to fill the time available to complete it.”
CN Parkinson, 1955
“Trendsetter is about how the media and modern-day trends affects narcissistic tendencies and allows a narcissistic person to believe they are perfect without any flaws. The song is written from a male perspective, expressing their experience with a significant other, and delves into how the narcissist cares a lot more about what other people think, and being accepted, rather than treating anyone who actually cares with respect and decency.”
When, before the Chancellor’s statement, the Bylines editor suggested I wrote a commentary piece on government policy (i.e. change your mind every few minutes) as it related to theatre I said, “I wouldn’t dare write a political article – I suspect only every tenth word would be publishable!”
This is how comedy generally, and most particularly political satire, works: the people with no power lampoon, satirise, or rip the proverbial out of those who actually hold the power. It is a ‘punching up’ from below. The powerless show up the foibles, the hypocrisies, the failures of the powerful who have such influence and even control over their lives. The humour is found in the release of tension. The powerful are rarely, if ever, hurt by this – and when they are it’s usually because they are engaged in a practice so egregious that history will never be their friend anyway.
The UK government has chosen not to renew or continue its relationship with the Creative Europe programme after the end of the calendar year. This is a move that is viewed as a retrograde step on both sides of the channel and doesn’t fit with the government’s own narrative about a close relationship with our nearest neighbours nor its tub-thumping global Britain rhetoric.
“How do you deal with writer’s block?” This question is often asked of authors, screenwriters and playwrights but what exactly is writer’s block? According to Wikipedia. writer’s block is: “a condition… in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown.” I am an author of a published novel, […]
Years ago (in the last century) I attended a conference at Lancaster University on arts and the environment where I met ‘artivists’ from Platform, a London-based collective of artists, educators and researchers who were undertaking extraordinary projects such as ‘Unravelling the Carbon Web’, which partly consisted of Platform members walking around all BP establishments including […]
A review of Jane Eyre (2011 film) I must confess to being something of a Jane Eyre fan and so I was surprised that I had missed this film adaptation at the time when it came out. I first read the book aged 12 when I was at school. I remember the book: a rather […]
A contemporary review of Alan Bleasdale’s 1982 television series. Is it relevant today?
If you enjoy The Crown, a show with an impressive scope, spanning decades and revealing insights to recent British history, then this is an alternative for you during lockdown. Our Friends in the North may not have had the same budget and gloss, but it is a powerful creation that focuses on ordinary people. A 1996 miniseries, […]
Before Covid, I might have been out of a job, but I was secure in the knowledge that the industry supporting me was carrying on existing, producing wonderful work, contributing almost £13 million to the UK economy every hour. I could expect future work. In short, I had hope.
A nation state and its international relations are in many ways as complicated as the workings of our modern mobile phone, perhaps even more so. The interactions of one policy may have far-reaching consequences for other branches of government not directly related to the original policy.
It’s the Friday before the next episode of ‘Sixteen Million Rising’ (the Pro-European radio show I make) goes live and I’m checking my inbox for submissions. Once I have sorted out the emails which inevitably elude my spam filter – one which must have been designed by the same team responsible for the UK’s “world […]