Thursday, 21 April 2011

Why I am not a moronarchist...

Be the inferior to no one, nor of any one be the superior’
William Saroyan

Anyone else wondering whether their invite has somehow gotten lost in the post? We’re paying for this bash, after all, ours should be landing on the doormat any day now, right?

Of course, it will not. They don’t mind the plebs paying for it, but have the plebs hang around at the party, causing an eyesore? Not likely, chum.

While the majority of us have lost out – through pay freezes, job loss and no fault of our own – during the global economic crisis, the top 1000 richest in this country saw their wealth rise by 77bn in 2009. The Duke of Westminster’s didn’t stay stable or even lose a little value: he’s the third richest person in the country and saw his wealth rise by £6,750 million; that’s up four per cent, folks. Since he’s got it floating around, couldn’t he stick a few quid behind the bar?

Lots of people say, ‘oh, leave off the royal family, they do a lot for charity, y’know?.’ If I was an unemployed multi-millionaire, I’d do a lot for charity, too. Actually, I’m a scumbag-squatter but I do work for a charity, and manage to get there everyday without the aid of a chauffeur – many fine people do. That they are themselves a charity should negate any charitable work they do; why not cut out the middle man and give the cash straight to those in need? This might avoid parties, palaces and peacocks being skimmed off the top.

‘Yes, but what about the tourism, man? Don’t forget the tourism.’ It is as patronising as it is insulting to the entire nation to suggest that were it not for the Windsors people would not flock to our isle - that the entire sum of our cultural worth resides in the crown and its cronies. France doesn’t have a monarchy but plenty of people go to Paris to see the Louvre; I hear the food’s half-decent too.

We Brits love democracy. We’re mired in misadventure all around the world, blowing up foreigners and putting our own sons and daughters in danger for its name. Yet, in our own country, we’re happy with the hypocrisy of having a picture of a lady on our stamps and sterling who believes she deserves to be there by divine right - because God said so. And simply because, for as long as we care to remember, it has always been so. Doesn’t democracy deserve better? Are we so unimaginative?

Finally, a matter of taste: some people have pointed out that protesting on someone’s Big Day is, y’know, a bit anti-social. But not nearly as anti-social as snubbing the very people who helped to pay for those fancy invites, surely? The super rich have a choice: invite everyone to the party or be prepared for gatecrashers…

“People who enjoy waving flags don’t deserve to have one…”

Friday, 8 April 2011

The Aldous Huxley fine wine and chit-chat party @ Really Free School

Thursday 14th - 8pm-9.30pm

Aldous Huxley’s 1961 recording ‘Speaking Personally’ (90mins)

Bring a bottle (home-brew and shoplifted spirits welcome), sit back, relax and take in this incredible recording, in which Aldous holds forth on a broad range of subjects – from Freud to mysticism to mescaline munching as ego repression. Some of it is slightly ridiculous; most of it is utterly sublime. Deep calm - both outer and inner - is what we aim for.

Track listing:

On choice of writing as career
On the handicap [sic] of bad eyesight
On early friends and influences
On psychology
On Freud
On Schweitzer/Philosophy
On D.H. Lawrence
On mysticism, religion, Zen, "the supernatural"
On dealing with man's irrational drives
On the devils of loudon, on historical/philosophical writing, on California, on lecturing, on the Menninger Foundation, on treatment of diseases, on psychedelic drugs

"The interview took place in the London summer - two long afternoons, punctuated by tea and sherry, in Aldous' sitting-room with the view of the trees in Ennismore Gardens. The range of subjects was very wide. Aldous, as the case might be, responded to his interviewer, side-stepped or expanded. The great point of it all is that it has left us with such a characteristic record not only of Aldous' thought but of Aldous' way of expressing it; more spontaneous, more informal than his writing, more informal still than his lectures and broadcasts - there was no time limit, no audience ... This record comes as near as anything to the way Aldous talked to his friends. This was his conversation."

Declassified @ Rich Mix

I don't know about you, but I could certainly be accused of being almost completely ignorant of every aspect of Lithuanian culture. A heinous crime, no doubt. For, if Declassified - a show curetted by artist David Ellis and hosted by Rich Mix Shoreditch - is anything to go by, it appears to be a rich one. Check out David's massive collection of Lithuanian movie posters, effortlessly oozing Soviet chic. Witness 22 year old singer-songwriter, piano player and multilinguist, Alina Orlova, who has won critical acclaim in her home country (you got it: Lithuania) and drawn comparisons with Regina Spektor. The golden age of Lithuanian black and white cinema presents a film called Last Day of the Holidays? Are you kidding me? That's got ironic kitsch running off it in beads. It's a Lithuanian love-in alright, and there's plenty to be loved...

Thursday, 7 April 2011

It's Your Write @ Papered Parlour

'Dude, this show was pretty much tailor-made for you’, went the email I received a few weeks ago from a very clever friend. Ah, she knows me so well. It would have been the fantastic writing pun in the title that gave her the first inklings I'd be in to it. Next, probably the Stop the War contingent, Chris Nineham and Lindsey German, representing in the line up. Then she'd have noticed Shiv Malik, Guardian journalist and author of The Jilted Generation, a book I've recently enjoyed. No doubt she will have spotted that UK Uncut, heroes of the revolution and all round stand up chaps, were giving a talk - she knows I like them. From Peter Kennard to having my say on Will's and Kate's big day (grrr), there's basically not a single thing on the line up I don't want to see or do. Hey, if the show fits, and fits so Saville Row, what choice do I have but to wear it?

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Fake Blood @ XOYO

Golly-gee have I been looking forward to this Saturday. The reason, by way of a confession: I must be one of the only people east of Ealing who has not yet been to XOYO. It feels like something we should all do, no? A sort of Shoreditch right of passage. An east-end Mitzvah. Something I have been to before, something I have been going to since last century, are Bugged Out nights. And I understand that John 'Johnno' Burgess, the man behind Bugged Out, is also somewhat behind the venue – so how bad can it be? Any friend of yours is a friend of ours. Plus, tonight is his party, and, if the line-up is anything to go by, Johnno's the kind that hosts a heck of a party. Fake Blood backed-up by Boy 8 Bit? I think I like it, like it... all night long.