Monday, 23 April 2007

photo by Lamerie - manipulation by oddsocks

The photo above (my favourite) comes from a competition on FlickR run by Lamerie who took the original photo at an EBB rehearsal. All contributions are very clever and or very funny and some are utterly degrading (LOL). Thanks Lamerie and all contributors.
“The spirits” traps a deaf woman, of around fifty, outside her kitchen. They won’t allow her to go in. She has no food in the kitchen. A psychiatrist arranges for food to be bought for her. The psychiatrist, who signs, is one of two responsible for the welfare of all deaf mentally ill folk in the UK. A social worker arrives to find the woman cannot access the food. She can eat it if it is prepared for her and she can eat it outside the kitchen. The woman is mentally very unwell. Effectively she has no one else to look after except for when the social worker visits and access to the psychiatrist every two months. There is little or no help for this woman. Resources provided don’t run to adequate support.

More patients will have to pay 'top-up' fees for private care because of budget cuts in the NHS and long waiting times, a group of doctors say in a report. Doctors for Reform says the idea that health care is free across the UK is now a "political mirage".The number of people working in the NHS fell by 11,000 in the last quarter of 2006, official figures reveal. Health unions said the loss across the UK, revealed in Office for National Statistics, would "inevitably have a negative impact on patient care".
James Johnson, head of the British Medical Association said NHS trusts were under pressure to balance their books, leading to posts being cut.
Warren Town, the Radiographer’s society's director of industrial relations, speaking about proposed Government pay awards said: "This is the first time that any government has staged an increase that is below the rate of inflation and is, in real terms, a cut. "A stand must be taken against the government's move to underpay the people that they claim are absolutely key to delivering NHS targets that they have set. "Morale in the NHS was bad before but this penny-pinching has sent it to rock bottom."
A New labour proposal that vulnerable people be tagged so as to be able to ascertain their whereabouts if they go missing will require far more resources than a bag of discarded ASBO tags. But that is nothing new in so far as almost no New Labour proposals ever see the kind of funding necessary to make them workable.

John Smith paid into a compulsory pension Fund all of his working life. It was a condition of employment. He discovered his employer was going broke 1 year before he retired. Gordon Brown promised he would look into it. John Smith may receive up to 50% of his pension but Brown has renagued on his promise. John Smith killed himself with carbon monoxide gas in his garage on an early spring sunny Sunday afternoon.

Millions of Iraqis have been forced to leave their homes because of the continuing violence in the country. Many of them have fled to Damascus where the Syrian government is asking why the Americans and the British are not doing more to ease the refugee problem. In a recent TV documentary it was clear that The American forces of occupation are fighting a losing battle. Soldiers spoke of there being no end in sight. A sergeant spoke of “not being trained for this” while his men sheltered behind an armoured vehicle as dozens of mortar shells rained in on them. Insurgent violence is on the increase and Iraqis who once were happy at the fall of Saddam are now hostile and resentful. The TV program showed helicopters flying wounded soldiers into hospitals every twenty minutes or so. Injuries are horrific. Major towns once held by the Americans have been lost to the insurgents in the past few days. British journalists have been unable to access areas held by the Americans. It seems that the American hold on territory is so fragile that they don’t want to us to know they are losing the battle for hearts and minds. Gone is the gung ho attitude of young American soldiers. A look of fear and bewilderment seems to have replaced the confident attitude of troops every where. A recent news cast telling how the Americans killed 46 insurgents was investigated by a British journalist who went to see for himself. The news report was found to be totally bogus and in fact the Americans lost some troops not the other way around. It seems clear that vested interests are determined to wage this war regardless of cost or outcome. I believe this war will prove to be one of the most costly mistakes the so called coalition has ever made and it will run on for years.
On a more positive note the sun is shining , summer is around the corner and Scottish Water and Thames Water seemed to have stemmed the flow of raw sewage into the Firth of Forth after two and half days. Residents have complained about the smell from the area for a long time. Rob Kirkwood who is a member of Leith Links residents association claims the the plant has an infrastructure that is basically Third World technology.
copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2007

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

So, lot’s of praise for Jean Luc’s photos and deservedly so. I don’t think I have seen better pictures of the EBB from any where though Chrissie Hamlyn got some crackers at the last 100 Club gig which is not the easiest of venues to take photos in.

We are beginning to recover from the German gigs which we all enjoyed. I fear some of us older ones feel the strain for longer though I am not certain there is much difference between us. Some times the long journeys are tedious but in such good company the miles fly by. The gigs were hot and steamy and that takes its toll. Some of the venues were the furnaces that are typical small clubs jammed with folks which we all found tough going. One night Steve had a grievance against a very unprofessional crew who left a battery of lights full on above his head during the song Green Lights. Worst of all the lights were red. The last gig was a great way to end and stuffed with folk bopping to the EBB. Hey Tone here is a thought. You give up guitar playing and I'll give up slagging you off - NOT!

It looks as though Tony Bush’s reign is almost at end. Good riddance to the pumped up little upstart who changed the way a whole cabinet pronounced the word “ services”. New labour is full of such irrelevance and meaningless terminology. Gordon looks like a kid about to get his first sexual encounter but I don’t think he is man enough for the job. I have been looking back over the Blair reign and I have found lot’s of discrepancies in what was promised and that which was delivered. Even if we could remove the Iraq-atross from around Tony’s neck he still comes out of it all with a diminished profile and will be remembered by many of us as a liar and deceiver. For a man who accused the Tories of being Kings and Queens of sleaze he has done poorly while taking the art of spin to new heights. He seems on balance to be much more ordinary than I first thought. I think we might judge a governments success by looking at the improvements for quality of life of the poor , the elderly, the sick, the home less and the state of our children. We all know what UNICEF had to say about the latter. In my work with young people I see New Labour writ bold across the new policies for crime prevention etc but I see little or no improvement in the quality of their lives. I am involved in filling out more paper forms and returns than ever and how ever they add it all up, if they do at all, I see no real desire on governments part to effect meaningful change. Most of the current paper work seems to me to have only one clear outcome. That is to be able to determine where every young person on a youth service’s books is or was, at any given time. I would bet that 99% of young people I work with have never even heard of G. Orwell. We imprison more young offenders in the UK than any where else in Europe.

On October 4th 2002 The United Nations warned the UK government that their refusal to ban smacking in the home was a serious violation of the international convention to protect the rights of children. I wonder what First Supperists think about physical disciplining of children.

"States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child..."UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 19

NSPCC Director Mary Marsh said: ‘We want to contest the idea that hitting children is 'common sense, the normal thing to do. It's not - it's wrong, ineffective and can be harmful. The Government has a clear responsibility to take a lead…’"
In September 1998, the European Court ordered the United Kingdom government to pay £10,000 compensation to a boy who was repeatedly caned by his stepfather (the case of "A v UK"). This was the first case concerning parental corporal punishment to be considered by the Court. Prosecution of the stepfather in a UK court had failed on the grounds that the punishment was "reasonable chastisement". The European Court unanimously found the punishment violated Article 3 of the European Convention ("No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment"). It cited the UN Convention, stating that there must be "effective deterrence" to protect children and other vulnerable individuals.
New Labour has dragged it’s feet regarding doing much about this issue and will not be remembered for it’s radical approach to such matters involving young people and parents. Remember they wanted to be able to take an offender to a cash point and fine them on the spot. They wanted to make big in roads re educating young people about using drugs. Today’s figures related to the exercise and the Talk to Frank campaign failure is another example of SPIN WON’T WIN. Come on Tony clear off and clean up on the American lecture tour circuit. Your mate Maggie did very well out of abusing this nation I seem to remember.

copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2007

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Germany 2007

strange chairs seen out side an art gallery

evening over roof tops

The EBB arrived back in London from Germany via Belgium and Calais at around midnight last night. Some of us had further still to travel and Spadge our driver and road angel was ultimately headed for Oxford. Saturday was a long day for him. Thanks for all your good stuff mate. Thanks must also go to tour manager Kris Gray who booked the German dates and Connie and all our friends in Osnabruck.

some dressing room fare
Again it has to be noted that the food and hospitality offered in Germany is far superior to that offered in the UK to a band like us and all with out any fuss or bother.


a stones throw away

A stones throw away from the bulding pictured above is the zen garden by the Japanese Tea House in the English Garden in Munich. Finding this was a high light for me. I spent a day off wandering around this part of town. I shot some video of young guys surfing on a fast water course running nearby which produced a freak wave. I'll show some stills from it in a later post.

Not what you think

The tour has been great fun with many high lights and few lows and we are all looking forward to playing in Athens on May 19th. One high light of the last German leg was meeting up with Man. We had a few good laughs with these guys. It was good to be with genuinely nice people and share the same stage. There is also some thing different about the Man show. There is a music in it that is surprising and deep. Great to see the young guitarists George and Josh with drummer Bob and the paternal Martin Ace, on bass, still flying the Taff flag. They all came onstage at the last gig to join in on Poppy, our last song of the night. We played three gigs together in Germany and look forward to seeing the guys again at the Berg Hertzburg Festival on the 25 th July. The EBB as individuals all have favourite gigs from this tour, often the ones where the sound was good for them onstage that night. My favourites were slightly different from every one elses but we all concur on what we think were the the very best nights. For me being on the road with the guys in EBB is the best thing and working together to improve things every day.

Up coming plans include adapting the show for Athens and getting a festival show together for the German festival. We have lots of ideas about how we might enhance the live show. We will be looking at replacing some “old songs” with other “old songs” such as Death of an Electric Citizen and There’s No Vibrations for starters. It also time to up date some parts of the show we will keep. Steve and Art have been developing a slowed down version of Metal Sunday off Super Chip. We will also be looking at new songs for a new recording project. We want to have new EBB material available for the 2008 Tour.

copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2007

Friday, 6 April 2007

Well here we are out on the road again. The crossing from Dover to Calais was smooth and the white cliffs of Dover looked striking in the fading sunlight. The wind was fresh on deck but I managed to get a few pics.

Rob says I can have two more strings if Im good

The weather is good for travelling and spring is in the air. We had a great night in Vervier Belgium at Spirit of 66. Thank you Francis for good time gig, last night (Thursday).

see I´m already to go - what you lot playing at
We are getting some feedback from the UK gigs and people are trying to arrange the next dates in the UK. We are going to try to play some weekend dates so as soon as we have news we will post it on the EBB site. We are all looking forward to the Athens gig in May. It will be an almighty rocking night and it is Steve´s birthday at midight on the day of the show. Should be a night to remember.
The band bus is full of chatter as we speed our way down the autobahns. We had a very deep discussion today about useage of certain so called swear words and obscenities in a feminist and non feminist context. We did honest! It so happens one of my favourite words is used as a swear word or as part of an insult and I don´t like it at all. We´ll see what some of you think in a later post.
We are taking our day off in Osnabruck, Germany with our dear friend Connie. We just ate some great barbecue and now people are relaxing before the rest of the German gigs. I have begun to take some video footage of the guys on tour on my new toy. I dont expect to be Spielburg but it is great to be able to shoot moving images and look at them with out delay. The new hard disc recorders offer a wealth of features and so I have lots to play with. Its early days but I´ll keep you posted with more pics and news as and when I get chance.
copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2007

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Mary Seacole nurse and heroine of the Crimean War

It is clear that while his contribution was important Wilberforce’s contribution to the abolition of slavery is exaggerated. You could be forgiven for thinking it was achieved by him alone. This is typical of the way british historians have chosen to falsely portray the way things have happened down the years. It is a typical strategy of Imperialist nations. For example the heroine of the Crimean War was always Florence Nightingale and there was never a mention of the nurse Mary Seacole.

Since the out burst of protest by Toyin Agbetu at the recent commemorative service at Westminster Abbey marking the 200th anniversary of the act to abolish the slave trade, I have pondered over a simple question. Is this man exercising his right to protest at the spectacle of the ruling classes absolving themselves of the stain of slavery or – is he unwilling to accept that this was a genuine attempt to make amends and we should all move on?
I have concluded that his voice is essential for us to understand what happened and how it affects the black people who live in the UK as well as all the children or descendants of slaves world wide. His indignation is righteous in my opinion. Many of the aristocracy of this country are descendants of slavers. The British industrial revolution was mostly funded by slavery and some piracy. Many of the great Corporations of this nation were founded by slavery. Think sugar – think Tate and Lyle etc, etc. The list is long. The entire white British nation derived huge benefit from slavery and still benefits from institutional racism.
Toyin was surely pointing out that the establishment of this nation has no cause to celebrate it’s decision to abolish slavery. The discussion as to whether or not the modern “baby father” phenomena and the high incidence of absent fathers from Afro Caribbean families is attributable to the dispossession of fathers during slavery goes on. Young children were allowed to be with their mothers for obvious convenience to the slaver while fathers were often separated from wives and children.
When a young black person or any other young person in the UK commits a crime it is very likely he will be placed on an ISS program if prison is a possible sentence. ISSP stands for Intensive supervision and surveillance program. One of the most important requirements of the offender on this program and conditions of them not going prison is that they make some REPARATION. It’s a good word but the white establishment has made no attempt to make a meaningful reparation for the iniquitous acts in the name of Great Britain under the Union Jack. Millions were paid to the slavers as compensation for having to give up their slaves.
So, thank you Toyin.

A few facts about slavery -

Eastern European Networks trafficking women run east to Japan and Thailand, where thousands of young Slavic women now work against their will as prostitutes, and west to the Adriatic coast and beyond. The routes are controlled by Serbian gangs or Russian crime gangs based in Moscow Centered in Moscow and the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Bonded labor is another ancient form of slavery that survives. Also known as "debt bondage," it is rampant in certain parts of Asia. A loan shark or trafficker lends money to someone who works at a very low wage to pay it back. The debt may not be paid off for decades and can be passed along to family members, sometimes enslaving generations.

In Sudan anyone with $20 can buy a black woman as a slave. Human Rights Watch has long denounced slavery in Sudan in the context of the nineteen-year civil war. In this contemporary form of slavery government-backed and armed militia of the Baggara tribes raid to capture children and women who are then held in conditions of slavery in western Sudan and elsewhere. They are forced to work for free in homes and in fields, punished when they refuse, and abused physically and sometimes sexually. Raids are directed mostly at the civilian Dinka population of the southern region of Bahr El Ghazal. The government arms and sanctions the practice of slavery by this tribal militia, known as muraheleen, as a low cost part of its counterinsurgency war against the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), which is identified with the Dinka tribe of southern Sudan.
Dinka lawyer Peter Nyot Kok said he has been horrified that the government in Khartoum have not taken any measures to end slavery. He had returned to witness the release of several former slaves bought for about 100 dollars by a Christian Solidarity International so they could be freed . One 12 year old boy, Yak, told of how he'd been kidnapped from his village by Arab raiders the year before and enslaved on a farm in the north of Matar. He told the story of how on a day he had been too sick to work, his master chopped off all the fingers on one of his hands as punishment.
There are cases of young girls being forcibly circumcised to “stop them thinking about home” and, “ to break their hearts so they will not be trouble some”. A group of young girls abducted by slavers in Sudan were tied together by a fire one night as their captors slept. One was purposefully tied loosely. During the night she escaped. She was brought back to the group by her captors. The other girls were forced to bite her to death. This was how the slaves were deterred from trying to escape.

Governments of the world should act together and with what ever sanctions or force is necessary to eradicate slavery. The government in the UK should do every thing it can to genuinely set out to address the needs of descendants of the people Britain enslaved and make due reparation where ever it can to assist the passage of young black people through this life. It might begin by properly investigating why so many intelligent young black people fail in the education system and become disenfranchised and marginalised. It isn’t over. There is still work to be done Mr Wilberforce.

copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2007