Some forthcoming events I’m doing
Variously on music, politics and history – please come along if you’re interested.
Saturday 19th May: @CultishEvents playback of The Holy Bible at which I’ll be giving an introduction to the album and Triptych. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1503877846345865/
Saturday 2nd June: talking about music and misogyny in Under My Thumb: Songs That Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them, with the book’s co-editor Eli Davies and our contributors Frances Morgan and Anna Fielding. Details: http://stokenewingtonliteraryfestival.com/snlf_events/under-my-thumb/
Saturday 9th June: I’ll be explaining the early Victorian primitive rebellion known as the Rebecca riots as part of Chartism Day. Details: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/history/history-events-publication/chartism-day
Stuff I’ve done lately.
For New Humanist: The End of Work as We Know It? The gig economy, history, automation, grassroots workers’ organization and other possible responses to late-stage neoliberalism.
For Soundings: Music, Politics and Identity: From Cool Britannia to Grime4Corbyn. Basically Clampdown five years on.
For the Irish Times Women’s Podcast: Under my Thumb‘s co-editor Eli Davies and myself on the complexities of liking misogynist music.
And, for the excellent Desolation Radio, rambling on the Rebecca riots, Chartism, popular protest and radical history.
Under My Thumb: Songs That Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them
Under My Thumb is a collection of women’s music writing, edited by Eli Davies and me, in which contributors discuss being fans of politically dubious music, artists and songs. It’s out in October from Repeater Books and available to pre-order now.
Artists covered, in-depth or in passing, include: Dion and the Belmonts, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Carole King, The Crystals, Phil Spector, Bob Dylan, Pulp, Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Pure Prairie League, Rod Stewart and The Faces, Eddie Cochran, AC/DC, Van Halen, Guns ‘N’ Roses, L7, Elvis Costello, murder ballads, Nick Cave, Sir Mix-a-Lot, Run the Jewels, 2Pac, Eminem, Weezer, The Divine Comedy, Jarvis Cocker, Combichrist, Jay-Z, The Libertines, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Kanye West, The-Dream, Swans, Taylor Swift.
Full list of contributors: Amanda Barokh, K. E. Carver, Marissa Chen, Zahra Dalilah, Eli Davies, Judith May Fathallah, Anna Fielding, Alison L. Fraser, Laura Friesen, Beatrice M. Hogg, Rhian E. Jones, Jacey Lamerton, Abi Millar, Emily McQuade, Frances Morgan, Christina Newland, Elizabeth Newton, Stephanie Phillips, Nina Power, Charlotte Lydia Riley, Kelly Robinson, Jude Rogers, Jasmine Hazel Shadrack, Em Smith, Johanna Spiers, Manon Steiner, Fiona Sturges, Rachel Trezise, Larissa Wodtke.
What lies beneath.
“As someone who lives in a nightlife district of East London I’m tempted to say this was inevitable with the City as it is right now. After the 5 or 6 largest and most established nightclubs shut in 2007/8 we’ve returned to a kind of feral state, where two bit promoters take over poorly equipped or hazardous industrial spaces and overpack them with young, clueless punters to cover crippling rents and overheads. Well, that and make a quick buck like every other glorified barrow boy in this place, naturally…
The concomitant, deeper sociological issue is that the desperate, selfish panic that we associate with London’s daily life – especially in these years of recession – has spread to the social life of the city. People are simply desperate to eke out a morsel of joy from a in increasingly joyless gauntlet, and will stop at nothing in that pursuit, including trampling (figuratively and perhaps literally) on others.
People drink and drug and smoke themselves senseless at all opportunities and without any real motivation. When the sun finally appears in the midst of yet another dire British Summer the streets and the buses and tubes take on the character of rush hour, even at weekends. Overpriced and soullessly corporate festivals are frantically devoured by those without even a passing interest in the music on offer.
Meanwhile, the Mayor and his cronies are busy preparing the banquet of all banquets for the pleasure of our international guests, all while his own children lie starving in the basement.”
(Add in the corporatisation of leisure, gentrification of east London under the guise of regeneration, turbo-charged slapdash ‘entrepreneurship’ and the increasingly obvious disconnect between austerity rhetoric and where the money actually is. Don’t know the chap above but I’d probably buy him a pint.)
Musicians and authors in the digital world.
I have an essay in this month’s New Welsh Review on the impact of digitization on publishing as compared to the music industry. I wrote it without anticipating FutureBook’s overview, which does commendable spade-work explaining the situation’s background, present and future, whereas I mostly just snark from the sidelines.
In essence: big publishing houses have, like velociraptors, watched and learned from the music industry’s floundering and are now primed to do better out of e-publishing. My piece also covers the Indelicates’ ‘post-internet’ site Corporate Records, the pros and cons of self-publishing, the unpleasant prospect of e-books becoming the new disposable mass-market paperbacks while physical product becomes concentrated on luxury hardbacks, and why Hodder’s dubious flipback format is the literary equivalent of the MiniDisc.
Perhaps ironically, it’s unavailable online, but the print copy is accessible in all good stockists, or at least all Welsh ones.