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I’ve always viewed Sidmouth Folk Week in the way that the author of Das Kapital saw history, and the author of Mein Kampf saw life: as a virtuous struggle.

You camp a mile or two up the hill, and you get to and from the town (where 95% of all the music is happening) by a bus.  The bus service is good, but still… once you go into town you can’t really just nip back to your tent.  So you need to bring everything with you: instruments, your own food if you can’t afford to keep eating out, sunglasses, swimming trunks, umbrella, GoreTex weather gear, defibrillators, the usual English summer stuff.  And whilst I have long appreciated (as a Sidmouth veteran of many years) that this makes me a better human being, it does have the negative side-effect of making me not quite be arsed to do anything much after about 11am.

And then a friend told me an extraordinary secret. Continue reading

Nancy_SpungenIf you’re interested in the difference between a 20 year old man and a 40 year old man, and there’s really no reason why you should be but if you are, here’s a good example.

Nancy Spungeon.

(Who was neither, but I’m just being deliberately oblique.)

When I was around 20 I studied popular music at Liverpool University, and I first learnt about Punk.  I’d been aware of it for years, but never really got it.  So I learnt about the New York Dolls and Television and CBGBs, and the Damned and Souixie and the Banshees and the Sex Pistols.  And I learnt about Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungeon.  Sid and Nancy. Continue reading

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I took this photo next to a cashpoint in the centre of Oxford a few weeks ago.  A few days later I saw another fascist slogan by another cash machine on the outskirts.  In the past I might have occasionally seen a fascist slogan scrawled on the door in a public toilet, but never out in the open like this.  And one week ago today, in what I imagine will prove to be a historical date, England and Wales (but not Scotland and Northern Ireland) voted to leave the European Union, and since then there have been enough news stories a spike in racially motivated attacks for the Prime Minister to comment on it.

Today, these are the pages that Facebook suggests I might consider joining:

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Continue reading