DF 34 - Reasons to cry
Thanks to all of you who came to our shows in the recent North American tour; I'm chuffed to hear that we are being scheduled for a return later in the year. It was a joy playing those venues. As I wrote to someone recently; the ideal gig is a theatre in your own home town (with free beer and concessionary ticket prices?). It doesn't happen much of course because there ain't enough days - but we do our best. In the meantime - Moronica is more confused than ever by the thriving nature of live music; if she could only dump the hubris. Music as always - speaks for itself.
We have had pleasing notices; and again many thanks to all of you who posted reviews on various websites; and to you Lesley for collating so many of them for me. Also, I have to say how much I appreciate the letters I have received. There has been quite a technical shake up behind the scenes, here at Caramba - www.gillan.com - . Our beloved Editor - Steve Campbell, has rescued us from a pettifogging mess; not of our own making. Thanks Ed.
On coming home for a few days off - consider this to be a reward for bad behaviour, as well as the chance of a rare family hug whilst getting a bit of laundry done as the gear gets shipped to Japan - I glanced at the dailies for confirmation of the ongoing insanity.
The soubriquet 'Jump Jockey' now has an entirely new and exciting meaning since Sean Fox - for no apparent reason - leaped spectacularly from his mount during a race at Fontwell Park. The horse - Ice Saint - has since signed for Manchester United, and Sir Alex Ferguson has the stud rights; except on wet and windy nights when Magnier has a better grip.
Dr. Terence Hope - a consultant brain surgeon who is an expert in vascular neurosurgery as well as being a senior examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons and secretary of the Intercollegiate Board in Neurosurgery - was sent home from work - at his Nottingham hospital - on full pay. It is alleged that he took an extra helping of soup and croutons without paying for them. Junior health minister Lord Warner, during a debate on the suspension of NHS staff, said: "I am reliably informed that there will be no detriment to patients, because the work that that doctor was due to perform will be covered by his colleagues."
A hospital spokeswoman said that three of Dr Hope's operations planned for Monday have been postponed.
For our benefit, Dasani - Coca Cola's bottled water company - is promoting its new 'pure' product in the UK. In fact it is filtered tap water which is fortified and flavoured with various minerals. This water from S.E. London is supplied to homes at a cost of about one third of a penny per half a litre, whilst Dasani charges almost a pound for the same amount - that's a mark up of around 3,000 per cent. Of course Dasani is terribly burdened with the frightful cost of overheads and marketing - so they may be struggling for profitability. In the meantime their credibility will survive, won't it?….NEWSFLASH…Dasani has - as I type this - been withdrawn from the UK market because the added bromide (?) has mutated into bromate (??) and that's a not very good at all…is it! Dasani is claiming there was never any danger to the public (it is said that bromate can cause cancer).
It is reported that some lions in Africa have a form of AIDS - eighty per cent of them - according to a recent study. One large pride has had its annual progeny reduced from one hundred to four... Helloooooo - that was FOUR.
Roughly 50 - 70% of birds and butterflies have disappeared from Britain over the last twenty years. That was (depending on the species) just roughly - you know, just roughly - 50 - 70%; in the most authoritative study ever, anywhere. These studies are pretty conclusive in a nation full of gardeners; when the research is carried out by an army of knowledgeable lay volunteers. In this respect I've not heard much about the insects; but a decade ago I did notice huge anomalies - over a two or three year period - in the population patterns of aphids and ladybirds - understandable when you consider that the latter feeds on the former - but worrying when you look further up and down the food chain. It's a delicate balance alright.
I don't smoke much but I do like a cigarette after work - with a beer or two. In other words I only smoke when I'm drinking (yes, I know). With that in mind however; we got into Vancouver a couple of days early, in order to do a rare bit of rehearsal for the North American jaunt. Looking forward to some relaxation after the flight, I was not a small bit gruntled to see a 'No Smoking' sign at the bar entrance; whilst abstractedly checking in to The Four Seasons Hotel there. Don said from the > < lift 'See you in the bar then' …the reply was 'I don't drink in 'No Smoking' bars. The atmosphere is always so unbearably stuffy.'
Now we're heading for the East and I have to pack everything I need for a six week tour into two suitcases; and they both have to be empty because Aussie baggage handlers are such sissies. However, that's not so much of a worry as how I'm going to spring my family and friends from jail when I get home.
Last time in Australia I bought bizarre instrument called a didgeridoo …after a year of practice I finally worked out that it's a stick with a hole through it; you blow in one end and a rude noise comes out the other.
C'mon guys, we're relying on you.
Since the last DF it's been a while hasn't it?
Time flies as they say; but not - in my recent experience - without having to take off its shoes; in order to proceed through an American airport gate into the next dimension, whilst the whole company is determinedly unaware of the irony involved.
It's late and I'm listening to a blackbird crying; getting weaker through the night as exhaustion still fails to silence his forlorn signal for a partner that's not coming home.
Secular societies have come to realize that it's hard enough dealing with embattled radicals and reactionaries, greens, blues and reds, upside-downsies and centrists; corruption, corporate crime and the general day-to-day challenges vis a vis civilised progress. Hard enough that is, without having various versions of god entering the fray and giving pseudo-validity to one or more of the combatants.
'God is on my side', cries the soldier as he buckles on his harness of death and blows up the neighbourhood. 'God is on your side' whispers the lieutenant, 'a field of sweet grass awaits you and many virgins will attend your every need. Your victims - children, mothers etc. - are all unbelievers; so don't worry about them. Your time in paradise will not be troubled with conscience. You have done god's will.'
However…I heard it in the forest yesterday that 'Those Folks' have discovered - when they do get to paradise - that there's not a virgin in sight, the grass hasn't been cut for a while and sandals are going out of fashion. The EU has set up camp; so now there are a few forms to fill out and there is a fair bit of tax to pay. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddah and David Icke are relatively happy with their game whilst God turns out to be Tony Blair after all. Suicide is punishable by a one-way ticket to Galveston* and bombing is punishable by the debasement of its cause. Suicide and bombing are mutually exclusive activities when judged by any civilized standard; they cannot be legitimised by a hyphen.
So, if our incumbent social engineers - in the name of human rights and under the aegis of political correctness - decree that we respect every individual right; no matter who; every individual point of view - no matter what; and somehow justify (oh yes they do) every individual act of disruption - on the grounds that minorities must be respected - and you can't be more significant as a minority than if you total in number, one - can you... Then, every religion; oh hang on a minute; here we have a problem…every political party, whoa there Neddy. You can't include majority groups, because they've held the reins for too long, and…you can't include traditional elements of whichever country - or region; as countries themselves are soon to be outlawed by the EU - England, for example hardly exists any more - because majority groups just don't have a place in modern democracy - do they. Pause for breath… so…that's why everyone is so content.
In a War of Attrition, when sinews require stiffening and blood needs to be summoned-up, it is well to remember the adage... Don't let the buggers grind you down.
Our old friend GMC (Genetically Modified Crops) has reared its ugly head again. There appeared to be a hopeful pause - of sorts - at the back end of last year, when I wrote… (Q&A 65) '...meanwhile the GM issue has improved greatly in the U.K. Due to massive public resistance there is effectively a moratorium on the issue; although the government spins it otherwise. Monsanto has actually withdrawn. This is a great relief, however you can't trust these Frankenstein food buggers; they are masters of attrition…'
A few months later our government has announced that we are to proceed with the planting of GM maize - for cattle feed only, of course - Bayer's Chardon LL; thus ignoring lessons of the past; BSE, antibiotics, thalidomide, (dare I mention the pharmaceuticals?), - and all the other reckless irresponsibilities - with regard to the food chain and cross-pollination. So it is to be a war of attrition, therefore I make no apologies for banging on about the following 'Axis of Evil' (Hey Dubya, what can I say?) - this Axis of Evil being the 'interested' parties; which are the producers, the investors, as well as the conglomerate farmers and also our heavily lobbied government. Also - to name just two additional and powerful enemies - Sir David (disgraceful) Carter of the BMA (British Medical Association) and our Science Minister, Lord Sainsbury (a supermarket chain owner who bungs ten million bald-faced pounds into the Labour Party annually - so it is reported - I just can't believe he gets away with it).
Further to the case against Frankenstein Foods as outlined in DF 31 - and copied below for your convenience... They - the enemy - they don't like that, do they... Frankenstein Foods I mean. Such alliteration gives the impression that the whole concept is monstrous and the work of dangerously experimental science; could that possibly be true? Both public opinion and hard evidence have been ignored as our government today presses the button for further Frankenstein crop planting. Reading the mood of the public (84% against) there seems to be little alternative now to ripping the crops from the fields as they are planted - hence the earlier jail reference; my lot are up in arms.
Even Delia Smith, that most successful and benign author of cookery books is hopping mad.
Serious as this matter is, we can see quite clearly through the tactics; Mr. Blair is a past master of obfuscation (he deserves to be symbolically beaten with a red herring), and the overall strategy is to divert attention away from the massive domestic failings of this government - this government that was so promising in its first few minutes.
I do have some sympathy for our Messiah; '…It is a very difficult job, being a world leader' - as written in DF 11 - 'A higher perspective must often make it appear - to your adherents - that you are sacrificing your principles; when in fact you may be presenting them more cunningly, for the greater good. This is difficult to explain right now to the folks back home, because you're busily trying to convince the rest of the world that every action you take is somehow to their advantage and not yours. It's a tricky business alright…'
I mentioned the word 'attrition' earlier. Attrition is the most powerful weapon in the armoury of a bad cause.
Look at the work that Sting and others have done in the cause of saving the rainforests. Don't you get the feeling that the movement - or at least its media value - has become 'tired'? Tiredness is the effect of attrition - as the campaign lengthens to the call of TIMBBEEERRRRR!!!!!!
Don't doubt the validity of the cause or - perhaps most importantly - its contribution to the grand future, but in itself at this moment there is a stand-off; at best.
I didn't sign up thirty odd years ago to the nascent Amnesty International because it was politically bent - it still is; but I do subscribe to a lot of its aims - Greens too.
It is early days for those of us who think that there is a better way, but traditional ideologies, cultures, religions and madness will eventually - sooner than later, given the pace of things, don't you think - become a mere chuckle; like all in history - we're blighted with disaffection for our roots. Now - as ever - we're faced with a moral and intellectual struggle - there is always conflict - alliance against bullies I say - and thank god for the internet.
The first joke my daughter Grace told me, when she was just a kid...
'...Daddy - did you hear about the one - armed fisherman? He caught a fish this big!!!'
That's just brilliant, don't you think? She just forgot to mention his name.
Earlier I referred to 'a delicate balance'. I don't know why, but a subliminal nudge brought to mind the famous attempts - in all their might and splendour - of the air forces (nameless to save their blushes), who failed to shoot down a weather balloon that was drifting into the commercial flight roads over the North Atlantic. The force and the fury unleashed by someone (?) who didn't like to be told that - 'er, Sir…it's only a weather balloon, it will soon pass or go pop.'
*I thought for a while before deciding to publish this following letter; debating its provenance in my mind - for about ten seconds - and balancing sleeping dogs against my personal sheer bloody revulsion. I'd be interested in receiving some correspondence on this; particularly from anyone who might have been there that night. I remember a small disturbance over to my left - Steve's side of the stage. Consequently a few coppers piled into the audience. Maybe that was the incident, I don't know.
I have deleted the name of the writer in an attempt to de-personalise the message, and I have also deleted one personal observation; as cold understatement seems to answer best.
When I stop crying, I'll write some more.
Cheers for now,
p.s. Extract from DF 31 - as promised.
We are already eating GM foods; there are no information labels on bananas are there? All we get is a sticker bearing the brand of the producer, and that's worth checking out... Chiquita... hmm... sounds yummy!
We are told that the GM powers want to help countries like Africa; but we already have a world food surplus and the extra costs of spray and barren seeds will put these poor people further into debt, and ultimately more beholden to the enemy. Yes it is time to start using that word.
Look at Zimbabwe; through shameful inattention it has been allowed to be reduced unlike others who have been saved from themselves, or liberated from its proud soubriquet of being the 'Bread Basket of Africa' to a bankrupt and hungry nation; this is fertile ground for infertile crops and a permanent debt. All of the organic and conventional produce will disappear and the choice will be gone forever look what's happening in Canada. However, for the consideration of a small royalty we shall all be saved...
Is it true I wonder? The examination of four hundred 400 GM farms in America showed no increased yields, no improved nutrition and no reduction of spray use. If that is so then we must conclude that profit nothing wrong with profit in the scheme of things is the only reason for the promotion of a dangerously experimental program that is foreseeably both irreversible and disastrous. These people must be stopped. I will vote for a politician of any hue, who will fight this cause.
Stewart Wells, President of the National Farmers' Union of Canada, says the promises of higher yields and lower costs have not materialised. In fact '...this much heralded scientific revolution has brought only more expense, worries about contamination the birds and bees pay no attention to boundaries and, grimmest of all, a return to the use of highly toxic chemicals which should have no part in our modern food supply...'
In England our GM Science Review Panel was loaded with scientists employed by biotech monsters such as Monsanto and Syngenta. One of the few independents, Dr. Carlo Leifert professor of ecological agriculture at Newcastle University felt it necessary to resign when unbelievably Dr. Andrew Cockburn of Monsanto was asked to write the first draft of the report. It is no surprise... that report leaves the door open for GM production in England.
Stewart Wells, whose country spearheaded Frankenstein Crops, says we must be going mad.
Political pressure will build up as this becomes an issue and eventually the spin applied to the attrition and obfuscation will leave people bewildered as usual. Threats of embargoes and sanctions from those with a vested interest will eventually force these unpalatable ingredients down our throats for vast profits to you-know-who.
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