mccarthy – red sleeping beauty (1986)

McCarthy were a British indie pop band, formed in Barking, Essex, England in 1984 by schoolmates Malcolm Eden (voice and guitar) and Tim Gane (lead guitar) with John Williamson (bass guitar) and Gary Baker (drums). Lætitia Sadier would later join the band on vocals on their third studio album Banking, Violence and the Inner Life Today.

They mixed a sweetly melodic style, dominated by Gane’s 12-string guitar playing, with Eden’s overtly political lyrics, often satirical in tone, which reflected the band’s far left leanings.

Eden, Gane and Williamson met at Barking Abbey Comprehensive School. Gane was originally a drummer, but was initially taught to play guitar by Eden, who also taught Williamson the basics of bass. Eden and Gane were fans of punk groups such as the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and Buzzcocks, and they covered their songs in small gigs as teenagers. Baker joined in 1984, and with the new line-up deciding on the name McCarthy (a tongue-in-cheek reference to American politician Joe McCarthy), they released a self-financed first single, “In Purgatory” in 1985. The band were signed by the Pink Label, releasing two further singles “Red Sleeping Beauty” and “Frans Hals”. The band had a track included on the NME C86 album (“Celestial City”).

Their debut album I Am a Wallet was released in 1987. The album was virtually ignored by UK radio programmers, except for BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel. Because of Eden’s Marxist political views, the band were, to their dismay, often lumped in with other left-wing acts like Billy Bragg and The Redskins. I Am a Wallet has since been described by Nicky Wire as “the most perfect record, a Communist manifesto with tunes”, and was rated by James Dean Bradfield as his top British album of all time.

Two further singles appeared in early 1988 and were followed by a second album, The Enraged Will Inherit the Earth, which was considerably less well received.

A year later, they released a third album Banking, Violence and the Inner Life Today, on which they were joined by Gane’s girlfriend Lætitia Sadier on vocals. The album suggested a new willingness to experiment musically, and was seen by critics as something of a return to form, but it in fact proved to be their swansong and they split soon afterwards. Eden felt there was no need to continue with the band, believing that their creativity peaked with that LP. The band’s final gig was at the London School of Economics in 1990.

The band twice had songs in John Peel’s Festive Fifty: “Frans Hals” in 1987 (#35), and “Should the Bible Be Banned” in 1988 (#38).

Gane and Sadier went on to form Stereolab, while Eden formed the short-lived Herzfeld.  Baker went on to a career in radiography, before going on to work for The Guardian.  Williamson went on to work for music publisher BMG and Domino Records.

http://cherryred.co.uk/

james baldwin and margaret mead – a rap on race (1971)

“In honor of the release of James Baldwin: I Am Not Your Negro documentary, we’ve decided to share the rare audio version of the classic conversation between Margaret Mead and James Baldwin from 1971. Long out of print, original LP sells for 3 figures. Courtesy The Charles Woods Collection. For educational purposes. No rights given or implied. Feel free to comment/share/subscribe. Share original link whenever possible.”

laurie penny – cybersexism: sex, gender and power on the internet (2013)

‘In ye olden tymes of 1987, the rhetoric was that we would change genders the way we change underwear,’ says Clay Shirky, media theorist and author of Here Comes Everybody.‘[But] a lot of it assumed that everyone would be happy passing as people like me – white, straight, male, middle-class and at least culturally Christian.’ Shirky calls this ‘the gender closet’: ‘people like me saying to people like you, “You can be treated just like a regular normal person and not like a woman at all, as long as we don’t know you’re a woman.”’

The Internet was supposed to be for everyone… Millions found their voices in this brave new online world; it gave unheard masses the space to speak to each other without limits, across borders, both physical and social. It was supposed to liberate us from gender. But as more and more of our daily lives migrated on line, it seemed it did matter if you were a boy or a girl.’

It’s a tough time to be a woman on the internet. Over the past two generations, the political map of human relations has been redrawn by feminism and by changes in technology. Together they pose questions about the nature and organisation of society that are deeply challenging to those in power, and in both cases, the backlash is on. In this brave new world, old-style sexism is making itself felt in new and frightening ways.

In Cybersexism, Laurie Penny goes to the dark heart of the matter and asks why threats of rape and violence are being used to try to silence female voices, analyses the structure of online misogyny, and makes a case for real freedom of speech – for everyone.

Laurie Penny. Cybersexism: Sex, Gender and Power on the Internet (London: Bloomsbury, 2013). PDF here.

shilpa ray – posted by anonymous (live, 2013)

From the Deeper Down studio session (2013).

I’m pressed against a window
Flat
With a broken nose
Rhinoplasts and the bombs blastin’
Who’s scalping tickets for this show?

Lines round the block in
circles
A Human Centipede
I wanna be the victim
who gets the most sympathy

Don’t reward my participation
Or teach me about masturbation
I could fake your newest sensation
Steal someone else’s imagination
Microdermabrasion

Oh I’ve gotta feeling
I don’t have to be real
No I’m not real

I’M NOT EVEN HERE

Headlines talkin’ and your
Picture’s Squawkin’
You haven’t said a word
Hysterical Historical
How did you get your foot in the door?

Mass killin’s thrillin’
Public’s appealin’ on TV
And when you have your say
Starlings
What are you gonna say to me?

Don’t reward my participation
Or teach me about masturbation
I could fake your newest sensation
Steal someone else’s imagination
Crystal Blue Persuasion

What is the meaning?
I don’t wanna hear?
No I can’t hear.
No I can’t hear
I’M NOT EVEN HERE

animation explaining giorgio agamben’s “homo sacer” (2014)

Clear explanation of this important concept.

The work of Giorgio Agamben, one of Italy’s most important and original philosophers, has been based on an uncommon erudition in classical traditions of philosophy and rhetoric, the grammarians of late antiquity, Christian theology, and modern philosophy. Recently, Agamben has begun to direct his thinking to the constitution of the social and to some concrete, ethico-political conclusions concerning the state of society today, and the place of the individual within it.

In Homo Sacer, Agamben aims to connect the problem of pure possibility, potentiality, and power with the problem of political and social ethics in a context where the latter has lost its previous religious, metaphysical, and cultural grounding. Taking his cue from Foucault’s fragmentary analysis of biopolitics, Agamben probes with great breadth, intensity, and acuteness the covert or implicit presence of an idea of biopolitics in the history of traditional political theory. He argues that from the earliest treatises of political theory, notably in Aristotle’s notion of man as a political animal, and throughout the history of Western thinking about sovereignty (whether of the king or the state), a notion of sovereignty as power over “life” is implicit.

The reason it remains merely implicit has to do, according to Agamben, with the way the sacred, or the idea of sacrality, becomes indissociable from the idea of sovereignty. Drawing upon Carl Schmitt’s idea of the sovereign’s status as the exception to the rules he safeguards, and on anthropological research that reveals the close interlinking of the sacred and the taboo, Agamben defines the sacred person as one who can be killed and yet not sacrificed—a paradox he sees as operative in the status of the modern individual living in a system that exerts control over the collective “naked life” of all individuals.

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The blurb of Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life by Giorgio Agamben. Translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen. (Stanford University Press, 1998).