Friday, December 24, 2010

It's fucking Christmas, pass the fucking booze

Apparantly, it's Christmas time. There is only one thing for it. A true country Christmas...

"Mum got drunk then Dad got drunk at our Christmas party..." Robert Earle Keene provides the guide to surviving this goddamned ode to the dysfunctional family system and insane consumerism killing the poor, godforsaken planet.

And you might as well listen to this song from the Mighty Stef, toosimple because I'm in a Mighty Stef mood.

"They say way down in nelligan's, they say there is a ship wreck for every soul in heaven and for every soul in hell. For power, greed or money, do not sail the devil's waters, for on the devil's ship, the devil rings the devil's bell..."

Monday, December 20, 2010

We want blood...

"We want blood! (we want blood), We want blood! (we want blood), let the scarlet red river turn our cities into mud..."

Finally, someone has stood up and said what needs to be said. And that someone is the great singer-songwriter from Dublin, The Mighty Stef (born Stefan Murphy).

The Mighty Stef aims his rough-as guts, drunken, impassioned, bluesy musical guns at the Irish government and calls them out for what they are: fucking lying thieves.

Having turned those parts of the Emerald Isle not still occupied by the British into a happy hunting ground for corporate plunderers (corporate tax rate lowered to 12%), when the good ship Corporate Plunder ran aground, the good people in the Irish government gave them 70 billion euros.

I mean, seriously, they gave it to them. It was not a loan. They wont have to pay it back. Just "there you go, you cheeky scamps, don't spend it all on lollys".

And these are the sort of people who wouldn't give a beggar a buck in the snow.

I mean, I was personally a bit strapped for cash a year or two back and I asked Brian Cowan himself if he could lend me a few bucks for a few pints in his nation's lovely pubs.

Well, the reply I got from his personal secretary's staff clerk's assistant's secreatary is not printable even on this blog.

Hell, I was only trying to do the bastard a favour. The economy clearly badly needed a stimulus package to get it back up and running and nothing stimulates an economy like a Carlo Sands' drinking binge.

But no.

But a bunch of goddamn fucking thieves in suits who fucked the economy up in the first place give him a call and next thing you know its 70 billion pounds from the public coffers straight into the veins of the profit junkies.

And it all gets blown on debts and speculation. Soon as they get the cash, it's straight down to their dealer round the stock market and whole sad and pathetic cycle starts again.

With the cash not being spent on anything *actually* productive or useful, far from saving the economy, it drove it further into crisis. Unemployment has tripled since 2007, numbering hundreds of thousands. Wages are 20% lower than three years ago.

Mass migration, that terrible feature of Irish history that has foisted morbid, miserable Irish folk songs on innocent people all over the world, is raising its ugly head once more.

And, after it all, the government has found itself a little strapped for cash.

The solution? Pay for the bailout of the parasites by squeezing the fucking people that *actually* do something useful in society, that actually produce something of social value: brewery workers and bartenders.

And the working class in general, they were just the first that came to mind.

The problem is it wasn't even the government's cash to begin with. It was money provided by taxpayers.

And the rich in Ireland generally don't pay taxes (do they Bono?).

So the government gives the rich the working people's cash. Then, it makes up the balance by making the working people pay even more.

It follwed this up by slashing billions out of social services, cut funds to education and hike up tuition fees, slash public sector jobs, reduce pensions and increase taxes for ordinary people.

But that was still not enough, because the Irish government claims it still can't pay its loans to... the FUCKING BANKS.

The solution? Well, "dear banks, get fucked" is the one understandably that struck most Irish people, who polls say back a default.

Instead, the government went crawling on its knees to the International Monetary Fund and European Union and got 90 billion odd euros in a loan at high interest rates, in order to burden the Irish people minus the six counties claimed by Britain with *even more* debt it never asked for. (But don't worry, the six counties claimed by Britain are having to pay for debts racked up by the British government for handing billions of euros to British banks.)

And in return the cash, the government will lose economic sovereignty and hand the running of the day-to-day economy over to IMF and EU bureacrats *and* commits to implementing *further* savage spending cuts and other neoliberal austerity measures - of the sort that helped cause the fucking crisis in the first place.

This, you might think, may make people angry. Well, the government is on the verge of collapse an some 100,000 protested in Dublin on November 27 at this state of affairs.

The Mighty Stef goes further: "Let the downtrodden rise with a fire in their soul many times do you need to be told? We want blood!"

How to organise such a thing? I made some general suggestions on the issue of how to make the streets run scarlet red with the blood of the ruling class, followed by what may be best described as a "colourful" discussion in the comments section, in my post Could *this* be the wall?

But the practicalities are largely to do with Australia and the Irish people will have to find their own solutions. And, indeed, their own walls.

The Mighty Stef has rightly raised the issue and got the ball (if not yet the heads) rolling. And this from a man whose previous experience of protest songs was this effort in response to Ireland losing a football match to France in the "Hand of Frog" scandal.

But I like the Mighty Stef in general. Rough, raw and drunken... Irish, in other words. If you want to hear some more, here are three song suggestions (though I could list more):

Death Threats: "It's getting to the stage I guess I always knew it would, where I can't walk down my street. I'm getting death threats here, death threats there from everyone I meet..." Carlo Sands can relate, especially to the empty beer glasses in the film clip.

Poisonous Love: "I'll return, your jewelry, I'll return your keys. I'll return your records and your poxy DVDS. I'll give you back your innocence that you blindly gave to me, and I'll sink you to the bottom of the sea..." The Mighty Stef shows the mature way to deal with a relationship break up.

Waitin' round to die: "I came of age and I met a girl in a Tuscaloosa bar, she cleaned me out and hit it on the sly. I tried to kill the pain, I bought some wine, hopped a train..." The Mighty Stef teams up with Shane MacGowan to cover Townes Van Zandt's classic.

Or you could just get on with the task of spilling their blood.

"Coz I've heard all the lies that I'm ever gonna wanna hear... we want blood!" Accoustic fury this time.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Alcohol: a love song (part two)

Ealier this year, I published a post entitled Alcohol: a love song. It was about what I described as "one of the great all-time love songs — an ode to a tempestuous but profound love affair".

The song in question was Gogol Bordello's "Alcohol". It remains untouched in its raw passion and commitment to love, whatever the consequences.

It may not be matched, but loyal readers of this blog deserve a sequel. It comes courtesy of North Carolina outlaw country outfit Bourbon Crow, from their first album in 2006, appropriately titled "Highway to Hangovers".

Bourbon Crow take their country seriously, as any decent person should. They have deep respect for the outlaw legends, such as Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard.

And they know that every country song worth anything is marked by referrence to one thing above all others: booze. Not uncommonly, booze is coupled with heartache. Hell, in Haggard's classic Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down, booze *is the source* of the heartache.

(I realise country music is renown for its relationship with misery, but that is truly the saddest song I've ever heard. I discuss it in my post Merle Haggard, country music and a dystopian nightmare that speaks to our deepest fears.)

Bourbon Crow stand, swaying unsteadily, in this proud tradition.

And they have produced a fine ode to alcohol, in which they defiantly defend it against the slanders poured on it ("and you get all the blame") and defiantly declare their love ("Alcohol is awesome, so fucking awesome").

At times like this, with serious suggestions of raising the drinking age to 21 in this godforsaken country, we need such public stances more than ever.

Still,it is not going all the way of the prohibitionists. An important victory was scored recently when the City of Sydney was forced to back down on enforcing a midnight closing times on pubs.

This is an important victory, if only because I could not have otherwise been in Petersham's Livingston Hotel on Saturday morning at 5am trying to convince some bloke I just met from Kent that I was an Argentine in order to try and pick a fight over the Falklands.

So, listen to this song with a drink to celebrate our victories and to remind ourselves why we fight the bastards trying to stop us drinking.

"As far as I'm concerned, AA stands for alcohol... is awesome"

Alcohol is Awesome

Dear alcohol last night we had a ball
i lost my left shoe
don't worry i don't blame you
your my best friend
there til the end

i love the the way that you taste
you put a smile on my face
and you get all the blame
as far as im concerned
A.A. stands for alcohol is awesome

all my friends are worried about me
they say i need a meeting
they say i got a problem
i don't have a problem
they said thats half the problem
and you get all the blame
as far as im concerned
A.A. stands for alcohol is awesome

alcohol is awesome
so fuckin awesome (keep repeating)

and you get all the blame
as far as I'm concerned
A.A. stands for alcohol is awesome

alcohol is awesome
so fuckin awesome (keep repeating)

If you want more Bourbon Corw on the importance of being drunk, there are a few more songs:
Alcohol Express ("Yes it's true, alcohol I love you")
In the Mood for a Drinkin' Song ("My girl has left me and my money's almost gone... and I'm just in the mood for a drinkin' song")
Ol Whisky Mountain ("I got this ol' guitar and a bottle of jack. I've got no plans, but I've got no regrets, so line 'em up bar tender, aint even started yet")
A Dead Body ("I'm too drunk to dig this grave, I've been drinkin for 17 days, and I'm livin the American dream, a dead body and the bottle of beam..." - this one truly sums up Carlo Sands' life)