June 2014

Kate Tempest’s Cannibal Kids

Kate Tempest’s brilliant rap poem reminds us that the roots of ‘youth violence’ lies in the violence of a world made by the establishment and the powerful. The poem does not excuse the violence of the ‘cannibal kids’ but points out that their spiritual stepfathers are the cannibal capitalists who maintain the structure of violence.

I couldn’t find a transcription anywhere on the web so I transcribed it myself. There were a couple of bits I didn’t hear properly so I put [?] question marks in those places.

‘Round here, these cannibal kids want to be kings
But there ain’t no royalty left
‘Cause round here the sirens and screams float on the wind
and even the street shudders afraid of our footsteps
‘Round here, these cannibal kids want to be kings
But there ain’t no royalty left
‘Cause round here the sirens and screams float on the wind
and even the street shudders yes even the street shudders
‘Round here, these cannibal kids want to be kings
They don’t know that kindness is courage
Or that sympathy sings much louder than violence
They are bitter and drained. Eyes of ice stare from figures of flames
They, puff chested, restless, nameless, they carry their pains
To the point ob being painless; these numb ones, young ones
The new latchkeys of London just soaking up that humdrum
That makes them want to run from the state they’re in
Powerless, penniless, feathers clipped
They find eagle’s wings in the derelict brotherhood of gang life
That bang bang life that shouts louder than a sarcastic teacher clapping hands twice
And staring down a frightened nose
See, they learned that respect comes from striking a pose that demands it
But I know respect and fear are not compatible
But they’s a long way from bat and ball
They don’t play they let daggers fall
From blood-soaked fingers while their siblings lie bleeding in hallways dead.
But like wisdom has always said, blood begets blood
And keeps spilling so the pavements are stained and our hearts are grief-stricken.
‘Cause ’round here, these cannibal kids want to be kings. But there ain’t no royalty left

No, ’cause round here the sirens and screams float on the wind
and even the street shudders yes even the street shudders
While that paranoid panic that goes seeping through the granite of the breeze blocks
Is turning our cities into sheep flocks
See me have pity those whose knees knock
The victims of the media machine, them poor souls who’ve forgotten how to dream
See, see that cut-throat mentality, that gets encourages in business
They tell you, to be a success you gotta step on some necks
So big money is made through that ruthless pursuit and while they [?]
Their jaded kids [?]
Now we were born into these blood-soaked cities of industry
Informed of the savagery, the infamy, barbarity of history.
Controlled and contrived and depressed and tested and stressed out and vexed
It’s a message we’ve been fed so we could propagate their system of division, inhibition, viciousness and contradiction
We were suckled on the milk that they soured
Told the future was ours and them disembowelled and dis-empowered
We’ve been disgraced, deafened and deflowered
Our brains brutalised and all the fires devoured
So now they’re shooting guns and robbing cash and trying to claw it all back
But when the whole thing shatters it always starts with a little crack
And them splinters, they stretch out for miles
Pointing fingers at smart dressed men with wry crocodile smiles
But still we get the blame
Told that life is all exchange told that we are the children of capital
That we are the children of apathy, that we the children of this rapidly changing reality
But I say, we learn it from them, from their rules and their ways
For their legitimate businesses deceive, and disgrace
While us, we do what we can because we live in this place
Where the truth can’t be seen in the face.

Addendum: Having done that I’ve just found a proper transcription on the web .. a pdf that include some of Kate’s other poems. Much recommended: h Having done that I’ve just found a proper transcription on the web .. a pdf that include some of Kate’s other poems. Much recommended:


Mugabe – An African Hero?

This video proposes that although Mugabe is a dictator he has been uniquely successful at taking down white rule in his country and while it is common to blame his policies for the dire state of the Zimbabwe economy much of this has been caused by UK/US sanctions initiated under Bush.

President Robert Mugabe is the greatest black statesman alive today in Africa. Greatness here must be evaluated on the criteria of whether the person who claims the position of leadership of his or her people against colonialism, apartheid and white rule has been able to guide the nation to greater liberation, dignity and independence.
If we judged only on these criteria, not on the whims of popularity gained from affability and praise by Europe and the US, then Mugabe stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Therefore, his comments on Nelson Mandela’s legacy need to be taken seriously. Today it can be said with a measure of confidence that Zimbabwe is the only liberated black nation in sub-Saharan Africa. This liberation has been archived through a long and ongoing battle, with lots of mistakes on the way. Mugabe has been able to maintain strategic inflexibility with brilliant tactical manoeuvres.

This description seems pretty outrageous given the UK media’s portrayal of Robert Mugabe as the ‘Black Hitler’ however if the arguments in the article are correct Mugabe deserves the recognition it gives him as Africa’s most successful freedom fighter. At 90, and three years older than Castro, he is undoubtedly the world’s most enduring leader. The article compares Mugabe’s strategy with Mandela’s suggesting that Mandala’s conciliatory strategy left the white coropratocracy in economic control.

Art or Porn

Une artiste expose son sexe sous «L'origine du… by quoi2news

“Tasteless,sexist and simplistic thinking. There is much more to women’s issues than vaginas. We should be more focused on personhood than body parts.” according to one commenter. I replied:

“I don’t think it’s intended to be about ‘women’s issues’. DeRobertis says it’s a matter of context. She does not replicate the pose in the painting she attempts to replicate it’s confrontational aspect. What does her display and our reaction say about her ‘personhood’ and ours? The painting is entirely focused on a vagina, the rest of the woman has disappeared. Like it or not DeRobertis restores the woman as present and as a person. I would not advocate a repetition of this act but it does seem to be a valid response to the painting.”

Source: Huffpost

I think there is probably an interesting discussion to be had here.

Personal Status Update

Two weeks, 29th May, ago I sent an email to an old friend Bill – essentially updating him on my life. I am reproducing that update here as a kind of status report:

Dear Bill,
Thanks for your belated birthday greetings. This is my belated reply to that and your other posts. I can’t in fact find the birthday post now but I remember you mentioned there and in your post about the coup that had sprained your wrist. I hope that you have now recovered from that. I recall that you asked about my retirement and I thought that recently my retirement has not seemed very relaxed.
This morning in London is wet and grey. No, just grey. It has been wet since Monday but today, so far, it’s just grey. I have about an hour before I set off to Tooting to take my mother out. I do this two or three times a week. My sister has her twice a week and we get people from an agency to take her out two or three days a week also. She manages on her own during the evenings and nights but since about this time last year we have made sure she does not go out on her own. Last year there were a number of incidents where we were called because she had been stopped by shop security for shoplifting and the community police had been called. Also she fainted while out five times and had to be taken to hospital. After taking her off some of the medication mother seems to have stopped shoplifting and the fainting has stopped. We also ensure she eats more adequately.
Mother still goes out to the local shops on her own, in particular the local Lidl where she buys foodstuff and groceries she does not need and which we have to dispose of later. From time to time my sister or I will visit to tidy the house while she is out with someone else as mum is resistant to ‘being controlled’. Despite the Alzheimer’s she is generally contented with life, we, my sister in particular, are more stressed by her condition.
I came home at 1:00 am last night having taken Lisa to the hospital in Chelsea where we were joined later by Sandy after she finished work. Lisa is in the last stages of a difficult pregnancy which has involved gestational diabetes that the doctors are worried about. When I am not with my mother I make myself available to give whatever support I can. Sandy is supporting Lisa by spending much of her time at the new and larger home in New Addington where Lisa, Dane and Xavier moved to with Anita, Orin and the others in the family.
Sandy of course has her own longstanding diabetes issues and is doing her best to cope with the pressures of this and her job. Again, I give whatever support I can. I currently have no overt health issues apart from some dental problems.
My retirement for work is not complete. Every summer I have managed courses as part of Newham’s Summer School Programme. I was doing this as part of my job with the youth service and continued as an independent contractor when I left. It’s not a big deal and this year involves running only six courses over four weeks. This is the same as last year but less than in previous years as cutbacks have affected even this more prestigious council provision that unlike the youth service is seen as structured, more formal and more successful in getting kids involved.
[At this point I save my missive as a draft and set off for Tooting. Coming back a little after 5:00 pm I pour myself a lager]
Since the beginning of this month I have been running after school clubs for kids in a local primary school on Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s been somewhat frustrating since I’m running computer/Internet based activities and the computers don’t work properly. The school boasts a computer room with about eighteen computers but some of these don’t work, the space is very cramped for my groups of 14 and 28 kids, the machines are running Windows XP with Internet Explorer and there are restrictions on access to websites that I need to use. I have to say that the organisation is poor though the manager means well and I am grateful for the opportunity to get back to working with kids even though I have to deal with their understandable frustration over the problems. The money will be useful but I know that I have accepted the work because working with kids stimulates my creativity. I’ve relaunched my NYPO, http://nypo.org, website and project to support work with the group.
I help a local charity, http://stepupcharity.org.uk with their website which I designed and manage. I’m doing this mainly to develop my own skills in setting up and managing websites. All the work I’ve mentioned so far I do as an independent provider with my Netstorms Limited company. This does not make much money because I have not been sufficiently proactive about it but it has not lost me anything and perhaps adds about £2k to £3k to my annual income. In addition to this I offer ‘non-managerial supervision’ sessions to three Informal Education students from the YMCA’s George Williams College. I have been doing this work for the college for the past 25 years.
All of this does not add up to a full time job, except during the four weeks in Summer, and leaves me plenty of time to waste. Maybe it gives me an excuse to waste time. I know I waste a lot of time sitting at the computer browsing the Internet. Sporadically I wake early for a morning run. Each Wednesday evening I attend a three hour Tai-Chi and Qigong class. This is as far as my spiritual discipline goes at the moment. I think about politics and post stuff to Facebook that most people ignore. I notice that some of my political posts do not appear and wonder if I am being watched and censored by the powers that be. I have not been following the situation in Thailand but since John Kerry condemned the coup I am inclined to think, pending further evidence, that it may have been good or necessary. I have been following the situation in Ukraine with considerable interest; the hypocrisy of Obama, Hague, Cameron et al. in supporting the violent fascist coup in Kiev while condemning the ‘pro-Russian’ separatists in East Ukraine and Russia for annexing Crimea has been the most wondrous example of ‘doublethink’. Those of us who get our news as analysis from the alternative media rather than sound-bites for the mainstream media (MSM) have long seen through the scam that the mainstream politicians, with the collusion of the MSM, is playing on us but this is now being seen by the general population whose most notable vote in the recent council and EU elections was their refusal to vote. Those who bothered to vote gave the victory in the EU elections to UKIP.

Since I wrote that the most significant change is that Lisa gave birth on Friday – 6th June. Here is a picture of baby with me and Sandy: