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Robin Carmody
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I think that culture would, as you say, be hardline anti-Islam had it somehow survived and remained a dominant majority culture. Its Islamophile leanings might partially come out of a determination to distinguish itself, to be different - but also I do think there is a genuine crossover in terms of devotion and way of life, certainly much more so than there is with the - in their own lives - overwhelmingly secular and morally relaxed white Corbynites.
Toggle Commented Apr 19, 2019 on Last loneliest loveliest lacerated at RosieBell
I know that culture - or what little remains of it; its remnants, shall we say - doesn't really like living next door to Muslims, but its echoes and ghost today it can show a good deal of sympathy out of shared social conservatism, c.f. Peter Hitchens' response to the Trojan Horse affair in Birmingham. A variant of this is David Lindsay's idea that what we call "the West", defined largely by pop culture, is in fact "the pseudo-West" and Russia is a dominant force in "the Biblical/Classical True West". But these views are on the fringe of the fringe, and the dominant "foreigners out" lot in Dorset, and everywhere like it, will continue to think Roy Orbison and Gene Pitney came from Piddletrenthide ...
Toggle Commented Apr 19, 2019 on Last loneliest loveliest lacerated at RosieBell
I know I keep saying the same thing, but it simply seems to me that the two "sides" in the West have taken the wrong side, or rather the one has taken the wrong side and trapped the other into doing the same for fear of how it might come over otherwise - the Right has taken an anti-Muslim stance when, if it were truly conservative rather than populist, market-led and pop-culture-driven, it would be Islamophile if anything, and as a consequence the Left has been trapped into supporting people who really stand for everything it says it doesn't. But this is the central problem: those who drone on about "bloody foreigners coming over here telling us what to do" have a culture which, in Britain at least (NZ isn't quite the same thing because it is a created society), is every bit as foreign as the culture of Left-liberals, if not more so. Here in Dorset, the people who'd take the greatest pride about not living among Muslims have elevated "Hotel California" to the level of "Linden Lea", which latter they've never heard of. Those who *do* know what "Linden Lea" is are far less anti-Muslim (and more Remain-voting) for the most part.
Toggle Commented Mar 19, 2019 on Last loneliest loveliest lacerated at RosieBell
I might also add that, in 2000, George W. Bush's misleading "compassionate conservatism" image enabled him to win the majority of the American Muslim vote - they responded to his emphasis on small-c conservative social values. Obviously, this was the year before the political era began when it would become effectively impossible for the more Right-leaning of the largest parties to win the majority of the Muslim vote in pretty much any majority-white country, but it shows what *could* have been achieved had the modern Right taken a different path.
Toggle Commented Mar 19, 2019 on Last loneliest loveliest lacerated at RosieBell
See also Libby Purves in the Times just after the 2005 London bombings: "Much of the society that Muslims long for looks uncannily like the Britain we threw away". It is just that Murdoch was as central in that throwing-away as any soixante-huitard academic ...
Toggle Commented Mar 19, 2019 on Last loneliest loveliest lacerated at RosieBell
Indeed, I would say that the obsessive anti-Muslim stance of modern "conservatism" has only come about *precisely because* Rightists have embraced elements of pop culture which they once would have regarded as beneath them. This is something that some Leftists who are both pro-Islam and pro-pop - arguably a contradiction in terms - cannot face. Those few Rightists who maintain the traditional conservative view of pop culture - Peter Hitchens, Peter Oborne, Edward Leigh I think (or whoever it was who wrote the "Muslims are right about Britain" piece) - are Islamophile if anything. But they are so marginal now that Leftists have been trapped into supporting an ideology that really goes against their own, just as they were with Roman Catholicism at the time of my birth.
Toggle Commented Mar 19, 2019 on Last loneliest loveliest lacerated at RosieBell
"Why don't these guys listen to Mozart or visit cathedrals to celebrate this western civilisation?" This is the thing: most of what these people like would not have been considered part of "western civilisation" only a relatively short time ago. It would, itself, have been seen as an alien threat. Breivik called himself Andrew Berwick, like a thousand non-Anglosphere pop and rock musicians, and was drawn to England because he knew that droning on about "bloody foreigners" while living a life completely dominated by American media and mass culture, as he did, would not be seen as hypocritical here as it would in most of Europe. I like some of that stuff as well, but I don't construct the clash-of-civilisations rhetoric (from either side).
Toggle Commented Mar 18, 2019 on Last loneliest loveliest lacerated at RosieBell
I've only ever been through Andover once and it was a dreadful, traumatic End of Childhood day which I prefer not to think about. The other main route to/from Waterloo, on the other hand ...
Relevantly to the early 60s, listening to David Rodigan's invariably excellent 1Xtra show (the one first broadcast on Sun 25 Nov and on BBC Sounds for some time to come) he mentioned that he had a Shadows EP and then said "don't even go there" and just mumbled while the artist he was interviewing seemed wholly baffled by the reference: clearly, he's still on the run from the very last years when there actually were hundreds of steam-hauled branch lines, the world he is among the youngest - along with his antithesis, Hitchens Minor; they might actually have met in Oxford later in the decade - actually to remember.
Toggle Commented Dec 2, 2018 on Sunday Night Ordeal at RosieBell
'Cover Her Face' was written in 1962, the first of the Dalgliesh novels, and it already feels like something of a stretch to move the setting to the mid-1980s when the TV version was produced. Not much later it would have *had* to be done as a period piece, I think; certainly, the updated Jennings reprints and Blyton TV adaptations of my own childhood around 1990 wouldn't have worked within a few years. The next one they made, 'The Black Tower', was only a decade old at the time of production and feels like the product of a different era, with drug smuggling and Art Malik. But those P.D. James works, as I said on Facebook, are the "hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way" of their field, just as the Northern English side of Classical British Television is the "all the lonely people, where do they all belong".
Toggle Commented Dec 2, 2018 on Sunday Night Ordeal at RosieBell
I see. Since posting the above I completed 'Cover Her Face' - the thing about those is the sheer bleakness and sadness and repression of the lives depicted, the sort of thing that makes you swear off all the resentment you might have felt at the current hegemony of pop culture and Americanisation among that class.
Toggle Commented Nov 27, 2018 on Sunday Night Ordeal at RosieBell
Do you like the P.D. James Adam Dalgliesh adaptations? (I'm going through those at the moment.)
Toggle Commented Nov 27, 2018 on Sunday Night Ordeal at RosieBell
To some extent that is easier to understand now that we know Windsor (the invariably Tory seat in which I believe Eton is now located; it used to be in with much more Labour-leaning, and Leave-voting, Slough, which Fenner Brockway lost against the national trend in 1964 by literally a handful of votes, few enough I think that he'd have held on if you'd taken the Eton masters out), Westminster and much of the Home Counties agree with Scotland on EU membership, and most of the North except some atypical (because heavily Irish Catholic-influenced) cities and equally atypical never-industrial affluent areas does not. I still notice a definite indifference towards racism among many Scottish nationalists in my experience, though - not *caring* if large swathes of the English population might find it harder to identify themselves or fit in if they had their way. Happily, as I say, that seemingly is not quite as urgent a worry as it was, even in an era with more such things than ever.
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2018 on I have a right because I have at RosieBell
Must apologise if I am going on and on, but also relevant to this matter is the tendency of Scottish nationalists to refer to English people, as a whole, as "Nigels" and to England, as a whole, as "Englandshire" - in other words, actively pretending that the very people who created British hip-hop and grime, the people in England who would suffer most heavily and profoundly from Scottish independence, don't exist.
Toggle Commented Aug 21, 2018 on I have a right because I have at RosieBell
"even smaller BAME perspective" = "even smaller BAME population" (was inspired to post that by one of those scare stories about deaths at raves in a 1995 Reporting Scotland clip just added to YouTube, and how it fitted with earlier topics of discussion)
Toggle Commented Aug 20, 2018 on I have a right because I have at RosieBell
But to get back to the Scottish situation, it is a fact that in the 1990s dance music in Scotland diverged from that in England to take a much less black-influenced form, and the pride some indy supporters seem to take in that is to me well suspect (and certainly the fact that it doesn't seem to ruffle many Leftist feathers is proof that the definition of "Left" never altered in Scotland, as discussed before - I don't agree with the claim of someone on Digital Spy that it might only be as simple as that there is a smaller BAME population in Scotland, because it never seemed that way from my own perspective, and there is probably an even smaller BAME perspective in my part of England).
Toggle Commented Aug 20, 2018 on I have a right because I have at RosieBell
Might also say: this sort of London arrogance isn't too far different from people in the USA not taking even London rap seriously because they can't get what they've seen on PBS & Avengers reruns out of their heads, which people in London quite rightly dismiss and get infuriated by ...
Toggle Commented Aug 20, 2018 on I have a right because I have at RosieBell
I can believe that. Certainly, it is a marked tendency for the very same people who are mocked by small-c conservatives in their own nations or regions also to be mocked by those who see themselves as the defenders of the street culture, the guardians of urban/multiracial authenticity. There is a definite tendency for people within the urban/street cultures to find common enemies with the Daily Mail/Tory right (in England) and the more insular and conservative nationalists (in Scotland) - what all those cultures have in common is that they believe in the absolute purity and immunity from outside influences of their particular forms of expression, and they have a shared antipathy (in the case of English & Scottish cultural conservatives and nationalists for being too Left-wing, in the case of the street cultures for not being Left-wing *enough*) to those both would sneer at as "liberals". I've come across people who loudly and ostentatiously take an anti-Mail stance who are nonetheless horrified, for fear of an abuse of its own "authenticity", at the thought of rap even being *heard* in the shires (these are rural English references, not Scottish ones, for the obvious reason that they're the ones most relevant to my own life and those who seek to restrict, for whatever reasons, what I might do). So I would certainly agree that elements of the London scene have jealously guarded their music and sometimes invoked tedious old stereotypes of Scotland to deride someone like Loki in a manner you'd expect, as I say, more from the Mail itself than from those who the Mail would see as cultural enemies - there's a very nasty comment about the Liverpool accent in rap on a YouTube clip I was looking at the other day, for a start (again, redolent of the "they're all workshy scallies who rob hubcaps" line you get from people who ***hate all rap, wherever it's from***). It's as if they can't see that they're not the only people in the UK who live in poverty and oppression - maybe the closeness to extreme wealth and opulence and power (though note Kensington's once-unthinkable swing away from the Tories, entirely to punish them for Brexit), which you obviously won't find so much in Liverpool or Glasgow, heightens the sense of social isolation for London's poor and makes them feel special ... yes, *entitled*. And I would never dispute the creativity and vitality of what is made in London; it is a unique mix and it rightly inspires many. But sometimes its dismissal of hip-hop from other environments and cultures within the UK & Ireland is, as I say, unhealthily redolent of a Mail-reading white flighter in Essex, the very people who in unguarded moments will say they moved to get away from the very people who created grime. And I can see that he feels forced to self-identify as Scottish in terms of culture more because the culture he initially came from rejected him than because he wanted to align himself with people who he knows full well are often as anti-hip-hop as the Mail itself - this is exactly what had happened (partially reversed now, it seems at least) within the Mail-reading mainstream, with pointless, stupid jokes and codified resentments in England turning many ***who never really wanted independence*** away from a Britishness that they had mostly been brought up to identify with and aspire towards, so it is dispiriting to see it happening also in a culture which self-identifies by its difference from that mainstream and how much that mainstream dislikes it.
Toggle Commented Aug 20, 2018 on I have a right because I have at RosieBell
The other classic example of this syndrome is the "right" to smoke whenever and wherever you please (which even many, if not most, smokers have now given up - I hope, anyway). I may well have said this in the comments here, or somewhere else, before, but I think the reason why some independence supporters don't like Loki is that, beneath their Left-leaning facade, they have the same idea of what an independent Scotland should be like culturally as the Right-wingers in England who want Scottish independence so as to narrow and close up English society have of England: that is to say, a land without rap. On other forums I've seen independence supporters positively boast about the lower sales of some songs in the "urban" genre in Scotland, and actively suggest that such music is being "imposed" on the Scottish airwaves by an English-dominated media - they openly say they want to use Scottish independence as a platform, an excuse, for legalised radio apartheid. So much for progressive internationalist nationalism, that strange paradox they always say they've mastered. Happily, Corbyn & Davidson have between them taken a lot of the wind out of their sails. But as I say, I think the fact that he's a rapper is the reason why they don't like him. They are as determined to marginalise and ghettoise such music in Scotland as the Mail, the Tory right etc. are in England. It's two-tier Scottishness all over with them, the more dangerously because they pretend otherwise in a way their English counterparts don't. Some years ago now, I had to break off relations with a Scottish blogger because he very much took the stance that "no hip-hop in this Aberdeenshire village" is more progressive and more excusable than "no hip-hop in this Dorset village", and I thought that was a dangerous double standard. That was my awakening (2011) - only a short time before that, I'd actually believed something similar. Now that Middle Scotland has swung back to the party of Middle England, I suspect many fewer English Leftists than previously will regard such a double standard as acceptable.
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2018 on I have a right because I have at RosieBell
Very interesting. Beyond that, it's great to see you blogging again, Rosie.
Toggle Commented Jul 29, 2018 on Lees-Milne on Churchill at RosieBell
... in other words, Blatchford is the main originator of the tendency that people like Neil Clark, David Lindsay, Steve Hall and Ken Bell are all, in their varying ways, part of - people who were right behind Corbyn until grime artists got behind him, which for them was an active case against. I once baffled a supposed expert on this territory by describing Manic Street Preachers' "Elvis Impersonator, Blackpool Pier" as "not merely Hoggartist, but authentically *Blatchfordian*" - and he even thought the former must be a reference to Simon.
Toggle Commented Feb 12, 2018 on The Cycling Pankhursts at RosieBell
re. the last line of your quote here, Blatchford was very much the original Daily Mail Socialist.
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2018 on The Cycling Pankhursts at RosieBell
Yes, that is one of the great paradoxes of the SNP's rise. (re. Scottish nationalism being an eccentricity a century ago; just as proportional representation at Westminster almost went through both during WW1 and then after it, before WW1 a plan to devolve a significant amount of power to Edinburgh, after a lot of pressure in the later Victorian & Edwardian periods, was close to going through, but went on the backburner when Britain went to war for obvious reasons, and if anything Scottish nationalism came to be seen as considerably more eccentric than it had been in the Victorian & Edwardian eras because the sense of Britishness had been greatly enhanced by the wars ... although now it is the Scots, who at least in purest and oldest ethnic terms - lot more mixing in both places today, obviously - have far less German descent than the English, who seem less psychologically affected by *that* aspect of those wars' long-term legacy). But yes, there is a strange dissonance between an electorate which invokes *political* nationalism without taking the same cultural stance, indeed seeing the former as more and more natural and the latter as more and more alien (often associating it with the post-WW2 years when Scotland was seen as more socially conservative and less progressive than England). Looking at an old 'British Hit Singles' earlier today I chanced upon a reference (it appeared on an EP which charted in 1990) to a Runrig song called "Satellite Flood", whose lyrics are indeed a warning of what Sky was poised and ready to do (in part because the British state did not act in defence of its own alternative), and if the SNP were still very largely supported by people who felt that way about mass culture (as they pretty much were in 1990, I think) they'd have a fraction of the representation they do. They couldn't have got where they are without winning the support of large numbers of tabloid readers & Sky viewers, thus diluting what the "movement" was originally identified with. In the case of Maoris taking back their culture it may have had (this could be off-beam: you were there, after all, and I was neither there nor then) something to do with the decline of the British imperial cultural model, which (as with Scottish nationalism *as it was then defined*) made the embrace of a historic sense of who they were make more sense - opened the void for it to fill, so to speak - while, as in England and among the majority of Scots who saw no use for the SNP, the mass of the population followed more and more the American model. Latvia is a separate story; the folk culture there, as elsewhere in the Soviet bloc, had obviously been obliterated by different forces, the mighty year-zero state rather than the mighty year-zero free market, and the former proved (although only a short time earlier many would have said the opposite) infinitely easier to wipe out in one go than the latter (which would provide a greater threat than they had once imagined, in its turn - although I do not blame them for clinging to the West in the face of the neo-'volkisch' nationalism of Putin, and hoping desperately that America's own turn to nationalism - a different thing from all other nationalisms because it is, for obvious reasons, much less defined against the global mass culture - won't leave them at its mercy). But there is no imaginable starting point, no possible basis or origin, for anything remotely like any of those things in the part of England I live in, where any sense of localism is strictly a heritage fantasy, seen as completely incompatible with any aspect of modern culture (even among the relatively middle-aged) in a manner which makes, say, Liverpool seem like the most localist place in the world (especially among the young). I would say there is less of a chance of any kind of renaissance of strong identity in my area - with all it would anticipate politically - than just about anywhere else; Brexit, whatever others might say, is *because* of rock music not despite it, and that kind of fake-flaggery is about as far as things are ever going to get. The combination of global clonery with bull-headed pseudo-nationalism here is highly representative of most of modern England, outside the largely Remain-voting major cities and bohemian/intellectual enclaves, and is about as far from Maori or Latvian renaissances as could be imagined. But then, we ran the Empire ... LOTR is obviously a huge reason for NZ's appeal to young, hip types worldwide (far removed from the rather stuffy old English types who used to be associated with it) although in the British TV of my childhood it always seemed less wannabe-American and less slick than the quasi-California of Neighbours & Home and Away ... more where Worzel Gummidge and Black Beauty ended up, and that may have planted a seed in the minds of the liberal types who (with good reason) find it so appealing now.
Any English-speaking country of NZ's size will have natural difficulties establishing its own film industry and indeed popular cultural industry generally, but the country seems to me to have grown and asserted itself sufficiently that such things are now necessary, that its people would feel incomplete without them. Around 2003-05 it had the most successful run of locally-generated hip-hop and R&B ever in the mainstream charts of any Anglophone country outside the United States, which probably reflected the low levels of physical single sales - as elsewhere - at that point, making it easier for music of relative niche appeal to cross over in such a way (certainly the current singles charts consist very largely of the global iTunes/Spotify staples; as everywhere else, the album charts are more local, but then they skew much, much older) but was an interesting example of a culture regenerating itself. The way you talk of "hedged and cottaged England haunting the English imagination" reminds me of the unrealistic expectations some people in the main population centres have of what it could possibly be in the modern world, and specifically the way Joss Stone's career died here (while continuing to thrive abroad) because she started speaking in an American accent, which has done no harm to the careers of multiple singers from the main population centres. It was as if people had an expectation that Devon could possibly remain immune from such things, the very same people who'd be horrified if anyone suggested that, if they moved from, say, the West Midlands to Devon, they'd have to leave satellite TV and social media behind (which is, of course, what you would have to do if these areas were still going to be what people imagine them to be). As an inhabitant of such a part of England, I can speak from direct experience that it is little more than a global clone, which culturally differs from the most populated areas only in terms of ethnicity - and if you think (as I do) that that doesn't really matter, you have to wonder why it still holds such a place in people's minds if not for racially-motivated reasons, because there is nothing else to maintain the illusion of difference when you have to see it day to day. And then, of course, there is Isaiah Dreads ... The appropriation/fusion stuff reminds me of a piece I've written for Shiraz Socialist - although unlike my other, shorter polemical piece, it has yet to appear - in which I address explicitly the way I used to be criticised for the same reasons (listening to global black pop in what they both thought, even if for different reasons, was the "wrong" place) by authenticists of both Left and Right.
Ah, I thought you were thinking of my Facebook status almost immediately after his death, where I framed his spirit of pluralism very much as what we would need to invoke to stay in the EU. The thing with Bowie is that his range of reference points and inspirations was so broad that, to some extent, he was whatever you wanted him to be; black American music was also always very important to him, and while recording 'Blackstar' he was by all accounts listening to Kendrick Lamar, about whom many Guardianistas hold views indistinguishable from Mailite ones. So everyone will have their own interpretation; as ever, I'll be the only one to see all sides and not be partisan towards any.
Toggle Commented Jan 16, 2016 on Will you stay in our lovers' story? at RosieBell