The Ambridge Socialist: ‘good orgasm’ vote

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2014 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist

20th August

The Ambridge Socialist Good Orgasm guide

Responding to a piece from Ulysses on Radio 4’s Broadcasting House last weekend Patricia Greene [aka Jill Archer] noted ‘good orgasm’. But who is the most likely Ambridge candidate for a ‘good orgasm?

Vote Here:


Prince Harry, Oliver Cromwell & Beer

In Uncategorized on August 19, 2014 by kmflett

Prince Harry, Oliver Cromwell & beer

I was at the Great British Beer Festival last Thursday. Another person, amongst thousands, who was there was, according to the Daily Mail, Prince Harry. It appears he may have drunk some beer and played a pub game or two.

The publicity can do CAMRA and the GBBF little but good. One wonders if real ale will come by Royal Appointment in future.

Of course for ardent Red Republicans like myself there is something of an objection to Royalty….

But the point, which I make from time to time in the columns of What’s Brewing, is that the thing about beer is that it is one of the few things which can genuinely claim to be ‘all in it together’ in terms of who can drink it.

The politics of beer and of the Beerage are a very different matter and I’ve made recent points about the moral economy of beer.

But what about the republican tradition and beer?

If we look back to the English Revolution in 1649 the question is posed whether Cromwell was a beer fan or not.

At that time water was not particularly safe to drink and beer was an alternative so it would’ve been more widely consumed, in that sense, than today.

Cromwell was a Puritan, a radical, somebody today who might be called a religious fundamentalist. That however is a very broad label.

Cromwell certainly did shut down some pubs and frown upon excessive celebrations which involved drinking.
He was however definitely not an early temperance campaigner.

In fact Cromwell came from a Huntingdon brewing family and that itself was the source of some comment to the effect that a brewer could become head of State, including a poem.

So if Prince Harry is reminding us of the links between Royalty and beer, we can also reflect that the alternative republican tradition was also very much in favour of it.

In short while the hard right in both the US and the UK are keen these days to find things that prove, in their view, that the political right and left inhabit different planets, there are in fact, despite many, often fundamental disagreements, things that many can enjoy across the spectrum.

One of those is beer, notwithstanding the, mostly, honourable traditions of temperance and abstinence from alcohol.


Campaigners say purpose & future of Julian Assange’s beard remains uncertain

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front
Press release 18th August contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Campaigners say purpose & future of Assange’s beard remains unclear
The Beard Liberation Front the informal network of beard wearers has said that Julian Assange’s beard, on display again today at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, remains as problematic and enigmatic as it was when it received its first public airing back in April 2013.

The campaigners say that Assange remains a controversial figure with a range of people for a range of different reasons and it is difficult to unequivocally state that his beard presents a positive public image, a key BLF criteria.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said some might say that Assange has a classic anti-imperialist beard but the reality is that its length indicates that regular trimming has taken place over the last year and more. It is not really clear what image or style Assange is trying to present and he seems reluctant to clarify the matter


What the BLF said last year
11th April 2013
The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers that campaigns against beardism, has urged Wikileaks activist Julian Assange, who has taken refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, to clarify why he has grown a beard.

The campaigners say that Assange has been pictured with a beard on film maker Oliver Stone’s twitter feed, after he visited him in the Embassy last Thursday.

It is unclear whether Assange sees little point in shaving in captivity, if the beard, which is designerish in style, is a fashion statement, or if he is making a more serious statement of hirsute rebellion

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said At the moment Julian Assange’s new facial hair is a beard of uncertainty and he needs to clarify matters urgently


Paxman must come clean on beards & the BBC at Edinburgh Show

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front
Press release 18th August contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Campaigners say Paxman must come clean on beards & the BBC at Edinburgh show
The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has said that it is hoping Jeremy Paxman will at last come clean on the subject of Beards and the BBC as he presents his one man show at the Pleasance in Edinburgh this week.

Paxman appeared on Newsnight with a beard on 12th August 2013 and warned at the time that pogonophobia is still a significant issue in the media.

Paxman’s decision to present the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme with a beard challenged but did not break the mould.

He shaved the beard over Xmas 2013 and appeared clean shaven again in January 2014. There are suggestions that he was under pressure from clean shaven suits at New Broadcasting House to lose the beard.

Subsequently Newsnight has been presented just twice by a man with a beard, LBC presenter James O’Brien in August 2014.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, One year on it is time for Paxman to come clean about the beard. Was his determination to present Newsnight with it the final straw that led to his departure in June this year? How much BBC pressure did he get to shave it off?


some thoughts on the moral economy of beer: not a Heineken of a concept

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2014 by kmflett

Some thoughts on the moral economy of beer

I was at the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia as it kicked off last Tuesday afternoon. I’ve been at nearly everyone since I attended the Covent Garden beer festival in 1975 as a mere youth [albeit I was over 18 even then]

There is no question, as a well-known beer writer with a beard noted to me on Tuesday, that it is an institution. Here gather many of the great, good and the, blimey where can I hide, of the beer world to review how life is going on.

There was even at the announcement of the Champion Beer of Britain results by an obscure musician called Bruce Dickinson a resounding but rarely heard cry of ‘Bring Back Roger Protz’. Mr Protz was certainly there ready to be brought back at any moment.

Of course many will grumble-including myself- that the beers leave something to be desired these days. Those from the US and Europe generally are amongst the very best available. Those from the UK are a much more varied range. Nothing dreadful certainly, quite a bit excellent, but perhaps too many that are just a little bit dull.

I note social media calls from Des de Moor and others for there to be fewer UK brewers represented at the GBBF with more of the beer range from each. In other words, take the very best brewers from an area and showcase them.

It is also frankly a nonsense that renowned breweries such as Kernel make merely a fleeting appearance at the GBBF [porter in bottle] because their excellent beers are not available in a format that pleases CAMRA.

The present set up though is really down more than anything to the democratic way in beers are chosen to appear at the Festival. If David Cameron’s Big Society no longer exists then the GBBF remains a shining example of the genuine British tradition of volunteering.

Anyway, a wider point.

On the Monday just before the Beer Festival I was in the British Library researching for a chapter in a book I’m writing [I know, and I’ve signed the contract] on the moral economy. Out of interest I was also having a quick look through Richard Boston’s 1976 book, Beer and Skittles, which is based on a series of articles he wrote for The Guardian on beer in the mid-1970s. The two areas collided in my mind.

Boston argues that the early actions of real ale campaigners demonstrated that what happened in the world of beer and pubs did not have to be dictated by the State or big business. Drinkers could make their voice heard too. He also noted that Fullers ESB was the strongest draught beer available in the UK, which is no longer the case, even though ESB is just as strong as it ever was.

The concept of the moral economy, developed by the late historian EP Thompson in 1971, is to suggest a customary and traditional way of looking at things in relation to a market economy. The moral economy does not aim to replace a market economy but to temper it with a framework of laws and obligations.

Thompson uses the term very specifically in relation to eighteenth century food riots. These certainly took place but the aim was, particularly in times of dearth, to regulate both price and quality of, for example, bread via reference to laws and practices which ensured that things were done fairly and without profiteering. The aim was not to riot but to threaten to do so in order to avoid having to.

The same criteria applied to the price and quality of that other staple of life, beer.

There were Assizes of Ale as well as Bread and the aim was to check the quality and price of the product and regulate it.

Thompson was very wary about extending the use of the concept ‘moral economy’ beyond his specific usage. Nevertheless it has been widely used and argued about by historians in recent decades.

I think there is an interesting case for understanding the Great British Beer Festival as an annual gathering of those who take a moral economic view of the beer world.

When it comes to pubs, beer prices and the range of beer production there is an expectation that this is guided to some extent by a legislative framework. There is also a sense that matters are influenced by local campaigning, whether over pub closures or promoting new breweries.

The classic mix of the moral economy- legislation which can be pursued, and the impact of local protest and pressure- is certainly there.

Of course no one expects riots over beer [though historically some have taken place]. But the idea that organised action can temper the actions of the market in the interests of consumers, while understanding that the market itself is of fundamental importance, is very much a moral economy.

A moral economy of beer suggests not a beer revolution, then, but a market for beer that is much better balanced towards the interests of the consumer.

I cannot agree however with Charlesworth and Randall editors of a collection of essays from a conference on the moral economy which was published in 2000 that the moral economy is a ‘Heineken’ of a concept, reaching parts others can’t.

Moral economy is historically about research into markets and protests around them and politically now and then about political action to address perceived or actual imbalances in fairness in the way the world goes on in terms of markets, taxes and essential goods. It is not a branding exercise, not even if the beer brand is more desirable than Heineken


The Ambridge Socialist: Edgeley scone riots revealed

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2014 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist
17th August CONTACT KEITH FLETT 07803 167266

The real Borsetshire Echo: 60 years of class struggle in Ambridge

Edgeley scone riots revealed
As Ambridge Socialist readers will know the BBC’s reporting of events in Borsetshire is partial so it was not that surprising to find a reference to the previously unknown Edgeley scone riots in the Archers this week. Jazzer noted to PC Burns that smoke could be seen rising from tea shops all around.

The mention of this now historic event is probably not an accident as the question of what tactics to use to stop a second Diabolical Converter being installed at Berrow Farm by Borsetshire Land are being discussed.

The Ambridge Socialist has already argued that the area to be used should be occupied by protesters.

Poxfest in crisis
Apparently the lead singer of the headline band booked for PoxFest has been involved in a domestic abuse crisis [i.e beaten his partner]. The Borchester Echo is on the case and Roy and Elizabeth are in crisis talks. The Ambridge Socialist suggests, ditch the band and put on Eddie Grundy as the lead act instead.

In Other News
Mike’s back is still bad and he is considering retirement
Ben & Freddie have been caught smoking and reprimanded by Roy
Jazzer has christened PC Burns ‘Sherlock’. Too kind in the view of the Ambridge Socialist
Susan has a new hairstyle. Should we care? [No]


Beard Liberation Front Guide to Beard Friendly Beer

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2014 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front
August 2014

Your guide to beard friendly beer

It has long been claimed that people with beards like cask ale, indeed it is a stereotype. In reality all kinds of people like beer and lots of them don’t have beards and never intend to have one.

There is another more specific stereotype, very common in the media currently, that people with hipster or designer beards like craft beers, sometimes cask, sometimes keg.

Of course all stereotypes have some basis in reality or we’d never hear of them, but, again, lots of people without beards also drink craft beer.

That said what kind of beers do suit those with facial hair?

Below is a BLF guide. It is a work in progress because both beer and beards are in a state of constant change.
Moustache: pale ale. Nothing too challenging but the beer stimulates the follicles a little and raises the prospect of further growth.

Spaghetti Western style stubble: imperial stout or porter. Such proto beards need to be encouraged and immersion in a glass of strong dark beer can help

Hipster beard: like the beard, the beer must be stylish. An APA or IPA may work but the colour of the beer must offset that of the beard, dialectically.

Organic beard: a robust beer. Not necessarily strong in alcohol, Weird Beard’s Little Things That Kill is an example, but it must be something that matches the impact of the beard.

Clean shaven: Greene King IPA

Chin Beard: these beards are ideally suited for immersion in an appropriate beer. A strong but not imperial strength dark beer should work.

Sideburns & moustache: A Weissen. The yeast and other varying ingredients will help to promote further growth
Goatee: A sour beer. Wild yeast is good for the goatee beard

Groomed ironic ‘Edwardian’ beard. A hoppy West Coast IPA*

Unkempt growth with embedded pickled egg fragments . Brown Beer*

Remember this guide is a work in progress. All updates welcome provided they have been tested in practice in the pub

*Thanks to Des de Moor for these contributions


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