Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Articles

Corbyn trails fourth in Parliamentary Beard of the Year poll with days to go

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2016 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Media Release

28th November

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Corbyn trails fourth in Parliamentary Beard of the Year poll with days to go

corbynstyle

The Beard Liberation Front the informal network of beard wearers has said that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is currently trailing fourth in the Parliamentary Beard of the Year poll with just days to go.

The poll closes on December 8th and competition is bristling for the coveted Award.

Chris Elmore a newcomer to the Parliamentary Beard of the Year being elected for Ogmore in May 2016 and Paul Flynn the veteran MP for Newport are current leaders

There were 6 Labour MPs, 4 Tory MPs and one SNP MP fighting it out for a place on the shortlist together with three Peers. The bottom four in the poll have been eliminated for the final vote from 25th November.

In 2015 Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn just shaved SNP MP Steward McDonald for the coveted title.

The campaigners say that the award is specifically not about who has the best or most magnificent beard in Parliament. Rather it focuses on the MP or Peer who has made the most positive hirsute impact during the year.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, Jeremy Corbyn has won the Award a record six times but it does look like 2016 might not be his year.

Shortlist

Chris Elmore (Labour)

Paul Flynn (Labour)

Jeremy Corbyn (Labour)

Kelvin Hopkins (Labour)

Lord Hylton (Crossbencher)

Lord Toby Harris (Labour)

Michael Gove (Tory)

Stephen Crabb (Tory)

Rob Wilson (Tory)

John Spellar (Labour)

 

 

Articles

All My Yesterdays: Thoughts on Walls Come Tumbling Down, Daniel Rachel

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2016 by kmflett

All My Yesterdays: Thoughts on Walls Come Tumbling Down, Daniel Rachel, Picador

carnival

John Harris in The Guardian has written a decent review of Daniel Rachel’s Walls Come Tumbling Down, which is a sort of cultural history of the left from the mid-1970s to the 1990s:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/sep/28/walls-come-tumbling-down-daniel-rachel-review

I want to make a few history related points on the book here.

I was indeed there. I was at Wood Green and Lewisham, at the Carnivals and on the streets. I still have a pair of steel toe capped Doc Martens and they weren’t (mostly) used for industrial purposes. They were, and the book captures this well, different times. In the late 1970s I did not walk down any street without scrutinising those also walking to see if they might be fascists who were about to attack me. I don’t do that now because the current strength of organised fascism is low. Indeed I moved to my current  address in central Tottenham precisely because it is so difficult to find. Not that difficult though because the front window still has a bullet hole in it, which I’ve left as a memoir of different times. I wasn’t in when the bullet was fired- but the windows are double glazed as a precaution anyway.

The times are not so different though. Racism still needs to be fought, big time in the age of Farage and Trump. Whether music will be as central remains to be seen perhaps.

Anyway the book is essentially an oral history covering Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi Leage, Two Tone and Red Wedge. The author has assembled quotes from a extensive range of people under subject headings in more or less chronological order.

I’d confess as a professional historian to not being that enthusiastic about oral history because memory is unreliable and quite difficult to check. I wouldn’t bet on every last statement in the book being accurate but that isn’t really the point.

Instead it gives a real flavour of how culture, music and the left came together to fight fascism, racism and the right and some idea both of the breadth of the support needed to do this and the importance of having some coherent political organisation at its core, whether this was the SWP or the Labour Party or both.

Of course Red Wedge was not Rock Against Racism and the distinct parts of the book perhaps don’t have such an automatic follow on. Nor is there an attempt, understandably it being an oral history, to grapple with what precise longer term impact something like RAR had.

Since I was there and know a lot of the people interviewed well the book does read to me like all my yesterdays. But allowing old socialists to recall the past is hopefully not what it is meant to be about. It should be read by those who were NOT there both to get some sense of how movements were built and what is possible, and hopefully to inspire activity and organisation now.

You can always criticise and hopefully there is a positive purpose to that but beyond that this is a book you should read whether you were there and particularly if you were not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Articles

The Ambridge Socialist: Gin- A Hogarthian solution to Titchener?

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2016 by kmflett

The Ambridge Socialist

November 27th CONTACT KEITH FLETT 07803 167266

The real Borsetshire Echo: 65 years of class struggle in Ambridge

Ambridge Gin: A Hogarthian solution to Titchener?

gin

On the face of it Ambridge seems like a good place to produce gin. There are a considerable of residents who might well be interested in drinking it. Toby’s trial gin making has aroused the ire of David Archer who has threatened him (& Pip) with eviction if he doesn’t get rid of his unlicensed still. Archer, who knows a thing or two about the criminal law, thinks that Toby could be jailed for his gin trials. That seems very unlikely.

As David suggested a quick Google will reveal that the HMRC do indeed require various licences and lay down conditions for spirit production. If you don’t comply they’ll fine you. Their interest is in revenue not jail:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/excise-notice-39-spirits-production-in-the-uk/excise-notice-39-spirits-production-in-the-uk

That said it’s clear that HMRC are not fans of small scale production since the bureaucracy outweighs the end product as it were.

The Ambridge Socialist poll

Titchener enters post-truth world

Tony has explained to Titchener that young Jack cries because he is teething. Titchener suggests that this is just Tony’s ‘opinion’. As Tony rightly corrected him it is in fact a fact.

Lynda’s production: the dialectics of Ambridge

So far Lynda’s Mother Goose is going very badly in rehearsals. This happens every year in the Archers. It will of course be all right on the night, a dialectical miracle of turning disaster into triumph.

Ambridge Has Got Talent?

Toby (obviously)has floated an interlude for Ambridge has got talent in Lynda’s Xmas production. The question most readers of the Ambridge Socialist would obviously ask is, ‘has it?’ The Editorial Board is reviewing the matter. After all, following Ed Balls performance on Strictly anything could be possible.

Food Parcel for Neil

Following a readers vote we have despatched a food parcel containing pork pies and chocolate to Neil Carter. We would have sent cider but Grundys is only available in Ambridge currently.

In Other News

Titchener has found a scarf at the Dower House. Lilian is concerned. Tony would tear his hair out but he doesn’t have any.

 

 

Articles

Campaigners call for Fidel Castro’s beard to be preserved as revolutionary artefact

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2016 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Media Release

27th November

Keith Flett 07803 167266

Campaigners call for Fidel Castro’s beard to be preserved as revolutionary artefact

castroicon

The Beard Liberation Front, the informal network of beard wearers, has called for Fidel Castro’s beard to be preserved as a revolutionary artefact when his body is cremated.

Castro who has died at 90, was perhaps the most iconic post-1945 beard wearer.

The campaigners say that given the CIA considered several plots to make Castro’s beard fall out in the 1960s- never carried out- to preserve the late leader’s beard would be a symbol of hirsute resistance to clean shaven capitalism.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, given how iconic Castro’s beard was we think that preserving it as a revolutionary artefact would be appropriate

Articles

Can Moeen Ali bring a victory for England cricket by winning Beard of the Year?

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2016 by kmflett

Beard Liberation Front

Media Release

27th November

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

Can Moeen Ali bring a victory for England cricket by winning Beard of the Year?

moeen2

The Beard Liberation Front the informal network of beard wearers has said that while England may be struggling a little in the current Test series against India, Moeen Ali could still bring the team end of year success by winning the 2016 Beard of the Year poll.

Moeen has made the shortlist and is well placed for a challenge for the title with the on-line vote not ending until 24th December

Broadcaster Gary Lineker and tennis No.1 Andy Murray are also amongst the shortlist of contenders

In 2015 Weird Beard brewer Bryan Spooner won the vote.

The campaigners say that the award is specifically not about who has the best or most magnificent beard. Rather it focuses on the beard wearer who has made the most positive hirsute public impact during the year.

With the rise in hirsuteness there is now a longlist poll to prune down the contenders to 10 for the final vote which starts on 25th November. The winner is announced on 29th December.

BLF Organiser Keith Flett said, there is no question that Moeen’s beard is one of those that makes the most positive impact in world cricket. But he needs to follow that through with votes to win Beard of the Year.

Beard of the Year shortlist

Joe Ledley, footballer

Stig Abell, Editor, TLS

Gary Lineker, broadcaster

Simon Stevens, NHS CEO

Moeen Ali, cricketer

James O’Brien, broadcaster

Tim O’Rourke, Howling Hops brewer

Philip Wilton, cheesemaker

Andy Murray, tennis player

Jurgen Klopp, football manager

 

Articles

Fidel Castro on why beards are important

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2016 by kmflett

Fidel Castro on why beards are important

fidel-castro-golf

“The story of our beards is very simple: It arose out of the difficult conditions we were living and fighting in as guerrillas. We didn’t have razor blades, or straight razors. When we found ourselves in the middle of the wilderness, up in the Sierra, everybody just let their beards and hair grow, and that turned into a kind of badge of identity,” Fidel Castro: My Life, published by Scribner.

 

“For the campesinos [farmers] and everybody else, for the press, for the reporters, we were los barbudos — the bearded ones. It had its positive side: In order for a spy to infiltrate us, he had to start preparing months ahead — he’d have had to have a six-months’ growth of beard, you see. So the beards served as a badge of identity, and as protection, until it finally became a symbol of the guerrilla fighter. Later, with the triumph of the revolution, we kept our beards to preserve the symbolism,”

 

“Besides that, a beard has a practical advantage: You don’t have to shave every day. If you multiply the 15 minutes you spend shaving every day by the number of days in a year, you’ll see that you devote almost 5,500 minutes to shaving. An eight-hour day of work consists of 480 minutes, so if you don’t shave you gain about 10 days that you can devote to work, to reading, to sport, to whatever you like.”

 

Castro, commonly referred to as Comandante, adds: “Not to mention the money you save in razor blades, soap, after-shave lotion, hot water… So letting your beard grow has a practical advantage and is also more economical. The only disadvantage is that grey hairs show up first in your beard. Which is why some of the men who had let their beards grow, cut them the minute the grey hairs started to show, because you could hide your age better without a beard.”

Articles

Campaigners say parents must tell children about fake bearded Santas

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2016 by kmflett

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL SANTAS

Organised by the Beard Liberation Front

Press release 26th November

Contact Keith Flett 07803 167266

____________________________________________________

CAMPAIGNERS SAY PARENTS MUST TELL CHILDREN ABOUT FAKE BEARDED SANTAS

santa

The Campaign for Real Santas, which promotes Santas with genuine organic beards, has said that parents must be clear to their children that when confronted with a ‘Santa’ with an absurd false beard that the individual is NOT Santa

The Campaigners say that with unemployment and under employment amongst mature men over 50, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to use an assistant Santa who does not have a real beard.

At the same time the Campaign is also keen to encourage more female Santas with organic knitted beards.

Campaigners are urging parents and children to vigorously tug the beards of Santas they encounter as a definitive test as to whether they are in the presence of a real Santa or not.

CFRS organiser Keith Flett said, children expect their parents to be straight with them and that must include being upfront that Santas with fake beards are not Santas.

 

THREE STEPS TO SPOT A GENUINE SANTA

1 Tug the beard of the Santa. If it comes away, then the Santa is FAKE

2 Tug the beard of the Santa again. If the Santa swears then they are genuine. If they simply repeat a ‘ho ho ho’ mantra they are FAKE

3 The Campaign for Real Santas says that genuine Santas must have just the right mix of bonhomie and grumpiness and a real organic beard.

Notes

The Organic Santa of 2016 will be named on December 18th

The Campaign for Real Santas is organised by the Beard Liberation Front