Monday, 25 June 2012

Tell me no lies

Jon Snow:Speaking out
Tell me no lies is a book edited by Australian-born journalist John Pilger,who is a tireless campaigner and writer in search of global justice who pulls no punches when it comes to denounce abuse of power, corruption and so on. The book is thoroughly recommended to anyone who is interested in real, hard-hitting stories written by first-class journalists throughout the world covering a range of topics that shaped our world. All this came to mind when I read a report today on the Leveson Inquiry, which is currently taking place in the UK; well-known and respected Channel 4's anchorman Jon Snow used the adjectives 'insidious' and 'mendacious', among others, to describe not the News International conglomerate owned by the Murdoch but on another publisher: the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.It is refreshing to hear a public figure speaking out on a topic that for so long has got on my nerves: the filth and lack of ethics that these so-called newspapers spit out day in, day out, ruining people's private lives while earning handsome sums of money in the process.So kudos to Mr Snow and all the public figures who have had enough of this ridiculous show that for so long has tarnished journalism.  

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Roads against hatred and intolerance

Still  from the short film 'Dark Angel' about Sophie' death
Sophie Lancaster was a young woman who got murdered by a gang of teenage males while she was walking through a park in Rossendale, Lancashire, in  2007. The simply reason for this atrocious and unspeakable act was the way Sophie and her boyfriend, Robert Maltby, dressed and looked.Sophie and Robert chose to dress differently, to express their creativity and interests in a way that was different to the majority; they were part of the goth subculture.That someone's life can be so cruel and cowardly brought to an end is a sad indictment of our 21st century.Prejudice and hatred are still rife, especially towards those who are and/or look different.
At Tea & Sympathy we are proud to report that Sophie's mum, Sylvia, gathered the courage and strenght to work towards ensuring that Sophie's dead is not in vain, something she and other equally committed people do through the Sophie Lancaster Foundation,which was created as an educational tool to 'stamp out prejudice and promote respect and understanding amongst subcultures'.The foundation's work is key to try to raise awareness about issues like this one, and it should be a priority for any government in conjunction with educational organisations and communities.
The above mentioned short film Dark Angel, made by French director Fursy Teyssier with the soundtrack provided by Portishead is a heartbreaking  and poignant piece that illustrates Sophie's fate on the day she was attacked; it is a wonderful and somehow uplifting tribute to a young person who saved her boyfriend's life with her death.As the marvellous voice of Beth Gibbons remind us in this great song (Roads):' how can it feel this wrong?'

Please click on this link to watch the whole short film and help spread the work of Sophie Lancaster Foundation:

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Of Mice and Men

Of Hopes and Frustrations
Those who regularly follow this blog may remember that a few months back I wrote about how much I had enjoyed Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath; so I guess that this post will not come as a surprise as it was bound to happen sooner or later. An Easter trip to London was the chance I had to grab this second-hand (or maybe third or fourth-hand, given the book's condition) in a very interesting and recommended anarchist bookshop and publishers based in East London (Whitechapel).
Once again, Steinbeck's prose and elegant style didn't let me down and the adventures of Lennie and George kept me glued from the very first page.These two characters bear some resemblance to those who appear in the Grapes of Wrath, they all are the migrant workers, the dispossessed who wander off in search of a better life. The author shows again his ability to reflect common people's frustrations but also their hopes and dreams and he does so with an impeccable prose so detailed that the reader immediately connects with Lennie, George and the rest. Its lenght-quite short in comparison to the Grapes - makes the book even more impressive as Steinbeck manages to convey so much in  so few pages.
Of Mice and Men was by the way the Tea & Sympathy's Book Club choice for this month and I am glad to report that it was very appreciated by the club's participants.
If you are wondering what to read next, this may well be your choice, you won't go wrong!

Friday, 1 June 2012

God save the Queeen ('cause tourists are money')

The Sex Pistols en route for their 1977 jubilee celebrations
This weekend's Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations are a good excuse to remind us that not everyone in Britain cares or is proud of the royal family and what they symbolise. In 1977, the punk group Sex Pistols organised their very own 'boat trip' down the river Thames, which was a way of  mocking the official one the Queen and her troupe had planned for a couple of days later. As you can imagine, that trip ended in chaos when the police intervened but the Pistols' song God Save the Queen became a major hit, outselling more 'respectable' and 'serious' artists.This is all the more interesting since it is important to remember that this song became the most heavily censored record in British history, according to music critic Alex Petridis. Predictably enough, the BBC and most independent radios refused to air the song.
People may or may not like the Sex Pistols (and I'm not a huge fan either, specially considering some of the group's members latest media antics) but it is undeniable that the sight of a punk group playing Anarchy in the UK outside the Houses of Parliament  and openly criticising monarchy is a refreshing one, which takes an even bigger significance now that the whole establishment (from bankers to politicians and other vampires) has been exposed over and over again as rotten to the core.It certainly takes guts and determination to expose the monarchy, and everything they represent, on a boat trip bound to incense and infuriate the elites and their acolytes.
No doubt, this weekend the 'real' national anthem will be played a few times, the Queen will be politely praised and thanked for her services to the nation and all that boring ritual that follows but an ever-growing number of  people will also look back to 1977 and wonder once again what is the point of such an outdated and elitist institution.