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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Semi Dystopia

Being a child of the 60's in literal terms, the bridge between 1970's and 80's to me is kind of blurred. I was not old enough to really know what was going on in the world about me, but at the same time I do have an affinity with this post punk electronic age.

I remember going into London at the time (my father worked in the area around St Paul's), the bomb sites and the mess, everywhere appeared somewhat dirty, being from the leafy Shire's. Its hard to explain to anyone younger than myself, that other than a couple of individuals, I did not meet any people from a different race or culture until I was 12 or 13 when the vietnamese boat kids as we called them, came to stay in the old Rye Street hospital, in my home town of Bishops Stortford and a few came to my school. That's only 36 years ago.

In 1982, I lived in Tooting for a while and then in deepest Raynes Park, and for the first time experienced real fear for one's safety, holed up in scruffy boarding houses whilst I trained in Wandsworth. Not only a naive lad of 17 but also "south of the river" for the first time in my life. Thank god it was for only 18 weeks a year.

On Friday evening, I was watching on BBC4 the repeated documentary on electronic music of the late 70's and early 80's: Mute records; OMD; ABC;  Human League etc.. Not the flouncy new romantic Duran Duran or Spandau, but the real earthy and gritty, German influenced stuff including Fad Gadget, Depeche Mode etc... at the time I liked and loved, both of course. But today I tend to move toward the Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Moroder roots that still influence today's electro dance bands such as Daft Punk. Back then, I am not sure I understood the differences,  caught up like any other teenager with the record company hype and not the real genetics of the culture.

So as I was watching this programme I started to consider, have I lived through my own generational Dystopia,  am I now experiencing a post apocalyptic world made up of control freak governments and  a society fighting with factionalism in so many forms: Banking; Radical Religious orders; extremism;  Data mining, internet control; CCTV and Gorilla Terrorists the list is seemingly endless. A land where we idologise those that trade goods and services on the Internet, these countless web sites eBay and Amazon et al, everything has to be done on-line. What is causing these factions, are are they symptoms of the same thing, that somehow they are connected.

In the UK, the grime and squalor of the 70's and the past has gone, the bomb sites built upon, factories closed and turned into houses for posh people. When was the last time a bonfire was seen burning, as slums were demolished, those Likely Lads building clearances. This grime and squalor drove the heavy metal era of the black country, the punk era and finally the electronic music that began in the 80's. The first modern 24 hr party people! Where are they now?

What are we left with ? - An androgynous youth of today all identical, skinny jeans, hoodies, long straight hair (tonged to perfection),  where are the racialists for the 2010's, where are the youth who will rise up and counter this world of control, has the machine finally destroyed all those who dare to question individuality. Where is new JG Ballard when one needs them.

Is this why we in the west are so prepared to assume the worst of anything (my word they may be really beastly) that may prove as an antidote for this control. Why the west is in such turmoil with the state of middle eastern politics, in absolute confusion not knowing the rights and wrongs. One minute we are supporting anti Syrian terrorists the next siding up to the Syrian government looking for help to sort the mess out with Isis. We can even decide what to call them (Isis or Isl). What do we do with Libya? and Egypt was such a great place to go on holiday!!

Is this mess our fault, have we all become so used to the cushy control of the modern world, the don't say a word out of place in case someone thinks you are weird, life we all live.  Social media making light of everything or sending the world into a frenzy of concern! all knowing all seeing.  Do we  hark back to the good old days where one can throw water all over ourselves like an extended 1980's Saturday morning tiswas grunging, a bit of fun ? or do we panic that we have wasted all that water !!  

Are we perpetuating this post dystopian world where conformity to belong encompasses all. Not to step outside our new norm, our own "Newspeak". I am one of the worst offenders I love social media, technology, anything new and shiny, I must have the latest thing !!

I am however, starting to think that we may be entering a new era of change one far worse than we could imagine, far worse than Ballard et al, could profess, an era where their western viewpoint of politics and the world may mean we have to change. That we will have to work with others accept that the eastern nations, also have a say in the way the world is run and share or even lose some of our dreams for the good of everyone!   We may also learn once again that it is ok to be different,  that we are not all the same, some people even have feelings and emotions and families. That sometimes a disagreement is debate and not an argument, different cultures can live together but not aspire to the same thing. We don't all have to aspire to be millionaires, but some can offer something different to the world,  something other than collecting all the wealth for themselves in some greed controlled frenzy. Where the individual is society and society is made up from individuals who just want to get on with each other and enjoy the music !

Chris Jennings Aug 31st 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Why does the West beleive it has won?

Happy Holiday
Having recently finished my masters I have been looking for a new challenge, something to get my teeth into.

One of my thoughts during my work for the dissertation was why the West thinks its way is best, why is western democracy the right way.

China seems to be doing rather well and the Islamic world does OK on the whole, apart from the fundamentalists who seem to get up everyone's noses.

But we also have fundamentalists in this western world, that we so adore, those that can not see another side of the coin.

I have started to use a little phrase to myself, when looking at others. "You don't know, what you don't know". How can we criticise when the full facts are not known. When all the information is not gathered, we jump to a conclusion, we assume we know. Everyone is an expert. We all have our little soundbite of incomplete information.

Some of my blogs will jump to a conclusion to start with, however, going forward I intend to read up and research every annoyance i have, and update by blogs as i go along.

All I will say it's time that the west stops pretending we know what is best for the world, we don't know if our approach is best we just assume it is, and its time we started listening and learning rather that dictating our rather sorry form of democracy and expecting the rest of the world to know what we are talking about why should they, they have in many ways a different understanding !




Sunday, April 13, 2014

Capitalism and society

What I don't understand in this capitalist world that the west aspires to is why, it is ok for large business or developed countries to bully.

Why is it seen in so many incidences to be successful the individual must be shortsighted, focussed seems to mean my way or no-way. Those that question are somehow weak, or to be feared. 

Why can not we concentrate on using the questioners, those that want to be different to improve business rather than allowing the self-centered cart-blanche to ride roughshod over debate.    

Where had debate gone, we here in the uk have a homogenous political elite, with politicians fearing to speak out in case they are somehow, castigated by the media. The passing of Tony Benn was a sad moment for many reasons but mainly in my view because another of the outspoken orators of the past have gone.

More to follow !