Thursday, January 22, 2004

Flyposting for Freedom
I was reading Venue before xmas where they had a big article about local Tory politician Richard Eddy and his war on flyposting and, as part of the spin for this campaign, he posed for a photo surrounded by the objects of his displeasure - a load of posters of evil. But is this issue as simple as one of litter and glue? Is there more to it than that? Well I think so....

We live in a democracy (apparently) and one of the privileges we are kindly granted is the freedom to speak out; to say what we like. Unlike those living in the axis of evil, we can choose write songs about Blair being a lying wanker, rather than be forced to endlessly drone the praises of Kim Il Jong. However, like many of the so-called freedoms we have, it doesn't mean as much in practice it does in theory – how do you use your freedom of speech where there is now where free to say anything? Having no platform to speak out from, is as effective a form of censorship as a gun to the head. Indeed, you could argue it more effective because it renders a mass of the population unaware they are being censored, at least with the gun you know where you stand.

Where does flyposting fit into this?

Say you wanted to take advantage of the democratic rights you've been offered and stand for election. You need to let voters know that you exist and what you stand for. Assuming you are just an ordinary person like me - what budget promotional options have you got available? You can hope that the local media take an interest, but say your party was the 'End the Evening Post Media Monopoly of Bristol Party' do you think they would? You are left with leafleting and flyposting and are now in Richard Eddie's crosshairs. This situation is the same with music - you're trying to build a scene or band that's outside the mainstream or controversial (say Thrash-Folk or Speed-Country) - you have only a few options for publicity. And the most effective and cheapest is gonna get you busted.

Money, Money, Money

All these difficulties of exercising free speech or promoting your unique sound vanish if you are rich. You can buy a flyposting licence, pay for adverts in the papers and so on. So what we're looking at is a system where free speech is related to how much cash you've got - and that's where this comes full circle - in the picture of Richard Eddie I mentioned at the start, all the posters he is posing with are local club ones. Eh? Where's the corporate flyposters? I don't know about you, but that's what I see most of when I'm walking around; Men Only adverts and international crappy pop tunes. They've got the cash to pay somebody to put us huge A1 glossy posters everywhere and Eddie is helping remove their competition. He is ensuring that is that poorer local bands and groups be at a huge disadvantage while the multinational are let loose to smear their insipid shit all over another media form. Here's a couple of examples of the companies who Eddie has not highlighted in his Venue photo-op; Pink has lots of posters for a new single on the Laface label ( who are owned by Arista, who are owned by BMG, who are owned by Bertelsmann, who are one of the largest media corporations in the world) and there are still a few Kill Bill posters flapping in the wind (a film by Miramax, owned by Disney, another mega-corporation who donated $1.25 million to the Bush campaign.)

The Devil's Wallpaper Paste

I know that flyposting produces litter and mess, and the glue can be toxic and damages buildings - I'm not saying we ignore this - but by licensing it; all that is happening is that big business gets near exclusive access to another promotional method and the local scene is, again, shut out. Which I suppose does fit the overall Tory world-view, but it is not Pink or Disney that makes Bristol a vibrant music and cultural scene, its the many underground scenes with their energy, creativity and enthusiasm and a bucket of wallpaper paste.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

The Ideology of Gruel
Bristol Conservatives have a big prominent link on their site to the party’s fuhrer, Michel Howard, and his statement of beliefs. It's hard not to let them support such rubbish without comment. The list of believes that Howard has concocted, consists of either stating the obvious about people wanting to be happy, hypocritical crap or totally ludicrous rubbish. I could (if I could stomach reading this churning-pap for long enough) dissect all of the statements he's made, but I'll stick to a few:


This is always the conservative mantra, but they only believe in one aspect of the state being small - the bit that gets in the way of profit. They want to keep a big military to ensure that people in countries who’s resources they want are small. It's called 'Military Keynesianism' and it is essential to the maintenance of the global neo-liberal order, and it is why the conservative government (and New Labour) have always supported subsiding the arms trade and nuclear industries, while arguing that subsiding coal or public transport is wrong. In essence all conservatives bosses (not so much the foot soldiers who gullibly lap up this crap) are 'Cheep-Labour Conservatives' - which means they seek way to get you to do more work for less money: whether by cutting employment legislation or safety rules (aka 'red tape') or by helping tin-pot dictators to run sweatshops (Military Keynesianism).


Ha ha ha! Capitalist economics is a zero-sum system. It means that everything has to balance out. Wealth in resources (crops, labour, oil etc.) has to be balanced by money (which is nothing more that a form of debt, as in - 'I promise to pay the bearer goods to the demand of etc..'). Therefore for one person to own wealth, it has to be balanced by debt. That's how it works. Howard, I suspect, knows this but must push this myth else people will realise this system is a con-trick that DOES need poor people to ensure the rich stay rich. Again, this con-trick is part of the 'Cheep-Labour Conservative' agenda - by getting people to swallow the myth that, a rising tide floats all boats, while not telling you that most people don't have a boat and will drown.


Would that include the US, mike? We are (and have been for some time now) a client state of the US empire. Denial only makes people look foolish.

I DO NOT BELIEVE: Where is the eco-stuff, mike?

Also really interesting to note that there is not one single mention of the environment? Not surprising from the Tories, who’ve always been blind to this area. It seems apparent to me, in the face of the evidence, that any group who do not strive to put sustainability at the heart of their thinking are simply heading, blindly, towards disaster. This lack of reality is the icing on the 19th century ideology that the Tories are serving up.

Gruel anyone?