on what used to be the main terrestrial channels music is more poorly served.top of the pops,disco two,the old grey whistle test are gone.whilst jools hollands later is itself brilliant it is not unproblematic.now shown twice a week,my problem with it is that the shorter tuesday addition is not replicated and lengthened for the full friday edition.the 2 edits do not seem to match.a couple of weeeks ago,the now 70 year old roy harper performed "another day".i wanted my wife to hear this wonderfully melancholy,if short song.it was not repeated.searching through the bbc resources for it,is not good enough.sometimes it seems the producers and technicians invent or discover new technological approaches and then apply them simply because they like playing with the new technology.i have no problem with innovation or experiment but i dont want to be experimented on.some time ago they discovered split screening so that i could not read either the details of the last programme or of the next.now whilst id dont know what the experiment is,but i dont like it.
as for roy harper,with age there is a melancholy that accompanies.his ascerbic though pssibly not very clear politics and his militant atheism.he clearly does not like what the current ruling class are doing.
he was 70 years old,in i think june but in the brief interview with jools holland referred to an official birthday on november 5,when he id doing a birthday gig,on i think the south bank-which sold old in 5 days.its a pity id did not know before or i might have gone.
thats aid i really do hope it now becomes an annual event-anything is better than celebrating the torture and murder of guido fawkes,the fall guy in a catholic plot against monarch and parliament in which it seems the grandees escaped and their servant put to death......unless we really can in some ways transform this experience in which children raise pennies for the guy-to buy fireworks and then burn his effigy on bonfire night intofully a traditioin of resistance.the anarchist slogan"vote guy fawkes-the only man to eneter parliament with honest intentions"is a fine start but it is not enough.celebrating roy harpers birthday would be better than this burning.
quite late last night thgere was a programme"toughest place to be..."in which they place a british worker or professional to undertake a similar task in a much poorer and more difficult part of the world.last night a very tall londo bus driver was sent to manila to learn how to drive a very different sort of bus.on his own admission the job in manila was much more difficult-12 hours a day,6 days a week,in gruelling conditions where even on a good day his counterpart rogelhio can only make enough money to get him and his family through the day,and cannot even meet his wifes basic medicxal bills.josh,the british driver broke into tears and sometimes anger several times through the programme at the poverty and grind matched with the incredible resilience and hospitality of workers in manila.in 10 days they went from strangers to friends to brothers and there was genuine friendship and more at the end of the programme.
what however was missing was any speaking of the context and politics of this.josh returns to london and decides toraise moeny via charitable events to help rogelhio educate his children and raise them out of poverty.this is fine but what of all the other oppressed and exploited poor across the world.i would hope that josh might persuade his employer,his workmates,his union to make links and to campaign for another way to be and to do.
seen from only a slightly different perspective,this and other programmes in the series could be the vehicles of education and campaigning.links between workers and others acrfoss the world can galvanise and strengthen us all as an international working class conscious of and for itself and the whole world.there need never be unemployment and poverty anywhere most if not all of the time-if british skills and ingenuity were linked to the talents and resilience of the poor in manila and elsewhere.i for one am impatient for another way,for human need not for profit nor even entertainment.
last but not least my heart sank when i saw the trailers for a series called"educating essex",because this seems to be another portmanteau stereotyping,like chavs,of the people of essex as thick,feral,working class-which i find unnacceptable.i admit im from essex too,but its not personal.i dislike simikarb stereotyping of rural norfolk,the indutrial black country,the incomprehensible geordies-none of which are true.it is not acceptable that the title is simply a tag.words can be harmful
i intended not to watch but then found myself caught up in the first episode that focussed on a group of sometimes difficult and demanding school students being taught by and equally committed and quirky group of teachers,determined to be open to young people,and who saw some of the childrens resistance as trying out and seeking boundaries and growing up.none of the teachers wanted to exclude children nor to fail them.for failure is not about tests but about the whole person.the deputy head to camera said he was worried that they would be seen by the education secretary,a tory-michael gove,and some of the public as making excuses and going soft.none of that would be true.what came across was strong committed teachers and young people who even in their defiance reminded me whay i have always enjoyed working with young people.
i do not accept the current climate in which young people are being treated as feral.indeed,it remains my view that our society is not good enough for even the most difficult youth.if they are to learn respect we have to teach,demonstrate and show it.
despite appearances,some if not most of the time,it is only us,those who labour and who do,who have the talents,capacity and power to make it otherwise.it is only us who can make a society in which the talents and abilities of all of us can develop and flower.i remain optimistic that each and everyone of us can make a contribution to a positive society but that this will not be possible until profit and greed are subordinated to human need and development.
that i believe starts in making all our doing and all our struggles count,and that all contain the seed of how we intend to continue.each cuts campaign,each strike for pensions,conditions,wages and quality of life is a small but crucial step towards the destination.
i is not i.
i is we,
but we is not yet.
we are coming!