Mar. 21st, 2016

rhythmaning: (Saxophone)
It was the semi-annual "Scottish Defence League" (more commonly known as the Sunderland Defence League up here, since they have to be bussed in) protest in Edinburgh yesterday, which means it was also the semi-annual Edinburgh Against Racist SDL march, too.

It was a rather lovely afternoon. A crowd gathered outside the Assembly Rooms on the Mound, listened to a few speeches by local politicians (the SNP prospective candidate for somewhere was overtly political, the Green candidate was impressively unpolitical, reinforcing that it was a coalition of different people come together to protest, and the Labour councillor was just rubbish) and then marched a long way to oppose the SDL outside the City Chambers on the Royal Mile. (A distance of maybe 250 yards.)

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When we got there, there were about four of the SDL gathered with union flags, a St George's cross (doh!) and some anti-refugee banners. A few more arrived - there were about fifteen of them at most, I'd say. I reckon there were a hundred or more on this side of the very large non-man's land established by the police, who probably outnumbered both sides put together.

Our chants of "There're many many more of us than you!" were once again accurate. Several of the other chants made me feel uncomfortable: shouting "scum!" at anyone dehumanises them, enables you to think of them as "other", which is exactly what racists do (and is how the Nazis thought about jews, homosexuals and other "degenerates", which allowed them to rationalise the Holocaust), and, for me, singing "build a bonfire, put the Tories on the top, put the racists in the middle and burn the fucking lot" frankly produced images of piles of bones from extermination camps. So no, I'm not going to sing your hateful songs: I'm not going to sink to the fascists' level.

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I guess I could have come up with some chants of my own. Except I couldn't. I did think of shouting out "you're going home in the back of a taxi!" when there were only five of the them, but I didn't think it would catch on.

Aside from the more objectionable chants, the anti-racist crowd was really, really friendly. The weather was lovely, there really were more of us than them, which always feels good, there was a lot of good banter.

I just wish we could come up with some more positive chants!

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est

Mar. 21st, 2016 08:21 pm
rhythmaning: (Saxophone)
This may not mean much to most of you, if any, but it's something I wanted to post, but not on FB.

Some of you may be aware that I occasionally write reviews of jazz CDs for the LondonJazz blog. (The platform it uses is rubbish and it doesn't search on author, so I can't directly link to my posts. WordPress works so much better.)

I do about one a week, and get to choose what to review, so generally I just get to listen to music I write and try to write intelligent things about it.

Jazz PRs are pretty hopeless, on the whole, and I was aware that there were several CDs that hadn't arrived, so I let the review co-ordinator know last week, with the result that I now have four CDs to review.

And by some really strange co-incidence, three of them involve Esbjorn Svennson, one of my favourite musicians who died a few years ago.

There's a (very good) live reinterpretation of his music, and the music of his band, est (Esbjorn Svennson Trio, but he decided it was a band rather than his trio early on, so it was always est).

And both former members of his the trio, bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Orstom, have new CDs coming out too.

It's all a bit weird.

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