Tuesday, 19 July 2011

You Live By The Sword...

The last two weeks have been the most exciting in British politics since last year's dodgy election. With astonishing rapidity, Rupert Murdoch's News International media empire has been humbled in a scandal that involves allegations of illegal phone-hacking, police corruption and the exertion of undue political influence. Already, we've seen the closure of the 'News Of The World', the resignation of top brass in the Metropolitan Police and the arrest of the former 'NOW' editor Rebekah Brooks. Today, the media mogul himself faced a gruelling questioning by MPs in the Houses Of Parliament, plus a foam pie attack. For years, he's made money out of the humiliation of others; now the boot is on the other foot.

But this is only the beginning of an unfolding scandal. The Prime Minister David Cameron has surprisingly close links with News International and if he can be shown to be a Murdoch poodle, he may yet have to resign or call a fresh election. Bear in mind that his authority is already tenuous to say the least: his party didn't win the election outright and he can only force through his hard-right policies with the connivance of the Lib Dems. Ed Miliband has finally been showing his teeth in this affair and it's directly thanks to his Commons motion that Murdoch's plan to control 100% of BSkyB was crushed. Let's hope that he can deliver Cameron's head on a platter to the long-suffering British people. This country deserves better than a suspect leader with no electoral mandate to govern.

Hey Hey We're The Creme Brulee !

I often gig in an acoustic duo with my old pal Steve Hill, the former lead singer of Eating Crow. We're called The Creme Brulee and if you've ever seen 'The League Of Gentlemen' you'll know why. The pic below is an oldie courtesy of Craig Oliphant ( craigoliphant@yahoo.com ) which shows us in action at The Queen's Head, Lanchester.

Richard Thompson @ The Durham Gala Theatre

Have just got in from seeing Richard Thompson. Although I love his work with Fairport Convention, I don't actually know all that much about his solo stuff. In fact, this was the first time I've had a chance to see him live and I was totally impressed. On stage, he kept a full house transfixed for over an hour and a half with just himself and an acoustic guitar (plus occasional help from Northumbrian Folk Magus Alistair Anderson). For me, the highlights were 'Beeswing', the old Sandy Denny fave 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes' and a stunning '1952 Vincent Black Lightning'. His style is somewhere between folk and rock with lashings of male angst; imagine a British Leonard Cohen with attitude. If this is your bag, then check him out.