Blues

Gotta say, the Blues series on BBC Four – utterly top stuff. Modern practitioners and classics Blues right out of the Mississipi Delta in the 30s. Born of Jazz, the Depression and racial intolerance a fantastic, blue-collar music, accessible to listen and to play for ordinary folks on a mass scale for one of the first times in history, spreading on new-fangled recording devices and early radio stations. Without it there wouldn’t be any Elvis and rock’n’roll. That means no Sixties revolution of pop and rock and without that would we have had the Sixties social revolution? Doubt it. No punk, no rock and the self-empowerment these home-made musical movements gave to kids. Just as well some guys decided to head down to that crossroads at midnight, isn’t it?

Brings back memories of a fantastic Blues concert I went to with some mates years back in Glasgow. The legendary Bo Diddley with his famous square geetar. Now Bo was getting on a bit by then, so he had brought along on tour a whole bunch of other, younger Blues players to play sets – three or four bands for your money, pretty good value and a good way for an old master to give young newbies a chance on the tour circuit.

It was in the City Chambers in the Merchant City part of Glasgow. This old arena had been converted into a venue and had a weird stage design which had steps which lead directly from the end of the overhanging gallery right down to the stage. We were sitting on the gallery, practically hanging over the performers. Next to us, seated next to the steps down were an older lady, some younger ladies and a bunch of kids. Bo’s family as it turned out. In between his sets he’d wander up the stairs to sit with them and watch his younger comrades stomp out some kickass Blues. And he chatted away to us, asking us what we thought of the performers and the music; a Blues legend just sitting there enjoying his family, the music and shooting the breeze with some music fans. Goddam cool.

The series is a collection filmed by famous directors – Wim Wenders tonight – including Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorcese. The Beeb’s web page on it has times, dates and even record listings.

Justice for once

Bush’s government has been trying to fight the environmental movement again. They used a trumped up charge using a law from the 1800s to try and make Greenpeace responsible for the actions of a couple of members who had already had a trial for their actions intercepting a ship with illegal hardwood on board. The idea is that if they were found guilty as a body they would go on probation – every violation would involve new court cases and automatic fines. In other words Bush’s lackey John Ashcroft, the Principal Denier of Civil Rights in America (used to be the Attorney General’s office – how Bob Kennedy must spin in his grave after the civil rights they fought for in that office 40 years ago being used thus today) would effectively shut down Greenpeace’s ability to stage protests. A dirty trick to silence all opposition to the corrupt regime in Washington, just like the one exerted on Disney to pull Michael Moore’s new film from US distribution. Except the bastards didn’t win for once as a Florida judge (brother Jeb’s home no less) found it ridiculous and it was dismissed. The fight goes on.

Purple rain?

Nope, powder! Yes, I know (he says, adopting serious expression) this has serious implications for the security of our elected representatives (or those smegging arseholes as they are more commonly referred to). But let’s be honest, it was also funny as hell! I’ve heard of Purple Rain but this was ridiculous. Perhaps it was, as one commentator quipped, a case of Purple Haze? From the same militant father’s action group who brought you a bunch of middle-aged guys in Superman and Batman costumes on top of a suspension bridge. Groovy.