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Labour asks for a second term in government and chastises the ‘progress deniers’? February 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

From RTÉ this evening:

Labour leader Joan Burton has defended the party’s record in Government and appealed to voters to give her party a second term in government to build “a decade of opportunity”.

And what about this for the most abysmal piece of ‘political’ terminology we’ve had the misfortune to have foisted upon us in quite some time:

She said the economy is recovering, and more and more people are finding employment.

However, Ms Burton also said there were “progress deniers”.

Some of them, she said, “hijacked peaceful protests” to make their points and she said in a fair society that was “bullying”.

And btw can anyone seriously point to any difference between her and her predecessor?

Houston… we’ve got a problem… February 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This made me smile. In the middle of an article on how plans to launch the first elements of the Mars One one way manned mission to Mars may be – ahem – premature, there’s this:

Scientists, though, have remained doubtful that the mission will get beyond the hypothetical stage, citing its lack of funding and the lack of a spacecraft or habitat suitable for supporting life on a longterm mission.

A lack of spacecraft. Yep, that’d be a problem alright.

Sid Meier February 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.

As long time fan of Sid Meier’s Civilization, and a raft of games from him and Microprose over the years, it’s nice to read this in the Guardian.

He appears to be engaging and wear his fame lightly. That said I found after Civilization II my interest waned, until using an iOS version of Civilization Revolutions (natch!). There was just something a bit too fussy about the graphics as compared to the original Civilization and Civilization II.

Sadly it’s impossible to play Civ I on an OS X machine, but I’ve found a workaround for Civ II by using Virtual Box, installing Windows 98 SE and a PC version of the game. So far so good. Spaceships, his latest one looks good.

This sciencey stuff… February 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Depressing to read this during the week:

David Tredinnick [Tory] MP for Bosworth, in Leicestershire, who is a Capricorn and in 2010 paid back £755 he had claimed in expenses for software that used astrology to diagnose medical conditions, told Astrological Journal: “I do believe that astrology and complementary medicine would help take the huge pressure off doctors.

It gets better:

Mr Tredinnick, 65, added: “Astrology offers self-understanding to people. People who oppose what I say are usually bullies who have never studied astrology.”

And here’s a key sentence…

“Astrology was until modern times part of the tradition of medicine “

Yes, one wonders why it was superseded… Meanwhile he continues:

People such as Professor Brian Cox, who called astrology ‘rubbish’, have simply not studied the subject.

“The BBC is quite dismissive of astrology and seeks to promote the science perspective and seems always keen to broadcast criticisms of astrology.”

But upping the ante he goes on:

Opposition to astrology is driven by “superstition, ignorance and prejudice”, he said. “It tends to be based on superstition, with scientists reacting emotionally, which is always a great irony.
“They are also ignorant, because they never study the subject and just say that it is all to do with what appears in the newspapers, which it is not, and they are deeply prejudiced, and racially prejudiced, which is troubling.”

Just in relation to ‘complementary medicine’, if we can remove the ‘medicine’ term from that area it seems to me that such approaches have some potential therapeutic effect on a psychological level, though often almost in spite of than because of themselves. Or to put it another way, they can be good for relaxation but beyond that I’m deeply sceptical.

By the way, as noted in comments under the piece:

David Tredinnick is an elected Member of the Commons Health Committee and Commons Science and Technology Committee

International Women’s Day celebration: Women in the water resistance February 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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womens day poster 2

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… The Sisters of Mercy, Floodland February 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to..., Uncategorized.
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Goth. Interesting, often absurd. Worse again on video. This isn’t to say I don’t have more than a passing acquaintance with its exponents. From The Bolshoi to Gene Loves Jezebel, Xymox to Lords of the New Church there’s more than a few albums in the genre that I know all too well. No recanting though. The good is good.

And this album, Floodland, the songs – as distinct from the videos, remains pretty darn good. Some will point to their first album, First and Last and Always, but at this remove that sounds tinny and underproduced. Even so, Marian (ripped off almost note for note by the Mission on Wasteland), Some Kind of Stranger and A Rock and A Hard place are classics of a kind.

The real purists though will recall earlier singles and EP collections, but they’re mostly unnecessary, barely differentiated from the sludge of post punk which Goth developed from. A thin guitar sound, layered over a pulsing bassline with equally thin vocals was what characterised them. Granted, the vocals were a bit deeper than was then currently fashionable – Bowie meets Ian Curtis and they get on just fine – but that was about it. Fast paced though. All unquestionably fast paced and with a faint electronic edge. And I admit to still enjoying Body and Soul or their version of The Stooges classic 1969.

But then all changed and utterly.

Vocalist Andrew Eldritch (natch) jettisoned guitarist Gary Marx (who went on to nearly but not quite Goth superstars Ghostdance – and released a not half bad solo album some years back consisting of tracks he wrote for Eldritch during the 1990s) and other guitarist Wayne Hussey who would found the Mission, and there was some unpleasantness over group names with, so it is said Hussey intending rather cheekily to start up a rival outfit entitled The Sisterhood, until Eldritch raced in with his own sort of kind of group which offered a sort of proto-techno, no surprise there given the line-up which included the briefly employed original drummer of Motorhead Lucas Fox and, so it is said, Alan Vega of Suicide. As a final joke – or perhaps making a virtue of necessity due to record company constraints – instead of singing himself Eldritch roped in James Ray, a man whose vocal style was – shall we say, similar. Extremely similar.

Jettisoning Marx wasn’t necessarily the greatest idea, He had his moments. Jettisoning Hussey, well now. One could complain that Eldritch unleashed Hussey onto an unsuspecting world and some measure of fleeting success – not entirely true, Hussey had been around since 1980 and played with Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls before going on to join Dead or Alive (by the by, as it happens in the days of Goth I saw the Mission twice, but that’s another story). But that would be the least of it.

That said in a display of good sense Eldritch also co-opted uber-Goth bassist Patricia Morrison of the Gun Club (later to become a member of the Damned and marry Dave Vanian) into the Sisterhood from where she joined TSOM on a full time basis (though there’s some dispute as to whether her bass parts were used in full or partially redone – all very Eldritch).

Sprinkle a scattering of mid-1980s pop production across it, somewhat similar in intent to the Psychedelic Furs Midnight to Midnight (whose John Ashton had produced an early EP) but… doomier. Throw in the odd short overwrought piano driven ballad and are we there yet?

Not quite. As a last grace note add some faux geo-political lyrics name checking the White House, the DDR and Red Square and possibly Chernobyl. What was it about? Who the fuck knew? But it sounded vast and cool and sort of clever without necessarily doing any of the heavy lifting required to actually be clever.

This was heavy rock for people who hated heavy rock. This was synth pop for people who hated synth pop. This was the Cold War as set to bass and synth and choirs and more choirs and even more choirs and transported to a stadium near you. This was…preposterous.

The singles, monstrous things really – accompanied by truly god awful videos where Eldritch, with his usual ghastly pallor only partially hidden behind 1960s aviator glasses, stick thin and angular, pirouetted (seriously) around sub-Mad Max studio sets and selected sites of interest in the former British Empire (India, Jordan, you get the picture) like some sort of demented faintly post-apocalyptic chancer channelled by way of then contemporary Berlin night clubs – were good. Actually they were great. The unleashed power of the earlier Temple of Love single, released by a previous incarnation of TSOM, reworked and ratcheted up to 10. Perhaps 11.

Two weeks back there was the New Romantic compilation, Modern Dance, in this slot, and there’s a weird similarity to my ears between Temptation by Heaven 17 and mid-period Sisters of Mercy. The massed choral vocals, the tricksy key and time changes.

But this should have come as little surprise for working in the background was one Jim Steinman whose oeuvre included the camper than camp enormity that was Meatloaf.

Naturally this is on many levels terrible stuff, one suspects barely a step away from Andrew Lloyd Webber, but entertainingly so. And… yet it’s sort of great, camp, bombastic and for the most part it is more considered than the image projected by the videos (Lucretia, My Reflection may just be the quintessential goth song, that funny mixture of post punk, taut energy and knowing narcissism). But, also in a way it’s a full stop.

Just as the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy effectively demonstrated the limits of indie (and I’ve always thought it telling that that last spark of guitar experimentation occurred during the rise of hip-hop, rap, dance and electronica in popularity, more than ready to sneak in where post punk and new wave was fading) so this represented (along with the aforementioned Midnight to Midnight from the Psychedelic Furs) the limits of the pop accessibility of this section of post-punk, at least on its own terms. If Goth got bigger it only did so by high-tailing it to other genres… most obviously metal – so a neat bit of foreshadowing by Mr. erm… Eldritch, though we’re all still living with the after-effects of that, what with nu-metal and emo having come and gone.

And little wonder too that TSOM only released one more studio album, the not entirely awful, but far from compelling, Vision Thing (the phrase a direct quote from George Bush the elder) which took much the same elements as Flood Land but this time layered them with a faux-metal sound. Problem was that for all his often-expressed love of Motorhead Eldritch apparently didn’t realise, or care, that it’s politic to throw in a few key changes, the odd hummable chorus and eschew using the same riff for the entirety of one song and then the next one. Now sure, he wanted to replicate Suicide or whoever, but truth is, it leaves the impression that for all the rhetoric he didn’t quite get metal (where by contrast the Cult – who arrived on a not dissimilar trajectory really did get it. Big time).

This was implausibly influential in a low key sort of a way. There’s a raft of groups which emulated TSOM more or less exactly. And with better or usually worse results. The Daughters of Bristol (you see what they did there?), The Merry Thoughts and on and on… It’s something of a micro-industry. And why not? What harm? But what point?

No wonder, that that was more or less it from Eldritch subsequently on the recording front (bar a nice reworking of Temple of Love with Ofra Haza c.1992). No original albums in twenty plus years, nothing but a series of live appearances with lashed together units whose impermanence of line up and lack of product points to a dynamic impermeable to ordinary musical enterprise.

Thing was after all this what more was left to be said?

Dominion/Mother Russia

This Corrosion

Lucretia, My Reflection

And from before:

Temple of Love

Sisterhood Giving Ground

Cork Republican Mick Buckley Passed Away On The 20th February 2015. February 27, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

On Monday following the burial of Mick Buckley at St.Joseph’s Cemetery in Cork, I notified to friends of Mick, primarly those up the country who would have been unaware of his passing, the news of his death. I mentioned that Mick was the O.C. of IRA Operations in Armagh City on the 12th December 1956. Some days later he was arrested south of the border by Free State Forces, tried and sentenced to 6 months imprisonment in Mountjoy Prison. In later years he attended the 50th anniversary of Operation Harvest, as it became known as, in a hotel in Dublin. He joined myself and a few others who were involved in that campaign, in the following years for a meal near to the 12th Dec, to reminisce on the times of bygone years. I write again to spread the message of his death to all those who had republican involvement with Mick back in the 1950’s. By Jim Lane Cork.


Leonard Nimoy: 1931-2015 February 27, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.

Sad to hear this this evening that Leonard Nimoy died today. Mission Impossible, Star Trek, obviously, but also the 1970s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, more recently excellent appearances and cameo’s in Fringe.

Fianna Fail and The Next Election…. February 27, 2015

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

Carlow-Kilkenny (5) Probably run three candidates with 2 Kilkenny and 1 Carlow based candidate. Labours seat is vulnerable and one of the Fine Gael ones is too. Polled well in the Local elections in both Counties. Should win 2 seats, although Geography could give them a surprise third were the Carlow based candidate to outpoll Pat Deering.

Cavan-Monaghan (4) Reduced to four seats from five. Will win at least one seat. A big ask to win a second seat as three of the five seats are currently held by Monaghan based TD’s.

Clare (4) Fianna Fail polled just over a quota here in 2011 but polled 36% here in the Locals. The Labour seat will go but I’d imagine that will go to an Independent. Good vote management and just two candidates and there is a possibility of a second seat but unlikely.

Cork East (4) Polled .85 of a quota in 2011 , Should win a seat here at the expense of either Fine Gael or Labour. If not it’s going to be another very long day for Fianna Fail
Cork North Central (4) Boundary changes here have removed some of Billy Kellehers base. Likely to be gains for at lest one SF or AAA candidate. Should hold on.
Cork North West (3) Should hold the seat here easily.
Cork South Central (4) Reduced from five to four seats with some Boundary changes. Some high profile TD’s with Micháel Martin, Michael McGrath running for FF, Simon Coveney and Jerry Buttimer for FG , Ciaran Lynch for Labour. Should see a gain for Sinn Fein. There will be at least 1 FF, 1 FG and 1 SF. I’d imagine it’s going to be a battle for the final seat between FG and FF, LAbour transfers could swing it for FG. Possible FF loss

Cork South West (3) Will win at least one seat here.
Donegal (5) Two 3 seaters made into a five seater. Should win at least one seat here, although Geography could give them a second.
Dublin Central (3) Would take quite an upturn in the polls to win here especially after Boundary changes.
Dublin Bay North (5) Should be a seat here but only if they run a single candidate. Should be some Selection Convention.
Dublin Bay South (4) Unlikely to win a seat here.
Dublin Fingal (5) Missed out narrowly the last time, should win a seat here.
Dublin North West (3) Highly unlikely
Dublin Mid West (4) Could be in with a shout of the last seat but unlikely.
Dublin Rathdown (3) Could be in with a shout of the last seat but unlikely
Dublin South Central (4) Highly unlikely
Dublin South West (5) The addition of Rathfarnham should help them be in with a shout of the last seat.Probably won’t win though.
Dublin West (4) A big battle here to win a seat. With Ruth Coppinger, Leo Varadkar and Sinn Fein looking good bets for a seat, will probably have to unseat Joan Burton.
Dun Laoghaire (4) If Sean Barrett stays as Ceann Comhairle will in effect be a three seater. FG will win at least one seat. FF polled well in the Locals but would need to unseat Gilmore or Boyd Barrett to win, to complicate matters there may also be a Ross candidate here. As is stands a big ask to win a seat here. This is another selection convention that could surprise.

Galway East(3) Most likely just the one.
Galway West (5)  Second seat a possibility, just a question of who takes the Derek Nolan seat.
Kerry County (5) No current FF TD, likely 1 seat at least.
Kildare North (4) Will win a seat here .
Kildare South (3) Will retain their seat.
Laois (3) Will win a seat here.
Offaly(3) With a bit of luck they could win a second seat here.

Limerick City (4) Willie O’Dea will retain his seat, unlikely to bring in a running mate.
Limerick County (3) Niall Collins will hold on here again unlikely to bring in a running mate.
Longford-Westmeath (4) Will win the one seat, if they have a good Longford based candidate, may win a second.
Louth(5) Will win the one seat here
Mayo (4) One seat a certainty an outside chance of a second.
Meath East (3) Should regain seat here
Meath West (3) Should regain a seat here also
Roscommon-Galway (3) Should win here, but I’ve a suspicion they may be squeezed out.
Sligo-Leitrim (4) Should be a seat gain for FF here.
Tipperary (5) Highly competitive constituency with some high profile Independent candidates. Winning would mean at least two of the six sitting TDs Alan Kelly, Michael Lowry, Noel Coonan, Seamus Healy, Mattie McGrath and Tom Hayes would lose out. There should be an FF seat here. Running two candidates might scupper hopes of winning a seat.
Waterford (4) With Sinn Fein poised to take a seat here from Labour and John Halligan looking safe it would be one of the Fine Gael seats being targeted. I think they will just miss out.
Wexford(5) Currently have one seat here, unlikely to win a second.
Wicklow (5) Sinn Fein will gain a seat here, one of the FG seats will fall. Stephen Donnelly should hold leaving FF chasing after the Labour seat. If Anne Ferris runs as an Independent she could hold on. There is also Joe Behan to take some of the FF genepool vote. I suspect FF wont win here.

And Ireland and Greece February 27, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in European Politics, Irish Politics.
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A telling criticism from the SBP editorial on the government approach in relation to Greece.

The Irish government is a bit-player in all of this drama, but has a seat at the table. Its approach so far has been to follow the rhetorical line set by the creditor countries. Taoiseach Enda Kenny and finance minister Michael Noonan have urged Greece to follow Ireland’s example of negotiating incremental concessions to the bailout agreement over time in the hope of reducing the pain of the implementing austerity.

The SBP disagrees:

This is a mistake. To show solidarity to weaker countries is the essence of the European ideal. Many countries seem to have forgotten that. As a former bailout economy and the fastest growing in the eurozone this year, Ireland should offer support and encouragement.

And it makes a broader point, which is also often forgotten.

Instead the line from Dublin has been that Athens must honour its debts fully as Ireland has done. Athens’ interests are Dublin’s, in the long run. The Greek crisis has the potential to endanger the European project. Anything Dublin can do to help solve this will only be to the common good.

Things are stableish across Europe at the moment, but that’s not guaranteed, and more importantly this crisis is going to be followed by future crises. Dublin’s reticence, no – actually what is an aversion – to engaging positively and supportively in relation to Greece, may well come back to haunt it.

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