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That phone on Veronica Mars February 29, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Was mightily impressed by the tech in Veronica Mars, not least the use of computers in a pre-smartphone era. But I really like the phone she sports – a variant of this, the T-Mobile Sidekick II which features a slideable screen that moves vertically to reveal a keyboard. Screen was LCD, ‘transreflective’ apparently allowing messages to be read even in sunlight. In essence it was a cross between a PDA and a telephone. And it managed to survive until the very early 2010s.

Veronica Mars cameo’s… February 29, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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One of the subtle joys of Veronica Mars is the manner in which the cast is supplemented by both additional actors from shows and cameos. Is that Kevin Smith as a clerk in a store, it sure is. Is that Courtney Taylor-Taylor from Dandy Warhols, singer of the theme song? Definitely. Is that Charisma Carpenter from Buffy? Yep. Others involved included Joss Whedon, Tessa Thompson, Paris Hilton, Adam Scott, Alyson Hannigan, Krysten Ritter, Michael Cera, Matt Czuchry, Cress Williams , Paul Rudd, and the list goes on and on…

Class politics: Veronica Mars Season 2 February 29, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Finished season two, and all too conscious that there’s only one (and a half, sort of kind of) seasons, plus a film to go, it’s like a resource that is being depleted. No, it is a resource that is being depleted. That said, the seasons are 20 plus episodes long, so in contemporary terms that would be six seasons in total, if not more.

This isn’t to say it is flawless. Some of the editing is very choppy and I can’t quite work out whether the trope whereby any given mystery is impossible to understand until a good way into an episode is a glitch or a feature. But there’s so much to enjoy and admire in it that I think I’ll go with the latter, that these are features.

But season two, like season one, has been most interesting in its steely-eyed display of class, race and gender. It just doesn’t shy away from something that in other television is usually ignored, or downplayed. And having Veronica Mars herself as a person who sits on an uneasy intersection between classes is a stroke of genius, because people in the show are not afraid to comment on that.

In one episode there is, quite literally, a short lecture including slide show on how gentrification has hollowed out places like Palo Alto. But the manner in which the world is built makes this flow with the narrative rather than seem a heavy-handed intrusion. And the sense of place there is very strong.

That the central mystery is in a way more extravagant than that in the first season doesn’t hinder the development of the plot.

Then there’s the cast which remains absolutely note perfect throughout. May have mentioned this before, but there’s an honesty about the fact the groups are actually a bit disparate. People come in and out of view in a way that I think is very true of friendships at that stage of life. They’re not a Scooby-gang, more a slightly detached group of people who as they gain or lose partners or experience various events have different interactions with one another.

I’ve been amazed it took this long to find this series, and kind of glad that it did.

Great podcast here Afoot from the incomparable about Season One.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Songs from Veronica Mars February 29, 2020

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I found a copy recently of the OST of Veronica Mars. I discovered that series last year and have worked through two seasons of it now, halting so I can watch the third and penultimate season over the Summer. I think it’s one of the finest shows I’ve seen, at least so far, transcending its roots in teen drama to offer something very very different indeed, though more on that shortly.

The OST is more or less what one might expect, soft rock/pop-ish in orientation, dabbling albeit it doesn’t really go all in on dance or electronica. That said there’s the none-more-appropriate title song from the Dandy Warhols.

Stereophonics, not so keen on. Ivy (influenced by the Go-Betweens and friends of Edwyn Collin) is actually pretty great, as is Mike Doughty. What’s fascinating is that the standard is high but these are bands for the most part I’ve never heard of or only heard of distantly.

And who shows up on it but Something Happens, with one of their more decent tracks.

The liner notes are interesting, in them Rob Thomas, creator of the show notes that he taught high-school journalism (it shows!) and how ‘when picking songs for the show and the soundtrack all I have to do is picture Veronica as one of my students and choose the songs I think she’d cue up on a late night deadline’.

It’s a great window into the show and into a very specific time – a mid 2000s which now seem a world away.


We Used to Be Friends – The Dandy Warhols


Ocean City Girl – Ivy


I Hear the Bells – Mike Doughty


I Know I Know I Know – Tegan and Sara


No Sleep Tonight – The Faders


Long Time Coming – Delays


Momentary Thing – Something Happens


The Way You Are – 46bliss

Interview with Dave Robinson of Stiff Records February 28, 2020

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Conducted by Jason O’Toole in the Mirror, this is a wide ranging interview on foot of appearances by Dave Robinson this weekend in Belfast and Dublin, well worth a read in full.

Legendary music figure Dave Robinson – who’s doing a one man show in Belfast tonight and Dublin tomorrow to tell the story of his pioneering indie label Stiff Records
in anecdotes and music – took over as president of Island when big acts were jumping ship and the label was still reeling from the untimely death of Bob Marley.

And:

As Dave – who once shared a flat with Jimi Hendrix and then with Van Morrison whom he also briefly managed – says himself, “There’s a funny story pretty much about every
record and every artist.”

Growing up in Drumcondra, Dave first started out as a photographer taking snaps of The Stones and The Beatles during the Swinging Sixties, which was his “entrée into the British music scene”.
He recalled: “I remember The Stones were really unpleasant. They were really rude and nasty. Their manager had got them geared up to be very unpleasant. The Beatles were very friendly. So hanging around with them and taking a few picture was a lot of fun.
“But The Stones were constantly putting their hands over your lens, not wanting you to take part. Even though they had agreed to allow photographs, The Stones really didn’t enjoy it.”

Then:

After giving up photography, Dave got into managing bands and single handedly created a network of 35 pubs in London where acts could “play what they wanted” and this became the forerunner of punk.
He then built a recording studio above the legendary Hope and Anchor Pub in Islington and started up Stiff Records with Jake Riviera back in 1976.

And…

Dave has enough material for an entire book, never mind “an evening with…” event like tonight in Belfast and tomorrow in Dublin.
“I keep getting hassled about writing a book, which is great that people are interested. I will write one before I forget everything!” he joked.
“There’s a story behind every record. It’s great to get to the hometown and shine you buttons, do you know what I mean?”

Sounds like they’ll be great events.

Saor Éire Action Group the Story 1967-73 February 28, 2020

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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Thanks to the Irish Republican Marxist History Project for sending this on…

peter graham funeral 1971

Saor Éire Action Group the Story 1967-73.

The 1960s was a time of upheaval and change in conservative Irish society; social attitudes, fashion and music, for instance, all changed dramatically. New social movements reflected the thinking of a new generation that, in particular, wanted more freedom. The huge student-worker protests of May-June 1968 in France, the Vietnamese struggle against America ,the US civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, and the national liberation struggles in Latin America and Africa galvanised opposition to the existing order. In Ireland, these events inspired people, especially the new generation, into action. This was especially the case around the civil rights movement in the north of Ireland. Among the new organisations which emerged here as a result of this new ferment and revolutionary idealism was the Dublin-based Saor Éire (SE) or, to give it its full name, the Saor Éire Action Group.

Saor Éire Acton Group was established in the late 1960s by former members of the Republican Movement and newer young Irish political left activists coming together. As an organisation they claimed to have their roots in the tradition of old Fenianism and the left-wing Republicanism that was prominent in the 1930s. But SE’s founding was also influenced by the IRA’s lack of military activity and political direction, following the cessation of Operation Harvest (the IRA border campaign of 1956-62). There is an element of truth, the group also had a political relationship with the International Marxist Group (IMG), the British section of the Fourth International (the revolutionary movement founded by Leon Trotsky on the eve of World War 2) and that some SE members belonged to the IMG at different points.

The Action Group never saw itself, however, as leading the Irish Revolution or developing a front political organisation but rather as a revolutionary catalyst for change – helping to develop a political consciousness by exposing the contradictions in Irish capitalist society. ……

The remainder of the lengthy piece is here

Signs of Hope – A continuing series February 28, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Gewerkschaftler suggested this recently:

I suggest this blog should have a regular (weekly) slot where people can post happenings at the personal or political level that gives them hope that we’re perhaps not going to hell in a handbasket as quickly as we thought. Or as the phlegmatic Germans put it “hope dies last”.

Any contributions this week?

Democratic legitimacy February 28, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Thought this from Louise O’Reilly was spot on.

Earlier the Sinn Féin health spokeswoman Louise O’Reilly told the Irish Times Inside Politics podcast that a government of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens would have “democratic legitimacy” if it could command a majority in the Dáil.
“If the government can be formed and voted by the Dáil I wouldn’t dispute the democratic legitimacy of it. However, it is neither fair nor credible to disrespect the mandate of the party that got the most votes in the election,” said Ms O’Reilly.

I think she’s absolutely right – in a context where three parties are vying in or around the same percentage share, then it is entirely democratic for any of them to lead a government if they can make the numbers either between themselves or with others. That’s a function of PRSTV.

What is undemocratic is for FF and FG to refuse point blank to go into talks with SF. If SF were a far-right or authoritarian party there’d be some justification for this form of aversion. But SF is by no means in that category, and nor have either of the other two suggested it was – at least not seriously. In fact quite the opposite, at no point in the process to date – during the election, in previous Dáil’s or Seanad’s, or similar did the parties refuse to engage on a platform where SF was participating. They welcomed, at least publicly, the inclusion of SF in the leader’s debates.

What is a problem is, as O’Reilly notes, the ‘disrespecting of the mandate’ that SF entirely legitimately obtained at the election. At a minimum as a matter of democratic courtesy the least that the other parties could do would be to hold talks with SF. This is not to say that FF and FG should be forced to agree a deal with SF, or anything like that. There’s no compunction on them to go into government with SF, anything but. But to resile from engagement seems to me, from their perspective too, to be counterproductive. Nor is it clear that the other parties should ‘stand aside’ and let an SF led minority government take office. Such a government would be unstable and the numbers aren’t exactly comforting. This isn’t to say some sort of fix-up is impossible, just that it’s not likely and indeed could prove a trap along the lines of attempting to implement legislation only to see itself brought down with FF and FG using the extremely expedient line, ‘look at how the left can’t run a government’ etc.

Which perhaps leaves only two feasible options at this point – either FF/FG going into coalition with SF or with each other. That’s where the numbers leave us.

I saw the Fergus Finlay piece in the Examiner linked to in comments. Finlay made a risible comment about the nature of governments elected in this state, but his broader points were sound. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have the option of building some sort of government together if they genuinely believe SF to be the political threat that some of us would argue it manifestly is to their politics. Do they? Does that belief carry over to their being willing to work with each other or would, as he states correctly, prefer an election where more than likely SF would increase its seats yet further?

Seanad vocational panels – some calculations February 27, 2020

Posted by Tomboktu in Bits and Pieces, Irish Politics.
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[Note: Updated 28 Feb to correct an error in the Sinn Féin figures. Thanks to Roscommon21 on Twitter for spotting it.]

Nominations for the vocational panels in the Seanad general election close on Monday. The voters are the combined sets of: members of the city and county councils, members of the outgoing Seanad, and members of the Dáil.

My calculation is that the electorate will be 1,161 voters. It could possibly a few under that, but I expect that all council seats that became vacant with the Dáil election will be filled and that there will be no other vacant seats in any of the councils. There are eight vacancies in the Seanad following the Dáil election.

The 1,161 voters consist of the following:

  • 949 councillors
  • 160 TDs
  • 52 senators.

(more…)

“This tops them all- guess who is being accused of letting loose the ‘Ra?” February 27, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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…this from Richard Waghorn, ahem, in The Critic points the finger of blame at…

Well, I won’t spoil the surprise. Read on, and as the person who sent the link to me noted, check out the cartoon accompanying it.

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