The Village Against the world by Dan Hancox

Village against the world
Dan Hancox
Verso
villageagainsttheworld

Back when I first started to listen to music, I mean really started to listen to music, the bands that made it my ears were very idealistic. ‘Meat Is Murder’, the Smiths Exclaimed! Elvis Costello sang about Olivers Army prior to that and even OMD were singing anti war songs to go with the (very) mighty Wah’s 7 minutes to midnight.

My musical tastes narowed as punk rock really kicked in and the anarcho rage of Crass, Flux and Conflict took over. ‘Another World Is Possible’ they told us as Giro’s in Belfast came into action. I started listening to a wder selection of sounds but if a band wasn’t publicly supporting the miners strike then I wasn’t gonna waste my time on them.

30 years later and whilst a lot has happened outside music that world of punk and change still clings very dear to my heart.

Another World is Possible rears its head time and time again as I ask my children to “Strive to survive causing least suffering possible”. It’s a simple mantra and we can be the change we want to be.

The world has changed since the mid 80’s, walls have come tumbling down but the veneer of democracy is still thin and money holds the balance of power. Nearly everywhere….

In the small town of Marinaleda in the Andalucian region of Southern Spain the near 3,000 inhabitants have decided to take the power. After years of struggle they got land and have created their own co-ops. This book is their story. It is based around the towns lord mayor, Sanchez Gordillo, and the people who have taken control. Whether that be by the farms they cultivate or the processing plants that makes goods grown form these farms, or the weekly assemblies that take place. I can only guesss someone like Paul Murphy takes great inspiration from a mayor like Gordillo. After the press hysteria in Ireland when Paul spoke about always having a megaphone in the car and his vilification from some in the Labour Party it seems that Mayor Gordillo goes nowhere without his megaphone, and has done so for a very long time.

Spain has 4 million vacant premises, it is estimated that 4000,000 people have been evicted from their homes – none in Marinaleda. Nobody profits from the sale of real estate, it is available to all for €15 per week.”People are considered merchandise. While they’re profitable they are used and when they’re no longer profitable they’re discarded. We have to change these cruel and inhuman values.” It is pretty straight forward really, but of course it is not that straight forward. Finance needs to be obtained and with austerity gripping Spain as unemployment nationally reaches 30% (Marinaleda has approx 5%) it is becoming more and more difficult to sustain. It has done so up to now and not without difficulty. This is not North Korea, wifi is freely available, elections are regular occurrences and whilst there is oppostion Gordillo keeps getting re-elected.

Weekly assemblies are a feature of life and through this “atmosphere of genuine democratic inclusion and participation” we could possibly learn something. Of course this is not new and the occupy movement have been advocates of this type of participation and places like Seomra Spraoi are organised in this way. The people in Marinaleda seem to have a genuine belief that they are in control of their own destiny. Indeed, we hear that “police and priests are superfluous and so are politicians” which is refreshing to hear considering our system here is based on entrusting those we vote in every 5 years.

This is an inspiring tale. It’s not rags to riches it’s a sharing of the community people live in. A tale that people can try and take control

Maybe another world is possible after all?

niallhope

Get it here

Stay Clean Jolene st LP

stay clean jolene

Stay Clean Jolene

Stay Clean Jolene

Title:  Stay Clean Jolene (BandCamp, Dead Broke Rekerds, Rad Girlfriends Records, Drunken Sailor Records, Bombed Out Records, Just Say No to Government Music RecordsiTunes)

Artist:  Stay Clean Jolene (Facebook, Twitter, BandCamp, Last.fm)

 

stay clean jolene1

I’m a sucker for Christmas, I love the whole sentimentality of it. The signs that one year is nearly complete and we can prepare for the next. OF course the cynical punk rocker in me gets pushed deep down as commercialism is to the fore in this season. Christmas gives people in the west a chance to take stock of where we are, what we have and what we have done over the past 12 months. Personally I feel like I’ve had a long sleep and we are back again. Thankfully though there’s been a good soundtrack to my sleep. That soundtracks has included some really cool UK diy punky hardcore bands. There’s a whole stream out there bashing away at their guitars , playing like their lives depend on it and holding on to some sort of hope.

As someone who gladly attends the annual Rebellion punk festival it is heartening to see old punks hanging on to what they believe in and treating each other well. Under the surface of the leather, bristles spikes and anarchy there is a movement of players who came from that punk scene but wanted their tunes to really shine through. Few of them play at Rebellion but these people are in bands like Bedford Falls, The No Marks, Southport, Bear trade, Epic Problem and Holiday. There’s a ton more, like the people around the Make That A Take scene in Scotland. If you’ve ever read this blog you’ll have seen me championing them here and on my radio show

One of the best 7″‘s in recent years came from Boltons Stay Clean Jolene, I wrote previously after being privileged to see them play this year, “soaring guitars, heartfelt tunes and an integrity that can’t be made up. We are lucky to have bands like stay clean jolene. Lucky they want to continue to play music to 100 people and lucky they feel lucky to do so. Southport the same. They are incredible. 3 people having fun playing to their friends, regardless if they know them or not. Such talent, criminally ignored but whilst it is that way we can still cling on to them.” And now they have released their album. And it’s Christmas time.

10 songs of action packed guitar tunes. It is heartfelt and has more than a nod to Husker Du and Leatherface. leaving it with thos comparisons is lazy and unfair. I’m just trying to help you. They have their own stamp. Guitars soar with tunes that leave you wanting more. They are anthems, tuneful and clear. I have listenened to this record at least 10 times in two days, it’s that good. Just like Santa Claus, if only the world could be like this all the time, I could ignore all the austerity and measures imposed on the populace.

I bet Stay Clean Jolene would be on the side of the people. A sure sign of community is the fact that so many labels have released this record. Well three have clubbed in for the vinyl and two, at least, for the cd. I only wished I wasn’t too late to the party and could have been their Irish distributor.

Do your best to check this out

niallhope

Todays Play Of The Day – The Ground IS Lava

As Christmas season is such an emotional time I’ve gone emo today and want to share the lowis fi sound of the Ground Is Lava, they mix it up with some emo and math and come up with a progressive formula

niallhope

Todays Play OF the Day – The Cut Ups

As you have probably guessed by now I love a heartfelt punk rock song

The Cut Ups have lots of them

The Cut Ups are a diy, countercultural punkrock band from Exeter, UK.

niallhope