Saturday, October 25, 2008

Five Star Review of 'Black Ice' by AC/DC - the 13.99 version

Last night I had a well deserved break from spreading the socialist revolution and my scholarly investigations into age discrminiation in the Edwardian era. Husband and I drove over to Leek to attend my ex-boyfriend's granny's 90th birthday. Quite by coincidence AC/DC released what is quite possibly their best album since 'Back in Black' - which was released a whopping 28 years ago. 'Black Ice' is the ideal antidote to almost anything, apart from a good night's sleep. Great for recessions, long-ish car journeys into sunsets, uniting young and old alike and musical riffs, lead guitar solos and simplistic sing-along lyrics. I've already listened to it five times and I only bought it at 2pm yesterday. I love 'Skies on Fire' the second track. 'I know you. And you know me. Tell me what is you want it to be. What you want to be. What you need in me'. The band are getting so old now that I'm constantly wondering if these songs are now written about conversations they've been having with their kids. Gone are the crude and to be honest over the top potentially -illegal lyrics about underage sex. (Squealer and 'Can I sit next to you Girl? spring to mind from the 70s). It's all rock and roll, war, the weather and gigs. I don't think they're getting it as much as they did 30 years ago. 'War Machine' spells it out nicely. For true AC/DC fans it's a total plagiarisation of one of their 1980 tracks 'Giving the Dog a Bone'. But if you are such a dedicated fan, you don't mind of course them replicating their masterpieces with a militarisatic rather than sexual overtone. The booklet which comes with the 13.99 version is even more intriguing. For an extra four pounds you get all the lyrics, AC/DC in grey rather than red on the front, and some glossy colour photos. Worth every penny. Although not sure Americans agree. Their tour sold out in ten seconds over here. You can still get tickets over there.

Angus is still in his obligatory school uniform and pulling faces like the naughty school boy nicking from the tuck shop he isn't. But the rest of the band - who must now be approaching their 60s - have been working out (possibly in my dreams, a 'rock and roll dream') but anyway, they're all smiling. Probably smiling because of all the money they've made out of us suckers. Even more of a giveaway to this fact is the title of one of the songs 'Money Made', 'You keep it up, you get it made'. On this ocassion, they have kept it up. I have to disagree with my ex on the issue of 'Fly on the Wall' being up to this standard - it ain't.
But I think we wouldn't be 'Spoilin for a Fight' on why this is probably their best album for nearly thirty years. It's possibly because it's the original line-up since the 1980 'Let There be Rock' tour - apart from Bon Scott who died from a drinking overdose then. Angus Young on lead guitar, Malcolm Young (whose name I had emblazoned in Celtic script on my cut-off denim jacket, ahem some time ago) on rythym guitair, Phil Rudd on drums and Cliff Williams on bass. Brian Johnson 'vocals'. His voice has actually improved. But it's amazing the difference the steady drums and dominant bass make. Phil Rudd only came back in 1994 after scrapping with Malcolm.

And 'Decibel' - track 9. A track presumably written by Angus about playing in open air stadiums. 'Love in the rain, they're in there rocking standing proud, Decibel. That's the history of rock and roll'.

And the birthday party? 'She likes Rock N Roll'

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Is this the end of capitalism?

I hope tomorrow they finally tell us what percentage of the banks we now own for the £500 bn we've put in. I'm definitely writing to Diane Abbott and the Today Programme (again) if they don't. Basically if it's what Paul Mason on Newsnight said on Thursday - approximately 1% then we're doomed as that's definitely not enough to restore stability. My vote is of course for 100%, with us being able to vote at AGMs, politicians in charge, after all they are elected. But what I REALLY want is for us to own: 1) The National Health Service. Privatisation MUST stop. 2) Care. This needs to be part of the NHS anyway - free to anyone who needs it. Automatically for over 70s, automatic for those with disabilities. 3) Education. Free. NO PFI.

And true Democracy must occur. Money cannot be the incentive - instead we need accountability, public service, giving to others, sharing, cooperation, international flows of labour. When people realise how rewarding it is to give to others rather than consume for themselves, they won't turn back to the past twenty years of gluttonous market madness.

Yes, this is a sea change. Finally I am agreeing with all my friends. Or more to the point they are agreeing with me - I haven't changed. Even in the past month the shift to the left has been palpaple. I'm no longer arguing about economics. The mixed economy is back. Thank God. OK there might not be a revolution. But people will realise the nonsensical persistant reliance on greed - especially over the past twenty years or so - to save humanity and the earth. A more socialist, caring society is the future.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

How to not get stressed in a global crisis: Managing depression in a Depression

1) Talk to kindred spirits. The people who you always agree with politically. You know who they are.
2) Talk to Dad
3) Get on with work
3.5) define work for yourself
4) keep yourself fit
5) Meditate
6) Complain to BBC/Diane Abbott etc
7) Articulate concerns and record them.
8) Think about the sun rising tomorrow
9) Redefine capitalism

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Depressed in a depression

Just finished another care work shift. It's like doing a care marathon: 'Nearly there, nearly there. Just another five clients to go. First client only made me 2 hours late, and that time is reducing. Oh she hasn't got any fresh milk. Never mind. I'll open the UHT. Damn, there's shit everywhere. Well clearing all that up will only take ten minutes.' We don't get paid travel time, plus the time that people are on our rotas - normally for me anyway you can double that. Easily. Any extra time I work I don't get paid for. The way I see it is that the sort of people we care for should be getting the best treatment, the best homes and the best lifestyles. They are severely disabled so this care and treatment that they should get should compensate them for the bum hand lady luck dealt them. Of course the opposite is true most of the time. The homes are dirty. The care is insufficient: utterly underresourced, poor training and poor supervision. And we don't get enough time with them. They don't get any advice or advocacy. The first lady I saw - with complex needs had crap stains all over her bed. The house was much dirtier than when I last saw her. She said her main carers were on holiday. Well the company know that so why can't they spend an extra whatever it is making sure she gets good care? For complex cases we need two carers if the regular carer is away. Because I actually do care I cleaned all this up, put fresh sheets on the bed and made it what I considered habitable. I was then half an hour late - of course not including travel time.
I actually quite enjoy the work. The system on the other hand is another kettle of fish.
Because they don't pay you adequately, and you're not given a break, you inevitably rush. I started work at 7.30, finished at 3pm. It's actually a full day's work - no break. I ate half a marmite sandwich for 'lunch' in a car park. I got hiccups because I was eating it so fast. 15 minute appointments need to be outlawed. What can you do in 15 minutes? Rushing is not good. This is supposed to be 'care'. I end up prioritising - they must eat, they must fill in my timesheet, I must fill in their care plan. Emptying commode and washing up get forgotten.

Anyway progress since the 1930s is at least antibiotics. One of my old ladies showed me her wedding photo. She couldn't remember when it was, but it looked like about 1936 to me. Her husband died a few years later from pneumonia.,

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

How to prepare for the future: A brief guide to global strategies

1) The American Dream. This involves trying to earn as much money as possible. Failing to see the value of democracy or education. Also known as capitalism. Money is King. Recommended by almost everyone most of the time - failing at the moment. About 150 years old.
2) Marxism. Or Communism. Basically private property is illegal - to a certain extent. Tends to be the opposite of 1). Was popular in the early twentieth century and in places like Cuba. Gone slightly out of fashion, likely to have a resurgence due to 1) going down the pan faster than you can say Frederich Engels. Trade unions are king. About 148 years old.
3) God. Vicars are apparently the happiest people job wise. God supposedly gives you faith and hope. About 3000 years old. God is King - and His prophets of course - Abraham, Moses, Christ and Mohammad. Tends to go in and out of fashion. Some people who use 1 & 2 also use 3. But not all three at the same time. One of the problems is people seem to disagree about the prophets and kill each other about it.
4) Tea leaves. Basically the tea leaves are King. They form different shapes in the cup. Try not to use a tea bag. Popular late nineteenth century.
5) The Monarchy and aristocracy. Easy - the King is King. Or queen. It's the opposite of inheritance tax. Basically if you're born a monarch, unless 2) happens then your kids will also be King. Popular in Britain, Spain and Saudi Arabia. Been going about as long as 3). The less you know anyone who's aristocracy the less likely you are to have money or a job.
Quite a good indicator of what your future will be like. Unless you happen to be somewhere where 2) is going on. In that case emigrate (if you're royalty).
6) Astrology. Published each day in tabloid newspapers. Currently more reliable than 1,2 and 5. The argument is people are influenced by the stars in the sky. Because we can predict where they're going we can predict what we're all going to do.
7) Luck. Arguably the most scientific of all the ways we can prepare for the future. There is a probability of anything happening. The more remote it is the less likely it is to happen.
Gambling is King. Popular in China. We were pretty lucky the Big Bang started in the first place - about 3bn years old. The problem is bad luck.
8) Fascism. Linked to nihilism. If you don't want a future a good choice. Popular in 1930s Europe and having a resurgence now. Dictator is King.
9) Palm reading. You have four main lines. Life line circles your thumb. Should be a nice long circle. Head line crosses the palm from the start of the life line. And your heart line goes across from your little finger ending just before the head. Career is up the middle of your palm. Not the best way to prepare as you can't do anything about it. Bad luck if your life line is cut. Palm is King.
10) Anarchism. Freedom is king. Anyone can do whatever they want. Nothing/Everything is in charge. The phrase in 1960s France was 'Demand the Impossible.'
11) not walking under ladders. Likely to have short term impact in terms of buckets of water not falling on your head. Ladder is king.