By the time you read this, dear flutterer, I shall be safely ensconced in Inverness, hopefully heading for an interesting fringe meeting and some decent scran. To be followed by a wee refreshment or two and some good craic. Apparently, there are 2000 plus folk here for the SNP conference and if I’m really lucky I’ll know a few of them…
Usually this part of the Flutter is populated from my back catalogue. Choons I have known and loved long ago. This one is a veritable oldie but a new one on me. Loving it. And proves the benefit of learning a lingo at school.
More from Scotland’s Greatest Album which I contrived to miss again this week. We’re now at the 90s, and the rule-bending continues. Apparently the Waterboys Whole of the Moon is a 90s track, not because it was originally released in 1985 but because it was re-released in 1991. Pah.
I won’t even suggest you go and look at the bands and artists that did make it into the “expert panel” (sic) top fifteen. Most of them are rubbish. And while I hold no candle for them whatsoever, how they managed to miss the Wets who dominated one of our soggy summers with a number one that stayed for an unprecedented 15 weeks. They also ignored Annie Lennox as a solo artist (yet included Edwyn Collins) despite her achieving critical and commercial success with her album Diva.
And to prove absolutely that this Emperor has no clothes, there was no room for the Vaselines, the Delgados, BMX Bandits, Del Amitri (always had a wee soft spot for Justin and his sideboards) or even Bis. Now you could argue that little here has stood the test of time, but then that could be said of some of the dross being singled out by the panel. Pah. Again.
It’s not all that new, but I am listening to the Soul Club’s album Paradise more and more. And finding myself hooked. The eponymous, though apparently secret, title track tells you why. NME describes them as a folk rock duo. Which is darned lazy stereotyping.
Have also spent a wee bit of time down at Daytrotter this week. And discovered GIVERS and a fabby session – every track a winner frankly. But I really, really like Words. Also brand new at Daytrotter, a session from Vetiver and this gem Worse for Wear. No, this will not be my anthem tomorrow or Sunday…
Every year since 1988, in honour of the Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov, the European Parliament has awarded a prize for Freedom of Thought to individuals or organisations judged to have made an important contribution to the fight for human rights or democracy. Nominations are made by the political groups represented in the Parliament.
The shortlist of three finalists has just been announced. The first finalist is a collective “Arab Spring” nomination of five people who have risked their own lives to bring about democracy, fundamental rights and dignity for all. Asmaa Mahfouz (Egypt), Ahmed al-ZubairAhmed al-Sanusi (Libya), Razan Zaitouneh (Syria), Ali Farzat (Syria) and Mohamed Bouazizi (Tunisia) have all played decisive roles in the Arab Spring.
The second finalist is Dzmitry Bandarenka is a Belarusian civil activist and member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists. He is one of the co-founders of the Charter ’97 civil rights initiative and co-ordinator of the European Belarus civil campaign.
And the third finalist is the San José de Apartadó Peace Community, a Colombian community of “campesinos” (peasant farmers), which has become an internationally recognized symbol of courage, resilience and dedication to the values of peace and justice, in an environment of brutality and destruction.
No, I am not worthy; neither are any of us. But sometimes I think it is important to be reminded of the many varied ways being in Europe
I’m actually at the SNP conference to speak (gulp!) at a fringe meeting organised by the Poverty Alliance and Child Poverty Action Group Scotland on poverty (funnily enough). Their credentials are clear enough, mine are less certain. Apart from being gobby about there being far too much of it still in Scotland. Last week, we heard dire warnings from the Institute of Fiscal Studies that as a result of changes to the welfare state by the UK Government, 400,000 more people will be living in poverty by 2020. Today, the latest life expectancy rates were published and showed that a child born in Kensington and Chelsea will live 13.5 years longer than a child born in Glasgow.
The gap is growing not reducing, which is a sobering and stark reminder that we might all be aspirational noo in Scotland, but it amounts to little more than rhetoric for many children and families.