Monday, 17 October 2011

I am the 25 percent

I was pleased to read that the UK Occupy... have released a statement (elsewhere described as a list of demands). Some commentators have complained that its not really a list of demands, is somewhat contradictory and doesn't really make sense.

So I'm putting together my own statement, list of demands and resolutions, which I feel is more appropriate to me and my peers in the top 25%.

1. The current system is as it is. The future system could be better, could be worse, probably be both at the same time. It should be different.
2. Other occupations around the world seem a bit vague and remind me of that Father Ted episode. They're probably just as valid as any other, I guess.
3. I resolve to use banks as little as possible, to minimise the amount of money they can make from me.
4. I resolve to only vote for low tax and small government political parties. And only use the goods and services of large corporations when they provide the best deal for me. I will fund my pension myself by putting away a little of what I earn every month until I retire, and will not depend on the state to provide.
5. I want regulators to be demonstrably more competent than the industries that they regulate
6. I do not support strike action and where it occurs I will hold it to be representative of sector in which is occurs. I resolve to use public services as little as possible.
7. The world's resources must go to those who can use them most effectively
8. I stand in solidarity with the global oppressed and I call for people to think carefully about the governments they elect who have caused this oppression.
9. This is what I think democracy looks like.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

What if... The Stone Roses

So, the other night I read that The Stone Roses are set to reform and play a series of shows next summer. Being from the appropriate era, I felt the urge to listen to their songs, and cued them up on my knackered iPod, and spent my entire nine hour night-shift listening to four songs, Waterfall, This is the One, I Am the Resurrection and Love Spreads.

My mind started boggling a wee bit with ideas.

How about a campaign to get The Foz to be Xmas Number One? It's this discordant secret track at the end of their Second Coming album, just them messing about in the studio, never released a single, but it would be so perfect compared to the currently mooted campaign to get Smells Like Teen Spirit re-issued.

Anyhoo, so I was listening to those four tracked that I happened to have on my iPod, on repeat cos the pod's broken, and I had a thought about what the reunion tour would be like.

Would they be playing just their twenty year old hits and an obligatory new song? Would Brown and Squire be playing any of their respective solo tracks? Would The Stone Roses start writing new songs and have a new album?

There's this story about when Oasis played Knebworth, Noel Gallagher got John Squire up cos he wanted to show him what The Stone Roses could have had if they hadn't imploded.

Undoubtedly the reformed Stone Roses could draw a crowd like that now, but how about if they just played it as though The Stone Roses hadn't split in 1996? If the band in the studio just carried on where they left off, Squire's Seahorses songs remixed, rewritten, respun as the Stone Roses, with Ian Brown, Reni and Mani, doing vocals, drums and bass. What if Ian Brown's FEAR, Corpses in their Mouths and My Star were respun with the rest of the Stone Roses playing.

Sure, we accept that The Seahorses and Ian Brown's Solo stuff was successful in its own right, but what could it have been, Could it now become?

And then, once the sins of the past have been atoned for, The Stone Roses could carry on forward with their fourth album, and so on becoming Rolling Stones-like institution that never ends.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Library in a Phone Box #27 Brynberian, Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire-61Via the joy that is twitter, another phonebox library has appeared on my radar. A flickr user by the name of Katchoo found a llyfrgell cyfnewid in Brynberian, Pembrokeshire, on the road to Pentre Ifan, the largest dolmen on the British mainland. Katchoo has some fine photos there, and without much difficulty I was able to locate it on google maps too.

Its a good solid five shelf affair, about eighty books, with no sign of kids books as is usual for these things, but a couple of copies of Garden Answers magazine are a nice alternative.Pembrokeshire-56

But in Katchoo's accompanying blogpost, a comment has been left by a chap called John Kirriemuir:-
It’s good if there was nothing in the community for book lending before. Not a library in all but the narrowest of definitions though; it’s just a bunch of books that people can borrow.

It’s not so good if the local library has been closed, or taken over as a big society sham “community volunteer-run library” – much more in a post am writing on this. As it means (a) skilled information professional has been made unemployed and (b) the community has lost most or all of these”
This is easy to look into. According to Pembrokeshire council the nearest council-run libraries to Brynberian are Crymych Library which is 7 miles to the east and Newport Library which is 5.1 miles to the north. Also Pembrokeshire has three Mobile Libraries that visit villages and rural areas once every three weeks. So as there are clearly other things in the community for book lending, the phone box swop library is not "good".

I had a check on google and it appears there's no library closures being mooted in Pembrokeshire, there are no news stories about library closures, there are no council documents, there's no easily findable evidence that this phone box library has come about because of library closures. As no local libraries have been closed in Pembrokeshire and no skilled information professionals have been made unemployed, its not "not so good".

Its not a zero sum game, there has never previously been a public library in Brynberian, but there is one now.

This has however pointed me in a new direction in documenting these phone box swop libraries, I can find out how far away the nearest council run libraries are and the proximity of library closures, and then see statistically if there is any correlation.