This time last year I was in Oslo with an Oregonian, a Mexican American and a fellow Bristolian watching these guys be fucking incredible. "I want to live inside their songs." Yes please. 

Dear Coal

This letter is taken from this site originally written by this person. Gold. 



"I built it with my hands. Straightened old nails to put the sheathing on. Rafters are wired to the stringers with baling wire. It's mine. I built it. You bump it down - I'll be in the window with a rifle. You even come too close and I'll pot you like a rabbit."
"It's not me. There's nothing I can do. I'll lose my job if I don't do it. And look - suppose you kill me? They'll hang you, but long before you're hung there'll be a guy on the tractor, and he'll bump the house down. You're not killing the right guy."
 "That's so," The tenant said, "Who gave you orders? I'll go after him, He's the one to kill."
"You're wrong. He got his orders from the bank. The bank told him, 'Clear those people or it's your job.'"
"Well, there's the president of the bank. There's a board of directors. I'll fill up the magazine of the rifle and go into the bank."
 The driver said, "Fellow was telling me the bank gets orders from the East. The orders were, 'Make the land show profit or we'll close you up.'"
"But where does it stop? Who can we shoot? I don't aim to starve to death before I kill the man that's starving me."
"I don't know. Maybe there's nobody to shoot. Maybe the thing isn't men at all. Maybe, like you said, the property's doing it. Anyway I told you my orders."

"I got to figure," the tenant said. "We all got to figure. There's some way to stop this. It's not like lightening or earth quakes. We've got a bad thing made by men, and by God that's something we can change."

John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath, Chapter five, 1939


So lately I've been reading some books.

 Post-MA I'm finally reading all those highly recommended oh-my-days-you-would-adore-this-book type of books.

I started with Owen Jones' Chavs. This was good. In fact, it was so good I stole it from Oxford library (sorry - I was leaving Oxford and hadn't finished) gave it to a friend (who lives in Oxford so will inevitably return it, don't worry). It's one of those books that makes you continually nod and make affirmative noises out loud. Finally someone wrote a book saying all those things you've been thinking. About the working class, what it means to be middle class, what Thatcher the milk snatcher did all those years ago when we were wee. Each chapter could have been a whole book in and of itself - and it got reeeally interesting in the final chapters when the discussion around immigration and class was stirred up. Would love to see that issue covered in more depth. 

Second up was Paul Mason's Why it's Kicking Off Everywhere. Which at first hit my big cynical attitude with a resounding thud. But as the pages turned and I found myself never without it, the cynicism that began with my thinking Paul Mason was niave (in a profound niavity of my own) melted away, and I realised that actually he's right. Shit is kicking off everywhere - and like it or not, Shirky is right too. That big old internet and those lovely social media platforms are playing a huge role in changing society, protest and organisation. Big things are yet to come and the youth know how to use the technology to make it happen. An inspiring read. 

Third up Doris Lessings' The Good Terrorist. Now, this one got me so excruciatingly confused at what she was trying to say using harsh sterotypes and personality traits of a group of squatters in 80s London. I profoundly disliked this book - but I literally couldn't put it down. I read it in two days (granted I was bed bound at the time) and was hooked constantly and consistently. I don't know whether it was due to the sporadic nature of the main character Alice, or because I was itching to become furious at the next presumption that Lessing would make. Don't get me wrong- some aspects were really interesting; the gender roles, the relationships between the characters. But the context and the attitudes was infuriating. All squatters and squats are dysfunctional. Alternative forms of resistance such as direct action are conducted carelessly by people who don't know what they're doing. That ideologically this group of self-proclaimed communists were lost, because they just wanted to 'resist' society and fight the po-po... But I'm probably reflecting through red-tinted glasses, having felt consistently rubbed up the wrong way. 

However, all in all a good starting line-up of the shape of books to come. What will it be next?