Sunday, June 18, 2006


So I did use the phrase Inglistan years ago to describe an England made Desi, but now with the publication of a novel Londonstani and a lot of journalistic scaremongering about loadsa British Muslims as budding terrorists, the related, more local term has become quite widespread. Check out this bullshit for example.

When I was in London, the big news was quite the opposite to the brown assault on English culture suggested by Melanie Phillips & fellow civilizationalists. State terror was directed against the capital's Muslim residents. The anti-terrorist squad equipped with 'specific intelligence' raided a house in Forest Gate in East London on June 2nd, shot one young British citizen 'of Bangladeshi origin' and arrested him along with his brother. Days begat days without finding owt. The brothers have since been released due to that dodgy intelligence.

The image above isn't an Al Qaeda surveillance photo, but a snap I took as I looked across at the dome of St. Paul's from one of the rooms at the Tate Modern in Southwark.

Also in Londinium (I've always liked the Roman version meself), I had several discussions with my bros about the revival of the St. George's flag. It was flying from every other car and from dozens of shops, mainly in anticipation of the World Cup in Germany. The English flag has always bothered me for its associations with the Crusades and rightwing political parties, but it seems that it has been reclaimed. Is this semiotic appropriation a good thing or just evidence of the insidious banality of nationalism? The English are at war in the Middle East (again) and yet they fly the flag for the footy team and talk about the weather. The papers were full of black and brown as well as white Englanders saying how good the flag was. My devout Muslim brother said it bothers him that it's a Christian symbol for the nation but otherwise he was OK with allsorts waving it. My other less devout bro said it was cool. I still felt queasy.

On CD in Soho I bought a new dubstep album, the first on the Hyperdub label, by the mysterious Burial. Could only be vaguely described as Dub influenced. More cinematic than Massive Attack. If King Tubby had mixed Boards of Canada. Like Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures (for Manchester) and David Bowie's Low (for Berlin), this is a fiercely evocative city record, a London document, capturing the dead spaces, spooks and paranoias of the post 7/7 capital city.

In London I also bought a wonderful album Lovers Rock (1982) by (for me) the recently discovered Love Joys i.e. Brixton cousins Sonia Abel and Claudette Brown. Produced by Bullwackie on the Wackies label and re-released by the Rhythm & Sound guys in Berlin.

Took a punt on the new Scott Walker album The Drift (4AD). It appears to capture the bleakness of the present geopolitical moment with songs alluding to Bosnia and the war makers and fakers.

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