Sing Us an Old Song

Last night: SWP organisational meeting - 10 minutes of organising, plus 90 of dissecting the day's news and sharing thoughts about the conference most of us were at.

In the news we have Tony Blair's personally appointed fundraiser arrested on corruption charges, 200 killed by a bomb in a Mombai train station, and Israel bombing the hell out of Lebanon "in retaliation" for two of their soldiers being kidnapped.

As for the Marxism conference, roughly half the 4000 attendees were young and/or first-timers, giving a fresher vibe than in recent years. The party seems to be finally growing as anarchists get more cohearantly politicised.

Drinks with the comrades afterwards, then more drinks in another pub with Simon M, who had bought me a gift. A Doctor Who teeshirt showing an old style dalek on a battlefield with purple sky. Lovely stuff. No way I'd be mistaken for a heterosexual or non-computer-geek in that.

We both missed the final episode of Season 28 at the weekend (I was at Marxism2006), so the plan is to see the repeat together on Friday - wearing the shirt, of course.

In the pub, we bumped into a Liberal Democrat councillor - Stephen something - who demonstrated precisely what's wrong with career politicians.

I said I was a socialist - he became a "social liberal democrat". I said something vaguely antimonarchist - he waxed lyrical about how he hated the royal family. I flirted with him - he dropped hints about possible bisexual leanings. Perhaps if I'd become an old fashioned stalinist he'd have got wistful and misty eyed about Russia.

The trouble with cold reading is, your script is written by the one you're scamming.

Signing on today, and my "jobsearch" adviser showed me a surprising alternative to ignoring the A15C form and filling out the original paperwork again. It's to fill out the A15C form, but not according to the instructions given. And then fill out all the original paperwork again.

I'm slowly copying the minidisc recordings of the Marxism presentations to computer, and using my dubious sound engineer skills to make the sound less like they were recorded in an echoy room through a crappy UKP5 computer microphone.

Just a thought about musical influences. A lot of songs that influenced my own compositions existed (and exist) as dim memories. Some songs that I heard once or twice on the radio created deep but imprecise impressions, much deeper than songs I heard frequently.

For years, elements from my vague recollections of What's on Your Mind by Information Society found their way into occasional tracks from albums I put together in teenage years. I'd heard the song once on a badly tuned MW radio in about 1985, then not at all till Napster came along in the late 90s.

It was pretty much as I remembered it, which is more than can be said for Gold Rush by Yello - also heard just once, half remembered and often referred to. James Brown is Dead by LA Style stayed with me accurately, but See How It Cuts by I Start Counting did not.

Living in a Box, known for their single of the same name, also released Gatecrashing, but their record company hastily withdrew it due to fears of upsetting the public - it came out in the same week as the Heisal stadium disaster. Now the song is hopelessly obscure and Limewire can't find it.

Compare with Fade to Grey by Visage, which spent years as a seminal classic among dance music trainspotters, before being reborn as a song everyone knows in mp3 form.

Hollywood Beyond was a more-or-less one man act in the mid 1980s. He was a young black fellow with dark specs, wild dreadlocks and a passion for maximal variety in his listening and output. He also had two muscular dancers in loincloths whenever he sang on television - which was daring and rather nice.

The first release is now a minor classic - What's the Colour of Money?. The second, called No More Tears I heard two, maybe three times, before the song and the singer sank into oblivion. He now exists as a set of broken links on, and as a reverberating blip in my childhood.

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