Archive for October, 2012

EU internet policing proposals, apparently

October 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Just had this link forwarded to me: an article in Techdirt, relating to discussions taking place within the EU about internet censorship. Deja vu, I think. Does anyone outside of a few law enforcement officials serious think these proposals are (a) acceptable to the public (b) workable and (c) likely to be effective?


Discourses about homelessness

October 6, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve lately been working on materials on the sociology of homelessness, in which context I came across this very wonderful YouTube clip.

The first segment is done cartoon style. In summary, the chair of a town council meeting says ‘Homeless people have been sprouting up all over the place – what can we do about it?’ Someone suggests giving them designer sleeping bags so they don’t look so untidy (I don’t think they suggest funding it through placing advertising on the bags – I think I heard that as a real suggestion in a real meeting at some time!). Eventually someone makes a liberal stand: ‘The homeless aren’t monsters. They’re people, like you and me!’

And the response? ‘You mean they’ve adapted? Copied our DNA?

‘Nuff said.


Alternative music – in Kabul

October 4, 2012 2 comments

Just a quick thing to throw up here, following my previous post on music: this, from the BBC. A rock and alternative music festival in Kabul, which given the range of problems and the level of conflict to be found in Afghanistan is about the least likely place you might expect to find one. But then, maybe such a festival is kind of important for precisely those reasons? Most of the bands playing are from the Kabul area, and it’s equally impressive that in that context there are people who have the resources – instruments, rehearsal space, time – to even pull bands together and play their music. Marvellous.

And it’s the second festival of alternative music that’s been held there.

Bringing the music back

October 1, 2012 Leave a comment

If you don’t live in the UK, you probably won’t appreciate what a major step this is: the BBC have just reported that the red tape around the licensing of live music has been lifted from small venues (capacity up to 200). This means some 13,000 pubs and clubs no longer need to go through difficult bureaucratic hurdles and pay substantial licence fees in order to have live music.

It’s a big deal for small bands, people trying to get known in the music business and so forth, because when the current regime was introduced it resulted in many thousands of smaller venues closing their doors to live music. It also, of course, made it more difficult for more ‘experimental’ artists to get going – because who was ever going to take a chance on putting them on stage in a large venue that needed to recoup substantial licence costs? And by ‘experimental’ in this context I don’t just mean weird electronic and suchlike, but a range of styles and a range of performers who are trying to do something a little bit unusual and distinctive with their music, and trying to see if there’s an audience out there for them.

So now  a lot of musicians, aspiring bands and so on can return to the traditional route of building up a loyal following in their home town, and then around the country, going on the road to build their ‘tribe’ of followers a little at a time. And there will be, I hope, a lot more live music in a lot more styles and genres somewhere near you.

So, for once, I can report some good news and a sensible government policy!

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