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Topics - Uli

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World Abused / It is expensive to be poor
« on: December 28, 2015, 11:47:07 AM »
Sometimes you think those journalist have heard TV's songs when creating headlines...  ;)

The Great Recession should have put the victim-blaming theory of poverty to rest. In the space of only a few months, millions of people entered the ranks of the officially poor—not only laid-off blue-collar workers, but also downsized tech workers, managers, lawyers, and other once-comfortable professionals. No one could accuse these “nouveau poor” Americans of having made bad choices or bad lifestyle decisions. They were educated, hardworking, and ambitious, and now they were also poor—applying for food stamps, showing up in shelters, lining up for entry-level jobs in retail. This would have been the moment for the pundits to finally admit the truth: Poverty is not a character failing or a lack of motivation. Poverty is a shortage of money.

I was also dismayed to find that in some ways, it is actually more expensive to be poor than not poor. If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel. If you don’t have a kitchen or even a refrigerator and microwave, you will find yourself falling back on convenience store food, which—in addition to its nutritional deficits—is also alarmingly overpriced. If you need a loan, as most poor people eventually do, you will end up paying an interest rate many times more than what a more affluent borrower would be charged. To be poor—especially with children to support and care for—is a perpetual high-wire act.

Written by T-Bone Burnett (ok, he focusses on the U.S., but...)

But this brave new digital world has a dark side, too — and it is the responsibility of everyone who loves and cares about music to acknowledge and deal with this uncomfortable truth.

Too much of the emotional, cultural and economic value that music creates is simply lost now, slipping through the digital cracks in some cases, outright hijacked by bad actors and online parasites in others.

Artists, fans and responsible music and technology businesses alike all know this. When my friend Taylor Swift spoke up for the value of our work and the righteous claim of all artists to be paid for what they do, she was celebrated and applauded — not just by her colleagues, but also by teenagers who care about the people who create the music that means something to them and businesses such as Apple that fundamentally want to do what’s right.

How bad is the problem? Consider this: In 2014, sales from vinyl records made more than all of the ad-supported on-demand streams on services such as YouTube. I’m not running down vinyl — it is still the best-sounding, most durable medium we have for listening to music, by far. But why should a technology most people consider outdated generate more revenue than an Internet service with more than 100 million American users? That’s just wrong.
In the digital marketplace, everyone seems to have found a way to make a living off music except the creators who actually record the songs. Websites put up illegal copies of music — or turn a blind eye while others do — then sell ads micro-targeted at everyone who comes to listen. Eventually, a site may be forced to pull down the unlicensed (and for the artists and labels, completely unpaid) copy, but in the meantime, its owners have cashed in.
Fortunately, creators have begun to band together and speak out — the roster of those demanding reform is a who’s who of the music business, from Elvis Costello to Annie Lennox, from REM to Chuck D, and hundreds more. Congress is reviewing the copyright laws, and this time, we will be heard, and there will be no more backroom deals or giveaways.

World Abused / They do matter
« on: November 15, 2015, 11:51:23 AM »
Of course these lives do matter, as much as any others.

There is a buffet of media; we would rather digest the sweet pointless posts and videos, than the news stories and tragedy that leaves a lump in our throat.

 A friend asked me why this was the case and why this wasn't major news on all media forms; to use a popular phrase why this hadn't broke the internet?

 Well, it could be because they are Black, could be because they are far away or even simply because the media has created a narrative about Africa. That narrative is a place that is uneducated, uncivilised and a conflict zone. Not a place of development, growth, innovation and full of people with hopes, dreams and aspirations just like anywhere else. This media driven narrative means people read stories about Africa and think "that's ok, that happens there all the time". This gives people an excuse not to emphasise. Not to care. Not to share. Not to write that status, tweet or share that post. "Africa and violence is old news". Do these lives not matter? Are we that busy sharing rubbish that we can't take a moment to care for these students?

But then again, if you try and take in all the bad news coming in from all over the world every day, you'll probably go crazy or commit suicide...  :(

Check your mind; when was the last time you read a story about someone who didn't look like you, live in your country or wasn't 'famous'?
When was the last time you sat and read a news story from start to finish?
When was the last time you thought "i won't let this story be forgotten between the posts about cats and selfies"?
When was the the last time you thought someone needs to read this; "The world needs to read, see and act on this"?

Well all this has happened with me. But I also found out sharing things that "matter" on FB gets you about 2 "likes", sharing some rubbish joke gets you about 25...  ::)

World Abused / Indonesia fire disaster
« on: November 10, 2015, 04:31:13 PM »
Of course in our part of the world, the media have other things to report...  :-\
A great tract of Earth is on fire. It looks as you might imagine hell to be. The air has turned ochre: visibility in some cities has been reduced to 30 metres. Children are being prepared for evacuation in warships; already some have choked to death. Species are going up in smoke at an untold rate. It is almost certainly the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century – so far.

Fire is raging across the 5,000km length of Indonesia. It is surely, on any objective assessment, more important than anything else taking place today. And it shouldn’t require a columnist, writing in the middle of a newspaper, to say so. It should be on everyone’s front page. It is hard to convey the scale of this inferno, but here’s a comparison that might help: it is currently producing more carbon dioxide than the US economy. And in three weeks the fires have released more CO2 than the annual emissions of Germany.

TV Interviews / Extensive TV interview (Brook Guitars)
« on: October 02, 2015, 09:38:09 AM »
Available as a PDF (downloadable) here is an extensive interview with TV!

Tim Smith a.k.a TV Smith is, quite literally, a walking advert for Brook Guitars.

World Abused / Working before 10am = torture?
« on: September 25, 2015, 08:47:54 AM »
Well I always had the vague impression, but this says it's true: starting work before 10am is equivalent to torture...

As Dr. Paul Kelley puts it in an interview, ‘We cannot change our 24-hour rhythms. You cannot learn to get up at a certain time…your liver and your heart have different patterns and you’re asking them to shift two or three hours.”

This is because the natural human rhythms evolved around sunlight—not the business strategies of the nation’s employers. In the late 18th century, the 8-hour work day was designed to maximize efficiency. But factory owners didn’t consider the body’s natural clock, they only thought about a 24/7 production schedule.

As Kelley told the British Science Festival in Bradford, “We’ve got a sleep deprived society.” His prescription was to move start times forward to 10am and to test his theory he moved the start time of a British school forward from 8:30am to 10:00am. He wasn’t surprised when he saw grades improve by an average 19 per cent.

World Abused / Refugees
« on: September 08, 2015, 12:31:54 PM »
Some good thoughts here:
Germany’s response to the refugee crisis is admirable. But I fear it cannot last

Bashi’s story is little different from the stories of millions of Europeans who migrated to the United States in the 19th century. Those Europeans, just like the migrants of today, were escaping poverty, discrimination and conflict. Bashi, like the majority of those people, will most certainly contribute significantly to any nation that will give him asylum.

As Africa’s population continues to grow, the number of people crossing deserts and seas will continue to rise. Responses have focused primarily on enforcement, but it is clear barriers and barbed wire will not deter people who are prepared to risk their lives.

In the short term, there is no escaping the tough decisions required to absorb and integrate a significant number of the people who have already arrived in Europe, and who cannot be repatriated to countries in conflict.

Contrary to some popular narratives, the Bashis of this world are not motivated by the European welfare state; they are attracted by peace, opportunities for development, employment and a legal system that promises equality and protection.

African countries must break their silence and ask why their young people feel compelled to leave. Making the continent politically and economically attractive for young people must be a priority response. African bodies, such as the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (Igad) are aware of this challenge, and are looking for support, but this is a long-term project.

World Chat / X - the last American punk band left standing
« on: August 01, 2015, 10:26:44 AM »
One of the standard bearers of that scene, X, have spent time in the considerable shadow of their New York City cousins, despite making a considerable mark. Founded in 1977 by Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom and DJ Bonebrake, the quartet’s brand of punk fused rockabilly and roots rock while The Ramones’ inspiration came from girl groups and ‘60s AM pop. Fast forward four decades and X remains the only American punk band of that era with all its founding members (Billy Zoom’s current state of health not withstanding. More about that in a bit) still together playing.

And while the California foursome has had a number of hiatuses thanks to side and solo projects, Zoom leaving the band for a number of years and even acting gigs for Doe and Cervenka, the past 17 years have found X regularly touring. Doe credits maturity for fueling this creative harmony.

“[The band’s relationship] has been the best that it’s been in a long time or even ever. In any kind of relationship you either move forward, forgive and forget or you move forward and say, ‘It’s best if we don’t stay together.’ As people, we’re much closer together because we realized that we mean a lot to each other,” Doe explained from a tour stop in Cleveland.

This bond is being tested even more given the recent diagnosis Zoom was given at the end of June for an aggressive form of bladder cancer. With Doe sideman Jessie Dayton stepping in for Zoom on this already booked current tour, the members are taking care of business on the road while maintaining contact with their sidelined bandmate and friend. And while his condition is of concern, catching it early was key and the response to a GoFundMe account set up to help defray medical expenses has done wonders to keep morale up for all parties involved. (To contribute to the Billy Zoom GoFundMe account, visit
Read more at:

World Chat / Ripping music and films illegal again?
« on: July 18, 2015, 09:04:07 AM »
Wtf is this?  :o
It's now illegal - again - to copy CDs or DVDs you've bought to put onto your MP3 player, your computer or other devices.

The government had introduced a new law in October last year meaning it was legal to transfer music into your home library.

But that law has been overturned in the High Court.

It's after a legal challenge from Basca, the Musicians' Union, and industry representatives UK Music.

It's unclear how the change will be enforced.

World Abused / Worst president in US history
« on: July 12, 2015, 10:19:38 AM »
The Verdict is in: Guess Who's The Worst President in US History?

No surprise here really...  ::)

World Abused / Greece - Grexit or better not?
« on: June 17, 2015, 05:11:08 PM »

First, there is still a widespread assumption that this Greek-German game of “chicken” will somehow end in a last-minute, classic Brussels-style incomprehensible compromise. Second, and sometimes alternatively, there is the view that Grexit would not matter that much anyway: Greece represents less than 2% of the eurozone’s economic output, and the eurozone now has firewalls to prevent the flames spreading to other southern European countries.

Why should hardworking people, from Ireland to Latvia, who have taken the pain of structural reform and austerity, go on paying for those who have not? Maybe in the end, Grexit would be better for all concerned.


And why would it matter if it happened? For starters, the markets would know that eurozone membership is not irreversible. Contagion to the government bonds of the next weakest eurozone debtor nation would probably not be immediate, but any new crisis in a weak economy could potentially trigger aggressive speculation.

Then there is the economic and therefore human cost in Greece. It is pointless to go over all the past mistakes: there are enough to fill all the confessionals in all the churches in the great Polish city of Wrocław (where I write these lines), and I can tell you that there are a lot of people waiting to audit the sins of others. Needless to say, Greece should never have joined a eurozone which should itself never have been introduced with such a flawed design. Needless to say, clientelist Greek governments able to borrow at German interest rates made an already bad situation worse during the early years of the euro, in cahoots with their oligarchs; the post-crisis medicine prescribed by Germany and the IMF was almost bound to worsen the condition of such a sickly patient; the patient only pretended to take some of that medicine; and so on. But this is not the moment to be quarrelling over history.

If Greece fell out of the eurozone, nobody knows exactly what would happen, but the Nobel prize-winning economist Christopher Pissarides reckons the result might be the most dramatic fall in living standards in recent economic history. And every Greek would cry: “For what did we take all this pain?” Since the country still has the political system invented in ancient Athens, and practised on the Pnyx, this mixture of fury and despair would be expressed through the ballot box. Unless some miracle intervened, that would surely result in an even more radical, populist, nationalist government, whether of the left or the right.

This would have grave consequences for the whole European Union and its place in the world. Whether or not in strict legal theory an exit from the eurozone should entail an exit from the EU, in practice fellow member states would try to keep it in – and, in the worst case, the practicalities of disentanglement would take years. Meanwhile, a post-Grexit radical Greek government could, for example, start by vetoing a further extension of sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.
Read more at the link above...

World Abused / California drought
« on: May 28, 2015, 09:27:20 AM »

World Chat / Glen Matlock interview
« on: April 13, 2015, 04:11:17 PM »
Nice interview with Glen Matlock:

Did it feel very different the second time around? You were a married man with kids.
It was kinda different. But it felt natural. No matter what we've all done individually, nothing is ever going to equate to the Sex Pistols. I think we collectively thought, "Well, that's what people want, let's give it to them." The biggest gig I did with the Pistols first time around was to 600 people. The second time round it was 125,000.

Did punk rock have to happen?
I dunno, but music was in a trough. Glam rock had been and gone, the big gigs at Wembley with Yes and Genesis and Jethro Tull cost a lot of money to get into, unless you were like Steve and Paul and had ways of bunking in. But none of us could relate to that stuff anyway. We liked the Faces because they seemed like they just didn't care.

Do you remember much of the first Pistols gig at Saint Martins College?
I organised it: it was my college. I had a bottle of vodka before going on and they pulled the plugs on us. People were shoving each other around. Then it all descended into chaos. I think we played half a dozen numbers, mostly covers. Pretty Vacant and No Feelings were already in the set but I don't think we got to play them.

Did you really steal the riff for Pretty Vacant from Abba?
Yeah, from SOS. Being at art school and being hip to the Dadaists and Marcel Duchamp, you'd nick something and make it your own. If I hadn't come clean no one would have ever spotted it.

After the Pistols you played with Iggy Pop. Was that a very different experience?
That was my first proper tour. He had roadies that knew what they were doing! Very clever chap, Iggy. He'd worked out that there was always someone from the band missing at rehearsals, because they'd gone down the hall to get a beer. So he said, "I can't stand for this." Then he sent a roadie out to get a dustbin and a bin liner, several bags of ice and bottles of whiskey and stuck it in the rehearsal room to keep us in the same place. I liked that style. Very professional.

Whatever happened to the new song you wrote for the Pistols, which you said sounded like Pink Floyd's Interstellar Overdrive?
It's still around, unfinished. Then Paul had a good idea for a tune but John said it sounded too much like the Sex Pistols. You can't win with some people, can you?
(Just a few sentences, read all of them at the link above.)

Bugs & Tips / New moderator: welcome!
« on: March 19, 2015, 09:11:21 AM »
Without any announcement, Klaus had made Rockula a new moderator!
Welcome to the team!  :)

We can indeed use help to delete all the spam away.

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