Archived entries for Home

Neon Neon, Village Underground (6 Jun 2013)

Neon Neon, Village Undergound

Continually inventive with two biographical electro-pop albums, Neon Neon have now taken the live music experience to another plane with their touring performance of Praxis Makes Perfect which celebrates and inspires through popular culture, while still getting the basics spot-on, by letting us all have a good dance to a brilliant sound.

Their third consecutive night at the Village Underground in Shoreditch was more much Performance Art than a run-of-the-mill Thursday night gig in London; an indication of what was to come came in an online invitation asking ticket-holders to wear an item of red and bring a copy of a favourite book to exchange with fellow gig-goes, referred to as “comrades”, ahead of the prompt 8pm start. And “comrades” seemed appropriate as once inside the atmosphere was both electric and unifying. Continue reading…

Billy Bragg, Royal Shakespeare Theatre (2 Jun 13)

Billy Bragg, Stratford-Upon Avon, Iowa T-Shirt

Stratford-Upon-Avon was an appropriate setting for the start of the UK leg of our own modern day touring musical Shakespeare, Billy Bragg. With a rich back catalogue to compliment his most recent material and the ability to speak charismatically at length, alternately sharing new anecdotes and inspiring his audience on the hot topics of the day (with a few puns, pop culture references and punchlines thrown in), he is always worth seeing live, be it at festivals, bookshops, record stores or his own gigs.

As the Bard of Barking came to Shakespeare’s town on a beautiful day, the sun came out, the trees began to sing and half-way through what was the final day of the Stratford-Upon-Avon Arts Festival, steel brass bands played in Bancroft Gardens outside the venue; in the afternoon and early evening leading up to gig, the market stalls were out, there was dancing in the park, pub gardens were packed and scores of people from different backgrounds wandered through the streets of Stratford, including the man himself (pictured above). Who said Society doesn’t exist? Continue reading…

Arrested Development – Season 4

Arrested Development Season 4 Netflix

When Arrested Development first began it took situation comedy to another level with multiple strands of layered gags that come thick and fast be it with satire, visual gags, great lines, self-referential in-jokes, nods to popular culture, farce and at times dark humour; it was the freshest thing to happen to comedy on television since The Simpsons, and it was confident enough to never feel the need to sentimentalise that its close relations – The Office (UK) which preceded it and Modern Family which followed it – felt obliged to.

Its fourth season, released in its entirety yesterday, is totally groundbreaking in its own right; Netflix have made it a global TV event via the Internet, with the simultaneous release of all new 15 episodes, a sharp contrast for a show that was previously shunted around schedules and a welcome antidote to modern day fragmented viewing habits. Continue reading…

Sports Books

Running

 

Mark Perryman of Philosophy Football reviews the latest batch of sports books on The Substantive.

In England there’s no sportswriter quite like Dave Zirin. He writes about sport from the Left with such passion and style that readers will never spot the join. An American, the bias is unsurprisingly towards baseball, basketball and their own bastardised version of ‘football’, yet both the issues raised and his range of coverage are unmistakably internationalist. Continue reading…

Spring Book Review

bedsit disco queen

Philosophy Football’s Mark Perryman’s latest batch of Book Reviews includes books on society, politics, sport and music. Continue reading…

Glory Nights: Basel April 2013

Two weeks ago Hull City fans travelled to Huddersfield in a “bubble” imposed by West Yorkshire Police, an act from an authority that demonizes football fans through the restriction of movement, not dissimilar to the aim of the Football Spectators Act proposed by the Thatcher Government, whose reputation is currently being reinvented by rose-tinted recollections in the popular press in the past week; the polar opposite, for those lucky enough to have the opportunity, is to travel independently following your football club in Europe, venturing freely in a new city, before later socializing and joining a wider community in the stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur’s trip to Basel this week was a trip typical of the exciting European nights told in Glory Nights: Wankdorf to Wembley, with ticketing complications, a less than linear journey, friendly locals, cultural highlights and of course, drama only sport can deliver.

The English Premier League table doesn’t lie but the final tables in both the 2005-06 and last season stretched credibility when Spurs finished below Arsenal twice, despite looking much the better side for most of both terms, technically assured and in control of games in 05/06 and fluent, expansive and at times breathtaking in the last campaign. Points dropped through late goals were punished by a final day illness in 2006 and tactical errors in the final straight in 2012 allowed a West Brom goalkeeping performance so bad it defies belief, to have the final say. Ultimately those league placings twice cost Spurs Champions League Football, but strange how things work out; while the luck hasn’t been apparent on the pitch Tottenham’s European draws since 2006 have included a fixture at Sevilla that coincided with the city’s Semma Santa Festival, a tie against Hearts during the Edinburgh Festival, journeys to Belgium and Germany when the Christmas markets stalls were out and a trip to Udinese at the best time of the year to visit nearby Venice.

Spurs fans have had some great cultural bonuses in the last few years and coinciding with the Europa League Quarter-Final second leg, the city of Basel is currently hosting a Picasso retrospective built exclusively from the city’s public and private collections. Who knew? In the Kunstmusuem (a venue best spelt rather than pronounced when asking for directions), the exhibition shows Picasso the young talent, the storyteller, the freedom fighter and the master through etchings, sketches, portraits and layered paintings that show his versatility in styles through the ages. Continue reading…

Blinkered

At half-time during the Saturday lunch-time kick-off at the Stadium of Light between Sunderland and Manchester United, Sky Sports briefly showed some African dancing in the centre circle, not just a novel alternative from the old days when a brass band came on to play, but taking place, as Sky explained, due to Sunderland’s first ‘Nelson Mandela Day’. Suddenly, a club that had been playing largely dour football for much of the season seemingly based on the organisation and motivation techniques of Martin O’Neill, aroused positive interest in the split second of that news.

Sporting and artistic boycotts of an Apartheid South Africa previously raised the profile of Mandela when he was a political prisoner on Robben Island and were a key instrument in change, arguably more so than economic sanctions; Sunderland’s recent partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to pursue social justice, was a positive reminder of the part sport, and popular culture, plays in shaping a wider society.

So, the announcement last night, the day after SAFC’s very own Mandela Day, that self-confessed fascist Paolo Di Canio was the club’s new Manager, to replace O’Neill, who had been relieved of his duties the previous evening, was particularly bizarre. Continue reading…

The FA’s management of expectations

Tomorrow England play Brazil at Wembley to kick-off the FA’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations. Philosophy Football’s Mark Perryman argues that it is the perfect time to lower our expectations of England’s chances.

England v Brazil, friendly or no friendly, is a tasty international fixture to mark the start of the Football Association’s 150th birthday celebrations. It will be a feast of free-flowing football, and England. Never mind, with the other home opponents lined up so far – the Republic of Ireland (last qualified for a World Cup in 2002, at Euro 2012 failed to win a single game) and Scotland (last qualified for any tournament, 1998) – England fans should be able to look forward to some home victories to savour. Although what exactly the players, manager and coaches will learn by playing such relatively lowly opposition is anyone’s guess. These opponents have been chosen to put bottoms on seats, and stir up memories of old, and more recent rivalries, but never mind the quality of the football. Continue reading…

Django Unchained

Django-Unchained

In the nineties, Quentin Tarantino gave an interview with the Independent on Sunday where he spoke about how he would “run” to the cinema every time a new Martin Scorsese film came out. Tarantino himself continues to have the same effect on millions of film goers worldwide who, ever since his debut Reservoir Dogs in 1992, will take the time, effort and pay the money, to see anything Tarantino does on the big screen. And his latest offering, Django Unchained doesn’t disappoint. Continue reading…

Weapons of Choice

physical resistance book cover

With links to reading from independent sources, Philosophy Football’s Mark Perryman previews books to look out for in the first quarter of 2013.

I have an old lefty badge somewhere ‘Books are Weapons’. Reading, and wearing badges, are never enough alone, but we live in an era of unprecedented austerity, with an urgent challenge that the threat of Climate Change should be posing almost all conventional definitions of growth, and an enduring disarray of oppositional politics, so finding the time for a good read to provoke both thought and action is as good a New Year resolution as I can think of. And despite the mind-numbing dullness of the political mainstream, thankfully there’s still plenty to savour in the margins. Continue reading…



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