Monday, September 18, 2006


Peel Sessions 22

Being white lower middle class and born at the beginning of the 60's it would be fair to say that radical chic holds no surprises for me. Hell! I even spent a few hours in a Police cell after demonstrating against a National Front meeting at the Newham town hall, an action that intellectually I regret though on a gut level I can still justify my presence. I spent some time in Moscow in the early 80's, no regrets on this score. I frequented radial book shops, great places for picking up T shirts such as my genuine Sandinista T shirt that my 12 year old son now wears, read some great books and met some wonderful people. My involvement at the the time was heartfelt, and many of these causes are still very dear to my heart, I am to this day opposed to racism and I hope that I will be to my dyeing day, I believe in supporting equitable commerce projects even if the products are more expensive, and I believe firmly in my and your rights to question. To rip apart whatever you want, not to take no for an answer, to question authority, to question decisions made on your behalf, the list is endless. It often saddens me to see how politically unengaged the youth of today actually are, this is more than evident in the music industry, for so many struggling musicians today their choice of playing music all to often appears to be more of a calculated career move rather than something more gut level. don't get me wrong I know there are a lot youngsters that do care and that there are politically engaged groups and that there are youngsters that believe in the music that they make. One such group is Fun-Da-Mental, who have found themselves recently under negative scrutiny from the ever irresponsible UK press, and attracted attention from attention seeking UK Mps, ever since they released their latest album 'All Is War' a record that poses some rather uncomfortable questions for these post September 11 days. So much so that their song 'Cookbook DIY' has been (intentionally) misinterpreted by the more stupid elements of the press and the more dishonorable members of parliament have called for band leader Aki Nawaz's arrest under anti terrorist laws. These short sighted leaders of ours have claimed that the song glorifies suicide bombers, rather than scratching a little bit further and realising how the song examines the hate that breeds hate through the eyes of three different parties; the idealistic suicide bomber, an academic without ideals that is prepared to sell his know how and the government research scientist who is paid to discover new ways of killing. of course this is not the only song on the album that grabbed my attention, friendly titled 'Bark Like A Dog' examines white post apartheid attitudes in South Africa over an exhilarating Zulu chant and metal fusion style guitars while staying dancable! All said and done an excellent thought provoking album, and musically speaking their mix and match approach to world music is more often a success than not so do your self a favour and check it out. For those of you who are either too lazy or non native English speakers do log into the bands web site where they have gone to the bother to explain each song as well as publishing the lyrics. In terms of press I guess they have been just a little bit overwhelmed as there are 46 pages of press cuttings up for view as well!
John Peel and his sessions, you though I had forgot about them, didn't you? Well no true to form the balding Liverpool supporter, not only had radical tastes in music but also appreciated radical thought and as such the band were invited to lay some tracks down on four occasions between 1992 and 2000. 'Frontline' is taken from their April 1993 visit and 'Mr Bubleman' from July the following year. I won't pretend to be a rabid fan the band, although I can remember way back in 1993 their single 'Sista India' was a firm favorite on my radio show, what I am sure of is that I am more than happy that they are around to shake us out of our complacency from time to time.
By way of footnote I would like to point out that I am strongly opposed to terrorism/war of all sorts be it fanatical Islamic, state sponsored Israeli, US interventions, African atrocities .............the list is sadly endless, so don't be stupid and think that this post is supportive of such actions, and above all don't be a knee jerk and label Fun-da-Mental as Bin Laden's disciples, listen to them you may just learn something.

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