…because between the “secret” imprisonment of Tommy Robinson for daring to report trials that the British find embarrassing, the state forcibly keeping a British family from seeking treatment of their son, a British subject and the overwhelming vote that will condemn Irish children to death in numbers that over time will make the forced famine look like picnics they British and Irish people have outdone their historic oppressors by their own free will by embracing injustices done to their own children.

Who needs Hitler? Who needs Cromwell?

That free people would do these things to themselves is completely beyond me.

By John Ruberry

Synesthesia: “A sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color,” so says Dictionary.com.

If there is a void in your musical life and you are a fan of the Kinks and the Beatles, or perhaps Oasis, then I suggest you explore the career of XTC, the most unappreciated band of its time.

And what a time it was. XTC was part of the Class of 1977, rock and roll’s last great year in my opinon, when the Clash, Blondie, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello and many more burst onto the musical scene. By 1999, after a seven year strike against its British label, when they released their penultimate album, Apple Venus Volume 1, only Costello and XTC remained as active acts.

Like the Beatles, XTC evolved musically into a much different group when it was all over.

Late last year in Great Britain and early this year in the United States, the documentary, yes, rockumentarty, XTC: This Is Pop was released. It’s available where I live on Showtime and Xfinity OnDemand.

What became XTC began in the southwestern English city of Swindon, the onetime home of the Swindon Works of the Great Western Railway, with a band started by its de facto leader, Andy Partridge. Bassist Colin Moulding and drummer Terry Chambers rounded out the nucleus of the group. London keyboardist Barry Andrews, the only XTCer who is not interviewed for This Is Pop, later joined; he appears on the band’s first two albums, White Music and GO2, which comprise the band’s punk period. After Andrews’ departure he was replaced by another Swindonian, guitarist Dave Gregory.

“I actually think we started pretty damn good and then got a lot better. And there’s not too many bands can say that’s their arc,” Partridge immodestly but correctly boasts about XTC.

Yet there is some humor in This Is Pop that offsets the braggadocio.

“Don’t you dare have-into this documentary,” Partridge waves off “that lugubrious keyboard player from that prog-rock group,” Rick Wakeman of Yes, who makes a hilarious cameo.

Partridge says of his troubled childhood, “I never thought I was good at anything until I got more and more into drawing and painting.”

Imagine if legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, who early in his life aspired to be a painter, formed a rock group instead. It just might have sounded like XTC.

The band’s breakthrough in 1979 came not from a Partridge-penned tune but one by Moulding, “We’re Only Making Plans For Nigel” from their third album, Drums and Wires, which Little Marathon Pundit said of the other day, “That’s one song I like.” If its sonorous drum patterns seem familiar, that’s because engineer Hugh Padham discovered that effect while recoding “Nigel” before bringing the technique to Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” Many other 1980s acts swiped that sound.

The next two albums, Black Sea and English Settlement, brought more–albeit modest–success and momentum to XTC as it rounded out its New Wave period. But as the Kinks often bungled their career, XTC’ sabotaged things too, although not intentionally as I’ve always suspected the Kinks did. The effects of Partridge’s Valium addiction, which went back to when he was 12, and the withdrawal effects, led to a nervous breakdown during a Paris concert–which is shown in This Is Pop. The lads from Swindon still traveled to the United States for their first tour as a headliner. But what should have been an American victory lap lasted just one show. Outside of a smattering of radio and television appearances, they never performed live again.

XTC’s pastoral era brought three albums, Mummer, The Big Express, and Skylarking. But within that period XTC’s psychedelic alter ego, the Dukes of Stratosphear, released two collections that outsold those last two in the UK.

Before recording Skylarking, Partridge tells us, their record label issued an ultimatum: You need to grow your American audience and hire an American producer. Presented with a list of unfamiliar names, Partridge chose the only one he had heard of: Todd Rundgren. The result was the band’s masterpiece, Skylarking. On it you find the conceptual orchestral greatness of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. But because Partridge and “Runt” butted heads–they probably had too much in common–the studio atmosphere mirrored the angst of the Beatles’ White Album recording sessions. XTC came close to blowing this moment too as the original pressings of Skylarking omitted the best song from the Rundgren sessions, the controversial atheist anthem “Dear God.” It was the B-side of the “Grass” single. American deejays elevated “Dear God” to prominence. Their record company was right, XTC needed a jump start from America.

Earlier I mentioned synesthesia. “How I write a lot of the songs, I will find a chord or a chord change on a guitar or on a keyboard,” Partridge describes his songwriting technique, “and I’m playing those but not I’m not hearing music–I’m seeing pictures. That’s how I write songs, it comes usually from the synesthesic level.”

And I wager you thought I was overreaching with the Akira Kurosawa comparison.

“Synesthesia is where you get stuff mixed up,” Partridge expands on his thoughts, “someone will say a number and you’ll hear a noise, or someone will show you a color and you’ll think of a number, or you’ll hear a peace of music or a chord and to me it makes a picture.”

And that is why XTC’s music is different.

The follow-up to Skylarking was 1989’s Oranges and Lemons, another success as XTC entered its proto-Britpop era.

Chambers left during the pastoral period and Gregory departed shortly after XTC’s recording strike ended. Their band’s final album, Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2), was released in 2000.

An eclectic group of commentators contribute context to This Is Pop, including Stewart Copeland of the Police, Blondie’s Clem Burke, and a veteran mockumentary performer, Harry Shearer, who, unlike Wakeman, plays it straight here.

Woven into This Is Pop is the countryside of southwestern England and a model train set winding through an intricately-reconstructed Swindon, because it doesn’t seem possible to separate XTC from their hometown.

XTC: This Is Pop is an essential film about an essential band, a group that belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The documentary can be streamed on Amazon.

John Ruberry, who has been an XTC fan since 1979 after hearing “We’re Only Making Plans for Nigel” on WXRT-FM in Chicago, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The Early Election in England backfired on Theresa May in a big way.

There has been a lot of speculation as to why this is the case, but I think it comes down to one simple thing.

People don’t like their kids blown up or their fellows stabbed when out on the town. Furthermore they really don’t like paying to support the people who do it nor encourage it done.

In fact the only reason why Theresa May’s program of protecting people from Pam Geller and Robert Spencer on the grounds that their warning about those trying to kill them will provide an excuse for people to kill them vs protecting them from those who never needed an excuse to kill them didn’t lead to a Labor’s majority is that Labor is even less likely to do the job then she is.

Update: Today’s British leadership in two tweets

I was ready do go to bed lamenting that nobody in England seems to remember these words from June of 1940.

we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,

I was prepared to shout to the people: For god’s sake England wake up, while you still have an England.

And then I happened to heck Instapundit at 1:30 AM and saw this

and rejoiced that there were still some in England who favor the tactics of Winston and the Few vs that of the police

Pleased to see there is still hope.

Update: Of course it doesn’t help when some police follow their own advice and run away.

British Police have named Saman Abedi as the Terrorist suicide bomber caused  the mass murder of Children in England after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester and it’s reported that another person has been detained in connection to the attack.

As I watch the usual suspects are sounding the same, the phrases “Lone Wolf”,  Islamophobia , love vs hate, and doing all it can to take the Islam out of the latest example of Islamic Terror.

Of course England has done its part to purge the Islam from Islamic Terror, by banning Pam Geller who today noted about the attacker in Manchester:

Just like the neighbors of San Bernadino jihad mass murderers, neighbors noticed strange goings-on at the house of the jihadis, but didn’t alert authorities for fear of being labeled racist-islamophobic-anti-Muslim-bigots.

and Robert Spencer who wrote this on Manchester:

UK: Manchester jihad mass murderer known to authorities but “not thought to pose immediate threat”

They thought wrong. Why? Because they don’t have the first foggiest clue about what motivates these people, and what their goals are. So how can they possibly evaluate who is an “immediate threat” and who isn’t? They have to discount so much evidence that someone may be an “immediate threat” because to acknowledge the importance of that evidence would be “Islamophobic,” they’re left with nothing to go on.

While their exclusion from England, Ironically promulgated by the current prime minister Theresa May when she was home secretary, along with others like Michael Savage has drawn the approval of many media and cultural elites has been effective in preventing people from hearing their warning concerning Islamic Terror has been less than effective at preventing people from being killed by it.

Mark Steyn notes the contrast in tactics and results in England vs elsewhere

Poland and Hungary and Slovakia do not have Islamic terrorism because they have very little Islam. France and Germany and Belgium admit more and more Islam, and thus more and more terrorism. Yet the subject of immigration has been all but entirely absent from the current UK election campaign. Thirty years ago, in the interests of stopping IRA terrorism, the British state was not above preventing the internal movement within its borders of unconvicted, uncharged, unarrested Republican sympathizers seeking to take a ferry from Belfast to Liverpool. Today it declares it can do nothing to prevent the movement of large numbers of the Muslim world from thousands of miles away to the heart of the United Kingdom. It’s just a fact of life – like being blown up when you go to a pop concert.

But while Britian’s current tactics might not be generating fear in the hearts of potential terrorists as evidenced by this announcement:

British police arrested someone in connection with last night’s attack. Now they have intelligence that a second attack may be impending, pushing the terror threat level to “critical” for the first time in 10 years. How big is this cell?

The practical effect of raising the threat level is that the British military will be deployed to support the police in guarding “key sites” around the country. That’s not going to make libertarians happy, but luckily for Theresa May there aren’t many of those left in the UK.

it has successfully put the fear of being considered “Islamophobic” in the minds and hearts of the potential victims of said terror.

Alas what I wrote in 2011 continues to remain true:

Pam and those who warn of Radical Islam are Fiver calling for help for those caught in a snare. Her detractors are Cowslip the head of the snared warren. To oppose radical Islam requires a courage they don’t have and to openly admit appeasement acknowledges a cowardice they can’t bear. Much easier to not talk about it and preserve their illusion of dignity.

Pam and those like her bring up uncomfortable truths and for that they will be forever hated.

Or to put it another way.  The end of Islamic Terror will be in sight when we love our children more than we fear being called “Islamophobic”.


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jonathan-strange-and-mr-norrellBy John Ruberry

It’s time to take a break from politics.

Many times while surfing on Netflix I came across a recommendation to watch the seven-part 2015 BBC One miniseries, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which is described as such: “In 1806 ambitious magician Norrell leads a revival of practical magic in England and ignites a fierce rivalry with bold young conjurer Strange.” If that sounds like a dopey show, well, that’s what I thought too. But I yielded to the luring and tuned in. I’m grateful that I did.

Magic in the alternative universe of Strange and Norrell is not smoke-and-mirrors and rabbits being pulled from hats, it’s a neglected scientific discipline that for unexplained reasons was abandoned in England in the early 16th century. But Gilbert Norrell (Eddie Marsan), a magician from York, becomes a national sensation when he brings to life the statues of  York Minster Cathedral and, in his only use of dark magic, brings back from death the future wife of a prominent member of parliament, Lady Pole (Alice Englert).

But just as in another alternative universe where humans can sell their soul to the devil, the dark side, in this case a mysterious being known as the Gentleman (Marc Warren), sabotages the transaction and establishes Norrell’s second rivalry.

Norrell offers his services to fight the French and their allies in the Napoleonic Wars, although only Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel) directly utilizes magic at the side of the Duke of Wellington (Ronan Vibert), who is initially skeptical of him. Included in the broad historical sweep of Strange and Norrell is the blind and mad King George III, and although not by name, the anti-industrial Luddites.

The rest of the cast is wonderful, particularly Ariyon Bakare as a mysterious butler and Vincent Franklin as the duplicitous promoter of Norrell and Strange. The special effects, with the exception of the ravens in the last two installments, are first rate.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a welcome diversion from the usual, and it’s a particularly good series for binge-watching.

Besides Netflix, the mini-series is available on many on-demand systems and on DVD.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

wedding jack 025 Yesterday I found myself at the wedding of one of my wife’s co-workers that took place in a backyard. As I sat there I noticed two doors down a Union Jack flying in the wind.

As the neighborhood was curiously devoid of fences I walked over and asked permission to take a photo of the flag flying as if from the stern of HMS Victory. They owners graciously consented and we started talking.

They had come from the south of England 25 years ago and talked of their joy at the result of the Brexit vote. I asked them about age gap between those who voted to stay and those who voted to go, and they talked of their memories of joining the common market and the time before it and quoted Churchill about the lessons of history.

That was the key factor, like the elderly WW 2 vet I wrote about and unlike the panicked youths they had no fear of life without the EU because they had lived it and had been just fine.

My only regret was that they didn’t wish to be interviewed on camera but I thanked them and returned to the wedding wondering if the angry youth signing petitions had thought about this, if they hadn’t they would be well advised to read this tweet from The House of Savoy:

If only the youth who are terrified of other opinions and of chalk had the courage and confidence of their elders. If they can learn such courage then they would have nothing to fear, after all they are not much older than the were the Few who saved the country just a few generations ago.

via Tim Blair:

UPDATE III. Reader Steve emails:
I phoned my Uncle Johnny (WWII Parachute Regiment) last night to wish him a happy 90th birthday. He was putting on his overcoat and heading into the rain to his polling station in West Yorkshire. I asked which way he was planning to vote.

“When I was 20 I dropped into France to stop the Germans taking over my country,” he replied, “so I thought I’d better have another go at stopping them now.”

It’s also worth noting that unlike the youth of England who voted to stay folks like Uncle Johnny here remember an England that did just fine without an EU to give them orders and thus weren’t afraid of it.

Thug:  You’re Mr. Sherlock Holmes ain’t ya

Sherlock Holmes:  Yes.

Thug:  I wouldn’t come down here if I was you.  This is Limehouse and we don’t fancy you’re sort of bloke in these parts.

Dr. Watson:  the fellow’s absolutely right shouldn’t we…

Sherlock Holmes:  Quiet Watson,This is still a free country a man may walk where he pleases.

Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror 1942

It’s a good thing that The Few Sacrificed so much to prevent the Nazi’s from conquering England and installing a government that would punish men for saying what they think.  Perhaps they shouldn’t have bothered.

Police have arrested a 40-year old man in Scotland over a number of allegedly “offensive” Facebook posts about refugees.

Police in Scotland said that a man had been held under the Communications Act, which bans “grossly offensive” and “menacing” posts on online platforms.

Ahhh those quaint old days when England believed in personal freedoms.  Pam Geller is right, the nation that gave us Magna Carta is dead.  Perhaps we should strike the “Great” from Great Britain

That this happened in Scotland is even more interesting,  Can you picture a Scotsman being arrested for speaking his mind?  I’m sure Edward Longshanks would have approved.  No wonder so many Scots came to America.

This is coming to America, have no doubt about it and don’t doubt for a second that there are people on the Supreme Court right now who would go along with it.

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When I wrote this post last night I had a 3rd shift job that while not fancy paid the mortgage.

By the time it went up I was laid off and the plan to get out of debt in 2 years in out the window.

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We are still getting this line from the White House:

“In the Syrian seeking refuge today, we should see the Jewish refugee of World War II,” Mr. Obama said. Some Jewish refugee children were turned away from the United States during the period and were later killed by the Nazis.

Mr. Obama is struggling to fashion a message that reassures Americans that he is serious about battling the threat of the Islamic State while also avoiding xenophobia and alarmism. Polls suggest that many Americans believe he is not taking the threat from the Islamic State seriously enough, particularly after the deadly shooting in San Bernardino. Support among Republicans for banning Muslims is high…

The ceremony came as 25 Republican governors have vowed to block the entry of Syrian refugees into their states, including some where large numbers of Syrians have settled in recent years. Mr. Obama has condemned such comments as contradicting American values. The governors made their vow after the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris last month, and fears of terrorism have risen in the United States after the shooting this month in San Bernardino, Calif. But Mr. Obama said that such fears are unfounded

That’s the NYT drawing this comment from Robert Spencer:

How does he know that? Last February, the Islamic State boasted it would soon flood Europe with as many as 500,000 refugees. And the Lebanese Education Minister recently said that there were 20,000 jihadis among the refugees in camps in his country. Meanwhile, 80% of migrants who have recently come to Europe claiming to be fleeing the war in Syria aren’t really from Syria at all.

Meanwhile in England the spigot remains open:

Announcing that his target has been met, Cameron said: “Britain is doing its moral duty in terms of funding the refugees and the refugee camps. I made a promise that we would resettle a 1,000 Syrians by Christmas and I can confirm today that we have met our commitment. The charter flights that arrived yesterday at Stansted and Belfast mean that over a thousand have been settled, and another flight is coming today.

“The government has provided funding so that all these refugees get housing, healthcare, education, and I want to thank all the local authorities and all those who have worked so hard. I said that Britain would do its duty and with these 1,000 we’ve made a very good start.”

However Cameron isn’t saying much about this report:

DAVID Cameron was “warned radical Islamic groups including ISIS controlled refugee camps” from where Britain will fly in Syrian asylum seekers – BEFORE the Government began bringing in the first wave of 20,000, a shock new report claims.

The report talks about what’s going on in these camps and it’s not pretty

The AINA reported that in UN camps in Jordan, Islamist groups “have brought in similar violent Islamist practices” to those that the refugees had faced before they fled Syria.

These include coercion to join terror such as ISIS, and the buying and selling of women as sex slaves.

The AINA report quoted the director of a Christian relief agency working in Jordan as saying: “The Muslim gangs come as refugees, but they have their agendas.

“They’re like a mafia. People are even killed inside the camps, and the refugees are afraid to say if they saw somebody get killed. If you ask them, they’ll say, ‘I don’t know, I was asleep’.

While world leaders like Cameron & Obama continue to ignore this, in Sweden the People have decided to take matters in their own hands:

To get a gun permit in Sweden, you need to be at least 18 years old; law-abiding; well-behaved, and have a hunting license or be a member of an approved shooting club. In 2014, 11,000 people got a hunting license: 10% more than the year before. One out of five was a woman.

“There is also a high demand for alarm systems right now,” says a salesman at one of the security companies in an interview with Gatestone.

“It is largely due to the turbulence we are seeing around the country at the moment.” People have lost confidence in the State, he added. “The police will not come anymore. Truck drivers say that when they see a thief emptying the fuel tank of their trucks, they run out with a baseball bat. It is no use calling the police, but if you hit the thief, you can at least prevent him from stealing more diesel. Many homeowners say the same thing: they sleep with a baseball bat under the bed. But this is risky: the police can then say you have been prepared to use force, and that might backfire on you.”

When the Authorities won’t do the job the people end up doing it themselves

This is a very interesting read, because the whole of Europe is heading the same way as Sweden. Sweden is, so to speak, the future of Europe. And in this future, those who can afford it pay security companies – the rest gest license for firearms and forms vigilante groups.

and it’s not just Sweden, in Germany:

According to a report by Focus, following a 600% surge in sales over the past two months, Germany has run out of pepper spray, and the irritating substance can now only be purchased after weeks of waiting. Focus says that according to pepper spray manufacturers, “frightened Germans” have bought out all the available inventory. The alleged reason, according to the German publication: “die Flüchtlingskrise”, or the refugee crisis.

Focus goes on to say that in private, Germans are equipping themselves “massively.”

and Denmark:

The Danish police claim that they are “more pressed than ever,” mainly because of the terror threat and the migrant crisis. The rule of law is already undermined, as the police – as a result of being overburdened with handling Muslims – will no longer investigate thefts of less than 15,000 euros. Even if you call the police while the burglars are still to be seen inside your neighbour’s house, they will not come.

I wonder if Bernie Sanders will be holding this up as an example for us all?

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