Placebo Back in 2022

  UK Democracy Threatened

  Rag’n'Bone Man Live

  Freya Beer’s Debut LP


  Erin Rae New LP Feb 2022

  Sea Girls Live

  Vangelis Juno To Jupiter

  Martha Wainwright Live

  Nirvana NEVERMIND 30th

  Metallica’s METALLICA Remaster

  The Charlatans 30th Year

  Politics is Failing

  Martha Wainwright’s LP Review

  Making the Image: Miles Davis

  Foo Fighters 2022 Live

  Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

  Basia Bulat 2022 Tour Dates

  Plant & Krauss Return - New LP

  Beth Hart Adds Live UK Dates

  James Blake New LP

  Brand New Zeros New LP

  Bocelli - One Night In Central Park

  Wassailer I, THE BASTARD

  Jesse Malin’s New LP

  Dot Allison Heart-Shaped Scars

  Katey Brooks UK Singer/Songwriter

  Nina Simone, Etta James, Live

  Felice Brothers New LP

  G Harrison All Things Must Pass

  Barbra Streisand: RELEASE ME 2

  The Beatles & India Documentary

  Hello Cosmos DREAM HARDER

  Joana Serrat’s New Record

  Imelda May’s Best Yet

  The Mono LPS Great Record

  Laurie Anderson’s BIG SCIENCE

  Within Temptation & Evanescence

  Moby The Very Best Of Interview


  Newton Faulkner Returns

  Edge Of Paradise New LP

  St. Vincent LP & New Single


  Rob Zombie New Releases


  Joe Bonamassa Live!

  Rodrigo Y Gabriela Interview

  Arial East Tries Harder

  Amy Macdonald Rescheduled Gig

  Discover Miriam Stockley

  Ariel Posen New LP

  Young Knives Are Back!

  Montreux Jazz Festival 2021

  Music & Brexit

  Ani DiFranco New LP +

  Discover David Ford

  Happy New Year?

  My Best Albums for 2020

  Joe Bonamassa Guitar Man

  Is The USA Nightmare Over?

  Download Back in 2021!

  On Barbra Streisand

  Roger Waters Us + Them Review

  Skunk Anansie 2021 Tour

  Metallica’s S&M2 Review

  The State We’re In…

  Welcome Back! But To What?

  What Have We Done?


  Photojournalism Hero

  Samantha Fish Live

  Gill Landry Live in Chester

  Noah Gundersen Live

  David Gilmour’s Interview

  Snow Patrol Live in Manchester

  New Model Army Live

  Shakespears Sister Live

  Lamb Live in Manchester

  The Struts Live

  Sting & Shaggy Live

  Ana Popovic, Lynne Jackaman Live

  David Gray Live in Liverpool

  The Slow Readers Club Live

  Karine Polwart Trio Live

  Benjamin Folke Thomas Live

  Chilly Gonzales Live

  Gomez Live in Manchester

  John Lennon Interview

  My 100 Favourite Albums

  Ray LaMontagne Live

  Satriani’s G3 Live

  Jim White Live in Manchester

  Tori Amos Live

  Bush & RavenEye Live

  Laura Marling Live

  Jimmy Eat World Live

  Roger Waters on Amused To Death



People are becoming less and less sane. They need less truth and are more incapable of distinguishing it and more easily satisfied with lies.” P.D. Ouspensky

A dear friend of mine from Yorkshire told me about a famous local saying - Shit Floats. It is one of the most succinct, descriptive and accurate phrases I’ve heard in describing some of today’s political leaders and other personalities. As time has progressed these floaters appear to be reproducing at a rapid rate, some even voted in by a majority of voters who appear to have become less selective while tending to believe the hype and lies. It’s also been a time when the most untalented people find themselves coining it in the broadcast and print media, while the talented and trained struggle to survive. Nationally and Internationally the political situation has become critical with millions suffering criminal treatment, exile, genocide, abject poverty, injury and death. And yet little is being done by the major authorities originally designed to enforce the international rules-based, humanitarian world. With Russia and China (two of the world’s most authoritarian and undemocratic regimes) continually using their veto votes there is little chance of things changing anytime soon, with the respective leaders ensuring many more years of unchallenged rule. Even in the seat of democracy, the USA, voters in 2016 voted for arguably the worst president ever who succeeded in losing respect from most countries in the world. Further, a president who was twice impeached but survived with the support of far right Republican senators. As a result, Trump can still be installed into public office despite his lies, incompetence and autocratic style, and who publicly associated himself with some of the world’s worst and most corrupt leaders.


Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus

“As of today, there are 50 dictatorships in the world (19 in Sub-Saharan Africa, 12 in the Middle East and North Africa, 8 in Asia-Pacific, 7 in Eurasia, 3 in Americas and 1 in Europe). We define a dictator as the ruler of a land rated “Not Free” by the Freedom House in their annual survey of freedom.”

“In ordinary conditions, in ordinary times, they are just criminals or actual lunatics-nothing more. But in certain periods of history such people often play a leading part; they may acquire power and become very important people. ‘Lunatic’ means a man who always runs after false values, who has no right discrimination…The Turkish word ‘Hasnamuss’. One of the first things about a ‘Hasnamuss’ is that he never hesitates to sacrifice people or to create an enormous amount of suffering, just for his own personal ambitions.” - P.D. Ouspensky (from The Fourth Way published in 1957)


Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela

World Report 2019

Unlike traditional dictators, today’s would-be autocrats typically emerge from democratic settings. Most pursue a two-step strategy for undermining democracy: first, scapegoat and demonize vulnerable minorities to build popular support; then, weaken the checks and balances on government power needed to preserve human rights and the rule of law, such as an independent judiciary, a free media, and vigorous civic groups. Even the world’s established democracies have shown themselves vulnerable to this demagoguery and manipulation.

Autocratic leaders rarely solve the problems that they cite to justify their rise to power, but they do create their own legacy of abuse. At home, the unaccountable government that they lead becomes prone to repression, corruption, and mismanagement. Some claim that autocrats are better at getting things done, but as they prioritize perpetuating their own power, the human cost can be enormous, such as the hyperinflation and economic devastation in once oil-rich Venezuela, the spree of extrajudicial killings as part of the “drug war” in the Philippines, or China’s mass detention of upwards of 1 million Turkic Muslims, primarily Uyghurs.


Rodrigo Duterte Philippines

Because they dislike human rights scrutiny, autocratic leaders also tend to retreat from the defence of human rights beyond their borders. This retrenchment has made it easier for brutal leaders to get away with large-scale atrocities, such as Syria’s war on civilians in areas held by anti-government forces, the Saudi-led coalition’s indiscriminate bombing and blockade that are killing and starving Yemeni civilians, and the Myanmar army’s mass murder, rape, and arson against Rohingya Muslims.

In response to these disturbing trends, new alliances of rights-respecting governments, often prompted and joined by civic groups and the public, have mounted an increasingly effective resistance. Political leaders decide to violate human rights because they see advantages, whether maintaining their grip on power, padding their bank accounts, or rewarding their cronies. This growing resistance has repeatedly raised the price of those abusive decisions. Because even abusive governments weigh costs and benefits, increasing the cost of abuse is the surest way to change their calculus of repression. Such pressure may not succeed immediately, but it has a proven record over the long term.


Despite the mounting resistance, the forces of autocracy have been on the rise. For example, Brazil elected as president Jair Bolsonaro—a man who, at great risk to public safety, openly encourages the use of lethal force by the military and police in a country already wracked by a sky-high rate of police killings and more than 60,000 homicides per year.

Manchester 2009 - Gallery: Soil

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The Charlatans 2021
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