All Things Must Pass 50th

  Joe Bonamassa Guitar Man

  Chilly Gonzales Christmas LP

  Katie Melua Live & New LP

  Foo Fighters Live & New LP

  Is The USA Nightmare Over?

  Jim White MISFIT’S JUBILEE

  Download Back in 2021!

  On Barbra Streisand

  Roger Waters Us + Them Review

  Skunk Anansie 2021 Tour

  CHERNOBYL By Serhii Plokhy

  Metallica’s S&M2 Review

  Barbara Thompson @ The BBC

  Delicate Sound Of Thunder

  The State We’re In…

  Welcome Back! But To What?

  What Have We Done?

  A RISK TOO FAR

  New Album Reviews

  Montreux Jazz Fest at Home!

  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

  Ray LaMontagne Live

  Satriani’s G3 Live

  Emily Barker Live in Manchester

  Jim White Live in Manchester

  Tori Amos Live

  Bush & RavenEye Live

  Grandaddy Live

  Laura Marling Live

  Martha Wainwright Live

  Jimmy Eat World Live

  Beverley Knight Live

  Ludovico Einaudi Live

  Roger Waters on Amused To Death


Welcome Back! But To What?

p-122

Musically, not a lot…Live music stopped back in March when all planned tours were cancelled or postponed. I’ve noticed that some acts are hoping to return in July, but in the light of the continuing levels of Covid infections here in the UK and persistent number of deaths, I have severe doubts…Music releases have been few and far between due to the inability to fully promote via interviews and live shows. The absence of TV advertising tells the tale…The BBC’s national monopolistic dominance of the music airwaves and influence over what is played and sold grows greater each passing year. Artists and record companies endeavour to please the state broadcaster with the result that fewer acts gain substantial levels of airplay while others (many more talented) struggle for recognition. Welcome Back!

p-68

The Tory Government’s ‘hostile to immigrants’ policy from 2016 which saw many West Indian immigrants (and those from other countries) who arrived in the UK in the 50s and 60s questioned over their legal status to remain in the UK. Many were denied access to work, social security and health services, and even forcibly sent back to their country of birth. Compensation payments have been small and delayed, while promised policy changes are yet to emerge. It’s a mess that has caused real heartache, suicide and mental torment. And the newest Home Secretary was sacked by the last prime minister for going outside her ministerial authority in holding meetings with Israeli politicians. However, as a prime mover in the Brexit campaign, her and others are now favoured. Welcome Back!

p-57

Welcome back to a police service that has struggled, under substantial personnel and budgetary cuts over the last eleven years, to cope with the level of crime and especially violent crime. As the number of policing responsibilities increase many offenses go undetected, prosecution rates have declined, and a priorities system means that the police will not even attend certain incidents. It will take many years to adequately correct this massive problem, during which police officers are subject to increasing violence and mental pressures. The Justice system, including prisons, appear to be unviable and crumbling. Welcome Back!

p-118

‘Save The NHS’ was the Cummings slogan for Covid. But who caused the NHS problems in the first place? The Tory government cut NHS funding to the bone with the result that any emergency, and especially one as serious as Covid, could break the service. So it was surprising that suddenly 30,000 free hospital beds appeared, from nowhere. Well, we now know where they came from: at least 25,000 came from the aged who were shipped off to care homes - without being tested for Covid (I have personal experience of the lack of test and tracking when a friend died recently and no contact was made with me or her friends who had visited her at home - she was a terminal cancer patient). Other beds were freed due to the curtailment of elective operations and other services including cancer investigations and treatment. The result is that the waiting list for operations and other treatments is now at 10 million. Add to this our departure from the EU and the open access to European medical staff who currently make up a substantial proportion of NHS and care home staffing (now declining due to Brexit). Welcome Back!

p-92

This and the previous Tory government have continually boasted their success in substantially reducing the rate of unemployment. But how was this achieved? The process of claiming and receiving benefits drove many to take any work and to go self-employed. The problem with this strategy is that poverty pay, zero hour contracts, and the historically low level of self-employment viability have led to increased demands for financial support (through Family Credit facility), increased relative poverty levels, and the mushrooming of demand for charitable food bank services. The situation is sure to dramatically worsen with the negative Covid implications to employment. Once the clouds have dispersed the unemployment rate is likely to be one of the worst ever, while government income dives and the debt mountain grows unsustainably. Welcome Back!

p-214

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