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A Beautiful Mind

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Sirs,

I don't listen to music these days nor have I ever written to a music magazine but I am all too well aware of music's all pervasive nature and it's capacity to transmit important messages.

Forgive my ignorance, but why has no band ever covered the astounding facts brought to light by Adam Curtis, the BBC documentary maker, in the incredible series The Century of the Self, The Power of Nightmares and The Trap?

What strikes me about what I do know about the music industry is that it is teetering on the brink of oblivion and is full of 'artists' producing inane bland trash so bad they can’t even give it away, preoccupied as they are with pimping, drugs, degeneracy and dissatisfaction with modern life.

Yet, the richness, depth and seriousness of the material Curtis elucidates explains a great deal about why this world has become so ugly, callous, greedy, hateful and warmongering and provide all the ammunition the masses need to rumble the true intentions of today's politicians.

Before World War One, the world was a rapidly changing place with inventions coming thick and fast. More often that not, the spirit of that age decided those discoveries, based on the principles developed during the Enlightenment, were for the benefit of mankind. Fortunes were made, living standards improved vastly, great works were undertaken for the benefit of all, even at great loss and philanthropists learnt to care for the public, with the establishment of simple things like public parks for recreation. It was a more graceful age, where the love of family and neighbourliness mattered. Those aspects of that age, its emerging generosity of spirit, are probably what most Britons today, even if unconsciously would identify as precisely what made this country great. It’s how things like the National Health Service came into being

At the beginning of World War One Britain was the richest nation on Earth. By the end of World War Two, we were practically bankrupt, giving away our Empire hand over fist for a few morsels of comfort from the Americans. Their unspoken animosity towards the British, which has usefully lingered in the collective conscience since the War of Independence, ensured the US took the opportunity to put us on our knees. We were their biggest obstacle to world economic domination and so had us begging for any assistance they would offer.

Worse than that, with the subsequent Cold War, the US military employed all the best brains to develop game theory strategies to beat the Soviet Union in the event of a nuclear conflict. John Nash, the subject of the movie "A Brilliant Mind" played a significant role in developing those strategies, but, just as portrayed in the movie, Nash suffered crippling paranoid schizophrenia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Forbes_Nash

The theories he developed were not only used to manage America's tactical nuclear response, but they were further developed into the Nash Equilibria which has been used to establish the basis for new economic theories in which all the players, namely every member of society, acts entirely rationally and calculates coldly. There is no room for love, emotion, empathy. In the Nash Equilibria there is no room for what makes us human. One game he devised he called “****** You, Buddy”. How’s that for the title of a conscience song?

To quote Curtis himself “ . . . studies show that only two groups in society actually behave in a rational self-interested way in all experimental situations. One is economists themselves, and the other is psychopaths.”

(http://www.blairwatch.co.uk/node/1692)

Needless to say the Nash Equilibria is how Margaret Thatcher arrived at her conclusion that there is no such thing as society. What does this say about out 'socialist' Prime Minister Gordon Brown when he invites her to tea in Downing Street?

Yes that’s right, the basis for contemporary economic policies supported by today’s main political parties were developed by a madman during the Cold War as a response to nuclear attack.

Is it any wonder so many of music's biggest fans, your readership, are unable to buy properties of their own in the countries of their birth? Is it any wonder so many turns to drink and drugs? Is it any wonder we live in a country that acts as a haven to Russian oligarchs while students from poor British families are having to work in full time jobs to fund their war through university? Is it any wonder so many of our best values have become lost or perverted?

Where are the bands decrying this horrific situation?

Where are the great protest songs of today?

Where is the conscience of the music industry?

Have you gotten into bed with the Bilderbergers?

Have you too become complicit in the neo-con intent to refeudalize society?

Doubtless few if any of today’s musicians are even aware of the points I spell out above.

Most are too busy rubbing shoulders with Hollywood stars and supermodels, acting as the face of some luxury goods company or simply getting stoned in some Soho hovel or some trashy California hills mansion.

Perhaps that’s where the music industry’s greatest problems lies. Doubtless many music fans secretly harbour hopes that their music heroes will help fight their causes for them, alleviating the misery of their day to day existence using clever lyrics to influence the future course of human history. Of course, with few exceptions, it never comes.

Instead, the moment new music stars get any power, they act exactly as they are expected to, intoxicated and corrupted absolutely. Pete Doherty even did it in reverse.

Is it any wonder there is such disaffection with the music industry? You’ve become the very problem you were meant to fight.

You’ve been a wonderful audience.

The Century of the Self by Adam Curtis in 4 parts here

Pt.1 http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=...h&plindex=0

Pt 2

http://video.google.co.uk/url?docid=-67846...lxNKzyq_tSAexxA

Pt 3 http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=...h&plindex=2

pt 4 http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=...h&plindex=3

Also The Trap - What Happened to our Dream of Freedom

Pt 1

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=...h&plindex=0

Pt 2 http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=...h&plindex=0

Pt 3 - In 3 parts)

1. http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=...h&plindex=0

2.

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=...h&plindex=2

3.

The Power of Nightmares is also watchable in 3 parts

pt 1 http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=...h&plindex=0

pt 2. http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=...h&plindex=1

pt 3

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=...h&plindex=2

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

- George Orwell.

PPS : I am a maths graduate and the thought that Nash's work has formed the basis of so much contemporary thinking I find utterly chilling. Even with supercomputers running the most mind bogglingly complex stochastic econometric forecasting models, most economists can't even agree on forecasts for next months inflation figures. It is an act of supreme simplistic sadistic arrogance to think that the Nash Equilibria satisfactorily encompasses the complexities of billions of human hearts.

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NM - there is a band that covers exactly these issues. However, lets hope that the drummer can offload his struggling BTLs before they consume too much of his resources. ;)

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Guest DissipatedYouthIsValuable
NM - there is a band that covers exactly these issues. However, lets hope that the drummer can offload his struggling BTLs before they consume too much of his resources. ;)

You can't really sing the blues without suffering pain.

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I agree that negative freedom is poison. It a pessimistic view of humanity is which we are all viewed as isolated, self interested consumption monsters. It was a dreamt up by a depressive. What amazes me is that the political class swallowed it.

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Needless to say the Nash Equilibria is how Margaret Thatcher arrived at her conclusion that there is no such thing as society.

Try getting your quotes right Nick. After so many rebukes, this inexcusable sloppiness is a ruddy great horsefly in the ointment of your post.

But I loved this typo (?):

Is it any wonder we live in a country that acts as a haven to Russian oligarchs while students from poor British families are having to work in full time jobs to fund their war through university?

The new class war, or rather generation war?

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Ironic isn't it?

In the movie Terminator 2 : Judgement Day, Sarah Connor sets off in pursuit of Miles Bennett Dyson, Director of Special Projects at the Cyberdyne Systems Corporation, to assassinate him in order to prevent his work leading to nuclear annihilation.

In reality, John Nash, worked on the top secret game theory projects for the US government to produce tactical nuclear responses to Soviet nuclear threats.

Perhaps we should track down Nash, not for the purposes of killing him, but for the purpose of gettting him to publicly condemn the madness of adopting his theories as economic policies.

He is still alive, though maybe even posting these very thougths may even be enough to endanger his life.

Edited by nmarks

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Chumbawumba. Plenty of years as a right on songs for the working classes/irish etc.. for 10 years = practically unkown and no corresponding riches. Then they do ONE commercial song (whisky drink, vodka drink) almost as if to say, there easy isn't it? And their entre fanbase rose up to decry them as sell-outs. Don't blame the artisits blame the proles!

Good luck to them, they should get one go at the populist trough.

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I agree that negative freedom is poison. It a pessimistic view of humanity is which we are all viewed as isolated, self interested consumption monsters. It was a dreamt up by a depressive. What amazes me is that the political class swallowed it.

Doh!

Positive freedom brought us this mess, not negative. The enlightenment is based on a view of negative freedom. Socialism is based on a view of positive freedom.

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Chumbawumba. Plenty of years as a right on songs for the working classes/irish etc.. for 10 years = practically unkown and no corresponding riches. Then they do ONE commercial song (whisky drink, vodka drink) almost as if to say, there easy isn't it? And their entre fanbase rose up to decry them as sell-outs. Don't blame the artisits blame the proles!

Good luck to them, they should get one go at the populist trough.

Fair comment - but the problem here was that (in my view at least) their music sucked the big one, irrespective of the merits of their politics.

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What a fantastic letter, despite alleged inaccuracies.

There probably are bands out there singing political songs (oh for the Pistols and God Save The Queen!!), but they're not getting through. This is the fault of the publishers who act as arbiters of taste. They are not going to put money behind promoting someone that won't, in their opinion, make a healthy profit. Or they're too pussy to take a risk.

I've heard that there are plenty of "garage" or "White Van" bands around decrying the current state of affairs.... but if they don't get the airplay, you'll never know about them.

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Try getting your quotes right Nick. After so many rebukes, this inexcusable sloppiness is a ruddy great horsefly in the ointment of your post.

But I loved this typo (?):

The new class war, or rather generation war?

Qetesuesi, I'll be prepared to listen to criticism from you when you have the courage to stand up and be counted, challenging the establisment on behalf of others rather than your cowardly sniping from behind a false identity. Its a good thing the Nobel Committee see the bigger picture, rightly having awarded Jor El the Nobel Peace Prize despite the few inaccuracies in An Incovenient Truth.

Thanks to Dubai for your kind comments. By the way Margaret Thatcher really did say "there is no such thing as society".

See Third term as Prime Minister

Edited by nmarks

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I think (Strummer/Jones) The Clash sum it up quite well in White man in Hammersmith Palais:-

Midnight to six man

For the first time from Jamaica

Dillinger and Leroy Smart

Delroy Wilson, your cool operator

Ken Boothe for UK pop reggae

With backing bands sound systems

And if they've got anything to say

There's many black ears here to listen

But it was Four Tops all night with encores from stage right

Charging from the bass knives to the treble

But onstage they ain't got no roots rock rebel

Onstage they ain't got no...roots rock rebel

Dress back jump back this is a bluebeat attack

'Cos it won't get you anywhere

Fooling with your guns

The British Army is waiting out there

An' it weighs fifteen hundred tons

White youth, black youth

Better find another solution

Why not phone up Robin Hood

And ask him for some wealth distribution

Punk rockers in the UK

They won't notice anyway

They're all too busy fighting

For a good place under the lighting

The new groups are not concerned

With what there is to be learned

They got Burton suits, ha you think it's funny

Turning rebellion into money

All over people changing their votes

Along with their overcoats

If Adolf Hitler flew in today

They'd send a limousine anyway

I'm the all night drug-prowling wolf

Who looks so sick in the sun

I'm the white man in the Palais

Just lookin' for fun

I'm only

Looking for fun

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There is definitely an interesting conversation to be had about the dire effect of the boom years on popular culture, if you want to call it that, in this country. It's no coincidence that the music scene has become a dull, unimaginative, safe and apolitical shower of non-entities and tv is just endless reality tv crap, makeover shows etc during an era of utterly mindless debt-fueled materialism. A crash might actually stimulate some change and force people to think rather than shop.

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There probably are bands out there singing political songs (oh for the Pistols and God Save The Queen!!), but they're not getting through.

Interesting how initial posts thinking of socially aware lyrics flag up obvious contenders ie Joe Strummer / The Clash / Sex Pistols, Chumbawumba - there are many others that swam in more mainstream genres than anarchy, punk and general nihilism ( no he wasn't the lead singer of Peter And The Test Tube Babies.

For instance look at the lyrics to this early 1970s song by well documented socio-political commentators *cough* - Genesis. There are plenty of other examples you just need to know where to look - obviously Simon Cowell won't react to kindly to anyone turning up on X-Factor singing suchlike.

http://www.ocap.ca/songs/getemout.html

Song lyrics pages assisted by Ontario Tenant Toronto Tenants

Get 'Em Out By Friday

by Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford (Genesis)

(John Pebble of Styx Enterprises)

"Get 'em out by Friday!

You don't get paid till the last one's well on his way.

Get 'em out by Friday!

It's important that we keep to schedule, there must be no delay."

(Mark Hall of Styx Enterprises, otherwise known as "The Winkler")

"I represent a firm of gentlemen who recently purchased this

house and all the others in the road,

In the interest of humanity we've found a better place for you

to go, go-woh, go-woh"

(Mrs. Barrow,a tenant)

"Oh no, this I can't believe,

Oh Mary, they're asking us to leave."

(Mr. Pebble)

"Get 'em out by Friday!

I've told you before, 's good many gone if we let them stay.

And if it isn't easy,

You can squeeze a little grease and our troubles will soon run away."

(Mrs. Barrow)

"After all this time, they ask us to leave,

And I told them we could pay double the rent.

I don't know why it seemed so funny,

Seeing as how they'd take more money.

The winkler called again, he came here this morning,

With four hundred pounds and a photograph of the place he has found.

A block of flats with central heating.

I think we're going to find it hard."

(Mr. Pebble)

"Now we've got them!

I've always said that cash cash cash can do anything well.

Work can be rewarding

When a flash of intuition is a gift that helps you

excel-sell-sell-sell."

(Mr. Hall)

"Here we are in Harlow New Town, did you recognise your block

across the square, over there,

Sadly since last time we spoke, we've found we've had to raise

the rent again,

just a bit."

(Mrs. Barrow)

"Oh no, this I can't believe

Oh Mary, and we agreed to leave."

(a passage of time)

(18/9/2012 T.V. Flash on all Dial-A-Program Services)

This is an announcement from Genetic Control:

"It is my sad duty to inform you of a four foot restriction on

humanoid height."

(Extract from coversation of Joe Ordinary in Local Puborama)

"I hear the directors of Genetic Control have been buying all the

properties that have recently been sold, taking risks oh so bold.

It's said now that people will be shorter in height,

they can fit twice as many in the same building site.

(they say it's alright),

Beginning with the tenants of the town of Harlow,

in the interest of humanity, they've been told they must go,,br> told they must go-go-go-go."

(Sir John De Pebble of United Blacksprings International)

"I think I've fixed a new deal

A dozen properties - we'll buy at five and sell at thirty four,

Some are still inhabited,

It's time to send the winkler to see them,

he'll have to work some more."

(Memo from Satin Peter of Rock Development Ltd.)

With land in your hand, you'll be happy on earth

Then invest in the Church for your heaven

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There is definitely an interesting conversation to be had about the dire effect of the boom years on popular culture, if you want to call it that, in this country. It's no coincidence that the music scene has become a dull, unimaginative, safe and apolitical shower of non-entities and tv is just endless reality tv crap, makeover shows etc during an era of utterly mindless debt-fueled materialism. A crash might actually stimulate some change and force people to think rather than shop.

funny you should mention that.

TV in the 70's wasn't vastly different.

we had the benefit of some really off-the wall stuff like monty python and some mothers do ave em,but I do seem to remember the variety shows were pretty well viewed.Is that much different to X factor??

you'll know when real change is about to occur because the music will change.Gone will be the days of manufactured mediocrity,and a REAL revolution will come from nowhere.....it'll either be passive or agressive(you won't have half- measures).....either way it will be reactionary.

mods+rockers did it

hippies did it

punks did it

ravers did it

what's next??

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There is definitely an interesting conversation to be had about the dire effect of the boom years on popular culture, if you want to call it that, in this country. It's no coincidence that the music scene has become a dull, unimaginative, safe and apolitical shower of non-entities and tv is just endless reality tv crap, makeover shows etc during an era of utterly mindless debt-fueled materialism. A crash might actually stimulate some change and force people to think rather than shop.

funny you should mention that.

TV in the 70's wasn't vastly different.

we had the benefit of some really off-the wall stuff like monty python and some mothers do ave em,but I do seem to remember the variety shows were pretty well viewed.Is that much different to X factor??

you'll know when real change is about to occur because the music will change.Gone will be the days of manufactured mediocrity,and a REAL revolution will come from nowhere.....it'll either be passive or agressive(you won't have half- measures).....either way it will be reactionary.

mods+rockers did it

hippies did it

punks did it

ravers did it

what's next??

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I agree that negative freedom is poison. It a pessimistic view of humanity is which we are all viewed as isolated, self interested consumption monsters. It was a dreamt up by a depressive. What amazes me is that the political class swallowed it.

"it a pessimistic view of humanity is which we are all viewed as isolated, self interested consumption monsters." What amazes me is that the political class swallowed it....- IS that not because they ( The Political Class) are associated with advertising agencies - who are surely the very businesses that benefit from a spurge of consumerism and connected with building and Financial Services again the beneficiaries of consumption and house gentrification.....

KT

edit - typos, again.

Edited by KTeetwo

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I think you're right, there isn't enough exposure of the techniques and practices that have led to the mess we live in today. Whilst politicians can harp on about wealth creation and say "we've never had it so good", they are just as much spectators in the show as we are. They think they run the show, but really it's run by a shadowy cabal of marketeers, corporations and financial instututions. In my own experience, there are musicians who dare to expose the sham we call democracy, but they are few and far between and rarely make it to mainstream but there is the occasional gem, like the lyrics in this one.

Ignoreland Lyrics print version

(Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe)

These bastards stole their power from the victims of the Us v. Them years,

Wrecking all things virtuous and true

The undermining social democratic downhill slide into abysmal

Lost lamb off the precipice into the trickle down runoff pool

They hypnotised the summer, 1979

Marched into the capital brooding duplicitous, wicked and able, media-ready,

Heartless, and labeled. Super US citizen, super achiever,

Mega ultra power dosing. Relax

Defense, defense, defense, defense. Yeah, yeah, yeah

Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland

Yeah, yeah, yeah

The information nation took their clues from all the sound-bite gluttons

1980, 84, 88, 92 too, too

How to be what you can be, jump jam junking your energies

How to walk in dignity with throw up on your shoes

They amplified the autumn, 1979

Calculate the capital, up the republic my skinny ass

TV tells a million lies. The paper's terrified to report

Anything that isn't handed on a presidential spoon,

I'm just profoundly frustrated by all this. So, ****** you, man (****** 'em)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland

If they weren't there we would have created them. Maybe, it's true,

But I'm resentful all the same. Someone's got to take the blame

I know that this is vitriol. No solution, spleen-venting,

But I feel better having screamed. Don't you?

They desecrated winter, 1979

Capital collateral. Brooding duplicitous, wicked and able, media-ready,

Heartless, and labeled. Super US citizen, super achiever,

Mega ultra power dosing. Relax

Defense, defense, defense, defense. Yeah, yeah, yeah

Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland

Yeah, yeah, yeah, ignoreland. Yeah, yeah, yeah

I did not do the revolution

Thank you

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The most political band I can recall is Crass,1970/1980s anarcho-punks.Their anti-Falklands War single "How does it feel to be the mother of a thousand dead" sparked a debate in Parliament.They're not easy listening,though. ;)

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