this is not a bin


This is not a binWell, this is bloody annoying. You see, there is actually a decent reason for the long gap between posts this time – of which more anon – and I’d decided to get back into the swing with a nice little bit of gentle mockery of the Guardian, because… well, why not? And I had the piece all written and ready to post, when… lo and behold, Nick Davies and Co. went and exposed this whole story about Rupert Murdoch being a master criminal and Rebekah Brooks fiddling the tombola at the Chipping Norton village fete and… suddenly, it seemed… a little ungrateful. Rupert Murdoch, eh – who’d have thought he’d turn out to be one of the bad ones? So, I think I’ll hold that back for another time.

But while I’m here, which I am – can we just stop NOW all this nonsense about feeling sympathy for the people who’ve lost their jobs at Wapping because they’ve got mortgages to pay and kids to feed? They might not personally have tapped anyone’s phone, or spent Friday nights going through Hugh Grant’s bins, but they had only to open a copy of the paper each Sunday to know the true nature of the organisation they worked for. If no one had agreed to print the News of the World, and no one had agreed to write for it, and no one had agreed to lick envelopes in the mail room and mop up the tears in the toilet cubicles, then the paper would have ceased to exist years ago and the world would have been a much better, nicer, more civilised place. There are degrees of culpability, but everyone who worked there is culpable, because THEY KNEW THEY WORKED FOR RUPERT MURDOCH. And they knew where the money he paid them each month came from. And that includes all the journalists who write for the Sun, Times, or Sunday Times… and all the authors who are published by Harper Collins – it’s an interesting list. One of the things that used to annoy me, in my previous guises as sanctimonious record label and priggish fanzine writer, was self-styled political bands who never brought their supposed politics to bear on the way their own records were sold; because you can sing about socialism and anarchy all you like, but if you’re treating your own fans with capitalist contempt in the way your records are sold and marketed, then your words ring pretty hollow. The only exceptions that spring to mind are Billy Bragg and the Crass roster – Billy Bragg’s first albums came out with a “Pay No More Than” sticker, and I’m pretty sure I only handed over 79p for my copy of Flux of Pink Indian’s classic Tube Disasters, because the price was printed on the sleeve. Why am I bringing this up? Oh, just that it’s at times like these that I think of all the (ahem) right-on young journalists with their raging red rhetoric in the pages of the NME and Melody Maker, now happily grown up and making a living on the right-wing press, occasionally trying to defend themselves by muttering sheepishly about it being “just to get a foothold” (yeah, after 10 years…) or trying to “subvert from within”.

But that’s enough from me. Oh, right, yes, the gap between posts. Well, without boring you with details, I was getting to know the staff of Lewisham Hospital slightly more intimately than is generally desirable (lovely though they are). Also, though, I’ve been working on a few other web projects – it’s good for convalescence – so, just in case anyone’s interested… there’s now a completely revamped Smoke website (including photos of our board game, Soho!), a new blog – I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say Pwllheli – by regular Smoke contributor Tricity Bendix, and another new blog – Beware Of The Trees – by me me me, which those of you who find Smoke a little London-centric will think is niche-beyond-words, as it’s entirely concerned with the SE10 postcode.

And now I have a train to catch. And so should you.