Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Merry Dance Of Hatred?

The news of the day is like all stories – a lot depends on who is telling it. I say this because the Daily Express and the Daily Mail have both chosen to make headline news of a story the rest of the media (as far I can tell) have largely ignored. The story in question concerns a young Romanian migrant who was allegedly (hold on to this word) arrested for stealing and, aided by his compatriots, laughed and danced while handcuffed and waiting for a police van to arrive. The Mail asks `Is Justice Such a Joke?`, the Express have used it as ammunition for their campaign to halt an influx of `thieving Romanian migrants` (there’s a petition apparently).

Firstly let’s consider the case in hand. Neither report makes any mention of what happened after the Romanian was taken to the police station. Has he been bailed? Has he been charged? Did he appear before magistrates in which case what was the outcome (if he was fined it seems rather strange they don’t mention it)? Unless there is a conviction the crime is only an alleged one anyway. There are certain protocols that are normal followed by papers in such instances, so why have neither publication followed them – they’ve bothered to pixelise his face.

Secondly, before I get accused of being too liberal for my own good (and of course assuming the facts are as reported) I must admit that dancing and generally taking the piss would not be the reaction of anybody wrongly arrested for stealing. Also, if somebody travels to a foreign country and promptly commits a crime they should have their visa revoked and be put on the next plane home (upon conviction of course). I’ve no qualms about that.

However we need to dwell upon the pitch both papers are using, namely that of apparent contempt for the law. I can’t imagine this Romanian youth was the only person arrested for stealing that day and very much doubt that all the others politely let themselves be¬† taken away.

Let’s compare this with another case reported in the papers today. The son of the fourth Baron Ashbourne (no, me neither) was fined and made subject to a curfew after being found guilty of assaulting a policeman. Edward Barry Greynville Gibson was reported to have told the arresting officer¬† he `was a nobody and did not have the power to arrest somebody like him` (source – The Times). If that’s not contempt for the law I don’t know what is.

So having established that the Mail and the Express were making a story out of something that isn’t really a story, we need to move on to their motives. Why highlight this case? The answer is obvious, to give the impression that all Romanian migrants are criminals. And there is a phrase for this – inciting racial hatred.

All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing. For that reason I am considering a letter to the press complaints commission.


IV PLAY TEN YEARS ON PART 3 – All the places I have been

Looking back with ten years hindsight Autumn 2003 was arguable IV Play’s most fertile period; between the apprenticeship of the Carringtons gigs and the call of London in the new year. During this time they played some of their best gigs and, more importantly, debuted some of their greatest songs.

The party started at a gig at the Rat and Parrot (The Alexandra since 2006 – God I’m showing my age) in early September – the first of four gigs they would play here. The last couple of Carringtons concerts showed how tight a unit the band were becoming; the evening at the R&P demonstrated their other side, that they could relax, sound like they were making it up as they went along, and still dazzle the audience. The set was a mixture of covers and originals, the arguable highlight being Nader and Emma Swales duetting on That’s Entertainment.

Later that month the band returned to Carringtons for one of their most high profile gigs and certainly one of their most publicised; a fundraising show for Cancer Research dedicated to a young local cancer patient. A new song was introduced that night; the riff heavy Growing Up remains the heaviest song Nader Mabadi would ever put his name too.

Next gig along was at the Skipton Inn which can be summed up by two random highlights unrelated to the music. Upon asking the audience for requests some joker yelled for 35 Miles An Hour which the band were forced to improvise without the keyboard (sorry guys but it is a great song – even without its howling synth opening) and Matt, having being denied one toilet break, downing his bass immediately after the song and making a run for it.

At this point the band travelled to Eden studios in London to record their second EP. The plan was to record four songs; My Mind’s My Own (ommited from the first EP), Growing Up, When I Found Jacob and Emma Swales would join them on the last day for Pete’s Palindrome.

A quick bit of googling reveals that Eden studios closed in 2007. It was however open for forty years and has its own Wikipedia article which lists some of the artists who recorded there. I say some because the list omits the band IV Play met there, a then unknown American band who were finishing tracks for their debut album and, like IV Play, were running half empty on fumes of talent and ambition. That band was The Killers.

Growing Up and My Mind’s My Own were recorded according to plan but elsewhere plans didn’t quite work out. Firstly it ultimately proved impractical to get Emma to London, Pete’s Palindrome remained unrecorded, and the band were forced to decide whether Emma was in the band or not.

The other change of plan would prove happier. When I Found Jacob was felt to be too similar to Growing Up and the band cast around for an alternative. Their choice ultimately fell on 17, an early song of Nader’s that featured in a few early gigs and nobody paid much attention to. However the band, perhaps helped by the producers at Eden, found inspiration and 17 became the final track.

Growing Up, 17, My Mind’s My own was the running order, the cover photograph taken in the subway at Station View. When fans heard the EP for the first time it was obvious that 17 was the star turn. A verse/ chorus number, acoustic save for the drums, piano rather than guitar led and lacking Nader’s usual wordplay you can see why the band overlooked it at first. 17 is a song about being that age, young by almost any standards but old enough for regret, the song hinges upon the moment when the verse enters the first chorus and we get those lines (All the places I have been, all the things that I have seen, all my history). The melody throughout is subtle but haunting.

In some ways 17 would prove a millstone for the band as it was difficult initially to reproduce live (a guest guitarist was needed for the CD launch to enable Nader to switch to keyboard) and it wasn’t entirely representative of their sound. However 17, the song almost lost, remains the finest achievement of all involved in it. I’ll be blunt; I currently have 18312 songs on my Ipod – if I could only have 10 then 17 would be one of them.