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Posts from the ‘Culture’ Category

Support TUC bid for Nov 30th Chart Success!

Ahead of the Day of Action on 30 November, the TUC has brought together a group of public sector staff as The Workers to re-record the classic song Let’s Work Together as a charity track that celebrates everything that is good about the public sector and raises money for today’s pensioners.

The song was launched on Monday 21 November to chart on Sunday 27 November – the week of the TUC Day of Action.

The Workers are 14-strong and include a firefighter, probation officers, a teacher, civil servant, social worker, student support officer and health service staff including a nurse, midwives, a physiotherapist and a clinical engineer.

The aim of the song is to get people talking about the importance of the public sector and its staff in a week when the government wants to focus on union bashing.

The single will also raise money for charity. A major part of the sale price, equivalent to about 40p out of the 99p cost in most outlets, will be donated by the TUC to Age UK to show support for today’s pensioners.

Let’s Work Together is available to download from 2pm on Sunday 20 November on iTunes, amazon and other major online retail outlets. Further information about the band and how to buy the single is available at

The more singles that are bought, the higher the chart placing and the more attention the song will get. This is why we need your support!

Ways for people to support the song:

Create a buzz ahead of the release of the song by posting the website on to Facebook / Twitter and forwarding the link to friends, family colleagues.
Encourage people to buy the song next week by re-tweeting info about your favourite band member, posting the website on Facebook and asking your favourite radio station to play the song.

Buying this record will also give 40p to Age UK (Age Concern) 

David Simon: City, The Wire and the End of Empire.

“Someone, somewhere is going to start throwing bricks. It’s not right or wrong, it is just going to happen.” That, says David Simon, is how things change.

There was consolation, in an epilogue to my long stay in the comfort zone that is New York, to hear a voice willing to publicly rail against the monster that US capitalism seems happy to be revealing itself as.

by Gordon Gibson

In the appropriate setting of a vacant lot, temporarily prettified at no small expense to house the first 10 week BMW Guggenheim Lab series on the urban condition, David Simon, of The Wire and Treme (and much more besides), tore into the bulwarks. He describes a sociopathic elite, willing to sacrifice a vast layer of society, 15-20%, mostly black, prevent universal healthcare, collapse the education system for those unable to achieve Charter School places, blackmail the economy, brutalize the world, import it’s products from exploited workforces on the other side of the globe, pass laws so that corporations can, without restraint, fund their political lapdogs and so remove any vestiges of democracy that might represent the interests of common people – all this and more, as long as increasingly obscene amounts of money continue to be accumulated by shareholders. There is no responsibility left, no philanthropy with the excess.

The only tax increase the Republicans are willing to contemplate to remedy the failings of the financial pirates, is one on the poor. Yet huge corporations, much worse than Murdoch’s discredited News International, pay no tax, zilch, actually winning billion dollar rebates from the beleaguered government revenue to reward their tax-evading skills.

US capitalism’s all-exclusive greed is the outstanding characteristic of an empire in decline, says Simon.

New York itself is cocooned from the worst excesses of financial collapse because it is at the very heart of the decay. By default, spillage seeps into the city and, for that reason, Manhattan is a great place to be. It has it’s failings and overt expressions of poverty but it is a world away from West Baltimore, North Philadelphia, East St Louis or, in the language of my home country, Clase, Llanrumney, the Rhondda, or Pencraig in Llangefni.

It was unfortunate in the Greenwich Village home of Jane Jacobs’ seminal text on the rich diversity of ‘good town’, ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities’, published 50 years ago this year, that the opportunity was missed to hear Simon reflect on the characters that give such strength to his tv series. He anticipated inevitable questions about The Wire’s Omar but they were not forthcoming. That rich character writing, where even the most brutal of violent killings can evoke tear-surges of empathy for the perpetrator, would have been a valuable vehicle to further explore the urban social condition that Jane Jacobs so thoroughly documented and that the ‘Lab’ seeks to investigate.

Simon does not pretend his work to be journalism, where his writing started. He says he writes propaganda and viewers and readers of his work can appreciate what an astute observer he, like Jacobs, is of social, economic and political reality.

Neither is there any claim to provide answers. Those of us in the middle and even working class, who encourage social demise by voting for the executioners in the hope that one day we too will make our fortune and pull up the drawbridge of our gated community, are most likely to be bystanders as the flood of economic climate-change engulfs us.

Meanwhile, it appears that the brick throwing has commenced.


The BMW Guggenheim Lab finished its run in New York in October, 2011, and now travels to Berlin and then Mumbai. Cycle 1 concludes with an exhibition presented at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2013. Two additional two-year cycles will follow, each with a new mobile structure and theme, concluding in the fall of 2016.


Gordon’s blog on Urban Design and Sustainable City is at

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