Posts Tagged ‘The Holy Bible’

The Holy Bible’s 20th Anniversary

29/08/2014

Holy Bible Cover

You’re obliged to pretend respect for people and institutions you think absurd. You live attached in a cowardly fashion to moral and social conventions you despise, condemn and know lack all foundation. It is that permanent contradiction between your ideas and desires and all the dead formalities and vain pretences of your civilization, which makes you sad, troubled and unbalanced. In that intolerable conflict you lose all joy of life and all feeling of personality, because at every moment they suppress and restrain and check the free play of your powers. That’s the poisoned and mortal wound of the civilized world.

– Octave Mirbeau, The Torture Garden

Twenty years ago today, a white-hot-scattershot-masterpiece of pure punk rage was released.

I only discovered it about 13 years ago at the height of my teenage angst at university and it offered the startling consolation of feeling personally understood.

But unlike many other bands and albums I have since loved and lost, it has outlived my hormonally-charged emotions and scarcely a month has gone by when I haven’t listened to it all the way through at least once.

And it only becomes fresher, more relevant, closer to home.

An album that deserves a place in the annals of great art alongside Beethoven and Warhol.

A piece of work that – to quote the sample of J G Ballard explaining the reasons for him writing his nihilistic masterpiece, Crash – that rubs the human face in its own vomit, and then forces it to look in the mirror.

Track 1: “Yes”

You can buy her, you can buy her. This one’s here, this one’s here, this one’s here and this one’s here. Everything’s for sale…

…Two dollars you can rub her tits. Three dollars you can rub her ass. Five dollars you can play with her pussy or you can lick her tits. The choice is yours.

Track 2:

“Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit’sworldwouldfallapart”

Conservative say: there ain’t no black in the union jack.
Democrat say: there ain’t enough white in the stars and stripes.

Track 3: Of Walking Abortion

I knew that someday I was going to die. And I knew before I died, two things would happen to me. That number one, I would regret my entire life. And number two, I would want to live my life over again.

Track 4: “She Is Suffering”

Nature’s lukewarm pleasure.

Track 5: “Archives Of Pain”

I wonder who you think you are. You damn well think you’re God or something. God give life, God taketh it away, not you. I think you are the Devil itself.

Track 6: “Revol”

Yeltsin – failure is his own impotence.

Track 7: “4st 7lbs”

I eat too much to die. And not enough to stay alive. I’m sitting in the middle waiting.

Track 8: “Mausoleum”

Life can be as important as death.

Track 9: “Faster”

I hate purity. I hate goodness. I don’t want virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone corrupt.

Track 10: “This Is Yesterday”

Do not listen to a word I say.
Just listen to what I can keep silent.
The only way to gain approval.
Is by exploiting the very thing that cheapens me.

Track 11: “Die In The Summertime”

The hole in my life even stains the soil.

Track 11: “The Intense Humming Of Evil”

Arbeit macht frei.

P.C.P.

Teacher starve your child, P.C. approved.
As long as the right words are used.
Systemised atrocity ignored.
As long as bilingual signs on view.

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The WORST Love Album In The World… EVER!!!

14/02/2014

BrokenHeart

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of us who are only too aware of the false promises of love and relationships.

Track / Artist / Album

1. The Everlasting / Manic Street Preachers / This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours

2.  Love Will Tear Us Apart / Joy Division / Permanent: Joy Division 1995

3.  She’s A Star / James / Whiplash

4.  History / The Verve / A Northern Soul

5.  America / Razorlight / Razorlight

6.  Nothing Compares 2 U / Sinéad O’ Connor /  I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got

7.   I’ll Take The Rain / R.E.M. / Reveal

8.  Life Becoming A Landslide / Manic Street Preachers / Gold Against The Soul

9.  With Or Without You / U2 / The Joshua Tree

10.  Can’t Stand Me Now / The Libertines / The Libertines

11.  Try / Nelly Furtado / Folklore

12.  The Scientist / Coldplay / A Rush Of Blood To The Head

13.  Every Breath You Take / The Police / Synchronicity

14.  Man Of The World / Fleetwood Mac / The Very Best Of

15.  I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself / The White Stripes / Elephant

16.  She Is Suffering / Manic Street Preachers / The Holy Bible

17.  You Oughta Know / Alanis Morissette / Jagged Little Pill

18.  Run / Snow Patrol / Final Straw

19.  Train In Vain / The Clash / London Calling

20.  Under My Thumb / The Rolling Stones / Aftermath

21.  Wish You Were Here / Pink Floyd / Wish You Were Here

22.  The Power Of Goodbye / Madonna / Ray Of Light

23.  How Soon Is Now? / The SmithsHatful Of Hollow

24.  Say Hello Wave Goodbye / David Gray / White Ladder

25.  Last Christmas (performed by James Dean Bradfield live on TFI Friday, 1996) / George Michael/Wham! / Lipstick Traces: A Secret History Of

Die In The Summertime

26/12/2013

Manic Street Preachers, “Die The Summertime”, The Holy Bible

Right, that’s enough Christmas cheer people; time for a reality check.

Further to my post a couple of months ago on assisted dying, I recently came across this article from an American doctor on our unrealistic attitudes towards death that has struck a chord with me:

If I’m lucky, the family will accept the news that, in a time when we can separate conjoined twins and reattach severed limbs, people still wear out and die of old age.  If I’m lucky, the family will recognize that their loved one’s life is nearing its end.

But I’m not always lucky.  The family may ask me to use my physician superpowers to push the patient’s tired body further down the road, with little thought as to whether the additional suffering to get there will be worth it.  For many Americans, modern medical advances have made death seem more like an option than an obligation. We want our loved ones to live as long as possible, but our culture has come to view death as a medical failure rather than life’s natural conclusion.

These unrealistic expectations often begin with an overestimation of modern medicine’s power to prolong life, a misconception fuelled by the dramatic increase in the American life span over the past century.  To hear that the average U.S. life expectancy was 47 years in 1900 and 78 years as of 2007, you might conclude that there weren’t a lot of old people in the old days — and that modern medicine invented old age.  But average life expectancy is heavily skewed by childhood deaths, and infant mortality rates were high back then. In 1900, the U.S. infant mortality rate was approximately 100 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2000, the rate was 6.89 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.

The bulk of that decline came in the first half of the century, from simple public health measures such as improved sanitation and nutrition, not open heart surgery, MRIs or sophisticated medicines. Similarly, better obstetrical education and safer deliveries in that same period also led to steep declines in maternal mortality, so that by 1950, average life expectancy had catapulted to 68 years.

For all its technological sophistication and hefty price tag, modern medicine may be doing more to complicate the end of life than to prolong or improve it.  If a person living in 1900 managed to survive childhood and childbearing, she had a good chance of growing old. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person who made it to 65 in 1900 could expect to live an average of 12 more years; if she made it to 85, she could expect to go another four years. In 2007, a 65-year-old American could expect to live, on average, another 19 years; if he made it to 85, he could expect to go another six years.

(…)

This physical and emotional distance becomes obvious as we make decisions that accompany life’s end.  Suffering is like a fire: Those who sit closest feel the most heat; a picture of a fire gives off no warmth.  That’s why it’s typically the son or daughter who has been physically closest to an elderly parent’s pain who is the most willing to let go. Sometimes an estranged family member is “flying in next week to get all this straightened out.” This is usually the person who knows the least about her struggling parent’s health; she’ll have problems bringing her white horse as carry-on luggage.  This person may think she is being driven by compassion, but a good deal of what got her on the plane was the guilt and regret of living far away and having not done any of the heavy lifting in caring for her parent.

With unrealistic expectations of our ability to prolong life, with death as an unfamiliar and unnatural event, and without a realistic, tactile sense of how much a worn-out elderly patient is suffering, it’s easy for patients and families to keep insisting on more tests, more medications, more procedures.

Doing something often feels better than doing nothing. Inaction feeds the sense of guilt-ridden ineptness family members already feel as they ask themselves, “Why can’t I do more for this person I love so much?”

Opting to try all forms of medical treatment and procedures to assuage this guilt is also emotional life insurance: When their loved one does die, family members can tell themselves, “We did everything we could for Mom.”  In my experience, this is a stronger inclination than the equally valid (and perhaps more honest) admission that “we sure put Dad through the wringer those last few months.”

At a certain stage of life, aggressive medical treatment can become sanctioned torture.  When a case such as this comes along, nurses, physicians and therapists sometimes feel conflicted and immoral. We’ve committed ourselves to relieving suffering, not causing it. A retired nurse once wrote to me: “I am so glad I don’t have to hurt old people any more.”  [My emphasis]

When families talk about letting their loved ones die “naturally,” they often mean “in their sleep” — not from a treatable illness such as a stroke, cancer or an infection. Choosing to let a loved one pass away by not treating an illness feels too complicit; conversely, choosing treatment that will push a patient into further suffering somehow feels like taking care of him.  While it’s easy to empathize with these family members’ wishes, what they don’t appreciate is that very few elderly patients are lucky enough to die in their sleep.  Almost everyone dies of something.

Close friends of ours brought their father, who was battling dementia, home to live with them for his final, beautiful and arduous years.  There they loved him completely, even as Alzheimer’s took its dark toll.  They weren’t staring at a postcard of a fire; they had their eyebrows singed by the heat.  When pneumonia finally came to get him, they were willing to let him go.

It reminded me of Manic Street Preachers’ less-than-comforting ode to growing old from their classic, white-hot-scattershot-punk masterpiece, The Holy Bible:

“Die In The Summertime”

Scratch my leg with a rusty nail, sadly it heals
Colour my hair but the dye grows out
I can’t seem to stay a fixed ideal

Childhood pictures redeem, clean and so serene
See myself without ruining lines
Whole days throwing sticks into streams

I have crawled so far sideways
I recognise dim traces of creation
I want to die, die in the summertime, I want to die

The hole in my life even stains the soil
My heart shrinks to barely a pulse
A tiny animal curled into a quarter circle
If you really care wash the feet of a beggar

I have crawled so far sideways
I recognise dim traces of creation
I want to die, die in the summertime, I want to die

I have crawled so far sideways
I recognise dim traces of creation
I want to die, die in the summertime, I want to die

Or as The Who once phrased matters, “I hope I die before I get old”.

Richey Edwards: The Final Television Interview

17/06/2010

manicstreetpreacher has learned a great deal from this.

I’ve decided to take a respite from ranting against the parties of God and present the videos to the final interview that Richey Edwards, the Manic Street Preachers’ former lyricist and guitarist gave to a Swedish television station a few weeks before disappearing in February 1995 aged twenty-seven.

Part II / Part III / Part IV

Edwards, despite his best attempts at concealment by wearing a baggy top, clearly looks anorexic as he talks frankly about the Manics’ latest album, the white-hot, scattershot punk blast of rage, The Holy Bible, his lyric writing, and his recent mental breakdown which saw him visit The Priory for rehabilitation from drug and alcohol abuse.

Watch out for his opinions on pop-tarts Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston being “far more ruined in the mind” than he could ever be by virtue of their self-obsessed romantic pap.  Of course, those two pop divas have since had their fair share of Richey moments.

Towards the end, the interviewer asks whether Edwards would like to get married and have children.  Without listening to the end of the question, Edwards replies no, his dream is to write a perfect lyric that sums up how he feels about everything the in World yesterday, today and tomorrow.  If he is still alive out there somewhere, perhaps he will re-emerge when he has finally nailed it.

These comments are particularly relevant to me personally, since like Edwards, I have in recent years attempted to escape from my problems in The Real World by immersing myself in issues that I have little if any control over and worrying about them instead of my social life, love life and career.  I suppose there are worse outlets of the kind of anger and frustration that I expressed at the end of last year.  At least I didn’t turn to domestic violence, alcohol or drugs.  But my obsession with blogging has been destructive in other ways and I have let many things slide in my personal life, which came back to hit me in the face very recently.

I have now learned to value personal relationships over work, hobbies and interests.  I have taken control of my own destiny and will be moving jobs and locations back to my home town from which I have been so far away the past nine months.  I’ve even started telling my parents I love them for the first time in my life.  Never again will I elect to sit in the quiet carriage of a train reading a book rather than sitting next to a half-acquaintance to ask them how they are.

Edwards is man from whom we all can learn; even if not always for the right reasons.

Of Walking Abortion

27/12/2009

manicstreetpreacher hopes he’ll be forgiven for spitting his dummy out for a brief moment.

I knew that someday I was going to die.  And I knew before I died, two things would happen to me.  That number one, I would regret my entire life.  And number two, I would want to live my life over again.

– Hubert Selby Jnr in an interview sampled at the beginning of “Of Walking Abortion”, Manic Street Preachers, The Holy Bible.

The following is the extract of a comment by Edmund Standing on his post about Rage Against The Machine winning the UK Christmas Number One:

I hate the middle class SWP pseudo-revolutionaries who have lived a nice life thanks to capitalism – and most often their parents’ bank accounts – then wank on about class struggle, the proletariat, Marx, Guevara, etc.

RATM are posterboys for that kind of shit.  Would they want to live in a ‘revolutionary’ Communist State?  In their minds I think yes.  Doubtful if it became a reality.

I don’t pretend to be some working class hero – I know I’m not. I don’t pretend to want to live in some Communist ‘utopia’ – I don’t want to.

I believe in social justice and a capitalist society that is more fair.  My pay is frankly a disgrace for the work I do (I mean my ‘real world’ work, not writing on the internet), but I’m not going to start pretending to be part of a revolutionary cadre and droning on about Marx.  I’m especially not going to think ‘fuck you I won’t do what you tell me’ is anything but stroppy teenage sentiment.

I just hate the fact that a whole load of Facebook junkies are feeling all smug for sticking a group of people who promote an ideology that resulted in the death of millions at the number one spot for Christmas.

This is my response, which I was originally going to post in direct reply to Standing, but I thought it was unfair to scar his blog with such a self righteous whine from a white middle class boy:

My pay is frankly a disgrace for the work I do

So is mine!  I probably get paid nearly twice as much as Standing, but I’ve had to spend tens of thousands in obtaining my qualifications with a university degree and a postgraduate professional skills diploma (£8K for what was a nine month course, plus living expenses while being out of work!).

I’m 27 years old.  I’ve recently qualified as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.  And thanks to the recession and my former employers being a load of ungrateful, callous, twats, I’ve had to up sticks and move to the sticks because it was the only place in the country where I could get a job.  It’s about 250 miles and a nine hour coach trip home to see friends and family.

I’m renting a room in a shared house with a thirty-something electrician who has already bought and sold his own houses, runs a Land Rover and goes on holiday abroad about five times a year.

I can’t even afford to run a car and will have to inherit a lot of money or sell internal organs before I can get on the property ladder.

I had a horrible epiphany in the gym a few weeks ago that I am a product of Blair’s Britain: this buy-now-pay-back-whenever culture that has caused the credit crunch.

I feel that I was mis-sold my higher education.  “They” all said that you had to have a university education to get anywhere in the world.  “They” all said that your earning potential skyrockets if you have a degree that you’ll be able to pay it back no problem.

“They” also said that you had to have few months travelling on your CV, so I racked up £3K on a credit card during my gap year.

No one realises quite what a burden debt is until you have to start paying it back.  I now envy some of my former school colleagues who went straight into work after finishing their A Levels or even GCSEs and now have their own houses and cars.  Perhaps their earning potential is not as high as mine, but the difference is easily made up by them not having hundreds of pounds coming out of their bank accounts paying off student debts.

And don’t even get me started on the 750 quid that Gordon Brown steals from my pay cheque every month to fund his colleague’s expenses claims, red tape for doctors, teachers and policemen and allowing the NEETs to have as many children as they want free of charge.

I do at least have a private pension which is 5% of my salary after tax of course, and will then be taxed further.

Borrowing money makes you a slave to The Man.  The first loan I took out was my student loan for university when I was 18.  I accumulated £11,000 over three years to go towards my university tuition fees (another unwelcome invention of the Blair government) and some of my living costs.  The remainder was funded by taking crap summer jobs like waiting on tables and packing boxes in factories 8 – 12 hours at a time.  That debt didn’t seem to matter because I didn’t have to start paying it back until I was earning over £15,000 per annum.

I then borrowed £5,000 at the start of 2004 to buy a car because I needed one in order to commute to a new job in a location that was inaccessible to public transport.  I had worked hard during my third year at university and obtained a 2:1 overall when it looked like I would have to make do with a Desmond Tutu.  I felt that I had deserved it.  I actually left the job after less than a week after a run-in with another member of staff who is probably the most evil and disgusting person I have every met in my life.  The firm were a bunch of cowboys working for the dregs of society at any rate.  I was better off without them and found a job with a much more respectable firm shortly afterwards.

But the car loan met I was tied to The Man for good and stayed in jobs I did not enjoy simply because I needed money to keep up the repayments.

Being a male under 25 years old, car insurance was a rip off.  The car, a V-reg 1.0 litre Vauxhall Corsa was a bag of shite.  It would have been ok for a housewife to go to the shops a few times a week.  Practically every service and MOT something had gone on it that needed replacing for hundreds of pounds.  Not enough to send it to the knackers yard though.  And again, thanks to Blair and Brown, the petrol costs were obscene thanks to all the fuel duty lumped on it.

I was trying to save up for a gap year abroad.  I would have been able to travel around the world five star more than once on the amount I wasted on that horrible bucket of bolts.

I did my Legal Practice Course at The Factory of Law which entailed borrowing another £12,000.  I was rather hoping that it would be a re-run of university, except this time I would do it the way that I wanted to do it.  I would have a proper work/life balance and I would score top marks throughout the year.  My fellow-students would be mature and professional and I would have much in common with them.

It didn’t work out like that.

The tutors at the Factory did not care a hoot about you.  You were there to fill a seat, pay your fees and get through the course as quickly as possible.  I dubbed it the “Factory” of Law because they sat you on a conveyor belt, opened up your cranium and poured as much legal information as humanly possibly within 9 months and moved you on.  I was appalled by the attitude of my fellow-students.  It was the first time since leaving secondary school that I had to put up with snide comments about my dulcet English tones.  There were a few good individuals there, as long as you went out of your way to find them.

During the Legal Practice Course I acquired a training contract with a firm, but it was not due to start for a year after finishing the course.  I went travelling to New Zealand and Australia.  I had some good times.  I came home with a lot of impressive photos of snow capped peaks and red oceans of scrub.  I also had to face some of the worst shit that I have ever happened to me in my life.  Was it worth the expense and the tribulation?  The jury is still out.

Now, just over two years away from thirty I have realised that you are nobody to your employers.  A number on a balance sheet.  Someone for them to exploit.  A slave to the system.  Working for your retirement (if I can even save up enough of a decent pension before I’m 70) and then I won’t have to work anymore.   That is what the education system prepares you for; not to excel, not to stand  on your own two feet.  All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.

Little people in little houses
Like maggots small blind and worthless
The massacred innocents’ blood stains us all

Who’s responsible – you fucking are
Who’s responsible – you fucking are
Who’s responsible – you fucking are
Who’s responsible – you fucking are
Who’s responsible