With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

The Who – First Direct Arena Leeds – Tuesday 2nd December 2014 December 4, 2014


Fifty-years-of-The-Who

I finally got to see the Who play live on Tuesday 2nd December 2014 at the First Direct Arena in Leeds. I have always been a little reluctant to see them given that two key members; John Entwistle and Keith Moon are no longer with us. But my good friend John Williams convinced me to go by describing the band as one of the greatest bands to see before they die! The Standard Lamps filled the support slot very well. Clearly an accomplished band that sound retro with touches of perhaps the Jam and Ocean Colour Scene.

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The Who started as they clearly meant to go on with “I Can’t Explain” followed by “Substitute”. This was a set list overloaded with Who classics including many of my favourites; “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, “Behind Blue Eyes”, “Pinball Wizard”, “Magic Bus”, “Who Are You” and “Baba O’Riley”. For me the peak was “5:15″ which is my favourite ever Who song from 1973’s classic album ‘Quadrophenia’. There were even outings for the somewhat underplayed “Join Together” and “Squeeze Box” among many, many more.

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There was an amazing film clip of John Entwistle’s magnificent bass playing and film and vocals of Keith Moon’s “Bell Boy” again from ‘Quadrophenia’. There was even time for a live rendition of the mini rock opera “A Quick One While He’s Away“. The band was on stage for well over two hours and the band very ably supported Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend. For me the stand out players were Pino Palladino on bass and Zak Starkey who was truly magnificent on drums.

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Daltrey was having a few problems with his ear monitors. I don’t know if that resulted in the lack of an encore or whether one wasn’t planned. So we had no “My Generation”. But that really made no difference to what was an amazing show. I am certainly glad that I went.

Please note that none of the pictures or video used in this blog was taken by me.

 

Apollo Festival 2014 – York – Saturday 21st June June 30, 2014


 

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Unfortunately I was unable to attend last years Apollo Festival so I was quite excited about this one. On another unfortunate note for various reasons I ended up having to miss the set from Reverend and the Makers who headlined the day. But I did get to see absolutely loads of great music and I do hope to be back next year. This time for the full day!

I spent the day with my wonderful wife Catherine (regular readers will know her as Catwoman and our good friends Caron and John and their beautiful daughter Amelia. Catwoman and me are Odd parents to Amelia. the first stage we visited was the Access To Music Stage. Ruby was playing when we arrived, she looked very young, but she was also very, very good. Her own material had some very mature lyrics for someone so young and she even made an Olly Murs song sound good when she covered “Troublemaker”. We stayed in place to see the next act; Laura. Does nobody bother with surnames any more? Laura has an excellent voice and some great songs of her own. She also played two well-chosen and extremely well done covers. The first was the Beatles “Blackbird” and she finished her set with a storming acoustic cover of the Gnarls Barkley modern classic “Crazy”.

 

We wandered over to the Main Stage next where we saw We Could Be Astronauts last song. It was a pity that we weren’t able to see more because these guys sound bloody good! Redstar from Huddersfield were next and it would be difficult to find any fault with this superb band. Their playing is on the button and really tight. The vocalist has all the traits of a great front man and he backs that up with a great rock voice. Their songs are pretty damned good too. I reckon there may be some Kasabianesque influences in there and they made me think of what Beady Eye could have been had Liam retained any talent. But that is small stuff, they are very much their own band. The free CD album they handed out to us punters is brilliant and has been on heavy rotation in my car since the show. Chris Helme former singer of John Squire‘s first post Stone Roses project the Seahorses was next. he is clearly a talented bloke with a good voice but I found him a little dull.

It was back to the Access To Music Stage next where we saw the fabulous Barcode Zebra. probably the funkiest band of the day. A truly stupendous rhythm section and a vocalist for whom a description of awesome might not be quite enough. They are playing in York at a launch of their new EP in July and sadly I will be away that weekend. I would definitely pay to see this band again. also if you’re reading this good people of Barcode Zebra I would love to do an interview with you for this blog!

The Entertainment Co Stage was our next port of call where we found it impossible not to dance and sing along to the curators of that stage; The Entertainment Company! They don’t just play cover versions they own them! Are they the best party band ever?  Very probably! shall we book them for Catwoman’s 50th birthday party (yes she doesn’t look even close to 50 does she)? I hope they do private party bookings because I’d love them to play for us in September 2016!

After that it was a return to the Main Stage where we saw the Black Delta Movement. We didn’t catch their whole set but they come across as very accomplished rockers with a swampy blues rock feel. Not bad at all. Former Bluetones frontman the ‘Legendary’ Mark Morriss was on next with a rather brilliant acoustic set. He is wonderfully self-deprecating and even his new songs have an air of classics about them.

Next it was a quick jog back to the Entertainment Co Stage where we were hoping to see the highly recommended And The Hangnails (thank you Mr Pattinson). before they took to the stage those wonderful people from the Entertainment Company had allowed a young singer from LA to play a few songs. His name is Ben Caron and he is soulful and funky. A bit like Bruno Mars but with more of an R & B edge. He has a truly great voice with which he wowed the all too small crowd. I bought his album, a steal at £7 and he struck me as a really good bloke too. You really should check him out. And The Hangails came on the stage and it is fair to say that for just two people they make a massive noise. I don’t mean that in a negative way either, this pair know how to rock. I sensed some influence from the likes of the White Stripes, the Black Keys and the Strokes. Would I pay to see this mighty duo again? Hell yeah!

Target By Numbers were next on the Access To Music Stage. Good musicians and some ok songs, but they really didn’t do it for me. The last band we saw on the day was the Supermodels on the Main Stage. They are a covers band, but to simply say that really doesn’t do them justice. They cover some classic rock songs with such verve and talent that you could almost imagine you were listening to the real thing if your eyes were shut. Their cover of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” would give Daltrey and Townshend a run for their money. I really want to see them play again. Sadly we had to leave just before the Supermodels left the stage. But although we missed the headliners we had a fantastic day! well done to the organisers and for all the money raised for an excellent cause; the Smiley Riley Fund!

 

 

“People try to put us d-down” March 2, 2014

Filed under: Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 8:18 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Who My GenerationD-d-d-d-id you know that when the Who’sMy Generation” single was first released that the BBC refused to play it? Well it’s true, but why would they do such a thing I hear you ask? was it because the powers that be thought that Roger Daltrey was really on the verge of singing ‘f-f-f-fuck’ as opposed to ‘f-f-f-fade’ in the lyrics? No; apparently it was because that famous stutter adopted by Mr Daltrey on the song might actually offend stutterers everywhere! What do you think of that?

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London 2012 – The Olympics Closing Ceremony August 13, 2012


So the London 2012 Olympics is over, at least until the Paralympics anyway. I truly believe that this has been an amazing Olympics and for me usurps England winning the 1966 football world cup as our greatest sporting achievement. What do you think? OK I know the Scots won’t agree with that in the first place, but I would still like to hear your thoughts.

I realise that this post comes some 24 hours after the closing ceremony, but given the musical nature of that ceremony I felt I had to post something. The Olympic stadium was once again amazing; decked out to show a London skyline that included the London Eye, Big Ben and the Gherkin to name but a few. It all kicked off with the delicious voice of Emilie Sande accompanied only by a pianist, who was playing a piano covered in newspaper. After that the tempo really took off with forty members of the cast of Stomp dancing, drumming and percussing (is that a word?) on the recreated mini London Eye in the stadium. On top of all this there was a choir singing Beatles songs.

Next up was cellist and Churchill appearing out of the top of Big Ben and reciting words from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ which was a great link back to the superb Opening ceremony. Obviously it wasn’t really Churchill, it was Timothy Spall. This was followed by newspaper clad crowds depicting the hubbub of London. The whole thing then slowed a little for the arrival of the VIPs; Jacques Rogge (President of the IOC) who seems to make even the dullest accountant I have ever met seem exciting and prince Harry representing the Royal family. Clearly he was never going to match his grandmother’s arrival at the opening ceremony! Obviously this was followed by our rather uninspiring, in my opinion, national anthem.

The whole show was a celebration of Britain and the next vignette was real class. It was the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 countdown by Michael Caine from the ‘Italian Job’ and then the iconic three-wheeled van of Trotter’s Independent Trading blew apart and out jumped, yes you guessed it, Del Boy and Rodney in their Batman and Robin costumes. A sublime moment and a nod to one of Britain’s greatest ever comedy shows; Only Fools And Horses.

The mood then turned very much to party as madness were driven around the arena playing “Our House” from the back of a truck. This tempo was kept up by the Massed Guards Bands with a wonderful rendition of Blur’s “Parklife”. Just when you thought it couldn’t get better the stadium was filled with cyclists wearing the most amazing geometric and fluorescent hats. Two of them on tricycles which had Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe as passengers. So we were treated to a fabulous version of “West Ends Girls” on bicycles and tricycles. Could this happen anywhere but the UK? I doubt it!

One Direction were next, like Madness they were on the back of a truck, which sadly wasn’t headed to the tip. OK I have to begrudgingly admit they were at least in tune, but I still don’t like them. Interestingly they were one of just a few acts whose name was flashed onto the screen when they appeared. After that it was back to another great number from the cast of Stomp. That percussion sounded like “Spice Up Your Life” to me. was that deliberate? Who knows? An incredibly talented dance troupe who I think were called Spelbound were next to take the stage. They performed a great routine to the Beatles Sergeant Pepper classic “A Day In The Life”

To keep up the 60s vibe Kinksmeister Ray Davies came on to sing his timeless and classic love song to London; “Waterloo Sunset”. eliciting some great ‘sha la la-ing’ from the audience in the process. Emilie Sande made a return next, minus the newspaper piano and sang over a film montage of some of London 2012’s most tearful moments. The three hundred or so flag bearers entered the arena after that, including super sailor Ben Ainslie fo Britain. Elbow soundtracked this whole piece with a great little set that included the beautiful “Open Arms”.  The athletes followed the arrival of the flag bearers and they were corralled into the sections of the union jack which formed the floor of the stadium. Apparently this version of the flag was designed by Damien Hirst. Indian drummers then accompanied the construction of a large structure made up of more than three hundred white boxes. One to represent each Olympic event. The backing track to this was Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”. I had momentary butterflies while wishing and hoping that Kate might actually appear herself. But alas she didn’t.

Apparently one of the traditions of the closing ceremony is that it contains the last medal presentation. It is for the Mens Marathon which took place earlier in the day and was won by Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda.  This was followed by a thank you and recognition for all the volunteers, or Games makers as they were known from all the athletes. This was followed by a spectacular light show to the unmistakable sound of Queen’s mighty “Bohemian Rhapsody” followed by a children’s signing choir singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”. This segued into a film clip of Lennon singing the song himself. Apparently Yoko Ono commissioned a special remaster of the song for the ceremony. At the same time a 3D image of John Lennon’s face was built on stage. This was a prelude to the main musical events.

George Michael took to the stage for his first live performance since his life threatening illness he sang “Freedom 90″  his new single “White Light” which is in fact all about his brush with death. He seemed fit and well and on really good form. I’m not sure I like the new facial hair style though, perhaps it will grow on me! Ricky off of the Kaiser Chiefs was driven to the stage as a scooter pillion passenger singing “Pinball Wizard”. I have gone off the Kaisers of late, by I must admit they did a storming version of the Who’s classic. The next part had me positively tingling with anticipation; A series of short film and audio clips of David Bowie. Would he actually appear? Surely not? And surely he didn’t. But his 1980 hit “Fashion” was used as a backdrop to a showcase of British fashion which included a weird march around the stadium from a series of models including Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.

George couldn’t master Mo Farah’s Mobot so he invented the Georgebot

A huge skeleton of what might have been a viking boat was pulled on stage and the hidden figurehead was none other than Annie Lennox. She performed “Little Bird” which was used on the soundtrack of Coppola’s film version of Bram Stoker’s classic story Dracula. The much rumoured Pink Floyd appearance turned out to be nothing more than Ed Sheerhan, Nick Mason and Mike Rutherford doing the Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” accompanied by a tightrope walker who recreated the Floyd album cover with the flaming man.

Russell Brand arrived on stage in what looked like the Scooby Doo van and he was singing, he’s not a bad singer either. He got out of the van to perform the Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus”. The van begat a giant inflatable octopus from which Fatboy Slim did a brief DJ set featuring his own hits “Right Here Right Now” and “Rockerfeller Skank”. Jessie J then sang “Price Tag” in an open top car she was joined by Tinie Tempah then Taio Cruz with “Dynamite”. All in open top cars. Then all three of them took the stage for a creditable performance of the Bee Gees disco classic “You Should Be Dancing”. As they were performing in front of a drum kit marked up with the name of Beady Eye it was obvious who was going to be on later!

A group of London Black cabs entered stadium and performed a kind of synchronised dance. Then five of them moved to the centre of the arena and were lit up with some spectacular lighting arrays. This wasn’t the best kept secret of the show, but guess who the passengers in these five cabs were? Yes it was Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger and Pouty…. oops sorry I mean Posh. It was the return of the Spice Girl. They kicked off with possibly one of the greatest pop singles of the 90s (OK that doesn’t mean you have to like it); “Wannabe”. They followed this with the samba rhythmed “Spice Up Your Life” which they performed while being driven around the stadium atop the cabs that brought them in. As expected after seeing their drum kit earlier Beady Eye were next. Thankfully they didn’t play any of their own stuff, just a cover of “Wonderwall” which seemed to go down really well as a sing along with the crowd. Liam seemed quite nervous to me and is his voice a little rough these days?

ELO’s “Mr Blue Sky” was played as a backdrop for a section pioneering flight. This included flying bikes and a failed human cannonball who just happened to be Monty Python star Eric Idle who led the audience in a marvellous sing-alonga-python version of “Always look On The Bright Side Of Life”. he even made a great comedic attempt to join in with some Bollywood style dancing. This whole piece was perhaps the equivalent of the Mr Bean set in the opening ceremony. It ended with the real and successful firing of a human cannonball.

Matt Bellamy and the boys from Muse were the next to appear and they performed their song “Survival” which was commissioned for the Olympics. It’s good and their performance was excellent as usual but this is a long way from being my favourite Muse song. Interestingly, as some have likened Muse to Queen they were followed by a film clip of Freddie Mercury performing some improv jazz scat and despite being dead for more than twenty years the audience were enraptured and joined in the whole Freddie call and response thing. This proved to be the overture to Brian May’s appearance and it’s fair to say that he’s quite a good guitarist isn’t he? ;-) As the unmistakable riff to “We Will Rock You” began and Brian was joined by Roger Taylor I was briefly worried that Adam Lambert or someone similar might step onto the stage. Thankfully it was Jessie J, and inspired choice in my opinion. She did a great vocal on the song which never tried to emulate the late, great Mr Mercury.

It was then time to return to the formal activities which meant the Greek national anthem followed by a Welsh Male Choir version of the Olympic Anthem. This was sealed with the Brazilian national anthem and a formal handing over of the Olympic flag from London’s Mayor Boris Johnson to the Mayor of Rio De Janeiro via Jacques Rogge. The Brazilians then put on a samba fuelled show to let the world know what to expect in 2016. This culminated in an appearance by one of their greatest sports ambassadors; Pele. Then we had more formal stuff with speeches from Seb Coe and Jacques Rogge. Seb was quite inspiring Jacque was once again the definition of dull in my opinion. The remaining action was the extinguishing of the flame. This began with Take That (thankfully without Robbie) performing the appropriate “Rule The World”. It continued with Darcy Bussell flying in as a Phoenix to join two hundred other ballet dances for an exciting modern ballet.

The petals of the cauldron where the Olympic flame burned were then lowered and were slowly extinguished and at this point I thought that was the end. However there was more to come in the shape of the Who. They were on top form and for a pensioner Roger Daltrey’s vocal power is still damned good. They closed with a rousing version of “My Generation” accompanied by yet another magnificent firework display.

I fell a little deflated after such a brilliant two weeks but so very proud to be British. I truly believe that we really showed the world what we are capable of as a country. Not just in the Olympic events but by how we put on such a brilliant event in itself. In spite of the little hiccups before the start (G4S etc) we really delivered this in style and won a whole treasure box of medals too. So let me take this opportunity to congratulate and thank everyone in Team GB, the organisers, all the other competitors, the BBC, the volunteers/  Games Makers and anyone else who was involved in this remarkable event.

Was this the best Olympics ever? I believe it as. Rio follow that!

Most of the film clips from the ceremony are IOC copyright and therefore difficult to show. So here are two songs that sum things up in a simple way.

 

“dis regime is racist we know dis regime is bent” January 26, 2012


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this man is a Knight of the Realm................ no seriously, he is!

I think it would be fair to say that there is one area of my life that my Mother may be disappointed in me. That is my dislike of the institution of the British Royal family and all condescending pomposity it has. Yes in case you hadn’t noticed I am very much a Republican (not in the US political sense obviously) and most definitely not a Royalist. Having posted recently about Mick Jagger (aka Sir Michael Philip Jagger) turning down afternoon tea with ‘Call Me Dave’ Cameron and Boris Johnson it’s strangely appropriate that a story about those who turned down Royal Honours appeared in the news today. Following a freedom of information request by the BBC a list of those now deceased who have turned down various Royal Honours form 1951 and 1999 has been published. There are 277 people on the list including artists Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and LS Lowry and authors Roald Dahl and Aldous Huxley. There are no rock or pop stars on the list. Read the full story on the BBC site by clicking here.

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Sir Tom shows off his first house

However it got me thinking about those rock and pop stars who have accepted honours and those that haven’t. The obvious list of those who have are the rock and pop ‘Sirs’ Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Tom Jones and Bono and Bob Geldof who as Irish citizens are Honorary Knights of the British Empire (KBE). Add to that list Dame Shirley Bassey. A large number of British musicians have received the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), which is the highest honour a British subject can receive below a knighthood or damehood. Those include: Annie Lennox, Roger Daltrey, Eric Clapton, Sting, Robert Plant the Bee Gees and Rod Stewart. It was alleged that at the time of Elton receiving his knighthood Rod was just a little jealous.

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Macca ponders his failure to win top score in Rate My Mullet

What really interests me though are those rock and pop stars who turned down Royal honours. David Bowie turned down a CBE in 2000 and a knighthood in 2003 and was quoted as saying that “was not what he spent his life working for”.  George Melly and Paul Weller also turned down the offer of a CBE in 2001 and 2007 respectively. Thankfully Keith Richards also turned down a CBE; I’d have been gutted if he had accepted! His comment on Jagger’s knighthood was that he felt it was ludicrous. Influential guitarist and stalwart of the Shadows Hank Marvin turned down an OBE as did Dub Poet Benjamin Zephaniah. At the time Zephaniah publicly stated ‘I get angry when I hear the word ‘empire'; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds me of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised’ An MBE was offered to John Lydon who turned it down. I’m pretty amazed that they offered him one really.

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Never a Knight of the realm but the only one who came close to looking the part as opposed to looking like an anagram of part

The four Beatles all received the MBE in 1965. John Lennon later returned his to the Queen in 1969 accompanied by a note which read ‘I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts’. It has been alleged that his Aunt Mimi who brought him up and upon whose mantelpiece the award lived was not amused!

 

“How do you like it, how do you like it” November 29, 2011


Are music related deaths like buses? There isn’t one for ages and then loads arrive at once? That’s what the last few days seem like anyway; The first one I heard about was the sad death of Andrea True who had a massive 70s disco hit in the 70s with “More More More” under the not so imaginative name Andrea True Connection. Her real name was Andrea Truden and she changed it to True when she began to appear in porn films before her singing career, including ‘Deep Throat 2’. This was apparently so that her parents wouldn’t find out that she was in the porn industry. Sadly her singing career was not a long one, however she did spend time working in a number of jobs after throat surgery cut short club singing. These jobs included being a drug and alcohol counsellor. “More More More” was prominently sampled by Len on their 1999 hit “Steal My Sunshine” and was later covered by former S Clubber Rachel Stevens in 2004.

Barry Llewellyn off of the iconic and influential reggae band the Heptones has died in Jamaica aged 64. The band recorded a number of songs with the infamous Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. They are probably best known for their song in praise of the larger woman; “Fattie Fattie” This is also one of my favourite reggae songs and I used to own the 7 inch vinyl version of the song many years ago.

Perhaps he wasn’t a musician or singer but I couldn’t let the great film producer Ken Russell’s passing go without a mention here. He was responsible for what in my opinion is one of the best rock related movies ever made. He created a magnificent and somewhat weird adaptation of the Who’s ‘Tommy’ for the silver screen in 1975. He also made a movie of the life of Liszt starring Roger Daltrey as Franz Liszt and titled ‘Lisztomania’ which was also released in 1975. The soundtrack was provided by Rick Wakeman. In my view these two movies were the pinnacle of Daltrey’s acting career. Russell even tried his hand at the music video format when he directed the video to Elton John’s 1985 hit “Nikita”.

Don DeVito the producer of two of my favourite Bob Dylan albums, ‘Desire’ and ‘Blood On The Tracks’ has also passed away aged 72. He finally lost a 16 year-long battle with prostate cancer. He remained at Columbia records throughout his career where he worked with such luminaries as Aerosmith, Billy Joel and the Boss himself; Mr Springsteen.

Former singer with bands such as the Joe Loss Orchestra Ross McManus has also sadly left us. He was a very good singer in his own right but many people of my generation probably know him better as the father of the former Declan McManus; Elvis Costello. He died on 24th November aged 84 less than two weeks after the death of his second wife Sara. He played trumpet on a few of his son’s recordings. He once recorded a cover of the Beatles “Long And Winding Road” in 1970 under the name Day Costello, which is where young Declan chose his new surname from. He also wrote and recorded the song that accompanied the R White’s Lemonade advertising campaign in the 70s entitled “I’m A Secret Lemonade Drinker” on which backing vocals were provided by the then teenaged Declan.

My thoughts go to the family, friends and fans of Andrea, Barry, Ken, Don and Ross. RIP all of you.

Coincidentally today also marks the 10th anniversary of the death of George Harrison aged just 58. I find it hard to believe that it was so long ago, but it was just a couple of months after my Dad in September 2001. There are a number of events in Liverpool to commemorate the anniversary. In 9 days on December 8th it will also be the 31st anniversary of the murder of John Lennon. Clearly this period of the year hasn’t been great for other rock deaths either; 24th November was the 20th anniversary of the passing of Freddie Mercury and 22nd November saw 14 years since the death of Michael Hutchence off of INXS.

 

“Fist in the air in the land of hypocrisy” November 2, 2011


One of the subscribers to the blog has reminded me of the plight of  Babar Ahmad, currently in prison for 7 years without charge or evidence. He needed 100,000 signatures on this petition site to trigger a debate in the Commons, and that might free him, or at last restart the justice system for him. I am pleased to say that I just signed and the total now stands at 100,106 (in the time it has taken me to compose this post it has risen to 101,126. But let’s try and push the total even further. The following text is lifted direct from Ben’s e mail. Please read it and more importantly please sign the petition. However you arrived at this site, if you’re a UK citizen please take the time to sign the petition.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/885

Babar Ahmad’s story, widely covered in the Guardian and elsewhere, is a horrifying account of what the ‘war on terror’ has meant in particular for British Muslims.

Baba Ahmad has been in prison for seven years, pending extradition to the US on charges of terrorism for which no evidence has been given. If this petition gains enough signatures there will be a debate on his case in the House of Commons, which could increase his chances of going on trial prior to extradition. A trial would compel the evidence against him — if there is any — to be produced. Whether convicted or cleared, he would at least have had justice.

Babar Ahmad was originally arrested in 2003, assaulted at midnight in his home by several officers from the ‘territorial support group’ (the riot police), and then immediately released. A year later — 5 August 2004 — he was rearrested on an extradition warrant from the US and has been in prison since.

In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights suspended his extradition pending presentation of evidence. Under the Extradition Act 2003, the US does not have to provide evidence when seeking extradition from the UK, including for British citizens (which Ahmad is); there are stirrings of dissatisfaction about this within the current parliament.

In 2009 the Metropolitan Police admitted liability for assault during Ahmad’s first arrest and paid him £60,000 damages. This year, in a separate trial, the officers were found not guilty of assault. Evidence of the officers’ histories of racist assaults was not shared with the jury (see BBC story here, including CCTV footage of Ahmad being brought, injured, into police custody; see also this Guardian account, and this Guardian story; be warned that the accounts of the behaviour of police officers Roderick James-Bowen, Mark Jones, Nigel Cowley, and John Donohue are unpleasant).

Maybe you won’t will take much persuading about this, but anyway I urge you to sign the petition, and to circulate it to anyone who might also support it. The deal with the Number 10 ‘e-petitions’ site is that any petition that gets over 100,000 signatures must be debated in the Commons. The petition currently has 50,000 signatures, and the deadline is 10th November.

If extradited to the US, Baba Ahmad faces life in solitary confinement. He is not the only UK citizen still held in the UK without trial or evidence; he is just the longest-serving.

This is not just about justice for Baba Ahmad; it concerns the moral character of the entire UK legal and political system, and so concerns each of us personally: if it can happen to him, it can happen to me and you.

As I have said many times before, this is a music blog, so here are some appropriate(ish) songs;

 

 
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