Introducing the Bar Tangled Spanners

Friday night was a bit of a mish-mash of things. The people over the way were moving out and all I could hear was lots of shouting and a general kerfuffle in the hallways as I tried to get my brain in gear to do some work.

Abandoning all my efforts I pulled on the coat and thought ‘fuck this for a game of soldiers’ and walked up to the Merton Manor where I knew Oliver Duggan and the Bar Tangled Spanners were playing that night.

To be fair, I had only seen them once before at the bandstand in Abbey Mills. They were doing a bit of an unplugged set and it was one of those pleasant Sunday afternoons with a few beers, some good people and some good music.

I had never seen them play a boozer before and plugged in and with some great low notes and a solid beat on the drums I was pleasantly surprised – after so many years of people saying come and see our band I had been a little cynical.

The band had me at ‘Highway to Hell’ followed by a version of Bryan Adams’s ‘When You’re Gone’. They switched easily from rock to pop with Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I will Survive’.

It was a tight little unit of musicians and a set list that ran the whole gamut of musical styles – of course when they did ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ I was a very happy drinker trying to sing along with them.

Of course I am biased when it comes to music but every song and style they dragged from their repertoire was performed professionally with flair and gusto. I left thinking ‘why do I not see these guys play more?’

If you ever get a chance, catch them in the act. The way they play is note-perfect and even those annoying young people were dancing in the aisles and shaking their booties. The old farts like me were standing at the back and yelling ‘more’ at the end of the evening.

Check out the Merton Manor on Fridays. It’s their local stomping ground and you can ocassionally find them there shaking the floor and bobbing a few heads in time to their infectious set list.

Thanks for a great night, guys. You made an old man happy. Next time can you play some ‘Bring Me The Horizon’, I would love to hear you play that. Or Motorhead, you have got to play some Motorhead. Or some Clash.

I’ll send you a list.


Depression isn’t funny. It’s not even sad

Everyone thinks the opposite of love is hate, but that’s wrong. The opposite of love or hate is indifference. They’re emotions, indifference is the lack of emotion.

Depression, or the version I went through, wasn’t about feeling sad. I had an absence of emotion. No happiness, no sadness just an empty vessel shambling from one doctor to the next and not really caring about anything.

How did I get into such a state? Quite simple, I was stressed at work, stressed at home and extremely stressed on the journey to and ¬†from both places. My brain was under constant attack from anxiety until it ‘popped’. The fuses just blew and left me without power.

If it wasn’t for some timely intervention from some friends I don’t know where I would be right now.

The problem was, I hadn’t really noticed my steady decline. To be fair I have always had the feeling that everyone was ‘too happy’ and I couldn’t figure out why. If someone had spotted the signs during childhood maybe I wouldn’t have blown a fuse in later life.

What ‘depression’ did for me though was give me a whole new perspective on everything. My brain would fixate on any task. Everything had to be done perfectly or it wasn’t good enough.

I watched women getting on the bus and pondered why they didn’t get their Oyster cards out before the bus arrived instead of ferreting around hopelessly in their bags when they approached the driver.

I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to rush to get a free copy of the Metro at the tube station when you could download a copy at home before you even got to the underground.

These were just the tip of the iceberg. At work I was surrounded by situations that reminded me of how amoeba reacted to situations – stimulus=response – no one seemed to be thinking ahead and I was one of the people expected to deal with the day-to-day problems.

Looking back I find it amusing. If it wasn’t for my meltdown I would probably be blowing my top at all the little stupid things that people do and getting myself into a tizzy every time they happen.

Now I sit back and say nothing. It really shouldn’t be my problem. Then America goes and elects Trump and I find myself gnashing my teeth again. Time to buy more fuses.


The most murderous hoax in history

The hoax was created by General Pyotr Rachkovsky – head of the foreign branch of Russia’s Secret Police from 1884-1902.

Trying to win European support for Russia he decided they needed a common enemy and decided to make Jews the scapegoats.

A state-supported campaign against the Jews began – The Pogroms. The policy was that all Jews were to be either killed, converted or driven out of Russia.

Rachkovsky sent fake letters to the French press explaining that French terrorists were Jews, and began spreading the story that a secret Jewish cabal was planning to take over the world.

He also stated that he had found a¬†written copy of the Jews’ master plan; the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The truth was that he copied the text from a 19th century work of fiction and an anti-semitic novel by Herman Goedsche.

Many people believed the lie and the Protocols were published in newspapers in 1903 and in 1905 in Sergei Nilus’s new book.

Tsar Nicholas II, although anti-semitic, banned it and explained that the protocols were a fraud but when the Royal family were murdered in 1917, Tsarists found a copy of Nilus’s book.

Many believed the book was authentic and continued the Pogroms killing over 100,000 Jews.

After their defeat in 1921, white Russians spread the protocols outside Russia blaming their loss on Jews.

The book was translated with the British edition entitled ‘The Jewish Peril, an American version followed a few months later.

The Times of London exposed the fraud but in America car-maker Henry Ford extended the range of the hoax with his newspaper the Dearborn Independent with articles called ‘The International Jew’.

This coverage continued for years and helped the Independent become one of America’s largest newspapers.

In 1927, a lawsuit finally forced Ford to recognise that the Protocols were a sham, but the damage had been done. By then his articles had been reprinted in book form and translated into several languages.

After their defeat in World War I the Germans were quick to point the finger of blame at the Jewish community. German Foreign Minister was assassinated by right-wingers who believed he was one of the Elders of Zion,

Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf is thought to be influenced by Henry Ford’s ‘International Jew’ articles. Hitler studied the protocols avidly and publicly blamed Jews for the collapse of the German economy.

Hitler even hung a picture of Ford in his office and on Ford’s 75th birthday awarded him the Grand Cross of the German Eagle – the highest honour given to foreigners.

In the next eight years Hitler’s Nazis killed six million Jews. By the time of World War II the Protocols had become one of the most widely circulated written works in the world.

The succession of translations hid the hoax’s origins making the book seem more legitimate.

Despite the many times the hoax has been exposed the Protocols were later promoted by Libyan dictator Muammar El-Qaddafi and Uganda’s former leader Idi Amin.

It is thought that as long as people need a scapegoat, the Protocols will continue to resurface.

I’ve never been one to advocate book burning but this one deserves to deleted and destroyed by any means possible. Because someone somewhere will continue to believe the hoax.



Mark Davies is the author of ‘Nothing Important Happened Today’ and the upcoming novel ‘England’s Mean And Unpleasant Land’.




The pollution is the problem

Name the biggest killers in the Western world and somewhere on the list you’ll probably put heart disease.

Doctors have been blaming cholesterol and too much fat in our diets as the cause.

Funnily enough, those people have been getting it wrong for years – are doctors ever right?

New research has shown that the main cause of heart disease is pollution. Small particles are taken into the bloodstream via the lungs and cause all manner of chaos.

The particles lodge in veins and arteries and the heart and cause irritations that can manifest as atherosclerosis or heart disease.

It’s been determined that over the past 40 years incidences of heart disease have fallen in the UK at the same rate levels of pollution have decreased.

While in China, as levels rise with industrialisation, the cases of heart disease have skyrocketed. Coincidence?

Pollution is also the cause of another killer. The number of deaths from respiratory problems is starting to drop with our cleaner air. People who smoke are still fucked but that’s an entirely different story.

The next thing I’m waiting for is for people to start legal proceedings against companies and corporations who haven’t implemented safety precautions on their chimneys and work environments.

And quite right too. Safety costs. Nibbles away at profit margins and we can’t have that can we?

Better that your workforce dies slowly and painfully than the director and the company’s shareholders have to sacrifice one penny of their dividends.



Fuck! I haven’t been hacked

In the news they’re saying that tens of thousands of WordPress accounts have been hacked and ‘defaced’. For a few minutes I was intrigued.

What could they have done to my page? Written ‘fuck’ or ‘cunt’ all over the place? Drawn a cock and balls in the corner and written ‘Mark is gay’ on my exercise book?

Oh dear, how dreadful! However will I live it down?

If the hackers had taken my financial details I might be pissed off for a few minutes while I phoned my bank and checked for any erroneous expenditure, but that’s it.

Like graffiti, hacking is another form of rebellion. And to be honest, I like rebellion. Anyone who stands up and says ‘fuck you’ is fine by me.

These days we’re told to toe-the-line, fit in and do what the establishment tells us – be good citizens and watch television.

Where would we be without someone standing up at some point in history and saying ‘no, I won’t’? Without a little revolution there is no evolution. (At the moment we are devolving – the group ‘Devo’ will be smiling)

I love the fact that women across the world are protesting the election of Donald Trump. I love that people will continue to question Brexit.

I love it when tube and train drivers go on strike for better working conditions. If people don’t fight, they will just be ridden roughshod over by the government.

The government will call all this behaviour ‘terrorism’. Just because it goes against their agenda.

When it works for their interests, it’s fighting for freedom.

*Gets down off soapbox*



I’m now being spammed from all around the world

I must be doing something right. Or wrong. I don’t know which. Today I opened the admin side of this site and peered in with trepidation.

Everything looked okay at first glance; I’ve been busy setting up other stuff, getting angry with my father, talking to my brother and poking my nose where it didn’t belong.

(There was an instance where I had to sit in an ambulance and then later be driven home by a very kind policeman who informed me I should ignore disagreements – I nearly said ‘that’s your job’ but thought better of it.)

Anywhooo. When I came back to this blog I was astounded to see more spam than Fray Bentos could supply to the whole of the north of England in 1966.

I had been away for a couple of days and like going on holiday when you get back and open the door its all there for you to deal with.

What surprised me was that the spam is now multi-lingual. It used to be just English, Wanker and Areshole. Now there’s Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and what looks like Arabic – or the language of tadpoles.

The only spam I haven’t received is the one in the ‘language of dance’ and I’m sure at some stage someone’s going to think of that.

(I did receive one from a mime once, he didn’t have much to say.)

The only reason I’m back here is because Trent Payne told me to carry on. Fine. I shall sweep away the old mail, dust off the cobwebs, rev up my anger and let my ire flow forth.

So for now, let me say, adios, aloha, arrivederci, ciao, auf Weidersehen, au revoir, bon voyage, sayonara, shalom, totsiens, vale and zaijian, to all the tossers who keep sending me crap.