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Cage Against the Machine

This blog heartily approves of this initiative!!

From The Guardian

It’s a brilliant bit of wordplay, for a start. Cage Against the Machine is the campaign to put John Cage’s infamous silent piece, 4’33”, on top of the Christmas charts – and to consign whatever X-Factor effort Simon Cowell chooses to unleash on an unsuspecting public to mid-chart mediocrity. Based on last year’s successful bid to make Rage Against the Machine king of the Crimbo hit-parade, this year’s Cage campaign already has nearly 50,000 people signed up to it on Facebook, with all proceeds going to charity when the single becomes available on 13 December.

John Cage in 1970

It’s self-evidently a good thing, but there’s much more to CATM than the statistics. 4’33” has a unique capacity to offend, to shock, and to entertain, nearly six decades after its premiere at the Maverick Concert Hall at Bard College in August 1952, when pianist David Tudor sat down at the piano to play – well, not a single note. 4’33” is also one of the very few pieces in history that has crossed from the avant-garde to the mainstream. When the BBC Symphony Orchestra performed it the Barbican in London in 2004, the Sun carried the story, and just as many listeners were outraged as were thrilled by 4’33”’s three movements of silence.

Here is that very performance.

‘Everything we do is music.’ John Cage


More on the Leaks

I see that various websites including Paypal, Visa and Twitter have come under attack because of their stance in taking measures against Wikileaks.

I have to say that I’m not entirely convinced by the seemingly indiscriminate release of material but I’m glad that at least on a humble blog, these opinions can be expressed in a free and fair manner with no threat to %6&”@@$~/*+”%***

There’s a Leak! There’s a Leak!

Too much information?

It’s a saying which has worked its way into our everyday vocabulary.

Certainly its all been too much for several governments to have their secret political agendas and diplomatic correspondence displayed on the internet.

Chief amongst these of course is the USA government.

There is so darn much of the stuff and so much being written about it.

Much of the material relating to Scotland, concerns the compassionate release of ‘The Lockerbie Bomber’, Abdelbassett Al Megrahi.

You’ll remember of course that Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton et al were (in public and publicly) completely outraged by the release. The Scottish government were castigated and criticised. David Cameron, then leader of the opposition got in on the act and put the boot in. New Labour nonentities Ian Gray and Richard Baker, as well as several Libdems whose names escape me, made much political capital out of the situation. The Scottish Tories……well need I go on?

Following the leaks, there have been several takes on it.
Professor Robert Black reports:

There are no surprises in the coverage by the UK and Scottish media of the US diplomatic cables. The vast bulk of the media loathe and detest the Scottish National Party and all its works and so are keen to focus on criticism by US diplomats (and, through them, by UK diplomats and politicians) of the SNP Scottish Government.

However another prof, James Mitchel writes in today’s Herald in an article headed WikiLeaks proves Scotland was right on Megrahi release

It is clear from the documents that expectations of Megrahi’s approaching death prior to his release were shared by more than the Scottish Government. Preparations were in hand for the likely consequences of the Libyan prisoner’s death in Scottish custody involving an “immutable timeline”, as American officials wrote seven months before his release. UK officials had prepared for the prospect of Megrahi’s death in custody and were “focused on transfer under PTA [prisoner transfer agreement]”, believing time was short. The Libyan reaction to the arrest of one of Gaddafi’s son’s in Switzerland had been a sobering experience. Against this backdrop, Libya’s intention to cease “all UK commercial activity in Libya” immediately, reduce political ties and encourage demonstrations against “UK facilities”, as well as implicit threats to UK citizens in Libya, could not be taken lightly. It is impossible to know how long Megrahi would have lived had he not been released but the indications are that UK and US officials were preparing for an imminent and serious backlash.

Public US opposition to the release occurred when it suited US officials. The US Government played a two-level game: maintaining a low profile in opposing Megrahi’s release for fear of provoking a Libyan reaction while strongly condemning the release to appease understandably distraught relatives and playing to a domestic agenda.

The BBC article is here

Several questions do remain on the Scottish government’s handling of the case. One gets the impression now that these questions will quietly disappear, the questioners having a few matters to attend to themselves.

The Weekend Waits – God’s Away on Business

There’s a leak, there’s a leak in the boiler room
The poor, the lame, the blind
Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves and lawyers

God’s away, God’s away
God’s away on business, business
God’s away, God’s away on business, business