Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem

The British legendary street artist Banksy just finished his new project. This time it is a nine room hotel called “The Walled Off Hotel” in Bethlehem, Palestine – very close from a stretch of the controversial West Bank barrier which has been heavily decorated by artists. “The Walled Off Hotel” includes several murals and installation by Banksy […]

via Banksy Opened His Own Hotel — STREET ART RAT

Fake News: Row over Santa Lies on Mumsnet

"Is this the real Father Christmas?"
“Is this the real Father Christmas?”

It seems that we all grow up with Fake News.  What seems to be important when we find out our parents have lied is:

“Am I still loved? – Has the world Changed? – Will I still get gifts?”

A row over lies to children has erupted this week on Mumsnet

Mumsnet lies about Santa
Mumsnet lies about Santa



One Day I’ll Fly Away & John Lewis spoofs

John Lewis ad 2016
John Lewis ad 2016

This year’s John Lewis ad Buster The Boxer features Randy Crawford’s  One Day I’ll Fly Away, which has been given an electronica twist by Vaults. You can view this HERE

Parady by featuring the US Presidential election 2016
Parody by featuring the US Presidential election 2016

In Britain everyone looks forward to the best television Christmas commercial. They are usually big-budget, clever, funny and sad, appealing to the whole family, and quite a topic of conversation. In the last 5 years the most popular title has gone to John Lewis department store, with the exception of Sainsbury’s supermarket’s moving WW2 themed ad in 2014.  As well as being stunningly visual, they often feature remixes of popular tunes that can get to the top of the charts.

Many have ‘sent-up’ this year’s commercial already with spoof remakes – one features House of Pain‘s Jump Up, Jump Up, Jump Around in the second half of the Dirty Fox Parody

But as the commercial came out the day after the USA Presidential election, the best spoof of the John Lewis 2016 Christmas ad has got to be this one by, featuring, Trump, Clinton and The Obamas! – Click HERE

Those Were The Days-

Now a Nightclub called Lennon’s, this place in Onslow Road Southampton used to be The Onslow Pub. As a child I played with Susan the daughter of the landlord in the flat above. Then when I went to Art College I used to go along with friends to listen to the Bob Pearce Blues Band – Bob used to do his duckwalk along the bar and knock people’s drinks over. It was popular with students and throughout the punk era we used to discuss politics and think we were sorting out the world. Those were the days!


Whenever I pass by Lennon’s Bar in Onslow Road in Southampton, I think of the song “Those Were the Days”.  So for my Music Monday today, I present 5 different versions, so click on any of the underlined blue names to hear a YouTube track with video:

I first heard the song sung by Mary Hopkin when it went to No1 in the UK Charts in 1968. The Welsh folk-singer was one of the first to record on The BeatlesApple label and it was produced by Paul McCartney. The words on this version are credited to Gene Raskin.

However the tune was originally from an old Russian folk song called “By the Long Road” (Dorogoi Dlinnoyu). Composed by Boris Fomin with words by the poet Konstantin Podrevsky. It deals with reminiscence upon youth and romantic idealism. So more-or less about the same thing and why it haunts me. The most popular version sung in Russian, is by Sergey Lazarev.  The first recording of the song was made by Alexander Vertinsky in 1926.

After the Berlin wall came down in November 1989, I went to visit some British and American friends of mine working in Berlin. We went to a nightclub in East Berlin and Those were the Days by Mary Hopkin was played repeatedly after every few records.

Later in 1992, while I was working on the Algarve in Portugal, I went to a festival in Portimão and saw The Leningrad Cowboys, a Finnish rock band, perform their version in English. If you click on their name the short video that accompanies it is a real treat.

I think my favourite version has to be by The Paganini Duo, a gypsy band in Australia who play the traditional folk version with a violin.

A more recent cover, is sung movingly by  Cynthia Lennon  with a backdrop of Beatles photos. So, we have come full circle now to Lennon‘s – I doubt if you will find me in the club now, but “those were the days”.


Police and Thieves – Junior Murvin

notting hill carnival
Carnival crowd make room for two police women as they dance

My Music Monday choice this week is: Police and Thieves , which is my favourite reggae song of all time. First recorded on Island Records by Jamaican falsetto singer Junior Murvin in 1976. Every rebel must have bought the single and Murvin did many re-releases and there have been many cover versions in Jamaica, USA and Britain.

1976 saw one of the hottest recorded temperatures in the UK and that same year this song became an anthem in the UK after London’s Notting Hill Carnival erupted into a riot between blacks and police.

This led to an independent enquiry lasting many years that eventually meant a recruiting drive for more blacks and other ethnic minorities as well as gays and lesbians joining the Metropolitan Police Force, especially in roles where decisions were made.

A big effort was made to keep the carnival peaceful in the years to follow and nearly every press photo showed white police and scantily-clad black women dancing together in bump and grinds. Notting Hill quickly became a trendy place to live and as white upper-middle classes moved in. House prices escalated, forcing many black families who had lived in the area since the 50s out.

In 2015 with police on high alert for terrorists, the Carnival saw around 100 arrests, mainly for agitators and people with drugs or weapons.

No-one knows what the atmosphere will be like this year. Brexit has brought about a number of racist groups in clashes with anti-fascist ones and people are worried about terrorists and that the happy days collaboration between police and crowds is long over. It is still a big pull for tourists to Britain, but like most things here – so much may depend on the weather.

Time Out Guide to Notting Hill Carnival August 2016

Pulp – Common People

common people

For my Music Monday I am posting a video-track of Common People by Pulp.

Lead singer Jarvis Cocker based this song on actual words spoken to him from a fellow art student.

For me this summed up the Brit Pack art and music culture of the 90s

Nowadays the British working class doesn’t seem to have any representatives – it certainly isn’t the Labour Party any more.

Power Games Mash-up

Tony Blair

House of Cards

In the House of Cards

The road to power is paved with hypocracy and casualties

God deals us different hands

But power without compassion

is the worst kind of evil there is

You may think that…

But I couldn’t possibly comment


Michael gove


All Hail! Thane of Cawdor

Fair is foul and foul is fair

Look like the innocent flower,

But be the serpent under it.

Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane

Confusion now has made his masterpiece

Is this a dagger which I see before me?



Game of Thrones

Nothing burns like the cold

When you play the game of thrones

you win or lose

There is no middle ground

The greatest fools are ofttimes more clever

than the men who laugh at them

Winter is coming

You Know Nothin' Jon Snow

You know nothing Jon Snow

July 5th 2016 – Southampton Old Lady



Brexit – Price Tag

Jessie Jay

For my Music Monday post today I am giving a nudge to Brexit and Anti-Globalisation and posting a YouTube video of Jessie J at The Isle of Wight Festival 2012 performing Price Tag.

It’s not about the kerching-ching-ching-ching