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.
Street art causes a reaction. It is effective. I have been appalled and moved to tears by various street artists. So this is an important category for this blog.
Street art has been around since streets started. Early frescos are being preserved in countries like Italy and Mexico. To me street art is especially important — when we are bombarded with advertising posters and commercial signs that we have no control over. I feel that gifted people who have no money to advertise or exhibit should be allowed to display their images too.
I had planned to do quite a bit on street art. However, it seems to be pretty well covered by the people I follow on WordPress, especially by my favourite, world-wide, street-art hubber Frankie Bean, who devotes time to finding the latest, greatest street art to share almost daily with web surfers. To visit: https://frankiebeane.wordpress.com
So eventually I will cover historical aspects of street art, but for now, here are some offerings with a few thoughts on street art in Southampton, where I live…
I have no time for graffiti artists who just draw penises or badly scrawl their team’s name. However one street artist assured me that people’s tags are a way of saying, “I am here!” However they do not move me as much.
And the minute someone paints something in a public place, someone will want to destroy it. Banksy usually times how long one of his works lasts before it is scrawled on, de-tagged or whitewashed over. This does not seem to bother him that so long as a few people get to see it he gets to take a photo first.
Serpentine Pavilion 2015 is designed by Selgascano
Each summer the Serpentine invites an internationally renowned architect to create their first-build structure in England.
The brief is to design a 300 square metre pavilion that is used as a cafe by day and a forum for learning, debate and entertainment at night. A maximum of six months from invitation to completion. There is no budget for the project: it is realised through sponsorship, in-kind support and the sale of the pavilion.