The Mayor of London
Last week’s local elections trundled past with leaden midterm predictability.
Clearly peeved, a significant slice of the electorate stayed at home, and those that turned out roundly rejected the Coalition parties. Labour made huge gains, largely by default.
The Tories and Lib Dems were soon scrabbling to write off palpable public discontent as typical mid-term blues. Ed Miliband, on the other hand, was extrapolating growing public trust in his leadership from the protest votes begrudgingly cast in Labour’s favour.
Behind the dubiously rose-tinted interpretations, the cold hard statistics remain grim for the government. The Tories lost 419 councillors and 12 councils. The Lib Dems suffered a second successive electoral wipe-out: they lost 44% of the seats they were defending, leaving them with their smallest amount of councillors since they first emerged from the ashes of the SDP in 1988. Labour picked up 780 council seats, but based on the lowest voter turnout in 12 years. Continue reading
Bittersweet will-to-juvenility from genius lava-gurgler Tom Waits. The tinniest plinking acoustic guitar somehow holding its own against the volcanic crunch of a room-rattling electric, Pomona’s finest shuns the uncertainty, responsibility and sheer domestic tedium of encroaching adulthood in a voice that’s as genuine and affecting as it is unfeasibly, cracklingly coarse. A very strong contender our favourite song ever, from one of our favourite albums.
As an expression of pure political venom, Tramp the Dirt Down is unparalleled – and, obviously, controversial. Understandably, some find a song about stamping on an old lady’s grave somewhat distasteful, if not representing sickening extremism in the form of a pop single. For others, the fact that the old lady in question is Margaret Thatcher makes it entirely justified.
Wind-rippled Celtic serenity – uileann pipes and mandolin – turns distinctly eerie when the singing starts, Costello sounding variously dead-behind-the-eyes – ‘I saw a newspaper picture of a political campaign’ – sickly, mockingly sweet – ‘when England was the whore of the world, Margaret was her madam’ – and heavingly sincere ‘when – they – finally – put you in the ground’. Continue reading