Money For Nothing (Dire Straits)

In the 80s, Dire Straits followed the dismal trajectory of rock colossi like Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen and Pink Floyd, participating in the general flaming tailspin towards plasticated naffness, sacrificing substance and innovation for the dumb-down dollar.

The others managed to pull up out of that nosedive, detoxify and reinvent themselves. Dire Straits, on the other hand, retained that aura of naffness, being forever associated with headbands, bad hair and pastel suits with shoulders you could land a 747 on. Continue reading

Entre Dos Agues (Paco de Lucia)

Born as the impeccably Spanish-sounding Francisco Sanchez Gomez in Cadiz, Southern Spain, the youthful Paco de Lucia was a chubby introvert whose desire to be a singer was hampered by shyness. The guitar provided a marginally less nerve-jangling outlet for musical expression. Hammered into virtuoso standard by punishing 12-hour practise sessions enforced by his authoritarian father, also a flamenco guitarist, the young Paco was playing on the radio by the time he was 11. De Lucia has since won renown as the world’s most prominent flamenco practitioner, and is often acknowledged as one of the most skilled acoustic guitarists alive – the speed of his picking fingers is especially celebrated by guitar junkies and flamenco fans.

As much as it looks like Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen clad in his aunties’ curtains playing guitar on a wooden raft adrift at sea, this video does actually document a 1976 TV performance of Paco’s signature tune, Entre Dos Agues.

Least-Worst One Wins

Officially less worse than Mitt Romney
Officially less worse than Mitt Romney

Barack Obama has been re-elected after one of the tightest Presidential polls in recent decades. More importantly, the highest, most devastatingly powerful office in the land has been defended from a blank, asset-stripping plutocrat who dismisses 47% of the American population as feckless welfare-scroungers.

The 44th President of the United States has essentially governed like an old-school moderate Republican. His agenda might’ve been blasphemous to the foaming loons of the American Right, but, in reality, Obamacare is watery, limited and corporate-friendly, his tax rises have just corrected the libertarian madness of the Bush years, and he’s continued to bunker-bust, extraordinarily render and predator drone like the best of them.

And yet, for millions on both sides of the pond, this was an election all about keeping out Mitt Romney. When old-school moderate Republicanism has all but dried up, and America remains the glowering capital of neoliberal dystopias, Obama is not only infinitely preferable to the rabid Tea Partying alternative, but, short of reanimating Mother Jones and convincing her to run for office, the least-worst Commander In Chief the US is likely to produce in decades. Continue reading