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Fascinating how a typically British, BBC 'reporter' handles a man who speaks the truth about the global financial crisis. No spin, no BS just raw truth! Funny isn't it- how little we see such clear honesty in the mainstream news!!
Enjoy. It's only 5mins but a highly illuminating 5!
Also recommend subscribing to Max and Stacy's podcast 'The Truth About Markets' or tune into Resonance FM 104.4 fm every Sat night at 7 or Monday morning.
Enjoy. Peace to you all.
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" - George Orwell
Now with audio
The King Blues
We caught up with Itch and Jamie Jazz from The King Blues just before the Glasgow leg of their Big Issue tour to chat about everything from homelessness, Obama, music and how they plan to save the world. Then get the girl...
Check back soon for the audio recording of this interview
The King Blues (Jamie Jazz and Itch in centre) were raising awareness of homelessness
Q. What kind of outcomes or reactions were you hoping to get from the whole Big Issue angle of this tour, and how has the whole thing gone?
Itch: It’s been great. The whole idea of the tour was that instead of getting a ticket you can just get a copy of the Big Issue and come in and that way its money going straight into vendor’s pockets rather than admin and stuff like that. It was important to us to do something where money was going directly into vendor’s pockets. A lot of the kids have said that they’d be up for coming along and just paying what they would normally pay to see us and letting the vendors keep the change. It’s been really successful because we didn’t know if people were gonna turn up or not, and it’s been mad. You can see that the Big Issue vendors have genuinely been chuffed with the reactions they’ve got, and a lot of people have said that now they know their local Big Issue vendor they’re gonna carry on going back week after week which is a nice thing to see. It’s good to know it’s worked and we’ve kinda beat the cynics in that way.
Q. So would you do this kind of tour again or is it just a one-off?
Itch: We like to have silly ideas and try them all out, but yeah, I mean there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do it again.
Q. What inspired you guys to do this tour?
Itch: I used to sell the Big Issue when I was younger, and I feel like we’re in a position now where we can perhaps help out people who are in the position I was in. Homelessness is a very large issue, its not just about raising awareness for the Big Issue. Where we come from in London, there’s a lot of hassle with the homeless because Mayor Boris Johnson is saying he wants the streets of London cleaned of the homeless by 2012 when the Olympics come in. It’s a very wonderful thing for him to aim for but the way he’s going about it is absolutely horrific. There’s an operation called Operation Poncho where the police in the city of London are going around, waking up the homeless people at about 4 or 5am, telling them to get their bags, and then spraying down where they’re sleeping with water so they can’t go back there. This is in icy freezing temperatures and it’s really quite inhumane the way they’re dealing with people.
I think we’re going back to when Blair was our leader and he said he wouldn’t give any money to homeless people, he would only give it to the charities. That really sent out the wrong message that homeless people are there because they’re irresponsible with money and that’s bollocks. There are so many different reasons why people are out on the street, everyone has their own story, it’s not a case of not being good with money, you know? That’s a very patronising view and we’re trying to break down that mentality across the nation because in fact, homeless people are just as much a part of your community as your next door neighbour or anybody else. That was the thinking behind this tour.
Q. It has been reported that homelessness is on the increase due to the recession; people are losing their jobs and losing their homes. Is there anything the Government could be doing in your view to help the homeless?
Itch: There’s a whole lot they can do. They can start off by sorting out the hostels. I’m not saying charities are bad things, but there is definitely a debate among the homeless community that a lot of charities just want to get heads onto beds, because the more heads on beds they get, the more money they get, but in fact hostels aren’t safe places to be. There’s a lot of trouble that goes in hostels, some of them are clearly inhabitable and others are just riddled with terrible things like drugs and violence, so I’d like to see the hostels getting sorted. Until people have a different option other than sleeping on the street, they should be allowed to sleep there un-hassled and not be woken up by the police and moved along. Homeless people should be given rights, they should be treated with as much dignity as anyone else and I’d like to see the Government provide proper alternatives rather than just saying you need to move off our streets, I don’t care where you go, because that’s not providing any real alternative and it’s not putting an end to the root causes of why it’s happening.
Q. So aside from homelessness, what other issue’s out there are really grabbing your attention at the moment?
Itch: There’s so many, and so many of them are interlinked you know? I think one of the biggest problems we’re facing at the moment is that we’re in the middle of an endless war right now, we’re going on and on and on and we’re going to different countries. I think its very easy for us to say, well we’ve got Obama in America now and he’s talking about shutting Guantanamo within a year, and we’re starting to pull the troops out of Iraq, thing are going okay. But in fact this country is building an unbelievable amount of weapons being used in Israel against Gaza right now. The wars that are going on in the Middle East are funded by this country and the weapons that are being used are actually made in this country. So to pretend that we’re a country that isn’t at war is absolute bollocks, it’s just as much our war as anyone else’s and we’re heavily involved. That’s something people need to begin to realise.
Q. You just mentioned Obama, he’s hailed as America’s great hope at the moment. Do you think there could be a domino effect in the UK, and we could look forward to a similar kind of leader that provokes hope and inspiration in the future?
Itch: I would love to see somebody that we could believe in, because we don’t actually have that over here. We don’t really have any kind of hope like they do in America. Whether it is false hope or not, there’s still a feeling that change is gonna come over there and I think that’s a wonderful thing. As British people we have a tendency to be very cynical, but then we don’t ever see any decent change. In America, you’ve got Obama saying things like he wants to close Guantanamo within a year but we’re not seeing the same thing in Britain even though there are many repressive laws that were brought in when we were apparently under a terrorist threat. We’re not under that terrorist threat anymore so I’d like to see those laws destroyed so we can go back to our freedoms. While I’d like to see the same kind of hope America currently has over here, at the same time I think anyone pinning all their hopes on one leader is always going to be disappointed. The power lies with the people, and it’s when people come together that there’s real hope. I think that as we’re going through this recession, people are going to get angrier. When people get angry and they come together, that’s when genuine change happens, so I have a real hope that something’s gonna happen, something’s got to give eventually.
Q. One of the aims of our organisation is to encourage young people to vote or become involved with the political process in the UK. How can we go about doing that?
Itch: Personally, I feel that voting isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it isn’t necessarily a good thing either. Giving your blessing to somebody else to lead you, I don’t know how I feel about that from a philosophical point of view. I feel that we should all lead ourselves and that’s how we’ll all get out of this mess. We’ve given capitalism enough of a chance as it is, we’re told that any minute now it’s going to start working and things are going to get better but it’s just more of the same, it goes on and on and on. Obviously if you feel there is a decent candidate in your area then of course you should go and vote for them, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a case of getting every single person to vote just for the sake of it.
Q. If voting isn’t the way, then what is?
Itch: Organising, going back to grassroots. What we’re gonna see with the recession coming up is an awful lot of commercial properties emptying, shops emptying up and down the high street and I’d like to see a new movement that comes in and squats those buildings and uses them for positive means, things like opening social centres and really building communities again. During this recession, if the people get divided and we start fearing our neighbours again as the war on terror allowed us to do, that’s when things can go dreadfully wrong for Britain. I think we really need to start building communities again and that’s perhaps a good way to do it.
Q. Musically speaking, what are your influences?
Itch: We don’t really agree on many bands at all, there’s so many of us we listen to all different kinds of things! We take influence from the spirit of bands like The Clash, Rage Against the Machine, Asian Dub Foundation, right through to hip-hop like Immortal Technique, right through to Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. I feel there is a very rich history of rebel protest music that we come from, that we’re part of. The music isn’t necessarily the uniting thing; it’s the message and the vibe.
Q. Do you really believe music can change the world?
Itch: We wouldn’t be here otherwise! We live this 100% every day and I really do believe it’s a vehicle for bringing people together. Music touches people in a way that nothing else does. It’s an emotional connection, something that can really take over your life, and so from that point of view you can tell real genuine honesty from someone, when something really means something. The voice of the people, for generations, for centuries has been passed on through song and it’s a wonderful way to communicate and bring people together. When you’re at a gig and someone’s on stage saying something political and all the people around you are also agreeing with it, you suddenly realise you’re not alone in how you feel. Its very easy to feel like you’re the only one who thinks this way, you’re the only one who believes in freedom and believes that the world can live happily as one. A lot of people just don’t believe in love anymore, they don’t believe in hope or soul or anything like that and I think when people come together and they realise that actually, I’m not the only one and my views ain’t that strange, that’s when real power happens.
Jamie: Music, more than any art form ever has the power to touch people’s soul and collectively unite people that it touches at the same time. It’s the perfect vessel for any message.
Q. We’ve seen it at many gigs, like Rancid or Anti-Flag, people just come together and there’s a sense of unity in the crowd. Do you get the same thing at your gigs?
Itch: Yeah, I think it’s a bit different with us because we have people from all walks of life at our gigs. There’s hip-hop kids, punk kids, reggae kids, indie kids, there’s old people, young people. The mixture of people that come to our gigs is the thing I am most proud of achieving with this band. There’s a real sense of unity. And among the kids themselves, there’s a sense of togetherness and they’re there as one. There are never any fights at our gigs, no-one is cooler than anyone, everyone’s on the same level and it’s a nice thing to see.
Q. In the punk scene especially, there’s an elitist attitude towards bands who release records on bigger record labels, have you guys come across that at all?
Itch: Yeah of course. From day one when we used to play squats or Anarchist benefits that was what we were and who we were known as. When we signed to Household Name Records, which is a tiny tiny record label, run out of a tiny bedroom in a tiny flat somewhere in the middle of the ghetto-est part of Brixton, we were called sell-outs then and told we were digging for gold so we’ve experienced it the whole time. But I think if you don’t get your hands dirty then you’re not gonna achieve anything. I’m not interested in just going out and preaching to the converted and being the soundtrack for like 5 crusty’s round a barbecue. That’s absolutely fine and I’m willing to do that and go back to our roots and pay our dues, just because I love it and that’s who we are but at the same time I feel that this music and this message is something that’s bigger than that and its something that’s really important and I don’t think that anyone is not good enough to hear it. These are ideas that can really change the world, and these are ideas that people really need to start putting into action, so I think its unfair to say that little Jimmy lives in a very remote part of town and he’s not cool enough to be a part of the underground scene so he has no right hearing this. This is music for everyone and these ideas are for everyone, they’re for the people, and I don’t think you can have a people’s revolution without the people on your side, that’s the number one key.
Q. So you want a people’s revolution?
Q. What was your favourite album of last year?
Itch: Off the top of my head, I really liked the Frank Turner record and I really liked the Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip record, it was really good. There’s a guy called Lowkey, he’s a rapper from somewhere up North, his album was really incredible and it was probably the most socially important album of last year, he really spoke a whole bunch of truths.
Jamie: We were lucky enough to tour with The Gaslight Anthem at the end of last year and I was really into their album. I don’t particularly know too much about hip-hop but last year I started getting into artists like Immortal Technique. His record The Third World just blew my mind, the energy and the anger behind his lyrics was amazing so I’d probably say that.
Q. What albums are you looking forward to this year?
Itch: There’s a band called Milk Kan that’s have an album coming out which is gonna be awesome, it’s a massive record. The Skids are gonna be bringing out an album as well which is gonna be be big.
Jamie: Our friends, The Grit have just finished their new record, we were lucky enough to hear an early copy of it and there are some great great songs on there so I’m really looking forward to it.
Q. What are your plans for the future?
Itch: Big plans! There’s always big big plans! But in the immediate future we’ve got a lot of festivals coming up in the summer and we’re looking forward to getting back out on the road properly. This is the first time we’ve been out this year so we’re looking forward to getting a new live show put together. We’re also writing songs at the moment so we’ll see how that all goes I guess!
Visit bigissue.com for more information on The Big Issue and homelessness, and thestreetsareours.net for The King Blues personal place for people to get active