Monday, 12 June 2017

Schizophrenic Politics & Democratic Jazz

Untitled, RTomens, 2017

Symptoms of schizophrenia include:
- hallucinations – hearing or seeing things that don't exist
- delusions – unusual beliefs not based on reality
- muddled thoughts based on hallucinations or delusions
- changes in behaviour (NHS website)

Are we all schizophrenic now? After the general election, considering Politics and how we see things, perhaps. "We are all middle class now," said John Prescott before the 1997 general election, managing to twist (to the point of perversion) some 'big tent' New Labour ideological vote-catching spin designed to catch all voters (it worked!).

We're all nuts now, possibly...we're seeing things...such as a post-Socialist utopia (one more push, comrades!), a brave new post-Brexit Britain of boundless opportunity or entrenched Toryism because, despite appearances, they still won more votes.

Fake news? We're hearing and 'seeing things' - seeing the kind of Britain we want even if it's not possible whilst the media, according to which way they hang (does swinging to the Left or Right suit you, sir?), I mean lean, shore up belief systems. The news, like Jesus, isn't fake if you believe anyway, is it? You just choose which one's the truth according to what you already think. Easy.

Are we all deluded? You have to be to believe. Nothing got done by allowing ugly realities to tarnish your beautiful vision, least of all voting. Yes, that democratic right which you would deny should you hit the reality button in your brain and realise the terrible truth of Politics. It's always 'the better option' after all; rarely the absolutely, ideologically perfect option. Unless you're a party member.

Muddled thoughts - those bastards! We shouldn't admit to delude ourselves we're clear-headed about who we vote for, which side is right etc. After all, a muddled head could mark the wrong box - "Oh, bollocks! I voted UKIP!" "I voted Green!" "What's their economic policy?" "I dunno, they like animals and stuff, don't they?"

We're hallucinating, seeing Reality and it's driving us even more nuts. Hard Brexit (don't weaken!), Soft Brexit (but we want a good deal so we can't upset our European friends), austerity (it's wise to be cautious with money, isn't it?), higher spending (tax the rich! Borrow money! Sod the maths!). Reality isn't clear, though, since it depends on who's reality you believe because your own is muddled, mixed up, mashed up from all the conflicting opinions of experts (who we're told not to trust, so just do what that ranting taxi driver says, or better still, the rappers and Grime stars who support Corbyn - coo-o-ol! But I wonder what Sun Ra would have done...had he been alive...and British...).

Changes in behaviour? Vote Leave, then vote Labour? Vote Labour all your life because you're working class then vote Tory because we're still the fifth largest economy in the world so they must be doing something right. Vote UKIP, then Labour? Cha-cha-cha-changes...turn and face a world gone mad, then decide. Live in posh Kensington and vote Labour - they did!

Never trust a Hippy...or a politician? I had a thought yesterday (my yearly one), about Trump. I thought people voted for him because he's an honest liar. Yes, contradictory, I know, but possibly true. I mean, they're always saying 'You know what you're getting with Trump' and it's true. You're getting an upfront mad man who Tweets what he likes and generally does what he likes. A maverick. A showman (snake oil politics!). People voted for what he isn't; a slick, professional capable of mesmerising you with apparent truths spun from the finest career politician coaching school of Politics. Boris Johnson has the same appeal here. Buffoons, businessmen boldly blabbering like idiots who are smarter than they act when it comes to getting what they want.

Bandcamp ran a feature on FMP Records and the Destination Out! blog the other day. A good thing. I needed a good thing...and still do in the form of music which, as we know, is some kind of saviour in this world, even though it doesn't solve the housing crisis. You can guess by the above album what sparked my political thoughts here. Go to the feature (no, not yet) and have a listen because there's some great music there. Schizophrenic Blues by Noah Howard, recorded 'live' in Berlin (1977) is one of the featured albums. Howard's alto-playing is a real treat but as is the democratic way with Jazz everyone contributes superbly. If only society was that democratic, eh? We all get to have our say, do our thing and gain recognition. We all 'solo' for the sake of 'the band'. I'll stop before my metaphor gets too muddled. This album takes a leaf from the Art Ensemble of Chicago, being all kinds of everything from full-on Out There to marches, blues and waltz-time. Brilliant.

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