Friday, September 25, 2015

Notes From The Floorboards: Give This 'Zine A Look...


[courtesy of: www.chairmanralph.com]

One of my favorite passages in Glen Matlock's memoir, I Was A Teenage Sex Pistol, concerns his take on the punk movement...that, for all the sociopolitical readings that John Lydon's /Johnny Rotten's lyrics got..."As a lyricist, John was always more Dostoevsky than Tariq Ali. He was just generally right out there on a limb, sending up notes from beneath his own floorboards."

What a lovely description, isn't it: "notes from the floorboards." Well, any DIY endeavor serves that purpose, doesn't it....especially 'zines, which seem to be making something of a comeback lately (the paper kind, I mean). It's reminiscent of the recent comeback of vinyl, as well, which the mainstream media is passing off as a fanatical clique's fancy -- though I suspect that it's more directly connected with a hunger for tangible objects to hold in your hand again.

Anyway, our co-conspirator, Chairman Ralph -- whose writing shows up here from time to time -- recently wrote in, asking me to review his new 'zine, Desperate Times. He describes it as "a mixture of music and commentary," which seems clear enough when you've got articles like "New York Dolls Stories," and "The Red-Headed Stepchild Says Something: Hanging With My Kind In Northwest Indiana," jostling for space with "The Secret Life Of Hemliga Bosse" (whom I've never heard of, but that's nothing new -- the indie and punk fields are crammed with the bodies of many, many little one-off savants).

I told the good Chairman that I'll hold off on a review, for now, as it's only the first issue..."so let's see how you fly," I wrote in my response, "and we'll go from there. If you've got a couple more issues, then it may even look like a trend." To give you a better idea of what he's playing at, here's all the basic info you need:


http://chairmanralph.com/communiques/

And here's a link, from what I gather, to a soundclip from that first issue itself (it's "The Secret Life Of Hemliga Bosse"):

http://chairmanralph.com/featuredsongs/

Naturally, the Chairman wanted a review, but I told him this approach might get him in the frame a little bit faster...as Squawker and I have to spend so much effort focusing on day-to-day survival, we don't really have loads of time (or wherewithal) to become full-time reviewers...mind you, doing this blog takes a fair amount of energy, as well.

However, if that admonition encourages you to try, contact us, and we'll sort something out -- tell us what you're doing first, however, so we can see if it's up our street. If you read this blog regularly, you already have a fair idea of the drift, and what moves us -- so there you go, then.

All the preliminaries aside, though, it's great to see interest growing in DIY culture and products, whether it's chapbooks, music, 'zines, or what have you. I always think of it as weeds growing through the cracks in the sidewalk, no matter how hard anyone tries to stamp them out...or maybe it's just a case of notes from the floorboards. Time will tell. --The Reckoner

Friday, September 4, 2015

Sickening Ways America is Criminalizing The Poor



It's absolutely disgusting. The no-sit laws affect the elderly and disabled too. It is horrifying too when they want to ban sleeping in cars too. A homeless person with a car is far better off then one without. So how do they find a job and become un-homeless. They need to provide options for people instead of just making laws to fill the jail cells. Being poor alone can turn a person into a criminal. Can't pay a fine or a fee? Instant criminal!---The Squawker

The Message

 

The Message

By Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Grandmaster Flash
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under
Broken glass everywhere
People pissin' on the stairs, you know they just don't care
I can't take the smell, can't take the noise
Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice
Rats in the front room, roaches in the back
Junkies in the alley with a baseball bat
I tried to get away but I couldn't get far
Cause a man with a tow truck repossessed my car
[Chorus]
Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge
I'm trying not to lose my head
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under
Standin' on the front stoop hangin' out the window
Watchin' all the cars go by, roarin' as the breezes blow
Crazy lady, livin' in a bag
Eatin' outta garbage pails, used to be a fag hag
Said she'll dance the tango, skip the light fandango
A Zircon princess seemed to lost her senses
Down at the peep show watchin' all the creeps
So she can tell her stories to the girls back home
She went to the city and got so so seditty
She had to get a pimp, she couldn't make it on her own
[Chorus]
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under
My brother's doin' bad, stole my mother's TV
Says she watches too much, it's just not healthy
All My Children in the daytime, Dallas at night
Can't even see the game or the Sugar Ray fight
The bill collectors, they ring my phone
And scare my wife when I'm not home
Got a bum education, double-digit inflation
Can't take the train to the job, there's a strike at the station
Neon King Kong standin' on my back
Can't stop to turn around, broke my sacroiliac
A mid-range migraine, cancered membrane
Sometimes I think I'm goin' insane
I swear I might hijack a plane!
[Chorus]
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under
My son said, Daddy, I don't wanna go to school
Cause the teacher's a jerk, he must think I'm a fool
And all the kids smoke reefer, I think it'd be cheaper
If I just got a job, learned to be a street sweeper
Or dance to the beat, shuffle my feet
Wear a shirt and tie and run with the creeps
Cause it's all about money, ain't a damn thing funny
You got to have a con in this land of milk and honey
They pushed that girl in front of the train
Took her to the doctor, sewed her arm on again
Stabbed that man right in his heart
Gave him a transplant for a brand new start
I can't walk through the park cause it's crazy after dark
Keep my hand on my gun cause they got me on the run
I feel like a outlaw, broke my last glass jaw
Hear them say "You want some more?"
Livin' on a see-saw
[Chorus]
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under
A child is born with no state of mind
Blind to the ways of mankind
God is smilin' on you but he's frownin' too
Because only God knows what you'll go through
You'll grow in the ghetto livin' second-rate
And your eyes will sing a song called deep hate
The places you play and where you stay
Looks like one great big alleyway
You'll admire all the number-book takers
Thugs, pimps and pushers and the big money-makers
Drivin' big cars, spendin' twenties and tens
And you'll wanna grow up to be just like them, huh
Smugglers, scramblers, burglars, gamblers
Pickpocket peddlers, even panhandlers
You say I'm cool, huh, I'm no fool
But then you wind up droppin' outta high school
Now you're unemployed, all non-void
Walkin' round like you're Pretty Boy Floyd
Turned stick-up kid, but look what you done did
Got sent up for a eight-year bid
Now your manhood is took and you're a Maytag
Spend the next two years as a undercover fag
Bein' used and abused to serve like hell
Til one day, you was found hung dead in the cell
It was plain to see that your life was lost
You was cold and your body swung back and forth
But now your eyes sing the sad, sad song
Of how you lived so fast and died so young so
[Chorus]
It's like a jungle sometimes
It makes me wonder how I keep from goin' under
--The Squawker

Resilience is Futile

Resilience is Futile: How Well-Mean Non-Profits Perpetuate Poverty

"We all began speaking in her language: protective factors, asset based organizing, personal resilience. We started to absorb this woman’s idea that changing people’s behavior was the solution to their problems, which meant absorbing the idea that people’s behavior was the source of their problems. But I knew at the core of me this was false. The problem had never been that I didn’t know the right number to call. It’s a lack of resources that produces a lack of resilience, not the other way around."

Too many poverty programs claim that "good behavior" will turn people rich. They are wrong. Sadly there are entire programs being written where they claim the poor are poor from something they are doing "wrong" instead of being poor simply because they lack money. --The Squawker