Archive for July, 2005

More OxBlogs

July 31st, 2005

It’s not just the Labour councillors in this town who scribble on blogs. Local Green councillor Matt Sellwood’s got a blog, too, and he writes, with reference to what’s going on just around the corner from where I live:

On that note, I am also getting up at the crack of dawn tomorrow [Monday] to go down to the old Lucy’s Factory site, where British Waterways have been stopped from evicting the boatyard by squatters. Contrary to the typical (and false) image of squatters as people who move in and trash a place, the squatting community in Oxford attempts to defend absolutely crucial community facilities like the boatyard (without which, most of the boating community in oxford would lose their affordable homes) and deserve wholehearted support…

Read more about this kind of thing, and other kind of things, over here.


July 31st, 2005

Is the Oxford Labour Party now the most seriously blogged-up local political party in the country? The district party includes our recent parliamentary candidate Antonia Bance, NUS sab Jo Salmon, Oxford City Councillors Dan Paskins in Lye Valley and Rick Muir and Bob Price in Hinskey Park, together with other local members including me, blogger Mike Rowley and one of the more sensible occasional Harry’s Place commenters, Stephen Marks.

That seems like a lot to me, though no doubt the person or people behind Bloggers4Labour can tell me that we’re only the twelfth most blogged-up local party, or something similar. Are there similar blog-legions in other parties’ local parties, or are they still doing sensible old-fashioned things like knocking on doors and persuading people to vote for them?

Why Country Music is Called Country Music

July 31st, 2005

I probably should have known this, but I didn’t.

Credit Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and the wave of anti-Communist hysteria that he rode to political prominence. McCarthy tainted the word “folk” by associating it with “Communist”. He did this by attacking the Weavers “folk” group as Communist sympathizers and summoning its most prominent member, Pete Seeger, to testify before his Committee on Un-American Activities. Overnight the word “folk” was dropped from contention. In 1953 it was no longer used in the trade press, the fan magazines, or in advertisements for country music.”Folk” was out and the word “country” was simply dropped in its place. Along with many other terms, it had been used in the trade press for some years, but by December 5 1953, the date of a forty-eight-page, advertisement-adorned special Billboard section devoted to the music, the term “country” is used virtually to the exclusion of all others…

Richard A. Peterson, Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity, University of Chicago Press, 1997, pp.198-9.

Splitters! [cont.]

July 31st, 2005

I’m not the only one brooding unhealthily over split infinitives (see below, on the IRA statement). (As a friend used to say to me, many years ago, it’s a slippery slope from split infinitives to split-crotch panties.) Yesterday’s Guardian not only carried a picture of a fetching baby pygmy hippopotamus, it also had a column by Ian Mayes’ on the paper’s current thinking on the matter. It’s all terribly reasonable.


July 31st, 2005

What with looking after new kittens, etc., I’ve been visiting pet shops for the first time in quite a lot of years, and was intrigued to find one shop in North Oxford selling ferret muzzles. (There’s a variety of ferret-related products, for example, here.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pet ferret in Oxford, muzzled or not, but if any of my local readers have sightings to report, or other information about the local ferret scene, please deposit them / it in the Comments.

His Foreign Jail Hell

July 31st, 2005

Here’s Denis MacShane, writing in this week’s New Statesman about his brush with the Polish authorities:

“It happened in 1982 when I was picked up by the Polish police after smuggling $10,000 of European trade union funds to the underground Solidarity union. I vaguely remember tearing up and swallowing the address of the contact in Warsaw to whom I had given the cash, but my main memory is of being taken from a prison cell after a few days to meet the diplomat from the British embassy paying me a consular visit. He assured me my case was being reported on the BBC, that a good lawyer had been hired, and that if I looked polite and sorrowful, the court would not impose a jail sentence. To cheer me up he gave me the standard Foreign Office survival kit for politically incorrect Brits banged up in communist prisons. It was a small Harrods carrier bag containing three apples, a tiny jar of Marmite, a packet of Ryvita and two copies of Country Life.

I wonder what you get these days.

DSW, #31

July 31st, 2005

Jean Jaurès, French socialist. Born 3 September 1859, shot dead 31 July 1914.