The Dim-Post

August 9, 2011

Maybe blogging about it will stop me from humming ‘Hang the DJ’

Filed under: art,general news — danylmc @ 2:13 pm

I don’t have many deep thoughts on the London riots. The political situation is that the wealthiest sector of society wrecked their economy and the burden of paying for it is falling on the poorest, and there’s an obvious injustice there. But I don’t think the gangs of teenagers looting Footlocker stores are really motivated by issues of equity.

Also, I like this AP photo of a burning bus. If Turner painted pictures of 21st century looting epidemics I think they’d look like this:


  1. i can’t see how it’s the dj’s fault. i think morrisey got it quite wrong there.

    besides, all i can hear in my head is the clash.
    yes, it’s obvious, but what can i do?

    Comment by amc32 — August 9, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  2. Not the Sex Pistols? Marley?

    Some muppet probably thinks Muse is the soundtrack to all of this. There’s always one.


    Comment by Lew — August 9, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  3. In light of what’s been happening in the Middle East if young men are going to band togther and act badly expecting claims that it’s some heroic rage against the machine be taken seriously then they’ll need better evidence than buring down their neighbours businesses and homes.

    Comment by NeilM — August 9, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  4. Thank god I’m not the only one. (re: Hang the DJ)

    Comment by Ngaire BookieMonster — August 9, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  5. This woman says it all really

    Comment by max — August 9, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

  6. All that disaffected young men need is a unifying ideology to channel their anger… Breivik, Bin Laden, Mao, are the shining exemplars

    Comment by ropata — August 9, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

  7. “yes, it’s obvious, but what can i do?”

    You could stay?

    Or you could go?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 9, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  8. The Clash was the first thing to spring to mind, but then I remembered Street Fighting Man by the Rolling Stones. Great track.

    Comment by Simon Poole — August 9, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

  9. “besides, all i can hear in my head is the clash.”

    I can’t get past the fact the phrase ‘London’s Burning’ came from a WWII broadcast from an American journalist the day the Germans first bombed London en masse.

    My personal soundtrack keeps jumping to the Ruts ‘Babylon’s Burning’ but maybe that’s because I’m watching the financial stuff more than London.

    Comment by Rob Hosking — August 9, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

  10. If only those young people had stayed in school, gone to uni, read Marx and found out how to express their working class anger in the proper way. Perhaps they could have blogged about how incompetent their government is, they might even write scathing satire.

    Oh well looting footlocker is the next best alternative I guess.

    Comment by Squirrel — August 9, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

  11. Surely The Specials’ “Ghost Town” or The Clash’s “London Calling” would be more appropriate?

    Comment by Matthew Littlewood — August 9, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

  12. “Reaping what has been sown over 3 decades of creating grotesquely unequal society,with alienated young copying ethos of looting bankers.” –!/johnmcdonnellMP/status/100699406755565568

    It’s true that they might not have equity in their minds as a concept they can express. They’ve just lost faith in the fairness of society and are making things better for themselves because they’ve got nothing to lose and the way things are, sucks.

    At least that’s what I can see from here. (writing from Finsbury Park, Tottenham. Not necessarily more clued up than anyone else though ;-))

    Comment by Sam Vilain — August 9, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

  13. Rioting in London is traditional as Trooping the Colour. Check out the Gordon Riots for the real McCoy.

    Comment by Owen — August 9, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

  14. “London Calling” isn’t right – it’s about punk’s cultural impact, not social activism. I’d say “White Riot”, given the faces of most of the participants.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — August 9, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

  15. If we’re compiling the playlist, can I offer the Dead Kennedys’ “Riot”?

    Tomorrow you’re homeless
    Tonight it’s a blast.

    Comment by James Stephenson — August 9, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

  16. The Fabs

    But if you talk about destruction / Don’t you know that you can count me out (in)

    This could be about class & alienation, or it could be about getting a new flatscreen tv.

    Comment by Paul Rowe — August 9, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

  17. “Guns of Brixton” could do with an honourable mention here too

    Comment by Leg Break — August 9, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

  18. A bit trite and obvious but John Lydon had it just about right on this all those years ago.

    Don’t know what I want but
    I know how to get it
    I wanna destroy the passer by cos I
    I wanna BE anarchy!
    No dogs body

    Comment by The Fox — August 9, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

  19. I dont think that 70’s and 80’s anarchist punk rock is suitable for this situation.

    I think rap/hip-hip/gangsta music is more suited to this edition.

    Ice-T’s ‘Fuck The Po-lice’ to start with.

    Comment by millsy — August 9, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

  20. War on the terraces by the cockney rejects
    or… fighting in the streets or… police car (all CR)

    Comment by MeToo — August 9, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

  21. Best thing I’ve read on the politics of the riots:

    “Capitalism is embedded in these kids in a way that I don’t think middle-class lefties quite understand. It’s constantly drummed into kids in poor areas and estates from the start of their lives that their best way out is via capitalism x protestant work ethic. Work hard at school and you can be an entrepreneur, set up your own business, make money. Their heroes and role models are people who did just that, whether Jay-Z or Alan Sugar. Stealing consumer goods to sell on (if that’s what was going on) seems an oddly logical manifestation of this. Especially if it’s propelled by an underlying anger that, even though you’ve bought into the “you too can be a millionaire if you just work hard enough” myth, it’s still…not…quite…happening for you. Because of the very background it’s meant to be aiding your escape from, in many cases.”

    Comment by bradluen — August 9, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

  22. “The Fabs”

    but phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust….

    Comment by Rob Hosking — August 9, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  23. how about

    Comment by NeilM — August 9, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

  24. I am pleased for you that the wholesale burning and looting in my home town gives you pleasure Danyl.
    Stop trying to make it left right.
    This is social policy and importing voters that brought London to this.
    For the last decade they had first a crazy, greedy catholic Labour PM trying to be Richard the Lion heart all over the “East” whilst enriching himself and his letter box mouthed wife. Then he was replaced by a dribbling Loon who was the man in charge when they gave the gold away, allowed the banks to go crazy and loot the pensions.
    It is worth noting that they were a party that your Labour party have tried to ape since Clark first stole the cash for a pledge card.

    Now Britain has given labour lite a go who are completely ill equipped to deal with the war time austerity required to fix the place.

    Comment by barnsley bill — August 9, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

  25. Bradluen any middle class lefty will be able to explain that those kids desire consumer goods and capitalist success because they have a false consciousness perpetuated by the capitalist media. What is lacking is revolutionary class consciousness, thus the job of said lefties is to spread class consciousness. Real socialists would be attempting to sell copies of the spark to that teen smashing windows.

    Comment by Squirrel — August 9, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

  26. The looters are a bunch of shell suit wearing giro bludging block of resin, two E’s and a line of speed little oiks.

    Comment by abel the amish — August 9, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

  27. It’s true that they might not have equity in their minds as a concept they can express. They’ve just lost faith in the fairness of society and are making things better for themselves because they’ve got nothing to lose and the way things are, sucks.

    So, putting more people on the streets and the dole queue by burning down their houses and workplaces is making things better for who exactly? You know, it might just be tasteful to put a parking brake on whatever political barrow you want to push and remember there are human beings involved here.

    Comment by Craig Ranapia — August 9, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

  28. Real socialists would be attempting to sell copies of the spark to that teen smashing windows.

    Might get a better take-up rate by slipping a copy in every shoebox.

    Comment by bradluen — August 9, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

  29. “Stop trying to make it left right.”

    Yeah, that’s right. It’s a black thing (Planet of the Apes or something) and apparently the police are gutless and should be putting the fuckers down or something eh Barnsley? I mean, that’s what you said on your blog anyway.

    Comment by Guy Smiley — August 9, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

  30. New Zealand needs more riots.

    Comment by rob — August 9, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

  31. The music (or more accurately, music video) this brings to mind is ‘Stress’
    by Justice.

    No lyrics though so you’ll have to invent yoour own.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 9, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

  32. The ones rioting are not generally ones who have been adversly affected by the economy, as most of their parents don’t work being estate kids. Just the underclass which apparently you can’t get away from even in heavily socialist countries like the UK.

    The problem is too they are not just looting, but burning shit including houses with people in them to the ground. Luckily nooone has died yet, but at this rate that is pure luck.

    Personally think they should deploy the army and let it known they have live ammunition as frankly the people they are hurting are those who are already struggling. Allot of coffee shops and small businesses went up in flames last night, a couple that I frequent too.

    Comment by Jeffery Rosie — August 9, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

  33. millsy – That song is by NWA. Their other classic could be changed to ‘Straight outta Clapham’.

    There are some pretty dated cultural references from the elderly here. Though my first thought when hearing about those parts of London is ‘One night in Hackney’ so my age is starting to show.

    Comment by Quoth the Raven — August 9, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

  34. The police or the army won’t go in. In a word Tomlinson. No copper is going to risk it. Journalist outnumber rioters 10 to 1 and any bit of push and shove will be all over the papers as police brutality. Some quotes from Inspector Gadgets blog.

    “London fire fighter pulled off her motorcycle, punched in the face and threatened with a gun in Clapham last night on her way in. London Fire Brigade recieved 2,200 ’999′ calls”

    “‘Police have become so sensitive to the issue of race that it is impairing their ability to do the job’ argues the Daily Telegraph.”

    “Many people are becoming very angry that we refuse to move our lines and baton charge the rioters. I have run around like a blue arsed fly trying to understand why we are being ordered to stay static; the only explanation I can find is that Gold Command are concerned about the sensitivity of the target group.”

    “So much for Diversity Training, Positive Discrimination, Neighbourhood Policing and Community Engagement. At least 15 years of all those plus loads of investment in the areas concerned. Clearly, that hasn’t worked so it should all now stop. As for the ‘youth’ with thier looting and attacks on the police; the ordinary man in the street understands fully what is going on here. They hate us because we disrupt their criminal lifestyles. Simple. It’s no more complicated than that.”

    You can catch the action from the coppers side at , if you can wade through the 1200 odd comments on some of the posts.

    Comment by Andy C — August 10, 2011 @ 12:19 am

  35. I think that Sublime’s April 29, 1992 is pretty apt.

    “First spot we hit it was my liqour store.
    I finally got all that alcohol I can’t afford.
    With red lights flashin’ time to retire,
    And then we turned that liquor store into a structure fire”

    “When we returned to the pad to unload everything,
    It dawned on me that I need new home furnishings.
    So once again we filled the van until it was full,
    since that day my livin’ room’s been more comfortable.”

    Comment by Conrad — August 10, 2011 @ 10:33 am

  36. “That’s Entertainment” by The Jam

    Comment by insider — August 10, 2011 @ 10:35 am

  37. And here’s the traditional answer to the rioting

    Comment by insider — August 10, 2011 @ 10:59 am

  38. The British hard left and the Iranian govt are convinced this is all the fault of the police.

    Vanguardism never dies.

    Most of the reports suggest the people in th areas affected wanted more concerted action at the start from the Police which places them in a damned if you do damned if you don’t poistion.

    Comment by NeilM — August 10, 2011 @ 11:30 am

  39. Hahaha some fruitcake at “No Minister” has a must-read piece on this

    Apparently Enoch Powell had a “towering intellect” and apparently his finishing a classics exam early once made up for his being a massive racist. The post is rated ‘5 starts’

    Comment by Hobbes — August 10, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

  40. @Hobbes – nominister is an outlet for a bunch of angry old men. It gives them somewhere to vent when they can’t find their false teeth in time to call leighton Smith before the news.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 10, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

  41. Some interesting posts from Egyptian bloggers on the parallels between these riots and the Arab Spring unrest that is still bubbling away in the Middle East (2000 dead, and counting, in Syria). Arab youths risk their lives for a shot at democracy. In London, it seems to be all about stealing DVD players and fancy trainers.
    Forgive me if I don’t join in with the fist pumps and solidarity songs.

    Comment by Neil — August 10, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

  42. Apparently Enoch Powell had a “towering intellect” and apparently his finishing a classics exam early once made up for his being a massive racist.

    His staunch opposition to the death penalty, and co-sponsorship of homosexual law reform legislation go some way for me.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — August 10, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

  43. How about “Been Caught Stealing”, by Jane’s Addiction?

    “When I want something and I don’t want to pay for it,
    Then I steal it, just like that”

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — August 10, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

  44. Regarding the riots and music there is this London Riots: Independent Record Labels ‘Devastated’ By Fire

    A Sony DADC building in north London has apparently been burned down as a result of the riots. The warehouse contains the stock for more than 150 record labels.

    The building was the main headquarters for PIAS, the UK’s largest distributor of indie music.

    Comment by Quoth the Raven — August 10, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

  45. bradluen @ 21 from Lex Is More: “Capitalism is embedded in these kids in a way that I don’t think middle-class lefties quite understand.”
    Eh? The teachers unions are allowing this to happen exactly when during the school day? From my reading of complaints about the standard of teaching in UK schools, this isn’t correct.
    Many of these disaffected youth may be from household’s dependant on a mix of benefits and taxpayer funded housing. They rely on NHS health and NHS dentistry. Other than seeing the success of footballers on tele, not sure how they get their daily dose of capitalism and role modeling.
    Have you ever watched the BBC? When they’re not offending catholics for comedic effect, they are twaddling on about Global Warming. When I was a teenager, we were bussed by our state school, off to see An Inconvenient Truth The Day After. It filled us with an attitude of “we’re all fucked so why bother” sort of tune in and drop out. Perhaps these people, among their genuine grievances, have listened to the BBC harping on about AGW and understood how THEY are supposed to make the real sacrifice, not the AL Gores, Jane Diplocks and Prince Charles of the world, and thought “fuck this shit” and have taken matters into their own hands.

    Insider @ 37 – cut off their nads? I don’t know about you, but I stopped having kids at a point where I could still afford to feed and clothe the ones I had and still afford a big tele. So I’ve “virtually” cut off my nads. But others continue to have kids, even when they can’t afford the ones they already have. It’s a massive infringement of rights to prevent adults from choosing to have kids, but rights are also infringed when I work hard and then have a lot of money taken off me to pay for these kids.
    So, even after receiving my money all their lives, these kids still grow up to be ungrateful little fuckers, stealing and burning.
    So what the answer? Higher benefits, of course, that’ll solve it all. Oh, and for me to pay more taxes. And don’t forget to increase the school leaving age.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 10, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

  46. “not sure how they get their daily dose of capitalism and role modeling.”
    pardon me, yes I do: from drug dealers, loan sharks, fencers. All are engaged in commerce and capitalism, with a degree of marketing and enforcement of obligations, extension of credit facilities, etc. But very, very warped.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 10, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

  47. Watching this unfold, I can feel several of Theodore Dalrymple’s beautifully written essays harrumphing into existence.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 10, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  48. Billy Idol’s Shock to the System, written about the LA ’92 riots:

    Comment by DeepRed — August 11, 2011 @ 2:35 am

  49. @ClunkingFist #46: “So what the answer? Higher benefits, of course, that’ll solve it all. Oh, and for me to pay more taxes. And don’t forget to increase the school leaving age.”

    It’s a catch-22 either way. Maintain or boost the welfare state, and taxpayers complain about the ‘work shy’. Dismantle the welfare state, and taxpayers get escorted to work and school by the SAS in an armoured car.

    The answer probably lies in Joburg. Or Peru. Or Belfast. Or the West Bank. Or even Somalia. Don’t forget to pack a Blackwater/Sandline/Executive Outcomes voucher though…

    Comment by DeepRed — August 11, 2011 @ 3:34 am

  50. Hmmm, I was more thinking (without regard for the consequences I’ll admit): school voucher programme, flat income tax, universal adult payment (only available to UK citzens born or living more than X years), get rid of VAT & NI (regressive taxes), get out of EU, strengthen polytechs, lower school leaving age to realistic level, shoot politicians who give out state contracts for ID systems to their mates, put (real) soldiers in charge of the army, bring back compulsory military service, gold standard, allow private unemployment insurance, stop getting involved in stupid wars, privatise rubbish collection, float/privatise BBC, differential business compliance (i.e stop trying to write law that applies to corner-shop and multinational alike) etc, etc.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 11, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  51. Dem Barksdale boys from the Westside sure get around, here’s Bodie:

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 11, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

  52. @Craig, 27 – just trying to understand what drove these real people to act the way they did, not trying to justify their actions. But that’s ok, I understand, you probably didn’t think very hard before writing that.

    Comment by Sam Vilain — August 12, 2011 @ 2:39 am

  53. Can’t help thinking about this song:

    Ice Cube – Check Yo Self

    “Big dicks in your ass is bad for your health”.

    Comment by OECD rank 22 kiwi — August 12, 2011 @ 4:31 am

  54. Importing a group with 5x the crime rate of the host population doesn’t seem the greatest idea in hindsight.

    Comment by Kiwiguy — August 13, 2011 @ 11:20 pm

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