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The Only Ones - Peel Session 1978

The complete session recorded by The Only Ones on 19 December 1978 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on 3 January 1979.


1. Miles From Nowhere (0:07)
2. Flaming Torch (3:47)
3. From Here To Eternity (6:06)
4. Prisoners (9:30)

via Vibracobra23
Funky16Corners Presents: The Mothership Mix

The Mothership,now boarding… Parliament/Intro Afro-Samurai Dick Hyman – Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose Capt Sisko Jimi Hendrix – 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be) Morpheus/1 Scientist – The Dark Secret of the Box Morpheus/2 Dorothy Ashby – Soul Vibrations Gene Harris – Don’t Call Me Ni**er Whitey The Brother From Another […]

via Funky16Corners

More construction workers killed since 2001 on UK building sites than killed in Afghan War have died on UK sites

Construction workers protest in Australia against anti trade union legislation

The Observer reported the UK construction industry is sitting on a "ticking time-bomb," with inexperienced workers being recruited to work on London’s major building sites at a time when the Coalition government has allowed safety standards to run down, according to a former government adviser on the sector.

Baroness Rita Donaghy, who wrote a landmark report, One Death Too Many, for the last Labour government, said there is a severe risk of a rise in deaths and serious injuries as building activity picks up during the recovery. Since 2001, 760 workers have died in industrial accidents on UK building sites.

The number of site-related deaths in London, where growth in construction is strongest, has doubled since the coalition came to power.

Donaghy said she was appalled by the governments 35% cut in the budget of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2011, which has in its remit safety at work, after she had called in her March 2010 report for more funding to allow it to function properly as a regulator. The report was widely accepted by the Labour government, but one of the first acts on the coalition was to give it a hefty kick into the long grace by the coalition.

Donaghy predicted that companies would cut corners and that accidents and deaths would increase. "If there is an upturn, as is obviously happening in London, there is a danger that skills have been lost during the recession, and people who are insufficiently skilled will be taken on. And that’s when the deaths and accidents will start taking place."

She added: "I do believe that if the recession is ending, the number of accidents will increase. Is it a ticking time-bomb? Possibly right, yes. There is a real danger, without a well-resourced HSE, that corners will be cut."

Only 10% of construction workers are trade union members and the industry has taken on increasing numbers of casual workers over the past two decades.

A freedom of information request from the construction workers’ union, Ucatt, showed a 7% fall in unannounced inspections of construction sites between 2011-12 and 2012-13, though the HSE said the number of inspections had risen in 2013-14 to make up for that dip.

The FoI request also revealed a fall in improvement notices – which are HSE issued orders to employers to address safety risks – from 1,021 in 2011-12 to just 800 the following year. And the number of employers being prosecuted for safety offenses also fell, from 456 to 410.

Steve Murphy, the general secretary of Ucatt, said: "I sincerely believe the construction industry is chaotic. And deaths on sites will tragically rise in the next year."

However Heather Bryant, chief inspector for construction at the HSE, said the organisation was adequately resourced, and that construction was one of its priority areas. Tell that to the widows and orphans.

Moyes’ 50 failings in 50 games

It has, without hint of hyperbole, been the most disastrous season at Manchester United in a quarter-century. Transition from Sir Alex Ferguson may have proven difficult whomever was appointed at the club, but in David Moyes there is an increasing body of evidence that the club’s executive has made a serious mistake.

After all “transition” is a word that can be applied to Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea to different levels of success or failure this season.

Buy Moyes it is – and the Scot has undoubtedly made mistakes across his 50 games in charge. From pre-season planning, to transfer farce, coaching methodology and those oh so very odd press conferences – Rant takes a look. In no particular order of importance.


1. Pre-season purgatory
When Rant argued back in August that United’s pre-season focused too strongly on marketing, with too few quality opponents scheduled, the prevailing wisdom appeared to be, ‘this is always the way’. Yet, with a tough start to the season the Reds began the campaign undercooked on the ball and over-baked without it. Little wonder, with Moyes’ boot camp consisting of long-running aerobic drills and very little ball work.

2. Ruining Kagawa’s preparation
Kagawa has suffered for almost constant football over the past five seasons, yet Moyes’ split the Japanese player’s summer break in two, disrupting what should have been a carefully managed programme. Kagawa was recalled early to join a series of marketing events on the Japan leg of United’s summer tour – appearing first at an extended press-conference in Tokyo, then playing  45 minutes of a tepid friendly. He then disappeared on holiday again. Sensible it was not.


3. Summer transfer market madness
Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera, Gareth Bale, Leighton Baines, Sami Khedira, Francesco Totti, Thiago Alcântara , and the aforementioned Fellaini. FELLAINI!! It seems as if the only impostor attempting to muscle in on a hitherto smooth, if under-funded, transfer machine was Moyes himself. After all Moyes if the word-on-the-street is accurate Moyes simply didn’t want Alcântara - available for a bargain £17 million – when the club had put in much of the groundwork. What the very f*ck.

4. Fellaini farce
The Belgian’s transfer was a farce unworthy of far lesser clubs than United, but one foisted on an outfit previously proud of its professionalism. That United paid £4 million over Fellaini’s buy-out clause is embarrassment enough. That the midfielder should prove wholly unworthy of a place in the Reds’ squad simply adds salt to a gaping wound.

Marouane Fellaini

5. iPad idiocy
It’s all very good installing a “high tech scouting system” at Carrington, including iPads and analytics, but if the outcome is ‘Dithering Dave’ failing to deliver quality acquisitions then little improvement has occurred. Evidence that Alcântara was lined-up for a transfer before Moyes delayed on the deal is strong, while no tablet technology can save Moyes from the disaster that has been Fellaini’s acquisition.


6. Pandering to Wayne Rooney
It started in the summer: Moyes’ sycophantic and desperate need to place the Scouser on a pedestal rarely deserved. Not only had Rooney spent a summer desperate to engineer a transfer out of Old Trafford, but as Ferguson’s time drew to a close the striker suffered his worst campaign as a United player. In the intervening months Rooney has occasionally sparkled, but all too often simply been flattered by a manager desperate to please. It is, as the old phrase concludes, little more than a deception.

7. Not picking to form
There were times during United’s 3-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion in March that striker Robin van Persie appeared to be staring at his own shoes – sulking as if a teenager bared from attending a late-night party. It was perhaps the nadir, injuries aside, of van Persie’s season; one in which the Dutchman has made it blatantly obvious he is no longer happy. Yet, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernández have spent most of the season on the sidelines.


8. Backroom turmoil
There has been much debate around Moyes’ decision to sack former assistant manager Mike Phelan along with goalkeeping coach Eric Steele. The Scot’s failure to retain Rene Meulensteen has also been the subject of many column inches. Whatever the reason, the loss of knowledge, experience and link between management and players has proven to be devastating to United’s cause. Moyes should have done better.

9. Giggs sidelined
Moyes and Giggs did not have a dressing room confrontation, but the Welshman’s limited involvement in coaching this seasons is reportedly in no small part due to differences in philosophy. Rumour has it that Giggs will not only retire this summer, but do so unwillingly. Unless Moyes goes, concludes the rumour mill, the Welshman will be gleefully employed away from Old Trafford in the summer.

Ryan Giggs

10. Coaching methodology
On the topic, while some players expressed early season approval of Moyes’ boot-camp methodology, few in the sports science community concur. Is it a co-incidence that United’s injuries have been so devastating this season? Perhaps, but then there is more than a pause for thought. Giggs and Moyes reportedly fell out over the manager’s insistence on lengthy defensive training sessions too. This is, after all, not the United way.


11. Rotation policy
Or lack thereof. Moyes’ use of a large squad is a contradiction. In 50 games as manager Moyes has rotated each time. Yet, as the season began the Scot over-used veteran Rio Ferdinand to such an extent that the 34-year-old was burnt out by October and seemingly heading for retirement. It has become clear Moyes has little idea how to manage a large and diverse squad.

12. Poor use of substitutes
Moyes’ negativity has become the punchline to a very bad joke, but the manager’s bizarre decision to substitute Rooney for Chris Smalling on 88 minutes as United led Southampton at Old Trafford last October seems a good précis. There was no injury to counter, simply a tactical switch to get “more height into the box”. The irony – a very sad one at that – is that United conceded from a corner. One could not, as the saying goes, make this up.

13. Lack of proactivity
It was always antithetical to hope Moyes might become the kind of dynamic, proactive, coach that many supporters believe United missed out on when passing over José Mourinho and Pep Guardola for the main job. The Scot has not disappointed his critics – so rarely changing a game in United’s favour through, for example, substitutions. The Reds’ loss to Bayern last week is a case in point, with Moyes making required changes at least 15 minutes too late.


14. Trying – a lot!
He’s trying, oh so very trying. Moyes’ peripatetic use of the word “try” has become a social media meme and a definitive sign of the manager’s weakness. After all, Ferguson simply did – no trying required.

15. Aspiring to be City
The Blues are “at the sort of level we are aspiring to,” said Moyes after Manuel Pellegrini’s men ran out 3-0 winners at Old Trafford. It is the first time in the club’s history anybody has aspired to be like City. Just stop it. Now.

16. Not knowing what he has to do
“I don’t know what we have to do to win,” Moyes confessed after United’s loss at Stoke City in February. The Scot didn’t understand quite how literal the statement would become.  Fortunately, while the team has disintegrated under Moyes, there are enough individuals of quality to ensure United’s record against mediocre opposition impresses.

17 & 18. Laying the blame everywhere but at his own doorstep…
Bad luck, injuries, individual mistakes, age profile, Ferguson, a lack of squad depth, a lack of talent – name it and Moyes has blamed it. Just not himself – ever – for the unholy mess that has become United’s season.

… and then point the finger at referees
On that theme, while all managers lay the blame for poor results at officialdom’s doorstep, Moyes has a habit of pointing the finger at the Premier League’s referees more than most. “We’re actually beginning to laugh at them, that’s the thing. It’s really terrible, it really is,” said the Scot after Fabio Borini’s 64th minute penalty in United’s Capital One Cup defeat to Sunderland. United has certainly been no more wronged than any other this season.

19. Talking down the players
“To win the Champions League, you need five or six world-class players,” Moyes said back in September. “That’s the level you have to be at to win it. We’ve not got that.” He was right, of course, but the statement fits a pattern of negativity. “I actually think if Sir Alex was here this year it would be difficult for Sir Alex as well,” he added in March. How supporters laughed. Oh, that’s right – we didn’t.

20. “We enjoyed it…”
… said Moyes after United’s defeat to Munich in the Champions League. The fans didn’t. It gave the impression Moyes has still not grown into the job – a manager permanently on a tourist’s high.

David Moyes

21. “They…”
… told Moyes a lot, didn’t they? Except how to manage the club, it seems.

22. Lack of ambition
After defeat to mid-table Swansea City in the FA Cup Moyes bemoaned the fact that his side was not “hard to play against.” In response he promised that United would “make it difficult” for mid-table Newcastle United. There’s nothing quite like ambition, or lack of it – a philosophy that has defined a season, to the point that the Scot had two plans in the Reds’ pivotal Champions League fixture with Bayern Munich: to not lose, but if defeat was inevitable, to not lose too badly.

23. Never being far away
“We’ve not got the Champions League next season, but I believe it is not far away,” said Moyes after United tumbled out of Europe last week. About seven points at last count. There is always the promise of jam tomorrow.

24. Pulling the wool over supporters eyes
“It is a work in progress and it will take time to get it exactly how we want it,” said Moyes this season. While a period of transition may be part of the football lexicon, and cyclical changes are frequent at the top, few expected United’s fall to be so hard. After all there are new managers at City, Chelsea, Bayern, Real Madrid and Barcelona this season. None has suffered like United.


25. Over training van Persie
Back in July Moyes admitted that he had “overtrained” van Persie “to build up his fitness” with the Dutchman joining the pre-season camp in Australia late. After two injury-free seasons in succession the striker has missed more than half of United’s games this season. “The only way to solve this problem in Jurassic Park,” said rent-a-gob Dutch fitness coach Raymond Verheijen on Twitter, “is to improve education of these dinosaur coaches, fitness clowns and scientific cowboys.” In hindsight, it’s hard to argue with him.

David Moyes, Robin van Persie

26. Risking Rooney’s health
There was never a doubt; not a single moment when United’s manager considered not playing Rooney against Bayern in Germany. Less than 30 minutes into the fixture and it was obvious the Scouser was much the worse for his “bruised” – probably broken – toe. By then Rooney was simply hobbling around the centre circle, an inhibitor to United’s performance let alone an aid to an unlikely comeback. “I thought at times he was having a struggle striking the ball.” Well DUH.

27. Risking van Persie’s health
“I think if I’d brought him off (against Newcastle) some people would say ‘What are you doing? You are 1-0 down and you’re taking off your top goalscorer,’” said Moyes back in January. The Dutchman, fresh from a month out, played the full 90 as United lost to the Geordies at Old Trafford. The striker would sit out yet more time in the aftermath, and Moyes would continue to moan about injuries.


28. Ignoring the next generation
Adnan Januzaj has made an outstanding fist of his debut season in United’s first team, although many supporters argue that the Belgian-Kosovan player would have made it under any management. Yet, the 19-year-old aside, Moyes has offered little playing time to a rash of youngsters who have otherwise been sent out on loan. Winger Jesse Lingard, as one example, could hardly have done more to earn a shot at a place in Moyes’ team. He has spent the season excelling at Birmingham City and Brighton & Hove Albion.

29. “I wanted to give everybody a chance to play”
… said United’s manager more than once this season. Except, of course, he hasn’t – Wilfried Zaha, Fabio da Silva, Anderson, Nani, Shinji Kagawa, and Hernández will attest. You get the picture.


30. Thrashed by Liverpool – twice
“We did a lot of things right,” said the Scot after United’s tame 1-0 defeat at Anfield last autumn. Except score a goal – or even threaten to. Even Moyes did not have the brass balls to make a similar claim as United conceded three to the same opponents at Old Trafford last month. Defeat to major rivals might be worth a P45 in its own right at many clubs throughout Europe.

Manchester United, Liverpool

31. Thrashed be Manchester City – twice
“It is one game,” said Moyes after Manchester City thrashed United 4-1 at Eastlands in September. “There are plenty more to come and plenty of time to fix it.” Except it wasn’t one game, not even nearly, with United losing more than a dozen games across the season, including all four against City and Liverpool.


32. Negative tactics
Parking. The. Bus. It’s just not the United way. Nor did it work against Bayern unless, unlike Rant, you witnessed a United victory in this season’s Champions League quarter-final. Yet, it is not just the two-legged defense-minded strategy employed against the German champions that has frustrated – Moyes has sought a safety-first approach all season. It has brought United just 56 goals in the Premier League – 19 fewer than at the same stage last season.

33. Playing football by accident
At Newcastle, Januzaj, Juan Mata and Kagawa combined to provide a flexible, vibrant attacking performance rarely seen under Moyes. It was a fluke. Not that the trio lack talent – far from it – but that they were deployed in tandem at all. Januzaj was overlooked for Ashley Young at the start, while Kagawa and Mata enjoyed more central roles only because Rooney and van Persie sat out the game. There was a similar pattern at Crystal Palace and West Ham United.

34. So few goals
It is a facet of Moyes’ negative approach, United’s direct style, injuries to key strikers or a combination? Either way the blame lays squarely at Moyes’ door, with United failing to match rivals scoring patterns this season. Liverpool has scored 34 more goals in the Premier League, and City 28. At Old Trafford the Reds have scored just 22 times – that’s as many as Stoke, and fewer than West Ham or Swansea City.

35. Long ball nonsense
There have been times when United’s approach this season has mirrored the classic long ball sides of the 1980s – Wimbledon, Cambridge United and Sheffield United. True, Moyes has not instructed Old Trafford’s ground staff to grow the grass longer, nor lay sand in the corners, but direct United undoubtedly has become. In defeat to Stoke at the Britannia, as one example, United launched 47 long balls forward into the swirling Potteries wind. Just 13 found their target.

36. Lack of entertainment
It’s not just about goals though. United’s style under Moyes has rarely brought supporters to their feet. Save for those few matches where United’s more creative players have been unleashed, the Reds functional style rarely seems to excite. Will it improve if Moyes remains at the helm? History and logic dictates this is unlikely.


37. Under-using Hernández
The little Mexican has his critics and plenty of limitations, but the striker is the most ‘natural’ goal-scorer in Moyes’ squad. In a season when United has struggled to score and the Reds’ forward line has often been static, Chicharito’s under-use borders on the bizarre. Hernández will likely leave in the summer to compound Moyes’ failure.

38. Criminal misuse of Kagawa
“They tell me he’s a good player,” declared the manager of Kagawa back in August. ‘They’ apparently didn’t let Moyes know how, or when, to use the Japanese playmaker who has spent much of the season on the bench or stuck on the left-wing. Only in the Spring, with Kagawa and Mata combining to great effect, has the former Borussia Dortmund player been used in a fashion anywhere near optimal. Only for the Japanese to be shunted back to the left in United’s biggest game of the season against Bayern in Germany.

Shinji Kagawa

39. Attempting to destroy Juan Mata
“It is like putting a learner in a Ferrari,” said one great Italian coach of Gianluca Vialli’s appointment as Chelsea manager in 1998. In a similar vein Moyes’ early use of the Spanish maestro on the right wing was akin to using an F1 car for the milk round. It might work, but you’re not receiving the full benefit. Once Rooney returns to fitness next season expect the Spaniard to be hanging around the wing once again.

40. Placing Giggs the player in exile
The Welshman may be 40, but he remains the most creative central midfielder on United’s books. The decision to exclude Giggs from so many games this season has, in the context of a potential breakdown in the relationship between player-coach and manager, appeared rather personal.

41. Failing to deal with Ashley Young
Young is not only patently of sub-prime quality, but a serial diver too. Real Sociedad, Wigan Athletic and Crystal Palace can attest to Young’s penchant for taking a tumble, yet Moyes has been unrepentant. “The referee was two yards away from it and gave a penalty,” said Moyes after the Sociedad fixture. “If you need to talk to anybody, you should ask the referee. I didn’t see an issue at all.”


42. Dressing room leaks
Sir Alex locked down internal leaks with such vigour that media and supporters alike could rarely tell insider gossip from deliberate misinformation. Not so under Moyes, where not only have certain players regularly briefed the fourth estate on team news, but political factions can be easily calculated.

43. Factions
On that subject the numbers don’t weigh in Moyes’ favour. In one camp, so the rumour goes, the ‘Everton mob’ of Steve Round, Jimmy Lumsden, Phil Neville and Fellaini, together with Patrice Evra and Wayne Rooney. In the other a large group of disaffected players, player-coaches, and former greats. You do the math!

44. That ridiculous Dubai trip
On the subject of leaks, the word on the street pegs United’s mid-season ‘warm weather training’ camp as little more than marketing activity by day and bar hopping at night. Did Moyes plan the trip? Perhaps not. But the Scot certainly sanctioned it and then empowered the lunatics to take over the asylum.


45. A little boy lost
It is an ephemeral observation, but there’s little about Moyes that inspires confidence. From United’s insipid tactics, to all those desperately strange press conferences. He is a man that appears criminally out of his depth.

46. Dividing the fans
When a small plane carrying the message “Wrong One – Moyes Out” darted over Old Trafford last month it received jeers from United’s match going public. Moyes 1 – 0 protesters. Yet, every poll conducted, from those in the mass media, to fanzines and one on Rant too, concludes that supporters are universally critical of the job Moyes has done.

47. He’s a closet ginger
Enough said, really.

David Moyes

48. That banner
He wasn’t chosen, at least not by the fans – and not by a process that any corporate on the planet would accept. That’s not Moyes’ fault of course, but he has lapped up “support” offered and given very little back.

49. Presiding over more than a dozen defeats
10 defeats in the Premier League, one in the FA Cup, one in the Capital One Cup, two in European competition.

50. Achieving all those records!

  • The worst home league form for over a decade
  • Eliminated in the FA Cup third round – it occurred just once under Ferguson
  • Three defeats in a row for the first time since 2001
  • First home defeat to Newcastle since 1972
  • First league defeat to Stoke since 1984
  • First ever home defeat to Swansea this term
  • First home defeat to West Brom since 1978
  • First time United have conceded a first minute goal at home in the Premier League
  • First time City and Liverpool have beaten United home and away in the Premier League era
  • United will finish with the lowest points tally in the Premier League era

… and yet there’s bound to be more. Add yours below!

via United Rant
Is Your Urban Garden Safe?
urban garden featured image

The beauty of adopting a more resilient lifestyle is that anyone, anywhere in the world can participate. Whether you have acres of fertile land at your disposal or just enough room for a single raised bed garden, you can grow your own food while decreasing your dependence on “the system.”

We spend a lot of time discussing different ways to maximize available space when gardening – a subject especially important for those of us living in urban areas where space can be difficult to find.

It’s also worth noting that a recent survey conducted by The National Gardening association reported that the number of Americans cultivating urban gardens has risen to 9 million people; an increase of 29% in just the last 5 years.

urban garden 1

Obviously, people want to grow their own food despite America’s great migration back to the city.

One of the most common techniques used by urban dwellers is raised bed gardening. This technique is easy to use and provides a variety of benefits including improved drainage and complete control of the growing environment.

The problem that many urban gardeners overlook is the quality of the soil.

This week, I want to look at some of the common contaminants found in urban soil as well as a couple of ways we can protect our food from these threats.

Lead, Arsenic and Cadmium

Lead is found in a surprisingly large number of urban soil samples. Even though plants don’t absorb lead through their root systems, root vegetables like carrots and potatoes can absorb lead through the skin.

urban garden 2

Other vegetables that grow close to the ground, such as lettuce, can also suffer the effects of lead binding to the outer layers of plant material.

Even thorough scrubbing may not be enough to remove lead from the surface of these plants and lead poisoning is a serious concern; especially for small children.

Arsenic and cadmium are also found quite frequently in urban soil and can have devastating effects on the human body over long periods of exposure. These chemicals are not metabolized by the body and are often stored in fatty tissue forever.

Fortunately, most soil tests screen for these three chemicals.

Other Contaminants

While soil tests can usually confirm the presence of lead, arsenic and cadmium easily, there are lots of other chemicals that may not be detected in a standard soil test.

Some examples include petro-chemical residue and industrial cleaning solvents. Many of these chemicals are known carcinogens – others can have devastating effects on our endocrine systems.

Either way, these are not substances we should be consuming. Furthermore, they definitely aren’t conducive to organic gardening practices. If chemical-laden produce is your thing, just save yourself some time and buy produce from the grocery store.

If, on the other hand, you care about the foods you put into your body, here are a couple ways to mitigate the risks of hazardous chemicals in your urban garden.

Soil Testing

Despite what I said previously about soil tests not detecting many hazardous chemicals, it’s still a relatively cheap way to get a general idea of your soil’s overall health.

Most soil tests won’t detect every threat, but you can always ask the testing agency what chemicals they do screen for.

If your soil test comes back clean, you can focus on the next tip to uncover other contaminants that may not show up in the soil test.

Do Your Homework

Regardless of the soil test results you receive, the next step is to research the history of the area where you plan on growing.

This could be in your backyard or it could be an abandoned lot that has been converted into a community garden.

Rural areas of the country usually don’t change much, but the urban landscape is much more dynamic. What could be a modern apartment complex now might have been an industrial chemical manufacturing plant 50 years ago.

By researching the history of the land where you want to garden, you can quickly get an idea of other potentially harmful chemicals that could be hiding in your soil.

How to Protect Yourself

OK, so maybe your soil test came back with high amounts of lead or maybe the research you did on your property shows that there was a large chemical spill in the area at the turn of the last century.

If this happens to you…don’t worry. There are still ways to grow your own foods safely.

Obviously, my first recommendation if there are chemicals in the soil would be to find somewhere else to garden if possible. I realize this may be easier said than done, but try to think outside the box for a moment.

We have covered indoor vertical gardening setups in the past and this might represent the best course of action when space is limited.

In last month’s issue of Resilient Strategies, for example, I detailed a new product by Flow Gardens known as the “Living Refrigerator.” Despite the high price tag of this design, it proves that anyone can grow indoors successfully while simultaneously circumventing the risks posed by chemicals in the soil.

If growing outside is your only option and you have concerns about the safety of the soil, raised beds do offer a good option.

That said, there are some extra precautions you should take to minimize the risk of chemicals leeching into your grow beds from the contaminated soil below.

Experts recommend covering the growing area with at least 3” of high-quality mulch and placing the raised beds on top of this protective mulch layer.

I might recommend even more mulch, especially if the soil is highly contaminated. By placing raised beds full of high-quality soil atop a generous layer of inert material, the risk of chemical leeching is minimized.

Just be careful not to accidentally contaminate your soil with dirt from the surrounding area.

Another thought about raised beds…take care when selecting wood for the beds. Lumber is often treated with chemicals that inhibit rotting. Unfortunately, these chemicals are easily absorbed by soil and eventually, your plants too.

I recommend using redwood or cedar for raised beds whenever possible. Both of these species are naturally-rot resistant without the use of chemical additives and represent the best choice for maintaining an organic growing environment.

 urban garden 3

Now, let’s talk worst case scenario for a minute. Your soil is highly contaminated, a vertical gardening setup is not within your budget right now and there is nowhere else for you to grow fruits and vegetables.

What can you do?

Join a CSA program. You will be supporting local farmers and getting a good deal on fresh produce throughout the year.

While this solution may not be ideal, it’s certainly better than buying produce at big box grocery stores where your food could be coming from other countries – countries that still use large amounts of dangerous pesticides including DDT.

Urban gardening is definitely a hot topic right now as people are finally beginning to realize the importance of eating healthy foods.

My intention isn’t to scare anyone interested in gardening away from doing so, but there are risks inherent to urban gardening that should be recognized before undertaking this rewarding project at home.

With a little bit of planning and research, urban gardening offers an excellent opportunity for everyone to become involved in the resiliency movement right now, but let’s take the extra time to make sure the soil is safe for planting first.

via Resilient Communities
The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie

On the trail of the phantom women who changed American music and vanished without a trace.

[Full Story]

via Longform
The term ‘hard working families’ so favored by the political and media elites is nothing more than PR gobbledegook designed to decieve.

Do any of us really identify ourselves as members of "hard-working families"? As a rhetorical label used by Labour politicians, it is not winning votes, as critics have pointed out. In a country where 70% of us still identify as working class, most people would agree with Len McCluskey that “ordinary, working class” is a better description of the majority of voters.

“Hard-working families” implies we’re only entitled to citizenship (or, as the Tories would have it, the odd game of bingo) if we can prove we’re working our fingers to the bone. But no one can work all the time: if you’re a pensioner, a single parent, sick, or there is no work to be had, then you’re in trouble. And most of us know this, because we’re related to them. Sit my extended family around a table and you’d have white- and blue-collar workers, the sick, the old, people in council housing, and families with two cars and a nice house but large debts to pay for them. This is replicated all over Britain. There is no static “underclass” and neither is there a robust middle class: instead, there are a lot of people who have to work for a living and, because of that fact, choose to identify as working class.

There’s another reason why the appeal to “hard-working families” is an empty abstraction. Most people don’t see hard work as a virtue. They identify as working class because they have to work, not because they want to. Two recurring conversations within my family and among the people I spoke to for my book The People are what they’d do if they won the lottery, and how they can afford to spend less time at work and more with those they love. This is a sensible attitude. Hard work causes stress, poor health and early death. And hard work has never solved poverty. We work longer hours now than we’ve done for 50 years, yet the gap between the rich and poor has never been wider.

The real history of the working class is of avoiding working for “them” any more than is necessary. That desire shaped collective campaigns throughout the last century, such as the TUC’s demand for holidays with pay – a fight finally won in the late 1930s. It was an aspiration that also galvanised workers in ways we don’t often hear about. The desire to control how much time was spent working for other people’s profits provoked thousands of men to try to get into reserved jobs in factories during the second world war, to avoid armed service: not because they were cowards, but because fighting in 1914 had brought no benefits for ordinary people.

During both world wars millions of women used the expansion of munitions work as a means of escaping domestic service, which paid poor wages and often demanded a seven-day week. In 1945 Labour’s guarantee of full employment and a welfare state won the party millions of votes. But the real gains of the postwar years were delivered by ordinary people themselves. It was they who mobilised to improve working conditions and, importantly, to reduce the amount of time they spent at work. The workplace militancy of the decade after 1968 was provoked by workers’ frustration that, despite technological innovations, low pay made them reliant on overtime in order to afford a holiday or a car.

People aren’t afraid of hard work. It was the understanding that people wanted more control over their time that drove the Tories’ electoral successes over the last century. Grammar schools were initially popular with parents who hoped an education would offer their postwar babies what apprenticeships offered an earlier generation: a set of skills that would prove an important bargaining tool, something they could use to negotiate with employers, or to set up on their own.

Similarly, in 1979 Margaret Thatcher’s promise to make it easier for people to strike out on their own, regardless of their background, by starting their own business and owning their own homes proved very appealing. But promises of social mobility and self-preservation have failed, because only a few can ever possess the wealth and opportunity in a capitalist society. Grammar schools didn’t increase most people’s opportunities, bankruptcies rose in the 1980s and owner-occupiers suffered record levels of repossession in the 1990s and are burdened with huge, unsustainable debts.

Solidarity, on the other hand, has delivered important victories. Over the past century these have included better working conditions, shorter working hours, an expanded public sector that gave us better jobs and care, democratically controlled housing and free education. Working-class people’s ability to mobilise politically has been attacked by the state, but the desire to help each other out has not died – it’s just that its only outlet is now in worrying about children’s and grand-children’s uncertain futures. Parents are aware that their homes, cars and savings for their children’s higher education rely on a highly insecure labour market, in which permanent contracts are elusive.
By showing that collective effort can bring huge gains for all of us, the left could justify the redistribution of income and property, which is the only way to create a truly classless society. Utopian maybe, but less ludicrous than suggesting that “hard-working families” can overcome the inequality perpetrated by a powerful elite determined to hang on to their privilege.

By  Selina Todd, author of The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class 1910-20

First published here.

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

[Full Story]

via Longform
The Undertones - Peel Session 1979

The complete session recorded by The Undertones on 22 January 1979 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on 5 February 1979.


1. Here Comes The Summer (0:07)
2. Family Entertainment (2:06)
3. Listening In (4:46)
4. Billy’s Third (7:04)

via Vibracobra23
Open letter to Sajid Javid, the new Culture Minister

Dear Sajid Javid

We’ve never met, but that’s because I work in ‘Culture’ and you have spent most of your adult life so far in banking.

It’s very difficult to see from your Wikipedia entry or from the kind of information put before us by Huffington Post (see my previous blog) how you’re qualified to do this new job at the Ministry of Culture.

My experience within the cultural field, whether as a writer, performer and broadcaster, or as a keen consumer, is that this country is very ambivalent about ‘culture’. That’s to say, it’s very convenient for politicians to make loud noises about the importance of this or that big cultural figure - Shakespeare, Beethoven and the like - but very difficult for them to acknowledge or support the thousands of ways all of us create and consume culture in small groups, locally, and - more recently - in digital forms.

This is not just about money - though that is of course important - it’s about an attitude to people. Either we think that everyone has the potential to produce art, or we don’t. Either we think that everyone is entitled to have access to all kinds of art, no matter how pricey that art was to produce, or not. As yet, we don’t know which side of this divide you sit.

But while we’re on about money - this is a peculiar time, isn’t it? You’re an ex-banker who made millions during the fatal bubble of the early 21st century. You were at a bank that has been fined for rate-fixing. You know all about this kind of money.  The fact that people like you got up to all sorts of greedy lending and fiddling is why we’re in the crisis.

And yet the party you belong to keeps telling us that the reason why we’re in the crisis is because ‘we’ spent too much money on health, education, social services, benefits and - yes - culture. Anything that was paid for out of taxation seems to have caused the crisis, according to your party. Lies, all lies, but that’s the sort of ‘culture’ we have to put with from your party.

So, I’m very curious about how you’re going to explain why ‘Culture’ will have to take a hit from the Treasury even as you are someone who benefited from the false boom, the very same boom that caused the crash…and to continue the chain…which is what has given your party the excuse to slash public services and cut waged and unwaged people’s standard of living….and further enrich the mega-rich.

Perhaps you’re mad keen on culture. Perhaps in between making all that money,  you were hanging around galleries, theatres, cinemas, concert halls, comedy clubs, libraries, dance studios, painting classes. Perhaps you’ve seen how people manage on a shoe string, perhaps you’ve seen the awful conditions backstage in many theatres, perhaps you know about the crap wages that most people in the arts work with. Perhaps you know about the terrible crisis we have in libraries, depriving people of access to knowledge and culture.

If you do, you’ll know it’s a very, very different world from the outrageous, lavish, crazy world you lived in while you were at Chase Manhattan and Deutsche Banks.

No matter you are of working class origin and your cultural background is a million miles from the Etonian toffs, you are now part of the class (yes), that runs the ludicrous world of the mega-rich gamblers who have caused millions of people across the world to lose their jobs and welfare.

So I’m not holding out any hopes.

Michael Rosen

via Michael Rosen