Wednesday, August 10, 2011

London Calling… (updated)


London calling to the faraway towns
Now that war is declared and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls…

-The Clash

For me, London has always been an early indicator for cultural trends as well as wake up calls. This was expressed culturally via music and fashion, but also mimetically and… collective unconsciously. Although the British invasion was influential, it was David Bowie, followed by the Punk scene that ignited a fire in me. I’m talking The Swankers (aka: the sex pistols) and, of course, The Clash.

Early Punk, circa: 1976 was an important cultural milestone in that it became a viral subculture that spread around the globe and quickly evolved into a number of different forms. The history of punk plays an important and pivotal part in the history of subcultures in the 20th century. The London form was fueled by anger and the emerging dominant attitude of the late 20th and early 21st century… cynicism.

That attitude continues to this day… which brings us to current affairs. Rioting in London's Tottenham neighborhood erupted following protests over the shooting death by police of a local man, Mark Duggan. Police were arresting him when the shooting occurred. Over 170 people were arrested during the ensuing nights of rioting, while Neo-Droogies gutted several stores and torched buildings and cars. The disorder spread to other neighborhoods as well, with shops being looted in the chaos.

Current events in London has my spidey senses tingling. The sync between Mark Duggan’s last name and the term "droogie" used to denote the street gang in a clockwork orange only scratches the synchomystic surface. The unrest and anger in London is more of an indicator of global conditions, as it effects the industrialized (post industrial) West, than it is a protest over police brutality. All is not well on either side of the pond. The Evil Empire is straining to the breaking point under the heavy load of the New World Order. London is the “canary in a coalmine” for the modern world. The UK is burning… young Londoners are waking up… while that sleeping giant, the US… reaches for the snooze alarm.

The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Engines stop running and the wheat is growing thin
A nuclear error, but I have no fear
London is drowning and I… live by the river!

-The Clash
Updated on August 17th...
Meanwhile, as London and surrounding cities catch their breath, the 17 members of the European Union are in turmoil. As more member countries teeter toward the need for a fiscal “bailout” to stabilize their economies, the very foundation of the euro-zone is threatened. Some members are calling for Greece, Portugal and even Italy to pull out of the EMU for the good of the Union and the continent.

The situation (desperate as usual) is also an indicator of the global changes taking place. Widespread unemployment in the US, the UK and Europe are indicators that traditional jobs no longer exist. The “powers that be” have out-sourced these occupations, and no longer require the services of their populace.

As a greater percentage of our citizenry no longer has a place in the “new-yet to be defined” global economy, unrest and anger… as demonstrated in the streets of London… will naturally continue to escalate. This will of course spark paranoia in the minds of the henchman of the “powers that be”… aka: Government. As this comes to pass, we must be mindful of the sarcastic sentiment expressed by playwright Bert Brecht…

“If the government doesn’t trust the people…
why doesn’t it dissolve them and elect a new people?”