Thursday, September 30, 2010

Layer 357 . . . Carlos Santana, Clapton, Great Guitarists, Higher Consciousness, Divine Communication, Cleaning Out the Stables, Fairness, Will Hutton and the Road Ahead


Listening to Carlos Santana play is a good way to start any day, To hear him playing on the news-heavy Today programme on R4 this morning was an unexpected treat. Carlos is a phenomenon. His style is unique. Who else plays what can only be described as Latino blues/rock? From the very first time I heard Santana's first album - played at volume in a Ferrari howling along the autoroute from Provence to Paris back at the end of the 60's - I've loved Carlos, his band and his music. I may have mentioned this before.

Carlos is in Britain to play at the O2, and has a new album called Guitar Heaven. (See Layers 354, 280, 279, 196, 180 ) He played, and shot to fame, at Woodstock in 1969. It's been quite a journey. The fortunate few who have a ticket to hear him play at the O2 tomorrow, for his only London gig on his current European tour, will no doubt have an unforgettable experience.

On the Today programme he spoke about the 60's counterculture ideals - peace, love, and the end of war. He described his Woodstock experience as 'deliciously scary and exciting', and his music as 'African rhythms in a different rainbow of colours and sounds - sensual dance rhythms'.

Carlos recalls the Beatles' 'Revolver' album as marking the beginning - 'the ground zero' - of a 'consciousness revolution'. "Music and art that is genuine, heartfelt, true and earnest makes you believe or at least dream that you can make a difference to the world." On the other hand, "Religion produces the opposite of a higher consciousness".

The interviewer said Carlos is in the very top category of guitarists, alongside Hendrix and Clapton. (Should have added David Gilmour)

The track featured in Today's interview was "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" - already mentioned in Layer 354. On YouTube and Spotify.


Released this week, and already available on Spotify, is Eric's new album - 'Clapton'. Check it out - it's his first since 2006.


In Our Time - The Delphic Oracle.
Melvyn Bragg

A divine communication?


The Shadow Cabinet and the Way Ahead

So - David Mili has decided he's not going to stand for election to the shadow cabinet. Quelle surprise!

This is good. As the Heir to Blair he's really not wanted on voyage any more, especially as he's yet to acknowledge the bad stuff that New Labour did, unlike his brother.

The really great thing about Ed's speech was its very honest listing of all New Labour's failings. We had to have that before we could start believing in the fresh start and the New Generation stuff.

The one thing lacking in Ed's speech - the really glaring omission - was any mention of the bad stuff they did to the public services with their targets and league tables and their bureaucratic market-oriented MBA management culture. This was particularly so for education. This has still to be dealt with.

The other stuff was there, though - much to TweedleDave's dismay:

the lack of any care about inequality, increasing the gap between rich and poor,  failure to re-regulate the City and financial services, failure to prevent the property bubble, continuing to privatise public services, PFI, no concern for work-life balance, damaging civil liberties, failure to support a proper solution for Palestine, the Iraq nightmare, failure to introduce Proportional Representation or at least the Alternative Vote, failure to complete reform of the House of Lords, failure to promote proper businesses and industries, and above all any care about redistributing prosperity, tackling low pay, and introducing a living wage.

The basic failure of New Labour was its adoption of Thatcherism Lite, and its repudiation of socialism and any concern with building a fairer society.

Will Hutton has a new book just out which focuses on the central issue of 'fairness'.

As Britain grapples with the recession and a vast public debt crisis, what direction should the country take? The economics commentator Will Hutton asserts that Britain’s fundamental economic, political and social problems can only be tackled by increasing levels of fairness. In his book, Them and Us, Hutton argues that Britain has paid a high price for running its capitalism unfairly and sets out an approach which he believes combines libertarian and egalitarian principles. The financial, media and political systems need reforming, and the required changes should be based on a firm moral framework with fairness as the guiding principle.

Them and Us: Changing Britain – Why We Need a Fair Society is published by Little, Brown.

The way ahead had been identified. We now need a detailed road map.

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