Monday, May 22, 2017

A 1976 playlist

In lieu of a proper post today, a growing playlist of the cream of the charts of '76 (at least in this blogger's opinion). No reissue, no Christmas singles, alright?

Abba - Dancing Queen 
Abba - Money Money Money
Joan Armatrading - Love 
Average White Band - Queen Of My Soul
Biddu Orchestra - Rainforest

David Bowie - Golden Years
Johnny Cash - One Piece At A Time
Tina Charles - I Love To Love
Brass Construction - Movin'
Can - I Want More 

Chicago - If You Leave Me Now
Paul Davidson - Midnight Rider
Detroit Spinners - Rubberband Man
The Fatback Band - Night Fever (no, not that one) 
Bryan Ferry - Let's Stick Together

Fox - S-s-s-Single Bed 
Emmylou Harris - Here, There And Everywhere
Isaac Hayes - Disco Connection
Juggy Jones - Inside America
Elton John - Pinball Wizard

Elton John and Kiki Dee - Don't Go Breaking My Heart 
Gladys Knight And The Pips - Make Yours A Happy Home
C W McCall - Convoy
George McCrae - Honey I
Steve Miller Band - Rock N Me

The Miracles - Love Machine
Mistura featuring Lloyd Michaels - The Flasher
Mud - Shake It Down 
Walter Murphy - A Fifth Of Beethoven
Osibisa - Sunshine Day

Dolly Parton - Jolene
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
Cliff Richard - Devil Woman
Diana Ross - Love Hangover
Sailor - Glass Of Champagne 

Boz Scaggs - Lowdown
Lalo Schiffrin - Jaws
Sensational Alex Harvey Band - Boston Tea Party
Silver Convention - Get Up And Boogie 
Candi Staton - Young Hearts Run Free

R And J Stone - We Do It 
Donna Summer - Love To Love You Baby
Johnnie Taylor - Disco Lady
10cc - Art For Art's Sake
Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak 

Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back In Town 
Johnny Wakelin - In Zaire
War - Low Rider
Wild Cherry - Play That Funky Music 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Swiss Family Roadtrip: Captain Fantastic

When we were driving through rural California back in 2015 on the way to Yosemite, we were struck by how easy it would be to just disappear in the vastness of America.

Dropping out in Britain is compromised (with the possible exception of northern Scotland) by population density -  the counterculture is social by necessity as much as by inclination. In the US, there's little to prevent you going full Walden, if that's what you want. 

And in last year's film Captain Fantastic, that's exactly what Ben and Leslie Cash thought they wanted.

NB mild spoilers and mention of mental illness and suicide follow.

Turning their back on the dominant culture, they raise their six children in deep seclusion in the forested fastness of Washington state. Their aim: to raise philosophers and athletes in the style of the Ancient Greeks, able to cite the Bill of Rights as readily as they can run miles through the forest. 

Writer/director Matt Ross manages the feat of taking this project as seriously as they do themselves, while also acknowledging the comedy inherent in a family who give their children one-of-a-kind new age names (Vespyr, Rellian, Bodevan) and celebrate Noam Chomsky Day in lieu of Christmas.

Captain Fantastic is a film about the collapse of this rural utopian dream through the mental illness and death of mother Leslie and the family's resulting, reluctant but pragmatic compromise with American society. Rugged, brooding, heartfelt - though not without lightness of touch - it's a very Viggo Mortensen kind of film.

And he excels himself in the lead role of grieving patriarch Ben Cash, driving down to New Mexico with clan in tow to disrupt Leslie's (profoundly, inappropriately traditional) funeral. A kind of Swiss Family Roadtrip, if you like. The kids are great too, played by the juvenile cast with just the right mix of precocity, naivete and presumption you'd expect of children raised by latter-day Rousseaus.

The film walks a nice line between critiquing the idea that one can change the world simply by retreating and raising the next generation apart from it, while also showing up the limits and ignorance of modern techno-culture. It doesn't trade on broad strokes or easy answers though; it's a small film about parents with big ideas and is all the better for it.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Spring into action [PUN KLAXON]

With thanks to my colleagues and the E-campaigning forum, I'm just scrap-booking some interesting links and resources here to create an impromptu reading list.

Unless indicated otherwise, linking does not indicate support, endorsement or the adoption of a resource as my philosophy of living. :)

Community organising

Betsy Hoover's TED talk on community organising

Change Agency guide to community organising

Unlocking Networks - a resource for developing and getting the most from peer-to-peer networks.

Directed network campaigns

An interesting report from NetChange about balancing central direction and bottom-up participation in campaigning.

E-mail activism

Free report from More Onion about how you can make your e-mail activism aimed at MP's and other decision-makers as effective as possible.

More More Onion reporting: supporter journeys and how to automate them

And a contrasting voice about the limits of e-activism.

Mobilisation Lab archive

Where all their regular updates on campaign innovation can be found.

Facilitation resource banks, hints and tips

Training For Change
Conscious Collaboration
Seeds For Change
Radical Think Tank

The long view

Friends of the Earth look at lessons from campaigns throughout history. A nice companion piece to this is an ACEVO report making the case for charity campaigning in the here and now.

They call him The Ponderer

Tom Baker is The Thoughtful Campaigner (see for example his thoughts on leadership in campaigns or on campaigning in coalition)

48 Campaign Strategies? So close to Paul Simon, but not quite 

Thanks, Chris Rose

Or: More Onion on unconventional tactics.

Stories and listening

Great article on Open Democracy by Simon Hodges about respectful relationships being a key criterion for persuasion. See also Outrageous Impact on a similar topic.

Teamwork and coalitions

Creative coalitions: a handbook for change
How Google Docs became a key tool for social justice

Old school

Common Cause report on value-led campaigning

Health-geekery May 2017

There's been so much going on since my last round-up that I'm just going to steadily accumulate links here as I find time to go through them in my inbox.

As usual, inclusion doesn't necessarily mean agreement, merely interest.


New drug licensed in America for the treatment of MND (the MND Association's research blog) 

The news broke at the Association's regional conference for people with MND and their families last Saturday in Liverpool. This event also coverered campaigning and awareness-raising: you can watch my colleague Colin Morris give a sneak preview of Awareness Month in June followed (from about 16 minutes) me introducing an absolutely barnstorming speech by local campaigner Debbie Williams on the MND Charter.


NHS left reeling by cyberattack in the Guardian (and a warning from Silicon from December 2016)
Labour now support a moratorium on STP's
Recruitment crisis in nursing (Grauniad again)
National Voices editorialise on health stats from IPSOS global trends report
Naylor Review of NHS estates summarised by The Whitehouse Consultancy.


Nice bit of infographery for the local elections and the General Election in Wales from Deryn

The third sector and the General Election:
Disability Rights UK
National Voices
Disability Benefits Consortium
Action Duchenne
Terrence Higgins Trust
Health Foundation
Nuffield Trust

Disability rights

Equality and Human Rights Commission reviews disability inequality in Britain: a journey less equal.


Snapshot survey from the RCP finds that doctors across Wales were struggling to cope with NHS winter pressures
Public Health (Wales) Act passes into law - some provisions about accessible toilets particularly relevant from a work perspective but lots more in there.
Extra money available for social care.

Health and social care campaigning

Responses to a question I asked in various places about campaign heroes (unsung and otherwise). Thanks to everyone who suggested candidates. 

Transforming mental health in Lambeth (via Nesta)
Roy Lilley
Self Directed Support Scotland
Dr James Fleming and Green Dreams (link to more about social prescribing here via the College of Medicine)
Anya de Iongh (the Patient Patient)
The Campaign To End Loneliness
Peer-to-peer behaviour change campaigns like Club Soda and others.
Unison's Care Charter
Save Lewisham Hospital
Mencap annual health checks campaign

Cat on a Mondrianesque background