IT MUST be a confusing and unsettling time for Americans. How awful for you. Welcome to the party. Where the fuck have you been until now?
I don’t have any advice for you. As one of your former colonial overlords, it’s not really my place to tell you how to vote. The best I can come up with is: Make America Great Britain Again.
Obviously, as someone who inhabits the same hemisphere as all you paranoid, gun-crazy, passportless halfwits, I have a view – for what it’s worth: Hillary is your only rational choice. Trump is an obvious nut case. You can only blame yourselves for this lack of meaningful choice – but why would you listen to me?
And whoever you vote for, the government wins, right?
Wrong. Whoever you vote for, Donald Trump wins. If he doesn’t end up in the White House, he gets to establish a rabidly right-wing media empire that will make Fox News look like the Hari Krishna Love & Enlightenment Channel.
The former is unthinkable, the latter merely unpleasant – but at least he doesn’t have his tiny little man-child finger on that big, red grown-up nuclear button. My advice? Just turn the fucking channel over and count your lucky stars, like the rest of us.
However, ahead of Tuesday’s vote, I’ve taken it upon myself to better inform your decision-making process by passing on the accumulated ‘wisdom’ of a lifetime’s record collecting. In our post-truth world, it’s probably as good as any other voting advice you’re likely to get.
Funkadelic’s superlative funk masterpiece One Nation Under a Groove adapts the Pledge of Allegiance into a superfunky rallying call for all of us to dance our way out of our constrictions.
The 12-inch single I have – original 1978 shit, natch – has two versions running at around five minutes a side, allowing you get to get fully immersed in the healing power of the Funk. Like the man said, feet don’t fail me now. Sadly, you have to wonder if America has ever been further away from the unity portrayed in this shit-kicking funk jam.
Taken from Rudimentary Peni’s world-changing 1981 debut EP, Black President clocks in at a little over a minute. The anarcho-gothfathers’ trademark unhinged but controlled fuzzy, thrashy punk rock sound is turned all the way up to 11.
There’s a bit at the very start of Black President where singer Nick Blinko ponders the choice for US voters in 1980 – Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan – and says: “Peanut farmer, B-Movie actor” and I swear it sounds a bit like he saying “Obama”. Explain that, doubting Thomi.
Having recently read about some of the things the recently-dead Pete Burns used to say to people in Probe whose tastes – in music, clothes, hairstyle etc – he found objectionable, I’m a little disappointed to say I don’t recall him saying anything to me when I bought Heaven 17’s (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang off him on a trip to Liverpool in 1981.
Then again, I had great taste. A barnstorming electronic soul number that was aimed squarely at the dancefloor, (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang’s mystifying call to “unlock that funky chain dance” is accompanied by a distinctly unambiguous reference to “Reagan’s President Elect, Fascist god in motion”, leading the BBC to slap on playlist ban on the single when it was released.
I still have my original copy and it still sounds fantastic. I also discovered this inspired Fire Engines cover from some Peel session.
Kinky Sex Makes the World Go Round was one of the highlights of the Wargasm anti-war compilation on Pax Records. I was given the album by the enigmatic Marcus Feartherby, the guy who actually compiled it, when I interviewed him at his home in Doncaster in 1983. You get all the glamour jobs when you edit your own zine.
In a precursor to Jello Biafra’s later spoken word career, the track takes the form of a telephone conversation – phone sex might be a better description – between the singer, playing the oily “Secretary of War, at the State Department”, and someone doing a very good impression of an aroused Prime Minister Thatcher, backed by the banging Dead Kennedys track, Bleed For Me.
“We have a problem. The companies want something done about this sluggish world economic situation. Profits have been running a little thin lately and we need to stimulate some growth ..”
And finally, my American friends, if you need any more guidance as to the right course of action this fateful Tuesday, I can only refer you to the clarity of the artistic vision of Mark E Smith and the Fall on CREEP.
Coming from the late early Fall period, when Brix Smith softened the sharp angularity of the Fall’s sound with a big chunk of bubblegum, liberally applied, CREEP features some fantastic Claus Castenskiold sleeve art, and the droning, repetitive, mesmerising (and actually even better) Pat Trip Dispenser on the flip.
CREEP, named after the Commission to Reelect the President (the shady Nixon administration cabal whose slush fund directly paid for the services of the Watergate burglars), finds a chipper MES going on about “his oppression abounds, his type is doing the rounds, He is a scum egg, a horrid trendy wretch” – leading to the seven or eight people who gave a shit one way or the other at the time the song was released in 1984 to believe it was about Morrissey.
But Smith, who has got previous form when it comes to eerily prescient lyrics, goes on to say: “From the bright sun, he came one fine morn, Populist as well, in his class at least, But then came real age, and for that we all must pay. And for that we all do pay.”
I know. Spooky. It gets worse.
“And he wants world peace,” sings MES. “And for that we all must pay.”
Remember America. Your vote counts. Vote early and vote often.