It’s a helluva time to be working on any kind of building if you happen to be employed by a corporate construction behemoth either directly or subcontractually, we’d have thought. The sprawling pile that is Americana-UK Towers was fortunate enough to be constructed in more enlightened times by a workers cooperative of brickies, navvies, chippies and sparkies – so none of that one hundred and twenty day payment window malarkey. Nope – we coughed up the readies every Friday night in those special little manila envelopes that you used to get with your name written on it in biro (tax and NI deducted at source of course). Oddly it seems that nowadays ‘value for money’ means ‘contract it out of house at all costs’ whether or not it actually makes financial sense. There’s always The Tax Payer and his/her seemingly endlessly deep pocket to bail out a poorly run private concern with a suicidal approach to procurement. We reckon the best thing we can do is build some sort of religious structure, as Bill Munroe suggests here, and pray that things will be alright…
We like a good railway journey. In fact we like it so much that we had a funicular railway installed at Americana-UK Towers so that we could ascend from The Bunker to The Towers in proper style. Its operators, Sayid and Benin, are fully paid up members of the RMT and ASLEF respectively so we can rest assured that we are in good hands Health and Safety wise. Funny thing about the railway(s) in this country is that they are privately operated – funny because publicly owned rail systems in other countries (cf: France, Germany, The Netherlands) invest in ours and yet EU rules state that we aren’t (at present) allowed to nationalise our own. Its also odd that this system actually costs us more than if we owned them as state enterprises. On top of that some of us find it hysterically funny that there’s just been another above inflation hike in rail fares. “Funny”, as we say. On the bright side you can’t find a rabid right wing hate rag of a newspaper to read for love nor money. If you ask us we need a new Railroad Bill to go through Parliament ensuring that the railways are operated in the interests of those who actually use them…i.e. all of us.
At Americana-UK Towers we are somewhat divided about the festive season. The opportunities for falling out with each other are manifold – the correct ratio of gin to Campari to vermouth in our Negronis, whether sprouts should be considered an actual foodstuff and which Christmas tunes to play on the jukebox are just some examples. However after erecting our tree in The Bunker and given a liberal sprinkling of tinsel and cocktails we have settled on this as representative of our Christmas mindset. Thank goodness for Ray Davies…
At Americana-UK Towers we don’t really have much truck with party politics. Granted we believe ourselves to be progressive in our outlook but essentially we pick and choose ‘policies’ according to our individual and collective wants and needs. Naturally when we repair to The Bunker things get a little reactionary – you try being holed up in a confined space with several other people whose sole purpose in life is to find banging tunes to listen to whilst getting very, very drunk. You see the conundrum. Recently we had one of our “GAS GAS GAS” drills (i.e get down to The Bunker and leave all and sundry behind as quickly as possible) and whilst waiting for the All Clear, news reached us that ‘the government’ (small ‘T’, small ‘G’ by design) had decided that Universal Credit claimants would have to wait for their money over the forthcoming festive season. It’s a five pay day month, apparently. So, y’know, sing for it you fucking paupers they appeared to say. We are not with that. We are not with the constant chipping away at the life prospects, life enhancements or sheer life possibilities of those folk whose only fault is not having enough money available to them to live anything like a comfortable life. Things seem to be taken away bit by bit. And, of course, every little bit hurts.
Fairly soon there is to be a major celebration which happens at the same time every year. Here at Americana-UK we fall fairly evenly into two camps – those that consider it the most wonderful time of the year and those that consider that we have fallen under the jackboot of emotional fascism. Obviously our differences are settled as soon as we repair to The Bunker for pints of sweet sherry and crème de menthe chasers. We were surprised to learn that one major retailer had come under fire for having the temerity to suggest it was ok to partake in the celebrations if you were other than white (and we assume Christian). How sad. This tune makes us feel better.
We were intrigued this week when all of the talk was about paradise and papers. Obviously Americana-Uk Towers is its own little paradise and The Bunker is an oasis of calm in a world of madness. That said we do like to pay our taxes and Vaclav and Tomasz, who put the bunker in for us, are fully unionised and known to the tax authorities. So we are squeaky clean. The duty-free we consume is fully above board and needn’t concern anyone else. What we can’t help wondering though is that if everybody (including the super-rich) paid what they morally owe then how much better it would be for us all…350 million for the NHS anyone? Nothing is new under the sun we like to say and this little ditty from well over thirty years ago somewhat proves our point.
Insulated as we are deep in the bunker of Americana-UK Towers from the worst effects of modern life we can’t help but be deeply troubled about the reports reaching us of abuse. Abuse, it seems, that has become rife in all areas – politics, entertainment, you name it. Is it just men perpetrating this? Probably not. Is it mostly men? Probably. How utterly depressing. We have a simple message: just stop it, show some respect, grow up, stop giving the rest of us a bad name. This then is for you, whoever you are (with added Portugese subtitles for no reason whatsoever)
When we came round from the effects of one of our all too regular Bacchanalia some months ago we were surprised to find that we had decided to divorce our partner(s) in the European Union. The UK in our moniker Americana-UK is more of an advisory description of geographical location than a statement of nationalist intent so we could, potentially, have been Americana-EU. No matter – we are sure that people know what they are doing other wise they wouldn’t have put that stuff on the side of a bus in order to trigger our parting. As far as our limited view from The Bunker will allow this is what we assume is happening: Continue reading “Pick of the Political Pops: Paul Simon “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover””
The vast majority of the statuary here at Americana-Uk Towers is dedicated to our Glorious Leader/Editor in Chief and we can’t see that history being revised anytime soon. Even the small shrine in the furthest corner of The Bunker dedicated to him features a small maquette of his likeness so we are well used to seeing his fairsome and fearsome visage around the place. Our interest was piqued then when we heard that certain statues in certain places (the southern USA for example) were to be removed since they no longer fit a modern view of history. We are planning a referendum on the matter of our own public art and will let you know the outcome when our Glorious Leader says we can. Meantime we have been mulling on the musical history of “The South” and were reminded of this little ditty in which the protagonists seemingly support a segregationist governor and don’t give a hoot about the anti-democratic wrong doings of a right wing president (in a place called Watergate). Perhaps fortunately the meaning of the song has also been subject to some ‘revision’ of its own (according to research) and we can now hopefully, politically correctly, tap our toes to what is a nice little tune. And of course laugh along with well known prankster Mr. N. Young.
Down in the bunker we are, of course, shielded form the worst effects of inclement weather, plagues of locust and snotty folk spreading their horrible germs. This is how we filter our world. That said we like to keep up with current affairs and given that the architect of our bunker was a Gaudi devotee we are feeling the situation in the as yet/possibly to be announced People’s Republic of Catalonia. “Let’s have something Spanish this week” one wag commented on his way to our fulsomely stocked bar. Ignoring the fact that in Barcelona they speak Catalan and not Spanish we, of one accord, suggest this. We are also ignoring the fact that it’s actually a Cuban tune rather than Spanish . That’s two fails. And, in a spectacular fail all of its own it was originally written as a love song not the nationalist/revolutionary anthem that it has become. Lucky for us the bunker impenetrable to all dissent and we just do as we please. The best thing is that this has been an ‘easy listening’ hit in, amongst other places, the USA and was once memorably covered by the great protest singer Pete Seeger. Here then is an earworm for you that you’re not going to get rid of anytime soon: