Mark Steel

Celebrating the Everyday as Radical Rap Goes Global

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When politicians want to confirm how magnificently out of touch they are with the real world, they'll make a comment about current music, probably hip-hop.

Some have complained that rappers are to blame for making teenagers violent, although surely if violence could be caused by music about violence, Tchaikovsky must have caused mayhem with his 1812 Overture. Nineteenth century Europe must have been awash with drive-by cannonings, and soldiers snarling "Prussian mothafuckah".

Even worse are those who try to embrace hip-hop, such as David Cameron, who you expect soon will tell us: "My shadow cabinet crew is well sick and ready to mash up Labour. You get me?"

When Getting it Wrong is Part of the Job Description

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Who'd have thought the day would come when the police spoke with affection about the IRA?

But the official police line now appears to be, "You have to realise we are facing an entirely new threat. Today's terrorists are far more dangerous than the IRA, you know." They seem on the verge of saying, "At least the IRA had manners. Our surveillance teams noted that when procuring weapons they'd say, 'I'd like a pound of your finest Semtex PLEASE, and I bid you a fine afternoon sir'." Maybe this explains why so many of them blew themselves up with their own bombs.

A Country Divided Against Itself

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There's more radicalism in Nashville than you might think.

Country music, it ought to be agreed, can't be cool. Teenage kids in the Bronx are unlikely to rob passers-by for their Nike stetson, and you wouldn't increase your chances of getting into the most prestigious nightclub in town if you stood in the queue with a pedal steel guitar.

Comedy: Behind Byron's Bear

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Pat Stack asks socialist comedian Mark Steel about his new TV series The Mark Steel Lectures

Pat Stack (PS): Where did the idea come from for the series?

Mark Steel (MS): I had a radio series in the mid-1990s with the same format. I thought, ’There is a way of doing these talks that has jokes in but doesn‘t deviate from the subject.‘ It doesn‘t necessarily send up the subject. These sort of historical events are funny to anyone who‘s not an academic.

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