October 2011

Angelic Upstarts

"The Murder of Liddle Towers"

One of the all-time great protest songs, “The Murder of Liddle Towers” by the Angelic Upstarts. Liddle Towers died in a holding cell, possibly due to police brutality, and yet no one was ever charged. This Oi! Punk classic was the only justice ever meted out.


The song seems particularly appropriate this week, as Marine veteran Scott Olsen lies in the hospital with a fractured skull after being shot in the face with a tear-gas canister after the police broke up Occupy Oakland. The unintentional result of a chaotic situation? Hardly. As you can see in the following video, riot police deliberately waited until other occupiers gathered to help Olsen where he lay bleeding on the street, and then tossed a flash-bang grenade into their midst:


Deliberate, callous, criminal violence- which in all likelihood will never result in charges against anyone. In the face of oppression and brutality, what weapon do we have except the truth? In the words of the Angelic Upstarts:

What a Wonderful World


The music of the Ramones always makes me feel happy and joyful and filled with life, from their early classics like “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” up to later stuff like “Warthog” and “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg,” and even covers like “Needles and Pins” or bizarre parodies like “The KKK Took My Baby Away.” They all seem to give me this happy feeling, and the Ramones is the band I go to when I want to cheer myself up. Joey Ramone's version of “What a Wonderful World” is the perfect example, even if he didn't do this one with the rest of the band.