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The Amazing Life of Ant D - Page 3

  • Leaving The Labour Party

    Today I have made the leap and left the Labour Party. I have been a member of the party since I was about 16 and have been affiliated with the party as long as I can remember. Before I go into the whys and wherefores I will point out that my ideologies have not changed and I am not ruling out rejoining the party at a later date it is just that for now I do not feel comfortable giving money to the organisation.

     

    OK so my history with the Labour Party, I was born into a Labour household, my mum was a long term Labour member, Dad is a Labour Councillor and my Godmother is an MP. Growing up my friends were all mainly from Labour supporting households, I was well and truly immersed. Somewhat naively throughout my youth I did the tony-blair.jpgbiddings of the local Labour party whether it was delivering leaflets or entering data onto a computer database and I do not regret this getting Labour into power in 1997 was a great success and the party did many great things when in power in Northern Ireland, devolution and welfare changes. 

    Things though have changed, I studied politics both at college and then University. I have since learned and seen first hand the dark side of politics in the UK and around the world and with that I have become politically at least much more of a pessimist. I went into University thinking a life in politics was the life for me, I came out not so sure. 

     

    Anyway to the party we see today, my decision to leave is based on the fact that I really see no tenable option as to who I would like to vote for as leader. Normally I am very much the advocate of it doesn't matter who the leader is as we are lucky in the UK to have a party system, not presidential but times are changing with this leader vote comes a choice of which Labour party we will see come out the other side.

    corbyn.jpgNow with Jeremy Corbyn, although I did not vote for him in last year's leadership election (to see why see here) I was sympathetic to his ideals and to a large extent I still am. I am an old fashioned socialist at heart but I am very pro EU and I understand that there is a need to compromise with the right of the party to find a solution for all. I cannot side with Corbyn though as he has shown a lack of ability to compromise and a stubbornness which is not in the interest of the party or the greater population. Unfortunately as well, though not entirely his fault, there is a large portion of his support who are not playing by the rules. 

    Owen-Smith.jpgAs for Owen Smith (and the majority of the PLP) I can see their point of view, Corbyn has become a laughing stock of late and probably has become un-electable and Smith seems to have some good ideas, encompassing some of the better arguments from both left and right of the party. Of Course though there are the negatives, my initial complaint is the way in which this leadership campaign has been brought about, despite a disdain for Corbyn that the majority of the PLP has he does have a mandate to lead based on the votes of the membership. To create a coup and call for a new leader is saying that the party don't care what the membership want and that is not good for democracy. The polls and likely outcome of the election prove that Corbyn is want the membership want. Also like that of the left, the followers of this movement have also been nasty as well if in a more passive aggressive way often portraying themselves as the victims whilst posting stories of how awful the left is.

     

    Now realistically neither side will get the party elected any time soon as despite the Tories being a complete mess, the Labour Party has managed to make them look like a pillar of strength and so we are destined to be ruled over them for a decade as they take us out of Europe and build the UK into USA v2.0. I have seen this debate cause arguments between friends and family with both sides shovelling negative propaganda down the other sides throat and rarely offering any positive solutions to the problem. Neither side are willing to compromise in the slightest and thus I don't see what I can do but remove myself from the situation and wait for the party to implode in on itself from the outside. Until then I will keep myself busy with individual campaigns rather than party politics and maybe somewhere down the line try and help rebuild a party from the inevitable split that is just over the horizon. 

  • 5 Years

    Ok so I don't on the whole like to get in with too much Social Media emotional posting as realistically a few thumbs up 229392_6737826561_9263_n.jpghere and there really aren't going to change my life a great deal but today I feel I need to do something. This post is for me, for me to read in another 5 years to see how I was feeling but also for all the people who miss Sheila Draper, my wonderful mother.


    As the title suggests it is 5 years today since we lost her and it hasn't been easy. From the first few weeks of constant tears and horrible dreams to the emotional Birthdays and Christmases. It is true though with every passing year, although it doesn't get better,  day to day life does become easier to deal with. Special occasions though I feel will always be 1936265_105237247405_854871_n.jpghard. I mean in those 5 short years a lot has happened, most notably for me starting my career, promotions, proposals, marriage, my first home and most recently my first step onto the property ladder. These are all milestones that I always assumed she was going to be there for but at least I know she would be proud. 

    There are all the future milestones too that I hope to achieve over the coming years and I know I will muddle through but I just wish she could see them. I know though I am lucky to have had her for the time that I did, she was as perfect a role model as I 1915202_105836946093695_6859685_n.jpgcould have ever asked for and with dad have given me the grounding for the person that I have become thus far. I don't want to get into an homage about her life her but this is the woman who when faced with the difficulties of having a child with severe disabilities, a relatively rare disability that in 1985 was little known about, rather than feeling sorry for herself she set up a community of people to help and support each other to look after their children, The CHARGE Family Support Group which is still running and helping families today.

     

    1934372_102372409773482_1894368_n.jpgAnyway on this day I remember the great times we had and although I am sad they 26883_10150102734360637_21571_n.jpgare no more I am so so grateful for what I got. 

    I love you

  • Best Albums 2015

    Here it comes, the big list that everyone is talking about, Ant D's top 10 albums of 2015. For me 2015 was a good year musically, it saw a lot of my favourite artists returning with albums some of which were expected, some were surprises and one was the most highly anticipated album of my adult life.. Of course there were some disappointments and some pleasant surprises thrown in, I mean Justin Bieber's album was a bit of a winner but unfortunately for him not quite list worthy, so jumping straight in.

    jack-u-album-cover1-560x560.jpg10. Jack Ü - Skrillex & Diplo Presents

    OK, so maybe some Bieber got in, but only one track on probably my most surprising entry in this years list. Where are Ü now probably is my favourite track on the album but there are a number of really great collaborations with the likes of AlunaGeorge and 2 Chainz. I was sceptical on first listen but I just kept going back to it and re-listening. A really good dance record, good enough to keep the likes of The Skints, Carl Barat and Grimes out of the top 10.

     afdb29105bdd965c238e8e79b86a4ba8.jpg9. Circa Waves - Young Chasers

    This album from the Liverpool four piece was one of my hot tips for the year and on the whole it did not disappoint. From Circa Waves you know what you will be getting, a two and a half minute guitar driven Indie rock song and luckily for them that is pretty much exactly what I like though this album can get a bit samey if played through in one session. Amazingly on this debut 8 of the 13 tracks were released as singles albeit over the last 2 years. Very solid.

    847591c45b02d623699d4336e97fc565.jpg8. FFS - FFS

    This year has been so strong musically that when this collaboration between Franz Ferdinand and Sparks (Hence FFS) came out in the early parts of this year I was convinced that it would be a top 3 album but here it is languishing at number 8. It is by no means a classic piece of musicianship but as you would expect with both bands that are part of the project it is quirky and fun. I can't claim to know much of Sparks' back catalogue but this is definitely a fine addition to that of the Franz boys. Particular favourites include Johnny Delusional and Piss Off. 

    a488562845ffe3375487cf9594a788f3.jpg7. Wolf Alice - My Love is Cool

    Wolf Alice are a band that I had been keeping a close eye on for the last 2-3 years from their initial releases Bros and Fluffy which both appear on the album. Though last year it appeared they had taken a far heavier approach and so when My Love is Cool was released I didn't expect to be overawed but it was clear from first listen that I would be proved wrong. The album encompasses both their heavier and lighter material and combines them well into a very listenable record which was rewarded by a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize which unfortunately it did not win despite being amongst the favourites.  

    7a6bc81b4c9bc5a3e69df89a2d06a6a8.jpg6. Drenge - Undertow

    Drenge were 2013's surprise package but this year I was ready for it, the two piece have expanded to a three but still manage to keep the intimate sound that made their debut one of my favourites that year. The Loveless brothers have produced another album that I just had to keep going back to over the course of the year with the track Favourite Son my personal stand out. Its weird and rocky and great!

    ee0d3e3cefb21f8fcc8bd48cdd6b621b.jpg5. Palma Violets - Danger in the Club

    This album despite going in at number 5 on my list unfortunately has to go down as a little bit of a disappointment after their debut which was easily my favourite release of 2013. Danger in the Club was an unexpected surprise this year and of course did have some very good tracks on it including the title track Danger in the Club and Gout! Gang! Go! but this recording just didn't match up to their live performances. When I saw the band live just after the release the tracks sounded great but the intensity of the bands stage performance again has not been caught. Obviously at number 5 on my list it is still very much worth a listen but I would advise you to see the band live to get the real experience.

    5da24e470c12ef1cd0aef12203eadff7.jpg4. Many Things - Burn Together 

    This debut from the relatively unknown 3 piece (formerly 4 piece) has a special place in my heart. Lead singer Michael Tomlinson formerly fronted Australian band Yves Klein Blue who were brilliant, go listen so when I heard he was in a new London based band I couldn't wait to see them but the first time I did, me and my mate were the only 2 people excluding band and venue staff in attendance. A couple of years down the road and I have seen them play to full venues  and being fully appreciated. The only downer on the album for me was that I knew all but one song on the record and that I recognised from the live performances but I love it nevertheless. Dear one and Alpha Romeo will always be my favourites.

    FT_psfnp_700.jpg3. Frank Turner - Positive Songs for Negative People

    Despite the awful album cover this is a great album, Winchester's finest is back to his best. PS4NP as it has been abbreviated is Turner's 6th Studio album and my favourite since his 2nd Love, Ire & Song. PS4NP does what it says on the tin and is filled with upbeat folk songs about life actually being pretty good and this is epitomised by my favourite track on the album Get Better. Mr Turner also released a compilation album this year to commemorate 10 years of his solo career and I can't see him stopping any time soon. His song writing isn't revolutionary in style (although occasionally in subject matter) but he continues to release great records. Long may it continue.

    44d12126c870e647d91e4b0d9ed2dcdc.jpg2. Everything Everything - Get To Heaven

    This is the London 4-piece's 3rd Album and in my opinion their strongest to date at least it is the one that I have found most listenable straight away. With the bands two previous releases it has taken me a little while to warm to them whereas this hit all the right spots straight away. This was in no doubt helped by their performance that I witnessed during the week of release, it was amongst the best live shows I saw this year. A mixture of Indie and electro with often bizarre lyrics gets you through all emotions, being both hilarious and heart wrenching in places. Live No Reptiles was the stand out track but on CD I prefer Regret but there is not a miss throughout the 11 tracks.

    828cade7c941aaac3a7efa6700c712db.jpg1. The Libertines - Anthems for Doomed Youth

    Was there every any doubt that this was going to be the number 1 on my list? Easily the most eagerly awaited album of the year and frankly the most eagerly awaited in my lifetime. The Libertines have been my favourite band since 2004s eponymous The Libertines album and after the break up of the band shortly after I thought I would never get another but 11 years down the road and along came Anthems for Doomed Youth. Its true my anticipation was about 50/50 fear and excitement as it really could have gone either way with addiction afflicted front men, a look back at Carl and Pete's releases since the last Libertines record show that it really can be hit and miss with these two. Luckily though from the first few chord of Gunga Din, the first single off the album I was hooked. It was brilliant, different from old but wonderful nevertheless. The quality didn't falter as singles were released in drips and drabs until September and the full release. Out of my 10 most listened to tracks of the year, 6 of them are from this album, a resounding success and the video for Heart of the Matter although hounding is art at its finest! If you haven't listened yet you are a fool.

     

    There you have it. Sorry that the number 1. was so predictable but The Libertines are just the best band ever! No discussions about that it is just fact. Maybe I am getting soft but I am not even going to award any wooden spoons this year, there was no album that I was expecting things from that I didn't enjoy at least partially. Don't get me wrong I am sure there were plenty of bad albums out there.. actually now thinking about it I did listen to VV Brown - Glitch and struggle to make it through to the end but I was hardly expecting that to be ground breaking as she's not done anything I've liked since 2008.

    Another year over another just beginning and already a few confirmed releases that I am looking forward to. See you next year for more of the same.

    END