Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

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with one comment

Photographer: Martin Jenkinson

Photo: Martin Jenkinson

Calvin Allen is a Researcher with a UK trade union. He lives and works from home in Perth, Scotland.

Posts and comments on the blog are my own observations and do not commit the union I work for in any way.

Outside work, I’m Associate Editor of the South-East Europe Review for Labour and Social Affairs and a fan of Reading FC. I also have a large, rapidly extending music collection ranging from Africa to the Caribbean and taking in indie pop, soul and jazz on the way. Oh, and Bruce Springsteen, too.

On the stereo: Dr. Feelgood‘s Stupidity. I caught Oil City Confidential, the documentary of 70s pub rockers Dr. Feelgood, on BBC4 last month. I immediately dug out my copy of Stupidity, the band’s third, live album, digitised it and have been listening to it ever since. Lee Brilleaux’s half snarled, half-spat vocals, and gritty harmonica; Wilko’s guitar, with a tone so sharp you’d get a nick if you stand too close to the speakers, and his manic stage presence; and a rhythm section solidly locked together to provide the artistic canvas – the Feelgoods were as good as it got in those dark, dark days of disco before punk came along and saved us all. Check out the pure simplicity of ‘I’m A Hog For You Baby’ (complete with one of the world’s greatest more or less one note guitar solos) and ‘Roxette’, both from the ‘Southend’ side of the album, and remember those nights when, if you stood in one place too long, your feet held fast to the carpet, stuck with the residues of spilt, stale beer.

If you get a chance, watch the documentary, too – honestly put together, with contributions from the three surviving band members, as well as Lee Brilleaux’s wife and mum, it tells the story of the band with verve and affection. Some great clips of the band in action, too. But it’s Brilleaux’s mum who steals the show; her filmed interviews call to mind Shirley’s delightful mum in the excellent Citizen Smith but the untimely loss of her son (to cancer, in 1994) has affected her deeply.

On the coffee table: Rosie Alison’s The Very Thought Of You.

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Written by Calvin

13/05/2009 at 12:02 pm

One Response

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  1. Calvin,

    Good idea to do something like this, it is always good to hear about other peoples experiences and views from different companies. Sometimes we can be a bit isolated within our work communities and this will enable people to be better informed.
    Approve of Bruce, there’s a fair bit of social comment in his music.

    Andy Sherwood

    04/06/2009 at 11:21 pm


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