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A Dark Day for Independent Music and Film
August 9, 2011 2:29 PM   Subscribe


 
WHAT THE WHOLE FUCK
posted by penduluum at 2:31 PM on August 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wow, I hadn't even considered this.
posted by BungaDunga at 2:31 PM on August 9, 2011


.
posted by interrupt at 2:32 PM on August 9, 2011


Because the music that they constantly play, it says nothing to me about my life.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:33 PM on August 9, 2011 [15 favorites]


Ninja Tune! Not Ninja Tune!
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:33 PM on August 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


Christ, what a giant mob of assholes.
posted by Madamina at 2:34 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hang the DJ.
posted by joe lisboa at 2:34 PM on August 9, 2011


Christ, what assholes.

Hope that I hear something if there are any smaller labels affected by this that need to move a lot of digital sales really quick to keep operating.
posted by silby at 2:34 PM on August 9, 2011


Holy shit.

The trouble with anarchists is that they think they're on one side of a class war when in fact they're on the complete opposite side.
posted by GuyZero at 2:34 PM on August 9, 2011 [13 favorites]


I think that companies that were not insured may still be able to claim damages under the Riot (Damages) Act of 1886.

That doesn't make this less fucked up, though.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:34 PM on August 9, 2011


Huh? I thought it would be the warehouse's insurance, not the labels'. Really?
posted by neuromodulator at 2:35 PM on August 9, 2011


Who the fuck builds a warehouse without fire suppression?
posted by schmod at 2:35 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hope that I hear something if there are any smaller labels affected by this that need to move a lot of digital sales really quick to keep operating.


Online retailer Boomkat is suggesting that you buy digital downloads directly from the labels.
posted by alexoscar at 2:38 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm not usually much for corporal punishment, but I sort of want to punch all the rioters in the crotch.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:39 PM on August 9, 2011


This is a business loss, not a culture loss. Neither music nor musical talent is lost to this.
posted by NortonDC at 2:40 PM on August 9, 2011 [29 favorites]


The trouble with anarchists is that they think they're on one side of a class war when in fact they're on the complete opposite side.

The people who set set fire to this warehouse aren't anarchists, by any definition.

They are, however, assholes.
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:40 PM on August 9, 2011 [17 favorites]


We are anti-riot now? Just asking. I can go either way, just let me know.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:42 PM on August 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


Also, this:

"These riots are not cool," tweeted U.K. chart-topper Jessie J.

might possibly be the greatest sentence of all time. I love so many things about it.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:43 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not cool man.
posted by Divine_Wino at 2:43 PM on August 9, 2011


Alas, poor Warp.
posted by benzenedream at 2:43 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


This article has a list of affected labels at the end of it. I would especially like to draw your attention to Finders Keepers (better descriptions and samples here). Please help keep the 1970s Catalan psych/prog reissues flowing.
posted by Adventurer at 2:44 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is a business loss, not a culture loss. Neither music nor musical talent is lost to this.

There may not be any immediate culture loss, but business loss may translate into future culture loss; it may mean less awesome musicians can afford to make music full time for a while.
posted by aubilenon at 2:44 PM on August 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


NortonDC: This is a business loss, not a culture loss. Neither music nor musical talent is lost to this.

Some musicians on these labels are 1) making more music because of financial support, or 2) are only being heard because of these labels (namely some stuff on Finders Keepers). These are semi-boutique labels, catering to specific crowds (and supporting those scenes).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:45 PM on August 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


Sony needs to take out some serious anti-asshole insurance lately.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:46 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]




This is a business loss, not a culture loss. Neither music nor musical talent is lost to this.


Some of those labels were providing a platform for music that nobody else was providing. That's where culture happens. The artists aren't much if nobody hears them.
It is really, terribly sad for fans.

But it seems fickle to sympathize with desperate, nihilistic rioters when they're burning a starbucks and then turn on them when they burn our obscure vinyl. You just can't rest a police state on top of economic uncertainty, a massive surveillance system and an increasingly dissatisfied public, and expect things to go well for anyone. The kind of storm that brews is not a precise, targeted, politically articulate weapon.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:48 PM on August 9, 2011 [55 favorites]


a warehouse without fire suppression?

A determined foe can burn any building regardless, fire is good like that.
posted by stbalbach at 2:50 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sony needs to take out some serious anti-asshole insurance lately.

Insurance companies won't insure someone against themselves.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:52 PM on August 9, 2011 [8 favorites]


A friend just made this Facebook page - spread the word. Also this (from the still-active London riots thread.
posted by iotic at 2:55 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


The trouble with anarchists is that they think they're on one side of a class war when in fact they're on the complete opposite side.

So the anarchists are actually hedge fund managers and that's why a warehouse was burned down?

That makes sense.
posted by scody at 2:59 PM on August 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


The RIAA estimates the losses at approximately 300 hillion jillion dollars.
posted by dr_dank at 3:00 PM on August 9, 2011 [99 favorites]


The insurance issue seems to be that even the insured labels are insured for the cost of the physical production of their CDs and LPs and such, but now they have basically zero stock to sell now. They can recoup the physical cost, but without any cash flow from retail, they expect to find themselves in hard times over the next few months until they can build their inventory again, to say nothing of lost back catalogues that might not be worth reprinting.
posted by Schismatic at 3:01 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bleeding Cool has put together a list of affected indie film distributers with links to places you can buy digital copies while they restock their inventories.
posted by permafrost at 3:04 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, shit.

That is pretty much the worst.

My heart goes out to all those folks. I hope they can find a way to recover.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:05 PM on August 9, 2011


The problem with buying MP3s from these companies is that those of us in the US may not be able to buy direct from the labels. There's plenty of stuff I'd love to buy digitally from UK providers and simply can't get because of regional sales restrictions.
posted by immlass at 3:09 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, won't the artists themselves find the full cost of the loss charged against their earnings if they're paid off the net earnings?
posted by buggzzee23 at 3:14 PM on August 9, 2011


My goodness, it's not just mom & pop stores and small businesses getting sacked and put to the torch! Now that hip records are going up it might be serious.

The people who set set fire to this warehouse aren't anarchists, by any definition.

Well, it did say Sony on it. In Oregon, Starbucks are in peril whenever the anarchists fight the man. Big companies, man...
posted by codswallop at 3:36 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


More from Pitchfork: "Nothing's going to be sold for months, and I don't know what will happen. There's no way of distributing records. My back catalogues are all gone. I can't afford to get another run done for older releases. Everyone's going to have to think about the next few months. It's a reminder of how on a knife edge these things are – some labels and shops are going to be really affected by it. It just shows how precarious the indie thing is."
posted by scody at 3:38 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is a business loss, not a culture loss. Neither music nor musical talent is lost to this.

Artists don't work in a vacuum; they need infrastructure which supports them and helps them reach their public. That's the difference between an artist on a sympathetic (typically small) label who get what they're getting at and help them achieve it and an artist on a label who see them as a generic unit of "talent" or try to fit them into a pre-packaged marketing template. And if these small labels go out of business, artists' opportunities will decrease.
posted by acb at 3:40 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, it did say Sony on it. In Oregon, Starbucks are in peril whenever the anarchists fight the man. Big companies, man...

That's probably anti-capitalists, rather than anarchists, although I imagine there's a fair amount of overlap. And it's possible that these riots were used as cover... but it's possibly as likely that someone saw "Sony" and thought it would be full of widescreen TVs and Playstations.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:45 PM on August 9, 2011


aubilenon - at least for the "less awesome musicians" this is good news.

seriously - secretly canadian - that's my favorite indy label. sigh.
posted by carlodio at 3:49 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


>> Some of those labels were providing a platform for music that nobody
>> else was providing. That's where culture happens.

Labels are not where culture happens, they are where the business exploitation of culture of happens.

>> The artists aren't much if nobody hears them.

I can hear the internet from here.

The labels were born to overcome the difficulties of mass distribution of recorded music, and we have much better solutions now. The music industry could go poof tomorrow, but music and culture would persist.
posted by NortonDC at 3:50 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been looking at the BBC Before & After pictures.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:50 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


We are anti-riot now? Just asking. I can go either way, just let me know.

Apparently we are, at least up until a building full of indie/downtempo records is affected, then civil unrest is just gauche.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:57 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Domino has Animal Collective. This is a damn tragedy. Is there anywhere with a full list of the bands effected?
posted by Chipmazing at 3:58 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


it seems fickle to sympathize with desperate, nihilistic rioters when they're burning a starbucks and then turn on them when they burn our obscure vinyl.

Good thing I was never that sympathetic then.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:58 PM on August 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


These aren't 'desperate, nihilistic rioters', these are brutal young thugs with IPhones and two hundred quid trainers burning other people's property because it's fun and looting everything they can because the police are so stretched they can get away with it. Romanticising these twats is ridiculous. Next month someone will post about how terrible it is that inner city areas are bereft of shops and clubs and facilities and blame everybody but the morons who burned them down and stole their stock and drove their owners away.
posted by joannemullen at 4:05 PM on August 9, 2011 [18 favorites]


> Labels are not where culture happens, they are where the business exploitation of culture of happens.

Not many musicians whose back catalogs just got razed are inclined to prefer the brave new frontier of self-promotion on the internet in lieu of the income they could have made off of all those warehoused CDs and LPs they had up until this week.
posted by ardgedee at 4:05 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


it seems fickle to sympathize with desperate, nihilistic rioters when they're burning a starbucks and then turn on them when they burn our obscure vinyl.

I'm exactly as sympathetic as I was before, which is to say that of course there are riots, and as usual, it's a shame that the nature of rioting means that they rarely happen anywhere near the people who are responsible for the conditions that made them thinkable, and also I'm glad I don't have a grandma in one of the relevant areas. I just don't want these labels to go out of business, because I like having access to records, and I like it when artists get paid. Did I pass?
posted by Adventurer at 4:09 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe if they had viddied a bit of the ludwig van, they might have felt differently.
posted by gimonca at 4:09 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I suppose this is a risk when you try to scrape a few pennies off your distribution costs by centralising & outsourcing your logistics. Why there was only one single central hub with no redundancy in the network is beyond me, but hey, it's the cheapest model to manage.

I'm sure it made perfect business sense to the labels' executives at the time, when the PIAS sales reps presented the compelling savings in a series of animated powerpoint slides. Minus, of course, the slide about risk.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:10 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


As if a million hipsters cried out in pain... and were suddenly silenced...
posted by emperor.seamus at 4:10 PM on August 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


The labels were born to overcome the difficulties of mass distribution of recorded music, and we have much better solutions now. The music industry could go poof tomorrow, but music and culture would persist.

We have better solutions for artists that are already so big that they don't require promotion. The others are working day jobs with no insurance so they can tour and occasionally sell a record. Imagine how many Beach Boys records we'd have know if Brian Wilson had to work at an Arby's or temp at an insurance company or something in 1965.
posted by Adventurer at 4:12 PM on August 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Maybe if they had viddied a bit of the ludwig van, they might have felt differently.

You don't viddy the old Ludwig Van, you vonny gloopy bratchny. You slooshy him.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:13 PM on August 9, 2011 [20 favorites]


The revolution will not have a soundtrack.
posted by hal9k at 4:14 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


The RIAA estimates the losses at approximately 300 hillion jillion dollars.
posted by dr_dank at 3:00 PM on 8/9
[20 favorites +]

I'm always up for a good anti-RIAA joke, but most of these labels are indies that aren't members of it. For example, Ninja Tune, Matador, Soul Jazz, Secretly Canadian, Domino, Warp, XL, Drag City, and Sub Pop aren't.
posted by lisa g at 4:18 PM on August 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


I suppose this is a risk when you try to scrape a few pennies off your distribution costs by centralising & outsourcing your logistics. Why there was only one single central hub with no redundancy in the network is beyond me, but hey, it's the cheapest model to manage.

I'm sure it made perfect business sense to the labels' executives at the time, when the PIAS sales reps presented the compelling savings in a series of animated powerpoint slides. Minus, of course, the slide about risk.posted by UbuRoivas at 4:10 PM on August 9 [+] [!]


Maybe they couldn't fit all the zeroes.

I mean it's London, not fucking Baghdad.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:19 PM on August 9, 2011


Labels are not where culture happens, they are where the business exploitation of culture of happens.

I'm sure it made perfect business sense to the labels' executives at the time


It's not just mom & pop stores and small businesses getting sacked and put to the torch! Now that hip records are going up it might be serious.

These are, for the most part, small labels. Sure, there a few big ones here -- Domino, for one -- but most of the 150 are tiny, specialized boutique labels. Most of those have only a few employees (and some have only one: the owner). Only the 150+ even have people that could be called "executives." These are small business. These are "mom & pop" operations.
posted by alexoscar at 4:20 PM on August 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


*one a few of the 150+
posted by alexoscar at 4:21 PM on August 9, 2011


The revolution will not have a soundtrack.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada should still be available.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:22 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Count me among the skeptics here, but I'm not sure I understand the "loss". Did these labels not have digital masters somewhere else (internet, other warehouses, etc.) ? Sure, losing the entire stock of your label hurts, (and I agree with others- don't they have insurance? Doesn't the warehouse?) but shouldn't they be able to just press a few thousand CDs and cases? It's not as if they were warehousing unique collectibles.

I understand that a label or two might go out of business here, but wouldn't their artists find a new label?

Maybe I completely don't understand the music industry.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 4:23 PM on August 9, 2011


Sweet! So are all my 4AD, Rough Trade, Warp, Wax Trax, etc rekkids now super rare?
posted by spicynuts at 4:25 PM on August 9, 2011


The issue is that even if they get the full value of their inventory from insurance - which is not guaranteed - they lose their cash flow in the short term. And a loss of short-term cash flow is all it takes to kill a small business.
posted by GuyZero at 4:26 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe they couldn't fit all the zeroes.

I mean it's London, not fucking Baghdad.


Rioting aside, is a serious fire not a risk in a warehouse? I'd think it is.

Any serious IT organisation, to give an example from a different industry, will have at least two separate data centres, explicitly for disaster recovery purposes, in case of catastophic failures like fire, flood or earthquake.

If the labels put all their eggs into the one basket in a race to the bottom dollar, by signing up for a network with no redundancy, then they've made their own bed. With a basket of eggs in it. All trampled & crushed from the race.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:28 PM on August 9, 2011


You're absolutely right, UbuRoivas. Each label should have secured their own separate warehouse somewhere in London, so that they could be burned all the same.
posted by ardgedee at 4:35 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


Has every single warehouse in the UK been burned down? I must be behind on the news.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:37 PM on August 9, 2011


> Who the fuck builds a warehouse without fire suppression?

Who the fuck builds cities without suppressive fire? After the Mahdist rebellion Kitchener laid out Khartoum as a grid of Union Jacks so all the streets could be raked by machine guns from emplacements in the middle of every eight-street plaza.

("there is no contemporary evidence to support" this claim, sniffs wikipedia. I first read it in a book of publication date 1927 so the story was current at least by then.)
posted by jfuller at 4:40 PM on August 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


Fuccccccccccck.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:40 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Very few companies can afford geographic redundancy for IT. It's way more expensive than you think. And redundancy for physical warehousing is probably a lot harder than IT.
posted by kmz at 4:41 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


At least Side One Dummy is okay.

Seriously this is horrific.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:42 PM on August 9, 2011




I would especially like to draw your attention to Finders Keepers (better descriptions and samples here). Please help keep the 1970s Catalan psych/prog reissues flowing

Shit, I ordered a copy of Welsh Rare Beat just last week.

These aren't 'desperate, nihilistic rioters', these are brutal young thugs

There's a difference, you dimwit?
posted by octobersurprise at 4:44 PM on August 9, 2011




I suck today. Sorry.

As much as I hate this as a music fan, I want to sympathize with fucked up, desperate youth. I was watching Misfits last night and was thinking that these kids - fucked up and forgotten by the system - would be in the middle of the chaos.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:50 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Armstrong was awaiting word on exactly how much inventory the label had in the PIAS warehouse, but estimated it could be as much as 20,000 units. In September, the label will have a relatively big release from the Gaslight Anthem side project the Horrible Crowes. As of Tuesday afternoon, Armstong was hoping the new product never made it to the PIAS warehouse.

I'm going to pretend that this isn't the thing that's hit me hardest about the riots, and then I can pretend I'm not a horrible human being.

I suspect there's a conflict between the 'punk' ethos and punk records being burnt.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:54 PM on August 9, 2011


I want to sympathize with fucked up, desperate youth.

I want to sympathize with fucked up, desperate youth, too. I may even sympathize the reasons that drove the anger of some of the initial rioters (police brutality, as I understand). But when it comes to burning shit down, I save your sympathy for the people who get their shit burned down, not the ones doing the burning.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:59 PM on August 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


your s/b my
posted by octobersurprise at 5:00 PM on August 9, 2011



I want to sympathize with fucked up, desperate youth, too. I may even sympathize the reasons that drove the anger of some of the initial rioters (police brutality, as I understand). But when it comes to burning shit down, I save your sympathy for the people who get their shit burned down, not the ones doing the burning.


But how else do people with no other options get the mainstream media and the wider world to pay attention to their grievances?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:00 PM on August 9, 2011


But how else do people with no other options get the mainstream media and the wider world to pay attention to their grievances?

Is that sarcasm?
posted by shii at 5:02 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]



But how else do people with no other options get the mainstream media and the wider world to pay attention to their grievances?

Is that sarcasm?


Nope. Honest question. These people's lives might be more important than your Animal Collective or my Brian Fallon records.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:04 PM on August 9, 2011


As if a million hipsters cried out in pain... and were suddenly silenced...

Keep dreaming.

If the rioters had waltzed into the City do you think there would have been any riots?

It's easy to burn down warehouses and stores, your own neighborhoods, or someone else's.

Seats of financial power?
posted by Max Power at 5:07 PM on August 9, 2011


But how else do people with no other options get the mainstream media and the wider world to pay attention to their grievances?

Storm city hall? Burn down some fucking government buildings? Burn down the presses for the Daily Mail?

Looting high street shops isn't a political statement, it's just petty crime.
posted by GuyZero at 5:12 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


But how else do people with no other options get the mainstream media and the wider world to pay attention to their grievances?

You're assuming that the rioters had riot worthy grievances. Hell, the local Labour MP insisted that the rioters were not true representatives of his area.

Anyway, mainstream media just wants good television and this is it. And even here in the blue the rioters/aggrieved youth are not winning a lot of friends or influencing people.

If the rioters had waltzed into the City do you think there would have been any riots?


Well, there was bank window smashing back in the City in 2009 when folks were protesting the G20 Summit, and that too started out as peaceful. And today?

"Areas near the financial district were also affected by the widespread looting, RT’s Ivor Bennett reported from London."

Make of it what you will.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:33 PM on August 9, 2011




to pay attention to their grievances?

You think anyone will pay attention to their grievances now? Now they're "thugs," "criminals," "hooligans," whatever. Whatever legitimate grievances they had before is forgotten now next to pictures of burning buildings and whatever hope they had of having those grievances addressed is gone, up in smoke, literally. And, and, now the neighborhoods they, and everyone else who might have had similar grievances, live in, are gone. Now everyone's lives are shittier!

how else do people with no other options get the mainstream media and the wider world to pay attention to their grievances?

Maybe you march on Parliament, maybe you start your own political party (easier to do in the UK than the US), maybe you go on reality TV, maybe you bring down the government. But, really, if you genuinely believe that haphazardly burning shit down is an effective way to get grievences addressed, then you should either stay away from politics or look for work as an agent provocateur.

posted by octobersurprise at 5:40 PM on August 9, 2011 [12 favorites]


Oh, for an edit window ...
posted by octobersurprise at 5:42 PM on August 9, 2011


Bold but true, octobersurprise.
posted by vibrotronica at 5:47 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


But how else do people with no other options get the mainstream media and the wider world to pay attention to their grievances? ... Honest question.

Since nobody else has answered what seems to me to be an insanely obvious question: Image

I don't think these people have "grievances". They're unemployed, but so are Japanese youth. They're just chavs. A lifestyle, elected by choice, which denies the virtues of civilized discourse, and dooms them to destroy the working society they leech off of.
posted by shii at 5:49 PM on August 9, 2011


I don't think these people have "grievances". They're unemployed, but so are Japanese youth. They're just chavs. A lifestyle, elected by choice, which denies the virtues of civilized discourse, and dooms them to destroy the working society they leech off of.

What's a "chav?"
posted by Max Power at 5:59 PM on August 9, 2011


The google gives a pretty good overview of the chav.

from wikipedia: "A chav (pronounced /ˈtʃæv/ chav) is a stereotype of certain people in the United Kingdom. Also known as a charver in Yorkshire and North East England, "chavs" are said to be aggressive teenagers, of working class background, who repeatedly engage in anti-social behaviour such as street drinking, drug abuse and rowdiness, or other forms of juvenile delinquency."
posted by GuyZero at 6:01 PM on August 9, 2011


FUCK YEAH I KICKED AN OLD DOG AND BURNT DOWN A SOUP VAN AND GOT THESE SWEET SOCKS
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:06 PM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


So this isn't like the Rodney King riots in L.A. ?
posted by Max Power at 6:09 PM on August 9, 2011


how else do people with no other options get the mainstream media and the wider world to pay attention to their grievances?

In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything:

"Yes," said the young man. "You wouldn't be talking to me now if we didn't riot, would you?"

"Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you."

Eavesdropping from among the onlookers, I looked around. A dozen TV crews and newspaper reporters interviewing the young men everywhere.'"

(source)
posted by Paragon at 6:14 PM on August 9, 2011 [21 favorites]


People still buy CDs?
posted by egypturnash at 6:37 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


So this isn't like the Rodney King riots in L.A. ?

Erm, not quite. More like Devil's Night in Detroit. Only even stupider.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 7:10 PM on August 9, 2011


You think anyone will pay attention to their grievances now? Now they're "thugs," "criminals," "hooligans," whatever. Whatever legitimate grievances they had before is forgotten now next to pictures of burning buildings
You’re misunderstanding the game theory purpose of a riot. A riot isn’t a request, it’s a demand. The message isn’t “Please do something about police brutality” but rather “stop police brutality or all your shit will get burnt down” addressing people’s concerns becomes a necessity. Your concern about the rioter’s image is based in the assumption that the state is all powerful, but riots change the balance of power.

Secondly the same thing could be said, and was said about the riots that toppled Mubarak in Egypt. Obviously the situations are not comparable (although police brutality was one of the major grievances in Egypt, I’m assuming police brutality in the U.K isn’t remotely comparable)

Rioting can be an effective method of social change, whether or not upper middle class people like the rioters or not if they are destructive enough cause real damage. The idea that you could do this without inconveniencing ‘ordinary’ people (or hipsters) is a little ridiculous.

That said in this case it might just be opportunists looking to steal crap or simply cause havoc, who knows.
Storm city hall? Burn down some fucking government buildings? Burn down the presses for the Daily Mail?
The building said “Sony” on the side. The protesters wouldn’t have known it had tons of Indy music (I’m guessing it had lots of other stuff as well.)
posted by delmoi at 7:12 PM on August 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


I suppose this is a risk when you try to scrape a few pennies off your distribution costs by centralising & outsourcing your logistics. Why there was only one single central hub with no redundancy in the network is beyond me, but hey, it's the cheapest model to manage.

Indeed. People think storing digital backups in multiple locations is a new disaster loss prevention mechanism, but storing your excess inventory in multiple, distant locations -- and avoiding keeping an excess in the first place -- goes back a long, long time.
posted by davejay at 7:33 PM on August 9, 2011


You’re misunderstanding the game theory purpose of a riot. A riot isn’t a request, it’s a demand.

Yep. Easy to forget just how much of our day-to-day lives exists as it does for the purposes of riot prevention. Professional sports is certainly a money-maker, yes, but it also serves as an aggression outlet. That's just the most obvious example, however.
posted by davejay at 7:35 PM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


In one NBC report, a young man in Tottenham was asked if rioting really achieved anything: "Yes," said the young man. "You wouldn't be talking to me now if we didn't riot, would you?"

Well, it got him on TV. I guess that's something. But take, for example, the 1981 Toxteth Riots in Liverpool. The result of nine days of rioting in the first wave was extensive looting, one person dead, 468 police officers injured, 500 people arrested, at least 70 buildings burned so badly they were razed, and 100 cars destroyed. And afterwards? Liverpool got a task force, a Heseltine visit, an acknowledgement of Toxteth's problems, some local initiatives. Liverpudlians will know better than I do if all that was worth it, but it's worth noting that in 2010 Liverpool's employment rate was still only 60.8%.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:40 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]




A few riots have had some measure of success (Rodney King riots secured a new trial, Stonewall invigorated a movement), but the majority of riots just spread violence, destroy people's property, increase police presence, and cause people to view the rioters in a negative, bestial light.

The rioters who think that they're winning because this is getting them on television are mistaken. They're not on television because people want to grant their demands, they're on television because people think they're beasts. It's frustrating that they don't have very many other legitimate outlets for their grievances, but setting buildings on fire isn't going to help matters.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:33 PM on August 9, 2011


This is a huge blow, having to actually PAY all those labels!
posted by tremspeed at 8:33 PM on August 9, 2011


The cool and modern thing for somebody more invested in this music than me to do would be to set up a nice Humble Indie Bundle-like site with links to torrents (or old skool downloads) of the albums (which are probably all out there already anyway, illicitly), and very large friendly buttons for pay-what-you-like payments that go direct to the labels in question, with explanations of why it is necessary.

Probably all illegal and impossible and hell, I'm a dreamer, me, but.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:55 PM on August 9, 2011


Criticizing warehouse owners for non-redundancy = Victim Blaming
posted by blargerz at 9:05 PM on August 9, 2011


Except it's not necessary, stavrosthewonderchicken. In your scenario the elite net hackerz are doing the work of the labels (getting recorded music to the audience), but paying the label because they are contributing, uh, what again?

Pay the artists, not the (not so) newly irrelevant middlemen.
posted by NortonDC at 9:12 PM on August 9, 2011


Right, true, I guess. I just got caught up in all the garment-rending over those middlemen getting fucked by the arson.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:33 PM on August 9, 2011


Somewhere some would-be book-burning wingnut is thinking yay! Christmas came early.
posted by homunculus at 9:53 PM on August 9, 2011


One of the recommended purchases at that Quietus link is called "The Idiots Are Winning."
posted by mediareport at 10:01 PM on August 9, 2011


Stagger Lee said: "But it seems fickle to sympathize with desperate, nihilistic rioters when they're burning a starbucks and then turn on them when they burn our obscure vinyl."

Um. Not really. We aren't fickle; we're aware these are the acts of criminal assholes. It just feels like, "Oh, HELL NAW, now it just got personal!" It may sound silly, but there you have it. Starbucks can piss off and die for all I care, with their over-priced sugar water, but a lot of those labels have helped to give our lives a killer soundtrack. A few going back almost two decades, when I was finally able to start buying my own music. I want to understand the dismissive viewpoints about the potential for losing some of these labels, but I can't. I fail to see the similarities between elite junk food and music.

I live in Seattle, and find the abundance of hipsters marching in lock-step as ridiculous as the next person, but this isn't about hipsters whining. I mean, I doubt any copies of "Don't Stop Believin' " will be affected.
posted by JLovebomb at 10:02 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]



Um. Not really. We aren't fickle; we're aware these are the acts of criminal assholes. It just feels like, "Oh, HELL NAW, now it just got personal!" It may sound silly, but there you have it. Starbucks can piss off and die for all I care, with their over-priced sugar water, but a lot of those labels have helped to give our lives a killer soundtrack.


I thought this was parody, until I reread it. Especially the Quietus link. You've got people with no hope and nothing but anger on one side and on the other you've got one of the most pretentious music websites in the world, one that reads like a parody of Pitchfork.

Not that my scene is faring much better:

Frank Turner commented on the riots and the PIAS destruction via his Twitter:

If your "revolution" involves my friends n family bring attacked in their homes, then fuck yr "revolution", fuck it right in the ear. Mind-blowingly, some people seem to be trying to justify any of this. People saying they burnt down PIAS, UK indie distributor. Oh well, there goes independent labels. Fuck.

posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:07 PM on August 9, 2011


You've got people with no hope and nothing but anger on one side and on the other you've got one of the most pretentious music websites in the world, one that reads like a parody of Pitchfork.

That's a ridiculously simplistic perspective on what's happening. There are more than two forces at work here. Reducing this down to "people with no hope" vs. "pretentious music geeks" is absurd, and you should stop now.
posted by mediareport at 10:13 PM on August 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh, and for what it's worth, it's possible to both feel awful for small struggling labels *and* empathize with this pointed link posted earlier. Personally, I like this bit:

The truth is that very few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities.
posted by mediareport at 10:16 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Huh? I thought it would be the warehouse's insurance, not the labels'. Really?

Here a building owner isn't responsible for renters loss of contents due to the building burning down. If only because they have no control of what the renters are storing. It's why renters should have renters insurance.

UbuRoivas writes "If the labels put all their eggs into the one basket in a race to the bottom dollar, by signing up for a network with no redundancy, then they've made their own bed. With a basket of eggs in it. All trampled & crushed from the race."

I imagine several of these label's compete stock would fit into a Volkswagon van. Distribution redundancy would probably lead to both on going losses from shipping stuff back and forth and customer service problems due to snafus in alternating distribution.
posted by Mitheral at 10:19 PM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Especially the Quietus link. You've got people with no hope and nothing but anger on one side and on the other you've got one of the most pretentious music websites in the world, one that reads like a parody of Pitchfork.

Yes, reading a single person's descriptions of 20 albums from several extremely different genres does tell you pretty much everything you need to know about all the people in the world who might be interested in purchasing one of those albums, especially as they relate to the team of people rioting in the UK. What's the name of your scene? Mine's called "WTF inside a blink tag."
posted by Adventurer at 10:28 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Criticizing warehouse owners for non-redundancy = Victim Blaming

Sure, in a similar sense to observing that a driver contributed to their own injuries by driving a car without airbags or seatbelts.

There are ways to mitigate risks, and concentrating all your inventory in one single warehouse isn't one of them.

Mostly though, I was just wondering how & why it came to be that all the stock for all these labels was in the one place. Clearly there are economies of scale to be gained by outsourcing to a distributor who handles a bunch of labels, and the singe warehouse would've been optimised for pick-n-pack operations aimed at both wholesale (record store) and retail (internet customer) markets. In the end, it's probably all about cutting corners & cutting costs in every way possible, in face of falling sales of hard copy music.

on preview: those are some pretty big name labels, surely more than Kombi van sized - 4AD, Rough Trade, Warp, Ninja Tune, Soul Jazz, Sub Pop...not exactly backyard operations. They'd all have hundreds of recordings in their catalogues.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:32 PM on August 9, 2011


Yes, reading a single person's descriptions of 20 albums from several extremely different genres does tell you pretty much everything you need to know about all the people in the world who might be interested in purchasing one of those albums, especially as they relate to the team of people rioting in the UK. What's the name of your scene? Mine's called "WTF inside a blink tag."

The only album I really care about this year, the Horrible Crowes album, is going to be delayed by this fire (at least in the UK). That doesn't mean shit compared to whatever anger is driving the rioting.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:34 PM on August 9, 2011


The only album I really care about this year, the Horrible Crowes album, is going to be delayed by this fire (at least in the UK). That doesn't mean shit compared to whatever anger is driving the rioting.

No kidding! What an unusual opinion you have expressed in that last sentence! Now: would you prefer that the label in question a) does go out of business in the near future or b) does not go out of business? Note: you can really really hope the business continues to exist and continue to sympathize with the rioters!
posted by Adventurer at 10:42 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


They'd all have hundreds of recordings in their catalogues.

Well, so does Merge, with some major sellers, but I'd still call them a "backyard" operation (I use them as an example because they're just up the road from me). And I'm pretty sure Soul Jazz is mostly run by a handful of folks. I mean, I get your point, but still think calling most of the labels affected "small struggling businesses" is probably more accurate than not.

posted by mediareport at 11:00 PM on August 9, 2011


those are some pretty big name labels, surely more than Kombi van sized - 4AD, Rough Trade, Warp, Ninja Tune, Soul Jazz, Sub Pop...not exactly backyard operations. They'd all have hundreds of recordings in their catalogues.

Those guys can probably power through (maybe; Touch and Go was big, and they had to scale way back a couple of years ago), but supposedly more than a hundred labels were affected, and a lot of those specialty labels press something like 500 copies per album. Buzzin' Fly, for example, lost "virtually everything."

On preview: "Beggars Group chairman Martin Mills confirmed his group had stock at the major warehouse, but said he and other larger labels would be less affected by the disaster than smaller labels because they carried stock in other locations. "
posted by Adventurer at 11:01 PM on August 9, 2011


Thank you mediareport. As someone who, last year, unexpectedly lost nearly every worldly possession I had, as well as my home and my job, and barely made it through with my sanity (which music helped me to keep hold of), naturally the first conclusion would be that I am...pretentious. I have nothing to lose, and I am certainly not lacking in anger about that, but I love music, and I am able to comprehend more than one side of an issue that fucking sucks in every way. Therefore I must be a coddled Pitchfork reader, unable to even spell Mother Jones. You're so s-m-r-t, Internets.

And by the way, I read Paste, not Pitchfork.
posted by JLovebomb at 11:16 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, fuck.
Record labels are hardly cash-cows; they're mostly labors of love from people who don't need that much money to get by on, but want to spread the word about this cool new band. It's going to be a while before these guys recover, and some of them probably never will. Messed-up.
posted by Gilbert at 1:45 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the Independent:

Walk on the estate stairwells with your baby in a buggy manoeuvring past the condoms, the needles, into the lift where the best outcome is that you will survive the urine stench and the worst is that you will be raped. The border police arrive at the neighbour's door to grab an "over-stayer" and his kids are screaming. British children with no legal papers have mothers surviving through prostitution and still there's not enough food on the table.

It's not one occasional attack on dignity, it's a repeated humiliation, being continuously dispossessed in a society rich with possession. Young, intelligent citizens of the ghetto seek an explanation for why they are at the receiving end of bleak Britain, condemned to a darkness where their humanity is not even valued enough to be helped. Savagery is a possibility within us all. Some of us have been lucky enough not to have to call upon it for survival; others, exhausted from failure, can justify resorting to it.

Our leaders still speak about how protecting the community is vital. The trouble is, the deal has gone sour. The community has selected who is worthy of help and who is not. In this false moral economy where the poor are described as dysfunctional, the community fails.


So yeah, fuck your records and movies.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 2:34 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


So yeah, fuck your records and movies.

It's not about the records and the movies. It's about the livelihoods. The vast majority of people affected by the riots are ordinary people with small businesses and ordinary jobs, often from the same backgrounds as the people attacking their livelihoods. They're hardly The Man.

Which isn't to denigrate the massive social problems, which are real. But boiling it down to "fuck your records and movies" is just as simplistic, and just as lacking in solutions, as boiling it down to "fuck those thugs and yobs".
posted by andraste at 2:50 AM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course the large majority of affected people are ordinary working decent people. That is so in every riot. Maybe this will escalate into storming the stock market and killing every soul inside (in which many are also ordinary working people) or it will die down and be forgotten.

But in the end, there has been looting and killing, and even worse, decades of dysfunction in these communities, and you are worried about records and movies.

Maybe it is a professional degeneration, but I shed no tears for the data of those who do not keep offsite backups, and for the livelyhood of those who don't insure their businesses.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:02 AM on August 10, 2011


Again, I'm not worried about records and movies. I'm worried about people. Most of the people I see in this thread are talking about the livelihoods of the people involved, not the physical items. The destruction of the records and movies (and other shops, and homes) means people are out of jobs. That creates more poverty, which creates more disenfranchised, angry, frustrated people.

I hear you about the lack of insurance. I have very strong feelings about the responsibility of insuring one's livelihood and felt much the same way about people who lost their homes in our recent natural disasters without having insurance. But the issues go way beyond that; even if they're insured people are going to have to wait ages for payout, they'll lose orders, lose business, have to sack people, etc.

I'm not saying the problems aren't real. I'm saying "fuck your records and movies" is simplistic and somewhat insulting to the discussion.
posted by andraste at 3:13 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I shed no tears for the data of those who do not keep offsite backups

I'm sure the people affected by this will be severely chastened by the fact that a random bloke somewhere or other is unsympathetic to them.
posted by Grangousier at 3:21 AM on August 10, 2011


Actually the problem they had were random blokes which were clearly unsympathetic to them.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:29 AM on August 10, 2011


Maybe it is a professional degeneration, but I shed no tears for the data of those who do not keep offsite backups, and for the livelyhood of those who don't insure their businesses.

Worth noting that this isn't about data - it's about physical media. So, "offsite backups" is a pretty unprofitable term. The vinyl presses are still around, as are the CD masters.

You can insure against the physical loss of the objects - although insuring against civil disturbance is a lot harder than insuring against criminal damage, so a lot depends on how hard the insurers want to contest claims. Even without contest, it will take a while for a claim to be processed. The issue here is disrupted supply chain, and resulting shortfalls in cashflow. It's basically the same problem that the small shopkeepers will have - they have to pay the people who supplied their raw materials and process, and they won't be able to generate cash by selling the products created from the raw materials and process.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:14 AM on August 10, 2011


You can insure against the physical loss of the objects - although insuring against civil disturbance is a lot harder than insuring against criminal damage, so a lot depends on how hard the insurers want to contest claims. Even without contest, it will take a while for a claim to be processed. The issue here is disrupted supply chain, and resulting shortfalls in cashflow.

A fine product called Business Interruption Insurance covers those losses.
posted by mikelieman at 5:18 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


So yeah, fuck your records and movies.

Ooo, you're a hard one. So maybe worrying about things lost in these riots is a mark of pretension. It isn't as pretentious as a gang of desk-jockeys playing revolution-by-proxy on the internets.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:12 AM on August 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


One of the recommended purchases at that Quietus link is called "The Idiots Are Winning."

I'm buying a copy of that just to remember 2011 by.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:20 AM on August 10, 2011


.
posted by Theta States at 6:24 AM on August 10, 2011


Maybe instead of, oh, blaming a bunch of low-income kids raised in terrible circumstances for rioting when those circumstances get worse, people could say "why the hell can't we have a functioning society where we don't have important musical resources (Souljazz, for heaven's sake) burned down as collateral damage in the class war"?

If you have a stupid, greedy society where lots of people are just fucking shut out from any kind of decent future, and you have endless messages about how wonderful wealth is, and consume consume consume, then yes, you will have looting and burning as sure as you'll have sunrise tomorrow.

Ever heard of "divide and rule"? That's when the piggish ruling elites turn the petite bourgeoisie and upper working class against the really poor, precisely by creating the circumstances for this kind of thing. Let's remember that these police who just stood back and allowed a bunch of looting and burning are the same police who are happy to beat down a student in a wheelchair, queer kids and hijabis at the recent anti-cut student demos. Oh, believe me, there will be lots of rhetoric - there will be god damn singing telegrams in the House of Commons - about the irresponsibility and thuggishness of poor black kids, and the tragic losses faced by "ordinary" people, when meanwhile "ordinary" people are seeing their pensions slashed and their healthcare shattered and their working conditions all shot to shit and Cameron and Clegg draw their fat paychecks.

A paper was just released about austerity and social unrest in the 20th century. Unsurprisingly, people get downtrodden and they react - sometimes productively, sometimes not. If you don't want riots, don't cram people into crumbling housing estates and surveille them constantly and shut them out of education and the political process.

I'm terribly, terribly sorry about all the record labels - and hope Souljazz was insured - but this is collateral damage in a war by the bankers against all of us, not just some random thuggery.

(If it was just random thuggery, why did it happen just when austerity is really starting to cut? Surely various greedy thugs have always been greedy, right?)
posted by Frowner at 6:40 AM on August 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


The first four minutes of this BBC World Service show have a fantastic rioter interview. You've got to laugh haven't you?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:25 AM on August 10, 2011


By which I mean:

The first four minutes of this BBC World Service show have a fantastic rioter interview. You've got to laugh haven't you?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:26 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not that sad. How independent are these labels if they're being distributed by Sony? The dark day was when the definition of "independent" became "entirely dependent upon". The rat bastard studio and record execs will be compensated for their financial losses, don't worry your little heads.

That said.. Kids these days, huh? I blame the rap music. I sincerely do. It's not gangsta enough. When I was a disgruntled white kid and I got angry I had NWA and Public Enemy to tell me to sit down and shut-up cause they had something to really be angry about and my shit didn't amount to a hill of beans. Now-a-days they got what.. Kanye? Jay-Z? Lil Wayne? Their problems all add up to deciding which Bentley they're going to drive to their chateau. These whipper snappers need some divorced, Muslim, disabled, Iraq war vet with PTSD to spit some truth in their lily white faces.
posted by _aa_ at 7:31 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


JLovebomb: "Um. Not really. We aren't fickle; we're aware these are the acts of criminal assholes. It just feels like, "Oh, HELL NAW, now it just got personal!" It may sound silly, but there you have it. Starbucks can piss off and die for all I care, with their over-priced sugar water, but a lot of those labels have helped to give our lives a killer soundtrack."

Once the genie is out of the bottle, you don't get to choose what will be destroyed, and your attempt to do so is perverse and immoral: "350 Tottenham High Road can be smashed to smithereens for all I care, but my friends live on 352 Tottenham High Road so please skip that".
posted by falameufilho at 7:42 AM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


but this is collateral damage in a war by the bankers against all of us, not just some random thuggery.

When the police or the government use the phrase "collateral damage" so casually, most of us are, rightfully, outraged.

The first four minutes of this BBC World Service show have a fantastic rioter interview.

Those kids sound like Republicans; they want what they want, they don't want to pay for it, and if they can't have it they'll burn everything to the ground.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:49 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crikey, I was about to start a collection of links to the Discogs pages for the impacted labels, but the list of labels is a bit overwhelming (same link as the Over 150 companies link in the OP).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:49 AM on August 10, 2011


octobersurprise: "Those kids sound like Republicans the distorted image I have of conservatives; they want what they want, they don't want to pay for it, and if they can't have it they'll burn everything to the ground."

FTFY
posted by falameufilho at 7:51 AM on August 10, 2011


This debate got really polarized really fast. I understand that people are upset, but we could all probably stand to take a few deep breaths and get some perspective. We don't have to pick team jerseys or anything.

The people on the streets are going to represent various perspectives and motivations, not all of them purely sympathetic or indictable. (Sort of like the voices in this thread I guess.) No matter how charged the issue is, there's plenty of frustration and loss to go around here, we'd gain more from understanding each other's perspectives than by wrapping ourselves up in smugness or self-righteousness.

Unless you're a riot cop or something, then I guess your opinion might be a bit more entrenched right now.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:57 AM on August 10, 2011


A fine product called Business Interruption Insurance covers those losses.

Again, I think that generally doesn't cover civil disturbance. I'm actually not sure it covers disruption due to loss of inventory stored outside your premises if you're a small business - Business Interruption Insurance for shopkeepers tends to cover the cost of not doing business and/or hiring a temporary place of business, and home office BII likewise. I suspect that the insurer may point out in this case that Sony were storing the material, and therefore their insurer should pay for losses incurred as a result of the failure of their fire suppression and security. And Sony's insurer may well point out that this took place in the context of a civil disturbance. At which point, what do you do? Sue Sony's insurer? Sue Sony for violation of the SLA that presumably said that that your property would be stored and distributed safely?

I see the point, but there's a point at which hedging risks becomes counter-competitive, and insuring against the breakdown of civil order in Enfield might be one of those. You can still blame the labels for not anticipating this situation, but there are a lot of other eventualities of roughly equal possibility.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:01 AM on August 10, 2011


As for the rioters themselves, I want to agree with the well-written Penny Red article that Paragon linked to upthread, but at some point riots get watered down with people who just want to set things on fire and tip over cars, but have no real grievance with their lot in society.

Stagger Lee: Unless you're a riot cop or something, then I guess your opinion might be a bit more entrenched right now.

Or you live there, have family there, or run a shop there.

In the end, I'll reiterate the last sentences of Penny Red's post:
This morning, as the smoke begins to clear, those of us who can sleep will wake up to a country in chaos. We will wake up to fear, and to racism, and to condemnation on left and right, none of which will stop this happening again, as the prospect of a second stock market clash teeters terrifyingly at the bottom of the news reports. Now is the time when we make our choices. Now is the time when we decide whether to descend into hate, or to put prejudice aside and work together. Now is the time when we decide what sort of country it is that we want to live in. And take care of one another.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:04 AM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Those kids sound like Republicans the distorted image I have of conservatives the House GOP last week ..."

FTFY.
(cf. "Government hands off my Medicare!")
posted by octobersurprise at 8:10 AM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]



Or you live there, have family there, or run a shop there.

The riot cop bit was probably a bit too snarky for the conversation at hand, but the gist was that I do understand that some opinions here will be entrenched and emotional. I do not envy anyone that's involved, at all. It's really tragic and terrible.

Your quote is really solid. I think there's a lot more to be gained by honestly looking at what caused this, and moving forward to rebuild; not just buildings but communities, trust between the authorities and the citizens, and trust between people. Polarizing the issue is not going to do that, it's just going to tear those wounds all the wider.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:11 AM on August 10, 2011


I would if 350 Tottenham High Road housed a group of union-busting politicians, trigger-happy police officers, corrupt bankers, CEO's earning 700% more than the baristas they employed, or the like. I would want my friend's house to be skipped because they are *not* corrupt and immoral people of power lording over our laws in order to keep wages down and cut social programs and disenfranchise the poor and all the other rot that corporations and politicians inflict upon my generation. Yes, I certainly would prefer that the people responsible be held accountable. But you're right, it never happens. I would watch my friend's house burn, and know they were wronged, and feel a greater sense of loss for them than I would for the local Starbuck$ broken windows. This doesn't make me corrupt or immoral.

I never justified the looting or condemned it. I said this particular act of destruction hits home a little harder and I stated why. I can be upset about these labels' misfortunes, and also be aware that it's a small result of much greater misfortunes. I was answering to the Starbucks comparison, not the entire rioting as a whole. The post was about record labels and the rioting. Please don't expect people to suddenly become inept at keeping more than one thought in their head at a time.
posted by JLovebomb at 8:12 AM on August 10, 2011


(The more I think about this, the more I think that it's the wrong approach to pick sides, ie to think "yay rioters, let's smash shit up!!!" or to think "look at those working class thugs selfishly stealing things!" The side we all need to be on is the "let's fight austerity so we can deal with social problems" side.


When the police or the government use the phrase "collateral damage" so casually, most of us are, rightfully, outraged.


I'm, personally, outraged because it's bankers or police justifying the injury to ordinary people. I think you're misreading my argument, which is that if we have austerity and shut a lot of people out of normal social and economic life plus subject them to police brutality and racism, they are extraordinarily unlikely to grow up to be happy, peaceful citizens. It doesn't matter if some of the downtrodden tug their forelocks and a few rise up to become the next generation of millionaires; the fact is that you get riots and smashing and burning when people get downtrodden enough.

People fail morally all the time through selfishness and laziness and lack of empathy - I'm vegan, but I had a free cheese sandwich yesterday, which is a moral failure; I was too lazy to check my calendar and thus can't go to a friend's play tonight because I have a meeting, and that's a failure too. But my life is set up so that my moral failures are small. I can fuck up, but I simply am unlikely to fuck up that badly or hurt other people very much. We've got society set up so that it's very, very easy to fail morally and hurt others very badly - ie, bankers; rioting with fire (virtually always a bad idea!) - and we have it set up so that people lack the social and emotional constraints that keep them from wanting to fail. Boost social connections (no more unaccountable sociopathic bankers, frex; no more youth who feel like they'll never have a decent job or any way of being important except through smashing) and you'll have less smashing. This isn't rocket science.

It's amazing how many relatively well-off people both want poor folks to do without good jobs, good healthcare and any kind of social/political power and seriously expect that poor folks in those circumstances should be totally emotionally bought in to the system that does them down. If you want people to be loyal to a community, to a society, you have to give them some reason
posted by Frowner at 8:13 AM on August 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


And:

When you have problems at the population level, the solutions are at the population level. It's like public health - you do more good with large-scale, organized solutions (clean water! accessible medical care!) than you do with any amount of individual hectoring of people who don't get check-ups or disinfect their scratches. And the purpose of public health isn't to 100% guarantee that no one ever skips a check-up and that no one ever gets an infected cut; it's to reduce those things down to a small percentage. Sure, there will always be kids who like to smash things up, there will always be kids who set things on fire. But we can make those things anomalies instead of the new normal, and we can do it by doing things that help everyone - such as creating more equality and less precarity.

There's such an underlying conservative view of poor folks going on - this view that the only thing that keeps poor folks from smashing and looting every single night is the threat of violence from richer people, so a situation like these riots isn't social, it's just the evil human nature of poor people asserting itself and it should be fixed by a short sharp shock. Only probably it will be a long brutal grinding boot-in-the-face-forever shock if the contemporary state of Britain is any indication.

(Jesus, whatever happened to "we can't be a bunch of authoritarian brutal thugs over here or we'll end up just like America"? I liked that trope. I used to think of the UK as a great place with healthcare and social services and trains, and y'all have degenerated into the beginning of V for Vendetta in the space of about five years.)
posted by Frowner at 8:28 AM on August 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sidebar:

Anyone expressing upset at this and saying nothing about, say, London rioters burning apartment buildings full of sleeping working-class residents, needs to think hard about some shit.
posted by waxbanks at 10:50 AM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


JLovebomb: "I would watch my friend's house burn, and know they were wronged, and feel a greater sense of loss for them than I would for the local Starbuck$ broken windows. This doesn't make me corrupt or immoral."

If your sense of loss for a burning Starbucks in the middle of a high density neighborhood where families live equals zero, or if you're pleased with it, that is an immoral stance to have, sorry. You don't need to feel bad for Starbucks corporation to know that people who live there are negatively impacted by the destruction in their neighborhood and that this is a bad thing.

JLovebomb: "I never justified the looting or condemned it."

OH COME ON. If you believe burning things because you're angry is OK at least have the balls to say it without coating it with doublespeak. Read your first paragraph again. You just said that "if 350 Tottenham High Road housed a group of union-busting politicians, trigger-happy police officers, corrupt bankers, CEO's earning 700% more than the baristas they employed, or the like" it would be OK for it to be smashed.

A couple of years ago, in New York, a shithead inspired by Fight Club blew up a bench in front of a Starbucks a couple of blocks from my apartment. Do you believe his actions are worthy of praise?
posted by falameufilho at 11:34 AM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone expressing upset at this and saying nothing about, say, London rioters burning apartment buildings full of sleeping working-class residents, needs to think hard about some shit.

Do we have to do it so you can see it, in this thread about the music label warehouse fire, or is it OK to just do it elsewhere on the internet, or in real-life conversations, or in our heads? I wouldn't want people whose homes were burned down to miss out on the healing power of my publicly condemning the practice of setting homes on fire.
posted by Adventurer at 12:49 PM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Video of a fearless woman activist tearing the rioters a new one for ignoring the shooting and busting up local businesses instead: "You lot piss me the fuck off! I'm ashamed to be an active person! Cause we're not all gathering together and fighting for a cause we're running down Foot Locker!"

I'd like her side in all this, please.
posted by mediareport at 3:54 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Minor correction - it's "Hackney person", not "active person". She's been identified as local DJ Pauline Pearce. Interview here.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:26 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


A portrait of your modern freedom fighter: 'Showing the rich we do what we want'

Also, after this post on Gawker I am going to take the liberty of always referring to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as MeFi's own Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian government logic is exactly the same that seems quite popular around here.
posted by falameufilho at 6:45 PM on August 10, 2011


I am going to take the liberty of always referring to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as MeFi's own Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian government logic is exactly the same that seems quite popular around here.

Good, I like it when people hang a "don't take me credibly" sign around their necks. Saves me the trouble of having to try to read you charitably time and again.
posted by rollbiz at 10:27 AM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Label Love
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 10:29 AM on August 11, 2011


I'm not sure that anybody is still reading this, but the Ninja Tune label's response has been encouraging, sad, and interesting:

"A fire on Monday night in London wiped out the entire stock in the primary warehouse of 165 Independent record labels. The best way to help in the immediate future is to buy an album from one of these labels from a UK digital store, local record shop whilst stocks last or direct from the label. This will enable them to remanufacture CDs and vinyl more quickly, to resupply the record shops who are also affected by the riots. For Ninja Tune it means we have had to put Toddla T album release back to August 22nd and spend a lot of money repressing other titles. It's very sad to know some of our wonderful and more obscure back catalogue titles may never get to be repressed.

Alison Wenham, Chairman and CEO of AIM, the UK's Trade Association for the Independent Music Industry, has also commented: "This is a disaster for the music community, but with the fans' help, labels and artists will survive. Please show your support for the music community by buying a digital album from an independent label today."

Although we despise the many gross inequalities and immoral profiteering in our country, it's emblematic of the riots' futility that a warehouse storing millions of units of the unusual, interesting and less commercially minded albums on indie labels was torched. We wish all the other affected labels and our excellent distributor the best of luck. And thanks to all our supporters! The full list of record labels is here: http://www.pias.com/uk/pias-distributed-labels-list"
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:45 PM on August 11, 2011




Oops - meant that for the more active thread
posted by Anything at 1:07 PM on August 11, 2011


The Telegraph is reporting that professional thieves may have been to blame for the fire, using the riots to cover their tracks.
posted by schmod at 11:24 AM on September 1, 2011


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