♫ ♫ Well, you came out of nowhere like a Berkeley pedestrian[more inside]
You stole my heart just like a San Francisco crackhead stole my bike
You drive me crazy like those West Marin hippies
But you're the kind of Northern Californian that I like ♫ ♫
Kitchen Junkets in New England homes were a wintertime venue for live music and contra dance - a social dance form that's never really faded from the region's popular culture. Often credited with keeping the form alive, scholar/musician Ralph Page celebrated the kitchen junket and other contra traditions from 1949-1984 in his hand-printed magazine Northern Junket, available indexed and fully digitized via the University of New Hampshire. [more inside]
DJHistory.com's list of 100 Greatest Dance Records may not be definitive or feature your favorite record, but it's hard to say that each and every record on there hasn't earned its place, from the Northern Soul swing of "The Clapping Song" to the post-ironic dancehall of "Pon De Floor." [more inside]
Iris Robinson [wiki] is, at the time of writing, under acute psychiatric care in a Belfast hospital, after a BBC Northern Ireland documentary revealed that she had, at the age of 59, solicited £50,000 from two property developers to help fund a business run by her 19-year-old lover, Kirk McCambley.
The Consultative Group on the Past released its long awaited report today, discussing strategies to build trust and dialogue between communities and heal wounds in Northern Ireland. Part of the strategy was compensation and inquiries to be funded jointly by the British and Irish governments, to the tune of £300K. The report's presentation was interrupted by deeply angry protesters. Some were upset at the idea of financial compensation for the loss of human life. Some were incensed that families of paramilitary members killed in the Troubles were to receive equal compensation to bystanders caught in the crossfire. Some comments on the report from public figures, and from the Program Director of Amnesty International's NI office.
The Right Honourable Dr Marjorie "Mo" Mowlam whose no-nonsense negotiating as Labour Secretary of State for Northern Ireland helped forge the province's landmark peace accord has died at 55 after a long battle with cancer. In reaching agreement in the Northern Ireland she got the IRA to restore their cease-fire - and defended the ceasefire when it seemed all but broken - she stood up to Ulster Unionists but paid an extraordinary visit to Northern Ireland's notorious Maze prison to meet with Loyalist and Republican inmates and shepherded the multi-party talks to a successful conclusion. Remarkably, she even devolved her own role as Secretary of State. Billy Joel was right: only the good die young.