Avid readers of our site will know that I am occasionally indulgent of my taste in music. The Villagers, Alexa Melo, Porno For Pyros, Jane’s Addiction, Lianne La Havas and yesterday Paddy McAloon who penned, to my mind, one of the greatest albums of the twentieth century, Steve McQueen. If one looks at some of the most seminal albums such as Miles Davis’ masterpiece Kind of Blue at the end of the 50s; Pet Sounds & Sgt Pepper’s in the 60s; What’s Going On, The Dark Side of the Moon and Led Zeppelin’s fourth album in the 70s; one might argue that the 80s does not present a high bar. If I had to choose only one from this list for my wind up gramophone on a desert island I would choose Kind of Blue as it is not only of its time, it is for all time.
“Kind of Blue brought together seven now-legendary musicians in the prime of their careers: tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Jimmy Cobb and of course, trumpeter Miles Davis.”
However I would be kicking myself that I gave up on Steve McQueen. The sublime lyrics of Mr. McAloon provide an introduction to this piece. “I have six things on my mind.” Guernica, Catalonia, Hurricanes, The Mexican Earthquake, Dave King & KPMG, and Celtic.
I am going to tackle three of these, leaving King on the back burner for an article of its own. As this is first and foremost a football blog, one is drawn to Celtic from my list. McCann’s Dundee kept their shape well in the first half last night, but in the second half Celtic’s quality threatened to overwhelm them. Four goals without reply in a team with six changes was no mean feat. Rodgers has by a country mile the best squad in Scottish football. His next two games, even at this early stage, will define his season. Primark Pedro, like McCann, will not set up his team to go toe-toe with Celtic. If Lite play expansive football, Celtic will decimate them.
To paraphrase Paul Brennan at his excellent blog Ceitic Quick News, “The Cry is No Defenders” at Auchenhowie. Lee Wallace is out with a groin injury until October. John and Alves were both taken off injured in the bruising two hour encounter with Partick on Tuesday. They will struggle to be fit for Saturday’s lunch-time derby. Primark is quick to opine that he has the best squad until the SMSM are blue in the face, and let’s face it they usually are, but even he cannot hide the glaring gaps in his defence. Rather than accept the obvious, in a leaf out of Slim Shady Traynor’s scrap book, he almost ‘fell wanking to the floor‘ when waxing lyrical about Ross McRorie. Pedro asserted that McRorie will be a future Scotland Centre Half. Quite a leap for someone who has a threadbare team with no representation in Strachan’s most recent squad. Should one file that in the “Mark Warburton as future England Manager” folder that is curated by cub reporter Chris Jack? If one were to believe Kenny Miller, Cackhanded Caixinha might select the wrong twin and play goalkeeper Robby at centre half.
Even if Rangers managed to smuggle twelve ‘imperfect but eligible’ men on the park, and their squad players removed their bibs and joined in, I cannot see Celtic’s unbeaten run, of 56 and counting, coming to an end. Sinclair, Forrest, Dembele and McGregor will have a field day. McRorie’s blood will be so twisted that he might give up on playing outfield to pick up gloves to emulate his twin brother. Lions and Christians comes to mind when pitting McRorie against the best forward line in Scotland. Those tipping Lite, step forward BFDJ and Jack, will be succulent lambs to the slaughter.
For generations those of a Celtic disposition were made to feel like second class citizens by the revolving door plenipotentiaries of The Blue Room and Park Gardens. As recently as 2011 they were denied their rightful place in The Champion’s League by a licensing committee chaired by Rod Petrie and heavily influenced by the odious Andrew Dickson. Will the latter be thrown under a Clapham Omnibus in a last throw of the dice by Regan? One can but hope so. I hazard that asking him to be hand-cuffed to Regan at the time is to enter a new paradigm of wishful thinking.
Which leads one to the Catalans and the desire of a 41% minority to throw off the shackles, imposed by Franco since 1939, of Madrid. After the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) the Francoist dictatorship enacted repressive measures, abolishing Catalan institutions and banning the official use of the Catalan language. From the late 1950s through to the early 1970s, Catalonia saw rapid economic growth drawing many workers from across Spain, making Barcelona one of Europe’s largest industrial metropolitan areas and turning Catalonia into a major tourist destination. Catalonia is now one of the most economically dynamic communities of Spain. Catalonia gives much more in tax to Madrid than it receives in State grants. The latter’s disbursement is heavily skewed towards Madrid.
Catalonia’s elected leaders have organised a referendum for October 1 despite a Madrid ban and a politically-influenced justiciary deeming it unconstitional. However the apples in Madrid don’t fall far from the Franco tree. Madrid sent in their boot boys to seize documents and arrest ERC Member of Parliament Joan Tarda and twelve other officials.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont denounced what he said was a “coordinated aggression” and “totalitarian attitude” on the part of the Spanish state.
“We will not accept a return to times past”, Mr Puigdemont added, in a direct reference to the repression seen in Catalonia under the Franco dictatorship.
The Madrid boot boys stated that they had confiscated over 45,000 notifications which were about to be sent to Catalans selected to staff polling stations for the vote, representing 80 percent of the numbers necessary to ensure the stations were adequately staffed.
Seventy per cent of Catalonia’s electorate, from its 7.5m citizens, favour a referendum. One can but assume that the SNP are monitoring developments very closely.
When Lionel Messi expressed his empathy for Celtic he was speaking as an adopted son of Catalonia.
The aerial bombing of the Basque town of Guernica ( 26 April 1937) occurred during the Spanish Civil War. It was carried out at the behest of Francisco Franco’s nationalist government by its allies, the Nazi German Luftwaffe’s Condor Legion and the Fascist Italian Aviazione Legionaria, under the code name Operation Rügen. The attack gained controversy because it involved the bombing of civilians by a military air force.
The people of Guernica did not see it coming as it was the first of its kind. The sky rained fire, death and destruction. Franco’s bloodlust for the Basques was unquenchable. They were one of two upstart regions that he set out to crush.
Another adopted son of Catalonia, Pablo Picasso, who moved there with his parents when he was 14, captured the horror in his eponymous cubist masterpiece later that year.The horror of Guernica will never be forgotten.
Franco’s fascism is alive and kicking in Spain as I write.