Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jet's festive follow-up

Hi - Anderlar the Scripter

Firstly, many thanks for your kind contribution towards the topical discussion.

If I may submit my own surrejoinder, nowhere, have I ever - so far as I can recall - claimed any expertise for myself, in the craft of article construction, academic style or substance. So you could be right.

By my own asseveration, I left school illiterate. Comprehensively so, save for one discipline, namely, ‘banging things’. To-day, with the benefit of a little self help, I guess I can say I get by but thank you anyway, for bringing that to the fore, I probably ought to have recounted my inadequacies from the outset.

Moving on, the piece wasn’t really supposed to be about my beliefs, but my, "well known aversion for Christmas", so again, I guess I failed miserably here too if it all sounded like an essay on my beliefs, of which I hope I have none.

Then you get down to the real ‘nitty-gritty’. Science. Science, is not a "view". In fact the whole point of science, is that it is a systematically organised body of knowledge, not a view, or faith, or belief. Scientists will have a theory, or hunch about a subject and will then test it until proved, until then it remains just that, a theory. If proved, it then forms part of the body of knowledge.

The essential point of all this, is that you don’t need to put your "faith" in science, because tested theory, is fact. Or in other words, true.

On the other hand, you do need faith for religion, because it deals with a large amount of untested, or untestable theory. Or in other words, it’s unproven, some would say fiction.

Perhaps the most appalling aspect of recent revelations about priestly infractions of the church’s own moral code, not to mention civil and criminal law, is the newly exposed knowledge and acquiescence of it’s hierarchy at all levels. Systemic moral depravity and cover-up are now known to have been pandemic across decades and probably centuries.

In those circumstances, it is entirely appropriate to discuss these abuses notwithstanding similar malfeasance elsewhere, which is entirely beside the point. If it can be argued that it says nothing about philosophy or belief, it can’t be denied that it says a great deal about the people who would have you believe, or have faith, in their creed.

To reiterate an earlier point, you can’t contract out of a crime. So, whatever worldwide anti-poverty projects the church may have to it’s credit, and it undoubtedly has many, (but ironically also the reverse), that doesn’t abrogate the crimes of it’s priests, or bishops.

As for the implied inadequacies of the music industry, it very probably holds the world record for fundraising and charitable donation, but even if it doesn’t, it is unquestionably very near the top, for an industry. If you put your mind to it, you should have no trouble researching the point.

The sting in the tail of your seasonal thrust is redolent of an unseemly rancour for the industry in which my colleagues and I find ourselves.

My understanding is that music, as a pastime/entertainment, is officially rated as just about the best value for money available, but I wouldn’t want to be placed into the position of being held accountable for the entire industry.

We the band, are writers, recorders and performers of music. We are not a record company and do not sell recorded and published music, at least not on an industrial scale. That is the preserve of specialist record and publishing companies. Their commercial and trading policies are not and have never been subject to us in particular, and recording artists in general.

By way of my own footnote on the topic, many of the aforementioned companies - household names in most cases - who perhaps more appropriately might have been expected to defend themselves against the views you have expressed, are in fact, virtually, if not actually bankrupt at the present time.

This resulting, from the free and illegal distribution of their copyrighted investments in the music industry by way of modern electronic communications technology, the internet, both simultaneously, the marvel and scourge of the age.

All this without doubt, the causal basis for the demise of investment in new music talent which in turn forms the fundamental cause of much of to-day’s anodyne new music.

I wouldn’t wish to become spokesman for the trade and policy decisions of companies for which I have no authority to speak. On the other hand, I could hazard a guess as to the likely response from such companies, to your opinions about their commercial decisions. It would not make for very comfortable reading.

I’m glad to hear you had a good weekend and you’re looking after the kids. Yes, I was OK on the 25th but no coal though. We’re all electric here, boring, but there you go.

You are of course very welcome to any show, and keep them coming. We like to hear and share all opinions, that after all, is what these pages are for.


Jet Black/28th December 2010


  1. Well, I have to admit the Stranglers have given great value to my life - never bothered about the whether they gave financial value for money! Part of this attraction to the band (for all us fans I guess) transcends commercialism. Life for many has been better with the Stranglers as part of it. I still get those feelings that I experienced 33 years ago when the band walk on stage. Sad, I know for a 50 yr old. So Jet, say what you like - it's all part the fun! Please though, take a look at some philosophy of science. The most you can get out of a scientific theory is 'justified true belief'. Truth as defined through the context of theory generated fact? Sorry - it's just another world view - slightly more robust than religious belief. Much more important to us all should be the joy given to all by artists such as yourselves. God Save The Sranglers !
    WH Smith

  2. the great thing about following the stranglers is they dont follow the conventional route or views like so many other bands always having there own opinion is one of the many things that set them apart from other bands for me .next week i will be off on holiday to ecuador where my brother in law will be very much looking forward to anything band related i bring.

  3. Jet - cheers for the reply.(I can picture you typing by the light of a single candle as children sing carols in the distance :). The point about the cover up of abuse (and many other things – politics is a good example of where individuals and groups try to prevent information about their wrongdoing from becoming public knowledge) is that it is sadly present in all walks of life, not just the church. I’d fully agree, though, that I’d expect members of the church to behave better. Sadly, this isn’t the case here, but it is very evident that non-believers focus on this phenomenon to the exclusion of the many positive things that the church does. These disgusting actions speak about the individual, not the faith. I’ll also state categorically that the vast majority of priests and religious are faithful to their calling and treat people with the respect they deserve. You’ve given me something to study, so maybe you could trawl the websites of the UK Catholic dioceses to see how stringent the child protection procedures are nowadays. Something that isn’t publicised as it doesn’t fit with the view of the church that the media want to construct. Ultimately, we’ll all believe in what we want, but I hope I’m a little more open-minded and respectful of others’ beliefs than I’m seeing from you. With regard to the music industry, you ARE part of it and can’t hide behind the ‘I’m only the artist’ banner. Bands shamelessly exploit fans with both their releases and gigs. You do negotiate contracts etc., so I’m not buying that attitude that it’s nothing to do with you (or the bit about the charity that the music business does either – many a career has been relaunched on the back of a charity single).

    Anderlar the Scripter

  4. I think that as long as catholic priests are required to remain celebate then there will always be problems with child abuse within the catholic church.

    I really like Jet's point about science and faith. I was having an arguement with this young earth creationist nutter the other day about faith and science. The YECs are really well armed with their arguements these days and can tie you in knots with their bollocks. Good to read some good clear common sense on these pages.

  5. To be honest the word wog stands for Western Oriental Gentleman.I can understand black people may feel uncomfortable,when the band and Hugh play it.But it is an honest song about issues that get people talking.I personally love the song,and think the band are brave to play it in an era of facist political correctness.To quote Hugh many moons ago."Where not facists,not Communists and where not the Meninblack,just waiting for them".Quoted from Strangled Mag many moons ago.Well done to the band for the set,alot of blank faces near me when they played "To Sunspots".A set for the fans.Fantastic.