It's unhelpful to pretend that racists can't be football fans -

Andi Thomas:

But while it's understandable, it's also disingenuous, and perhaps even dangerous. The disingenuity lies in the peculiar notion that being a football fan is somehow determined by moral qualities. As thought it were impossible to be a football fan and a dickhead. As it goes, by many of the more popular standards of footballing fandom properness, those Chelsea fans in Paris were among the most proper fans it's possible to be. They were, at least presumably, the away support, the hardcore, following Chelsea over land and sea.

And the danger? The danger is in the neatness and the patness of what looks like a solution, but isn't. Saying 'they're not fans' might feel like the end of the matter — a personal act of dismissal — but it chimes uncomfortably against the fact that they quite obviously are fans by any metric, and that — even more importantly — they are fans who are happy to simultaneously be fans and be racist, and be both those things loudly and in public.

Great article.



Darren Hayman - May Day (2015)

Darren Hayman's new record is out soon:

“May Day” is the first single to be taken from Darren Hayman’s powerful new collection of songs based based on William Morris's Chants for Socialists (due for release on wiaiwya on 2 February). Darren explains:

“Of all of Morris’s lyrics that I arranged May Day is the least concerned with the shackles or work or the socialist struggle. May Day become know as International Workers Day shortly before the writing of these words so it’s tempting to assume that Morris was thinking more about the day as the ancient spring festival, a holiday to beckon in the first days of spring.

In much the same way I’ve treated the song as a workers’ holiday rather than a workers’ celebration. On my album of Morris lyrics I have dressed many of his words with a feint sorrow and ennui. May Day however is the album’s true moment of optimism and it’s only pop song. I wanted to make the guitars chime and the singers’ soar.

For about three minutes I wanted it to seem like everything might be alright.”

The album Chants for Socialists was recorded at three of Morris’s homes; The William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow (with a choir of left-leaning locals), Kelmscott House in Hammersmith (where they used the Albion press used by Morris to handprint the record sleeves) and Kelmscott Manor in Gloucestershire, (where Hayman played Morris's own piano).

The result is a beautifully crafted album, lovingly produced with a team of enthusiastic helpers who lent their expertise and time, which will be made available to anyone who wants to listen, allowing people to pay what they can afford or what they think it’s worth. Chants for Socialists is an album of 19th century chants made relevant to the 21st century while staying true to many of William Morris’s ideals.

Buy the album from