Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Hey, the Man.
"You buried our communities under concrete.
"The wholesale vandalism of our towns, villages and countryside.
"Leaving us living in a concrete hell of identikit high streets and indistinguishable housing schemes.
"Your facsimile out-of-town concrete retail Meccas have left up to one-in-three shops vacant in our decaying town centres."
The creator of HARD CORE PAWN returns with another call to arms, an exhortation to let the proverbial scales fall from our eyes and start to take back our planet from the hegemony of greed that threatens its very existence in a myriad of ways.
I found this varied selection of material both depressing and uplifting in equal measure - Steve's exact intentions, I am sure. He covers such varied topics in his own inimitable style as the day modern warfare changed forever, with the carpet-bombing of Gernika in the Basque country by the Luftwaffe at the request of Franco during the Spanish Civil War, the inspiration for Picasso's famed anti-war painting, 'Guernica'.
Then... what would Joe Strummer do if given free rein to hack into the electronic advertising hoardings in Times Square? Clue: not advertise a Clash Greatest Hits compilation...
Is television the opiate of the (m)asses? Told through subliminal 'They Live' style messages on television screens, obviously! Culminating in something I'm sure we've all thought about doing at some point.
The hypocrisy of First World cocaine users hoovering up the marching powder whilst blithely choosing to ignore the consequences elsewhere of their pulmonary pulverising power-up.
Plus probably my favourite, entitled 'Concrete Soul', from which the above pull quote is taken. A threne to the city centre soul desertification at the behest of developers of our once green and pleasant land. It has a lyrical quality that minds me greatly, synchronously enough, of Tim THE GREAT NORTH WOOD Bird's paean to our once leafy locale.
So are we as a planet wholly without hope? No, as long as we resist and take the fight back to the Man however we can. Be that simply never forgetting the horrors of the past such as Gernika. Or caring about other enough to change our behaviours, be that cutting down on plastic use, never mind cocaine use, that's contributing to current environmental catastrophes.
Or even simply not buying from certain global corporations that don't pay their share of corporation tax thus preventing vital investment in our infrastructures. Okay, I added that last one myself, but just stop and think about it. That bargain you think you're getting, that saving you're making that high street shops can't afford to give you, is basically tax not paid, which is money that's not going into the NHS or schools, for example. It really is as simple as that.
Just in case you're not sure who I'm on about, here's a quote from Bernie Sanders at a rally in Michigan this week whilst stumping from the progressive gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed...
"Mr. Bezos sees his wealth increase by $275 million every single day, and yet he has thousands of workers who are earning wages so low that they have to go on government programs like Medicaid and food stamps."
You can do something, anything. Otherwise... as Plato himself said: "The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
I'm not saying Jeff Bezos is evil. But he could clearly get Amazon to pay their fair share of taxes and look after his workers better, never mind simply funding his space rocket fun. Anyway...
Concrete Soul ends with a lovely heart-warming moment of defiance from our free-wheeling, narrating skateboarder making good his escape from the portly security guard...
"But listen up, the Man.
"Your concrete is our new playing fields.
"Our new recreation grounds.
"Our new canvases.
"I ride all over your concrete vision through these wheels.
"I give your concrete...