THOSE of you still conscious enough to notice the world around you may have noticed that there is an election underway here in l'il ole Northern Ireland. While it would be stating the obvious that it is just a shuffling of the sectarian party headcount I got to wondering* what was the role of politics in 'eavy fuggin' metaaa and hard rockin' dudes and dudettes**
After all, heavy metal, hard rock, punk and most damn fine musical styles*** stand above the sectarian squabbling. We may or may not hav any views on a united Ireland or being British, but it never interferes with the music, the people we share a pint and a natter with, or our appreciation of those times when the walls are shaking and the bass line and double bass kicks ar playing havoc with facial muscles.
But, thinking on, politicians are meant to represent those who reside in their constituencies. Those of you who are readers of this blog (and the many other fine rock and metal sites) should have a say in the political future of Norn Iron!
Let's start with a few baby steps - when a prospective Assembly member knocks on your door, do not hurriedly don your Cradle of Filth 'Jesus is a C**t' t-shit. Politicians are like sheep and easily startled - whatever you are wearing will suffice. Greet them with a smile - that always confuses them, especially if you have Slayer playing in the background.
Okay, you've got them engaged so far. Next thing to remember is that time is limited - they only have a few moments per household, so have your questions prepared in advance. Something simple, non-confrontational will do, like: "How will you contribute to Northern Ireland being recognised as an international source of excellent heavy metal?" That may send them running, their shiny Top Man suits a blur...
If they have not fled by this point, bring out the big guns: "Do you know the economic contribution heavy metal and hard rock make to our economy [they won't, but don't worry, it's a rhetorical question you don't need to know either]?" Fling some names of rock and metal bands at them. Pick a quotation like the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment saying that every pound invested in economic development produces £5 for the economy, and say "Will you invest in a dedicated unit of Invest NI for heavy metal?"
Depending on their answers, offer some solace and say you'll consider giving them your vote. [It's a secret ballot so they don't know what way you will vote.]
And, as a believer in democracy (as Winston Churchill allegedly said, and I paraphrase, it is the worst form of government as all the other types that have been tried were worse) you should vote. You may wish to pause a moment here, because there will be three papers to fill in for the Assembly, your local council and a referendum on how to vote....best go early as it has a three beer threshhold of understanding and holding the wee pencils.
To summarise, we've taken the baby steps of challenging the politicians on our doorsteps and cast our votes
On to stage two - taking over the Assembly. Nope, not a coup d'etat with tanks on Stormont's steps as we are rather short of armoured vehicles and we'd never be sober enough to remember our photographic ID when the secuity guard asks for it at the gates of Stormont.
Rather, we may chose to form a political party based on metal and rock. The 'All-Night Party' could be resurrected or something similarly catchy. As to the manifesto and policies we'll make it up as we go along.
Now on to getting elected. In our voting system you have to get enough votes to achieve a quota (look it up under proportional representation on wikipedia as I'm wasting enough time on this already!). A quota in an Assembly election averages between five and six thousand votes.
Think about how many people turned out to see Metallica last year, or who will be there for Iron Maiden on August 3rd. Add into that those that populate the Limelight, Pavillion, Ma Nelson's, the Diamond and every other venue across Norn Iron that has decent, loud music playing. That's a helluva lot of voters....
So, if we mobilise now we can take over the country, ban all the rubbish on our radios and generally enjoy the subsidised grub we'd get as an MLA. And we'd lay on free concerts on the lawns around Parliament Buildings with the likes of Sweet Savage, Trucker Diablo, A Little Bitter amongst many others.
Right - there you have it a manifesto for taking over Norn Iron as the first step towards world domination - now we need a gig to raise funds for this fledgling political party. Beer too!
In the meantime too much time has been wastd by me on this when that litre of Black Bush the former junior editor of this site (daughter) brought back from Spain for me remains half full...
Normal service of reviews, concert plugs, etc etc will resume at some stage!
*well Budweiser and Black Bush may have aided such ponderings...
**apologies for that phrase was running out of word type ideas and dangerous amounts of blood was being detected in my alcohol stream
***we do not count, dance, hip hop, trance, techno or any version of X-Factor as a musical style