NEW SINGLE: Blood Red Valentine

Hey, today’s the day! My new single Blood Red Valentine is out on general release. Get your FREE download from Bandcamp or stream via Spotify, iTunes and all other major streaming services.

I really hope you like it. Drop me a comment and let me know what you think.

iTunes:
https://music.apple.com/gb/artist/dazzle-rebel/1513209632

Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/artist/1BuviVdsm04nYC0dNxjhdE

Bandcamp:
https://dazzlerebel.bandcamp.com/

Amazon Music:
https://music.amazon.co.uk/artists/B08B3YK39X?

New Single: Blood Red Valentine, an anti-Valentine’s Day anthem!

With Valentine’s Day less than one month away it’s time to announce my new single “Blood Red Valentine”, an anti-Valentine anthem for those who are sick of the overly commercialised holiday.

The track releases on all major streaming platforms and is available to buy and download from Bandcamp, iTunes and Amazon music from 29th January.

Back Home and Sober: New Single Out Now!

Hey folks! It hasn’t been an easy year for anyone and facing a winter with various lockdown measures isn’t a fun prospect. I’ve been doing my best to keep my head up but it isn’t easy. Thankfully music has come to my rescue.

My new single, “Back Home and Sober” is released today. It’s all about remembering those good times spent drinking the night away with your besties. So why don’t you raise a glass, turn the speakers up and blast Back Home and Sober on repeat tonight? Let’s remember the good old times we had with friends.

Back Home and Sober is Available on:

Bandcamp: Dazzle Rebel on Bandcamp

Spotify: Dazzle Rebel on Spotify

iTunes: Dazzle Rebel on iTunes/Apple Music

Amazon Music: Dazzle Rebel on Amazon Music

Listen to the track that may get you through the winter!

It looks like we’re heading into a long, dark and quite depressing winter. To try and lift the spirits I’m releasing a new single Back Home and Sober. A song that revels in the memories of great nights out on the town with your besties – remember those times?

Available from 1st December you can preview the track here.

Debut Single “Fortitude” Coming Soon!

This whole lockdown thing has been pretty shit for socialising. For us creatives however, it’s actually been quite a good exercise in what you can achieve when you don’t have the distractions of daily chores, you know little things like the day job.

With that in mind I’ve been knocking around with a song I wrote last summer called “Fortitude”. For some reason things just clicked. It might be the current state of the world or possibly my mind but it just sort of fell into place in the home studio this week. I was planning on saving it for a future album but, with the knowledge of how unpredictable life can be at the moment, I have decided to go ahead an self-release it now.

Well, I say “now” but the truth is it will take a week or so before I can get the release date. Yes, even though self-releasing music is something that has been incredibly easy for well over a decade now, I am finally taking the plunge and doing it.

Since leaving Red Star Rebels back in 2007 I have been a big advocate for self-releasing music. The DIY ethic really appeals to me as there’s something raw and honest about it. You’re doing it because you want your art out there in the big wide world, rather than trying to appease accountants in suits. At least that’s been my take on the DIY music release anyway. I have been quite vocal before about my believe that it’s something Red Star Rebels should have done way back when but that’s by-the-by. I haven’t exactly been forthcoming in releasing my solo music before either so, who am I to complain anyway?

I think the real reason I haven’t done anything before is due to lack of confidence. “Think”? I mean I “know”. Putting yourself out there is a scary prospect when you haven’t got other band members to fall back on and take any criticism with you. Not having enough time is another excellent excuse that’s been a favourite of mine. With a day job and my other creative hobby of making videos about motorcycling taking up precious free time it was easy to justify my lack of musical output.

Being furloughed from work because of COVID-19 has been a double-edged sword. On one side my income is drastically reduced, social plans have become non-existent and I haven’t been able to ride my fucking motorcycle! That’s not even counting the tragic personal losses that are happening daily and the huge global financial repercussions.

But no matter how bad the world gets I do always at least try to see some good in everything. The most obvious benefit for me personally is that I have had no excuse not to make a return to music. And return I have!

I’ve finally come to throw caution to the wind and say “fuck it”. Yes, self-releasing my own music could be considered a vanity project and yes, it probably is. But if you don’t believe in your own creations then why would anyone else?

And so, after that rather long winded and excuse-ridden prologue, I would like to announce that my debut solo single “Fortitude” will be officially released on all major streaming and download services very soon. As soon as I have a going live date I’ll be promoting the fuck out of it, so apologies now if you get rather sick of me in the coming weeks!

For now though, here’s the artwork for the single. Thanks for reading this and stay safe folks!Fortitude Single Cover Idea 03

Apple to Drop standard headphone jack… …and the petition to stop them

I’ve seen some bizarre petitions started on people power internet sensation SumOfUs.org but this one is the first to cause me to put fingers to keyboard. First, let’s see what I’m making all the fuss about…

Apple is ditching the standard headphone jack in its new iPhone 7. The change will force loyal Apple users tobuy new, expensive headphones and create huge amounts of e-waste.

Apple has done this before, but this is one step too far. Tell it to respect its customers and our planet: keep the standard earphone jack.

****,

Apple is about to rip off every one of its customers.Again.

If the rumours are true, the new iPhone 7 will have a non-standard, proprietary headphone jack — making every pair of headphones on earth useless. Not only will this force iPhone users to dole out additional cash to replace their hi-fi headphones, it will singlehandedly create mountains of electronic waste — that likely won’t get recycled.

There’s only one reason for this change: to leverage Apple’s market share in order to extract even more profit from its customers. With virtually no third-party manufacturers ready to fill the new market gap, Apple stands to make a killing while we — and our planet — pay the price.

Apple, don’t repay iPhone users’ loyalty by ditching standard headphones and fuelling the e-waste crisis. Bring back the standard earphone jack.

This is right out of the Apple corporate playbook. A few years ago it swapped out the original iPod-dock connector with a new one, making countless cords, cables and chargers obsolete — for limited performance improvement. The screws in Apple products can’t even be opened with a traditional screwdriver — making it harder to repair a product you paid for.

This decision will also have huge ramifications for climate change. According to the United Nations, up to 90% of the world’s electronic waste is illegally traded or dumped each year. We need to bring more care and attention to this growing issue — not aggravate it through reckless, profit-driven decisions that will deliver countless perfectly useable items straight to the landfill.

Tell Apple to respect its customers and our planet. Keep the standard headphone jack.

Thanks for all you do,

Paul, Angus, Michael, and the rest of the SumOfUs team

 

**********
More information:

The iPhone 7 might not come with a standard headphone jack, Quartz, Nov 30, 2015
Apple iPhone 7 might ditch 3.5mm headphone port in favour of ‘thinnest design yet’, Express, Dec 1, 2015

So there we go folks. Rather than exercising consumer power by NOT BUYING A PRODUCT some goon decided that they have been sucked in by the Apple brand so much, that they’d rather start a petition than simply NOT BUY the latest product. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the motivation behind this petition but am I the only one who thinks that to call a petition rather than simply STOP BUYING APPLE PRODUCTS screams like “lunacy”?

Let me know your thoughts below.

Touching a Nerve ~ or ~ Why the pressure on the Faroe Islands is working

The Faroese are a proud people, that much is evident. Yet their practice of slaughtering entire pods of pilot whales has come under scrutiny from the outside world, thanks mostly to the efforts of the Sea Shepherd organisation. The Faroese are not the only ones who ritualistically slaughter cetaceans, the most notable (or notorious) contemporary is the town of Taiji in Japan. However there are many other places this is happening in the world so you could forgive the Faroese or Taijians for feeling victimised, couldn’t you?

Well no. Sure there are violent and atrocious acts against animals, nature and other humans being committed all over the world. Here in the UK we still have the legacy (and illegally continued practice) of fox hunting with hounds which many people in these fair isles would agree is a barbaric and outdated past time that is nothing more than a blood sport. We should indeed be aware of all the other atrocities that are going on in the world and yes, we should be vocal about them also but this doesn’t mean that we should leave Taiji and the Faroe Islands to quietly go about their goulish business.

As globalisation marches forever forward and local traditions are being swept aside, some may argue that this means we should lay off the Faroese for their traditional slaughter. Yet just as the UK didn’t stand by the ‘tradition’ of hunting foxes with hounds neither should the World stand by and allow the ‘tradition’ of The Grind to continue in the Faroe Islands. Sure, for some in the UK, losing their ‘tradition’ of fox hunting still runs deep. The Countryside Alliance and those privileged few, who believe the ban should never have been implemented, were extremely vocal, sometimes violently so as they felt that their way of life was being attacked. Of course it wasn’t their way of life that was being attacked, it was their methods of ‘controlling’ the population of foxes. We are not telling the Faroese that they cannot hunt for food, we are telling them that their methods are nothing shy of barbaric overkill.

Should such traditions be kept alive when globalisation, by its very nature, means that rich western societies such as the Faroe Islands have plentiful food sourced from supermarkets? Of course the answer is no. There is no valid reason, logical or otherwise, why the Faroese should continue their murderous tradition just for traditions sake. This isn’t me being imperialistic, it’s called having a fucking heart.

While the vitriol towards the Faroe Islands seems justified to most decent folk I would urge against tarring the entire population with the same brush. I strongly believe that there are some Faroese who would rather not participate in the vicious cove drives. It is to this minority that we must appeal; be strong and make your own voices heard. Of course this will only happen if someone on that island shows the incredible strength and tenacity required to risk being ostracised by their own people. Yet one voice becomes two voices, two voices becomes four and so a movement grows.

Still the pressure that has been placed on the Faroese by the outside world is being felt by the islanders. Some have resorted to bully tactics to try to ward off anyone who dares speak against their blood lust for cetaceans. By targeting individuals via their emails, social media profiles and even posting negative reviews on their places of employment. These acts of cyber bullying may deter some from continuing to speak out against the atrocities in the Faroe Islands but I would encourage these people to not give in to these scare tactics. The islanders are resorting to such methods because, just like the Countryside Alliance and their cronies in England, they feel their way of life is being threatened.

If they feel their way of life is under threat then it means that the pressure is working. Even though the Danish government has illegally intervened and actively aided the Faroese in their murder sports, the tide is turning. Public outrage is winning over and the Faroe islands are starting to be hit where it hurts as tour companies and big business are beginning to cut ties with the islands. With continued pressure we could see an end to the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands.

The Triggers Broom Paradox ~ or ~ are the Polaris Indian Motorcycles really Indian Motocycles?

What is the Triggers Broom Paradox?

The long running British comedy Only Fools and Horses had some classic comedy moments but only one is currently being discussed by philosophy students in several Universities around the UK. That brilliant moment in the ‘Heroes and Villains’ episode when road sweeper Trigger explains he has just won an award for saving the council money, having owned the same broom for 20 years. The punchline comes with the revelation that it’s had 17 new heads and 14 new handles, to which the other characters wonder how it could possibly be the same broom.

Writer John Sullivan was referencing a much older philosophical debate known as the Grandfathers Axe paradox (I could have called this the Indian Axe Paradox?), which much like Triggers broom, had received several changes in head and handle. The debate is of course, how can this be the same axe?

 

Classic motorcycles and John Locke’s sock

The Grandfathers Axe debate can be transposed across pretty much any item where parts can be replaced. For example another version of Triggers Broom is John Locke’s sock. This version imagines the protagonist wearing a hole into his favourite sock. A patch is sewn over the hole but soon enough another hole appears and that is patched up and so on and so on until the entire sock is made up of patches. Is this still the same old sock?

John Locke’s sock makes a perfect analogy for classic motorcycles. I would wager that hardly any of the machines currently classed as classics are 100% original. As is par of the course for any vehicle used for transport there are components that need replacing after a certain service interval. Parts such as tyres, chains, sprockets, bulbs, spark plugs, filters and gaskets are all items that are regularly replaced as service items. How many motorcycles we consider classics are on the same rubber or hold the same oil as they did when they came off the production line all those years ago?

Other components either get damaged or inevitably wear out over time. Many classic motorcycles have had their seats replace or upholstered, their pistons swapped and wiring looms replaced. How far do you go before this classic motorcycle is so far from original that it can no longer be called a classic? What needs to remain for it to still be the same bike? The engine? The Frame? The registration plate?

 

So what about the Polaris Indians?

Most classic Indian Motocycles (note the different spelling) are used as show bikes and for attending classic rallies. To remain in running condition many of the parts have been replaced over the years either by sourcing new/old stock or by reputable companies who specialise in the manufacture of components for classic machines. One such producer is Kiwi Indian of New Zealand.

Kiwi Indian started by making parts for the buoyant classic motorcycle market and expanded their range of products so much that it was possible to build a complete ‘classic’ Indian motorcycle from their parts alone. This means that you can now buy a brand new 1911 board track racer or 1939 Chieftain. As these are based on parts for classic bikes should these be considered classic bikes too?

However, the big question is are the new Polaris Indians really Indians? The original Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company stopped making bikes in 1953 when the company went bankrupt. Since then many have tried and failed to reignite the flame of this incredibly evocative brand. From 1955 to 1960 Brockhouse Engineering had acquired the rights to the name and was importing English Royal Enfield’s into the US and rebadging them as Indians. From the 1960’s through to the late 1990’s the Indian brand name was under dispute with Floyd Clymer, Eller Industries and various other parties all making claims to the name with various success. Then in 1998 The Indian Motorcycle Company of America formed from a merger of nine companies and was awarded the Indian trademark by the Federal District Court of Colorado. Known as the Gilroy Indians, as they were produced in Gilroy, California, models were sold between 1999 and 2003 when the company went into bankruptcy.

In 2006 the Indian brand surfaced again as Indian Motorcycle Company, owned largely by private equity firm Stellican Limited. Production began in Kings Mountain, North Carolina and produced limited runs using Powerplus V-twin powertrains until Polaris Industries acquired the company in 2011. In 2013 the brand new ‘Thunder Stroke 111’ engine had been developed and production began in Spirit Lake, Iowa.

With the brand being bounced around so much since 1953 do the new Polaris machines deserve to be associated with the Indians built over half a century earlier? You could argue and indeed I will, that Polaris have built machines that capture the spirit of the original Indians better than anyone else. Does this mean the heritage is retained and this company is one and the same as the one that ceased production in 1953?

 

Other motorcycle brands in similar circumstances

Indian Motocycle/Indian Motocycles are far from the only motorcycle brand to be bounced around. There are notable similarities in the history of Harley Davidson, a long-term rival of Indian. Bought out by AMF (American Machine Foundry) in 1969, sold to investors (including Willie G. Davidson) in 1981 the company nevertheless never stopped continuous production. In the UK the Triumph brand began life as Triumph Engineering in 1885 and produced various machines, including motorcycles. With various mergers and acquisitions, including BSA, the firm produced motorcycles until 1983 when the firm went bankrupt. Saved by John Bloor (ensuring the company retains the title of longest continuous motorcycle manufacturer in the world as production began in 1902) the Triumph brand is stronger today than it’s been since the 1960s.

However arguably closer similarities to Indian lie with other recently revived brands such as Ariel, Norton and Brough Superior. All of these brands have a strong history with motorcycles but have had long periods of non-production and brand ownership disputes, yet would anyone buying a current model suggest that they’re not also buying into the history of the brand? Would a new model Norton sell as well if wasn’t branded with the Norton name?

To some extent any argument that a modern motorcycle shouldn’t hold the heritage of the past is null and void. Every year manufacturers produce new models and discontinue others. Just like life, engineering motorcycles is continuously evolving. New technologies make older ones obsolete, styles and fashions change. In that respect every motorcycle model currently in production has a severe case of Triggers Broom Paradox.

 

What do you think?

I’ve laid my case and will argue that the Polaris Indians deserve the heritage. After all, Polaris brought the brand name for a reason; the history associated with it. Along with the sterling job Polaris have done of creating a marvellous motorcycle we’re buying into that brand history too. But what do you think?