Categories
Music

“You’re a superhero but some days are Kryptonite”

The final track on our new Messengers EP is called Time Will Put Your Enemies In The Ground. I swithered about releasing a song with that title in the current climate, where body counts are so awful we don’t talk about them any more, but I think people are intelligent enough to understand that the song has nothing to do with what’s going on in the wider world.

Time… is a song of solace for someone going through a hard time.

HAVR · Time Will Put Your Enemies In The Ground

The title was inspired by the famous misquote: “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure”. It’s a good line and often credited to Mark Twain, but the actual words are  slightly different. They’re by the famous lawyer Clarence Darrow. In 1932 he wrote:

All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.

If you’ve ever been bullied or suffered other kinds of cruelty you’ll know the feeling of wishing another human dead. I wanted to take that dark thought and make it into a promise: you will survive this and you will leave your tormentors far behind.

Like a lot of our songs it’s partly autobiographical, and it’s connected to the opening track, Animal. Both songs are about being dehumanised and demonised, but where Animal is about defying hatred Time… is about surviving it.

Lyrically Time… has a lot in common with A Moment of Clarity from our first EP: it’s acknowledging the pain someone feels – “Some days feel like you’re drowning on dry land / the weight so heavy on your shoulders you can barely stand” – and promising them that they will not always feel so sad. “Time will turn everything around / time will put your enemies in the ground.”

Categories
Music

“A zodiac only I know”

The third track from our new EP is called Zodiak. Our bassist Kenny already had the title and most of the tune when I first met him. I don’t think he had the Zodiac Killer in mind at the time, but with that title the song couldn’t have been about anything else.

HAVR · Zodiak

The Zodiac Killer is part of popular culture now, the subject of films and books and podcasts and rock songs. That’s primarily because he was never caught, so we never got to discover the banality of his evil. In today’s era of true-crime podcasts there’s plenty of speculation over who he was and how he got away with it (the police work wasn’t exemplary and may have ruled out the most likely suspect), but it’s likely to remain an open case.

It’s hard to write about this stuff without falling into cliché or tired “edginess”: for example one of my favourite bands, Therapy?, once sang “I know how Jeffrey Dahmer feels / lonely / lonely”, which is pretty teenage. I tried not to do that.

What I ended up with was more of a colour piece. I read a lot of the killer’s letters and was struck by the language in them (eg: “Wouldn’t none of them be missed”) as well as their tone. The killer, most likely a deeply inadequate man, clearly believed he was smarter than the newspapers, smarter than the police, smarter than the public – but at the same time I think he wanted them to decode his code, to give him an out, to stop him because he couldn’t stop himself.

They didn’t stop him, but something did. Whether he killed five people (the official count) or 37 (his claim), there were no reported Zodiac killings after 1969. Jail? Death? Recovery from multiple personality disorder? There are lots of theories, but nobody knows the answer.

Did I get it right, or have I fallen into the heavy metal cliché? That’s for you to decide. But I really love this song, not least because Kenny’s bassline is phenomenal and I get to pretend I’m in Led Zeppelin for much of it. It’s one of our favourite songs to play live. I am not usually the sort of person who says something rocks, but Zodiak rocks.

Categories
Music

“If you’re not angry you have not been tuning in”

(Today is fee-free Friday on Bandcamp. If you buy our new EP there, or if you buy anyone else’s music, 100% of the sale price goes to the artist today. If you’re short of cash, all our music is pay-as-you-want – so you can have all of it for free. We want your ears, not your cash!)

Here’s today’s track from the new EP. It’s the title track, Messengers.

HAVR · Messengers

Messengers is about grievance artists and bullshit merchants: when we play it live it features some samples of right-wing clown Alex Jones claiming the Pentagon has been testing gay bombs. Grievance artists are the people who spread bullshit and fear in order to sell something: actual products in the case of grifters such as Jones; personal brands in the case of the more genteel grifters who pollute the pages of the newspapers; political ideologies in the case of the most dangerous ones.

Categories
Music

“I am pills, injection sites”

Time for some new music. This is the first song from our brand new Messengers EP, and it’s called Animal.

I hope you love it as much as we do.

HAVR · Animal
Categories
Uncategorised

This is not OK. This is never OK

Emma Thomas is an award-winning creative producer and director who’s currently sending out CVs in her hunt for work. So at first she was delighted when a potential employer got in touch.

You can be sure this isn’t the first time he’s tried this. And there are many men just like him. To them, women aren’t people. They’re targets.

It’s 2020. And yet a woman has to write this on her profile on a business-focused networking site.

Categories
LGBTQ+

More “reasonable concerns”

This is what happens when a trans woman takes a mirror selfie.

 

Categories
LGBTQ+ Media

Victim shaming

This is disgusting.

The Yorkshire Evening Post:

Robber carried out ‘humiliating’ sex assault on victim after discovering he had targeted transgender victim

Awful, right? It’s something most trans women live in fear of: the violence of straight men who discover we’re trans, the subject of so many “trans panic” defences in courts. But while the crime is despicable, my disgust is also about the way this has been reported in the linked article.

Here’s the subheading.

A violent street robber sexually assaulted a student after discovering his victim was a man who identifies as a woman.

We’re not even into the article and it’s already called the victim a man.

First paragraph:

Luke Anderson was jailed for more than four years after a court heard he humiliated and taunted the victim when he realised he had targeted a male dressed in women’s clothing.

So let’s humiliate the victim again by calling her “a male”.

The barrister said: “It was never intended to be a sexual assault. It has caused him considerable embarrassment.”

Embarrassment?

This isn’t a social faux pas. He has a record of attacking lone women, he was off his face on crack cocaine and he grabbed a young woman, threatened her, punched her in the face hard enough to make her bleed and forced her to the ground. None of that, apparently, would be cause for embarrassment. That’s just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill violent attack on a young woman. Who’d be embarrassed about doing that?

No, he was embarrassed because it then became a sexual assault. When he discovered she had male genitalia – not guessed, or deduced, but discovered – he sexually assaulted her and didn’t stop even when the terrified woman, in fear for her life, stuck her thumbs into his fucking eyes. 

Anderson continued the attack, saying: “You are a feisty one.”

He was caught because he left his DNA on her clothing.

Is that what he’s embarrassed about?

The judge told the defendant he believed the sexual assault was based on hostility towards the victim’s gender identity. He said “You realised it was a man dressed as a woman and you began to humiliate her.”

Misgendering again, and then an extra bit of dehumanisation by referring to her as “it”.

Maybe this report is just demonstrating how a barrister, a judge, a journalist and a sub-editor need to go on more diversity workshops. Maybe the judge didn’t mean to misgender the victim, let alone refer to her as “it”. Maybe the barrister meant that the attacker was remorseful, not embarrassed.

But it doesn’t read like that. It reads as if the barrister was trying to frame this as a “trans panic” case where the victim’s trans status should be considered an excuse for the assault rather than the entire motivation for it. In other words, victim blaming – and by repeatedly misgendering her in its report, the paper has added some victim shaming too.

Categories
Health

The anti-Goldilocks virus

Ed Yong is one of the finest science journalists we have, and this in The Atlantic is an exceptional piece of journalism: How The Pandemic Defeated America.

A virus a thousand times smaller than a dust mote has humbled and humiliated the planet’s most powerful nation. America has failed to protect its people, leaving them with illness and financial ruin. It has lost its status as a global leader. It has careened between inaction and ineptitude. The breadth and magnitude of its errors are difficult, in the moment, to truly fathom.

…It is hard to stare directly at the biggest problems of our age. Pandemics, climate change, the sixth extinction of wildlife, food and water shortages—their scope is planetary, and their stakes are overwhelming. We have no choice, though, but to grapple with them. It is now abundantly clear what happens when global disasters collide with historical negligence.

Much of it is relevant to the UK too.

Categories
LGBTQ+

Power!

This made me laugh, because I am easily amused.

PinkNews:

Who knew I had such power?

Categories
LGBTQ+ Media

Vexatious complaints

Anti-LGBT+ activists try very hard to censor anything they disapprove of. So of course, they’ve complained en masse about a same-sex kiss in a BBC programme.

Gay Times:

In their statement, the BBC dismissed accusations that the kiss was inappropriate, saying: “The decision to include this moment, as part of a longer storyline throughout series 7 which has been tracking the development of a romantic relationship between two of the characters, Jude and Cleo, was taken very carefully and with much consideration, and came about after CBBC and Boatrocker (the production company who make the show) acknowledged that the series could and should do more to reflect the lives of LGBTQ+ young people.

“This is an important part of our mission to make sure that every child feels like they belong, that they are safe, and that they can be who they want to be.”

Which is, of course, the correct response. So it’s all the more puzzling that when similar vexatious complaints were made about linking to charities that offer information to help trans people, the BBC pulled the links.

PinkNews:

The heads of Britain’s biggest LGBT+ groups have united to demand the BBC reinstate trans-support charities onto its Action Line website and explain why they were removed.

All trans-specific charities for England, Scotland and Wales have been removed from the BBC’s Action Line page, which the leading LGBT+ groups slammed as “deeply troubling”.

…This move, which members of the BBC’s internal LGBT+ Pride network were told this week was because of “audience complaints”, has already seen the public-service broadcaster condemned for “bowing down to deliberate and orchestrated hate campaigns” against trans people.

Imagine the outcry if the BBC removed links to charities offering advice on abortion or contraception because of audience complaints from forced birthers.

The BBC in this context means the BBC in England. But of course many of its programmes, and services such as Action Line, are provided to the whole of the UK, so if there’s something rotten in the English operation it has an effect nationally.

Here’s journalist Jane Fae:

A couple of years back, anti-trans campaigners tried to set up a group within the BBC. Their aim was to roll back what they perceived as “too much trans rights”.

Since then there have been numerous instances of what looks like an active network of staff members intervening to skew reporting of stories relating to trans people.

I’m not privy to the inner workings of the BBC in England; I just talk about technology once a week as a guest of BBC Radio Scotland. But the picture emerging from the English operation is deeply worrying.