Is alcohol abuse a new “scandal”?

Prime Minister David Cameron said he is determined to do more to tackle alcohol abuse, which he has called “the scandal of our society”. Addressing the crowd at an hospital in north-east England today, Mr Cameron also said that recent figures show that binge drinking costs Britain 22 billion pounds a year when taking into account the whole range of issues related to it: road accidents, crime, lost productivity and, of course, health problems.

There is nothing new about the negative impacts of the alcohol industry on our society, health and culture.

Drink abuse: a not-so-new problem for youth (painting by W.P. Frith)

Spectacle’s film Exodus Extended Mix explores, among other issues, the hypocrisy of a profit driven drinks industry being a licensed dealer of a legalized, but extremely harmful drug – alcohol and the prohibition of the far less harmful cannabis which criminalizes vast swathes of young people and forces the consumer to the hands of gangs who have interest in promoting the harder, more anti-community drugs like heroine, cocaine and its derivatives.

Exodus from Babylon exposes the role of a beleaguered alcohol industry that was losing the youth market to free parties. The film documents how the alcohol industry set up a powerful lobby group to push for more relaxed laws and licences, how it had a role in the shutting down, commercialization and take over of rave culture and music festivals and how it sought to win back and target the youth market by presenting beer as a cool psychoactive drug.

BOGOF In the spirit of the buy one get one free ethos of the alcohol pushers you can buy both these DVDs for the price of one.

National Treasure kills Beatle?

Battersea Power Station

You couldn’t make it up.

Former Wings frontman Paul McCartney is holding a bring-me-back-my-youth gig in the belly of the roofless Battersea Power Station in order to fund raise for a new roof for the Old Vic Theatre.

Multi-millionaire Macca is dusting off his guitar in a bid to raise money for the theatre, but for him to play inside a structure which REO, the owner, claim is so fragile and so dangerous that the chimneys must be removed for safety reasons, begs the post-ironic question: when will the power station have an honorary gig at the Old VIc to provide it with a roof of its own?

Despite Macca’s considerable fall from grace since his hey-day (his Bromance with Vlad the Impaler Putain in Red Square, receiving guided tours of the Kremlin and playing a personal concert for the Russian dictator), presumably Battersea Power Station has been chosen for the venue as a silent homage to its rock’n’roll image, most notably gracing the cover of the 1976 Pink Floyd album, Animals. The fact that Macca is being granted permission to perform there must mean that the disused power station is not as much of a threat to life and limb as developers, politicians, and pen-pushers (all with vested interests) would have the public believe.

Surely such a National Treasure has more to give as a cultural icon? And Battersea Power Station isn’t in such bad shape bad either.

Hope Sir Moolah wears a hard hat.

Click Battersea Power Station for more blogs
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.
See our Battersea Power Station project pages for more information and videos.

Spectacle homepage
Befriend Spectacle.Docs on Facebook
Follow SpectacleMedia on Twitter

British intelligence told not to ‘intervene’ to prevent torture

The Guardian has reported that a policy was issued after the September 11 attacks asking MI5 to ignore torture. Though MI5 officers were not allowed to ‘condone’ or be seen to ‘engage’ in torture they were told not  to intervene if they were aware of suspects being tortured.

The Guardian claims officers were told they were not under any obligation to prevent detainees from being mistreated by other security forces.

“Given that they are not within our ­custody or control, the law does not require you to intervene to prevent this,” the policy said.

This supports the claims of former Guantanamo detainees Omar Deghayes and Binyam Mohamed that British intelligence officers were aware of their interrogation and torture.


To view a clip of Omar Deghayes interview please visit our Guantanamo Project Page.