We will be heading to Warped Tour UK this year! You’ll be able to find us at our stall in the vendor hall on both Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th of November. We will be hauling a load of our finest apparel with us for your purchasing pleasure along with a bunch of other cool stuff, plus you can hang with us and meet the team!
The weekends line up consists of the likes of Enter Shikari, Hacktivist, Rise Against, Billy Talent & Sonic Boom Six. There will also be some breath-taking extreme sports delays as well as band signing and other awesome things to do throughout the weekend.
“Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.”
I thought I’d kick off in true Alan Partridge fashion, with a loosely connected quote from the cuddly Simon & Garfunkel. It introduces the concept of the ‘fair’, an event usually associated with candy floss, spinning teacups, Old Mrs Travers’ homemade cakesales, dodgems, carousels (or to keep it British, merry-go-rounds). All rather harmless undertakings, if not a little frivolous.
Though the fair that’s on the horizon for London next week could not be further from the breezy cheer of our quaint British tradition. The DSEi Arms fair provides over 1,500 arms companies from around the world a chance to peddle their arsenals to nearly 30,000 ‘trade visitors’ and military delegations (basically open to anyone with enough cash, dosh, wonga, squids, moolah, spondulix etc).
“So what’s actually on offer at this dodgy fair?” Ok well let’s say you’re fine with the ‘legal’ weaponry that’s on sale (yes it’s weaponry used to kill and maim your fellow human beings, but you take the view that although it’s rather horrible, this equipment is sometimes a necessary evil). That’s fine, we’ll come back to that later, for now let’s start by looking at the illegal stuff on sale.
Well, you’ll find Cluster bombs (three years ago, the UK joined 100 other countries in banning “all use, stockpiling, production and transfer” of cluster weapons; they are considered particularly lethal because they are designed to release dozens, sometimes hundreds of “bomblets” on their targets. They have killed and injured hundreds of civilians long after conflicts have ended. One third of all such casualties are thought to have been children).
Over the next week, London’s Docklands basically becomes a colossal armoury for an international voyeuristic orgy of sadism and brutality.
1/3rd of all the world’s militaries are likely to trot on down to the arms fair. That includes a lot of hardened dictators and fruitcakes with more balls than brains to the ratio of 100:1. And it’s even likely that some adversaries and hostile nations will literally be browsing shoulder to shoulder for weapons to eventually use against one another.
Well even if you did want to enter this small-minded, myopic event – you can’t. It’s not open to the public; it will all take place in secret, behind heavily protected security fences and police lines. The whole thing is designed to allow arms dealers to trade their wares unhindered by transparency or protest.
A costly event. So who pays for it all? …Why you and I of course! The whole bash is subsidised by the taxpayer.
The government and the arms companies enjoy claiming that the arms trade keeps people in work and helps the UK economy but as the Financial Times put it; “You can have as many arms export jobs as you are prepared to waste public money subsidising.” The government now employs 160 civil servants to be salesmen on behalf of private arms companies, whilst being paid by the taxpayer. (and often with very little regard to who it is selling the arms to).
To put it plainly we are all helping to fund arms deals. Makes one rather queasy, if not a little vexed, no?
So I’ll leave you an apology. I’m awfully sorry for offloading upon you this agitated bulging sack of information and indignation. I hope it bugs you as much as it all bugs me. And seen as the world has been remembering Martin Luther King recently I’ll end with a quote from the great man himself…
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
More info on campaigning and fighting against the arms fair and the arms trade here:
We are pleased to finally inform you that the brand new Step Up range will reach your screens on the 7th of July this year, that’s under two weeks until showtime. Right now we have a competition to win the new hoodie from the range, you can enter here. We will also have a fresh look website launching, highlights from the launch party in Camden on the 6th June and the range itself, which is huge.
Keep your eyes peeled for loads of previews, competitions and other news.
On Monday 29th October 2012, 16 people scaled the chimneys of West Burton gas-fired power station, shutting it down and halting work. West Burton is just one of up to 20 Government planned new gas-fired power stations. This new ‘dash for gas’ will ensure continued dependency on filthy and expensive fossil fuel for our future. This path would mean even our lowest carbon reduction targets will be impossible to achieve and force the most vulnerable people into further fuel poverty as energy companies profit and our chances of sustainable future fade.
EDF Energy, the operators of West Burton Power Station attempted to tail the activists involved with a £5million lawsuit. Right away an online effort formed with a petition and a counter EDF Website called EDF*off. A few weeks later and a mass of people power and EDF discontinued the legal action. No Dash For Gas rightly say that we need a cleaner, more resilient and economically just energy system right now. They state they are prepared to fight, marking the new battleground for our energy future.
No Dash For Gas are taking the front line in this battle against filthy energy with support from Greenpeace and many other organisations. You can find out a load more information and support No Dash For Gas via their website. You can also pile the pressure on our Government and support clean energy by visiting the Friends of The Earth Website.
Step Up are No Dash For Gas… We are all No Dash For Gas
Enough food for everyone? We know it’s possible even with the ever expanding global population, yet somehow we don’t quite manage to feed everyone. It’s a worldwide epidemic, people are hungry, even on our doorstep here in the UK new food banks open week on week to attempt to support hungry people living in what is describe so often as a ‘strong, powerful, wealthy’ nation. IF is a brand new campaign for 2013 supported by 150 organisations using the tagline ‘Enough Food For Everyone’ the campaign is focusing on key areas such as Tax, Transparency, Land and Aid to piece together a way to banish hunger from the globe.
Rou kindly lent his voice to this epic paint fight video created by the Action Aid team for the IF campaign, reading an adapted edition of the Rudyard Kipling poem “If”.
Get involved, share the message… “Enough Food For Everyone IF…”
Since it’s first showcase back in 2011 the Grassroots Resistance has been asked about a considerable amount of times. It has been available from Pulp stores across the UK for the past six months or so. We are pleased to finally bring it to our very own online store and it is available worldwide.
You can grab your Grassroots shirt by clicking here. In other news we will begin more regular blogs from this point on along with increased tweeting and facebook activity. Behind the scenes it is pretty busy we are lining all sorts up for you all with a fresh range for the summer months amongst other things.
Keep an eye out for further updates and send your friends over to www.stepuphq.com!
Hey everyone. I’m trying out some new ideas for the podcast. The familiar format of music and banter will still continue soon, but I’ll also be doing essay styled podcasts, of which #4 is the introduction for. If you’d rather read a written form of the talk it’s in text form below!
(I aim to create these for anyone to be able to listen to, but if i’m not going into enough detail or not explaining stuff properly please drop me an email. Likewise if i’m over simplifying things or nattering on about something too much let me know!)
The Importance of Analysis: Transcript
What is the major failing of modern society…?
I reckon it’s the lack of examination and introspection we apply to it.
In order to progress in any form, we must be able and willing to analyse our current cultures, customs and our civilisation as a whole. But we rarely take time to evaluate ourselves and our own actions, let alone something as colossal as the whole structure of society!
The likelihood is, that criticising someone’s football team, someone’s religion, even someone’s hair will get you into a scuffle of words or perhaps worse. So wide scale criticism of society is usually dismissed as stupid, unrealistic, idealistic or simply futile.
Just like someone supposedly having an outer body experience, looking down upon themselves, it is only with objective analysis of our institutions, beliefs, systems and traditions that we can gain perspective.
But it’s almost as if people don’t want to gain perspective, they’re either afraid of the sheer size of our problems or reduced to apathy through the complicated and intimidating nature of our problems.
The size of the problem should never be off-putting, as Marie Curie once said; “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.”
And one should never be reduced to apathy, as apathy just leads to self delusion and ignorance.
The immediate brick wall that many are quick to put up upon hearing societal criticism needs to be broken down, and the sooner the better.
Sometimes I think we don’t quite understand the amazing and advantageous position our species is in.
We’re pretty much the only species with the ability to collectively analyse itself and improve.
To help us realise the awesomeness of this ability, let us try to appreciate how we came to have it.
We all know about DNA, it’s the molecule that contains information on how to make a living organism.
Now hold onto you seats here comes a science fact; If you took all the DNA out every cell in your body and stretched it end to end it would… kill you.
No but seriously if you did stretch out every helix of DNA in your body it would reach to the moon and back thousands of times.
Thats a lot of information. Imagine having to copy all that information… It’d be like writing out the whole Game Of Thrones book series by hand thousands of times. You would definitely make a little typo or spelling mistake every now and then.
The same thing happens to DNA, when it copies itself roughly once in every billion runs, it makes an error.
This error is what enables the production of slightly different organisms. In effect, the DNA learns adaptations of organisms through it’s imperfect copying process. This is evolution. And this is how every species that we see now from the butterfly to the crocodile has come to be, so there is beauty in imperfection!
Now of course some of these errors end up handicapping an organism’s chance for survival and that strain gets killed off. But some of these errors actually end up being favourable to an organism, enabling it to survive and reproduce. The DNA accumulated information through it’s errors and generated an adapted species.
Now as far as progress goes, this is a somewhat slow process. Well, that’s a understatement. It’s an excruciatingly slow process!
But after millions of years, this process eventually managed to generate a faster way of learning, it produced organisms with brains. These brains could accumulate information, ‘learn’ and to some extent adapt in real time.
All the information accumulated by these organisms unfortunately always died out with the organism though. No matter how many tricks you teach your dog, he has no way of passing on that information to his mates.
It wasn’t until Homo Sapiens developed the skills of higher language and collective learning through communication that we were able to really thrive.
We developed a system of communication so precise, that information individuals learnt could outlast the individual. We were no longer relying purely on darwinian evolution to progress and develop like every species before us, we were now able to record and pass down information, skills and knowledge. Every time a new baby was born it didn’t have to repeat the same rigmarole of dangerous learning processes, it could be taught by it’s elders. We accumulated information and knowledge from generation to generation.
We are the only species on our 4 and a half billion year old planet with the ability of collective learning and therefore the ability to analyse it’s behaviour, its effects and consequently improve itself.
Where darwinian evolution enables species to adapt over hundreds and hundreds of years through genetic mutations or errors, we began to analyse and discard detrimental behaviours in just one generation.
Take for instance the trousers popular in the 1980′s; the flares, we were able to rid ourselves of that disastrous creation in just a decade or so!
But seriously, we managed to rid ourselves of destructive customs like human sacrifices, superstitions, slavery and sexism, these were all once taken as completely normal and healthy, but through scientific thinking and scrutinising we managed to grow out of all of them. We managed to adapt and progress through realising the folly of our ways. This is the kind of fast improvement that our species is now capable of, but only if we continue to apply self-analysis and avoid becoming complacent and blinkered.
We must not let the pressures of modern society impede or disrupt our will to analyse and progress.
Our respect and desperation for short term profit in business has begun to make us overlook its affects on ourselves, our climate, and upon our fellow species.
If we walk through life continuing to treat what is perceived as normality as acceptable and unchangeable we are heading for a dangerous future.
At what point did our future stop being captivating and enchanting and instead become alarming and unsettling?
We used to dream of empty hospital wards and badass hover boards. Now we’re worrying about catastrophic climate change and nuclear missiles with unlimited range. We used to dream of cleaning the oceans and growing new forests of tree’s. Now we’re anxious about parliamentary motions and the extinction of bee’s.
We must all be taught from a young age to never respect conventional thought without reason, to never accept teachings or ideologies without analysis and logic.
The most important factor determining evolutionary success is adaptability. Surely then, we must strive to be as analytical and adaptable as possible.
We must learn to analyse and update our values and behaviours, if we are to bring progression and therefore endurance to our species.
The following blogs, podcasts, addresses, essays, whatever you want to call them will tackle different notions, behaviours or systems that we need analyse and subsequently alter or maybe leave behind altogether.
A selection of Step Up clothing is now available at Pulp stores across the UK. The range includes the long anticipated Grassroots Resistance shirts and some alternative colours plus a couple of other sweet new bits. All this stuff will be available in our online store at a later date so keep an eye out for that and try not to panic if you don’t have a local Pulp store.
There’s some overwhelming evidence, that there are actually more slaves in the world now, than were hauled over from Africa to America back in the days when we normally presume slavery was at it’s most abundant. There are 23 million slaves worldwide working forced labor without any pay and usually dying in the process.
This is tough video to watch without getting teary eyed, the pictures at the end really got me.
But it’s well worth a watch because you may not be aware that any of this, let alone the horrific magnitude of it, still happens in 2012.
The clothing industry is rife with slavery, child labor, horrific working hours and conditions, video’s like this will make it clear why Step Up uses fairly traded materials, made in a safe and happy working environment by happy workers.
We are back! This is Stepcast number edition two, lock in.
We have a load of stuff lined up for you! We got some… Monty Pythons The Meaning Of Life, Alphabets Heaven, Universe chatter, Pythagorus, Refused, Engine Earz, Iran Vs the West chatter, The King Blues, Lupe Fiasco, Lowkey & Logic, The Honeydrippers and a little bit more.
What are STEP UP’s thoughts on “Trenton Oldfield” and his purposeful sabotage of the boat race? Is he a modern, meaningful role model or a hypocrite, considering his past education and current social status? Did he think his brave and possibly reckless actions could really make a difference? Or was he selfishly using the excuse of protesting against social “elitism” for his own gain? by anonymous
Bit late on this one! I didn’t really know anything about this, being on tour in the US and all. (US media concentrates on approximately 90% national only issues) If like me you’ve been living under a rock in regards to this event you can just type ‘Trenton Oldfield’ into google to get a jist of what happened.
I guess this has all died down now but thought i could at least say a few things that perhaps wouldn’t have been widely discussed amongst the media commotion and impulsive emotion vented over the event.
I don’t think we should simply dismiss this guy as a hypocrite just because of his ‘class’ or upbringing. If he is at all sincere in his motives and reasoning then we should not discriminate. Remember, he obviously did not personally choose his parents and education. We shouldn’t victimise him for something he had no hand in.
Also someone living within the system or class that they are protesting against, can, with the right mindset perhaps give a far more detailed refutation of it’s longstanding justification.
Personally, to be brutally honest, I don’t really side with either Trenton or the harsh but perhaps fair remarks made by the rowing team. I don’t care for the sport or the ‘honour’ supposedly involved in this competitive tradition.
I mean, what was achieved from the boat race? Of course a lot of hard work went into it on the side of the competitors, but for what? The betterment of themselves? The amusement of the upper class audience?
Now I’m not saying I don’t think there should be a boat race… I’m saying I just couldn’t care less about it. I beat my record running around the jogging circuit in my local park last week, even though a young group of ducklings got in my way at one point. Hurrah for me and my honourable upstanding sporting citizenry achievement!
For me, the word ‘honour’ is closely tied to the word ‘morality’. The word ‘honour’ is one step further than respect. I respect someones technical ability, whether Artist, Athlete or Abseiler. But I deeply honour anything that I perceive to be scientifically moral;
The Artist that uses his art to educate or help others
The Athlete that uses his athleticism to encourage or to help others
The Abseiler who uses his… abseiling ability to save others!
So don’t come at me whinging about someone ruining your ‘honour’ if you are simply rowing down a river in a little boat for the joy of some families whilst they pop open some champagne and enjoy the pleasantries of the day on a quaint river bank.
As to whether Trenton achieved anything, i really don’t know. It looks like he made me rear my ugly head as a “rowingist”.
I’m not by the way. Lots of my friends are a rowers…
So here we have it, Stepcast number one, our very first podcast.
As I have say, I’m not sure what this is going to evolve into yet, it will probably become more talk based with slightly less music. Hopefully we’ll have more interactions with you guys in it as well, plus interviews with people on relevant subjects. Any pointers or suggestions do let us know via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got back from Australia yesterday and found myself bombarded by people sharing and encouraging my involvement in the ‘Stop Kony’ campaign. The rise of the free online movie i think is completely unprecedented in the activism world. And I’ve been barraged on twitter and facebook to share the kony video and ‘join the movement’ by literally thousands.
So, introducing Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army, ahhh the shocking realisation that there are people who commit disgraceful terrorism in the name of Christianity too! I can see all the right-wing Americans now, ‘where’s this dudes turban?!’ I’m sure Fox news will turn to photoshop soon enough.
Atheistic jokes aside, I want to briefly take a few steps back from the hype and analyse a few things. Now the video is undoubtedly brilliantly made; It’s a bite size, emotional roller-coaster, igniting the flames of discontent in every ordinarily happily ignorant, middle-class western kid.
Psychologically attractive and easy to take in films like these need to be done again and again. Anything that spurs the normally blinkered self interested human being into a compassionate, human-rights conscious one is a winner in my book.
But I’d like to seriously address the issue of him being the ‘bad guy’. Of course he’s a bad guy, but once again we’ve fallen into the ‘bad apple’ trap; Take out the bad guy and all will be fine, he’s just the one bad apple out of the harvest. This is obviously rather silly, but it’s something that we always seem to jump into.
We have to target and eliminate the cause of how people like Kony came to materialise rather than the individuals themselves. It is only then that the atrocities will actually stop. Behind Kony are people supplying him with weaponry and funding and also a system that allows such perversion of humanity and human welfare.
We must ask why and how Kony became able to commit his obscenities and keep committing them for such a bloody long time?
And what’s to stop someone taking his place if he is ‘removed’?
And that means killed, Just like Osama, as if he’s going to ‘give himself up’, troops will have to fight to get to him, and fight who…? The very children that make up Kony’s army; the very children that ‘Invisible Children’ want to save. ‘Invisible Children’ have run into trouble labelling Kony’s army as “perpetrators”, as they are often “victims” too.
Africom (the United states military division for securing US foreign policy and interest in Africa) has attempted to ‘stop’ Kony many times and each time it has resulted in a backlash of increased death and disgraceful behaviour.
The environment that made Kony who he is, would still be in place to create successors if Kony himself is stopped. Even The Ugandan Army, The UPDF have been accused of rape, looting and land grabbing… (the very army that ‘Invisible Children’ support.)
People are a product of their environment, and the environment in Uganda can be horrendous. Just like much of Africa, Uganda is in the struggling corrupt state it is in because of it’s resource ‘curse’ (it’s rich resources being controlled and exploited by colonial western powers) and all the other telling side affects of capitalism.
Many respected scholars of northern Uganda have recently stated“Until the underlying problem — the region’s poor governance — is adequately dealt with, there will be no sustainable peace.”
There is an overly simple subtext for the whole ‘Kony 2012’ film which seems to be nothing more than; get troops in, take out the bad boy, punish him and high five each other. Ultimately, the Kony 2012 campaign is based on a false premise: that increased American involvement in this issue will solve it. This might sound completely reasonable to young apolitical, shocked facebookers, but we know that increased American involvement very, very rarely leads to increased peace and stability.
In fact with recent Oil deals being made i could see this escalating into something we’d all be campaigning against in a few years time, after we send in our troops and end up taking more of their resources.
With the doom and gloom everywhere we look, energy crisis, environmental crisis, climate change crisis, etc, i thought i’d do a nice positive blog about the current developments and progresses in renewable energy!
‘Renewable Energy is just a few years away from reaching grid parity with fossil fuels’
(Parity = n. the state or condition of being equal) After i looked up what parity meant i realised what welcome news this was that had emerged from the World Economic Forum the other week in Switzerland.
It encouraged me to have a snoop around the current advances and steps that have been made recently to help renewables take over the world!
First up is Bio-photovoltaic paint. What a truly phonetically gorgeous word to say. Biophotovoltaic. Mmmm. My friend here below in the video will do a far better job of explaining than i can, but basically the idea came about from Biomimicry. And Biomimicry is fucking awesome. Again just say that word slowly… Biomimicry. Mmmm. ‘Through the course of 3.8 billion years, nature has gone through a process of trial and error to refine the living organisms, processes, and materials on planet Earth. The emerging field of biomimetics has given rises to new technologies created from biologically inspired engineering and technology.’
Basically as nature doesn’t copyright it’s ingenious processes, we can hop in and do a bit of nature ‘plagiarism’ and steal it’s brilliance to help us with progressing scientifically as a species.
Spiders can still spin a material far stronger than we can produce, and they do it using only the raw materials of dead flies and water…
Beatles can detect forest fires up to 80km away, roughly 10 thousand times the range of manmade fire detectors. And the little buggers aren’t powered by fossil fuel power stations, just leaves and insects…
We still have a lot to learn from nature really don’t we…?
Ok anyway, back to painting a hut in photovoltaic paint which can then absorb solar raise to produce electricity…
Awesome huh? Moving on; different types of generating power from water are being tested all the time. The main problem for all renewables is producing a steady and consistent source of energy at a low cost. Searaser have a new design that ticks those boxes.
Check out the video; As the ocean swells, it moves the two buoys up and down which pumps seawater to an onshore turbine. Simple, clean and the cheapest way of producing electricity, even comared to fossil fuels.
Moving on; My favourite recent development is using the by-products in the production of whisky as biofuel!
I’m going to have to try and develop a taste for whisky now, i’ve always wanted to be able to sit by the fire contemplating stuff whilst sipping whisky… But it’s just too fucking vile. This is real inspiration to help ‘wean’ myself onto the stuff though!
Moving on; Now, with developments in grid I.T. we can develop a global energy grid fuelled by the whole variety of renewable sources. It really could be just a matter of years before we wave goodbye to the silly and archaic digging of holes and sucking up of the earths finite resources for power, when renewable energy is all around us, and ready to be harnessed.
Let us go forth and harness.
3d printers have excited me for a few years. Apparently the technology has been available and progressing for over 30 years, but now it is looking like within our lifetime big things a gwan in this area!
‘You will download your sneakers in 20 years’
‘No more shipping huge amount of products around the world’
‘And no more shipping broken products back.’
‘No more child labor. We’ll be able to print food for hungry people. We’ll be able to share not only a recipe, but the full meal.’
These are the types of statements being made in a recent article by Pirate Bay about it’s planning for a future file sharing of 3d printing data. And this is not distant idealist future. This is going to happen soon.
And when it does, it will be another nail in the coffin for capitalism.
imagine being able to print spare parts to that hoover that’s been discontinued. You wouldn’t have to go out and buy a new hoover and throw away your broken one, you could search through an online database of parts and print out the one you needed. (The end of pointless consumption and waste?)
imagine being able to print your own custom made designs of literally any product… there would be no more need for ‘runs’ of products creating waste and again encouraging pointless consumption to prop up our failing economy.
imagine data being sent across the world via email for to be printed, instead of products being physically sent across the world. This would save money, fuel, energy and help our global carbon footprint.
No more boring manufacturing jobs. This will be a manufacturing revolution. And hopefully a signal to finally evolve out of an unsustainable, wasteful, unprogressive, unequal structuring of society.
What sort of world do we live in where profit trumps human life and wellbeing…
This film further demonstrates the lengths people and companies have to go to within Capitalism / Free Market / Monetary System or whatever you want to call it, to ensure profit or retain market share.
Because Burzynski’s paradigm shifting treatment is unable to be profitable for pharmaceutical companies, they attempt to crush him and his approaches, in order to keep people using their profitable ‘conventional’ treatments. The various medical institutions built to help humanity, now, disgracefully hinder it.
We see this happen everywhere though, in every walk of life.
If JP Morgan hadn’t cancelled Nicola Tesla’s funding and destroyed his electricity tower after learning about his project to distribute free energy globally in 1904, imagine the world we’d be living in now… FREE ENERGY…EVERYWHERE… just imagine it?!
Why did they squash Tesla? Because there would have been no profit for selling energy, his inventions would have rendered their company useless.
Human ingenuity is abundant everywhere and it allows us to progress gloriously… but our system of money, at times, is completely obstructing our development as a species