follow us in feedly
Was the London Sony warehouse fire a heist?
10:35 am



According to this article in the Telegraph, it would seem so.:

...evidence has now emerged suggesting that the well-guarded Sony DADC distribution centre was deliberately targeted by a professional gang, in a carefully planned raid, using the riots as a distraction.

Sources in the security industry disclosed that intruders first arrived wielding specialist cutting equipment and spent up to two hours dismantling a high security fence before breaking in.

It is claimed that they then summoned a fleet of vans and drove inside the premises, which are set back from the main focus of rioting in the area, before beginning to load up stock.

According to one source, security guards on site were effectively overwhelmed and unable to fend off the intruders, knowing that police were already stretched as anarchy gripped the capital.

The plot thickens… it did seem a bit unusual that a warehouse removed from the main riot areas went up in flames. Fans of independent music will be relieved to know, however, that Sony have set up a new distribution HQ to help avert bankrupycy by the labels effected by the fire.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Independent music distributor PIAS lose entire stock in London Riots

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘The Limits Of Left And Right’ - a sociological perspective on the English riots

While England tries to come to terms with the rioting of the last seven days, politicians and pundits, of both the right and left persuasion, are still using the looting as a means of point-scoring against their traditional enemies on the other side of the fence. ‘Twas ever thus, etc. But at what point are both sides going to be honest, put their hands up and admit that they have both made mistakes?

Call names all you want, pick holes in opposing ideologies all you want, but it’s fair to say that the pontifications of the left and the knee-jerk reactions of the right are neither going to satisfactorily explain what has been happening, or prevent it from happening again. More useful, I think, is to look beyond the cyclical, circular arguments of politics. This piece from the blog potlatch has a fair stab at detaching the riots from dead end political dialogs, and has valid criticisms of both the left and the right:

The dilemma for the Left, and for sociologists, is the following: whether or not to trust people’s own understanding of what they’re doing. And if a young looter says nothing about politics or inequality, and displays no class consciousness, to what extent can a culturally sensitive democratic socialist disagree with them? For sure, the Old Left would have no problem re-framing the behaviour of an egomaniac teenager burning down his neighbour’s shop in terms of class. That’s what crude Marxist ‘critical realism’ meant. But the New Left, along with the ‘cultural turn’ in sociology, was meant to be slightly more capable of listening.


Strangely, other than the repeated mantra that there is “no excuse” for looting, I’ve been surprised by how guarded the political classes have been on this occasion. I assumed that moralistic rhetoric would be raining down by now, focused on absent fathers, bringing back the birch, national service and banning computer games. But no. Could it be that the absence of politics, of sociological rationale, and of socialist ambition in these events means that they are, from a Rightwing perspective, comparatively safe?

It’s a very interesting read, and I wish there was more like it.

Right now it feels like the same old arguments are getting trotted out again and again, people are not willing to budge from their positions and open up to new ideas, and no real, genuine progress is being made to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Either it’s time for a new kind of politics, or it’s time to accept that politics is not going to solve the problems we face - surely I can’t be the only to feel that the ENTIRE political system, both left AND right, have failed us?


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
An Explanation is NOT An Excuse: London cabbie calls out bullshit

To all the moronic idiots quick to jump down the throats of people looking for the causes of the English riots with the meaningless soundbite “That’s not an excuse!” aqquaint yourself with the angry wisdom of London cab driver Mark McGowan. At a time when public discourse has been overrun by a sea of armchair pundits (many of whom live nowhere near riot stricken areas) it’s refreshing to hear the opinions of AN ACTUAL Cockney geezer. GO ON MY SON!

And if you still don’t get it, if you still think that people bringing up issues of social inequality are somehow “excusing” what the looters have done then ask yourself this - how long are YOU going to keep on excusing and endorsing the acts of the criminal classes at the top of our society who allowed this to happen? Because by sticking your fingers in your ears and parroting that bullshit “not an ecuse!” line YOU ARE.

Chunky Mark’s YouTube channel is here.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Nathaniel Tappley’s ‘Open Letter To David Cameron’s Parents’

Before anyone gets carried away getting all biblical on the asses of the UK looters, it’s best to remember that the people in positions of power have been getting away with much worse crimes for years now. This brilliant open letter to the parents of the UK’s Prime Minister by the writer Nathaniel Tappley makes that abundantly clear with facts, figures and more than a pinch of humor. And yes, before anyone mentions, he does know that Mr Cameron’s father died last year, his point being that he is reflecting assumptions about parenting that Cameron regularly makes.

“Are they really surprised that this country’s culture is swamped in greed, in the acquisition of material things, in a lust for consumer goods of the most base kind? Really?


Our politicians are for sale and they do not care who knows it.

Oh yes, and then there’s the expenses thing. Widescale abuse of the very systems they designed, almost all of them grasping what they could while they remained MPs, to build their nest egg for the future at the public’s expense. They even now whine on Twitter about having their expenses claims for getting back to Parliament while much of the country is on fire subject to any examination. True public servants.

The last few days have revealed some truths, and some heartening truths. The fact that the #riotcleanup crews had organised themselves before David Cameron even made time for a public statement is heartening. The fact that local communities came together to keep their neighbourhoods safe when the police failed is heartening. The fact that there were peace vigils being organised (even as the police tried to dissuade people) is heartening.

There is hope for this country. But we must stop looking upwards for it. The politicians are the ones leading the charge into the gutter.”

Read the whole letter here - it’s worth it.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The voice of the unheard:  Manchester rioter interviewed (and now transcribed)

Manchester’s Market Street branch of American Apparel, yesterday.
The wave of rioting has spread further across the UK, and last night it arrived here in Manchester. This is footage from Sky News of an interview with one of the rioters/looters.

I have been asked to transcribe this as the interviewee’s accent is thick. Here it is. I have transcribed the interviewee verbatim, but have sumarised the interviewer’s questions (I am sure we can all understand him):

Why are you masked?

Because the police will get me on camera, and then they’ll nick [arrest] me 3 months down the line.

If you were law abiding -

I’m not law abiding, nah.

So why are you doing this?

To piss the police off, do you get me?

Why do you want to piss off the police?

You don’t know what the police are like bro… no, I can’t explain in words.

Please try to explain - are you doing this out of anger?

I’m out for money [not for anger] because the police nick you for stupid things mate, and now this is our payback because they can’t do nothing to us today. So it’s like freedom, like do whatever you want today.

What have you been doing?

I’ve been doing what I want. Getting pissed [drunk].

After the jump, footage of Miss Selfridge on Manchester’s main thoroughfare, Market Street, being set alight.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Great picture of London’s clean up operation
07:18 am

Current Events

clean up

Among all the pictures of burning cars, buses, warehouses and shops coming from the UK’s capital right now, here’s something from the other end of the spectrum - a great image from Operation Clapham Clean Up (#riotcleanup) proving that Londoners can come together to do something other than destroy.

Via Lawcol888 on YFrog.


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Independent music distributor PIAS lose entire stock in London riots

Sad news for fans of independent and alternative music - among the worst hit in last night’s large scale rioting in London were the very popular independent distributor PIAS (né Play It Again Sam) who look to have lost all their stock when the Sony warehouse in Enfield was burnt down. If you are a fan or collector of independent music you probably have a couple of releases brought to you by the company already - they distribute labels like Mute, Rough Trade, One Little Indian, Warp, Ninja Tune, Kompakt, Domino, FatCat, Soul Jazz, Rock Action, Chemikal Undergroud, and lots lots more. It’s estimated that PIAS handle around 30% of independent music in Europe.

PIAS have issued this statement via their website:

There was a fire last night at the SonyDADC warehouse which services the physical distribution for [PIAS] in the UK and Ireland. [PIAS] is working closely with SonyDADC who are implementing their emergency plans. [PIAS]‘s UK offices in London and all other areas of our business are unaffected.
More information will be communicated shortly to all our labels and partners.

A campaign has already begun to help the company, with suggestions that records or downloads from PIAS distributed labels be bought today in solidarity. A Paypal account is also being set up by Twitter user fionchadd (hashtag #labellove) for people to donate money through, which will be distributed among the labels affected by the loss of stock.

Via Drowned in Sound

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Emblematic photo of London rioting
11:07 pm

Class War
They hate us for our freedom


The above photograph has been making its way around the world tonight via Twitter. As several people have pointed out, it kinda looks like a Pink Floyd album cover.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rising food prices could spark riots in the UK, senior economist warns
04:10 pm

Class War

food riots
fuel poor

Although commonly used in Europe these days, a term we seldom hear in the US (not yet at least) is “fuel poor” which is to say, people who can’t afford to heat their homes in winter if they want to, you know… eat.

Now that the price of food is rising alongside of fuel, so what is the proletariat supposed to do??? What’s left?

From Australia’s Herald Sun:

A senior economist at the worldwide bank HSBC has warned of civil unrest in Britain if food prices continue to soar, Sky News reported yesterday.

Karen Ward cautioned that the UK was not immune to the kind of “food riots” seen in other countries around the world.

“Even in the developed world I think we have very, very low wage growth, so people aren’t getting more in their pay packet to compensate them for food and energy, and I think we could see social unrest certainly in parts of the developed world and the UK as well,” she told Sky News.

She went on to highlight the link between high food prices and the escalating cost of crude oil.

“More and more we are seeing that some of these foodstuffs are actually substitutes for energy itself, particularly biofuels. So I think the energy markets are a significant contributor to these food price gains,” she said.

The comments came as the United Nations warned the cost of food is now at the highest level for 21 years and set to rise further.

Food costs have gone up for eight months in a row, with the UK’s National Farmers Union forecasting the trend will continue for the rest of 2011.

The cost of basic foodstuffs has been caused by increasing demand and extreme weather destroying crops - and has been partly to blame for the unrest sweeping the Arab world, which in turn is putting pressure on oil prices.

Thank you, Shane Wynn of Birmingham, AL!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Small World Re-enactments’: Riots in jam jars
02:54 pm


James Cauty
jam jars

Miniature riots in jam jars titled “Small World Re-enactments” by British artist and KLF member, James Cauty. Saddly, It appears all the mini-riot sculptures are sold.

James Cauty Design Solutions
More images after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment