Hagley Road to Ladywood was originally a song written in 2004 by a now defunct independent Birmingham band. It was intended as a tribute to the city and, in particular, the Ladywood/Five Ways/Spring Hill area- basically along the no.8 bus route. The song title inspired this blog.
The initial intention was to have a Birmingham-based blog. Fairly soon though, we got into other topics of interests, mainly to do with the media and contemporary British culture and society.
In summer 2008, the blog turned into more of a full-time adventure and took other collaborators on board. We also started writing about politics, TV, crime, life in other countries, music, etc. Our readership grew and the scope was widened, but the name Hagley Road to Ladywood stuck.
- What's Hagley Road to Ladywood about?
Lost causes, mainly.
One thing I've got to say though. When I was at University I began to suspect that the left will never be able to preach past the converted. Most of my lecturers were self-professed 'socialists' or 'leftists' but to say their language was inaccessible is the understatement of the century. We read valuable books but I will not forget that I often had to spend ten minutes trying to decipher long paragraphs and twisted concepts. And though it was never openly said, the assumption was that the more cryptic our essays and the arsier the words, the better.
Fast forward to the real world, and you can see how the right-wing (and their media) have New Labour (and the country in general) wrapped around their little finger. For the right, the battle for 'the hearts and minds' is more like a stroll down the park. The Sun, the Mail or the Express shout loud and people understand them. Governments are desperate to appear in tune with them. With some laudable exceptions, the only alternative to their bilefeast is some columnists in the Guardian or the Independent churning out figures and economic variables that only the very few can understand.
My generation is plagued by apathy. You mention the word politics and people retch. Yet two seconds later they will moan about their jobs, low pay, high rent and debt. And then they'll talk about Big Brother and I'm A Celebrity. Because to most of them, politics and current affairs are instantly associated with elitist, incomprehensible, arsy stuff that is locked in an ivory tower. Most feel more at ease with Heat magazine, or a pair of tits from The Sun or the Daily Star smiling at them. And in the meantime those gutter stories about immigrants and 'leftie' councils are digested and interiorised. Every day, for instance, the Sun speaks to three million people.
This is where progressive politics and the liberal left are failing. They should be talking to people and their daily issues, instead of putting them off. And it's a shame that even a number of potentially valuable blogs on the 'liberal left' are often guilty of indulging in self-masturbatory language.
While it may take generations to change all of the above, we can at least do our bit to start reversing the trend. Hagley Road to Ladywood will try to dissect the media and read current affairs in a language that is open and accessible to all. Ultimately, the challenge is to explain why having your brain hypnotised by a diet of shitty tabloids and gutter television programmes is, above all, against your own self-interest.
- How can I contact you?
Just e-mail us here.