Kolumne Die Tageszeitung (Taz) London Eye: Krise und Zwangsarbeit Column/ commentary: crisis and forced labour

Poundland are 99p Stores' closest rival and co...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Heute in meiner Kolumne:   In London spricht man wieder über die Wirtschaft.


In this commentary (German) I talk about London’s fears of the economy, the triple dip recession and forced labour at Poundland, colonialism and the Falkland Island oil-drilling  www.taz.de/!99396/

Kolumne London Eye Tageszeitung (Taz): London Eye: Hofnarr wird gewarnt – No More Jokes! Column / Commentary: Court’s Joker warned – No more jokes!

English: Mayor of London, Boris Johnson poses ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Diese Kolumne meiner Serie London Eye bezog sich auf Bürgermeister Boris Johnson, und erneuten Gerüchten, während der Olympiade,  daß er Konkurrenz für David Cameron sei.


Vor genau vor 50 Jahren am 13 August 1964 hängte man den letzten Menschen in England auf. Aber im August 2012 hing in London kein Verurteilter, und gestorben ist der Hangende auch nicht. Seitdem er fünf Minuten bei einem Seilbahnmanöver stecken blieb, und verzweifelt mit den kleinen Union Jack Fähnchen wedelte, verschärften sich mal wieder die Gerüchte…”

This commentary of the London Eye Series regarded London Mayor Boris Johnson who was temporarily the talk of town during the Olympics, due to temporarily renewed rumours about him representing a challenge to David Cameron.


Die Tageszeitung (TAZ): Die meisten Kunden sind Exzentriker (most customers are excentrics)

Bericht über die berühmten Londoner Taxifahrer zu Olympia

Profile of two of London’s cabbies… (German)



KolumneTageszeitung (TAZ): London Eye: Gold auf Oxford Street (Column / commentary Gold on Oxford St.)


Manche Londoner verzichten auf die besten Sonderangebote, die es seit langem gab.  “Der Wiggan Effect…”

I asked: “Is it Gold for Britain, on Gold at discount prices in your shopping back?” (German)


Kolumne London Eye (Tageszeitung TAZ) Lieber Rot als Britisch (column / commentary better red than British)

Ist britische Olympiaberichterstattung einseitig?

Is British olympic reporting biased towards only one country Team GB (German article)?



A Better Way? What can food co-operatives offer in the Age of the Supermarket?

“A Better Way?” wants to examine the case for food co-ops in conversation with people knowledgeable in the field.

Originally broadcasted on Londnon Resonance FM 104.4 Saturday 7th July 2012 12.00 – 13.00

Listen here:  Audio Archive:  Food Co-ops: A better Way?

Producers Comments:

This new piece for Resonance FM, London 104.4  is really a “re-cut,” using material from a documentary produced for a German audience and aired on  Querfunk. (listen here)  It was totally re-edited from the original material elaborated on and new material was also collected.

My main aim was to examine the case for food co-ops.  This was not going to be a feature about supermarkets and what they are about, although some of that was included, because it forms the basis of why many start up food co-ops.  Armin Valet of the Hamburg Consumer Council and Majorie Stein of Eden Farms make their  cases on this quite well.  Those who want to know more, may want to watch the 2011 BBC Panorama feature ‘Supermarkets: What Price Cheap Food ?’ which is available on you tube.

In the German original one of the key persons talking the listener through was Santa Meyer-Nandi of Finding Sustaina an UNESCO (Germany) award wining blog.  She was an interesting person both in terms of what she said to me over the mic,  as she walked me through the The People’s Supermarket (TPS).

But also because she  later left TPS  to join the work-force of a local fine foods store situated in the  same street as TPS called Kennard’s.  Meyer-Nandi felt that TPS had damaged this local store by selling some of the same goods and offering cooked meals.  Meyer-Nandi believed that a supermarket ought to also relate to other local stores and have” gentleman agreements” on what they sell and do not sell.  Kennard’s weren’t  willing to comment on this, and about five months ago they had closed down.  If it was really down to TPS or due to other reasons I can not say.  Probably a mixture of reasons.

Co2012 dzx2.net - All rights reserved.

Other things that were different with the new edition were the fact that I sought to speak with Waitrose and The Co-Operative Supermarket chains.  Both asked me lots of questions beforehand about the  content of my questions and my intentions. So much for corporate damage control.  Waitrose was also very keen to know who I spoke with at the Co-op.

After 14 days wait Waitrose  said they were unable to provide me with “the right person to speak to” as he or she, was now abroad, even though I had offered to call the person regardless of location.  Neither was Waitrose able to get somebody down to their new London  Stratford showcase supermarket and walk me around there.   They said it was because the local store manager could not do this, and the people who could were at their HQ miles away.  On the other hand, I have attended an evening on London Air Quality, where a John Lewis / Waitrose official outlined some quite remarkable policies on how they would reduce emissions in their fleet, including hybrid and electrical vehicles and using gas produced from waste to power some.  But the Local Government Authority felt that Waitrose was not yet one of their best performers.  In the end Waitrose provided me with a written statement which I used in the documentary.

The Co-operative Group was able to offer me with one of their busiest regional secretaries, he was very informative and gave me over 30 minutes of his time.  In the programme a tension came up between Kate Bull and Graham Hammond on the issue of getting a loan as a co-op.  Bull argued the Co-operative Bank was not forthcoming for loans, whilst Hammond argued they help new forming co-ops.  Originally I had another musical interlude in the feature.  I had  edited in the Co-Op’s 2011 Join the Revolution TV and Film advertisement and music,  openly available on youtube, to introduce Graham Hammond, but my contact from the  Co-Op Group media department argued, to my great surprise,  that the department could not approve the use, because of the artistic copyrights involved.  It sounded rather strange to me, and perhaps they were worried that their ad was going to be misused.

The Fair Shares Food- Co-op was quite a remarkable little place.  I quite liked it but it does have restricted opening hours.  I have never bought oat grains as cheaply as from them.  In the original German version I described Fair Shares as a “remarkable store in the chaos of an urban city centre.”  I noted, that ‘where elsewhere stores install CCTV circuit cameras and hire security guards and detectives, here is an example of a store that has none of these features, and even believes the customer’s own calculations of how much the product is she is buying.’  Kevin said they were only once ripped off and on that occasion the customers handed the goods back.  Still it was disappointing that they had opted for a blank boycott of Israeli goods, especially given the fact that with the co-operative Kibbutz Movement, and the associated co-operative Moshav Movement.  I know at least one Kibbutz, that has been known to be particularly outspoken on Palestinian – Israeli issues, Kibbutz  Givat Haviva (but it was only in 2008 that a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship became Israel’s first Kibbutz member).  A blank boycott may be also detrimental to all positive forces within Israel.  Gush Shalom,  the peace campaign founded by Uri Avneri’s  has for example said, that those who wish to boycott due to positions against the occupation of the West Bank, should be more specific and had issued a list to boycott specific produce from the settlements, which is now going through legal challenges in Israel.   Whether or not boycotts themselves are a productive force is a matter of much discussion. My personal opinion is that the situation is a far more complex one, and that if Israel is singled out for a boycott, those who support it must ask themselves why only Israel is chosen from a plate that is full of other countries that may be held to be politically unjust.  I had personally chosen to commit myself for many years to a Jewish Israeli – Palestinian peace village, Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom instead, with real people who live and work the future most of us wish for in the Middle East, and whose UK media liaison person I was (via British Friends).

The Battle Hymn of the Co-operations  played in my documentary is probably the first time you hear the track since the 1930s.  I found it mentioned on the web.  It was written by Elizabeth Mead and Carl Ferguson in 1932 and is thought to be a pre-curser of ‘Solidarity for Ever,’ both based on the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  The artist performing it in my documentary is called Tom Smith who is a London based  jazz drummer and music teacher.   The song was was specially performed and recorded for this feature.  You can listen to the full version of the song here:

Since the recording The People’s Super Market have decided to use extracts of the song as their current jingle tune mixed with statements by some of their members.

There is one piece I have not included in the feature.  It is Nelson Fernandez who is the Green Grocer of The People’s Supermarket

I thought his evidence being quite hard touching especially the bit about getting a job and falling in love with another shop assistant.

I had to think of Bruce Springsteen’s Queen of the Supermarket when he told me his story…

Resonance FM London is supported by the Art council and TheWire.co.uk amongst others, and broadcasts some outstanding challenging and experimental radio productions, as well as new and upcoming radio producers and special interest radio shows (such as Talking Africa)!  If you can make a small donation on their web-site to support this unique medium!

“A Better Way?” was produced and presented by Daniel Zylbersztajn / dzx2.net

Voice Overs: Sophie Talbot

Radio-feature, 55 min.,  Production Date May 2012.

Thanks to James Gordon, and the Cooperative Singers of Ontario, and also to Tom Smith, for musical contributions!

Also listen here to full versions of  Supermarket and Farmers Blues

for distribution rights contact Daniel


  1. Dan – very much enjoyed your piece on Resonance – congratulations.  Jamie
  2. Really enjoyed listening to the recording.  Although I am not a big fan of Co-operatives as they tend to serve a few – reminds me of gated communities in Zimbabwe or India (even there any one can join).  The arguments of co-operatives are valid and promoting this to others (particularly to the young ) is very worthy.  In this you are playing the most active part. I am sure most co-operative would aim to get their message to all kids at schools (not just their children who would usually tend to be from middle class families).  It would have been interesting to hear how they are going about doing this.  Change happens when the majority disapprove having made an informed choice.  I believe that it is possible to get the big supermarkets to change –  this would serve the majority ( not forgetting the jobs  they provide and sometimes housing to the local community).  The woman towards the end spoke about people’s choice and yet the need to be profitable is how I see it operate – yet holding on to ones principles.  On the other hand many farmers are provided subsidies and don’t even need to produce anything! The basis of these subsidies should be based on providing produce for school dinners and our hospitals at the least. Well done and keep up the good work.     Jerome

Pirate Stations in London

transcript of broadcast in 2000 – all rights reserved (2009)

A pirate radio station is a station that broadcasts without a governmental licence. Here is a first taste of real radio pirates, this the “Heartless Crew” on Mission FM:


Pirate stations in Britain have been around since the 1960’s, when the first pioneers broadcasted from ships on sea. – Like historic pirates, most stations pride themselves to be independent, alternative, and enhancing free expression. Most pirates these days broadcast from the roofs of social housing tower blocks in London and other major cities. Usually several pirate stations are on air at one time. The majority of pirates such as the Heartless Crew are under the age of 25, many are from less well-off and marginalised backgrounds, in particular the whole spectrum of black voices, be they be in Ghanaian languages, about Caribbean Reggae or Sokka or modern black dance music, or even take black nationalist positions. All attempt to create spaces of their own, where there are none or not enough on legal or governmental stations.

In Britain there are fines with a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment for this activity. The government holds pirates to be dangerous, because they apparently interfere with main radio, but also with emergency services and air traffic control – a scary but outdated 1960’s argument, when legislation was passed, in an age of mobile phones and microwaves, with equal potential of interference, especially as transmission gear these days are quite precise. Mr Bigfoot a DJ on East London’s Station FM explains some backgrounds:


The government, licences airwaves in accordance to economic viability. To run a station legally one must have great amounts of cash at hands, to pay for the licence as well as fees for music played. It may also be – and here I am speculating – a particular political direction that that is not liked.

Governor Melaninman, works on Genesis Radio a Black pirate stations, at the forefront of free black political expressions, from community based programmes to black nationalist talk.


With London one of the main cities of musical production the music stations together with London clubs are often important trend-setters and must deserve proper attention. For many young persons they provide an opportunity to set themselves up in the music industry. Radio also brings people together in stratified urban environments. Here is how people on London’s streets feel about pirates:


In the light of seizure of equipment and sentencing some stations are now changing over to the Internet, but not without the British government having hurried to decree a licensing fee even for that. To broadcast thus has a price, and at least in Britain radio transmission control too often criminalises aspiring younger people particularly of various marginalised backgrounds.

For Deutsche Welle in London I am Daniel Zylbersztajn.

British Asian Music Scene

broadcasted in 1999 – full transcript follows, all rights reserved!

Feature Production / Cool DW

Minidisk Manual:
(1) Gwandyaa Music Track from Stereonations CDSR 465 (1999)
(2) DZ/BA Feature: Length 5’50
IN: Great Britai.n
OUT: Daniel Zylbersztain from London
Relatd Internetpages for Cool’s new WWW Link Site:

http://www.ballysagoo.com for Bally Sagoo
http://www.subdub.com for Soundnation


Apache Indian:
Boom Shack-A-Lak (1993) CID 560
862 5372
Duration 7’’

Bally Sagoo
Bollywood Flashback
Sony 4776974
Duration: 20’’

Bally Sagoo: Dub of Asia,
Promo Copy
Ishq Records 1999

Own recording!

Background: Fun-Da-Mental:
Frontline (1994) on Inner Nation (John Peel), Strange Fruit/Pinical Label; Duration 3’’

Britain hasGreat had an Asian and Indian population since about the 16th century, but when in the U.K people refer to “British Asians” they normally mean more recent migrants of continental Indian background, who came to the United Kingdom from the 1950’s onwards. Their children and grand children have now created a unique new style of music that reflects the many different influences that shaped them.

Pam Sambie is presenter of the BBC Asian Network, and usually the first contact of upcoming British Asian bands.

It’s amazing here in England. Especially in London. I’d say London a hometown of Asian underground music. It’s music which really want to make they make it for themselves. It’s all about the influences it’s all about their childhood it’ all about what they’ve been through in life. Some, not all of them, but certain bands tend to write kind of aggressive lyrics about political issues. The second generation are trying to move away – not so much in a bad way- but to keep their identity of their Asian cultures, but also to persue a career in singing. Being an Artist, being a
Musician, which ever one.

Soon the first successes were at sight. Apache Indian reached the British top ten with Boom Shack-A-Lak in 93, and was soon followed by artists like Bally Sagoo, who managed to sign Sony with Bollywood Flashbacks a mutation of famous Indian film-songs with current dance tunes. Bally Sagoo who has just released a new album called the Dub of Asia in his Birminham based studio:

Bally Sagoo: The UK is playing a very very important part in this style of music. The fusion of Eastern and Western Sounds has been started by people like myself. I’m a British Asian, my parents being Indian want me to be Indian at the same time. We felt – like myself felt, that there was a need for Indian music to sound funky and Westernized, and heavy drum beats and bass line and the kind of music I like listening to in nightclubs. I don’t want to hear any racism remarks, that don’t understand your music because nobody can understand Enigma, nobody can understand Makarena. I broke down a lot of barriers and I made sure that our music was there to be heard not ignored.

Despite most singers in India being female, the first wave of Asian British musicians were male. But this seems to be changing rapidly. Hardoure is one of the female vocalists of the second wave of current musicians:

Check it out Yo! First you’re a girl, second you’re Asian. And that makes it even more difficult for you, it’s very male dominated. We’re trying to do our music and have a good time really. I don’t really answer this for everybody, it’s just music is hip hop. And that’s the different thing you see, ‘cause I’m an Asian female, and there’s no other Asian female rap artist. Caure means Queen, yeah, and I ‘m Siik, so when you’re a Siik girl your name would be very very coure, and coure means queen, so I ve used that. I’ve been doing everything different according to rest of the sterotypes and people take that to be either she thinks she’s bad or she thinks she is hard.

Ah boom with the word in my head ‘c cause I’m raw
Lyricly formed coming through your stereo…

One of the most powerful groups in terms of their lyrics, alongside Asian Dub Foundation, is the group Fun-Da-Mental. Almost all their songs deal with social criticism and their music is heavily influenced by the Punk and Independent Scene, though Fundamental’s remains loyal to an Asian orientation according to their band headman Aki:

Aki: We’re into cultural kind of identity, but in a very spiritual way, , and we’re against human abuses, try to bridge together people. You know we feel, you know, we’re kinda like we do what we wonna do not what the music business wants you to do. I don’t mind the term Asian band, but not British, I don’t think I am British, I don’t think want to be British , because I don’t know what is to be British. You know, who’s to say if I was born and brought up in Pakistan I won’t be doing mad music?

Stereonations: Nasha:
CDSR 465
Duration: 34’

OUT: Tas Unplucked In terms of current success Stereonations are one of the leading atists in the Asian charts both in their home-country as well as in Asia.

Taz: You know we’were growing up with different music around us from Reggae to Soul to Hip Hop, Motown, Jazz, you know, you name it, and also Indian folk music, and when you grow up with all those different styles around you know you naturally pick up on different things. And you know I started experimenting with all different fusions, different types of music. The fusion that I represent, the kind of music that I am making is very unorthodox and it’s not something that is consciously done to please anybody, it.s something that’s a natural fusion as opposed to: Oh, we’ll manufacture a track, to that particular audience!

Musicians like Apache Indian, Black Starliner, Cornershop Bally Sagoo, Hardcaur, Fundamental or Stereonations are now just as much part of British music today as once were the Beatles. A year ago a British Asian music award was created to make the scene more noticeable. But their success seems still to have some difficulties to break the barrier to the leading British top ten ever so often dominated by Ibiza Pop, or the Spice Girls.

Daniel Zylbersztajn from London

Hey Jude, Jewish Socialist Winter 1998

Hey Jude was an article published in Winter 1998 in the Jewish Socialist. It spoke about the strange rites of multiculturalism, as well as notions of Englishness and Britishness. Amongst others it stated that one of the things lacking in Britain were language classes in Urdu for non Bengoli English people in local populations that had a large percentage of Bangladeshi intake, and
takes issue with ethnic monitoring forms. Click the images to read the text (jpg format).

Refugee Athletes and Sports-people to Great Britain

(feature originally aired in 1998 on Cool, Deutsche Welle)

Produced, presented and recorded by Daniel Zylbersztajn
Listen Here

In this feature I take a look at people who are refugees in Great Britain and who continue their sports career here.