Saturday, 22 November 2008
I have decided to take a break from writing The First Supper. The time has come to re-assess, re-group and re-organise. When I have news I will start up on here again.
Until then very best wishes to every one of you, especially those of you who have contributed with your comments. Seasons greetings and have a wonderful 2009.
Sunday, 16 November 2008
It has been said that many social workers see their main task to be getting the statistical returns in on time. The welfare of clients is compromised in such a negative climate with such preposterous objectives. I have seen the same culture developed in my local Children’s service for whom I worked until recently. I am now unemployed and glad to be free of a system dominated by the same burocratic obsession with ticking boxes.
There is a plan to allocate access to social workers via call centres. The idea is monstrous and in my opinion devastatingly destructive. It is designed to remove people from waiting lists who will either not fit new criteria or will not have the means to access the service.
A social worker recently told me that “ the only thing that is readily on offer to most clients is meals on wheels” and that things are getting worse by the week. Money is wasted on burocratic rituals while people go months with out proper access to WHAT THEY NEED.
It is understandable that we all want to see the people negligent in the tragic case of baby P brought to book but we must look at the bigger picture. The fact is that today services and quality of service is being eroded and dismantled by a labour government. They have become so detached from our reality they are no longer able to meet the needs of the vulnerable.
One of the contributing factors to this mess is the decline in credibility of political statistics. Paddy Ashdown recently described this as due to an increasing lack of honest transparency among our politicians. In other words we can’t trust them and if the boxes are not ticked they will juggle the forms and resulting statistics until they are happy with the result. One in four posts in Social services are vacant and I suspect it is far worse in some areas
While I was till working in my local Childrens services in Wandsworth I became directly involved in a case of a young man at risk. My line manager had no idea as to what route should be taken. When ever I protested that nothing was being done I was told that as I had reported the facts to a senior manager my job was done. I was not happy with progress so I pushed some buttons again and eventually the young man was allocated a place of safety but only at the last minute and in my opinion this only happened because I kept pushing. Another case of every one too busy ticking boxes?
Recently the government introduced a scheme requiring all public service workers at all levels to act when ever they thought a child to be at risk. The intention was eventually to make all adults responsible in law for intervening for such a child whether it be to make a phone call or to intervene in some other way. What a fantastic idea I thought! Finally all children are OUR CHILDREN. Proper socialism at last. Sadly the Nevres Kamal the social worker who “ blew the whistle” in Haringey (all local authorities have a whistle blowing policy) was sanctioned and ultimately ignored. A letter from her legal representatives is copied below.
Ms P Hewitt MPSecretary of State for the Department of HealthHouse of CommonsLondonSW1A 0AA
Our ref: LD/KemalYour ref:
Strictly Private and Confidential
16 February 2007
Dear Secretary of StateMs Nevres Kemal v Haringey Council
We act for the above-named Claimant. She worked as a senior social worker at Haringey Council and discovered that child abuse victims were not being protected. Haringey of course is the home of the Climbie tragedy.
Our client's claims follow similar recent revelations in Westminster and Leeds. Statutory child protection procedures are not being followed. Child sex abusers are not being tackled.
Our client whistle-blew the fact that the sexual abuse had been ongoing for months and the new management brought in post-Climbie had not acted. She was then targeted for a witch-hunt by management who sought to dismiss her. She received a final written warning and was transferred out of child protection.
Our client won her racial discrimination and whistle-blowing claims (copy attached) at Watford ET on 15 February 2007 (copy decision attached).
We write to ask for a public inquiry into these matters.
Equal Justice Ltd
The enquiry will roll on and we will be told some thing palatable at the end of it but while Social services are allowed to decline we will get no where. It is time this government acted responsibly and effectively to ensure that sufficient funding is available for training and resourcing social workers.. So far it has failed miserably to such an extent that it’s policies have eroded not improved existing services. They have made significant positive changes in some areas of the work and how it is carried out such as new procedures for dealing with rape victims and there are others but the overall effect of their target driven obsessions is mostly detrimental.
Mean while we must all be vigilant where children are concerned. We must be ready to intervene if we think any child is at risk. I will never forget the young woman who challenged me while I was pushing my three year old son in his buggy in the dark. She over heard me say to him “ you don’t know where you are now do you?” ( it was part of a game we played when he couldn’t sleep) She thought this was odd and she turned to ask him – “ do you know this man?” He told her I was his daddy and she apologised to me. No need. I wanted to kiss her. What a brave and loving thing to do! Don’t hesitate. Participate.
Copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2008
Monday, 10 November 2008
Losses at Europe's biggest bank, HSBC, relating to the US housing market crisis reached $4.3bn (£2.7bn) in the third quarter.
The unprecedented turbulence in financial markets continued to present "enormous challenges", the bank added.
The times they are a changing. The recent financial crisis is responsible for the forming of different attitudes regarding the difference between what is necessary and what is desirable in the mind of the consumer. We knew about the difference all the time but in times of boom we all tend to spend a little more on the fripperies and desirables as opposed to the necessities. We all know about the struggles of the local shop against the might of the four giant superstores but today the Co-operative society announced a 25% increase in turnover. You may know that the good old Co-op is basically a socialist organisation and it looks as though people are becoming increasingly choosy about where they spend their money. I am in the process of moving what little I have to them and I know of at least one other person who is going to do the same. Recently Shoreham Steve wrote a lengthy comment to a post on my blog which outlined his attempts to deal only with ethical business. Not so easy but always laudable to try. More and more people will respond favourably to the fair trade companies and will slowly reject the wasters and users i.e. the major banks and their dodgy chums.
Are the high streets dying? I don’t think so. Just evolving but people will begin to hang on to their old mobile phone a bit longer and they will probably hang on to their cash rather than spend it on the luxury items. If the shops that only sell unnecessary goods were removed from the scene entirely then what would be left? Not much. Our local high street at Clapham Junction is no exception and is made up of the usual shops. They all sell stuff no one needs. Most of us have what we need though of course I accept there are far too many exceptions.
Recently Brown said he hoped his measures would encourage the banks to start lending again. That is what caused the problems in the first place so it is imperative that they, the banks, are monitored closely. Brown also thinks that new tax cuts will encourage consumer spending. Great! Lets all go and buy more stuff we don’t need.
I am no financial expert as you will have already deduced from this post but I do believe we have to begin to look at a personal policy around spending that addresses three basic issues if at all possible.
1. Do we need the new purchase?
2. If we do was it made responsibly in terms of the effects on environment?
3. Did the people who made it get a fair price for a fair days work in a safe , healthy work environment?
Some of you will already know how difficult it is to buy in this way but we have to begin to demand the option, partly by refusing to buy what does not meet our standards. Boycott the decorative, the trivia and the fripperies and have a sensible Christmas. Give to the poor and the children and try not to give too much to the venture capitalist and the high Street muggers. If you can’t eat it, it doesn’t save you money or you can’t wear it, keep an old person warm with it, make some thing useful ( tools) OR make a child very happy for longer than three days then don’t buy it.
If people down sizing their Christmas spend causes businesses to go to the wall it is probably a case of natural wastage and or survival of the fittest which many of those failing businesses would have claimed when the boot was on an others foot. The decline in the high street that you think you might be seeing could be the beginning of some thing radically more realistic and viable. Let us hope so.
Finally I would like to hear what others think and what strategies they employ when spending. The best comment will receive a free goodie from the EB Band catalogue.
copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2008
Monday, 3 November 2008
Old roadies never die at least not in so far as they are integral to the life of the band and therefore to the history and legend. Ray and I keep in touch via e-mail and he comes to gigs when he can. I think some times Ray misses the camaraderie and in his own words being “ connected”. Now our Ray is some thing of a writer like me so between us the idea evolved that it would be fun to have him write an occasional piece about the old days or any thing else he fancied. He has a caustic wit when addressing the petty burocracy that plagues us all so don’t be surprised if we get some commentary on modern life in forth coming contributions. Any way enough from me. Let’s have Ray introduce himself.
Kindly Rob has let me (big)Ray Dixey write a piece for his weblog.
I first met the band when they were a 3 piece band in the 60s with Rob and Steve’s mum Joyce driving them to their gigs. At the time I was with a bike club and got invited up to Warwick where the band were doing a gig through the streets on the back of a flat back lorry and needed some back up.The next time I met the band was at a free concert at Hyde Park corner at a benefit gig for the people squatting at 144 Piccadilly, a large enpty house which could have been used for helping the homeless of London.The 3rd time I met up with the band was at a gig in Bracknell, Berkshire and hung around after the gig to help the road crew strip down the bands gear and load the truck.Rob and co. must have been impressed at my enthusiasm and being unemployed I was offered a job to start the next day with the 3 other crew members,which turned out to be 5 days of back to back work the first gig being up Liverpool,the second in Kent, the third was Hull,fourth Swansea and the fifth in London.As there was now 4 in the road crew and only 3 seats in the truck I made a bed in the back curled up inside one of the W.E.M. p.a. horns and think I got more sleep than the rest of the crew over the 5 days.There were times over the next 10 years when the EB Band didn’t tour. At these times I took on tours with other bands and worked my way up through the ranks learning how to sound mix. I had my name on Geno Washingtons,Geno live at the marquee. Later I was offered a job as a p.a. hire manager and assistant manager of a rehearsal studio working out of Pinewood Film Studios where as I had a lot of muscle and could bench press 400lb I got not only to be minder to The Beach Boys, I also got to do the sound monitoring for them while they rehearsed for a press gig in a London hotel.I retired from the music business in 1983 as the company went bust. My father had just died and I sold my house in London to buy a bungalow in Essex near my sister and became a carer to my blind mother until she passed away.I now live in South Wales half way up a mountain and have just recently had quadruple by-pass surgery.More later.
Love to all,Big Ray.
I have to express my disgust and condemnation on hearing the news that last month a teenage girl in the Kurdish region of Iraq was stoned to death by a group of men. It is believed that 17-year-old Doa Khalil Aswad, who came from the Yezidi faith community, was killed because she had fallen in love with a local Muslim man. Her death was filmed by her killers and the video posted on the internet. Amnesty International has described the killing of Doa as “abhorrent” and says it is becoming increasing concerned about the number of honour killings in Iraq.
An Islamic court in northern Nigeria has postponed an appeal hearing on behalf of a woman sentenced to death by stoning for the crime of adultery
An Islamist rebel administration in Somalia has had a 13-year-old girl stoned to death for adultery after the child's father reported that she was raped by three men.
Amnesty International said al-Shabab militia, which controls the southern city of Kismayo, arranged for 50 men to stone Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow in front of about 1,000 spectators. A lorry load of stones was brought to the stadium for the killing.
Amnesty said Duhulow struggled with her captors and had to be forcibly carried into the stadium.
According to Amnesty International, at one point during the stoning nurses were instructed to check whether Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was still alive when buried in the ground. They removed her from the ground, declared that she was, and she was replaced in the hole where she had been buried for the stoning to continue. Inside the stadium, militia members opened fire when some of the witnesses to the killing attempted to save her life, and shot dead a boy who was a bystander."
During her trial Duhulow was originally reported by witnesses as being 23 years old, based on her appearance, but established from her father that she was a child. He told Amnesty that when they tried to report her rape to the militia, the child was accused of adultery and detained. None of the men accused was arrested.
A man has either to confess his adultery to the court or four men must have witnessed the act for the male “adulterer” to be held accountable. Nothing surprising there then.
Apart from the horror of such vile practice a whole nation is brutalised and slowly inured to such savagery and ultimately corrupted. Any body left to complain or protest will be swallowed up and disappeared. It seems the darkest days are still to come. There is little any of us can do except to add our voices to the protest when we can. Meanwhile Amensty International need our cash to continue the fight for reasoned justice so please give what you can spare. http://www.amnesty.org.uk/
Big Brother/ Father is vetting you? As a Vatican watcher I was intrigued by the latest announcement concerning the induction of new priests. Is the proposal for a Vatican edict to profile and vet men who wish to become priests a sound idea? The aim of the new process will be to determine if the candidates for priesthood are likely to be able to control their sexual urges.
Thank you for the kind birthday greetings. May all your days be happy.
Copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 20008
Friday, 24 October 2008
Clip clop then stop to tarry a while – below me she heaves – a whinny quiet – she is well schooled in my subterfuge and stealthy guiles. There is the stench of Great London in our nostrils. Tra la lee – oh for a nose gay for my true love – an orange stuck with cloves or a fine lace square drenched in fragrant oil. Trot my lovely sure and steady – always ready with a fine pair of Spanish in my belt. Clip clop on flint newly laid – stop in the darkening glades here on the heath high above Putney. Dare we tarry my mount and me? Rest for one small ale at the Green Man and trade some trinkets out back of the bear pit. Alert I be always hearkened to the sounds on the wind while she below keeps us up above the dirt – thinking of the curly headed one, darling in the whirling skirt – a slip along hips like on a boat she be – ah I would take her down to Frenchy in the west for a month or two in summer. Alert I see a King’s man on a town mare stopped under a spreading chestnut. Lurking in the gloom and green and all plumed up like a high un. He sees we. I will coldly drop him should he call me out. He stares long and hard but doesn’t have the interest and we pass by unchallenged. He is looking for an easy life and me for easy pickings. Clip clop then quiet on softer ground. She pricks up her ears and we hear the Kings man heading off to Roehampton opposite ways to we. The glow of the lit up city far below beckons me to a tavern friendly to us in Wandsworth Town. Best be there by dark and best we make swift now. Caught by the man and me carrying would see me thrown in Newgate. Ha ha! My neck was made for a fine silk scarf and not for a hang man’s rope.
Days later I pull up at the Ragged Staff Inn for the night. The place is on a high hill above Swindon. I like to look out and below on the men who would bring me down. She said she’d be here. I ached to see her framed in the light of a roaring fire. Peachy cheeks rosy with life. She is sweetness, loyal and kind. I would never do her harm nor cause her hurt in any way. She is the one who keeps me safe and of good hope. Black curly hair, buxom and lovely in the fire light. Holding on to her. Feeling her heart beat. Mine is beating like a drum.
The pale sun of developing winter falls across Eland Towers the shadow of a ladder falls through the window across the living room wall. We’ve got the builders in for total renovation. Years a go I worked on building sites and have had an aversion ever since to all things dirty, cold, wet and windy. I don’t much care for D.I.Y. either and although I have some practical skills and a few tools I would rather leave it than mend it. Consequently Eland Towers has fallen into extreme disrepair but soon all will be transformed with all the exterior masonry fixed up, windows painted, a new kitchen and .... a new studio for yours truly. We’ll have a new bathroom by the end of Saturday coming so things are well underway. Adam is our main man on the job. He is a proper working class Brixton boy and it seems as though he can fix and mend every thing. He is also a very nice bloke.
I am still working on the components of the new song and video Deliverance in the midst of the building work. I realise this has been a while coming but it will be worth the wait. I’d like to finish it by Monday.
I have had a spate of emails from UK fans recently asking about UK gigs and I have to say there will be no gigs this year. How ever, the new year is a different matter and the EBB will be looking to gigs in the UK and across the water. We have some very nice offers including a return to Gagarin the Athens club.
2008 has been a strange old year and in many respects I will be glad to see the back of it. I am going to spend the rest of this year having a nice time. It’s my 61st birthday on Monday coming and far from wanting to take things easy I plan to spend the next year busily engaged in new projects as well as finishing old ones off.
ONE is top of my list and Luke has decided to make a big push on his own material in 2009. In his own words “ I’ve finally got the songs”. I believe he has and I will be assisting him with that in the back ground as and when required and I have to finish my novel The Instantanium.
The agenda for the EBB is very much a work in progress at this time but all will be resolved and all revealed here as we move on through this winter which seems to be trying to provide some thing of an Indian summer in spite of what has felt like random weather for ages. Actually the two weeks holiday I took in September were among the best of the summer. The sun is shining warmly now as I return to this writing after a few phone calls and consultations with Ad’ the builder.
The western counties call. Me and Mary can hide down there with Frenchy and Gumbo. Likely lads light fingered and steadfast and safe to run with. We’ll meet in Bristol for rum n fun. Frenchy’s great, great grandmother was the notorious ship wrecker Belle of Trevellyan. They hanged her high for her work. He come from a long line of smuggling aristocracy. He’s a good man if you are in with him and a dreadful foe if you are not. We took a few coaches together and the stuff of lone riders down Bodmin way on the moor. We broke Gumbo out of Northampton jail just before Christmas one year with snow on the ground. The King’s men tracked us for two days but we lost them in a storm. Don’t get paid enough to follow the likes of us for long and they none too keen to catch up with us neither. We was took an held over a night in Symonds Yat on our way to Cardiff City but was let go for lack of witnesses to an alleged robbery on the road. Truth is Frenchy burned down the witnesses cottage and killed their chickens.
Sunday, 12 October 2008
Peter took most of the early black n white pics of the band until we made the move to London. We re met up with Pete ( Tufty) a couple of years ago when touring in the west country. He has recently been to Warwick to visit his Mum and took the photo then. The photo arrived by email with a comment about global warming in Warwick as evidenced by the palm tree in the front garden. I can’t help wondering what my parents would have made of that not to mention the many weird and wonderful changes that have taken place since they passed. We live in times of the greatest change and all at a increasingly rapid rate.
According to a panel advising the UK Government on climate change the UK should cut it’s gas emissions by at least80% by 2050. Hmmm !
The head of the international monetary fund has said “The world is facing financial meltdown". The scramble to fix what should never have been allowed to happen in the first place is going through the gears. It is clear that we are all subject to the greedy machinations of the International money mafia and there is nothing we can do to avoid it no matter how hard we work to be secure. We are made slaves to a failing system. We will do as we are bidden because we have no option and we will prop up the financial institutions that threaten us all with our own cash. We all know greedy speculation is chief culprit in this crisis.
Good people who have lived and worked exactly as they were bidden by the rules of our society ( I have not ) are ruined or reduced by the very people they trusted. Their pensions have never been under so much pressure and their savings have, in the most extreme cases, completely disappeared. It was naïve to think that any banks were acting in any one’s interest other than their own but we have kept our heads down because life in our neck of the woods was quite comfortable. Is it time to look for some thing better elsewhere? A better more honest way of doing business. Perhaps we should look at institutions such as The Co – Operative society where there still appears to be some kind of socialistic ethic behind the purpose of their business. Some time ago I was very interested by reports that younger people looking for work in the city of London’s financial sector were querying prospective employers connections with ethical / unethical companies / organisations. I commend this trend and suggest we should all take a good long look before we leap in all our transactions and scrutinise the people we would work with or for especially with those who you entrust with your hard earned cash.
Thanks for all the interesting emails you send me. It is very interesting to read about events in our collective past that, some times, I can hardly remember at all. It helps to fit the pieces together over time. It is fascinating how different members of the band remember slightly different bits of the story and how collectively we arrive at some semblance of what actually happened. So keep writing your reminiscences, stories and news of the now.
copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2008
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Our boat throbs it’s way into the growing gloom of a small broad off the side of a great river. The sun set is now glorious as we settle for the last few casts for elusive Esox Lucius or even a small perch. The boat is still for the duration of night. I reach for my guitar. A song with out an ending is running around my brain. It, like the pike, has eluded me for weeks and it is time to progress it. Back in the world, a short step from where I am, Fiscal Chancellors and financiers are reeling from the first stages of the great illness. Their capital system is failing. Their greed and ours has shaken the models for capitalistic security and prosperity.
“Governments are brought down by the collapse of computer banking systems and the pirates who intercede at major transference terminals and make off with the credits are still selling rice to the dying of the ruined hinterlands, whose rulers have forgotten them in the race to go Western” –
Super Chip the final silicon solution.
It must be clear now that Governments have huge reserves in order to be able to shore up the failing profiteers. The Head of Leh-mans was taking as much as 5 mill in salary, per annum, over a period of six years. What would the US have done with the 700 bill allocated for propping up it’s failing banks had they not needed to? It is amazing what hidden treasure can be found by western governments and the nouveau rich of the developing economies when they and their pals decide they need it. Is Obama a threat to their world order? He intimated the possibility in his acceptance speech some weeks ago. We shall see. Is it reasonable to expect our hopes will be dashed with the usual disappointment of endless broken promises or will a new day dawn in the land of the free? It seems the needy shall not have much relief in these times and the promises of the good and great are hollow though still – unsung good works are carried out by many people who will not accept the increasingly selfish status quo of these days. They struggle as public servants to do what can be done with dwindling resources. On closer inspection Cameron appears to have little if anything helpful to add to the pot regardless of Labours poor showing in recent polls.
Recently during the days of The Hamar festival at which the EB Band performed a new friend gave me an old guitar. It is an unusual object and is hybrid of Fender jaguar and other parts. I restrung it and here it is in all it’s wacky glory. It plays nicely and has a distinctive sound that is great for some chord work. So thank you Steinar. No one ever gave me a guitar before.
A new suite of video editing programs sits on my hard drive. I want to re-visit all my previous material and re-process it all but the Deliverance video project is now top of the list and should be finished over the next few days. Keeping busy defeats some demons. The music is almost finished and I have half of the video material. So, I’ll be getting on with it all then.
Saturday, 23 August 2008
Under an iron bridge there is a bed of lily pads with just one saffron flower. Olive shade turns golden in the intermittent sun-bursts. A cool breeze is blowing across the face of the slow flowing river, rolling through the flat land scape towards the nearby coast. Estuarine flocks of birds gather in the storm clouds overhead. Silver and white, they hover and dart in the electric greening. The changing light shimmers across the bending reeds. It is enchanting. Dragon flies skim the surface of the waters skin joined in airborne mating. They pause for a fleeting second or two to rest on a bulrush or reed. Life for them is rushing by and is always almost over. It is good here under weeping willows and silver birch. Far from the subterfuge and the entreaties of faces on the screen demanding we join in. I am quiet and happy. I am content and safe even though I know the madness of the world is only a text or phone call away.
A smiling bearded man gets off a plane in the UK still protesting his innocence. No one believes him. I know a man who taught him to sail and wishes they had never met. I met his fellow musical travellers who had hardly a good word to say about him. I know some mothers and youth workers who walked out of a works Christmas bash because the DJ played one of his records and couldn’t see why any one might be offended. I hope that the DJ knows better now.
Gordon Brown looked almost animated and very nearly passionate as he met with the UK Olympic team in Bejing. There is little else for him to be cheered about. If only he could apply the same thinking and implementation of the people responsible for the British Cycling team to the running of the NHS and Social Services to name just two. What you do Gordon is give the experts the budget they need and leave them to it. To be fair it is true that New Labour have done some things right. Police have brand new guide lines for dealing with rape victims which are considered by other professionals working in this area to be a real improvement. How ever new plans to turn Social Services into call centres in the next year or so will mean huge cuts in an already desperately under funded service. If this is implemented there will be an exodus of the best workers. Many vulnerable people will become isolated and unsupported.
In the distance I hear the throb of an air sea rescue helicopter heading to the sea. It reminds me of the almost nightly sorties flown by the police over my home. They are always accompanied by the sound of multiple sirens on the ground.
A large fish jumps in the gathering dusk and plops back into the depths sending ripples across the water in perfect circles. The wind has dropped. All is quiet and as we wend our way back to the ribbon road a new tune is running around my head.
Competion result. I like two entries and so the competition winners are
“One for all and all for ONE ”. From macedonut and
“You think I’m up. I’m down. You think it’s fair, you wanna share?” from Phil Robb.
Nice one folks. I guess I made it hard by ruling out the funnies but it was interesting. So guys send me your postal address by e-mail and I’ll send you the discs.
Finally this is interesting and comes via our good friend Jonathon Ashby https://secure.avaaz.org/en/report_back_2?cl=120258307&v=2063
Copy right edgar broughton 2008
Wednesday, 13 August 2008
We have one more gig on the date sheet and then its back to the drawing board. Mean while I have been putting The Deliverance video together. I'll post it here soon. I have been writing new material and chilling. I managed to watch the Olympic road cycling races and the time trials which were a total joy but it has completely trashed my internal clock. I am truly on Rob time now which is frustrating for others and gets weird for me after a few days. I love it really. Just never got down with the early morning people unless it is in a very good cause or the start of an adventure. I can always rise then no matter how little sleep I've had or what time it is. I'm heading out east by the sea and rivers over the next few days. I plan to get lost in it all - regenerate and do what I like. More on this in the next post.
Mean while here is another competition. The prize is a full band width DVD of the Shaman Calling video plus extra unreleased ONE goodies. You have to invent what I was thinking in the photo above. I'll be the judge and I will favour non humorous entries just for a change. Leave entries in the comments of this post. Usual rules. As many entries as you like with a different name. Comp ends Thursday 21st August.
Today in London it feels like a Autumn. I hope you are all finding ways to enjoy what is left of this strange summer.
copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2008
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
The competition is still running on the previous post. The album of the Rockpalast DVD is now available on CD and there is a signed copy waiting for the best caption for the photo above. Usual rules. As many entries as you like with different names. Comp will run up to the 12th of August. Luke will be judge for this one.
the view from the stage
At 4 am we mustered at the dock to board a chartered boat back to Tromso. Captain Karto and his wife Julie were great hosts. Julie had made a wonderful feast for us and I drank my first cup of decent tea since leaving the UK. The boat was a fishing boat used by angling parties. Karto showed me all his lures and tackle and we both wished we could stop to catch some of the fabled enormous cod in abundance in the local waters. It was strange to be in the centre of some of the very best fishing waters in the world with no time to make even one token cast. Ah well! I will just have to go back there one day. http://www.havcruise.no/eng/
I wish all good things for the inhabitants of Karlsoy. I hope they continue to flourish in their wonderful wilderness. Living there would not suit every one. The winters are extremely harsh but I for one would like to give it a go. The place and the people will always have a place in my heart.
copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2008
Thursday, 31 July 2008
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Last week new labour said they would be announcing new measures to deal with knife crime. From the announcement made re making offenders visit victims in hospital, it seems they cobbled a quick meeting together over a weekend barbecue. The idea has gone down like a lead balloon and today they are backing off from the idea as quickly as they can.
Recently police reported that a mother visited her sons (perpetrators)at the police station where they were detained. Apparently they laughed and joked together while their victim lay dead from stab wounds. Later in court the young men smiled and sniggered as their sentences were announced. The idea of people like that getting any benefit from visiting stabbing victims in hospital is ludicrous. One assumes their own victims, assuming they survived the attack, wouldn’t want see them at visiting time. I imagine hospitals don’t need the extra hassle either.
I don’t believe there is single section of our society that Gordon is “down with” or that any of his cronies have the slightest idea what is going on out here. As long as the boxes are ticked and the paper mountain is expanding exponentially they seem satisfied. They are clueless morons with out the first idea of what is wrong in the streets.
Some time ago I was working with a group of young men and they decided they wanted to have an impromptu quiz. The only problem was that they didn’t have any answers only questions. One thought that the Vietnam war was part of the World war two. Another that there was no difference between the Vietnamese and Japanese and any way – what did it matter? Ask any of them or their younger siblings today – What is the war about in Iraq. They will tell you it is oil. They might only get the headlines in terms of “the news” but the message has seeped into their awareness that the examples set them by “the grown ups” is extremely poor and that governments are like pirates or muggers when they choose to be. On top of this a declining education system has failed many of the young people I know. They feel excluded and dumped on. For years the example set by many “successful” adults has been laced with self serving schemes and a greed and the gap between the poor and well off is expanding at an ever increasing rate. We all remember the so called Thatcher years. Until there is a clear intention by government to address the needs of our young people and to provide opportunities on a level playing field the carnage will continue and the walls surrounding the enclaves of the rich will have to be built higher and higher.
As Gordon battles the slippery slope to political oblivion we are told he and the queen are planning a state funeral for Margaret Thatcher. It would be the first for a prime minister since Winston Churchill. It seems that Gordon’s advisers are total idiots. This is the woman who broke the miners, trashed the unions and flirted with a certain South American dictator. She was unforgettably the author of the poll tax fiasco. Even the middle classes turned against her over time, as did her own cabinet. Unfortunately Tony Blair took enough leaves from her book to cloth a forest and we are reaping the harvest. I don’t expect thousand of Marxist relics to turn out to pelt her hearse with rotten tomatoes though some might think it would be more appropriate than the proposed state funeral. I suggest that when she is good and stiff she be dipped in concrete and displayed outside a colliery or at Millbank, the head quarters of New labour, for all to see. Let the pigeons shit on her while tourists pull up to see who made Britain the place it is today. When the iron lady is finally gone the world will be very slightly more fragrant.
copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2008
Thursday, 3 July 2008
Monday, 9 June 2008
At the risk of boring some of you with stuff you don't want or need to know I wanted to tell you about aspects of the process and of the product made on very simple to use equipment. You don't need lots of expensive equipment - ideas are what counts. The microphone I used is available at all computer stores for around £12. The video camera cost £399 and I used the very basic bundled editing software ( see photo above). I used some thing called ACDsee which is a photo viewer that cost about £20 online. It has a very quick slide show down to 5 milliseconds between photos. I used this to make video out of stills. I shot the slide show with a tripod off the screen of my PC.
Some of the samples were re-recorded through my little Fender practise amp via the twelve quid microphone. I planned to record my 5 string bass and guitars through the amp but then decided I would make the piece with out playing a note. So no guitar and no bass. My kind of of techno. I decided I would only use samples I had previously made or those already existing in my library. I re modelled and re-processed almost every thing fairly extensively while trying not to be too precious about things. I made a couple of new samples (the voice and string) for the end part.
I started by moving sampled sounds from my library around the multitrack window of Cool Edit adjusting them as and when required in the editing window. I made a short voice recording which I wanted to be a featured "hook". It is me sneering into the microphone through the wonderful Steinburg Orange vocoder which is one of my many onboard effects. I made some of the drum sounds with my voice and then mangled them into shape and then loops. I would like to make a whole track with just voice but that is another project for another day. The audio was monitored using a pair of £16.00 PC self powered speakers by NTrust and a pair of Sennheiser HD250 head phones. OK they cost £145 but you gotta have some luxuries.I had planned to make some thing including some yoik and chanting with a little bit of voodoo gris gris. Out Demons Out. At this moment I was just at the point of sticking pins in an effigy when the doorbell rang. It was Ramblin' so I had to hide the sacrificial cockerel as he is a vegetarian. He had arrived to upgrade my PC memory to 2 gigabytes. Other wise my PC is not a specialist music tool in any way. It does work more quickly though. Cheers mate!
Brian Eno had cards which he used to plot musical strategies such as what he would do to begin a piece. I just asked Ramblin' for a sample of his front door bell which he emailed to me. This inspired the title SHAMAN CALLING. Does any one remember the Shaman Lady? Sorry I mean Avon Lady. I later dumped the idea as the track began to take some sort of useful shape. So Ramblin's doorbell is now my text alert on my phone. Waste not want not.
I made and mangled all of the sampling in Cool Edit Pro 2. Sampling is like photographing sound and Cool Edit is a bit like Photo Shop for audio. It is the standard audio editor in Broadcasting and cost around £200. I used it to train young people on a youth radio project I was involved with some time ago. It has now been replaced by Adobe Audition which I have yet to see. The beauty of this software is that you can teach yourself the basics using the excellent manual on disk in a day. Simplicity of use is the main feature for me though it has complex layers of possibilities, some of which I have yet to explore. There are many other affordable software packages that do, more or less, the same job.
I am quite new to making visual material though I have always had images in my mind that fit with songs. I basically want to make video scratch stuff fairly simply that doesn't require huge resources. HD I don't think so, unless it stands for hard drive. The ability of video to be recorded on drive in the camera is manna from heaven as far as I'm concerned and warranted my buying one. I like intentional and some times accidental distortion of sound and visuals that contibutes texture. Some of the video was shot by Ramblin' on my phone while he projected images on me and the wall behind me. All of the sounds and visuals on Shaman calling are in some way distorted.
I have spent years in the pursuit of wringing great sounds out of standard, fairly inexpensive equipment. It can be done. Some times these things are difficult to re-create in a top studio with all the gizmos. I always try to employ a little programming creatively and avoid using instrument factory pre sets , unless they are great and they rarely are. You start to recognise them after a while because musicians working in the advertising industry and pop producers buy all the latest kit, fill the air waves with the best factory preset sounds and then dump the instrument for the newest model. You can make quite presentable stuff if you get to know how to get the best out of what you have, what ever it is. The video is compressed to a third of its original size to fit on here but I think the quality is kinda o.k.
I hope the writing in this post is not too technical and gives some idea of the process involved. Enough chat - I hope you like the video. Peace.
LATEST - We reached over 100,000 hits on the EB Band site.
Rob, does this warrant a comment on the EBBsite perhaps?
Subject: FW: homophobic politician
Subject: Oppose Iris Robinson - petitionIris Robinson is a Democratic Unionist Party MP and wife of Peter Robinson, the leader of the DUP. Mrs Robinson is now the subject of
complaint to the police on account of her recent public announcement that gays are "an abomination", and need psychiatric help to be "turned around". Yesterday she intensified her stance, with a BBC interview in which she announces that "as sinners", gays should be regarded alongside murderers.I'd also note that the DUP is the party whose support enabled the passage through Parliament of legislation to extend to 42 days internment by the police of "terrorist suspects" - legislation which is to apply throughout the UK. DUP spokespersons have already made it evident they expect government favour for their help in passing this legislation, which Amnesty International has described as an affront to civl liberty. As an MP, Mrs Robinson was among those who voted to carry this bill. In other words, to view Mrs Robinson and the DUP as influential solely in Northern Ireland is to disregard the role they are now taking in the wider sphere of UK politics.
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
One wonders why the Dutch authorities could not grant asylum to Iranian Mehdi Kazemi, a 19 year old gay teenager and why the UK authorities had already refused him. While studying in the UK Mehdi discovered his boy friend had been charged with sodomy in Iran and hanged.
Mehdi appealed to the UK authorities to grant him asylum on the basis that he would also be hanged if he were deported. His appeal failed. He fled to Holland. The UK authorities granted him asylum when the Dutch sent him back here.
A spokesperson for the UK Border Authority said – “The UK Border Agency considers each case on its individual merits and will continue to provide refuge for those asylum seekers with a genuine need for protection”. I hope they get it right.
In my work with young people I have encountered homophobic attitudes on a regular basis. The level of aggression in the expression of this prejudice, even in the very young is extremely disturbing at times. When challenged to explain some foundation for some of the most outrageous assertions of homophobic young people I was never surprised with the answer that most often comes back – “it’s in the Bible”.
The problem of homophobia is a problem that can only be resolved by education and we have been there before with clause 28. Still, we must oppose this and all similar kinds of prejudice and begin to strengthen our ability to be inclusive. If we do otherwise I think it will be to our long-term detriment.
It isn’t always possible to be safe or effective when challenging poor behaviour and this should always be considered. How ever, we should challenge prejudice whenever we feel able.
For me the past couple of days have been difficult to say the least. I commend the following to those who know and love me best.
The warrior doesn't care if he's called a beast or a dog; the main thing is winning.
Asakura Norikage (Soteki) (1474-1552)
copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2008
Friday, 16 May 2008
On my way to High Barnet for rehearsals at the weekend I noticed the sign pictured above. It is attached by scaffolding to the roof of the Victorian built walk way over the platforms at the station. It has two staircases leading down to the platforms.
I wondered what avoiding action I might be able to take to avoid any danger in this area. Was there some thing I should do to not add to the danger? Is it just to inform workers they must not run over the roof? If so it's a bit like the ladder with a stop sign three rungs from the top.
The fact is the iron work structure is red rusty and unless it is renovated it will one day be replaced by some thing ugly and expedient. These things are our heritage. They are clues to our past and reminders of a time when people went to extraordinary lengths to manufacture high quality products that were made to last. You can see examples of this kind of neglect in many places, especially where profit rules over common sense in the privatised area of transport.
Actually Barnet is generally looking a bit like a tired and run down British sea side town with out the pier. I should know. I visit Felixstowe in Suffolk quite often.
Well folks Art ( who had his 30th birthday on Thursday ) has decided the winner of the competition wrote the caption > Help! I'm slowly being strangled by a snake pretending to be a scarf! Oz wrote this so, if Oz will email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with mailing details I will send the CD.
The EB Band spent last weekend rehearsing. We looked at a range of songs for a revised set including Death of an electric citizen which wasn’t all that, There’s no Vibrations which was very cool, Night Hogs from Superchip, also very cool, Side by Side ( the whole saga ) from Inside Out which was an unexpected high light for me. We also looked at The Bloom which progressed quite well. It takes time to get the subtleties down. We looked at Ice on Fire which was a bit disappointing. The song does present a challenge as to who will do what. I am sure it will be worth the effort. I had intended to get photos and possibly video from the sessions but couldn’t be arsed in the end. Sorry!
Saturday was slow. My throat wouldn’t relax properly and Steve had a touch of food poisoning. Oh! the things we have to endure. But Sunday was very enjoyable and also very productive.
Steve recently wrote in his blog “It’s funny isn’t it, you can go for weeks bored out of your skull and then all of a sudden, loads of experiences all come at once! Well in some ways the last few weeks or so have been like that in terms of the EB band though it’s probably more to do with opportunities than experiences this time. We have had enquiries about licensing albums in the US, we have begun, at last, to tie up some of the loose ends around publishing and royalties. Some one wants to write my biography ( I don’t really want to) and we have had talks with Tony H and crew about handling our merchandising. We are going to set up a remote page linked to our site where folks will be able to buy our stuff via pay pal etc. We are also discussing ideas for a video for Six White Horses.
Some one has begun work on the new EB Band logo which is some thing none of us have quite got a handle on. It will be nice to look at some elses design ideas. If any of you out there have an idea for a logo please send it to us.
The EMI / Esoteric formerly eclectic ANTHOLOGY set is still in the pipe line so there a re a few irons in the fire.
Ah! nearly forgot some one has volunteered to put a list of 6os - 70s EBB gigs together for the main site.
Next weekend we will be recording and I will get some photos from the sessions.
Re Govt tax revisions - nice one Gordon but will it be enough?
copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2008
Thursday, 8 May 2008
Well it wasn't much of a surprise to see New Labour take a kicking. Poor old Gordon must be just a little disappointed with his own and his party's recent performance. The lovely Fern Britten recently interviewed him, giving him the chance to describe " the man who is p.m". He stumbled, spoke briefly about his kids and moved back to where he is most comfortable - making slightly dour, un-enthusiastic comments and entirely unoriginal suggestions as to how he will restore confidence in the party. He almost pleads for more time to get his message across. Some one said to me that it looks like a chronic case of - don't wish too hard for what you want, you might get it. He might well be thinking - it is better to travel than to arrive.
Boris is mayor of London. That might be amusing and who knows he might bring something different ( snigger). Any way I agree with the view that Ken was getting to view the job as a permanent arrangement. They say a change is as good as a rest. Don't they?
The EB Band is rehearsing over the coming weekend so I will be adding a few pics of that and may be a little video in the next post. Mean while Art will be judging your exceedingly silly captions for the photo of his illustrious self.
I noticed the excited little Chelsea upsurge on the comments section of the previous post. It must be very much of a novelty to be in the final. I note that my comments re Man United were met with some surprise. No one likes you as was predicted and you only know how to sing when you are winning( lol). Still, may the best team win is what I say and seriously, if CFC win then they will truly deserve to have done so.
copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2008
Wednesday, 30 April 2008
I have just been to visit with Ramblin’ who was on good form. By the way it was Ramblin' who put together the Free Tibet pic on our home page. Over a couple of cups of tea we listened to some music while we chatted about the origins of Stone Henge and the sword and relics found at the site at Sutton Hoo, mental illness involving hearing voices, collected psychedelic experiences and a host of things interesting and challenging. He always shows me his latest photos and I am always surprised by some quality or small thing that draws the eye. I left later than planned, as usual, and headed home for the bus. The bus stop is opposite the edge of Putney Heath.
Soon after arriving at the bus stop I met a young guy who was obviously very unwell mentally. He began a rant about the music business and the internet thieves who rip him off by stealing his tunes. He told me he made his tunes in a studio somewhere and the business people tapped into that and they can get it all. Four months ago he was arrested for carrying a firearm in Clapham Junction. It was all over the news at nine oclock in the morning. I remember it well. He told me that he wasn’t carrying one but they, the police had confused him with some one else who was carrying a weapon and who was pretending to be him. He kept telling me “ They know. They know everything”. He told me how he didn’t need any one and as he continued the rant he became more and more animated. He told me any one who is going to call the police and say a man has a gun when he does not have a gun must have a plan. He said “He didn’t care because God had a plan for him and so that was it. When I get to Wembley I’m gonna stand up and tell every one I did this by myself”. He continued “ I am my own body guard and every thing. I am my own business and I don’t care about them thieves business”. He waved his arms around, swore a lot and paced up and down as we waited for a bus. I wondered if we were going to get on the same one. Eventually a bus came up the road. He put his arm out and I watched as the driver looked hard at him and drove on by. I asked him why he thought the driver had done that. He said “ He knows me and he knows who I am”. He asked me if I had seen him on TV with a young local rap group I used to work with some years ago. He didn't know about this and had no idea who I was. I wondered how they might have hooked up with him and can’t wait to see what the clip was about if it actually exists anywhere other than in the guys mind.
I could see that to passers by this guy seemed very threatening and they moved as far from him as they could as they passed. Suddenly he asked me if I was part of the music business. I answered “No” in the same moment his bus came. I said, “Take care” he said “ You too man”. He disappeared inside the bus and was gone. I wondered how his difference impacted on his life on a regular basis.
There is no simple moral or out come to this story. The streets are full of unhappy people it is just that they don’t all come up to you and say so. To be mentally unwell is a double affliction. As well as having to contend with their illness a person also has to put up with blatant prejudice engendered by the fear many people have of all mental illness and all sufferers. In a time like ours you might think we would have evolved to a point beyond this but sadly we have not. I think that as a society perhaps we will be judged in the future and may be for ever, by the way we love our children, our elders and the most vulnerable. Being at all different can make you very vulnerable. Its is hard to imagine us ever getting it right while we live in a place where teenage men kicked a twenty year old woman to death because she dressed in the "Goth" style.
The competition continues. Leave your entries either at the foot of the blog or in the previous one. What is Art thinking ?
Usual rules. As many entries as you like with different names.
Leave suggested captions in the comments section. Art will be the sole judge of the best caption. The winner can email postal details and we'll send you the ONE picture disk with extra tracks . Competition ends on Friday the 9th of May when I expect the EB Band will be rehearsing.
copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2008
Friday, 25 April 2008
Mean while check out http://www.vuelie.no/en/ulla_en.htm I’m in love(again).
We had a band meeting at my place yesterday. The main agenda was the ongoing recordings and how we are going to revise the web site etc, etc. Every thing seems to take us such a long time We are all looking forward to the Norwegian shows scheduled for August this year. It will be some time before we return to these shores to perform, probably next year when we plan to tour the new songs in a revised show. Mean while it is very pleasing to play the odd one off show to fans in Germany and Norway and we’ll be going back to Greece some time next year. We are adding new songs to the live show all the time and will be rehearsing in May when we hope to add still more. Of course our main priority is to record and then record some more. Luke and Steve have been working hard on the programmed stage of the song Six White Horses.
Poor old cloggy Prescott it seems he is after all, a little bit more interesting than one might think and not just a prat. Gordon Tax ‘em Brown gets worse or is it me? What happens to these people? I’ve temporarily lost interest in their machinations. It won’t last and will pass but I am so sick of the disappointment of this government that I am going take a sabbatical from stressing about UK politics for a while and practise my Yoika . Still, recession is on it’s way and we will see the big wake up soon.
"In view of the requests repeatedly made by the Dalai side for resuming talks, the relevant department of the central government will have contact and consultation with Dalai's private representative in the coming days," an official said.
"The policy of the central government towards Dalai has been consistent and the door of dialogue has remained open," he said.
"It is hoped that through contact and consultation, the Dalai side will take credible moves to stop activities aimed at splitting China, stop plotting and inciting violence and stop disrupting and sabotaging the Beijing Olympic Games so as to create conditions for talks.