Wednesday, 26 August 2009

between the railway tracks
beside small industries
winding paths
circling one time gravel pits
now brackish pools and crystal lakes
the sun high in the summer sky
dappled reflections in green lagoons
reeds sway at the waterside
there by the lily meadow
in the gentle breeze
singing trees made leaf music
whispering some thing sweet
some thing lovely remembered
shadows and light
geese in a line
strumming the air
calling from another dream time
on a westerly storm beach far away
broads and dykes
teeming with life
deep in the moment
quiet and still
the best things in life are all true
this is free

copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2009

Friday, 14 August 2009

Pekka Aikio Sami Leader
Many years ago I first heard the wonderful sound of the yoik a form of singing performed by the Sami. Yoik needs no accompaniment and can be performed in a building or outdoors. It may contain words or have no words at all. I like the liberating flexibility of this because I can make up non existent words that might communicate how I feel more than if I sang in English. Ok so I’m a bit nuts. To cut a long story short I have become fascinated by the Sami and every thing about them. I suppose it is not surprising that it started with a tune.

The Sami are the indigenous peoples of the most northern parts of Scandinavia. They live in an area between the Kola peninsula in Russia to the north of Finland, Norway and Sweden, astride the Kolen mountains south to Trondheim in Norway and to Idre in Sweden. The Finnish Sami region consists of the northern part of the province of Lapland, defined in a 1973 statute as consisting of the communes of Utsjoki, Inari and Enotnekio and the herding cooperative in the northern part of the commune of Sodankyla. This area covers 35,000 km 2, that is, 36% of the province and about 10% of Finland. During the harsh winter the Sami, who have herded reindeer for generations, graze their animals in the last remaining ancient forests in Europe . Their way of life is under threat by deforestation of these same forests by Metsähallitus, the Finnish state-owned logging company.
In the Finnish Constitution the Sami have status as indigenous people and the right to elect their own parliament. There are approximately 8,000 Sami in Finland and a total of 100,000 Sami in Sweden, Norway, Finland and other parts of Northern Europe. Problems over land use is one of the main threats to the Sami way of life, with the government itself often responsible for deforestation of areas used for pasture by the Sami who have no land rights of their own. According to Martin Scheinin, who is a professor of international law at the Abo Academy in Turku, the constitutional rights of the Sami are being ignored by sections of the state administration.“Nobody knows how the government got this land or from whom they bought it. They simply took it,” said Prof. Scheinin. Greenpeace have been working with the Sami to try to help them protect this land. In May Metsähallitus agreed to a temporary moratorium over 90,000 hectares of important reindeer grazing forests and entered into formal negotiations with the Sami. Metsähallitus, the Finnish state-owned logging company, has unilaterally terminated all negotiations with the Sami reindeer herding co-operatives and has said that the logging moratorium on 90,000 hectares of important reindeer grazing forests is over. Logging could restart at any time soon. Recently Metsähallitus started logging in intact forest landscapes, the most valuable of all ancient forests left in Finland. Stora Enso is currently the biggest producer of newsprint and sawn softwood timber in Europe. According to Greenpeace, leading photocopy companies such as OCE, Canon and Xerox sell Stora Enso paper made from ancient forests under their own brand names.

The Sami are probably among the last remaining people of the great European nomadic tribes. Their land rights should be enshrined in law. If they lose their struggle in this I feel sure we will all lose some thing of great value. This isn’t some issue in a far off place which might seem to be nothing to do with us nor an issue over which we should be silent. I believe the Sami know and appreciate the true value of their beautiful wilderness and understandably want it preserved for generations to come. It will be a shameful atrocity of the highest order if the Finnish Government and the Corporate loggers defeat this just and righteous aim. If we don't maintain the wilderness and it's keepers, the wasteland in it's place will be a dreadful legacy and our descendants will despise us for our weakness.

A statement on the Metsäliitto web site >
Metsäliitto is committed to responsible sourcing of wood. While our mission is to supply high quality wood for the Group's mills, we also take into account forest biodiversity and maintaining the opportunity for the multiple use of forests in all our operations.

Metsäliitto records half year pre tax loot for 2009 in excess of 248 million euros;2785;3370;2908


Saturday, 8 August 2009

photo by Ramblin' Mad

photo by Pete ( Tufty ) Jones

Ah! It seems so long ago. The above picture was taken on the steps of Leamington Town Hall back in the heady hippy days when we were young and about to go to London to try to get a firmer footing in the music business. Yesterday, at Art’s insistence, we all made our way to the Town Hall to take some shots of the new line up in the old location. Ramblin was our photographer and when he sorts the shots out I will add some of them here and hopefully a couple of live shots from the Assembly Show. Meanwhile ..........

photo by Tony Smith

photo by Ramblin' Mad

What a night! The audience was very warm and enthusiastic. There were a lot of people in the audience from our old days, some we remembered and some we did not. It always amazes me how folk expect us to remember details from more than forty years ago. I guess they were taking much more notice of us than we of them but that is part of the nature of performer and audience and the symbiosis we share. One very nice woman, a friend of my mother told me that she had slept in my bed in my old room at 38 Kipling Avenue, our house on the Forbes Estate in Warwick. She quickly stated that I wasn’t there. I laughed and said that I would have remembered if had I been there.

phone photo by Story John Edgar

It was touching to hear so many memories from people we shared our lives with in person back then and now, through our music. We all remember different bits of the story and it was fascinating to be reminded of some of the bits lost to us with the passing of time. There was one guy who timidly came up to me after waiting patiently in the line of folk wanting to touch base to tell me when and where they first saw us and other memories relating to the saga of EBB. The guy eventually asked me – “ When did Steve leave the band?” My response was a little irritated as I told him “ Steve didn’t leave the band he just played the f…… gig”. He just looked completely blank and shuttled off. Weird! Still it takes all sorts and I hope he enjoyed the show as much as most of the people I spoke with seemed to have done.
There were lots of wrinklies in the house as is always the case but there is a steadily growing contingent of younger folk coming to check us out. I had a delightful chat with one young woman who praised the band and told me she found the music surprising and complete. She was twenty years of age and it was clear we had made a very positive impact. I do get a huge buzz from connecting with the young as well as the older regulars who all together made the night one to remember for all of us.

photo by Tony Smith

It has to be said that The Assembly must be one of if not the best venue of it’s size in the U.K. We have not received similar service anywhere else here. The house P.A. crew Ed and Oz did a splendid job and they dug the gig man! All of the staff were very friendly and helpful. It was a real pleasure to perform there. Thanks guys.
It was a very pleasant surprise to find this kind of quality venue just up the road from where we started out although we knew of it by reputation before we arrived. Every aspect of this set up has obviously been carefully thought through from the technical operation to the catering. If you are ever passing check out fish and chips to die for in The Assembly restaurant.
So, thanks to all who came and came to say hello. As always thanks to our crew Spadge, Rik, young Sonny, and family and friends who make it all work.


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Monday, 3 August 2009

40 years since WASA WASA. Evening stands by watching at the side of summers promise .....
Interesting feedback from the bike crew re previous blog. Perhaps we should form a cycling club. First Supper Wheelers any one? Ramblin could be the club captain. Every club has one for Sunday runs and other social rides. The captains main function is to be old and wise, know every thing and make sure the young bloods don’t embarrass the other oldies by leaving them behind in their dust. This was considered to be the height of bad manners. The idea being that we went at the speed of the slowest rider. Back in my racing days ( ha ha! ) that seemed very slow.
For many years my old man used to go on a ride with a couple of his cycle racing / touring mates just before Christmas. They used to ride from Warwick to the Bredon Hills to collect mistletoe for the festive decorations. When my dad died I phoned one of his mates , almost a year later, to see if they would let me go with ‘em. They declined my offer on the basis that they rode very slowly and only the last few miles, making most of the trip by car. I reckon they probably just thought I was a bit weird, even for a cyclist.
Any way, we are all Midlands bound on mass at the end of the week. The band spent most of last weekend rehearsing for the Leamington Spa gig at the Assembly. It should be a lot of fun.
As some of you know this is our 40th anniversary as the EB Band and going home after such a long time will be quite special if a little strange.
As most people will know by now last Saturday the promoter pulled the plug on the Woodstock Remembered Festival which we were due to appear at the day after the Leamington gig. It’s a shame for any one who bought a ticket on the basis that this was a goer but it soon became clear that this was chaos city and the rumour mill kicked in with stuff about health and safety breaches and soon bands began pulling out in numbers. When I spoke to Brian on Friday he was apparently shocked at the looming demise of what was purported to be an idealistic venture. Hmmm! Our business has it's share of deluded fantasists, hobbyists and dabblers who take no responsibility for the chaos they create.
“When the 1969 Woodstock came about it was – and still is – the greatest festival ever anywhere. Many of you today missed this event. Here now is the chance to make amends and see what it was like at that festival…” Organiser Brian Davies.
Brian promised me he will at least pay some expenses already incurred.
As you haven't got a festival to run at the weekend shall we see you at the Assembly on Friday Brian? Shall I put you on the guest list? Come with cash.
Out demons out.


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