Tuesday, 30 October 2007

First my thanks to all for birthday greetings and good wishes. So, sixty years on this planet and in this life. I remember when I was a young blood I told every one I didn’t want to be old. I related to the Who line – “Hope I die before I get old”. Looking around at the old boys in Warwick wasn’t very inspiring nor conducive to looking forward to the golden age of seniority. Most older guys seemed so drab and grey and narrow in their philosophies. The Luddite ethic of leave it as it is was prevalent every where and people, especially men, seemed to give in to a norm which they accepted in respect of getting older and letting them selves go while in some ways they expected their female partners to strive to remain youthful and vivacious. To be fair it is also true to say that a lot of men I knew were virtually broken every day in some dark satanic mill or car factory and of course, they had fought a war so it is understandable that many of them would be aching to be still and quiet. They had probably seen enough frenetic change to last a life time and probably wanted it all to stop. There were a few interesting characters who stood out from the crowd but most were extremists in so far as conformity was concerned.
I don’t suppose of all my traits any one might pick conformity as a biggie but of course I conform and do so just as grudgingly as ever in some instances. But I pay my taxes etc, etc. I’m doing o.k. I still have most of my faculties though I’ve had a serious case of the blues lately and work has been a trial for some time now. I cannot perform to my best ability in the Kafkaesque environment that is rampant in local government agencies. I for see many large rooms in the House of paper and still many more citizens will toil to prove wrong is right and all is well through compiling huge mountains of statistical evidence. It will not matter that essential services will dwindle as the paper mountain rises from the ashes of commonsense.
There is no doubt that the people of my parent’s generation and of their parents worked extremely hard for not much though I think life is more complicated today and the stresses are probably as mentally debilitating as was the physical work load of the average working man back then. Now we work hard for quite a lot but all too often the resulting mental anguish is too high a cost. In spite of all this I am personally relatively unscarred by life. I would still rather have the time than the money.
I have very much to be thankful for and indeed I am. It is good to be older and hopefully wiser. I feel right in my skin if you know what I mean. I am not daunted by looking in the mirror though my protesting muscles and joints cause dismay when I occasionally push a bit hard on the bicycle these days. I am sorry for people afraid of the passing years. My mother was in some ways a victim of worrying about the day when it would all be over. I have had some of the best times of my life in the past ten years and I expect that to continue for a long time to come. Bring it on.
I have just begun to change my life around and have taken the first steps. I suspect that by the time I have been en route for some time, people will be a little surprised at some of the decisions I will have taken. Nothing new there then. So I say embrace today. Now is all there is for certain. Enjoy the moment while not neglecting to plan a future. The things that always thrilled me still do so and the dreams are still intact. It is very easy to get dragged down by the negativity of this world but it should be resisted. Then we find others on the same path who can lend support and power towards a happy life. I know this. Be true to your self. I wish you all a happy birthday when ever it is and the same for every day of your life and the lives of your people.

copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2007

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

photo by Chrissy Hamlin

Over time the EBB has been associated with what used to be called Agitprop events and activities. The stories and the experiences of fellow participants have been attached to the so-called “legendary” status of the band. From the earliest times it always seemed to be necessary for the EBB to assert its aims and objectives in a strident manner. I had experienced conflict at home from an early age and in spite of what was in many ways an idyllic child hood the spectre of domestic conflict was never far away. I suffered deep anguish like all kids who witness. I learned to be loud but have learned to be quieter over time. Through out the days of the EBB there were confrontational times with agents, promoters and even road-crew members and very occasionally amongst the band. Our political / philosophical position and individuality some times created a “them and us” culture which some times produced conflict and confrontational behaviour. We always argued our corner quite well.
Very occasionally there are still situations when the ire of the band is evoked such as in the case of the recent debacle over the cancelled free concert with Mr Terry Rawlings, at Filthy’s in Twickenham, last September. At times like these there is no division between us and we act in concert. The combined power of the fully concentrated and pissed off EBB and friends ( we have friends in low places ) is a force to be reckoned with and collectively we have a long memory. Still, we are a peace loving crew though I admit some transgressors may carry the odd psychological scar. We have frightened some.
I can say with certainty that it is so much easier to turn some one off than on and that no amount of raising of voices and shaking of fists is a substitute for good, reasoned discussion. I earnestly implore any one who ever feels the need to physically lash out at a person to make your exit – Don’t be there! It is rarely necessary and there is rarely a defence for such acts.
It seems to me that I have learned some of my lessons quite well, overturning what might have other wise have been entrenched behaviour from an early age and a tendency towards aggression as a way of negotiating. We should all try to limit our actions that tend towards a violent style no matter how low level it might seem. I suggest if we are to be judged it might be reasoned that we might fall or stand by the harm we have done not the good. I hope this is the case for many political leaders.
I do believe there are historical precedents for justified political violence. I wish it were otherwise. It is probaly true that what ever your view on Fidel Castro et al, had they not liberated Cuba it would still be a US sponsored haven for gangsters and their political mates. If the ANC had renounced armed struggle there might still be apartheid.
If we love ourselves and are secure and act accordingly surely there is no need to threaten and break and it will be easier to acquiesce and make, encouraging others and imbuing them with confidence and strength. Having said all of this you might be forgiven for thinking the above photograph, taken last Saturday afternoon in London tells another story. (lol)
I like it for its clich├ęd, brooding feel and unity. Soldiers of the light? Mr Rawlings check it. Don’t mess.
copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2007

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Rhossili beach - the adventure

The road is in my blood. I am never happier than when the miles are rolling past as I set out on some new expedition. A couple of years ago I set out on an very special adventure with a friend. We drove from his home in Anglia and headed west towards the lands of my birth in the midlands. We planned to drive through the gardens of the west in and around Evesham and on to Wales via Symonds Yat in Herefordshire, a small town built on and in the gorge with the great River Whye running through it. We had driven through Warwick , my home town and nearby Stratford Upon Avon. We stayed in Evesham for one night and fished the nearby river for pike and perch. The next day we experienced the most extreme storm which stopped the traffic dead. When the storm cleared we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Symonds Yat and casting a few lures.
Much later we passed through Swansea and into the Gower Peninsula. Bass fishing on the spectacular beach at Rhossili was my kind of Valhalla. Here I could imagine dragon headed long boats in the boiling surf, storm washed down from aborted landings on the east Anglian coast. Much of our journey had taken us through countryside very familiar to me and for my friend it was a chance to see where I came from. When we were in the vicinity of my home town I had ridden most of the roads on a bicycle with my father. We passed through what people call Shakespeare’s country. I am always impressed by the miles of thousands of hard wood trees in Warwickshire that give the whole countryside a vista like no where else I have been. I felt a great sense of nostalgia bubbling up with childhood memories. When I was young we travelled as a family all over and often drove out to places like Symonds Yat for the day. We were out most weekends on a series of motorbikes and sidecars all through my childhood years. Eventually we had a car which was acquired mostly for moving band equipment in the very early days of the EBB.
While other kids on the estate stayed mostly at home during summer holidays we were always headed west to Devon and or Cornwall for what was known as the Coventry fortnight. This was two weeks paid holiday for the local car workers and other factory workers which supplied and supported the car industry based in Coventry. I remember the excitement and happy chaos on a Friday tea time when the first task was getting all of the luggage for Mom and Dad and Steve and myself on a motor bike and side car. This had to keep us all going for two weeks under canvas. I hardly remember a summer holiday when we didn’t set out on these great and wonderful family expeditions to the west country. I remember a particular fish and chip shop in Bristol. We stopped there for food, usually just before the shop closed. Steve and I used to count cars and trucks on the way down, there were so few of them. Imagine trying to occupy the kids by getting them to count cars today.
We often arrived as a summer dawn broke on the western shores of places like Westward Hoe or Ilfracombe. The tent would be set up and as little kids we would be tucked up in our sleeping bags and would soon fall asleep, often with the sounds of surf in our ears and dream of playing on a golden beach. They were glorious days interspersed with minor setbacks and Mom and Dad getting soaked to the skin on return journeys. Occasionally the odd break down left just enough cash to make the return journey. I assumethis was the time when I developed “road lust”. I became a travel addict and later, being in a band catered for this perfectly as it did for my addiction for performing (showing off as Mom used to call it).
I still get those butterflies and feel the thrall of expectation just before an expedition down some road or another. I especially like night journeys and while I love good weather I love the grey wet days and brooding skies as the miles roll by.
Perhaps there is some gypsy in me. In any event I have to roam every now and then in order to feel foot lose and free. I have been on some wonderful camping and cycling days out with family and many good friends like Ramblin’ who is the perfect travel companion, as are all members of the EBB. The EBB once camped out in the snow during a stage of a tour of Norway. The constraints of modern living seem to limit the possibilities to indulge in as much roaming as I would like so I have learned, albeit grudgingly, to make the best of even a short expedition if the company is good and we can retain a child like enthusiasm for the coming adventure. It is always good to travel the high ways, tread the rolling hills, walk the banks of silver streams and to know these wonderful lands. On a lovely day like today I muse over the thought that now is time to hit the road perchance to run away and lose myself in a great adventure. I hesitate to evoke the old adage – never put off until tomorrow that which can be done to day - though it comes to mind. One of these days ………


Copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2007

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Amongst the worst news coming out of Burma, surrounding the peoples difficult march towards democracy, is news of the systematic murder of Buddhist monks by the ruling government pigs. The very idea that the Burmese dictatorship is so out of touch with it’s people, their culture and heritage that it can order the attacks on the monks and the destruction of their monasteries is terrifying. How ever this is not a new phenomena. It seems that whenever a despot and his cronies reach a certain level of corruption all depravity may follow. Again the UN involvement in attempts to alleviate the situation is all too little, too late as usual.
Is it totally naive to expect the UN to ever get it approximately right and in a timely fashion? So often the UN gives the impression of being weak and indecisive which will always encourage tyrants such as Burma's military leader Than Shwe and the thug of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe.
African diplomats presented a united front to support Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's presence at an upcoming EU-Africa summit despite strong European reservations. Gordon Brown opposed it. An official from the African Union's Peace and Security Committee said "We resort to interference only in extreme cases of violence or genocide."
Zimbabwe army and secret police officers overseeing food aid distribution are denying food to hungry opposition supporters as punishment for not backing President Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party. Surely to deny people their right to food is a very extreme form of violence. How extreme does the violence have to be before Mugabe is brought to book for his crimes against his own people? Would it be different if he was also denying the rest of the world access to large reserves of crude oil?

Yesterday, in the UK two fourteen year old males were sentenced to serve a minimum of twelve years for murdering a partially sighted man in the street. They beat and kicked him to death for fun. When told by police that the man had died one of the youngsters said he wasn’t bothered. I’m very bothered.
The murdered man had already given up carrying a white stick because his experience in the streets told him it sent the message to predatory youngsters, such as his killers, that he was vulnerable and unable to defend himself against abuse.
Government must address the rising level of unprovoked violence. Perhaps we need A WAR ON DEPRIVATION of all kinds , the root cause of all kinds of terrorism.
Mean while if young people take any interest in " the news" both good and bad, they will quickly learn that the people who govern us and have influence on the world stage seem to only want to intervene abroad when it is economically advantageous. They will also learn from TV news footage that brutality can be employed in the name of law and order, democracy , national security etc. The list grows every day according to NGO s such as Amnesty International. It would seem the need for democracy in countries that meet intervention criteria is so great that the Iraq war might run and run in spite of announcements about troop withdrawals and peoples disillusionment , on both sides of the Atlantic. Even the people who supported the war from the beginning must realise the so called Alliance can not win the war for hearts and minds in Iraq. How could they ever think they could? Democracy?

If you google “good news” one of your options is a Bible bashers site called Good News, another is SKY NEWS. Below is a list of items as a result of typing the words “good news” on the Sky News search engine.

· 1. Good News For Farmers: EU To Lift Export Ban
Britain will be allowed to export live animals, meat and dairy from this Saturday.
Relevance 95% Last Modified 23/08/07
· 2. Tired Of Rain? Heres Some Good News
It may seem like summer has gone missing so far this year - but there is good news on the horizon.
Relevance 95% Last Modified 31/07/07
· 3. Good News As Reuters Earnings Rise
Media group Reuters revealed higher-than-expected profits for its first half, and said sales were strong.
Relevance 95% Last Modified 27/07/07
· 4. Good News For Tourists As Pound Surges
At last, there is some good news for holiday makers and others travelling abroad to countries using the dollar.
Relevance 95% Last Modified 03/07/07
· 5. Groups Welcome Energy Price Cuts
Consumer groups say they are delighted that British Gas has decided to cut its domestic prices.
Relevance 95% Last Modified 08/02/07
· 6. Good News For Booze Cruises
The Treasury will be breathing a sigh of relief after the EUs top court ruled shoppers must pay domestic duties when having goods delivered from the continent. It...
Relevance 95% Last Modified 23/11/06
· 7. No Nudes Is Good News For Britons
Nudity in public is the greatest modern taboo, according to a survey. Almost two out of five (37%) people placed nakedness at the top of a list of unacceptable public...
Relevance 95% Last Modified 25/10/06
· 8. Good News As Archive Sold
Reuters saw a 4.6% gain in third-quarter revenue, up to £631m from £611m for the same time last year. That was its strongest net sales so far this year.

Sad isn’t it? So come on folks tell us your good news.


copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2007

Monday, 1 October 2007

The post industrial midlands

The above pic was taken on my phone on the way to the Bilston gig which now seems an age ago. The day was bleak and made all the more so by the first indication that the free gig, scheduled for Friday in Twickenham, was cancelled by the promoter. We were all appalled at the idea that some of you might travel to Twickenham to the Friday gig. We tried to let as many people know through the site but I know of quite a few people who missed the announcement and made the journey. It was in the end just another day in the life of the EBB but it did have an effect on the EBB mood over the couple of days we were away. News like that is surprisingly deflating. It isn’t as though we have never had set backs, far from it, but I still hate those kind of surprises. Still, a band like ours is a fortunate beast. We all have a deep mutual respect for each and abiding concern for the well being of all of us. This carries us through such set backs and as the old saying goes “ the show must go on”. I have to tell you that from time to time our experience tell us that this is not always the case and there must be limits to exposure to emotional stress that might be avoided. In spite of this the highs, both social and musical, have sustained this band since we first got together again a couple of years ago and still do so. In spite of our seemingly very occasional forays out on the road we have played a lot of gigs and it shows on stage. There is a solid commitment from every member of the EBB to strive for a better standard and if it were not for this there would be times when life in the EBB would be extremely irksome. On the road there is always the chance of a pleasant surprise and my thanks must go to the guys from Anglesey, at the Bilston gig, who offered me a days offshore bass fishing trip when I am next in the area. Where’s me rod? I will take you up on that guys.
We all got together at Steve’s a couple of nights a go for a band meeting. After a long session we have begun to establish the seeds of our plan for the coming winter and 2008 but it still needs a lot of work and that is just the plan. The main priority is to make a new album. This looks like being a home made album and I truly believe there is no reason to think it won’t be our best. Wouldn’t that be nice? It would be a coup We have to find the best way to plan and execute this in the most effective and economically viable way. We discussed improving the web site, merchandising and sketched out future plans for publicising it all. I am always pleased to find that you and the people who support us are never off the agenda at band meetings. In this respect nothing has changed.
We have rehearsals scheduled for the next UK gigs coming up and expect to add one or maybe two news songs for those shows. We’ll have a publicist on board as well so that should be of great help.
Thanks to every one for the motley array of photographs you have sent us in the past few months. Some of them are very good and we will be adding new photos including some of yours to the site. There is the first hint of an autumn chill in the evenings and I fear my “Indian summer” will not materialise though, it still might be one of late 2007's surprises. Some how summer escaped me this year for the most part but so far, I have really enjoyed this year with all it’s ups and downs. For me being in the EBB is still a privilege and a source of pride and I thank you for your continued support.

copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2007