Friday, 25 December 2009

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Hi folks. I seem to have been away from here for longer than originally intended. I apologise for the prolonged exposure of nasty Nick in the previous post. Life has overtaken my blogging routine of late and I have been offline for some time due to technical reasons. Normal BT Service will be resumed as soon as possible which probably means towards the end of the week ahead. It’s amazing how much time I seem to accrue when I am forced off the information superhighway. I have been working on a couple of new songs, as always and have finally got a handle on a song that has resisted all my attempts to write the lyric. Some come quickly others take forever.
The video project YOIK is taking shape. Thanks for all the suggestions about possible locations. Thanks Ade for your stuff and for the very interesting music. I have to get together with Ramblin’ to organise visits to the best locations. I’m still interested in hearing about any rural or urban settings for performing the yoiks and chants for the video album. I have to say a special hello to Jenny and crew. I was fascinated and touched by your mail about your recent trip east and the work there with Tibetan refugees. The answer is yes, I want to help and get involved.
Sally Fadelle is working hard on the story of my life. She recently interviewed Steve and met with Steve and Art together. I would love to have been the proverbial fly on the wall ha ha! Should be a good read.
My fishing has definitely gone on hold with the recent bad weather. Though I had a lovely couple of days lure fishing recently with Steve’s lad Sonny. The fish he has just caught in the pic above came after two hard days fishing for pike with out any success at all. In the dusk of the second evening on the Thames I noticed the small fry fish were being herded into the mouth of an adjoining river by a large shoal of hungry perch. The surface of the river was boiling as the fleeing fish darted away from the predators. Fish jumped clear of the surface in a desperate attempt to escape. I have never seen anything like it. This frenzied feeding was reported on the length of Thames for a week or so on a nightly basis. Finally we both caught a perch just as darkness fell. I was relieved that after all his hard work Sonny got his reward. Well done matey and thanks for your splendid company. By the way, as per usual, both fish were quickly returned to the river in good health.
Well Christmas is nearly here and as some of you will know you can expect little or no support from me for this outmoded and confused ritual but plenty of bah humbug!
In Jan 2010 the EB Band will be rehearsing again. We are playing the 100 Club in London on the 12th of Feb and The Garage, Bergen in Norway on the 19th of Feb. Expect a few surprises by way of changes to the show. We look forward to seeing you there to help us start our year off with a resounding YES !

Over and out demons out

Friday, 23 October 2009

BNP boss Nick Griffin now accepts the holocaust did happen but can't remember when or why he had the tattoo removed

During the last elections many of us agonised about whether or not it was justifiable to not vote in the face of the appalling political standards of our current crop of members of parliament. People said that only the B.N.P. and the Nick Griffins of the world would benefit. I was of the opinion that their success at the polls would expose them to the closest scrutiny allowing the people to see them for what they truly are. After watching Question Time on the BBC earlier tonight I still hold that view. When challenged about his denial of the holocaust and other fascist statements he has made in the past Mr Griffin stated " I cannot explain why I used to say those things, any more than I can tell you why I have changed my mind."
This kind of media exposure will ensure that the very confused Mr Griffin will not achieve his fascist objectives and that his transparent manipulation of the truth will ensure that his pariah status will continue. Finally the BBC were right to allow him to appear on the show. I am amazed that those protesting would deny him the same right to free expression they fear he would deny them. Rights are sacrosanct and when we make exceptions based on our own prejudices it is likely the resulting precedents will have terrible consequences for us all.

At last some common sense is applied in the recent case of so called whistle blowing by nurse Margaret Haywood in a Brighton hospital. Margaret Haywood who secretly filmed the neglect of elderly patients for a BBC Panorama television documentary and was struck off the nursing register for misconduct in April, has won her fight to return to work. The court replaced the striking off order with a one year caution, which means that she can return to work as a nurse. About time too.

Glasvegas is a great young band from Glasgow and I particularly like the lyric to this song from their debut album.
When your sparkle evades your soul
I'll be at your side to console
When your standing on the window ledge
I'll talk you back from the edge
I will turn your tide
Be your shepard and your guide
When your lost in the deep and darkest place around
May my words walk you home safe and sound
When you say that I'm no good and you feel like walking
I need to make sure you know thats just the Prescription talking
When your feet decide to walk you on the wayward side
Up upon the stairs and down the downward slide
I will, I will turn your tide
Do all that I can to heal you inside
I'll be the angel on your shoulder
My name is Geraldine, I'm your social worker
Songwriters: Allan, James
Geraldine lyrics © Universal Music Publ. Ltd.
I sent a link for these lyrics to a friend who is a social worker. She liked the song but asked - Where is the mention of all the paper work Geraldine has to complete?
A recent Unison survey found that a third of social workers in the south east are suffering from anxiety and stress related illness. Unison also found that social workers spend 80% of their work time on paper work as compared to a shockingly inadequate 20% on face to face work with people in need.The social work environment is a difficult and under resourced place to work. Workers are forced to fill out an endless stream of paper work by government dictates that change on a weekly basis. Little by little but slowly and surely the amount of time a social worker can spend with folk in need is diminished by a stream of government requirements that are Kafkaesque and often absurd. Services are shrinking and it is set to get worse.
Often new directives are well received by social workers but they know there will be no resources to make the directive actual. They are still expected to carry out the work.
I saw the same stupefying disease as a youth worker in Wandsworth where, it seemed policy changed on a weekly basis as the all important statistics were fudged and manipulated to meet government targets including a farcical Ofsted inspection. I saw money wasted on pointless exercises by The Managerial Undead . I saw the health and safety of workers in the hot spots of social disorder undermined by weak managers who’s main aim was and still is to tick the boxes. Sadly consultation dies in such an environment and the workers with the understanding required to effect positive change go unheard.
So when next you hear of the failings of social services remember they are themselves embattled and dis empowered by an employer who is not listening.
Let’s not forget that now Margaret Haywood has been reinstated as a nurse she too will go back to endless paper work which will decrease the time she can spend looking after us.


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

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Just back from a couple of weeks away and for me it marks the end of summer. My longed for Indian summer didn't materialise and after all, we are only three months away from Winter Solstice. While spending a little time looking backwards over the year so far, I realised that summer has presented quite a few notable high lights.

So here is my short review with a few photo memories. The above photo and the photo below were taken in one of my favourite places near the estuary of the tidal river the Orwell.

Earlier in the summer on a very warm Monday the EB Band played at the Friars 40th Anniversary gig in Aylesbury. We had a great night and received a Friars Heroes Award which was a very nice surprise. Later we had another great afternoon at the East Barnet Community Festival where we played a free concert. ( Just like the old days).

A newly discovered gravel pit and a favourite haunt in the late part of this summer. Had a couple of very nice days float fishing here in the sunshine, rain and wind.

A fairly secluded private fishery. My idea of what a river should look like before the winter kills of the weed. The wild life here is plentiful. On a soft breeze a few butterflies appeared occasionally. Cormorants, Canadian geese and swans were in abundance with several types of wildfowl. The pike were not interested in taking a lure but snapped at them occasionally sending great waves across the surface of the slow flowing river.

Some of you will have read my post on here about the bike ride with Ramblin Mad along the South coast from Hove. Ramblin has found a couple of pics. We had a few laughs one night at his his place making up stories to fit the images. I hadn't laughed so much in ages.

Above I am pictured by Ramblin with our "domestique" in tow. In the peloton ( French word for bike riders in a race) the domestique is a servant rider who's duty it is to bring bottles and food from a team car to the star riders. Unfortunately we couldn't run to an actual bike for this guy so he ran along behind us carrying our goodies and neccessary refreshments in a blue plastic carrier bag from Hove to Worthing, beyond and back to Hove.

Above you will see that the nice lady in the wheelchair is getting ready for the final sprint for the line. The guy on the mountain bike made of plumbing materials is about to be caught by yours truly if Ramblin can get his big stick in the guys back wheel just as he passes the bush on his right.

This is me playing with a micro UFO by Devil's Dyke. The photo by Ramblin is completely untouched. I knew some thing was going on when I sailed past the wheelchair user on the imaginary finish line in Worthing. Fortunately people from the residential home team she represented were there to commiserate with her.

The gig at The Assembly Leamington Spa was a home coming high light and a good time was had by us all.

One little pike after a day on the Yare with Nick the guide. We went for dead fish baits on a float set up rather than fish with artificial lures which I would have preferred. Still the guide knows best and he reckoned no pike were taking lures and the season had been hard. As a pro it his job to put people like me on the fish. He tried his best but after eight hours this fish was the only one to fancy a nice mackerel tail . Still better than nothing and it fought harder than expected. He went back in the river as good as he came out. All good.

A day later, with a friend, we had three nice pike out of a small lake on spinnerbait lures. So, no one had told them they were not to eat those nasty things that look like prey fish but are really trick fish with hooks to catch 'em.

Some September time on the ocean lead to a catching day that included this nice codling pictured above. The various fish we caught provided eight wonderful dinners. We had a few days of feeling the swaying of the boat long after we disembarked but I actually quite like that. Excellent!

So Summer is over. Below is a short video of a yours truly singing to the trees and chanting for release. Any one got suggestions of locations for similiar antics?


copyright edgar broughton 2009

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.


Copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2 0 0 9

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.


copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2 0 0 9

Friday, 24 July 2009

it's not about the bike

“It’s not about the bike” is the title of Lance Armstrong’s autobiography. It is an inspiring read whether you are a cycle racing fan or not. Any way, Lance is currently at third place in the 2009 Tour De France. This is a fantastic achievement for the 37 year old American who has been away from the Tour for 3 years. I had a £5 bet with Steve that Alberto Contador would win this years tour while he went for Armstrong. I remember a good humoured argument over this in his kitchen when I was saying that a riders ability to recover in the tour with it’s punishing daily grind is paramount and I suggested Armstrong wouldn’t have his old magical powers of recovery that made him so outstanding. Well I was wrong even though it looks as if my man Contador will win by more that 4 minutes. Armstrong has obviously recovered well enough to put him in third place but with the terrible Ventoux mountain stage to come tomorrow, I think Lance will slip back to 4th or 5th.
So why am I telling you all this? Here I am recovering from a 30 mile ride along the south coast yesterday with my dear friend Ramblin Mad ( Dave Randell ). I ache a little bit but otherwise I am feeling good.
Dave has been urging me to set a date for ride out or two for ages and I have been out for the odd ride on my own in the night. Any way we identified yesterday as the day this week with a plan to go to the coast and ride together for a while. The day before I tried to slip out of it on the grounds that I wasn’t ready and didn’t wish to be left behind on the road. Dave assured me that with his sciatica and lack of miles in his legs we would be looking for a flat course and would take it steady. So I agreed and we set off the following morning heading for Hove.
We duly arrived at our Sat Nav destination on the sea front. Dave had prepared every thing. Two foldable chairs, kettle, cups, bowls for cereal and bags of provisions including energy drink for our bidons ( Oops! Getting French there – water bottles) and energy bars. I’d had breakfast and my bottle was full but the freshly made cup of Assam tea was like nectar as we sat on our chairs in the glorious sunshine. I was very touched by Dave’s effort to make this work.
After a while we got the bikes of the car and set off slowly into a stiff headwind towards Devon. Sounds good eh? Dave had asked which way we should go out and thinking of the three lumpy bits on the way out past Brighton and that there would be a headwind on our way back I decided we would go West. The first few miles were painful as we rolled along very gently. With our little echelon of two, with me sheltering from the wind behind Dave, things got better at around four miles as we turned off the main road and along the lovely coastal cycle path. We stopped for a breather and I felt better as we watched wind surfers on the beach just before Worthing. We had picked a great day for it but sitting in the sun with the wind blowing in our faces I was looking forward to the time when we would turn back with a tail wind. We rode on through Worthing and out the other side. We rolled around the pretty villages and lanes for some time before we felt that lull in the breeze as we turned, heading back. The ride back was done in one go and a good deal quicker. If it hadn’t been for traffic we would have gone even quicker and I was able to go to the front.
We arrived back at the car and changed out of our cycling gear. The bikes went back on the roof and we set off for the hills for some cerebral relaxation and tea. We ended up in a National Trust lay by overlooking a beautiful view of Devils Dyke. Dave made the tea and we sat on a grassy slope and chatted for a while and discussed other possible locations for our adventures before setting back to London. My legs burned with the old familiar lactic acid ache and I felt great. I felt great because finally I had made the start line and in our very small way we had triumphed. Energy over apathy.
I am 61 and Dave will be 60 next year and we ‘aint done yet. I reckon we can get fitter together. Soon I will be able to climb again. Slowly, as always, but steady and sure knowing I will fall like a stone down the descents. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeh! Once again my old mate has come good. It was his insistence that all would be well that really gave me the push I needed. Give it a few months and we’ll be rockin. I couldn’t ask for a better companion in this so, thanks mate for all your love and care. Here's to the next time.


copyright e d g a r b r o u g h t o n 2 0 0 9

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

This will be the only UK FREE CONCERT we play in 2009 so we hope to see you there.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

yo lo ya lay lo lo hey a ya lol lo - my love is the wind as i race down a high way

I am still buzzing after the show at the Friars 40th Anniversary gig in Aylesbury on Monday. What a night! We hooked up with old friends from the Pretty Things and Groundhogs and our old mate Arthur Brown as well friends from way back when and from all over. One of the high lights of the night was having some time with Peter Jenner from the old Blackhill Enterprises days when he was our manager. Great to see him and all who turned out for what proved to be a very nostalgic ( I don’t do that much) and emotional evening. Many thanks to David Stopps and his team who made it a night to remember and thanks for the award guys.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to our crew Andrew and Rick who always work extremely hard to make it all happen for us.

So, while we were “fiddling” in Aylesbury Westminster carried on burning and the drip drip of rats afraid to drown with their leader has now turned into a steady stream leaving the sinking ship that is New Labour. After a great deal of thought I have decided not to participate in any election until the opportunity to support real change exists. I used to believe that it was every one’s duty to vote in order to participate in and to maintain the democratic process.
While I feel there is no obvious nor indeed any likely credible candidate to replace Brown in any party, there must be a change that will herald some real and radical reform. I think I can just smell the faintest scent of new possibility some where on the winds of change but I am not sure where it is coming from. What do you think?

Some of you will remember the post I wrote about the disgraceful de-registration of nurse Margaret Haywood for whistle blowing about maltreatment of patients at The Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton. Perhaps it is no surprise that she is not the only one who seems to have been badly treated by the medical regulatory bodies.
Dr David Southall the UK’s leading Child Protection consultant has been struck off the register by the BMC for misconduct. A mother interviewed by him in the presence of a senior Social Worker complained to the BMC that he had accused her of murdering her child. The medical condition of her surviving child had instigated the enquiry undertaken by Dr Southall. Even though the social worker recorded verbatim notes of the meeting her evidence that the doctor behaved appropriately and made no accusations of any kind were ignored by the BMC and by the High Court at his appeal. I recommend you watch the current Panorama on BBC for the details. I hope you will agree this a shocking injustice. In my opinion David Southall epitomises the kind of Child Protection officer that we desperately need and while his methodology might be considered controversial his success in saving children from the grown ups is self evident. I believe what ever can be done to save the children should be done. Please check it out. I’d very much like to know what others think.


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

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

birth day boy

Well, the weather is picking up a little. Summer keeps trying to bring a little sunshine in our lives and I guess we really need it this year. Sunshine always helps.
Steve picked a great day for his birthday bash last Sunday, the hottest day this year so far. There was a nice mix of people, a usual, including a very nice bunch of kids and one or two faces not seen for a while. There were a few missing faces but they are not forgotten. It was a very civilised affair and there was a genuine warmth among those gathered. Most of us have been around a long time and have known each other through many stages of our lives. I met up with an old friend and co-conspirator on early recording including Oora. Alan O’Duffy has been a freelance recording and mixing engineer for 30 years working in the music industry and in TV and film industries. It was very nice to meet up again and share experiences and stories. I think that when we really connect with people the passing years do not erode the connection and we are able to pick up where we left things.

smiling Allan O'Duffy

At the weekend we will spending a day working on our show for the Friars 40th anniversary gig at the Maxwell Hall Aylesbury on Monday the 1st of June. We are scheduled on stage at around 8.30. It will be another opportunity to meet up with old mates The Pretty Things and Tony McPhee and The Groundhogs. I am looking forward to it very much.
Further down the road will be our return to Leamington Spa on the 7th of August. We will be performing an extended set covering all our albums with one or two surprises and again, looking forward to meeting old friends and family. We will be playing the Woodstock Remembered Festival on the 8th.
I hope that one day we’ll be playing at the Labour Remembered Festival long after we have got rid of the taste of New labour. Mean while I am looking forward to rehearsing with the guys on Saturday. It promises to be another “sunny day”.


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

Saturday, 23 May 2009

High over this city two USA helicopters fly the course of the river Thames. Rumour has it that they are flying regular sorties into the City of London ( The banking Sector ) as part of anti terrorist initiatives put in place shortly after the attack on The Twin Towers, New York.
Below is a snapshot of life below in beautiful Battersea Park. The sound of leather on willow is temporarily drowned by the throbbing whine of the choppers.
The contrast between the activity overhead and down here among the people in their park was striking.

Mean while the controversy over the MPs expenses fraud rages on. I never thought I would ever have any thing much in common with Norman Tebbit but his call to boycott the coming European Elections struck a chord with me. He was criticised by his party which is no surprise but he has a point and now is our time to make it. I have no intention of voting for anyone under these circumstances unless I can help to spoil their party. This is an apalling condition for me to find myself in. I have always participated and encouraged others to vote. Your comments on this dilemma would be very interesting.
Some MPs have had the decency to walk away but I fear the remaining rot is deep in the fabric of Westminster and therefore the system is disfunctional. For most of my life assertions by my myself and my comrades that we deserve better , that the heart of our governing system is tainted, that the people who run things live outside of our reality and have lower standards than most of us was always dismissed as oversimplification. Ha ha!
Most of the people I have known and have worked with have much higher standards than these parasites and would not need The Speaker of the House or any one else to tell them they were on the take.
Our representatives need a job spec, a job description, and independent scrutiny in all areas, like it is in most work environments. They should be inspected along Ofsted lines to ensure they meet targets and standards with no opportunity to change the goal post when they don't get to tick the required boxes.
No organisation operates along the lines that Westminster does and it is time they were brought into the modern era. We need reform of our political system. Word is clearly out. The current crop is not fit for purpose and should walk away. If they don’t we should send them on their way.
After a successful purge in Westminster I suggest a War on the Greater Greed and a radically different foreign policy not based soley on what is in it for us. Who knows we might see a favourable response re-gaining respect from the rest of our world along the lines Pres Obama is seeking for the USA.

Any one for cricket?


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

Friday, 8 May 2009

Re-instate Margaret Haywood

Hi folks. I realise it’s been some time since I wrote any thing here. I could blame the pressures of modern life, relative fame and the demands of my adoring public ha ha ! ……but that wouldn’t be it really. Truth is I have been pre occupied with rehearsing and organising life so that there is more peace than angst. We have recently returned from Norway where we experienced more than our share of trials and tribulations. I do have the satisfaction of being able to say that none of our problems were as a result of the EB Bands failings. In fact we were the only organised part of it except for the last show which was superb. I don’t very often say so but the band is totally on it right now. Special thanks to Jan-Åge Johansen and all of the folk at Kabelvåg who made the last gig so memorable.
Some thing changing happens when we go above the Arctic circle and we become energised. The air is wonderful and the scenery breathtaking. Jan Johansen has invited me to go fishing with him on our next visit. Hey! I just wanna hole up there for a few years and be still and quiet. Well, maybe not quiet ha ha!
Mean while the EB B is appearing at the Friars 40th Anniversary gig on the 1st of June, The Assembly, Leamington Spa on the 7th of August and Woodstock Remembered festival on the 8th. Check out the gigs section on the site for details, as we get them.

Some years ago my partner was working in Lambeth for their Youth Service in the pioneering Lambeth Young Womens Project. Jack Straw was visiting in some official capacity. They had a discussion about lack of services. Jack immediately stated “ people should pay their poll tax”. She replied that she lived in Wandsworth and at that time there was a small charge there that she paid. Jack slunk off. It has come to light that he massively underpaid his community charge in recent times. Of course he has paid it back now. So that’s o.k. then Jack. The long list of sleazy expenses is growing every day.

Some years ago, while managing the technical operation on the wandsworth youth radio station Fundamental FM, I witnessed an interview between teenagers and Home Office Minister Paul Boateng. When asked by a youngster why young people drifted into crime he aggressively asserted “ young people don’t drift into crime , they make a choice to do so”. I was shocked at his arrogant lack of sensitivity and that a few smart young ‘uns could so easily get him on his back foot. He didn’t like the fact they suggested politicians alienated young people and lost votes. Three years ago the government paper Every Child Matters stated that steps must be taken to prevent young people “drifting into crime”. It seems that these people move the goal posts when it suits and as if it won’t be noticed.

Recently New Labour has shown us the truly dark and deceitful nature of UK politics. And worse they are totally out of touch with reality. Their lack of intervention in the case of whistle blower Margaret Haywood, the nurse who filmed the neglect of elderly patients for a BBC Panorama documentary is disappointing, given their insistence that Local Authorities and public service providers construct their own whistle blower policies. The government is obsessed with meaningless targets and driven by box ticking but they only like the outcomes that will bolster their Kafka-esque policies.
The treatment of Margaret Haywood is outrageous. She had gone through all the usual procedures to try to effect the change needed to ensure the issues around patient care were addressed but with out success. There are plenty of ways to protest at Margaret’s treatment so please participate.
On BBC’s Question time last night we had the uneasy experience of a top tory berating the Government for totalitarian policies and undermining civil liberties. It was only relatively recently that the UK signed up to the European Commission on Human Rights and again the Government has been told they have overstepped the mark on a civil liberties issue. This is about the governments decision to keep the DNA samples of people charged with a crime but found not guilty ( innocent ), for twelve years. The commision has agreed that Scotland’s policy of three years is appropriate. The insuation that New Labour is repressive and Draconian seems wholly justifiable. The tip of the iceburg I am afraid. Very disturbing indeed! I am certain that if this government is allowed to continue along their current path unchecked, then we shall all be very sorry we did nothing. It is clear that they will not easily allow meaningful / successful protest and that unidentifiable police officers in the Met, here in London will increasingly continue to act against the people because this is the culture of present day government. Still the worm will turn and it might not be too far off.

Brown promised a u turn in the affair of the Gurhkas but yesterday it was clear he must have forgotten to inform the relovent parties responsible for determining wether the old soldiers could reside here. What a buffoon!
Well I have got a few things off my chest. Do I feel better? No, I do not. This country is in serious decline and when I am fortunate to be else where as I was last weekend I feel shame and dismay at the state of these sorry isles.

So is that it? All doom and gloom? No of course not! There is always another side to the coin and yesterday I heard a lovely story about some ones efforts to unite an old lady with her son who she has not been able to visit for a long time. The mother is not well and coming to the end of her life. In her own words, to see her son is her last mission. I can not tell the details but the effort and resourcefulness required to make this happen is way beyond the call and mandate of the professionals involved. Still, they will achieve this if at all possible. There is hope within a good heart. Meaningful success will come from still trying when others give up among the shambles. I love them for their good hearts and wish them the best things in their lives.
So now I have to make some thing happen, to contribute a little some thing and play my part. So it goes. The good inspire and give strength. We need you all. Act now!


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

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Walking down by the river
where gulls cry
evokes sweet melancholy
banishing sorrow
I am contented
among the ghosts of the river dwellers
norse and engel
This is a place that reminds me
deep in my being
of childhood
of tents in the dawn
going west to the sea through the night
hoping the storms would abate
the sun on my back
happy and free
This is a place where truth abides
everything else fading and crumbling
this is a moment fixed in my memory
a day worth re-living again and again
The tides pushing in
walk with me ?

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Hi folks. Well the EB Band has begun rehearsal again. We had a lot of fun last weekend. We are trying to add some extra sounds and parts to some of the old songs by fairly simple means i.e. running a stereo track from an I Pod with sounds and extra parts we couldn’t realise otherwise. One side has the parts and the other a percussive pattern for Steve to play along to. He has to wear head phones for this and in spite of this being a bit strange for him at first, he soon got to grips and it all went along quite well. Getting the tempo right as well as what the drummer listens to is crucial to it all working. The tracks were made including all the speeding up and slowing down on the original recordings but it was decided it would be easier to keep the tempos constant. Adjustments were made until Steve was comfortable playing to the guide. So there it is, extra acoustic guitars on Hotel room which allows for real slide guitar, the original strings on Evening over rooftops, backing vocals, the effects on Green lights and so on. We used this technique years ago when we used an old Apple computer to drive the patterns and parts Steve played to.

Luke is playing some acoustic guitar and I've got a few songs where I don't play guitar which is all adding to the dynamics of the songs. We are making some very subtle changes as well as some quite major ones. We’ve put Dr Spock back in the set along with Side by Side / Sister Angela, Night Hogs from Super Chip, Speak Down the wires, Roccoco Cooler and other old favourites. We are planning to put together a show that starts small and ascends through the set to flat out mayhem. I hope the above tech stuff isn’t boring. I know some people like to know how things work so I hope those that don’t care forgive the inclusion.
It was a good weekend made all the better by the continuing rampage of Liverpool F.C. Yer !Later on Sunday afternoon, young Sonny had a good work out on his dad's drums. It was a bit like listening to the fire of a heavy calibre machine gun stuck on automatic jumping around on a marble floor. Wicked innit ?
Pic below.

It seems Gordon Brown is not just a chip off the old block. There are signs that he is implementing some interesting and welcome policies. I was very interested in the announcements around citizen responsibility to look out for and to intervene for children at risk which came out of the govt white paper “Every Child Matters”. Perhaps this might be considered especially welcome at a time when a comprehensive survey stated UK children were more poorly served than in most other European countries and some non European countries.
This policy was rolled out as a new “duty” for all local govt / public service employees, at all levels. The idea was that this new responsibility would be extended to all citizens. I am not sure how this being implemented and how it is being progressed but it was/ is a good sign.
The latest development applies to all adults along the same lines. It involves the setting up of a pool of social workers across the country who will investigate any complaint brought to their attention in respect of treatment received in any public service environment such as hospitals , youth provision , residential care homes etc. If the complaint by any person friends, relatives or ANY member of the public is found to have substance then an advocate can be employed to pursue the case. I know this is about to run in some parts and it seems to me that this is the kind of idea I can totally endorse. Hey! this what I voted for and expected to get from Labour. I know it’s early days but let’s give it a chance. I know I bang on about the lack of labour commitment to the crucial things but I like to think I will also give credit where credit is due. We need a lot more accountability especially where the care of vulnerable folk are concerned.

So Sir Fred the banker is shaken that people have trashed his car and had a go at his house. I don’t condone the senseless vandalism lol but, nor do I care that he is inconvenienced. This is the tip of the iceberg and people will take what they consider to be direct action when they feel let down by the people who should have intervened to prevent him getting away with it in the first place.

R.I.P. Jade Goody. Perhaps thousands of women will be saved from the tragedy she faced because of her. Perhaps we should be extremely grateful that her loss will be of lasting benefit through her contribution to the seed change in public awareness around cervical cancer. Reviled she was but if we are to be judged by the harm and good we do in our lives then perhaps she has the edge on most of us. Judge ye not ! We didn’t look after her all that well after all. Did we?
Well I am off to learn the words to Roccococooler. I am probably a dead man if I turn up with a lyric sheet for the next rehearsal. No rest for the gifted eh?


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

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

There is some thing timeless about the attraction of a fire in the open air or in the home.

Like many of us I remember being a small child sitting in front of a coal fire, peering through the fireguard at the pictures drawn there in the flame and smoke. I still do this when the rare opportunity to sit by a hearth with a fire is presented. With the heat of the fire hot on my cheeks I look for phantoms among the dying embers. It is easy to see how this captivated ancient peoples and on through all time.
Taking some shots of a fire on a cold frosty night recently I was astonished by one image which is contained in the cropped pic above and shown below completely untouched. You can see the iron hearth through the fire and there he is up to the left side of the photo. I've met him some where before but I never got take his photo before ha ha! Any way, I thought some of you might find this amusing.

On looking at other photos I found some coals that had face like shapes so I filled these in with a few alterations.

I am a novice at this but still it's great fun. If I am making some thing I am happiest. What could be better than spending an old fashioned winter evening with good company and ..... a fair few fire phantoms?


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