Thursday, 23 December 2010


Thanks for all competition entries. I was pleasantly surprised by how many people sent me suggested set lists. My favourite was sent in by Mags. I especially liked Mags list because she didn't expect me to play some of the heavier songs on an acoustic classical guitar lol. 

1. Speak down the wires
2. Poppy
3. Green Lights
4. Six white horses
5. Evening over rooftops
6. All I wanna be
7. Hotel Room
8. For Dr Spock 2
9. House of Turnabout
10.Red Star

So Mags, if you email me your postal details I will send you the signed ONE cd and a little extra something.

                                   A Winters Tale                                    

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Thanks to all who turned up in the CHAT BOX on Saturday 9th December.It was a lively chat and fun. I think we might give it another blast some time next month. Watch out for details. Would you like to suggest a topic in advance or shall we just leave it open?
The comments of THE FIRST SUPPER were a bit lively also. It seems the current unrest in the UK has focused some very strong views among First Supperists related to the looming cuts and the inevitable political unrest. Remember - United we stand divided ... well you know the rest.

I would like to draw your attention to the following message sent by John Pilger, political journalist, to the students. I don’t suppose he is a stranger to most of you. Did you see his film - The war you don’t see on ITV the other night? I met the great man many years ago on Clapham common and we had a short chat. This was a huge “fan moment” for me as John is one of my all time heroes. Any way this is what he had to say. 
“Your action, and the action of your fellow students all over Britain, in standing up to a mendacious, undemocratic government is one of the most important and exciting developments in my recent lifetime. People often look back to the 1960s with nostalgia – but the point about the Sixties is that it took the establishment by surprise. And that's what you have done. Your admirable, clever, courageous actions have shocked and frightened a corrupt political class – coalition and Labour – because they know you have the support of the majority of the British people. It is you, the students on the streets – not the Camerons, Cleggs and Milibands – who are the authentic representatives of the people. Keep going. We need you. All power to you”.
John Pilger 02 December 2010

On this note I am going to leave the student fees issue for a while, until the next demo, with a quote from Mahatma Ghandi.
"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." - Gandhi.

Competition time.
I need a little bit of help with a task that always does my brain in and this it.
I would like people to email me with a suggested set list for my Fair days pay for a fair days work tour.
Please send a list of ten songs that you think will be suitable for my acoustic set to  or - as comments on this post. I will publish the list I like best on here on the blog. The sender will receive a signed copy of the ONE cd plus a little surprise gift.
A single called Feel me by your side from Luke and myself will be released before Christmas on the EB website and, if we finish the video in time, also on Youtube. Well that is about it for now. Gotta keep digging my anti Christmas bunker against the commercial torrent. I know “ bah humbug etc, etc”.


Friday, 10 December 2010

On Sunday the 12th of December I will be around in the CHAT BOX from 7pm until 8pm. All welcome for questions / discussion or a nice cosy chat. Your agenda.
This will be a first so, I don't know how it will work out but I hope to see you there.

Kettled in Westminster

Yesterday I set out at 12.15pm to go to the Student demo in Parliament Square. The bus went as far as Lambeth Bridge where I got off and walked to Westminster Square.
I’d arrived at 1pm, as planned, just as the main body of the demo arrived. The assembled people in the square were well behaved and the so were the marchers as they arrived. I noticed that now the entrance at the junction of Whitehall to Westminster Bridge was blocked to pedestrians. At this time the access to Whitehall itself was open.

The police were very calm and had discussions with the protesters. The atmosphere was quite friendly. Word soon spread that now access out of the square into Great George St and Victoria St was closed. The atmosphere slowly changed as people began to realise they were kettled in Parliament Square. Now I was to learn first hand what this was all about. I couldn’t help think that there was something ironic about the venue for my first experience of the practice. At the Victoria end of the square protesters had pushed the police line, who were kettling, abaout 60 yards. Soon horse mounted police arrived and began to advance pushing back the protestors. Fireworks were employed by the protesters at this point and a police rider fell off his horse which then kicked him in the chest. The mounted police simply couldn’t cope and were forced to with draw. Eventually the riot cops held the line after some very heavy handed baton swinging. I remember wondering how the mounted police would feel after being so easily dismissed by a few hundred kids.
After an hour or so of wandering around chatting with folk from all over the UK and overseas students I decide to walk out of the square towards Whitehall and Trafalgar Square. The way was blocked so now we all knew the square was sealed off. We asked why? The answer was that other people were still trying to join the demo and that there were incidents happening nearby and our safety was important. When we further questioned this we were told they had their orders and even if they didn’t understand them they would obey. So they were asking thousands of intelligent young protesters to stay contained on the basis that it was all for their own benefit. We later found out that they didn’t want people to join with protesters in Trafalgar Square. It was not for our benefit but actually a tactical exercise.

Eventually we were allowed to proceed up Whitehall and then a line of police with full riot gear appeared barring our way and telling us we had to go back in the square where by now the police were under attack on all sides when ever they pushed people further into the square. The police in White hall were struggling to push us back because we did resist. All of my feelings about being subject to another’s will and being a prisoner in the streets of my hometown were coming to the surface. It was uncomfortable and new.

I thought the horse mounted police had come to get revenge for being driven back in Victoria St. I had wondered if they might. They pushed us back against the line of police vans blocking off the square. People were being crushed and one young lass next to me was hysterical. She was behaving perfectly lawfully. She was terrified. I admit I was very uneasy and I shouted at a police officer to slow down their advance. I told him there was nowhere to go and people were being crushed against the vans. He ignored all appeals for reason. The young women disappeared and I hoped she was not under the retreating protesters feet. By chance I saw her later and we had a chat. She told me she never would have believed the police would ever be so cold and indifferent.
Soon after a police officer began to push me directly, eyeball to eyeball. It was not pleasant. Like looking into the eyes of a low level robot. I only just managed to keep my footing at times. My personal rugby forward copper gave me a huge push and I still don’t why I did it but I turned round and round on the spot and he and the other officers kind of rolled by me leaving me safe and in space. Just after this it became clear to all that we were totally contained and all hell broke loose in my area. One officer leaned forward as a young guy passed and slashed him on the neck with his baton. Immediately the young guy karate kicked the officer under his visor and chin and he fell to the ground. His fellow officers tried to drag him back but the crowd held them off easily while the young man punched him a couple of times then disappeared. I saw a gap on the nearby low wall that ran to our right and I climbed up on it pulling up a couple of young guys who were as shaken as me by the whole affair. I have never seen young men so utterly unafraid to wade into the police lines when attacked but I never saw an unprovoked attack by a protester.

I have to say that most of the officers present behaved extremely well but I also saw how much damage can be done by the “bad apples”.I made my way back into the square and people were breaking into the Treasury Building while under the full glare of the police helicopter searchlight and police photographers who were with officers diverted to prevent occupation of
the building.

The kettling was a real mood changer and more and more of us began to sympathise with the more extreme protest tactics that followed it. I was angry. I remember one young woman weakly shouting "Whose streets"? I took over in full voice and was immediately gratified by the huge response of "Our streets". I suspect that for a while people were quite happy about the old guy with the big gob as they rested their tired voices.Later a little group of young women asked me if I was o.k. Bless them. Who knows what I looked like in that moment or what my face was saying. I asked them if they were ok and lovely beaming faces told me they were ok but they said that they were cold. I felt warmed by them and then a young guy asked me if I was cool. I was in that moment. We then chatted for some time and he introduced me to his friends who were very nice, ernest young students from Leeds.By now many people had wanted to leave the area for a long time. Many were not dressed for the cold evening or provisioned. We shared what we had. It was dark now and the kettling would last until around 7.45pm. Eventually some of us were allowed to leave our pen via Westminster Bridge where were told we would be decanted. Others were leaving via different routes. This was a lie and we were all held on the bridge for two hours in a biting easterly wind. Eventually we were let go into Waterloo in small groups. We were all captured on video close ups as we walked through a gauntlet of two lines of police from Westminster bridge exit to waterloo station. One officer said sarcastically “ Thanks for coming”. I looked him in the eye and told him - I will be here again but cuts are coming and you might not be. I’d had some ding dong arguments and banter with coppers before we were kettled and it was all taken in a good humoured way on both sides. In the face of chants- "We'll be back" a copper shouted - "Good I earned £400.00 today".
I was feeling very cold and I could hardly put one foot in front of the other after being made to stand for so long in a crowd. Some of us had asked the police guarding our rear to fall back a bit in order to leave a space for people to move around in and they did so but only after the decanting began. We had been held against our will for more than 7 hours. It was 11.15pm when I arrived at Waterloo Station.
I believe that almost all of the violence and damage caused by protesters yesterday was a measured response to police action. Cameron’s statement that “ The protestors were clearly there wanting to pursue violence and damage to property” is not true.In my opinion kettling caused most of the problems yesterday. It is counterproductive to peaceful protest and is probably illegal. No one I met seemed demoralised by the kettleing. Many discussed tactics for the next time. Most of them are really looking forward to Summer and better weather. I think it is evident that we are entering a period of civil unrest if the current underlying causes as well as the effects of cuts to come cannot be addressed. What ever you think about events yesterday ask yourself what great causes of real value to the people in our great democracy were ever achieved with out a fight? Standing in our pen with our jailors, the men and women in blue, I found myself pushing away images that were assembling in my head of the lines of faces peering out from behind the fencing of the nazi camps. It was an awful thing to be penned in only yards away from one of the so called great bastions of democracy and freedom. The times they are a changin’ but… you know what? THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT!

the atmosphere in parliament sq at 1.30 pm

On Sunday the 12th of December I will be around in the CHAT BOX from 7pm until 8pm. All welcome for questions / discussion or a nice cosy chat. Your agenda.

This will be a first so, I don't know how it will work out but I hope to see you there.


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

 hero or villian?

PAYPAL recently withdrew services which allowed Wikileaks org to raise funding by donation. If you have a paypal account , as I do, or even if you don't email them to protest. went down but soon enough a new one with a new name ( emerged. So have hundreds of mirror sites with different domain names.

It seems the provision of water by the Met to kettled protesters in Whitehall recently was not matched by the provision of toilets, as promised. To provide water and no toilet is a low level tool of the white noise brigade and the exponents of water boarding.
Thankfully I am no expert in these practices but I do know one thing for sure. This practice of giving something with one hand and taking more at the same time is neat, cheap and is an effective way of undermining the peaceful protester exercising her democratic rights.
Solution - Take the drink and make sure your comrades can be discreetly hidden when they need to relieve themselves in order to avoid being charged with at least some public order offences. 

map of Whitehall kettling

Article 5 of the Human Rights Act sets out the right not to be deprived of liberty except in five well-defined exceptions and is an absolute right. The exceptions concern detention to effect a lawful arrest or compliance with a court order, detention of a child who is unsupervised or of a person in breach of immigration rules, or "the lawful detention of persons for the prevention of the spreading of infectious diseases, of persons of unsound mind, alcoholics or drug addicts or vagrants".

THE NEW REALITY suggests we must find new ways to reach out to each other so that we might be inspired , encouraged and supported in positive, effective,  direct action.
Interested ? On Sunday the 12th of December I will be around in the CHAT BOX  from 7pm until 8pm. All welcome for questions / discussion or a nice cosy chat. Your agenda.  
This will be a first so, I don't know how it will work out but I hope to see you there.