Sunday, 27 March 2011

clinging to the simple idea that fair is righteous.

march for the alternative March 26th 2011

On the tube in the dark with the bustling travellers who are mostly oblivious to the events unfolding up above in the City of London. Feeling excited as we ascend the escalator to Temple Station and the outside world by the river Thames. The day is mild though cloudy and quite favourable for marching. Already the people are thronging together in a huge body. They pour down the streets in torrents of smiling humankind. All ages and ethnic groups joined together by common aims. The little ones with their happy faces steal the show before it has begun.

We have all come to tell the ConDems that the cuts are unfair, unfounded and will remove services vital to the most needy in the land. Of course they know that and most of us know it will take more than a few thousand people marching to deter them from enacting some of the most detrimental fiscal policies for many years. 
People have come from everywhere across the nation and I feel at home with the firemen from North Wales, the nurses from Bradford, off duty police men from Liverpool, youth workers from East Devon, doctors from Scotland, social workers from Somerset and the pensioners, students and the other groups from all over the UK. It is always good to be one of many, united in a common cause. 
Over time our little group came together and we set off down to the river to join the main body of the march. The walk along the north bank of the river Thames was slow but no one minded. Some of us were very glad of the gentle pace. We halted for several minutes at a time, at frequent intervals, due to the massive crowds that grew rapidly as we marched. We were among the last to set out because we waited until our group had assembled. One of our group had travelled from the midlands to be with us and was delayed. Still the people poured on to the back of the march and when I looked back it seemed the column of marchers stretched another mile into the distance.
One group had music pumping out of a bicycle powered sound system. Others played bagpipes and a host of other instruments. We meandered along Victoria Embankment towards Parliament Sq, scene of the Student demo in December. The atmosphere was amazing. People chatted with people from opposite ends of the country and I am certain many friendships were forged here and many networks expanded.
We marched on and after the best part of a couple of hours we had made it from temple tube station to the houses of parliament.
I have never been in a happier crowd. Every one was good natured. The police were chatty and relaxed. Even the police guarding the Territorial Police Headquarters on the embankment were relaxed. No one abused them nor they us though the chants against the government were derisory and tough, as you might expect. I heard no bad language nor did I see any conflict of any kind.
Two little girls played among us in the space people made for them instinctively. People took turns to push people in wheel chairs and it seemed every one was looking out for every one else. It really was a magical place to be. The sense of solidarity was very effecting and powerfully uplifting. I wanted to live there, where there is hope and a tenacious clinging to the simple idea that fair is righteous. 
Things really slowed up and so by the time our little group reached Trafalgar Square we had been on the road for three hours and we knew we wouldn’t get to the rally before it finished. We voted to get a cup of tea around the corner at Charing Cross station.  After having rested for a little while we decided we had represented, flown our flag and stood up to be counted and our tired old bones ached. So now we would all head off in our different directions. I know none of us will forget this day and I feel sure we will come back and soon.
I spoke with some police who were sitting in parked vans by Trafalgar Square. I tentatively suggested that they’d had an easy day. They told me they had been on duty since seven am and would be until the early hours.  This proved to be the case as the few hundred rampaged in the West End long after the March for the Alternative ended.
The policing of the march was a relatively easy task for The Metropolitan Police and The Territorial Police were not needed at all until the violence broke out in the evening. This is where the police appear to have badly failed in bringing these events to a timely end. They didn’t cope at all well.
What ever the press say about it all it was a massive triumph for peaceful protest. This was just the beginning. The fight to prevent some of the most damaging cuts is a long way from over. For an example see the link below.

.....and please watch the video about the NHS , made by Dr John Lister at the link below

If you have photos of the march and would like to use them against the ConDems use the link below for details.

If you were there you will know how vitally important it was that we put feet on the streets and that you played your part. It has been estimated that around 4,00,000 of us stood together for what we believe in. I will remember it forever.

If you were there please share your story in the comments section.

photos by Ivan Millest

p.s. An interesting take on the power of your pound see link below. Please note the link will first open at the Guardian website and then re-direct to the post.


Wednesday, 23 March 2011

your country needs you

make it a million strong

If you are going on the march and would like some company you are very welcome to meet with me outside TEMPLE TUBE STATION, Victoria Embankment. I will be waiting there between 11 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. See map link below

See link below for latest updates

Some people have expressed concerns to me about the possibility of being kettled. The Metropolitan Police have said there will be no kettling unless people divert from the route or cause a breach of the peace and in that case only the "offenders" will be targeted.

I hope to meet up with some of you. Say hello if you see me. I hope you have a good day.

My next post on here will be a report of the march with photos and video.


Monday, 21 March 2011

At home with the Gaddafi family

Please note all aspersions cast in this post are based on widely known facts and are inspired by the unreal lives of the Gaddafi family.

Supplied by Trotter's Independent Traders

The Gaddafi family are ensconsed in Muammars compound. They have just finished listening to The Archers.

Saif Al Arab Gaddafi : Hey daddy! I know what we can do with all that green cloth I bought when I was in London at the LSE.

Saif Al Islam Gaddafi : That wasn’t you that was me you idiot.

Muammar Gaddafi: You mean that junk you bought from that little b**tard in Peckham?

Saif Al Islam Gaddafi: Well, yes daddy. We could give it to the people who love you daddy. They could wear it and wave it on TV.

Muammar Gaddafi: Ok. Good boy!

Saif Al Arab Gaddafi: Waaaa! I was going to suggest that.

Al-Saadi al- Gaddafi : Hey guys any one seen my football?

Muammar Gaddafi : Little sh*t. You never could find the ball. Even when I paid all that money to U.C.Sampdoria you still couldn’t get in the first team.

Al-Saadi al- Gaddafi : But daddy I was carrying an injury.

Muammar Gaddafi : You fu**in’ will be if you don’t f**k off out of my sight.

Al-Saadi al- Gaddafi hangs his head in shame and leaves the room.

Muammar Gaddafi : Where is Khamis? I need him now!

Saif Al Arab Gaddafi: Khamis is at the front daddy though it is becoming the rear my great daddy and I won’t stand for it. I am prepared to die for my daddy, daddy. We are all prepared to die for our daddy,daddy who is the father of the revolution, daddy.

Muammar Gaddafi : Yeah- yeah! Do you remember what your name means my beloved idiot?

Saif Al Arab Gaddafi:  Erm…erm…erm…

Ayesha al- Gaddafi : You sound like Stevie Gerrard!

Al-Saadi Al Gaddafi : ( from the room next door ) I wish I did.

Muammar Gaddafi : Saif, your name means “The sword of the arabs”.

Saif Al Arab Gaddafi : Does that mean I have to fight?

Can’t I just stay here with you daddy and tell every one on the TV that all the people love you daddy and that we will die together ……….but not for a long time …daddy??

Hannibal Muammar al-Gaddafi : I’ll show you sword of the arabs daddy. It was me who beat up the cops in Paris. It was me who broke my wifes nose.

It was my wife and me who beat up the servants in Switzerland, you pu*sy Saif.

Muammar Gaddafi : Is there any more cold Coca-cola left Ayesha?

Ayesha al- Gaddafi : Nah! All gone (sob).

Muammar Gaddafi : Bas**rds!

(Continues) Ayesha would you defend me at the war crimes tribunal if it came to it?

Like you did for Saddam Husein?

Ayesha al- Gaddafi : Of course darling daddy, King of Kings.

Muammar Gaddafi : You’d like to see me swing, wouldn’t you b**ch? Just like your mother.

Ayesha flounces out of the room in a huff.

Muammar Gaddafi: ( shouting after her ) And you married that loser Idi Amin.

Al-Mu’tasim-Billah al-Gaddafi : Don’t worry daddy , daddy I am in charge of the national security and I’m only just getting warmed up. The UN doesn’t scare me daddy.

Muammar Gaddafi: No, nor me son but you scare me and I never told any one else before but, I scare me.

Saif Al Arab Gaddafi : Where shall we go for our holidays when this is all over daddy?

Muhammad al-Gaddafi: Well I am still Head of Libyan Olympic Committee so shall I try to get tickets for London 2012 daddy?

Ayesha al- Gaddafi : ( Flounces back in room ) Here is some coke daddy. Do you need a straw?

Muammar Gaddafi : No I got a rolled up note.

Muhammad al-Gaddafi : Daddy may I please kill some one today?

Muammar Gaddafi: Just shut it… for gods sake. I need to think.

Saif Al Islam Gaddafi : I’m going on TV again now daddy. Watch me daddy. Daddy watch me daddy. Watch me mewatch me!

Please FEEL FREE to write what ever you like by way of comments. It's a FREE COUNTRY....continue the plot if you like. I found it strangely LIBERATING.


Peace ( fat chance)

Monday, 14 March 2011

anatomy of a song

There is a room with a dining table and chairs, some books, a chest of drawers and little else. It has  lively, bright reverberant acoustics like a very tiny church and very unlike the room I sit in now. This room has heavy curtains, a settee, a table, chest of drawers, two benches and a bed.
Now if I was recording vocals I would usually choose the room I am in now over the first room I described. The recording would be drier with out any natural reverberation and more suitable for adding effects such as echoes and reverberation. How ever the first room is where I would choose to write songs with an acoustic guitar. I won’t expand on this further except to say the acoustics and ambience of a room can have a very significant impact on the process of song writing.

About two months ago I was sitting in the lively room in my usual position. I was playing one of my electro nylon strung acoustic guitars. It’s a favourite instrument for doodling around towards writing a song. On this occasion I was playing around with three or four chords I have used before but in a different order. A melody occurred to me and I began to sing non-words. This is the form that happens when I am looking for a theme or feeling for an emotion that will lead to a lyrical idea.

After a while I began to sing my non-words with a new conviction and I began to feel my way into a new place. I think the new place is a room inside the mansion that is some times called the muse.

I found myself singing the new song as though I knew it. Some real words began to form and suddenly I had a chorus. I was delighted. I knew this would be some thing special for me. It has happened before but rarely. I can only say it feels as though the song is being given to me rather than being written by me. I jokingly said to a friend that as far as I was concerned I had done my work for the week and that on another occasion I could work on songs for days and get nothing as good. It felt great. I had a portable digital recorder in my bag but I was sure the outline of the song was burned in my memory.

The next day I picked up my guitar as soon as I was awake and began to play the previous days discovery. Nothing! It had gone. I was distraught. I made half-hearted noises to the effect that I didn’t mind and that it might pop up in my brain leading to some thing just as good. I didn’t believe a word. This was a bad day and I felt so stupid because I hadn’t bothered to record the idea.

A couple of weeks ago I got the same guitar out, sat in the same chair, in the lively room where I have written several songs and there it was. The rudimental song was back and I began to sing as tears rolled down my cheeks. I can hardly describe the feeling. My heart soared. Not only was my lost song coming back together, my laziness in not recording the first version was redeemed. I reached for the recorder and recorded one take of the idea. When I played it later on my computer I could see and hear the development and consolidation of the song over 3.5 minutes. By the end of the recording the non-words have become real words and a theme is established.

Currently the last two lines of the chorus are :
this is my hope
my salvation

It seems to me, that over time this process that is song writing, has been  cathartic and therapeutic for me. I believe it has kept me safe and still does. It has also helped to drive some of the happiest times in my life including my interaction with many of you and my fellow travellers.


Friday, 4 March 2011

I might be gone for some time........

When I started this blog, five years ago, I began by out lining some hopes and aims I had for the 1st Supper which included the possibility of like minded people coming together in a common cause. Only 6 people have participated in my TUC 26th March poll which I find surprising and very disappointing.

Now that the EBB is sadly and finally over I have been freed up to express my stuff with out restraint ha ha! Soon I will be posting a pod cast on my web site in the form of an interview in which I will discuss the EBB and my thoughts for the future. But there will be no re-formation.
I am making a lot of music and recording new songs almost every day but I have also become very involved in the political goings on all around us. I understand peoples nostalgia for the old days and the part the EBB has played in all of that but the times are changed and so am I. I don't want to stand still. There is so much to be done.

I understand the pressures and stress brought on by living in this modern world but I am concerned at what I perceive to be the apathy that seems prevalent now and the lack of participation by people who I would have expected to have a voice in these times.

In a recent post I offered to organise a meeting place before the march on the 26th to try make sure people would not have to march alone, safety in numbers etc. The response has been poor. It appears that, yet again, the majority will be represented by a small minority and I find this disheartening and disturbing. That being said, I shall be looking forward to meeting and welcoming who ever decides thay would like to be part of our group.

So Dear reader have I over estimated the galvanising effect this government would have on people and underestimated their apathy? Am I flogging a dead horse or will there be a last minute upsurge of committment to participate in the events that I believe will determine the future of this country for years to come?