Friday, 23 January 2009

Stop 696

I'm sure that many of you are aware of Form 696 but for those of you who don't know about it, there are some links below to help you find out more.

It is basically a piece of beaurocracy which the Met Police want to implement, in London at first, in order for them, they say, to make a 'risk assessment' about live performances. The form which is 8-pages long apparently asks for names, addresses and phone numbers of all performers and for details of the type of audience the gig might attract. This is obviously aimed at trying to stop black and asian gigs at which the police expect trouble. For this reason it is a racist, disproportionate and misguided response to the problem of gun and knife crime, which of course will not make a difference. Not only will it create untold extra work for licence owners who will be threatened with heavy fines or even imprisonement for not complying but it will jeopardise the live music scene, particularly smaller venues which have 30 bands a week playing there. The problems will be further compouned by the fact that many performers will rightly refuse to give their contact details, viewing it as an infringement of their civil liberties.

Feargal Sharkey, now head of the industry body UK Music and Jon McClure of Reverend and the Makers are leading the campaign to scrap the form. You can sign the petition against 696 by following the link below.

Radio 4


Belfast Telegraph

Friday, 16 January 2009

Mr Pound

So, a few weeks ago I was talking about my frustration at not writing songs as much as I used to. I signed off informing you that I was off to try and write a song about Woolies closing down to get the songwriting juices flowing again. Well, I just finished it. It's been a while in the making but that's how I like it. It's called 'Mr Pound' and comes with verse, bridge and and a very catchy chorus. I toiled over the arrangement for about a week. Singing it this way. Singing it that way. V-B-C, V-B-C, Mid-8, B-C or V-B, V-B-C, V-B-C, Mid-8, B-C. the latter is a favourite of mine.

It talks about the last days of Woolworths, the stalwarts 'gathering to pay their last respects' and 'the children arriving to scoop their last pick n mix'. It mentions 'Sheila' who 'worked the record counter' of the Woolies in my home town and mentions the chequered vinyl floors of 'the Woolies that time forgot'. The chorus is me coming to terms with weekends now spent browsing the aisles of the likes of Mr Pound, Poundland and Poundstretchers.

It's been a labour of love over the last couple of weeks. I will miss it. This is how I used to feel. The song now has to be released into it's natural habitat, the public domain. I don't like the pain of letting it go, I love it. But first, the band will play their part and add their flourishes and further hooks and refrains. I look forward to this too.

We have three gigs lined up for the first half of 2009, which is great. In February, March and May. February is another 'Wunderstock' gig, this time at Tommy Flynns. March is the Rock-Til-You-Drop night at the Dublin Castle and in May were playing outdoors at a mini-festival, which sounds like fun.

Right. To work on the next song...

Monday, 5 January 2009

Ordered down from the Gumtree

So here we go again. It's cold - as usual this time of year. No one's got any money - as usual this time of year; though this year there's the fear and anxiety about losing jobs, homes, pensions, money invested, and more High Street retail favourites. When my daughter loses her scarf and gloves, as she did today, I'd normally pop down Woolies and by another for 4 quid or something. Hey-ho.

Hey-ho, let's go. We need hope. We need optimism. We don't need money. We don't need things to own. We need things to do. Things to cheer us up that have real value. Like experiences. Memories. Music. I know, let's start a club. And let's make it our own. Let's give mature music fans, musicians and bands an outlet. Let's hear some of this new music being made by older rock musicians. Let's give older musicians looking to meet others in their age-group a chance to do so. Let's give those with responsibilites and commitments a regular time and place to get out and talk music. Hear music. Watch music. Play music. Let's call it ROCK-TIL-YOU-DROP.

So the good people at Bugbear, who promote gigs at the Dublin Castle have offered me the opportunity to do just that. I will keep you posted.

In other news: I have been banned from posting ads for the website on Gumtree. Apparently, I'm not allowed to post duplicate ads to different gumtree sites. This is a pisser.