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Posts from the ‘The Sound of Music’ Category

The Downs Festival

 

The subject matter is and always will remain challenging. Homelessness: The Reality on the Ground is the type of issue that can generate fear and ignorance in equal proportions. Those who may have believed they were at little risk of the housing crisis are increasingly being sucked into the vortex of a perfect storm. Inaccessible market values, extreme rent levels, a lack of supply, the return of poor landlords and the paralysed inability of government has placed the fundamental human need of shelter into the hands of the speculators and spivs. As we discovered during the panel presentations and discussion (Downs Festival 2017) homelessness once considered the blight of those on the fringes of our society is now showing its ugly face amongst paid workers, especially the working young. There is a broken promise in any social contract between individual and state when homelessness rears its ugly head. The crisis we now face sits at the feet of those who have governed for the past 40 years and willingly encouraged the breakdown of decency towards humanity. Homelessness on the scale we witness has not happened by accident. It is a deliberate policy designed and orchestrated by the government.

So what is to be done as we sit in self-imposed ignorant bliss, knowing the causes, but claiming to be ‘powerless’ to do anything? Being powerless can, of course, be a convenient excuse and one that in its worst condition seeks self-reflected pity on oneself. The cold reality is that some people vote to be powerless. The first step in demanding change is the realisation that you are not powerless and by actually doing something, no matter how little, you become a small, but integral part of a social movement and movements change things on a big scale. The words ‘political struggle’ in one of the wealthiest economies, had until recently,  become an almost embarrassing term to use given the abundance of riches at our disposal.  It is clearly back on the agenda for a younger generation who are quite rightly increasingly restless and angry at the inheritance being offered to them by a tired and self-imposed ‘powerless’ older generation. While government (nationally and locally) is blindfolded in a downward spiral of spin, apportion blaming and rebranding their diminishing resources as new. Informal networks of self-motivated people armed with nothing more than compassion and love are seeking solutions. On one hand, a growing number of people are not prepared to ‘walk on by’ and ignore the injustice staring them in the face and on the other hand young people are increasingly motivated to get involved in direct-action and structured politics. It’s too early to say if this is a fad and it may suffer the relentlessly grind wheels that have often warm many a good person down, but positive seeds have been sown.

It was an absolute honour to have co-hosted the panel on Homelessness at the Information Stage, Bristol Downs Festival with friend and film director Anthony Tombling. The panel brought together people and groups who did not fall for the self-indulgent notion of ‘powerlessness’ and did the right thing. They got engaged and became part of the solution rather than the problem. Ordinary people from a variety of backgrounds, faiths, genders and cultures. My deepest respect goes out to Bristol Reconnect, Brixton Soup Kitchen, Homeless Heroes (Birmingham) Feed the Homeless, St. Mungo’s, Help Bristol’s Homeless who are doing some amazing work often off the radar. If you would like to find out more about these groups and get engaged with what they are doing then just click here.

There will always be armchair cynics in life who can’t, don’t want to be won over, or are only comfortable with the status quo. My advice is equally simple. Following the words from one generation to another…. “come, councillors, MPs and Government please heed the call don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall……come mothers and fathers throughout the land and don’t criticise what you can’t understand your sons and your daughters are beyond your command. Your old road is rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand.”

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The Downs Festival, Bristol 2nd September 2017

If you are heading to The Downs Festival on 2nd September 2017 myself and good friend film director Anthony Tombling will be hosting a panel discussion on homelessness in the UK. The purpose of the panel discussion is to encourage a greater understanding of community-led action aimed at tackling the stigma and negative attitudes towards those who find themselves homeless in the UK. The panel will explore the impact of national and local government policies by asking if they are helping or hindering a sustainable solution and what are the alternatives. We will be hearing about the reality on the ground from some truly inspirational people.

Panelists include representatives from The Brixton Soup Kitchen, St. Mungo’s, Homeless Heroes – Birmingham, Feed The Homeless – Bristol, Bristol ReConnect and Jasper Thompson from Help Bristol’s Homeless. The panel will be giving us their take on the current situation on the ground. Do we have a crisis? and if we do, what can we do about it? So if you are around please come along, say hello, Join the discussion, offer support and hear from the people working at the sharp end trying to help those most vulnerable in our communities. The panel is due to start at 3:15pm. For more information on the community groups involved click here: I AM HUNGER

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James Nestor: ‘Deep’ Free-Diving and Renegade Science

Today I stumbled upon: Aldous Harding

‘Imagining My Man’ by Aldous Harding, from the album ‘Party’. An artist of rare calibre and intensity. More information here

Daniel Brandt – Eternal Something

Today I Stumbled Upon: He She Them Us – Selffish

Circus, written by Tom Waits and narrated by Ken Nordine

Ways & Means features original ‘grown up’ children’s story collaborations by some of this era’s most compelling storytellers from the worlds of music and contemporary art. The project supports NGOs and nonprofit organisations advancing children’s causes around the world including Room to Read, Pencils of Promise, 826 National and more. View a literary mixtape that explains the project here

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Today I Stumbled Upon: Sharp Reader

Something for the weekend? For lovers of guitar driven rock two of my favourite bands, which I got to connect with through Bandcamp have recently released some new material, Mouth Reader from Murfreesboro, Tennessee and The Sharp Medicine from Los Angeles, California. Enjoy the noise.

Karl Lokko – Cruel to be Kind

Karl’s latest poem is called ‘Cruel to be kind’ and is taken from the collection, ‘The Butterfly Effect’.  The poem is a cry for every ‘villains’ innocence! “We are ALL innocent because at our core the intentions of human beings are good, deception is the real ‘devil’, man is not. We live a life according to our conditioning.”  Click here for my earlier post concerning Karl’s work, along with further information.

I AM HUNGER: FILM TRAILER

I Am Hunger is a film, which is in production about some of the outstanding and vital work some of the self-funded independent charities carry out feeding the most vulnerable in society. It is estimated 20% of the UK currently live below the poverty line. That is 13 million people. The combined population of London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester & Glasgow. You can follow the making of the film at I AM HUNGER and do something really simple, but profound by sharing this information.

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