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12.12.19: GIVE A SH*T

An emotionally conflicted day, yesterday. General election and during the day helping the campaign to hopefully elect a more compassionate government. By the evening attending a fundraising event called Give a Sh*t for local homeless charities. Then leaving the gig after storming performances from Idles, Beak> and Billy No Mates to realise things might not be getting better soon for those much more vulnerable than the most of us. I managed to survive the Thatcher years, and I empathise with those, especially younger people who may be feeling dejected today. It’s exhausting, but remember anything worth struggling for never comes easy.

Beak>

Reflecting echoes of oneself

The Sandringham Pub is a no-nonsense pub located on Sandy Park Road, Brislington, Bristol.  Amongst the struggling shoots of cafe life its stands definitely, tired, but proud. The clientele in the downstairs bar sit, chat, exchange stories from the day while upstairs political candidates prepare themselves for a ‘husting’ where would-be candidates set out their case for election or re-election.

Having arrived early into a near-empty room with an abandoned father Christmas costume, a well-worn skittle alley to one side, a Banksy print ominously hanging in the background and the intermitting flushing of the toilets conveniently located so audience members need to navigate themselves over the skittle lane and behind the speakers.

The fun of watching the organiser’s deliberations on the location of the top table, various angles are tried, varying sizes of gaps between the tables attempted, each attempt 6 glasses of water are moved from one table to the other enabling tables to be moved, then move back, and then moved again. Until reluctant resignation is accepted that no amount of reconfiguration is going to deny the spacial reality that either the person chairing the meeting or indeed one of the speakers will need to be seated on the skittle alley.

The evening had all the hallmarks of an Armando Iannucci script in the writing while reflecting all the ingredients of what makes British politics, so quintessentially British at this grassroots level. A mixture of pantomime, personalities, amateur dramatics, serious concerns, barrackers, political tribes with a fixed position and the occasionally bemused observer, who has mistakenly taken the wrong turn on route to the bingo.

In the world of spin, social media isolation and soundbites there is something rudimentary and honest about these types of meetings. One which cajoles people from different positions and opinions into a room, to meet people, listen and confront the stark reality that this much more that unites us in common concern than divides us in frustrated anger. The issue, in many cases, is the journey rather than the destination.

Yes, Brexit dominates, like a stroke victim jerking and increasingly struggling with their words any other subject no matter how big and small are drawn back to the B-word. It is depressing but equally fascinating, but like the audience, the eyes of each speaker tells the same story. We are all in a collective ditch, we have set symbolic dates and deadlines for “getting Brexit done,” but nobody has a clue about healing the self-inflicted wounds we have perpetrated upon ourselves, within families, neighbourhoods and communities. Some politicians seem to be pushing for that knock out blow, to be the victor, but a victor over who? In life total victory does not exist, nor is it practical or desirable. The art of compromise may be wanting at the moment, but she will be knocking shortly I just hope we have the commonsense to answer the door.

Them. There. Their.

Tonight

The Comet is Coming, Bath 27.11.19

A collection of photographs and mobile phone video cuts from the Comet is Coming gig at the Komedia, Bath 12.11.19.

Life’s Little Eccentrics: Flt Lt Alan Pollock

My late father being of RAF regiment stock often made reference to this incident during my childhood. The so-called, Hawker Hunter Tower Bridge incident occurred on 5 April 1968 when a Royal Air Force Hawker Hunter jet fighter from No. 1 Squadron, flown by Flt Lt Alan Pollock, flew through Tower Bridge. Unimpressed that senior staff were not going to celebrate the RAF’s 50th birthday with a fly-past, Pollock decided to do something himself. Without authorisation, Pollock flew the Hunter at low altitude down the Thames, past the Houses of Parliament, and continued on toward Tower Bridge. He flew the Hunter beneath the bridge’s walkway, remarking afterwards that it was an afterthought when he saw the bridge looming ahead of him. Pollock was placed under arrest upon landing and discharged from the RAF on medical grounds without the chance to defend himself at a court-martial.

Wherever You Find Yourself.

Diddly Squat

There is something quite telling about the Liberal Democrats economic plans for the 2019 election. The cornerstone of their plans seems to be the Treasury running a permanent surplus. A sound bite some may feel attracted too, although running a national economy is not the same as running a household budget. Any serious government seeking to hold a permanent surplus as its central economic plan is either going to tax like it’s 1977 or deliver austerity like its 2010.

Today I stumbled upon: Slumb Party

There is something quite refreshing about Slumb Party, although plenty of the old tricks can be found in their production. Influences from bands such as XTC and Gang of $ are plain to see in their DNA, but their own identity is not lost in the mix. This is a really, really good album and I feel we may hear more of Slumb Party once the 6 Music sent picks them up.

Site Visit: 1.11.19

With only the sound of children echoing from the efforts of play from the ship, the site was empty today. On this overcast damp day, it’s difficult to image the heat of summer, but if you close your eyes and soak in the silence you can beckon the sounds of the festival. My first steps towards 2020 have been taken today.

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