Good Sunday afternoon from a vantage best descibed as the hissing of summer lawns but someone already took that title I think. Such a lovely summers day I wish I wasn’t stuck with a mountain of work in front of me. A strange post today but one I wanted to share anyway though I’m not sure what you’ll file it under; odd, funny, daft or vaguely interesting all come to mind. It only struck me as a bit of each but not a lot of one. Read on and make your own mind up.
While music from 1982-84 offered much brilliant stuff (despite that spell leading to the collapse of The Clash) there wasn’t much about television comedy that sticks in the mind for those less adventurous broadcasting times. Whilst music was reinventing itself and challenging, television was generally a decade behind in terms of going through anything resembling a punk phase. One notable exception was BBC’s The Young Ones which ran from November of 1982 to June of 1984, I thought my memory was playing tricks on me but only twelve episodes of the comedy were ever made. At the time it was probably the most anarchic thing that the BBC had ever ran in the 80′s and upon research I found out that the only reason it ever got commissioned was the advent of the new television channel (Channel 4) in the UK and the BBC fearing that any ‘alternative’ audiece would migrate to the new station en masse.
Background information complete and fast forward 30 years, Ade Edmonson who starred as Vyvyan Basterd no longer has orange spiked hair, in fact he has no hair at all. However in a throwback to the days before The Young Ones he now tours as the head of a band he began in 2008 called The Bad Shepherds that are deeply influenced by punk music. The three piece act features Ade on on vocals, mandolin and mandola; Troy Donockley on uilleann pipes, cittern and whistles and Andy Dinan on fiddle and their repertoire includes a wide range of punk and new wave covers with a folk sheen. Now 56, Ade grew up right when punk came to the forefront:
“I was 19 when punk arrived, so it’s always been a part of me. But even before that I remember when we got (folk electronic band) Fairport Convention. That felt kind of revolutionary”
He plays because he enjoys it and the band just began a 5 date tour of Australia but the music doesn’t aim for any comedic edge, simply a folk instrument based interpretation and loyal observance of the original songs. For Ade it’s become a career love after his comedy phase ended and takes the music seriously as evidenced by the dexterity of the musicians. Worth a look if you have the chance, you can find out more via their official site or Facebook page. Dates coming up include Sydney, Brisbane and Perth over the first 8 days of May.
Hello and a happy Saturday to you all and thanks for dropping in. I’d started writing a long post last night and then saved it to be continued tonight instead as I thought rather than listen to me warble on you might rather listen to and watch some music.
One of the things I like best about the internet is the ability to see an event either live via an illegal stream (football) or a concert you wished you could have attended within 24 hours via Youtube or wherever. One such occasion was the giant New York City tribute to Joe Strummer this week at The Bowery Electric in association with Strummerville and we’ve been rewarded with more than our fair share of videos from what looked like a great night out.
In fact I’ve found more than 20 different videos filmed at the Bowery Electric and with thanks to http://unartignyc.com/ I wanted to share a few of them with you and encourage you to check out the others too. Just a thought, it might have been easier to have filmed and uploaded the entire thing as one video. Here are a few of the highlights in my opinion but do go and find the rest,here is the youtube page. There are cover versions of Clash songs from a huge variety of musicians and interpreted in a number of different styles too which spices it up a bit. As best as I can tell there was essentially a house band for the night with rotating guest vocalists and extra musicians covering the entire set. I thought that the drummer did an excellent job filling in and borrowing some licks that Topper himself would be proud of and the lead guitarist also does a nice lean and clean night of work. Here’s my top four videos but I’ve not seen them all yet.
This may have been my favourite video of the lot just for the energy of someone who obviously was raised on The Clash. Malin has been in bands since he was 12 and hasn’t lot any passion for being onstage. He was with Heart Attack as a young kid and then D Generation and has since had a lauded solo career.
Somebody Got Murdered / Clampdown – Matthew Ryan
I wasn’t familiar with Ryan but I liked what he did here. He’s labelled an ‘alternative-country singer’ on wikipedia but then again the same source considers Tony Gale a football commentator. There’s far more to him that wikipedia don’t share I’m sure.
Trash City – Michelle Casillas
It’s not often you hear a cover of Trash City which is a shame. A great song and I like this version.
Johnny Appleseed / Stay Free / Straight To Hell – Brian Fallon
We’ve all heard how much The Gaslight Anthem adore The Clash and for that reason alone you’re ordered to watch his set. Yes he makes a mistake or four in Stay Free but that’s forgiven (just…come on chap).
One More Time – Felice Rosser
This has always been one of my favourite tracks off of Sandinista! and not a track you typically see anybody take on as a live cover version and this one comes over well. The stand out thing about the gig in New York was interpretations of songs were as diverse as the lineup, I wish I could have been there but it’s a bloody long drive.
I’m not going to be critical of the version of Police and Thieves, I promised myself I wouldn’t because I really liked Bad Brains. Overall though it looked like a stellar evening. I’ll be back later with more bits and pieces but for now it’s back to work.
Hello everyone, hope all is well wherever you’re reading this from. Whatever you do or don’t celebrate this week I hope that you are at the very least in the company of good friends and family. Only once in a while do I feel homesick for London and Christmas plus a football match on Boxing Day is usually at the summit of that which I miss. New Years Eve was also usually good for a concert as well. Still…that was then and this is 2012.
What might turn into a long post today then and one that is my reaction to news that hopefully brought a very warm feeling yesterday to those who were paying attention. A little bit of background information if you’re not from the UK if you’ll forgive me.
From the time I can remember and especially when people bought lots (I mean huge amounts) of records, the quest for being number one/top of the charts at Christmas has been chased by many. It brings a lot of press and needless to say a lot of sales as (especially back in the 70s and 80s) a number one single at Christmas would outsell any other week of the year by huge margins. Over the years a series of obvious pop stars and divas have won the battle to be at the top December 25th and in more recent years the trend has been for very depressing X-Factor/Simon Cowell conveyor belt shit. Needless to say I think I stopped paying much attention to the charts around the last day I worked in a record shop (in another life it seems) although I’m happy to say I did often key in the catalogue numberby accident for the newest B.A.D. or Redskins single when I was there trying to bump the music I liked up the charts. There have been more Christmas number ones to cause pain than relief over the last 30 something years but in truth none stood out from the collective fog if you just look over this list.
So why am I mumbling on about hit singles in the UK at Christmas you might wonder? Cast your memory back to middle part of 2011 for the answer and even further back to April of 1989 for the reason.
15/4/89 Fans being crushed against the fence in the Liverpool enclosure at Hillsborough, Sheffield, during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
The FA Cup Semi-Final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest took place on a neutral ground back in 1989 and the semis always did back in the day. The venue chosen that year was Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough in South Yorkshire. Those of my vintage will remember that more than 2/3 of those in attendance at most football matches back then were standing on concrete terraces versus those who sat in stands (I realise that last phrase makes little sense). The terraces varied depending on the stadium from vast expanses of concrete steps (terraces) that would be about 5-8 feet deep, gradually stacked down toward the pitch. At some grounds including the one in Sheffield the terraces were divided into separate pens, allowing for the crowd to be broken up and directed into smaller pockets that would hold a few thousand each. At my clubs home stadium one vast terrace had just an open expanse and you stood where you wanted, one end of the ground when full could hold in excess of 20,000 spectators. The only piece of ‘furniture’ on these terraces were steel crash barriers erected at chest height to slow the inevitable giant crowd surges during the ebb and flow of the match. At the most crowded games you often couldn’t raise your arms from your side and when exiting the stadium the mass of bodies could allow you to lift your feet from the ground and still keep moving. I remember that because that’s exactly what I’d experienced at games up and down the country throughout the 1980′s. Some stadiums such as Hillsborough also featured perimeter fencing around the pitch, designed to stop crowd trouble and pitch invasions. These also were made of steel.
If it sounds like your average football supporter were herded like cattle during those times that is because we were and it was accepted because that was the way it had always been.
You can read elsewhere in depth about what happened that day on April 15th, 1989 in Sheffield. It pains me to recall it and expand upon it but the short summary in Wikipedia is essentially what you need to know:
“The 1989 Hillsborough disaster was a human crush which occurred during the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest football clubs on 15 April 1989 at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. The crush resulted in the deaths of 96 people and injuries to 766 others. The incident remains the worst stadium-related disaster in British history and one of the world’s worst football disasters.”
If that wasn’t tragic enough, what happened in the days, weeks and months that followed was even more sickening. The crush happened due to poor allocation of police/stewarding resources in the minutes directly before and after kickoff. While there was sufficient space of all of the Liverpool supporters at that end of the stadium, hundreds and hundreds were allowed/directed into the central pens that were already above capacity. The sheer volume of people caused the crush and with the fences at the front of the terrace nobody could escape to the field to lessen the crisis that rapidly escalated.
Again, you don’t need me to explain in depth how the official agencies of the police, club and emergency workers released information. Nor how the media portrayed the information that was being circulated. Within hours the blame was being firmly attached to the behaviour of the fans and within days due in no small part to the outrageous headlines published in one of the countries biggest Newspapers The Sun, the public at large were being told that this tragic event was due to drunken supporters, rowdy supporters, supporters arriving without tickets or a combination of all three.
The following year a government funded report found that the root cause for the disaster was the decisions made by the police, poor crowd management had led to the overcrowding of the central pen. The report was never as explicit as it needed to be as the emphasis was how to make grounds safer rather than truly examine the depth of incompetence, the net result was all major football stadiums had to be converted to all-seating facilities.
The families of those who died and the supporters not just of Liverpool but throughout the country then began a journey seeking a full inquiry into the actual events of that day. In 2011 the Hillsborough Justice Campaign was still fighting for this, some 22 years after the event. Peter Hooton of The Farm enlisted the support of Pete Wylie and Mick Jones to play a benefit concert in Liverpool that summer for The Hillsborough Justice Campaign, the gig that subsequently led to the Justice Tonight tours that I’ve written about in so much detail on the blog.
The momentum for new findings reached a climax in September of this year when an independent panel released it’s deep findings that Liverpool fans were in no way accountable for the incident. Worse than that the most offensive news was the depths of systemic cover ups and altering of evidence by the police and an incomprehensible approach to the response both in terms of the disaster response itself but also the medical examiners reports. The findings were sickening to read but at last the first true step towards justice. Space doesn’t allow me to go into it but the official report is worthy of your time as is this article that appeared in The Guardian.
I’m not sure that justice can ever be properly served but the next steps involve the families looking for a process in place to see an official inquiry to overturn what has been said and perpetuated over so many years. My phrasing of that is probably poor but you get the picture, the fight does continue. The new inquiry is now going to happen.
To that aim a single was planned by the ‘Justice Collective’ to raise funds for the campaign and while it features box office names such as Paul McCartney and Robbie Williams it’s Mick Jones who appears for a guitar solo on both the record and video below. Paul Heaton (The Housemartins, The Beautiful South) another bloke I hold in high esteem also features. I don’t know why the both Peters (Wylie and Hooton) aren’t on the single but we all know that it was their work along with Mick that kept the momentum and awareness high over the last 18 months.
The song was confirmed yesterday as the Christmas number one in the UK, selling over 250,000 copies and showing that a charity single for a worthwhile cause can still trump X-Factor nonsense. Seeing as it took such a special cause to get Mick on stage playing Clash songs with the Justice Tonight band it really is lovely to see him involved at this next hurdle and almost be the quiet instigator. The announcement of Mick being ‘top of the charts’ just a day after the 10th anniversary of Joe Strummer passing has a sweet sound to it – and let’s not forget that the very essence of Justice Tonight and the fight for the Hillsborough families is a protest song. It also shows that music and musicians can bring about positive awareness and yes perhaps a bit of change. Joe would have loved that.
“Ultimately, people are neither stupid nor callous, no matter how much corporate money is invested in the attempt to render them so. Mick Jones has not only kept the faith over the years but wised up; the result has been good for the cultural and spiritual health of the nation as well as a tribute to those who lost their lives and to those who not only lost loved ones but saw their memories so cynically and dishonestly besmirched.
A lot of people will get justice – if not tonight, then hopefully very soon.
Now that’s what I call a Merry Christmas”
.Justice Collective – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother (the mighty Paul Heaton at 0:28 and Mick Jones appears at 3:21)