Posted in March 2012

Radical Weekes

Radical Weekes

This is one of the saddest buildings ever, as it has had an incredible history. It is Rodney Hall, on Gloucester Road North on the northern edge of Bristol, once home of one of my all time heroes, John Weekes. He was a larger than life publican, noisy, generous – his Christmas dinners were famous … Continue reading

Thoughts on Punk

Thoughts on Punk

Towards the end of the teaching on my masters degreee, we were putting together a map of the various arts movements, practitioners etc, and I suggested the inclusion of Punk. Someone suggested it be included under jazz, which is one of the strangest combinations I could imagine.  Someone also suggested that punks were not the … Continue reading

Bruce on Country

Bruce on Country

More from his keynote speech at South by southwest. Again, it is a bit rough, so maybe best to see it live if you can spare the time. So, now I’m in my mid 20s and I’m writing songs that might want to be singing when I’m at the advanced age of maybe 40, I … Continue reading

Non Slave Tales

Non Slave Tales

When I was researching for the 2007 celebrations of Britain’s abolition of the slave trade, this notion came very much to the forefront. I tracked down reliable written sources, I cited them, I kept impeccable records of what I was using. But I came up against people claiming to be the descendants of slaves who … Continue reading

An Earthquake in Tennessee

An Earthquake in Tennessee

I grew up watching ‘the Beverley Hillbillies’ when I got home from school, so I accidentally had an early grounding in Bluegrass music which I now love.  Earl Scruggs played banjo on the theme tune that I can still remember the words to.   He popularised banjo playing and invented his own style which is … Continue reading

Thomas Clarkson Recommends

Thomas Clarkson Recommends

Clarkson was the propagandist/PR side of the abolition campaign, touring Britain showing the shackles used on slaves to the public whilst William Wilberforce slugged it out in parliament. Clarkson claimed the musical play ‘The Padlock’ was the most important abolitionist campaign. It featured the slave ‘Mungo’ played by a white actor, so was probably the … Continue reading

Bede Gets Venerable

Bede Gets Venerable

The Venerable Bede (673/4–735) was the first historian to write in English, which makes him a very important author. He wrote on many subjects; being a priest, it was of course mostly about religious matters, but also on English Grammar and vocabulary. The most original of Bede’s contributions to writing was his  kind of martyrology. … Continue reading

Bruce on Musical Theft

Bruce on Musical Theft

Another dip into my ragged transcription of Bruce Springsteen at South by Southwest Festival. After taking us through Bill Hayley, Roy Orbison, The Beatles and Doowhap, he was surprisingly heavily influenced by the British group ‘The Animals‘. He described them as “a revelation. The first records of class consciousness I’d ever heard.” This is intriguing; … Continue reading

Dimensions of Truth

Dimensions of Truth

Truth is generally seen to be an either/or proposition, yes/no, black versus white, but this is a human concept, so there are other levels to it. The classical example is that of several blind people describing an elephant: One can feel its ear, another its tail, its trunk etc. they are all telling the truth, … Continue reading