Gary Fletcher on Fiery Bird Show – Blues on Purpose

Blues musician and writer Gary Fletcher joined me on the Fiery Bird Show this Monday to share stories from his many years touring with a variety of bands, notably the currently touring Blues Band founded by Paul Jones that he has been in since its inception, and his own projects with gigs coming up at Farnham Maltings

We discussed his upcoming tour and he played some lovely songs live in the studio. Listen again here to the show, mentions in dispatches for some lovely upcoming events at Fiery Bird Venue including Jackfest, Punk Valentine, Open Mic, Surrey Americana Festival and Guitar workshops as well as some lovely songs by Fiery Bird friends Mark Nelson Trio and Katie Bradley & Ritchie Lane

Play List

In Recognition – The Proclaimers – New Year Honour…..

Gin House Blues – Nina Simone ……..my Christmas

Rikki dont lose that number – Steeley Dan

Here comes the sun – The Beatles – for Steve Baker RIP

My Love Made You Wrong – Gary Fletcher Live in Session

Body & Soul – The Blue Nile

In Love With A Wish – Gary Fletcher Live In Session

Upside Down Blues – Mark Nelson Trio

Rudiger – Mark Knopfler

Ghosts – Katie Bradley & Ritchie Lane

Back To Your Heart – Gary Fletcher Live In Session

Beer Drinking Woman- Memphis Slim, me basically

Mannish Boy – Muddy Waters

That Lucky Old Sun – Aretha Franklin

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Forgive

Let me live in the past tonight

I go there alone

No matter where the mind wanders

It can’t hold your hand here

Can’t take your strength

I need to go back

And wander

The rooms of my existence

Before you came

Pick up those memories

Like ornaments to be examined

Look at them closely

Blow the dust that gathers

And increases their menace

Blow it off to reveal

Innocent endeavour misconstrued

Put them down

And move on

And forgive

And in moving through those rooms of the past

Come across,

Finally

A covered mirror

Unveiled

Regard the face there

And finally forgive

That one most blamed by me

Deadlines

I walk in the town

Where my son lives

Deadlines tie him

With no time to give

I watch at a table a son

And his mother

Laughing show pictures

Have fun with each other

I read in the paper

On coffee shop table

Of mother and son, missing, unstable

A smiling photo, chubby twinkle

Stares out from report, heart sinking

Tears, blur vision, drop in cappuccino

Reservoir dragged, bodies found, final

And the cheeks of the baby

Will never grow slim

To be the man laughing

His mother with him

Or moaning that more notice should be given

To bestow a five minute visit

On a mother unbidden

From grief at my lonely existence

I cry for the boy, his mother, this nonsense

That life takes us all

At one time or another

Casts a knife between

A son and his mother

The story in the news

Deadlines

Lines of dead

It’s November,

That baby didn’t want to go swimming

In that reservoir

All those dreams

Flowing a future in droplets

Of water

Drunk by others into their system

I hope they honour that

Dead Child

Dead child

I am not spinning around in your arms

I am not getting sweets with my charms

I am not playing a puzzle with friends

A bullet and knife is where my life ends

I haven’t known a day without fear

I haven’t felt a family near

I am broken from birth to the grave

Time counted in months was all that life gave

I know you fear me though I am just small

I don’t know you, don’t know you at all

I know you have children precious to you

My mother died crying because she knew

I woke in her arms still safe

Protected from breathing the dust of hate

Her eyes were dull sparkle gone

No answer to Mama?

2, alone

I am not a human to you

I am not a child

To you I am a ticking bomb

About to go wild

Support your own

By rote your favourite saying

What child of ours deserves to be slain

Support, love, universal truths

sperm egg the colour of youth

The future, the smile, the reaching out hand

Stopped in dead children spread over the land

A curse not from my lips will ever come

As blood seeps to earth dried by bitter sun

Remembrance flowers grow from the earth I nourish

Your little plot protected to flourish

I am only a child

I love to laugh

And when I cry

To have a hug,

Mum worried about my chesty cough

But now dead because I am shot.

My eyes stare now I don’t see

Tell me how the world will be

Lying broken, dead not asleep

No lullaby sung and no sweet dreams

EMcGinty 2017

First published in For The Many Not The Few Vol 1 compiled by CT Meek

Paolo Hewitt on Fiery Bird Show ‘Colour Me Father’

Colour Me Father, An Open Letter To My Son by Paolo Hewitt one of the celebrated sons of Woking takes a different turn on his usual writing. Whether his life’s work as the scribe of a generation mesmerised by the myth and magic of music, or his autobiographies, the sum total of both reaches 23 books. He joined me on the Fiery Bird Show to talk about growing up in Woking, his past and this, a very personal project shared at such a poignant time in his life; becoming a father.

In this more philosophical work he sets out a letter to his young son, Rafi, born in 2015. Sparked by his first birthday and his smile of delight at his family and friends gathered to celebrate, Paolo unlocks for his son the detail of the everyday that gives wonder to life to the philosophy of belonging that his sometimes painful, lonely, delightful and interesting journey has brought him to make a world through these new eyes make sense. “To keep you believing without a moment’s hesitation in your soul that life is indeed, deeply wonderful”

With a similar outlook to the allegorical writing of Paolo Coelho yet embedded from the childhood laid bare in The Looked After Kid, this book is a moving contemplative work that brings the bittersweet joy and fear of parenting to the fore. Its research was life unfolding, an instinctive, visceral thing provided by the very act of becoming a father, something he spoke to friends about who, whether sprung from a comfortable nest of family or not could assure the lone orphan that whatever our background, when we start again as parents, we all start again.

Like many of us do, wishing to pass on the wisdom we learn, it always comes down to what can’t be bought and the voice of the heart. That such a personal work about the future by giving his son the stories of his past, has proved cathartic for him in that it almost serves as the last in a trilogy started by The Looked After Kid through to But We All Shine On: The Remarkable Orphans Of Burbank Children’s Home and now with the birth of Rafi and this book that brings the past only to the future to be its guide, Hewitt says he has now let go of the past and has said it all, a weight has lifted.

The honesty about the loneliness of a writer, the vulnerability of revealing yourself layer by layer with each work stands it as a bearer for the outsider feeling so many have, that after all is only truth of individuality wishing to connect. Lessons learnt from our long lives are that; only by being and connecting to ourselves can we live out the integrity of our dreams. Since reading it the phrase ‘Be faithful to life’ uttered by Sister Patricia repeats itself often when there is doubt.

This personal letter shared is only available direct from Paolo, wishing to keep the book something that the writer and reader remain as reading a personal letter that means something.

More details of his work and this book can be obtained here.

To hear him talk about this book, growing up in Woking, fighting over the studio desk with me and general banter with the added contribution of possibly the nicest man in Woking, Pete Garland a long time friend of Paolo’s.

Three examples of the catholic schools of the parish of woking 😉

How they use us as examples is another thing

Listen again to the interview here (10mins in)

Playlist

Fire – Gino Parks (skipped miserably – i hate the desk but just so you know an attempt was made

Steeley Dan – Reeling in The Years

Color Him Father – The Winstons

Be My Baby – The Ronettes

Kushty Rye – Ronnie Lane

Reading from ‘Colour Me Father’ By Paolo Hewitt accompanied by an original piece by Simon Wells

Apron Strings – Everything But The Girl

Blue Horizons – Graham Parker

Long & Winding Road – The Beatles

Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy – The Tams

A DISCOURSE ON THE HISTORY OF FASHION c 2011

I am not sure if I am a proper woman.

I needed new shoes, ones with high heels and wanted to be a grown up but couldn’t be arsed, when the girls were trying on Ugg style boots in ShoeFayre, just raring to go for dropped insteps and walking like Nans aged 11 and 12.

Ugg boots look like they were a drawing of boots by toddlers which flew out of a nursery window one morning in a high mountain village in the alps where there is still a toymaker who makes wooden toys…and the picture flies through the window of a chalet hotel where a high class American shoe designer is staying. Under pressure from their employers for new ideas; they sit, despairing, in their room. How do they tell their family their job has gone at Christmas time? (sorry did I not mention it was Christmas? Oh and the designer will be played by Steve Martin or Adam Sandler if he’s not available) They absentmindedly pick up the piece of paper that has flown through the window and crunch it into a ball to lob in the bin basketball stylie; just then they stop, mid throw and uncurl the ravaged paper, spreading it out on the small desk and switch on the desk lamp, pondering. Quickly they take out an ancient leather case with pencils and sketch pad and are seen working through the night surrounded by sketches.

The next morning excited, and unshaven they put a call through to America waking their disgruntled boss – they have found it! A new shoe design to sweep the world, and, as in the case of the Emperors New Clothes people everywhere from Sydney to Montreal are seen sporting brown boots made from a toddler’s drawing thinking they are stylish. The film shoots to scenes of lots of newspapers spinning round and round with headlines on and the once despairing designer accepting accolade after accolade and award after award.

Hollywood stars are shown wearing the Ugg boot to the Oscars under their haute couture, nuns sporting Uggs under their habits are seen kneeling at Mass, the Queen of England does her Christmas Speech in them (as Cliff Richard, the Young Ones and all of the Spice Girls circumnavigate Big Ben in an Ugg shaped National Express coach with Richard E Grant yawning with ennui on the back seat making notes to sack his agent ) All the time the toddler in the alpine village grows up not knowing their part in all of this, and, as they flee their jobless village to end up sleeping rough in the backstreets of an industrial German town committing petty crime to feed their drug habit, they lie in the street, zoned out on crack cocaine and watching feet shuffle by, to go home, to go out, to get married, to party, to church, to divorce court, but all of them, every single one, clad in an Ugg boot…..if only……..

In next week’s fashion histories !!!!!!

How Mary Mungo and Midge felt when Vidal Sassoon stole the idea for the iconic Bob hairstyle, passing off as his own, the style created by a carpenter called Bob in the canteen of the hip 60’s cartoon. What would they all think now even Vidal, to know, that blow dried vigorously with mousse, it is synonymous with people who want to speak to the manager in any unsatisfactory retail situation.

SPECIAL OFFER! SUBSCRIBE TO FASHION HISTORIES FOR ONLY £45 PER MONTH AND LEARN ABSOLUTELY FECK ALL ABOUT FASHION; COLLECTING PIECES OF COTTON EVERY MONTH TO BUILD YOUR OWN UNIQUE THREAD COLLECTION ISSUE 1 COMES WITH FREE DISPLAY CASE.

BE THE ENVY OF YOUR FRIENDS AND LOCAL HABERDASHERY RETAILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS In case you are wondering I got some shoes – they’re black.

Humanity Lands

This was the poem that became Humanity Lands – the title track of Phoenix Chroi’s second album

I’ve done my penance

Walked on my knees

Fixed on a star

Through the wood and the trees

And as I traversed this scorched earth

I never regretted that I gave birth

I trod the fine line

Between celebration and solace

Saw the selfie explode in its own menace)

I wiped a tear that stole its own path

Slapped my own face to wake my own heart

This blighted star hangs so futile

Amidst terror cruel law all the while

Waits Blinking a beacon of hope

And we have to wait too enlighten folk

But wait for what and wait for who

Hope springs in the heart of you

It’s you who fixes you who builds

You who paints and you who guilds

You can make believe and propagate lies

Or feel the truth see with own eyes

There’s absolutely only one truth

To make a better place starts with you

Pull out your heart and hold it up high

Use its rhythm to move the star from dangerous sky

Spin your tales rewrite the law

Show your children what it is all for

Stand stand stand

The ground is yours now

Take no more milk from their sacred cow

Open your mouth drink in the rain

From high from sky from heaven again

Shout in the face of the despot who dares

Belittle your truth stamp on your cares

Throw off your shackles

There’s no prisoners here

Just the jail made from lies divisions and fear

There’s no ballot box that controls your heart

Take back compassion

March on from the start

The Giants who stood who knew what to do

Had hope in their hearts and holes in their shoes

The once insignificant voiceless few

Felt rage in those hearts but knew what to do

Because rage can be love Set on fire

And rage can be care whose purpose is higher

Take back your lives and hold out your hands

Your people need you

when hope flies

Humanity lands

copyright EMcGinty 2015