The Wonderful Digby, The Fiery Bird and Prog-gate

29 Mar

The Wonderful Digby aka Jimmy Brandman came into the Fiery Bird Show on Thursday 23rd March – it is great to interview Woking musicians who you may not have come across before to find out their experience of growing up and making music here.  

 For those of you who were out on Thursday watching live music – well done as it should be, but you can catch up here to listen to the interview and songs and chat n shit. Jimmy, as well as writing and singing has made a low-fi high interest documentary about travelling about, doing open mics and gigs on the grassroots scene and is releasing his new single Until We Fall in April 2017 with the documentary coming soon after – I’ll post more details as they come.

To umpire a text row between friends and field band members poking fun at me over ‘Prog-gate’ wasn’t how I envisaged radio life but it happened and I’m all the sturdier for it. Check out his facebook page for more info here
1 The Smell of Incense – The West Coast Experimental Band

2. The Dog The Dog He’s At It Again – Caravan

3. Celeste – Donovan

4 To The Birds – Suede

5. No More Heroes – The Stranglers

6. Before the Deluge – Jackson Brown

7. Until We Fall – The Wonderful Digby

8 Tonight The Streets Are Ours – Richard Hawley

9. Birds – Neil Young

10. Tank Park Salute – Billy Bragg

11 Can’t Judge a Book By Looking At the Cover – Bo Diddly

12 The Love Song – Donovan

13. A Paupers Love Song – Morgellons

The St Patrick Day Special and Old Woking Town

17 Mar

The Quiet Man joined me this week to put some London interjections into my Woking ramblings and the songs we grew up with. 

Catch Up of the St Patrick’s Day Special show starts 9mins in here have a little listen while maybe having a little read…….it is an important day always in our family and always has been and in Woking we always had a high old time of it.
St Patrick’s day to us was a meaningful celebration, it was before Riverdance, before it was turned into a major Guinness marketing campaign with floppy hats in abundance, before the Pogues made being Irish edgy in an acceptable way. In our early days – the other Irish kids at school (which was basically Irish or Italian in numbers reflecting the nuns and teachers who taught us) with decorated lapels rosettes or shamrock that grannies sent over – would it come in time? Or the Irish Association got hold of it and we all wore it later to the Dance or ‘THE DANCE’ the big one of the year at the Centre Halls. Woking had a massive, well organised Irish community and the Irish Association were active, we went on seaside trips (load the coach with crates of beer, stop half way, all get out, children running about, have a drink and a sandwich and then all back on the coach til we saw the sea. Tony Fuller always had his guitar and entertained everyone, stop at a pub on the way back)

Brian Kelly & Tony Fuller

Irish dancing first in the back of the red house (now O’Neills) and then at St Dunstans school with Mr Kelly who travelled down from London to teach us – London!!! 

It was like that bit in fame where the teacher said – ‘fame costs and this is where you start paying!’ Except there was nothing so egotistical as fame involved fame? fame!? It was just an ordeal we were sent to like every other Irish kid to keep our culture alive and literally, kicking.

No you served……..served the high holy Irish jig….I remember severely hurting my toes once, convinced I had broken it I didn’t dare say anything and carried on (I have since learnt I have a low pain threshold for physical injury and I probably stubbed it)
All standing to attention hands firmly by your side…..

First bar of the song up on your toes, slight rotate to the side and and yer off!! 
Jumpety jump jump…one two three four five six seven
If you were flash that wobbly ankle thing and back again…..

If you were really really good then you went into 

And then your Mum got this green felt stuff and someone had a pattern and cut it out and then you got the plain green dress and the more dancing and Feis you did the more pattern got embroidered on them and you had hair put in rags (I never reached that goal) I gave up when I was worried people could see my knickers on the high kicks.

The boys had green kilts, grey blazers and socks with little green ribbons out of the side.

There was none of this flouncy shirts and big sleeves and Riverdance lothario look 

When my brother grew out of his kilt he refused another and his irish dancing career withered into the distant past (if it was a soap opera this would be the bit where the credits would go silently up over a film of my mum holding his too small kilt and saying ‘Nooooooooo!’) My 13 year old baby Mod stirrings purloined the tailor made blazer and it became part of my wardrobe, its service as a badge of Irish culture now morphed into my youth cult of choice.
As we have all grown up we now try to re enact our Irish dancing prowess especially at family parties, anyone not Irish thinks we know what we are doing because we have serious looks on our faces, anyone with any idea (basically everyone post River dance knows we are a shower of shite) whatsoever knows we are saving up all the showing off we weren’t allowed to do as kids and it is erupting on the dance floor. Also, none of us really ever remember how long the River Dance song is (we learnt to dance to songs like ‘Round the Dresser & Up the Stairs’ or ‘If I had Maggie In The Wood’) and so when we ask the dj to play it at family parties and enthusiastically flock to the floor, five minutes later of huffing and puffing and desperate pelvic floor exercises usually does us in vowing never again. Until next time. Real experts like my cousin Mary-Theresa do doubles and that thing where you hold hands with someone in a really complicated cross over way and then try and do ‘sevens’ in sync. Once my son said ‘Mum all of you think you can Irish dance but you can’t; you either look like horses with your arms by your sides pawing at the floor or penguins going around and around – when will you realise we know you don’t know what you are doing?’ My shocked response at his dismissal of our sacred dancing still rebounds in my heart. The other week though I danced in Lizzie McAleese’s kitchen my dancing partner of old when we were kids, we are fifty now and still no better at it. It’s nice to have a dance with the same old friend and laugh the same old way though. Alcohol may be a factor in my later dancing prowess and also lack of it.
And we went to the St Patrick’s day dances which were a holy day of obligation. The best of the set dances was the ‘Seige of Ennis’ four people face four people dance in/dance out/divide into twos dance up and back/ grab the partner in front go apeshit round and round. It was a great laugh for many reasons: 

It was great to see the faces of the people who you dragged in but who didn’t know what you were doing. 

There was always a wild card who nearly threw you in the air. 

 As you reached adolescence you would do complicated logistical forecasts so you were in the right position to be thrown round and round by a nice fella (who just two goes before ends up swapping with a hairy old fella with string for a belt) 
Everything your parents wanted you to do was under the guise of a holy day of obligation. And later this also counted when they wanted you to do something that you would never be allowed to do eg

Have the day off after St Patricks day – ok because celebrating a ‘Holy Day of Obligation’ was good

Having a day off college with a hangover in later years – not ok because you’d end up and omaduan and they and other parents worked hard to build the school that got you the brains to go to college…..??
Dances meant 

Dads all at the bar

Women all at the tables

Mum’s dancing with each other or making you dance with them

Kids completely unsupervised doing what we liked, sliding on knees, leaving the building to watch older ones go snogging, trying to nick sips of people’s beers, babycham, brandy & pep.

Dads bringing drinks back and fifteen bags of crisps balanced under their arms, a bag gripped between their teeth and thrown on to the table
By the time you were old enough to go to these dances your older brothers and sisters were off out doing shenanigans with people who not being from the same background thought we were all weird and so you took on the mantle.
And the family parties where we were all in one room with our music and our parents, uncles, aunts, their friends, in another drinking whisky out of glasses that said Sham 69 on and singing the songs from their area of Ireland til the early hours and into the next day…..

And then Celtic punk happened, and for once, those records that looked so untrendy, the fellas with matching Arran jumpers kneeling down holding a fiddle or a banjo and looking cheerful, became the treasure seam of songs we would take and change from green field to pavement street walked over by our boots in the 1980’s Thatcher’s Britain……….and the songs became our own again and eventually when we, with these same experiences of defiant song and ballads that could tear your heart in two, made a band it was with that same spirit that we were taught kept our families going through generations; so it had to have the Irish heart (chroi) in its name. So many people have told us it is an odd name and get that ‘look’ when they hear it, and it well maybe – but google it, the name rises to the top, like the Irish hearts of our parents, their parents and generations gone by.

And now it seemed in getting the show done, it would be easy to laugh and pick those old songs that we said were cheesy that our Mums liked or just to document a time and place, but that can’t happen without bringing up all those memories, the songs that Mum sang that we rolled her eyes and teased her about, that she isn’t here to celebrate today, her anniversary is also this week, and the Uncles and Aunts so strong, now so frail or gone too…. meant it wasn’t a dry eyed preparation for this show, and there were so many songs that couldn’t go it. 

It really was a special time when St Patrick Day was the meaningful day it was about wearing green as a show that you can’t crush culture, before it became a fluorescent parade; but, if that is the price of people putting down barriers and celebrating together about what is good then it is a small price to pay and we still have precious memories…………..and so say the people here in Neck – Everybody is Welcome to THE HOOLEY!!! And new horizons for all in common

The Playlist

The Songs, all played for different reasons, different people and times.
1 Irish Washerwoman Trad

2 Extract from Foil Arms & Hog see the video here 

3 Fields of Athenry – Tony Fuller & The Free MacGuinness Band

4 Nora – Johnny McEvoy

5 Do you want your auld lobby washed down? Brendan Shine

6 Whisky In The Jar – Thin Lizzy

7 My Perfect Cousin – The Undertones

8 Seven Drunken Nights – The Dubliners

9 Danny Boy – Celtic Woman

10 Irish Rover – The Dubliners & The Pogues

11 When You Were Sweet Sixteen – The Fureys & Davey Arthur

12 Hay Wrap – The Saw Drs

13 Don’t Forget Your Shovel – Christy Moore

14 Oro se do bheatha ‘bhaile – Sinead O’Connor

15 Rare Auld times – The Dubliners

16 Ride On – Christy Moore

17 Four Green Fields – Phoenix Chroi Collective 

Fiery Bird Show feat Baz Warne -The Stranglers w guest Finn Panton – Menace

10 Mar

This weeks Radio show was like getting a strike in bowling and I can’t bowl (terrible hand to eye co-ordination and balance, had to do ballet as a kid and pick up pencils with my toes) so you can imagine the delight that not only having a phone interview with a Strangler lined up, then a Menace turned up as well! These punk rock stars are like buses aren’t they? I imagined telling my Mum I was dealing with a Strangler and a Menace in one go just a day after International Women’s Day as well!
Arriving for my show in normal attire, old clothes with bits of dinner on, red cheeks and a million bags of stuff, CD’s, notes, bits n bobs, lucky gonk, a proper pen, different notebooks in case I get to do work in between and I bump into Finn Panton (off of Menace) ‘eh? Eh?? Are you with another band then?’ ‘Yep he is not only a MENACE, or a D’Ska Assassin (for a nice man he has threatening band names) but he is also part of Lysander a band from his school days. I invited him to chat and he joined me for a bit, his passport into my studio was also that he was wearing my band tshirt though he boasted a bit much that his Irish passport had arrived and had nice pics of Eire in and mine is still ‘in the system’, what if I get denied now- after all these years, surely the number of Kimberley biscuits I’ve eaten should qualify me if the parents, summers in the Wesht and the attitude don’t??!!

Getting a Strangler on the phone was also a pleasant surprise to me earlier as the call came that one of them would do an interview. Whilst we waited for our gig in Brighton on Saturday the band tried to speculate which Strangler I’d be doing. They decided the best way to do it was to pitch the seniority of the team member I would get against my media status and decided based on that formula that I would get the roadie that had only joined the band five minutes before whose job was to lick the spittle from mics between the sets. THAT’s how impressed my bandmates are with this scenario of me as radio host. One of them once came in and showed his crack on my radio show (naming no names Darren) and it’s been a wipe clean studio ever since. I poo pooed their cynicism and basked in hope, and gratefulness. And after all it turned out to be guitarist and singer Baz Warne. I live with a life long Stranglers fan as well who knows more than me so I made sure to finger his collection before the show. He didn’t even flinch.

Ringing up from a radio station in a school named after a Prime Minister, Baz Warne answered in surprise ‘my phone said it was Winston Churchill on the phone!’ 
My riposte

‘Well the other day, my phone said it was The Stranglers Office on the phone.. in top trumps would a war time leader out trump a strangler?’ He agreed it probably would so I won (for God’s sake Elaine you gave up trying to win at Monopoly ages ago blaming it because of it being capitalist when really it’s just because you’re crap at games- why start being competitive now, in an interview, with a big cheese?!!)
Lucky I can’t hear the sound of eyes rolling across the phone lines but the man prevailed and was delightful in his repartee. 

He spoke of the writing process, the things that are important to them as a band and the relationships with the fans, and took the time to talk about a dear friend to the music scene here Anton De Croft. The encouragement of parents and coming to terms with loss is important milestones for all of us and this was again, an epitome of why I love having guests on the radio show, talking to new people at gigs or anywhere in daily life; ultimately whatever job we have, whatever profile, we all feel the same about the same things, we all want our kids to be healthy and happy, our elderly to be well cared for and to fulfil our lives with whatever vocation we have chosen to follow and it is always interesting the more people I meet to find that we all have more in common that divides us. A lovely guest who I could have chatted to all day but mindful that he was on the road and a first gig of their tour that night, he shared a lot of the bands insights, their commitment to writing and constantly making new work, and you can catch up on it here. Locally, The Stranglers are playing GLive with guests Ruts DC on 21 March 2017 

Morgellons – A Paupers Love Song

Oh Bondage Up Yours – XRay Spex

RESPECT – Aretha Franklin

Get Back In Line – Nervous Twitch

Not Rich – Argonaut

Lightning Strikes – Phoenix Chroi

To Be Someone – The Jam

In A Broken Dream – Python Lee Jackson feat Rod Steward

Sound of The Suburbs – The Members

Lily – Dan Shears & The Velveteen Orkestra

Til Victory – Patti Smith

No More Heroes – The Stranglers Live at The Hope & Anchor

Hanging Around – The Stranglers

Mighty – Phoenix Chroi

Tank Park Salute – Billy Bragg

RENT – The Musical, Woking Ovation

8 Mar

I’m still a bit dumbstruck by RENT. I am not sure I have ever seen as diverse an audience at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking nor one that so enthusiastically responded to the performance throughout, ending in a total standing ovation from people who absolutely engaged with the show from the first. (There you go, short version- if you need to get encouragement to go and see it) 
The set, musicians and cast are amazing the cleverly choreographed dances, Angel (Layton Williams) in Today 4 U and Mark & Joanne (played by understudies Joshua Denver & Jenny O’Leary) in Tango Maureen were amongst the stand out dances. The vocals of all the cast members were absolutely incredible, soulful, poignant, heart wrenching, rock and raise the roof however the vocals from Layton Williams, Jenny O’Leary & Phillipa Stefani (Mimi Marquez) Ryan O’Gorman (Tom Collins) particularly moved me. Jonathan Larson the writer who tragically died the day before its first scheduled performance was influenced by rock n roll as much as musical theatre and this is brought to bear in the songs, influences of of The Who are apparent as well as a sample of Quando M’envo within the score documenting it within La Boheme skilfully re made for the future.
If you have ever been slapped with a great big mackerel across the cheeks several times to wake you up and pull your attention (in a nice way) to witness something fantastic then you’ll probably be quite used to this, but despite an apparent brashness over the subject the beautiful layers intermingling and revealing universal themes throughout draw you in to this world created in Jonathan Larson’s RENT. That it is based around the tragic La Boheme set in 1990’s New York with AIDS being a central spectre as opposed to TB shows these sadnesses, celebrations and preciousness of life are the pulse that keep us going. These young people then living under a sentence repeating that mantra as repeated by young people century after century in war, disease and revolution know the value of life as a rich tapestry unafraid to stand against what is destroying them and make life beautiful in whatever way they can. I could see the musical, I could see the New York factory set and the people but then this odd stuff happened. I remembered a friend and when the lesions came, and I remember that he was happy in a relationship but then he died and his family threw out his loved one, partner of 20 years from their joint home, because they could then. Now we would be shocked by that and now they could be married and his partner would have grieved in the home they shared memories in. I hope those people have changed their minds about what love is now. There’s a theme I saw in RENT, there’s a lot of love in it with all different people but it remains the same, same as then same as now, just love.

Then I saw these bohemians protesting and dancing and the audience going wild for them and I remembered that our cultural spaces are being razed by big business and the bohemians are protesting, I hope people cheer on these guardians of culture as well, not just when it is in a play but when it is in real life in the spaces where dreams are made; in song, in art, in word and in gesture and that when we are poor it isn’t that romantic or glamorous when the electricity fails and people have nothing to eat; and I hope that in another 20 years or so that when RENT is still sharing this humane and universal message it won’t have to be updated again for a modern audience because these things were still happening, but I have a sad feeling were it set in these days it may be, the diseases we live under may change and the prejudices and the injustices and poverties but they are still there with a different outfit on. It would be great to make them historical dramas….
RENT is on at The New Victoria Theatre in Woking until Sat 11 March 2017


28 Feb

Ghost – The Musical, opened in at the New Victoria Theatre Woking, these days it seems anything is turned into a musical – watch out for the rock opera I am writing about going to Londis  and skirting a dog fouling issue (Londis – The Musical) however, throw this cynicism aside because this is an absolute treat. What it isn’t is a jazz hands ensemble bigging up the genre but a touching piece of theatre that reflects the depth of grief that people who have lost a loved one can relate to with some beautiful songs (from Dave Stewart & Glen Ballard) diversifying from big gospel style to touching heartbreaking ballad.
After the first five minutes where the relationship between the lead characters felt more like ‘get a room’ than great love story and the first intro of the iconic Righteous Brothers song and pottery wheel shenanigans so famous from the original film were fleeting, the action moves on apace.
The sets were clever with a beautiful cityscape backdrop serving the apartment, street, office, railway and the whole ensemble choreographed into short dances to move along. This gave more power to the scenes of bleak despair, Sam (Andy Moss) being murdered by the brooding, threatening Willie Lopez (Leo Sene) whilst Molly (Carolyn Maitland) holds him as he dies and his realisation of his mortality. The scene in the hospital waiting room as ghost played by James Earl Adair sings to him of letting go in a kindly retro musical way as he waits to meet his wife who is in hospital. This kindly ghost he sees juxtaposed with the violent threat from the subway ghost (Garry Lee Newley), in rage at his death from being pushed under a train, but, who nevertheless teaches Sam to focus so he can protect Molly from Carl (Sam Ferriday) who is out to harm her.
All the performances were strong, in particular Carolyn Maitland has an outstanding clear and expressive vocal performance on the songs. Jacqui Dubois steals the show as Oda Mae Brown a role made famous by Whoopi Goldberg in the film but in fact I preferred the Dubois interpretation, funnier without being deliberately played up for laughs. The chemistry between her and Moss makes them an excellent double act.

With songs written with Dave Stewart & Glen Ballard and beautiful orchestration, skilled musicians and vocals, those who enjoy musicals for just this thing will find something to satisfy however the theme of bereavement and depth of grief, which as any will know who have lost someone also contains so much comedy and, longing for the person back is still personified best, so poignantly in the reprise of the famed Unchained Melody that had a silent audience wiping away tears, and at the end, a standing ovation for this cast who well deserved it. 

This is a theatre piece that has been likened to portraying some fine Shakespearean attributes and characters drawn so. This could be dismissed as not worthy and too populist for a comparison to such a honoured playwright however he was an unashamed server of the popular, the themes of death, humans being drawn into the metaphysical, and never shied from the pain of love. These comparisons shouldn’t be dismissed by a faux elite nor be a barrier to someone who hated Shakespeare at school and wants a good story; critic or fan we have all stood in places we didn’t want to be and had to contemplate or will have to, the loss of someone that we can’t imagine living without. Like the days of writing in 1595 or now, people we love die and we grieve and wish it wasn’t so. This is a moving portrayal of a life cut short and the drama of discovery that people aren’t what they seem, there’s a lot of snogging as well, and singing. Which is good, singing is good, especially in a musical I don’t think Shakespeare really cottoned on to that so it might be Ghost the musical – one, Shakespeare – nil – in this case anyway.
Ghost is on at New Victoria Theatre until Sat 4 March 2017


16 Feb

Fiery Bird meets with cool jazz and an interview with Mark Baxter gave me some insights in the world that forms the backdrop of his work, the films and books sparked by his curiosity to get under the layers of what appears to current culture as an older archived way of living, listening and moving still to inspire new generations of modernists, what better to herald it with a pic from some of the modernists of my day above. 

We talked about his various work, passion for Tubby Hayes and his story, Ready Steady Girls, the book that celebrates the Mod woman, his collaborations with Woking sons Paolo Hewitt (The Mumper) and Paul Weller – he produced Jawbone the film that Paul Weller wrote the sound track for and wrote the fantastic narrative that Paul voices on this short film the Devil, from Emma Rosa Dias.

One O’ Clock Jump – Jimmy Smith
Big City – The Artwoods

Last Night – The Mar-keys

A Bomb In Wardour Street – The Jam

Can’t Sit Down – Phil Upchurch Combo

Can’t Believe What You Say – Ike & Tina Turner

Love Me or Leave Me – Nina Simone

Little Piece of Leather – Donnie Elbert

If I Ever Needed Love – Ruby Johnson

Get On The Right Track Baby – Georgie Fame

Open My Eyes – The Nazz

The Hunter Gets Captured by The Game – The Marvelettes


27 Jan

Tonight I welcomed Stephen Colegrave to the Fiery Bird Show. Stephen, is the co-founder of Byline Festival an alternative festival with a purpose, to have an event that brings the impact that Woodstock and Sundance had for this ‘post truth’ frenzy of an age. The fresh faced warriors of truth unfurling their capes and making them into tents in a forest where people can experience and produce examples of good, responsible journalism and claim back hope, enjoy music, comedy, workshops and meet others with a view of activism that is optimistic and kind and then take with them something that will start to change and grow in a society where buzzwords, spin and bamboozle has become King. To give strength to the voice of the child pointing out that, in fact, the Emperor is not wearing any clothes and indeed it is a very cold day.
Over many years there are many things conceived in pubs but usually the best things to be conceived in pubs are ideas and plans that are put into action – anything else would best be covered in a health related show. As with all those best ideas Byline Festival was also conceived in the pub, the aptly named Pillars of Hercules in Greek St Soho when Stephen and co-founder Peter Jukes were discussing what they felt was missing on the new landscape of festivals that had seemed to become so expensive, corporate and had lost their aim of being places that were agents for change, where new ideas and concepts became possibilities, alliances formed and humanity shed some of its obsession with the consumer in a common tribal setting of music and art
Whilst these ideas of something missing were bubbling under, with recent events like Brexit and Trump its impetus has crystallised and galvanised people into action. Stephen said that he spent most of last year going around looking for wardrobes where Narnia would be trying to find where all the likeminded people were, the people that told the truth. So here it is, Byline is Narnia and it is welcoming people to gather in the forest – in this case Pippingford in East Sussex. I bloody hope there is still Turkish Delight there.

Guests include John Cleese, Lenny Henry, Tom Watson MP, Hardeep Singh Kholi, there is a great emphasis on comedy – the new armour of the disenchanted – and all guests and performers feel so involved that all are donating their time, should any profits be made, they are put to the crowdsourced platform to encourage excellent standards and truth in journalism. The idea is that not only do people enjoy the elements of the festival but also feel galvanised to bottle the positive outrage and put it to positive work. Bands include John Ellis, The Priscillas, Phoenix Chroi, How’s Harry, Andy Twyman, Will Purdue, Hannah White, Lisa VonHArgonaut and many more inc headliners to be announced. 
John Cleese in particular asked to present the Bad Press Awards, an honour they don’t really expect many winners to want to pick up to collect but, nevertheless they will receive; they will be delivered, come what may. I asked if this would be somewhat of a pattern of award like the predictability of Ant & Dec picking something up at the NTA’s, but, despite expectation, there are more than one or two examples of bad press that will be highlighted and given due attention during the ceremony. 
This is about good news too though, the festival has captured the imagination of many people also feeling under represented and sick of being labelled with stupid derisory terms just because they care about something, the ‘PC Brigade, the ‘snowflakes’ the ‘Do-Gooders’ (yeah really great insult – to spit bile against people that ‘do good’ – ironically so often spouted by those who wish to cite their issue as the fact that a dogma they don’t even follow perhaps one whose tenet is doing good to other people, is being stamped out by another dogma they don’t follow or have even met anyone that does) There’s a weariness at constantly being told off on social media because of highlighting and experiencing inequality. The day after those same group cited the Women’s March as a failure and unwarranted with keyboards on fire ‘I didn’t see any of you marching against FGM/Saudi Arabian Women’s Rights/Insert other issue they didn’t give a shit about last week (these suddenly human rights activists on behalf of vulnerable women) you privileged spoilt group of lefty extreme women’ – do they not realise what equality means? What choice means? Do they not see the contradiction in their assertion that all of these women who look like their own sisters, mothers, daughters appear to be the majority because they are the majority and those they accuse of over running us are in truth a minority but as deserving of respect as any and that is what it is about. Do they not see that they need to understand that issues like choice, like abuse, like support affect all of us. All it seems is the extremes we now live in is the bars of the cage being shaken and the hunter with the gun knowing the locks won’t hold another generation who will live in a more equal, respectful world by operating a revolution, an activism, of kindness and respect. The hunter knows this so gets a bigger gun – silly hunter doesn’t realise that the cages are full of flocks of birds they treat like one scary bear. If Maya Angelou were here she would know. She knew why the caged bird sings. The boxing ring has fallen away and we have all stepped out of it, are packing it up and turning the space into a community centre where more gets done than some fancy footwork and jabs amongst two posturing powers while the rest of us have to stand by and watch with no say in the outcome.
For those people who suddenly rose up to use someone else’s pain as a vehicle for their fear that the party was over for them, rail about issues they never mentioned before, why didn’t you march against them before, why criticise others who are doing something and usually, it is generally those people dealing with those other issues too. That march was more about women and men expressing their shock that society had got to the level where someone can openly admit to feeling the power that allows them to denigrate and assault other humans and still gain high office with dangerous responsibility, than to do with carping and whining at what other political systems that have nothing to with us (and yet everything too) vote in. That is why projects like this are happening because the ordinary has become extraordinary and people are stepping up to speak out.

We spoke about other projects that Stephen has worked on and those currently so: The book Punk that he collaborated on with Chris Sullivan, his background in the punk scene and the freedom it gave to make things happen DIY, an inspiration to do things in a way of truth and authenticity. The inspirational photographers who contributed photos and putting exhibitions together with them since, we spoke of following a passion that makes stuff happen 
It was a lovely little chat to get the lowdown as my Mum used to say and as always to hear the stories of meeting and working with people like Rik Mayall, David Bowie, Georgie Fame,Danny Aiello John Ellis & many more was delightful.
Stephen is involved with other ways of supporting action with integrity with projects like

Uprising where he is a trustee. This takes young people from diverse backgrounds and puts them through a social action training course so help them see how can they affect their communities – people without the background and money deserve a chance and have the talent but don’t get the chance to get through and this is designed to give them that chance and that voice.
He is also a Trustee with the Young Actors Theatre Islington to give the opportunity to train and even if not pursuing theatre the chance of expressing yourself in any form will give confidence, to find your own voice and find genuine authentic connections and confidence in your own skin is how we will change the world. Happy confident people filling up our own skin and giving a hand up to others.
Tickets for the Festival are on sale now, and those in the Woking area can get a 30% discount until 31 January 
Festival Maker Tickets £25


£95 early bird before 31st January

£65 student
PLUS!! Discount for GU21/GU22 of 30% by 31 January use code GU22BYFEST or GU21BYFEST


Listen Again Here


1 Liar Liar – The Castaways

2 Swords of a Thousand Men – Ten Pole Tudor

3 All The Way To Holloway – The Priscillas

4. Indercate Your Mind – How’s Harry

5 Teenage Kicks – The Undertones

6 London Calling – The Clash

7. Never Buy The Sun – Billy Bragg

8. Bank Failures – Bob Miller

9 Not Rich – Argonaut

10 A Change Gonna Come – Sam Cooke

11. No More Heroes – The Stranglers

12. Preach & Teach – Georgie Fame

13. Sound of The Suburbs – The Members

14. The Best Is Yet To Come – Frank Sinatra