Here’s introducing a brand new project… LYRICAL LANDSLIDES … I’m just setting this up as the Workshops arm of my activities. You can preview the website here: http://www.lyricallandslides.co.uk/index.html
I’ve been really inspired by books I’ve been reading, such as Brave New Voices (Weiss/Herndon), How Popular Musicians Learn (Lucy Green) and Listening Up, Writing Down And Looking Beyond (Gingell/Roy). As a musician I know that music itself has many positive and unquantifiable effects on the lives of those engaged in it – particularly if they find it early in life. It strikes me that, in these times of tightening belts, of stripping everything down to it’s value in pennies and pounds, restricted employment opportunities for the young and disadvantaged, we need to speak up for the life skills that music teaches but which can’t be defined on a ledger. Happily, there are people who can see the long-term view and realise that actually these things DO feed into the economy later on either through savings on services or increased employability and entrepreneurship etc.
Today I read a disheartening Police Notice warning the public that gangs were operating in the area and luring drivers to stop at the side of the road by leaving decoy baby seats on the verge with blankets over them so that people would want to check that a child was not at risk. Drivers were then being beaten, robbed, raped and left for dead in nearby woods and fields. Alarmingly I realised that these aren’t just gangs of old thugs, these are young people who believe they have no other prospects, who seek belonging and peer approval, who are desperate, unsupported and in deep. That’s not to condone them. But let there be a light inside every young person who has the misfortune to feel so disenfranchised. Let the kids of the future grow up knowing better. Lets give them pro-social perspectives, a better command of language and self-expression, unquantifiable skills and a sense of worth that isn’t just defined by figures and grades. They will be the agents of the future. Lets make it a good one.
Phew! It was a good few months in the making, but now the dust has settled I can finally breathe a sigh of relief… Stroud’s contribution to the national event Bandstand Marathon, part of the closing celebrations of the London 2012 festival and the Paralympic Games, was a great success! Not only that, but it was the Flagship event for the whole of the South-West. Not bad!
In my role as Event Programmer, I really appreciated the help and support I received from Stroud District Council, Superact (the voluntary organisation behind BM) and also the various community-minded individuals and volunteers who gave their time and resources to this fabulous free community music event. Special thanks to Gary L our official professional photographer who worked so hard to document all our efforts.
Stroud has so much to offer musically and my aim was to create a programme that really showed off the depth of the diversity in the town’s music scene. Well done to all the performers (Stroud Song, Sickwave, Pete Taylor, Helen Gregory, Shadowlight, Lost Borders and The Last Word) for helping put Stroud on the musical map and contributing your part to the Cultural Olympiad.
Already a place where most people seem actively engaged in music and the arts in some way, I hope that yesterdays event contained elements to inspire and encourage each of our 300+ strong audience.
The first few weeks of September are shaping up to be a little hectic…
I have just landed from my whistle-stop tour of Brussels and the Netherlands. I may just have enough time to collect my thoughts and memories of this experience ahead of tomorrow’s gig at Stroud Fringe… I’ll be playing 2 full sets at the Subscription Rooms Cafe/Bar from 8pm. It’s free to get in and there’s good disability access – which is a relief for me since I seem to have injured my foot!
Then it’s back to the grind-stone making sure last minute threads are tied-up in preparation for Stroud’s Bandstand Marathon event on Sunday 9th Sept. This is a community music event I’ve had a hand in arranging on behalf of an organisation called Superact. From noon, there’ll be a drumming workshop, over 4 hours of live performances, food beer and beverages all centred around the Bandstand in Stroud’s Stratford Park. And er – ahem – in case of rain there’ll be a marquee too …
Much more exciting stuff around the corner, but I can barely think beyond this so more from me again soon!!