I see these people – same generation as me – who’s hearts were first captured by Glam Rock, who idolised Bowie, Iggy, Lou, Marc and the Dolls, who sang along in the cinema to every word of Cabaret and The Rocky Horror Picture Show and adored Warhol’s Factory Crowd - now upper-case ranting transphobic bile and shouting of the agenda to warp the susceptible sensibilities of our impressionable youth, and I don’t get it, I really don’t!
There’s weird stuff going on and it concerns me. The demonisation of immigrants, the climate change denial, the idolisation of hard-line misogyny, it’s all connected – even Russel Brand has started pandering (to great profit) to the baying right wing conspiracy crowd. This insidious fascist blogosphere seems to have gained genuine traction – maybe the rise of fascism is always kind of insidious.
On a local level I see the arts being ousted by our current administration – a heady combination of ignorance and arrogance towards community creativity and cohesion - culture for those that can afford it. I wrote to some local councillors, our MP, the mayor…the response was somewhat underwhelming. I’ve yet to hear back from the MP and the mayor. A few gave a ‘let me look into this and get back to you’ kinda reply. One councillor, who I know quite well, declared the work of our Arts Team to be merely "nice to have" activities – a team who have worked with and supported our homeless community, those who struggle with their mental health, care home residents, our disenfranchised disabled community and so many more – seriously! The only supportive response was from a local Green councillor who pretty much agreed with all I had to say but felt that his hands were tied as these current changes were being rushed through with so little opportunity for challenge and discussion. Sad times, but we will of course rise again, phoenix like, from the flames of political ineptitude.
On a positive note, I made it out on tour to Catalunya – first international dates post covid/cancer/Brexit…
It felt great to get back to roving troubadour mode, along with comrade Rico, discovering new towns, wonderful people, fine wines and inspiring local scenes and culture. The gigs were buzzing – an appreciative and different kinda crowd at each. Some long-distance train and bus rides allowed a relaxed appreciation of dramatic and beauteous scenery. With my current crazy low-lectin diet (which is still working out), I was apprehensive as to whether I would actually eat, but we found fantastic cuisine in the sweetest little bars and cafes along with the kindest and most understanding of hosts – big up Biure for that artichoke tortilla.
However hard the world may try to drown one’s muse, she is at heart of mermaid blood!
My life is still littered with hospital appointments, blood tests and scans, but my life continues. There’re new songs to be recorded, poems to be writ, albums to be released, territories to be explored, photos to be took – you can’t keep an old folk-punk-poet down, though Lord they do try!
Our home for several days whilst on tour was the residence of our friend and promoter Albert in the sweet village of Darnius, so I’ll leave you with this little poem that I started scribbling whilst there and then finished off back in Blighty.
So here for sure the Buddha lies
Beneath azure Darnius skies
The mountains watch and cables fly
Concordia breathes an evening sigh
At festa time we’ll dance upon
The bones of those who’ve long since gone
The feral cats will sing along
To old guitars and reggaeton
The wild boar is gearing up
To saintly steal the hunter’s truck
For donut slides around the lake
To truffle time and walnut cake
Beneath the stars and crescent moon
The poets sway and gently croon
A barbershop quartet of note
A little something that they wrote
A lullaby with borrowed quote
The sailor and the drunken boat
At midnight as the church bells chime
The village forms a conga line
And wends its way around the square
The blossom on the April air
Then Buddha smiles and does surmise
There’s life yet in the gleaming eyes
Of those who saunter past the prize
To dance beneath Darnius skies