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Vive La Revolution!

Updated: Jun 14, 2022

I have received word that my little book - The Sound of Revolution – has been accepted into the National Poetry Library. It’s a sweet thing to know that some inquisitive kid may stumble upon your words in years to come and find some connection. It’s part of what we do and why we do it I guess, tossing these bottle-clad messages into the ether-ocean in the hope that some may wash up at the feet of a Robinson Crusoe or two, offering some spark of inspiration or solace.

In the same week, I had a photo published in a little collection entitled Road Trip – an engaging collection of photos exploring the essence and beauty of escape, our instinct to travel and explore. My own little contribution is a shot of a ramshackle little Tabac on a Lyon street corner. The photo was taken when we returned to pick up our gear from the neighbouring venue where we had played the previous evening. It was the opening night of a tour with my good friend Martti – and something of a strange opening gig. At some point during the evening we looked out and noticed that many of the audience were receiving texts, scrolling with a look of concern and frantically typing responses. When we had a break we asked what was going on, to be informed that there had been some kind of attack on a music venue in Paris (Bataclan). Of course, everyone knew someone who might conceivably have been at a gig in Paris that night, especially given our own situation – they were us and we were them - kin, comrades, family. After the gig we sat with the promoters and a few friends and discussed the crazy world, listened to French punk and tried to find sense within the senseless.

I received a message from one of our favourite German venues last month (Anker) asking if we would be over on tour this year – I have missed touring so much during these plague years. I replied that whilst it was unlikely this year, we were determined to get back over in 2023. I then thought I should probably investigate what that would involve in this post-Brexit world. In a nutshell, the official route of applying for visas for each band member for each country we would play would be way beyond inconvenience, not to mention costly. I have already started investigating the best way of touring ‘under the radar’, so with the government dragging their feet on the situation, I will be forced - it seems - into a life of (admittedly minor) crime.

Justine and I did at least manage to escape for a few days in Paris during May – our first channel crossing since before the plague – God it felt good. Gallery surfing and bar hopping, flea markets comic shops and pavement dining. One of the highlights was our first visit to the recently opened Bourse de Commerce gallery – an elegant and enchanting space imaginatively reimagined. The Charles Ray sculptures were thoughtful and absorbing whilst Ryan Gander's animatronic mouse was delightful and (worryingly) entirely relatable. Another altogether perfect moment was indulging in perhaps the world’s finest Bloody Mary in the seat wherein it was born – Harry’s Bar – a chic and decadent delight.

For one beautiful moment during lockdown there seemed a real possibility that we might emerge a more connected and caring world, that borders might be dissolved and walls tumbled. That moment, it seems, has sadly passed as focus has given way to distraction. It obviously doesn’t help that we have the tragedy of yet more war to contend with, but I also feel our eyes and attentions are drawn in rather less meaningful directions. Watching the sad dissolution of a celebrity marriage on 24hr TV seems to offer very little to our lives.

Whilst I have nothing personal against Liz (and certainly no problem with a bank holiday knees up), I don’t feel altogether comfortable with the institution and postcode lottery she represents. As someone who has her image emblazoned on so many coins, it’s easy to be reminded that the flip side of that coin (both in national and global perspective) is far from pretty.

Even party-gate, to me, feels like our anger and passions are somewhat misdirected. I absolutely understand the sense of injustice and acute disappointment in this rule breaking, lying, cheating scoundrel, but the truth is that any likely replacement will be cut from the same (or very similar) cloth. Any satisfaction gained from dethroning the man will surely be tempered by the realisation that it won’t fundamentally change very much at all. What we really need to address is not one man or even one party, it’s the whole damn shooting match.

'...most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.' ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Stay focussed, love and be loved, travel, engage, debate and ponder – confusion is inevitable but can always be addressed with a fine Bloody Mary.

Grae J.


The Sound Of Revolution is still available to order over at the shop

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