Call me Russ L

Guess which direction?

Posted in Modern Living, Music by Russ L on 19 September, 2011

So, I last wrote about Moseley Folk. Since then I’ve seen Public Enemy (heh, you book a day off work after a festival to recover and there turns out to be a gig that night too. They were great, anyway; even better than when I saw them in Wolves some years ago. They should get that Pierre bloke they pulled up on stage in the band full time, he was ace), saw the Mark Titchener bit of Home of Metal in Walsall New Art Gallery (I simply don’t have the vocabulary to talk about visual art, but I quite liked it), had set menu “B” in The Barton’s Arms (the best pub, really now, the best pub. It pains me to say that about a Birmingham drinker rather than a black country one, but it’s nevertheless true), and didn’t go to any of Artsfest (a family wedding took up most of that weekend).

That brings us up to this weekend just gone, where I took part in various lefty activities. Saturday saw the Women Chainmakers’ Festival in honour of the Mary MacArthur strikes, taking place at Bearmore Mounds Playing Fields in Cradley Heath. This is all fairly new to me, but apparently in prior years it was at the Black Country Museum. There may well be more to it than has been publicly stated, but from the outside it seems that they decided to no longer host it due to the unions getting a bit loud and uppity, all such as “who would’ve thought that an event about strikes and a victory for working people would allow unions to speak?”. Mental. The Black Country Museum is an institution that I’m normally very fond of, but this sounds like a pigging poor show on their part.

There was practically no sod there, either – this may be down to not having the Black Country Museum’s infrastructure to promote it, given that it didn’t seem to be particularly widely advertised elsewhere at all. Ah well. There was some enjoyable folkin’ music on the afternoon – local folkals Nothin’ To Prove and Roosterspake were fun (particularly the latter, with their Black Country spake), prior to the vaunted Chris Wood playing (I didn’t know he was meant to be there until on the day). Lovely stuff, and a shame so very few others saw any of it.

On Sunday morning there was the “March For The Alternative” in Brum, organised (primarily) by Right To Work and set to coincide with the Lib Dem conference (not that we were allowed to go anywhere near the ICC). Whilst I am genuinely, genuinely baffled by the large section of the populace who actually appear to dislike the Liberal Democrat party for “allying with Tories” more than they dislike the Conservative party for “actually being Tories in the first place”, this government (and for that matter the privatising, rich-favouring policies of every government for the last 30+ years) needs to be opposed. I know I tend to spin a world-ending millenarian prophesy out of everything that ever happens, but we’re approaching the final line in the sand. Ordinary people need to be solid and stand together.

The original plan for after the march was to go and have a look at the second Bearwood Shuffle: free bands in Lightwoods Park, organised by a bunch of local folks who simply wanted to see it happen and weren’t interested in trying to make a load of profit. I’m claiming this as part of the weekend’s lefty continuum – it’s collective action taking place on public land, ayit. As it worked out, though, I really was foolishly tired by this point (hadn’t slept much the previous night). We stopped for basic melodic guitar-eers Little Liam, but they didn’t do a fat lot to revive spirits and so home it was. It’s a shame, actually, as I would have liked to see Aziz, but there we go. Next time around.


3 Responses

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  1. Daron said, on 26 September, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Ahhhh…missed you at the Shuffle! Had a real ‘mare with the technical stuff and blew up loads of equipment (dodgy generator seemed to be the culprit) but people generally enjoyed it. Didn’t kill anyone, so it’s all good. Ruddy hard work putting on a gig innit? Aziz was great.

  2. Russ L said, on 26 September, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Yeah, that all looked nightmarish. I only ever put on gigs at The Flapper, so had hardly any of the problems you’ll encounter doing something like this.

    I am extremely happy that it hasn’t disenheartened you at all, though.

  3. Daron said, on 27 September, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Nah, it’ll take more than the odd exploding PA/Mixing Desk/band member to put us off…


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