So, last night I attended an ‘Anti-Capitalist’ Road Show (http://www.redmagic.co.uk/anticap/index.htm) at the Foxlowe in Leek (http://www.foxloweartscentre.org.uk/) which featured 5 musicians treating us to an evening of subversive music.
I have to admit, I didn’t know what to expect and was worried it would pander to the left of the political system that I’m not very fond of either (the idea that if you’re not ‘one’ thing, you’re the ‘other’ as if the only alternatives in life are left or right doesn’t chime with me…) but actually it did nothing of the sort.
The performers treated us to a nicely balanced mix of the evocative, satirical, comical and in some cases stirringly angry sentiment about the state of things, the reality of the situation, the reason we were there.
The acts were, Peggy Seeger, Leon Rosselson, Grace Petrie, Janet Russell and Jim Woodland. I was encountering them for the first time, but they have some credentials between them! Strikingly, Leon Rosselson used to perform on ‘That was the week that was’ back in the 60s, while Grace Petrie was recently featured on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The NOW show’ but two weeks ago. That demonstrates really the generational range that, admittedly, Grace was doing a large part towards creating, but was present and vibrant in the set.
Okay, so there was a leaning towards folk, acoustic tweeness here and there, and I can’t imagine this format being the kick-start to a younger generation of subversion which we will need if things are ever going to change, but it was good reinforcement for people who felt that way, to hear their worries, anger and hope encapsulated in easy to digest, sing along ditties and anthems.
Highlights for me included Leon’s ‘Looters’ songs that cleverly linked the London riots to the British empire’s history of looting. There’s a great line about all we ever exported being, Cricket, The Bible and the Royal Family: http://www.myspace.com/leonrosselson/music/songs/looters-91952569
Peggy Seeger, though lacking her singing voice last night (apparently, I thought she sounded great), satirically posed the question ‘How do you sleep at night?’ to the rich, who replied something along the lines of, ‘Very comfortably thank you, in fine linen and silks, why do you keep asking us that?’. (http://www.peggyseeger.com/)
And Grace Petrie bellowed out the moving ‘They shall not pass’, about the Spanish civil war: (it can be found here http://gracepetrie.com/music/mark-my-words/)
Anyway, the night was interesting, clever, and more importantly it said something important. We are not tied to one way of thinking, when the opposition so closely resembles the power we reject where do we turn? There are more of us. Never accept the idea that there is no ‘alternative’ – anyone who ever tells you that is lying or misinformed. I suspect the former when it comes to economy, taxes, bail-outs and benefits.
Try and catch this road show if you can, that’s the main thing.
(Here are some other links you might like!:)