Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bird Talk By The Waterfall

Another drawing in progress for the new album artwork. Excuse the pencil scribblings and little bits of rubber; I'm so knackered after work today that I lack the strength to sweep them off the page!

Written in 2005


And the remix:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Barnet to Portsmouth to Hackney Wick To Barnet

I deserved that Crunchie. Set off at 2 p.m. and arrived home at 9 p.m.
Met a Jug (Pug crossed with a Jack Russell) that humped cushions even though he hadn't got the correct equipment; knocked the same wing mirror (another embarrassing trip to the garage); watched a surly man fall over in the street, then suddenly he changed and became helpful and he carried Offsprog Two's box of books up the metal stairs. It felt good to be useful, and care for my daughter.
And yesterday made me feel nice.
I haven't felt like that for nine months.

Cultural Day

Off to Stratford with my guitar on my back yesterday morning, I stopped for a coffee.
'Play me a song and I'll give you a free coffee', said the barista. I laughed; but he gave me a free coffee anyway and reduced me to tears with that act of kindness. Coincidentally, when Jono got to the studio, he'd been given a free bottle of water at a pop-up caff on the way.
It must have been something in the air.
We collected singers in Gerry's cafe after setting up the microphones, and the session went like a dream. What amazing singers you all are, and thank you so much for your goodwill. It was easy, and it sounded beautiful and I'm sorry the studio got so hot. I felt like you turned my life-dial to a more positive setting, and the after-session craic in Gerry's was great too. It's fantastic that musicians and artists refuse to be daunted by negative world events and just carry on burrowing into new venues, working out new ways to share their ideas, owning their past, and accepting and celebrating music in all its diverse and fantastic forms. I will write more about this another time.
Afterwards, I went to The Royal Festival Hall to see The Last Poets. I remember inviting Linton Kwesi Johnson to speak to students once, and him citing their influence on his own way of being creative. It was a really interesting evening, hosted by Anthony Anaxagorou; they performed some of their very powerful material and were also interviewed by Anthony, and the audience. Ashley Walters was supposed to appear, but a young north London poet appeared instead and had some wise things to say about Gangsta Rap, comparing the mentality behind the lyrics to The Cat in the Hat as opposed to Tolkien. There was a bit of side-stepping around homosexuality, and too much circling round 'the n-word' although it was used to great effect to describe Trump, which I thought was the best description I've heard of him so far. Overall, the whole discussion was centred on self-respect, becoming a male role model, and the importance of remembering that it's the message that counts in political poetry, not the person delivering it. Wise words indeed.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Crisis

I have just donated the proceeds of some online music sales to Crisis, the homelessness charity, because they deserve the money.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Feathers

Here's tonight's drawing, for the song Feathers.
It's not finished; I started it at 5 and it's now 8.30 and I want some soup. The good thing about not finishing the drawings is that I can really savour doing the final touches on another day.
It's the same with songs, sometimes.
This is an anti-bullying song, inspired by someone who managed to bully an entire department in one go a few years ago.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Don't Be Silly, He Said

This is the next drawing in the sequence, complete with pencil scribble lines that I haven't rubbed out yet. The thumb print on this one is out of shot; the other drawing has a thumb print on it too. I just get inky fingers when I do these things.
There are at least ten tracks on the album, so that's lots more drawings to do. After a stressful day at work (but I did manage to get an ultra-serious student to smile the other day) getting into a drawing trance is a perfect way to spend an evening, with a pen gliding over the surface of perfect, smooth paper. This photograph looks tinted. The actual drawing is black on white.
I used to think the drawing was already in the paper and you pulled it out with the pen, and some sorts of drawing still feel like that. But these feel as though I'm skating, sweeping across frozen, hard white ice, the first skater of the day to slice marks into its surface. I feel confident on paper in ways that I don't in life; the characters are like friends who populate my imagination. I recognise them, as though they have always been here.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Wild Hare Club on Friday

Richard is a friendly and welcoming host who has been running the Wild Hare Club for a long time. I played at one of his other venues a few years ago with John Cooper Clark and Don Letts, but this was a very different night.
The venue was De Koffie Pot, a cafe in a complex by the river Wye; tables were covered in hessian and big windows looked out over the river: the view was beautiful, full of sparkling lights.
First up was Sea Legs Puppets, an autobiographical performance that featured intricate paper mach models of puppeteer Rob Ashman's parents and brothers, and authentic-sounding family dialogue. The story moved on to his being cheated out of a puppet head that he made at primary school by a dastardly classmate; he sang a song about it, and then produced a terrifying Little Jimmy Osmond puppet that performed Long Haired Lover From Liverpool. I was alarmed to discover that I knew almost all the words! This was a very entertaining show that Rob says is going to be developed into a full-length performance.
Next was Kate Doody, a poet and a blacksmith whose wry words and concise poetry defined women's  perspectives through her own stories in a funny and poignant way. There was so much there that I recognised- and so did everyone else. Brilliant.
It was a pleasure to be part of such an evening. I do hope to get invited back sometime, and thanks to the audience for joining in with The Sea again!

Big Brother Is Watching You

I have started the drawings for the song lyric book that will be part of the new album. This is what I've been drawing tonight for the song Big Brother Is Watching You.
I still haven't got an album title yet, and I think it might need to be remastered because it's quite trebly. and Stuart Moxham has a track to mix which I'm trying not to pressurise him about.
Back to the drawing board.

In Another Life I Was A Costume Doll


Message to Farage, Scourge of Kent

A Battle Against Noise

Incredibly, the builders, who are not supposed to work on a Sunday so we get at least one day's respite from noise, started power-washing the Older Women's Co-Housing development this afternoon.
The NOISE.
I am so sick of it; it's been interminable for almost two years. What's the point in complaining? The imminent new arrivals are wealthy, articulate, and retired professionals: judges, barristers. They have an extremely efficient press office and have already categorised their new neighbours using psychological profiling so they can manage any hostility we may feel toward their invasion of this little street. Their story is one of victimhood- poor women battered by life who can finally live collectively in peace to see out their days.
Yes.
So I went out in my slippers, splashing through the freezing puddles to ask the site manager to tell them to stop. The one day of the week that we are supposed to have peace to write, think, and in my case, record.
Grudgingly, he went out and stopped them.
I'm taking a break from recording the BVs to Women of the World; two harmonies down, one to go. It's the very high one, and I've got a bad chest still from the cold I had three weeks ago. I'm waiting for the Sudafed to kick in before carrying on. I do love the sound of the kitchen, and I do love recording! All of us self-producers sitting with out Logic variants, making music that maybe nobody will listen to, but isn't it great therapy?
Come on Sudafed, do your stuff! I need to mix and bounce these tracks this afternoon so I can send them off this evening.

Time Management

Sometimes you just need to sleep. I woke late, and although I'd intended to go on the Sisters Uncut march today wth Offsprog One (you probably won't hear any reports about it, but it's happening this afternoon in Central London in support of Council Housing for female ex-offenders which is about to be demolished and turned into [yawn] luxury flats).
But
I have a paper to write for the Art of Record Production conference in Aalborg at the beginning of December
and
the backing-vox recordings to make for the song Women of the World which are due to be recorded next Saturday afternoon by a scratch choir (quite small at the moment: email me if you'd like to be there singing too).
I can't do those yet, because Offsprog Two set off the washing machine before  she went out today and it's grumbling and rumbling very loudly in the kitchen AKA my recording studio.
So
I'm shuffling Powerpoint slides around making a narrative, with a blank one for everyone to yawn at because talking about women in music is just so boring now everything is equal and we're post-feminism, post-truth, and a bunch of invaders into that territory of music technology and production.
I've actually done 32 beautiful interviews with studio professionals for this research, and because I'm taking the approach of being a historian above that of being an academic (there is a subtle difference), I hope to be able to publish the interviews in their entirety rather than having to fillet them as I did for  The Lost Women of Rock Music. For that book, so much got left on the cutting-room floor. Of course, I have edited these latest interviews extensively to focus them, but the detail of people's acquisition of skills and uptake of opportunities is fascinating.
The film Stories From the She-Punks is still going to happen- it's just resting at the moment. It blossomed into a really exciting project very quickly during the summer; can you believe that neither of us realised that 2016 was the 40-year anniversary of punk when we started making it? The massive amount of interest was a really nice surprise and we are taking a break to think about ways of finishing it so that it stands alone as a piece of music documentary history.
So that's today's prevarication over with.
The Wild Hare gig will be written up, but I need to do a bit more Powerpointing while the computer still has a little bit of battery power left.
Au Revoir.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Red Kites

All the way down the M40 yesterday, and all the way back today- hundreds of Red Kites, with feathers flailing, jazzy under-wing markings and forked tails, rode the thermals above the motorway. They reminded me of the constant flow of planes emerging from the clouds at Heathrow airport, one at a time in perfect synchronisation: one after the other. One flew so low over the contraflow that I could see it's feathered cap and cruelly-curved beak almost closely enough to touch.
Every so often, you'd see one hover in the sky and shiver, and know that some small creature would be going to meet it's maker.
It's been a funny year for birds- the blackbird that sat out in the back garden when I was playing one evening, sorta grunting along to the guitar (I had to create a medley because I didn't want him to go away); the goldfinch that arrived at six thirty one morning and tugged away at the coconut fibres in the hanging basket, stealing for its nest. And now I've replaced that, and planted some pansies for the winter, Offsprog one saw a wren doing the very same thing when she was looking out of the bathroom window the other day.
I'll write about Hereford later today; I'm tired because it took a long time to get back and because it's been a tangled week.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Car And Me On Lindisfarne This Summer

So foggy you couldn't see anything at all, apart from sand. My car is my friend.


The Lift At Work Is Poorly

The lift voice is a cooing voice, a bit like a dove or a pigeon.
'Doors opening', she says.
'Doors closing'.
People scrunch up, ready to be taken upstairs.
'Doors opening'.
Has someone pressed the button?
No.
'Doors closing'.
People scrunch again.
'Doors opening'.
Depending of stress levels, people hiss and storm out of the lift, laugh and shrug their shoulders, or look unhappily into space.
'Doors closing'.
'Doors opening'.
The person who invented stairs was a genius.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Little Old Dancing Chap

This band was amazing- they were playing in Newcastle city centre next to Grey's Monument on Saturday afternoon. Very trumpety, tromboney, saxy, banjoey, and just the right side of loose.
Little old dancing chap loved them- he stood in front of them and danced, turned to the crowd and danced, drifted into a world of his own and danced; if I'd have been in a better frame of mind I would have joined him, because the music was so infectious.

Funky Kingston

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Old House Circle E.P.

This was recorded in September 2015 in North Carolina. Thanks to Daniel for organising it, Chris Garges for recording it, Martin for producing it an playing guitar on it, Jimmy Cole for banjo and Jim Morrison for fiddle.
https://helenmccookerybook.bandcamp.com/album/the-old-house-circle-e-p
Released now because my new album's not quite ready!
Photo by Daniel Coston, taken at The Evening Mews, Charlotte

Water/Cars

There's nowt like the splosh
Of a real car wash.

Blue's Song (again)


Blues Song Remix from joan ashworth on Vimeo.

A Morning of Kitchen Recording

Out comes the little bottle of Friar's Balsam (this cold virus is happily developing into its third week of attack); on goes the slowcoach computer.
Close the kitchen cupboard doors so their surfaces reflect the sound; in an hour's time the trusty SM58 microphone will be in my hand, pop-shield clipped to its... shaft? I had set up a microphone stand on Friday, only to have the microphone clip shatter into a mess of shards of plastic and little metal springs, so the hand is the stand today.
Kitchens are superb sound caves. My CD player, which sounds tinny and inconsequential on top of the fridge stuffed full of wilted celery and half-full jars of sticky chutney and jam, leaps into three-dimensional life on top of the half-empty pots'n'pans cupboard, which acts as a sub-woofer speaker, and rocks the room at knee level.
First, bit of admin to get out of the way.

Truth and the Seabird's Feathers

I have been reading about the way that telling lies becomes easier and easier the more you do it; the part of the brain that feels stress when a person is untruthful starts to feel more and more comfortable as the habit increases.
I think lying weighs down your feathers like crude oil on a seabird's plumage; it sticks to you, clogs up your movements, takes your beauty away, and stops you from flying. No longer a free spirit, you are weighed down by deceit and burdened by complication. You might begin to lie to yourself or persuade others to fall in with your deception, bound together by dishonesty.
Perhaps rather a depressing thought for a winter morning's blog posting; a more positive one to follow, I hope.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Miming to 'Femme Fatale' In Bristol

Speeding through the cold sunshine to Bristol, heavy eye make-up that Offsprog One had painted on my lids, and a motorway caff coffee in the cupholder that seems to be the only part of my car that hasn't broken, my life had a sense of purpose yesterday.
Never got on Top of the Pops, never did the miming thing- today was to be a first, and I was looking forward to it with gusto (can you do that?).
The basement of the Café Kino was bustling and rustling (every time you walked past the hanging aluminium foil, it made a noise), balloons drifted across the floor, and photocopying paper boxes disguised as Brillo boxes were stacked up in anticipation.
The Charlie Tipper Conspiracy were at work.
Tim Rippington was cunningly disguised as Andy himself (although he forgot to take his specs off, which were slotted into the neck of his t-shirt) and his partner was 'Nico'.
Their wigs had characters of their own, though I'm not sure they were Andy and Nico's.
We stood on the stage and mimed. I got the words wrong. 'It doesn't matter, you can't see you anyway'. So that was OK.
The camera was set to the Factory setting (get it?) and nobody seemed quite sure if it was filming or not. The red light was on, so perhaps it was.
We ran through the song a couple of times, batted balloons about, sat somewhere different, had a nice chat, and then I went home.
This is going to be a Christmas single. I'll let you know when it's out; it's waiting for a cornet solo, backing vocals, and for me to do the vocal on the B-side which will probably get done on Tuesday morning (morning is the new rock'n'roll evening).
Photo of us all by Tim, photo of me by Offsprog One, other photos by me.








The Raincoats and Angel Olsen

I got there just in time to see Honey Birch walk to the microphone looking confident and sounding strong and full-voiced: her songs are full of messages to teenage girls like her, delivered with power and melody. Her desire to make her feelings heard over-rode fear and struck a positive and honest chord to begin the evening, that wasn't lost for a second right the way through. Honey is a talent to watch (and listen to).

Shirley, the Raincoats manager, and Nina talked us through the reasons for the collaboration between Angel and the Raincoats, before the stage was filled with striped women holding instruments and exuding excitement and anticipation. Alternating between Raincoats songs and Angel Olsen songs, the first song was held together by the spine-tingling violin riff played by Anne Wood; the group swapped instruments throughout, sometimes presenting us with two basses, lots of combinations of guitars, percussion, and a baby synth played by Ana Da Silva that punctuated some of the songs with snarling electronic whines and beeps. There was an egalitarian feeling on stage that knocked the last gig I saw here (Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Mind) into a cocked hoop. Where he was a 'star' who commanded his equally big band to be silent so he could sit on the edge of the stage and swing his legs, this group of musicians were fully in communication with each other, singing along silently to each other's songs when not in command of a microphone (something that is always touching to see), making eye contact, smiling...
I hadn't been familiar with Angel's songs before and was charmed by the hint of Joe Meek in them; she is truly a modern artist, but there is something in her sound that echoes back to the aching reverbs of the 1960s that signalled that all was not well back in that allegedly thriving world.

A song by Gina, a song by Ana, a song by Angel, are You Lonely Too?: and there were bushels of unison singing, from the 'yeah, yeah, yeah's in No-One's Little Girl onwards. Unison singing is powerful, empowering and not always pretty. That's why football chants work so well, and I was impressed by the resistance of the group against harmonising (which they proved enough that they could do), and their embracing of the power of their ability to be bloody loud and bloody clear.
They checked each other out for cues and clues and looked like they were having a blast up there. The chat between songs was witty. 'Tell the orchestra to start', exclaimed Gina, just before one of the (rare) backing tracks kicked in. In spite of the crisp and well-rehearsed edge to the show, there were little hints of informality: the pair of spectacles next to the little synth on the table, for instance.
The song Love to Keep featured Angel and Gina duetting and had been developed into a beautiful flower in rehearsal. You couldn't disengage from this show, because you never knew what was going to happen next. Anne traversed the stage with the violin, visiting the drums, Ana, Angel, Gina, Heather; as the mobile member of the group she contributed to knitting them together visually and sonically too. If Angel is wise, she'll tap into Anne's skills herself at some time in the future.
Then 'Spin!' said Ana, and the giant disco ball spun, peppering the walls and ceiling with little motes of coloured light for her song Disco Ball. I felt like crying; all the emotion of this godforsaken year that has been bottled up for months. Oh humans; we blunder about, wounding other people and being wounded so badly! Seeing this line of women in their unusual configuration reminded me of human-ness, something that has been in such short supply this year. It was the lack of ego, the lack of narcissism and the obvious generosity in the performance and in the nature of the collaboration.
The show went on... the drummer is great and can take anything that is thrown at him. From the balcony I watched him listen and interact with the music, going with the flow when he needed to and boxing in the rhythms when that was what the song asked for.
Angel sang beautiful songs; High and Wild, was a highlight, and in Gina's song Bonkers, I even heard a little of my own contribution, 'They're barking mad, they're wild'. Well, they bloody well are. It was entrancing to hear the musical bridges that they had made between Angel's structured songs and the more experimental songs of The Raincoats. The work had been put in over three days of intensive rehearsals, and the sheer enjoyment of the challenges met and conquered by learning and developing each other's material was utterly infectious.
Gina encouraged everyone to expose their full stripes; the jackets and cardigans came off and Ana played the first chord and off they launched into Lola, such a London song and such a 'now' song, even though it was written way back then. Here was the unison loud-girl singing again; there was nothing pretty about it, but it was beautiful. 'Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls'. Yes they will, and girls will be girls and boys will be boys; we will all be slugs, snails, sugar and spice mixed up together. Off they marched in a parade of stripes, but the audience wasn't ready to say goodbye.
They roared and roared for more.
'Maybe we should do the whole thing again' said Ana, remarking that they could play for Rough Trade's 80th birthday (this was the 40th) but by then she would be over a hundred years old.
We had In Love, we had Fairytale in the Supermarket, and we said a reluctant goodbye to a one-off concert; the band held hands and did a theatre-bow, a final funny touch to a fabulous evening.
All the way through I could see from my spot on the balcony Shirley sitting in the shadows consumed with happiness and pride. What a pity the label weren't here to see this one-off show; it is a rare thing indeed to see a group of all-ages musicians gel with such enthusiasm, skill and sheer joy.
Oh yes- female ones, too.
And I am now an Angel Olsen fan.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Coming Soon: Review of The Raincoats and Angel Olsen

You had to be there, you had to be at the Islington Assembly Rooms last night!
Please excuse these blurry photographs; my phone camera can't cope with distances. Proper review coming shortly.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Femme Fatale

Interesting that this single has turned up again, after Drew Morrison talking about it at the Country Soul Sessions a month ago.

Next year it's 50 years after the Velvets released this song, originally sung by Nico, on their The Velvet Underground and Nico album, and tomorrow I'm recording a new version of it for The Charlie Tipper Conspiracy's Christmas single (cold virus permitting) and heading to Bristol to do a video with them on Saturday. I've nicked the photo from Richard Cundill's Facebook page, who asked me a bit about it so here goes:
Half of the members of The Chefs were fed up with the name and decided that we should change it. I wasn't in that half, but the mood was that if we didn't, the band was at an end. Even my dad thought it was a bad idea and he wasn't even in the music industry. You know that thing about building a brand... well you shouldn't desert it, should you? But I went along with it, because we'd also built a band and well as a brand and it seemed like such a waste to abandon it. But I think advice from external people swung the name change in the end, and that was not a good feeling. We chose the name 'Skat' almost at random, although it was the name of a Russian card game (but also animal poo, as we found out too late). Our sound had developed too, but that could have quite easily existed under the original name. The Beatles is a bit of a stupid name too, isn't it? However, regardless of differences, which were sometimes musical as well as personal, we did all love the Velvet Underground and Femme Fatale was always in our set; it was probably the slowest song we played too but it gave me a break from whacking the strings and singing at the same time.
We recorded it at Alvic studios in West London with the lovely Mike Robinson, who had produced our first John Peel session and who we all really got on with. He was a rock music guy and we liked the way he toughened up our sound. The assistant engineer was Richard Preston, son of Dennis Preston, Joe Meek's business partner.
On the vinyl, we thank John (Peel) and Claudine (Martinet-Riley, our press agent, who was a sweetheart and absolutely the best PR person you could have back then).
The cover design is adapted from a children's book I had as a little girl. The drawings almost look Japanese and I thought that the siamese cat really represented the song well. I loved Nico's voice and the mood of the original song and knew that we'd never get anywhere near that ourselves, but for my generation of punks, the Velvet Underground were almost in our bloodstream and making this record really meant a lot to us.
Soon afterwards the band split. I was ill, and everyone was looking in other directions for somewhere to go. A record label told me I should take the name The Chefs and just start my own band up coasting on the reputation of the name but I wasn't into that. I went to bed for six months and when I got up, I had a new band, Helen and the Horns, which could not have been more different.
End of story x

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

From Last Year in North Carolina

I have found the tracks we recorded in Chris Garges' studio last year, and a series of photographs taken by Daniel Coston not only of that day but of the whole visit to NC. Here we are at the Carter Family Churchyard in Virginia. I am going to put the tracks on Bandcamp this weekend; they sound lovely. It's an EP, with Jimmy Cole, Jim the Fiddle and Martin playing on them. We recorded them sitting in a circle, old-style. Daniel, thank you so much for organising so much of that trip, and for being a truly superb photographer!

A Day In The Life Of Movement Sensors

It's been a static day at the University of the West.
Me and my cough sat this afternoon in a glass booth with a sliding door, seeing student tutees.
Every time one of us moved slightly, the door slid open obligingly, and then closed again.
It was irritating.
Afterwards in the Ladies, an orchestra of taps whooshed on and off as I walked past laden with bags:
Shoooooosh
       Shooooooosh
             Shoooooosh
How very efficient, and how unnecessary.

When I worked there in the early 2000s, I had a scarily out-of-the way office whose lights went off if you didn't move, so you'd be on your own talking to a slightly odd student, perhaps, and be suddenly plunged into darkness.
Rather than getting up and waving my arms about, which might encourage the slightly odd student to become slightly odder still, I made a device out of that hairy string, with a black rubber bat that belonged to one of the Offsprogs tied to the end of it, draped over the industrial-chic metal bars on the ceiling around the light sensor.
As soon as the lights went off, you could yank on the string and make the bat jump up and down in front of the light sensor, and the lights came straight back on again.
I was never scared again.

#moreincommon Album Out Now

#MoreInCommon: HOPE not hate Charity Compilation - Various ArtistsFormat: Download
Available from: 28th October
#MoreInCommon is a compilation album in support of the UK charity HOPE not hate. Since the EU Referendum vote, something nasty has been going on in our country. Eastern and central Europeans are being told that they are no longer welcome here. Ethnic minority Britons have been told to “go home” and Muslims and Jews have been abused on the street.
We may be shocked, but we should not be surprised. The toxic nature of the Referendum debate has unleashed visceral hatred. Egged on by inflammatory language and images during the campaign, it has emboldened the haters lurking within our midst.
But this is not the Britain we know and love. These thugs do not speak for the vast majority of people in the country.
#MoreInCommon is a nationalcampaign to bring our communities back together and with this album a host of diverse artists have kindly donated songs to help raise much needed funds and exposure for the charity. This proves that whatever your background, whatever form your art takes, we can all join together and unite to celebrate our diversity.
Contributing artists include:
Beak>, Chris and Cosey, Datblygu, Thought Forms, The Membranes, Pulco, The Rainkings, Love & the Family Tree, Tired Arms, Mwstard, The Tramways, We're No Heroes, Hotel De Salto, Adwaith, Ysgol Sul, Graingerboy, Ela Orleans, Owl Biro, Climbing Trees, Anhrefyn,  Ani Glas, FFUG, Feral Five, All Hail Hyena, Fran's Word Salad, Jamie Morrison, Jupiter C, Lippy Kid, William Gray, Moon Gangs, Vinna Bee, Sheer Zed, Quiet Noise, Demento, Frenchbloke & Soundhog, Bloodflower, The Tramways, Repo Man, Radio Europa, Chick Quest, Fresh Snow, Kevin Pearce + over 30 other artists.
Organiser Simon Tucker states:
"After the Referendum I was shocked to see all the vitriol that was being displayed on social media and the news. People who I respected were spouting such hateful views that it would make me really angry. I got so sick of shouting into the void and arguing on social media that I decided to contact HOPE not hate to see if I could get involved. They suggested I start up a branch of the charity in Carmarthen which I have done. However, I needed to do more so I had the idea of utilising the contacts and friends I have made over the years in the music industry to see if they would be up for donating songs to the album.
“I was overwhelmed by the response I got (must thank Twitter for this) and I am so excited by this album. A lot of the people involved are in my favourite bands like Beak>, Thought Forms (Invada have been great) Chris and Cosey and Datblygu so to get them involved was a great thrill.
“I also wanted to include a lot of up and coming and independent artists who many people may not know and I hope by their inclusion on the album it gives them some great exposure as they are all fantastic and deserved to be heard by as many people as possible. Every penny made from the album will go to the charity”

Nick Ryan of HOPE not hate said:
We’re delighted that Simon has brought together so many artists in support of our work. #MoreInCommon was our response to Jo Cox’s death and the divisions and disunity which emerged during the Referendum process. We’ve had a fantastic response so far, and with the support of this new album – alongside others who’ve so kindly donated their money and time to HOPE not hate – we’ll be able to continue that effort well into the future.”
Simon Tucker is available for interviews.
Download will be available to download from the 28th October via 
https://hopenothate.bandcamp.com/album/moreincommon (link will be live from this date)
For more information on HOPE not hate please visit: hopenothate.org.uk

Black Never Looked So Colourful

Down in the underground I spotted this delightful creature fluffing deep pink blusher powder generously on to their cheeks with a huge brush, and wished I'd taken a photograph.
At ground level a few minutes later, more adjustments were being made, and I asked if I could take a photograph. I was filled wth curiosity but on my way to work and there was no time to ask questions, although as the magnificent being glided off into the distance, flinging a corner of the ebony cape dismissively over one shoulder, I could hear the words "Black never looked so colourful!" ringing across the concrete courtyard and piercing the grey sound of the commuters who were so focused on nothing, that they didn't even notice.