I love the diversity of my gigs. Last Friday week I went back to my 1970s roots at the Doghouse in Nottingham, which looks like a bikers’ clubhouse, has a massive crack in the glass in the front door and hosts old-school punk and metal shows.
Given the predilection of some metallers for the odd pint or two in league with Satan, there must be some interesting cultural confrontations given that it’s next door to a church.
The next day I was at the Gate to Southwell Music Festival nearby, as comfortable as it is possible to be without actually lying on a water bed eating chocolate. They had a stall selling leather napkin rings, a prosecco and gin bar and a medieval style microbrewery which brewed, among other things, Dog & Cock IPA. Two ingredients I really don’t want to see in any of the beers at Glastonwick, the beer/music festival I run every year.
The audience was friendly and welcoming. Fiery young radical punk-folk singer Grace Petrie was on immediately before me and she absolutely stormed it. She has loads of new songs, a commanding stage presence and is a lovely woman. In one of her latest offerings she mentions that she’d quite like to play the main stage at Glastonbury.
Take note, Eavis clan. She totally deserves to.
Last Saturday I was at Leamington Peace Festival, a free event which, unbelievably, has been running for 39 years — hats off to all involved. There I was, slap bang in the centre of England on one of the hottest days of the year, greeted by a large crowd basking in the sun, approximately 30 per cent of whom were under 10, many unfamiliar with the work of Attila the Stockbroker.
This always presents a bit of a problem for me, since my poems and songs are not entirely devoid of references to dangly bits, bodily functions, Tories and Crystal Palace. I am fully aware that not every parent wants to be confronted by a question like: “Mummy, what’s smegma, who is Michael Gove and why does that shouty man say he has some instead of a brain?”
I got round it, as I always do, by a combination of compromise, euphemism — and where nothing else was effective, simply leaving out the offending word. It meant some of my poems didn’t scan, but that was a small price to pay for ensuring that the Leamington Peace Festival can celebrate its 40th anniversary next year without being hampered by complaints from outraged parents.
Last Tuesday I hosted a social featuring Brighton’s legendary Piranhas at our wonderful Prince Albert pub. It was for attendees at the annual delegate conference of Unison Action, the recently formed broad left alliance within the union, all set up by the indefatigable Tony Wright of The Hurriers. A fine time was had by all.
And the following day we had a wonderful, packed meeting of our totally revitalised, nay, turbo-charged East Worthing and Shoreham Labour Party. After her amazing feat in turning our constituency into a marginal for the first time since the Hyborean Age by taking 11,000 votes off the Tory majority, Sophie Cook was confirmed by popular acclaim as our candidate for the next general election (bring it on!) Two Corbyn supporters were elected to represent us at conference.
Things are changing fast. This clueless government can’t last long, riven by internal contradictions and relying on an alliance with the DUP, best described as the political wing of the 17th century. Prepare for another election soon, folks — then let’s finish the job, change this country and ensure that totally avoidable, greed-driven tragedies like the Grenfell Tower fire never happen again.