The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
Two fine musicians with songs of personal and political insight - and tall tales round the campfire
There's a fine backdrop - a glowing red inverted pentagram upstage - for the blues-influenced musicians playing this gig.
But on tonight's evidence both Nashville folk star Otis Gibbs and support act, the relative newcomer Sean Taylor, don't need the aid of superstition to cast their spell.
Up first is Taylor, modestly stepping forward only to crack a joke at the audience's expense.
He tilts his hat before belting out blues-infused guitar rhythms, showcasing musical influences from Robert Johnson to Steve Ray Vaughn.
His short set, varied in subject matter and musical genre, includes dirty-down numbers like Austin Texas Blues, backed up by a searching number about a friend lost to drug addiction.
By the third song, Taylor has the audience in his pocket as he turns up the soul factor in his smoky voice.
He gives an alternative rendition of Stand Up, his most well-known song to date and a rebel standard amongst the Occupy movement. It shows him at his best - a socially conscious artist ready to break into the big time.
But he'll no doubt learn much from elder statesman Gibbs, whose clear articulation of pain, dark humour and subtle sociopolitical insight is evident during his intimate set.
Silence falls and the 80-plus audience squeeze in closer as if Gibbs is about to tell them some deep secret.
With gruff Nashville tones, he switches between personal struggle during hard economic times to the painful story of Caroline, a song about an abused wife.
It is not all doom and gloom though. Gibbs squeezes in ironic campfire stories only to raise a laugh when he declares that "there is no punchline."
Gibbs has an attractive sensitivity which he carries off despite a very Seasick Steve big-beard look.
But his effortless strumming and life experience etched into every note soon make you set your own problems aside for the evening.