portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Monday, July 13, 2020



The penultimate episodes of Michaela Coel's shapeshifting, groundbreaking, zeitgeist smashing, new series [The Guardian called it "game changing", which it is IMHO - an entirely new style of writing, new style of drama not seen before; a 21stC whodunnit, how dunnit, what the actual frick is going on ennit!] were broadcast last week (can two of something BE penultimate? Or is it just a singularity thing? . . . . . scratches head . . . . . you SEE what she's done to me? I question everything now!!) and despite the elaborate costumes and dressing as the devil (with operational wings!) the storyline was again to throw us a curved ball as they say, understated and quiet, somehow. So tonight the last two episodes are broadcast and I am such an old fogey I am waiting to watch them (both) when broadcast on terrestrial TV and hope no-one blows the whistle on quite who is destroying who, who is destroyed and what the actual . . . . . . (sic!) They were both released this morning at 6am (who does that? and why?) Genius, but am testing my self control to watch in the traditional manner and am not entirel sure how I am managing to do that!

SPOILER ALERT: she threw another questioning ball at us in the penultimate two and Arabella faced the accusation herself of enabling a dangerous event, requiring apology for something she has previously seen as 'funny' the locking of someone in a room with someone because YOU thought they should get together and the 'victim' needed closure, an apology, the understanding that what Arabella had done was 'wrong' and 'dangerous'  . . . . it contained racial stereotypical goofs that were beyond unforgivable (referring to someone on a form as Afro-Caribbean when they are not. Her character Arabella, is of African origin. The form does not allow for that description so the pompous doctor sits complacent in his ignorance not MY fault safety) etc . . . . the playfulness continued but we were lulled somehow, into a sense of false security or something approaching it as the flashbacks look ever clearer and whilst I have no assumptions about what the denouement will be, at least tonight we will be looking for more clues, more info and ultimately some sense of closure always bearing in mind that Coel's position all the way through is that life ain't like that! . . . . . we shall see.

'What's she doing now? . . . . . . . 

What so like I might be guilty too? . . . . . . 

KATE RUSBY & family!

by Prince

Kate said at the time:
Here is our brand new track ‘MANIC MONDAY’ 🥂🎊😁
We are recording a covers album, called ‘HAND ME DOWN’. Due to lock down we decided to release the tracks digitally as we go along. (Cd and vinyl to follow later in the year) Songs I love, songs to cheer, to reminisce, to sing along, but mainly to create smiles. 😊☀️❤️

Available ⭐️NOW⭐️ on all digital platforms, go see if you can find it. 👀😃🌈

Ps Our girls have been coming to studio too of course, as they have to, so they sing on this too, they are my Bangles, I’m one proud mum. ❤️ Hope you like it👍🎉😁😃😊🌈❤️😆

Then Susanna Hoffs tweeted about it and Kate went all star struck! ( ha ha ha so funny)

OH MY ACTUAL GOODNESS ME!!! Susanna Hoffs, lead singer of The Bangles, has messaged to say she likes our version of The Bangles’ Manic Monday 🎊🥂🎊❤️ it’s made my day, month, year, and made me very emotional, there are tears!!
What a lovely, generous lady!! I am jumping, around in a pretty uncool fashion!!🤫
If only I could pop back in time and tell my 13 year old self 😊☀️
Well thank you fabulous Susanna Hoffs for your kind words🙏 🌈
 — feeling hyper.

I love that she got so overwhelmed and excited that Susanna Hoffs would message her and she turns into a little girl fan! She is such a GIRL! We love her, we love them, Damien too!

then the BBC began playing it on the play lists and she and the girls wanted to announce the fact and I play this if I ever need cheering up . . . . being in lock down and not allowed to hug my granddaughter or new grandson I play it quite a bit . . . . . . . . . .so lovely and so, so funny!

Sunday, July 12, 2020




Tonight's song is a lovely traditional number 'I Wonder What is Keeping My True Love This Night' which Kate and Damien call 'I Wonder' for the sake of brevity otherwise it would interrupt Damien's story about Sweet Pea(s) and his neighbour Alfie . . . . . . . no really. 

Tonight's 'Show and Tell' table is taken up with a glass of Sweet Peas ( a favourite of mine and my Dads) and Spring Onions which Kate gives us tips on growing (sic!) but then follows this excitement with the most beautiful heartfelt song . . . . . . . . . what more could you ask for?

Kate says on Facebook:

Yey!!! 😃Singy Songy Session #17!!! 🎉🥂
This week it's 'I WONDER WHAT IS KEEPING MY TRUE LOVE THIS NIGHT' or just I Wonder for short! 😊 Gorgeous old traddy song which I adore. ❤️ Originally on my 'Sleepless' album then also on my '10' album. A song I've known and loved for years. Hope you like it

Both from 2010 not 2012 or 2002 as Kate guessed!

Buy Kate's 'Sleepless' here . . . .

Buy Kate's '10' here . . . . .

Oh, so you can singalong singy songy stylie:

I wonder what is keeping my true love this night I wonder what is keeping him out of my sight I wonder if he knows of the pain I endure And stays from me this night I'm not sure Oh love are you coming your cause to advance Or yet are you waiting for a far far better chance Are you coming for to tell me you've a new love in store Or are you coming for to tell me you love me no more For I can love lightly and I can love strong I can love the old love till the new love comes on I only said I loved you for to give your heart ease And when I'm not with you I'll love whom I please There's gold in my pocket and pain in my heart For I can't love a man with too many sweethearts You're my first and only false love but it's lately I knew That the stronger I loved you the falser you grew The spring grass grows the greenest and spring water runs clear I'm sorry and tormented for the love of my dear Your love it lies so lightly as the dew on the thorn That's there in the evening and away with the dawn
This . . . . . .
obvs . . . . . . 

Emily says:
Hello friends, 
I hope you can join me on Monday 13th July at 6pm BST / 1pm EDT when I play a set of NEW SONGS on Rough Trade Records and Rough Trade NYC Instagram Live Streams! 
Feel free to ask any questions as we go, I'll be at the ready. 

Friday, July 10, 2020


Women who write and rock a continuing series  . . . . . I found these re-posts a bit snuck (its a word?) out the way on the back of the Voodoo Wagon . . . . . . . 

Hot damn this is smoking hot and so is the guitar player  ha ha ha ha ha ha . . . . . 

Bonnie Raitt - Live at The Greek 2012 - Voodoo Wagon

so is this . . . . . . a soundboard and a bit 'hot' to these ears but highly listenable and collectable for sure. If you didn't get it first time around check it here. Damn the woman can SING!

Bonnie Smokin' hot slide player and singer

and from 1989 here's Bonnie in Cincinnati!

Bonnie Raitt- Live at Bogarts, Cincinnati OH 1989 - Voodoo Wagon

now this last is available over at Mega in the Antipodes which is cool but doesn't work on my Safari but those struggling try the clickie spammie Google Chrome or Firefox will do it too!

She introduces Richard Thompson here to play on John Prine's 'Angel From Montgomery' which she always kind of made her own but here she notes she had just spoken to John on the phone and he was making ready to go fishing in Arkansas . . . . . . . . we miss you Mr Prine and we dedicate this version here to your memory, Richard and Bonnie do Angel . . . . . . . . . . 

Thanks Voodoo monsters

Bonnie Raitt - Vienna,Va. 1977

Back From The Dead...
Originally posted January 12, 2009

They (or rather Anon) posts another much earlier set in 1977 from Wolf Trap, Vienna (no not THAT Vienna . . . )  which I already have but is worth having if you don't know it . . . . . check it out here

Bonnie Raitt - Wolf Trap 1977 - Voodoo Wagon


Emily Barker has let fly with a new song from her forthcoming album and it's a doozie!
Great song, great message, advance book the album today!
She is reviewed in Clash Magazine today:

It's part of her brand new album...

Emily Barker has always been keenly aware of her environment.
Growing up in Australia - a country hit by colossal bush-fires as 2020 opened - she is now based in Stroud, and this switch has caused her to place renewed emphasis no the natural world.
New album 'A Dark Murmuration Of Words' is incoming, and it finds this potent, outspoken songwriting directly addressing green concerns.
Out on September 4th, it was produced alongside Greg Freeman, and finds her musicality - bold, direct, uncompromising - reaching new levels of lyrical literacy.
New song 'The Woman Who Planted Trees' is indicative of her approach, and her global concerns.
Lyrically, it was inspired by Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai, who founded The Green Belt Movement as a means to empower women in her community, provide food, and reforest degraded land.
It's about simple gesture having a profound impact, and it leans back on Emily's own childhood in Australia, where land damaged by early settlers is now being replenished.
“I grew up planting trees with my family along the Blackwood River to help prevent erosion, and in barren paddocks that had been cleared for livestock during colonisation,” she added, “Those lessons stuck with me and I’ve continued to support tree-planting schemes, especially in Australia where there are huge problems with salinity due to swathes of land being cleared by the early settlers.”
A beautiful vignette, you can check out 'The Woman Who Planted Trees' below.

Thursday, July 09, 2020


"Flame Twin"

Some serious gumbo from Norah's new album 'Pick Me Up Off The Floor' out now

"Flame Twin" is taken from Norah's newest album 'Pick Me Up Off The Floor,' out now and available to stream/download here: https://NorahJones.lnk.to/PickMeUpOff... Connect with Norah: http://www.norahjones.com/ https://www.instagram.com/norahjones/ https://www.facebook.com/norahjones/ https://twitter.com/NorahJones Music video by Norah Jones performing Flame Twin. © 2020 Capitol Records, LLC http://vevo.ly/9FbCKw

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

               XTC!! II

It all started here . . . . . I bought a 12" EP by a local band

Wow well someone responded to Silent Way posting a couple of XTC programmes before Thanksgiving over on Floppy Boot Stomp.  Hinterwald an avid member of the FBS team has posted some 21 recordings of XTC from Demo tapes to concerts in 1990. I am not even sure I have all of these let alone room to down load them  ha ha ha ha ha . . . . . . . but check them out here:

Voodoo Wagon - XTC Vol 1
10 ROIO Recordings 

1974 Star Park Demos
1980 Black Sea Demos
1989 Alternate Oranges & Lemons
Big Express & Various Demos
Nonsuch Demos

1977-08-13 Liverpool
1978-06-03 Liverpool
1978-12-08 Amsterdam
1979-07-19 London, UK
1979 Drums And Wireless BBC Radio Sessions 7

11 ROIO Recordings

                                   1980-01-30 FM Paradise Rock Club, Boston
                                   1980-02-25 Old Waldorf, San Francisco, USA
1980-12-02 Roslyn
                       1980 BC University - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
                                      1981-04-17 Cherry Hill NJ - Emerald City
                                                       1982-02-10 Rockpalast
                                     1982-03-07 Ancienne Belgique - Brussels
                                           1989-05-15 Boston-Kings For A Day
                                      1989-05-22 WXRT 93 FM - Chicago, Illnois
                                                    1989 Acoustic Radio Tour 
                                                       1990 Explode Together



I have always been fascinated by the skeleton of our human form and from an early age built the Airfix model kit (about 6-7" high as I recall) bought paper models too and I badly wanted the skull but it was rather expensive (I have a real one now!) something to do with the 'human clay' and the stuff we are made on . . . . . . . . . 

 . . . . . so here's a piece of artwork by Italian artist Gino De Dominicis and we could do with some scale maybe. 
What do you think? What is we are seeing?

Looks deceptive huh? We judge scale by the human form very often measuring things in hands, the height a man being 2m approx, Leonardo'sVetruvian man and the golden mean or section being based upon the human form (or vice versa) a span etc so when we see a human form in a building we get confused for the moment is it a tiny building around the human form or a massive skeleton in an ordinary sized building? For a moment the mind seems to alternate between the two . . . . . 

so we could do with some more information to judge by. What about it being outside . . . . surrounded by people? . . . . . .  yeah that'll do it


What in the gosh darned heck is THAT about? and why the pointed beak like nose? Well I haven't got a clue! Is it art? Almost certainly . . . . . 

CALAMITA COSMICA (Cosmic Magnet) (1990) by Gino De Dominicis

Tuesday, July 07, 2020


(  . . . . . and always did . . . . . )

Black troops were welcome in Britain, but Jim Crow wasn’t: the race riot of one night in June 1943

By Professor Alan Rice - Professor in English and American Studies, University of Central Lancashire
Bullet holes found in the wood surrounds of the NatWest Bank in Bamber Bridge, in Lancashire in the north of England, in the late 1980s led to the rediscovery of an event that saw some of the few shots fired in anger in England during World War II, which had been largely forgotten. These were not shots fired by invading troops, but by American GIs against their own military police.
Intrigued by his discovery, Clinton Smith, the black British maintenance worker who discovered the holes in the woodwork, asked locals how they could have got there. He was told that they were the remnants of the Battle of Bamber Bridge, when black American troops stationed in the town faced off against white US Army military police on the night of June 24-25, 1943.
More a mutiny than a battle, it led to the death of Private William Crossland in nearby Mounsey Road, and four other injuries to black American soldiers in a five-hour confrontation which spread from the thatched Olde Hob Inn at one end of the town to the Adams Hall army camp, where from early 1943 the US Eighth Army Quartermaster Truck Company, a black company apart from a few white officers, had been based. The event was officially downplayed, in order not to undermine morale on the home front, but the events of that night led to the conviction of 27 black American soldiers. 
African American soldiers following a court martial in which they were found guilty of crimes during the Battle of Bamber Bridge. (Image: Mirrorpix)

The ‘battle’

The whole incident is typical of the clashes on and around bases in Britain between black and white American troops – 44 between November 1943 and February 1944 alone – where the intrinsic racism in a segregated army led to confrontations. This was especially the case in a foreign setting where the black soldiers saw around them a very different reality from that they faced at home – a non-segregated society where they were welcomed as fellow fighters against fascism, rather than tolerated hod-carriers for the war effort as they were generally treated by the US Army.
That evening in 1943, black troops and white locals were stretching out “drinking-up time” in a pub at the end of the evening. Words were exchanged, and military police arrived and tried to arrest Private Eugene Nunn for not wearing the proper uniform. But they faced new solidarities: a white British soldier challenged the military police: “Why do you want to arrest them? They’re not doing anything or bothering anybody.” 
The incident escalated into a fist fight and the military police were beaten back. When they returned with reinforcements to meet the group, now returning to camp, a battle developed in the street. Shots were fired, and Crossland died with a bullet in his back.
Black GIs would drink in mixed company in British pubs, to the horror of the white US Army authorities. brizzlebornandbred
When rumours spread at the camp that black GIs had been shot, scores of men formed a crowd, some carrying rifles. The arrival at around midnight of more military police with a machine gun-equipped vehicle convinced many of the black soldiers that the police intended to kill them – and they drew rifles from the stores. Some barricaded themselves into the base, others tore off back into town, leading to running shooting battles in the streets.
Many of the black American troop standing up to the military police that febrile night were no doubt influenced by news filtering through of race riots in Detroit on June 20, where defenceless black men were attacked by racist police, responsible for the deaths of 17 of the 25 African-Americans killed. 

Race relations at home and abroad

In his essays George Orwell alluded to the oft-quoted assertion that American GIs were “oversexed, overpaid and over here”. But he qualified this with the observation that: “the general consensus of opinion is that the only American soldiers with decent manners are Negroes.”
The black American servicemen were welcomed into the leisure time of their British hosts in ways that spread solidarity. A former black GI, Cleother Hathcock, remembers: 
At that time the Jitterbug was in and the blacks would get a buggin’ and the English just loved that. We would go into a dance hall and just take over the place because everybody wanted to learn how to do that American dance, the Jitterbug. They went wild over that.
The town did not share the US Army’s segregationist attitudes. According to the author Anthony Burgess, who spent time in Bamber Bridge during the war, when US military authorities demanded that the town’s pubs impose a colour bar, the landlords responded with signs that read: “Black Troops Only”. The extent to which this rankled the white American troops is shown by the comments of a lieutenant: 
One thing I noticed here and which I don’t like is the fact that the English don’t draw any color line. The English must be pretty ignorant. I can’t see how a white girl could associate with a negro.
This sort of attitude exemplifies the particular resentment over the way black troops openly fraternised with white British women – and many of the confrontations during this period were sparked by the ease of interracial relationships in a British rather than American context
The military authorities tried to push back against this by imposing Jim Crow segregation in Britain, so that when the black American world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis visited on a propaganda tour in 1944 he encountered blatant discrimination from the troops he was visiting, as he had at home.
The events in Bamber Bridge encapsulated these Jim Crow practices – and the wider paradox of the open-armed welcome from the local residents coupled with resentment of that welcome by white American troops. The pub was a place of sanctuary for black troops where they mingled with, mainly friendly, locals, and where the segregation many had to endure in the American South was thankfully absent. 
Local resident Gillian Vesey recalled how, as a young barmaid at the Olde Hob Inn, she stood up for African American soldiers against attempts by white Americans to impose discriminatory practices in the pub, insisting that the American white soldiers wait their turn rather than expecting to be served before their black colleagues.
Keeping a segregated army in the context of fighting for democracy became untenable, and in 1948 the then US president Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981 which eventually led to an integrated army. While the convictions of the troops involved at Bamber Bridge were largely commuted or overturned, soldiers returned to Jim Crow segregation in the US, with the reality that some veterans were lynched in their uniforms
But the new freedoms they experienced in Europe meant they were not prepared to put up with discrimination, racism and racial violence again. As veteran Wilford Strange said in the documentary film Choc’late Soldiers from the USA
I think the impact these soldiers had by volunteering was the initiation of the Civil Rights movement, ’cos these soldiers were never going back to be discriminated against again. None of us were.
Alan Rice is the author of:
Liverpool University Press provides funding as a content partner of The Conversation UK

University of Central Lancashire provides funding as a member of The Conversation UK.

Disclosure statement

Alan Rice receives funding from Arts Humanities Research Council, British Association for American Studies, Lippman- Miliband Trust, the European Union and The Embassy of the United States. I have volunteered for the Labour Party, am Co-Director of the Institute for Black Atlantic Research at UCLAN and am on the boards of the Centre for the Study of International Slavery and the Lancaster Jazz Festival. He was a talking head for the documentary Choc'late Soldiers from the USA (Cook & Izon, 2013).