Thursday, November 26, 2015

Plus - Songs about climate change, environmental degradation, meltdowns, earthquakes and other catastrophes

Hi - so first up my band Plus is playing another show: Wednesday 09.12. back at the lovely Stags Head in Orsman Rd, which is just off the Kingsland Road near the canal and Haggerston overground. Also playing are Horse Pussies and Suction Cups and more, should be a fun night, facebook event here:

What I want to present here in a blogpost is a series of our songs that address climate change and other environmental disasters in our songs, not necessarily as protest songs, more in a moody, free flowing, sometimes even ambient style. When I write lyrics, they often are a bit freestyle, sentences that come into my head, things I pick up while there's something topical on the TV, wordplays, slipping into voices, conjuring up images. Echo effects on my voice add to that as well, so I don't always want things to be too clear etc. I'm not sure songs necessarily have to have a message or a clear message but if you are given a microphone and some songs to sing you might as well say what's on your mind or empty your mind and see what of it sticks with the song. So gradually these songs started to appear, and since we are on the eve of another global climate conference, as well as experiencing times with drastic desperate news on an almost daily basis, it seems to be a good time to reflect back and present these songs in this context...

I Know I Know Colony Collapse

I know I know Colony Collapse from Plus on Myspace.

it's sort of a cover/mutation of a John McLaughlin track with my own vocals/words. Colony Collapse disorder is a scientific term for the dying of the bee colonies and our song plays like a wailing warning sign, also the first track on our Rotating Futures album and the introduction to the bleak world of this album which you can experience live here too:

Double Shine Dustbowl Future

This one is more about the financial meltdown... what happens when the bubbles burst

Walking the Foodmiles

probably my favourite of these songs, we used to play it live a lot. It deals with the psychological fallout dealing with the ongoing sceptre of environmental disasters creeping into our daily lives, the way we live our normal lives as if nothing is happening, the weird edges at the corners of things giving us signs and waymarkers that we maybe can't fully grasp yet

Medicine, Food and Water

The words are a straight transcript of a BBC news report on the dreadful earthquake in Haiti, a frighteningly intense number, seems to work well live... this is a snapshot of a world in complete turmoil, using the expressions and the jargon you hear in news reports trying to describe the horror

Save the Bees

this is threatening to become one of our most popular songs ever, whenever we play it it gets a great reaction. It came literally out of nowhere at a rehearsal, Chris started playing this tune and I started to sing the lines and then John joined in, literally the first time we played it, it was already a bit perfect. A catchy song to save the bees, together we can do it?

Choosing Directions

& the newest in this line of songs, this is an urgent moody meditation on climate change and politics, or the failure of politics to come to terms with it, and some other stuff, some of the lyrics were written during the heavy flooding around London in February 2014. A sign of things to come? Thanks for listening...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Black Country Living Museum

 going down the mine

 a chainmaking demonstration

what a fascinating place! This is the third museum like this I visited, after the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Northern Ireland, and the Sussex Downs and Weald open air museum near Chichester. The Black country is is an old industrial heartland near Birmingham, collecting houses and buildings from the industrial age, there are canals and mines already part of the terrain, and they added some very interesting buildings, mostly from the 19th century, creating a little village area... some scenes from 'Peaky Blinders' were filmed here apparently and I bought one of the distinctive caps from the gentleman's clothing shop on the little hill overlooking the village street towards the pub....