Glastonbury 2015: Mood vampires wrong – just as good as ever!

I would like to offer you a warning if you are on your way to Glastonbury 2015 right now.  You will have been warned about thieves, people selling stuff you shouldn’t take and all the usual things you need to know whenever you go somewhere there are a lot of people.  What I must warn you of, however, is absolutely unique to Glastonbury:

“Remember the good old days of Glastonbury?  Of course it wasn’t called that then, it was called the Pilton Pop Festival.  It was much better then of course…” – WARNING!  This is classic deception.  Read on…

“It was completely different back then.  It’s all changed now.  Its all students and wannabe new agers…”  FINAL WARNING!  If this beast has successfully reached into your heart with their affable opener and have set themselves up as a festival-going-legend-come-veteran – someone a person exactly like you would be downright proud to add to your Glastonbury experience,they are already part the way through their wicked deed.  Here is some advice…

(visit Gig Addict)

Examples:

What to listen out for What you must do
“It was a different experience then, it was all new and fresh” Remember this is a person who no longer enjoys anything and cannot appreciate why you are so happy.  Tip: Start a conversation about the conceptual entity of new (or some such), they may run.
“Pilton, as it is really called, always used to have cool acts, not like Kanye or whatever” Yep. In the past festival goers have tolerated complete unknowns like Marc Bolan, David Bowie, The Cure…legends of their time and still…just like the acts you get on any year. Tip: Be kind and humour them

And about the name…the organisers could call it Brian and that would be its name. It’s called Glastonbury (get over it). These people have reached the age where they call shops in their town by the names they knew as a child.   Tip: Keep this opinion to yourself

“Its all students and wannabe new agers these days…” Travellers aside, Glastonbury has always had students, new agers (wannabe’s and whatever the alternative is) and pretty much everyone else. That is one of the great things about it.  Tip: Dont let the irony of a relative old timer telling you this pass you by

If by now you haven’t realised, your instinct should be to run or confront.

My best advice is do neither.  Have a nice chat and then move along.  Essentially, embrace the festival spirit.  My warning is quite simple however, do not let this beast steal a piece of your soul.  This is your Glastonbury.  Just like it was for them, this is your moment.

Who knows, one day in the future you might find yourself at some obscure bar at Glastonbury reminiscing about how awesome 2015 was and how it has never been the same since.

Have a great time and be safe. 

Ed

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Musical collaboration with fellow blogger Musiqfreak

Interesting suggestions and requests often come my way…

I just recently created a multimedia presentation for the commemoration of the outbreak of World War 1. Research spanning 6 months led me to original source material and found me visiting ancestors of those who fought in the 1914-18 War.

I found myself doing this as a result of initially being willing to help out with a display but quickly realizing that it was too much of a responsibility for anyone to look after irreplaceable artifacts with immense sentimental value. With that came the realization that if I photographed and filmed the artifacts, I could more effectively convey a story and a sense of Shepton Mallet, my home Town, and rural England in 1914.

I approached this as a journalist and ultimately ended up calling upon my multimedia skills. The resultant piece was amazingly rewarding; the biggest responsibility I felt was to those who contributed to the piece with their stories and by sharing with me their handmade postcards, pictures and medals. On the evening it was shown, the small ‘cinema’ area of the large Marquee it was housed in was standing room only for the entire evening (aside from one short power outage). Reactions from those who contributed varied from beaming smiles to tears brought about from deeply stored and possibly long forgotten emotions. I have never in my entire life felt so humbled.

Creatively, I have looked forward to this point, ‘post Commemoration’ when I can get involved in some shorter term and lighter creative projects, not least of which polishing my own songs up for live performance.

I have been writing songs, dance music and sound pieces for decades. My most recent material (http://www.SoundCloud.com/eddavis) are soul-bearing raw and what I would call ‘pure songs’. They rely on melody, lyrics and basic musical/vocal performance rather than on any production or arrangement.

business-benefits-of-collaboration

Collaborate:

A couple of weeks back I had the pleasure of meeting an old work colleague and now long standing friend Kim AKA Musiqfreak, We had the usual catchup about work, love lives (which didn’t take long) and eventually got on to something she had alluded to in a message a while before. Kim is 29 (oh to be 29 again) and was recalling that she made a ‘things to do by the time you are 30’ list. Not a bucket list, and things were added as well as ticked off, but the important detail here is that the list included writing a song.

I always make choices regarding creative projects on some basic criteria; do I actually want to do this, do I want to work with this person, is it exciting and will it turn out well. Kim is a remarkably talented and intelligent girl but also has about the nicest nature you could wish to encounter. The timing was fortunate, the idea of helping someone tick something off a list appeals to my inner nerd so all the boxes were ticked as far as I was concerned.

Will it turn out well? One danger with collaborations is that the other person may present what they see as a great idea but if it doesn’t resonate with your creative streak it’s hard to be the person who has to work with the initial fixed idea. Writing songs I have many many ideas per week and only a few become fleshed out and even fewer get recorded. This is a sort of triage and survival of the fittest.

This is going to be interesting and I will keep posting about it. What was immediately apparent was that Kim and I both blog. If the song comes out well, great. If it gets completed but isn’t very good, that’s fine too. If we blog about it and have a laugh in the process, well…that will do, but let’s not aim low.

You can find Ed Davis on Twitter as @Skootaman and Musiqfreak here on WordPress or on Twitter as @MusiqFreak

1914-18 Commemoration: ‘Why’ should we never forget?

During the war fought between 1914 and 1918 it is well documented that soldiers and civilians alike died in numbers I can only describe as unimaginable.  There is nothing I can tell you that has not been documented about the battles, the strategies, the politics and the suffering, and I really am no expert on the subject.What I am is a man born free decades later.  I was born free in an England whose language is its native one, able to make choices, speak freely about my thoughts and opinions without censorship.  I am appalled when I encounter racism or hatred towards any minorities as it takes me by surprise; I have not been brought up in a Country where those values are the defaults or the presiding ones.

While I grew up hanging on every one of John Lennon’s words, the ‘real world’ is less idealistic, nuanced with many shades of grey.  Wars have been going on throughout my life. The Vietnam war was still happening when I was born, but the closest I ever felt to that was watching ‘Mash’ on TV.  In 1982 The Faulkland’s Conflict brought the sensation of threat a little closer, but by ‘close’ I mean on TV, and around 8000 miles from my doorstep.  

UK Terrorism felt like more of an issue but I was grateful to grow up in a town of no interest to the IRA.  In fact, the first time I felt a true sense of fear about war was in the aftermath of ‘9/11’.  I had a daughter on the way and for her, truly feared the idea of a World with a hidden enemy.  

A reality check reminded me that this was also 3.5 thousand miles away, but of course, the following July, matters were brought much closer to home, in London on ‘7/7’.  I was in Shepton Mallet on that day but knew lots of people who were in London having regularly worked there.  I suppose then, that is as near to the horrors of war I have been;  120 miles away with an outside fear someone I know might be injured or killed that lasted about 1 day; a call from some mobile phones quickly alleviated my worries.

War is horrible.  Few seem to agree on the outcomes of events in Northern Ireland but there remains a healthy resistance from those who lived through the violence who would prefer arrive at a diplomatic, political solution than revert to how things were.  Young, angry people who feel talk is ‘not enough’ are reported to have splintered and are keen to fight but these are reported – at least – to be dissidents and not a reflection of the desires of the ‘old guard’.

Much as with the 1914-18 War, there are facts, figures, viewpoints and details which could be endlessly argued and debated, but this is not my point;  those who remember war are far less likely to have any illusions about what it involves.  It may seem obvious to ask why that is, but it is worth pondering for one moment the fear even those on the sidelines must have felt, the loss, the uncertainty and the pain which must have been so overwhelming it would have been almost impossible to prevent it turning into a bitter and dark hatred and anger.  It is humbling that for so many in terrible situations across the globe and throughout history, forgiveness and understanding has replaced those emotions and prevailed.  

The most common question I have been asked in the run-up to the events planned for August 4th this year – 100 years since Britain declared war on Germany – is why should we ‘celebrate’ it?  The answer is we should never celebrate war, but if we do not remember it and reflect on it then we are at the greatest risk of letting history repeat itself.  The short answer is, of course, it is a commemoration, not a celebration, but emotive questioners rarely welcome semantic answers.

I entirely support and it seems right to have a military commemoration with rites and protocols I have little grasp of.  That is an unfamiliar world to me though.  I will be supporting the Centenary events between 2014-2018 because for each one of the Towns’ 400 fallen soldiers there were 100 or more suspicious, angry, and frightened Sheptonian’s trying to get on with life, contribute to the war effort and to simply try and survive with no clue as to what the future might hold.  While the numbers might vary, that scenario was doubtless repeated to communities in all countries involved, regardless of the intent of their leaders.

I cannot imagine what that is like, but I can and believe I should stop and try, for a moment at least to reflect on a pivotal point in global history and to remember, humanly, experiences which should never be given way to happening again.

The ‘turds’ I must push out

This weekend has been a big one for me. Not the usual weekend at all in fact. I have contemplated my existence, the futility of it all and quite surprisingly found myself reborn.

When I was a child I dabbled with and became fascinated by anything that made a noise. I couldn’t make a sound with a kitchen utensil without imagining its huge untapped musical potential, qualities one might argue could lead a man into becoming Louis Walsh, only with it came a fascination with what others’ were doing (and some notion of what quality is – listen up Louis!). ‘Others’ at that stage in time were punk rockers, followed by electro pioneers such as Kraftwerk.

This led me to explore Cabaret Voltaire, producers like Steve Levine and ultimately took me on a path to some crazy experiences; drunkenly fronting bands, playing jazz piano for hours on end in long drawn out Sunday afternoon muso sessions, and – one of the greatest buzzes of all (because it’s really bloody easy) DJing out my own remixes and tunes to bunches of mental party goers.

I am human though. Some would say as an arty type I’m a human at the sensitive end of the spectrum too. Personal experiences with the kind of person no one should ever let into their life provided me with a daughter I am not ‘allowed’ to see and the destruction of the blind confidence that enabled me to take to the stage, to ‘busk it’, and to generally enjoy being involved in musical activities whether they were perfect, productive or had any commercial potential or not.

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Sun Breaking Through The Clouds – “Leonardo DiCaprio-orama”

Great pic

Don Charisma

Caught this recently off my balcony, the sun breaking through is always pretty exciting …

So I’m calling this a “Leonardo DiCaprio-orama” because isn’t he just like a ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds !

Yuck, I can’t believe I just wrote that … I do like DiCaprio, but not that much 🙂

Enjoy …

DonCharisma.org-Sun-Breaking-Through-The-Clouds

Taken in Thailand (c) Don Charisma



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Dying to forget

Great read. Like a window into your life:)

musiqfreak

Back in 2012 I had an Easter break that was strangely a great night and also the worst night. There were things that happened that fateful Good Friday that I long to forget and some things that I just wonder at in disbelief. I very rarely have regrets, however there are parts of the evening I genuinely can’t remember to this day, that frightens me.

I don’t remember chocolate that year, which is strange considering how I’m such a chocoholic. Seriously, if you ask me a week from now how Easter has been this year I’ll just tell you what I managed to eat. However even this year chocolate was eclipsed by my friend alcohol. That’s exactly how the story begins for the Easter of 2012.

I had some time off work and I wanted to blow off some steam. I was pretty comfortable going out in my hometown, there…

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Why Googling Franz Ferdinand in 2014 shouldn’t lead you to a bands fan page:

I have recently started upon a path of learning and hopefully understanding. Those who know me will already be aware that I constantly crave knowledge; books on cosmology, physics, and quantum mechanics, practicing various instruments and learning to write computer code. This is a diversion from the diverse though; I have been reading up on WWI.

In the town I live (Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England) plans are well underway to mark the centenary of WW1. I confess, I was initially surprised when I found out in Autumn 2013 that we would ‘celebrate’ the start of a war and tried to imagine what kind of firework display could possibly do it justice! I was of course being, not unusually, trite for my own amusement, and gradually the reasoning behind this idea started to come to life in my mind, and the importance of remembering started to hit home.

Starting to look back at a historical event I studied at school, I was immediately surprised at how complicated the circumstances which led to the 14-18 war were. I remembered that the assassination of Franz Ferdinand kind of kicked off the whole malarkey and my mind was comfortable that it was probably the Kaiser Chiefs that did it – such is showbiz. I was surprised to (re) learn that he was actually assassinated by a young terrorist in Bosnia.

The details around it are in fact a bit bizarre; the 19 year old that killed him missed with a hand grenade the first time, injuring some people in the car behind the Archduke.

After a bit of a rest (that sort of thing can ruin your morning) the Archduke decided he would visit the injured in hospital. The driver made a mistake, unaware that the itinerary had changed, and was forced to reverse up a side street. The soon-to-be assassin Gavrilo Princip happened to be sat outside a cafe which the Archduke was being reversed passed when the car stalled. Seizing the opportunity which would be cut from a movie as seeming too contrived, the assassin ran over and shot the Archduke’s Wife, Sophie, and then the Archduke himself.

As I stated up front, I am still discovering the history so I might find out that the Archduke was a bad person, but his concern when shot was for his beloved wife and children, and when asked if he was ok, his last words were something along the line of “it’s nothing”, despite the bullet in his neck.

Those in Germany at the time who were so inclined knew that there was a limited window of opportunity to go to war (basically, before the Russians got their act together) and knew this could be the excuse they needed. Germany apparently envied Britain’s success and believed this was because she had a navy, had colonies which she could send undesirables to and maintained a Conservative ideology with long standing traditions, institutions and a monarchy.

I am at the beginning of this attempt to truly understand what lead to the First World War and how that then set the scene for the Second World War. What I knew up front was that around 10 million military personnel were killed and almost 7 million civilians. I can’t imagine those numbers in terms of MnM’s let alone as pointlessly lost souls, whatever their nationality.

Having a Dad who is a historian, I was brought up with the idea that all the lessons are there in the history books and it’s only when people ignore the lessons or see themselves as different that the mistakes get repeated. For this reason and in honour of those who fought for what they believed in, or simply because they were told to, I am going to do my best to get to grips with those terrible times.

I can’t honestly pretend to be capable of even imagining what it was like, but as the Kipling poem, ‘Recessional’ warns us; “Lest we forget“.