Billy Bragg, Shappi Korsandi, Francesca Martinez et al at CWU Meeting, Bournemouth   2 comments

jc4pm

 

Tabloids making millions betting bullshit baffles brains
They cynically hold up their hands if anyone complains
And they say “All we’re doing is giving people what they want”
Well they’re crying out for justice, people crying out for justice.

—From ‘Scousers Never Buy The Sun‘ by Billy Bragg

Jackie took a break from her meeting in Highworth and found me in the library reading the Twitter feeds which had suddenly exploded with the news that the Hillsborough Inquiry found that The 96 had been “unlawfully killed.” “What do you reckon this will do to the playlist, tonight?” I asked and she responded, correctly, with some of the lyrics, above.

We were leaving, when her business completed, for Bournemouth to see a review show in support of Corbyn for Prime Minister featuring Billy Bragg (who wrote ‘Scousers Never Buy The Sun’ in response to the Sun’s reprehensible coverage of the disaster and just about everything else) and a large contingent of other acts and political speakers we were eager to see. These included comedians Shappi Khorsandi, Francesca Martinez, Grainne Maguire, and Joe Wells; ‘punk’ poet Attila the Stockbroker; singer-songwriter Grace Petrie; and guest speakers Dave Ward (General Secretary of the CWU, whose conference sponsored this event) and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell.

 

CWU JC4PM lineup

Great show and I would have been happy to see full performances or talks by any one of the guests but everyone stuck more-or-less to their allotted 15 minutes. Along with the collusion of the Right Wing with what passes for the press and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (the Hillsborough Disaster and/or the Battle of Orgreave featured in 2/3 of the performances), resistance to austerity measures, changes to schools organisation, and attempts to break the doctors’ unions were made musical, lyrical, and — with great pathos — funny.

CWU wristband

 

I don’t know how it has come to pass that I never saw Billy Bragg perform in person, before, but these were free tickets in Bournemouth and we just couldn’t miss it. Here’s my one live encounter with him prior to this trip:

Right after I quit driving a taxi for a living in Atlanta, I paid for my first year of University driving a long service route for Kodak that included most of Northeast Georgia. One summer day I had a call a couple of doors up from the 40 Watt Club in Athens (when it was on Clayton Street). The heat was oppressive that day and I stopped to give a dog tied in front of Chick Music a scratch on the head and a lap of water from my bottle. Another guy came up and rubbed the pooch’s ears saying, “‘allo, doggie.”

I looked up and recognized the fellow; “hey, you’re Billy Bragg.”
“Yes, I know.”
“I really like your stuff. What are you doing …here?” I’m not sure, all these years later, if it came out that way or “What are …you doing here?” or “What are you …doing here?” or the much more colloquial “What are you doing here?”

“I’ve got some work down the street,” he said nodding in the direction of the 40 Watt. I assumed at the time he meant the 40 Watt, but he was probably using the rehearsal studio REM kept at the time…he was working on Don’t Try This At Home in John Keane’s recording hut ’round about then.

“Oh, right, work,” I said reaching back to grab the tools from the car. “Never ends, eh?”
“Too right,” he laughed and headed down the street, my brush with greatness at an end.

(By the way, here’s his spectacular performance on Mountain Stage the following spring, that we listened to in the car whilst awaiting a screening of Reservoir Dogs at the Tate Center…great show with REM and Robyn Hitchcock…we still have our original cassette recording which we put in just before leaving for the movie.)

 

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2 responses to “Billy Bragg, Shappi Korsandi, Francesca Martinez et al at CWU Meeting, Bournemouth

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  1. Pingback: The Christopher Creek, Bournemouth, Dorset | The Endless British Pub Crawl continues...

  2. Pingback: Runs Highworth and Bournemouth | The Endless British Pub Crawl continues...

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