June was not exactly a washout, but it was not exactly scintillating either. A bit of sun but a lot of cold and rain.
Still nature moves on: the leverets are out and the birds have stopped singing – mostly. Meaning, their rearing job is done.
The magnificent Lavender bush in my garden bursts forth!!
Cannot quite believe it, but there is a touch of autumn in the sky: the new moon announce ominous skies and there are signs of the turning of the year in the forest leaves turning yellow and the Rowen tree has its berries. Sadly, the Oak King has had his day and, from 10.13 am on the 22nd of June, the Holly King begins his ascent.
Meanwhile, the world is on fire. It is reminiscent of 1968 – and ‘Street Fighting Man’.
Almost everywhere, there is fighting and discontent. As well as ongoing wars in the Middle East, Ukraine, and elsewhere, Ecuador burst into street fighting and demonstrations – quickly followed by Libya. I have friends in these place – so, concern and prayers are very much with me these troubling days.
I do not normally write about Television – because I do not really follow it. I do not have a TV, but I do watch the occasional programme on my I-Pad. Two noticeable series this month:
Set in a Nottinghamshire town, it is based around a crime story. However, the background context is the tensions and conflicts within the community. These arose because of events in 1984 when there was a national miner’s strike. It went on a year. Key aspects of this was the fact that some miners carried on working – much to the anger of those on strike. Great violence was also shown towards the miners demonstrating: with police being brought up from London to confront them with shields and batons. In the end the strike was crushed and the miners went back to work; only to have their mines shut down by the government. The story in Sherwood is based around the animosity still existing in this town – partly true and partly fictional. But, the final telling messages are: firstly, the strike was partly engineered by the then Conservative government in order to divide the labour movement – which they succeeded in doing; secondly, the continued animosity continues this work – and is in effect activated by those involved; and finally, that communities are always stronger when they hold together. A important piece of work!
The second piece was The Outlaws. Written by Stephen Merchant, who co wrote The Office with Ricky Gervais, it has a similar tone and is set in Merchant’s home city of Bristol, which is also my own!! It is a more comfortable watch than the Office, but still has a similar style – mixing comedy with some genuine issues of a personal and political nature of how we behave.
‘The outlaws’ are a mixed bunch all doing community work for various offences. Each character is a story in itself and adds up to an intriguing set of scenarios. Very good.
It being summer, it has been somewhat of a musical extravaganza. So, here goes:
Off to Glastonbury for their 50th anniversary festival. I have to confess to remembering the first one and seeing its various changes over the years: from an amateur – free – affair to the now multimillion business it is. However, it has retained its philanthropic principles, supporting CND, Greenpeace, and Climate issues.
A new painting by Peter Blake of Sgt Pepper cover fame of Michael Eavis – whose farm is used for the festival.
In fact, it was his original idea. Somewhat odd, in a way, for a Quaker and chapel going Methodist. The festival now comes together as somewhat of a mini-town – 200, 000 people – with multiple stages and activities. It is possible to go there the entire weekend and still only see a fraction of what is on offer. However, there was only one place to be on the Saturday night: Paul McCartney on the main stage.
He opened with Can’t Buy Me Love and carried on for almost 3 more hours. This was a man with a point to make. So, besides all the Beatles’ favourites, there was a lot of middle period Wings pieces and songs from his most latest CDs. He did not even always play the best or most loved – a kind of way of pointing out that even the not so good is still pretty good!! The general effect was a kind of Macca revisionism with a lot of his back catalogue previously written off as twee and inconsequential now seen for its progressive experimatalism. A true phenomenon who shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 80 – a lesson for us all!!
Really, enjoyed this summer song by Paul Weller (of The Jam fame) and Suggs (of Madness fame) Oooh do U Fink UR:
Elsewhere, sinking into Gallic chanson from France, a country I am pining for:
Some great stuff from the B52s as well:
Also, listening to William Orbit talk about his new CD made me revisit his ‘Best of…’. A extraordinary musician with a robotic lyricism (I seem to have found my journalistic pen this month!!!).
Art wise, the splendid installations of Cornelia Parker at the Tate are a wonder:
I also read Digital Republic by Jamie Susskind, which is the first book I (for one) have come across which addresses the mess we have got ourselves into with the Internet and Social Media in terms of what possibly might be done about it.
We live in hope….