Aug 11

Jeremy Corbyn and a tale of two Labour Parties

jeremycorbyn2On my travels singing up and down the country, I have played for several local Labour Party events. I’m not sectarian and so, despite my dissatisfaction with Labour’s policies, I imagined they may not represent the actual activists on the ground and I would happily play for them.

I only started refusing to play for Labour events when the racist mug came out and I turned down a friend during the election campaign telling him that I couldn’t in all conscience assist any party in electioneering for that.

I would often leave these events feeling both puzzled and optimistic. If the party members were enthusiastic about its leadership and policies, there is no way they’d have been so enthusiastic about my performances. What I experienced at those events were passionate people who wanted a better world, yet were wedded to a party who wasn’t officially offering one.

There have been a number of polls now regarding the leadership election. The latest has Corbyn winning a majority straight off. I don’t know if this is true. But I do know that there has already been one solid expression of local party desires, and that is nominations from constituency parties. And Corbyn came top.

This is the Labour Party I have been playing to.

Whoever wins, it is abundantly clear that there is a massive divide between the politics of Labour MPs and Labour members which is now sharply in focus.

If Corbyn wins, this will be his biggest problem. His parliamentary party will be against him while the party in the country will be for him. I imagine that the party in the country will see this and seek to ensure their candidates have the same politics as they do.

Even if Corbyn doesn’t win, I imagine it will be a defeat that is relatively narrow and many MPs will be looking over their shoulder as the reselection trigger processes start to kick in.

Many Labour MPs have been silent in the face of the most vicious Tory attacks on the living conditions of ordinary people. Yet now find their voice to attack Corbyn with a fervour they have barely found when it comes to Tory policies.

They show themselves to be at odds with a huge portion of party members, and maybe even a majority of party members. Whoever wins, this imbalance will likely be played out.

The key dividing line in UK politics today in my view is between the “Thatcherites” who accept her political settlement, and those who don’t.

The Thatcherites are represented by the Tories, the Liberal Democrats, and the majority of the parliamentary Labour Party.

Corbyn is on our side of that divide, and it appears that the party membership at large is broadly with him.

Note: You have just 1 day to register to vote for Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader. Click here now to make your voice heard.

Aug 09

Why You Need To Buy The New Ian Prowse Album

ian-prowse650Is it narcissistic to have your own song playing at full blast on repeat?

Well, ordinarily I’d say “yes, a bit”. That’s so not the kind of thing I’d do. But this time it’s different.

You see, I’ve spent the last few days turning up my speakers to eleven, and then blasting out my song My Name Is Dessie Warren.

But here’s the twist….

It’s not me singing it. It’s Amsterdam and Pele legend Ian Prowse. Yes, the same Ian Prowse whose classic Does This Train Stop On Merseyside was the centre piece of Christy Moore’s number 1 album Listen.

So how is Ian Prowse singing My Name Is Dessie Warren? Because he has recorded it for his forthcoming album Companeros.

And his version has blown my socks off!! It’s absolutely brilliant. Fist punchingly good.

I’m beyond delighted, not just because he has paid me the highest compliment that any singer can pay a songwriter, by putting my song on his new album – but that he has done such an awesome job of it too.

So, you really need to buy Ian’s album so you can have it blasting out of your speakers too.

Here’s how…

The album is released on Friday 18th September, but you can buy it right now over at http://amsterdam-music.com/

Ian is touring the album too with his 10 piece band Amsterdam, and you can find all tour dates here at http://amsterdam-music.com/live/

One Final Thing

My Name Is Dessie Warren isn’t just a song. It’s a true story and it’s a campaign. I’m very grateful to Ian for helping spread Dessie’s story, and the ongoing fight for justice, to a wider fan base.

Click here for more details about the Shrewsbury Justice Campaign.

And don’t miss out on buying the album yourself.

Jul 06

Alun Parry at Folk On The Farm Festival (17th July)

AlunParryAtkinsonI’m mega looking forward to my performance at the Folk On The Farm Festival in Anglesey on the 17th July.

The tickets are on sale. It’s going to be a great night – and a great weekend of music.

To get your tickets visit: http://www.tyddynmon.co.uk/folkonthefarm/folk-on-the-farm-tickets.htm

On Friday 17th July I’ll be sharing a bill with the Goat Roper Rodeo Band, the Southbound Attic Band, and Ben Robertson.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

Photo: Jim Colvin

Jul 06

Video – Bob Tressell’s Pen

The-Ragged-Trousered-Phil-006Two weeks ago, I spent the day with Shut Out The Light films, recording a music video for my version of the song Bob Tressell’s Pen.

As you know, I’m a massive fan of the book The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

So when Kevin Jones of the Association of the Ragged Trousered shared his fab song with me, I was keen to sing it.

The video has just been released – so check it out here.

Jul 06

Run For Palestine

palestine_flagHere’s something you can get involved in to make a difference in the world – while making me suffer! Perfect eh.

I’m doing a 5k run for Palestine on Saturday. I’ve been training for weeks, but then put my back out two weeks ago. So I’ve been nursing a sore back since then.

But I won’t be deterred and I will be running nonetheless. It’s too good a cause.

I’m currently short of my target so need your help to meet it.

Click here to sponsor me: http://www.gofundme.com/alunrun

The beneficiaries are Friends of Bi’lin.

Friends of Bi’lin is a Liverpool based group that is twinned with the village of Bi’lin in the West Bank in Palestine.

Twinning is an act of friendship and solidarity with a people suffering from occupation, oppression and denial of basic human rights and freedoms, ensuring they do not feel isolated in their daily struggle. It creates opportunities for exchange visits and we get to know real people in a real place.

LFOB is non-party political, and its members come from Christian, Jewish and Moslem backgrounds, and from no faith.

So please do sponsor me if you can – or share the link to show your support: http://www.gofundme.com/alunrun

And wish good luck to me and my back!

May 14

Sunday Night (17th May) – Live In Wallasey!

AlunParryAtkinsonNo, no, I’m not urging you to go and live in Wallasey, although it’s very nice from what I can see.

I’m actually telling you that I’m playing live in Wallasey this Sunday. I’m doing a full show, and it’s my last local gig for the foreseeable future so you’d best come along!

I’m playing for the lovely people at Wallasey Folk & Acoustic Club.

You’ll find that upstairs at 8pm at The Nelson Hotel, 60 Grove Road, Wallasey, CH45 3HW.

And guess what – it’s absolutely FREE!

So if you fancy a cracking sing song with some lovely people and me singing the tunes, then get yourself there because I’d love to see you, and isn’t that as good a reason as any.

Photo: Jim Colvin

May 06

Election Songs To Kick Em Out!

Polling_station_6_may_2010So we need two things from election day.

The Tories as far away from power as possible, and the most left wing Parliament that we can muster.

I’ll leave it up to you to figure out how best to do that.

While you’re mulling that over here’s some election songs to keep you entertained.

And this one irrespective of who gets in…

Apr 30

7 Ways To See Me Play Live In May

A39O1345May is a busy month for me, meaning you have seven different chances to see me play live in the same month.

On Friday May 1st I’ll be playing at the Upton Upon Severn Folk Festival. (More info from www.uptonfolk.org)

I’ll be headlining the opening concert at The Parish Church venue.

Then on Saturday May 2nd, I’ll be doing my second show of the festival at The Star Upstairs.

There’s tons going on at this fab festival too, so come and have a lovely long weekend away.

On Wednesday May 6th I’m really excited to be playing the renowned Grateful Fred’s night at The Atkinson in Southport where I’ll be supporting the fantastic touring US act The Kennedys.

Friday May 8th sees me travel to Bolton to do a post election special show. I’m hoping this is a celebration of giving that smug Etonian the boot!

Saturday May 16th has me performing a fab House Concert Show. This is going to be a ton of fun. I can’t publicise the venue as it’s a house gig, but if it sounds fab and you wish you were there, why not organise a house gig of your own? Just give me a yell and I’ll show you how.

Sunday May 17th then has me dashing across the water to play for the lovely people at Wallasey Folk & Acoustic Club.

Then another house concert on Saturday May 23rd. The house gigs are really lovely and intimate events. I love playing them so do get in touch if you are curious about how they work.

So there you go, seven chances to sing along with me in the one month. I’m looking forward to singing for and with you.

For full details of all shows, click through to my gigs page.

Apr 23

DWP To Replace Benefit Sanctions With Crack Team Of Acerbic Songwriters

Demotix 19/03/2015The Department of Work and Pensions has today revealed new plans to ramp up their pressure on benefit claimants by scrapping benefit sanctions.

The DWP has announced that it is currently recruiting a crack team of songwriters to pen scathing ditties about claimants instead.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Our Minister Hettie McVile got the idea after a nasty song was written about her. It created such an atmosphere of fear that we decided it would be the ideal tool to attack the poor and disabled with.”

Groups representing the disabled have responded with outrage to the announcement.

One campaigner, who preferred to stay anonymous for fear of ending up in a song herself, said:

“This is truly shocking. Losing all income for 13 weeks was bad enough. But being mocked by words set to a catchy melody is far, far worse. We are urgently lobbying the DWP to continue removing our money from us. Anything but this!”

Anti suicide campaigners are also alarmed at the proposed change.

The campaign group No More Suicides From Songs said: “Already there have been 60 to 70 suicides from benefit sanctions. This will get worse if this new measure is introduced. Starving for 3 months is a mere inconvenience compared to being the target of a satirical ballad. We are on full alert.”

The Minister was unavailable for comment today. Yet a Daily Fail editorial praised the announcement, calling it a step forward in the battle against compassion.

Apr 23

A Poem: The Gig

We have to pay the brewery
Cos they supply the beer
We have to pay the venue
For letting us be here
And we have to pay the caterers
Cos they bring all the food
And we have to pay the bar staff
Or else it would be rude

We have to pay the sound man
For bringing the PA
And we pay the paid official
From Head Office dressed in grey
We have to pay the printer
For the posters that he’ll print
It seems that from this “Benefit”
The whole world makes a mint!

Well, when I say “the whole world”
That’s not exactly true
Cos if you’re the musician
That doesn’t include you
And though there is no show at all
If you don’t play your part
You’re the one who does it
Out the goodness of your heart

Cos brewers they have homes to heat
And other bills they’re sent
And caterers have families
And bar staff must pay rent
And the printers and officials
They need clothes to wear
But musicians are a special case
Cos they live on fresh air!

So if you want to pay them too
Please don’t be premature
Only a *starving* artist
Is an artist that is pure
Then hold them up to judgement
If they find another wage
We must ensure they stay as poor
Even when off the stage.

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