Any musical innovation is full of danger to the whole State, and ought to be prohibited; when modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the State always change with them
- Plato, the Republic
Our choir began the day as nine at South Ken tube, warming up. Without our banner, we appeared for all the world as carol singers with no more agenda than to make merry in the cold December morning. Passers-by looked on approvingly, and then quizzically; we were not singing of White Christmases but green.
A little girl joined our circle to sing, but by the time we arrived at the Science Museum we had lost both camera operators. They were located, but we had lost a further soprano and two altos on the way to the Atmospheresread more
It is hard to know just how to express the degree of Shell’s nastiness, but one might start with a three-part harmony at the South Bank’s Royal Festival Hall.
The other option, for me anyway, is to weep alone in my bedroom over a cheap bottle of rum. Anyway, the critics loved it:
‘This evening’s concert began with a protest, and very musical and well organised it was too. About five minutes before the start of the show, the audience sitting in the right wing of the choir stalls all stood up and began singing. Eventually a banner was unfurled, making clear that the protest was against Shell, who were sponsoring the event. The protesters sang well, they even included a verse in Portuguese (it might have been Spanish) for the benefit of our guests, and in the last verse they all filed out of the hall, creating a live fadeout effect as one by one they left.’read more
The Shell Classic International season began with Orchestra Mozart at the beginning of October, and Shell Out Sounds swung into action to bring a little more nuance to the corporation’s PR campaign (with Rev Nemu singing bass).
Concert-goers taking their interval drinks in Festival Hall Bar were greeted by an upbeat chorus, snapping fingers as they sung close harmonies about the toxic legacies of Shell’s misadventures in the Arctic, the Niger Delta and Alberta.
A visiting pastor came to London to preach in and about HSBC.
Just outside the bank there was a moment of high serendipity as a genuine reverend wearing a genuine dog collar met Rev Billy. He was a Christianity Uncut activist, on the way to a monastic retreat in France, and joined us for our action.
Not to say that Rev Billy isn’t genuine – he is, as are his crew of outrageous New Yorkers. Genuineread more
On Sunday (7/7) I’ll be giving a talk in Brighton at Teddy Bear Talks, on Revelation in Art and Science, and the following Sunday (14/7) I’ll be speaking at Breaking Convention (further down the page).
I do like doing things like this…
Dreams, Drugs, Insights and Apocalypses in Scientific Discovery
A•po•ca•lypse – / ə•pä•kə•lips /
From apokaluptein ‘uncover, reveal’, from apo- ‘un-’ + kaluptein ‘to cover’
The apocalypse is where the veiled isread more
One fine morning in the 90s, I awoke to the noise of a chainsaw outside, felling the trio of plum trees which stood taller than the council flats around them. The toilets needed replacing, explained a man in overalls. The masonry needed storing, there, in the only suitable space in the borough, so they needed to clear it. Their work was the final link in a chain of necessity that began, apparently, in my toilet (which did its job to my satisfaction, but I make modest demands on my plumbing).
The trees were weeks away from ripening, but he wouldn’t personally miss the fruit raining down every autumn. His dreadlocks wrong-footed me; surely a reggae-fiend couldn’t be responsible, but then who was? Does a councilor consider how common wealth binds a community together? Does a town planner reflect on the value of a jar of homemade jam, given by a widow to her neighbour?
“It is a sin to cut down fruit-bearing trees,” I explained.” Even in times of war.”