Walls and Bridges, (no, not Beau Bridges)
What a great week for news. It started with Trump failing to win the election, (even if he and 71% of the people who voted for him still don't accept it), so maybe the world can now get back to building bridges instead of walls. It ended with Dominic Cummings departing from Number 10, presumably to take up a new career as an eyesight consultant. And in between those two, Pfizer announced really promising results from its Covid vaccine trials.
It might seem crazy
So at last, some genuine light at the end of the tunnel, something to look forward to. Yes, I'm happy, so much so that I had to dig out the Pharell Williams song, Happy, but not just any old version. I wanted to watch the Iranian dance version from 2014.
It is such a happy video in every sense, and I can't help but smile every time I watch it, but do you know the story of that video? Shortly after it became a YouTube hit, the Tehran police chief said the video was vulgar and offensive. In Iran it is illegal for members of the opposite sex to dance together, or for women to appear without veils. The six students who made the video were arrested, forced to give public apologies on TV, and had suspended jail sentences hanging over them for the next three years.
I always thought that video showed Iran in such a positive light, showed that the people of Iran are just like you and me, the same hopes and dreams, the same love of movement and music, and that video would have demolished many people's negative preconceptions about the country. It would have built bridges. It is so sad that the regime's hardliners decided instead to crack down on the happiness and build yet another wall. It is a good reminder of how much freedom we enjoy here in the UK, even in times of lockdown.
More good news,... passing the half way mark
I hope you have all been keeping yourselves musically creative despite the difficulties of this year. Phil and Sue's band, The Mighty Redox, have been working hard on a new album. They've already spent some time at Evolution Studios laying down tracks and its sounding pretty good. Album production is never cheap, so The Mighty Redox have taken a crowd-funding approach to financing it, asking friends and fans to make donations, anything from £10 upwards.
People who support the project will receive a signed copy of the finished album, a booklet of the lyrics, their name on the wall of fame poster, and a free ticket to the launch party and gig, once lockdown is over, all of which is great value for money. I'm delighted to bring you the news that this week, thanks to the outstanding generosity of so many people, they have passed the half way mark in their funding target of £4,800. So that's an absolutely massive thank you to everyone who has donated, and if anyone else would like to become an album supporter, it will be hugely appreciated and the easiest way to make a donation is to use the GoFundMe page.
A flashback to New Year's Eve
For all you Redox fans out there, here is a bonus bit of memorabilia, a video you probably haven't seen before. At last year's crowded Klub Kakofanney New Year's Eve party in the Wheatsheaf, we saw a guest appearance by Oxford's very own Lord Mayor, Craig Simmons, who joined the band on stage in a performance of the always happy song, Blue Skies Sunshine.
Crazy girl, out to change the world
Just in case you think my musical taste is getting too mellow, let me finish by recommending this video by Turbulent Hearts. This song is called Crazy Girl,
The three-person band from California which came out of the ashes of Civet is fronted by Suzi Moon who is straight out of the Joan Jett mould. Keep well everyone, stay safe, take care