The sheep are staring through you,.... Baaaaaa
Compared to last week, the news this week looks decidely better. We've passed the peak and the pressure on the NHS is slowly easing, over 10 million people have had an all-important first jab, and I'm sure I saw the sun peeping out into a blue sky on Tuesday. The world looks brighter already. We still don't have any sort of road map for where we are going, plenty of platitudes from the politicians but no useful plan, so no change there, but at least we are heading in the right direction.
It's a beautiful evening
Meanwhile, it is the first Friday of the month, and in my mind that means Klub Kakofanney. This month, as an antidote to the lockdown blues, I've dug through the archives and put together some pieces from the Friday nights of years past, this time featuring singer songwriters who mostly favour acoustic guitars. There's Laima Bite proving she is just as talented in front of the camera as she is behind it, a really old clip of Mark Tollis and Mark Bosley playing the infamous sheep song, Ash Lewis who started off working behind the bar at the Wheatsheaf and ended up on stage, Oxford's favourite Danish import, the Waterfahl duo, and all rounded off with a dose of The Scott Gordon Band. I hope you enjoy.
Did you know today is also "Bandcamp Friday"? During 2020, Bandcamp decided to support artists a bit more during covid by making the first Friday of each month into a Bandcamp Friday. On these days, any purchases of tracks or merchandise made through Bandcamp are completley free of any Bandcamp transaction charges, so that means more money goes to the artists. In view of the ongoing pandemic, Bandcamp has now announced that it intends to keep Bandcamp Fridays going throughout the whole of 2021. So if you want to buy some Mighty Redox music, you know where to start:
So sit with me and we'll raise a glass
Its been a funny old week with Europe, and that's as close as I'm going to go on the politics of Brexit and the impact it is having on musicians trying to organise gigs across the channel. But it did remind me that there is a song called "Europe" from 2010 by a punk folk cabaret duo called The Indelicates. They come from Lewes, which I would describe as a place in Sussex, but they call it a small town in Western Europe. Anyway, I thought they did a great video with their song.
Underneath these stormy skies
Perhaps the pandemic will remind people that we are one planet, one people, and we can't solve our really big problems like disease, climate change, and hunger if we try to do it in isolation. Music is a fantastic tool for breaking down barriers, a common language which touches us in visceral ways we could not imagine. Here is an inspiring video by a group called The Piano Guys, playing "Peponi" which is a Swahili cover of Coldplay's song "Paradise".
So remember, the signs are all good and, like winter, the darkest days are behind us. The rate of infection in and around Oxford is now significantly lower than the national average, so hard as it might be, social distancing really is making a difference. Try to keep doing all the right things, and one day this year we'll be back having gigs and festivals again.