as we approach the tail end of the tail end of the tail end of the decade, it'd probably be fitting to recap what the 00s have done for me, where I was at the beginning, how I am now, and thoughts and hopes for the next ten years.
so let's talk about prison
eh, decade schmecade. let's talk about a new project i've been working on. a little while back a man named Jon Potter from Company Paradiso contacted me with news of a project they're calling Ballads of Reading Jail, an arts-council funded project whereby Jon and friends work with prisoners in Reading Jail, where Oscar Wilde wrote his 'Ballad of Reading Jail' and what is these days a young offenders institution, encouraging them to write poetry around their various experiences and, to finish the project, commissioning musicians to write songs using the results.
as someone with a little more experience of the prison system than your average joe and josephine, it was a project i was happy to help out with and an interesting time, despite the utter nightmare we had for the one day we had in the studio, a day only rescued by the sheer heroics of producer extraordinaire Matt Bew. duly, 'The Day I Got Stuck', a shameless if cumbersome pop ditty was born, featuring James Loar (Full Force Gales, Heartwear Process) on drum duties. due to the nature of the project, co-ordinated by Duncan at BBC Berkshire (who looks after, amongst other things, BBC Introducing's The Session), this won't be readily available, but i do have copies if you're a) interested, and b) capable of getting your shit together and dropping me a message over email or MySpace or Facebook or wherever. i'm going to smack it up on the myspace for a little while shortly, too.
to close, I'll be on The Session this Sunday talking about the whole thing, answering questions on the importance of projects like these, my own experiences and why I flat refused to write this song as an actual ballad, but i'm a little apprehensive of how it'll sound as when we recorded the interview I waffled on for what seemed like forever and probably came off sounding like a hippy who believes everyone should be forgiven of their crimes. i don't, okay, every crime has a victim and that shouldn't be forgotten, but i tried my darndest to communicate how prison shouldn't just be about punishment, especially amongst the young, it can also be about rehabilitation, and how (i believe, in my opinion, etc) getting prisoners involved in initiatives like these can benefit them in the long run.
so whilst you listen to me squirm on radio and then hear how I reduced a young man named Peter's pain into three minutes and twenty seconds of uptempo indie-pop, remember that i'm not really trying to get you to buy flowers for the guy who punched your sister.
in the meantime..
provided i've not been branded too left wing for the well-to-do village of Goring, I'll be playing at Goring Unplugged's Christmas Cracker in the quaint setting of Goring Village Hall this Friday (11th) as part of the warm-up for the Union Chapel show in Islington on the 19th alongside all-round star Frank Turner and others. That's to say, they'll be in London, it's just me who'll be in Goring for the BYOB/BYOP (picnic!), entirely-acoustic open-mic style event. Amy's Ghost will be there too, though, so it's all good.