Tag Archives: steve white & the protest family

Johnson for PM, God Fuckin’ Help Us

Theresa May’s Brexit deal is dead in the water of her crocodile tears. A fresh Tory leader with the charisma to succeed in Brussels where she has failed seems unlikely; no-deal versus no-Brexit is now the pundit’s favoured battleground, with or without a second referendum.

Dying with May’s career is my Brexit Prayer, performed once at the Fish & Bicycle Club, but there’s renewed interest in former London mayor and foreign secretary Johnson, as the wholly unrepresentative rump that is the Conservative Party membership elects a new prime minister.

Does Johnson have what it takes to make the deal that May failed to, or does Brussels see him for the loathsome charlatan[1] that he is? Speculation at Protest Towers is that the job’s going to an outlier with Johnson waiting to pick up the post-exit pieces once the dust has settled.

In any event, we know a song (or two) about him.

Steve

 

  1. Hat tip to Jonathan Freedland, writing in the Guardian.

Furry Little Fuckers

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Chicken Squawk pricked my conscience but not enough to make me change. My quiet admiration for vegan friends didn’t push me over the edge. The road to “ethical” meat-eating had been taken via organic and healthy, but the route abandoned on financial grounds. In the end it was a dog, and I stopped looking the other way.

He really loves you, but he’s just a dog
His love is real, as real as analogue
But the pigs share complex emotional responses too
And the cows to do much more than just go “moo”
So before your conscience recovers
Let’s kill and eat the furry little fuckers

Her name’s Daisy and she’s a sheep
The lucky one the farmer decided to keep
Bringing joy to the kids visiting the petting zoo
Who don’t associate her with being food
So before you think about her sisters and her brothers
Let’s kill and eat the furry little fuckers

Or you could tread a little lighter through this world

Her name’s Frankie, his name is Smudge
Grateful for the culture, the home, the love
But the goats and chickens ain’t got that kind of luck
They’re food not friends, their short lives kinda suck
So before your dinner ups and does a runner
Let’s kill and eat the furry little fucker

He likes pork chops and a steak or two
Maccy D’s and KFC too
Shrink-wrapped, pre-packed, juicy, meaty, fleshy food
Doesn’t think about a time when it had hooves
So before he starts to think about his suppers
Let’s kill and eat the furry little fuckers

Or you could tread a little lighter through this world

Furry

Steve

Workers Memorial Day and May Day

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“Comrades,

We are here to remember the dead and fight for the living.

We are here to talk about work. Work that defines, unites and sustains us; work that defiles, exploits and destroys us. We are here to talk about hard work; the language of the working class, co-opted and corrupted by those who would rule over us. We are here to reclaim our words and our work, in the time-honoured, traditional way.

And it goes like this…..”

Join us in Abbotts Park, E10 on Sunday for our combined workers’ memorial and May Day celebration. The event starts at 1:15pm and runs to 5pm. We’ll be lighting the blue touchpaper around 4:00.

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The Appraisal

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Me: “I thought we’d have sold more advance tickets by now.”

The band: “Well, the poster you designed isn’t very good.”

Me: “You didn’t say anything at the time.”

The band: “Yes, but it’s not very good, is it.”

Now we all know that an appraisal should be a shit sandwich; say something nice at the beginning and the end, fill the middle with your criticism. Next time, perhaps we should try:

Me: “I thought we’d have sold more advance tickets by now.”

The band: “Actually ticket sales are encouraging this far from the date of the show, but the poster you designed isn’t very good.”

Me: “You didn’t say anything at the time.”

The band: “Yes, but we do like your hair.”

Here’s another poster.

Wanstead Tap

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In front of me is a list of songs that is too long.

Some say that’s a good problem to have, that the converse is worse, but I want to tell a story of a couple embroiled in modern British life under the shadow of Brexit. I want to visit their past and future in happier and sadder songs. I want to sing a pop song about the struggle of our trans comrades. I want to laugh at debate without experts and rage at a system that burns people in their homes. I want to play punk for the animals and tell the tale of a revolution in a small Essex village that grew legs and marched on the capital. I want to mock an institution with its boot still on our necks, and genuinely laud their gardeners.

And I haven’t even started on Little Tommy and his crew.

A bill this good requires compromise, there’s only so much time and some crossing out to do. What gets left behind will get carried over, more on that later.

Steve

Barnstormer 1649

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I first saw Attila the Stockbroker’s new-look Barnstormer playing semi-unplugged* in The Schooner in Southwick and it was such a great show that I caught up with it again at the Dublin Castle a few days later. It genuinely is early music meets punk, with recorders, crumhorms, cornamuses, guitar, bass and drums and songs about the English civil war, ranters, levellers and fiery flying roll Abiezer Coppe. (And you really need to hear about him!).

So we’re really pleased to bring the show to Walthamstow, complete with The Protest Family in support and a bonus spoken word set from Attila.

You can get advance tickets from WeGotTickets or if you’re local there are some for sale behind the bar in Ye Olde Rose & Crown. Or, if you think you’re likely to bump into me between now and then, I’ve got a few for sale too.

Don’t miss this one……

Steve

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*Well, you’ve got to plug in a bass guitar somewhere really.

The Crematorium and Other Stories

Crikey, no-one’s posted on here in months!

In fact, the last post was a Tolpuddle preview.

I think it’s fair to say, looking back on it now that we had an amazing Tolpuddle performing as Maddy Carty & The Protest Family and as Workers Playtime, plus the almost-part-of-the-Tolpuddle furniture Unplugged session, and obligatory selfies with Jeremy Corbyn. I was going to write something about Tolpuddle Unplugged. In fact I still might, but suffice to say that every year I worry that it’s going to be a disaster, and every year it’s the opposite. I might have even figured out how it works, or at least I think so. The premise is ridiculous: Run a stage at a small but popular festival with no budget, no acts or amplification. Where do you start? Well, give it to a couple of chancers from an East London folk/punk band who’s main talent appears to be making friends, and chuck them into a field full of like-minded people who’ve stepped out of the struggle for the weekend to enjoy each other’s company while imagining a better, fairer world. It seems to work somehow.

Paul Rutland

Tolpuddle Unplugged: I think I know which side they’re all on.

The band has, though, been quiet since the summer, some of it planned and some unplanned. In a fallow year for Protest Family albums, you may have expected a solo effort from me, along the lines of somethingweirdgoingoninmyhead or Check Your Stereo. Well, the new songs are coming, a bit slower maybe, but there’s some work on it’s way that I’m already quite proud of, even before the rest of the band get their mucky paws on it and work their magic. You might have got some titbits from social media when I’ve got impatient and stuck myself in front of a live camera, or on YouTube where I’ve parked some sketches of songs where they’re easy for Doug, Lol and Russ to find, or if you’ve caught me giving some songs a run-out on my solo travels.

The Crematorium is of course the most immediately pressing message to get out there, but the song’s not going to go away, anymore than the Justice4Grenfell campaign will. We did knock up a terrific version of it for Tolpuddle with Robb Johnson on lead guitar and Maddy Carty’s amazing backing vocals, but the regular Protest Family line-up’s version is yet to be unveiled. Expect to hear it on November 14th at Ye Olde Rose & Crown as we raise money for striking workers at Whipps Cross Hospital.

Although The Death of Facts has been around since I played it at Punk 4 The Homeless in Nottingham last year, it’s not on the band’s radar yet, but I think it will be eventually. What is coming up soon (see above for when soon is) are Protest Family versions of Supersonic (using supersonic passenger flight to demonstrate that progress isn’t linear) and Han Solo (using the films of Harrison Ford to talk about consent. A chat that the actual Harrison Ford could’ve done with, by all accounts).

There’s enough love out there for If The Queen Had a Hammer that I think there will be a band version of it and, although I’m yet to share it with them, I think there’s a future for my song about Frank Turner (cheekily titled Thatcher Fucked The Kids) too. However my Blue Labour anthem Flag, Faith, Family & Fried Chicken may well fall by the wayside. It’s funny, true (look them up) and in the Protest Family style, but I think I’m tiring of it before it’s crossed the finish line. Maybe a new arrangement will give it a new lease of life. We’ll see.

Also queuing up to hit your ears is a Steve White/Russ Chandler collaboration called Winter of Discontent. Featuring Shakespeare’s Richard III re-cast as a trade union leader in the dying months of the Callaghan government, it’s the first time that I’ve put anything out there in iambic pentameter. The song will feature on a winter-themed compilation with a worldwide distribution deal* very soon. I’ll point you in the right direction when it comes out.

So, there’s songs, there’s big ideas, but maybe a lack of a vehicle to get them to you. Yes, gigs are a little thin on the ground but we do have a cunning plan or two, so (WATCH THIS SPACE).

Steve

 

*Everybody with an internet connection and an upload button’s got one.