ELECTIONS, TOURS, AND NAILING YOUR COLOURS TO THE MAST

(...spoiler alert: mine are Green)

Happy St Patrick’s Day! May your Guinness flow freely and your Irish heritage be celebrated, however tenuous it may be!

guinness.jpg

Well friends. I’ve not written since bitterest midwinter, and now here we are in the middle of…. Ever-so-slightly less bitter spring. What have I been doing? Where have I been going? Well, plenty. But as Kirsty Wark would say – more on that story later. Today I’ve decided to use this website to publish a message beyond pure self-promotion (although there’s gonna be plenty of that too, AMIRITE! Skip to the bottom for news on a TOUR but listen to this lecture first!)

The UK general election is in little under two months, and I’ll be voting Green. I can’t imagine that pronouncement will be a great shock. For anyone who’s ever spoke to me, seen me gig or followed me on Twitter, it won’t exactly be an Eastenders-drums moment. In fact, my coming out of the Green closet will probably be just as surprising as my coming out of the actual closet – the difference is, I’m more nervous about this one.

I read today that Jack Monroe has joined the Green Party, and in response, experienced a load of grief from the side we’re all supposed to be fighting on together. Once again Labourites closed ranks and hollered at her from all directions about wasting votes and helping Tories and won’t someone PLEASE think of the women? They are arguments I’ve had on Facebook, on Twitter, and in pubs up and down the country. But I’ve realised that’s a cop-out. Because the one place I haven’t argued Green is the most important place I need to – on stage.

Does anyone care what I think? Probably not. But I make my living from being a “political songwriter”, whatever the hell that means. For the small number of people on the planet who think I make good points in my songs about politics, I should put my money where my ideology is. It’s not enough to ply my trade vaguely on being “leftwing,” and that’s exactly what I do. Every time I play a gig for a trade union, every time I accept a slot on the Now Show, every time (well, that one time) the Guardian call me up for a comment on politics in art, I’m benefiting from being a Political Songwriter. So bring it on. Let’s get political.

I wrote a song a couple of months ago called Whatever’s Left. You probably haven’t heard it. It’s only made public ears at two gigs, both where I was totally confident I was among friends. It has, however, been scrawled on set lists for almost every gig I’ve done since I wrote it. But I’ve chickened out. Mostly because of this final chorus:

I’m going down the only hopeful road I’ve seen / Trying to find something working in a broken machine / And if the only red politics I’ve seen are Green, then I’m going for whatever’s left

Some of you know bandmate Jess, ex-partner-in-relationships but still-partner-in-percussion-and-in-crime.  She’s a big fan of the new song. The other day we were talking politics. She told me that she’d convinced a friend to vote Green simply by admitting that she will be herself. It got me thinking that there’s no point having pro-Green songs I won’t play. In fact, being a fringe party on the verge of graduating properly into a mainstream party (the polls suggest the Greens are set to make massive electoral gains), it’s even more important to step up to the plate and nail my colours to the mast. So that’s what I’m doing. My mast, it is Green.

But there are those pesky arguments. Let’s get them out of the way.

You’re helping the Tories! How stupid are you, Tory-helper?!

I’m not helping the Tories. I’m hurting Labour. I’m hurting Labour on purpose, because the ideological trend of Labour post-Blair has been to the right, to the right, everything we own in a box to the right, and that box is marked “stuff to privatise”. Nobody who’s actually left wants this Labour. They feel like they’ve got a gun to their head, held by people like Polly Toynbee, because for so very long all anyone has said is a vote for anyone except Labour is helping the Tories. Here’s a truthbomb, folks: that kind of rhetoric is helping the Tories. Just the ones wearing red ties.

When a party thinks they have electoral support whatever policies they push, that’s not democracy. Maybe if Labour actually take a real beating electorally, they will examine where it started to go wrong for them, and start to shift back to their roots.

What are you smoking, hippy? The Greens can’t win! It’s a wasted vote!

Okay, the Greens can’t win in 2015. That does not make the vote wasted. Who, on the left, the true left, actually can win this election? A Labour landslide would not make me happy. I want a sea change, I want to re-examine the ideology our entire society is based on so we can stop looking at our lives solely by what profit they will turn. I’m part of a generation that has been sold out on education, tuition, public services, house prices and countless other things. There’s nothing on the table for us. Does that mean we eat what we hate for the rest of our lives? Or that we put effort now into changing the menu for future generations? And yes, that metaphor is food-heavy, but I’ve got Jack Monroe and her recipes for social justice on the brain. What I’m saying is: play the long game.

But I read the Greens have a bad policy on sex work and women and drugs and Natalie Bennett had a bad interview so all society is doomed under Green rule!

The Green Party is a young, growing, developing movement. If you like 90% of what they’re saying, get involved and change 10%. Join and campaign and shape the politics of the party. Don’t dismiss it because it doesn’t match your ideology to every letter. You will never find a party that will do that. And if you’re telling me the Greens are worse ideologically on any of those issues than Labour, then really, there’s more difference between us than tactics – in which case – go Labour, and god speed to you.

We should be on the same side!

We should. We should. A thousand times, we should. If you’re left, and I’m left, and you’re going red and I’m going Green – don’t hate me. I’m just a girl, standing in front of the rest of my life, trying to stop the rhetoric from moving ever-more to the right. You don’t have to agree with me. But if anyone, any single person out there thinks that what I have to say about this stuff is in anyway important, I need to be honest. All my career people have compared me to Billy Bragg, what I do to Red Wedge. Red Wedge was a different time. They had something red to sell. A Labour party they could get behind in all good conscience. I don’t.

Ultimately, I have to go with my heart. I have to accept that standing on a platform, however small, and speaking and singing about politics means there will be some folks out there who listen. And for those listening to me, I can’t bring myself to sell you this Labour. I don’t believe in them. I’m not trying to sell you the Greens – but I’m saying that’s where my heart is. So go with yours. But do it for the right reasons. It is not a pipedream to think we can affect political change in our lifetime.

So, what am I going to do about it? Well, I’m going on the Election Countdown Tour! All throughout April you can see me plodding around the country offering my acquired-taste brand of new and old political material, plus some songs about Bob Dylan and breakups because YOLO, at a variety of venues as high as Edinburgh, as low as Portsmouth, and as across as Cardiff and Norwich. Please do come to the election countdown tour and we can have a beer and chinwag it over. For dates, please check the GIGS page.

Also! There’s a new album a-brewing, but I’ll tell y’all about that next week.

If you made it this far, both reading to here and sticking with my music, as always thanks for your time. Solidarity.

GP x

Gig-mastime, mistletoe and wine

Before you say ANYTHING I appreciate that's not the best pun of my career. I wavered between that and "Now bring us some giggy pudding" but that sounded oddly unpleasant.

So! ICYMI, people have started using ICYMI instead of "in case you missed it". I know, it took me a while to get on board.

Also, ICYMI, The live album and live DVD are now OUT - yes! They're gay too! No, I of course mean they're for sale. We decided to release them just after Black Friday to prove we're not all corporate and consumerist like all the awful shops but THEY SURE WILL MAKE GREAT CHRISTMAS PRESENTS, AMIRIGHT??? They can be browsed and purchased just here.

ALSO ALSO! A huge amount of thanks are due to lovely folks who have come out to see me on one of my two tours I'm currently on. The first, with lovely Mr Robin Ince, concludes for GOOD, for EVER, with me in support at least, on Thursday in London at King's Place. I would recommend you getting tickets over on the gigs page because in 2015 he is hanging up his touring hat for a while and it is a tremendous show.

The second, with delightful TIM O-T has been progressing splendidly considering I'm the actual head-topper, show-finisher, ocean-liner or whatever you want to call it. It's the first tour I've ever not supported for, is what I mean, and I'm stunned so far people have attended. Thank you people of York and Durham! You lovely northern stars! Me and Tim even found time for a spot of sightseeing aboard a decidedly un-busy open top boat in York.

Yes my underwear here refers to Sonic the Hedgehog, which, judging from your responses on social media to this picture, you all care about a lot more than Titanic. Which Tim hasn't even seen. Hasn't SEEN. What planet is Kingston-upon-Thames on ANYWAY?!

PLEASE also get tickets for our remaining shows: Cardiff, Norwich, Falmouth, Kingston (very low) and finally Leicester on 11th. It makes it so much more worthwhile if there are audiences!

Finally but not by any means leastly, LONDON will be seeing rather a lot of me between now and Christmas. Tickets are already scarce for the Big Christmas Knees Up with Thee Faction and Eight Rounds Rapid at the Half Moon Putney on the 15th. It will be spectacular so I recommend you come! Both the bands are amazing and I will be doing some Christmas stuff that involves jumpers and covers I imagine. Pinch a ticket here.

THEN! On December 20th at Rich Mix London, I am headlining a very special evening put together by my friends at Philosophy Football to commemorate 100 years since the Christmas Football Truce in 1914. Here's what the organisers have to say:

"A Philosophy Football Christmas Night Out to Remember. An evening of comedy, ideas, live music and comedy inspired by this historic moment when football stopped a war.

Headlining set from Grace Petrie and her band The Benefits Culture. Folk legends Finlay Allison and Jimmy Ross play a specially commissioned set of 1914-8 songs of peace and resistance ' Its Never Over by Christmas'.  Comedy from Kate Smurthwaite and Simon Munnery. A night of ideas too with acclaimed US sportswriter Dave Zirin  who will be joined by David Goldblatt author of the football book of the year The Game of Our Lives, with football writers from Germany. Poetry and spoken word from Musa Okwonga plus dance-floor filling set from our house DJ Melstars Soundsystem."

Tickets for that are here.

I will also be appearing at almost all of Robin Ince's delightful Christmas extravaganzas, the exact nature of which will entail - who knows. Catch me at the Bloomsbury Theatre on 16th, 17th, 21st and at the Hammersmith Apollo (woohoo!) on 18th and 19th.

After that I suppose I might sit down.

Here's hoping to catch up with some of you before year's end. If not, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a better government in the new year.

All the love and peace!

GP x

LIVE AT ST PANCRAS - OUT TODAY!

Hi pals!

Happy December!!! Happy first of the month!!! Happy first of December and most of all HAPPY LAUNCH DAY! Yes, our live album Live At St Pancras, and the Live and In Conversation DVD are finally officially released today. Huzzah!

Thanks to all of you early birds who pre-ordered them. Your physical copies will be winging their way to you this week and the downloads should have been emailed to you already so you can already start listening to my live songs and pointless rambling as if you're really in the room!

Once again an enormous THANK YOU to everyone who came to the show and made the live records what they are. I'm really really proud of them, and we could not have done it without you, or if we had it would have been really weird.

 

If you want to buy one, check out the merch: HERE!

ALL MY LOVE!

GP X