Vive La Revolution and other stuff

My friends! Where’s the bloody year going, eh? Has time itself been spirited away to offshore accounts by David Cameron's auntie Agnes?! I have been so busy in 2016 I don’t even know where to begin; such adventures I’ve had and such wonderful, life-affirming, spirit-nourishing gigs. They all deserve an essay but I’ll try to be concise.

I MET CORBS AND DREAMS COME TRUE

I hope you’ve heard about the #JC4PM tour which I am thrilled to be a part of! It’s a series of gigs all over the country to try and rally the troops against this collection of terrible, terrible bastards in government. There are some brilliant people doing them, including Jeremy Hardy, Francesca Martinez, Clare Ferguson-Walker, and longtime comrades Josie Long, Robin Ince and loveliest of lovelies, Billy Bragg. And loads more. We kicked off in February in London, where –  NOBIGDEAL – but I actually got to MEET THE MAN HIMSELF! And FYI the JC in the hashtag refers neither to Jeremy Clarkson (“this is very leftwing” – one confused audience member in Newcastle) nor to Jesus Christ (although I think he’d approve more of our politics than of Cameron’s). Of course it’s all about socialist dreamboat, Jeremy Corbyn. And guys, I've shared a stage with some pretty famous folks, but I have never, ever lost my composure in quite such a ridiculous fan-girl fashion as I did when I was confronted with his mild-mannered sandwich-eating form in the green room of the London show. After very audibly gasping “Ohmygod!” I then creeped him out by staring at him from across the room until I finally lumbered over to him and shrieked “I’mareallyreallybigfancanIhaveaphotoI’mreallysorry”. He was very polite about it and above is said photo, you can see the fear in his eyes alongside the unbridled Corbynmania in mine. Here is a lovely video from the Bristol show, which contains me singin’ a bit and also ramblin’ on about why he’s ma guy.

The tour is off all over the place: in April it comes to BOURNEMOUTH, and as it’s being hosted by the lovely CWU, its completely FREE to attend. You do however need to register for tickets though, and you can do that by clicking HERE. In May we’re off to Manchester, Sheffield and Cambridge – more info on these shows is at the Gigs page over here.  Vive La Revolution!

I WROTE A SONG ABOUT THE GUARDIAN IGNORING ME AND EVERYONE IN THE WORLD EXCEPT THE GUARDIAN SHARED IT

I imagine the sort of folks frequenting this website are probably not strangers to albatross-around-the-Left’s-neck, the Guardian, and so will probably have been treated in recent years to one of their 300 opinion pieces about how Nobody Writes Political Music Anymore. Since I’ve been largely ignored by the Guardian for my entire career (the only notable exception being THIS PIECE by the wonderful Dorian Lynskey who dared to break the conspiracy of silence), I found this last article, actually for-real entitled “Not Talkin’ About A Revolution: Where Are All the Protest Songs?” was the straw that broke the proverbial protest-singing camel’s back. I got really cross about it and wrote a protest song, and to be honest, there are so many more important things I should be writing protest songs about, it’s like a real metaphor for the fractured nature of the left, y’know? Anyway. I put a video of it on Facebook and everyone from Billy Bragg to Karine Polwart to Susan Calman got in on the act, and at the last count it had been viewed over 80,000 times. The Guardian neither replied nor acknowledged it so maybe it didn’t achieve anything; or maybe next time they write an article lamenting how no one exists that’s doing what I and so many others clearly are doing – which will probably be in a week – we can all fire this video at them. And they can ignore it again. Anyway, it’s called I Wish the Guardian Believed That I Exist and you can see it HERE.

COVEN 2016

For international women’s day last year I was lucky enough to be invited on tour with the amazing Lady Maisery and O’Hooley & Tidow. We did 3 gigs that we all enjoyed so much that we couldn’t resist returning this year, but this time we did a full 10-date run. I honestly can’t remember finding any other shows so fulfilling in the whole time I’ve been doing this; to be on stage with such breathtaking musicians was such an inspiration to me, and getting to spend ten days with some of the warmest and most engaging people I’ve ever known was just a bonus. I came home full of passion and ideas and a desire to completely raise my game before the next time we all share a stage – and happily, it looks as if we definitely will do again before way too long. Here is a video of us all doing Lady Maisery’s amazing arrangement of Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work from my favourite venue in the world, Leicester’s very own Guildhall.

If you didn’t make it to a gig this time and have yet to encounter either of the other acts, I would URGE you to check out O’Hooley & Tidow, and find out all about their forthcoming album HERE and Lady Maisery, who are on tour in May, HERE.

HANDMADE FESTIVAL

We are approaching that time of year again, and I am so very pleased and proud that our own homegrown extravaganza Handmade Festival is back at the beginning of May to take over the Leicester O2 Academy with a line-up that is bigger and better than ever before. Lovely festival director John Helps gave me a sack of used fivers and told me to book some of my favourite acts, and bloody hell am I excited about who I’ve got to do it. I can now announce the full bill that I have curated for the Sunday evening, which features: Beans on Toast; Chris T-T; Colour Me Wednesday; Jasmine Kennedy; plus comedy from Grainne Maguire and Robin Ince. Me and the Benefits Culture will be doing a turn as well because it was too much fun not to and because I really am that narcissistic that if you ask me to book a festival I’ll book my own band so just deal with it okay? If some other festivals wanted to book me then maybe I wouldn’t have to go to these lengths.

SPEAKING OF FESTIVALS!

Look at that, I’ve only been announced to return to Towersey Festival this year. What great larks we had last year! This time as well as my usual set of miserable songs, I’ll also be doing a special show of heightened whimsy and increased japes joined by lovely old touring buddies Gavin Osborn and MJ Hibbett. It will be GREAT.

I have some more festival news! But I’m not allowed to tell you it yet. I will tell you SOON.

HEADLINE GIGS

…are coming up in:

London - April 10th (special fully unplugged bookshop show)

 Bristol – April 22nd

Cambridge – April 30th

Leicester (with band) – May 28th

Please do come along to them because I’m the show-ender, bill-finisher type thing so I cannot benefit from other people's audiences as I've spent my entire career til now doing!

I have rambled on enough but I hope you are all having the most wonderful of springtides and I hope to catch some of you at a gig soon! Thanks for sticking with me.

GP xxx

It's beginning to look a lot like GIGMAS

Christmas shows approach in London and Leicester to see out the best year of GP music yet

Hello my esteemed comrades, pals and well-wishers. That time of year is upon us once again! We're wrapping ourselves up in scarves, shuddering at the John Lewis advert, the ghost of Jacob Marley is preparing to visit himself upon David Cameron... it can only mean Christmas is around the corner. And what better way to get into the festive spirit than by getting tickets to one of our very special Christmas Festive End of Year Headliners?

Yes, it's back on the road for two last big hurrahs to wave off a spectacularly fun and successful year. 2015 saw our fourth album get released, gave us countless tremendously fun gigs and was even the year I made it 'cross the sea to play in North America. We laughed, we cried, lost an election; we left Labour, we came back to Labour, we worried enormously about the future of Labour since Labour seem hellbent on bringing about the downfall of Labour... but the point is we're still here, and we'll be back to fight the Tories even harder in 2016. Why not join us to celebrate solidarity, and socialism and swigging mulled wine in the time-honoured tradition of lefties the world over...?

LONDON -  Star of Kings, December 13th - TICKETS HERE

LEICESTER - Duffy's Irish Bar, December 20th - (ALL AGES) - TICKETS HERE

We are working hard on some festive songs to make these gigs really special so it would be wonderful to see some of you there. Ho ho ho!

T-SHIRTS to offend the faint of heart

 

It wouldn't be nearly Christmas without me making some sort of cheap shot about merch, so allow me to do so.

Periodically I get asked "do you have plans to get any more of those fucking t-shirts back in"? I'm choosing to believe not that people are just really mad at me, but rather that they're referring to my Inspector Morse (the song, not the character) themed t-shirts which are mos def NSFW but since you all seem to like them so much we've had some more done for Christmas. You can find this offensive fashion statement on THIS PAGE HERE and it will make a delightful stocking filler for the angry lesbian in your life.

If I don't see you at a Christmas show, may your December be filled with merriment and love and cheer. Thanks for sticking with me in 2015, I really couldn't do any of it without you. See you on the other side.

Love GP x

BEST. SUMMER. EVER.

Dear friends! A very happy Autumn to you! And what incredible changes have befallen all of us since last I wrote. I played in Canada! Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour party! My house was burgled causing a prolonged laptop shortage that resulted in a very long silence! On and also: I played in bloody CANADA!

When last I left you I was bound for Stansted airport and the biggest adventure music had ever taken me on. I could write you a book about the time Caitlin and I had exploring only a tiny bit of such a majestic country and meeting such wonderful people, but only Caitlin and I would find that interesting, because it would be full of things like, “remember that beer we had in the Ship and Anchor in Calgary?!” and “remember the lake we swam in at Kelowna?!” and “remember the aggressive old lady heckling us as we played pool at the gay bar in Vancouver who yelled ‘these bitches couldn’t hit a barn with a tractor’ when in fact we were playing perfectly adequately?!”

What I will tell you about, though, is our gigs. Upon landing in Calgary (during a cowboy festival called Stampede that we did not know was happening but fortunately we were both dressed in check shirts anyway, natch, so we fitted right in) we had the huge honour of visiting and playing for Camp Fyrefly, an LGBTQI youth summer camp that’s run in the woods near Calgary. We met some incredible teenagers who schooled us on Canadian politics and taught us all about how they were going to grow up to fight Conservatives and make political art of their own and it was brilliantly soul-nourishing for two embittered, recently electorally-defeated lefties like me and Caitlin. Then we drove through the Rocky Mountains and there’s really no point in me trying to describe that in plain old words. When we came out the other side in British Columbia, we were hosted by the wonderful Bob and Heather, who not only put us up in their lovely holiday cabin and fed and watered us for days, but also managed to get a crowd of their friends from the Kelowna Folk Club to come and see us play at their beautiful farm. It was like the best holiday ever and we almost forgot to get nervous for what was hands-down the biggest gig of our lives, the Vancouver Folk Festival. I don’t even know where to begin to talk about that one. Six gigs over three days, a sold out CD-signing session, and some wonderful friends. For the whole incredible adventure, I owe so many thankyous to so many amazing, good-hearted people, but the biggest one of all of them goes to Linda, director of VFMF, who took a punt on me and gave us the gig. It was the best one of my life. My heartfelt congratulations, too, to the Canadian people who have ousted Harper's Conservative government in recent weeks. I don't know that much about Stephen Harper, but from what I have read, and judging from the welcoming, helpful and deeply compassionate people I met while I was there, he doesn't sound that Canadian to me.

Here we are playing Tonne of Bricks at VFMF and having the time of our bloody lives.

Due to falling head over heels in love with Vancouver and staying too long, we ran out of time to explore the west coast of the States in any great detail, but we did get to support the amazing Darren Hanlon, whose music I have adored since I first heard it at End of the Road 2011, in Seattle on my birthday; and play a show with the lovely and wonderful David Rovics in Portland the next day. So turning 28 was pretty good, all in. When the time came to board our plane (which we IN NO WAY nearly missed because we got completely hammered the night before in San Francisco) it was with heavy heart – but then we arrived in a different land than that we’d left behind, for it was one gripped by CORBYNMANIA! Apparently the secret to the UK forming re-balanced political spectrum with actual leftwing Labour opposition is me leaving the country. I duly signed up to support Corbs for £3 and they duly sent me an email that said something like,

“LEAVE AND NEVER COME BACK HERE, WE DON’T WANT THE GOOD GUYS TO WIN OR LIFE TO IMPROVE FOR ANYONE.

LOVE, TRISTRAM HUNT xoxo”

…so you can imagine how red his face was when a) Corbyn won by landslide and b) I played at his victory party in London, which was the most wonderful evening frequented by the most wonderful people. Particular highlights for me were Chess Martinez, Jeremy Hardy and Mark Steel but it was all like some kind of amazing leftie fever dream. FAO: everyone who wants say we have no chance with Corbyn – I’m ready to play at his victory party in 2020, too.

OTHER STUFF THAT WAS AMAZING

In no particular order: Towersey and Sidmouth folk festivals which both surprised me with huge audiences when I was fairly confident no one was coming; Greenbelt (above), which was maybe the most fun gig the full Benefits Culture band has ever, ever had, made so much better by hanging out with the utterly lovely Rev Kate Bottley and her whole family (regrettably, sans Buster) and her littlest telling me as he left “good luck with your sad songs and life”, which was both great and apposite; the return of Josie Long’s ARTour which saw me piling into a minibus with a load of pinkos and going about the country singing songs in the open air like some kind of evangelical hippie band; We Shall Overcome, Cambridge; Walthamstow Folk Club who were from start to finish bloody lovely; and most recently, a TREMENDOUS gig at Birmingham’s Wagon and Horses on Friday where once again our lovely and talented Reuben managed to russle up an audience where I was sure none would be forthcoming. He is truly a wizard.

LOADS OF GIGS (AND A BIT OF RADIO)

I have lots of things on in November. Here’s some gigs:

9th LEICESTER – the Musician, supporting my great friends and incredible fiddlers the Rheingans Sisters

14th LEEDS – Live at All Hallows’ Church with the Benefits Culture (plus brilliant Jasmine Kennedy)

22nd NORTHAMPTON – NN Café for the November instalment of Robin Ince, Alan Moore and my regular podcast recording, Blooming Buzzing Confusion

27th LONDON – Bread & Roses, supporting the album launch of the wonderful Wimmins Institute

29th SHEFFIELD – The Greystones, once again joined in support by wonderful Jasmine Kennedy

Tickets for all of those things are available over on the Gigs page here. In amongst all of that I will be appearing on the NOW SHOW airing on Radio 4 on Friday 13th (shutupshutupshutup I’m sure that everything will be fine and the date is a coincidence). Do tune into that to hear me doing something totally new and probably concurrent with my usual commie bleeding-heart liberal nonsense.

TIS (ALMOST) THE SEASON…

Christmas is not far away now and I’m extremely excited to announce that on December 13th we will be doing a very special festive London headliner in King’s Cross! The Benefits Culture and I (as well as some truly special guests) will be in the mood to celebrate mistletoe and wine and children singing Corbynite rhyme at the Star of Kings in central London. This has only been on sale for a few hours and already tickets are walking; it is a small venue too so I *strongly* recommend you pick up tickets swiftly which you can do here.

AND FINALLY...

Before I go, if anyone's made it this far, in the recent weeks a couple of brilliant folks who have been very supportive to me over the years left early. In the great scheme of things, I haven’t been playing very long and it’s the first time I’ve knowingly lost friends of this unique kind in this way. It is such a strange thing to be a small and distant part of people’s lives through seeing them intermittently at gigs, which can be incredibly intimate things. It occurs to me that I don’t make it clear enough, often enough that I am grateful to and for every single person who has ever taken something from a thing that I’ve self-indulgently written and shared. To have your song appreciated, to have it properly heard by someone who finds something in it that makes them feel anything at all is the most that any musician can ever hope for. That there are people who find enough in mine to come back to gigs again and again is something that I feel indescribably lucky about. To Sonja Pedersen and Leon Webster, I would like to say thanks; my thoughts are with everyone missing them still here.

Solidarity and love

GP x