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, the Benefits Culture and I are hitting 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 - see us at the Star of Kings, December 13th - TICKETS HERE

LEICESTER - see us at 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

I'm Leavin' On A Jet Plane

Well pals.

I've just stopped in to say cheerio. Tomorrow (technically today) I am crossing an actual legitimate ocean to play music on the other side of the world so that is big news indeed. The Vancouver Folk Festival is playing host to me and Caitlin (only the Culture is available for this one, so we're going to send the Benefits a postcard) over their lovely three day festival at a park on a beach in the sunshine. I know, I know - it's a bloody difficult job, this, but someone has to do it.

Two quick, but enormous thank you's belong in this month's blog post: first of all GLASTONBURY. You were bloody magnificent, and I loved every second of you. All the love and gratitude in my heard for Mr Bragg for inviting me back to the Leftfield to mix pop and politics again. I had some brilliant curry, saw Thee Faction, drank plenty, and saw Charlotte Church speak and that's only four highlights in a weekend full. Thanks to every one of you who came and watched, you made it awesome.

Secondly - the end has finally come to my long period of touring with lovely Robin Ince. He has decided that over twenty years solidly touring is enough to earn a bit of a break which I personally think is typical of this country's workshy attitude. As a hardworking family I think we all need to do a bit more aspiring. Lol, of course ladies and gentlemen, lol! I owe Mr Ince a huge amount, and it would far more words than I could reasonably or interestingly put here but suffice to say a lot of you reading this wouldn't know who I am without him giving me the incredible opportunities he has. I will also miss his company standing at the side of the M5 when my next car explodes.

IN OTHER NEWS.... a final festival addition to my summer line up in the form of Standon Calling on August 2nd. I will probably be very jet lagged and think it's morning and start crowing like a rooster so that's probably worth seeing.

MANCHESTER FOLK.... I am very excited to announce that I will be performing at UNPLUGGED FOR AUSTISM at Manchester Academy 2 on October 15th. It’s part of a series of gigs designed to be comfortable for autistic people. That means an all-acoustic lineup, space to move inside the venue, and no overbearing light shows. It also means being able to enjoy music in your own way – whether that’s dancing, sitting on the floor or standing in the corner. Basically, it’s what a gig should be! You’re all welcome, whether you’re autistic or not.

Apparently there are bands "bigger than me", so there will be one announced nearer to the show. BUT! As die-hard GP website frequenters, you qualify for an early-bird discount price by booking now before T̶h̶e̶ ̶B̶e̶a̶t̶l̶e̶s̶ the headliners are announced and it gets pricey. So get yours here (https://manchesteracademy.ticketline.co.uk/order/tickets/13307622/unplugged-for-autism-manchester-academy-2-2015-10-15-19-30-00) for £11 including booking fee, with all proceeds going straight to The National Autistic Society.

Off I go then into the night and 'cross the sea. What awaits me there, I do not know, friends. Will Canada like me? Will the dog forget me? Will Caitlin keep hold of her passport and wallet for an unprecedented three entire weeks, thereby avoiding a situation involving the British embassy? All these questions and more answered On The Other Side.

Peace and love

GP x