MERRY WINTERVAL TO YOU, MY DEAR EXHAUSTED AND EMBATTLED COMRADES!
When last I wrote to you it was high summer, six short months ago and what feels like a whole universe away. Never could I have imagined the political turmoil this extraordinary year would go on to wreak across the whole world. It's been the most horribillis of any annus (this is a take on a latin and not a blue joke FYI) that I have ever seen in my nearly thirty years of earth-dwelling. Britain made a really, really, really terrible democratic decision, even by Britain's terrible democratic decision-making standards, that resulted in Theresa May (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) becoming Prime Minister (someone really ought to write a catchy song about how she's a baddie,) and America decided that actually they wanted a racist man who likes to sexually assault women for their president (and those are basically his good bits!). Which has resulted in all sorts of zaniness, including but not limited to: some white supremacists have been given top jobs in the new US government; Donald Trump wants Muslim human beings to sign a big register, which was an idea utilized to great effect by Hitler! Not to be outdone Theresa May the Baddie also wants employers AND SCHOOLS! to give the government a list of the country of birth of all their employees AND PUPILS! I MEAN LITERAL CHILDREN! so we can better organise our racist policies.
If I sound glib about all this, it's only because I honestly don't know what to say. I don't want to stop fighting or trying and I don't want my negativity to make you guys feel like the fight is too hard either. The only thing I can do is of course keep on writing my daft songs to try and make sense of this strange and often sad old world, in the hopes that perhaps I might stumble on something that helps some of you make sense of it too.
I HAVE A NEW EP!
It is with that somewhat bittersweet segue then that I would like to tell you that I have an EP out TODAY! It's called THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A PROTEST SINGER, which is of course a line taken from my love song to the Guardian that you may remember from Spring of this year, and the artwork (below) is heavily inspired by that theme.
We reached out to the Guardian for a comment, and they said in a statement, "WHO'S THERE?? I CAN'T SEE YOU! I CAN'T HEAR YOU! LEAVE US ALONE!" (they didn't say that). The EP was recorded (live!) by wonderful pal John Helps and features the Guardian song plus 5 more new ones, and was designed and packaged beautifully by equally wonderful pal Tim Morris. Thanks wonderful pals! Me and the Benefits Culture did try to make an album this autumn but I just had too many bloody songs so you can expect a full band album in the Spring, cross my heart pinky swear and no backsies.
There will be 500 copies of this EP on CD; 250 will be on sale online from this website ONLY, 250 at gigs in the flesh. For the first time ever I am also on iTunes and iSpotify! (So that's exciting I suppose?) Get your physical copy HERE.
I'm looking forward to playing songs from the record on my December tour which starts TONIGHT at London's Nambucca for........LEFTY CHRISTMAS! MERRY LEFTY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL! I'm also coming to LIVERPOOL, OXFORD, BRIGHTON, NOTTINGHAM and LEICESTER in December and you can get your tickets for those shows on the Gigs page.
I HAVE A GIG WITH BILLY BRAGG!
I'm also very pleased to announce to you that I've been invited by none other than Mr Billy Bragg to be his special guest at an evening exploring protest song at Bridport Electric Palace. We'll be singing and talking about the relationship between music anc politics and, I suppose, what the bloody hell we're supposed to do with the landscape we find ourselves in now. I am completely honoured and thrilled to be asked to appear at this. Its on December 22nd and will be my last gig of the yea and a lovely way to end 2016.
I hope that those of you who want a copy of the EP get one and more importantly, I hope that you all have a lovely festive season filled with love and warmth and comfort. 2016 is not one, on the whole, that will be inducted into the Golden Hall of Fame of the Funnest Years Of Time, mostly because that's not a real thing at all but also because it was largely on the unrelentingly dark side. I am convinced that things are going to get better across Britain and the world but I think it will take a lot of energy and love from those of us who want things to change. I wish you all health and happiness this Christmas, and roll on 2017.