Flat out exhausted. Second full week back at work …. and with extra hours thrown in for good measure. I’ll try not to spend it all in one place. To raise the stakes that much higher, I just got back from some work related, Team-Teach training which did my head in. I felt dizzy from the first 30 minutes, as the penny dropped I was in the in the presence of someone I’d been psychically stalking – inadvertently, mind. It was as if newspaper articles I’d read, interviews I’d conducted, hours I’d spent in libraries, children I’d observed as case studies …. had summoned this person into my life, whilst I wasn’t looking. In return, I am haunted by her.
One of the things that changed the entire course of my MA at Goldsmiths, originally an attempt to cash convert my music, was meeting my partner’s son, Jack. He is a young teen with ASD, who is privileged enough to go to a SEN school which has helped him progress way beyond what I thought would have been possible for someone with his difficulties. I am of the firm opinion that one of the major contributions to his accomplishment is in finding his talent as a visual artist. He was enabled to do so by his school, but more specifically by a program the school drafted in under the Labour government. Creative Partnerships (CP) introduced him to his talent via a 360 degree collaboration between pupils, their parents, teaching team, therapists and a CP practitioner loaded up with multi-media provisions. Together they forged a collective, autobiographical piece of animation, the DVD of which is in pride of place on our living room shelf – it gets a private viewing from time to time, lest we take anything for granted. This DVD is about 5 years old, but Jack seems to still be in that workshop somehow. Sketching storyboards for hours at a time, hybridising his favourite mediated forms, which get more 3-dimensional, more detailed, more vibrant, he has been inspired way beyond the duration of that programme. How many other neurotypicals are this focused on their work? Positively hyper productive, he is a one-young-man-mass-production-factory of textile design …. or comic strip art. I am absolutely certain that it has contributed to his enthusiasm for school, if not to actual literacy and numeracy skills, through symbol and pattern recognition. He was transformed from boy firmly on the spectrum to a high achieving dynamo, all under the regime of his, now former Headteacher. The same woman who was conducting today’s Team Teach workshop.
This retired Headteacher is banned from teaching in schools for life, with an option to re-apply to teach in two years. She was charged with bad financial management but was also in severe violation of child safeguarding procedures, both due to the favouritism she bestowed on family members in tendering and issuing contracts. When I tried to explore possibilities to pick up where CP left off at that school, I discovered the computers and cameras used had been sucked up into the blureaucracy. However her last Ofsted report at Jack’s SEN school noted the energy and skill she demonstrated in moving that school forward considerably. This woman is one fascinating creature
Technically she is not supposed to be teaching in schools right now. The Professional Conduct Panel Outcome decision was specific enough in issuing her lifetime teaching ban, with option to appeal after 2 years, but did not clarify whether teaching adults in schools qualified as “teaching in schools”. It seems she skims dangerously close to crossing the line even now, as she conducts her workshop in a local school. At one point today, she qualified that in order for the course to be accredited, she would need to teach us for a full 6 hours. She didn’t mention her past at this workshop, and did shamelessly flaunt the logo of her therapy based consultancy, almost product placing her brand at a Team-Teach function. And yet, the workshop was really good, very helpful, lots of fun – exciting actually. It was certainly not typical of any professional training I’ve been to – stabbing my leg under the table to stay awake. I’m not really sure she’ll ever return to teaching. Why should she? She was that good today. I was introduced to elegant and economic ‘Positive Handling’ techniques. She effortlessly modelled planning and follow up methods. I was updated on some outmoded forms of control that I’ve been using, and given easier, more effective alternatives. She made me aware of legal requirements which are not quite being met where I work, and gave me access to recent white papers for back up at that workshop. I was able to fraternise, brainstorm and drill manoeuvres with people who are appallingly above my station in the academic hierarchy. She gave me fresh breath to do the merry dance I must do with institutional inflexibility in order to instigate change, to reform if not radicalise education.
I’m a little confused about how to broach this subject with my SENCO. I’m willing to bet that legal requirements, for schools to have positive handling plans in place, are driving our attendance at this workshop today. Did my school’s management know that we are doing something a little close to the wire here by furthering the success of a woman who bends rules to breaking point …. or are we involved in something more covert? I so want to believe the latter – that there’s an underground matriarchy rallying to buoy up this woman for the same reason that Ken Robinson howls into a blob shaped universe.
We’re in a crisis of Capitalism and climate. Scientists are screaming out that we are careening helplessly into an environmental cul de sac. The people who will save us are the ones who are oriented to think and operate outside the box. Enter special needs schools. Perhaps it’s going to require rewriting the rule book. Who better to facilitate than those who have their hearts in the right place and plenty of experience in bucking the system to match? Only someone quite accustomed to testing its parameters, without somehow disappearing into high security containment at the bottom of a dried lake somewhere, has a chance to invoke the ideological shift necessary to do this. I want her to win. The odds are so stacked against women, and we need to be a little bit wily just to progress even just a little.
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Finally another film from Luc Besson! Where’s he been? I’ve missed him. Admittedly, his work is not always easy viewing. Sometimes I feel Besson is killing me softly with his films, having “found my letters and read each one out loud”. It seems a rarity to watch films where female characters are so deeply integral to the plot line as those of Mr Besson. Consider his biggest hits: ‘Leon, ‘La Femme Nikita’, ‘The Fifth Element’. Besson doesn’t treat the female as just eye candy, love interest or quirky goofball in his films, she is most often central to their intense meaning, usually addressing epic existential themes. In short he is a valiant and properly aspiring feminist. Not perfect no, but passionate yes. I do love ‘Lucy’ and see his latest film as a continuum to his great reverence for the female of the species.general | Comment (0)
“A new ten song CD from Bob and the Welfare Mothers, ‘Little Rock’, is due for official release at the end of the year (on Harbour Song Records) featuring nine great songs penned by Bob, plus the fabulous ‘Superdome’ written by Marianne, advance copies will soon be available for purchase at live shows.”
Gee thanks, Bob…. & perhaps pedal steel master Allan KellyFiled under general | Comment (0)
Friday 22nd August
Deep Southern Songstress from Austin Texas. If you blinked you’ll have missed her as Richard Linklater’s ‘Late Night Pickup’ during his cult film ‘Slacker’. She has fronted Dragstripper, Temple of Sound, Anarchistwood and Country Dirt, which was once London’s hottest new grabass bluegrass C&W outfit since Gary P. Nunn came to town. She’s equal parts Patsy Cline, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, and has sung with The Frogs at ATP, as well as with Bill Callahan during Meltdown Festival. She writes and plays platonic lovesongs to sexworkers, country reggae odes to schizophrenic madames and protest tunes to natural disasters… a walking triumph of lost causes & no-longer living legends.
“Country Dirt is London’s premier country+bluegrass band, fronted by Texas’s very own and very striking Marianne Hyatt” – Gary Crowley, BBC London
….adding aural shooting stars and neon fire to the roadhouse vibe –
Gavin Martin, The Mirror
“Think Burrito Brothers’ dirty sister” – Tim Perry, The Windmill
SON OF PSYCHOYOGI (Chris Ramsing)
Solo project from frontman of “Leftfield Antipodean Punk Jazzers” Psychoyogi…Acoustic songs with a classical,
jazz and folk influence. Medieval Punk Folk with onions.
Chris Ramsing is guitarist vocalist and song writer for Psychoyogi who have just released their latest album Chase the Bone featuting Tim Smart trombone, Jonas Golland, drums and David Rees, bass. Produced by
Paul Gilbert. www.psychoyogi.com
Listing artists such as Tori Kelly, John Mayer, Neil Diamond and Brandy as her key musical inspirations, this 19-year-old singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist has featured on platforms such as Westwood TV and BBC Radio 1 Xtra. Her music is a perfect blend of R&B, Pop and Acoustic inspired songs that reflects her musical journey, passion and lyrical ability beyond her years.
21 year old Birmingham born Lamont Junior is a Jazz/Pop singer with a signature soothing, deep tone. Musicality runs in the family as his grandfather is an original member of the platinum selling group UB40.
Lamont’s most recent release, “Slip (The Moment You Left)” is a great example of his talent and versatility. Bending and blending genres, Lamont can be heard singing Pop one minute, then Jazz or R&B the next.
Punk/anti folk musician and one man band.
‘I tap my foot a lot and sing songs about things that make me sad.’
unit 2 Bohemia place,Mare st , Hackney, E8 1DU
Oooooh thanks mighty Mick Denny and whizz kid engineering maestro James Michael Clark for this lovely recording of ‘Yes Ma’am’ – recorded at his Leigh Art Trail installation/private view & listen at Elsie’s Cafe at the Leigh Community Arts Centre on Saturday 14th June 2014. Yes I do wear Mick’s art on my sleeve
Anyway …. There’s even still more – best get my multimedia hat on
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First let me qualify I don’t really mind being in the Maverick Festie’s promotional material – I’m gagging to play it, more than care about that…. though it might be nice to have been ASKED!
When this piccie was taken in 2012, I’d never been and wasn’t quite aware that we’d be the ONLY ones dancing. Nevermind, we’ve always been through bein cool. Anyway it’s not like it’s the first time anyone has co-opted my ass into mercenary promo … *ahem*
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Many thanks to Micky Denny and his nephew James Clarke for the Record Shop installation at Elsie’s Place, Leigh Community Centre yesterday. Mick’s incredible collection of artworks disguised as musical sleeves were a craftily curated wonder to behold – with stunning ephemera, expertly thrown into the exhibit for good measure. Pictured here is the sleeve from my phantom release of ‘Superdome’ – I am now obliged & beholden to him to get it out there on the waves somehow…. else I’m not worthy of his greatness.
I was in awe as the musical artists stepped out from behind his art work to perform live: David Woodcock, Kate Denny w Crafting for Foes auteurs Amanda McManus & Adam Rees, M G Boulter Bob Collum, Mike Darrah
& I was so psyched to see Zoë Howe, Sadie Hasler, Jesse Diss & Natalia Farran, Lynsey Garnett, Kieth Harris, Sandra Hirons, Yvette Clarke… what a day. Still dancing a little
I was the fluffer for Saturday’s live performance of the music behind Mick’s magicFiled under general | Comment (0)
Had a raucous great time at Squeezebox Folk, down the Squeeze Cafe, Leigh-on-Sea, last night 30 May. Twas overwhelming to share a bill with such luminaries as Bob Collum (first timers were singing along from his first choon) and Simon Gentry (had people clapping & stomping from his first choon) …. not to mention the roundup of performers, writers, auteurs & mavens in the audience – Sadie Hasler, Matthew Boulter, Yvette Clarke, Mick Denny, Kate Denny (no relation Diana & Paul Collier, Kieth Harris – all up close & personal at that fabulous place. It’s on the top floor of the venue, and it kicked off during cinematic magic hour – at dusk – my favourite time of day anyway…. but the vibe at Squeezebox Folk is distinctively cool – a Bring Your Own Vinyl (BYOV) glowy kind of affair. There was quite a fuzzy divide between the audience & players, which incited a sort of chill cum thrill in me. There was also a raffle to win some merch, in which submissions were identified by names of favourite songs chosen by each audience member. At one point there was discussion amongst the entire crowd about whether named artists had to play the individual song written on a chosen ticket. The lunatics had taken over the penthouse…. & it was truly wonderful: sort of dress rehearsal for the revolution Adam & Amanda know how to throw a party. Can’t wait to see what they get up to for Leigh Folk Festie
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Legendary one-man psycho-country punk from Tennessee
JOE BUCK YOURSELF !
will be touring the UK in May & SUNDAY REVELATOR have managed 2 bag him 4 a Bank Holiday Sunday Special on 4th May at
4c Roach Road
The former Legendary Shack Shakers guitarist and Hank Williams III collaborator with a demon in his head will be raising hell at 9pm.
is on w platonic lovesongs to sexworkers, country reggae odes to schizophrenic madames and protest tunes to natural disasters… a walking triumph of lost causes & no-longer living legends.
£5 on the door.Filed under general | Comment (0)
Couldn’t help it – had to just …. ya know, get it out there. Thought it might clarify a few issues. Gee I hope I didn’t offend anybody.
I was particularly inspired to make this happen by the slideshow put together by… a fan? Well, sort of. A friend operating under a pseudonym. Don’t mind at all, but I do wonder what my pals won’t do to help me weave out a network. It’s a sweet video, Mr *errrm* Sharpe. I’m not worthy. Many thanks. xxxxxFiled under general | Comment (0)