Saving The Planet? Really??

‘Saving the planet’: rather a bold claim? Yes but a) I’ve got to say something to get you to my show and b) there is genuine intent within that. Let me explain…

Changing The Narrative

The other day, I attended a talk by George Monbiot, as part of the Bath Literature Festival. He is somebody who has dedicated himself to the understanding of complex ecological and socio-economic systems. And he has the ability to share this understanding in a way that is accessible to all.

Much of what George had to say was, not surprisingly, rather frightening. However, he remains positive that we, collectively, have the wherewithal and opportunity to make the changes needed in order to save ourselves from calamity. The technology and knowledge required are already there. However, what we really need to change – to facilitate the necessary revolution in both thought and practice – is the narrative.

Rethinking Stories

Which is where I come in. Well, not just me – obviously. All of us, really. We all need to rethink the stories we tell ourselves. Recent history has shown that our perceived certainties are shaky at best. So, we face the opportunity and obligation to challenge those – and quickly.

If it’s possible to address this situation with wit and humour – in a way that is provocative and entertaining – then that would seem to be a good step to take. And, with the limited means at my disposal, it feels like the best I have to offer. When I say ‘saving the planet’, that is meant collectively. Honestly, if I could do it for you, I would. But I’m afraid we’re all going to need to pull together on this one. 

Part of The Process

I’ve no idea whether me singing a few songs and telling some stories is going to provoke actual change in anyone. However, if the greatest mind of which I’m aware – when it comes to the climate emergency – is calling for a change of narrative, then I feel it’s my duty to at least attempt to be a part of that process.

What the hell am I on about? Come along to the Old Theatre Royal Bath, on June 1st at 8pm, to find out. At the very least, you can be assured an entertaining evening of songs, stories, surprises and some very special guests. You never know – it may just help provoke a revolution…

The Crown Jools

Once again, it’s my pleasure to announce that the wonderful Jools Scott will be making a guest appearance in Bike to The Future.

Man of Many Parts

Jools is a supremely talented composer, pianist and producer. His Oratorio ‘The Cool Web’ was commissioned for inclusion during the Armistice Centenary commemorations at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2018. Which had a certain symmetry to it, since Jools had been a choirboy there. He even sang the traditional solo for Once in Royal David’s City, from the Whispering Gallery, in 1992!

Full English

Jools and I first met whilst playing in bands appearing on the same line-up at various gigs and festivals. Once we discovered a shared interest in composition, we hit on the novel idea of meeting whilst sober! So, a semi-regular routine of breakfast meetings was established.

During these encounters, we’ve discussed all sorts of things – both music-related and unrelated. Among these were the initial ideas for my first Fringe outing ‘Think of a Song’. Jools has been a constant source of support and ideas. So, it’s especially pleasing to have him on board for this latest Fringe spectacular.

In a Field of His Own

As with Rob (Whale – violinist), Jools is due to accompany me at a lesser-known event in some fields near the village of Pilton, later in June. What Jools doesn’t yet know is that we’re scheduled to play at midday on Saturday. Which is not a bad time to play – since there is little competition from the main stages at that juncture. However, it may prove a little early for someone of Jools’ constitution.

So, if you are attending said event, do come along and find us. But don’t bank on Jools (or any other band members) being there. In fact, the one way in which you can ensure you’ll see the full line-up is to come to the show at the Old Theatre Royal on June 1st. Plus, there will be one or two other surprises in store. Trust me.

Be Prepared

Don’t delay. Book now to avoid disappointment and do get in touch to say you are coming. If you forward your confirmation to brian@madmusik.co.uk I’ll even send you a free album download. Then you can swat-up on the songs beforehand and be ready to sing along!

The Full Package

With just under three weeks until Bike to The Future, it’s time to introduce my special guests. And gently remind you to book your tickets…

The Full Package

First up: Rob Whale. Anyone who saw his appearance at The Rondo, last Autumn, will agree he really is the full package. Fiddle player, singer, songwriter, arranger and avid cyclist, Rob is someone with whom it’s always an honour to share the stage.

Mimes Past

We first met as music students in London, back in the late 1980s (I know – hard to believe ether of us is that old). In the orchestra there, Rob developed his talent for miming, on the back desk of the violins. Meanwhile, I was humiliating myself on percussion, coming in – fortissimo – on cymbals in all the wrong places.

Funk Soul Brothers

But things improved from there. Rob formed his funk/soul outfit Rob Whale and The Marleys, for whom I played drums. We traipsed round the usual London haunts, including the legendary Half Moon in Putney and Moonlight Club. The band featured Charlie Round-Turner (now Midge Ure’s keyboard player) on keys and Lisa Walsingham (Jools Holland) and Jason Yarde (Jazz Warriors) on sax. (Bet they wish they’d been invited to play for Bike to The Future…)

Award Winner

Rob went on to teach music, winning the Classic FM/TES Teacher of The Year award in its inaugural year of 1999. He continued to write and arrange, forming the African-influenced outfit Super Rhythm Express, with whom I had the privilege of recording. Today, Rob is a regular member of folk outfit Jake’s Rake and sometime member of a Band named Brian.

Somewhere in a Field

Rob will be accompanying me at a lesser-known event in some fields near the village of Pilton, later in June. But before that you can see him in all his glory (and you’ll know what I mean when you do see him), at the Bath Fringe. This is a fabulous event and it’s always a pleasure to perform in the magnificent Old Theatre Royal. If you’ve not been before, it’s worth coming just to experience the venue.

The Only Choice

So, when I was looking for a well-equipped, fiddle-playing, backing-vocal-singing, cycling enthusiast for Bike to The Future, there really was only one choice! Come along on June 1st and see for yourself.