I’ll be playing a wee acoustic set on Sunday at The Chameleon Cafe in Nottingham.
The gig is free, but any donations to the city’s Children’s Cancer ward are greatly appreciated. I’ll be on about 4pm.
‘In the battle for public opinion, there seems to be a split decision when it comes to Russia, and more predominantly, Vladimir Putin.
Some feel he’s the last bastion of hope against the imperialist war machine of America, and others feel he’s the reincarnation of Joseph Stalin, hell bent of destroying us all. Personally, I think he looks quite good on the back of a horse.
But one thing both sides can agree on, is that Mr Putin is nobody’s fool. In fact, most consider him either a genius, or an evil genius. Either way, a genius of sorts.
I find the word genius is banded around far too often. We have footballers that are considered a genius because they kicked the ball in the goal. That’s kind of the idea of the game, isn’t it?
Some celebrity Chef is a genius, because they decided to whack a Yorkshire pudding on the same plate as a slice of Vienetta ice cream. You see where I’m going with this.
It’s hard to disagree with that estimation when it comes to Vlad, though.
Between them, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spent 81 million dollars on election day Facebook adverts. Yet Putin managed to sway the entire election in Donald Trump’s favour, using only 46 thousand dollars. He managed to get Donald Trump…DONALD TRUMP elected off a few thousand dollars, against the might of Hillary’s millions? I’d say that’s pretty genius. I mean, there isn’t any evidence linking him, or the Russian government to those Facebook ads, but a journalist said he sanctioned it, and who are we to take away his triumph?
And don’t forget Brexit. The United Kingdom voted to leave the EU because of Vladimir Putin.
You didn’t realize that? Well, apparently despite all the major political parties aligning to support the remain campaign, and all the major media outlets siding with remain, us Brits were persuaded to vote leave, by the topless Russian.
The BBC were rightly vilified for their blatant disregard of balance. However, despite all that, ‘you know who’ managed to get the British people to vote leave. I don’t know how he did it, and neither it appears, do any of the journalists and MPs (all remain supporters) that say he did. Still, pretty genius in my book.
Then we come to ISIS. The United States and her partners in the UK and Europe (see what I did there?) had tried and tried and tried their very ‘bestest’ to destroy ISIS for years. Yet for some reason, ISIS kept getting stronger and stronger, kept getting US weaponry, and kept advancing towards overthrowing a regime, that the USA and Israel also happened to want over thrown. All of a sudden, along comes Vlad the jihad impaler, and ISIS is all but destroyed. Goodness knows what he did differently? Maybe he was actually trying?
Russia has been responsible for people’s negative opinions on fracking. Presumably to keep their own gas supply in demand? They’re responsible for the NRA’s unwavering support from the White House. Even in light of the recent school shootings, Russia is keeping the President firmly in the NRA’s pocket. Again, no one knows how, but then I suppose that’s what truly makes a genius. Their ability to keep their actions so clandestine, that no one can provide a single bit of credible evidence for any of it.
So there I was, sat in my Russian hockey shirt (with Tarasenko 91 on the back), sipping my Smirnoff and lime, when I saw the name Sergei Skripal was trending. Another genius has lost their mojo, I thought. That’s the trouble with genius you see. It comes and goes. It happened to Mark Bolan.
So after all the unbelievable (literally) achievements I have previously mentioned, he goes and throws it all away. Just two weeks before the Russian elections, Putin decided to send over some KGB agents to a sleepy town in the UK.
Their mission was to poison a former spy, who has been living freely for the last 8 years, having been released and pardoned by the Russian government, in broad daylight.
Why pardon him if you’re going to kill him? Why not kill him at his home where there are no witnesses? Why not kill him any time in the last 8 years? But thats the problem when you lose your mojo, you don’t think.
As the story continued to break, my vodka turning rather sickly, I thought that at least they had done it near Porton Down. It’s only 7 miles from where Skripal was poisoned and contains the UK’s infamous stockpiles of chemical weapons and nerve agents.
The Russians will have used UK manufactured nerve agents, and thus cleared themselves of any wrongdoing. That’s clever. Well done… hang on… They used Russian made poison? They BROUGHT IT WITH THEM?!
This is worse than I thought. At least Mark Bolan still managed to keep his tunes catchy, even if they weren’t a patch on his earlier stuff.
So here we are, on the verge of a full blown conflict between nuclear arsenals.
‘Surely you don’t mean the UK when you say nuclear arsenal?!’ I hear you cry.
No, but you’re forgetting that NATO has an “attack one, and you attack all” policy. So by attacking the UK, as Putin and his merry men have been accused, they have pushed Russia into conflict with NATO, and of course, the United States.
There is no evidence that Putin did this, of course. Apart from the fact that the nerve agent was Russian in origin. Not that we actually know that, because at the time of writing, the UK Government has refused to hand over any evidence to the Russian Government. And even if it were Russian in origin, it doesn’t mean it was used by Russians themselves, as Ex-MI5 agent Annie Machon rightly pointed out.
“(Chemical) agents can be developed and used by governments all over the world,” she said. “If this Novichok agent was developed in Russia, it doesn’t mean it’s stayed in Russia – [any more than] any of the other agents developed by Germany, the USA, or the UK have stayed in their own countries.”
“The fact that the… UK facility for identifying those agents (Porton Down. 7 miles away from the poisoning) was able to identify this very quickly would indicate that they know exactly what this nerve agent is, which means that they have the chemical formula for it too. So, who knows where it came from?”
You see, MPs use terms like “It was highly likely it was Russia”. It plants enough seed in the doubt of the public, which will make them less objectionable to their warmongering, but is just vague enough to clear them from blame should it all go pear shaped.
After all, they don’t want another WMD in Iraq fiasco. They’ve only just managed to sweep that under the carpet. Whats a few hundred thousand civilian deaths among friends?
I do hope old Vladimir gets his mojo back, and manages to turn this whole mess around. For while politicians beat the drums of war, it isn’t them that will be dying on that battle field. It’s us, and our loved ones. And what will it say on our headstones?
We died for what?
I am involved with another Arts Council project. This time, it’s called The Travelling Band Project.
Here’s a brief explanation.
Five musicians, from all different musical backgrounds and genres, are put together and sent on the road across the county of Derbyshire.
Day one, we arrive in a town, and spend the day hanging out with the locals. We hear their stories, the history of the area, and that afternoon, we write a song about those people and their experiences. That evening we perform a set of our own individual songs, as well as our musical attempt to do them and their town justice.
Day two, repeat and so on all the way across the county.
On the final day, we will bring back all the songs and experiences, and perform them to the people of Derby.
Here are the dates and venues we have booked in so far…
Saturday 10th March @ No. 25, Belper.
Friday 6th April @ The Latch Lifter, Ilkeston.
Saturday 7th April @ The Featherstar, Wirksworth.
Friday 13th April @ Artisan, Ashbourne.
Saturday 5th May @ The Fishpond, Matlock.
Thursday 10th May @ Ripley’s Little Ale House, Ripley.
Thursday 31st May @ Baby People Studios, Derby (Afternoon).
Thursday 31st May @ The Maypole, Derby (Evening).
I’m a couple of tracks away from completing the writing of my next record. It’s very different. A lot more chilled out and stripped back than anything else I have done.
I figured that if I don’t take the shackles off at 36, I probably never will. So this album will be more me than anything else, including a mic on the toaster.
Myself and Stephen took a drive up to Glasgow last week to lay down a bridge single with our pal Jono. We had a great time trying lots of different sounds and ideas out. Just waiting on the mixes before getting it mastered and released for you all to have a listen.
Hopefully you’ll enjoy.
I clearly have too much time on my hands.
I have been playing around with some T shirt designs.
Check them out here.
I’m heading up to Scotland to record a new single with my man Jono next month. It’ll just be a one off single for now, with plans to get a new album done later in the year.
The single ‘Campfire’ should be available sometime in late February or early March.
Having felt as helpless as the next person in the case of Ahed Tamimi, I have tried to at least raise some awareness, and hopefully raise some much needed money for people from Ahed’s neighbourhood in the occupied West Bank, as well as in the besieged Gaza Strip.
For anyone that is unaware of Ahed, this article explains it better than I – aljazeera
Here is a little more background that will explain the reasoning behind Ahed’s actions – haaretz
As you have now hopefully read, child abuse is normal in the illegally occupied territories.
Anyway, me and my pal Lewis have knocked up a T shirt design that will hopefully be able to raise some awareness of Ahed and her families situation. With the help of TeeMill (Powered by my friends at Rapanui Clothing) we have put together some items for sale, with all profits going to charities within Palestine. Every little helps, right?
There are plenty of different colours available, and hopefully in the coming days, we’ll get some more designs up together. Any requests or suggestions are welcome too.
Our TeeMill page is located at garethickeshop.teemill.com/
Please feel free to share with friends and family.
I appear to have landed.
Spotify have deemed me worthy of one of those blue tick things. If you want to give me a follow, I’ll be whacking a fair few playlists (when I work out how) onto my profile. The wife makes them on a daily basis, but I’ll try and keep the dodgy R&B to a minimum.
Just wanted to extend a massive Merry Christmas to all of you. Even if you aren’t religious, as I’m not, it’s still lovely to spend quality time with family and friends. Plus no one judges you for drinking single malt at 8am. That’s always a bonus. I hate being judged.
Much love. x