SimonF's blog

A walk on the wet side

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I had decided I needed another trial run for next weekend's Avebury outing, so despite the less than promising weather forecast, I had already planned a route when Nick's StageIt email landed. I wondered if this innovative gig would work via the gift of mobile internet, and it did, just about:

Unfortunately the other occupants of the field didn't seem interested in the ongoing entertainment

Can you guess what Nick was singing when I took this:

Yep, "Blue Sky Thinking". Fat chance! The photo doesn't really do justice to the thick cover of threatening cloud, the mist, and the drizzle which rolled relentlessly off the hills.

It got worse. Much, much worse, before it got better:

RFH 2011 - a few photo's

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Live Music, Dancing and Making Music

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 Just to start the ball rolling:


a good sign


and here's one I drank earlier


Nick at Green Note, 29/5/2011

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Went along to Nick's gig at the Green Note in Camden last night, a new venue for me and, I think, for Nick.  One of the smallest venues I've been to, giving the gig a very intimate feel.

Not much opportunity for photography, owing to the very subdued lighting, but here goes:



Two Way Thing; 

Blood Song;




Guitar Man;


Manchester Academy gig, 21/05/2011

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My first Harper gig for quite a while, a much longer gap than I'd have liked, but what a cracker to return to.


Partial setlist:



Blood Song;

Treasure Island;


Juicy Fruit Girl;


The Story of My Heart;

Passing Chord;


Guitar Man;

The Tyger (thanks to an audience member who provided a capo);


Love is Music;

Avebury song;

Titties and beer.


Thanks, as always, to Nick for a great gig, and for not minding a camera shoved in his face.  Here's a few stills, they're a bit soft and 'noisy' as they're off a video camera (there is some video as well but that will have to wait for 'another day').



Surreptitious is my middle name

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Buxton Pavillion Gardens Lounge, 18/2/2009.  Apparently, venue policy is 'no photo's'.  Having weighed up the likely consequences of getting caught with my kit out by venue staff, I decided they were as naught compared to the wrath of Ms PR should I chicken out and come away empty handed.

So here you are:

(you ain't seen these, right?)


No more Digging on Down! (Cambridge photo's)

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Final gig, at Cambridge Junction 2  

Plenty of favourites, as always, with 'Evo' having a particular resonance this time because of my other activities during this weekend (see previous blog post).

Thanks to Nick for putting up with me again, PD for the bed at Stormcock Towers, and Linn for being her usual bonkers self.

I've tried something a little different with the formatting of this post, to compact the display of images, hope it works OK.  Click on a photo for the full size version.

Any display problems will, I'm sure, be down to my limited HTML skills, rather than the site itself.



"Suppose it'll have to be the poem then", says Nick, following a string-break.

(Click "Read more" for the rest)

Ireland needs an Evo

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This weekend I have mostly been attending protests in London.  I also went to see some bloke called Harper singing songs in Cambridge (which was nice).  More on that later - back to the protests.  Imagine a government which has given away vast quantities of natural resources, and in the process trampled over the rights and wishes of its own people, and you might think of some far corner of the developing world.

Well, you don't have to look that far, this is happening in Co. Mayo, Ireland.

Some background:
The Corrib offshore gas field contains substantial reserves of natural gas, believed to be in the order of 30 billion cubic metres, and preparations are hand for its exploitation by consortium of Shell, Statoil (from Norway), and Texas-based Marathon.

The current proposal is to bring high-pressure raw gas ashore by pipeline, to an inshore refinery at Bellanaboy, rather than refining at sea and pumping lower-pressure, processed gas ashore, as has been done elsewhere.  The justification for this seems to be purely economic, after all, got to maximise those profits, Shell only managed to make £14billion last year.

The route of the proposed pipeline passes through the Rossport community, in some cases only a few yards from homes.  Many of the local population are, not surprisingly, opposed to the project in its current form. 

The plan has the backing of the Irish government, who are seemingly deaf to the concerns and protests of the communities affected.  Added to these concerns is the environmental damage which has already been caused by the construction of the refinery.  Run-off from the stripping of around 500,000 tonnes of peat has entered Carrowmore Lake, the water supply for 10,000 people, which has since been found to have dangerously high levels of aluminium, far in excess of EU and WHO limits.

And the benefits of all this damage?  Well, nothing for the local population, and in fact nothing for Ireland's economy, the rights to these reserves have been signed over to Shell and their mates, leaving Bord Gáis to buy back the refined gas at full market value.  

There is an ongoing campaign to have the refinery moved offshore, and to renegotiate the deal so that Ireland's population will derive some benefit from their natural resources.  Surely, if Evo can do it for Bolivia, Bertie can do the same for Ireland?

Along the way, local farmers who refused Shell's contractors access to their land have been imprisoned, the Solidarity camp established by the campaign has been declared in contravention of planning regulations and removed as it occupied a "Special Area of Conservation".  The same SAC was entered (illegally) and damaged by Shell's contractors sinking boreholes.  Though this work was eventually reversed, in the process further damage was caused by the use of heavy machinery.

There's more information on the project and the objections to it on these websites:

The opportunity was taken to mark this St. Patrick's day weekend with  two days of action in London, "Bringing the Pipeline back to Shell".  Organised by Gluaiseacht, and supported by the Shell to Sea campaign, a busload of local and international supporters travelled from Ireland to take part.  

Sunday's St. Patrick's day Parade was entered, veiled as a local community arts group.  The next day saw actions outside the Shell Centre on the South Bank, followed by a similar gathering outside at the London Tower Bridge Hilton, the venue for a Shell investors' meeting.

Some photographs:

Sunday - St. Patrick's Day parade

 Preparations in the parade assembly area.


A bit of decoration is applied


Making the point

Click "Read more" for the rest of the photo's.

Brighton photo's

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Right then, here we go.  Several nice ones from this gig, which has to be one of the best lit ones I've ever been to.




Nick photo's, Manchester Academy 03/02/2008

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A quick post of a few shots from last night's gig.  I'll try to sort some better ones out tonight.

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