Saturday was marked by an incredible unveiling ceremony for Hull’s new monument to the ten International Brigade volunteers who left the city to fight fascism in Spain during the civil war.
Eleven years in the planning, this stunning piece of architecture was designed by Dan Jones and will remind generations to come of the sacrifice of ten brave souls willing to give their lives in the fight against tyranny and oppression.
The ceremony itself was moving beyond belief as family members recounted memories and told us stories passed down the generations. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
I must pay tribute to Hull and District Trades Council and the Hull International Brigade Memorial Group who have worked tirelessly for so long to make this happen. I have been proud to campaign alongside them over this last four or five years and to see this amazing project finally come to fruition is a tribute to their dedication and determination that Hull needed to remember its heroic anti-fascist history now perhaps more than ever.
I sang ‘No Pasaran’ at the unveiling ceremony and I will always remember it as one of the proudest moments of my life.
If you get the chance, I urge you to pay the monument a visit and spend a moment remembering Jim Bentley, Rob Wardle, Frida Stewart, Richard Mortimer, Morris Miller, Joe Latus, Bert Wilson, Sam Walters, Clive Smith and, of course, Jack Atkinson who gave so much for peace, democracy and freedom.
This weekend will be a blinder.
On Saturday we finally unveil the new monument to Hull’s ten International Brigade volunteers, who left the city between 1936 and 1938 to fight Franco’s fascists in Spain; including, of course, the hero of my song ‘No Pasaran’, Jack Atkinson.
The ceremony is midday on Saturday March 16th, and there will be speeches and messages of support plus words from each of the families. I’ll be there to sing that song too.
It will be followed by an evening event at Tigers Lair on Anlaby Road where I’ll be singing and taking part in a panel on the fight against fascism past and present.
Then Sunday I’m heading back to London, this time to play the legendary Walthamstow Folk Club. If you’re in the area I would massively appreciate the support. I know it falls hot on the heels of the sold-out show at Greenwich Theatre, but this will be a slightly more intimate gig and I’d love to have your company.
Let the mischief and mayhem continue apace x
It has been a bumper start to 2019 when it comes to releases, but I have received a few messages from people struggling to keep up, so here’s the lowdown on what has been released and why.
On January 1st I released two brand new CDs. The first, ‘Headscarves & Hurricanes’ is an album of songs telling the story of Hull’s fishing industry and the Hessle Road community which supported it, set against the backdrop of the 1968 Triple Trawler Tragedy and the subsequent campaign by the Headscarf Revolutionaries which went on to become the most successful UK civil campaign of the 20th century.
Inspired by reading Brian W. Lavery‘s book on the subject, this album contains eleven songs including collaborations with Rebekah Findlay and Commoners Choir and you can get that on download or CD here:
Alongside that I released an 8-track extended EP called ‘The Past Won’t Last Forever’ containing collaborations with the Hatfield Brigade and Rebekah once more. That one is only a fiver and you can bag it here:
As if that wasn’t enough, 6th March saw the release of the crowdfunded special edition re-issue of ‘Never Be Defeated’, my album telling the stories of the Hatfield Brigade back in 1984-85 and released to mark the 35th anniversary of the Miner’s Strike. Now a 2-CD set, this package contains the original album on disc one plus my other mining songs and the Hatfield Brigade recordings, plus a very special closer from former miner Mick Lanaghan.
I crowdfunded this to keep it 100% independent of me financially, meaning every single penny raised from sales of both CD and download go to the community whose stories it tells. Half to the DN7 Hardship Fund for people struggling to make ends meet in the former pit villages of South Yorkshire, and half to the Save The Hatfield Main Headgear Campaign, looking to build a vital community resource from the old pit head and inspire generations to come.
The music is one thing, but the beautiful 16-page booklet designed by Kevin Pearson makes the whole package pretty stunning, and you can bag yours safe in the knowledge that your money will be put to immediate use here:
And lastly, we will be unveiling the long-awaited monument to Hull’s 10 International Brigade volunteers on Saturday March 16th at midday outside Guildhall; and to mark the occasion a very special ‘Hull Memorial Edition’ of ‘No Pasaran’ has been commissioned.
Essentially this is for family members of those 10 heroes of the city, but a strictly limited number have been put on sale for people who want one as a souvenir. It’s the original album in a cardboard overlay, but it looks stunning thanks to Kevin and is well worth adding to the collection here:
So that’s the music.
I’ve also released four ‘Album Sleeve T-Shirts’ featuring the sleeves of ‘No Pasaran’, ‘Not On Our Watch’, ‘The Future Needs Us Now, and ‘Never Be Defeated’. These are £12 each plus postage and you can bag them here:
Complicated, maybe, but there’s loads of music new and old and I’ll be on the road all year ramming it down your throat.
Would appreciate your support with it all.
Last night it finally happened. After 19 years Lithium Joe were back in a rehearsal room and kicking up a racket once more. Never thought it would happen, never thought it COULD happen, but I loved every second and can’t wait to do it all again.
Haven’t made music with Dave, Ian and Aidy since 2001 but such is the way with bands who spent so many years stuck in the same van driving up and down the country, the jokes are the same as ever and it took about 10 seconds to start where we left off.
Five songs came together last night and the rest will surely follow.
We are initially playing only one show, a We Shall Overcome all-dayer at The Station in Ashton-Under-Lyne on Saturday November 30th to put my 50th birthday to good use and hopefully pack the place to raise a stack for Pauline Town‘s ongoing work supporting the homeless of Greater Manchester. We are also booked into the studio to record that week so news of a brand new single will follow as soon as we have details.
Top fun. Loved it.
Good to be back.