This may well be the blog equivalent of an awkward pause followed by a quick glance at the watch and a proffered, “Mmm, waiting for a friend…wonder what’s keeping them this time?” In short, there isn’t much to feed back on this week, and I feel a bit embarrassed that you’ve caught me hanging around. But don’t go just yet – by the same token, the absence of true Bluebird Parade news has led me, like a fairytale ingènue, to flirt dangerously with thoughts of opening the forbidden door previously barricaded by my own self-imposed impulse to compartmentalize: You can write about anything on the website, as long as it has to do with self-promotion.
You see, we are not, by and large, a “political” band, although some of us would like to feel that we “live” politically – even if just by virtue of being female, for instance. Nonetheless, my thoughts aren’t with the band right now. Of course we have things coming up: our interview on 103 the Eye is confirmed for between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 29th, so tune in to hear Styx and me wax poetic and definitely NOT let loose ignorant, “lighten up, you PC brigade”-style insults à la a certain “comedian” who has been in the news lately. Mark, Jon, Laura, and I are at Natterjacks the following day for the Acoustic Sessions, and then we will all be gearing up for the evening of gentle musical mayhem at the Musician on November 6th. The support for that night is also now confirmed – we’ll have Leah and Jenny on first to give us a taste of their spine-tinglingly complementary harmonies (afraid they don’t have any links I can give you; according to Leah they’re “rather rubbish like that”, so you’ll just have to take my word for it), and then Calder McLaughlin will play. Calder is also the organizer of the Natterjacks session and is a fierce singer-songwriter in his own right. He expects to have his new acoustic album, “Chapters and Phases”, completed before the 6th, so we’re very much looking forward to that. You can listen to him on MySpace or Bandcamp; I’ll put him on our Links page in a minute.
No, what I’m really thinking of today are the connective patterns of sadness and outrage that weave themselves through the newsprint and airwaves, as I catch up on the Sunday papers and contemplate that thin edge between justice and vengeance, moral blinkers and moral blindness, hatred and – well, hatred. Whether the discovery today of the brutally beaten and burned body of a young man in Cumnock signifies a homophobic attack (and I have to admit that was my first dread-laden thought, even before hearing reports of his sexuality) or not, what it does echo and presage are prolific and seemingly relentless daily attacks on humanity, both here and abroad, both blatant and more subtle (cuts, anyone?). For example, and for those who believe the death of two-year-old Yueyue in China could never happen here, I refer you back to the Observer Magazine article from last weekend on human trafficking and missing and exploited children in the UK: truly chilling. The word shaoguanxianshi – don’t get involved if it’s not your business – may refer to a particularly Chinese state of mind, but it translates elsewhere. (Or, conversely: do get involved, and get so involved that you mirror the hatred prejudice and you intend to extinguish, and sow the seeds for further trauma and atrocity.)
A particular something else in the news has been troubling me for some weeks now. Genuinely, to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, I say “Well done” – as if they’re reading! -, but at the same time a nagging and embittered voice within me wonders whether giving a triumvirate Peace Prize for the non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work means that that’s the distaff population taken care of for the next decade or two. Out of 101 individual winners since the Nobel Peace Prize was first awarded in 1901, only 15 have been women. Would three men be lumped together so casually, and asked to divide the prize money among them? The only other treble winners were Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994; and they were linked for obvious reasons not simply to do with gender. It’s times like these that make me wonder how much more we will need to progress before my cynicism is allayed. Not that I wish to take anything away from the winners. As one of the first posted “greetings” to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman on nobelprize.org reads, apparently without irony, “God Bless you brother!”.
Okay, enough rummaging in the Chamber for now, and back to the original remit. Let me wipe the inexorable blood from my hands and just remind you: 103 the Eye; Natterjacks; the Musician.
As I say, Bluebird Parade is not a “political” band. But sometimes I wonder if we should be.