Yield and Be Free

Blinking the holiday food-coma crust from my eyes, I am horrified to note how long it’s been since the last post.  In that time, we have had a paltry number of hard frosts on the Hill, the sloe gin has been supped, Cameron and Clegg stopped sharing their crisps at lunchtime, I baked a Jewish New Year honey cake on Christmas Day, American troops finally left Iraq, Michelle Yeoh brought me to tears when talking on Front Row about her film portrayal of Aung San Suu Kyi, Bluebird Parade performed a forgettable acoustic set at the Priory in Loughborough and then quickly got over ourselves, Don Letts on 6Music presented the most enjoyable Yuletide-morning music program I’ve ever heard, Mr Rosewood joined our family, the West was tickled by Orwellian tall tales of a deceased North Korean despot (how benign become world leaders in death!), and I turned 39.  Add your notable December events as Comments below….

Most importantly, on Christmas Eve Bluebird Parade completed our contribution to the Special-ized charity album by gift-wrapping – okay, e-mailing – a top-secret MP3 file of the final mix for the lovely Mr Paul Williams, founder of the official Specials fan club.  I have mentioned the Special-ized project already on these pages, but as it grows in stature on the social network scene, I feel it is only fitting to provide a bit more information here.  You might recall that the (double) album was originally intended only as a download, but it will now be offered in limited-edition CD format as well.  It will feature over 30 contributing artists covering all the songs from the Specials’ first two albums, the eponymous debut and More Specials, plus a few more besides.  All proceeds will go to Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity that provides specialist units in NHS hospitals specifically tailored for teenagers with cancer who might not otherwise receive the care and support they need in an environment catering to their age, needs, and interests.

The release date is anticipated for February 2012.  In addition to the album, live album launch/promotional gigs are being planned for the New Year in Coventry, London, and Leicester.  We’re certainly hoping to be part of the Leicester one and will keep you updated: it’s exciting to be asked to cover a song for a compilation album, but even more so when that album is being created by good people for a good reason.  Like the annual fund my mother provides at this time of year for us to donate to the cause or organization of our choice (speaking of choice, mine is Planned Parenthood, the US’s leading sexual and reproductive health care educator, provider and advocate), to be involved in Special-ized is one of the best presents I can think of.  To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, “While to the claims of conformity none may yield and remain free at all, to the claims of charity one may yield and yet be free”.

See www.specializedcharityalbum.co.uk for more details.

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