Chas And Dave

I was extremely saddened to hear of the death of Chas Hodges, one half of “Cockney novelty act” Chas & Dave.  Of course, what lies behind all great success stories is the sheer hard work and preparation.  It’s rare to have success in one easy move.  In fact Chas & Dave were no novelty or a product of luck.  Chas Hodges worked with The Beatles, Bill Haley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, Joe Meek, Richie Blackmore and Labi Siffre. He was also sampled by Eminem. This is testament to the importance of preparation and sheer hard work in success.

Chas’ death resonated strongly as I’d only just finished recording a song in honour of Chas & Dave last month.  I’m sure he would have loved its embedded non political correctness and cheeky allusions to Cockney rhyming slang.  Now we’ll never know 😦

In respect of his recent death, I have decided to donate proceeds from the sales of the song towards “Balls to Cancer“.  You can find the song at Chas & Dave Tribute.

I’d heard a round of criticism from people in social media that I’d dared record a Chas & Dave song.  These people of course are not musical, just musical snobs. A quick analysis of any one of their songs will tell you just why they are so popular. Great vocal syncopation, superb hooks, tight integration of the rhythm section to the words and a number of great earworms in every song.  Not a second wasted.  20 minute Genesis songs they are not, but that’s a different skill altogether.  There is a tremendous skill in writing a 3 minute pop song. It was a really hard job to bring these elements together in a respectful way in the song and I hope we gave a nod and a wink in the right direction.

I was extremely lucky as I saw Chas & Dave some 300 yards down the road from my house when they played a festival in my town. I could not believe that people of all ages knew all the words to their songs and the sheer euphoria of their performance and musicality. True professionals.

We finish with some of their great songs:

Chas Hodges R.I.P.

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Chas and Dave

Exit Brexit is a new song written in the Chas & Dave “Mockney” style, to help persuade Brexiteers in regret and weary Remainers that Brexit is a “Dogs Dinner”.  Imagine “Margate” by Chas & Dave sung in an East End pub with punters soaked in Watneys’ Red Barrel and cockles … Take a listen at Exit Brexit

“I note with disappointment that the man / woman reading The Sun/ Mail / Express in my local cafe are unmoved by the clever arguments of academics, thought leaders and celebs who want to Remain.  A quick read of these papers is a good education of how these people think. They were mis-sold Brexit, demonstrate “buyers remorse” but don’t believe that Brexit can or should be halted due to the “will of the people” mantra. Exit Brexit uses the medium of clever pop music to reach people in ways that graphs do not. Would you Adam and Eve it?”

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We are approaching Danny Dyer (Eastenders) and John Altman (Nick Cotton) to give the song that ring of Bow Bells.  Check your mince pies and see what’s on offer …

* Buy the song for just a bin lid (£1.00) donation or more, according to your wishes or purse

* Just give whatever you feel towards the recording costs – it would help us recover all the costs we have incurred in making the “Rage Against The Brexit Machine” catalogue. A Paul McKenna would be great, a pony even better !

* Help finance our recording session with Danny Dyer or John Altman (a meet and greet will be included if we succeed) – This will include a pampering day at the studio in London – we need £3000, 6 monkeys or 3 bags of sand for this – you will be refunded if we don’t meet the goal

* Be part of the “Mockney Brexit Choir” as a piece of history – A ton (£100) buys you a day in a studio in Kent – we need ideally ten people for this – you will be refunded if we don’t get enough people to form the choir

* Appear in the video for the song – one day in September on location in the East End of London if there are sufficient backers – we need a minimum of £4000, two Jeffrey Archers or eight monkeys for this – you will be individually refunded if we don’t meet the goal

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Only fools and horses still want Brexit ….

Check the existing Rage Against Brexit album out at RAGE

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“Hey, you!” [Holds up Chlorinated Chicken] “See these mate? 5p cheaper than yours down the market.”

 

The Greatest Show on Earth

I attended the Greatest Show on Earth on Saturday … and you can this week …. in Leicester, Cardiff and Liverpool …

Richard Strange’s 1983 concept album “The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange” told the bizarre story in which a celebrity rose up based on his own BS and the “will of the people” to become the elected president of Europe. After being trashed by the gutter press, he then tragically falls from grace, facing abduction etc. Yet, his belief in himself is unchallenged by all of this, trapped in his self image. Listen to the finale of the album “I won’t run away” for an insight into the album. Of course, nothing like this could happen in real life … Reagan, Trump, Brexit etc. !!!  Was this just a preplay??

The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange was hailed the greatest concept album ever made. This reproduction of the album with a live band is timely and a poignant reminder of the problems that arise when our political leaders believe their own BS. Superbly put together both musically and theatrically, Richard and the band epitoimise Pop Art in a world of Populism where soundbites are three words, attention spans are three seconds and, thirdly, well, are you still listening?

Find out more about Richard Strange, leader of Proto Punk band “The Doctors of Madness” at Richard Strange and find an exclusive interview with him at “The Music of Business

See this once in a lifetime performance this week at

June 12th 02 ACADEMY  LEICESTER with The Psychedelic Furs
June 13th TRAMSHED CARDIFF with The Psychedelic Furs
JUNE 16TH 02 LIVERPOOL with The Psychedelic Furs
The band is exceptional.  It includes Steve ‘Boltz’ Bolton on searing guitars, electric and acoustic (The Who, Paul Young, Atomic Rooster, Scott Walker and many others). Terry Edwards plays Saxophones (several of them at one time), guitar and percussion (Gallon Drunk, The Higsons, Tindersticks and PJ Harvey). Atar Shafighian is a keyboard player supreme, also adding melodica (Jamiroquai). Lily Bud lifts the roof with her vocal talents (Sarah Jane Morris, Band of Holy Joy). Andy Gallop holds the whole show together with precision drums and percussion (Orlando Seale, Harpo Smith, Fortnight in Florida) together with Dan Johnson on electric, stick bass and ambient electronic interventions. It’s an outstanding lineup to match the theatre of the absurd. All supported by the excellent Johny Brown on ambient textures and soundscapes (Band of Holy Joy) with sound design by the magnificent Jo Lord and visuals by Inga Tillere. In attendance last night, legendary producer John Leckie (Muse, Bill Nelson, Doctors of Madness and many more).

The Phenomenal Band of Richard Strange

Find Richard’s work by clicking the picture

 

Touch my hand, touch my hand …

Voices for Europe In Limbo

In Limbo Cover by Allisdhair Mc Naul http://allisdhairart.moonfruit.com

“In Limbo” is a poignant piece of music inspired by the book of the same name, to highlight the desperate plight of EU Citizens left in uncertainty and fear for their futures, due to vacillation and abuse by our Government during the Brexit negotiations. Check out the In Limbo book for the full stories of tragedy, hope, hopelessness and hate which characterise our DisUnited Kingdom since June 24 2016. We aim to crash the UK charts with the song. Please download the song on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play in the week commencing FRIDAY April 20 to maximise our impact on the UK Top 40 chart (You may pre-order NOW). Find all the links below.

ALL PURCHASES COUNT TOWARDS CHART SUCCESS

I gathered voices from all over Europe and as far afield as Thailand on the song I wrote to tell the tales of people’s hopes, fears and experiences of being treated as “Citizens of Nowhere”. In Limbo is truly an international effort and it has been a Herculian task to assemble the piece of work. Some facts :

30 + people on the song

Contributions from France, Germany, Ireland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Greece, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands and we are still hoping for more from Scandinavia and the Baltic States.

124 + tracks to mix !!!

3 months in the making

In Limbo will be available in thee formats : a radio friendly version, a full length 11 minute epic version of the song, an ambient “Ghosts” mix with micro testimonies from all the people who contributed to the project. A 30 second Spotify mix will also appear for multiple streaming although streaming needs massive numbers to count towards chart success.

VOICES FOR EUROPE

Our ambition is to achieve chart success with the song.  In doing so, to achieve wider awareness of the needs of this group of people, the In Limbo project and, indeed the plight of all 65 million UK citizens caught In Limbo by our self-harming Brexit project. If you can help with publicity please get in touch with me directly. We need:

  • Celebrity and political endorsements to give the song global visibility. A dream list would include Guy Verhofstadt, Bob Geldof, Gina Miller, Adele, Ed Sheeran, A.C. Grayling, Chuka Umunna, Ken Clarke, Nick Clegg, Mick Jagger, Paloma Faith, Billy Bragg et al.
  • Press coverage to balance the current Brexit obsession of UK media in UK and Europe
  • Social media sharing via an army of people on the In Limbo All Stars Page and, of course
  • 20 000 ++ downloads of the songs from iTunes, Amazon and Google Play to propel it into the charts and thus “take back control” of our Brexit obsessed populist media machine. All downloads on all platforms count towards chart success, so please buy all 3 formats on all major platforms, less than a couple of cups of coffee or a beer

Find the full Rage Against The Brexit Machine catalogue at the Brexit Rage website Connect on social media via Facebook and Twitter. A press release is available on request.

WORLDWIDE RELEASE FRIDAY 20 APRIL

Listen to the In Limbo Demo at SoundCloud

EURO MIXES (ANGLO FRENCH, ANGLO GERMAN, “LATIN”, EASTERN EUROPEAN) at BANDCAMP

In case you are wondering why the EU Citizens should be considered a special case, they should NOT be … but they live, work and pay taxes here and should therefore be afforded the same rights as UK Citizens.  Our Government continues to use them as bargaining chips in their desperate attempts to negotiate a “Cake and Eat it Brexit deal” when some two years have passed and we still have no clarity about the future for all people living in UK.  I have heard stories of people who were threatened with being burned alive by our so-called tolerant British people.  When I make comparisons with the emergence of Nazi Germany, I am often told that this is offensive.  Well, it is offensive to be threatened to be burned alive and if the truth hurts in our sanitised society, then so be it.  I am too old to worry about political correctness … if you are bored by Brexit, frankly, so am I and I make no apology at continuing to make the argument against it.  Please get engaged for your children’s sake and those of your fellow citizens.  It is even written in the snow …

Written in the snow

Music is the language of the emotions. So said Emmanuel Kant (and possibly Madonna). The 2016 referendum was won by a naked appeal to the emotions of the people when Nigel Farage asked people to vote with their hearts (bypassing their heads). Whether you like or loathe Nigel, his strategy surprised nearly everyone, including himself, but not Cambridge Analytica … However, it does not do to copy a strategy. Rather we must better it …

There is a long legacy of protest through music, from Nina Simone, Pete Seeger, through Joan Baez, Tracey Chapman, John Lennon, Prince, Marvin Gaye, Kate Bush and Billy Bragg et al. Nobody has however so far rewritten Lennon’s classic “Give Brexit a Chance”, as Brexit has already been given some two years and the indicators are that Brexit has indeed made peace a less likely result of the civil war that’s ripping families, industries and communities apart in Britain.

Billy Bragg stated that protest music is dead recently but he is wrong. Voices for Europe is a movement of 30 European citizens who have just released the song “In Limbo”, inspired by the book of the same name. In Limbo aims to reach people’s heads via their hearts. One of the Voices for Europe contributors was threatened with being set alight after the referendum. I myself have been punched in Brexit Central twice by angry Brexiteers since 24 June 2016 (that’s not a euphemism for my anatomy).

Here is the hall of fame from the In Limbo track:

Lead vocals : Rachel Ashley – Professional singer and voiceover artist

Bass and ambient bass textures : Jason Bell – Author, Computer genius and Tech supremo

A mystery soprano opera singer

Video production : Mark Duffy – Film Producer and Animator extraordinaire

Violin ambience : Kristina Howells

In Limbo spoken word testimonies and choir members : Erwin Schaefer, Sian Davies, Anette Pollner, Sabine Dor, Veronika V, Vicky Tessio, Malgorzata Piotrowska, Agnes Pinteaux, Emma Pinteaux, Lily Pinteaux, Maria Llorente, Rohan Nair, Peter De Clerq, Susanna Leissle, Lotti Newstead, Christina Howells, Xavier Kreiss, Silvia Impellizeri, Lisa Lanfranchi, Veronique Martin.

Cover art : Allisdhair McNaull

Merchandise : Stephen Lowes

Written, arranged and produced by yours truly in my basement studio. Additional advice on mixing by Graham Hogg.

In Limbo is a real opus and a labour of love.  To help offset the costs of recording the project please go to our Go Fund Me website and donate / share whatever you can manage.

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Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock and Human Dynamics. Author of 8 books on leadership acclaimed by Tom Peters, Charles Handy, Harvey Goldsmith and Adrian Furnham. Featuring an interview exclusive with Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson.

 

Allo Andy

An exclusive interview with Andy Allo, a hugely talented singer, songwriter and collaborator with Prince at Pizza Express Jazz Club. Andy has the voice of an angel alongside well-honed songwriting and musical talents.  There is little else to be said, just enjoy the interview by clicking the link:

With Andy at Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho – for the coolest gigs in London see http://www.pizzaexpresslive.co.uk

With another guitarist … 🙂

Andy released her first album, UnFresh in 2009 and two years later, joined Prince’s New Power Generation as a singer/guitarist and worked with the legend on her sophomore album, Superconductor. That album featured a funk/soul sound and made it to #4 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart.  She has performed on Jimmy Kimmel, Guitar Center Sessions and showed her acoustic chops on Billboard Sessions Exclusive.

In 2015, she released an EP titled, Hello, featuring 4 songs where she explored her love for pop and rock. Now having released her next project, One Step Closer EP, Andy dives deeper in to her acoustic singer-songwriter roots. Of her new project, Andy explains, “I feel like this is just the beginning of my story. It’s a journey but with every record, I feel I’m get closer to who I am as an artist and songwriter. There’s still a lot I want to share with the world.”

Check Andy’s music and film work out at Andy Allo.  Special thanks to Anita Desai for filming the interview and Sepideh Cole for loaning us the office at Pizza Express Jazz Club, where we created a fiction of a cool interview location at short notice amidst in trays, lever arch files and keyboards !! 🙂

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Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Speaking and Conference facilitation and Human Dynamics – Business and Organisation Development. Check our books out on Amazon:

The Art of Listening

I met Dame Evelyn Glennie recently at an event I was invited to at The Bank of England. A remarkable dialogue took place about the gentle art and discipline of listening, expertly organised by Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at BoE.

Evelyn Glennie has been deaf since her teenage years, yet she developed as a percussionist and ‘feels’ sound through her body.  She opened the 2012 Olympics using the Aluphone:

Why then would The Bank of England have someone from such a different world come to address an invited audience?

Glennie talked passionately about the art of listening. All businesses could improve their abilities in this area, especially as the speed / rhythm of business continues to increase and that decreases the spaces for meaningful conversation. I have experienced this at first hand through my work with Dr Andrew Sentance, former Monetary Policy Committee member at the Bank of England, himself a musician, and via 25 years of consulting with a huge range of businesses and organisations.

Much business conversation is really discussion, based on the root form of percussion or “to beat around”.  Whereas physicist David Bohm talks of the need for dialogue, where there is a genuine enquiry.  Complex business issues demand dialogue more than discussion and yet most businesses are time limited so issues tend to be beaten around rather than relying on more skilful inquiry.  I call such issues “wicked problems” and they require high level listening, collaboration and complex problem solving skills.

Music, simply stated, is applied physics. Banks run on mathematics and science but the gap between music and mathematics is mostly an imaginary one, installed at an early age when we are judged to be more arty or scientific. At the highest levels art and science are often indistinguishable. Our job as leaders is to “improve the signal : noise ratio” in business.  This of course can be done badly by shutting down conversation or improving our abilities to hear … this, itself opens up a much wider dialogue …

Thus business could learn a thing or two from music and vice versa.  Hats off to The Bank of England for hosting such an engaging event as part of their outreach series.  Here’s a TED talk from Evelyn Glennie, where she elucidates further on the gentle art of listening:

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Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Speaking and Conference facilitation and Human Dynamics – Business and Organisation Development. Check his books out on Amazon:

Transferable lessons for business from music

The Kick Inside

Find Raf And O’s Music at http://www.rafando.com

I was blessed to attend the premiere of a performance of Kate Bush’s songs by Raf And O, an experimental music duo who fuse acoustic instruments with electronica.  Raf And O also have a portfolio of highly original music and I’d strongly advise you to get hold of their music and see them perform whilst you can.  Here’s a collage of some of the pieces performed at the evening:

Check Raf And O’s original pieces out on youtube and find their music at Raf And O.

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Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock and Human Dynamics. Author of 8 books on leadership acclaimed by Tom Peters, Charles Handy, Harvey Goldsmith and Adrian Furnham. Featuring an interview exclusive with Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson.