Damn EU

Tomorrow marks the release of our 7th single in the Rage Against The Brexit Machine series.  Fiscal Cliff charts the story that led to the last major recession and which sewed the seeds for our decision to self harm by leaving the EU:

Click the links to pre-order the song:

Here is the video to whet your appetite:

And the lyric …. written in bus shelters, banks, bath, beds and bars :

The story behind the song – Illustrations by Simon Heath @SimonHeath1

As with many things in modern life, the ideas for the song started on Facebook – with big thanks to Andee Price for finding me within an hour of asking for a professional bass player on Facebook and Christopher Gamble for his “online oral stimulation”:

I placed an ad for a female bass player on Facebook and within an hour I had three recommendations for Andee Price – she read the advertisement accurately and responded. A true professional.



Charity begins at The Bank of England …

I have just written, arranged and recorded some songs on “economics futures” for our 2015 Charity campaign with Dr Andrew Sentance, former MPC member at The Bank of England, Haydn Jones, Managing Director at Fujitsu, alongside a band of musicians featuring Rick Benbow, a session musician and member of Brit Floyd, who recently scored Status Quo’s “Aquostic” album. The triple A side EP “Rockonomics” was engineered by Ozzy Osbourne and Ian Gillan’s former guitarist Bernie Tormé.

The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street is ravished

The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street is ravished

The songs tell tales of eMen’eM (Macro-economic Mayhem (Yes, I know there are not so many hits written about such things!!):

New Normal” predicts a flatter economic forecast and was a term coined by Andrew Sentance in his first book. The song is set in a Neil Young / R.E.M inspired rebel rant.

The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street” (formerly “Forward Guidance” after Governor of The Bank of England, Mark Carney’s catchphrase) is a Blackmore’s Night and Led Zeppelinesque inspired 16th century folk rock anthem that calls bankers, brokers and bosses to rethink the fundamentals on which capitalism rests.

Plus the bonus track “Fiscal Cliff” which I wrote for a BBC programme. Almost as soon as I’d finished it, the BBC were instructed by the Government to stop talking the economy down, so I lost my money and it never made the programme.  That’s the media for you! 😦

We are selling the songs with the option to donate a significant amount to a basket of charities. We are also available for live performances supported by keynote talks in the Square Mile or indeed anywhere around the world. Click the picture to donate by buying the songs plus a bonus track now:

Our Charities

By far the best option for purchase is Bandcamp, as the vast majority of the money reaches the chosen charities with Bandcamp only taking a modest commission. Buy the triple A side EP at TRIPLE A SIDE. Or individual tracks via SINGLES.  The songs will be available on iTunes / Amazon etc. shortly if you just want the tracks without a charitable donation. Meet the band:

Dr Andrew Sentance – Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals, Economics
Zee Fincham – Lead Vocals
Rick Benbow – Keyboards
Pete Stephens – Drums, percussion
Haydn Jones – Bass guitar, vocals
Peter Cook – Lead guitars, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, musical direction

Rock in the City

Rock in the City L-R : Moi, Haydn Jones, Pete Stephens, Zee Fincham, Rick Benbow and Dr Andrew Sentance

The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street - inspired by Stairway to Heaven - Robert Plant looks amused - Photography by my friend Christina Jansen

The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street – inspired by Stairway to Heaven – Robert Plant looks bemused – Photograph by my good friend, the lovely Christina Jansen http://www.cjansenphotography.com

Here’s the video for the bonus track: “Fiscal Cliff” – a hard rock song for hard times – the forerunner to the Rock In The City sessions:


For fresh thinking on Business grab copies of our books on Amazon, including new editions of “The Music of Business” and a 2nd edition of “Punk Rock People Management” – disruptive strategy and common sense ideas about leading your people.

Pre-order our new book for Bloomsbury at Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise.  Groundbreaking thought leadership on leading and managing Brain Based Enterprises where thinking and doing are aligned in perfect harmony.

Reasons to be cheerful … about entrepreneurship

2015 looks like it may well be the year where the “two E’s” collide in a positive manner – where Entrepreneurship meets Economics, so that novel ideas and their owners meet with the capital and other resources to ensure that their enterprise becomes more than a “one hit wonder”. Whilst entrepreneurs are compelled to bring new ideas into existence regardless of the economy, it obviously helps if ideas are launched at a time when people and businesses are in the mood and with the means to buy them.such as Anita Roddick, who started The Body Shop next to a funeral parlour in Brighton in 1976, estimated to be one of the best years in the UK in terms of well being.

Anita Roddick planted her seeds for The Body Shop on fertile ground in 1976

Anita Roddick planted her seeds for The Body Shop on fertile ground in 1976

What then makes me suggest that 2015 is going to be a good year for entrepreneurs?

Economics, Economics, Economics

I was speaking with my friend Dr Andrew Sentance on his economic forecast for 2015 recently. A former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee Andrew is currently Senior Economic Adviser for PwC and a member of my band Rock In The City, dedicated to humanising the square mile through rock music. He outlined several reasons to be cheerful:

  1. Economic growth is forecast to be 2.5% in 2015. Andrew suggests that only the US will do better among the G7 economies in the coming year.
  2. Investment is forecast to grow by over 6% in 2015.
  3. Inflation is low and set to fall further. Consumers may gain some much-needed economic relief in terms of prices.
  4. Unemployment is expected to fall to 5.5% by the end of 2015.
  5. Wages growth is picking up – expected to be 2.4% next year. When combined with low inflation, people can expect the first improvements in living standards since the financial crash.
  6. Real household disposable income is forecast to rise by 2.3% in 2015, providing the consumer with some purchasing power for the first time in several years.
The wonderful Stiff Records - an entrepreneurial startup that started in 1976 but ran out of cash eventually ...

The wonderful Stiff Records – an entrepreneurial startup that started in 1976 but ran out of cash eventually …

The one thing we can be sure of is that the future is that it is subject to change. Nonetheless, these predictions do line up to offer hope that we will be gently lifted out of recession for the first time in around 7 years. What then does the improved economic climate offer for the entrepreneur?

Reasons to be cheerful … for Entrepreneurs … 1, 2, 3

  1. If your enterprise is operating in what I call one of the “Brain Based Industries” you are likely to find a fertile climate for growth in 2015. These include biotechnology, nanotechnology, 3D printing and computing development, which shows no sign of having reached a plateau in our imagination of what’s possible.
  2. The service sector and creative industries are also predicted to show significant growth. If you are an entrepreneur with a creative idea or service, which makes people’s lives better in some way, now is a good time to be thinking of starting your business. My long experience of working with creative people reminds me to also say that you must couch your service in terms of simple to understand consumer focused benefits and not. Some creative minds are prone to think that people will beat a path to your door to seek out what you offer, however difficult you make it for them. That is the exception and not the rule.
  3. Finally some traditional industries are also set for growth with good forecasts for the construction industry and consumer goods. We need also to look at ways to innovate in these industries to make sure that our contributions in this area employ sustainable technologies and materials. This is an area where entrepreneurs can play their part.

We must learn to unlearn

It’s been a long haul through the deepest recession for many years and I’m personally hopeful that we will learn from the lessons of economics to create a more sustainable world economy. That’s not simply learning new things, but also unlearning out-dated habits that create boom and bust economies in favour of a more sustainable world. In this context, we finish with a song that Andrew Sentance loves for it’s rather cheeky Ian Dury inspired lyrics about economics and entrepreneurship. I wrote the song as a call to action for a more sustainable world, plus it was a lot of fun to do …

and, of course, one of the inspirations for Andrew’s predictions:

Mini update on Fiscal Cliff – where Ian Dury and Spinal Tap meet John Maynard Keynes

It’s really quite exciting to have written and recorded a rock song, so please forgive this brief intrusion into the “Music Business” blog, but I thought I’d post a short update on our progress to make our song on the economy go viral.  There’s also plenty of transferable lessons in terms of marketing, PR and how to use social media.

By the way, here’s all the links in case you feel like sharing any of this.  It all really helps:

Download the song on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play etc.

Watch Fiscal Cliff – The MOVIE

All press updates and the storyboard via SLIDESHARE

When planning a campaign of this nature, most of what happens is unplanned and if you want to create a viral campaign, the key move is to adapt and learn quickly.  Here’s some of the strange and wonderful unexpected things that have happened through our interventions in social and traditional media:

Management Today picked up on the song, thanks to it being played at a Garden Party with Dr Andrew Sentance, former Monetary Policy Committee Member at The Bank of England:

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 13.04.49

We’ve had some people finding the video by accident on youtube and they are loving it’s quirkiness.  Here’s an example:

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 09.57.18

The Church of England have also picked up on the song, as have the Catholic Church after I tweeted The Pope and Madonna with a message:

“Papa Don’t Preach … on the Fiscal Cliff” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfTgzMwq8CY

More surprisingly I am being followed on Twitter by a growing number of evangelical Christians in the Mid West of America and in the US more generally.  Some seem to love the song, others want to ‘heal me’ 🙂  Here’s Paula White who loves the song:

Screen Shot 2013-08-17 at 13.21.04

I’ve just sent the piece to Lembit Opik, the controversial MP who dated the Cheeky Girls.  I’m rather hoping we may record a dance version of our follow up piece “Forward Guidance” following the new Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney’s recent announcements on reforming the way we think about the economy.  I can foresee a wonderful dance routine arising from this collaboration! 🙂

In need of Forward Guidance from The Cheeky Girls .. Mayor Boris Johnson

In need of Forward Guidance from The Cheeky Girls .. Mayor Boris Johnson

Since I wrote this post today Don Richardson in Canada has contacted Bachman Turner Overdrive, Bryan Adams, Avril Lavigne and Celine Dion to ask them to collaborate with me and Bernie Tormé on “Forward Guidance” !! 🙂  So, two weeks into the process, articles in The London Evening Standard, City AM, Management Today, Innovation Excellence in New York, Entrepreneur Country, various local newspapers and radio shows.  We have programmes booked with the BBC World Service and meetings arranged in New York on September 6th.

If you have any ideas on how to make the song / video go viral, I’d be delighted to hear from you.  If you have a blog that you would like a guest post for etc. just mail me with some Q’s.  It just might change the way we think about boom and bust economics!  I would like to get Sir Richard Branson, Cliff Richard and President Obama to hear the song, and possibly George Osbourne or Ozzy Osbourne !

Thank you for all your support and please excuse this exuberance !  I hope it’s also instructive in terms of your own approaches to marketing and dealing with the media.   If you have not seen the MOVIE, here it is – produced by Val and Errol Whitter of i54newmedia with illustrations from Simon Heath:

Do Rock Music and Economics Mix?

Today marks the global launch of the song “Fiscal Cliff”, a hard rock song about the hard road to recovery! 🙂  The song is available on iTunes, AmazonCDbabyGoogle Play and all the usual outlets – simply click on the White Cliffs below to listen to the song on iTunes:

Click on the White Cliffs to buy the song

Fiscal Cliff tells the story of a broker who looks out over the city one day, reflects upon his life of spreads, swaps, junk bonds etc. and decides that he has caused chaos.  His solution?  To jump the literal Fiscal Cliff!   In the middle of the song, he seeks help with his condition in the form of a consultation with “The God of Economics” who reads him a prayer which changes his mind.  Finally, he decides not to jump the cliff and repents!   Fiscal Cliff was recorded with Bernie Tormé, ace guitar player for Ozzy Osbourne and Ian Gillan.  The song features a Swiss Banker on lead vocals.  The video includes the destruction of a burning corporate edifice with a flaming guitar, and the moment when Tormé felt he had to physically assault me in the studio when I made a mistake on the guitar solo!

If you are able to help spread the song around the world, I’d be ever so grateful.  Here’s a few things that would help:

  1. Buy a copy of the song on i Tunes or any other music outlet
  2. Ask friends, contacts and colleagues to do the same
  3. Spread this blog via Twitter, Facebook, Google +1, Linkedin, Digg, Tumblr, Last FM, Spotify etc.
  4. Reblog this piece
  5. If you know any journalists, please put them in touch.  We are particularly looking for newspaper, radio, TV interviews in the USA, UK and Europe.   We are in New York shortly for interviews
  6. Anything else you can think of – JDI – Just Do It – seek forgiveness rather than permission 🙂

Check this radio interview out:

Here’s the storyboard and lyrics to the song to whet your appetite, with illustrations by Simon Heath, social media’s “Quick Draw McGraw” who were are working with in New York when we deliver the innovation summit:

The Story board for Fiscal Cliff – illustrations by Simon Heath, social media’s “Quick Draw McGraw” – http://workmusing.wordpress.com/about/

The Story board for Fiscal Cliff – illustrations by Simon Heath, social media’s “Quick Draw McGraw” – http://workmusing.wordpress.com/about/

The video for Fiscal Cliff will follow shortly.  Will it be a hit or a miss?  Let’s see.  Fiscal Cliff is available iTunes,  AmazonCDbabyGoogle Play and all other major music channels.


The making of “Fiscal Cliff”

Click on the Cliff to buy the song on iTunes - also available on all other outlets

Click on the Cliff to buy the song on iTunes – also available on all other outlets

Thursday 25th July marked the day when I received the final mix of the song I wrote about the economy – “Fiscal Cliff”.  I just met up to collect the master mix with Bernie Tormé, who played for Ozzy Osbourne and Ian Gillan, the Producer of the record – what an exciting day!

The song is available on i Tunes, Amazon, Google Play and everywhere else.  I’d be made up if you are able to buy a copy and tell your friends.  “Fiscal Cliff” is a rock anthem about economics, banking, fake suicide, false Gods, false hopes, repentance, renewal, environmentalism, sustainability sex, drugs and rock’n’roll …  It is the first song ever to feature the words Quantitative Easing, John Maynard Keynes, Northern Rock etc. in the lyrics …

The First Verse of the song as illustrated by Simon Heath - "Fiscal Cliff - The Film will follow shortly

The First Verse of the song as illustrated by Simon Heath – “Fiscal Cliff – The film will follow shortly

We recorded the single last Saturday at Bernie’s Barnroom Studios in the heart of the Kent countryside.  Roll the credits:

Bass and expert musical direction by Andee Price of Scarlett Rae and The Cherry Reds

The enourmously talented Andee Price eclipsed by her double bass

The enourmously talented Andee Price eclipsed by her double bass

Vocals by Dave “The Poet L’Oreal – cos’ he’s worth it” – A Swiss Banker who likes Swiss Chard

Drums by Mike “Animal” Grigson – a good friend of mine

Illustrations by Simon Heath, social media’s “Quick Draw McGraw” – a corporate artist who works with us round the world at our seminars and events – We’re next off to New York to work on an innovation summit – who knows, we may perform the song there…

Video work for the film by Val and Errol Whitter of 154newmedia – where “Lordswood meets Hollywood” in Kent.  We have some awesome video in the ‘can’ including the burning of a Stonehenge monument and destruction with a burning guitar and the moment when Bernie Tormé felt he had to attack me in the studio when I made a mistake on the guitar solo!!

I’m also grateful to Dr Andrew Sentance, former Monetary Policy Committee Member at the Bank of England, who has provided excellent informal support and insights into Keynsian Economics, horse racing and Prog Rock – the ‘usual’ combination of interests beloved of world leaders 🙂   Looks like we are going to launch the song at his garden party in August – big fun!

Oh, and I wrote the song …  I guess that makes me Fiscal Cliff Richard …


So, watch out for further announcements – we have been asked to perform the song on the BBC World Service, so this may be the World’s First Global Economics Hit!  🙂  If you are able to help once we have released the record, please let me know.

The First Chorus Line

The First Chorus Line – Click to buy the song now

Bankers, Economists, Politicians, Accountants – lend me your ears …

and some money would be nice … 🙂


About the Blogger:  Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Keynote events with a difference and Human Dynamics – Business and organisation development, training and coaching.  Contact via peter@humdyn.co.uk  His latest book “Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise” is available direct or in the usual places by clicking the relevant link in the slideshare presentation below: