I fall – Mark E.Smith – a memory

A mini memory of Mark E. Smith and The Fall.

My band supported The Fall at Canterbury University – The lead singer of our band was a fan of Mr Smith and we had planned to do a few Fall songs at the gig in his honour …

We had finished our soundcheck (hardly worth it given the quality of the musicians I was working with in “Akker and The Nice Boys”) and we were walking down the corridor to the dressing room and by chance Mark E Smith was coming the other way. It was a narrow corridor and my friend was gripped by the possibility of shaking Mark E. Smith’s hand. He held his hand out in anticipation and uttered some words. Mr Smith walked on by ….

An uncompromising lyrical genius who could be very difficult to work with judging by this mini memory and the “HR turnover” of his band members which saw 60 people pass through The Fall.

Here’s a selection of Mr Smith’s work which helped define The Factory and the sound that became Britpop:

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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.

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Punk Rock Brexit – Mixing Pop and Politics

“Mixing Pop and Politics, You ask me what the use is

I answer with embarrassment and my usual excuse”

Billy Bragg

Quite simply music reaches people much better than a spreadsheet and I’ll be performing some songs of Rebellion opposite Downing Street tonight Friday 10 March, with the Richmond Terrace Group. The group protest against Theresa May’s “deal or no deal Kamikaze Brexit” every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6 pm till 9 pm.

For the occasion, we have re-written Rod Stewart’s Maggie May, OMD’s Enola Gay, Bruno Mars Uptown Funk and The Wild Rover by The Dubliners.  The Wild Rover needed few modifications to turn the story into one I’ve heard many times of late – the tale of a Brexiter who has realised they were ‘played’ by the tabloid press and now wish we could escape Theresa May’s appropriation of “the will of the people” for her own personal gain and a place as The Iron Lady II, when comparisons are at best restricted to fashion and hair styling.

The refrain “Rise up your kilt” may be added to recognise the way that Nicola Sturgeon has consistently supported the EU and for the Irish Prime Minister’s support last night in Brussels

Theresa May’s behaviour does not fit any rational mould and I can only assume her childhood was deprived of love and affection due to privilege ….

Come down and singalong with the “Remoaners” !!  6 pm start and Boris is making an appearance …

It is rumoured that Theresa May will invoke Article 50 on Tuesday once she has savaged her elder and wiser colleagues in The House of Lords once again, in fear of a revolt from her own party and a surprise formation of a credible opposition to an unelected dictatorship.

Join the Facebook group

Find The Richmond Group on Twitter – Use hashtag #No10Vigil

Finally, one of my favourite protest songs from the great Billy Bragg.

What a pity he is not the leader of the opposition – we would not have this mess.

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Peter Cook leads Human Dynamics, delivering exceptional business and organisation development without sex, politics or rock’n’roll. He is also CEO of The Academy of Rock, offering keynotes that blend MBA themes with parallel insights from music, reaching your head, heart and soul. Author of 7 1/2 books on leadership, innovation and creativity. Check them out on Amazon.

 

Shakespeare Versus Spotify

Announcing a record breaking album of songs inspired by Shakespeare in the form of the album Shakespeare Versus Streaming. The album, up for a Mercury Music Award, is the brainchild of Mark Christopher Lee and I’m proud to have contributed two songs to it, one of which explores the dark theme of Donald Trump.

100x30

Mark says of the 100 x 30 project and some of the songs on the album:

This is London band The Pocket Gods’ new album of one hundred thirty second songs – and all about the great Bard himself!
It’s being released on Nub Music/Thoroughbred Music with distribution by Proper Music on July 15th 2016 – to mark the 400th anniversary of his death.
Following their previous groundbreaking album “100×30”-  cult indie band The Pocket Gods are continuing the campaign for fairer royalties from streaming services such as Spotify with this, another album of 100 songs all 30 seconds long. !!

The previous album 100×30 is to be listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

Guinness_World_Records_logo.svg

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Peter Cook leads Human Dynamics, offering better Business / Organisation Development and Coaching / Mentoring. He offers keynotes that blend World Class Leadership Thinking with the wisdom of the street via The Academy of Rock – where Business Meets Music.

For some wisdom on business leadership, innovation and creativity, check Peter’s seventh book out at Bloomsbury or book us for our full development programme or a keynote or masterclass session.

Do It Yourself – Disrupting the Music Industry

Come join us at The Virgin Lounge in Eagle Place, London on Friday December 04 at 3 pm where I will be talking with Mark Christopher Lee, leader of cult indie band “the pocket gods”. Mark was discovered by the late John Peel who liked his song written about his local curry house – “Ballad Of The Peshwari Naan” and was called a “wilful maverick” by Tom Robinson. Mark has just released an album called 100 x 30. Mark explains the concept:

“I wanted to do something to help musicians gain fairer royalties from the music industry/streaming giants with an album of 100 songs all 30 seconds long – For example Spotfiy pays out a tiny royalty of 0.007p per track over 30 seconds. This gave me the idea of recording an album of 100 songs that were 30 seconds long each. Why write songs that are any longer? All the songs were recorded on laptops in garages from just a few takes in a lo-fi style – the album is all about ideas and creativity as opposed to perfectionism and over production – technology allows people to record great quality music at low cost at home which is very punk and empowering”.

In my business life, I’ve written about the theory of constraints on a number of occasions and this project is a classic exercise in using constraints as a spur to creativity. See Constraints and Creativity for more information.

100 x 30 - Click to view the website

100 x 30 – Click to view the website

Mark has written and recorded 72 albums since 1998. As well as an indie legend, having previously played bass in Jesus and The Mary Chain, he also runs his own indie label which is now home to 20 or so aspiring new artists, many of whom are favourites on BBC 6 music as well as home to more established acts such as the legendary songwriter Larry Weiss, who wrote million sellers Rhinestone Cowboy, Bend Me Shape Me and Hi Ho Silver Lining. 

100 x 30 features Mungo Jerry, Owen Paul (My favourite waste of time), Tom Greene of The Orb et moi – I contributed a 1984 inspired track under the name “The Pigs of Freedom” called “Anaesthesia Politica”, which sports 3 verses, 3 chords, a 3 second guitar solo and comes in at 33 seconds long – just 3 seconds over Spotify’s budget to qualify as a song 🙂 I am looking forward to my 0.007 pence royalties from them!!

City AM picked up the story recently, comparing us with Taylor Swift – I’m not sure the comparisons are valid, but take a look for yourself:

The first time we have been linked to Taylor Swift - Click to access City AM article

The first time we have been linked to Taylor Swift – Click to access City AM article

Please contact the London Eagle Place Lounge on 0207 439 8802 to register your place. It’s absolutely FREE!!  All event details here.

Here’s “Anaesthesia Politica” – I described it as a 1984 inspired Psychedelic Political Punk Poem!  An entirely new genre of music I think 🙂

and the slightly longer “Pestonomics“, released last week in support of Cancer Research UK:

Click to buy the track for Cancer Research UK

Click to buy the track for Cancer Research UK

… and two  of the album tracks:

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About the Writer:  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 or +44 (0) 7725 927585

Pestonomics – A tribute to Robert Peston

He’s a very hard act to follow so just who will replace Robert Peston at the BBC, now that he is off to ITV?  Will Auntie opt for the progressive style that he has pioneered to take the BBC into the 21st Century or opt for a more conservative choice, taking them to possible oblivion?

Who should replace Robert Peston at the BBC? – answers please

I took Robert and Dr Andrew Sentance to meet George Clinton, The Godfather of P-Funk, earlier in the year. It was a great opportunity to learn of his life and loves outside the BBC, and especially his love for music of many genres from David Bowie to Punk, P-Funk and beyond. I composed the song “Pestonomics” in his honour and it will form the basis our our charitable campaign for 2015, with all proceeds going to Cancer Research UK. Download the song by clicking the picture. With your help, perhaps it will be a Christmas No 1?

Peston Funk 1

With the Godfather of P-Funk – Mr George Clinton

I am extremely grateful to Kristine Wilkinson Hughes, singer/songwriter, My Girl The RiverWonderful Productions and The Frogs Chorus, who stepped in at the last minute to provide superb female vocals for the track and Rowena Morgan, The Musical Geisha, for connecting me to Kristine in the first place.  I crowdsourced ideas for the lyrics from social media and several people have already observed that the song has some of the most doubtful rhymes known to man or woman – quite a result I feel !! 🙂  Here are the words:

Who gets your vote to replace Robert Peston at the BBC?

Help Cancer Research UK here

The credits

Crowdsourced lyrical ideas from the following people:

Robert Lindsay
Mark Stratton
David Chislett
Dave Brooks
Claire Sparham
Damon Summers
Geoff Lee
Clive Leighton
Leigh Hunnable
Jim Keilt
Zee Fincham
Andy Wooler
John Threesixteen
Michael Butterworth
Andrew Bourke
Paul Titley
Stuart Gunthorpe
Gary Lee Connor
Matt Durrell

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About the Writer:  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 or +44 (0) 7725 927585

Never Mind The Credit Card

Virgin Money

In a classic piece of disruptive innovation in branding, Virgin Money just introduced a credit card based on the iconic logos of the Sex Pistols’ designs for “Anarchy in the UK” and “Never Mind the Boll….cks, Here’s The Sex Pistols”. Virgin Money’s CEO and Marketing Director were talking with me about the card and you can read all about Virgin’s latest move at Never Mind The Bankers.

“We want to get rid of the bollocks in banking and to be simple, open, transparent and fair”

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Virgin Money’s CEO

As is Sir Richard Branson’s way, Virgin challenges norms, having disrupted British Airway’s cosy relationship with the British Government in the 1980’s when they launched Virgin Atlantic. I’ve been chatting about the credit card concept to people from several walks of life to find out how they see the strategy. It becomes clear that Virgin have succeeded in polarising views from different segments of society:

Some of my “arty” friends are “appalled at the theft of punk’s pure clothes for the purposes of banking”. I guess this is the punk rock version of “Angry of Camden”:

Some of my banking friends are “outraged at the use of street culture to demean the upper class world of banking”. I guess this will soon appear in a letter to the Financial Times from a man or a woman in a bowler hat living in Surbiton:

 

The point of the matter is that Sir Richard Branson has succeeded on every level, gaining publicity through disruptive thinking.

I answer my arty friends thus:

“All good disruption eventually becomes part of the mainstream. Check out the punk fashion in Claire’s Accessories if you don’t believe me”

I answer my banking friends thus:

“It’s about time banking woke up to customers, mainly in terms of substance e.g. convenience, simplicity, but a bit of style would also do no harm”

So, I think this is an incredibly shrewd and clever move on the part of Virgin to cast a shadow on the battleship grey industry that is banking. It’s a marvellous piece of market segmentation that gains publicity and viral value through controversy. Let’s see the masters of controversy in action:

The Virgin Battleship Building – Not Grey

Come to our next masterclass event in Warsaw on 23/24 June, where we’ll be discussing Punk Rock, Disruptive Innovation and The Virgin Way amongst many other things in a day of inspired intelligence and fun. Grab your ticket here.

Peter Cook is author of “The Music of Business” and “Punk Rock People Management” which simplify business leadership, creativity and innovation, strategic thinking and people management for busy people.

Check out the books at Cultured Llama.

Oh Bondage Up Yours … Punk Rock CEO’s

I had my attention drawn to an article about Tim Eades, a “Punk Rock CEO” in Los Angeles recently – see Tim’s article at Punk Rock Leadership.  Tim started life as a punk in London and more recently took up the role of CEO at vArmour, an LA based security firm. There are some resonances in Tim’s article with my own writings in Punk Rock People Management and it’s even feasible that I may have met Tim, since he seemed to follow punk bands like The Damned. Here’s some parallels we have noted between punk rock and business leadership done as a series of pithy quotes from the artists themselves:

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Come along to our launch party tomorrow June 09 in Kent, featuring The Godfather of Punk, Richard Strange. Richard led proto-punk band The Doctors of Madness and has appeared in Batman, Harry Potter and Robin Hood alongside performances with Tom Waits, Peter Capaldi, Spandau Ballet et al. It will be a great night. Get your tickets at Punk Rock.

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