TODAY: Songs of Protest at Brockley Max


Copyright Ben Mueller-Brown

 

Vocal Chords are reprising our Songs of Protest repertoire for Brockley MAX Festival today, Sunday 4th June at 3.30.

St Hilda’s Church, Courtrai Road
SE23 1PL

We are joined by Carrie Cohen & Silas Hawkins who will read poems from Arachne Press’ Liberty Tales anthology.

£7 on the door (proceeds to Wheels for Wellbeing)

Books Sales & refreshments available

Carrie Cohen

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Refugees Welcome Anthology


I’m delighted that I have TWO stories in the forthcoming Refugees Welcome anthology.

refugees welcome

These are We Apologise for the Delay… a story of what it means to be a stranger and how communities form in times of need, told through the prism of the London Underground as the site for ‘first contact’ with aliens; and Queues a story about waiting at a border crossing and recognising someone from home. Both stories have at their heart the human instinct to kindness in a crisis, something I have been hearing from friends all over the country – offering their money and help and even their homes to those in need. All we need now is for the government to actually accept a sensible number of refugees: at the moment what we are offering over a number of years,equates too readily to the numbers arriving in a single day at the European boundaries. We need to offer  proper help, not pretend we are doing anything when we clearly aren’t. A couple of stories isn’t much, but it is something I can do, so I’ve done it; all the writers are donating their stories, no one will make anything from the anthology. RWA is a charity book that combines inspirational stories. It is the 3rd project run by Greg McQueen and 100% of sales go to Red Cross for Refugees.

UPDATE publication date 19th November so you can help by buying a copy (or more than one!). The perfect Christmas/Solstice/Diwali present etc.

 

Songs of the Sea


Well, for a writing blog there’s a heck of a lot about singing on here. This post is no exception.

vocal chords July 19th FlyerVocal Chords, my regular choir, are splashing out in Forest Hill on Saturday July 19th (The only day that week that I’m not rehearsing or performing in Count Ory at Blackheath.

3pm St Saviour’s Church, Brockley Rise, SE23.

£5. Proceeds to Seaman’s Mission and St Saviour’s.

I will also be selling books, though not at the same time as I’m singing (as far as I know!)

There’s a bit of everything, from passionate (Ready for the Storm, Crossing the Bar) to bonkers (Sailor with the Navy Blue Eyes, Under the Sea), by way of traditional (Sea Coal, Haul Away Joe) and lots more.

A fun afternoon out, pretty much guaranteed.

LGBTHM – Cafe of Good Hope


This event was very cosy – last public reading for LGBT History Month, and local, and with friends. I think we pulled out all the stops.

Sadly Rebecca Idris had been sent to the Ukraine by her employers (what had she done to deserve that?) so was not able to join us, so we each read more than we would otherwise have done.

Here are the results.

Cath Blackfeather CoGHCatherine Blackfeather reading from her novel Mitchie, about a young woman cross-dressing to survive the western frontier of nineteenth century Canada.

Me reading from Leaving (London Lies) a story set in a pub just down the road from where we were reading.

V A Fearon C0GHV A Fearon reading two sections from her novel The Girl with the Treasure Chest about gang negotiator, Dani.

Back to Cath for a section of her latest (still looking for a publisher). I don’t think she gave us a title, so I’ve called it For the Boys for now: Gareth has an assignment…

And finally me again, with a section of A Second-hand Emotion – in which preparations for a big date are in full swing.

We all really enjoyed the event, thanks to Richard Shaw (Hither Green Hall) for organising and Bobby Mizen (Cafe of Good Hope) for hosting, and thanks for the audience for coming along, laughing in the right places, and contributing to the collection for Gay Switchboard.

By the way, at other events this month we’ve been collecting for Stonewall, and raised £35.22

Singing and ringing and feeling like christmas


So: Saturday was a singing day, 3 hours or so, rehearsing, performing, singing with the audience, interspersed with beer at the lovely Ivy House.

We like to have a theme or a project for Vocal Chords, in the summer it was love songs for the planet, this autumn  it has been folk carols, learnt from Lester Simpson and dragged out of our collective record collections and memories, and performed with gusto!

The arrangements sound quite complex and the parts can get a little  competitive as to who can sing loudest, but they are actually quite simple so long as you can keep in time.

Here is a sample, my absolute favourite of the songs we sang, although it is a hard, hard choice, as I loved all of them!

This is the definition of Joyous, for me, cynical old atheist though I am.

And then Sunday we were selling Arachne Press books at a christmas market at the delightful Alexandra Nurseries (still singing under our breaths, both ‘Curly Hark’ and snatches of Britten’s St Nicholas, mostly ‘landlord take this piece of gold, bring us meat before the cold’although we weren’t cold, thanks to our lined walking trousers, winter coats, hats mittens, long-johns…) It was a very jolly day, good weather and plenty of punters.

SO apart from all the events we are going to and taking part in over the next week – Liars’ League Snow & Stars tomorrow, Story Sessions Wednesday, (where I am reading as well as compereing)The ‘work’ xmas party with my fellow WooA writers,  and christmas shopping at Brockley Xmas market & the £3 christmas bazaar and enjoying V G Lee and Rose Collis’ drollery at Bah Humbuggers (Dyke the Halls) on Saturday – all spare time is going on rehearsing for St Nicholas, which we are singing at Blackheath Halls in the Christmas Concert on Friday 20th

St Nicolas posterand for our Carol Singing in aid of Shelter with Summer All Year Long around Brockley, Honor Oak and Forest Hill on Saturday 21st.

final stop the station
final stop the station

 

Tis the season


Carol singing, my friends, the sound that cheers: loud, raucous and invigorating. We’ll be driving the cold winter away and getting our vocal chords around some songs going right back to the 15th Century at the Ivy House today at 3pm (ish- depends on how long the rehearsal overruns by). Come along, listen, drink and JOIN IN, with songs about getting cold and drunk and herding sheep. We will teach you the tunes, which you may never have heard before, to words you  almost certainly have. There may be some incidental religion.

Vocal chords christmas flyer A5 front

Singing in the Rain


rehearsing, chilly but not yet wet
rehearsing, chilly but not yet wet

So we completed our mission, and sou’westers and slickers and oilskins were necessary, but fortunately we only got the edge of the promised storm, Sing for Water has been accomplished! Apparently its the first time it has rained for this event in 13 years. We only got slightly damp, and though I say it myself we sounded awsome – all 700+ of us.

I discovered it is not possible to sing and boxstep with a hood pulled up. There will no doubt be video on youtube in a few days, should you wish to explore.

the restof the choir
the rest of the choir

Thanks to  the audience (especially the familiar faces) for braving the wet to listen. Thanks too to the many people, friends and strangers, who have sponsored Vocal Chords to the tune of  £1000 (plus gift aid) on our virgin money giving page – this will remain available for another month, so if you haven’t donated anything to stop waterborne diseases in Africa yet, you still can.

We shouldn’t complain about the rain really, given we sang to Yemaya, goddess of the waters and since we are raising money to get water to people.  It seemed quite appropriate that we were singing next to the Thames, in my lifetime that river has been cleaned from a dead, chemical soup to somewhere fish can safely swim, yet the water we are talking about kills children daily, because there is no other water to drink.

Water Aid put in a clean safe water supply somewhere ever 20 minutes, your Sing for Water money goes exclusively to the projects on the ground – you really are saving lives, please give us your dosh!