I’m just back from supporting Frack-Free Lancashire with music, as part of a thing of self-organised wonder known as Reclaim the Power. It was touch and go whether I would head to Edinburgh to sit in with the entirely inspirational Rev Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir, but in the end I was happy to have got to Grow Heathrow to help resist the eviction, then roll north on the chartered coach to Blackpool for the camp. With wildly talented song maker and leader Alex Etchart, I helped turn slogans into songs, and write a new one inspired by stories of resistance in Pennsylvania and Rumania, which was dreamt up while tramping the green edges of the campsite just before the hastily-called singing workshop on Sunday morning, set in waltz time and went:
‘Lancashire, Rumania, Pennsylvania,/We salute those who resist frackmania/With bodies, voices and hands together,/We stand with you whatever the weather’, which loads of us sang outside Cuadrilla’s occupied northern office in Blackpool –
…though one person who campaigns on mental health issues was unhappy at the use of the word ‘frackmania’. With a lovely in-the-moment troupe o’hoofers and singers we put some moves to Alex’ terrific ‘Frack-Free Lancashire’ song:
On the Saturday solidarity march, I heard the slogan ‘Shale will fail!’ being chanted, so started singing a slower melody over the top of it, and when the other singers joined in, it started to sound really good, (though perhaps too mournful for such an upbeat statement?)
And this rewritten-in-the-heat-of-the-moment tune went down well:
The camp itself was short on running water, but apart from that a soul-lifting exercise in self-organisation, human warmth and kick-arse direct action. After my initial (and customary) urge to melt away and hibernate, (as Debbie Harry once not-so-famously almost sang), I found compadres for the musical tip, and by the end felt my spirit topped up to the brim as I rolled back south in the chip fat-powered bus.
What’s really exciting is that there’s real enthusiasm for a gathering in the autumn of conscious creative resistance musical types, probably in Frome. Could this be the beginning of the gang coming together that I’ve been dreaming of since the first Climate Camp at Drax in 2007? I’m going to put my shoulder to that particular wheel…
Oh, and I got to vanquish Caudrilla armed only with a melodica (albeit temporarily, and with incomparable back-up):