“Man will never be free until the last king is hanged with the entrails of the last priest.”
(attributed to) Denis Diderot

A group of Fundamentalist religious extremists have finally been evicted from St Mary’s in the Castle Arts Centre, Hastings, after a successful opposition campaign. The Sonrise Church which has occupied the Arts Centre will leave the building in january 2009 having endured years of “constant harassment from a minority of ‘nameless, faceless people” including death threats to the church members and congregation, egg throwing and vandalised cars: “we have been the subjects of a faith hate campaign. So extreme has this campaign against us as a family been that on several occasions we have had to involve the police” says Glen Khan head of the Church and Sky TV preacher.

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John Crampton

January 4, 2008

john_crampton

Hastings Arms, Hastings. 17-12-2007

John Crampton is one of those idiosyncratic British musicians like Lol Coxhill or Evan Parker maybe, who have taken a musical form, in this case Blues*, and adapted and evolved it into their own per-culiar voice. John’s music is essentially blues but replaces the standard characteristics with his own idioms: shuffling 12 bar blues rythm are replaced with up-tempo 4/4 beats metronomically measured out on a simple foot pedal. Instead of the formulaic flattened guitar chords, John’s playing is an eclectic mix of Flamenco, West African Ju-Ju slide, country and Punk, the tin  guitar occasionally  treated as a percussion instrument augmented by hand claps and foot taps. Layered over this is Crampton’s gritty, growled minimal vocal and harmonica playing which again avoids blues stereotypes and  harmonically adds to the range of the music creating a ‘big sound’ like an Irish string section moving loosely along with the guitars.

Micklepage Stomp (excerpt) MP3 file

http://www.crampton62.freeserve.co.uk/   John Crampton Website

*Not my kind of thing, “The Blues”. I like the idea of “The Blues” but my ears refuse to listen to it – don’t get me wrong, i can see why it is good; i understand the whole ‘west-africa-to-america’ relevance, complex harmonies and rhythms and root importance to rock and pop music – i’d just prefer that it sounded better. Maybe it’s what happened to Blues that makes me uncomfortable; when played amplified by white blokes it tends toward bombast (and that unforgivable crime; the creation of Heavy Metal). When it’s purity is preserved it becomes sterile and ironically further away from it’s roots; becoming the sole domain of aging middle class  males.

Pagans on the march…

October 22, 2007

A video taken just outside of our house in Hastings. To mark the end of ‘Hastings Week’ (yet another excuse for general drunkenness and ribald behavior) there was a torchlight parade through the old town by fire carrying, firework throwing pagan marching bands and stocky men and women dressed as corpses, pirates, devils and skeletons. The whole thing culminated in a massive bonfire on the beach where crucifixes were set ablaze (how we cheered!) and fireworks ignited at dangerously close proximity. A plan that was hatched to storm the nearby St Mary’s centre (occupied by Christian extremists) and throw some believers into the blaze, was, alas, abandoned in favour of acquiring more booze before the offie closed. Next year perhaps.