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Save the Half Moon, Putney

Urgent action is required to save the Half Moon, Putney, one of the stars of the south-west london live music scene since 1963. The venue's list of musical patrons is like a who's-who of the best in each generation's firmament, including The Rolling Stones, The Who, Fairport Convention, The Yardbirds, John Martyn. Then Bad Manners, Billy Bragg, Dire Straits, Kate BUSH, Van Morrison, and Rory Gallagher, and even U2. More recently to Kasabian, as well as folk stars Ralph McTell, Christy Moore, Martin Carthy.

Please join the campaign, lobby Youngs Brewery, and if you live in Putney write to your M.P.
Facebook group

Great news, the campaign has succeeded, it will remain a live music venue.
Half Moon update

Save Windsor Arts Centre

Please support the campaign to re-open the Windsor Arts Centre, following it's shock closure just before Christmas. The Centre was housed in the former fire station in The Old Court, St Leonards Rd, Windsor, and was being run by volunteers as a registered charity for the last 31 years. A protest group, WAY (Windsor Arts are Yours) has been set up, and so far has held 2 public meetings on 30th Jan and 9th Feb at Windsor Boys School, to discuss what can be done. If you live in the area and would like to help, please contact your local councillor.

More info:

Tommy Fest featuring Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel will go ahead this year at the West Wing Arts Centre in Slough, 21st-24th March.

Say NO to Form 696

In a further move by this government towards a Orwellian Police State, and a seeming desire to completely kill off all of the free live music scene in London, comes Form 696. It will affect all licensees of venues in the 21 London boroughs, who wish to hold live music events, and all the musicians who want to play in London. On the Form they are requested/ordered to provide names, addresses, aliases, and telephone No's, of musicians, and most worryingly, the likely ethnicity of their audience. We all know that the Metropolitan Police doesn't have the best track record in recent times when it comes to racial fairness. This Form can only serve to deter the staging of live musical events, as failure to comply with the bureaucracy could result in fines or imprisonment. It will stifle free expression and penalise certain genres of music and ethnic audiences.

Please go to this government website and sign the petition against Form 696.

Shine a Light on the Rolling Stones

This week sees the release of another wonderful film by acclaimed director Martin Scorsese. It is a study of the extra-ordinary career and music of The Rolling Stones. You can tell that Mr Scorsese is a real Stones fan, and has already used a great deal of their back-catalogue in his other films including "Mean Streets", "Goodfellas", "Casino", and most recently in "The Departed". Most of this new film "Shine a Light" was shot over 2 nights of special performances by the band at the Beacon Theatre in New York. This has been inter-mingled with some archive footage and interviews. At the start, Mr Scorsese is desperate for a set-list, in order to have some chance of being ready for the wild and often unplanned movements of a live show. If you go in expecting all of their greatest hits, you may be a little disapointed, as the majority of the music is from their early years. But still there are 3 or 4 sing-alongs in the second half, though I can't remember hearing anyone in the auditaurium, brave enough to even try. Its the kind of film where you almost need to be standing up, in order to be totally free to enjoy the music. Unfortunately in any of these new crampt cinemas, with all the seats bolted together, you can't even tap your feet without causing an earthquake. Though none of that is Mr Scorsese's fault, he has done a great job in trying to film such a manic event. He has had plenty of experience in this field, if you'll excuse the pun, as he was an editor on "Woodstock". His other films with a musical theme include, with The Band on "The Last Waltz", with the genius Bob Dylan on "No Direction Home"and on one episode of "The Blues" called "Feel Like Going Home". The double CD Soundtrack is now available for an amazing £8.93 from ASDA, and for under £10 from other outlets.

Smoking Ban only a year away

The overdue ban on smoking in Public places has an overwhelmingly mandate of MPs with a total of 384 in favour to 184 against, giving a majority of 200. This will prohibit people lighting up in all English pubs and clubs. This can only help the overall health of the nation, as well as those who have to work at these venues, and the bands who provide the great live music. We will re-claim these often avoided amenities for everyone to enjoy. The ban is due to start on June 4th 2007 so there's only a year to go. Hopefully some if not all venues will take the brave decision to phase in the new law sooner, rather than a sharp-shock overnight change-over leaving the foul odour in the carpets and furnishings for months after.

Many thanks go to the Labour Government, particularly the Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt and this demonstrates the power of public opinion to make lasting changes.

Spiers and Boden at Monthly folk night 15th Nov 2006

After playing to thousands at the Loughborough Folk Festival and at WOMAD, it must have been different for them to perform to a small gathering of under 25 fans. We were lucky enough to witness this duo with their feet stamping brand of folk music at the Boileroom in Guildford. Jon Boden sings and really brings the Fiddle (Violin) to life with such a sweet melody. This is complimented so well in partnership with John Spiers on the Melodeon and backing vocals. During the short break Steve Bradfield, a local musician from the band Radiate, gave us a few numbers on the guitar, including the soulful Bob Marley classic "No women no cry". Then one on the Banjo. He will be back at the same venue next month for the Christmas folk special. In the second half of the main act we were treated to Jon Boden on the guitar and Stomp-box with the other John on the Concertina. This intimate show was only possible due to the cancellation of a planned gig in Uxbridge. It was surely a bargain at £10 a head. The will be playing again, with their full band Bellowhead, in front of the cameras on "Later with Jools Holland" broadcast on 1st December. They have released four albums as a duo, "Through & Through", "Bellow", "Songs", and "Tunes" over the past 5 years. Jon Boden’s debut solo album "Painted Lady" was released on 15th May 2006 and Bellowhead's debut album "Burlesque" was released on the 18th September 2006 and is currently No1 in HMVs folk chart.

Find more info at: Spiers and Boden

Susie Clarke live on The Eagle 14th January 2007

Tune in to Eagle Radio (96.4FM) this Sunday, 14th Jan, at 9:30pm and listen to a Live Session with Susie Clarke. She will be playing and talking to Julia Moore.