HAZARDS writing back #54

Amherst 1874


You write of and incarnate an “elegy of integrity” dear friend. It’s true that when death comes to “our own” all we can do, as you write, is remember them. Of course we make up or discover those whose integrity we identify with, don’t we? I know you mean it that way. The man you address will die soon and you may repeat yourself. The best, those who fill our lungs with their elegies, usually die first. Gil, for instance, only recently. It’s a truth from my younger days, of which I find no trace in my clear conviction now. Every year confirms a duty to burn ourselves up if we aspire to anything worthy of song. You did, I know I must too. First, I wonder if enough of “our own” will remain to sing for us! Then, do you know, I’m so vulgarly optimistic that I hear distant voices now! And so I hasten on, with something left to gamble!


Fruitstore 12.6.11

gil scott-heron; ‘won’t play in Israel “until everyone is welcome there”’

Protest makes no difference right?

I hope you’ll consider whether you want to continue to finance Palestinian dispossession and massacre next time you hold red peppers, avocados, sweet potatoes, sage or tarragon etc. in your hand in any of the big British supermarkets. Think of them as live ammo or broken bones if it helps… In any case; think.

Here is a statement reporting that Gil S-H announced he won’t be playing Israel after all. So we can continue playing that unique back catalogue and if you haven’t yet, get hold of I’m New Here [link to earlier celebratory post].

Gil Scott-Heron announces cancellation of Tel Aviv concert


Artist won’t play in Israel “until everyone is welcome there”.

“Fans of revolutionary poet and singer-songwriter Gil Scott-Heron welcomed his decision tonight to cancel the concert he had been scheduled to play in Tel Aviv this May. Heron announced the decision during his set at London’s Royal Festival Hall, the opening date of his World tour.

Activists from the Gil Scott-Heron Boycott Israel Campaign had picketed the event earlier in the day, attracting considerable public interest and support. Ten activists from the Campaign then continued their protest inside the concert, raising the issue of Israeli apartheid right at the start of Heron’s set and after the first song.

The activists were great admirers of the artist who were shocked by Heron’s decision to play Israel, given his longstanding commitment to equality and civil rights in both the USA and South Africa. Leading members of the ANC have stated that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is even worse than was their own treatment under South African apartheid.

The Campaign is now awaiting confirmation from Gil Scott Heron’s management that the concert has indeed been cancelled.”

[thanks J. for this happy news]

gil scott-heron to play sun city; by no means necessary


I write this in sadness rather than anger. Gil Scott Heron is due to perform in Tel Aviv on May 25th. For a man of consistency and courage to capitulate to such a regime is really shocking. It undoes the achievement of a lifetime of truth-telling and difference-making -notably in the long struggle against apartheid. It might be testament to personal tragedy, but there’s no excuse for being quite so blind, deluded or careless. “Don’t you wanna be free” Gil?

Read ‘Gil Scott-Heron: don’t go to the moon’ here.

Read PSC letter here.

Leave Gil a comment here.

On his myspace page -which also lists the gig- here.

Or on xl recording’s GS-H page here.

gil scott-heron; redone

I’m New Here is a great one; not just a new one but a riverrunning reconnection with the cool and conscious coming poet. Music stripped back to and built from words, no over-production of the moment [80s reggae sauce] but yet a 110 st 70s flavour. One which vies with all and everything before.

There’s the broken home of 125th and Lenox and ‘B-Movie’ ghetto get outs, a fine version of ‘I’ll Take Care of You’, which Mark Lanegan ‘owns’ as far as I’m concerned, even the title track’s perfectly tempered cover of a Bill Callahan song [if only it were ‘Dress Sexy at My Funeral’ -but heh?].

I don’t know about you, but I had all that right bang mid-horizon… Anyway, this is good but no longer hot news.

Then I noticed this:

A ‘secret’ collection of Angus [Fairhurst]’s very earliest work from the 1970s! I’d never realised it before, nor asked him about it… Peace go with you brother, from now on.

From South Africa to South Carolina here includes ‘Johannesburg’ on it -amongst  a range of gotta move on lovely days. For the first time I actually read the lyrics, heard often in the open-air and in tighter, warmer corners, Clapham Common [was it?!] to Portobello Road, being earnest, not being earnest:

I know that their strugglin’ over there
ain’t gonna free me,
but we all need to be strugglin’
if we’re gonna be free
Don’t you wanna be free?

One long day boycotts are laughed at, rejected, not noticed and seem peculiarly futile, the next day every one is suddenly on their weeping knees, wearing the t-shirt for a TV special.

‘Soft water vanquishes the mighty stone’; cup hands, pour!