Free Speech * De Gedachten zijn Vrij: A Quiet Explosion [Mon. 01, Tue. 02 August, 2016-31]

NEW * NIEUW:  A QUIET EXPLOSION ** ** REPEATED  * HERHALING:  THE POETRY CAFE ** MELANIE (Stoneground Words) ** James J. Turner ** There is no freedom without freedom of speech: always, everywhere and for everyone. Anything less is a violation of it.  
War Game kids face lowres

SCHEDULE: MONDAYS  & TUESDAYS 12:00 > 20:00 hrs CET or 11 a.m. > 7 p.m. GMT (UK)
FORMAT: Free Speech consists of four 60-minute shows.  A new show is added each week. It is followed by three previous shows. 

12 noon  and 16:000 hrs CET (11 a.m. and  3 p.m. UK time) NEW SHOW
 MUSIC by The Uglys (A Quiet Explosion), Donovan, Roy Harper, The Hedgehoppers Anonymous, Bob Dylan, Jeff Beck Group, The Searchers, The Hollies, Mick Softley, Tom Lehrer, Matt McGrinn ** Interview with Bruce Kent (excerpts) about the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament * Audio: ‘War Game’, an official nuclear alert announcement, radio news reports.

13:00 and 17:00 hrs CET (12 noon  / 4 p.m. UK time) REPEATED   HERHALING
, London: Fourth Friday of 25 April 2015 ** FOURTH FRIDAY POETS, feat. Jenny Lewis, Adnan al-Sayegh, John-Paul O’Neill, Alfred Todd, Hylda Sims, Eddy Bonte, Dan Kennedy ** Music: Rattle On the Stovepipe **

14:00 and 18:00 hrs CET (1 p.m. / 5 p.m. UK time) REPEATED   HERHALING
AND ALSO: HOYT AXTON **  LAURA NYRO ** AFTER TEA ** BOUDEWIJN DE GROOT ** DAVID McWILLIAMS ** ALAN GLEN & TIM HAIN (Gold Reserve) ** VOICES: Ken Kesey, ‘Hell No’, Derroll Adams, Michele Gazich.

15:00 and 19:00 hrs CET (2 p.m. / 6 p.m. UK time) REPEATED   HERHALING
JAMES J. TURNER: selected tracks from  Spirit, Soul and a Handful of Mud (Touch the Moon, 2016)  ** AND  ALSO:  Joe Cocker ** Nina Simone ** The Byrds ** Mark & The Clouds ** Crystal Jacqueline **  Julie Felix ** Voices: Lyndon B. Johnson * Jim Hightower



Jef Nutall Bomb Culture cover

The year is 2016 and we are being led by the mentally deranged: asked if she would approve a nuclear attack that could kill 100,000 people in Britain, Britain’s new Prime Minister Theresa May simply answered ‘Yes’ and seemed to be very proud of her statement. She wants more money for the Trident nuclear programme.

The year is 1966 and protests against the nuclear threat have been going on ever since the American army brought Japan on its knees by dropping two atom bombs. The world’s so-called ‘superpowers’ soon started  a nuclear race and within a matter of years developed enough atomic weaponry to wipe out all life on earth many times over. In the UK, the fist Aldersmaston March was organised in 1958 by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament or CND. Its aim was simple: no nuclear weapons. Many marches would follow. Protesters – men and women of all ages and from all walks of life – would be stopped, driven back, beaten, arrested, put in jail, convicted….  The CND wanted just one thing: disarmament, a goal not understood by the military, nor by the other powers that be.
In the sixties, people felt that a nuclear war could happen any time and the near-clash that we know as ‘The Cuban Crisis’ only confirmed their worst fear. Governments distributed leaflets about actions to be taken in the case of a nuclear attack. Schoolchildren actually exercised  how to hide and protect against the fallout, wealthier citizens had a nuclear shelter built, governments had entire shelters built to house the government and top officials. Jeff Nutall’s forgotten book ‘Bomb Culture’ says it all:  our entire culture, our entire way of life was actually dominated by the impending catastrophe. An entire younger generation grew up with the idea that the end could really be near, any time. This feeling of helplessness combined with a strong sentiment of the uselessness of life and the meaninglessness of morals, explains the explosion of energy and creativity of the generation that shaped the 60s.

The threat was omnipresent in culture too. Black humour and utter cynicism are at the core of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb’ (1964). Peter Watkins’ ‘War Game’ (1965) was banned straight away. Dozens of artists recorded songs about the nuclear disaster to come and some did not even take it seriously –  depicting a nuclear shelter as the perfect hiding place for lovers….  Tom Lehrer’s cynical  ‘We Will All go Together When We Go’ can be found on his live album from 1959 and Homer Harris released ‘Atom Bomb Blues’ (with Muddy Waters on guitar) as early as 1947!

The year is 1966 and in January 1966 a band from Birmingham calling themselves The Uglys released their third single, with the self-written ‘A Quiet Explosion’ on the B-side. The title is perfectly clear: when the bomb falls, we’ll all be gone before we know it. It will come like a thief in the night. The record went nowhere, nor did The Ugly’s. Still, this is the song that illustrates the first chapter of Jon Savage’s ‘1966. The Year the Decade Exploded’.  (Text by Eddy Bonte)

RADIO 68 PLAYS ‘A Quiet Explosion’ and more unknown or forgotten anti-bomb pop and blues songs by famous (Arthur Big Boy Crudup) or less famous artists (Matt McGrinn), excerpts from ‘The War Game’, snippets from an interview with Bruce Kent about the history of CND (see also: and authentic audio files (such as a nuclear Attack Message  from 1961).

FOURTH FRIDAY POETS THE POETRY CAFE London: Fourth Friday of 25 April 2015,

Poetry Cafe Group Picture 28NOV14 DSC06093

Hylda Sims, a poet and a singer in her own right, hosts the ‘Fourth Friday’ poetry readings at The Poetry Cafe, London, bringing together and thoughtfully mixing published poets, poets from the floor and live music in the folk tradition.
On Friday 24 April 2015 the music was performed live by Rattle on the Stovepipe, who play traditional English and Appalachian folk music. The band research  old tunes from a wide variety of sources. On their latest cd, “Old Virginia”, those tunes tell stories about desperate, resisting, fighting, adventurous and exploited characters – be it a man wrongfully condemned to death (‘Coleman’s March’) or a woman dying in childbirth because she cannot afford a doctor (‘Bill Dalton’s Wife’, written by the ultra-red Georgia poet Don West).
The published poets were Mimi Khalvati, Jenny Lewis and Adnan al-Sayegh. Lewis and al-Sayegh share a love for the epic of Gilgamesh. They also translate each other’s work, with surprising and  most lyrical results (Mimi Khalvati will be broadcast later).
We selected the following floor poets: Alfred Todd who compares the present-day Docklands to the docks of his childhood; John-Paul O’Neill who co-hosts the Poetry Cafe’s Tuesdays nights, is co-founder of Farrago poetry; Eddy Bonte of Radio 68. It is with great pleasure that we also broadcast poet-singer extraordinaire Dan Kennedy.
john-paul o’neill




Melanie Safka lowres

“Having sung the praise of hippie and thus having advocated kindness, love and peace with  both gentle music and most poetic lyrics that spoke to our hearts and souls, Melanie also met the disappointment that so often accompanies those who build a better world. Yet, as Charles Donovan notes in his review of “Stoneground Words” for, Melanie did not get cynical. “Stoneground Words” (1972) was received with indifference, considering Melanie’s star status, but it’s a wonderful album nonetheless. A serious album, maybe a little too serious for the fans of cute and innocent songs like ‘Animal Crackers’.
The main message of this album is this: I was sent down to the nerve, I was made to live on stoneground words, but I’m back and I’ll live on (“Stoneground Words”). For one thing, Melanie clearly tells us that we’re all individuals, each of us being like a dancer that follows his own ‘time’ (“I Am Not a Poet”). Melanie will do with stoneground words if need be. We shouldn’t forget though that she’s also a member of a special race, the rainbow race, a race that will continue because it’s too soon to die. This is a “different race” different from the races  of ostriches that “bury their heads in the sand”, clutch to their “plastic dreams” and can’t keep their “greedy hands” still. The song’s strongest lines are “You can’t kill all the unbelievers” and “there’s no shortcut to freedom” (“The Rainbow Race”).
After all, the album opens with a very clear message: let’s be together alone. All in all, her beliefs in a different, peaceful world seem to be intact: we’re take care of each other, we’re brothers and sisters, let’s be together. But with a but: let’s be together alone, the main word in that phrase still being“together” (“Together Alone”).
Lend your ears to that great album”.
© Eddy Bonte

JAMES J. TURNER: Spirit, Soul and a Handful of Mud 

James J. Turner: Spirit, Soul and a Handful of Mud (Touch the Moon, 2016)

James J Turner cd cover Spirit lowres

“James J . Turner is a singer-songwriter with heavy folk influences, as is also underlined by  instruments such as the violin, mandolin and accordion. Or is it the  other way around – a folksinger in the singer-songwriter tradition? Folk that also rocks in places too. It doesn’t matter too much, since Turner treats us to a dozen new self-penned tunes of his very own brand.  Some you can sing along to (“Watching You”, with a chorus reminding me of ‘hey you, the rock-steady crew’…), some you can folk-dance to (“Heart of Gold”) and many meant to sit down and listen to – you can still decide about the singing and dancing afterwards. Sit down and listen, because James J. Turner has a view on life he wants to communicate. He’d be happy if you shared his message and most unhappy if you took it for a manual (I presume, I didn’t ask). A lyricist once asked “What colour is the soul of man?”, but Turner’s questions sounds more like “What is man if not soul and spirit?”. And a little mud to symbolize his earthiness, viz. his inabilities and failures in view of his own promises and hopes. A handful of mud too, because no value can exist without  being put in perspective by its counterpart. The soul and the spirit are not stand-alones, they must detach themselves from something basic – God’s clay, man’s mud.

James J. Turner’s songs are about the soul and the spiritual life as opposed to material and materialistic life – the latter bringing about damage and wreckage rather than happiness and salvation. Turner’s concern regards the good life, more exactly an individual’s good life: we’re all unique and able to choose between good and bad (“Watching You”). He’s on the side of the poor soul  as he is the truthful soul  (“Heart Of Gold”). Turner suggests a strong sense of duty when he states that one may opt for the bad life, but no-one can escape his karma (”Karma Will Track You Down”, half song, half chant).
James J. Turner is concerned with items such as morality, justice and our repressive society, yet he’s not your usual rebel or protest singer-songwriter.  All in all, this about the spiritual life. It’s no surprise to learn then that Turner is an active part of the druid / pagan movement.
This is a very nice record full of real songs. Turner performs them with a powerful and convincing voice and is backed by an accomplished and versatile band”.

© Eddy Bonte

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