Thursday, August 14, 2008

Climate Camp

It seemed a bit frivolous to take an instrument to the Camp for Climate Action (near Strood this year), but I suspected that I'd regret not bringing it if I didn't. Indeed, there was a place for acoustic fireside music in the evenings (as well as the bicycle-powered sound-system pumping out dubstep/punk/ska up by Gate 5, etc. on the Thursday night and Matthew Herbert coming to play a DJ set in the main marquee after Saturday's day of action).

The first evening I spent there involved a massive thunderstorm, so I never got to leave my hastily-erected tent. The next evening someone by the South Coast Barrio fire was complaining about the lack of music, so that seemed like a good reason to go and get my saz. I played a few things, then someone asked for something everyone could sing along with. I opted for "Scarborough Fayre", but of course everyone was lost after the first verse (rather like the National Anthem)...except a Finnish protestor lurking in the nearby darkness who kept going. It turned out that she knew a lot of medaevil songs, as well as Swedish and Finnish epic poems/songs, Irish Gaelic songs, etc. After a few attempts we found something she could sing and I could play (a medaevil piece called "Corpus Christi").

On the Saturday night, the designated post-sound-curfew acoustic jam tent got picked up by the strong winds and flipped upside-down onto a barbed wire fence - so that never came together. But I managed to have an excellent jam with a guitarist called Johnno. He'd just got back from six months in Egypt experimenting with stringed instruments out there (and had done a similar stint in India messing about with a sitar prior to that). He tuned a borrowed guitar to some kind of open G tuning and we were away (his playing reminded me a bit of Voice of the Seven Woods, who was recently brought to my attention).


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