left-wing

‘Roses and Thorns’ – a song to the left

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve written a political song (or a blog on here, for that matter). Considering I consider myself a political songwriter that’s says something – mainly about the fact that I’ve genuinely just been too depressed at the state of it all.
But I really had to vent, because I think what is going on in politics at the moment is genuinely scary.
We’re all being stripped of our European citizenship because of a campaign arguably based on misinformation. Right-wing populism is growing in the UK, and across the continent. We have a Prime Minister seemingly set on ripping up everything that was good about the EU in these negotiations – with scant claim to a mandate.
And yet the left is in total disarray. I’m a proud Green, but I’m also a pluralist, and I think it really matters for the whole left that Labour is in turmoil – i.e. that we don’t really have a functioning opposition.
And as someone who wants a progressive alliance, it scares me that Labour are 17 percentage points behind the Tories. It’s too easy to blame one side of the party or the other, or to scream simplistic, mono-causal assertions about what’s led to this, because we are where we are, and there is fault on both sides. It’s churlish and dogmatic to deny it.
While it’s easier said than done, the left as a whole needs to learn how to communicate, how to work together, how to reach out beyond those who already agree with us, and find a some kind of a path forward. We have to.
Because if we don’t get our arses in gear we’re handing a free reign to those who want to rip up all that we value about this country – from our NHS to our diversity, from our social safety net to our internationalism. The situation is too urgent for us to waste time navel-gazing, name-calling and pointing fingers.
So, I’ve vented. Here’s the song I had to get off my chest. I’ll write much more positive stuff I hope soon, but for now this is a plea to all those who consider themselves progressive to turn their guns away from each other and to focus on the real battles ahead.
*Exhales*

Roses and Thorns

Now is not the hour
To be battling inside
Both sides hunting witches
When the fight’s to stay alive
To keep the red heart beating
To stir the fire sleeping
Because there’s few of us already on our side
 
And in these new times
A hard rain is falling
In these new times
The day is far from dawning
And it don’t feel like
Something better’s calling
So think faster
Dream deeper
This could be the last chance
We’re gonna get
 
And now is not the hour
To be arguing who’s clean
You’re writing just for rallies
When the fight’s to be believed
By the ones for whom the red heart
Doesn’t beat for them
Oh there’s roses but there’s thorns here
You’ll have to start again
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Support radical acoustic music – crowdfund this EP

OK, I’ve got some big and exciting news: I have just started crowdfunding for my first proper, EP, Luddite Ballads – a collection of acoustic songs, some of which are political, which will be funded collectively.

I want it to be good. I want to get some acoustic, politically-aware music out there. More importantly, Rack Mount Records – the York label I’m signed to – really think it can work and are going to put everything into pushing the EP if I can raise £3000 in the next 37 days.

It’s a big ask, but I really want to do it, and get some radical folk into the public sphere. Please be a part of it!

So yeah. Please chip in a tenner or whatever you can to get a copy of Luddite Ballads, and to make sure we can get it national – on the radio, at festivals and everything in between.

Let’s do this!

All the best, and solidarity,
https://www.crowdshed.com/project/josiah-mortimer—new-ep-luddite-ballads

Josiah

(PS please share this post, repost it on your blogs and sites, share the link on social media – anything to get some socially-conscious music out there. I’ll make sure you get a thank-you, whether on the Rack Mount site, my own blog, and/or FB/Twitter. Thanks a million!)


https://soundcloud.com/josiah-mortimer
0745 439 7816
josiahmortimer@yahoo.co.uk
twitter.com/josiahmortimer

Latest radical acoustic songs and news

Just a quick update on the musical side of my life. I’ll be in York recording a new political acoustic EP in October, and hope to use it as a springboard to expand my gigging and musical presence generally. It will probably go up online either for free or a small donation.

There’s a few gigs coming up in the next few months. My next gig will be the 99 Club in York on the 11th of October,  7:30pm at the St Lawrence Working Men’s Club, a fundraiser for striking miners in South Africa and their socialist alternative to the ANC (after the latter’s failure in the handling of the Marikana massacre). A very worthy cause. Hope you can make it if you’re around! The other gigs are still to be confirmed – make sure to keep updated by liking my music page on Facebook here.

I’m also hoping to start a band after becoming pretty bored of playing solo and realising it would be better to have other people involved – particularly after a violinist, double bassist and possibly a drummer/percussion player and cellist. Get in touch if you know anyone who might be interested!

I won’t go on for too long, apart from saying that there’s lots of new (mostly political) material, most of which has been home recorded and is free to hear and download below or on my SoundCloud site.

Please listen, enjoy and share widely!

Shut Them Down – a song of solidarity with the anti-fracking movement

Staring at Screens – my latest song, a rare non-political piece about spending too much time in front of a computer. An ode to the Facebook/Twitter generation…

Occupy the Radio – my first song on banjo! A call for (musical) revolution…

Darker Things Rise Up – a piece about the worrying rise of the far-right across Europe, as well as UKIP and the EDL in Britain

New (Semi-)Political EP ‘Bonfire Songs’ Released

At the end of December I recorded (and have now ‘released’) a new acoustic EP, Bonfire Songs, featuring music inspired by modern protest, student life and, in March and In This Together, the disturbing policies of this government. All four songs from the record are available to download for free online, released under a Creative Commons licence (copy-left ftw). Have a listen, download it, share it around if you want. You can hear and download Bonfire Songs here: soundcloud.com/josiah-mortimer/sets/bonfire-songs.

I recently had the massive privilege of playing at Luddites 2013 – a big 200th anniversary event of the execution of the Luddite’s executed in York for their role in trying to (literally) smash capitalism from the outset. The radical music event in the evening showed the extent to which the left-wing musical tradition does live on, albeit underground. Hopefully there will be plenty more political music events to come. We need to keep radical song alive.

Firstly, some background about the political music on Bonfire Songs itself. March was written for the TUC’s ‘A Future that Works’ protest in October 2012, and was entered into the TUC’s ‘Make the March’ project, which promoted the demonstration through art and song. March became one of the most shared songs on the site, and has now been entered into Noise Festival’s ‘Art of Protest’ competition, potentially being featured in the People’s History Museum, Manchester. Wish me luck.

In this Together was inspired by the betrayal of the Liberal Democrats going into coalition with the Conservative Party, and condemns the brutal cuts which resulted from that decision. As a student involved in the 2010 student protests, it tries to reflect some of the anger students like myself felt (and still feel).

 

Hope you enjoy the EP. And if you’re after someone (however unrefined!) to play a political/charity event in the Yorkshire or South West regions, drop me an email #willplayforpints

 

Bonfire Songs Cover