Wednesday, 4 July 2018

How to destroy the best of the internet without even trying...

I have just emailed all seven of the MEPs for the Eastern Region about the copyright proposals. You should too (feel free to plagiarise anything you like). You can find your MEPs email addresses here:
Dear MEP,
Please do not ignore this as just another email - it is a critical piece of information and an urgent plea for careful consideration.
The EU is being asked to enact Copyright laws which threaten to seriously damage the greatest benefit of the internet - the free and easy distribution of information and data. And it is only for the benefit of a small group of vested interests.
I entered the world of the internet in 1993 just as the WWW was getting going. I joined the UK's first large scale commercial internet service provider, PIPEX. My job was to promote the benefits for business but also to assist in the safer deployment of the system.
There is no doubt that it has had some bad results among the good. But I would suggest the good far outweighs the bad - and the free availability of information, especially quality information from credible sources, is a key to that. This law could destroy that at a stroke.
To save me time I have borrowed some of these words but I have edited and concur with them all.
The proposal would make sharing and accessing news online more difficult. It would force most online platforms to monitor all content posted by anyone - that means ISPs and content services like Facebook, YouTube etc, will be required to check the source of any videos, comments, maps, images indeed anything. And potentially block it (censor it).
It has the capability to prevent anyone across Europe (but NOT the world) from sharing their ideas on line. It could inhibit the development of new thoughts and ideas. Surely everyone should have the right to remix, create parodies, and share their ideas online. Make no mistake, as it stands there are NO exceptions.
The proposal only allows scientific research institutions to mine text and datasets, but vastly more people — like librarians, journalists, and independent scientists — should be able to access the information they need to discover innovative solutions.
Worst of all this will only apply in Europe - it will disable and damage the EU's international standing and its competitiveness at the very moment that trade relations are becoming strained.
For the sake of us all and for your grandchildren you must stop this now. Get it delayed and seriously amended to protect the interest of everyone in Europe.
Find your MEPs here. There are 73 UK MEPs. They are elected in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Other EU member states elect MEPs…

Monday, 3 July 2017

Where do they all come from - and more praise for Emily Barker

WHERE do they all come from? I ask after a fabulous evening at Bassment, Chelmsford listening to three hours by three performers of excellent and original work. Watching TV’s talent offerings you could be forgiven for thinking the majority of ‘talent’ is essentially of the Karaoke variety. Not so, not at all so.
The headliner who drew me there of course was my favourite singer-songwriter of the past decade, Emily Barker and more of her soon. But it would be unfair not to start by praising the support.
First, we had Carousel – five chaps and Sarah. As with most at Bassment they accept the description Americana but don’t let that scare you. The music is mainstream folk/roots with drive like rock, soul like soul and rhythm like rhythm. ‘Tis music my son and sounds good. Carousel are a great example – catch them if you can
Up next was Lisa Wright, a very fine young singer with a strong country style. An Essex lass she writes very much in her own milieu and tells neat anecdotes to place them in her life. Her recent recording session in Nashville thrilled her and neatly presaged what came next.
For the star of the night was Emily Barker who has just released to huge acclaim an album recorded in Memphis with a strong Memphis groove. It marks a further development of her style – and a far cry from some of her early if no less lovely works. My fervour for her biases me of course but what she writes, what she sings, how she sings and how she performs is in the very top drawer. Add to that a very wonderfully winsome way on and off stage and you have, potentially, star quality. Go Emily.
Supported exceptionally well by her talented friend Lucas Drinkwater (his bass makes waves like few others) she started with a bit of a look back via some old(ish) favourites. They benefit greatly it seems to me from the further development of her voice. She told amusingly of youthful days in Oz singing along for hours to Aretha Franklin before learning to “project” (I’d suggest she also learned how to breathe too) and thus save her vocal chords and talents for us. (TV talent shows please note.)
She moved smoothly into some of the new album material, including tribute song Sister Goodbye, the driving lovelorn No 5 Hurricane, melancholy If We Forget to Dance, the Boo Hewerdine influenced leaving home moody, Over My Shoulder and of course the very groovy album title track, Sweet Kind of Blue.
The ‘Wallander’ theme Nostalgia was willingly offered to her fans – most of us present probably found her ten years ago via that very song. Now back to its Melbourne form and with a lot of added overtones, it continues to be a solid showcase of her gifts. Lucas Drinkwater (once again, no doubt) found himself among many now dying in June fields at the hands of his erstwhile lover as the tortured duet Fields of June got its regular airing – it really is a very compelling song, even if most of us feel for the poor guy!
And then as it drew to a close up came Emily’s tour de force – Precious Memories sung akapella to the rafters (low in this case!) – and it was finger clicking good. Actually she and Lucy earlier appeared to find the Bassment room harmonic – a strong soprano in this case. Echoes of The Place in Norwich where Steve Knightly regularly bids (successfully) to hit the tenor harmonic there.
And now here’s the thing – three acts, three hours and all original works sung by hugely talented people. OK, I’d put Emily a head up but this was good company to keep all round. And once again demonstrated that, until you have seen them live in an intimate venue like the Bassment, you know them not. Thanks to all – and special salutations to the Strine now in the UK for nearly half her life; stay, please.
Carousel - on Facebook
Lisa Wright -
Emily Barker -
Bassment -