Tuesday 8 September 2020

Three Kings: Kingfisher, King Arthur and the King of Fuh

There have been three kings in my life, and all have a strong connection to the natural world. The Kingfisher, of course, is a well known and colourful bird that fishes like its name suggests. Kingfisher is also the title of a song of mine I wrote many years ago after seeing one of these birds whilst walking by the Glamorgan canal that runs from Whitchurch to Tongwynlais. My song has nothing to do with that experience really but it was the inspiration for the title. Kingfisher has proved very popular and shows what can be done with as few as two chords. I play it in E and A major. Back in the early 1990s I remember hearing it blaring out the doorway of a chip shop in Cardiff’s Caroline Street, and thought, wow, that is my song, I am hearing! It was being aired on Red Dragon FM, a local radio station, by my friend radio host Steve Johnson. Another time I was in the city centre when I heard the unmistakable voice of my friend the late Pixi Morgan, who was a fellow singer-songwriter and busker, singing “Kingfisher’s green, kingfisher’s blue, he’s so lovely but I love you, I’ll be your kingfisher.” Pixi often included my song in his set and must have entertained people with it in many towns and cities. It is a mark of success having a song of yours covered by another artist. Kingfisher is popular with Druids and pagans too and has the line, “Queen of the summer, Queen of the May,” making it an ideal song for Beltane celebrations, and I have often performed it at the Gorsedd circle at Avebury.
King Arthur
Speaking of Druids brings me to the next King. In 1996 I met and was knighted by King Arthur Uther Pendragon, who is a Druid and who believes he is the reincarnation of the legendary Celtic chieftain. King Arthur leads a Druid Order known as the Loyal Arthurian Warband and members are sworn to uphold the Ancient Virtues of Truth, Honour and Justice. I am a Quest Knight and Bard of the order. Once again Steve Johnson and Red Dragon Radio plays a big part in my story. I had been on Steve’s Round Table radio show on the 23 December and we had been talking about what I achieved by writing letters. Little was I to know then that the following morning was not to bring me more Christmas cards or presents but a single letter. It was a reply to me from King Arthur, in response to mail I had sent some time ago to his AWEN Newsletter. Arthur told me a bit about his Druid Order and suggested that to find out more I tuned into a Radio 4 show that was being broadcast in the New Year about him. I did so and was amazed to hear in an early part of the programme the voice of Pixi Morgan wishing people a “Happy Beltane.” It turned out that Pixi had been Arthur’s Herald at the Twyford Down protest camp. So that was how my introduction to King Arthur came about and it continued with my actual meeting with him in person when he travelled to Cardiff with a crew from Sky TV to make a documentary about reincarnation. I had agreed to be knighted in this at Tinkinswood Burial Chambers just outside Cardiff. Arthur extended the invitation to Pixi to be knighted there too and this happened for the TV cameras. Amongst the proceedings that got filmed was me singing Kingfisher. Some time after all this I wrote a song entitled King Arthur’s Coming and it got used by a number of TV shows. The Slate on BBC Wales included me singing a live version, a documentary on eccentrics on Meridian TV used a recording of the song, and so did another documentary on the German ZDF TV. King Arthur, besides being well known in the media as a Druid, is also famous for his work as an ecowarrior, who has been arrested many times at protest camps where he has been trying his best to protect the land. He is fulfilling the prophecy that King Arthur would return when the land was in its greatest need.

The King of Fuh
The third King is the King of Fuh. This King is a fictional character in a song of the same name by American singer-songwriter and actor, Stephen Friedland, who is also known as Brute Force. He and I became known to each other this year because we are both regular performers on the online show ReW and WhO? from New York. The show is hosted by singer, musician and actress Rew Starr and Green Party candidate James Lane. Brute Force has performed the King of Fuh on ReW and WhO? I was not surprised when I discovered that this amazing song had given Brute the nearest he got to his “big break.” In 1969, Beatles George Harrison and John Lennon were so impressed with Brute’s song and songwriting talent that they wanted him released on Apple. And so it was that a limited edition of 1,000 singles of the King of Fuh were pressed on the Apple label. Everything looked as if this was going to be a massive success for Brute but sadly EMI/Capitol Records and the BBC soon put a stop on this happening. It was thought by them that lyrics in the song that use the words “Fuh king” were not suitable for public airplay and so no radio station would play it either. Brute discovered that the taboo about using the F-word on the media at the time was so powerful that his song got pulled from the distribution it should have had. This is so sad because it does not actually use the F-word. The King of Fuh is a song with lyrics that for me make reference to the crazy world we are in, in which the beauty of nature has not been seen as vital to our lives. Lyrics of the song go: “You look up high and you see the sky so big and blue and you wonder why people don't worship beauty, You look down on the ground, you see the flowers there red and blue and brown, And you wonder why people don't worship beauty. There was a beautiful land, There was a beautiful land, There was a beautiful land called Fuh, And in this land there was a king and everybody called him the Fuh King.”
I am happy to say that I have been able to help Brute get some more publicity for his music because I introduced him to Michael Kennedy who runs the SWND magazine in Wales, and who is now interviewing Brute for the November edition. In conclusion, I’d just like to add that I saw a Kingfisher, wrote a song saying “I’ll be your Kingfisher, “ and then went on to befriend two kings! Make of that whatever you will!

Saturday 27 June 2020

Covid-19 and the danger to the Navajo, the Kogi and all indigenous peoples

The plight of the Navajo Nation in the Covid-19 pandemic

Did you know that the Navajo Nation is the hardest hit community in the U.S. when it comes to the pandemic? The news is full of reports about what is being done about the Covid-19 virus in countries around the world but nowhere near enough coverage has been given to how the indigenous people have been coping with the danger from the Coronavirus. The Navajo Nation, who are the second largest tribe in North America, have reinstated lockdowns because the tribal leaders have feared the spread of the virus after suffering the highest death toll than any American state. They fear that people carrying the Coronavirus from the neighbouring states of Utah and Arizona will bring it into the Navajo territory, either directly or via contact. But complicating matters to a very serious degree is the fact that the Navajo are dependent on grocery stores outside their land for food and basic supplies. This means they must risk infection. Tragically this is the consequence of many years of destruction of their original way of life and the attempted assimilation of the Navajo into the global ‘civilised’ way of life.
Navajo Nation - Covid-19 claims whole families
This has happened over and over and over again through the centuries to indigenous people worldwide. Their traditional ways of supporting themselves with food, water, and other needs they once were able to find in their local areas, and without causing any environmental damage, have been destroyed by the invasion and colonisation of their homelands, together with the destruction of indigenous culture. You may think this was all in the past but it continues today in various ways, such as use of or pollution of water sources by industry or mining, logging and general deforestation, and being pushed into barren areas where it is difficult to grow food. Indigenous people have been terribly weakened by this ongoing assault on their ways of life. Not only that but most indigenous people have immune systems that do not fend off virus attacks well.
Kogi Guardians of the Planet appeal for help
The Kogi people from Colombia in South America were featured on a BBC documentary back in 1990. It was entitled From The Heart of the World: The Elder Brothers’ Warning. It showed the Mamas or Mamos spiritual leaders of this tribe, who are the surviving descendents of the ancient Tairona people, and who live high on the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. At the time of the Spanish invasion long ago these people retreated to the high mountain areas and for many years shunned all contact with the outside world. By doing this they have maintained their ancient belief system and culture. They believe that they really are the Elder Brothers and that they were given sacred work to do as Guardians of the Earth. They regard their mountain home as the Heart of the World. By the way, the word mama or mamo means “enlightened one,” and these people certainly have an ancient wisdom. The mountain they live on has examples of every habitat and microclimate for the rest of the world, so is like a microcosm of the planet. The Mamos are able to tell by looking at signs in the ecosystem there what it is like elsewhere and what can be expected in future. Now the “Younger Brother,” who make up the rest of the world of civilised people, in the Kogi belief system, were long ago sent away across the ocean and given knowledge of machines. Sadly they returned in the form of Spanish invaders bringing with them guns, death and destruction. For this reason the Kogi kept themselves to themselves until 1990 when the Mamos were so alarmed by what they could see happening that they broke their silence and agreed to talk to the Younger Brother to give a warning. This is why they allowed Alan Ereira, who directed the documentary, to visit them to make the film. So let us take a look at their warning message. This is part of what was said: "The Great Mother gave us what we needed to live and her teaching has not been forgotten right up to this day. We all still live by it. But now they are taking out the Mother's heart, they are digging up the ground and cutting out her liver and her guts. The Mother is being cut to pieces and stripped of everything. From their first landing they have been doing this. The Great Mother too has a mouth, eyes, and ears. They are cutting out her eyes and ears. If we lost an eye we would be sad. So the Mother too is sad, and she'll end, and the world ends if you do not stop digging and digging." (Click on the highlighted film title in the text above to read the rest of the transcript and to watch the documentary). 
What had really disturbed these people was the fact that the clouds and the snow and ice that should be on the peaks of their sacred mountain home had gone. The highland tundra was drying out and thawing and plants that grow there were dying. Without water coming from the mountains they know well that everything below will eventually die. In their warning they said that we, the Younger Brother, are destroying all natural order by mining, taking minerals and oil from the ground, deforestation, and other destructive ways, and that if we do not stop eventually the world will come to an end. They also warned that new illnesses would occur and that there would be no medicine or cure for them.
Ramon's speech in which he spells out the Kogi warning
It seems they were proved right because now we have the Covid-19 pandemic. Tragically the Kogi are victims of this disease that they predicted too. They have taken measures to isolate themselves but are desperately in need of food and supplies that have not been provided by the Colombian authorities. What if these people really are our Elder Brothers and the Guardians of Planet Earth? Shouldn’t we be listening to their warnings and shouldn’t we be helping them now?
Urgent Message From The Kogi During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Monday 15 June 2020

Ocean Aid Concert

Ocean Aid Concert 2020

An Ocean Aid Concert is an idea I have had for several years and been trying to get off the ground. It would be a follow-on from Band Aid and Live Aid but this time would be focused on raising awareness about the threats to the oceans of the world, such as, plastic pollution, overfishing and acidification, all of which are taking a very heavy toll on marine life.
Of course, I would love to think that the day will arrive when many world famous acts would take part in a massive concert that would get televised and receive international publicity and coverage, but right now with the lockdown restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most concerts this year and big festivals too, have all been cancelled. But not the online ones, where there is no risk of spreading or becoming infected with the disease. So, with the help of my good friend Paul Richmond aka Zest Radio Show, I have come up with an idea to get Ocean Aid Concert 2020 actually happening. If singer-songwriters, singers and bands have songs about the environment they would like to contribute, what I would need is a video of their song. Ideally the songs should have something to do with the oceans but songs about nature and the environment fit with this too. The idea is for me to create a Youtube playlist entitled Ocean Aid Concert and the videos would be included in it, giving everyone some publicity and raising the profile of the Ocean Aid campaign. 
At this stage it is all about getting this happening and raising awareness. Fund-raising would be part of a much bigger Ocean Aid Concert, and I have thought money could be raised for organisations that help the oceans and marine life, organisations, such as, Sea Shepherd, and Greenpeace, but all of this would be decided on a later date. 

Besides singers and musicians, the Ocean Aid Concert could also include videos of poets with their poems on the subject, readings of prose by writers who want to get involved, and videos of suitable artwork. The Ocean Aid Concert is not just music and song but all creative arts.

SPAM by Filippo Solibello, a Book about Plastic Pollution

Last year a book entitled SPAM - Stop Plastica a Mare was published in Italy. The author is Filippo Solibello, and he is a well-known radio host in his country. I am very proud to say there is a four-page chapter in this book with the title Where Does All The Plastic Go?, which is also the title of a protest song of mine.

The chapter is about me, my song and my ideas about the worldwide problem of plastic pollution. When Filippo interviewed me back in 2018 I told him about my idea for an Ocean Aid Concert and he asked if I minded if he spread the word in Italy. I said, no, not at all, because I just want to see this event happen and it doesn’t matter where! Well, since the publication of SPAM, the author had been touring Italy promoting his book and telling people about my idea. He was also showing videos of my song.

He managed to get a copy of his book to Pope Francis and received media coverage because of that. I was invited to go over to Italy at some point but then the Covid-19 pandemic struck and all plans had to be put on hold. This is why I am thinking we can get this Ocean Aid Concert going online. So please get in touch if you want to be included or can help in any way! Please also share this blog and let’s get Ocean Aid Concert happening! To make a start with this happening I have created an Ocean Aid Concert playlist at Youtube featuring any songs I thought fitted the bill. It includes a few big names, such as, Neil Young, Kate Nash, Jack Johnson and Ed Sheeran.

Saturday 18 April 2020

Habitat Destruction and the European Rabbit

The European Rabbit is in Danger!
European Rabbit (Photo: Steve Andrews)

There’s a strip of woodland and scrub five minutes from where I live, and nearly every day I connect with nature by walking through it. Although it has busy roads separating it from larger sections of the Portuguese countryside, and is near to houses, this parcel of land has a wonderful selection of wildflowers and of wildlife, including butterflies, birds, reptiles, and a colony of European Rabbits. At least, there was a rabbit warren there until recently. I have been watching an example of habitat destruction on my doorstep! A team of workmen, bulldozers and JCBs have ruined where the rabbits live, transforming it into something neat and tidy, a place that shows the human view of how things should be. It is no longer a world and a home for European Rabbits, at least I have not seen any since the men were there. Of course, I never could get close to any of the rabbits I would see on happier days, but just knowing they were there gave me a good feeling. A sense of contentment that all was well in a parcel of countryside, right by where I live. The sandy soil in this location is ideal for a rabbit to burrow in and trees and bushes, brambles and other vegetation, provide a place to hide away from walkers with dogs. The European Rabbit has many threats to its life to watch out for: natural predators and humans who hunt. Rabbit hunting is a tradition in many places. Men with guns and dogs get pleasure from this. These hunters would argue that it is a traditional way of providing food for their families and meat for the market. It is a serious threat to rabbit populations though, especially coupled with the devastating effects of the deadly Myxomatosis plague that was unleashed many years ago. The Rabbit Calcivirus has also contributed to the decline of this once very common mammal, which the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN) in 2018 classified as Endangered for the animal’s current Conservation Status. In Portugal, the Iberian Lynx, a species that is struggling for survival as well, depends on rabbit populations, because these once common mammals are its main prey. Efforts to help the Lynx return are doomed to failure unless rabbit numbers can be increased a lot as well. One form of life depends on another, as links in a food chain, and parts of the web of life.
After the work was done! (Photo: Steve Andrews)
But getting back to what has happened in the woodland near my home: over a period of about 10 days, the workmen levelled a large area of mixed grassland and scrub, they chopped down some pine and willow trees, cut down bushes, drastically thinned out and pruned back any clumps of saplings, and then bulldozed right through where the rabbits had their burrows, which was in a wooded area at the bottom of a slope. The men have constructed a wide channel here that runs in the direction of one of the bordering roads. I thought maybe they were going to lay a large pipeline of some description but this didn’t happen and they have ceased work. Perhaps the channel is intended as somewhere water can run because it does follow on from a stream higher up in the woodland.
They cleaned this part up too! (Photo: Steve Andrews)
Perhaps it is intended as a flood defence? As for the destruction of trees and bushes, that was probably land clearance as a defence against wildfires, which are now a serious threat in Portugal. Now the men have all gone and I am left wondering, is this because they completed their work or have they been laid off due to the ongoing CoronaVirus lockdown at time of writing? Whatever the answer is, it appears the rabbits have gone too. Did they manage to escape? Did they run away in time? If so, where have they gone? What does a European Rabbit do when evicted from its home? If they did escape they have been subjected to a terrifying experience for the whole colony. My daily pleasure of seeing rabbits has gone. Now when I walk in this bit of countryside I am on the lookout for signs the rabbits have survived. I am looking for new burrows, I am looking for piles of rabbit poo on paths, but so far I have seen none. It leaves me feeling sad and is yet one more example of habitat destruction I have witnessed. There have been many throughout my life, from ponds that are drained to become flowerbeds or levelled ground, to meadows that become housing developments.  Now here in Portugal, I feel like I have been watching a real-life chapter from Watership Down!

Sunday 23 February 2020

Natterjack Toads are very rare in the UK but breed in pools at the side of the road in Portugal

Natterjacks like temporary pools and puddles
Natterjack Toad (Photo by Bernard DUPONT)

The Natterjack Toad (Epidalea calamita) is one of the rarest amphibians in the UK and only found in several scattered colonies in coastal areas in England, Scotland and one in Wales where it has been reintroduced. It is the only native species of toad in Ireland where it lives in a few locations. In many parts of Europe, however, it is far more widely distributed, and in Portugal it even breeds in temporary pools and puddles at the side of the road near where I live.
Roadside pool (Photo by Steve Andrews)
Pool with tadpoles (Photo by Steve Andrews)
Unlike the Common Toad (Bufo bufo), which likes large ponds and lakes, the Natterjack uses pools that are likely to dry up later in the year. This is a great danger for its tadpoles because the water may all evaporate before they have grown big enough to become toadlets and to leave. Many tadpoles perish when the pools become no more than cracked mud. Lucky ones will be in pools with deeper water that takes longer before it has all gone. There is an advantage to this seemingly reckless breeding behaviour though, because the pools the Natterjack chooses have no predators, such as newts and dragonfly nymphs in them. The Natterjack actually favours pools that do not even have any vegetation, and are just a few inches of water covering sand or mud. Somehow they manage to find enough to eat in these conditions.
Natterjack Toad Tadpoles (Photo by Steve Andrews)
The tadpoles are much smaller than Common Toad tadpoles too and they can complete their metamorphosis in as short a time as six weeks. It is a race against time when warm weather dries up the water they depend on. Last year, where I live, this species was unlucky because drought set in with hot sunny weather and all the pools dried up totally. I had moved some of the tadpoles to pools with more water but even my effort to help them was in vain because none of tadpoles had even developed their back legs when all the water was evaporated in the heat. This year, I am hoping that some, at least, will survive. We have had a lot or rain earlier on and the temporary pools where I find tadpoles of this species currently still have plenty of water, although it is starting to go down. In the UK, the Natterjack is mainly found in coastal locations where temporary ponds form in dunes and sandy areas by the sea, on the continent and Portugal, however, it is also found inland. The male Natterjack attracts others of his kind to a suitable stretch of water with a loud and rasping call but only does this at night. By day, these toads hide in burrows in the sand, and they favour sandy locations, such as dunes and heathland.
The Natterjack can be recognised because it has a yellow stripe down the middle of its back. It cannot jump well and tends to walk fast, which has led to it also being known as the “Running Toad.” When I was a boy I always dreamed of finding a Natterjack Toad but never did. It was very rare all those years ago too. I am amazed to find this very rare amphibian breeding in muddy pools by a main road near where I live.

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Searching for Birthwort with the Spanish Festoon Butterfly

Searching for Birthwort with the Spanish Festoon Butterfly

Spanish Festoon (Photo: Steve Andrews)
The Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) is a very pretty butterfly in the Papilionidae or Swallowtail butterfly family. It has strikingly patterned wings of yellow, red and dark brown with zig-zag markings on its hindwings. It is found in Spain, Portugal, North Africa and southern France. I have seen the butterflies in scrubland and pine and oak forest near where I live, but until today I have never seen any of the Birthwort species (Aristolochia spp) this butterfly uses as food-plants for their caterpillars.

I have lived in Quinta do Conde in Portugal for the last five years but have never managed to find any type of Birthwort growing here so it has been a real mystery for me, as to how these butterflies survive here. Today after a lot of searching, I discovered a clump of Round-leaved Birthwort (A. rotunda) growing amongst trees and heather at the top of a bank.
Spanish Festoon habitat (Photo: Steve Andrews)

I had to climb up to find it, and this is why I had never seen it before, although I often walk through this part of the woodland. A female Spanish Festoon has to find this plant or other Birthwort species on which to lay her eggs. There are no other options. The distribution of the food-plants, as is the case with most butterflies and moths, is one of the main factors responsible for the distribution of these insects. In fact, if you find a colony of a particular butterfly or moth, you can be fairly certain that the plants the larvae of that specific species need will be growing nearby. 
Round-leaved Birthwort (Photo: Steve Andrews)

The Spanish Festoon is flying very early this year. Most sources say that it can be seen from April onward, although the excellent Collins Butterfly Guide, which says this butterfly flies from late March to May, also points out that it has been recorded in February. With the Climate Crisis making the weather a lot warmer, and leading to droughts and the very real danger of forest fires in Portugal, butterflies and other species of flora and fauna are directly affected by changes in the weather. 
The Birthwort species are poisonous plants that are dangerous for humans to consume, because poisoning from these plants can lead to kidney failure. These plants were once used to cause uterine contractions, hence the name “birthwort,” but their usage as a medicinal herb has mainly been abandoned due to the dangers of the toxins these plants contain. For the caterpillars of the Spanish Festoon, as is the case with the larvae of many butterflies that have poisonous food-plants, the poisons in the plant become a form of defence for the caterpillars. Because they become toxic too, any predators that try eating them are likely to get very sick. The European Birthwort (A. clematitis) is the species I was expecting to find, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the Round-leaved Birthwort was the local species. Birthworts tend to be straggling plants that need other vegetation or support to climb over. The Aristolochia species have unusual tube-shaped or pipe-shaped flowers, and one species, the Dutchman’s Pipe, which has very large and attractive blooms, is grown for ornamental purposes.

Sunday 16 February 2020

The Angel of Death

The Angel of Death
Angel of Death (Azrael) by Evelyn De Morgan (Public Domain)
It was in the not too distant future when the nightmare scenario devastated the western world, and led to the final collapse of life as we know it. A 100% lethal mutated virus had been spawned in the labs of insane scientists. There was no known cure for the Angel of Death, which spread by contact, as well as via the air and in water supplies. An even more insane subversive group within the ranks of the the evil germ-warfare-mongers had infiltrated to the highest echelons above top secret, and in a final doomsday effort had unleashed the killer virus upon an unsuspecting world. Death came to everyone infected with it within weeks, and there were no recorded cases of survival. 
Throughout the entire civilised world, throughout all the teeming cities, and even to the smaller towns and villages of the whole globe, the silence of the fatal germ had come. Only humans were infected, so once again the world of animals and plants had a chance, for it appeared that the reign of mankind was finally over for good.
Ten years had elapsed and the passage of time had brought many changes. In once Great Britain, the cities with all their accompanying industrial and urban sprawl had reverted back to a more natural environment that was gradually and not so gradually displacing what humans had created. Rooftop gardens of small trees, brambles, briars, and assorted weeds and grasses greeted the sky, and the hungry flocks of sparrows, starlings, pigeons and finches. Barn owls bred again in large numbers and circled the dark night skies, seeking out their choice from the teeming rodent hordes that had multiplied without check feeding on the vast quantities of stored foods in shops and warehouses.
Branches of trees poked skywards through crumbling and ruined buildings. Roads, streets, pedestrian precincts, shopping malls, and even the once mighty motorways lay cracked by the ever-advancing frontline troops of armies of the vegetable kingdom.  Grass grew waist-high in fields, parks and open spaces, and masses of wildflowers adorned these meadows providing a feast for the butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Mongrel dogs prowled and hunted in packs. Hawks and other birds of prey had a field day with all the vast numbers of small birds, and rats and mice, now to be hunted.
The seas and lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and other waterways and wetlands had once again come into their own and teamed with fish and other aquatic life, which in turn supported huge breeding colonies of waders, herons, ducks, and other water birds. Massive patches of brambles, nettles, briars and assorted scrub in sprawling growth reclaimed the once cultivated and civilized land. Broken human skeletons lay covered or partially exposed to the elements, or rotting away in the empty rooms where they fell. Forests too were starting to reclaim the land in an effort to return to days gone by.  Foreign flora and fauna vied with natives for space in the battle for survival under the laws of Mother Nature.
In the rest of the world, the picture was much the same, and the land so devastated by mankind’s short and tyrannical reign of destruction was being fast taken back by natural forces as the balance became again restored to the Earth.
The end of mankind had not, however, arrived for small pockets of survivors continued to live in their ancient tribal ways in the mountains and jungles of South America, Asia, and deep in the rainforests of Africa. These tribes had survived, because although they were aware of the civilised world they had chosen to live in isolation from it, shunning all contact, and so preserving their ancient culture and traditions.
So the planet was once more open for colonization as those tribal peoples grew in numbers, and an almost Garden of Eden type situation presented itself with the ruined technological cities and factories of destruction still there to maybe be discovered like the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 
Only the tribal elders really understood the dangers that lay ahead, but as to whether they were able to prevent enquiring minds from prying into these secrets only time would tell. If the circle was to run its course, several thousand years more had to elapse, but for the time being all was well upon the Garden of Earth.

Footnote: I wrote this depressing story many years ago but had not done anything with it until now. I am hoping it remains just a story! With the Corona Virus or Covid 19 virus in the news, it seemed a good time to publish it though.

Saturday 15 February 2020

Where Does All The Plastic Go? Gets Media Coverage

My protest song about plastic pollution entitled Where Does All The Plastic Go? has had some great media coverage, but it needs a lot more. The song has been featured in a national newspaper in Portugal and in a recent book from Italy. It would be wonderful if the British mainstream media would report on it too.

The Portugal News

Last September, The Portugal News included an article about my song after I was interviewed by Kim Schiffmann, who is one of the newspaper’s writers. There was a photo of me on the front page too and a caption which said: “Singing Against Pollution p11.” The Portugal News is a national newspaper in the English language and read by many an expat.

My song also received airplay in Portugal on Roque Duarte’s Sonic Fine Cut show on esradio.pt (Eclectic Sounds Radio) and Nação Sónica. The video for Where Does All The Plastic Go? had been made in Portugal by Filipe Rafael, and the song is included in my album Songs of The Now and Then, which is available as an environmentally packaged CD with a recycled egg box CD tray, or as a digital release on bandcamp. On Facebook, the video has had over 19,000 views. 

Where Does All The Plastic Go? is also available for streaming and downloads at Reverb Nation. 

SPAM: Stop Plastica A Mare and Ocean Aid

Meanwhile in Italy, Where Does All The Plastic Go? Has received some wonderful publicity thanks to Filippo Solibello, who is a top radio presenter and author there. He has included an entire chapter about me and my song in his book SPAM Stop Plastic A Mare, which he has been touring extensively to promote. He even got a copy of his book to Pope Francis.

Filippo has been showing the video of my song to audiences in Italy and also spreading word about my idea for an Ocean Aid concert to raise awareness on an international level, and as a fund-raiser for charitable organisations that are working to save the oceans and marine life in them. I think some very famous names would want to be involved if a massive concert could be organised, like Band Aid and Live Aid but this time it would be Ocean Aid. Many stars from the world of music, such as Ed Sheeran, Mick Jagger, Kanye West, Cerys Matthews, Chrissie Hynde and Brian May, have spoken out about plastic pollution but I think I am leading the way when it comes to songs on the subject. 

Music Interview Magazine
I am very grateful to Music Interview Magazine for publishing an in depth interview with me in which I explain about how I became alarmed about the ongoing threat from plastic. I mention David de Rothschild and how he sailed The Plastiki across the Pacific Ocean back in 2010. This was when I started following his work as an environmentalist and learned how bad the plastic pollution problem really is. Sadly, in the years that have gone by since then the size of the problem has multiplied on a mind-boggling scale, and we really do need to find ways of stopping it getting any worse and of getting as much of the plastic that is out there in the oceans out of them. Plastic is now everywhere. As micro-plastics it is in the air, soil and water. The environment worldwide has been contaminated by plastic pollution and plastic has entered the food chain which goes right up to us. This is why I sing: “Plastic kills the turtles and is eaten by the fish, plastic’s in the food chain and the dinner on your dish!” Please help me spread the word about my song and idea for an Ocean Aid concert. Plastic pollution affects everybody!