Last month - following the launch of Cool Oak - I was invited by arts-nature journal Caught By The River to document my work campaigning at Brent Reservoir in a monthly column. Today saw the second piece posted online. You can catch up with both here. More will added each month.
News — In Full
As many of you know, prevented from touring, I have spent much of the pandemic fighting instead to save my local reservoir - Brent Reservoir (also known as the Welsh Harp) in North London - from decades of neglect.
My grandfather was the first naturalist-broadcaster on the BBC in the 1930s and 40s, so perhaps it wasn't such a leap that I should want to look after one of my local green spaces.
I formed a loose alliance with other local campaigners in January 2021, posted photo-stories online, presented crisis reports, met with owners, key statutory bodies and the local MP. The upshot is we have really moved the dial.
Last month we went go a step further and launched officially as an environmental pressure group called Cool Oak (named after the ancient road, Cool Oak Lane that bisects the reservoir).
I hope to be back with new music at some point. Until then, I hope you can support Cool Oak.
Some of you have been asking, so we've compiled a list of UK indie record shops who ordered stock of the vinyl and/or CD editions of 'Storm Shelter' - my mini 6-track album and companion piece to 'Storm Damage' - for Record Store Day (Nov 26, Black Friday). Hope this helps you find it. Some will have put unsold stock on their website, but to be sure of getting a copy, drop by and support your local shop.
AMERSHAM The Record Shop; ASHFORD The Record Store; BANGOR Bending Sound; BEVERLEY Bug Vinyl; BEXHILL ON SEA Music's Not Dead; BILLERICAY Slipped Discs; BOLTON X Records; BOURNEMOUTH Vinilo; BRIGHTON Cult Hero, Resident Music; BRISTOL Rough Trade; BUCKDEN Vinyl Revival; BURY Wax and Beans; BURY ST EDMUNDS Vinyl Hunter; CAMBERLEY Rock Box; CAMBRIDGE Relevant, Lost In Vinyl; CARDIFF Spillers; CARLISLE Vinyl Cafe; CHELMSFORD Intense; CHELTENHAM Badlands; CHESTERFIELD Tallbird; CHRISTCHURCH Castle Media; CLITHEROE Townsend Music; COVENTRY Frank Harvey HiFi, Just Dropped In; DUNDEE Assai; EASTBOURNE Gardners ; EBBW VALE The Vault Collective; EDINBURGH Assai, Underground Solushn; FARNHAM 101 Collectors; FAVERSHAM Creekside Vinyl; FOLKESTONE Vintage and Vinyl; FROME Raves From The Grave; GLASGOW Insularis, Love Music, Strip Joint; GODALMING Record Corner; HARROGATE Pomp and Circumstance; HUDDERSFIELD Vinyl Tap; HULL Wrecking Ball; ISLE OF WIGHT Ventnor Exchange; KINGSTON Banquet; LEAMINGTON SPA Head Records ; LEEDS Crash, Jumbo, Vinyl Whistle; LEIGHTON BUZZARD Black Circle; LETCHWORTH David's; LIVERPOOL 81 Renshaw; LONDON Rough Trade, Sister Ray, Sleevenotes; LINLITHGOW Low Port Music; MANCHESTER Piccadilly; MANNINGTREE Winyl; MARLBOROUGH Sound Knowledge; NEWPORT Diverse Music; NEWTON ABBOT Phoenix Sound; NORTHAMPTON Spun Out; OXFORD Truck Store; PRESTON Action Records; NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE Beyond Vinyl, Reflex; NOTTINGHAM Rough Trade; ROMSEY Hundred Records; SCARBOROUGH Record Revivals; SHEFFIELD Bear Tree, Record Collector, Spinning Discs; SHREWSBURY Left For Dead, Tubeway; ST ALBANS Empire; ST HELENS Kaleidoscope; SOUTHAMPTON Vinilo; STOKE Strand Records; SWANSEA Swingtime, Tangled Parrot; TEDDINGTON Roan Records; TUNBRIDGE WELLS Even Flow; TWICKENHAM Eel Pie; WALSALL Eclipse; WAKEFIELD Wah Wah; WELLING Cruisin; WEST MIDLANDS Ignite; WHITSTABLE Gatefield Sounds; WIMBORNE MINSTER Square Records; WITNEY Truck; WOKINGHAM Beyond The Download
Happy to announce limited vinyl and CD editions of my 2021 mini-album 'Storm Shelter' are out in UK, EU, Japan and Canada on Record Store Day, Fri Nov 26 (Black Friday). In USA and Germany they now drop a week later on Dec 3.
Originally released earlier this year as stream and download, Storm Shelter is a stripped-back companion piece to Storm Damage; a 6-song piano-vocal set that features covers of Ten City’s That’s The Way Love Is and Sharon Van Etten’s Comeback Kid plus new versions of three songs from Storm Damage, and one from my 2016 album, Fever Dream.
All the songs were recorded in one day at RAK Studios in London a couple of months before the pandemic and are engineered and mixed by Bruno Ellingham.
Record Store Day supports and encourages purchases from independent record shops. Countries with stores taking part on Nov 26 include UK, Japan, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Audtria, Greece, Canada. Click the link below to find and order from your local shop.
We also have links for the USA release on Dec 3, both indie and Amazon. And links for Germany too.
Hope you dig it.
Writing and touring with music, the thing I have done for forty years, has never been harder post-COVID. Instead I have turned much of my focus to conservation, in particular saving my local reservoir Welsh Harp (Brent Reservoir) from decades of neglect. Together with other local campaigners we have - over the past 9 months - managed to actually move the dial. I have taken CEOs and politicians for reservoir walks. Real funding has now been found for pollution and dredging issues. And a new plan of action, a vision for the future, is now being drawn up by all land owners. Today I have posted a long-researched report on the little-known Silk Stream Footbridge, a huge 186m crossing due to be built by Barnet Council and Barratt PLC that will link private homes with a sports hub. It will in the process wreck the wetlands in the north marsh. Quite incredibly, much of the key ecological evidence against it was overlooked or ignored during the planning stage. We are now taking a stand. You can read about it on my Medium blog. The UK parliament declared a climate emergency in May 2019 with at least 230 councils pledging to work with partners and local communities on tackling key issues such as decarbonisation and improved biodiversity. It is time for action at Welsh Harp - a major historic Site of Special Scientific Interest for over 70 years - too. Please share support in any way you can. Pic: A selfie taken in the bird hide at Welsh Harp. Thanks, everyone.