Thursday, 6 December 2012

Shirt Parade Day 19

Ok ladies and germs, I have been highly slack on this recently but fear not! The project continues!

Today's shirt is special for many, many reasons. The Downtown Struts released possibly the best album of the year. I reviewed it on Louder Than War here.
Some of you know that earlier this year we had a raccoon infestation in the building. A mum and four babies had to be (humanely) removed and released after a three week assault on our senses and our cat.
The only day we actually saw the mum before the day she was removed, was the day that Big Cheese magazine streamed the track 'Rocca Ave' from the album. Hence her name was Rocca and the baby (when we thought there was only one) was called Southpaw.
The next thing we know, the band have a raccoon shirt!
I got this at Rebellion last summer and proudly wore it all over Italy when I went out there to meet the band in Tuscany.
It's a keeper!
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Monday, 12 November 2012

Interview with Louise Distras: coping with online bullying and zombie Bee Gees

" I do experience problems and online bullying. However, I find it funny that I get so many threats and nasty rumours spread about me for simply speaking out against what I believe to be wrong, after all, I’m just one woman with an acoustic guitar…what’s so scary about that? Online bullying is becoming a huge issue though that’s destroying the self worth of a lot of people, especially teenagers like Amanda Todd who were bullied so badly they took their own life. To anyone else out there that’s going through the same thing, they should know that they’re not alone."

Read more from my interview with Louise Distras on Louder Than War.

- Fine me on Twitter @hannahmcfaull

Feminist bloggers and online harassment: my research and how you can help

So about half an hour ago, I asked the Twitterverse if there were any feminist bloggers out there who would be willing to talk to me about their experiences of being bullied or harrassed online.

My Twitter just exploded.

A massive thank you to the @VagendaMagazine and everyone else who subsequently RT'd my request. My research is for my MA, in particular a Women and Gender Studies seminar on feminist social movements. I'm planning to discuss how the harassment and violence feminists experience online leads us to choose between safety and freedom, but I also want to consider the many innovative ways we have responded to trolling, harassment and bullying.

As I'd like to respect the privacy of those willing to share their experiences, I thought I would post the questions here and then if there are people out there would like to respond privately, they can contact me on Twitter, or send me an email address and I'll get in touch.

If you'd like to share publicly, I'd like to enter the comments section of this post as evidence in my research.

Thanks once again.

Please consider these questions more as guidance and don't feel free to answer them all.

1. Have you ever felt unsafe as the result of an interaction you have had with someone online?
2. Would you describe yourself as having been the victim of online harassment, bullying or threats? Can you describe what happened?
3. How did you respond? If the posts were on a collective blog site or other community site, how did the site respond? How did the other community members respond?
4. Do you think we can ever stop online harassment and bullying? What steps would you like to see taken to reduce these experiences?
5. In an ideal situation, how would interactions and exchanges take place online?
6. Would you ever consider writing under a pseudonym or blogging anonymously?

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Thursday, 8 November 2012

And the winner is.... Political Science!

Why the US 2012 election's real story is the academic study of politics

As soon as Ohio was announced as going for Obama, the number of Tweets congratulating Nate Silver went through the roof, I even think #natesilverisgod was a hashtag I saw a few times. For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Nate Silver is a statistician who correctly predicted which way all 50 states would fall. This is an improvement on his record from 2008 when he got 49 out of 50 right. His website is worth checking out but if you're a geek like me, put aside a couple of hours to do so.

His methods are to not only examine state by state polling data, but to weight the polling information based on how accurate the poll has been in the past. His success has been described as ushering in a new level of credibility for statistical analysis in politics. When held up against the rise and accessibility of fact-checking reports, and a new low in trust in the mainstream media, the furore around Mr Silver is one plank of this demand for credibility and numbers.

The other big news story from Tuesday was the significant number of women elected to Congress for the first time and 2012 is being touted as the 'new year of the women'. There were several states where women won seats for the first time. These included close races in Massachusetts, Nebraska and Wisconsin, and the high profile elections of Elizabeth Warren, Deb Fischer and Tammy Baldwin, who also became the first openly gay senator.

It might true to say that these elections are the result of changing opinions of women in leadership positions, or declining outright prejudicial sexism. There are a number of theories floating around the media at the moment as to why this week's election deserves such a title. But when you look into it, there's a political science answer as to why more women have been elected and why particularly in this election. Polling tells us that the majority of voters aren't actually sexist. They do make different assumptions about female candidates but they don't discriminate purely on the basis of gender.

The original year of the women was in 1992, when a record number of women candidates were elected to the US Congress. A number of these were in seats created or modified by the redistricting process, which took places following the census in 1990. As the American government counts its people every ten years, the most recent census was 2010 and the redistricting process was completed in time for the 2012 election cycle. Political science tells us that women candidates are more likely to run when they have the opportunity to do so in an open seat. Unless women run, they can't win.

Political science also explains why we didn't see this pattern in 2002, following the 2000 Census. After 9/11, the voters looked for executive leadership, national security experience and a number of 'masculine' qualities not associated with women candidates. The national and international rhetoric was that of war, terrorism and fear, and the other thing political science tells us is that women candidates also do better when the discourse is domestic rather than foreign policy.

That was something present in this election as well. Despite the economy being the central issue to both campaigns, a high profile was given by the media to issues around rape, reproductive rights and the rest of the GOP's War on Women. Political science also tells us that when the national conversation is focused on these and other domestic issues, women candidates do better.

The next time we'll get the opportunity to test this theory will be in 2022. Maybe we'll be discussing a Warren Presidency. And I know that has no impact on the political science that will explain how or why this happens, but my fingers are crossed anyway.

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Friday, 19 October 2012

Shirt Parade Day 18

The Uppercuts are a great young band who I highly recommend you check out. I got this T shirt after their set this year at Rebellion and proceeded to slice it and dice it before wearing it the next day (the back is all ripped, hey I'm a punk girl!)

Side note, isn't my hair getting long?!

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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Shirt Parade Day 17

Three years ago I came to San Francisco for the first time. I had no idea the changes life had in store, and I had no idea I'd end up one day living here.
This was the Pirates Press 5th anniversary party, with Sparrer topping the bill at the Great American Music Hall. The line up both nights were great, but I particularly remember watching Smalltown with a small crew of pirates.
This was really the first weekend I spent with the Pirate family. I'd only met three of them at Punk and Disorderly earlier in the year. Over a few bottles of Jamesons and some mutual appreciation of getting messy (and a fully clothed trip into the pool at The Pheonix!), I knew I'd met a group of people I wanted in my life.
Pirates, I love you all. You work your socks off and still know how to live. Since that messy November weekend many aspects of our lives and our family have changed, but I'm privileged to be part of the craziness!
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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Shirt Parade Day 16

Seeing as I'm planning on wearing every single one of the T shirts in my treasure chest, there's a very good chance that you're going to see this shirt more than once. And in a couple of different styles as well. I'm fairly sure I've got at least a vest and a customised one...

I wear my Skunx shirt with pride and I'm not afraid that I miss my crazy Skunx family a lot. You'll never meet a more, well, eclectic is a nice word, bunch of people. Talented to a fault and as loyal as you could ever want. Skunx Tattoo on Chapel Market in Angel was my home for over a year and I loved every second I spent there.

This summer we did something pretty awesome in organising the world's first auction of tattoo art, and an evening exhibition with live music, burlesque and stilt walkers. The event was covered by Bizarre magazine and as soon as I get a copy I'll share it! All the money raised went to the Mantle Cell Lymphoma Trials Unit at Plymouth Hospital.

I'm very proud to be repping my Skunx family in San Francisco. It will be a while before I get tattooed anywhere else...

Monday, 8 October 2012

Boring Barack and Moderate Mitt

I'm not really sure what either of you are smiling about... I'm not impressed generally with either of your performances.

Read my analysis of the first Presidential debate of the 2012 campaign, on Labourlist, by clicking on this cleverly disguised link.

I would love it if you commented on the article and let me know what you think!

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Sunday, 7 October 2012

The beauty of imagination

Einstein once said that "Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere". As an adult the opportunity to harness the potential of your imagination is often thwarted by the logic of reality, or the realisation that your idea is currently unobtainable. There are some days when the logic prevails, and there are also the days when the logic feels like it's holding you back. Sometimes it takes a reminder about how incredible imagination is to spark a belief in the illogical. More often than not, for me, these reminders come from children.

I moved to San Francisco about 18 months ago to pursue a Masters, and the people I miss more than anything are the kids in my life; the godchildren, the cousins and the kids of friends. Which is why I've just sat and snivelled through this short film about a boy named Caine from California. One summer he built himself an elaborate arcade out of cardboard in his Dad's shop. A filmmaker who saw it sent his story viral. The resulting coverage sparked worldwide interest from children and adults alike. Kids started sending him films of the games and toys they'd made out of cardboard. Adults started sending money to send Caine to university.

This is the video here.

Raising far more than ever anticipated, Caine's Arcade and the subsequent tidal wave of global support led to the creation of the Imagination Foundation. This charity funds and supports projects that foster creativity and entrepreneurship in children. Working in schools, in partnership with teachers, education and child development experts, they are looking to celebrate the imagination of children and provide opportunities for this to be exercised.

They are celebrating the one year anniversary of the events by launching a Global Cardboard Challenge, and have participants signed up from schools and kids clubs all over the world, including Easdale Primary School in Oban and Aveley Scout Troop in Essex. Such a simple idea is having an impact from Singapore to South Africa, from Brooklyn to Bogata.

Watching the film took me back to being a kid again. As a youth worker, my mum always had 'fun' creative activities for us to do, acting as guinea pigs for activities she was going to run at the youth centre. We built our own fishtanks from shoe boxes, made perfume from rose petals, turned washing machine packaging into a Chinese dragon, you name it, we regularly had a project and it usually always involved cutting and sticking.

As an adult, the closest I get to building something from cardboard requires practically no imagination at all. Stacking Amazon packaging in the recycling bin is about as fun as it gets. As a student, I don't even have the luxury or time to exercise my imagination through reading. In fact I'm happy to state here that the most imaginative thing I've read recently is an analysis of gendered behaviour in mayoral elections. Which categorically requires less imagination than building your own pinball machine.

This is why I think it's so important to celebrate the exercising of imagination when and where it appears. I might not spend October 6th building myself a rocket or a house or an arcade game, but I'm going to ask around my friends and find some kids that need some supervision. Seeing imagination put into action is an incredible process to watch and the more opportunities kids have to do this, the better.
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Saturday, 6 October 2012

Shirt Parade Day 15

Today West Ham play the boring boring Arsenal. We're going to enemy territory to watch the game - enemy caroused by our very good friend Mikey Longshot, who, it's sad to say is an enormous Gooner.

This shirt I've had for 8 years (almost). My siblings, the jokers that they are, got me this shirt for my 20th birthday.

If you're wondering who Grapp is, he's not a one season hot tip you no longer remember. Grapp was once Grappy, the Y having been lost somewhere along the way. Grappy was the name my sister christened me with, on account of me having hands like a chunky toddler, and constantly grapping at things.

Apparently my hands are the physical manifestation of a child's interpretation of a hand - with a burger in the middle and sausages for fingers.

Like I said, my siblings are jokers.

So we're off for a 9am pint and to get shouty at some Arsenal fans.

Come On You Irons!

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Thursday, 4 October 2012

I own a pair of drumsticks

So I have a pair of drumsticks in my possession. My friend Ben gave them to me. He's a legend by the way.

I'm planning to sit behind a drum kit and hit things. I am planning to play the drums. Soon. I am really.

Part of the problem is that I'm scared. Deeply scared of having no rhythm. It'd be like not being able to throw or being tone deaf - nothing really you can do about it, it's just a shame, poor kid.

And my rhythmic abilities have never been put to the test so I need to wait for a time when there's no one else here. Then I'll give it a go.

Until then, well I'll just keep drumming the cushion, knowing there's a kit set up less than twenty feet away.

I will do this. I'll keep you posted.

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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Shirt Parade Day 14

I've been doing this for about three weeks now and this is the first new T shirt that I've acquired in that time.

Straight from either the Detroit gig on Saturday or the Chicago gig on Sunday, this was placed in my grubby paws when I got home from uni at stupid o'clock last night.

This shirt is perfect for me on so many levels. Firstly, my hero has always been Joe Strummer, and there are plenty more t shirts in his memory on their way. Secondly, there are very few bands I respect and love more than the Street Dogs. Live, they have very few rivals as far as I'm concerned. One of the most solid touring bands out there. Head and shoulders above most of the dross. Thirdly, this is one of my favourite songs.

I like to think that in my own little way I'm still keeping the General's Boombox playing. Loud and shouty. Just as Joe would have wanted.

PS Happy Birthday Tobe!

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Sunday, 23 September 2012

Shirt Parade Day 13

I straight up LOVE The Skints, seriously I am in awe of these very talented East London neighbors of mine.

I've seen them live six or seven times and its never been a bad show. Its been great to see them get bigger and bigger as the years have gone on.

We went to see them a few Christmases ago at The Gaff (RIP) and this T shirt is from then. Sponsored by Jagermeister.

That was the gig I started feeling really old.

I interviewed the band when their recent album came out for Louder Than War. If you like your ska reggae punk with a bit of an E3 vibe going on I highly recommend them. Mates with Jaya the Cat and the rest of the Bomber Music Family.

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Friday, 21 September 2012

Shirt Parade Day 12

Seeing as today's t shirt is from Boston/Amsterdam ska reggae legends Jaya the Cat, the photo features our Sheena the Cat, the punk rock kitty.
This T shirt was from Rebellion 2011. The band's set blew me away and I had a thoroughly good dance. I wanted to buy a record but they didn't have any so I got a T shirt instead.
This year I interviewed the band for the Rebellion programme and they gave me some brilliant answers. The new album is great and I highly recommend it.
Here's the bonus picture I couldn't use because she was squirming...

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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Shirt Parade Day 11

This is the second time I've worn this shirt and I forgot to take a photo this time. I almost forgot this time as well, which is why I've got my pyjamas on.

Until Rebellion this year I shamefully didn't own a single Argy Bargy shirt. I have no excuse for this shocking anomaly, so this is really an apology. This summer I made up for it by getting two! This is the first one...

If you don't own this album then you need to buy it now. No kidding.

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Friday, 14 September 2012

Shirt Parade Day 10

Back to Basics, Guitar picks, Drum Sticks... This T shirt is one of only a few hundred made. Hand made by my little sister I might add. We then used the stencil on an old blue jacket I'd got from matalan for 3 quid and voila! my first Sparrer jacket was born :)
I think this is from Rebellion 2007 but I could be wrong.

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Sunday, 9 September 2012

Shirt Parade Day 9

Calling all rude boys and rude girls around the world... Please ignore the obvious fact that I've just woken up!

This is from the Specials' 30th anniversary tour in 2009, the Hammersmith Palais gig to be exact. My friend Dom had some spare tickets last minute and luckily thought of me.

They were on fire that night, albeit missing the legendary Jerry Dammers. I like the fact that the checkerboard down the back looks like braces!

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Friday, 7 September 2012

Shirt Parade Day 8

This is an unusual shirt for a number of reasons. It doesn't have a SParrer logo on it anywhere, it's not black, I'm the only person I know who owns one...
The image is taken from the single release of England Belongs To Me. Somewhere in my parent's loft there is a copy with H.McFaull pencilled along the side.
I got this at Punk and Disorderly 2009 in Berlin. I wore it to the Pirates Press 5th birthday party in San Francisco and for the SParrer/Street Dogs club show at Punk Rock Bowling 2010. When I got it out of the chest it had a Bruce Roehrs sticker on the arm (bits of it anyway, it'd been washed!).
I love it!
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New headshot pic!

I've been putting off taking a new headshot for some external blogging I've been doing until I'd sorted my hair out and the face gnat bites disappeared.

This is the favourite one from this afternoon's very impromptu shoot. Thanks Cristina for your awesome photographic skills!

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Monday, 3 September 2012

Letters from America: Community, Faith, Family and Romney

I've recently co-authored and had published the first in a series of articles about the upcoming American Presidential election.
This article is about Mitt Romney's acceptance speech, the internal divisions in the Republican Party and why the GOP kept it simple.
Please share and comment on the article!

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Saturday, 1 September 2012

Shirt Parade Day 7

Droogs don't run, we've got to stick together this town belongs to us.

A favourite book and film, I bought this from Camden market aged 14. Remember clearly paying a fiver for it. Those were the days.

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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Shirt Parade Day 6

The first entry in the list for my Dad! And yes I am wearing a Sparrer vest to a Pilates class... This is from the gigs at the Forum in Kentish Town in 2010. So this marks a special time all round really...

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Why I like Tom Daley's tattoo

The nation's favourite 18 year old Olympian Tom Daley has been in the news recently for getting some ink. He has commemorated his bronze medal for the 10m platform dive by getting the Olympic rings tattooed on his upper bicep. Good for him. Like the unwritten rule of only tattooists getting tattoo machines on them, it would sort of be cheating if non-Olympians walked around with the five rings permanently etched on their skin. You know when you see an Olympic ring tattoo that person has represented their country in the greatest sporting competition in the world.

There have been a range of articles this summer which have commented on the significant number of athletes who arrived in London wearing their tattoos as well as their national colours with pride. A combination of two sets of circumstances lead to me noticing and then begin counting. The first is that I spent 32 out of 48 hours recovering from a music festival in front of the excellent BBC coverage of the 'Lympics. Most of this time there was either a snoring boyfriend or kitten curled up next to me.

The second is that I found myself dipping into - my favourite procrastination guilty pleasure. The author had posted a photo of a Russian gymnast with a particularly bold set of butterflies going up her back and down one thigh. From that moment on I was tattoo spotting.
I counted at least eighteen tattoos on athletes representing their countries within the first six hours. Hours 15 to 21 were also productive as I flicked between the women's beach volleyball and the hockey, the tally getting ever bigger. From the small and delicate to huge solid pieces of tribal, it's a statement of fact from my highly unscientific research, that this was the most tattooed Olympiad to date.

I remember Olympic champions from previous competitions marking their victories and participation with tattoos. I remember the men's 400m relay team from Atlanta in 1996 photographed in an issue of Cosmo. The entire relay team naked save for flags and tattoos. Stuck in my memory somehow. Bit creepy considering I was 12. Where did I get a copy of Cosmo from at that age?

My own tattoos have taught me that even the most disparaging of critics will attempt to see past their own prejudices if you have an explanation for the tattoo. Tattoos are individual, unique and personal, and the motivations behind them equally so. Saying that, I am happy to talk about mine, as are a number of other of my tattooed friends.

The decision to get a tattoo isn't one that should be taken lightly and we are often asked about the 'meaning' of each piece. It's worth pointing out that not everyone and not every tattoo has a significant meaning - as I said unique. The motivation behind one of mine was definitely just that I liked it and wanted it. But for the most part I can explain the rationale behind each tattoo.

What has struck me is that once I saw the stories about Daley's tattoo I really expected there to be backlash or heavy criticism. Especially when the first place the story is cited on Google is the Daily Mail. But like the absence of heavy criticism on the previous articles about tattooed Olympians, the British public doesn't seem to want to criticise Tom for his tatt. In some ways it's completely understandable why he'd want to do this.

Dare I posit that we have reached an era of tattoo normalization? I don't know if this occurrence is because we are all proud of his achievements and hold a soft spot for him. Or whether it's because an 18 year old marking a point in his life with a permanent reminder is now more commonplace. Whether this achievement is winning a bronze medal or something else.

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Monday, 27 August 2012

Shirt Parade Day 5

As you can see, looking thrilled at the gym in my Barcelona Hammers t shirt. This was a gift from a friend who was a members of the city's supporters club. Forever blowing bubbles in Catalonia!

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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Shirt Parade Day 4

This stunner is from the first time I saw the Aggrolites who are one of my family's favourite bands. Seriously we listened to the albums over Christmas dinner!
The gig was at Dingwalls in Camden. I went with my Dad. We had a boogie.

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Friday, 24 August 2012

Shirt Parade Day 3

Can't believe it's another non-black one! This is representing our boys Contra, check them out if you like punk and Oi! Home to the magnificent Booze and Glory. I acquired this very recently as a present :)

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Rebellion this summer

Some of you may know that I've been going to the Rebellion festival for a few years now. A few years more than I care to admit to. This year I was honored to be asked to help write articles and features for the programme.
The programme itself is a fancy shcmancy 80 page magazine, which is free to every Rebellion punter and read by thousands. Needless to say I jumped at the chance.
Two of the bands I featured were the Sydney Ducks and Downtown Struts, who both had huge attendance at their sets, some of which I hope was down to the programme. The bands were in the middle of the Endless Rebellion European Tour, which I'll try and write about separately if I get the chance.
Their record label, Pirates Press Records, has just posted photos of the articles to their Facebook page So I think they might be quite happy with it!
And as you might be able to tell, I'm pretty proud of them, so I've decided to repost the pictures.

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Thursday, 23 August 2012

My first Huffington Post article!

Some of you may have noticed that this blog has been a little quiet this summer whilst I've been in Europe. It doesn't mean that I haven't been writing though, and I actually had my first article published on the Huffington Post! Very excited!
In case any of you missed it, here it is:
And here's a picture:

The event itself was one of the other things I've been up to this summer, organising the charity tattoo art auction! We raised a considerable amount of money for Mantle Cell Lymphoma research, thank you to everyone who helped and was involved.
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Problems for UK bands getting US visas UPDATE

Thanks for all of the messages and interest about the work we're doing on this campaign. I wrote a short article for the Rebellion programme which helps explain the situation a bit more and give you all an update. Enjoy!

The British are coming! The British are coming! Or not as the case may be...

Ladies and Germs of Rebellion, we appear to have a problem. Well collectively we have many problems, but the one I want to bring to your attention is the problem that America has with British music. To play in the States, bands should apply for work visas, which includes an interview at the US Embassy in London and the requirement that you prove you're a band worth letting in. The American visa system seems to be keeping UK bands out of its borders based on nothing more than whether the random jobsworth who gets your file has heard of you or not.

It's an uphill struggle anyway. Trying to tour in America is beyond the financial and organisational means of most of the bands I know. Then you have to factor in that the country is bloody enormous, some of the people very strange and their tastes in music stranger still. The sticking point really though is that tough visa requirements have been made tougher by increased bureaucracy and more money needed to actually make it happen.

Over the last ten years there has been an increase in rejections for British bands. There is no appeal process once you've been rejected, they don't give you any explanation, and none of the money you've shelled out is refundable. Musicians and their promoters have wasted considerable money, as well as having to rearrange and cancel tour dates. The system is making it too expensive and unpredictable to book tours in the US, and is not favouring the bands that don't try and fly under the radar. We've all heard of a band that either got rejected or didn't have enough time to apply properly, turning up to gigs with little or no equipment because they're playing on a tourist and not a work visa.

The madness gets madder still. What if one of you can't get the time off work to tour so you get another mate to stand in on bass? The problem is that your drummer has only been in the band for 11 months. To even get anywhere close to near being granted a visa, the rules require that at least 75% of the members of the group must have a substantial and sustained relationship with the group for at least one year. And there's no flexibility in this at all, no extenuating circumstances can be given.

These words 'sustained and substantial' come back to bite British bands in the arse in another ridiculously impractical demand. I mentioned earlier that part of the process is to prove that the band is a legitimate band that deserve visas? Did I tell you that it has to be a substantial bundle of evidence (at least 30 pages) showing that the band has an international reputation and has attained a high level of achievement for a “sustained and substantial” period of time. Define high level of achievement to a punk band.

The costs can become prohibitively expensive for non-London based bands. I heard of an 80 piece orchestra from Manchester who had to cancel US gig dates (or I suppose it's a concert with an orchestra!) because coordinating getting all of them to the interview at the London Embassy for the 8am time slot just wasn't going to happen in the real world. This problem is widespread across the music industry, an industry which generates over £6 billion per year for the UK economy and employs over 130,000 British jobs.

In March, for the first time in 25 years, UK acts occupied all 3 top slots in the US album charts. But it's not the Adele's of this world who are being denied visas - although interestingly she had to get the UK Culture Minister to phone the Embassy and vouch for her as her fast-paced success didn't meet the requirements on her first US tour. It's the non-superstars who don't have the spare cash to pay for the fast-track process or a consultant's fee to get it done.

Louder Than War is working with professional musicians associations and MPs in campaigning for this process to be reformed and for the US to show the same love to UK bands that we do to their artists. If you have any experience of this we want to hear from you. Email

The campaign is calling for American immigration policy to be reformed:
- To implement their proposed plan to reduce processing for visas to 15-20 days, which was announced in July 2010 and never enacted.
- To consider exempting particular showcases and festivals from visa requirements, such as SXSW, CMJ festival (for which bands do not get paid either) and Coachella Festival and, along the same lines as currently happens for Glastonbury, the Proms, etc. Managers in the industry have got together to lobby for such an exemption for trade events.
- The system could certainly be clearer and more transparent, to the extent that this is consistent with security concerns – so that bands don’t have to either pour money into the system or risk cancelling their tour. This should including clearer eligibility criteria for demonstrating international reputation, so that record labels etc do not waste huge amounts of money applying for visas for bands that will be rejected.
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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Shirt Parade Day 2

Today's Shirt is courtesy of the Red Sox 100 year celebration of Fenway Park, brought to me direct from Boston and the centennial festivities. Love it!

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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Shirt Parade: day 1

So the project starts today. Here's the top of the pile, The Bouncing Souls, acquired in London, summer 2011. The Souls played four nights at the Islington Academy, showcasing their back catalogue in a brilliant series of gigs, which we attended two of and got highly battered courtesy of the dressing room whiskey.
Good times all round.

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A new online photography project: The Shirt Parade

Unpacking from my summer in Europe has made me realise that I have somewhat of a T shirt issue. Namely I can't help but acquire them on my escapades and love them all for special reasons. I have no idea how many I have. This is where they live:

A veritable treasure chest of gig shirts from venues long closed, band logos from groups no longer in existence, plus a few in claret and blue for good measure.

So this is my new project. Not wear a t shirt more than once and attempt to photographically record the collection. I wonder how many Sparrer ones there will be...?

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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Top Ten Things About Staying at my Parents House

So whilst in London I'm mainly staying with my parents. It is brilliant for the following reasons...

1. There is always milk for tea.
2. My washing seems to end up folded on my bed when it's dry, not when I remember to fold it...
3. I wake up next to the cutest ginger kitten in the world most mornings.

4. Have seen loads of people around that I went to junior and senior schools with. And most of them have no idea who I am now that I'm not fat and blonde...
5. I know where I'm going without having to look it up.
6. I'm slowly going through all of my favorite books from when I was a kid, including those I really shouldn't have read at such an early age (Julie Burchill's Ambition for example, read aged 11).
7. BBC iPlayer works! Hurry up with that international subscription BBC!

The chickens, Red Neck and Emo, make me laugh most days. Have you ever seen a chicken run? Really run? It's hilarious.
9. Crumpets. See previous post about food to get the significance.
10. Obviously the best thing is spending time with my family and friends, being close enough to my cousins and goddaughter to pop round for a cuppa. I think it's fair to say that I have the best family in the world!

And as a reward for reading to the end, here's a picture of me aged 11 which I wasn't planning to share with anyone but have been convinced by my parents that it's too funny not to... I don't disagree, my parents are usually right.

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Friday, 22 June 2012

Endless Rebellion Tour

It's almost here! One of the most exciting tours to hit Europe since I can't remember. Get yourself along to one of these bad boys and I promise that you won't be disappointed. Both bands deserve the hype and you deserve a great night out. You know you do...

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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Problems for UK bands getting US visas

Just a quick note to say that I'm getting involved in the campaign to improve the situation for British bands applying for visas to tour the UK. The key issues are around not just the delays, complexity and unnecessary bureaucracy involved for UK bands when applying to work in the States, but also in the seemingly arbitrary reasons for rejection. Track records and previous success appear to make no difference.
I'll post more details and what people can do soon, but in the meantime here's a picture of John Robb, author and musician, and myself on the Terrace of the House of Commons after our meeting with MPs yesterday.

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