Friday, May 22, 2009

Release

video

Here's a video of "Release" - Allison's performance of a Pearl Jam song captured by Pam Abramowicz on video in 2001 at the Worldwide Jammer Convergence in Seattle, Washington. Dutch blogger André of File Under points out this intense version of the Pearl Jam song is as relevant today, as any time.

I'll be able to write more once Allison Crowe and her bandmates, Billie Woods, Dave Baird, and Laurent Boucher, are in Germany, and their European concert tour is back on track.

To find out what's happening in the UK today - to artists and academics and others visiting that nation - you can visit these links:

Canadian musician held for 11 hours at Gatwick before deportation ~ The Telegraph

Top artists battle visa clampdown ~ The Observer

End pernicious controls on artistic freedom ~ The Observer

CRUEL BRITANNIA: God may save the Queen, but what about the rest of us? ~ The Globe and Mail

Terrorism law cuts to the heart of the arts ~ The Telegraph

View/Sign the Visiting Artists and Academics Petition

Britain's red light to overseas artists ~ spiked

We'd all like to thank everyone who's written us. Your support is deeply heartening.

What was unknown to many of us only days ago, is now opening eyes and minds.

The comments attached to many signatories on the Visiting Artists and Academics Petition give some real insight into this situation - demonstrating how cultural exchange and diversity is being reduced by discriminatory new legislation, about which the public has not been properly informed, and which is supposed to combat "illegal immigration and terrorism".

This message, from a presenter of hundreds of UK concerts, also well sums up the sentiment we're hearing directly:

"I can’t tell you how thoroughly annoyed and frustrated I feel at the whole situation. I have written a letter to my local MP (member of parliament / politician) to air my disgust and dismay at this idiotic legislation, which makes it virtually impossible for some international musicians to play in this country and for (particularly) smaller venues to play host to said artists because of the cost of sponsorship.

Please pass on to Allison and the band our very best wishes and sympathies – we are angered and disgusted by the way they have been treated.

Warmest regards"

It's a mutual. Thank you.

And from a veteran UK journalist:

"This sorry story is one more illustration of what I've known for some time: like most authoritarian regimes before it, New 'Labour' is, by accident or design, philistine to the marrow.

What I didn't know before was the existence of this new law, and I now wonder how many more slip under the radar.

As a journalist, though, I can't get away with shaking my head and tutting, a la Scooby-Doo: 'If it hadn't been for those meddling career politicians...'

This government is in its end days... but that is of little or no consolation to you and the musicians. All I can do now is wish you all well for the rest of your time in the more cultured parts of Europe. And I hope you'll all come back here in a future, more enlightened, age."

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