Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween Show 2015

There are a couple of tracks from the "Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me" soundtrack on this year's Halloween show. I remember seeing the film at a cinema in Edinburgh when it was released and was quite glad I had gone to an afternoon showing and it was still light when I came out! The soundtrack featured compositions by David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti who also worked together on Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. I loved Julee Cruise's vocals in Twin Peaks and can recommend her album "Floating Into The Night". 

The Steeleye Span track is from their album "Wintersmith" which was a collaboration with author Terry Pratchett who was a long-time fan of the band. On 'The Good Witch' you can hear Terry talking about witches and explaining why they cackle.

Charlie Roth - The Ghost of Hobo Bill
Hannah Aldridge - Old Ghost
Run Boy Run - A Dream in the Night
Jaywalkers - Lonesome Graveyard
Dana Immanuel - Devil's Money
Julee Cruise - Questions in a World of Blue
Thought Gang - The Black Dog Runs at Night
Monty Python - Burn The Witch
Up in the Air - The Witch of Findrack
Steeleye Span & Terry Pratchet - The Good Witch
Luke Jackson - Ghost at the Crossroads
Gilmore and Roberts - Ghost of a Ring
Ribbon Road - The Nightmare
Mishaped Pearls - Three Ravens
Martin Stephenson - Don't Be Afraid of the Night

Mishaped Pearls are playing with Tir Eolas in the candle-lit vaults of Holborn Viaduct in London on Saturday 28th November.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Another life lost to depression

From the BBC news web site : Cardiff prison officer's suicide after rugby sacking

I felt angry and disgusted after reading about the way this woman was treated by her employer which led to her taking her own life. She had been signed off work with a stress-related condition but had felt well enough to go out with friends to watch a live TV screening of a rugby match. But a colleague saw her there and informed her employer who charged her with misconduct and she lost her job. She subsequently committed suicide.

When you are signed off work, as I have been, with a stress-related illness it does not mean that you should lock yourself away and put your life on hold. Depression is not a contagious illness and if you are feeling well enough to go out with friends then surely that is a sign that you are getting better. But it does not necessarily mean that you are well enough to return to work.

For this woman's employers to treat her as if she was a skiver rather than someone who was mentally ill is sadly all too common. All too often attitudes towards mental illness seem to be stuck in the 1950s. And this is true for those of us seeking work. There is the question of what to tell a prospective employer. Do you tell them you suffer from such an illness or do you keep quiet about it?

A few years ago there was a case of a woman who had lost her job due to her suffering from depression. When she had recovered sufficiently to start work again she got a job at a bank but her illness got worse and she was signed off work. She hadn't told her employer about her history of depression and when they found out, they promptly sacked her and she had no come back. But the question remains – would she have been offered the job in the first place if she had been honest with her employer?

Being upfront about health issues would on the one hand seem to be the best policy but on the other it can go against you. I recently had an interview with a care agency and they pretty much offered me a job there and then. But they hadn't asked about any health issues I might have. Knowing that the stress of starting a new job could make my mental health worse, I emailed them and let them know of my concerns. Not surprisingly I then received a letter saying they could not offer me any work. I emailed again asking for some feedback but heard nothing more from them.

I don't agree with much that the current government says regarding health and welfare but it is true that if your depression is mild then getting a job, even just part time, can help. It is better than sitting at home doing nothing. But what the government hasn't done, or maybe cannot do, is stop discrimination against those of us with mental health problems. I don't think I'm being paranoid when I say I am fairly sure I have not been offered work because of my history of mental illness.

The tragic story of this prison officer taking her own life because of an employer's disgraceful attitude towards mental health conditions will, I fear, just end up being another statistic of a life lost to depression. And that is just really, really depressing.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Lancaster Music Festival preview show

This weekend sees the 7th annual Lancaster Music Festival taking place. It starts today, Thursday the 8th and runs until Monday the 12th. As it says on the web site

"There are 345 scheduled performances this year from local, regional, national and international acts ranging from folk to punk, electronica to blue grass, pop, indie, funk, rock, world, jazz and classical."

So the first seven tracks on this week's show are by bands and singers who are playing at the festival apart from The Low Countries but you can catch the Black Eyed Suzies tonight at the Dukes and on Saturday at the Robert Gillow and the Three Mariners.

The Low Countries (feat Black Eyed Suzies) - Sun Street
Turnstone - Grey Bird
Howden Jones - Sweet Temptation
Howard Haigh's Lava - Afternoon in the Shade
Joni Fuller - Run for Cover
Greenheart - Lemongrass
3D Tanx - Loose Id Syd
Lucy Ward - Connie and Bud
The Grahams - Biscuits
Maura Kennedy - Soldier's Wife
Martin Stephenson - Long Forgotten
Rab Noakes - Only Happy When It Rains