Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Out Demons out (A poem for Samhein/Halloween)

As the evening falls
the ghost of Maggie Thatcher
will stalk us everywhere,
while her ghoulish descendents
grimacing, keep destroying lives
leave many of us trembling with fear,
breaking our smiles with conscious cruelty
disturbing sleep,with rotten sulphuric breath,
stealing  from the poor, plundering the nation
making mischief, life so terrifying,
with policies of menace,and dark intention
keeping many petrified, scared as hell,
filling people with wrath and ire,
we must  excorcise and resist
together cast these demons out.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

When one person suffers from delusions, we call it a mental illness, when society suffers from them we call it being normal

(a morning ramble)

" We are caged by our cultural programming. Culture is a mass hallucination and when you step outside the mass hallucination you see it  for what it's worth "

- Terence McKenna

Furthermore our societies are engineered,  as our views are formed, while consent is manufactured and consumption dictated. Perhaps it is time to de-program ourselves, stop supporting companies that keep us living as economic slaves. Shop and buy local. Find opportunities  to connect with what is really important in life.
When faced with demands for conformity, slowly ask , "What will happen if I refuse." there are no rules to follow, after all you can make it up as you go along.
But please keep questioning what is happening on the planet, even though you will face fierce opposition. As the mainstream media keep publishing headlines that are lies,  subvert their message, turn their papers over in the racks, hide them, do it yourself, these small acts can be greatly satisfying. 
If society was truly rational it would  be standing strongly now against a government that serves only the interests of the rich and powerful but at the moment just wanders in compliance. So be defiant, be a rebel, keep non-conforming, boldly resisting consensus,  the normalisation that causes poverty and war,  keep thinking outside their boxes with oppositional defiance. Lets leave the peddlers of delusion to their own devices, spreaders of fear and intolerance, lets have the courage and grace to go to different places, that really matter, beyond the fixations with growth, that continue to make tragedies of our human lives. With enough fire and imagination, and determination, lets keep sitting outside the confines of their caged enclosures.    

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Goodbye Fats Domino Rock and Roll Legend R.I.P

Sad news legendary  the singer- songwriter and piano player Fats Domino  whose style was hugely influential on the development of rock 'n' roll , died peacefully Wednesday morning at the age of 89
Domino was a lifelong resident of New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward, where he was born into a musical French Creole family on February 27, 1928. He dropped out of school yo play piano in his teens, and in 1949 met producer Dave Bartholomew, with whom he would produce some of his biggest hits. Domino's nickname, given to him by bass player and bandleader Billy Diamond, inspiring  his first single, "The Fat Man, " by 1953 that record became the first rock 'n'roll record to sell more than a million copies.

Fats crossed over to the mainstream with ' Ain't  that a shame ' cracking the top ten at a time when the radio was still widely segregated , it was in fact a cover by a white artist Pat Boone that reached no 1.

The following year  he had his biggest hit ' Blueberry Hill,' which would reach No 2 in the Billboard Top 40 and No 1 on the R&B charts.

The mainstreaming of rock  n roll was profitable for Fats, who went on to have seven more top ten hits between 1956 and 1959. Yet these were stormy times, in 1956, riots broke out at four different Fats Domino concerts, including one in North Carolina in which Domino and several of his band members were injured. In the end though, Domino managed to chart a staggering 63 times on the pop charts and 50 times on the R&B charts outselling the likes of Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly.Fats influence though as a black artist  who dominated the pop charts and audiences off all races ii a segregated America cannot be understated, as he and his band challenged pre - Civil Rights movement conventions in a white- dominated industry.
In 1969 Fats travelled to Las Vegas to attend and Elvis concert. When a journalist referred to Presley as 'The King', Presley simply gestured towards Fats and famously declared. "No. That's the real King of rock and roll. John Lennon also said ' There wouldn't have been a Beatles without Fats Domino," the Beatles adored him and his music.
Fats was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and he recieved a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987.
A shy and reclusive man, he remained a live performer through most of his life, he once said "I'd play for nothing, as a matter of fact, right now I'd rather pay for nothing and sound good than play for nothing and sound good than play for something and sound bad, we're all blessed. People tell me my music did something for them, and it works both ways. I just love music, that's all. I really appreciate that the people have been nice to me and bought my records all these years. I want them to know I love them, too." Sweet.
Fats declined an offer from President Bill Clinton to perform at the White House, though he did accept the National Medal of Arts. Fats had to be airlifted out of his home during Hurricane Katrina, which also resulted in all his possessions being destroyed. In 2006, President George W. Bush visited Fats home then still badly damaged by Katrina, to replace the National Medal of the Arts that Fats had lost in the storm. Fats is survived by eight children, and an entire genre of music for which he was one of the key innovators.Rock and Roll will never die, but one of the great individuals directly responsible for shaping it  in the first place has now joined the choir invincible, there must be a whole lot of boogie woogie happening now above us in the stars and universe. R.I.P

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Poetry is real

Poetry is real
as injustice is real,
running through veins
all through our lives,
between love and wild emotions
never silent, relentless,
keeps battering down doors
never straight, never gives up,
will never be chained
will never be tamed,
has the capacity to heal
release avenues of possibility,
wildly running free
on gauntlets of imagination,
a chorus of different voices
that refuse to remain silent,
we are all prisoners of the world
never truly free until death,
poetry can deliver comfort
carry freedoms torch,
standing up for  rights
of people everywhere,
words stirring, provoking
creating new worlds,
fleshed out of existence
for all to share.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Amddiffyn Bodlondeb! Stand Up for Bodlondeb!

The Aberystwyth community in West Wales is relatively aware and supportive of this campaign to save this residential care home for the elderly because of where Bodlondeb is. Unions have also said there is no plan in place for care provision if the home shuts, and residents could have to move long distances. However the proposed closure of this home with the result of a loss of 33 jobs is a wider austerity issue in which our public services are being stolen by the privateers at a rate of knots. If we lose Bodlondeb, the other six council run elderly care homes in the county will go down the same way. Most of the cabinet voting on this decision have the wards elsewhere in Ceredigion, not Aberystwyth, so it would be excellent if they had some pressure from their own constituents, The signs say that they are really looking to close it but this could be swung with a successful lobying campaign and an extremely well attended march. Please come along to the march and bring a friend or two.
Join us on 4th November in Aberystwyth Town Centre to save our beautiful council-run elderly care home. Bodlondeb is ours, not the Council’s. They are supposed to look after it for us and for our families, not sell it off! If Bodlondeb closes then other council run care homes for the elderly are surely next: Tregerddan, Bryntirion, Yr Hafod, Hafan Deg, Awel Deg, Min y Mor ……

4 November at 12:00
 Owain Glyndwr Square, Aberystwyth

Saturday, 21 October 2017

These 5 Billionaires own 80 % of the UK media

Corporations run our government.There are 5 billionaires who run our media, and they have huge power in our democracy forcing our political parties to prioritise  their wishes over the wishes of the British public.
These 5 people not only own 80% of the newspapers we read every day, they also own TV stations, press agencies, book companies, cinemas, so everything we think or speak in Britain is nearly controlled entirely by these 5 men.
The following are the 5 men in control :-

Richard Desmond: Owner of the Daily Star, Sunday Star, Daily and Sunday Express. The 2016 Sunday Times Rich List reported his net worth at £2.25 billion, making him the 48th richest person in Britain.

Jonathan Harmsworth, 4th Viscount Rothermere: Owner of the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday and  the Metro. In April 2015, the Sunday Times estimated his net worth at £1 billion.He currently resides in France.

Sir David Rowat Barclay and Sir Frederick Hugh Barclay: Owners of the Telegraph, the Spectator and the Business. The Sunday Times Rich List of 2015 estimated their wealth at £6.5 billion who live on a private island near Saark. .

Rupert Murdoch: Owner of the Sun, Times, Sky, Fox and many others. Estimated wealth of $13 Billion who lives in Australia.

Where the real power lies:

The power to decide who is elected as the government in this country lies in the hands of these 5 Billionaires who between them own 80% of the media. Messrs Desmond, Harmsworth, Murdoch and the Barclay Brothers control what you read, see and hear and the narrow range of topics which make it into the newspapers, and of course, they all back the party of the Billionaires, the Conservatives. In spite of wielding this amount of power in the UK, none of them pay tax and their newspapers are registered to tax havens, and that's the way they want it to stay. They ignore the climate crisis, back fracking, and bully politicians to do their bidding. They maintain an unjust hold on the world , they stir up fear and hate , so that we all blame one another rather  than those truly responsible.

We need a free democratic press one that serves the 99% and not the 1%, recognising that it is essential for the creation  of a Britain with true social, political and ecological justice, a free press that continues to hold those in power to account. Time to take back control.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A Beautiful Resistance

following poem inspired by attending rally in Haverfordwest 14/10/17)

A Beautiful Resistance

Among tides of wild currents
Freedom spreads beautiful resistance
flying strong on winds of existence,
some will try to steal our thunder
tempt us into  places of fear and hate
but like the breezes that blow with persistence
mighty are minds that follow this source,
with compassion will help deliver tyranny's end
for the lives of the many, not the hands of a few
beyond the darkness of our current days
there is strength in a crowd of solidarity,
with people's power the future looks bold
we can create and build a fairer world,.
following  paths of love and equality
our desires can continue to be shared,
carrying rainbow flags of diversity
refusing to be silenced or usurped
each night and day dreams will live
sowing hope in  hearts, seeds of change
onwards we rise,never to  disappear.


Monday, 16 October 2017

Fela Kuti ( 15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997) Afrobeat pioneer who used his music as a weapon

Fela Kuti (born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti), also known as Fela Anikulapo Kuti or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, visionary composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist, marijuana smoking icon and incendiary political maverick.
Fela was born into  an upper middle class family in Abeokuta, Oguri State Nigeria..His father was the strict Rev Canon Israel Oludoton Ransome Kuti an ordained minister grammar  school principal and first president of the Nigerian Union of Teachers. Fela's  mother Funmilayo was a leader of the country's nascent socialist, nationalist and sufragette campaigns. As a teen , Fela was already playing the role of a rebel against authority.At school he formed a club called the Planless society, he said "the rule of the club  was simple : we had no plans. You could be called upon to disobey orders at any time. Disobedience was our law."
Like many children of the Nigerian  middle class, Fela was sent to London to study at university. But Fela now a trumpet player wasn't interested in the professional careers in medicine and law and instead  enrolled at the London Trinity College of Music.
Fela  would marry his first wife Remi in 1961, and with some West Indian and Nigerian friends , started a jazz band called Koola Lobitos. He had his first two children, daughter Yeni in '61 and son Femi in '62, and graduated from Trinity with certificates in practice and theory.Fela and his family returned to Nigeria in 1963, where got a job with the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation.
When he first started in the 1960's, his brand of music was the Highlifw which he performed with other artists in the many night clubs of Lagos. In the late  1960;s to early 1970's he went to the United States and became influenced by the Black Panthers, and the ideas of Malcolm X and co.In line with his Pan- Africanist identity  he would change his surname, Ransome- Kuti  a hybid of a slave name to Anikualpo - Kuti, which is completely African. Anikulapa literally means, ' he that has pocketed death.' Fela developed a reputation for openly amoking cannabis, and sleeping with a large amount of women,but  his influence on contemporary music  is incredible. A true original and innovator, one of musics most skilled agitators. His songs could stretch to over an hour, filled with passionaae lyrics, about military corruption and social inequality. he conveyed both a radical indignation and a radical message.
In Nigeria he founded a communal  compound and rehearsal space he called the Kalakuta Republic, and a night club the Shrine. The musical style he created was called  Afrobeat  a wonderful fusion of Jazz, Funk, Ghanian/Nigerian High life, psychedelic rock  and traditional West African rhythms  characterized by a fairly large band with many instruments, vocals, and a musical structure featuring jazzy, funky horn sections. A riff-based "endless groove" is used, in which a base rhythm of drums, shekere, muted West African-style guitar, and melodic bass guitar riffs are repeated throughout the song. Commonly, interlocking melodic riffs and rhythms are introduced one by one, building the groove bit-by-bit and layer-by-layer. The horn section then becomes prominent, introducing other riffs and main melodic themes.
Fela's band was notable for featuring two baritone saxophones, whereas most groups were using only one of this instrument. This is a common technique in African and African-influenced musical styles, and can be seen in Funk and Hip hop. Fela's bands at times even performed with two bassists at the same time both playing interlocking melodies and rhythms. There were always two or more guitarists. The electric West African style guitar in Afrobeat bands are paramount, but are used to give basic structure, playing a repeating chordal/melodic statement, riff, or groove.
His songs were mostly sung in Nigerian pidgin English, although he also performed a few songs in the Yoruba language. Fela's main instruments were the saxophone and the keyboards, but he also played the trumpet, electric guitar, and took the occasional drum solo. Fela refused to perform songs again after he had already recorded them, which also hindered his popularity outside Africa.
Fela was known for his showmanship, and his concerts were often quite outlandish and wild. He referred to his stage act as the "Underground" Spiritual Game. Fela attempted making a movie but lost all the materials to the fire that was set to his house by the military government in power.
It is of note that as Fela's musical career developed, so too did his political influence, not only in his home country of Nigeria, not just throughout Africa, but throughout the world. As his political influence grew, the religious aspect of his musical approach grew. Fela was a part of an Afro-Centric consciousness movement that was founded on and delivered through his music.
In the 1970' and 80's his rebellious  song lyrics established him as a political dissident. He became associated with making political , social and cutural statements about greed and corruption.
In an  interview  he once said  "Music is supposed to have an effect. If you're playing music and people don't feel something, you're not doing shit. That's what African music is about. When you hear something, you must move. I want to move people to dance, but also to think. Music wants to dictate a better life, against a bad life. When you're listening to something that depicts having a better life, and you're not having a better life, it must have an effect on you."
Playing constantly and recording  at a ferocious pace, Fela and his band. who were now called Africa 70 became huge stars in West Africa. His biggest fan base were Nigeria's poor. Because his music tackled issues close to the Nigerian underclass, he was more than just a simple pop star, like Bob Marley in Jamaica he was the voice of Nigeria's voiceless, he was there cultural rebel. This is something Nigerias military junta tried to stop, and from the moment he arrived back in Nigeria he was hounded and harrassed. Rebelling against oppressive regimes through his music came at a heavy cost to Kuti who was arrested by the Nigerian government 200 times, and was subject to numerous beatings that left him with lifelong scars and nearly killed by a government intent  on silencing him..In one of the most awful acts of violence committed against him, 1000 Nigerian soldiers attacked his compound in 1977. Fela  suffered a fractured skull as well as other broken bones, his 82 year old mother was thrown from an upstairs window, inflicting injuries that would  be fatal  she died from her injuries a year later.
The soldiers set fire to the compound and prevented firefighters from reaching the area. Fela's recording studio, all his aster tapes and musical instruments were destroyed.Rather than abandon his cause, he used these experiences as inspiration to write more lyrics recording more uncompromising songs about the incident in the aftermath.  He produced roughly 50 albums over the course of his musical career.

Fela Kuti - Coffin for  head of state

After experiencing this tragedy he briefly lived in exile in Ghana, before returning to Nigeria in 1978. In 1979 he formed his own political party, MOP , Movement of the People and at start of decade renamed his band Egypt 80. From 1980 to 1983 , Nigeria was under civilian rule and it marked a peaceful time for Fela. He would record and tour non stop, However military rule returned in 1982, ad in 1984 Fela was sentenced yo ten years in prison on trumped up charges accused of currency smuggling. With help from Amnesty International he was freed in 1985.
At the end.of the 90's he recorded  blistering attacks against Nigeria's corrupt military government, as well as broadsides aimed at Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. most abrasively on the album Beast of No Nation.Never what you would call a progressive when it came to relationships with women, or patriarchy in general , in fact he was a bit of a sexist , strange considering his mother was one of Nigerias earliest feminists. Fela was also a polygamist, in 1978 he married 27 women in a single wedding ceremony. He would eventually divorce them all.
Fela died of Aids related complications on August 2, 1997, at the age of 58  in Lagos, Nigeria. Roughly 1 million attended his funeral procession. A press release from the United Front of Nigeria at the time of Fela's death said " Those who knew you well were insistent that you could never compromise with the evil you had fought  all your life. Even though made weak by time and fate, you remained strong in will and never abandoned your goal of a free, democratic socialist Africa. " this was the esteem in which he was held.
 His musical legacy is a strong one which continues to have influence on the musical scene of Nigeria and across the world. For many one of Fela's major sources of attraction was and is the rhytymic,, melodious and danceable form of his renditions. And no one can deny his constant and consistent quest for a better life for the masses. Fela constantly challenged the military rulers of Nigeria and portrayed the plight of his people who laid his life on the line in his struggle against injustice, corruption and the abuse of power, whose spirit was never broken.
 I was most fortunate to see him play at my first Glastonbury festival in 1985, under the influence like him of cannabis, his performance was powerful, a memory I will never fail to treasure. And has left me many brilliant albums that continue to stand the test of time,who remains for me as one of my biggest musical influences. Fela Kuti maybe no more but his legendary music still moves with much resonance. Lets continue to hail this Black President , his courageousness and musical genius. Today his sons Femi  and Seun  are still carrying his musical torch.

Fela Kuti - Suffering and schmiling

Fela Kuti - International Thief ITT

Fela Kuti - Water got no enemy

Fela Kuti  - Sorrow tears and blood

Fela Kuti - Colonial mentality

Fela Kuti - Army arrangement

Fela Kuti - Teacher  - Teacher Don't teach me nonsense, (Live at Glastonbury 1984)

Sunday, 15 October 2017

77 years ago: World Premiere of Charlie Chaplin's Great Dictator in New York

 The physical resemblance between the Tramp and another famous man with a little black mustache was not lost on Chaplin. In his first all-talking picture, he plays both a Jewish barber and his double, Adenoid Hynkel, the absolute ruler of Tomainia. As Hynkel and his henchmen Herring and Garbitsch engineer the persecution of Jews and the invasion of neighboring Osterlich, the amnesiac barber may be the only person innocent enough to stop them. Throughout the film Chaplin powerfully exploits the deflating power of parody, while in the finale he abandons both character and comedy to deliver one of the most inspirational speeches in recorded history with an impassioned plea for human tolerance.This was not just a film,  this was  a message from Charlie Chaplin's deep humanity. The world still needs to stand still and listen and stand against the forces of fascism.

An earlier tribute  of mine to this great man can be found here :-


Saturday, 14 October 2017

Sam Kelly and the lost boys - Chasing Shadows

Got  lift earlier with friend over the magical Preseli mountains, listened to this track and found much solidarity and hope  in Haverforwest's castle square.in rally with aim to unseat Tory MP Stephen Crabb. Together we can chase dark shadows  follow paths of unity. Awakening together we are strong, determined to get what we want for the many not the few. Rising mightily like lions,  deep with consistency  the sustenance of anger will deliver to us victory. This beat of resistance will guide us, as we move forwards to better days.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Indigenous Resistance Day/ Dia de la Raza

(image: 1992 poster by Seth Tobocman to counter 500th anniversary celebrations of Columbus first arriving in the Americas and to celebrate 500 years of resistance)

Columbus Day marks the day when Christopher Columbus and his crew were lost at sea and arrived in the Americas on October 12, 1492, beginning a process of colonization and genocide afainst Native people, which represents one of the darkest chapters in the history of this continent, that commemorates a chapter full of genocidal murder, human trafficking and unimaginable brutality against the indigenous people of this continent.
For oppressed people this day is a constant reminder that many of their ancestors and their suffering simply did not matter. As a result many countries in the Americas  now celebrate October 12 as Día de la Raza and many indigenous peoples and other progressive people celebrate it as Indigenous People's Day or Indigenous Resistance Day. Because this  so-called “discovery” of the America caused the worst demographic catastrophe of human history, with around 95 percent of the indigenous population annihilated in the first 130 years of colonization, without mentioning the victims from the African continent, with about 60 million people sent to the Americas as slaves, and only 12 percent of them arrived alive.Therefore, Native American groups consider Columbus a European colonizer responsible for the genocide of millions of indigenous people. Not an individual worthy of celebration  because he helped contribute  to the Europeans Colonization of the Americas which resulted in  slavery, killings, and other atrocities against the native Americans
As a counter to official celebrations of "Columbus Day"  with indigenous people increasingly demanding their rights, in 1992 the United Nations declared October 12 as the International Day of Indigenous Peoples, ruining thereby the determination of Spain and other countries to call it International Day of America's Discovery, this was then followed  by Venezuela which was the first country of the region to grant the demand under Hugo Chavez's administration, accepting their suggestion of “Day of Indigenous Resistance” in 2002. Chavez described the previous name “Day of Race” chosen by then President of Venezuela, Juan Vicente Gomez in 1921, as “discriminatory, racist and pejorative.”​
Nicaragua and Daniel Ortega´s Sandinista government  has been the only country going as far as Venezuela until now, also choosing the name “Day of Indigenous Resistance” in 2007.
With several exceptions, such as the conservative governments of Paraguay, Colombia and Honduras, for instance, many other countries of the continent have nevertheless changed the infamous name “Day of Race.”
It became the “Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity” in Argentina, after the failure of a legislative project in 2004 to change it to “Day of Resistance of Indigenous Peoples.” Argentina has more than 1,600 indigenous communities, and over a million Argentinian people who claim their indigenous identity according to the National Institution of Indigenous People.Yet the indigenous communities of Argentina organize counter-marches to protest against this name, recalling the damages caused by the conqueror Julio Argentino Roca to their ancestral lands at the end of the 19th century.
In Chile as well, where the Mapuche community are still fighting to claim their native lands in the fertile south of the country, the day was renamed even more weakly, “Day of the Encounter Between the Two Worlds” in 2000.
In Ecuador, President Rafael Correa changed the name to “Day of Inter-culturality and Pluri-nationality” in 2011. That same year in Bolivia, President Evo Morales, the first indigenous leader in South America, changed it to "Day of Mourning for the Misery, Diseases and Hunger Brought by the European Invasion of America." The diseases were indeed the main cause of the indigenous genocide, as the invaders brought viruses and bacterias the indigenous peoples were not immune to.
Last year, Salvadorean and Uruguayan indigenous peoples began demanding a name change of their governments. The Charrua community of Uruguay for instance has made the demand since 2010, but has faced strong opposition by conservative sectors. In 2014, the National Assembly approved a legislative project, but only changed the name to “Day of Cultural Diversity.” The ruling party Broad Front (Frente Amplio) had pushed for the same name as in Venezuela and Nicaragua, but the legislative commission then chose to modify it.

In El Salvador, social and indigenous organizations presented a legislative project before the parliament, for which the congresspeople of the governing Farabundo Marti Front (FMLN) expressed their support. In June 2014, the congress finally approved a constitutional reform recognizing the existence of indigenous peoples in the country.
Indigenous peoples in Latin America account for about 13 percent of the total population – about 40 million, with around 670 different nations or communities, according to the CEPAL. Most of them are in Mexico, Guatemala, and Andean countries. They all face some level of racism, discrimination and poverty, suffering more than the rest of the population from an unequal access to resources like employment, health and education services, but also deprived of their ancestral lands and natural resources – about 40 percent of rural populations are indigenous, according to the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs.https://www.iwgia.org/en/
Today is not about declaring one celebration more important over another. It is about honoring the rich history of resistance that Native communities across the world which has been inspiring  and  it is also about a deep commitment to intergenerational justice .May we spend this day, and all days, honoring Native Peoples’ commitment to making the world a better place for all. Reflect on their ancestral past , celebrate their sacrifices and celebrate life whilst.recognizing the people, traditions and cultures that were wiped out because of Columbus’ colonization and acknowledge the. bloodshed and elimination of the cultures and groups that were massacred..Transforming this day into a celebration of indigenous people and a celebration of social justice  allows us to make a connection between this painful history and the ongoing marginalization, discrimination and poverty that indigenous communities face to this day.


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Linton Kweisi Johnson - Poems of shape and motion

Linton Kwesi Johnson  is arguably the most influential Black British poet. Born 24th of August 1952 in Chapelton, a small town in the rural parish of Clarendon, Jamaica. He came to London in 1963, attended Tulse Hill secondary school, and later studied Sociology at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London (graduating in 1973), which currently holds his personal papers in its archives. While still at school he joined the Black Panthers, helping to organise a poetry workshop within the movement. In 1977 he was awarded a C. Day Lewis Fellowship, and was the writer-in-residence for the London Borough of Lambeth for that year. He went on to work as the Library Resources and Education Officer at the Keskidee Centre, the first home of Black theatre and art.
Much of Johnson's poetry is political, dealing primarily with the experiences of being an African-Caribbean in Britain. "Writing was a political act and poetry was a cultural weapon", he told an interviewer in 2008. He has also written about issues such as British foreign policy, and the death of anti-racist marcher Blair Peach. His most striking and celebrated work was arguably produced in the 1980's, with Johnson’s spirit of anger and protest finding its ideal subject and opposite under Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government. Poems such as 'Sonny's Lettah' and 'Di Great Insohreckshan' contain accounts of police brutality upon young black men, and capture the period’s unwritten attitude of resistance and antagonism in their empathic descriptions of rioting and imprisonment. Told via the uncompromising, yet generous and inventive use of  Jamaican patois, the poems are alive with Johnson’s relish of the tics and rhythms of spoken language.
The 'world's first dub poet', he coined the term dub poetry in the mid-seventies to describe Jamaican DJs 'toasting' over the instrumental B-sides of reggae songs. It stuck to his own work, which blends reggae's bass rhythm with his spoken voice.
 Johnson's poems first appeared in the journal Race Today, who published his debut collection, Voices of the Living and the Dead, in 1974. His second collection, Dread Beat An' Blood, was published in 1975 by Bogle-L'Ouverture, and shares its title with his first LP, released by Virgin in 1978. That year also saw the release of a documentary film about Johnson’s work of the same name. Inglan Is A Bitch, his third book, came out in 1980.  In 2005 he was awarded a silver Musgrave medal from the Institute of Jamaica for distinguished eminence in the field of poetry. Johnson is the second living poet, and the only black poet, to be published in the Penguin Classics series: Mi Revalueshanary Fren in 2002, with a Selected following in 2006.
 Music, politics and poetry what more could you ask for. Johnson's albums have sold more than 2 million copies, he commands huge audiences worldwide, and his poetic artistry is now praised in the Poetry Review. His best known records include his debut "Dread Beat An' Blood", "Forces of Victory", "Bass Culture" and "Making History". Across these albums are spread classics of the dub poetry school of performance - and, indeed, of reggae itself. A people's poet of much passion who is still thrillingly subversive.

Poems of shape and motion

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

World Mental Health Day 2017

World Mental Health Day is observed in more than 100 countries on October 10 through local, regional and national World Mental Health Day commemorative events and programs. First held in 1992, today is the 25th day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues, and to fighting the still-associated stigma.
Mental illness is now recognised as one of the biggest causes of individual distress and misery in our societies and cities, comparable to poverty and unemployment. One in four adults in the UK today has been diagnosed with a mental illness, and four million people take antidepressants every year. This can have a profound impact on the lives of tens of millions of people in the UK, and can affect their ability to sustain relationships, work, or just get through the day. What greater indictment of a system could there be.
The issues of mental health and mental illness are complicated. Experiences of social isolation, inequality, feelings of alienation and dissociation, and even the basic assumptions and ideology of materialism and neoliberalism itself are seen today to be significant drivers . And of course there is also persuasive evidence that human biology plays an important role in determining each person’s likelihood of contending with particular mental health conditions. 
Many of us increasingly experience daily life as a battle. Emotionally, our heads are only just above water. I personally have a  black dog that  calls regularly that  I unfortunately  have no control  over, it just happens. It suddenly  creates sadness, fear, and all those turbulent feelings that drives one to self destruction , and nights with no sleep. I also  get so angst ridden that I cannot leave my house, let alone phone a GP to seek help, because I fear I will be judged and blamed somehow, embarrassed and ashamed for something I have no control over. A tendency to affix blame and leave me  feeling even more unworthy.
It should be noted  that many  people believe that our Governments policies are actually fuelling the current  mental health crisis. Budget cuts to mental health services combined with no genuine support are driving  many people to the edge. As a result many young people and adults are left isolated facing long waiting lists for mental health therapies and diagnostic assessments. Prime Minister Maggie May herself said   "On my first day in Downing Street last July, I described shortfalls in mental health services as one of the burning injustices in our country.
Despite these gestures the Tories have not delivered on their promise to give mental health the same priority as physical health. They have not offered  no extra funding and have consistently raided mental health budgets over the last seven years. There are now over 6,000 fewer mental health nurses than in 2010. The number of psychiatrists employed by the NHS has fallen by  four percent since 2014 , with a 10 percent drop in those who specialise in children's mental health and a similar drop in those working with older adults. Seven years of Tory Government have left those with mental health problems without the support they need. The only thing that the Tories deliver are empty words and actions  that are shaping a society that does  not help to tackle the injustice of unequal treatment in mental health. Also because of how dire the times are getting: not only are benefit cuts driving people to think of killing themselves, but low wages and welfare sanctions are making people ill, shortening people's lives. For many insecurity  has become the way of  life. You simply can't trust May and co on mental health.
Too often mental health is swept under the carpet and ignored ,either because of the stigma and taboo surrounding it , so we have to keep battling to destroy the negative attitudes and stereotypes that is directed towards people with mental health issues that disproportionately affect people living in poverty, those who are unemployed, people living in isolation and those who already face discrimination, so we also have to keep challenging policies that  exasperate these problems. In the meantime I will try to keep fighting and surviving, and hope that one day mental health  becomes  a genuine Government priority that would help reduce peoples pain and suffering. And who knows one day might come when I will become strong and stable.
Capitalist society plays its part on  people’s mental health: the anxiety from attending job centre appointments, the depression when you get sanctioned and have to live on the breadlines for weeks on end, the paranoia when you get another one of their dreaded Department for Work and Pensions brown envelopes through the door etc etc. Additionally, we live in a culture which exploits people with  low wages, zero hours contracts and zero rights .It is difficult to function in a society that seems to continually put obstacles in your way and causes huge stress.
Among the most menacing barriers to the social progress we need around mental health are the profound levels of guilt, shame and stigma that surround these issues. Mental illness scares us and shames us. Those who suffer are often, like me, ashamed to speak of it. Those who are lucky enough to be free of mental illness are terrified of it. When it comes to mental illness, we still don't quite get how it all works. Our treatments, while sometimes effective, often are not. And the symptoms, involving a fundamental breakdown of our perceived reality, are existentially terrifying. There is something almost random about physical illness, in how it comes upon us , a physical illness can strike anyone – and that is almost comforting. But  mental illness seems  to fall into that same category, the fact  it too could strike any of us, without warning should be equally recognised..
But more than simple fear, mental illness brings out a judgmental streak that would be unthinkably grotesque when applied to physical illness. Imagine telling someone with a broken leg to "snap out of it." Imagine that a death by cancer was accompanied by the same smug headshaking that so often greets death by suicide. Mental illness is so qualitatively different that we feel it permissible to be judgmental. We might even go so far as to blame the sufferer. Because of the  stigma involved  it often leaves us much sicker.
Capitalist society also teaches us that we are each personally responsible for our own success.  A system of blame that somehow makes the emotional and psychological difficulties we encounter seem to be our own fault.  This belief is such a firm part of ruling class ideology that millions of people who would never openly articulate this idea, nonetheless accept it in subtle and overt ways.  People are often ashamed that they need medication, seeing this as revealing some constitutional weakness.  People feel guilty about needing therapy, thinking that they should be able to solve their problems on their own.  Millions of people fail to seek any treatment, because mental health care is seen as something that only the most dramatically unstable person would turn to. An ill-informed and damaging attitude among some people exists around mental health that can make it difficult for some to seek help. It is estimated that only about a quarter of people with a mental health problem in the UK receive ongoing treatment, leaving the majority of people grappling with mental health issues on their own, seeking help or information, and dependent on the informal support of family, friends or colleagues.
We need to break the silence around mental health.  These are issues that all of us should have some basic exposure to.  The proportion of the population that will experience an episode of acute emotional distress is extremely high.  Those of us who have never been depressed probably know and love several people who have.It  should be no more shameful to say that one is suffering from mental illness , than to announce that one is asthmatic or has breast cancer.  Talking about these issues is part of the solution.  Breaking the silence can be liberating. Mental health care should be part of what we demand when we think about solutions to the economic crisis, we should keep  fighting for the best mental health care to be the  natural right of all designed to meet human needs. Until then, engaging in the struggle toward such a society can be a source of hope. That is a world surely worth fighting for.
If you need to talk to someone, the NHS mental health helpline page includes organisations you can call for help, such as Anxiety UK and Bipolar UK. or call The Samaritans on 116 123.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

7th October 1955 , Allen Ginsberg's First Reading of "Howl"

On the evening of October 7th, 1955. Ginsberg's anguished hallucinatory tour-de-force .innovative poem Howl was performed  in public for the first time at a poetry reading in Berkeley, California  which had been advertised by a postcard  proclaiming  “Remarkable collection of angels all gathered at once in the same spot. Wine, music, dancing girls, serious poetry, free satori.”
Gathered together that evening were literary icons, though many had yet to have their talents realized by the literary community. The list of poets reading included Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Philip Lamantia, Michael McClure and Kenneth Rexroth. Perhaps as impressive were those who merely observed, as  the likes of Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Neal Cassady and Ann Charters were among the large audience who had gathered together at Six Gallery in San Francisco. In fact, it was supposedly Kerouac who set the tone of the evening by taking up a collection for wine, which he then passed around the audience while demanding they “glug a slug from the jug.” Kerouac later described the audience as “rather stiff,” but the wine got them “all piffed so that by eleven o’clock when [Ginsberg] was reading his, wailing poem [“Howl”] drunk with arms outspread everybody was yelling ‘Go! Go! Go!’ (like a jam session).”
. Its opening lines :

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,"

 are well-known and oft-quoted. The words spoke evocatively and powerfully to the terrible political and social dilemmas of postwar America, those facing the younger generation in particular.
It quickly became a hallmark text of the Beat generation. Ginsberg’s text a jumble of images and buzzwords that vividly described the social, political and historic state of America in the 1950s, and its format emulates the chaos of affairs felt at the time.
The title of Ginsberg's poem prepares the reader for what to expect.  This will not be a quiet poem.  It will not be a sonnet or an ode.  It will be a poem of noise and unsettling images and themes. The title also expresses one of the major themes in the poem - that of madness.  To howl is usually associated with animals howling at the moon, an image that Ginsberg wanted to convey. The moon is also a symbol associated with madness.  Medical opinions from the nineteenth century and before believed that persons who were mad or evil would naturally manifest these tendencies when the moon was full.  To howl at the moon in poetic and artistic terms Ginsberg wanted “Howl” to express the pent up frustration, artistic energy, and self-destruction of his generation, a generation that he felt was being suppressed by a dominant American culture that valued conformity over artistic license and opportunity. To howl at the moon in poetic and artistic terms, then, is to suggest that  madness has entered into society and will not be silently put away.  This is a theme that Ginsberg would return to throughout his career. For a poet or the individual to howl, meant that that person was breaking from the habit of conformity to the virtues and ideals of American civilization and expressing a counter-cultural vision of free expression. Howl was also an eye opening work  in its explorations of sexuality , anguish and social issues in a non traditional poetic form , relying on a freewheeling range of influences.
Critics called “Howl” “a hymn to sincerity”, “a hymn to non-conformism”, “a hymn to nakedness in any form”, “a hymn to protest”. Incendiary but for many so necessary, Allen Ginsberg's anguished protest broke all the rules, with it's cry of consciousness and encouraged  a generation of artists to do the same. to cry for all exploitation, repression, and subjugation.
On March 25, 1956, 520 copies of the poem were seized by U.S. Customs and the San Francisco police. A subsequent obscenity trial was brought against Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who ran City Lights Bookstore, the poem’s publisher. Nine literary experts testified on the poem’s behalf. Supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, Ferlinghetti won the case, with the court deciding that the poem was of “redeeming social importance.”
Ginsberg and his contemporaries Jack Kerouac (On the Road) and William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch) became icons of the Beat generation, and later, venerated figures in the burgeoning “counter-culture” of the late 1960s and early 1970s. They were painted as rebels who had done what they pleased in the repressed, monolithically conservative era known as the Eisenhower years.
Howl would subsequently  become  one of the most widely read poems of the century, translated into more than twenty-two languages, this  epic groundbreaking poem tore down the cultural barriers of the 1950s  it would also serve  to  launch Ginsberg as one of the most celebrated  and controversial poets of our time and also  paved the way for everyone from Patti Smith to David Bowie among  many others. Over 60 years since it appeared, its influence shows no signs of fading.
In 1965 Ginsberg was simultaneously crowned Prague May King, then expelled by Czech police and placed on the FBI’s Dangerous Security List.In the 1960s and 1970s, Ginsberg studied under gurus and Zen masters. As the leading icon of the Beats, Ginsberg was involved in countless political activities, including protests against the Vietnam War, and he spoke openly about issues that concerned him, such as free speech and gay rights agendas. He travelled to and taught in the People’s Republic of China, the Soviet Union, Australia, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe, where he received Yugoslavia’s Struga Poetry Festival “Golden Wreath” 1986. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and co-founder of the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University, the first accredited Buddhist College in the West, he was Distinguished Professor at Brooklyn College from 1986 till his death on  April 5, 1997, in New York City.
Starring James Franco in a career-defining performance as Allen Ginsberg, the 2010 film Howl  is the story of how Ginsberg's  seminal work broke down societal barriers in the face of an infamous public obscenity trial, in his  famously confessional style, and illustrates the poem in animation.

'Howl' by Allen Ginsberg (with subtitles)

Animation by Eric Drooker

In 1959, Gregory Corso and Peter Orlovsky accompanied Ginsberg to Chicago for a benefit reading for "Big Table" [named at Kerouac's suggestion], a newly established literary publication born as a result of censorship of the student magazine the Chicago Review. The reading took place on 29 January, 1959.

Full poem: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem...

Footnote to Howl - Allen Ginsberg

Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy! The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand and asshole holy!
Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an angel!
The bum’s as holy as the seraphim! the madman is holy as you my soul are holy!
The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!
Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien holy Kerouac holy Huncke holy Burroughs holy Cassady holy the unknown buggered and suffering beggars holy the hideous human angels!
Holy my mother in the insane asylum! Holy the cocks of the grandfathers of Kansas!
Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop apocalypse! Holy the jazzbands marijuana hipsters peace peyote pipes & drums!
Holy the solitudes of skyscrapers and pavements! Holy the cafeterias filled with the millions! Holy the mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!
Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the middleclass! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebellion! Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!
Holy New York Holy San Francisco Holy Peoria & Seattle Holy Paris Holy Tangiers Holy Moscow Holy Istanbul!
Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time holy the clocks in space holy the fourth dimension holy the fifth International holy the Angel in Moloch!
Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucinations holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the abyss!
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!


                                                                                                            Berkeley 1955

Source: Collected Poems: 1947-1980 (Harper & Row, 1984)

Here is a remix of Patti Smith's Spell (Reading 'Footnote to Howl' by Allen Ginsberg), with samples from various artists & drone music. Photo : 'Exploding Hand' by Lee Miller (1930)

Thursday, 5 October 2017

My name is Rachel Corrie

23 year old American Peace activist Rachel Corrie was  was crushed to death by an Israeli armoured bulldozer in Rafah, Southern part of the Gaza strip, on March 16th, 2003 while undertaking nonviolent direct action to protect the home of a Palestinian family from demolition. Justice has never been served for her, along with many others who have been killed due to  Israel's occupation. In 2005 Corrie's parents filed a civil lawsuit against the state of Israel. The lawsuit charged Israel with not conducting a full and credible investigation into the case and with responsibility for her death. They sued for a symbolic one U.S dollar in damages  to make the point that that the case was about justice for their daughter and the Palestinian cause, she had been defending. In August 2012, an Israeli court rejected their suit.
Her death was a "regrettable accident" for which the state of Israel was not responsible, a judge ruled, dismissing the civil lawsuit brought by the family.
According to Judge Oded Gershon of Haifa Court she had " put herself in a dangerous situation" whilst dressed in a bright orange jacket and acting as a human shield. Israel to all intents and pupose  declared itself not guilty of Rachel Corrie's murder. The world I think sees things differently.
The home Rachel Corrie died trying to protect was razed, along with hundreds of others. She was murdered whilst protesting against home demolitions and injustice in Gaza. This court in all effect gave its stamp of approval to the flawed and illegal practices of the Israeli military. This verdict failed to hold the Israeli military accountable for continuing violation of human rights. It was a shocking day for human rights, but a verdict that I am not too surprised about. Again and again Israel acts with impunity, carrying on regardless in an arrogant violent manner. There is no justice when their courts show such contempt, for justice's meaning.
There is no justice too, when the Gaza strip remains a sealed ghetto,there is no justice when countless Palestinian families are made homeless, there houses destroyed, where is the  justice for them or  their friends  after the death of their loved ones.
By disregarding international law and granting Israeli war criminals impunity, the verdict exemplified that Israel's legal system cannot be trusted to administer justice according to international standards.
The fight and struggle will continue, the end result being that we get truthful answers and yes JUSTICE...... the world will not stay silent, and  will remember Rachel Corrie, who courageously died whilst living her dreams, staying human, and showing solidarity with her beloved friends, the Palestinians.
This will not be last time we hear her name. The memories of her death will not fade, nor that of the death of thousands of Palestinians.The struggle continues against demolition and occupation of Palestinian homes and lands.Her courage and determination and resistance on behalf of the Palestinian people will never be forgotten. R.I.P Rachel, she will  carry on being an inspiration to solidarity activists around the globe,  her spirit lives on.
Meet the heroine behind the headlines.The play My name is Rachel Corrie first seen two years after her death, directed by Josh Roche and edited by the late Alan Rickman and Guardian newspaper editor Katharine Viner, gives a troubling account of an extraordinary young woman's overwhelming commitment to her cause,  the play darts through the diaries Corrie wrote from the age of 12 upwards. The form makes it potent, nothing if not honest. Diaries, being private, have no reason not to be. They're personal, not political, and whatever anyone makes of her standpoint, there's no denying what Corrie witnessed in Palestine  children growing up surrounded by shellfire, farms razed without warning, soldiers shooting at will.
Here is The Guardian's review of the play currently at the Young Vic until the end of October
"Seeing the play a second time, I was struck by Corrie’s solitude and sense of impending death. Yet her journal also records the beleaguered existence of people in the city of Rafah: 602 homes have been bulldozed, many of those that survive have tank holes in the walls, checkpoints prevent people getting to work or registering at university."


and here is link to Young Vic's web  page:


Here are two further links :



Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Autumnal Awakenings

As leaves die their earthly death
Crisply taking their final bow,
Dejected in the passing of days
Autumn season makes some people sad,
While light and darkness merge and fuse
Close your eyes and dream awhile,
Small things unseen, silently wait in patient time
Wonder can still be stored to sustain and treasure,
Carrying smiles that warm the heart
Hope still curling among the edges,
Allowing words to keep being spoken
Forces that if we allow,we could all share,
Love's presence still ever so powerful
To drown the wallow of sombre melancholy,
Among us this magic, somehow survives
Letting thoughts that currently reside be broken.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

So long Tom Petty ( 20/10/50 -2/10/17) R.I.P

More sad news as iconic musician Tom Petty has passed away aged 66 after he was found unconscious and in cardiac arrest at his Malibu home on Sunday night.
Following conflicting reports, his longtime manager Tony Dimitriades confirmed the sad news late on Monday evening.
"On behalf of the Tom Petty family we are devastated to announce the untimely death of our father, husband, brother, leader and friend Tom Petty," he said in a statement.
"He suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu in the early hours of this morning and was taken to UCLA Medical Center but could not be revived."
He died peacefully at 8:40 p.m. local time surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends.

Petty was born October 20, 1950, in Gainesville, FL, and got the rock ‘n’ roll bug early after hearing Elvis Presley on the radio. He met the King in the early 1960s when his uncle took him to the Presley movie set where he was working. Petty would go on to become rock royalty, hobnobbing with legends and with his band backing tracks or albums by such acts as Dylan, Johnny Cash and the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn.
In a 2006 interview, Petty said that he knew he wanted to be in a band the moment he saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show "The minute I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show — and it's true of thousands of guys — there was the way out. There was the way to do it. You get your friends and you're a self-contained unit. And you make the music. And it looked like so much fun. It was something I identified with. I had never been hugely into sports. ... I had been a big fan of Elvis. But I really saw in the Beatles that here's something I could do. I knew I could do it. It wasn't long before there were groups springing up in garages all over the place."
In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBS) in 2014, Petty stated that the Rolling Stones were "my punk music". Petty credited the group with inspiring him by demonstrating that he and musicians like him could make it in rock and roll.[
Petty formed his first band, Mudcrutch, in Gainesville at the age of 20. The group became regionally popular but floundered after releasing their sole single, “Depot Street.” (Mudcrutch would release two studio albums in the 21st century, including 2016’s 2, the final album Petty released with any act.) After the band dissolved in 1975, Petty recruited fellow Mudcrutchers Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench, along with Ron Blair and Stan Lynch to form his most famed group, the Heartbreakers.
With their blend of Byrds riffs and rock 'n' roll swagger, slap in the middle of the punk/new wave movement  success arrived swiftly for Petty and the Heartbreakers. After releasing their eponymous debut in 1976, and its follow-up, 1978’s You’re Gonna Git It!, the group hit a commercial groove. Petty's romanticised tales of  of rebels, outcasts  started climbing the pop charts. Songs like "The Waiting," "You Got Lucky," "I Won't Back Down," "Learning to Fly" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance", "Free Fallin  and "Refugee" When he sang, his voice was filled with a heartfelt drama that perfectly complemented the Heartbreakers' ragged rock & roll. He became a fixture on MTV as a music video artist with high-concept clips for singles like “Don’t Come Across Here No More,” “You Got Lucky,” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”
He also co-founded the 1980s supergroup collective The Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne, penning hits such as End of the Line and She's My Baby.
Following the end of his first marriage, to Jane Benyo, after more than 20 years, Petty fought and overcame heroin addiction in the late 1990s, spending time in rehab.“Using heroin went against my grain,” he told Zanes, his biographer. “I didn’t want to be enslaved to anything. So I was always trying to figure out how to do less, and then that wouldn’t work. Tried to go cold turkey, and that wouldn’t work. It’s an ugly fucking thing.”
Petty also suffered from depression, channelling his pain into 1999’s Echo, during which he was also dealing with a divorce. In 2002, he married Dana York and said he had been in therapy for six years to deal with depression.
He remained active though and along with the Heartbreakers, he was inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Petty was also outspoken in his protection of the rights of artists, taking issue with record companies on a number of occasions about what he believed to be unjust practices. Earlier this year he was named MusiCares person of the year for his “career-long interest in defending artists’ rights” as well as for his charitable work with homeless people in Los Angeles.
Petty was frequently touring and known for his skills as a live performer, and wrapped a 40th anniversary tour with the Heartbreaks at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in late September. In a statement to Rolling Stone last year, Petty clarified that the tour “might be his last big one.” His last album was  2014s's ' Hypnotic Eye,' 
Petty is survived by his second wife, Dana York, whom he married in 2001, his daughters Adria and AnnaKim, and a stepson, Dylan.
So long Tom Petty and thank you for the words and music. R.I.P. My thoughts go out to his family and friends, and fellow heartbreakers.

" " Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There's not some trick involved in it. It's pure and it's real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things," - Tom Petty

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Learning to fly

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Refugee

Tom Petty and the Heart breakers - Free falling

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - I won't back down