Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I'm sitting and thinking about dear Davey - one of the great pioneers of folk music, of the evolution of British music. He is such an important figure as will become increasingly apparent as the tributes flood in:

Obituary: David Charters. Liverpool Daily Post 18 Dec 2008 Obituary: Robin Denslow The Guardian 17 Dec 2008           Obituary: John Pilgrim The Independent 17 Dec 2008

I met him in Brighton in 2007 and write this pome on the train directly after meeting him. It came from somewhere.

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Davey Graham in the dressing room, post-gig, at the Komedia in Brighton, 2007.

Wounded Bird
On meeting Davey Graham

I couldn't believe
How beautiful he looked with his guitar
In his beat Bukowski splendour

How he looked like a sailor on a whaler
Happy sitting amongst the coils of rope
Completely at ease
He appeared to have long arms
And his agile fingers were beautifully shaped
And appeared to have a mind of their own
As they danced over the fretboard
A large reefer ('old style') on a white plate
Circulated in the narrow dressing room
After a gig notable for being both
Brief and unexpected
Both a triumph and a disaster
This wounded bird
Touches my heart

The full story from that encounter can be found here:


An earlier post -  MUSICAL ROUNDUP

Contains  a review of Will Hodgkinson's Guitar Man (which has wonderful chapters on Davey) and section of Davey Graham links and info.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008



Tom Paine 200

Thetford, birthplace of Tom Paine, is planning six months of celebration of the town's radical son in 2009, with the help of a £50,000 grant from the UK Heritage Lottery Fund.

According to their press release: 'The ambitious programme marking the bi-centenary of Paine's death gets under way in June next year with Sir Richard Attenborough as guest of honour during a Reenactment weekend which puts eighteenth century Thetford centre-stage. The energetic world Paine grew up in will be recreated with street entertainers, drilling musketeers, and rabble rousing politicians just some of the characters populating the town centre.

Through the summer, museum displays, workshops, story-telling, concerts, art exhibitions, schools events, tours and lectures and a Community Play will tell the intertwined stories of the Georgian Age, of eighteenth century Thetford and of Tom Paine himself.

The Festival aims to amuse and entertain as well as do justice to the serious issues Paine himself addressed in his forthright 'common-sense' way.'

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'Thomas Paine, Revolution and Reason'

Lewes is mounting a festival for the bicentennial of Paine's death which will take place from 4th-14th July 2009.(Independence Day in America to the storming of the Bastille in Paris)

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The festival will consist of a wide variety of events in celebration of Paine's life and ideas in general, with particular emphasis on the six years that Thomas Paine spent in Lewes prior to his departure to America, during which he wrote his first pamphlet 'The Case of the Officers of Excise.' Much new research, undertaken by the festival's organiser and local historians, will be published for the event.

Copy of john2 100 Plans are also to establish a visitor centre in the Market Tower in Lewes, with a permanent Paine exhibit.




Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it. 

– Thomas Paine, September 11, 1777

PAINE jarvis1 This oil on canvas portrait of Thomas Paine (c. 1806/1807)  was painted by his close friend John Wesley Jarvis (1780 - 1840).[National Gallery of Art, Washington DC]

The date of Tom Paine's birthday (January 29th) used to be 'a core celebration that was utilized as a platform for women's rights and suffrage, abolition, education, labor, land reform, and a host of progressive causes thoughout the 19th and 20th centuries,' says Kenneth W. Burchell in his essay 'A Short History of the Thomas Paine Birthday Celebrations', featured on, who are trying to stimulate interest in reviving this annual event across the USA.

The first Thomas Paine Birthday Celebration was held secretly in London, England in 1818.

The first known US celebration was organized by British émigré Benjamin Offen in 1825. Historians Marshall G. Brown and Gordon Stein assert that this event 'represented the rebirth of organized freethought in the United States and many of its participants played key roles in the great 19th century American equal rights movements.'

'At the Paine Celebration two years later on January 29, 1827, the same individuals established the Free Press Association for the "support of a press, which, without dread, and uninfluenced by party, interest, or public opinion, will maintain the cause of truth and justice."

Fifty years later, Walt Whitman delivered the principal whitman address at the 1877 celebration, on 28th January at Lincoln Hall, Philadelphia. His speech 'In Memory of Thomas Paine' [full text] included this memorable quote:

'He served the embryo Union with most precious service — a service that every man, woman and child in our thirty-eight States is to some extent receiving the benefit of to-day — and I for one here cheerfully, reverently throw my pebble on the cairn of his memory.'

Others who sang his praises at such celebrations were Robert Owen, an early social reformer and co-founder of New Harmony communitarian experiment, and the inventor Thomas Edison.

Burchell concludes: 'While Paine's birthday is still observed in a few homes and meeting places in the US and Britain, the celebrations have fallen into the background, out of the awareness of the populace as a whole, and have deteriorated to their historically lowest ebb. '




Saturday, December 06, 2008



2 June 1948 - 26 Nov 2008

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Rob Partridge (left) with best friend David May. Plymouth 1965

David May comments on Rob's funeral:
Rob's humanist cremation and memorial service  was a unique occasion.

The Latin inscription on the front page of the order of service was HAEC RES VALE NIHIL ET ERGO FUTUENDAM EST which translated as 'Fuck this for a game of soldiers.'

We came in to his favourite Miles Davies track So What and then Billy Bragg opened the humanist service with an unaccompanied. Jerusalem. There were words from his Coalition colleage and a friend who supported QPR with him, a reading of a poem by Mary Oliver's The Summer Day and a music journalist reflecting on time.
The music included Somewhere over the Rainbow / What A Wonderful World from someone I hadn't heard of called Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and a deeply moving Tom Waits track Take It With Me. Waits was in the congration (along with Bono, the Edge and Adam of U2) It was a beautiful, moving moment. After a few words from his brother and some brave spirited ones from his wife Tina a absolute masterstroke was produced..

Only Rob could dream up ending his own funeral a with a six piece Mariachi Band in Mexican outfits singing My Way and ending with Roll Out the Barrell. Apparently he was adamant that everyone should leave with a smile. He succeeded.

Chris Blackwell said he hadn't ever experienced a service like that in his lifetime. I doubt whether anyone present will again.
Mick Brown was also there and wrote this on The Telegrah blog.

'Rob Partridge: Influential music publicist and writer, he guided Bob Marley, U2 and Tom Waits' by Robin Denslow [The Guardian 2 Dec 08]

Johnny Marr, Bono, Tom Waits pay tribute to music PR Rob Partridge. PR oversaw Bob Marley, discovered U2 and helped start Mercury Prize [NME 1 Dec 08]

'Rob Partridge: Head of Press at Island Records who made a legend of Bob Marley' by Chris Salewicz [The Independent 29 Nov 08)

'Rob Partridge: an unsung hero of music' by Neil McCormick [The Telegraph 28 Nov 08)

'Rob Partridge: A Tribute' by Sean O' Hagan [The Guardian 28 Nov 08)

'Caught by the Reaper - Rob Partridge' by Tony Crean [Caught by the River 28 Nov 08]

'British Music PR Giant Rob Partridge Dies' by Tom Ferguson [Billboard 26 Nov 08]

Rob Partridge, R.I.P. [ 26 Nov 08]

The Passing of A Remarkable Man [Insights From the Engine Room 26 Nov 08]

'Rob Partridge Dies' By Robert Ashton [Music Week 26 Nov 08]


List of articles by Rob Partridge in Rock's Back Pages

Rob was a writer for Melody Maker and other publications before becoming a press officer with Island Records.)

'My memories of Marley...' [BBC News 4 Feb 2005]

To mark the 60th anniversary of the birth of reggae star Bob Marley, Rob Partridge - Marley's former head of press at Island Records - remembers the man behind the legend.