Tales from the rails (Bristol) – thoughts on Bill and the long road ahead

Twas a long day in Bristol! After a rather painful 6:30am start I took a train to be at BBC Bristol in time to sound check for my live session at the 12 O’clock show. The BBC is always in a hurry – it is live radio after all – so I was glad I had a moment to breath and gather my thoughts between sound check and show time.

The introduction I got was a nice one and I couldn’t help but smile when she announced my song with: “Here’s Tom with the Weather”…

I’m aware that folks will read this (Quite! Thanks for actually reading my blog by the way!), and it may therefore be unwise to share my thoughts on this, but I feel like it, so there! As I hit the third verse of my song, I noticed the hosts exchange quick and what I interpreted as nervous glances. Of course I continued to play, for I didn’t exactly have any other choice, but I started to feel that my song might not have met full approval. There was no chat after my performance, although I remained in the studio (and got to eat free chocolate cake, which was ace). Both hosts were very kind and complemented me on my voice, but once the show was over and we had a chance to chat briefly. Two words in particular took me aback: “Controversial” and “political” were both used to describe my song and are certainly ones that I’ve never heard before in regards to my material. So my immediate answer was just: “Really?”

I went over the lyrics in my mind as I made my way out of the building. As you probably know, the song was inspired by Bill Hicks (the choose love not fear Hicks, we’re not talking Goatboy material here!). I think the lines: “I don’t believe the pope and Bishop, I don’t believe the Marlboro Man. I believe in evolution, I believe in the good of man” caused the slight stir. This left me feeling a little uneasy. Firstly because nobody likes being disliked. Secondly, and more importantly, the thought that talking about religion equates to talking politics is worrisome, as it the fact that believing in evolution is considered controversial (even in a conservative environment). I don’t know how serious I should take these comments (probably not very!) but still – Food for thought, don’t you think?

I had time to spare and thought it would be a good idea to walk to the venue (it didn’t look that far away on the map of my small phone screen!). Se I walked, and walked… Ever embarked on an ambitious walk and by the time you noticed it was too far it was too late because you were already over half way there? Yes, well… let’s just say I now know Bristol quite well!

I arrived at the venue pretty much simultaneously to the promoter and Mr. McNabb. The Thunderbolt’s a great venue with an incredibly diverse program – and the promoter went out of his way to make me feel welcome, which was fantastic – especially after the long walk. It’s great fun opening for Ian McNabb – his fan base is so loyal and very lovely. The room was packed and I had a great time both playing and catching Ian’s set – Thanks all, I’ll be back in Bristol in November for a show at the Grain Barge. Hope to see you there!

3 Replies to “Tales from the rails (Bristol) – thoughts on Bill and the long road ahead”

  1. Hey Roxanne – I wouldn’t let that get to you. Unfortunately post the Ross/Brand Sachsgate affair all BBC presenters and producers are on eggshells in terms of compliance and as a result overreact when they really (and in this case) REALLY shouldn’t. You are an artist expressing opinion, they should in no way censor you! That’s not what the BBC is about. It’s a pity that some people don’t understand the rules and are then too quick to ‘ban’ or call something controversial when it really isn’t.

  2. When Paul McCartney first played an early version of “Hey Jude” to John Lennon, he got to “the movement you need is on your shoulder” line and said: “I’ll change that, I already used ‘shoulder'”. John Lennon told him not to change it, it was the best line in the song… and I feel the same way about “I don’t believe the pope and Bishop, I don’t believe the Marlboro Man. I believe in evolution, I believe in the good of man”. It’s on my “top 3 greatest Roxanne de Bastion verses” and I will always defend it because I believe in freedom of speech, I love that line and I think it’s not controversial/political but honest. I can’t imagine you trying to make a fuss with that line when you wrote it, just seems like sincerity pouring away 🙂

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