Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The power of words (Part 2)

If you have been following my posts recently you would have seen one titled 'The power of words'

In it I point out the way George Osborne describes Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as  'Left Wing Insurgents' so as to create the perception of a decent, principled and compassionate man (and his supporters who have been blamed by Tony Blair of having a heart!!!) into that of an armed rebellion trying to overthrow a legitimate government by illegitimate means.

Nonsense of course, but the point is, he is attempting to change reality for his own ends.
All politicians do this (I can almost hear you say) but...there is a difference with interpretation of an aim or act and the deliberate distortion of this sort.

It happened again
the other day when Bombing Syria was being discussed in the Commons.

Cameron this time said that anyone who disagreed with the airstrikes on Syria was a terrorist sympathiser. This outrageous claim was a crude attempt to close down discussion on the matter, and clearly shows that whatever reasoned arguments he had for killing Syrians, they were not (even in his mind) robust enough to stand on their own. But let's think about what he was actually saying.

That if we disagree with the bombing, then we are terrorist sympathisers, which therefore implies that the only people to get killed in the airstrikes will be terrorists (which is clearly not true).

So he is saying, there is no real opposition to the airstrikes in Britain, except from terrorist sympathisers and they are a threat as they are trying to stop us killing the terrorists in Syria.

Ok, now squeezed out of this warped logic are the ordinary British people who do not think that killing more innocent people is going to help and on the Syrian side the innocent people caught up in this have been left out too, their deaths not considered important by our government.

Logic goes out of the window, innocent people are slaughtered in Paris and our response is to slaughter another lot of innocent people in the hope of hitting a terrorist and then claim we have the moral high ground. This to me, it is no more that 'tit for tat' poorly disguised as 'doing something' to stop Isis, Isil or whoever. The same thing has being going on for months in Iraq and Afghanistan without any significant disruption of the enemy.
The people who voted for this should be taken to see the results of waging war from an armchair, see how their point scoring in parliament results in a hell they obviously cannot conceive anything of. They must comfort themselves that, as they have never actually held a weapon in their hands that they have never been responsible for the deaths of anyone. If so, they clearly do not understand power or their place within it. 

I am not a pacifist and I  want theses fascists to be stopped with force, killed if necessary but not by carpet bombing everyone around them. This is a complex problem that requires a more comprehensive and intelligent approach to end the terror of Isis. Cameron's knee jerk reaction just shows that he has no idea what to do to counter this jihadi threat but he knows that the easy option is to just throw a few bombs at the problem. The arms industry are always close to government making sure they have the weapons of their desire at their disposal and once bought, need to be used. Running low, forget new hospitals or any other public service, divert that money to more weapons, government does it's bombing, government looks tough, job done.
They can then claim they have acted to secure the safety of the British people.

All that Is left is to get ready with propaganda when the reaction to that is bloody atrocities on civilians in this country.

But, as we are all terrorists now, what does it matter?

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Do they know it's Christmas?

With Christmas about to engulf us all, it has been on my mind about the plight of the Syrian refugees many of which will be spending life in a different type of hell in refugee camps around Europe with barely anything between them and the unthinkable.

So this is Christmas eh? Do they know it?

With the news services dominated on whether or not to bomb more of the Syrian population, it is our turn it seems to show our brand of barbarism. ...
With that in mind and a feeling that I want to do something (non-violent) no matter how small, I just wanted to suggest that all profits from my Christmas CD single this year, should you wish to buy it from here http://steve-drewett.com/steve-drewett/physical.html… will be donated to one of the Charities put forward by the Guardian Syrian appeal. If you want to donate and not buy the single that is fine too and you will find the links below to help you do so.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Vive la Rock!

I can imagine that for Islamic extremists, because the west trumpets democracy all the time and we vote in our murderous leaders, they think we are responsible for what they do, as these politicians are our elective representatives. This seems to make some sense, but it ignores just how truly unrepresentative our democracy is now and the fact that millions marched to try to stop the invasion of Iraq. Our political representatives are letting us down and we have now run out of... choices.

What were once wars of proxy fought by our so called leaders in far away lands are now being fought in our streets and the winners are the arms manufacturers including those wined and dined in the Tower of London directly after the First World War remembrance 'Poppy' exhibition. All conflicts are now lethal (and very profitable) all acts political. The Islamic State has now declared war on rock music, think of that for a moment. Laughingly (not!) that means that I play the devils music, that I play music that is evil? What sort of warped logic makes the murder of innocent people good and playing and enjoying music evil?

See you at the next gig!

Vive la Rock!

Monday, 31 August 2015

The power of words!

Language and words are very powerful things, from Murdoch's newspapers to the way the Tory Government frames an argument, it is used to control perception of the world to the needs of the powerful elite.
This is not new, the frequently used example is the way strikers 'demand' and bosses 'plead'. These two words frame the argument in favour of perception being on the bosses side.
Today George Osborne called Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters 'Left Wing Insurgents'. In doing this he is trying to turn the perception of a decent, principled and compassionate man (and his supporters who have been blamed by Tony Blair of having a heart!!!) into the perception of an armed rebellion trying to overthrow a legitimate government by illegitimate means.

This is not an insurgency! It is a profoundly legitimate democratic process and is offering an alternative view of how this country could be run. But to this government, ideas are dangerous and are to be considered as lethal as a weapon.

As I say, language and words are very powerful things.

For those of us that believe in Corbyn's alternative view, lets re-frame the argument, our vocabulary is our arsenal, lets change the perception of what we can achieve for the common good.
Let us turn our anger to persuasion and build a grass roots movement committed to winning the argument and creating a government that serves the people and not the other way round.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Newtown Neurotics 'Triumph Over Adversity' One of the greatest live albums ever? Discuss!

It is so hard for me to relate to you how good 'Triumph Over Adversity' is (for those of you who have not already bought it). If I tell you what I really feel about the album, I will just come over to you as vain, conceited and perhaps delusional and this is the problem!
How do I convince you? With just words!
How do I get you past that "yeah, yeah it's a live album yawn, live albums are boring" feeling?
I know that an artist/band can truly believe that they have just released their best album ever, only to find that their audience turns their backs on it. But I also believe that there are times when the artist/band knows, that what they have done is something special, and it really is, and that is then echoed back by others.
Today, I found out that 'Triumph Over Adversity' has seven 5 star reviews on Amazon, and the latest one says everything I'd ever thought would come across to anyone, who cast aside their doubts and made the purchase (and no, it wasn't written by me under a pseudonym, would I do that to you?).
Personally, I think that 'Triumph Over Adversity' is the greatest album the Newtown Neurotics have ever put out.
This is what a reviewer on Amazon thought...
By uktoady on 24 July 2015
"I’m not always a big fan of live albums – much of the joy of listening to a band playing live is actually being there, at the gig, being part of the crowd, immersed in the atmosphere – and it’s difficult to capture that in a recording. However, with the insight gleaned from Steve Drewett’s candid sleeve notes, recounting the background to this particular gig and the exceptional circumstances under which they went on to perform, you are taken into that University hall and you are there, with the Neurotics…
From the opening chords of Wake Up (surely one of the best intros ever – and what a way to open a gig!), you can hear and feel the angst and frustration being vented – a seething torrent of guitars, drums and vocals delivered with an urgency and energy that grabs you and carries you along with the force of tsunami!
The sound quality is amazing considering the low-tech way it was recorded. Steve Drewett is at his impassioned best - his words are from the heart and it is impossible not to be affected, whether it is listening to his vocals and lyrics, or reading his sleeve notes … what he so brilliantly manages to convey is direct, honest, raw emotion – and you know he means every word. Simon Lomond’s beat-perfect drumming leaves you breathless with its intensity, all the while driving and holding each number together, while the chance to hear again the late Colin Dredd’s bass and backing vocals is a privilege in itself – and a reminder of how well the three of them worked together. The unity and closeness of the band shines through.
This is music that deserves to be heard – and should be heard. It has so much more value and sincerity than some of the contrived, cultivated pop fodder so often served up today – and with the Newtown Neurotics still relevant and active today, (with Steve and Simon joined by bassist Adam Smith), you might be lucky enough to catch them at one of their (sadly, all-too-rare) appearances.
Meantime, if you want to hear – and feel - the pounding heart of the Newtown Neurotics, then just listen to this!"
Triumph Over Adversity can be bought via Amazon or if you want to avoid Amazon,directly from the band (whose prices include the p&p) at

5 star reviews of 'Triumph Over Adversity' on Amazon

Friday, 3 July 2015

The Last Chance of a Lifetime

The Neurotics have a gig coming up on Saturday.  It will be the last gig the Neurotics will ever do in the Square as the venue is closing down at the end of the year.

For me, saying goodbye is becoming a bit familiar recently, I will be saying goodbye to the venue that nurtured the Neurotics and myself for 35 years, Colin Dredd of-course spent many an hour in The Square and I've had to say goodbye to him recently too.
Yesterday a biker in a some slow moving traffic yelled at me as I ambled along the street "Steve! I heard you were dead!" Mortality and time have been forced into my attention these last couple of months, and the fact that nothing lasts. Here's an example, I have had a CNT sticker on my Les Paul for years, it is now a famous characteristic of my guitar, everyone who loves the Neurotics is familiar with it. It seemed to be cemented into the body of my instrument, as over the years it has stayed put, it just became worn by my arm movements.
Yesterday, to my horror, I noticed it was beginning to peel off so I quickly made for the super glue and stuck back the offending corner. I was not prepared to say goodbye to this sticker and this time I had some control, unlike the closing of the Square or the death of Colin. I attempted to cheat time.
Of-course, I will eventually loose.

If you've ever seen us at the Square, why not come and enjoy that experience once more, for the last time. And what a gig it is going to be!!!!  Solitary Confinement and Living With Unemployment on the same night anyone???

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Final Newtown Neurotics gig at the Square Harlow July 4th, not final Neurotics gig though.

I'm off  to play Glastonbury solo on Friday at the Leftfield stage at 3pm but I thought I'd just flag up the next gig the Newtown Neurotics are doing. It will be the last gig the Neurotics will ever do in the Square as the venue is closing down at the end of the year.
If you've ever seen us at the Square, why not come and enjoy that experience once more, for the last time. And what a gig it is going to be!!!! More acts to come... Solitary Confinement and Living With Unemployment on the same night anyone???

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Colin Masters aka Colin Dredd 1956-2015 - The final goodbye.

Last Sunday night was a lovely evening, big thanks to all who came and to those who performed, Howard and Clack, Murray Torkildsen, Attila. Also to Rosa Goodwin Drewett, Simon Lomond and Sarah Ross for joining me on stage for my set.

A big thank you also needs to be said for the Square One Partnership for making the Square available to hold this event, Chris Fallon for doing the sound and to all the staff who were so helpful throughout the evening.

For my wife Clare, I thank for loving me and helping me to hold myself together in these difficult times, and I needed help, it has been such a strain.

It was a very moving night and I managed to be moved without actually breaking down, which I have been prone to do at the drop of a hat recently.
Personally, Colin was very special to me and all I wanted to do since his last hours and the time after his death, was to make sure that I gave him the goodbye that he deserved. In the process, we all got to be involved in that goodbye, and during that time, I have experienced the greatest side of Social Media because it enabled me to reach out to so many people who's lives have been touched by him, and the love and the support that came back has been phenomenal.

But, there is another, more personal and more private mourning going on behind this, my thoughts are now with Colin's family, his former partner Sylvie and also Val, who spent so many years together with him, revelling in their common interests, and later looked after him in his ill health.

The non public side of Colin will be cherished in a different, more quiet way. We have celebrated his public rock 'n' roll life in music and images and seen how far and how loved the man as a musician is regarded.

But away from the limelight, his character, his love and regard for people, was every bit as important as the mark he made in music. There was a lot of his life I had no part in, so I cannot help illuminate that in which I did not share. I just did the bit I knew, I hope it didn't over shadow the man behind the rock star.

Now I have to let him go, no more tributes, no more rock gigs in his name, nothing left to make me feel that I am stopping him from sliding into the abyss.

But, I have seen lives transformed by this man and I know that if I say that 'he lives on in our hearts', it is not a trite meaningless response to loss, because I feel it, I know it is real, we all do. And when you realise this fact, you begin to see the man, still alive, still with us, still vital.
And in that, is a true comfort and a revelation that can only come when words gain true meaning.

I have learnt so much from these past couple of weeks and one of the things I learnt, is that, quietly and in his own way,
He changed my life,


I was transformed.

Thank you Colin, what a gift you gave me!

Friday, 5 June 2015

My speech to say goodbye to my friend Colin Masters aka Colin Dredd 1956-2015

This was my speech for Colin at his funeral on Wednesday 3rd June, shared so that those who could not make the funeral can get a taste of our goodbye to him.
Stand by me.
The early Eighties were a very divisive time politically, and in London there were a couple of right wing groups who were determined to make their Nazi ideology popular by targeting young people. The National Front and the British Movement started by recruiting muscle from outside football grounds and then they turned to music fans. They leafleted live gigs and then attempted to take out bands they deemed to be left wingers. They attacked audiences and performers alike, smashing up or disrupting gigs by the likes of Sham69, Redskins, Madness and many more.
Into this seething cauldron of hate came the Neurotics and being anti-racist and lefties in nature, were added to the list of rock bands that had to be stopped. There were some informers within these fascist groups who would warn us in advance of trouble and in May 1982, as we prepared, with Attila The Stockbroker, to play a club in Islington called Skunx, we got the message…
“They are coming for you”.
As was predicted, when we took the stage there was a wall of Nazi skinheads staring malevolently at us. We played like our lives depended on it, hoping beyond hope that the music alone would change their minds. We were left untouched that night, but that was because they were after the headliner Attila who, once he took the stage, they attacked and smashed his instrument over his head, whilst glasses, tables and chairs flew in an orgy of violence.
Subsequently, we were sent a ‘single’ of ours disfigured by race hate slogans, my publisher’s life was threatened over the phone and I had death threats left on my answering machine.
And whenever we did a gig in London, we would often get the message once more
“They are coming for you”
My point here is that Colin wasn’t a fighter, he was a very sensitive man and he wasn’t even able to defend himself if attacked. But never, did he say “do you really think we should do this gig? Never did he voice concerns about our safety in playing these concerts. He knew, like we all did in the band, that this was intimidation, and if they couldn’t physically stop us playing then psychological warfare may do the trick. It didn’t.
At these gigs, with Simon Lomond on drums behind us, Colin would take his place at the mike beside me, our legs shaking and our hearts gripped by an icy fear, standing in front of hostile audiences, high up on the stage like targets at a fairground at which pot shots of glasses, pool cues, bar stools and chairs could potentially be aimed at us.
And as I’d announce our first number, I would look down the neck of my guitar and just beyond would be Colin, as white as a sheet, but resolute, showing enormous courage, time and time again.
Gig after gig, he stood by me, he stood by his beliefs and like bothers in arms forged in the crucible of war, we too became brothers in that time.
I recently had the privilege of spending his final night with him and every now and then he would open his eyes to check if I was still there, I stood by him, like he did for me.
My friend, my bassist, my brother, Colin.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

When flowers are not power and money is.

Ahead of tomorrow's funeral at the Harlow Crematorium at 1pm, a final bit of information
Colin would not have liked money spent on flowers, rather he would like to have seen the money that would have been spent on them, instead go to a good cause.
The family have now announced the cause that you can donate to in his memory if you should wish to, details below...

THE NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR YOUTH MUSIC via the donate button on the web site www.youthmusic.org.uk
or text 70070 and text message YMUS10 £ (amount donated-£3, £5 or £10)

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Update on the funeral of Colin Masters aka Colin Dredd.

Colin's coffin is going to be painted white and there will be special pens supplied on the day for mourners to graffiti it with final messages to him (there will be the duration of a medley of two songs playing in which to do this). I thought I'd let you know in advance in case you would like to contemplate what to write.
This way of saying goodbye is in place of flowers which Colin would have disliked as being a waste of money. I understand that a charity chosen by the family will be available to donate to instead.
You don't have to dress in black, dress how you would if you were meeting up with him normally. He'd always turn up wearing his rucksack so you turn up how you would.
There will be a photographer present to record the event, let's make it special!
Recap on date and times...
Colin Masters' funeral is at 1.00pm Wednesday 3rd June Harlow crematorium CM19 4SF
Drinks afterwards at the Greyhound pub 12 School Lane CM20 2QD
All welcome.
I know I am about to shout but on this occasion I think it is acceptable to do so!
PLEASE SHARE THIS POST AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AND SPREAD THE WORD TO PEOPLE YOU THINK KNEW COLIN BUT ARE NOT ON FACEBOOK. There I did it, I just want to avoid heartache for anyone who loved him and who only find out about the funeral after the event.
We are beginning to put together an evening at the Square on Sunday 7th June for friends, family and fans to remember Colin. We are sort of thinking of displaying images of him, playing some of his favorite music and maybe some short solo acoustic spots.
This will help those that were not able to attend the funeral and/or wake due to other commitments a chance to say goodbye, and it gives us all another chance to enjoy our memories of him together.

All welcome!

Check your diaries and watch this space

Monday, 25 May 2015

A statement from Steve Drewett on the passing of Colin Master aka Dredd on behalf of himself and the family.

Below is a piece written for the people who have responded on Facebook. Realising that not everyone uses facebook I have reproduced the piece below so that we can keep as many people in the loop as possible. If this is all news for you, go to the bottom of this thread and read upwards.

At this point, now a little time has passed from the loss of my dear friend Colin, having communicated a very personal account of my part in some of his final hours, and of my devastation at his passing. I must take a moment to give a little perspective on this.
I want to pass on thanks from myself and Colin’s family, to everyone who has posted their thoughts about him on Facebook. The response has been truly amazing, only now are we able to get an idea on how much he and his talent was revered both locally and globally, both by close friends, distant friends, fans and the famous. He name is legend.
And the thing is, he would be even more amazed, because he had simply no idea about this at all. Colin was one of the digitally excluded; he had no PC, no tablet, no internet, only a dumb phone which he rarely turned on.
In contrast to me, where I could luxuriate in peoples appreciation of our music through Facebook, day in and day out. He had little idea. Of course I would tell him every opportunity I could and sometimes show him a bit on my PC, but we wanted to spend our time together talking not looking at a screen.
He had no idea.
Again, I would like to thank you. I have been amazed how considerate and sensitive everyone’s contribution on Facebook has been. On what appears to be thousands of messages, only two perhaps have asked what he died of. Your respect for his privacy has been inspiring.
The omission of this information was put into place to respect Colin’s feelings, and was a measure intended to help prepare for his future after a major operation. As he sadly did not survive that operation, I can now reveal some details of his misfortune, both because you have all deserved it and, to prevent speculation that he may have had Aids or Cancer etc. Any speculation is understandable, I do not criticise it, it is a part of being human.
Since my intense and close friendship with him changed when he left the band, we of course kept in touch. As he forged himself a new life without the Neurotics, it was one I knew little of. When we had the chance meet up, we always had a blast remembering the old days and that invariably left little time for his news. Also, Colin was always intrigued about what everyone else was up to rather than talking about himself.
In recent years, ill health began to have a greater impact on him. Asthma plagued him every year, pleurisy finished off his ability to remain in the Neurotics, he then suffered deep vein thrombosis and finally diverticulitis, a pernicious condition where in some cases (in Colin’s case) your waste is able to enter the upper digestive system.
You throw up shit basically.
He was treated for this but not cured, it returned, as it often does, causing a fresh bout of abdominal pain. Colin was once again suffering acute discomfort and was in and out of hospital until recently. Eventually, he was kept in while doctors tried to fight massive infection within his body.
They threw everything at it, but to no avail. The only option left was to remove his colon and try to flush out what infection that was left. Once opened him up it was worse than they thought, they removed his colon, this spleen and probably some of his intestine too. After the operation, he fought for a week to recover, but the toxins in his body were too great and Colin too weak to fight it. Eventually, the doctors ran out of everything that might improve his condition except morphine, and that would just make him as comfortable as possible until the end. He died of toxic shock.
It was little wonder that in the last few years, he became more and more private, almost hermit like, insular and hard to contact. He also had to deal with signing on every day and at one point having his benefits stopped, leaving him penniless. I have no idea how much discomfort, pain and misery he suffered on his own in his little flat, but that would make anyone unwilling to get out and about more.
The thing is though, he wasn't alone. Since he left the band, he forged a relationship with a woman who would become a fantastic friend, a soulmate even. Her name is Val and she has loved and cared for Colin as a friend since 1988.
Every step of his deterioration she was there to support and comfort him, every hospital visit, she was there for him, she was his rock.
Because he had become so private, he didn't really want people to know whenever he had to stay in hospital, and so I didn't find out myself until very recently. By then, I knew he was going in for the opp and after he had it, I left it a few days before seeing him so that he could recover a bit before having visitors.
My point here, and it is a very important one, is that by the time I arrived on the scene, Val had spent uncountable hours supporting him in and out of hospital, I, made a couple of visits and then rushed to his bedside as he started to fade. I had the honour of spending his last night with him whilst Val caught up on a bit of sleep; she was with him when he passed away whilst I was catching up on mine.
My role was very small, Val’s was unmeasurable.

Colin Masters' funeral is at 1.00pm Wednesday 3rd June Harlow crematorium CM19 4SF
Drinks afterwards at the Greyhound pub 12 School Lane CM20 2QD
All welcome.
Please spread the word to people you think knew Colin but are not on Facebook.
There will be 'a celebration of Colin's life' event put together in a couple of weeks time or so which will enable all those who hear late about Colin's passing or cannot make the funeral/wake to be able to attend and we can then get friends and family and fans together for a big do.

Just putting it out there, we are beginning to put together an evening at the Square on Sunday 7th June for friends, family and fans to remember Colin. We are sort of thinking of displaying images of him, playing some of his favorite music and maybe some short solo accousitc spots.
This will help those that were not able to attend the funeral and/or wake due to other commitments a chance to say goodbye, and it gives us all another chance to enjoy our memories of him together. All welcome! Check your diaries and watch this space
Like · Comment · 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Colin Masters aka Colin Dredd 1956-2015

Here are the last two posts have written on my dear friend Colin Masters, the sequence runs from bottom of the this post to the top.
3 hrs ago 19th May
Colin Dredd aka Colin Masters passed away at 10.45 this morning. These were the last moments I had with him...
"After that was done he had woken up to some degree and we continued to try to communicate. I then noticed that half of the cards he had received had still not been read to him so I suggested I read them and Colin agreed.
I did and he really really enjoyed listening to them being read. I can therefore tell all of you who sent him cards, that he received and heard them all, and they were read to him, just when he really needed them. Thank you to all who took the time and effort, as not only did he know about all the people thinking about him, but it gave us a very special moment that was to usher him out of the physical world.
When I eventually said I had to leave to get some sleep he turned in his bed to wave goodbye to me and that was to be my final memory of him."

I am aware that there are those of you who have sent cards that are still in the postal system. Do not be sad that your letters did not reach him in time, be reassured that the family are going to take great comfort in all of them, they are like echoes of the music he made, from the friends he leaves behind.

Colin Masters aka Dredd
Bassman Newtown Neurotics 1978 - 1988
Born 1955 (I think) - 2015

We are all heartbroken.

9 hrs ago 19th May

Update on the condition of Colin Dredd:
We nearly lost him last night, I had a text from his close friend Val to say the hospital had rung to say we had better go in. When I arrived Val was there and Colin was unresponsive. After a good while of talking across the bed, I saw his eyes begin to open and then he was back with us to some degree. After a while,seeing as he had perked up, Val left to get some sleep before she is back by his bedside again. I remained to stay by his bedside through the night. He kept trying to talk to me and I kept putting my ear next to his mask to work out what he was saying but failing miserably. Then on one of these occasions, he appeared to be making sounds that were not words and I said to him "Colin are you singing" and he nodded yes!

He sang to me! And I said Colin, I haven't heard you sing for years, that's brilliant.
Eventually he fell asleep and I watched over him through the night.
When the morning came the nurses, came to give him fresh meds and cleaned up the mask and his face. After that was done he had woken up to some degree and we continued to try to communicate. I then noticed that half of the cards he had received had still not been read to him so I suggested I read them and Colin agreed.
I did and he really really enjoyed listening to them being read.

I can therefore tell all of you who sent him cards, that he received and heard them all and they were read to him, just when he really needed them. Thank you to all who took the time and effort, as not only does he know about all the people thinking about him, but it gave us a special moment or two also.

When I eventually said I had to leave to get some sleep he turned in his bed to wave goodbye to me and that is the most I have seen him move for some time

Colin had massive infections before the operation, and these are now what are debilitating him, the doctors have thrown every type of meds they have at the problem and they now have nothing left. The disease will next go for the lungs and Colin's lung capacity has been debilitated by years of smoking.
I guess you know what I am saying here, because I'm not actually able to say it.
I've got to go to bed, I'm so tired.

The most famous line up of the Newtown Neurotics came together this afternoon as myself and Simon Lomond visited our old friend and comrade Colin Dredd as he lie in the Critical Care unit of the ICU. I was relieved to see that although he still had an oxygen mask on to help with his breathing, he was not so distressed this time, albeit completely out of it. He is in great pain hence he is on morphine and although his surgery was a week ago, he is now fighting toxins and infection that has riddled the lower part of his body. The aim is to neutralise this poison before it reaches his vital organs.
It is almost, (although not completely) impossible to communicate with him as when he speaks, you can't hear him over the hiss of the oxygen or what words fall into the bottom of the mask, destined never to reach our ears, and he is in cloud cuckoo land with the drugs of-course. The life support machines around him randomly make sounds that unfortunately sound like the phrase "uh oh" and they unnerve me each time it happens, drawing my eyes to the read outs each and every time. The bewildering array of changing numbers are like medical dice but they never stop long enough to tell me if he is winning or losing. I try not to look anymore.
He continues to get loads of cards and I bought another batch of them today. He has had at least some of the first batch read to him but if he understood what was being said I don't know. The cards will do their job as soon as he has recovered a little more.
Simon told him to hang on it there and get better soon and we managed to hear him say "I am doing my best"
The Newtown Neurotics were and are a gang, that's rare in a band these days and as Simon and I left, we were anguished in a way only a gang can feel when one of their own has been laid low for some reason or other.
It's been a week now since his operation, he is still here, still fighting and with the tick tick ticking of the clock, all this friends hope that he inches closer to recovery.
You are with him with your cards,
he knows you are there,
that's the main thing.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Colin as I found him yesterday

This is what happened when I visited Colin yesterday, I will be visiting him again this Sunday.
Hi all, I visited Colin in the ICU today and I'm afraid that I lasted around 30 seconds. He had an oxygen mask on and was breathing with great difficulty, I was alarmed by how distressed he was and felt that my presence would only distress him further. He lifted his arm and shook my hand. I asked how he was (at a loss what to say to him) and he gave me a thumbs down. I then told him about all the cards I had for him and placed them on the table near him. Thinking I wasn't helping being there I told him I would come back another day when he was feeling a bit better, he smiled and he shook my hand again.
The nurses wouldn't tell how he was doing in more detail as I wasn't family, they said he was stable at the moment which I take as "hanging on in there "
I couldn't stand seeing him is such pain
I left in tears.
He is going to be in hospital for some time, I think he is going to be a long time healing, If you haven't sent him a card because life is so busy and you forgot, it's not too late but the sooner the better.
Just in case.
Colin Dredd,
c/o No Wonder
154 Bishopsfield
Essex CM18 6UR

Monday, 11 May 2015

Colin Dredd in Intensive Care but recovering

Just to let you know that Colin Dredd, original bass player with the Newtown Neurotics is in Intensive Care at the moment. Without invading his privacy I can tell you that he has been very ill recently and the condition led finally to major surgery. In these last 48 hours we have been worried that he might not recover. However the good news is that he appears to be pulling through and is on the road to recovery.
From people I know who have been in the unenviable position of having to be treated in the ICU, cards and letters of encouragement play a very important role in helping the patient to recover. It is not surprising, as it is the power of love (to coin an old rock ballad) and knowing that people care, that makes all the difference.
Now Colin is 'Old Skool', he has no internet connection, no computer, no smartphone and therefore no Facebook or email, so lovely messages left on these platforms are not going to do the trick for him. He needs something he can hold in his hand and read easily.
So I was wondering that if you have enjoyed what Colin brought to the Neurotics over the years and you could spare a moment, could you send him an old fashion card with one of those old stamp things, or drop him a line with some words of encouragement to the address below, I will then take them to him in his hospital bed. Because he is not online, he barely knows the pleasure he has brought people with his music as there is no easy channel for that appreciation to reach him. But of all the years he has been alive, this is the time he needs to hear it.
If you could do this, I would be so pleased.
Colin Dredd,
c/o No Wonder
154 Bishopsfield
Essex CM18 6UR
I will of-course keep you updated on his recovery here.
The great photo attached is courtesy of ©Tony Mottram

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Election agony

It makes me feel uneasy, and I can't for the life of me work out who would find it enjoyable, but the way TV presenters and programme executives frame their Election coverage, is that we are in for an exciting time watching a new and unpredictable political landscape unfold over the duration of an evening.

The only people who could possibly find this exciting are the TV people themselves, anyone who doesn't live here or is so wealthy and disconnected from harsh reality that they can luxuriate in some fascinated chin stroking.

I am in my 60th year now and therefore have experienced enough Elections to get a clear overview of this phenomenon. I have found every election coverage programme like a slow torture as the first part of the evening is unmitigated bullshit because no-one knows what is happening and as more seats are declared a thick cloud of despair and depression descend upon me as I realise that our lives are about to get even worse. It really is the most demoralising programme on TV, so much so it makes Big Brother seem hugely enjoyable.

Even when the results herald in the party I have voted for, it doesn't bring the joy and satisfaction I'd expect to feel, like I was seeing democracy bringing in a bright new future. This is because Murdoch's influence in the political process had hollowed out the manifesto from anything that might possibly be left wing.

Even when Labour won with the landslide that brought Tony Blair to power for the first time, I felt similar to having ate a wonderful but very greasy meal and immediately regretted it. Queasy doesn't adequately describe it.

We are on the verge of calamitous change and I don't know what to do tomorrow, I will feel like I'm by the side of the road watching a car crash in slow motion. I will feel my eyes are pinned open like Alex in 'A Clockwork Orange',unable to look away. I will feel a dissatisfaction that builds so slowly, with the ticking clock, with each passing minute, a dissatisfaction creating an anger that cannot be expressed externally and so I can only internalise it. Not nice.

You know the reason people now hate politicians? Instead of seeing them as being there to help us, they now seem like they are there to hurt us.

But despite that, I will vote Labour tomorrow. That is definate!

Despite my politics never being fully satisfied by the choices I get laid before me, I will fight the Tories until my dying day.

Although it is akin to the Myth of Sisyphus in which a man is condemned to roll a heavy rock to the top of a mountain, only to see it roll down the other side and then have to repeat the process for eternity, I don't want to be under that rock.

Having said all that, I still don't know what to do with myself tomorrow evening. I can't bear to watch that programme, however on this occasion ignorance is not bliss.

I think maybe, in my darkest hours I will watch the clip below and prepare to

 "Roll away the stone, why be cold and so alone".

Let's kick out the Tories, vote Labour Thursday May 7th and we'll take it from there.


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

I've had some great news!

I have just had some great news.

I have been contacted by Billy Bragg asking if I would like to play some songs with him at the Left Field stage at Glastonbury at this years festival. This is brilliant, I will get to play Glastonbury for the first time in my life, Glastonbury has been a thread throughout my life as I attended the second ever one in 1971 during which I witnessed David Bowie play. I have then attended it sporadically over the years but haven't been there for 15 odd years now. To think that when I turned up in 1971, part of a crowd of 12,000, that all these years later I would play there myself. Amazing.

The 1971 event was only the second Glastonbury festival and the first one to have a pyramid stage.I remember being waking up after late night of overindulgence around late morning or early afternoon and dragging myself over to the remains of the fire in front of my tent. I then tried to revive it with a branch or two just as the performer on the stage sang...

 " Put another log on the fire for me, I've made some breakfast and coffee, Look out my window and what do I see
A crack in the sky and a hand reaching down to me, All the nightmares came today
And it looks as though they're here to stay"Oh You Pretty Things lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, TINTORETTO MUSIC

Because of his strange delivery (as it seemed at the time), I remarked to the other hippies around the fire.

"He sounds like I feel"

The stage was a stone's throw from our tents and it was David Bowie, I was woken up from sleep by David Bowie playing outside my tent!
Once my head had cleared of sleep, I was able to enjoy his set and this has remained a very strong memory.

Other bands on at the festival were Hawkwind, Traffic, Melanie, Joan Baez, Fairport Convention and Quintessence.

Playing at Glastonbury this year will make me feel I have come full circle in my life.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Liars, liars, liars!

I, last night, played with the Newtown Neurotics at the Pipeline venue in London at a pre-election show to encourage people to Kick Out The Tories!

I always face a conundrum at these gigs, as I want the set to not only be a high energy display of punk rock but give people something to think about too. However, I am so intoxicated in the moment, that I have a real problem articulating my political beliefs in-between numbers. Even without having a drink, my thoughts are dashing across my synapses far too fast to take a single idea and run with it. I try to express my ideals though my lyrics, but at times like these, I feel I should say more. When, in the past, I have attempted that and later gone on to view them on YouTube, I am embarrassed that I was not able to more skillfully articulate what I was trying to say.

So I decided to keep it simple last night and just said, "we have got to kick out the Tories because we cannot contemplate another term with them in power". And that was it,basically, but underneath I was seething with a frustration that even my music could not burn away, I had a head full of indignation that, if allowed to be expressed, would come out so fast that it would just be an expression of anger and not reason. That is why I could never be a politician. 

Then, in the early hours of the morning,  I saw George Osborne's 'absolute commitment' to plug the NHS funding gap and I could take it no longer, I just had to get my thoughts out there, and below, if you would care to read it, is what I needed to say, if for no other reason than to give me room in my thoughts for something nicer (we live in hope).

Thank you for your patience in reading this.

Some of us see politics as the mechanism for bringing about real change to improve peoples lives, others see it as the smoke and mirrors of liars.

I despair to see crass examples of the latter, politics should be so much better than this. The Tories are now claiming they are going to plug the NHS funding gap by pumping into it £8bn above inflation, year on year until 2020.

I despair that some people will actually believe this is good news, as for many of us, this announcement brings a cascade of questions which prevents us from believing that the health service is safe in their hands. 

There they are...

1.   If the NHS is so important to you, how come we now have a £30bn funding gap between now and the end of the decade. At best this shows indescribable incompetence, at worse a deliberate attempt to starve the NHS of funding so that it no longer works and then, you can claim, that only the private sector can save it. This is a common template of the Tories, they have used this bullshit time and time again to justify privatisation. The railways for one comes quickly to mind.

2.   Did you not undertake an enormous and un-needed reorganisation of the NHS, one that was not mentioned in your manifesto and therefore, you did not have a mandate from the people to play around, with a national institution that plays such an important part of everyones life? This is a matter of life and death for people and Cameron and his team, who had no record of competency in government, who did not even win a majority, (so doubtful were the electorate that they could run the country at all), who had no idea how to operate the levers of power or how to work with civil servants to best bring about change, decided that they would dismantle the NHS and move it over root and branch to the private sector. What they did next was both completely incompetent and, willful vandalism at the same time, and behind it all was the slavering mouths of private health corporations, at the thought of the easy acquisition of such large amounts of cold hard cash. The cocaine of the ruling elite and their friends in big business. 

And what a mess they made, deliberately I think, and now with Labour gaining in the opinion polls, the sorry state of the NHS is suddenly discovered, as though they hadn't noticed there was a problem this big, during the full lifetime of a parliament. Either, as I said before, they were incomprehensibly incompetent or they deliberately reduced the service to this. Either way they do not deserve to remain in power.

3.   Now, out of the blue, you have found money for this? When last week you never mentioned it? Huge amounts of money, £8bn a year until 2020. Where is this money coming from? Only a few weeks ago the Welfare State which surely includes the NHS, was to be cut back to the levels of funding unknown since the 1940's because, these are the times of austerity and we can no longer afford to be human, to feel empathy, to really care. We can no longer afford to look after the health and wellbeing of the nation. 

4.   Whatever you say now, with this 'late in the day conversion', with money seemingly plucked out of the air, that has nothing to do of-course with the gaining popularity of Ed Milliband and his promises for the NHS (that still don't go far enough for my liking, but that's another thing). How do we know that once in power you will do this?

No-one is going to believe you

but you know what,

 I do...

5.   Your tribe, the Tories have often said that throwing money at something does not necessarily improve it, the subtext of which, is saying that it is important how the money is spent, this is the touchstone of good governance. So how will this £8bn above inflation increase, year on year until 2020 be spent.
If you get into power in this election, you will completely privatised the NHS and then shovel this windfall of £8bn per year of taxpayers money, into the pockets of the shareholders of multinational companies, who will then release some of our money  back to the health service, which will then be festooned with shiny logos, crass mission statements and glass fronted triage centres. A fragmented misfiring, backfiring service with lawyers benefiting from money that should have been spent on peoples health but will, instead, be wasted on finding out why one service didn't communicate with another which led to a string of deaths or abuse. Or why one company wasn't allowed to bid for potential a pot of gold even though the service was already working successful in the NHS and giving value for money.

Then, when privatisation fails to improve the NHS, on top of the money that taxpayers routinely pay for this service, we will then be asked increasingly, to pay again for services that were once free.

Meanwhile, a renewed Trident fleet will patrol silently deep in the oceans, protecting us from an imagined threat, while the austerity bomb explodes across the land destroying the life and soul of a nation,

So, so proud of Britain, so proud of being British that the Tories would willingly shit on it in a display that leaves us with nothing left to be proud of as a people.

The NHS, the greatest of all humanising ideas, the greatest we, as human beings can be, we reached for the impossible and we made it real, the British State did this and we become a beacon for the world.
Since then successive governments have lost the will to recognise this achievement, which was born of aspirations to improve a brutalised country after the Second World War. It was the greatest thing, the greatest idea, because it showed that money does not just buy bombs, it also buys peace and health and a stronger country. It was an ideal free of profit unless it was a profit that could be enjoyed by all. 

But now these despicable Tories and Rupert Murdoch are barbarians wishing to destroy everything so they can remake it in their own fashion, the brave new world.

Remember, Britons never never never shall be slaves,

Except we are, now!

Break off your shackles everyone, there is a future to be won.

Update, My incredulity was matched by Andrew Marr when he interviewed George Osborne who repeatedly refused to say where the Conservatives will find the extra £8 billion they have promised to plough into the NHS if they are returned to power. Check it out here

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Newtown Neurotics live at the Pipeline London this Friday 10th April

Next up is a pre-election blast this Friday 10th April, a Kick Out The Tories evening to encourage everyone to stand against a party that is turning the population into slaves for the rich elite. It's at the Pipeline in London, the venue is near Liverpool Street follow this link for more details https://www.facebook.com/events/1415566418745675/

Really, looking forward to it, I hate the Tories so much that playing live helps to expunge all the bile they create in me after listening to so much of their propaganda. Great to play live anyway and to meet up with my extended family of Neurotics appreciators. Brand new line of Kick Out The Tories t-shirts and badges will be on sale on the night and I hope we can all fortify ourselves for the battle ahead.

Hope to see you there if you are close enough to the gig to make it. 

Oh, one last thing, there has been a Drewett solo acoustic gig cancellation since I published my gig list on this blog in the last post.

The set with Attila the Stockbroker at the Harlow Square for his book launch on Tues 8th Sept, has been cancelled as the venue will be closed by then to enable a housing project to be built on the site. Hopefully the venue will have a new home by then but it is not signed sealed and delivered yet and so we don't know if there will be a venue ready at that time for the gig. Hopefully it will be rescheduled and if it is, I'll let you know. Watch this space!