Saturday, 27 October 2012

Badger Cull Demo in Bath - 27/10/12

Following demonstrations elsewhere in the UK, including several recent demos in Bristol, a group of anti- badger cull activists staged two demonstrations in Bath City Centre today against supermarkets selling milk from the cull areas.

Despite the cull not going ahead this year, and a vote in parliament in which the cull was opposed by a significant majority of MPs, the government plans to proceed with the cull in June 2013. This has given the campaign against the badger cull another 6 months to up their efforts to stop it from going ahead.

Around 15 demonstrators gathered outside Sainsbury's Local in Kingsmead Square at 10am armed with placards and leaflets, and remained there until 12:00 mid-day. Several demonstrators wore masks and costumes, including badgers, foxes and a gorilla, and spoke to many members of the public about the issues surrounding the cull. A security guard stood at the entrance watching, however no attempt was made to move demonstrators.
At noon, several demonstrators relocated to Tesco Express to demonstrate there for another hour. Placards reading "Stop the Badger Slaughter" and "Stop the Cull" were leant against the walls of the store, and the manager requested that they should be removed. The police were called, however the police made no attempt to remove the placards as the demonstrators were within the law.

Now, more than ever, is the time for action on the badger cull. Protests such as today's demonstration, walks around the cull zone, petitions, lobbying government and MPs and spreading the facts about the bader cull - most importantly that the scientists who killed thousands of badgers to see if it would make a difference to bovine TB concluded that it would make "no meaningful contribution" - need to continue, and the sucesses of the past week need to be built upon in order to ensure that this senseless killing does not go ahead.

See here for background information about the badger cull with links and references (an updated version of this is in the works):

For more information, visit the Badger Killers website:

There are many anti-cull Facebook groups, those relevant to today's demonstrations are Stop the Cull and Bath Against the Badger Cull. Please "like" these pages and share their posts.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Open Access to Stonehenge Campaign (Guest Blog)

by Mardi Lee

My name is Mardi Lee, and I am one of a group of organisers for our campaign. On July 22nd we formed a Facebook group after attending the last Summer Solstice at Stonehenge. Many people were very fed up after attending the last solstice and there were a lot of complaints about the lead up to it and the open access itself.

Our campaign aims to bring real changes to the way in which managed open access to Stonehenge is run. There is only one official date of managed open access, the summer solstice, but English Heritage let us have a few hours open access at the winter solstice and the spring and autumn equinoxes, but they can withhold access at these other times any time they choose.

We are a coalition of concerned people and groups that are campaigning to bring change to our “managed open access” given to us four times a year, we want real talks that lead to our open access being run in a more compassionate and enjoyable manner. We have compromised and attended the open access as it is currently managed, trying to accept the conditions and restrictions put upon us.

We ask that:
  1. It is changed from being run as a managed event and run more as a gathering and religious celebration - for all four open access dates in place. 
  2. That the open access is run by English Heritage staff in the same respectful manner as they treat their daily visitors. Not as it is now, left to management of security firms that are not competent to deal with the various needs of those attending open access. 
  3. During the summer Solstice access the security firm/police would:-                                                                                                                                                                       A. Follow the Round Table policy of random searches, as opposed to the current overuse of such procedures taking place.                                                                                                                                                                     B. Refrain from the overuse of hand held metal detectors, unless they have a specific cause rather than usual practice.

    C. Cease their combative style of speaking and dealing with attendees wishing to enter the Stonehenge circle, when people reasonably challenge disrespectful behaviour they are often threatened with removal or exclusion with no right of appeal.

    D. That they cease all physical harm to attendees, using physical force only to defend themselves from harm. ( * See pics below) 
  4.  That English Heritage provide either one big communal open fire for people to gather round, or a few smaller fires both in the car park and near the Stonehenge circle.
  5. To increase the amount of time allocated to “managed open access”, and to treat people’s faiths with the respect given to other religions. We propose that over the period of the Summer Solstice, the public be allowed free equitable access into Stonehenge and its surrounding landscape. This would allow them to freely attend as are their needs and customs: the Sunrise; midday and the sunset. We believe the current overcrowding and driver safety problems are caused by the increasing popularity of the present “Managed Open Access” and English Heritage’s decision to end said access early on Solstice morning. These problems could be resolved in the best interests of all by extending the open access period to cover the whole of Midsummer’s day.
  6. At the Summer Solstice English Heritage permit a small stage with acoustic music in the car park, thereby reducing the amount of people in the Stonehenge circle. The way it is currently run people see open access as a night club & many turn up just to party at the Stones. 
  7. To reduce the amount of days that the drove is closed on the lead up to the Summer Solstice, providing a safe place to park rather than the roadside verges and lay-bys. 
  8. That English Heritage provides adequate shelter for attendees of the Summer Solstice, or provides a place for the erection of tents. This is to ensure the protection of vulnerable and disabled people during the night, that attendees are allowed to rest before leaving the car park site (especially exhausted, vulnerable and disabled). 
  9. That the traders are removed from the Stonehenge circle field to the field just prior to the security gate which is already used as a thoroughfare. This is in order to reduce the amount of rubbish being deposited within the circle which many find offensive. 
  10. To remove or reduce the neon lighting currently in use at the summer solstice, as they reduce the ability to experience the beautiful night sky in all its glory. Furthermore if they are reduced but kept, that the lighting is turned off as soon as possible before the dawn. 
  11. To give some assurance and disclosure that our “managed open access” will be accommodated during and after the redevelopment of Stonehenge, particularly with reference to disabled access; which is currently lacking, leaving less able-bodied to feel marginalised. 

Experiences at Stonehenge

I have been attending the summer solstice for many years, since they gave us open access to Stonehenge at the summer solstice in the year 2000. This was only given to us because people fought year in and year out, taking them to all the courts and finally the court of human rights. Alongside this, others campaigned for a return of the Stonehenge free festival, offering to pay to rent land somewhere nearby. And year after year those people that love Stonehenge and all that it represents tried continuously to get to the stones. Eventually the pressure from all this led the government and English Heritage to lift the exclusion zone in place every summer since 1984. They formed a Stonehenge round table debating group, where all interested parties put forward their ideas of how the open access would be managed. These meetings are supposed to be where all parties contribute their ideas and they all come to a compromise, thus creating an enjoyable summer solstice gathering for all. But this is not what truly happens, because English Heritage and the National Trust along with the police, fire, ambulance, Wiltshire County Council and all other authorities have a meeting first. They decide how they will run the managed open access, and then they bring this to the round table meeting. Everybody then has to try and bring a compromise to this plan, rather than discussing it and compromising openly together.

My personal experience of that time started on the 2nd June 2012, when Becky (my partner) and I went to Stonehenge to have a picnic with a few friends in the fields around the area. We arrived late morning and were greeted by other people that were already on the drove. We gathered some wood and started a small fire.

Other people arrived at the drove during the afternoon, we all shared our picnic together and caught up with old friends. People came from all different parts of the country, Sandy and Julie turned up, Sandy got his gazebo out and set up a small music set with his drums and a mic. Jez sang and played his guitar and Sandy played the drums. They were good together and people enjoyed the music, by the afternoon there were about 30 of us enjoying a picnic and music.

The National Trust, English Heritage, the police and the MOD MP’s monitored us all afternoon driving up and down the drove. Not once did they object to us being there, or stop and say anything about the music. This continued on a very regular basis, and we therefore presumed that they didn’t mind us enjoying ourselves together.

Becky and I put up a tent on the grass verge, as did quite a few others including one couple and their three children. The police had hours in which to inform us that we were not allowed amplified music of any type - they choose not to do this.

I think it was 10pm and dark when the police finally decided to do something about the situation, when a large group of about twenty police came along shining bright torches in our faces. They had an agitated attitude and began shouting for people to get out of their tents/trucks etc, trying to hand everyone a section 61 (not 100% sure may have been 63) of the public order act. They said that we had gathered with the intentions of having a rave, that we had to all leave by 1.00am in the morning. They asked us all why we were there and where we had come from, they seemed surprised when some of us told them we had only come for a picnic. They were even more surprised when they found out that we had come from up and down the country and didn’t know each other.

Sandy shut the music off exactly when they told him to. They threatened to make him produce receipts for all his stuff if he was there when they came back at 1am. They also insinuated that he had stolen his generator, as one had gone missing from nearby according to them. They threatened to take his small bus off him and Julie also, so rather than go through all this hassle he packed up and left.

The couple had spent ages getting their three children to sleep in their tent, the police woke them all up by shouting really loudly at everyone. We asked why they had not told us about the music at a more reasonable time, as we would have turned it off before they tried to public order us all. All along the drove people were arguing with the police about their unreasonable behaviour, children were crying and the police had managed to cause utter pandemonium and a huge amount of stress.

They left us threatening to be back at 1.00pm, that we would all be arrested and vehicles impounded if we were still there. Paul and Penny were told that they could stay until the next morning as he was totally drunk and could not drive, and many of us had been drinking and smoking together. Most people decided that as the music had left they would stay and see what happened at 1.00am. A few people did pack up and leave but not many.

At 1.00am one policeman came back, he said that as the music had gone and that a lot of people where unfit to drive, so we could all stay until 5am. He did say that he thought his inspector was going to be silly about it (exact words not printable lol), but fortunately had climbed down over the issue and acted sensibly. The police were convinced that we were organising a rave and they had apparently put police along the main roads and motorways to stop others getting to the drove. We were oblivious to any of this, just having a nice time in the Stonehenge environment. The police did not even turn up again at 5am, so we had spent the whole night expecting to be arrested by heavy handed police.

The next day myself and Becky went for a long walk around the landscape at Stonehenge, it was the first time we had done this. Normally we would turn up the day before the managed open access, park along the verges from airman’s corner and watch the vehicles build up, go into the Stones, and then return home the next morning. So it was lovely to be able to spend time walking around, exploring the barrows and hearing the skylarks singing. During the day more people left but others turned up, Becky and I had to leave Sunday evening and go back to Bath.

We returned again three days later to find that once again the police had been down and told them they had to turn the music off or leave. This was a personal sound system in a van, not some huge rig or stage throwing a party. There were about 15 people left parked along the drove, and as people went off to do stuff others would turn up. Most of the people where extremely friendly, and it was great to meet so many nice new people we didn’t know. During the next five or six days we sat and chatted about so much stuff and played acoustic instruments (during the day), gathered our wood and water, went for long walks and got to know each other a little more. Every time someone turned up with some amplified music, we got loads of hassle from the police even though we would not have it on loud.

Becky and I went home again on Sunday the following weekend, giving a friend our phone number. We left our tent up on the drove intending to return in three days time. Two days later I received a phone call saying that everyone was moving onto the Ridgeway at Avebury and that the wind had destroyed our large tent. I rushed back to find that once again someone had turned up with amplified music and they had all been told they must leave if they are playing music. As it was now getting closer to the summer solstice managed open access, people wanted to party. The next morning we all left the drove and headed to the Ridgeway at Avebury. There were already other people parked up when we arrived, and we walked into Avebury village and brought some very expensive necessities. We walked down through the stone avenue into the village, and went and visited the Hobbit tree which myself and someone else climbed. It was a great laugh and we all enjoyed the outing, even though it rained on us quite a lot. When we returned to the Ridgeway a small sound system was set up and people were dancing and enjoying the music, at no time during the rest of the day or night were we stopped, although we did still get some police monitoring us.

The next morning I awoke to slugs and snails all over my belongings and the small tent I had brought. I got out of my tent and thought “where are the Stones?”. I had to make a choice between staying on the Ridgeway and being able to play amplified music or going back to the drove and hoping some other people turn up. I went back to Bath and picked up Becky, and on the way back we decided between us that we would return to the drove. We went back to Avebury and packed down the tent and said bye to people, we had met a lush bloke called Dean whilst on the drove and he said he would return with us. We returned to the drove and set up camp again. During that day people that turned up wanting a party we directed to Avebury. Over the next few days a few more people joined us and once more there were about 15 of us, we played acoustic music and had a laugh. Several times during the nights I tried to sneak into the Stones only to be repelled by security, until eventually three of us snuck in with a private party as the sun was rising on a very misty morning. We had five minutes in the stones before English Heritage staff noticed us. They shouted at us and were extremely angry that we had got in. We stayed at the drove until the 17th of June, as they were evicting it and closing all access to them over the summer solstice period. We went and parked up in a lay-by at Woodhenge, where we stayed until the morning of summer solstice open access.

By now all the lay-bys were full of trucks, busses, vans and cars. The police had to constantly drive round monitoring all the people and where they had parked up, as the day wore on more and more people arrived in the area. The traffic slowly built up and caused more chaos on the roads; more than if they had been allowed to use the droves. It was only on the day of the summer solstice itself that they set up the infrastructure for the coming event. All day long we waited, until finally at 7.00pm they started to let us in. This in itself caused problems as everyone was desperate to get into the car park. Also, people wanted to go into the monument for sunset ritual, which created a mad rush situation.

I walked up to the Stonehenge Circle with Becky, Dean carrying the Wally box (The box which held Phil Russell’s ashes - the organiser of the first Stonehenge free festival), a Druid called Pete and my good friend Teapot Circus. Pete they let walk through without trouble, Dean they insisted opened the box for them to search. He opened the box but refused to let them touch the contents. They did at first try to insist, but Dean just explained about the box and said it was a sacred object they had no right to touch. Teapot Circus tried to take his umbrella as it looked like rain, but he was told he could not enter with the umbrella as it could be used as an offensive weapon. I took nothing with me apart from my car keys and myself so that I would not have any hassle from security. I walked through the Heras fencing gate system without being stopped and searched, Teapot was searched, and Becky was not. I was walking ahead and thought I had got through without hassle when someone told me to stop, and did I mind being scanned. I told him of course I minded being scanned and I didn’t want to let him. He grabbed hold of my arm and insisted I let him. I asked why I was being scanned as all I had on me was my car keys, that I didn’t have knives; guns and pick axes or anything else on me. I was told I was being aggressive, that if I continued I would be removed from the monument and not be allowed access. Even once he had scanned me and found nothing on me, he still stood extremely close holding onto my arm and being very aggressive in his words and actions, my friends thought I would explode into violence as they know I don’t like being confronted in this manner by anyone. I managed not to hit him even though I would never normally allow anyone else to treat me like this, after five minutes of aggressive behaviour on his part he let me continue into the stone circle properly.

Becky and I watched a lovely sunset ritual done by the druids, and then we walked around the stones. Looking and gently touching them, it is a truly inspiring place to see and visit. But it is when the people of the tribes gather within it that they truly come to life, when past and present blend. We then went back to the car park to see what was happening and if anyone we knew had arrived, and listened to music and chatted about the past month.

We went back to the monument field later on in the early hours of the morning and there were thousands and thousands of people crammed into the Stones and wide area around them. There was a lot of drumming in the middle of the stone circle, with a lot of others dancing and singing, and the whole area was lit with the glow of artificial lighting. Fortunately the night sky was cloudy, otherwise we would have missed the amazing night sky in all its glory. Not long after we arrived back at the monument field it started pouring down. We then got a call from Becky’s son Oliver saying he was on his way from Bristol. We both had three layers on and by the time Oliver arrived, having had his takeaway supper examined by security (all he was carrying) both me and Becky were soaked to the skin. As was he also of course. We had trouble finding each other and I went off to find him while Becky waited by the gate. He found Becky and they phoned me up. When I tried to return the way I had come I was forced to walk all the way round instead of going over one low wooden fence by security. We were all completely fed up by this time and it was obvious that there would be no sunrise alignment with the dawn. None of us fancied trying to get past the obnoxious security at the gate, so we decided to leave whilst we could still get out of the car park due to the mud.

If we had not spent time before hand meeting people on the drove and just turned up for the sunrise, we would have been sadly disappointed. As it was, we had had the most fantastic time meeting lovely like-minded people, chatting and finding out that so many of us are going through the same stuff. The event itself was a disappointment mainly because of the security's attitude to people, and the silly restrictions and conditions we have to endure to get our little bit of managed open access.

After the summer solstice at Stonehenge many people of all walks of life were unhappy about the way our open access is being managed, and after chatting with a lot of people about the issue of open access I decided it is time we stopped moaning and did something positive and good to change this situation. The difference for me between going to Pilton festival and Stonehenge is that at Pilton I go for a party and to get smashed with my friends. I expect to have to go through all the hassle of security when entering, as this is the norm when going to a paid festival. When I go to Stonehenge I go for different reasons entirely, my main reason is to say my respects to nature; life and the elements. It is to meet old friends and family I knew when on the road, as I now live in a flat. It is to bring energy to and from Stonehenge, it is a sacred special place to me much like a cathedral is to Christian worshippers.

I don’t go to Pilton festival anymore, it is too big and commercial and I hate the hassles that come with it. At the end of the day it is a festival, of which there are many more, so I don’t feel bad not going. Stonehenge is a sacred temple used for worship of nature and life, a gathering place of the people of all Britain and far beyond. Would you agree to strict terms and conditions the next time you want to go and worship god in your cathedrals, conditions that restrict and stifle what it is really intended for? We the people of Britain have, and still do, consider Stonehenge a sacred place to celebrate the gift of all life, and we are trying to unite together so that we can collectively bring change for the better of all those attending and all those charged with running our managed open access and all other access we are permitted.

The Campaign So Far
  • We have started a paper petition (1100 signatures so far) with a stall, we have an online petition :- which has 440 signatures currently, giving us a total of approx 1500 signatures since July.
  • We have started a Facebook group where groups and individuals debate the issues of our open access, the more of us that join the greater our voice will be together. Please feel free to join and take part, so far we have produced a seventeen point document. This was far from correct and so we sent it to King Arthur (who attends the round table meetings and therefore will know English Heritage's response to them), he gave us his ideas about how we should correct it if we wanted to be taken seriously. We debated his ideas balanced with our own, we changed the document to 11 points. By rewording the document we managed to reduce the number of points but kept the same content, this also meant we could not be given a standard reply. Anyway, join us for our continued debate on the campaign :-
  • We have attended a round table meeting, where we managed to get our aims document on the agenda for the next meeting on the 1st Nov 2012 in Salisbury.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Bath Foodcycle Presents: Soulfood - Review
Last Friday (20 October), Bath Foodcycle put on a fundraising night consisting of a three-course meal for 34 people and a night of bluegrass music attending by around 100 people, raising £918 for the cause. Bath Foodcycle is part of a volunteer-run national movement that takes surplus and waste food from supermarkets and other food retailers than would otherwise be destined for landfill, and uses it to cook food for people who do not have access to healthy foods.

All food was vegetarian with vegan options. The starter was a delicious red lentil and red pepper dip with potato wedges. The main course was 'soul stew' with pumpkin and kidney beans and a spiced rice, with enough for a much-welcomed second helping. Dessert was a yoghurt bread pudding (vegetarian) or fruit crumble (vegan).All who sat on my table enjoyed their meal immensely, and were pleasantly surprised at how good a meal made from waste food could be. Gin with iced tea complemented the meal perfectly, and some went back for a few more of these.

The music was provided by the Gollywhoppers, Big Green Uncle, Slapface and the Hoagies, Bryan Chalker & Out of the Brew and Swamp Donkey. All provided excellent entertainment, however regrettably I was only able to review Big Green Uncle from the night.

Big Green Uncle

Adam Timmins, Steve Hatch and Matthew J Young from Big Green Uncle really look the part. You can imagine these guys hanging out on the edge of a ranch in the mid-west, railroad running past, empty whiskey bottle on the floor, areefer being passed round and animals running around at their feet while they strum. A really tight-sounding band who evidently love their bluegrass. Although their set consisted of covers, they played them vibrantly and with soul, with song topics ranging from trains, chickens and getting drunk and stoned, the latter involving the audience shouting "to get high!" during the chorus. And high they were, in the audience appreciation stakes. A fun band with who despite their apparent love and dedication to the genre, don't take themselves too seriously and a real pleasure to watch, and the performance never once stumbled or got boring. The most surprising thing about Big Green Uncle is that this was their very first gig and that  formed specifically for the Soulfood event. Since this gig they have decided to continue as a band and already have more gigs organised. For something a little different, fun and enjoyable, catch these guys next time they play!


Phoebe Kitcher, one of the Foodcycle staff, said "The event was a huge success, and we're very grateful to all involved. Can't wait for the next one!" Bath Foodcycle is going to be cooking for three weeks in St Mary's Church on Julian Road, Bath in November (dates to be confirmed) and will be providing cheap meals. Following this, they will be putting on the Bath Bake-Off in December. Keep up to date with Bath Foodcycle on the links below, and if you want to sign up or find out more about becoming a volunteer, visit the national website

Bath Foodcycle Facebook:
Bath Foodcycle Website:

Monday, 15 October 2012

Pussy Riot Benefit Gig, Green Park Tavern, Bath 12th October 2012 - Review

It's only when we're serious and start to make fuss,
That the smug politicians show their real face.
- Crass "You're Already Dead", 1984 

They're one of the most talked about bands at the moment, their story has been printed in pretty much every daily newspaper on the planet and they're on the news every other night - yet you won't find their music in your local record store. They are punk to the core - intelligent, rebellious, shocking and politically-charged. Pussy Riot are more than just a band. Like Anonymous and some Occupy protesters, they cover their faces while in public. Pussy Riot could be anyone. They are an anonymous political force, standing up for women and against the corrupt leader of their country.

Rock music has a long and colourful history of bands and artists standing up to authority and highlighting issues - from popular fund-raisers such as Live Aid to the Sex Pistols boat trip on the Queen's Silver Jubilee, John Lennon and Yoko Ono lying in bed to Rage Against the Machine in Guantanamo Bay-style boiler suits, Julian Cope's display of support for the Newbury Bypass protests on the ground and on Top of the Pops, to the Rock Against Bush movement founded by NOFX bass player and vocalist Fat Mike, the Rock Against Racism movement and Brian May's recent opposition to the badger cull - all big news and arguably heroic acts. But few have caught the attention of the world's media in quite the same way as Pussy Riot.

Going back a few months, three members were arrested for singing a "punk prayer" against President Vladimir Putin in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. One member has been released, while the remaining two face several years of imprisonment - for standing up for themselves and others, and causing no harm to anyone, except Putin's credibility on the world stage.

Amnesty International have launched a campaign to free the imprisoned girls, and tonight is a both a fundraiser for the campaign and a celebration of awesome local female-fronted rock and roll. 

Jemima Surrender

Jemima Surrender
First on stage is a one-woman set that can rock harder than most hard rock bands and just moments later slip into sweet, seductive melodies. Jemima's vocal style falls somewhere between a less-gravelly Kim Gordon, with the manicness of Kristen Hersch, and makes clever usages of vocal sampling to add depth to her songs. Named after a song by The Band and inspired as much by 1960s French pop music, such as Jacques Dutronc, as by the Riot Grrrl movement, and using unusual timings, Jemima delivers a strong performance and pushes the boundaries of a solo performance to the limits. A unique talent and a great choice by the organisers to kick off tonight's event.


Annette Berlin

Annette Berlin
Next up on the bill is Annette Berlin, featuring Annete on guitar and microphone and Keith on drums, and providing the first full-on rock-out of the evening. Featuring crunchy, grungey riffs, descending chord progressions, some nice bouncy rhythms, a strong vocal delivery that demands attention and unashamed basking in the glory of the quiet-loud-quiet-loud song structure, Annette Berlin had heads banging from the first note. Reminding me of early Love is All but without the image (a good thing in my book) and Rid of Me-era PJ Harvey, with grinding guitar riffage reminscent of Alice in Chains' Dirt album, from the front to the back of the crowd this set managed to get just about everyone moving approvingly. More from them in the future - please!


The Hysterical Injury

The Hysterical Injury
A second two-piece, and possibly the best band to have ever graced the stage of the Green Park Tavern, this band had me running to the back, finding friends, shouting "this is brilliant!" and dragging them down to the front. Let me explain. This is surely the coming of the bass guitar as a lead instrument used to its fullest extent. There's no 6-string mcguffery going on in this drum/bass and voice act, and I swear I'll never look at a sub-standard bass-player in the same way again. Poppy, yet etheral vocals entrance, at the same time exuding the very essence of punk rock, and the beats force even the most reluctant body to rock out. Annie sings and looks like a woman enraptured and possessed by some awesomely freaky and powerful feminine force of nature, and I'm going to quit writing and start head-banging. They had better not play round these parts too often or this blog will turn into an unofficial fan page, and that's a promise. See this band!


Thought Forms

Thought Forms
The most important task of the organisers of an event like this is to ensure that the final act does not disappoint - and they knew what they were doing when they booked the excellent Thought Forms. Ambient stoner-rock incorporating Earth-esque trip outs and indie guitar freak-outs with sparse primitive and tender male and beautiful female vocals buried amonst the sonic soundscapes with few, if any, audible lyrics had all the members of the previous bands down the front rocking out to this three-piece - the perfect ending to a fantastic night in support of an inspiring punk band.


A great night out, and one of the most exciting musical events in Bath for some time. Pussy Riot would surely have been dancing down the front, balaclavad and rocking out with the rest of us. In fact...
Pussy Riot, Bath

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Badger Cull - Protest Against Tesco in Bristol

Yesterday (13th October), around 25 anti- badger cull activists held a demonstration outside the Tesco Metro store in Broadmead, Bristol, and with many wearing black "Fuck the Cull" t-shirts or badger masks, we looked like we meant business. Tesco sell milk from the cull areas and the demonstration was intended to highlight this issue and ask people to buy their milk from stores that do not buy their milk from these areas, such as the Co-op, Waitrose and Marks and Spencer.

Badger cull demonstration outside Tesco, Broadmead, Bristol 13/10/12

Several hundred leaflets were handed out to shoppers, many of whom stopped to chat about the cull and find out more, or ask what they could to help. Few were undecided - many people expressed their disgust about the cull and some enquired about the scientific facts - which we had to hand and were able to answer their questions.

Signs outside Tesco
A further demo is planned for Tues 16th October at 11am outside the same Tesco (Facebook event page:, and a Bath demo is planned for Sat 27th October outside Sainsbury's Local in Kingsmead Square (Facebook event page:

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Badger Cull - Walk on the Forthampton Estate, Gloucestershire

The following is re-posted from Stop the Cull...

This Sunday we call all of you who care about badgers to put on your waterproofs, grab your maps and head to the Forthampton Estate. 3,000 acres all signed up and paid for the badger cull.

3,000 acres is over 4 square miles, which is approximately 3% of the badger cull zone.

The Yorke family who own the estate run a massive shooting business, they offer the killing of pheasant, duck and partridges for entertainment to syndicates and corporations. It is also a very popular bit of land for the Ledbury hunt to go killing foxes on, so for hunt sabs it is going to be particularly important.

We already have confirmation of nearly 100 hunt sabs coming this Sunday, any shooting going on will be stopped immediately by us.

If you would like to get involved with something a little less confrontational this Sunday we ask you to walk the PUBLIC foothpaths that criss cross this estate and make a note of any pheasant pens or partridge enclosures or anything else that is suspect.

Book mark this page and check it Saturday evening, we will put up more details as we have them. For now it is up to you to start doing what you can to make arrangements.

Consider this a pre-emptive strike.

Forthampton Shoot Website:

 Map of the estate here:

Live Music Reviews

The Bath Chronicle is no longer reviewing theatre, music or any other performance art from any venue except for the Theatre Royal (see my previous blog post for more info), and let's face it, their reviews were always rubbish anyway. As of now, Standing Stone's Blog will be helping to fill the gap with live music reviews. As time and money is limited, not every gig can be attended, and those reviewed will largely be artists that fall within the taste of the author of this blog - however if you attended a gig in Bath that you feel deserves a review, please feel free to get in touch and contribute - guest posts on this blog are encouraged (as long as you are not the artist in question, of course)!

With no journalistic training and at the start of this project having never written a music review ever, the quality may not be great, but at least someone's doing it.

This will not affect the usual reporting on activism and opinion pieces - these will continue as usual, posted whenever anything noteworthy happens round these parts.

Monday, 8 October 2012

South West Food Not Bombs - Meeting on 26th October

Food Not Bombs - an international peace movement that collects food destined for the bin, cooks it and supplies it to those in need, protest movements, events and anyone else - is the latest addition to the growing number of charities, activist and campaign groups operating in Bath.

With an ambition to eventually set up a network throughout the south west, the group recently held a start-up meeting and has an increasing number of followers on Facebook. Now that initial hurdles are being overcome, they are in a position to start organising things and have called a meeting for Friday 26th October at St James Wine /vaults (upstairs), Bath at 7.30pm to discuss the next step and to generate ideas. With several passionate people behind it and many more expressing keen interest, the group has got off to a promising start and ideas are already being put forward for events.

More information on their website

The Facebook page is here:
Meeting event page here (check here for latest news and any alterations to venue etc.):

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Bath Chronicle to Stop Printed Reviews of Live Events From Anywhere Except the Theatre Royal

The Bath Chronicle has stated that it is no longer going to print performance reviews from any venue except for the Theatre Royal, and will put a limited number of reviews from other venues on their website. They will be explaining further at a public meeting on Monday 8th October 17.30 - 19.30 at the Mission Theatre. If you plan on attending, or have a question that you would like to asked on your behalf, please respond to the Facebook event page or e-mail info(at) Places are filling up, so please get in contact with them ASAP if you are intending to go.

Bath has a diverse and exciting art culture that goes way beyond the Theatre Royal. The Mission Theatre, Chapel Arts Centre, Rondo Theatre and others also put on great theatre talent. The nearby Komedia has built a reputation for putting on well-known and rising stars on the stand-up scene, and also as a music venue, playing host to a number of well-known names of the past couple of years including The Levellers, Ash, Julian Cope, Stiff Little Fingers and Half-Man, Half-Biscuit. Moles and the Porter Bar have for years championed up and coming talent, and further diversity on the Bath live music scene is brought by smaller venues such as The Bell, The Royal Oak and The Green Park Tavern - and even more venues feature occasional live music as well as DJ sets, performance poetry and stand-up comedy. Artists - in particular up and coming artists - often struggle to get themselves promoted. Having performed onstage with various acts a few times myself over the years, I found that decent reviews are a lifeline to struggling artists - they can bring in more people at future events and can help considerably in persuading a venue to let you play for half-decent fee (or at all).

This ludicrous policy could harm the Bath live performance scene. All of the local artists I have spoken to about this can't believe that it's even being considered. The Theatre Royal is not everyone's cup of tea, and the Bath Chronicle need to realise this. Please attend the meeting (or submit a question) if you can, or write a letter to them.

Further details can be found on the Theatre Bath website and the Now Bath article.