Trees Are The Lungs of Our Cities
I finished off the opening song for The Breeding Ground of Vile (BGOV) a couple of days ago. I wrote The Wood on 17 July 2016 when the ideas for BGOV were first coming together. For the uninitiated, I am writing a double album of protest songs, with the first CD being more acoustic (abbreviated code name BGOV1) and the second (BGOV2) having a punkier feel. I am still writing songs that could make the cut. I’m up to 42 songs now which shows there must be an awful lot to protest about!
The Wood is the opening song for the whole piece, and I got the idea for the song early last summer when the oldest tree in our local woods (Priory Woods) had its canopy removed. It was a gorgeous, magnificent, statuesque, grandiose beech and it was estimated to be 300-350 years old. I walked my dogs twice a day in those woods, for the whole of Ziggy’s ten years and still walk Ozzy there today. They always made for that tree, partly because its bole had been hollowed, partly naturally but mainly because the local kids seemed to think it was good to light fires inside it. They also did more normal kids’ things like swing on ropes they attached to its thicker branches.
That tree stood in dignified silence as it was habitually used and abused, and will have witnessed more in its lifetime than we will ever witness in our own. The council didn’t seem to care much, but in fairness, they probably couldn’t have done much about the kids other than put an ugly fence around the tree. Since 1st July 2015, the environmental services department at ‘Conservative Flagship’ Trafford Borough Council has been run by a large private corporation, Amey plc, so now there is even less likelihood that the woods and other special open spaces will be properly maintained.
A few years back, one of the beech tree’s larger branches fell under its own weight after a prolonged period of heavy rain. Beech trees are susceptible to that because they can hold huge amounts of water, and so it stood for several months until some Health and Safety womble decided the whole tree had probably become unsafe. I was walking the dogs just a month or so before Ziggy died, and he and Oz made as usual for his favourite sniffing place within the tree. As I followed the two of them I was struck by how light the woods were that day, and then it struck me that its wonderful canopy had been taken away, leaving a cavernous opening to flood the woodland floor with direct sunlight rather than the dapple I had been accustomed to. The beech tree was reduced to jjust a 12 foot high single trunk. So all those emotions are packed into this song and The Wood which tells the story of how trees once dominated our wonderful landscape for centuries, only now to be at the mercy of voracious developers. It kind of sets the tone for the album.
I wrote The Wood just after the Brexit vote because Andrea Leadsom (AKA Loathsome) had thrown her hat into the ring to challenge the now discredited Theresa May for the leadership of the Conservative Party, and thus Prime Minster. At the time it felt like May’s victory was the lesser of two evils, but then she promoted Loathsome to Secretary of State for the Environment and I felt a sense of deep despair. Just last month, in her post election reshuffle, May demoted Loathsome and replaced her with the flesh-crawling Michael Gove, probably because he successfully screwed up both the Education and Justice Departments before falling out of favour due to a stance on Brexit that now appears to have been exactly the same as the Prime Minister’s all along!
So the supposed ‘greenest government ever’ under that arse Cameron now seems to have metamorphosed into one that has wholly ditched its responsibilities to our environment, and it is highly likely that in order to find the kind of cash that will be needed to cover the Northern Ireland billion and all the other promised billions, their next step will be to sell off many of our green spaces for their pals to develop. The environment is generally a soft target for governments to hit but especially so in times of austerity. Trees and the open spaces they occupy are the lungs of our cities, and call me a cynic but I genuinely believe that our parks and gardens, our fields and meadows, our urban woodlands, our back gardens, and even our larger than a postage stamp grass verges are now under serious threat of being concreted over for someone’s profit. Fucking idiots.
The Breeding Ground Of Vile is set for release in June 2018. Some songs will be released as singles before then, such as The Burning Gates Of Hell https://johnreed.bandcamp.com/track/the-burning-gates-of-hell-single and some of the songs from the album will be performed in our live gigs between now and then.
My Music Catalogue: https://johnreed.bandcamp.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuKuP-Z8UAg THE SUN GOES ROUND THE MOON
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZK9tCEmJ3k DRY THE LIFE
Produced by: http://www.heygamal.com/bio.html
Record label: ND4PRM
Official Photographs: http://www.frankroper.photography/portfolio/