The Gallow’s Rant, December 2010

Alistair Hulett’s Sporadic Newsletter.

Seasons greetings and welcome to the latest edition of the Gallows Rant, the sporadic newsletter first started by the late Alistair Hulett and now dedicated to ongoing news about his music and from the Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust (UK) and the Alistair Hulett Memorial Fund (Aus).

Next month on the 28th of January will mark the anniversary of Alistair death. In commemoration Celtic Connections, Scotland’s premier folk and roots festival, will be hosting a tribute to the Alistair and his music.


News
Tribute Concert

Celtic Connections, January 28,2011, Tribute to Alistair Hulett
Artists confirmed to appear are Roy Bailey, Dick Gaughan, James Fagan & Nancy Kerr, Karine Polwart, Rory McLoed plus special guests
Concert will be held at the Star Folk Club, St Andrews in the Square, G1 5PP, Glasgow. For tickets contact www.celticconnections.com.

Patron

We are delighted and proud to announce that Peggy Seeger, the legendary folk icon, has agreed to become the Patron of the Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust and Fund.

‘Cultural Significance’

Alistair’s version of The Internationale performed by Alistair Hulett and Jimmy Gregory is now listed by the Australian National Film and Sound Archive, ‘for reasons that include its uniqueness, cultural significance, and as a record of Australian creative and technical achievement’.

Radio Documentary

Alistair Hulett 1951-2010: The Politics and the Poetry, was broadcast on November 27th on Into the Music, Radio National, ABC Radio, Australia.The show was produced by Lea Redfern and will shortly be available as a download from our website.

Website

The revamped Alistair Hulett website, incorporating the Alistair Hulett Memorial Fund and Trust will officially be launched on the 1st of January. Thank you all for your patience during this process. We are grateful to Phil Snell for his work on the site.

T-Shirts, Bags & Tea Towels on Sale

A ‘Roaring Jack Tribute to Alistair Hulett 2010′ t-shirt, a “Smoke of Innocence” cotton tote bag via the website.
Tea towels of Alistair’s adaption of Robert Burns song, ‘A Man’s a Man for a’ That’ for the Govanhill Baths campaign is available Money from the sale of the tea towels will be divided between the Alistair Hulett Memorial Fund and the Govanhill Baths Community Trust.


Upcoming Initiatives
Tribute CD to be Launched at Celtic Connections

A tribute CD of Alistair’s songs recorded by other artists will be launched at Celtic Connections at the Alistair Hulett Tribute Concert on January 28th 2011,‘traditions of resistance through struggle and song’. The CD includes covers from Sigaro from Banda Bassotti, June Tabor, Niamh Parsons, Handsome Young Strangers, Irish Rovers, Roy Bailey, James Fagan and Nancy Kerr, Rory McLoed amongst others.
Advanced orders can be made by contacting alistair.hulett@gmail.com.


From the Archives

‘From the Archives’ will appear in each Gallows Rant and will focus on all aspects of Alistair’s work as captured in all sorts of ways – sound, vision and print.

Swimming Pool Carols!

A topical theme for the first dip into the archives curated by the Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust!
Songs were a very important tool in the campaign against the closure of Govanhill Swimming Pool, as indeed they are an integral part of any political campaign or activist movement; songs inform, educate, inspire, motivate, and help build solidarity.

I have selected from the Archive a copy of an e-mail media release dated Saturday 22nd December 2001, headed “Glasgow’s Govanhill Pool: Southside Against Closure”; the release advises that the “The Campaign Choir completes its Carol Singing sessions outside the Buchanan Galleries Shopping Mall on Sunday 23rd December” the lyrics for seven “carols”, all based on well known Christmas carols, are attached with the release; like so many good campaign songs they take a well known tune and adapt the words to suit the cause, so everyone can immediately join in from a lyric sheet – and the songs stick in the mind! The same technique had been used in creating songs throughout the campaign, starting with a basic handwritten sheet of 3 songs for the first vigil outside the Pool, followed by a more elaborate songbook of 17 songs published in April 2001, culminating in the publishing in September 2001 of the “Save Our Pool” CD with 24 songs (all of these items are held in the Archive).

The songs on the “carol sheet” range from This Cooncil Most Dreadful based on O, Come All Ye Faithful, via In a Posh Pairt O’ Glesga using the tune of Away in a Manager, to Twelve Days of Closure from Twelve Days of Christmas.

The media release makes clear that funds raised by the carol singing sessions will be used, in the true spirit of Christmas perhaps, more widely than solely for the Pool campaign – “fund raising with a particular aim at providing a soup kitchen in Govanhill on New Year’s Eve as well as helping to fund the continuing fight for Govanhill Pool.”

My own favourite – Storm the Doors based on Deck the Halls – illustrates the fact that the campaign was always about more than the swimming pool closure, and that it had a wider, very laudable, agenda of campaigning for social justice and reform; the song, without ever losing the all-important touch of humour, stirs the spirit with its evocations of days of Red Clydeside (which of course Alistair also did so much to make known to people via his Red Clydeside CD and concerts with Dave Swarbrick). I leave you with a couple of verses – sing along, and Season’s Greetings!

Fill the Square with waving banners
Teach wee Cherlie Gordon manners
Count the days to the election
Gie his mandate oor rejection

Kick the Cooncil up the backside
Celebrate the new Red Clydeside
John Maclean is here in spirit
His tradition we inherit.

John Powles
Archivist, Alistair Hulett Memorial Trust