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The Peer Hat

TODAY'S SOUNDTRACK - CRANES-ADORATION

And just like that, the blog has returned….

It’s been long enough since the last real post, eg. December (that January thing: ‘nice stuff people said about The Peer Hat’, definitely does not count---if you were indeed wondering, that was for the Arts Council’s perusal…not merely some form of grotesque flex), that it feels like a grandiose hello and thank you is in order. The hello, I can manage quite swiftly. The thank you, I outline below:

Thank you. Thank you for proving me right in the sense, that Manchester needs a place like The Peer Hat . And of course, a sincere thank you to the Arts Council…what did we get…somewhere in the region of 68k? That should help keep us going for a while. Really, it was fantastic news.

Does that mean that the future of The Peer Hat is secured? And for that matter, the future of venues like The Peer Hat? Short answer is a resounding “no” (sorry to piss on your chips if you were hoping for a “yes”). Let’s count some of the ways:

1. PRS seems to prey on the minuscule revenues provided by the grass roots music sector, as something akin to an afterthought. This mega corporation extracts sizeable sums from small venues at the behest, it seems of an unsupervised AI with the transplanted soul of a pawn shop accountant. Something needs to change here, but we’re not holding our breath. Naturally, their next port of call is the deeply un-lucrative online gig trade. After all, we know the best way to make black pudding, is with bags of rocks. If you’re a PRS enthusiast, just spare a thought for where all that ‘miscellaneous’ revenue they strive to collect goes---if you guessed back to the artist, you’d be half right. But if you guessed any lesser than J-Lo, Ed Sheerhan or some other painted demon puppet, then I’m afraid you guessed erroneously.

2. The spectre of Vaccine Passports. Hugely divisive, just like pretty much everything and bound to affect business. We don’t really feel that it is prudent to talk more about this right now. Only that, whatever your point of view on the matter, shit is gonna suck for you and us.

3. Landlords stride the virus punk wasteland as lords supreme still. Imagine a mechanical Moloch, your favourite venue running at full pelt away from that mechanical Moloch, except of course, it’s running on a medium velocity conveyor belt. Sometimes the venue is able to reach the gargoyle at the lever and bribe it to slow down for a spell…but just lately, gargoyle snacks have been in short order.

4. The scars, the many scars. People are not the same as when first they were locked up (up, down…you choose). I don’t know precisely how we get back to whatever it was we were before. And I’m talking really, about re-finding the community. I have friends who remain silent even as I say “see you on May 17”! I have friends who remain silent even as I say “See you on June 21!”

But I forget myself. Excuse me whilst I extract us both from this gloomy caveat to the celebration. This is not the same world: in fact it’s changing even as I write. We’re approaching the third great invisible war of our times. Drugs, Terror and now Pathogens. And a technocratic embrace, which settles upon us and our dirty, sweaty lives, like a loving parent comprised out of hygienically sterilised tungsten, whose kiss is documentation, whose lesson is ‘safety first’...seemingly pressing in from all sides. Even, it seems, sometimes from within ourselves.

I am reminded of the end of the rule of religion (in the ‘west’), the witch burnings and inquisitions which preceded the Enlightenment. Such displays of cruel might, performed for the 'greater good' of the subject, did nothing to prolong their rule. Indeed, they hastened the demise of Roman Catholic domination by probably a century (hot take). So it is with the scientistic cults which currently hold sway. This is what I like to think of as ‘cosmic whack-a-mole’. You smash down one as hard as you can, only for another to arise faster than you can smash. Maybe the Tao is a better analogy (or even truth observation?)…the energy used to create a technocracy, finds it’s opposite expression elsewhere.

In other words, though we may not get back to the things we love, something new is being brought about…and it doesn’t look like the control fantasies of certain billionaires, or even the Milquetoast Satanic pop media fetishism of the media companies. It’s very exciting and exceedingly precarious for every single one of us. Figuring out how to maintain community, should be a high priority for those of us stuck on the front lines of the metamorphoses, those of us without recourse to the country life, permaculture fortresses or self sufficient communes in the heart of the Peruvian rain forests.

The Black Stage project is part of this attempt to realign ourselves with community. For those of you who haven’t religiously followed my ramblings with a detective’s nose for detail, Black Stage is kind of like an online Peer Hat. Doesn’t that sound absolutely fucking awful?

And that’s kind of the point.

There will be gigs and such and a Peer Hat in this hazy digital realm. But that’s exactly where it’s located, it’s definitely not the real thing and nobody and I mean nobody knows your name. And you can get trapped there. Does it sound like a buzz yet?

We hope that, by exploring the fault lines in the virtual reality, we’ll be able to get closer towards something we might actually enjoy. We might even be in a position to inspire others, as time progresses and we begin to see what entertainment and community look like. Points of light across the dark. Camp-fires. A Peer Hat in every home, on every street. But it ain’t no franchise buddy. We don’t sell burgers here.

We’re going to do this and have another grant application in the works whose function is to fund the purchase of the equipment we’re going to need (and maybe help pay out to a the artists whom are involved). We will attempt it regardless, but this next bunch of monies could make a huge difference to the project. I guess it’s a case of ‘watch this space’.

We expect the website to become active shortly. You of course, will be notified.

As I’m writing this, a wave of fear passes over me. None of what is happening can last, it cannot be maintained, except upon an ever growing mountain of bones. This virus has not slowed down the war machine, the sabre rattling, the ecological carnage, the divisive rage.

I think about the bombs raining down upon the middle east (whatever that is)…I think about frightened masses huddling around cell phones, cell phones whose black screens contain minerals mined by small children. I think about how those same masses hide from the virus and then I find it hard to avoid shouting “get up, get out of the door and walk straight into the black sun my friends, for you have no earthly right to quake whilst ten year olds squirm in the darkness for your entertainment, convenience and comfort”…

My fingers slow to a crawl and I am forced to meditate…something… to bring myself back. Let’s see whether or not I’m successful…

Time passes.

Aaaaand I’ve got to nip out. SO much for my meditation.

Time passes.

Aaaaaad I’m back and feeling a little better. Optimism is an entirely valid tactic and it’s working thus far…

We’re going to come back and try and be everything we have always been. Ultimately, the place is it’s people…if we can afford one another enough of a break, then we can get through this, whatever comes our way. We’ve a bumper load of gigs coming up; people are positively itching to get going. We will do our best to facilitate those gigs , whoever you are and whatever you believe. We will find a way forward. You will find respect here for your own thinking and convictions. And you will hear things you don’t like here. That’s the deal. This is Manchester.

Repeat, this is Manchester.

Repeat…

My walks have continued, we have a fairly interesting dream topography of the area (and further afield). I want to spend a little time talking to you about those journeys… I know that I said I would back in December…in fact, it’s a blog post more or less ready to go. But it can wait a little while longer. This particular number had to emerge, these words and thoughts needed to be expressed, if only partly. Indeed, our truer meaning lies in what is not written, either in the space between the letters, or in the hidden communications that are suggested, in totality, by their painful and obvious absence.

Without any hyperbole, looking you all in the eye, I can speak for us here at The Peer Hat and say, unreservedly, that we love you.

May 17 is the target. We’ll see you then.

What else is happening, you grim bastard

Flowing Backwards

A load of Flowing Backwards for you to listen to. Since we last posted, Ian's Odyssey has just kept ticking right along. I feel like a bit of a rotter for not posting, just because I think you should all listen to this bloody podcast. It's so interesting and Ian's voice is incredibly valuable. I've said it before, I'll say it again...this podcast is a treasure. In fact, I would consider Flowing Backwards the Dead Sea Scrolls of Manchester mythology.

Flowing Backwards

Steam Radio

STEAM Radio Hulme is absolutely chock full of great local shows. I'd go so far as to say, it's possibly the most diverse, eclectic and high quality Manchester thing in ages. I don't know why the font just completely changed either. Two shows spring to mind that are of immediate direct interest to the concerned Peer Hatter. The first is OG OR MAN, whose show has been covering the contents of The Peer Hat Black Stage albums. On top of this, his superior taste merits some attention so here's the damn link to his MIXCLOUD:

OG OR MAN

The second link is to a random episode of an idiot's show...he doesn't have his own Mixcloud, so you've got to be on it to win it or something...I'm sure he'll het round to sorting it soon. In the meantime, checkout this episode of OBLIQUE UNIVERSE with NICK ALEXANDER. And indeed, tune in on Sunday, 4-5pm to catch the latest episode (it's a one man panel show with an insane robot, again the caveat: 'or something').

OBLIQUE UNIVERSE

Ok, that's all for now. We'll be back soon.

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