Ian Prowse & Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Palace Theatre, 12 March 2020

A cracking gig – only spoilt slightly by the terrible legroom in the Palace gods!


Strict Time


Green Shirts

Accidents Will Happen

Watch Your Step

Tokyo Storm Warning

Photographs Can Lie / The Look Of Love

(I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea

Suspect My Tears

Mystery Dance

Watching The Detectives

American Without The Tears

A Good Year For The Roses (George Jones cover)

A Face In The Crowd

I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down (Sam & Dave cover)

High Fidelity

From A Whisper To A Scream

Radio Radio

Alison / I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

Everyday I Write The Book

Pump It Up


Oliver’s Army

(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding (Brinsley Schwarz cover)

The first three gigs of 2020

These were all excellent – girl power indeed!

Isobel Campbell

2nd February 2020

The Deaf Institute

Support: Nina Violet

Similar to:

Willow’s Song

Ant Life

Do Or Die

Below Zero



The National Bird Of India

City Of Angels

Counting Fireflies

Seafaring Song

Saturday’s Gone

Hori Horo

Something To Believe

Cool Water

Hang On

Runnin’ Down A Dream [Tom Petty cover]

Is It Wicked Not To Care [Belle & Sebastian cover]

Beth Hart

17th February 2020

Bridgewater Hall

Support: Kris Barras

For My Friends [Bill Withers cover]

Jazz Man

Close To My Fire [Slackwax cover]

I’ll Take Care Of You [Bobby Bland cover]

Monkey Back

Rub Me For Luck

Try A Little Harder

Soulshine [The Allman Brothers Band cover]

War In My Mind

Sugar Shack

Tell Her You Belong To Me

No Place Like Home

Leave The Light On

Without Words In The Way

Spanish Lullabies

Broken & Ugly

If I Tell You I Love You [Melody Gardot cover]

I Need A Hero


Girl Ray

21st February 2020

The Pink Room, YES

Impromptu gig – Jamie Ferguson, The Fitzgerald, Stevenson Square, Manchester , 7 December 2019

Located by random wandering in the Northern Quarter after a fine few tacos at El Taquero, Spike and I were lured into The Fitzgerald by the promise of jazz. We enjoyed the acoustic guitar stylings (not exactly jazz but…) of solo artist Jamie Ferguson (Spotify link). He did repeat songs in his two sets admittedly, had some originals and well played classic covers. The surroundings are quite plush and nice, but the drinks are rather expensive.

The right in the UK and US pushing back against war crimes prosecutions

This worrying trend reared its ugly head again this week, as the US defence secretary, Mark Esper, fired the navy’s top official over his handling of a Navy Seal accused of war crimes in Iraq. The Seal had received strong backing from President Trump via Twitter. The Guardian report is here.

The right has always tried to push back against war crimes prosecutions – by dint of trying to stand up for our put upon ‘brave boys’ of the military. In the conclusion to my forthcoming book Brutality in the Trenches, on First World War war crimes, I compare its subject to recent UK participation in recent war in Afghanistan and the ‘War on Terror’. Commentators compare Al Queda to ‘the Hun’. Taking no prisoners is often referred to in both settings.

I conclude the book with these words: Just as the Great War did not live up to many participants’ hopes that it would be the ‘war to end all wars’, these were not ‘war crimes to end all war crimes’. Like most war crimes their tendency was quite the reverse. Repetition of mistakes similar to those made in the past, through similar processes, should be guarded against.

And yet, recent history in both the US and UK concerning war crimes prosecution has been a sorry one. There is an excellent The Guardian long read here about the collapse of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team. In May 2019, the defence secretary, Penny Mordaunt, promised in the wake of this collapse, to protect soldiers from “lawfare”. Report here. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed his support for this dangerous line too. Essentially the Tories are undermining the international regime for prosecuting war crimes.

In the US, this undermining has been even more active under Trump’s presidency. Trump has asked for files to be prepared on pardoning several US military members accused of or convicted of war crimes, including one slated to stand trial on charges of shooting unarmed civilians while in Iraq, the New York Times reported.

Trump has frequently expressed interest in such cases, which have become causes célèbre among Republicans and rightwing media including Fox News.

In May 2019, he pardoned Matthew Behenna, a former US soldier who was convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner.

Legal experts cited in the report said pardoning several accused and convicted war criminals, including some who have not yet gone to trial, has not been done in recent history. Some worried such pardons could erode the legitimacy of military law.

These pardons followed John Bolton, the US national security adviser, lambasting the International Criminal Court [ICC] in September 2018. He threatened it with sanctions. This was followed in April 2019 by the US revoking the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, visa.

The US has refused to recognise the ICC since its inception in 2002, weakening the court’s authority and providing an excuse for other countries, most notably in Africa, to also pull their support. In 2017, Burundi became the first nation to leave the ICC.

This is clearly a terrible trend that should be pushed against at every opportunity.

2020 gigs booked so far

Hope to see some of you at these:

  • Isobel Campbell, 2 February, The Deaf Institute
  • Fairport Convention, 9 February, Royal Northern College of Music
  • Beth Hart, 17 February, Bridgewater Hall
  • Girl Ray, 21 February, YES
  • Elvis Costello, 12 March, Palace Theatre (Support: Ian Prowse)
  • Ian Prowse, 20 March, Craven Arms, Appletreewick (Support: Plumhall)
  • Avril Lavigne, 2 April, O2 Apollo
  • Oysters 3 (Oysterband), 3 April, Band on the Wall
  • Pussycat Dolls, 14 April, Manchester Arena
  • Joan Shelley, 23 May, Kings Arms, Salford
  • Crowded House, 2 July, Castlefield Bowl
  • Kaiser Chiefs and Razorlight, 3 July, Castlefield Bowl
  • Katie Melua, 2 November, Bridgewater Hall
  • Levellers, 20 November, Albert Hall
  • John Mayall, tbc, Royal Northern College of Music, being rescheduled due to illness