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This is my contribution to Remembrance Sunday 2014

War, huh yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, oh hoh, oh
War huh yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it again y'all
War, huh good God
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

Oh, war, I despise
'Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go off to fight and lose their lives

I said
War, huh good God y'all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, just say it again
War whoa Lord
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
War, it ain't nothin' but a heartbreak
War, friend only to the undertaker

Oh war, is an enemy to all mankind
The thought of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest within the younger generation
Induction, then destruction who wants to die

War, good God, y'all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it, say it, say it
War, uh huh, yeah, huh
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
War, it ain't nothin' but a heartbreaker
War, it's got one friend that's the undertaker

Oh, war has shattered many young man's dreams
Made him disabled bitter and mean
Life is much to short and precious to spend fighting wars these days
War can't give life it can only take it away, ooh

War, huh, good God y'all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it again
War, whoa, Lord
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
War, it ain't nothin' but a heartbreaker
War, friend only to the undertaker

Peace love and understanding tell me
Is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord knows there's got to be a better way

War, huh, good God y'all
What is it good for?
You tell 'em, say it, say it, say it, say it
War, good Lord, huh
What is it good for?
Stand up and shout it, nothing
War, it ain't nothin' but a heartbreaker

Strong, Barrett / Whitfield, Norman J.

Published by
Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

Listen and watch here: MetroLyrics

Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 9 November 2014

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 10 November 2014

Dean Rodney Singers: Reaching for the stars. They’re out there.

Dean Rodney

On February 29 I spent a happy afternoon in Deptford, South London, at The Albany, the home of several creative and performing companies, including Apples and Snakes, Headway and Entelechy Arts.

I was visiting Heart n Soul, a creative company that nurtures, supports and works with learning disabled artists. Together they make music, theatre, dance, visual art, digital art, films and clubs.

My mission was to get to the heart and soul of the enigma that is Dean Rodney Singers, who have been commissioned for Unlimited, a project celebrating disability, arts, culture and sport, as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Heart n Soul

After a warm welcome from Sandra (Communications Officer), I met with Mark (Chief Executive/Artistic Director) who filled me in on all the detail. I asked about Heart n Soul.

Heart n Soul is a place of self-expression,’ Mark told me. ‘We’re not about labelling and we don’t tell people what to do.’

Heart n Soul works with talented and creative disabled and non disabled people, trying new ways of doing things. It’s about opening up creative paths for, by and with people who have a passion for making music, dance, or other art form.

Dean Rodney

When I met Dean he was rehearsing with his creative and dance mentors Adele and Mel. They were making film clips using an iPad, the cool technological tool at the core this epic enterprise.

Dean is a young man with energy and autism. He got involved with Heart n Soul when he was 14, taking to performing like a natural.

In 2005 he started his own band, Fish Police. The group is made up of Dean (rapper, co-songwriter), Matthew Howe (guitar) and Charles Stuart (keyboards, co-songwriter, background vocals).

Big music fans, their key musical influences range from Kraftwerk and Daft Punk to Bob Marley and Will Smith. They fuse all this with their passion for computer games, cartoons, fast food and Japanese culture to create their own distinctive sound.

Fish Police will be releasing an album in the summer 2012.

Dean Rodney Singers

In 2010, Dean wrote a song called the Dean Rodney Singers. It was about a mission – getting disabled and non-disabled artists from around the world to work together.

Dean Rodney Singers is Dean's personal vision, a mighty one that continues to evolve: 72 (seventy-two) performers from 7 (seven) countries - China, Japan, Brazil, Germany, Croatia, South Africa and UK. Together they will produce 21 (twenty-one) songs with videos. All of this on iPads.

Team Dean is, as I write, busy composing, curating, creating and sharing all manner of beats, bars, moves, grooves and images to inspire and get everyone started. All of it generated on an iPad using a whole range of amazing apps.

The songs will be written, composed, improvised and played by the band itself, using the best web technology they can get hold of.

The audience can be part of this too, watching and listening online, as it is being created, and contributing to it if they choose. Dean’s song MIMI will soon be available for remix.

The project’s finale will be an interactive sound and visual installation at the London Festival, 1 to 9 September 2012. This will be another chance for audiences to enter and be part of Dean’s world. They’ll be able to take get involved with the music, videos and images created, make their own track or appear in a video.


Keep up with Dean Rodney Singers here:

DRS Website

DRS YouTube Channel

DRS SoundCloud Page




Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 6 March 2012

Last modified by Deborah Caulfield, 7 March 2012

Reasons to look forward to watching crips swear and lark about on stage next week.

The critics loved Reasons To Be Cheerful first time around. The Guardian said: 'The stage gives off a million volts.' Time Out opined: 'Rough, ready and bl**dy brilliant.' Even The Daily Mail managed a compliment: 'It's got a heart of gold.'

Aah, ain't that nice?

So, the Chailey kid came good. Well, nothing unusual in that. I won't mention any names (they might not thank me) but there are quite few of us Chailey kids in and about the (disability) movement.

Ian Dury wasn't an activist. He was an artist, hedonist, hard nut and a rock star. Talented too, but a nightmare to live and work with, if the film Sex & Drugs & Rock &Roll is to be believed. And why shouldn't we believe it?

There's a scene in the film where he goes back to Chailey, around the time he wrote Spasticus Autisticus for the International Year of Disabled People, 1981. I'd left years before, but I'm reliably informed that this visit never actually happened.

Hello to you out there in Normal Land/You may not comprehend my tale or understand.

I don't remember much violence in the film, whereas crip (and crip-on-crip) bashing did happen at Chailey in those days. Dury talked about it and we can assume it affected him, probably not in a pleasant way.

Oi! Cunt face! Who are you looking at?/I'll kick your fucking head off with shit on me boots!

Put that boy in detention!

When I went to see the film, in 2010, I think I secretly hoped I would recognise Chailey Heritage. Of course, it wasn't actually filmed there. The dormitory scenes couldn't possibly have been shot at St Georges because the place was turned into luxury flats more than a decade ago.

I always thought the Blockheads had a great sound, especially Chaz Jankel's piano, but some of Dury's lyrics are pure sexist rubbish:

I offer thee this band of gold/Now do exactly what you are told.

I guess he hated women. Or maybe he was just unconfident.

If I was with a woman I'd make believe I loved her/All the time I would not like her much.

So I prefer the instrumental version of Duff 'em up and Do 'em Over. Not that he didn't manage the occasional insightful social comment:

There ain't half been some clever bastards/lucky bleeders, lucky bleeders.

One thing you can say about Dury is that he was ace at alliteration:

Plaistow Patricia, Plaistow Patricia/Plaistow Patricia, Plaistow Patricia/Go on girl.


Chailey was a grim yet brief chapter in Dury's life; he spent a mere three years there in the early fifties. I was there for eleven years, 1955 - 1966, a big chunk of my childhood. He wrote and talked about it in less than glowing terms. I have yet to find words to adequately describe my loathing for the place.

One day...
Charlie Swinbourne previews Reasons To Be Cheerful

My reviews:
An Instinct for Kindness
. A play about assisted suicide.
A Bigger Picture
. David Hockney at The Royal Academy.
Resistance; Which Way the Future.
Liz Crow's important installation.
Cheltenham Science Festival 2011.
Exploring the Autistic Mind & 3D Thinkers in a 2D World.
Access All Areas 2011
. Live Art Extravanganza
Longcare Survivors
; Biography of a Care Scandal. Review of John Pring's outstanding book.

Posted by , 7 February 2012

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 6 March 2012