Only a couple of weeks after the police violently dragged peaceful students out of the Hetherington building that they were occupying, here we are again. The whole saga has been well documented elsewhere; management stupidity that has not only allowed the protest to continue, but actually bolstered it.
This time, my return was to see a couple of guys from a place called Pity Me (no, really.) down Durham way. After only getting a chance to hurriedly listen to a couple of tracks online, I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d make of the whole thing. Their style’s very much of the story-telling songwriter kind (a la Bright Eyes), which I’ve got a love-hate relationship with. It’s something that unless you do really well can end up really cringeworthy. It’s compounded by my own total inability to write anything like that; I’m much more into the cryptic and subtle.
However. These guys were really good. Not just passionate about what they were singing about and good with melody, but really unassuming and all-round pleasant.
From writing my own music, I always spend time going over and layering things up and tweaking, or playing in a band.. so I’ve got a lot of respect and time for anybody that can just pick up a guitar or an instrument and play something in such a stripped down way. It’s a skill I wish I posessed!
Interestingly enough, Nathan echoed what I had said upon my first visit to the Free Hetherington – that it was a really interesting and exciting atmosphere; free (at least for the most part) from partisan politics and agendas being thrust down your throat by fragments of socialism. There’s still tinges of that at the edges (as there will be everywhere), but spending time there with disparate people enjoying and being brought together as a community through music makes all of the details seem unimportant; what is important is what’s being done in the bigger picture.
It’s really hard to believe that this is the same place that the police burst in to not more than two weeks ago. It’s funny how we’re only ever presented with the violence and confrontation of activism, and not the warm moments like this that far surpass the former in number.
We ended up back at the flat, where our intrepid trio were staying for the night.
I rather like having travelling musicians staying… especially like minded ones; it makes the world feel that little bit smaller.
You can listen to One Night Stand in North Dakota over at their bandcamp