The Crosstalk Project.... Part 1.

A Mixed Bag: Since we began doing this series, a rather mixed bag of articles, we have similarly had a rather mixed bag of reactions and comments from people. Some have been very encouraging and some a bit more critical. There has also been the occasional soapbox joke thrown in from one or two of my mates for good measure and some people have simply wondered why none of the articles are about music, even though they're in a music mag. However, my daughter assures me, "Not everything you get in music mags is always about music dad." Anyway, whatever the case, part of the name of the game is about providing some content for people to read, as Maggie said, perhaps while people are waiting for the band to set up, or similar. Maggie's original thoughts were to call it something like 'Taz's Rant' (haha! She knows what I'm like). That sounded good to me, as it is definitely in my genes, or at least in my surname (Tarrant). However, in the end we opted for the title as above, as it is the theme for our rather long term (some might say rather long-winded) project, a large part of which involves music. Through the ages, music has always been a great means of communication and emotional expression. From classical music through to modern day rock, from the simple love song, to the concept album, it is a chance to say and express something in a form that one can enjoy and identify with emotionally. Yes, indeed! That point was not lost on us! We love music!

Something We Believed In: It is also true to say that I have always had a bit of a tendency to try and make a case when I think there is an element of unfairness and injustice at hand. From equal-rights campaigning at school for boys to be allowed to wear their hair a bit longer (we drew the line before asking to wear skirts as well), to campaigning to get CB radio legalised. In fact quite a number of good people I have met in my life (some of which helped greatly in the early days this project) I met through CB radio. For the benefit of any younger readers, in the days long before mobile phones and social networking, we lusted after something called citizens' band radio, CB for short. It was a short range (up to four miles or so, depending) form of radio communication, for home or car, that other countries were allowed to have, but we in the UK were not. However, this did not stop us from doing it at the time, as it was something we believed in, and believed was right. Luckily for us I think the police, also recognising its benefits, largely agreed, as none of us were ever arrested for it!

A Great Asset: CB was a very useful communication's tool, especially in times of a road traffic accident or similar emergency. It really made a difference and could certainly save lives. It also had tremendous chat and social benefits. It was therefore a great asset for the public. Although CB users were generally known as breakers, we didn't actually want to be law-breakers, we therefore decided to see if we could do something about the illegality and formed a club called SLAB 27 to promote our cause. SLAB was short for South London Associated Breakers - 27 Megahertz was the CB frequency). Slab was the breakers' slang term for the tarmac, or motorway, roads like the A2, etc, so it all seemed quite fitting as we used to meet in the hall at the Woodman, in Blackfen, right next to the slab. We had our meetings, went out on convoys, etc, got on telly, etc, raised the profile and eventually managed to get CB legalised. The government gave us a system on 27Mhz FM rather than the original 27Mhz AM, so it wasn't quite the system we wanted, the one that everybody else had, but nevertheless it was something, and a result. However, what a palaver to get such a good and useful idea into the UK public domain when everyone else in the world already had it! Nowadays, of course, the great unwashed are allowed to share a small slice of the airwaves. How gracious of our masters to allow us such a privilege. However, like a lot of things, we had to fight for it!

A Good Investment? Back in the late seventies / eighties, as some will remember, we also had a lot of issues with the cold war and the amassing of nuclear weapons. Pershing, Minuteman, MX, Cruise Missiles, Greenham Common, etc, etc. The people running the show on behalf of the rest of us were spending millions of pounds, roubles and dollars, money that nobody could afford, on weapons of mass destruction, just to take the world to the brink of annihilation. In fact they spent absolute fortunes and took us to a point where every single man, woman and child on this Earth was sitting on the equivalent of about five tons of TNT each. That means if you had four people in your house, you were allocated 20 tons of TNT - that's quite a bang. A good investment for you and your family? They put our most beautiful planet, in fact the only one we've got (although I think that point went right over their heads), in the most extreme of danger. I don't know where we're all going to live if we screw this place up, I'm sure! How very close we have come to throwing it all away. Like a spoilt unappreciative child smashing up his toy in a foolish selfish tantrum because he doesn't want to share it!

DIY In The Extreme: Anyway, like many at that time, we were all a bit concerned about this predicament (which still hasn't quite gone away), not to mention a few other things, so we thought we'd try and do something about it. We had this mad idea that we should get a band together, buy a house with our very limited budget, put a studio on the back where we could rehearse, do our project and sing some songs about it. DIY in the extreme, it turned out to be rather a long road - over thirty years long in fact. However, there has been some progress in that time and we have just been able to record our first EP here. No, alas, it's not a Crosstalk EP, it is in fact The WillPower's first official EP, entitled 'Take Me Out'. Don't worry, if it had been a Crosstalk EP it would have been called 'Let Me Out'! Anyway, no doubt Katie will do a review on it at some point, although her review may be a little bit biased as she's in the band.

Not The Idea! The fact that things have taken this long does mean we've had a pretty good chance to assess things, as well as make a few notes, both musical and otherwise. It also means we've had a chance to look at some of what we've had to come through to get where we are now. I have to say, a lot of it isn't pretty. You give people arms and legs and what do they do? Use them to punch and kick the crap of each other. No guys, that is not the idea! With the 100th anniversary of the advent of WW1 and the 75th anniversary of the advent of WW2 coming up next year, in 2014, it may be a good time to reflect on what have been given in this world and what a mess we've made of things so far. Yes, I know I like a good rant, but that is because I care and I actually do feel concerned. I personally, like many, would dearly like to see some real improvement in this world. You can do one of two things in this life, you can stay in your shell, be comfortable and have a quiet life (at least in this country and thanks to those that died to make it so) or you can come out, get frustrated, and try and do something about it. I suppose I chose the latter.
Crosstalk by Taz: April 2013

Crosstalk Project Part 2 >>