One For The Road - The Life & Lyrics of Simon Fowler & Ocean Colour Scene

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One For The Road - The Life & Lyrics of Simon Fowler & Ocean Colour Scene

One For The Road - The Life & Lyrics of Simon Fowler & Ocean Colour Scene

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It was also clear of the thinking of the Christians of the time when there was no welfare state, the rich expected the poor to stand on their own two feet and that they were responsible for being poor and could work their way out of their situation. Fowler again uses the evidence of the Poor Law Guardians of their thoughts on the poor and that relief was corrupting the independant nature of the poor. Fowler provides examples of what life was like behind the doors of the workhouse and he does not pull any punches and gives examples of the various workhouses that covered the country. He explains the hierarchy of the workhouses with the masters and matrons and how they dealt with the people in their care. Fowler also explains how the inmates were treated within the walls and that entering the workhouse was meant to be humiliating and that they would be accepting humiliation on them by the authorities. Collaborating with his lifelong friend, award-winning author, Daniel Rachel, One For The Road is presented as an extended conversation featuring 69 personally hand-selected songs by Simon, including never seen before original handwritten lyrics, 13 unreleased songs, and over 350 hand chosen photographs and rarely seen items of memorabilia. Sources and archives are neither neutral nor natural. They are created. It is this that is the reason for so many silences. Archival creation is, of course, a human process, starting from individuals who produce the records, continuing through the selection process used by archivists and ending up with cataloguing and delivery of documents.

The Workhouse by Simon Fowler is one of the best and well researched books on The Workhouse something that hung over the poor like Damacles Sword and sent fear through the massed ranks of the poor. The publication of this book is well timed especially when people are researching their family tree’s and find that ancestors were sent to the workhouse, many want to know what the workhouse was. If one was to look at the former workhouse in Hampstead Workhouse now you would never understand what passed as life there looking at the expensive apartments that have been converted from the building. This may sound platitudinous: something a history student might write in an essay. This chapter, and the next, explore why this has long been the case in the context of traditional, one might say analogue, archives. In this chapter we will consider how archival institutions have traditionally failed to meet the needs of host communities and why there have been great gaps in the collections, and in archival collecting policies. In the words of the great French historian Marc Bloch, the records of a society are ‘witnesses in spite of themselves’ (Bloch, 1953, 51). That is, on the one hand the records become witnesses in the evidentiary sense arising from the process of record making and record keeping and, on the other, also bear witness to the lives of those who are the subjects of the records. I think that half of songwriting is actually just sitting down and being bothered to do it. You can have as many genius thoughts that you can prescribe yourself but if you don’t sit down and do it then you’ve got nothing.’ SIMON FOWLER


Lyrics have been a focal point for Fowler, which get extensive coverage in the book ‘99% of the (OCS) lyrics are written by me, apart from Riverboat where the music came first. For me to write a song I would have to sit down with a guitar and start to write. When I started out the songs I wrote were very derivative of my heroes like Bowie and Dylan, but isn’t everyone out to follow their heroes’.

In The Silence of the Archive , David Thomas , Simon Fowler and Valerie Johnson challenge the imagined notion of the archive as a comprehensive repository by exploring their silences, gaps and elisions. While the book could do more to draw out its hopeful implications, this is a timely and valuable call for a new relationship between archivists, archival subjects and archive users, writes Peter Webster . Taking off from my recent reading of the Great Britain's Edwardian era and the current housing situation in urban areas in the United Kingdom, Simon Fowler's "Workhouse" is a fitting accompanying piece to these previous titles. Workhouse initially reads like a thesis--whose passages follow a serious tone and a rigid structure in its first chapter but opens up like a reportage in the next few chapters. Right off the bat, what I liked about the book is that it attempts to erase some significantly whitewashed facts perpetuated during the time period. Today the workhouses conjure up images of abuse and horror, and rightfully so, but they actually began as charitable institutions to look after the poor, elderly, disabled, and unmarried mothers. In effect, they functioned as an early type of social welfare, something that was not seen in many other Western countries until much later. Like many well intentioned ventures, the workhouses were not without their problems, and many of the same problems still occur today - like 'concerns' about people becoming too reliant on welfare to the point where they 'decide' not to work, or the overseers taking cuts of the money or produce to fund their own lifestyles. To find out more about ONE FOR THE ROAD and receive up to the minute news on the book and special offers, visit, The Silence of the Archive is throughout a call for a new relationship between archivists, the ‘archival subjects’ (those whose lives are documented) and those who use the archived record. Johnson writes of the process whereby those archival subjects are engaged in the process of creating the archive of their existence, thus becoming co-creators with the archivist (149-53). Thomas points out the acute need in a digital archive for close engagement with end users, both in the selection of material and in the design of the interfaces that make those records first discoverable and then usable (70-72). It is a shame, then, that this call for change – necessary and urgent – is somewhat muted here; indeed, in general, the authors have a tendency to quote and expound the work of others rather than elaborate an argument, and could have been bolder. However, it is a case that should be widely heard. Records managers, archivists, historians and other users of archives should read this timely and important book. Collaborating with his lifelong friend, award-winning and bestselling author, Daniel Rachel, One For The Road is presented as an extended conversation and arranged alphabetically to provide a kaleidoscope rather than chronological account. The result is a revelatory self-portrait and a testimony to friendship. Fowler is a unique front man, not many of his kind come along in our life time, but when they do you know you’re in the presence of someone special whether it be up on stage, in a studio setting or one on one, which I was fortunate enough to enjoy an hour or so of his time, along with the books co-author Daniel Rachel to discuss this exciting publication centered around the life of Fowler, each shared with me their travels towards the culmination of the book including some entertaining and revealing stories thrown in.

Collaborating with his lifelong friend, award-winning author, Daniel Rachel, One For The Road is presented as an extended conversation featuring 69 personally hand-selected songs by Simon, including never seen before original handwritten lyrics, 13 unreleased songs, and over 350 hand chosen photographs and rarely seen items of memorabilia. This new stunning book offers a unique and illuminating visual record of one of the great songwriters. In the past two to three decades, the archival profession has been caught between two currents of cultural and technological change: simultaneous, largely unrelated, both apparently inexorable. Largely confined to the academy, but resonating beyond it, has been a radical scepticism about the stability of meaning in language resulting from the postmodern turn in historical thinking. Coupled with this epistemological scepticism has been a hermeneutic of suspicion of the power relations that are embedded in the creation, description and accessing of archival records. This has been bound up with the emergence of a wider politics of identity, and the assertion of the experience of marginalised groups as being equally worthy of documentation and study as those more ‘official’ voices that have traditionally dominated archives. When I was a teenager, my dream was to become a football commentator. Wanting to become a pop star seemed a stretch too far. It seemed daft enough to want to be John Motson, let alone John Lennon.’ SIMON FOWLER

Fowler explores all aspects of the workhouse, including (but not limited to) the working conditions, daily life, and the organisation of the workhouses. There are also images, and inclusions of memoirs and letters by people who lived and worked in workhouses. In this extraordinary book, Simon Fowler recounts his life and songwriting through the prism of 69 songs from all stages of his career – from the first song he wrote when he was sixteen, through his formative groups, The Great Betrayal and The Fanatics, to Ocean Colour Scene and their multi-platinum selling albums in the mid-nineties. Revealing a panoply of influences from William Yeats and Cole Porter to David Bowie, Lou Reed and Neil Young, the book reveals the stories behind the songs, the people and the places that inspired them and how Simon feels about them now. Presented with an astonishing treasure trove of ephemera including 13 unreleased songs, over 200 personal photographs, never seen before original handwritten lyrics, and more than 150 rarely seen items of memorabilia, it offers a unique and illuminating visual record of one of the great songwriters. At much the same time, the transition from paper to digital in records management and archiving has presented the profession with challenges of exceptional scale and complexity, as laid out by David Thomas, former Director of Technology at the National Archives of the UK, in Chapter Three of this fascinating book. This transformation has fundamentally changed the ways in which live records are created and managed by organisations, with the significant added risk of mis-description as frontline staff are pressed into becoming their own archivists, and also of discontinuity in working IT systems such that data is lost or rendered uninterpretable. As these records pass to the archive, new and intractable challenges of scale come into play as archivists must select content for archiving and appraise it, presenting the difficulty of finding effective ways of describing these records and designing access systems that meet the needs of users.

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