Friday, May 23, 2008

Protest songs on picket line

Our picket-line rocked with pride and passion on the second day of our strike.

Outside the Walmgate offices of The Press and the Gazette & Herald, strikers and members of the public were of one voice thrilled by an al fresco concert by The Press subeditor and NUJ member Richard Foster.

He opened his pavement gig with the self-penned Things I Learnt This Year, written as part of the five-day campaign against a derisory three per cent pay offer from Newsquest (York). Click on the video panel below to see some footage of the performance (apologies for the quality).

As strikers joined in, Fozzy, backed by the Fozettes, had Walmgate jumping, pictured. The concert continued with equal gusto and a flurry of favourite tunes including Redemption Song, Quinn The Eskimo, Snoopy And The Red Baron, Joe Hill and Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, before launching into an even more rousing reprise of his heartfelt strike ballad.

His song was first aired in public at a special folk concert given by star American folk singer Dana Robinson. During the gig at the Black Swan Folk Club, Robinson dedicated a protest song in tribute to the striking journalists and photographers whose newspapers belong to the Newsquest empire, owned by American parent company Gannett, which made $1 billion profit last year. To hear the song in full, log on to our YouTube site here.