Saturday's setlist...

I used to be very good at posting the setlist and a bit of a writeup here on LJ after gigs. Hey ho! Here's what we sang on Saturday at Chichester:

Corn Jenny (and John Barleycorn)
Appleby Fair
Spoon (almost all the spoons-for-adoption I took to the gig were adopted!)
Queen of Spindles
My Beautiful Carrier Bag
Away (with bonus Natalie Bennett opening)
Dragonfly (for Teresa)
Polly (world premier; and there was a lovely actual Polly there, too!)
Eleanor Roosevelt's Knitting
Tattercoats (because I keep *nearly* putting it in setlists. Had intended 'Brave Boys', switched on a whim)
* * *
The Wild Yeast (still nicking Tim Griffin's tune...)
Belling the Cat
David Attenborough Says
All the Birds
The I'm Alright Union Jack (gig had over-run a little so we were into finishing time and I really wanted a bit of a rant, which this song certainly is)
Wolf at Your Door

It was a GREAT deal of fun. I am a big fan of afternoon gigs and tea and cake generally, and intend to promote more events of this sort of  shape... Huge thanks to all who came, helped, organised, listened, baked, and sang!

#VATMOSS, #VATMESS, and goodbye to my Bandcamp shop...

Over the past several years many of you have bought music downloads from me - not just through the big guys like iTunes and Maazon, who retail the mp3s of my studio albums, but especially thrrough Bandcamp, where it's been my habit and pleasure to make available out-of-print, topical, rough and fundraising projects.

I'm grateful to all of you who've bought through this site, and am very sad to tell you that I will have to mothball my Bandcamp site at the end of this year.

New VAT regulations negotiated in 2008 and coming into force on 1st January, designed to prevent large corporations from shifting their businesses around to the most tax-advantageous EU country, mean that from that date, all digital 'services' (music files, image files, word files etc) that are sold online from anywhere in the world into the EU, will need to include VAT sold at the rate appropriate to the *buyer*, not the seller.

The rules as written have taken no account of the nano-businesses run by artists, musicians, knitting pattern designers and the like, and means that we will now be obliged to ascertain the country of each customer and keep their data for ten years, unless we are fortunate enough to sell through a third-party platform which will handle the VAT for them.

The big guys of course, Amazon and itunes, have no difficulty with this...

Smaller and niche platforms? - are as shocked and unprepared as we are, it seems.

Bandcamp has answered frantic queries from musicians like me with a 'we will reply soon' message, and no more. Their terms and conditions state that they do NOT handle tax, and that tax remains the responsibility of the artist.

This runs counter to the HMRC's advice and assumptions - but the HMRC is struggling to grasp the scale of this both ways, and they failed singularly to communicate both with this whole sector of business, and it seems, with the more niche of the third party platforms too. They've concentrated on businesses already registered for VAT - because they didn't, apparently, realise we exist!

HMRC didn't grasp the actual size of nano-businesses employing the artist and nobody else, kitchen-table operations that may be augmenting a pension, or a full-time job, or that may be preventing somebody from claiming benefits.

They also don't seem to know how many - how VERY many - tiny businesses are about to be clobbered by an administrative burden that they cannot, simply cannot bear. Tens or hundreds of thousands? And how many still have no idea that they're about to be responsible for VAT on their sales into the EU?

Musicians and artists and writers who sell online this way aren't making hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. Some of us may make £30k, others £10, others £1k. Even if I only made one pound from a download into Europe - and Bandcamp doesn't allow me to choose which territories I sell in, and European discrimination laws may in any case prevent that option - I will still be liable for charging VAT at the rate of the customer's own country. Assuming I can verify it with them, that is, with multiple pieces of non-contradictory evidence.

I doubt I'll ever sell enough music to hit the UK's VAT threshold in the normal manner, but this - this means I will have to stop selling online.

Oh, and they intend to roll it out to physical sales from 2016 as well, so be warned. Which means that using resources to make CDs rather than selling mp3s will not long be a solution either.

Innovation, creativity, independence - forget it. Business are closing. We can't do this. We simply can't.

Bandcamp (and other smaller platforms) aren't talking to their customers, the HMRC are hedging, and the media largely aren't interested.

So I'm mothballing my mp3 shop at the end of the year. It's been fun while it lasted.

If this makes you as unhappy as it makes me - and many writers, artists and knitting pattern designers in the community - please spread the word, sign the petition, and do what you can to raise your voice.

Nobody intended this effect, it seems, not in Europe or Westminster - but we were too small to see, it seems, selling items the lawmakers probably don't even know exist, for sums they wouldn't open their eyes for, never mind get out of bed.

We've been thrown to the wolves.

Here are the links you'll need for a bit more background:

First, the fightback - lots of useful info here:

Then, the petition: (please sign wherever in the world you are!)

The action group's blog:

...and SouthWest MEP Molly Scott Cato gets it:

Assorted adventures...

Usual apologies for long time without posting here - I use Facebook extensively and Twitter an increasing amount, and poor old Livejournal falls by the wayside a little! However, here I am now, and this Summer's adventures included a wonderful nearly-week at Druidcamp, where we premiered 'God of Lost Things' and 'This Side of the Knife' (complete with festival ending - thank you, Adam!) and generally had a wonderful time. So rock'n'roll I went to the bar afterwards for a mug of tea AND a mug of hot chocolate with Baileys in.

We went to Worldcon, the World Science Fiction convention, which this year was in London; I'd never been to anything that huge since Glastonbury, but I enjoyed all the things I attended and took part in. My set was a little unusual as Chantelle was elseswhere, and I had corralled fiddler-extraordinaire Amy McNally to play in with me, and Simon was there with his bassoon and bass as well, so much fun was had. I have the setlist here: we played

Corn Jenny
Eleanor Roosevelt's Knitting
Siar N Daingean (a Jack Hardy song, and a rare cover from me)
My Beautiful Carrier Bag
All the Birds Are Gone
Catching Asteroids
Belling the Cat
Paper Worlds (lots of folk seem to love this song, it's been nominated for an award recently)
Still Catch the Tide (as performed the previous day by Seanan with her backing band... she made me cry!)
This Side of the Knife

Believe me, that's not how the setlist started! (When is it ever?)

I'm currently shaping up the next round of gigs, and looking to pop up at folk clubs here and there besides some very diverse, exciting and challenging gigs in other places. I'm writing steadily and running to keep up with the arranging side... and then there's Green Party / politics in the mix as well. If you've heard much of my music over the last few years that will be no surprise to you.

Anyway - the website's still at , I'm there on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Bandcamp (and a tiny bit on Soundcloud). All the things. Well, as many as I can juggle at the moment.

Want me to come and sing in your neck of the woods? Make something happen! I'm taking bookings for all of next year. :-)

Thank you for your support and company!

A Mouse Shanty...

This video was going around on Facebook. In it, a small mouse finally succeeds in taking a biscuit several times her size up onto a shelf and away. I foolishly uttered the words 'I want to write a mouse shanty' and my Muse - who clearly has a low taste for bilingual puns, dropped this on my head in the ensuing 24 minutes.


One small determined mouseling met a biscuit large and square:
That biscuit comes with me!
‘But how’ the mouseling wondered ‘Can I get it here from there?‘
That biscuit comes with me!
It’s seven times my weight but ‘tis a splendid dinner-plate
A bigger biscuit I have yet to see!
And it’s seven times my size but I shall carry off my prize
That biscuit comes with me!

That biscuit comes with me, my friends!
That biscuit comes with me!
It’s seven times my size but I shall carry off my prize
That biscuit comes with me!

She took the splendid biscuit in her little mouseling paws (saying)
That biscuit comes with me!
She set about that biscuit with her little mouseling jaws (saying)
That biscuit comes with me!
She did her best to leap and she landed in a heap
Both she and biscuit ruled by gravity!
She scrabbled and she flung and she nibbled off a crumb
That biscuit comes with me!

That biscuit comes with me, my friends!
That biscuit comes with me!
It’s seven times my size but I shall carry off my prize
That biscuit comes with me!

She jumped up fully laden till her tries had passed a score
That biscuit comes with me!
And then, brave little mouseling, well, she jumped a dozen more
That biscuit comes with me!
She sat and had a think and her little paws were pink
And told herself, ‘Here’s how it’s going to be’
And taking care and time she succeeded in her climb
That biscuit comes with me!

That biscuit comes with me, my friends!
That biscuit comes with me!
It’s seven times my size but I shall carry off my prize
That biscuit comes with me!


Words & music by & © Talis Kimberley 5th November 2013.

* * *

And hey, this is public, so if anyone thinks Jezebel might like to know what they spawned... go for it!

Having a very busy time!

Time for a bit of a catch-up; I've had one hectic weekend after the other this Autumn, beginning with a gig for the Green Party National Conference in Brighton, and moving rapidly on to the lovely Folk21 South West showcase event in the pretty Devon town of Torrington. From there (as the rest of the band headed home) I headed North for a family funeral - my songwriter/musician cousin Mike Silk, whose songs are a beautiful legacy.

Just a couple of days after *that* I was off to Havant with full bags for six very packed days at the Literary Festival. Over this period I did nine hours of songwriting workshops for ages 8 through to adult, and over a dozen assorted performances from headline band in a lovely hall at the Saturday night event (there are some Youtubes up from that evening) to 'town stage' in Davies-the-Chemist's garage on the high street, and a delightful breakfast giglet at the 'As You Like It' cafe on East Street.

I wrote a song about the sycamore tree round which Bosmere School is built, and sang that the following day (on book - shocking!) in the hall of that school; I had some lovely laughter for 'David Attenborough Says', and 'Jane Austen's Tango' was increasingly wild as the days wore on. Someblody dance!

I used to give the setlists here - borrowed the idea from Christo - so I'll see if I can reconstruct the Saturday night set as we performed it. It wasn't *exactly* like the setlist, you'll be unsurprised to learn...

Appleby Fair
Common Bunting (Wasn't going to, but Artist-in-Residence Jules Simmons requested it!)
Second Born
Queen of Spindles
Jane Austen's Tango
Gathering Summer In
David Attenborough Says
Ten Years
All the Birds are Gone
These Roots (the new one!)
Corn Jenny
Grace and Gift
Encore: Belling the Cat

Over the course of my stay I worked out that I sang 28 different songs, many of them two or three times. 'Wild Yeast' for the lady who knew her bread was especially fun, and 'Dangerous Music' flowed naturally out of a breakfast conversation about licensing laws :-)

I sang 'Archetype Cafe' to open a panel on women making history, and was introduced to and by Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party. And I contributed to a limerick contest. And I ate some salmon. And met a lot of wonderful people, including the Breakfast Cat Theatre crew.

I worked pretty damn hard, believe me!

It was a treat to go for a dog walk on Hayling Island with my host P on my last evening there, and I found myself having a run along the beach at sunset, with a friendly dog at my heels. It was lovely. Now I'm catching up before the next adventure...

Royalists please avoid. (Song: The Day that Nothing Happened)


The flags went up with the bunting
And the crowds gathered out in the sun
There were journalists jostling for spaces
And excitement filled everyone

Just for once there was nobody fighting
No-one starved, or suffered or died
Not a thing went on in the whole wide world
(Well, unless the media lied)

          So remember this day: the day that nothing happened.
          Such a wonderful day when the world seemed to take a time out
          We’ll remember this day as the day that nothing happened
          Nothing happened all over the world worth talking about.

In the end there was this one thing
Some woman gave birth to a kid
Though my sources report that she wasn’t unique
In fact that’s something lots of mums did

But for reasons I dare not go into
They only just mention the one
Though I think it was probably old-fashioned childbirth
As all of our mothers have done

          So remember this day: the day that nothing happened.
          No more war anywhere, no disputes over contrary views
          We’ll remember this day as the day that nothing happened
          Nothing happened at all, and that’s why there wasn’t any more news.

Words by & © Talis Kimberley 23rd July 2013

* * *

I don't think I'm going to say anything else about this right now...

In which Talis does a Thing...

It's reached the stage where I've decided that I absolutely have to do what I can - whether it's 'enough' or not - towards a better future for this grey, crowded, unhappy little island. I love my country; I love the green fields and the apple trees and the standing stones and the woodlands. I even love the stone churches and the brass eagle lecturns, and I definitely love the morris dancing, the sense of irony, the tea, the self-deprecating humour, Dads' Army, The Good Life, David Attenborough, Morecambe and Wise, and 'after you' - 'no, after you'... onthe pavement outside the greengrocers'.

I do not love the greed, the ignorance, the 'I'm alright Jack', the vilifying of the old, the poor, the sick, the disabled and the vulnerable; I do not love the slick professional politicians who have never wiorked in a shop or been unemployed or faced homelessness or gone hungry so their child could eat.

I do not accept that as the eighth richest country on this planet we can afford nuclear weapons, oil wars, pay rises for MPs, tax havens for the rich, and subsidies for multinational corporations, but cannot afford human rights, or for our poorest to have a spare room for their kids or their medical equipment, cannot afford for the chronically sick and disabled to live in dignity with the care they need, cannot afford to give the poorest children a decent meal in the middle of the day.

I'm for adding my pebble to the pile. I'm joining a political party, and it's Green.

Goodness knows I've been green-minded long enough - if you've heard the songs on 'The Hearth and the Hive' CD or seen me perform since, you'll know that. Somehow it hadn't translated into joining up. Yes, we're all fed up with politics. And doesn't it just suit the big parties to have us wander off shaking our heads and feeling helpless?

SONG: When I was Brave

Yes, I've signed the petitions. Yes, I liked her the original tomboy version too. But then, I would. I was such a tomboy myself as a girl... toying with alternative title 'Princess Enough'. Which do you think is the better title?

Usual thing... link and share if it takes your fancy. If I can shape up the tune maybe I'll get a scratch of it for Bandcamp.


In this dress I can run when I want to
In this dress I can ride so fast
In this dress I can use my bow
And I always hoped this dress would last
One day sure I’ll be older, one day
I’ll have charge of my grown-up life
That’s out there in the future waiting
Now it’s the bow and the wind and the knife and -

Didn’t I run? Didn’t I ride?
Didn’t I loose my arrows well?
Isn’t that just how girls behave?
And wasn’t I strong? Wasn’t I smart?
Wasn’t I who you used to be -
Back when I was brave?

Now this isn’t me, this isn’t right
This isn’t who my mirror shows
This isn’t even how I stand
I used to be strong, I used to be smart
Now where are my bow and arrows?
They’ve taken the courage from my hands

Didn’t I run? Didn’t I ride?
Didn’t I loose my arrows well?
Isn’t that just how girls behave?
And wasn’t I strong? Wasn’t I smart?
Wasn’t I princess enough for you -
Back when I was Brave?

And wasn’t I strong? Wasn’t I smart?
Wasn’t I princess enough...
Back when I was Brave?


Words & music by & © Talis Kimberley 15th May 2013 

"...And Next Week, we Hear From the Ladies" FREE album on

I can now announce that my mad plan for International Womens' Day has come to fruition.

Behold, eight tracks (seven songs and a spoken word piece), six of which were scratch-tracked in my kitchen last night. I only even thought of doing this on Tuesday at Bradford on Avon Folk Club, when Rosie announced she was singing for the Lord Mayor of
Bristol on Friday... :-)

Here you'll find Cecilia, Jane, Elsie, Juliet, Penelope and others, all in scratchtrack form but none the worse for their hasty journey into the world of Bandcamp.

So, here you go. Free or name your price. Listen, link, share and enjoy as you will.

Two honourable mentions here: Mark, who cleaned up the audio at no notice at all, and Shawna, who bought it before I'd even announced it was out! Thank you, Mark, and thank you, Shawna!

What I did Yesterday Evening....

...was to sing for the 'Trefoil Guild' - retired Guiders' group. These are ladies who've given much of their time and energy into making fun and educational things happen, mostly for other peoples' children. I was a Brownie and a Guide by turns myself, when I was much younger, and there was a certain demographic of energetic, capable older lady, who populated the ranks of Guiders, Sunday School leaders, the Church Choir, the Youth Group leadership, the Girls' Brigade leaders, and the dinner ladies at school. Often single, sometimes widowed, occasionally with their own husbands or families, they fuelled the local community with their energy, and I benefited from that as a girl.

I've written, in fact, of the particular generation of women for whom there were to be no husbands, following the war - those women who learned to do more than they had dared, and then kept on giving their time and love. They, and their younger sisters, were the bedrock of all those community groups when I was very young. Their daughters and heirs - figuratively if not in fact - were represented last night, and those of you who know of my secret vice that is the collecting of certain girls' books from the thirties and forties, will understand why I have such a fondness for such ladies.

* * *

For a change, I was completely solo, so I was able to play fast and loose with the form and tempo, throw in something brand new, and I didn't even MAKE a setlist! I had a ... list... and I picked from it as I went along. This only works for very friendly and low-key gigs, but I think I made it work last night. I sang:

The Common Bunting
Green Places
The Cinder Rock
This Isn't Newport
Can You Knit, Brave Boys?
Cloth of Gold

and after more tea and sausage rolls:

Bag Ladies
Belling the Cat
Fourteen Hundred Hours
Keepsake Day
Cast On, Jenny (aka Every Stitch with Love)
The Grace and Gift

I rarely do 'Keepsake' these days - it's a very gentle little thing, and would be swamped on a stage with PA and lights, I feel. It worked well yesterday. I found myself whistling for 'The Cinder Rock' the part Simon would normally play, and that seemed to work. I flung the brand new one at them in a spirit of mishief, and rehearsed them all in the Dave-Clement-style 'Whoah!' that the end of each chorus somehow demands. I don't know why, but it does. It's an activist knitting shanty, and it was *great* fun to do.

Every future audience for whom I sing this will need to live up to the village's retired Guiders for enthusiasm in their 'Whoah!'

And I think I shall revisit the piece I wrote about the post-war ladies, and see whether it can grow a tune...