About On The Rock'n'Roll
Callahan has been making music both professionally and with the inadvertent support of the Welfare State in the UK for his entire adult life, mostly in the bands The Wolfhounds and Moonshake, and more recently under his own name. He also writes for a living.
Born and raised via the NHS, nurtured by the free education system and buoyed up by the dole in times of hardship, he has been but a molecule in the huge body of work created under similar circumstances by innovative popular and unpopular musicians from all genres and non-genres.
The purpose of this blog is to highlight excerpts and extraneous matter from the ongoing writing of a book about the history of making music on the welfare state – particularly the dole, but also taking in squatting, radical politics, radical hedonism, interviews, social history précis, interesting asides and, most importantly, the artists, industry workers and music itself.
While the writer certainly has personal tastes, the kernel idea is to cover all forms of music without prejudice to get an overview of the sheer breadth of musical talent lifted up and supported by the creation of the welfare state in the UK. The book will be very carefully constructed, but the blog is in no particular order.
It is getting progressively more difficult to find the time and money to be creative unless you're lucky enough to come from a monied background. Recent years have seen the gradual piecemeal selling off of the NHS, increasingly draconian benefit regimes and a lack of cheap rented accommodation and squattable property. The book will examine the rise and fall of state-enabled creative opportunities from the mouths of the musicians themselves, while investigating how this occurred in the first place and how it might be able to happen again.
Tour-fatigued and smoking a fag outside the Empty Bottle, Chicago, USA, 1997. Photo: Ginger.