At various points during the week we helped cook a full British breakfast, made Bara Brith and served it with afternoon tea (tough to convince other cultures that British tea with milk is tea), participated in a debate on Brexit (which the Thieves were divided on), and performed a skit on Sospan Fach at the cabaret evening that went down very well (apparently the correct pronunciation of ‘llawr’ is hysterical to the artists formerly known as our EU partners).
As our musical offering to the assembly, we sang a great arrangement of Joe Hill and the powerful El Payandé with the Thieves plus members of La Band a Rosa (Amiens), Choralalternative (Rouen) and Lizzie from Raised Voices. At the end of the week the combined choirs performed two concerts, including a performance in the village square of Tarnac, which is the home of the Invisible Committee! (authors of The Coming Insurrection and To Our Friends ). In the midst of all this we also managed to interview some of Strawberry Thieves for the ‘Singing for our Lives’ oral histories project.
On the way back to Wales, to put the icing on an already superbly rich cake, we visited with La Rolandiére collective in la ZAD, a communal occupation of the area where the future airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes is planned. There’s much to share about the experiment in autonomous community being constructed by up to 300 people in la ZAD, about the Degrowth Movement and the response of the French authorities… For now, I’ll just say that if you have a chance to visit and take part in this project, don’t miss out, it is inspiring and wonderful. We talked at length and in depth with La Rolandiére members Yoann, our long-time friend and comrade, the brilliant Isabelle and JJ, as well as another old friend Marsios, a near neighbour who we first met when, as a rebel clown holding a parasol, he cycled a too small bicycle at a protest at Faslane. Much more to write on la ZAD in future – watch this space (and others).