Billy Preston

Billy Preston isn’t a name you would have heard of and probably wouldn’t know what part he played in music history. 

I was mulling over some time today and listening to some Beatles songs and it got me thinking about their infamous roof top concert they played at the end of the 60s. I was reminding myself of how much I love the song their performed called ‘Don’t let me down’. It was during this performance I noticed a man playing keyboards and wanted to know who he was and what connecting he had to the band.

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My first reaction to him was that I loved the hair. But who was he and where did come from? His name was Billy Preston and he was born in Houston, Texas and his family eventually moved to Los Angeles where Billy was a renowned child prodigy as his keyboard skills had got him work with Little Richard as his keyboardist (their name not mine). It was while performing in Hamburg in the early 60s he met the Beatles.

Billy hooked up with the band again just as they were breaking up at the end of the decade and he played during the ‘Get Back sessions’ and kept the band together for what would be some of their final work.

He struggled all through his life with sexuality, knowing he was gay, which was in direct conflict with his strict evangelical Christianity. It must have been terrible of him knowing that who he was in a life which would have been fraught with guilt and self-loathing as homosexuality to those around him was a grave sin.

During the latter years of his life he struggled with drugs as it was a way of coping with the sexual abuse he suffered a child. It didn’t help his well-being that his mother did not believe him when he disclosed the abuse he had experienced.

Billy passed away in 2006 as a result of hypertension and pericarditis. He was 59.

In some ways the world has made great steps in LGBT inclusivity but still there remains pockets of hatred and ignorance when read of stories where people have been attack or worse killed because of their own sexuality.

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Muslim Ban 2

Years ago when I started this blog I said that I would always speak out for those who are not fortunate enough to live in a country where democracy exists. I will challenge racist and homophobic attitudes where I see them. My opinion on these matters has not changed.

I am saddened that some feel that participating in demos against Mr Trump policies is somehow misguided or worse hypocritical. What is so wrong with wanting to make your voice heard for those people who are desperate to leave a country ravaged by war? Why is it so bad show the compassion that any normal human being should show when people are on the brink of being killed?

Banning an entire country and their people from entering the USA on the basis that one of might be a terrorist is stupid, naive and dangerous. As I said in the previous post the actual facts point to the threat not from IS potentially travelling to the USA but the citizens already in it.

Critics of the protest have asked why didn’t you protest about other things that have happened in the world? Which is a ludicrous argument. I have protested, I have given to UNICEF and Save the Children but I choose not to publicise it and make a big deal. It is the same with problems in this country. Just because I don’t go on EVERY march or set up a petition for every wrong I see doesn’t mean I am not doing something to make my voice heard.

In the same way that if someone came to me with a problem or a need I would try my best to help. I do this because I want to and hold humanist values that everyone is equal. If that offends you in some way then I am sorry that you don’t see the world as I do.

Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.

              Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5

LGBT rights 

Sad that even in 2017 we are fighting for the rights to be accepted as human beings. If the past week has taught us anything we still have a long way to go. 

Black lives do matter

From 1988-91 I studied Theology at Overstone College. It was a predominately black church where the congregations were made up of the West Indian community in the UK. For someone like me a young lad from the northeast it was a shock to the system being placed in a totally unknown culture. But it was one of the happiest times in my life.

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America’s ‘shoot first ask questions later’ policy is causing innocent young men to die needlessly on the streets. I watched online a video of Ronald Johnson who was running away from the police at the time when he was shot and killed. I have to get my head around USA law that says that a police officer can use deadly force if they ‘reasonably believe’ that someone has a firearm on them. Even if they don’t see it they can use force to kill.

The CNN article that I linked goes on to explain that each case is determined individually and that the prosecutors should way up the information leading to the police using deadly force.

I can understand that each case will have to be assessed but what I still cannot understand is the necessity in the USA to have guns. The lack of gun control laws is alarming for someone born and raised in a country where it very rare for you to see policemen holding guns.

Black lives matter as much as white, hispanic or Jewish lives. But what seems to be emerging that you are more likely to die at the hands of police if you are a young black man.

It’s alien to me. I never saw or heard of any racism at my time at Overstone and I would have been horrified and distraught at the police deliberately targeting any of my friends.