Thursday, May 30, 2013

POP VOX "Hello Summer !!" Beach Party -- June 1

Well. Summer has finally arrived. Which makes the POP VOX "Hello Summer !!" Beach Party even more timely. This coming Saturday, June 1, at The Cave, starting at 10.00pm.

There's a bunch of new interactive dance-a-long songs, including a Doo-Wop number ('Light In My Heart'), to match the 1950's theme.

Now, you don't have to sing or dance-a-long. You can have fun doing whatever you feel comfortable doing. The emphasis with POP VOX is on folks relaxing and having a blast.

But if you want to be one of the Popsters/Popettes helping out on stage with the dancing, just get to The Cave about 9.30pm, so we can run through some dance moves beforehand. They're really simple. Duh. It's ME!!

And. AND. There are delightfully tacky prizes for the wildest interaction. I'm not looking for perfection. I'm talking freaking out. So. Join us. Remember, we are all POP VOX, not just me ... !!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Weavestock ...

Well. It would appear that, occasionally, the folks in Weaver Street do actually listen to me. There was an item in this week's employee Market Messenger asking all musicians within WSM to contact the WSM marketing department about an idea they are brainstorming.

This, after I wrote to our General Manager in the terms of my previous post about WSM not using its own, homegrown, 'local' musicians for WSM events.

Now, I have no idea what idea the WSM marketing department have in mind. But, my preference would be for a mid-summer, Saturday, Weavestock-style event. Morning, noon and night. Carrboro lawn (with Century Center as back-up rain venue). No audition. If you are with The Weave, and you want to get up there, you're on.

What would it cost to stage and promote? More or less than the additional revenue to the Carrboro Weave? Is this a no-brainer, or what?

Mind you, fellow musician guys and gals, if we want this to be big, splashy, properly organized and widely promoted, we may have to agree to appear for free. I'd be willing. So, get in touch with
, and let her know you're interested. And then. Back to you, marketing department ...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Preach Local -- Act Local !!

Part promo. Part gentle whine. My work-mate and fellow musician, Steve Carter, is appearing in both parts of a double bill at The Pinhook, Durham this evening.

Well, I say both parts. I'm assuming both parts, 'cos that's what he's done before. He is drummer and collaborator in Dom Casual - Golden Age rock sounds like rockabilly, surf instrumentals and the Brit Invasion. And then he performs vibraphone (did I get that right?) with D-Town Brass.

Ok. That's part of the promo. Now the gentle whine. This afternoon, my very favorite co-op, where I work (in the Southern Village store), is staging a beer release, in concert (geddit?) with our 25th Anniversary.

Here's the thing. Along with Steve, we have a gazillion musicians who work at Weaver Street Market. Which Market jumps up and down, and makes merry hay about buying/using local. Yet, for the musical entertainment, we're 'importing' a musician from somewhere else. Why?

When we have Steve. And Matt McElroy, of Canine Heart Sounds; and Chris Felton of Fanghole. All of whom work at the Southern Village Weave, where the launch will be held.

If they are not available, what about my Brit mate, Pete Pawsey, of Radar's Clowns of Sedation, who works in the Hillsborough Weave? And so on. And so on. And so on. Oh. Perhaps, even me?

So. A shout-out to my co-workers in the WSM corporate office management team: next time, go local. Maybe ... ??

Saturday, May 11, 2013

WSM Board Election - Geoff Drops A Clanger

Oops. I made a boo-boo. I’m not going to blame anyone else. I’m not going to try to get away with it. Nor am I going to put others to the trouble of having to work up the nerve to tell me.

Where I come from. The way I was raised. The manner in which I roll. You stand up. You own up. That may be old-fashioned. But hey. This is the weekend of The Great Gatsby. And I’m wearing my straw boater.

I have stood for the WSM Board of Directors four times before. I’m pretty certain that each time close of nominations was at the end of August. A month for printing election material. Then voting in October. And count at the beginning of November.

I assumed nominations were opening much earlier this year in line with the WSM Board’s stated intent to do all it could to encourage multiple candidatures so as to avoid another year of uncontested elections.

But stupidly, it didn’t occur to me to check when nominations closed. And for some reason this year they close much earlier also. At the end of June.

The rules are quite clear. And I helped draft them, back in 2008. You have to have been an owner for one continuous year before close of nominations to be eligible. And I became a worker-owner again in August of last year. So, I ain’t eligible to stand for the WSM Board in 2013.

No-one’s fault but mine that I did not read about the earlier nomination period before jumping around all over the place like an excited ferret in heat. And no-one else should be put to the bother of having to declare my ineligibility. It was my boo-boo. No-one else’s.

So. With all the dignity I could muster, I gently eased myself out of the Throne of Co-operative Passion last evening, swung the Righteous Stole of Facial Egg around my neck, and wrote to the WSM Elections Committee, informing them of my ding-dong, and apologizing for putting them to any inconvenience.

Now, I know, I know. You are all bitterly disappointed. I can hear the gnashing and the wailing from here. But please, please. Show a little restraint. Get up off the floor, and wipe away those tears. Turn that frown upside down. Let yourselves down gently.

The fact is I stand by my reasons for wanting to become a worker-owner again. I stand by my desire to want to run for the WSM Board at this crucial time. And I hope that there are others out there who will want to stand, to help return WSM to being the authentic co-operative we all richly deserve and desire it to be.

As for me. Well. I’m still trying to get the Righteous Stole of Facial Egg out of my hair …

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My 2013 Candidacy for the WSM Board

I have today formally submitted my name in nomination as a candidate in the election for one Worker-Owner Director on the Board of the Weaver Street Market/Panzanella Co-operative.

I had previously indicated my intention, with the reasons.

Most of us who joined WSM did so not just for the paycheck, but because we believed, especially in light of The Great Recession, that there was a better way to run a business.

That it was possible to be both successful and democratic. The latter indeed being a precursor of the former, if we look at social and environmental profit, as well as financial profit.

Many of us were with WSM as we suffered through the Recession. As our pay was frozen, our hours reduced, hiring halted. As each and every day we made personal sacrifice, not for some fiscal bottom line, but for a co-op we believed in.

Now better times are here. And now is the time we should all joyfully exclaim a new renewal in economic democracy, and witness dramatic improvement in all our worker benefits.

But what do we find? We find those in remote places, making important decisions on our behalf, pretending to engage in discussion, but then ignoring what we say.

We find ourselves bought off with dividends (for those who can afford the Worker-Owner Entry Fee of $500). But those who work alongside us, performing the same work, having to choose between food for the kids or the only bonus on offer, receiving no reward for working just as hard as us.

We find the Board happily considering even more expensive expansion projects, when we are still struggling to cope with the after-effects of the last expansion in 2007-2009.

We find our Board gleefully planning capital projects hither and thither, while our entry wage level is what it was ten years ago.

It is time we realized that the essence of economic democracy is happy customers served by fulfilled workers [a little more on that].

It is time we realized that a social bottom line is not drinking on the lawn on a Thursday evening; it is taking into account the social effects on our consumers and workforce of the financial decisions we make.

And it is time the Board of WSM and its corporate office management team realized they are our servants, not our masters.

I have been with WSM eight years now. Notwithstanding all the heartache, all the sacrifice, the ups and downs, the good moments, the utterly banal disasters, I have never once lost my idealistic glow.

Why? Because I believe now, as I believed yesterday, as I will believe the day you allow me to walk into that Boardroom and debate gently but firmly with Ruffin and his cohorts, that WSM can be both a successful business and a solidly democratic social statement, if only those we render responsible for its strategic direction would themselves believe in the original concept of a co-operative: as an entity whose commons needs are determined by its owners, and where the workers - all the workers, together, not just a self-selected few - then decide consensually how to address those needs.

And that is why I am standing for the Board of WSM.