AN UNKNOWN, unsigned band are spending a third week in the HMV download chart with a protest song against the HS2, the proposed high speed rail link after being numbers one and two on their chart release on Boxing Day. This was made even more remarkable as the song has received no radio airplay, due to it falling foul of OFCOM guidance, which seems to ban all current protest songs from the airwaves. Stop HS2 are now asking supporters to buy the track between 8th-14th January, which is anticipated to be at the time Justine Greening is planning to make her announcement on HS2.
The Stop HS2 Christmas single, ‘Oak Tree Lament (Did you stop the HS2?)’ by Dirty Mavis went straight into the HMV download Top 40 at numbers 4 and 5 on 19th December when it was released, went to 1 and 2 on Boxing Day, and is now hanging on at number 37. Clips of the song have featured in news sections on various radio stations and Channel 4 News, but the song itself has not yet been played on the air. Under OFCOM guidance, broadcasters are required not to give ‘undue prominence’ to matters which are deemed politically controversial.
The Oak Tree Lament was written, performed, recorded and produced by unsigned Buckinghamshire band Dirty Mavis, who were formed in 1997 and play around 10 gigs per year.
Stop HS2 Campaign Co-ordinator, Joe Rukin said;
“We had a lot of setbacks in our battle to get into the charts, the biggest of which being that the song was even censored from the local airwaves, because it had a hint of protest about it. So to have a song which next to no-one has heard from an unsigned band no-one had heard of to number one in a UK chart is absolutely amazing.”
“We had to originally release the single for Christmas as that is when the media pay the most attention to the charts, but the Christmas chart is the most competitive of the year, so it makes sense to do the whole thing again next week.”
“We released the single because HS2 is a massive issue in the areas it goes through, not because of the ‘nimby’ tag which supporters chuck at us, but because we’ve actually paid attention to the plans and the whole case for HS2 has been made up. Two years ago Lord Adonis just told the Department for Transport ‘Design me the fastest, most expensive railway in the world and justify it.’, there was no thought about whether it was a good idea, it was just ‘Get on and do it’ and that’s why none of the arguments for it work. The problem is that HS2 is not seen as a nationally important issue, so people don’t know much about it. The purpose of the song is simply to raise awareness of the issue, but we are simply not being allowed to do it on the radio.”
Dirty Mavis lead singer Martin Davis who wrote the song, said:
“We are amazed at the support and interest we have got for this song. We are just normal people who wanted to back a good cause with a good song. The success of Oak Tree Lament, which has been written, performed, recorded and produced entirely by the band itself so far has been a fantastic achievement for everyone who cares about the countryside.“
Well, it’s definitely a number two. Not sure whether it’s a number one yet.