Chris Hines’ 7 Things

Chris Hines, Porthtowan, March 2020.

1. Trees

“Every autumn I plant some seeds: conkers, acorns, hazel nuts, ash keys, beech-nuts and others. I plant loads as the success rate can be low. Then, each spring, I watch as the odd one breaks through. It’s brilliant. Horse chestnuts are almost sexual in the way they split open the conker, shoot down into the earth and up. The Good Seed Guide is a great reference book. 

Then I grow them in pots for a few years before giving them away or planting them on the old mining slag-heap where we live. There’s almost no soil but slowly, slowly they grow. I’ve got trees here that I planted 35, 36 years ago. One lot I planted twenty years ago are now a small woodland. I’m planting more every year but realise that by the time this lot become part of the woodland I’m going to be 78. No instant gratification here. Those trees are a long-term project and ground you as to your true significance. Or lack of it”.

2. Ian Dury

“I’ve chosen two albums: New Boots And Panties, and also Do It Yourself. Raucous, irreverent and funky. Also the track Mischief starts with the words ‘Break a few rules!’ which allows me (if Matt agrees) to have more than five things! Mischief!”

3. Reggae Music

“Wow! How do you choose one song? Impossible. OK: Bob Marley – Natural Mystic from the Exodus album. Listen to that fade in and the lyrics: 

‘Many more will have to suffer, 

Many more will have to die, 

Don’t ask me why… 

If you listen carefully now you will hear, 

Such a natural mystic, 

Blowing through the air’.

I used to listen to this album before going to school when I was fifteen. Racial injustice, equality, human rights, spirituality, love… all set to damn good rhythms”. 

4. Tom Robinson Band – Power In The Darkness

“Great album and great title track. Check this track and check the album cover. It came with a free stencil of the fist of solidarity. Some people think the fist is aggressive but it’s about solidarity with one another and support, strength and defiance against oppression. I always have this logo on my surfboard with M.A.D. – Make A Difference. Read the lyrics and tell me they aren’t relevant today”

5. Oceans And Dartmoor

“Homage to wide open spaces and the energy of nature, when its raging and when its still. To the micro and the macro. Gaze to the horizon and then get down on your belly and look at a tiny orchid on the clifftops and stop, pause and think – really think – and appreciate how amazing it all is and how lucky we are. And then, when the opportunity arises, do something about the forces trying to destroy it”.

6. (Ha!) Sleaford Mods – BHS

“Not my usual but this track has that whole up yours attitude to those sleazy f***ers who exploit people. Love the last scene where the Philip Green character is wagging his finger at them and they’re telling him where to go. Loved the fact that he was stripped of his knighthood. A few more of those wouldn’t go amiss. Maybe they’ll take my MBE away but they can’t ever take away me being a Moaning Bloody Environmentalist as I was that before they gave me one. Ay Ay!”

7. Can I Have Another Tree?