Thursday, 20 February 2014

I'm doing a two-week run at the Edinburgh Fringe

...which is quite exciting. Here's the blurb for my show, which is called "Arrest That Poet!":

"Danny Chivers is a slam poet and environmental activist. His attempts to battle injustice using dodgy rhymes and D-locks have seen him arrested four times, spied on by undercover cops and sued for £5 million. His new show blends storytelling, poetry and politics into a darkly funny true tale of rhyming and rebellion."

It's a mixture of storytelling, poetry, and daft jokes, and includes this poem that I first wrote and performed whilst occupying a power station chimney:


I'm going to be part of the Free Fringe in Edinburgh, which is brilliant - there's no door fee, you just put some money in the bucket as you leave, based on how much you can afford and what you thought of the show.

As you can see in the list to the right of the screen, I've also got warm-up performances of the show lined up in Cambridge, Manchester, Norwich and Newport (Shropshire), and should be adding London and Oxford to that list soon.

Hope to see you, all you fine fine people...

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

An interactive graphic showing why we don't need fossil fuels

OK everyone, this is it! I've been working on this for a long time with the UK Tar Sands Network, and now it's finally here...

Don't let anyone tell you we need fossil fuels to power the world. We don't.

Today we are launching a brand new website that shows another energy future is possible: http://twoenergyfutures.org . Please take some time to explore this infographic, based on the latest research, which demonstrates we don't need to stay on the path to climate disaster. We can power the world's growing population and give everyone a good quality of life, all with renewables.




I've written a blog that explains a bit more about the website and the research behind it, which you can find at the Greenpeace Energy Desk (as well as a few other places).

A cleaner fairer future is possible - let's make it happen!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Exciting new thing coming soon

I've just been going through the numbers from the brand new shiny Zero Carbon Britain report from the Centre for Alternative Technology. I'm using it (along with various other bits of research) to work out whether it's possible to give everyone on the planet enough energy for a good quality of life without fossil fuels, nuclear power, large-scale agrofuels, destructive mega-dams or scary geoengineering. Guess what? It's totally possible, if we use energy more sensibly and share it more fairly.

This is all part of a project I'm working on with the UK Tar Sands Network that will be launching later this week, it's going to be exciting, watch this space...!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Sorry, should have mentioned here earlier...

...that we won! EDF are no longer suing us for £5 million. Thanks so much to everyone who supported this part of the campaign.

But it isn't over. Although we've beaten EDF's civil claim, the criminal charges still stand and so I'm going to be sentenced on June 6th, along with my fellow 20 power station invaders. More news on all of this to follow soon...

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

I'm being sued for £5 million by an energy giant

You may remember that back at the end of October, I was one of sixteen people who occupied a power station chimney for a week, in protest at the Government's proposed massive expansion of gas power. While I was up there, I wrote and performed this poem. There's an awesome video of the action on the Guardian website - check it out.

Last week, the sixteen of us were in court, along with five other people who had entered the power station but not climbed the chimney. All twenty-one of us pleaded guilty to Aggravated Trespass, and are due to be sentenced on March 20th and April 2nd*. However, the company who run the power station - the French energy giant EDF - seem to think that this isn't punishment enough for us, and have started the process of suing us for an estimated £5 million in supposed "lost earnings".

Now, I've done some badly paid gigs in my time, but if EDF win then this one is going to be hard to beat.



Obviously, we don't have £5 million. Despite our glamorous lives as performance poets, community volunteers and charity workers, we're never going to earn that kind of cash. That means that if EDF's (un)civil claim is successful, we stand to lose our homes plus any savings we might have, and then either declare bankruptcy or be in hock to a power company for the rest of our lives.

So we can't let them win. This is about much more than just the 21 of us - it's about the freedom to protest. If campaigners can be slapped with lawsuits every time they take part in civil disobedience, then that will make it much more difficult for people to stand up and be counted on the issues that matter.

Luckily, the backlash against Greedy-F's repressive tactics has already begun - since we announced the lawsuit on Wednesday, we've appeared on Channel 4 News, the Guardian, Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show, the Telegraph, the Independent, and lots of other blogs and magazines. A petition launched on Friday night already has more than 37,000 signatures, and is still rocketing upwards. We've had support from NGOs and big Twitter hitters like Naomi Klein and Richard Dawkins, and George Monbiot wrote a powerful article in support of us. EDF's Facebook page is now a hilarious delight to behold, plastered with sarcastic messages and customers pledging to switch suppliers.

Thanks to Pete Speller for this one...
It's all great, but it probably isn't enough, not yet. We need to make this into such a massive PR disaster for EDF that they drop this like a hot uranium rod (oh yeah, they're big into nuclear as well as coal and gas). If you want to help rescue a performance poet and his friends from financial ruin whilst simultaneously defending the right to protest and giving an unaccountable energy giant a well-deserved headache, here are a few simple things you can do:

IF YOU HAVE 30 SECONDS:

- Sign the petition at www.change.org/edf21
- "Like" our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/No-Dash-for-Gas/301820216584422
- Follow us on Twitter at @nodashforgas, and help us retweet updates about our case

IF YOU HAVE A FEW MINUTES:

- Please share the three things above - the petition, the Facebook and the Twitter
- Watch and share our two videos - this one showing the action itself, and this one explaining how we're being sued.
- Share your favourite media story about us, from the links above
- Leave some messages for EDF on their Facebook page or via Twitter.
- We have reason to believe that EDF's corporate mascot "Zingy" has decided to rebel against its corporate masters in support of us, and so is now being held hostage and forced to dance in EDF's adverts! Show your outrage by joining the "Free Zingy" Facebook page, and demanding Zingy's release here.

IF YOU'RE AN EDF CUSTOMER:

- Please change your supplier (ideally to a green company like Ecotricity or Good Energy) and tell EDF why - preferably in a nice public way on Facebook, Twitter, or at the bottom of the petition. You'll probably be happier for it, because EDF apparently have the worst customer service of all the energy companies.

Thanks everyone - any small thing you can do would be a massive help.

With love and chimney rhymes,

Danny x

* Protesters in these situations often try to run a "necessity" or "justification" defence - i.e., they admit to blockading a piece of polluting infrastructure, but argue that they were preventing a greater crime, such as the damage caused by CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, it wasn't really feasible for us to run such a defence in this case as we were up in front of a District Judge rather than a jury. As a result, we decided that our time and energy was better spent on other aspects of the campaign, and so we pleaded guilty to get the criminal trial out of the way and get on with other stuff.

Monday, 21 January 2013

A bright white living nightmare

Walking down the street yesterday, I felt a thump on my shoulder.

I spun round to see a couple of giggling kids wielding snowballs. Immediately, I ducked behind a car, scooped up some snow and fired one back. It soared away to the right, way off target. I pulled a face, the kids grinned back, and so began several hilarious minutes of snow-flinging in which I did eventually manage to get a few shots on target (though the youngsters were way better). Then suddenly I realised: what on Earth were we doing? How DARE we enjoy the snow when, as all the media is telling us today, it's costing the economy MILLIONS OF POUNDS?!

Here's a two-minute poetic explanation, filmed in the snow yesterday, with the text below (some of you may have heard this before; it was great to finally get to film it in the appropriate weather!):





A billion pounds so far, apparently

Today I awoke into a bright, white, living nightmare.
I stared, horrified, as the fat flakes settled gently
On my driveway and lawn
Topping each gatepost with a fluffy white fez
Transforming the hedgerow into an indigestible
But beautiful
Christmas cake,
And I cried “Oh my God!
What about the economy?”

As I walked to the park I stared with mounting panic
At the parked cars adorning the street
Each coated three inches deep
Or with patches swept clean
Arsenals for snowball fights
I almost wept to think of the petrol not being burned
Of the mindless tasks not being performed
In offices thirty miles away.

In the park, it only got worse.
Children and adults were laughing together
Whole streets united in play
Great snowy constructions were rising from the ground
As the treacherous flakes continued to fall
Ramps, forts and igloos,
A menagerie of assorted snow-beings
Icy sculptures of ethereal beauty
Or lumpy majesty
My head went light and I struggled not to faint
At the thought of all that creativity
Hard work and productivity
Not being spent on the tedious administrative tasks
And the learning of pointless facts by rote
So vital to the functioning of a modern economy.
A newly fostered sense of community
Of shared experience and humanity
And the kind of childlike wonder
That reminds us that it’s good to be alive
Is all very well
But it’s not going to revive the flagging FTSE 100 share index now, is it?

I went back home to get my snowplough
They’ll thank me for this one day.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Making BP history

I was honoured to be one of 200 people who took part in an anti-BP version of Macbeth, in yesterday's flashmob outside the BP-sponsored Shakespeare Exhibition at the British Museum:

Chorus: "Double, double, oil is trouble / tar sands burn as greenwash bubbles"

First BP Executive: "When shall BP meet again? / In oil spills, tar sands, toxic rain?"

Second BP Executive: "When the sponsorship is done / PR battle fought and won."

Here's a rather delightful little film of the action, featuring me with a beard I grew especially for the occasion...


This comes at the end of seven months of pop-up theatrical protests at BP-sponsored Shakespeare plays. The campaign seems to have been successful: the Royal Shakespeare Company last week stated that: “We have no further sponsorship [with BP] confirmed”. Next year’s programme of plays has been announced, and none are sponsored by BP.