Obituary and song remembering Gayle O’Donovan of Green Left and secretary of Manchester Green Party

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My new band Fruity Frank and the Frisky Freaks has recorded a new version of my song “Donovan’s Doorway”, which I have uploaded to the SoundCloud website (click here to play/download it) in memory of the tragic death of Gayle O’Donovan.

I include below the description, which is a sort of obituary:

This political love song, originally recorded by Steve’s Manchester band @galaxia, has been rerecorded in tribute to the memory of the wonderful political activist Gayle O’Donovan, who died tragically in January 2012.

Steve did not find out about Gayle’s death until over a year afterwards, and about a week later his new band recorded this version of the song (with Ali on acoustic guitar and Yvette on Bongos).

Steve first met Gayle at the Convention of the Left in the autumn of 2008, at the time of the Labour Party conference in Manchester. It brought together activists from virtually every serious political organisation to the left of Labour (and left formations inside). Gayle was in Green Left – the left-wing faction within the Green Party – but Steve did not find this out until later. When Steve handed Gayle one of his Foundation for Proportional Representation-based Socialism newsletters, Gayle said something about having handed them out herself, “Don’t you remember”, but Steve didn’t and thought something conspiratorial was going on!

Gayle asked Steve for a drink, and they went for one (with others). When Gayle told Steve her name, he instantly recalled the song “Donovan’s Doorway” by his favourite overtly political band of all time @latin-quarter-2. He later wrote new lyrics based on that song (which he didn’t have a copy of but he found the original lyrics on the internet) and the song was recorded with improvised piano to yield Galaxia – Donovans-doorway.

Steve met Gayle several more times in meetings and at protests in the Manchester area. She was usually (but not quite always) a very bubbly, beautiful woman, as well as being astute politically. She was not just involved in Green Left and environmental campaigns, but was secretary of Manchester Green Party and a parliamentary candidate for that party at the 2010 general election.

Steve knows a bit about the circumstances around her death, but does not want to share that information here. Better to remember her for the good times he and others spent with her in her short time on the earth.

Lyrics for this song can be found on the Fruity Frank website by clicking here.

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