This time last year, The Virginmarys’ vocalist/guitarist Ally Dickaty was crossing the length and breadth of the UK to deliver powerful, stripped back sets with one intention: to raise awareness for the UK’s ever-present homelessness. To see these intimate shows, Ally didn’t want your money. Your ticket was a bag of shopping which would be given to foodbanks to help those less fortunate. And at Christmas time, it’s appreciated more than ever.
With one in Lichfield organised by our very own Rachel and Glasgow’s host New Hellfire Club continuing the scheme and asking visitors to bring a can of food to donate for any subsequent in-store performances, it’s something which not only resonated but made a difference as two tonnes of food was donated across the tour.
This year, Ally’s opted for a different route: a Christmas single. As a fully stripped back single, he pledges his support to those in worse circumstances than us. Raw and powerful as ever, it’s everything you’d expect from Ally with his most direct message to listeners yet: “Don’t Let Go”.
When we spoke to him in Brighton with Danny [Dolan, drums], he commented:
I wanted to do something, and it’d be great if I could continue doing something at Christmas to do some good-hearted gesture. It makes me feel good and there’s a good buzz when it happens and it’s nice to bring that warm-hearted Christmas vibe back in a sea of adverts pushing widescreen TVs.
It’s a reminder that there’s more going on in this world than hoping for a discount on stuff you didn’t need on Boxing Day. As such, Ally’s giving this single away for nothing but he does encourage you to donate £1 for it (the standard price for a single) with 100% of the proceeds given to Manchester’s Cold Nights. Of course, if you’re able to, donate more and if it’s applicable, make sure you’ve ticked the GiftAid box. No one should be homeless, not at any time of year so let’s prove that £1 can make a difference.