Sunday, 24 October 2010

Acoustic Rotherham 9 + Loads of News including Trust News - A good Read

Yes The Mashers in duo form, Mr Phillip Hartley co-starring, could be heard bashing out their stuff in the upstairs room of The Bridge on Monday night. 

It was an attempt to record material that has sort of log jammed.  Songs that Myke and I had been working on and had begun to introduce into our shows just before Myke’s death, amongst the songs selected were couple we had always meant to record but never got around to as we dropped the songs from the shows and they sort of got buried. 

Unfortunately we managed to cock up on the technology front.   

Dickie’s guitar, by the time that Phill had played back through the recordings sounded more like a heavy double bass than a six string.  A great pity. 

We’ll be trying again, using a different methodology very soon – no you will not escape – but one song did come through, the Eric Bogle Classic, “Somebody’s Moggie”.   A classic of Masher type sensitive humour.   You can find it on the player HERE

The Mashers will be playing at the Big Open Mic at Sheffield’s Winter Gardens next Saturday the 30th October at around 1:00pm which will be broadcast live on Sheffield Live.  So no escape there folks.  The good news is that it’s only two songs.  

But pop along to the event.  Our old friends Tina and Matt will be playing as will David Paskell so come and give us all a cheer or throw things at us. 

We also have a smart NEW poster to boast of, produced by Karen at Photoartstation.   Check out what she could do for you HERE

Sunday 31st and it’s ACOUSTIC ROTHERHAM 9.  You can find all the details about the acts appearing HERE and there is a separate Blog with ON STAGE TIMES HERE

The fun starts at 1:00pm and runs to around 7:00pm so please come along and show your support.  In particular I’d love to see people around the 5:00pm time. 
And yes we still need to get the word out there………………………   if you’re a Facebook Friend then please Share the Event link with all your friends ……………………   if you’re out and about, please download the fliers and pass them around your Folk Clubs, Open Mics etc. It all helps. 

And it helps in other ways to……………… the more hits on the Acoustic Rotherham Website the more your music is exposed – the more your name has a chance to be seen, and if you’ve a CD listed with Amazon or on the Acoustic Rotherham CD Shop then the better chance we all have of selling our music. 
And to help further in this respect, I’ve completely updated the Acoustic Rotherham Amazon Associate Store with the latest CD and or MP3 downloads.  I’ve also made certain that all the most popular pages carry good sized ads directing people to the store.   The direct Store link is HERE

And while in commercial mood – if you’re buying CDs – books – or whatever for Christmas presents please use links through our Amazon links as while enjoying some of the lowest prices around you’ll also be helping to keep Acoustic Rotherham LIVE.   And there is a risk that I will not be able to afford to keep the site going for much longer. 

Besides Acoustic Rotherham artists you’ll also find artists featured on the David Kidman Review page.  On the David Kidman page you’ll find a fistful of new CD reviews including artists on the AR9 Bill so take a look at the new stuff.  Head off  HERE

Acoustic Rotherham and The Mashers are supporters of Folk Against Fascism and to show our support we’ve added a little gadget thing to our Profile picture.   The link to widget is HERE.  If you’re on Facebook we recommend that you do the same Follow the instructions given – some will find that their Facebook will not automatically change and will have to go through the normal profile picture change method.   To put it on your other social network sites save the picture to your hard disc and then update your picture in the normal way.

The Myke Barritt Music Trust Committee met this week and the results of their extensive deliberations can be found in the October View From The Chair HERE  Phoebe is looking for your input and views so take a look and get in touch with her.

There’s plenty going on again this week in the Yorkshire Region.  Check out the Diary page which is always having new events added HERE and of course for you Sheffield based folks Pete at South Yorkshire Folk has some great music at The Princess Royal Check out the full details HERE

The Political Rant
Well, how was Wednesday for you?   What was going through your mind as Chummy Osbourne revealed the final answer to the fallout from the Banking Crisis.  

As he was speaking I was fortunately locked away at the time while a nice young lady took photographs of my eyes, causing me to become bleary eyed without the alcohol.   But that did not, unfortunately, affect my hearing so once released into the World I could not escape the Analysis, comment, and all the “what it means to you” stuff churned out by the mass of experts all earning an extra bob or two to tell you what you already know, we’re all going to be worse off. 

I’d love to meet all these average folks upon which all these figures are based.  What a load of rubbish.  The truth of the matter is that because most of the measures don’t take effect until next year and many not until 2013 we really do not have a clue how people will be affected.  The only thing Osbourne has done is to cause great uncertainty and a lot of worry, especially amongst the poorest in our Country.
I can remember the dark days of “devaluation” under the Wilson Government, we all knew about that, who can remember the 33% Income Tax Rate? Or rather, who can forget it.  We all knew where we stood and very quickly on that one.    In those days the “Chancers” of World Banking were very quick to apply the screws, especially you dared to draw upon emergency funding. 

Oh for the days I could understand…………………………   

Now things will happen almost sightless.  Individuals will be hurt, job loss, benefit reductions, loss of services from the local authority, even removal from benefits.  The roads will subtly deteriorate, our Schools slowly fall apart, text books not updated, class sizes grow.  But it will all happen to different groups of people at different times.   

Result – no huge mass outcry.   In fact what will happen is that sections of Society will turn upon each other and a consensus will eventually boil down to bashing the weakest, as happens too often.
And why does this happen?  It’s because we who sit on the Left simply cannot get our act together.  We are so tied up in protecting our own little philosophical view we cannot break out and positively educate and lead people through the mess of their everyday lives. 

While I hold some hope for the Labour Party under it’s new and refreshing Leader I fear that we will be offered no real change in economic policy unless we make it clear that what we want is nothing short of a “revolution” in the way in which we go about things in our Society.  If we do not get that message through to the Labour Party Leadership then if they get elected we’re in for nothing more than more wasted Blair type years. 

So as you services are chipped away at, if your job comes under risk, if your benefits are hit, besides trying to sort things out yourself, please join with the millions of others who will be experiencing the same.  Make your voices heard – don’t suffer in silence and hope it will all be alright in the end, because it won’t.

I was sent this little thought provoking ditty by Phil Graham this week, so to conclude I think I will share it with you.
“The law locks up the hapless felon
Who steals the goose from off the common;
But lets the greater felon loose
Who steals the common from the goose!”
 He concludes   “This lot are going to be worse than anything Thatcher ever did to people in this country.”

Monday, 18 October 2010

Pilage, Rape, Thieves - and that's only the Chancellors Financial Review + Loads about Music

So into a new week.  It’s going to be a busy one.  

Monday will find The Mashers attempting to record some material at the Bridge on Monday night.  We like to get the atmosphere of the singalong big room into our recordings, so it’ll be interesting to see, or rather listen to the results, that’s if we can get the technology right. 

This has meant that much of the past week has been spent practicing the songs for the session.  So sorry to anyone expecting to see us at a session this past week. 

Good News on the Web Site, the files have been cleaned out and I think I’ve managed to complete the facelift.  The moans about the slow loading pages have reduced, a bit.   I think the main problem seems to be that the site requires connecting to Revebnation so that the players are available and the music plays.  I’m going to look at ways we might overcome this, without losing the main purpose of the Site which is to showcase the music from artists who appear at Acoustic Rotherham events. 

However, a couple of tips.   1.  Make sure that you clean out your Internet temp files regularly.  2.  Make sure you clean your Internet History files  3. Make sure you have the latest Flash player from the Official Adobe site, don’t use third party inks aas Flash player has been used by the nasty community to put things on your computer. Here’s the Official Link HERE and while you’re at it update your Adobe Reader and Shockwave.  4. Make sure your browser updates and Windows updates are installed.  And finally, 5. make sure that your firewall settings allow access.  

Another factor affecting page loading is the time of the day and the speed of your Broadband connection.   If you have, like me, the bog standard BT / Talk Talk type connection then the time of day you go on line will affect how quickly the pages will load.  We’ve noticed that around 4:00pm to 7:00pm the connections can really slow down.   If you have the Virgin and BT superfast connections then really you shouldn’t experience too many problems. 

However, our pages are quite heavy on content, picture slide shows, and other content which can slow down loading so while it might just take a bit of time, we hope it’s well worth the few seconds extra wait.
It was a good feeling to get that job out of the way though.
Acoustic Rotherham 9 is less than two weeks away.  A fantastic line up again, with an amazing range of the acoustic genre on display.  And these guys are doing it for FREE.   So come along to The Queens and give your support to the acts.  Full details of the 31st October line up can be found HERE
On stage times will be available towards the end of this week. 

AND PLEASE HELP TO PUBLISISE THE EVENT.  Fliers are available to print off from the Acoustic Rotherham 9 page, and if you’re on Facebook, Myspace etc, then please share the link at least once a day.   Your help will be appreciated.

But there’s a lot more going on.   On Saturday 30th October the Mashers in some form or another will be taking part in Sheffield Radio’s, The Cornucupia Radio Show’s ,“Sheffield’s Biggest Open Mic”  which is going off in The Winter Gardens.  We’re on around 1:10pm – the good news is that it’s for only eight minutes and I think it’s going to Mrs Thatcher and My Old Guitar.  So be there to give us or just me, a cheer.
You’ll also spot a few other good friends of Acoustic Rotherham on the Bill. More detail HERE

In this coming week don’t forget that Peggy Seeger is appearing at the Boardwalk, with our own Richard Kitson playing songs from his new CD in support. -  It’s Thursday night 21st October  £12.50 on the door or in advance. 

Next weekend  see’s The Musicport Festival at Bridlington a link to the full details can be found on The October Diary page along with details of Butlins Big Folk Weekend which you’ll find on the December Diary Page. 

And a special mention for a special event at the KIRKBY FLEETHAM FOLK CLUB on October 23rd Bill Adair's "Along The Miner's Rows"  7.30pm. £5. (Including  John & Caroline Bushby and Wendy & Paul Arrowsmith as his band!)  Song Cycle & Spoken Word. + Stan Graham as support & M.C..   Link to the ticket information can be found on the Diary page.

In November it’s the Kirkby Fleetham Birthday Bash.  There’s some great concerts and not forgetting the nearly all day open session on the Saturday.  Ticket information and more information is available on the November Diary page. 

Don’t forget, if you’ve got a special event that you would like highlighting to our readers, or the wider Acoustic Rotherham audience then please email It’s still FREE – so make use of it.
You’ll also find all the local Club and Open Mic listings on the Diary page as well.

Some great CD News this week.  Paul Newman has published his new release “Passing Fayre”.  Apparently he’s got a minor delay on the on the hard copies, but you can buy the CD as a Download and listen to the tracks for FREE on his Web Site HERE

Local stars Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts launched their new CD “Up From The Deep” on Friday night, reports say, “to a captivated audience” in Barnsley.   The bits I’ve heard are brilliant and you can buy it from Amazon HERE

I have a feeling that by the time the Chancellor finishes with us on Wednesday that we’ll all need cheering up so I’ve done my best to bring you all the good stuff that I can.  

I think that it’s important to remember as we look forward to what I’m sure will go down as “Black Wednesday” just where the recession started, and just how quickly it destroyed everyone’s economy / budget let alone the Government of the time that did all they could (except allow the Banks to go bust) to protect the public from the full ravages of the sudden shortage in cash. 
We’re going to be fed a load of rubbish in defence of the cuts that the Condems are going to inflict upon us.  We can expect the word “fairness” to be used many, many times.   I promise you there will be little fair about it as the good mates of the Conservative Party will escape free  of facing up to their responsibility, while we will pay the price of their gamble, by having our jobs, standard living and education sacrificed on the altar of the “National Interest”.

And if all that boils the blood a little and moved to want to make your views known then why not check out details of next years Working Class Life and Music Festival.  You can find details of the event and how to get involved on the NEWS PAGE HERE Click on the logo.

And for me it will be a truly “Black Wednesday” as I’ve got one of those diabetic eye checks that will have me off the road for the day!!!  And one suspects away from the computer screen.  

So there you have it folks.   The Mashers week past, present and future……………………..   whatever you’re doing this week have a great time folks.

Oh!! and just a reminder that our mate Chris in the USA is still looking for a sponsor - check out his CV on The News page and contact him direct.  Anything anyone can do will be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Bad News and Good News for South Yorkshire Folkies

This week’s Blog starts with the sad news that Friday Folk at The Venue is no more. 
The Venue, Stocksbridge, have pulled the plug, despite the growing success of the Last Friday Folk Club and the very succesful launch only this Friday of Second Friday Folk as a Concert based pay Club with special guests Gilmore and Roberts. 
Behind the scenes The Venue are struggling financially and clearly “folk music” is not considered a big enough pull to continue with the development of the Club.  
The Club was a Charlie Barker, Partnership Media Promotion, and this must come as a disappointing turn of events to them  as they were only a couple of years into a five year plan to establish the Club.  
It’s also a great loss to the Folk Community of South Yorkshire as yet another Folk Club hits the buffers.  One less place for people to sing, one less place for folks to meet and exchange songs and develop performance skills. 
Of course, as The Mashers well know from their own experience with Flat Cap Folk, sponsored Clubs, e.g. Clubs based upon the need for investment by venues like WMCs and the like are very much at the whim of Committees and or Management and the plug can be pulled at only a moment’s notice, mainly because of short term thinking.
Flat Cap Folk operated on a budget of £200 per month, for it’s monthly meetings.  Not a huge sum in the scheme of things, and that allowed us to bring some top Regional Bands to the Club, but only by paying absolutely minimum fees.  
In the case of FCF it was simply lack of attendance.  Ten people plus acts does not exactly suggest that Folk music is popular – of course it flies in the face of the popularity of Festivals etc.   
But then, if a venue owner is suffering a decline in beer sales it’s the live music that is going to get pulled first as it’s viewed as an expensive luxury.   Yes expensive!!   I can hear a few semi pro acts out there choking on that one.  
And those of us who have been happy to subsidise Clubs, Acoustic Rotherham – or Pete at South Yorkshire Folk, Rob and Roy at Nellie Folk  by running raffles or whatever in a dire attempt to break even to simply paying artist expenses and advertising and promotion are finding it harder to keep things  going as domestic budgets become stretched.
On my travels Friday Folk was always one of the best attended Clubs in the area, especially since the change to a proper Folk Club was made.  What chance then some of the singer Clubs – is it going to be worth Land Lords etc. heating those back rooms when Winter hits big time?   Will they sell enough beer to offset their costs?
Live music in general is facing very hard times, some would argue that it has been difficult for a few years, but the fact is that our current situation is only the thin end of the wedge.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news folks, but it’s going to get a lot worse. 
For Folk it all seems so complicated to me.  First there is the two audience phenomenon, singers and players turn up where it’s all for free, while in the main avoiding the Concert Clubs because they can’t play and won’t pay.  And it works visa versa, the audiences that attend Concert Clubs refuse to come out to the Weekly / Monthly Clubs.
It would be fantastic to find a format that would bring both together.
And what about promotion?  Many Folk Clubs at best place an advert in Stirrings or the local free paper or at worse do nothing at all, and then wonder why nobody bothers to turn up. 
I’ve heard it argued that “we only like about a dozen to come along as if we have anymore we don’t all get to do three songs”.   So in affect there’s active exclusion going on.
And what of the strangers?  The Mashers have received some very cold welcomes at Clubs we have visited as well as some very warm welcomes.  We’ve been shifted from the seats we selected, because they apparently belonged to a regular who might pop along late.  We’ve been deliberately left to the end of an evening after most had gone to catch their buses, because despite our instrument cases apparently the host hadn’t realised that we would like to sing.  If it’s happened to us, then it’s happened to others. 
We all have a responsibility to do more to attract new blood into our Clubs.  New faces need to be welcomed and encouraged.  New styles of the genre need to be encouraged.  
And with regards to publicity we need to get our Clubs out there…………………   press stories, dare I say the Internet and much more, inviting non-performers as well as the performers to our venues.  By hiding away as some Clubs do it’s little wonder that Folkies are viewed as being somewhat weird – of course some of us would argue that the beard stroking, pitch pipe blowing, cap lifting or instrument tuning sometimes takes on the mystique of a Masonic handshake and therefore we deserve our “weird” label – but we’re really quite normal……………………  aren’t we?
But enough negativism – let’s move the argument on and hope that we’re have more good things to say in the future.
But to the positive…………………   Saturday was the second meeting of The Dearne Valley Folk Club at The Park Hotel in Wath (it’s big new flash one on the Manvers Parkway) – attendance was down on the opening night in September, but none the less enough to make for an interesting evening, and this time, even The Masher sung……………..  what a treat for the Club!
Special guest for the evening was Andrew Morley.   Nice see him out in Folk Club land again following his run as Buddie Holly in a recent Show production.  
His short set was a mix of his own self-penned material, a new CD is available, and of course the Buddy Holly material for which he was well known around the Clubs.
The Club now goes into Christmas hibernation, but barring unforeseen factors will return on the second Saturday in January for a full monthly run until September 2011 – and we are promised some top guests.
The Masher was out on Thursday too.   Yes two outings in a week, somewhat of a record of late.  Son number one dragged me out for a birthday drink to The Yellow Lion, an Open Mic that has not had the benefit of a Masher performance for some time. 
Good to see Jono still doing his MC bit and some local developing talent along with some top friends. 
A grand night.  Pictures on the site soon.  HERE
Which brings me to the adverts of the week.   DON’T STOP READING …………………………
First, an old friend of The Mashers from the ether currently based in the USA is looking for a Sponsor Company to offer him employment to meet UK immigration requirements.  Chris is experienced in Electronics and Education. 
If you think that you might be able to help, you can contact Chris direct.  His CV is available to check out via our News Page.  HERE
Another good friend of The Mashers has started creating music event posters – so many of us try but fail to get beyond the basics of poster design…………  so why not check out what Karen might be able to do for your Venue or Band by going HERE at

And so to The Web Site. 
Would you believe that the overhaul is almost complete.  You wouldn’t?   well it’s very close. 
I’ve tied the links into the Resource Page now – if your Link is missing then let me know. 
The David Kidman Reviews have been reset.  Those that had been on the old style pages as part of the computer crash rescue have been converted to pdf files – while the more recent one’s can be found on the new style full page.  
There remains only a couple of pages or so to sort now and we’ll be able to strip out the server files and reload – which I think will make a difference to page loading etc. 
We’re sorry if you experienced problems recently. 

Acoustic Rotherham 9 Act details are almost complete……………………..   those I have are now posted and song tracks are on the Acoustic Rotherham player.  You can find it all HERE
Please give the event your support and try to get the word out as much as possible.   I you’ve forgotten, it’s 31st October from 1:00pm at The Queens, Rawmarsh.
Other Matters – With all the news coverage I’m sure that you are all aware that the DSA Driving Test changed this week – “the getting lost” element or “independent drive” as it’s officially known has been introduced…………….
We’ve got exclusive video from one of Britain’s top Test Centre’s of how the independent drive is bedding in. 
You can find it on the Driving School page HERE………….   Well anything for a laugh.

And that concludes this week’s missive folks, but not without a reminder to check out this week’s Diary – there are some top things going on, Princess Royal Supporters find out what’s happening HERE and also check out the details of Gilmore and Roberts CD launch Party on the 15th October in Barnsley, HERE  also Richard Kitson supporting Peggy Seeger at the Boardwalk.   It’s all there.
Whatever you’re doing this week - have a good one.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Inactive But Busy: News about Web - Myke Barritt Music Trust - Gigs - CDs and more

Big fanfare.  Yes.  The Masher actually got out for a sing this week.  

On Monday I dragged the guitar and myself out into the car and made my way down to The Bridge in Rotherham for Nellie Folk.

It was nice to be out, if a little strange to again be on my own.

I’m glad I made the effort though as attendance was not at it’s best, although it was good to see Oliver and Jimmy Saville calling in on one of their occasional visits. 

Reports from other Folk Clubs and Open Mic Sessions suggest that attendances are down to the “hard-core” of trusty folk.  Even some of the big Concert Clubs are struggling a bit at the moment.  And with the economy as it is I don’t think things are about to get much better.  

It’s a case for many Clubs of just battening down the hatches and holding firm until the clear blue sky of economic recovery starts to show.

The Masher’s contribution to Nellies was a new song ripped from Phil Hartley and an old one from the depths of the rep. book. 

Some might be questioning the current lack of enthusiasm – to be honest I am to – but this was the time of the year that Myke and I would settle down to discuss new material, go out and Test it, and start to make plans for the coming year.  

Without a clear picture of how I’m going to move forward it’s all just a little aimless at the moment.
However, Phil and I are still planning to get a bit of recording done during October so watch out for some of the more recent favourites appearing on the player soon. 
Speaking of the player, I came across some of the very early Masher material the other day, including a recording of Shirley that I made with Keith Masher (Nicklin).  It didn’t sound too bad, so I’ve stuck it up on the player to share.  For those with a short memory this song was one of our core pieces, and involved a full set up of props – you’ll have to listen to the song to imagine what those props might be.   You can find the player HERE

But I have been busy on the Web Site.   More pages are getting the new look and the site is beginning to get more organised.  I’ve decided that the Diary pages will form the main core of the Club / Open Mic section – You’ll discover that from October the pages look a lot tidier and I’ve added extra’s like the Birdsedge Autumn Concerts organised by Jayce.  I’ve also added links to a Clubs Web Page where they exist.   I’ll try to add picture as time goes on.   Check it out HERE

The Myke Barritt Trust section has undergone a bit of a revamp to.  I’ve put the Down Load CDs from Toein’ In The Dark and Rhiannon on their own page HERE which will also feature the T shirts as they become available.   A news page has been set up where you’ll find Trust Minutes posted and a new feature Phoebe’s View From The Chair Blog.  You can find it HERE

I’ve tried to make the navigation around the Trust pages easier by adding buttons to the Trust pages on the left hand side.  

The CD Shop has slightly changed to.   I’ve put the FREE Demo tracks onto a separate page HERE leaving the full CD listings on their own HERE

There’s still a lot more tidying up to do but we’re beginning to see the end now – and I think it’s beginning to look a lot better and reports suggest that by taking out the Flash page headings loading a page is much quicker.  Unfortunately there are still the occasional delays connecting to third party sites but there is nothing much I can do about that without loading the site up with it’s own player, and there is no guarantee that would make things any quicker.

Evidence that someone reads my weekly tirade of words when I was contacted by View From S62 about my short review last week.  It seems I may have been unfair by comparing them to the wannabe cover Bands that are normally found in Club Land.  So I shall be taking a second look when they play at The Queens on the 6th November.  That’s if I can get through the door as their fan base is fantastic.  I wonder if I should go in disguise? 
I published their reply to me as a “comment” on last week’s Blog.

“Welsh” Geoff Beynon has launched a Web Site to distribute his latest CD “Rock and Frigidaire” packed with his fantastic songs.  I you’ve not checked it out yet pop across to the News Page and follow the link through to his site. HERE

Also on the news page you’ll find a couple of acts currently seeking Gigs.  Both will be appearing at Acoustic Rotherham 10 in January.

There’s some fairly big names hitting the local Gig scene Roy Bailey will be at Kiverton Park on the 26th October and our own Richard Kitson will be supporting Peggy Seeger at the Boardwalk on 21st October.  Full details on the Diary page HERE

And don’t forget the great guests that will be appearing at the Princess Royal over the coming month you can check those out HERE

And finally.  So did we get the right Miliband?  It would have been a lot more interesting if it had been his Dad ho ho, but then snow would have buried Hell before that would have happened.  

Listening to his speech on Tuesday to the Labour Party Conference Ed certainly pressed all the right buttons for me, right down to his recognition of the Pub and it’s place in the Community.  Trouble is that by the time he has a chance to start upon making changes to our Society yet more damage will have been done by the Condems beyond even what the Banks managed to achieve. 

This week we’ll see just how Cameron gets on with his lot.  Will they be celebrating? Or will they give him the hard time he really deserves for failing to achieve a majority in a year when Labour could not have been weaker?  OR will history be re-written to suggest that the hung Parliament was all part of a subtle and deliberate plan to change the face of British Politics? 
Time will tell on all scores. 

And that’s it for this week folks – watch out in the week for more details of Acoustic Rotherham 9 artists appearing on the Web Site and tracks adding to the Players……………….    Stay tuned.