Another busy week has passed; my feet have hardly touched the ground as Meetings and great music have sort of all merged into a mass in my slightly over taxed brain.
It all started with a super Nellie Folk on Monday night. It’s a pity that it would seem that certain, now former regulars, are still refusing to come because of the extended spot given to Tina and Matt back in February. Who’s punishing who?
Group politics aside we had some lovely performances, with Mr David Kidman, Rob Slow, John Statter, John Nicholson, Tom Donaldson and a host of others all in find voice.
Now you may have noticed that I’ve not mentioned MC of the night Roy Blackman, who was of course in amazing singing voice, and typical organisational chaos. However, it is the new dimension to his performance that made the evening a stand out Nellie Folk. Unfortunately, I missed it, the bus service having messed me around, but ladies if he repeats this feat you are all in for a treat.
Apparently Roy starts the song in his normal enthusiastic and passionate manner, and as the song moves on the eagled eyed will see that Roy’s trousers will start to slip, until by the end of the song his trousers are neatly wrapped around his ankles.
Now if this does not pull in an audience for Roy then I don’t know what will. Personally I think that Roy has been watching too many re-runs of Spike Milligan programmes. I’m told that Roy is seeking Sponsorship from Y Fronts. And good luck to him. Good job that his usual practice of offering peanuts around was dropped for the night I think.
All’s well that ends well, none of the ladies ran away.
Into Tuesday and off we went to the Advice folks to try to thrash out a Constitution and Operating model for Rotherham Art Events. No one is more frustrated than I that we’ve not progressed this much further over the past month. However, the action plan is in place, and with a Meeting in this coming week we should have it all in place.
So to Wednesday’s first General Meeting of Rotherham Art Events. Despite the dreadful weather around twenty folks turned up at The Bridge to take part in what was at times a lively discussion. It was fantastic to see the Council represented by Lizzy, and people from across the Art genres – reassuring to that the ideas and objectives being developed by RAE are shared by so many Artists.
The Meeting gave us the opportunity for me to explain a few things, correct a few misconceptions and listen to a few new ideas, which I’m sure will be incorporated into the organisation. I was struck also by the number of people in attendance who are not involved in the so called main stream of the Rotherham Arts Community, which is exactly what we are trying to achieve.
Watch out for some fine tuning of the business pages on the RAE Web Site in the week ahead.
Following the Meeting on Wednesday there was a real treat for those who stayed on.
Swansong Acoustic, Karen and Nigel did a magic thirty minute set in difficult circumstances providing fantastic support to Kurt Sawalies and Barnie who were appearing in Rotherham as part of their UK Tour.
A great mix of cover songs, and Kurt’s Cat Stevens covers simply blows me away, all that with the brilliant bass of Barnie, well impressed.
And good to see Networking at its best at work. Looks as if Karen and Nigel may be heading to European venues in the future. That’s what I call a result.
On Thursday it was to Clifton Park Mick, Jane and myself headed to meet the Manager to discuss possible events we could get involved with.
Watch out for News of an Open Spaces Promotion Festival weekend over the 18th August, lots of great stuff promised.
However specific to RAE, I think that we made a reasonable impression and I have to say the facilities in and around the Park for Art events is fantastic, I was well impressed with the Walled Garden area, and we have many ideas that might make the area work to the benefit of all.
Part of Fund Raising programme will be to seek to run a series of Band afternoons from the Bandstand, watch out for news of these as we move into the Summer months, or was that March?
Open Minds Theatre have already recognised the potential of The Walled Gardens in Clifton Park, at the end of May we’ll be treated to a performance of “The Taming of the Shrew” in Urdu, see the diary pages and poster for full details. And I have to say ticket prices are fantastic, only £5 and concessions £3.
So wind the week up an ultra-busy day. A late morning taken up talking about publicity for RAE Events, an afternoon full of some great Training from SYFAB about making Funding Bids.
Then in the evening I headed out to the “English Rebels” Concert. What a way to end the week.
The Rotherham Red Choir seems to get better every time I hear them and in the Old Market Gallery space they sounded absolutely amazing as the sound carried around the building. The programme of songs chosen, with historic perspective to each, ranged from the Levellers, Tolpuddle Martyrs and Miners. Plus a lovely arrangement of Raise Your Banners.
Harmony and voices to kill for, but then I’ve always loved that full choir sound.
Ray Hearne gave us a typically gritty set of his songs, along with a poem about Sebastian Cole that might well lead to us all being locked up for the duration of the Olympic Games. There’s an anger in Ray’s work and delivery at the moment, could it be the frustration that a certain age brings with it. Right up my Street though, and his delivery of Rotherham Sands was simply brilliant.
And to finish the evening off, Toein’ In The Dark. Wow. Again, clever arrangements of songs carrying a powerful message. The lead vocal harmony of Carmel and Andy, superbly backed by Bob and Jenny, with a wonderful use of instruments, especially the multi-tasking Bob just holds one spell bound, so spell bound I nearly missed my last bus home.
My spies tell me that there has been a little more progress on the much anticipated Toein’ second CD. Good news indeed.
And they had no need to bribe me either, but they did with far too generous words about my humble role in the promotion of Rotherham arts and the presentation of a “The Witch is Dead” T shirt. The witch being non other than Maggie Thatcher.
Speaking of which by sheer coincidence I’ve been talking to John McCullagh this week; that’s the chap who wrote Dance on The Grave of Mrs Thatcher. He will be visiting the UK in late October / November, and I’ve been lucky enough to snap him up for a Concert to be part of the Rotherham Open Arts Festival Fringe. The date will be 30th October, and John will be supported by one of young and very talented singer song writers Phil Sinclair. I suppose we now have to say that the Fringe now has International content and incidentally John has been working with some top people recently and has a growing reputation for his work in the colonies.
I finally got to listen to the Papa Legbas EP Four Shots this week. My spies being able to afford the price of this piece of “fine art” and share the contents thereof.
Papa Legbas, as many in Rotherham know, are essentially a live, good fun Band, with a big sound, and capturing that raw, edge of the seat, musical excitement on a studio recording is so difficult, as the Mashers discovered when Myke and I recorded “Deliberate Mistake”.
However, the four tracks, all originals, on this EP had me jumping around and dancing through the paper scattered around my Office. All the imperfections of a live performance are there, yet the vocal play between male vocalist Tim and female Rachel hold the songs together wonderfully.
My advice is to get a copy and make your own minds up, as this is a series of taster tracks that the Band should be really proud of. Masher cap off to you guys and dolls.
The packaging is nice too.
There is to be an Exhibition of local Artists in the new Riverside Library, and application forms are available on application from the Council. HERE
I had the privilege of taking a look around the new Library during the week and a fine place, a state of the art service being provided there.
Of course like so many I’m disappointed that we’ve lost the little theatre as part of the move to the new building, but currently there appears to be a small space in what will be the Gallery area where Storytelling and Poetical performances might take place.
If you’ve not yet visited the new Council Building then nip in and take a look, it’s lovely place. However, one does wonder about the cost, and someone suggested to me this week that Tesco who were planning to build on the old Council Building Site, have stopped their building programme.
The new ROAR Exhibition has opened in the Imperial Building with some fine pieces of work on display, again well worth a few minutes of your time. This is a rolling Exhibition so if you would like your work included then contact Matt Butt at The Art Space, at Westgate House. HERE
And voting has started for the new work to be shown by Gallery Town. It’s a great concept, with enlarged pictures being shown around Town. Unfortunately, the current Exhibition around the Town has not impacted upon me at all, and there is reason to debate if enlarged versions of well-known art actually impacts in an urban or commercial environment. Perhaps the money would have been better spent on more challenging art; art that would impact and divide opinion and stimulate debate. Also it needs to be a little more visible around the Town, I like to think I walk around with eyes open most of the time, and I can’t say that I’ve seen one of these giant pictures. Just a thought. You can find out more about Gallery Town HERE
Back to the music and exciting news that Jack’s Rake will be releasing their CD, with the very original title, Jack’s Rake, on the 12th May. I for one will be looking forward to listening this one. You can Pre Order HERE
And so to the busy week coming up. In the words of the Prime Minister, besides the normal round of Meetings and consultations, The Masher will be mainly finishing off RAE detail, and will be heading out on Tuesday to the Red Lion, Braithwell for a sing at this great little Folk Club, the fun starts around 8:00pm, and as Mr Statter and his good lady will be sunning themselves somewhere Su and Barrie will be in charge of proceedings.
The weekend is one of those non-stop Bank Holiday’s for The Masher. On Saturday 5th March in the morning he will be joining the hoards of the Rotherham Trade Union Movement and the Rotherham Against the Cuts boys and girl on their traditional May Day March. The demonstration heads off from the Town Hall at around 10:30am and there will be a rally in All Saints Square from around 11:00 where the Rotherham Red Choir and The Rawmarsh Masher will add a song or two to the proceedings.
In the afternoon it’s a dash up to the Wath Folk Festival, where at 3;00pm, I’m hosting the Silver Roots Competition, a contest for the over 45s, and not quite fitting into the Youth and Emerging Talent Categories. I think I might still have space for one or two more applicants so Email HERE if you would like to take part and have the chance of winning £50 and a Cup.
Then on Sunday we head to Filey, where the Mashers will be playing a set for the Filey Folk Festival. We’re on around 6:00pm, having been moved up the Bill. So if you’re in Filey come and seek us out.
You can find the host of events happening over the May Day Bank Holiday HERE on the Diary page, please remember to check Web Sites or with Organisers about the regular session.
But just a special note for a Session / Open Mic gaining in popularity that meets Monthly, and will be taking place on Wednesday 2nd at The Chequers at Whiston.
And that’s about it folks other than to say, whatever you are doing this week, have great fun and support local artists and above all KEEP IT LIVE.