Saturday, 14 February 2015

Catch Up Big Time / Youth To the Fore / Reports etc.

Zip, and another Month has flown by.   Lots of good things on the Rotherham Arts scene to report on, and a few things to look forward to in the weeks and months ahead.

Rotherham Youth Arts Strategy, an arts based consortium of all the Organisations involved in the delivery of services to young people in Rotherham has taken action in an attempt to make it easier for Parents, Young People and Organisations to access the fantastic range of workshops and sessions on offer by deciding to open a Facebook Page. 

We’ve named the Page “ARTi” the “I” being something we borrowed the Council’s Youth pages “Youthi”.   

We hope that young people and organisations will make use of the Page to publicise what is happening across the Borough.  However, people will only make use of it if they know it is available, so we are urging everyone to spread the word.  

Great news to report about the Rotherham Shakespeare Festival.   The Council have had another change of heart, appreciating in the process the fantastic value for money they get from the Shakespeare project that has received World-wide praise, and decided that they will provide the financial support promised in the Autumn of 2014.   For the organisers this relieves a huge amount of strain and stress.  So well done RMBC for waking up if belatedly.   Donations can still be made via the Text giving or direct via Open Minds Theatre Company; the number can be found HERE

On Wednesday we celebrated the 10th Anniversary of ROAR in Rotherham.   A decade of development of the Arts in Rotherham.  From Coffee Shop to the Westgate Art Space, and now certainly an organisation at the centre of the Arts in Rotherham, with a growing number of workshops, access to equipment, access to advice for the Professional Artist or arts organisations.

To mark the occasion the Deputy Mayor (soon to be Major) turned out with a good number and cross section of the Membership on what was a bitterly cold night.   I sense when listening to the Town’s politicians that while giving verbal support to the Voluntary sector, they are frustrated by having their hands tied by budget and the events that came to light six months ago.   No one seems to be able to move forward or make decisions until the Commissioners are in place.   

The basic facts from the main Meeting.  Financially OK ; the Board remains the same ; the month of the AGM is to be moved ;  a there are several projects currently bubbling under, non-have advanced enough  to talk about ; Karen will shortly be working four days a week at ROAR. 

One of the key things we can expect from ROAR in the year ahead is anew commitment to young people.  Expect to see some fantastic initiatives in the months ahead. 

“Friends of ROAR” was launched at the AGM.  This is an opportunity for supporters of the Art Community to help show their support for the work of ROAR by signing up to a News Letter.  It’s FREE but Matt feels you will feel so much better if you donate £10, the money going towards our various Art projects. 

There are also opportunities to Volunteer. 

You can find information and Forms on the RAE News page HERE

The first of the RAE/MyPlace Youth Music afternoons under the guise of the Foundation Records Auditions has got underway.    A good number of young people came along on a cold Saturday to find out what was happening. 

These Saturday afternoons offer the opportunity for young musicians to come together to jam and gain confidence with their music making.  

We hope that the young people will get the opportunity to learn about and grow new skills in performance and technical set ups.

It also offers the chance to collaborate on new music and if we can draw in more young people from the Communities we hope to get some interesting musical fusions.

BUT it’s not just about musicians.  We want young poets, and writers to join the fun and special Workshops will be set up to help development for the creative and performance writers.

All the performers musician or otherwise will be offered the opportunity to record at least one track that will be published on the Foundation Record Community Label, celebrating the creativity in Rotherham. 

It’s all currently free.  The next one is Saturday 21st February, 2:00pm at MyPlace on St Anne’s Road.

We’re looking for a name for the afternoons – you could win a prize, to put your idea into the mix use the Arti Facebook page, or the Chat Box you can find on the RAE Forum page HERE

Other details HERE

Yes, the RAE Web Site now boasts a new page, The Forum Page.   We have set up a traditional Forum for people wanting to get into a discussion or join in discussions about the Arts and Music in Rotherham, or to announce Gigs or quick Band needs etc  in the Chat Box.  You can find it HERE

We have also completely revamped and polished up what had been a popular page on the Acoustic Rotherham site.   The Resource Page.   New links added, dead ones taken out.  If you have a favourite site that is not listed then Email or use the Chat Box.   Unfortunately I’ve had to take down the Guide To Making Your Musical Foot Print.   The booklet was way out of date.  When time allows I will be updating.   Over 1,500 copies were downloaded Worldwide.   I should have charged for them lol   The new Resource page is on the main RAE site and can be found HERE

So lots of initiatives have already been kick started this year. 

Can I throw in a shout for my friend Em, she of Waiting for Eddie fame who is putting together a new Band.  The Band are said to be nearly ready to go playing Punk/Pop covers and originals.  They are looking for a bass player, preferably in the early twenties or younger age range – I was too old! – Email me HERE and I’ll pass your details onto Em.  

Live at The Trades kicks off next Saturday 21st February when we entertain The Jam’d who are back by popular demand.   Please remember that you can save yourself large chunks of money, at least a pint, by buying your tickets Online or by Reserving them for collection at the door by calling or Emailing.   Tickets also available at Mezmerise, The Cutlers and The Trades.

Our outing to the Silverwood Club will feature a new artist given that Chris Slade has chosen to Tour the World with AC/DC rather than entertain Rotherham.  Mick and I are mystified by this decision.   Those who saw AC/DC’s performance at the Grammys will have seen Chris in full bash – and the Band proved that they can still rock the House.   Well done Chris, have a great time.   We will be looking forward to welcoming Chris back to Rotherham in 2017 along with his Timeline Band.    

The May date at Silverwood will be retained and Carnival of Thieves will still be striking up their instruments.

We’ve published the dates for the Lovehunter Gigs and Bon Giovi.   Ticket details will be available in the near future. 

I don’t think I’m giving too much away when I point you to a special Folk event Live at The Trades on 25th March when Roy Bailey will be in the House along with a number of stars from the local Folk scene.  Roy is in his eighties now and every performance he gives is a special one.  Tickets will be available soon, watch the Live at The Trades, RAE, Acoustic Rotherham sites for details.  

Next week Wednesday 18th February a new Jam Night launches at The Monkwood in Rawmarsh.    It should be a good night with those Delta sound guys in residence.   Why not pop along with guitars in hand. 

In Theatre land one of our local bards will be Tair Rafiq has his new play The Secret History of Cake premiering in Rotherham at the Old Market Gallery on 25th and 26th of March with a special performance at RCAT in April  Tickets are very reasonable priced.  You can buy Online HERE

The Cutlers continues it’s packed program of Gigs – you’ll need to keep an eye on the Listings page to keep up with everything that is happening.   HERE

There are still loads of really good things bubbling under which we cannot talk about at the moment, but rest assured we’ll get the news to you as soon as we can. 

Probably left of news off – but the brain is not holding everything it should these days.  So nothing new really.  

However, I can’t sign off without a word or two about recent events in Rotherham -  or is that I can’t stop myself from sticking my five eights in.  

As Government documents go, the CaseyReport on the Governance of RMBC coming in at a mere 157 pages, is a slim volume.  In terms of what those pages contain for Rotherham are explosive in terms of the seismic magnitude of the consequences for the Town in which we live. 

I’m afraid it was all so predictable.   It’s a General Election Year; Rotherham was just what the Coalition needed, a badly administered Labour local Authority, with a really emotive issue being at the core of it’s problems.   As Pickles stood to announce the sanctions he was to place on the Council you could see him whispering “thank you God” under his breath. 

But to suggest that this Report was written solely to bring a Labour Rotten Borough to heel, as the Commissioners did to Liverpool during the Hatton era, or Doncaster when they had their problems belittles the truly serious failings that led us to this sorry state of affairs.

Given that Rotherham is accused of “denial” or burying our heads in the sand it would be foolish if we as a Community fail to react positively and decisively to the charges made.   Let’s be honest, it was not just the Police or Council who failed these young people, some of the Community Organisations also failed and that means “we” as a Community failed.

The fact of the matter is that there will be no easy fixes.  Let’s not pretend that Rotherham was a harmonious Community celebrating cultural diversity.  Rotherham was divided by cultural interest groups; it would not be far wrong to say that it is a fractured Community.  

And this is why I think RMBC’s reaction to Casey has been weak.  An apology on behalf of the Council made by someone not involved in the scandal, hardly covers the base, neither does the mass resignation of the Cabinet, who in doing so demonstrated again a total lack of Leadership. 

My own preference would have been for the resignation of the Chief Constable who seems completely in denial.  It would have been good to have seen a few if not a lot of arrests.  It would have been good to see political Leadership and fight.  

The other thing I would like to know is, what are there “improvements” made by the Council and Police that some give so much credence to?  We hear a lot about the improvements but when pushed for details Councillors and Council just look perplexed.  

So we’ll all wait to see what happens when the Commissioners come to Riverside (sounds like something out of Star Trek).  The May Council Elections could be difficult for Labour, and the Westminster elections could put a bit of pressure on one of two seats, not helped by one or two splits within the Labour Party.  It will be interesting to see just how much real and aggressive campaigning they do.  

I suppose the good thing is that the Kippers are falling apart as they make and change policy nearly every day of the week.   Will it be enough to stop them doubling their seats in Rotherham?


Drop me a note if you want something included in future Blogs.

So whatever you are doing over the next week, have a great time, support your local shops and artists and KEEP IT LIVE.