Tuesday, 17 March 2015

All the Latest News For March

There are just so many really good things to report this week that it’s a shame to start with the negative; the closure of The Trades.

For RAE this has been a bit of a bummer.  The previously published Blog says much of what our understanding of the circumstances leading to the closure of the former WMC were, and we won’t go over old ground.

We believe that there are now several interested parties in taking on The Trades tenancy, but having an interest in a business and actually finding the right level of lease payment for a business that thanks to the actions of the former tenant is non-existent is another thing all together. 

Our fear is that whoever takes it on will simply follow the Pub / WMC business model, a model which for a Town Centre venue has now failed three times.  

We have tried to convince the Freeholder who of course is simply interested in collecting rent to get a return on his considerable investment, that thinking outside of the box is what is needed to preserve his investment and secure a mid-term sale of the property.   I don’t think the words have fallen on stony ground but one must bare in mind that the interest of the Freeholder is different to the interest of the operator.

While a better than working business plan could be put together to create an amazing Community Arts Centre together, while retaining some of the traditional elements of the venue, we simply do not have the capital or connections to capital to make it happen. 

We’ve had so many offers of volunteer help to make a Community project work that it would be a shame not to put the capital situation out there.  If anyone knows of someone or consortium who might be interested in talking seriously about a Community project then please ask them to Email in confidence HERE

Meanwhile we’ve had to change the Brand name of our events to “Live In Rotherham”, with all our Concerts, with the exception of the Bon Jiovi event, moved to The Silverwood Miners Welfare Club which is situated in Dalton.    Google Maps will be on the Web Site soon.

We can also report that most of the Events booked into The Trades have now found new homes.  Night Train Burlesque and the Mesmerize Birthday Celebration have now been placed at Eastwood View WMC.  

Besides the Rock events, we have also shifted the Championing Rotherham Folk Concert on 25th March with Roy Bailey, Ray Hearne, Toein’ In the Dark + other top local performers to The Silverwood Miners Welfare Centre.   Unfortunately we had already printed tickets and flyers, so when purchasing please remember the event is at Silverwood.   And get those tickets quick, there are some very generous concession rates for this Fund Raiser towards positive politics working again in Rotherham.    Online tickets are on sale HERE.   Other tickets available from members of the Rothe   There will be stalls including Minx Designs and RAC + a Socialist Share, e.g. people will be asked to donate skills and time to raise money for RAC to continue their important work of promoting positive politics in Rotherham.   
rham Against the Cuts Team (see Tom Donaldson) or Reserved by telephoning REA on 07780373212.

Of course the main reason for buying a ticket will be to witness the Rawmarsh Mashers back after a long absence……………………..    hohoho.    Masher John has thrown his hat in the ring to provide added chaos.

Not one of the easiest reads, but the people behind the Celebrate and Support Rotherham Facebook Group have publish a pamphlet with the title “Voices of Despair, Voices of Hope”.  It has been put together by Liam Harron and Chrissy Meleady MBE and features first hand experiences from CSE victims / survivors.  There are also some questioning articles from which we can all learn.   It has already attracted considerable attention with RMBC and other organisations ordering in bulk.   The Pamphlets cost £4 each to produce and to get the message out there the authors are simply looking for a donation towards the cost.   You can find out where to get a copy on the Celebrating Rotherham Facebook site HERE

Jam & Slam our growing music and words Youth Group is developing fast.  The next two get together is 21st March.   On the 14th we will be working on some song writing skills and listening to a short presentation and working with some Drum and Bass / Disco concepts.  

On the 21st my friends Karen and Nigel from Swansong, will be coming to do a short chat on the hard working Gigging Bands face + hope fully play a couple of songs.    

Other highlights, Melanie will be performing her set for the Strong Voices end of project event which takes place on the 26th March.  The Mashers will perform their set for the Championing Rotherham event on the 25th March at Silverwood, and we will have more poetry.   AND not forgetting Tom’s warm up exercises. 

It all happens at Myplace, on St Anne’s Road, Rotherham (bang next to the new Tesco Car Park) and runs from 2:00pm – 5:00pm.  

Very soon RAE in conjunction with Something Special in Old Town Hall’s Mayors Parlour will be offering local grass roots artists the opportunity to exhibit their work.   RAE are pleased, nay, over joyed, that Caz Maz has agreed to head this project up. 

Our intention is mount a series of Exhibitions, some subject based; some artist exclusive.  

We are hoping that the first Exhibition will have its launch towards the end of April beginning of May.   If you or know of someone who would like to take advantage of this opportunity, you’ll need approx. 15 – 20 pieces and be prepared to allow them to be exhibited for around three weeks please Email HERE

So it has been busy times at the Masher Towers office.  

Facebook followers will have noticed that Facebook have declared the Rawmarsh Masher is not a real person and arbitrarily switched my active Profile to a page, registering me as Richard W. Millard. 

They then went on to make it difficult for me to get friends of the Rawmarsh Mashers logged into my new account.  Therefore, if you have not had a direct invite to become a friend of Richard W. Millard, search him out and stick in a Friend Request.  

Some may have picked up that I recently had another dodgy period, which it looks as if I’ve worked through.   Thanks for the good wishes.

Signs that things might be changing for the good in Rotherham.   The recent, highly successful Imperial Building Sunday Market, received tremendous encouragement from the new powers that be at Riverside House.   This has to be great news for the Imperial Building Traders + the Rotherham Town Centre, which is to be helped at weekends with the aid of FREE weekend car parking on the old Tesco Forge Island site.  

The Sunday Market was great.   Very busy and Traders were doing swift business.  It was also good to see an exhibition of Women Artists to celebrate International Women’s Day collected by the Sheffield based Cupola Gallery.  

Best of all it was good to see people coming together to make things happen in Rotherham.   I’m told that the Market may become a monthly event. 

Once again I’m sure that I’ve missed some important News out.  I’ll do my best to get another Blog out at the Weekend. 

All listing updates etc you can find on the Rawmarsh Mashers Facebook Page / RAE Facebook Page and of course via the Web Site listings page HERE     The News Page can be found HERE 

There’s a new Word Pit being prepared.  I already have a wonderful collection of work, for the Easter issue, but we like to hear from new Poets as well  Email Chris Bilton our Editor HERE

If you are trying to look up a local or National public Organisation, or even looking for support, you might find some help on our Resource Page HERE

I’d bring your attention to a new CD “Orgreave Justice”.  The CD features artists from Billy Bragg and Atalla The Stock Broker, to Barnsley’s The Hurriers and more locally The Pitman Poet.   All profits for the CD go to the Orgrieve Truth and Justice Campaign.   The CD costs only £9.99 and can be ordered HERE.   You can also buy the CD as part of a package with an “Enemy Within” T Shirt.   

Whatever you are doing this week, have fun, support your local artists and business and KEEP IT LIVE

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

RAE and Matters Concerning the Issues at The Trades


As per usual with such things the air is thick with rumour and innuendo about today’s (Tuesday 3rd March) announcement, or should I say whisper, that the Trades are shutting their doors. 

YES the Trades will be closing their doors  SUNDAY AT THE LATEST OR WHEN THE BEER RUNS OUT.  This is because the current Tenant is leaving the Trades.

Will the doors ever re-open?  Quite probably.  

Unwittingly RAE found themselves caught in the middle of what appears to be a disagreement between the Freehold owner of the Trades and the Tenant.   It would appear on the surface that the current Tenant is applying a scorched earth approach to leaving the Business, even to the extent of suggesting that the building is to be knocked down, which plainly is not true if you look at the records of the local Planning Office, neither has a change of use application been made.

If RAE were the biggest single Trades customer, and the disruption to our planning complicated, then we need also think about those who had booked Private Engagement or Wedding celebrations at the venue.  From what we have been told substantial deposits have been placed and on enquiring they are being told that it “might be sometime” before they a penny of their money back.  

This is exactly the way that the current Management of The Trades have operated.  Shall we say, muddied water versions of reality and complete ignorance to customers. 

We know that the Freehold Owner has a number of options available to him, one of them the sketch of a plan from RAE to develop the Trades into a Community asset.  NO DECISION ON THE FUTURE OF THE TRADES HAS YET BEEN MADE.

So how have we got here.

For eighteen months RAE have been attempting to get a Meeting with the venue’s Management. 

Eventually in October 2014, by accident, Mick managed to pin the person we believed to be responsible down, only to have what incentives we had for promoting events at The Trades ripped away, this included the small monthly publicity allowance made to RAE.   Also, at this meeting our contribution to keeping the Trades viable was completely undermined, the extreme example being the figures he quoted for bar takings at Slamfest 2014, £750.    We know that the Punk Festival had a minimum of 50 people in the Concert Room from mid-day – after 8:00pm there were a minimum of 300.   On the night we were told takings were of the order of £5K.  The event cost RAE £2K to mount, and given that The Trades refused to advertise or sponsor we eventually had to twist their arm to make a donation.  We got £100.   Lies and made up figures and a complete misrepresentation of facts.  

If we could have pulled then we would have.  RAE is passionate about music though, and we had some fantastic nights booked for the Autumn / Winter season which we wanted to see through.  It was only at the end of this successful season that included three full houses of 300+ that we cut back our promotions. 

It would appear that reduced programme has had a direct correlation with takings and the rest is now history.
RAE had an idea that things were not quite right given two lengthy spells where their telephone was down during which RAE became their answering service.   These were periods when a large amount of work was lost to the Trades. 

During our association with the Trades we have made many suggestions to the Management.  Without exception they have all been ignored.  No sorry, one was taken up – we suggested an illuminated sign for posters of upcoming events.  We didn’t get the illuminated sign, we got a black board the size of a postage stamp.   Mick and I still laugh at that one. 

For a long period Mick and I, despite placing so much business the way of the Trades, had to put up with a lot hassle from Staff of the Club.   Notices were put up barring us from using equipment (blaming us for breakages that we were not responsible for);  notices were placed in the dressing room threatening RAE acts that if they leave the rooms in a mess they would be banned;  even the cash box left at the desk was removed to prevent us using it!.   We have witnessed up to thirty minute queues at the bar, and constant moaning from bar staff about having to work -  they attempted to charge a Band that had just put £2.9K over the bar and cost the Club nothing to put on for post gig beers.   Some nights they couldn’t be out of the place quick enough and closed the bar when customers still wanted drinks.   OK nitty picky things, but stuff that add up to whether people have a good experience of the Trades or not.    For some reason from November 2014 this did improve a bit, but only after a couple of verbally violent arguments where eventually our view was put across. 

We have tried our best to help the Trades find a new Tenant / owner.   However, we have to be honest and say that the current Tenant undermined the early negotiations with a representative of the Freeholder causing so much confusion about the validity of the books, ownership and intent that the RAE contacts walked away. 

The RAE Community Project offer to the Freeholder needs support though.   What does Community mean?  It means opening the Trades to everyone for any legal purpose.  The facilities are fantastic, and only basic cosmetic things need to be done to turn the venue into a place where quality concerts and much else can be featured. 

It needs to be remembered that The Trades is the second largest venue in Rotherham for events in the Town Centre. 

Please Email us HERE to show your support for the RAE concept.    Unfortunately figure and the detailed plan remain sensitive but when we can we will publish the full paper and call a Meeting of all interested parties.  


RAE HAVE DONE EVERYTHING THEY CAN IN AN ATTEMPT TO SAVE THE TRADES without us it might have closed twelve months ago

There is a future, but you the 3,000 plus people who have viewed the statement from earlier in the day and especially the 50 people who shared it need to drop us an Email so we can demonstrate the support we have for the Trades in Rotherham