Dornoch 2019

We arrived safely home yesterday afternoon. We set off from Dornoch around 0730 and came in to Harrogate around 1600. It was dark when we set off and it was dark when we arrived home. But, it was great to be back in the Highlands of Scotland - Dornoch is a place loaded with memories.

It was quite weird walking around thinking Oh, Granny would …” at every memory prompt. Yet it was quite a cathatic experience - we visited her grave and paid our dues.

The highlight of the family trip was that it was a family trip. Me and my wife got to spend time with my parents. Mum and dad were great to us.

We managed to get walking on Dornoch Beach, a great shoreline.

Dornoch Beach

But, yes whilst it was weird, I did still feel a sense of connection to the place - but it was like an apparition. The living link to the place has gone. There are only fond memories of Granny D. We were there as basic tourists for the first time ever - something was palpably missing.

When I returned home I headed up to Creao Studio after tea to record The Parish News. I needed a bit of head space. If you can make it past the first two tracks on the show you are home and dry…

December 8, 2019 · Dornoch · Family

view from pulteney, inland
December 6, 2019

Kathryn, Mum, Dad & myself are up in the highlands for a week - this is the first time in Dornoch since Gran passed earlier this year. I thought I would make a short Blog article to mark the occassion.

A day doesn’t go by where I don’t think of her and her charm.

December 1, 2019 · Dornoch · Family

November 18, 2019

Women On Tap At The Mercer

Well, I am fresh back from my third venture out’ in four days - I am all the better for it. I attended the Women On Tap event, Art & Beer At The Mercer.

What was it? It was an idea I had never really considered before - these gifted individuals were pairing beer with Artwork. Artwork that had been submitted to the Mercer for the Harrogate Open. Did it work, though?

beer at the mercer

The idea was that, from the 150 artworks on display, four of the individual artworks submitted to the Open would be paired with a beer by a gifted-girl-gang who’s taste buds are far more developed than mine. However, this blog post is not a critique of the beer I drank. Nor is this blog post a critique of the (awesome!) artwork on display - this blog post is about what I got from the event.

To start of with, I was thrown out of my comfort zone - I am not accustomed to being challenged when it comes to beer; it is the key to the heart and I like WD40. I tried different beers that I would not neccessarily have chosen to sip had I been in a pub. Nicola B. lucidly guided you through what to expect from each beer and accepted feedback. I am very grateful for this - I do not know what to look for in tasting notes. All of the beers, bar one, were new to me and that was worth coming for alone.

My sum knowledge of beer is that it is wet and it makes your legs do funny things if you drink too much. Nicola stood there for a swallow’s flight, holding the attending crowd in the palm of her hand as she explained why she had chosen the beer in question for us to try. Women On Tap were pairing artwork with beer!

And here is the bite - by doing so, Nicola had become the artist people had paid money to see. The Mercer is holding the open until January and I thoroughly recommend that you head down there to see the exhibit - but, the gallery is open until January - we were there for an interpretaion of the art through beer.

There were some gifted artists who’s work was on display to explain the process behind the craft of their art and the inspiration behind the craft. This was not a dry accademic exercise but an inspirational Have A Go!” speech. I loved it.

More of this, please!

View of the mercer

November 12, 2019 · Beer · Harrogate · Art

I Visited Thought Bubble 2019

I visited Thought Bubble 2019 - Thought Bubble is the Yorkshire Comics Convention. I admit this was my first comics convention (ever) and I was a bit unsure as to what to expect. But is was a load of Funs. All the Funs. As in, I haven’t had this many Funs for ages.

Thought Bubble 2019

Above, you will see the smaller of the halls - the event was amazing in all fairness - I have been warned by people who do not know much that comics are all about super-heroes. Thankfully, there was not many Hollywood led comics there - yes, there was the odd 2000AD Comic reference, but it was all tastefully done. I was there for the independant zines and underground press with this lady…

Kathryn Backhouse

Kathryn seemed to enjoy herself immensly. The highlight of Kathryn’s day was meeting Kim-Joy the baker and getting a book signed by her. See the photo below.

Kim-Joy took it all in her stride, as did Kathryn. It was great for Kathryn to meet he hero and I took a heap of photos but not all fof them worked out. You will have to settle for this one…

Kim-Joy the baker

We went to the event with this couple of beauties - K-lo & Scooby…


Scooby Thornton

And we got royally drunk afterwards.

As Scooby said - some days Life tastes sweet” and it did today. We were celebrating art and artists. We gave our money direct to the artists who made the works we liked. I bought too many comics. Between the four of us we spent just over £300. But is was all good stuff.

Has Thought Bubble fitted in to Harrogate? I am unsure. But we welcomed them with open arms. What I will say is that Harrogate Council bent over backwards to accomodate Thought Bubble. We are, after all, a conference town. Did we live up to expectations for the artists? I am unsure? But I had heard of some stalls making back their fee within three hours of opening. Did we live up to expectations for the organisers? I am unsure. Did Thought Bubble live up to expectations for the locals? If I am a local -then- damn, yes! It was amazing and I hope they come here again. All the Funs were had.

As a parting shot - I will share a photo taken by our friend, Karen, of Kim-Joy meeting Kathryn…

kim-joy meeting Kathryn

November 9, 2019 · Comics · Harrogate · Friends

HCR Open Day

There was an open day for the station I volunteer with. Harogate Community Radio held an open day at Creao Studio to help people get in to broadcasting.

The turn out was reasonable. But, what got me was that everyone who came there ended up wanting a show - there was a 100% Conversion rate from walking through the door to walking out with a show.

I was in my element.

Harrogate Community Radio Open Day

Yes, I went full That’s Andy” but it was good fun.

Richard L. was there. He is a rep with Audio-Technica and he brought with him some toys to play with. There was a lot of tech and there was also a lot of cake. I ate far too much and the sugar rush lasted until the early hours.

Wholesome fun.

Harrogate Community Radio Open Day
October 20, 2019 · Harrogate · Radio · Volunteering

Kathryn’s Guiding Sorority

Kathryn, my wife, is a volunteer at the local Guiding Association. She leads young girls into being responsible people who will hopefully surpass her. All with completely that very intention and all completely selflessly done.

Today she was recognised for five years of service with her group and we both went to a ceremony in Ripon where she was presented with an award. There was a good spread of food and, although I was one of three men in a room of women, it was all a very wholesome affair.

It was good hearted fun.

What struck me was that there were older members of the group who had been voluniteering with the local guiding association for 50+ years - I spoke to one of these ladies who remembers Kathryn when Kathryn was a Guide herself. It seems Kathryn has found a family who have adopted her. A family of well-meaning women who want to bring out the best in each other and all that they bump into.

There was a real sense of non-militant, independant we can do it ourselves” amongst the people there. It was as if I was being indoctrinated in to a matriarchial mini-tribe. I really did like it though and I did not mind the indoctrination at all.

I have heard one point of view that not everyone should have the right to vote. After today I am starting to think it should only be women who vote and Meatheaded men should be denied the right to vote. It would have avoided Brexit …

Girl Guiding Association Harrogate

October 5, 2019 · Kathryn · Ripon · Beer

we're recruiting
September 30, 2019

valley gardens, late september
September 30, 2019

I Went To Culture Hop

It has been quite a busy w/e so far - a session around Allan’s for Friday night and a heap of Radio Station admin on the Saturday - but here I am writing about Culture Hop; the Craft Beer take over of Harrogate Theatre on a Saturday night. Am I qualified to write about this? No. Did I enjoy myself? Yes! Therefore I want to write about my own expeience of Harrogate Theatre’s Culture Hop; the craft beer take-over.

Culture Hop FB Image

I will publicly state that if you want a balanced, educated point of view on beer you seek out the organiser, Rachel Auty or the writing’s of Nichola L. Bottomley. I do not know my beer, but these two women have the education to school me on what I drink …

It was not about quantity - it was about trying new beers and supporting a good cause; the Theatre. Culture Hop was a fundraiser for Harrogate Theatre and, I hope, a worthwhile one. Did it non-theatre goers through the door? Well, as someone who has not been to the theatre in (actual) years I felt that this building and the staff in it were connecting with a different community. I felt welcome … plus I will be checking out some of the more left-of-centre productions advertised in their distributed literature.

Culture Hop at Harrogate Theatre

The beers were excellent and well kept - there was a friendly atmosphere that put someone with crippling social anxiety (like myself) at ease. I enjoyed it … + Beer drinking in a decadent environment = win.

It would get a bit too much for me to start listing the beers and musicians that I drank/saw - I am not that type of drinker. What I will say is that evening went smoothly. They catered to all types of drinker. My wife will be logging her beers tomorrow but I will be storing them in my memory, ready to revisit on a future occasion.

More credit to the organisers for ensuring that it went smoothly, it was a Fun’ occasion and more power to Rachel & the team for putting it on - I can’t wait until the next one! So, if you like your beer and you are not afraid of Culture then I recommend that you keep you eyes open for the next Culture Hop. If I find out about it before you do then I will be sure to post it up here; you would be missing a treat if you did not go!

September 21, 2019 · Theatre · Harrogate · Beer

how to tune in to hcr
August 25, 2019

That’s That, Then - Cheerio Home Farm

Home Farm

My dad is a farmer, a damn good one at that. He has reached the end of his full-time obligations and he is joining Mum in retirement. I wish them the best of British on that.

Part of dad’s contract meant that he got a house with the job - a perk, if you would, of working in agriculture. We have never owned any land, my dad is a contracted farm manager. So, when he retires he has to move on. I have every faith that a house would have been found for him and mum by the estate. But, they have bought a property further North.

Part of this is that I came to the farm this Sunday to help clear out what had been collected by me (and on my behalf) at Home Farm - there was a lot of stuff and some weird memories came back as a result.

The highlight of it was an old menu from the Furlong & Furkin and a Chairman Mao cigarette lighter that plays The East Is Red” when you light it up. I now have a few boxes from my old room scattered about my own place on Dragon Parade, from the farm.

Home Farm View

What will I miss from Home Farm? Will I miss it? If these walls could talk” is a valid worry for someone with my illness - let’s hope I don’t leave any ghosts behind :)

I will miss the Bird-Life and the surrounding trees to the farm. The farm was located in Dark Walk Woods, Near Ripon. There was an abundance of birdlife that my parents fostered. They were always tending the birdfeeders and reaped dividends for doing so.

They were often visited by Woodpeckers and all sorts of LBJs (that I can’t name). I fell into Field Recording (probably as a direct result of the sleepless nights at home farm listening to the dawn chorus) and found a lot of solace listening to the various visitors to the garden.

There was a down side to the house; it was so damn cold. Freezing. Let’s hope that moving house will help with my folk’s health. It was unheallthily cold in Winter and if it was not for the log burner we would have had problems …

Home Farm View

I had a troubled time at home farm but I don’t think I would have recovered to the point I am at today, so speedily, if it had not been for the calm and peace at the farm for my extended stays there.

It was a retreat.

Yes, Harrogate is not a bustling metropolis - but the quiet of Home Farm was palpable. It was a constant. It was welcome. It will be missed.

Granted, there is an instant nostalgia of leaving a place you know you will never go back to again, especially if it rings with any emotional significance. But it is a location that has witnessed such turbulance this emotion is a difficult one to describe - all I can do is remove my head from my ar*e and wish my parents Good luck & thanks for all of the fish.” If I was trying to classify the emotion it would be Dankbarnostalgiezuentkommen.”

August 18, 2019 · Newby · Parents · Family


Salontronic 2019

August 11, 2019 · DJ · Knaresborough · Music · Art

Harrogate Community Radio

I have had a small hand in the start of Harrogate Community Radio - a station that began broadcasting August 1st 2019 online. To tune in head HERE.

Harrogate Community Radio Logo

Harrogate Community Radio is a grass-roots movement to give people in the local community a voice. To give everyone who feels under-represented a voice for change. The original ethos behind the Harrogate Community Radio movement is to unite the separate music scenes in Harrogate and bring about an umbrella for local producers, musicians, hosts and talent.

We feel there is a lack of opportunity in the local area for local grass-roots acts to get a foot hold — this is, where I hope we will come in; acting as a springboard to future, greater careers. We are a local media outlet led by the local community. A democratic outlet for local groups and bodies to have a voice.

August 4, 2019 · Radio · Harrogate · Music

Farewell Ted … Or, Bill?

We had an upset yesterday. Bill or Ted has passed on and gone to join the other one (the one that didn’t die yesterday) in the aquarium in the sky.

In 2012 I popped to Stottards on Commercial Street and came home with two Goldfish. Kathryn took to them. We christened them Bill & Ted.

Around a year later one of the gold fish jumped out of his tank when we were asleep (could have been Bill, could have been Ted) and we found him (her?) on the kitchen floor when we woke up. We named that one Bill (again). We were sure it was Ted who survived, they both looked the same but Ted was a fighter.

Six years later and the Goldfish of indeterminate identity has made his last journey. But, in life he was a noisy bugger - always blowing bubbles and banging against the side of the tank. When I would tap the side of the tank he would come and nuzzle on the other side of the glass. Kathryn would ask him if he want some food, out-loud, and he would excitedly bob at the corner of his tank - he was a cute fish.

When it was feeding time he would do a wobbly thing that made us know he was hungry. People say Goldfish have a two second memory but I reckon they have advanced cognitive powers. I mean, I how do they test a gold fish’s memory? Flash Cards?

Even if they do have flash cards to debunk the myth of a two second gold fish memory then the fish would be left there thinking that they are not going to stand for that crap much longer. Oh, not that card again.”

So, farewell, Ted and Bill - you were there when we needed you.

July 26, 2019 · Dragon Parade · Animals · Harrogate

Happy Birthday Kathryn! S’nice That!

Congratulations on another Earth Cycle, Kathryn - god knows you have had to work hard to get here. The people you grace with your presence are all the richer for knowing you and I am humbled to be your partner.

Today Kathryn is knee-deep in her thirties. She has risen to the challenge and I am proud of her.

Today started with an early rise for me - I had been recording a heap of shows in Creao Studio for Harrogate Community Radio. I saw Kathryn off on her day at work and she seemed grand.

Meeting up with my wife at Bias on Cold Bath Road, we went to Tilly Peppers and we were greeted like we had been not left it the eight months since we had last been - the proprieter instantly recognised us and is was great to be back.

We both ate a massive slice of cake and drank coffee - the staff put a birthday candle on Kathryn’s cake and said it was on the house. I went to settle the bill and I was told that somebody had settled the complete bill for us - quite who this mysterious benefactor was I am unsure but I am very grateful. It kind of reaffirmed that nice things happen for a reason - my wife is one of them.

After Tilly Pepper’s, we went to St Wilfred’s on the Duchy. The occasion was that there was the Museum of The Moon on display.

Museum of the Moon Harrogate

Mesuring 7m in diameter, the moon features detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface - at 1:500,000. This means that 1cm of the lit sperical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface.

The soundtrack accompanying the moon was composed by Dan Jones - I admit I could not really make it out due to children running around screaming - but the sculpture was great and we made the most of our time awake.

We then went to Leeds.

Temple of Boom was the venue we went to. there was a heap of band on for not much money at all. It was a great gig and the highlight was the group Corrupt Moral Alter, from Liverpool.

Yes, the music was more for Kathryn - but - then it was her birthday treat. I really got something from the event though. The headline act were Noisem. But, I really thought the bands before them were something special.

So, we are tucked up safe in our small flat in the Dragons. Kathryn is so tired she has not even had the chance to open any of the gifts she received. It was a good day.

July 13, 2019 · Kathryn · Birthday · Gig · Leeds

July 7, 2019

A Dub Reggae Radio Show

You know about The Parish News? It is my main radio show - it gets broadcast on Resonance EXTRA, the arts station in London. But, have you heard about Roots Conversation?

Roots Conversation is the dub reggae radio show presented by me and Allan, as Guerrilla Dub System, and DJ Scooby from the Sound of Wonder radio show. It is a right laugh. We get to play all of the music that we dig as artists and the music that has inspired us to make our own tunes. In fact, you can listen to the episode we recorded on Thursday night here -

The playlists are all embedded on the site for Guerrilla Dub System. We will be broadcasting on Harrogate Community Radio when it is up and running.

If you have a station and you are in need of content then please get in contact with the show at [email protected] and we can send you the show every week for you to broadcast?

It’ll be reet!

June 29, 2019

June 27, 2019

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