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

Photo Dump Of A Sad Occassion

As you read previously in the Blog - things have been a bit upset here. Grannys funeral was last week and we went up there as a family to lay her to rest.

I won’t go in to the details but it was a good service and by the end of it we were smiling again, catching up. Here is a photo I took from the three day break. The rest will be shared wit kin and kept private.

June 27, 2019 · Family · Dornoch

rock with a view (dornoch beach)
June 22, 2019

My Solstice, Summer 2019

The Summer Solstice marks my great friend Allan’s birthday - this year he was closer to sixty than fifty - yes, there is a bit of an age gap but mentally we are both around 19 years old so that doesn’t matter much.

The day of the Solstice was spent trying to whip my iTunes catalogue in to shape - with the recent announcement of iTunes being made redundant I may be seen as p*ssing in the wind.

However, iTunes was about cultivating a collection. Big online streaming sites were all about the greed. You had instant access to all of the music yet chose to listen to the same stuff.

itunes took looking after.

Maybe it was one final hurrah until the software is rendered obsolete, but I got something from it.

The evening was spent at a party in Creao Studio. Creao is Allan’s recording studio and has been the scene of quite a few adventures. We partied hard, we partied well.

Allan fell asleep and I recorded my radio show - here it is:

So, yes, I am worried abot the state of Apple’s music app. I am worried that it will turn in to an app for streaming rather than curation. Steve Jobs screwed over the Artists through the creation of mass-marketed downloads. Maybe now he is trying to post-humously screw over the customer?

June 22, 2019 · Allan · Summer · Party · Radio · Harrogate · North Yorkshire

A Majestic Timbre

June 11, 2019 · Harrogate · Blog · Fart · Town Centre

N’night Granny

I’m sad but acceptant that I will not see my Gran for a very long time. I could wax lyrical about Summerlands and the like. But, I am coming to the round to the fact Granny Dornoch lost her battle yesterday afternoon and she is now at peace.

She had a very tough life and a tough passing - she raged against the light until the end and cheered everyone up for knowing her.

She leaves a brother, two daughters & a son - and a gaggle of grand-children & great-grandchildren, who were all completely devoted to her.

She was such a loving person who made you feel like you were the only person who she wanted to see. She was loved. And, she loved.

N’night Granny - Safe journey.

Granny Dornoch

June 9, 2019

Why I Migrated To Blot

I have deleted Ijo Pona as it existed and started afresh.

Ijo Pona is dead! Long live Ijo Pona!

The older version of this site was a Wordpress build - it became very heavy and not at all responsive. All rather cumbersome. So, I elected to start afresh - there will be less rants about white socks and the cricket in this Blog. The site you are looking at now is built using Blot. It seems quite elegant although there are a few bugs from my Wordpress build that I need to iron out before I launch in to this whole heartedly.

Plus, it is a blog run on my Dropbox!

First Impressions Of Blot

I like it. I like it a lot. It is a lot cleaner and a lot more lightweight. Responsive and quick to load on mobiles.

The back end is a joy to write with - the Kitchen Sink” editor of Wordpress (and Gutenberg to that point) were not to my taste. The whole build of Ijo Pona (when it was a Wordpress site) was not what I wanted - I wanted something sharp and clean. So, I chose Blot. It doesn’t have an interface.

Easy to install and easy to set up - it is a bit utilitarian (if Brutalism was utilitarian) but I like it. Yes, there is not the choice associated with Wordpress - but then I am not after choice - I just want to write short blog posts.

Hopefully I will not regret making this choice.

The blog posts are all written up in Markdown on a text editor on my Mac. I then drop them in to the associated Dropbox folder and then I am good to go. This means I will always have a copy of my Blog posts when to hand.

Other Options

I gave considerable thought to running a Anchor blog - but I guess that Indie-blogging is yet to get a foothold over here in Harrogate. However, I will make a stand for it and try my hardest to keep blogging independantly and in Dropbox.


There was the option to import all of my old Wordpress posts in to Blot, using a script written by David Mirfield. But I chose not to - I have been going through a rough time over the past while and I did not want the bad posts about that reverberating and haunting me further down the line.


So, onwards and upwards! I look forward to sharing my adventures with you.

June 7, 2019

There Is An Ongoing Art Event @BiasHarrogate

Bias Harrogate Art Auction

Last night was such good fun. And, now I am the richer for friendship and I have bagged myself a print of a fantastic painting by John McClenaghen! I will try and gloss over the dismal failure we all face at the hands of Pound-Shop-Mosley and his Yahboo politics. Today only, I will be quiet and I am not going to rise to defend all of the people who he threatens, but, I will Lactose the Intolerant if I get the chance. We voted; I will leave it at that.

After exercising my constitutional right, I hot-footed it to 17 Cold Bath Road for 7pm. The shop I visited was Bias. Bias Harrogate is a woman-led independent clothes shop & I help out every now and then with a bit of design and I sometimes help with their website. So, if you want to see their website please visit www.bias.store.

I was not there for the elegant clothing, I was there because there was an Art Event on the night. Four leading artists, who all have a local connection, have donated a piece of their artwork for a friend, Rachel, and the Bias Team to raise funds for Saint Michael’s Hospice. Tony Brummell Smith has donated a signed limited edition print of Al Ponte Antico’ which hangs in the Hotel Venice in that fabulous town. Alan Coulson has donated the signed artist’s proof of his great portrait of Honest Thomas,’ which featured in the National Portrait Gallery BP Portrait Award exhibition in 2017. John McClenaghen kindly donated Field Diffraction” and Kitty North donated Moonlit Night.”

The main event took place on Thursday 23 May at a ticket only Private Viewing, taking place from 7pm and 9pm. There were nibbles, beer art and friends — it was a hearty do. The paintings are still showing in Bias and there is the opportunity to buy them by bidding — If you are aesthetically curious head to Bias and check out the Art. It’ll make your day & all proceeds go to Saint Michael’s Hospice.

Kathryn joined us after looking after a hound (Milly) and I had to break it to her that I had bought a print of a painting by one of the artists featured in the Event. Thankfully, she loved it! Thankfully, the beer had not worked it’s magic yet and it was not one of the main pictures being sold off — but — a smaller print. Separate from the main, featured images yet still raising money for Saint Michael’s Hospice. I really got a good look at the works on display. Including the main attractions’ there were several prints commissioned by Maiden Bridge Art Gallery to mark the Millennium. The print I purchased was a millennium print called Flying Colours August” by featured artist John McClenaghen.

You might want to see the artwork on display at bias. To whet your appetite — please head over to the Bias Harrogate blog HERE and you will be able to see pictures of the pictures. It was a really good evening — normally I feel like a fish out of water in the company of polite society … normally I drink too much and start cracking inappropriate jokes. However, I always get such a warm welcome at Bias that they put me completely at my ease. And, I am sure you will receive just as warm welcome when you visit to see the artworks.

May 24, 2019 · Art · Harrogate

What Did I Make To The Urban Animals Gig In Leeds?

Yay, date night! But, it almost never happened. In this blog post, I hope to say a bit about the event at the Brudenell that me and Kathryn attended and then I will get on to why it nearly never happened. I will work in retrospect from the headliners to the opening acts in terms of what I, personally, made to them. Then I will head backwards through the day and you may see why I am blogging in the early hours.

I would like to stipulate that I was awestruck by all of the acts — they were phenomenal. Best gig I have been to this year. But, why …

Okay, I will start with the headliner, Melanie Ó Dubhshláine. The blurb on the flyer described Melanie as presenting .. a suite of short musical works themed around the different wild animals to be found in the Leeds urban area.” I loved this. The musicality of Melanie and guest musicians shone through — plus, pop songs about hedgehogs are great in anyone’s books.

It was quite structured and I am not the intended audience — but for a gig going punter who does not own The Rita’s Thousands of Dead Gods” I reckon they would like it. However, I am a massive The Rita fan and I found the headline act from tonight very pop — but, not in a bad way; they were making avant-pop and looping field recordings — I was amazed at the dexterity of the pianist on stage and the finesse of the field recording was amazing — they really managed to get the humanised impression of the animal’s personality in the music. For the deer track there was a bouncing, free melody. The hedgehog sounded fun’ — the fox was menacing and the owl was … well, mesmeric. Accompanied by drone footage from an owl-eye view of Leeds the owl track was my favourite track.

The artists before Melanie were Phil & Layla’s latest incarnation, Hawthonn. I had seen them previously as XETB but this was the first time i saw them onstage in full gig-mode. I really enjoyed it!

They started with a Pagan Curse / Blessing (depends on which side of the fence you sit … 🙂 ) and invoked old gods to assist in electronic excellence. It was amazing and I hope Kathryn loved it too. There was a touch of appreciated theatrics in that there were a pair of black (my glasses need an upgrade) candles lit on the table that their equipment was perched on. Layla’s voice was mesmeric — she has a piercing yet homely, lullaby pitch that makes it sound like your Mum is singing about death and decay. A touch of we’re all going to die and decompose but let’s have a go at making a stand against that very thing”.

We got to hang out with Phil and Layla after their set — it was good to see them again.

The very first support act was NikNak — she was playing when we turned up, this was my favourite act of the night — not only because she was gifted but because it was so fresh. I have never seen a turntablist until tonight. Yes I have seen hip-hop DJs — but not one using 1210’s to control field recordings. I loved her set and it is something I hope to have a go at in the future, I loved NikNak’s set due to the fact she inspired me.

It looked like she had a pair of 1210s and — upon asking her about her setup after her set — she was controlling Serato on her Laptop — not a hop-and-a-skip from my Traktor set up.

But the highlight of the night was bumping in to an old mate called Nick. Back in 2010, Nick arrived in Harrogate in bad shape — he was down on his health and I fattened him up and released him back in to the wild. He was there tonight with his amazing wife, Becky. We talked too much & I hope we did not annoy anyone in the crowd — by the end of the first act we found our niche and got most of the talk out of the way in a private bar.

We have both come on no end, thanks to good the good women in our lives.

However, I nearly did not make it to the gig. I ran out of medication on Thursday morning. This came as a shock when I went for my evening dose on Thursday evening — it was not until 6pm Friday that I managed to get medicine. I was crawling up the walls for most of it but thankfully Kathryn was on hand with hugs and tea.

This mix up in my medication meant i nearly missed giving a demo of the riso press — more on that to come, I hope.

So, what did I gain from today: don’t forget to top up on your medicine, push yourself to do things out of your comfort zone and friendships that last for long silences are worth hanging on to. Thanks for reading.

PS Nick is a good lad.

May 11, 2019 · gig · leeds

First Big Weekend Of The Summer 2019

Summing up on a Monday evening — it was quite a great w/e. The first big weekend of the summer 2019. All the good things happened and then Monday spat in its face. So, I am taking time out of my Monday to remind me of the good things that happened on the weekend.

Friday was a bit of a rush — I had to hot-foot it down to Bilton WMC for a good friend’s Birthday party. She was probably the fist person I had a conversation with when I first came to Harrogate and she is a bit of a treasure. I am now good friends with her partner, Allan & he had asked me to play a DJ set before the band came on. No problem. So, I thought. I came with 45 minutes worth of music because that is the length of time I had been asked to play.

The DJ scheduled for the slot after me must have had to rush off due to a family emergency or something — he disappeared. I just hope that everything is okay with him and his family. However, it did kind of drop me in it. I had a few dub albums on the system I had with me (Traktor) — but I was having to repeat tracks. Still, people seemed to enjoy what I was playing and there was a bit of dancing. My forty five minute set was stretched to two and a half hours — but, I loved every minute of it.

Then the band came on. Drop Leg Steppers. They were awesome. They really were good and everyone enjoyed their set.

I hope the birthday girl enjoyed herself — I know me and Kathryn did.

Saturday saw me not wanting to get up — but — I had to, I was a man with something to do and that something to do was to run a workshop as Stinky. I have a Risograph printer in Allan’s studio — I call the venture Stinky’s Riso Press. I make prints for artists and I run workshops — it is a really fun thing to do.

I ran a workshop on Saturday with a man called Stuart — he took to it like a duck to water and made two incredible prints — here are the photos from it. Here are some highlights of the day -

Print Workshop Harrogate

Print Workshop Harrogate

Print Workshop Harrogate

Sunday. Me and Kathryn were picked up by Dad to head out to the farm. We used this as a launchpad to go and visit their new house. My parents are moving house further North. It will be a fresh start for them as it is the first time they have bought a house for themselves — they are quite excited yet I think they are a bit nervous too.

I had my camera with me at their new house but the CF Card broke on Sunday night, making the photos irretrievable, or so I thought. I was quite annoyed with that as there were some good shot of the house. However, thanks to the lads at Bass & Bligh I managed to retrieve the photos from the CF Card. Here are some of the highlights of the day — there are a mixture of Home Farm & Hackforth. The rest of the images are HERE.

North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire

When we got back to the farm it really was a glorious evening — I managed to get a few phone photos. I put my phone photos on www.hiandyb.co.uk — not the worlds best website, but a website I am running from my phone. Not the biggest of weekends — but then, not the youngest of knees. I figure my nights spent drinking cheap cider and then waking up in a skip are long gone. However, Kathryn and me were surrounded by loved ones. We had a good time. A great time. Summer 2019 is shaping up rosey.

April 29, 2019 · Social · Harrogate

Easter Sunday 2019

Easter Sunday kicked off at 4am. Nothing too new in my books — I can be an early riser, but that depends on what time I went to bed the night before (in this case it was 5pm). We caught the bus out to Ripon and we were picked up by my Dad. Heading out to the farm we heard of the terrorism in Sri Lanka.

My parents have a soft-spot for Sri Lanka after they had the best time ever on that island — they are willing to vouch to anyone on how open, honest, hard-working and kind the locals are. This has been a bit of shock to my parents — they are good people themselves and it is hard to see them come to terms with these acts of a minority.

My cousin Tillie (+ her kids), my sister and my Brother and his wife (+ their kids). were all there.

We ate like well-fed kings thanks to Mum’s handiwork. I had my camera (Nikon D700) and took these photos. Here is a brief pass of three of the images from the link …

Farm Buildings

Farm Buildings

Farm Buildings

April 22, 2019 · Newby · Family

February 2019

How was your February? Mine was mint! I had a Birthday — turned 38 — and I got up to a whole heap of stuff. All the Funs were had.

I am branching out in business and I will shortly acquire a new Riso Printer. What is Riso? A Riso is a mechanical screen-printing device’ (one suggestion) or it is a movement that is sweeping the Nation. Either way, the site for it is www.stinkysrisopress.co.uk and it is shaping up into something good.

I have an artist on my label, Focused Silence, being featured on the Wiretapper CD. The Wiretapper CD is the free CD that is given away with The Wire Magazine — it is a great honour to be included in it even in a small way. The artist is LI YILEI and she is an incredibly gifted woman who lives in London. Check the link HERE to read more about her.

In further label news, an artist, Downtrend Shapes Renewal, was played on National Radio in Spain — it really is shaping up to be a good year for the label — I have now got a CD publisher and — couple that with the Riso — will soon be self-sufficient.

Kathryn has gained another Doggo Client, Bertie, and all is well there.

Yesterday we called over to Home Farm to see my parents. Dad turns another year older today and is due to retire in a few weeks. Michael and his family were there, including munchkins.

I am unsure how he feels about the younger members of the family being posted on the web, so I will run this blog post past him and I will not include any photos of them. Needless to say, there was a lot of cake and play — it was a wholesome time.

I have found that my Vaporiser is a good excuse to leave proceedings. I get a bit flustered around drama and — with infants — there is a cacophony. So, I slink out with the excuse of not wanting to create bad habits” and de-stress. It must be a good three years that I have knock ciggies on the head. I have noticed an improvement in running-up-the-stairs time, but then it is longevity that I am aiming for.

So, we are getting into March and things are looking rosy — the sun was out for most of February although March’s weather can do one. K’thanx Bye!

March 4, 2019 · Social · Harrogate

Christmas 2018

First of all, please let me start this blog post by wishing you — the reader of my blog — a very festive and fun-filled Christmas. We have spent ours up at the Farm, near Ripon with my Brother and his family, my sister and my folks — it has been a a good Chrimbletide. We feasted, we gifted we made merry.

It was the first time I got to meet my nephew Ben — only two weeks old, bless him. He has the lung-capacity of a three year old and a scream that can pierce an eardrum at thirty yards. I would post a photo of him up here, but I do not have mum and dad’s consent so I will stick to saying he is bouncing and healthy.

Gifts were exchanged — we had a haul; I received a CD from Kathryn and I have been given a pork-pie stand, hand-whittled by my brother. I really like it. It is not as if he works in a sheltered workshop or anything, he has more degrees than a boiling kettle, but it is a good past-time that he has, whittling.

Mum and dad got me an Office chair for my flat — I have been using an adapted rocking chair (it is a table chair with runners on) for the past few months and my back is aching — silly idea in the first place, but I just can’t get rid of stuff.

The highlight of the day was, undoubtedly, my eldest niece receiving her own copy of her Special Book.” Sarah calls the Screwfix catalogue her special book” and sometimes my brother has to read it to her to get her to sleep. She was over the moon when she peeled back the gloss wrapping paper to reveal the branded Screwfix catalogue. She did not want to open another present, just sat there reading the thing — it was a sight.

Christmas Dinner was Turkey with all of the trimmings. Christmas pud and an Aldi delight as a second pudding — that was okay. Beer of choice at the meal was Founders Brewing Co. All Day IPA. My favourite of the modest selection that we picked up from Morrisons on the way to the farm.

Kathryn is sat watching a few trashy programmes on the telly and the rest of the house have retired for the evening. It is a scene of rural bliss. We have had a good time catching up and we will miss the Christmases at Home Farm. This is the last Christmas that my Mum & Dad will spend here. Dad will be retiring in the coming year and having to move house. There are twenty years of memories in the pores of this house — not all good. It is good we have managed to spend some time together as a unit to look back on in our dotage.

Wow! That took a melancholic turn — I am unsure why. Maybe it is because I need my sleeps, maybe it is because I saw the baton pass to another generation to maintain festive fun — but that got dark, so I had better sign off.

Merry Christmas to all.

December 25, 2018 · Family · Newby


We are all heart-broken in the run up to Christmas. We were told on Saturday that our beloved pup, Polly, was not strong enough to make it through an operation she underwent.

Polly arrived at Home Farm on June 1st 2018 and left on 15th December 2018. A brief stay but one that will be with us, her hoomans, for the rest of our time. Polly chewed everything and that, ultimately, was her undoing. She ate a doormat and the string from the doormat knotted her insides. She was off her food and needed to see a vet. She was not strong enough to pull through.

I’m gutted.

Polly the Dog

Jess, the nineteen year old Cat hated Polly — they would always be fighting. Why, with Polly looking for new ways to upset the slumber of geriatric Jess, Jess has outlived two hoomans, two dogs and a goldfish. We had to take her to the vet for a check up and, under sedation, she vomited a mouse — the nurses at the practice were astounded she was still catching mice at her age.

I doubt Jess the cat will miss Polly. But I do miss Polly.

December 20, 2018 · Polly · Newby


Art Gallery

I thought I would write up a bit about what happened today — Kathryn has gone to bed and it is not yet time for me to hit the hay. It is times like these I feel a deep calm — a sense that all is well with the world — I have my meds to take and a restful night (hopefully) to look forward to. But, what did I do today? We went to Saltaire.

Me and Kathryn went to Saltaire with Scoob & K-Lo. Karen was booked for a Mongolian Dance class. To be honest I was a bit in the dark what the dance class would involve. However, Karen is a seasoned regular on the dance scene in Yorkshire and I was confident she would take it in her stride.

We went to their place for midday and drove in their Fiat 500 to Salts Mill. I quickly called into a pie shop for nourishment (pork pie — 4.75/5) and then we went to Souk. Every time there is a get-together of Middle-Eastern Dancers there is always a specialist market where there are the costumes associated with the dances are sold — there were some there priced at £475!

Next stop was Salts Mill — we worked our way down from the top to the bottom. There were still the David Hockney paintings (marvellous!) on display and we stocked up on a few books.

The books I got from the bookshop in Salts Mill were Norlisk, by Grigoriy Yaroshenko and a copy of Alice Rawsthorn’s Design As An Attitude’ — high brow stuff that is probably a bit above me.

Norlisk is a photo-essay on Industrial Decay in post-Soviet Russia. It is the photography equivalent of a poetry chapbook. It looks like something that I can keep returning to. Design As An Attitude’ could shake me up a bit a designer?

Karen then went to her class and me, scoob & Kathryn settled ourselves in Fanny’s Ale House. It was a great pub that had escaped the gentrification that had happened to most of the town. It was a good pub with good beer.

I ended up drinking a bit too much and made a tit of myself in the car on the way home, but, Karen was very understanding — Kathryn is curled up in bed and that is where I will be heading now.

Thanks for reading x.

October 25, 2018 · Friends · Art · Daytrip

October 2018, London

Chris Parmenidis Poster

I am wary that this blog, Ijo Pona, is turning in to a look what I had for tea’ blog — but, I need to talk about Potatoes. London-shaped Potatoes. Me and Mrs Backhouse paid a visit to the capital and spent a long w/e down there. It was fun. The excuse for the visit was that an artist on my label, Chris P. was putting on a gig at S. Augustine’s Church, Kilburn and I was not going to miss it for all the bass-bins in Nottinghill.

It was a bit more Speedcore’ than Spandau” on the way there as we missed our train after getting stuck in traffic. But, the Lovelies at Leeds sorted us and we were only an hour late arriving at Kings Cross. We checked in to our Russel Square located room and set about exploring.

Lambs Conduit Lane is an amazing place to spy Men’s Clothing. We stocked up on Espresso and Swedish Cake and made off to the theatre to bask in its Neon Wholesomeness — it was reet mint! I at the best Italian Food I have ever had — Spaghetti Carbonara and a lemonade to wash it down with. Homeward bound for a night of great sleep.

Can’t fault the accommodation — very central, but with that comes central noise. Thankfully we both had earphones and had a good nights sleep. We went to the V&A the next day. Caught the tube to South Kensington and walked past the Natural History Museum. We had missed the show for the Wildlife Photographer of the year as it started Monday and we were coming home that day.

The Frida Kahlo exhibit at the V&A had sold out — I was not sure people would be booking museum tickets at such a rate but the Photography room was working and we visited that in the first month of being open. That was amazing. There was a massive cross-section of photo history; everything from old daguerrotypes to modern digital art. It was reet mint!

Kathryn had a ball at the V&A — she loved seeing the Porcelain section. To me, it was just old crockery, but Kathryn quite likes the history behind the Staffordshire miniatures and seeing Ming-era Vases was a real eye-opener. Ming Dynasty China was hundreds of years ahead of us when it came to … well … china. We walked miles and saw the Norfolk Music Room — a room that was the interior of a Bloomsbury manor hose but said manor house had been gutted — the interior of the gutted mansion had been placed in the V&A to put on gigs — an amazing, windowless space that had excellent acoustics.

Then it was the night of the label’s gig.


The gig was by Chris Parmenidis at Saint Augustine’s Church in Kilburn, London — Chris met me at the gates of the church and we took our seat. I was shocked to see a good mate, Paul, turn up — we muttered away and then the gig started — it was how 8B5C3B++ should have sounded — an eight-speaker sound immersion. Whether it fell on deaf ears I do not know but I invited a member of The Wire to come and review it.

It was awesome and Chris received a standing ovation.

I hope he got as much from it as his audience did.

Me, Paul & Mrs Backhouse went out for a few beers afterwards — I was surprised to see most people I saw in London still smoked and did not use Vaporisers. The bar staff knew the policy on Smoking — and adhered to it — but they had to ask their boss if I could vape. Seemed a bit weird — but the weather was amazing that day and night so I did not mind standing around being given permission.

It really was balmy. I was walking around Kilburn and Kings cross in Jeans and T-Shirt at midnight in the middle of October. Storm Callum was battering Yorkshire and we had escaped the worst of it. I was perspiring!

Sunday was spent getting lost on the tube. It delayed us by an hour but the Tate Modern was open until 6 pm so we had time to make up for it. This is the plaque for my personal favourite installation in the gallery that day –


We heartily munched on Chinese food for the evening — my fortune cookie said Family is a bit like Fudge — very sweet but sometimes with a few nuts”

We ate the fortune cookies on the train back up north.

The thing I got from London was that you did not have to go to exotic destinations to experience culture — sometimes it is only 3 hours away. I hope to go back down to the Smoke for a few more days next year. We are already looking at destinations elsewhere for our next break. We do not have an excuse. And, for once, my health permitted me to do what I love; spending time with Mrs Backhouse.

October 18, 2018 · London · Holiday

Good Luck Karen

Karen Thornton

My good friend Karen has a new job — she is leaving the public sector to move to the private sector and we had a bit of a get-together for her. The event it was held at was DJ Scooby’s Big Band Sunday in Major Tom’s on The Ginnel.

DJ Scooby plays a range of old-time music that has the intention to raise much-needed funds for MSF. We are lucky to have a friend who sometimes works for MSF and he came down too.

However, the main focus today was on Karen. Or, as I call her K-Lo’ (like J-Lo but one better). The great and the good of the local body were there.

So, on behalf of me and Mrs Backhouse — I would like to wish Karen the best of British in her new role — if anyone can kill it then I know she will. We are all really proud of her. Cheers!

September 9, 2018 · Friends · Social

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