I have just returned from 10 Dev (Devonshire Tap House as it has been renamed). It was a lively sesh with Scooby and my wife. We talked a good bit and had some excellent beers. Scooby has just returned from Berlin and I am writing this as a “Bookmark” on the month’s proceeding - to keep what has happened in check and in line.
Why am I writing a Bookmark when the year is in it’s infancy? Well, a lot has happened. I have made this DJ Mix for a start…
I made that DJ mix from some of the music that I use on The Parish News - it is a lot less dense than some other mixes - I have given the tracks enough room to breathe. I am proud of it.
Whilst on an audio vibe - you may like the latest edition of our roots reggae radio show, Roots Conversation. Me and Allan got together to record the thirty-second edition of Roots Conversation and it was a good one - Scooby was away (see above) and we were free to geek out - we were mentioning record labels, release dates and target markets; it was a good show. You can tune in below…
On a professional tip - I have been accredited as one of the best rated web designers in Harrogate. This has led to a flurry of enquiries. I am pleased with the accolade. I appreciate that I may be a fish in a small pond but it is a busy pond - if I was to continue the metaphor. Here is the certificate…
Recently, I also played a gig - I was a bit nervous about being on stage. Thankfuly my band-mate, Allan, put my nerves to rest. We worked on the philosophy that if you make an error then you repeat it three times and people will think it is part of the set. There were a few errors on Guerrilla Dub System’s set. But, we were Live Dubbing using Ableton and my DS-1. It was a right hoot.
Unity Reggae band were there, as were Drop Leg Steppers. I had a blast DJ’ing at the end of the night and it went well. The room was dancing and people seemed to enjoy themselves. More of this please.
I have started a new imprint on my record label, Focused Silence. Focused Folio deals with experimental albums as MP3 downloads. It is proving quite a bit of fun - it only launched today (10th January) but there are two albums out already.
I hope the start of 2020 is proving as much of a joy for you as it is for me. I have been getting just the right amount of sleep. This was becoming a bit of a worry for me in 2019 and I am glad that I am now getting the sleep / fun balance right.
I have been told by my folks that you get to appreciate the quiet a bit more when you are older. But, with the quiet is a greater chance to listen: not in some life-affirming, motivational quote way - just checking out birdsong and hearing the gentle rumble of the fridge. In essence, as 2020 trundles up the road, I am happy with my lot. Happy New Year, everyone.
I am listening back to Geeks at The Gates on Harrogate Community Radio as I write this. It has been a Christmas that has been ruled by radio. I run a radio station in Harrogate, imaginatively called Harrogate Community Radio. I spent a good time of the Christmas break at my folks sat in front of my Laptop scheduling the shows for broadcast.
There was a good run of programmes and I managed to take dad to the pub - it was a good Christmas.
I received a lot of presents and I gave a lot of presents. I figure the good vibes of giving of a gift outlasts the joy of actually receiving a gift. I gave a good amount - Kathryn received a heap of presents and I got a warm coat, shirts, jumpers and a new brain.
My new brain is a set of artificial splice samples to use as coasters - it is a bit small for my head so I hope my brother knows a way of expanding minds?
My family spoiled us rotten with food and fun. It was our first Christmas in my parent’s new house in Hackforth, near Bedale. It was the warmest Christmas I have had. It really is a good house and they have done it up nicely - I wish them many happy years there.
Got home, unpacked - pj’s on; found this, it is nice to be recognised -
11PM: ‘Winter Sunshine’, a new audio collage from artist Lepke B.
And uploaded the below. It is a good show because Scoob, Allan and me are hitting our stride. I think so, anyway. It is a roots reggae show and we talk all over the records. It seems okay this edition - our voices had been a bit ‘boomy’ so we used a high pass filter; it sounds mint on a big rig. Gwarn know it yourself!
Tonight, there is a Dirty Warehouse party happening in town that I have been invited to - but, I am just needing to stay in and find two minutes of peace. I hope my mates all have a great time but ultimately I am worn out and need an early night.
So, all that is left for me to do is to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very happy, prosperous New Year - I am playing music on NYE in H’gate seeing in the new decade in style - ah, yes; the Roaring Twenties - I hope it is a vintage decade for you.
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.
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…
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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…
We went to the event with this couple of beauties - K-lo & Scooby…
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…
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.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 …
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.”