Birthday Weekend 2019

So, this weekend I turned another year closer to 40 – two years off it as of late. Yet, I have never felt more comfortable in my own skin. I am loving being in my thirties and more power to those who say life begins at 40 – I am one person who is looking forward to the year.

Well, what did I get up to for my 38th Birthday? Friday was a bit of a write off due to ill health – I was not up to much and I slept most of it. Pity as an awesome bar-keep at a pub I frequent, well, it was Anna’s last shift & I wish I could have made an appearance.

Saturday was spent working – i seem to have been putting in as many hours as possible with my day job and it is reaping dividends. However, I managed to take Kathryn out for a meal on Saturday night. The destination was DOMO, 8 Montpellier Street.

The food was good – I ordered a bowl of vegetarian dumplings for starters, Kathryn went with the Calamari. Kathryn order the worlds hottest curry for main and I ordered Udon Noodles – we had to swap which was a regret when the bought out the beef for my course. They managed to heat up a metal plate to around 4000ºc and the beef was cooking as they served it – not the best if you are a vegetarian, but, I am not and this was melt in your mouth delicious.

We washed it down with Japanese beers and hot-footed to Tom’s for a beverage.

We woke on Sunday to hear that the scheduled Big Bad Sunday had been cancelled due to ill health on the DJ’s account – it is not for me to tittle-tattle so I won’t go in to details but I hope he recovers soon – Harrogate needs him.

It was with a sad heart I set out to go for a few beverages with Fun-Time Allan. I was not really in the mood to drink. But, that is the thing with Allan. He turns all times into fun times – I was blasted into the future by lager brewed to German Purity laws. It really was a good session – we had a good chat with good people and things were good. Sam, the amazing bar keep, did this for me:

After this I went home for more beer, pizza and cake. All in all, I seem to be enjoying my 38th year. I seem to have received a lot of love on Social Media for the simple act of living another year – one year that is not to be sniffed at.

I am still amazed that I lived out my twenties. I have beaten the odds.

Polly

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 – asleep

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.

Lets Gi’it A Shot!

I have signed up to a new scheme – new to me at least. I sometimes have the vague notion that people will like to listen to my field recordings. The best place to do this is to listen to the CD on good headphones. Failing that, if you want a bit more of a public impression of what I get up to then listening in an Art Gallery would do.

Thing is, the latter has been next to nothing.

So, I signed up for Yorkshire Art. I will keep you abreast of developments on my Artist Blog HERE.

They say they will be able to get more Gallery appointments and, hopefully, I will be able to chalk “Artist” on to my CV.

aye wear

New, Aye Wear

New Aye Wear // Eyewear. Why would I need glasses? Well, when I went down to London with Mrs Backhouse I was squinting at the train signs, causing me to get a bit flustered. I realised my distance vision needed correcting. Specsavers in Harrogate sorted me out – I woke early, after a 19.5-hour sleep, and set to about making an appointment – Mr Mahmood saw me and did the necessary. Turns out my script shows my right eye is worse than t’left. I am short-sighted.

I chose some frames and went to The Winchester until it all blew over. A couple of pints in and an old friend I know turned up – haven’t seen James in a bit and we got talking about our motivation behind our passion for music. James writes the incredibly prolific blog, This Noise Is Ours – worth a visit if you are a fan of extreme metal. Although, both James and I know that I prefer my Extreme Metal played by Cats in berets improvising over scattered snares with a parpy saxophone and scat singing (Free Jazz // Experimental).

Picked up my glasses and headed home – here they are –

So, if you see them lying around, please pop them in a safe place and I’ll shout you a pie. It’s nice to be nice.

In other news, I have been working to the fullest my contract with the DWP will allow me to – when I say I work for the DWP, I am in fact a Mental Health Expert – ish. Well, that is what I put on my CV when I will eventually be kicked out the door and made to get a job despite all the contrary advice from Health Care professionals stating I am too ill to work. But, we will see on that – I have an assessment on Wednesday and I am a bit apprehensive to be honest – if they stop our benefits I will be cast adrift and have no way of supporting myself. I cannot work (due to health) and I need a bit of help in the day-to-day. Still, it is up to a Clerk at the DWP to extend my contract and let me continue to be a p/t Mental Health Expert // p/t Web Designer.

Lost a friend the other week – S.M. He had had his benefits stopped and he could not see a way out of it – he took his own life. He was in no way well enough to fend for himself and yet the DWP stopped them without warning – he is at peace now and will be missed. Funeral is on Thursday. I’ll be there to pay respects. I doubt there will be much putting the “Fun” in Funeral due to the nature of his end – but, I will make a stand and show my face.

I saw S.M. just the other week – he had managed to go and get a coffee unaided, in town – he was making headway. Leaves me slightly anxious about my interview … I will keep you posted.

Saltaire

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.

A New Edition Of The Parish News

I managed to record another edition of The Parish News. No biggy – it is something I do every week. This week, I recorded it in my flat with new gear. I have had a Sound Devices MixPre 6 for a number of months now but never really used it for the show – still, makes a change. I used it on the One-Hundred and Ninth Edition of The Parish News.

There is something else that is new. Brand new. I have a new mic. An Audio Technica BP4025 – it is specifically designed for Field Recording so I look forward to using it in the field. It seemed to be good for the show.

If you listen to the enclosed audio on Headphones, it sounds like my voice is just behind the centre point of your hearing. This is because it is a stereo mic (X/Y) therefore giving a lot more width to my voice. It’s reet mint!

Other than that, I have been doing a lot of work – I was interviewed by S. Watson-Power as part of her school project on music. It really was a good, wholesome feeling I got from it. If you want to read the interview, I have transcribed the interview on my Arty Site HERE. I wish her every luck in getting a good grade with her presentation – I was sent a copy of her presentation, but, I figure it is a bit too personal to give away on Sophie’s behalf. So, if she ever wants to make it public I will let you know. But it was sweet.

I will try and write ‘home’ a bit more regularly from now on. That is how I take this Blog – it is a bit like Writing Home. There is a familiarity to it, coupled with a duty – ‘I have a duty to maintain this blog’ is one way of seeing it – the whole stubborn “I’ve started so I will finish” but then there is the tenderness associated with such memories that my blog throws out there every now and then. Ijo Pona is my online Home. And it has had a fresh lick of paint.

Good Luck Karen!

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!

Cassettes?

I got some new DJ Equipment in the post today – but, not just any DJ Equipment; I hope to DJ from Cassette. But, why the hell would I want to do that? Well, I listened to a MiniMix on BBC Radio 3, the show was The Late Junction – oooh, weeks ago. There was an improviser there who did a complete DJ mix on cassette and it was spell-binding.

I hope to emulate him.

The chosen apparatus is a pair of Marantz PMD 201 cassette decks and whatever mixer Allan can get me — I will probably have to hang fire on the mixer until I get paid, but it could prove fun.

I will be DJing experimental music from the cassette decks – much like I play on The Parish News. In fact, the cassette decks were bought for my radio show – they have a pitch function as well as HPF / LPF and I hope to create some extra content for the people who will be subscribing.

This extra content will be available to people who pitch it £10 a month or so – I just need to make the DJ mixes worth £10 a month so that people subscribe. Meanwhile, HERE is a link to The Parish News – the latest edition.