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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
The weekend boiled and then simmered – that was just the heat coming off the pavement outside. The temperature has been ludicrously high with it only raining twice in two months. I am a bit worried about the wildlife in the area (if there is anything other than rats).
What did I get up to at the weekend? Well, Friday was a sleepless one due to the anxiety of the coming Saturday; I was visiting Home Farm. I am cool with it (almost) but it still throws me out of my comfort zone.
Kathryn Met Polly
The hound was great – however, there was a firework convention in the field at the bottom of the garden that night and Mrs Backhouse’s Dog Whispering skills were called upon. Poor Jess got into a bit of a tizz but we manage to soothe her nerves.
Matteo, Bella and Sarah seemed to enjoy the fireworks – so did dad who drove us home, lots of loud bangs. My brothers mum-in-law made an appearance for the fireworks and it was great to catch up with her – I managed to have the last dance with her at my Brother’s wedding … way back when …
I managed to record this –
Sunday was a bit of a write of as I was catching up with sleep – no real biggy, but it was something that needed doing. Monday was a hell of a day.
I found a lump.
When I went to dry myself with a towel, I glanced against an oddity. The NHS were great. I phoned the GP around 10:30 and I had an appointment for 4pm – the Doctor was calm and methodical, a real professional. He calmed me down and reassured me it was okay – I wasn’t in a flap, but it’s nice to know I don’t have cancer.
Me and Kathryn visited the Luminarium that was displayed as part of Harrogate International Festival. A Luminarium is a sculpture that you walk through to be moved to a sense of wonder by the colour and light. It was sort of somewhere between being in a womb or a cathedral. But fun.
The luminaria was designed by company founder Alan Parkinson. They are inspired by natural forms, geometric solids, Islamic and Gothic architecture. Each new creation is a maze of winding paths and inspiring domes where the visitors may lose themselves in sensory bliss.
Scooby & Karen
There was ambient music playing and crowds were kept low. We only had to cue for 45 minutes to get in. Cues were up to 2hr long earlier in the day.
We went with Scooby & Karen. I told Scoob about it and they invited us to join them when we went along. It was then back to theirs. We had a few beers.
Kathryn has started to use the app Untappd – she documents everything she drinks. There is a link to the photos here – https://flic.kr/s/aHsmjcUVfW
Mrs Backhouse turned another year over today – she grows in beauty everyday and is a joy to be with. Gorgeous all-round life-companion, wife, friend & dog-walker she is everything to me; Kathryn, I love you.
We woke up around the same time, today – her Birthday – and she was soon out of the door to her clients (hounds). I had to get her to open her presents as she was just wanting a nice cup of tea & a sitdown. Gift Enforcement had to metered out.
I had bought Kathryn a SONOS Play:1 and she seems to love it. Obviously, it will be playing more Hardcore Punk than Dub but then it is her speaker. I had a bit of fun setting it up the other day and loved the noise of the SONOS Smart Device.
I also got Mrs Backhouse a t-shirt from Major Tom’s Social – her favourite pub. It is a design by the talented Kate, who works there – she designed the image below and it is amazing!
… it is on a grey tee and my wife looks amazing in it.
We pottered around for a few hours and then headed out to a venue that was new to us – we had not been to Starling before but it had big boots to fill in Major Tom’s stead. The temporary relocation of Funs was welcome but … just a temporary phase.
The pizzas were good – some bits better than Tom’s and some bits worse than Tom’s. The staff were pleasant but anonymous – the vibe lacked and there was an event going on every room that made the group members look at you when you burst out laughing – and boy did we laugh; me and Mrs Backhouse were joined by Simon & Scooby – and for a brief period graced by the presence of Michelle & Reef.
We managed to cover everything from Health Care to Onion Sandwiches and we had established that I have spent too long in Harrogate.
But, the most important thing is that Mrs Backhouse went away smiling. She has really looked out for me over the past year and it was nice to spoil her. This was a small group of friends who came together to catch up – we all met at Tom’s (Si & Scoob & Me) and I think that is where the majority of our future liasons will be – thanks Starling; you were awesome but not for us permanently, but a welcome break. Happy birthday Mrs Backhouse! x