CREATIVE START – THE ARTIST’S COLLECTIVE AT THE TOP OF GRANVILLE STREET

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An artist’s collective at the top of Granville Street? Sounds a little unlikely? Think again. Creative Start is the brainchild of Sam Delaney who founded the group as an Arts In Health project, helping people in recovery from alcohol and substance dependency to find self confidence and a medium of self expression through painting. In the past three years he’s seen the organisation grow from small beginnings into a thriving community interest company with premises in the industrial units at the junction of Granville and Ladysmith Road and a nice line in badges, t-shirts and of course murals.

The Creative Start group of artists specialise in pop art, using bright colours and the iconography of the music and movie industries to create works that are both striking and familiar – and which would look great on anybody’s wall.

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Sam isn’t big on the phrase of art therapy. He thinks the name itself may be counter productive. “There’s a lot of stigma attached to mental health and dependency issues” he explains. “What Creative Start tries to do is to provide a basic training to allow people to express themselves through art. It’s the start of the process of feeling better about one’s self and eventually making a recovery. Through art people can learn to take responsibility for themselves and move on.

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We use art to help people engage with their community and our vision is to help members create works of art that can be exhibited locally, helping to rebuild confidence and self esteem. We encourage our members’ creative ideas and aim to provide the materials to help them come to fruition. At present the most popular medium is acrylic on canvas. We promote new ideas, collaborations and all forms of creativity in order to provide activities and art that suits everyone. We aim to produce works of art that show quality and emotion.”

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He’s keen to stress however that the group is not just open to those in recovery. Anyone who has an interest in learning basic art skills is very welcome, regardless of their level of experience. For more information get in touch with Creative Start through www.creativestartarts.com or via Facebook and in the meantime we’ll keep you posted on the progress of the Graham Chapman mural wall.

This feature if taken from The Peoples Issue 35

WELCOME TO CAR CORNER AT GRAHAM CHAPMAN CLASSIC CARS

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If you’re a car enthusiast then the chances are you already know about Graham Chapman Classic Cars. Based up on the Wilton Road Industrial Estate they’re our local classic car specialists and have a fine reputation for the excellence of their service and their skills as mechanics and vehicle restorers.

The garage at The Old Bakery in Jackson Place offers mechanical repairs, bodywork, electrics, servicing and MOTs and not just for classic cars either. Any vehicle is welcome and is assured of the same high level of care that will be given to the Porsches and Morgans that they are sitting alongside.IMG_9829

What you may not know is that Graham has recently expanded his business so that in addition to his existing garage premises he also has a new storage facility and sales and hire department on the corner of Wilton Road and Jackson Place – you can’t miss it as you drive by because the forecourt is full of superb vehicles, many of them for sale at surprisingly affordable prices!

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For owners of classic cars (and motorcycles) who need a secure place to store their pride and joy, for protection against the elements, or vandals, or for those who are simply looking to free up some space on a crowded driveway there are four levels of storage care available, including options in which the vehicle is regularly checked for leaks and driven on a monthly basis to keep everything in tip top working order. Owners who wish to take their vehicles for a spin can pick them up and return them by arrangement and leave their other vehicle in their spot. It couldn’t be more convenient.

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Graham also has a range of classic vehicles for hire, starting at £195 for 24 hours. These include the famous Italian Job Minis, a gorgeous cream 1958 Morris Minor, and a 1980 T2 Bentley. There’s also a super elegant 1978 Azure for weddings – no self drive on this one). Perfect for weddings and birthday treats or just for driving around in to make yourself feel like a king or queen for a day!

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The new premises are home to Vintage Lincs where qualified upholsterer Sarah Brown offers a complete vintage fabric service including upholstery and curtain and blind making. There’s also a range of recycled and reconditioned furniture on display for sale.

All in all it’s a new venture which has a touch of class about it, and from the smart new reception area to the motoring film themes murals by Sam Delaney of Creative Start it’s always a pleasure to visit. So next time you’re in Humberston why not pay a visit to Car Corner. You’re sure of a warm welcome and there’ll always be something interesting to see and who knows maybe one day you’ll end up driving out in a swish new motor (or carrying a fine piece of recycled and newly upholstered retro furniture)! Either way we know that you will have enjoyed your visit to one of the town’s most fascinating and friendliest businesses. Happy driving!

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Graham Chapman Classic Cars can be found at grahamchapmanclassiccars.co.uk

This feature is from The Peoples Issue 35

Folk Night @ Cafe Indie – Josie-Anne Gray reviews

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Cafe INDIEpendent is a coffee and music house, by day and in the evening transforming into an arts venue, hosting an ecelctic and diverse mix of the arts from international touring acts to local talent, with a healthy focus on the weird and wonderful. However, underpinning all this it’s an employability project for young people, funded by The Big Lottery Fund. And this is perhaps what sets it apart from other venues. Because almost all that work there are volunteers, they want to be there and this shows in how they are happy in their work. Placing young people at the heart of the community, working to better themselves and their town, it’s a project that brings people together. And puts on cracking events.

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This was my second trip to Cafe Indie, having visited a couple of weeks ago to see Joe Solo, and once again I was not disappointed. This exceptional venue is effortlessly charming and friendly with young staff who make you feel welcome and have more than the time of day for a chat and a smile while you disparage the offerings of international beverage corporations and go for a nice cup of tea. And indeed it was a nice cup of tea. Cafe Indie is part of the Suspended Coffee initiative so I took the opportunity to support that before settling in for a convivial evening of good chat and great music.

There were plenty of friendly folks about to provide Coritani with a good audience. The raw energy that comes off the three performers is positively visceral. In the year since their inception they have become a Taiko tour-de-force and have a growing repertoire of diverse pieces that range from in tone from reflective positively warlike. I still think they should have taken me up on my suggestion of the name Taiko Warrior Princesses but as one of their members is a man they were probably sensible to go with Coritani. Said man was not present tonight due to having a date with heavy metal in a field somewhere but the ensemble did not suffer unduly by his absence.

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After their performance they were approached by many admiring and interested audience members who were clearly impressed and keen to know more. Taiko is a powerful musical form, provoking strong responses in the audience and inspiring people to have a go themselves. Of course the teaching arm of Coritani is Humber Taiko, the organisation that has successfully spread the Taiko gospel across the reason.

Billed as a folk night the evening was under the capable curatorship of Ramble Gamble. Following Coritani, Isembard’s Wheel took the stage with their lively mix of contemporary and traditional folk styles. Led by Alexander Isembard this Sheffield based band promise a ‘rowdy, Bohemian and inventive’ performance. They certainly deliver and played a lively and danceable set of strong material. The sound man seemed to have a bit of a struggle with the cello and violin at points, losing them both once or twice. It’s never easy for a sound man to set up and mix for band he/she doesn’t know so he can be forgiven.

Ramble Gamble are a young, fresh band full of ideas and musical mischief. Cafe Indie clearly loves them and they give the love back from the stage. Their brand of folk rock puts fire in your feet and make you want to dance and run away with the fairy people. They wowed the crowd at the Folk and Cider Festival in Cleethorpes in May and seem to make it a point of honour to never play at anything less than full capacity. They proved a wonderful warm up and tough act to follow for Newcastle based Holy Moly and The Crackers who took the stage at 11.00 pm with a crowd that was more than up for it.

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I chanced upon this lovely band somewhat accidentally in 2013 when I saw them at The Polite Room in Newcastle. Loved them then, love them still. They are a bunch of wild gypsy troubadours with more than a touch of magic about them. Their Puckish band leader Conrad Bird is a classic showman who gets the crowd eating out of his hand. He has added trumpet to his repertoire and it makes a fine addition to the sound. Every song is a powerhouse of storytelling and compelling musical arrangement. If they don’t go very, very far then the world is both deaf and stupid.

Cafe Indie is a success story, a vision built on will and determination and it deserves supporting to become an institution of the Scunthorpe town centre. It caters for a broad church and offers a great evening out for tea drinkers and ale suppers alike. The end of the night came around too fast and I am already looking forward to my next visit. I won’t be leaving it too long at all.

This feature appears in The Peoples Issue 35 Web Edition

Girl About Town: Tracey Edges Meets The Talks

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I’m very good at saying that I’m not really into a certain genre of music but then playing it a lot, going to a gig, thoroughly enjoying it and then declaring that band as one of my favourites.
So I’m just going to come out and say it.

I like music.

Lots of it.

All sorts.

I don’t necessarily know all the ins and out of it. I’m a listener and I play it out but I’m neither a musician or a music historian.

It appears that I now rather like Ska. I like the vibrancy and the energy of bands that take their influence from the music that originally came floating across the Atlantic from Jamaica in the decades after World War II, blending heady 50s reggae and calypso, mixing in jazz and blues to which the 70s added the anger and intensity of punk to give an edge to the faster rhythms. The result was 2-Tone and the epicentre of this new music was Coventry. The music was named after the record label created by Jerry Dammers of The Specials.

Other than growing up with and hearing the music, I wasn’t really into that scene and my main connection to The Specials is that I love the artwork of The Specials’ bassist, Horace Panter, but that’s a whole different feature.

A recent Artist of the Week, on my Sunday Girl radio show, was a Liverpool band called Western Promise who describe themselves as Rockin/Reggae/Punk Soul Dancers. They have that Ska/Jamaican sound mixed in with a revolutionary political anger that pours out through their lyrics and as I really liked them I was instantly interested in hearing the music of The Talks, so I jumped at the chance to go and see them play live at The Matrix.

This Girl About Town doesn’t often do taxis and I made the mistake of expecting one to magically appear the second I wanted it. Apparently that doesn’t work and, in this case, it would have taken 20 minutes. I was already running late so car it had to be and although I found a parking spot down Wellowgate the crossing was all cordoned off. Thankfully, the bridge was still useable but by the time I got there I was somewhat red-faced but, amazingly, spot on the time I was aiming for.

The Talks, formed in 2008, are a ska punk band from Hull but there’s a lot more to them than that and they don’t really deserve to be stuck in a box with just one label on the front. They have many influences; from 50s Jamaican calypso, through the 60s reggae and ska scene, 70s 2-Tone, reggae, punk, indie, hip hop and dub. That’s where their roots lie but their own tastes and influences have also crept into the mix – anything from Blur to grunge.

The individual members all played in other bands before forming The Talks. Iain had been in an Indie band and Pat a punk band whereas Titch had been more heavy metal. Iain and Pat met up with each other while studying for their music degrees at Hull University. This diversity of influence carried on into their studies and, as Iain put it, it was all the really quirky, plinky-plonky music stuff that he liked – avant garde contemporary music. The type that they will probably never use but it was good to research and find out about.

I’ve been liaising with Richard ‘Titch’ Lovelock, The Talks’ drummer, so I give him a call and we head to the tour van for an interview with him, Patrick Pretorius, lead vocalist/saxophonist, and Iain Allen, bassist. Both the latter two studied music at Hull University and there’s an intriguing academic and political awareness to their songwriting and musicianship, although it’s not in your face or party political and angles more towards social awareness. If you have a stage – you may as well use it and at this The Talks excel. The track Hacks, for example, is about the choice of language in journalism and how things are politically led or conveniently ignored.

My first question is why ska and they explain that it was partly due to projects that they had been in with other bands and artists and it felt like a natural progression.When they formed in 2008 they had more of a Police feel to the music. It was project work and didn’t have that distinct ska beat to it. It was all experimenting to find their sound by discovering what worked and more importantly, what didn’t.

Even though they don’t write formulaic ska the music industry always attaches genre labels and tries to stick artists in a box. It almost creates an obligation, as an artist, to conform and in one foul swoop that’s what you are, and nothing else. The Talks are keen to stress that they’re not a ska Band from Hull – more a band from Hull who are influenced by ska – and other things.

Pat sums things up – “I’ve always thought about music as freedom of thought – as being creative. That was the theory but it seems the absolute opposite in respect of everything else that is really happening.”

The music industry offers freedom with boundaries. Conformity has its place, but the Talks will always kick back and that is what gives their music life. You need to know the rules in order to get away with successfully breaking them. The Talks don’t want to be the band that churns out the same stuff, writing the same song again and again, like some very successful artists do – trying to convince themselves that it’s alright. We’re talking artistic integrity here and it is good to talk to a band that has some.

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How do they go about songwriting? They tell me that it comes from individual collecting of ideas, general noodling about and then, from all the disparate ideas, creating a structure, melding the ideas into one and trying to isolate the purpose and the point. They all have different tastes so it’s not necessarily easy. One person can be listening to folk or country, Titch listens to 1930s jazz and Jody listens to rave and hip hop. They love it but trying to make it all stick together into at least a rough thread is like something else! However, that’s the beauty of it. They’ve written plenty of songs that they dig but think other people wouldn’t, these songs get stuffed in a little corner waiting for their day to come.

For example, Tear Us Apart, on the new album, is a song they have had for four or five years until they decided to turn this funny little tune into something totally different by reggae-ing it up – and it worked. The song came into its own and found what it should be.

The Talks believe that you have to take an open minded approach – without that things just wouldn’t happen. Think of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. How must that have sounded at the time to a public who had never heard anything like its outrageous brilliance before? It’s a classic album but even now it is fairly surreal. The genius was in making it accessible at the time.

There isn’t really a main songwriter in The Talks. It’s a collaboration and everybody puts their own bits in. Originally it was Pat and Jody but as they turned into a proper band with Iain and Titch joining it became a case of all getting together and creating music. Learning their own lines and respecting each other’s space, building on each other’s strengths and working with honesty is what makes it happen. At the beginning it was all a bit too polite and the “yes, that’s great” (sssh – quick, put it in the bin….!). That may be nicer but it doesn’t get rid of the weeds and let the real flowers bloom. They’re not that nice to each other any more.

I asked them if they had any intentions to move from Hull but the consensus was that they rather liked living and working there. Pat is a mixing, mastering and production engineer and has worked as a studio engineer at studios including Shepperton, working on Disney films. He is roots reggae at heart and thrives on getting that big sound but can turn his hand to any project and has an impressive list of artists he has worked with. He owns a recording studio, in Hull, A.O.O.R. (All Of Our Records) and provides voice overs and recording, and creates tracks for a video or radio projects. They can also provide cost effective demo packages for up and coming bands.

Fellow Talk Jody Moore is also a producer, mixing and mastering engineer who has spent a lot of his time in top studios and is a creative force when it comes to mixing & producing. He has had many of his mixes played on Radio 1. Able to turn his hand to almost any instrument, Jody is definitely someone you want involved on your session. If it’s that massive guitar sound or off the wall programming it’s right up his street.

We talk about the pleasures of being from smaller places North of Watford, they believe that there is an immense amount of talent – just scratch beneath the surface and there is loads going on.

Pat thinks that wealth and prosperity don’t necessarily breed great art. Iain agrees, saying that it can leave you with nothing to strive for. Ambition comes from determination. They agree that, if you haven’t got much, you see things differently and this is why Liverpool had its moment and Manchester had its. Pat thinks that this region will have something special happen to it soon – there are too many good things for it not to.

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The Talks have been good friends with Neville Staple, vocalist with The Specials and Fun Boy Three, for a number of years and have released a single with him, the rather brilliant Can Stand The Rain (about trying to put a brighter face on the recession). They toured with The Specials when they did a reunion tour. Pat says that it was quite an intense experience, as after 30 years the fans of The Specials were gagging to see them and The Talks felt that they were a bit in the way. It felt like they should get off the stage and let the fans have their long awaited moment. Despite that pressure, they had a great time and keep in touch with the band. A lot of The Specials members have their own solo projects and The Talks play a lot with the members individually. Neville is their most frequent collaborator and he’ll be joining The Talks on stage at some festivals this year and they’ll be doing some more collaborations. Lynval Golding, also of The Specials and Fun Boy Three, guitarist and vocalist, has his own band, Pama International. Horace Panter does lots of different things and The Talks tend to meet him a lot at various festivals – usually in the food tent!

As well as touring with The Specials, The Talks have supported Rancid, Madness, The Beat, King Blues and The Toasters.

The Talks enjoy collaboration and another artist that they work with is Itch, a rapper and former member of the King Blues. He now has a very successful solo career and features on the Talks album track, Ceasefire. They are also involved in the Specialized project which raises funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

The Talks describe themselves as a slow burner band. They’ve worked and toured and built themselves up gradually. It’s is all about practising your art and the more you do it, the better you become, both as a unit and as individuals says Iain.

And seemingly little things can turn out to be big things. For example, Tim Armstrong from the Californian punk/ska band Rancid heard a track via a mate of a mate of a mate and played it on his radio show. The next thing that The Talks knew was they were on stage in front of 3000 Rancid fans, playing in Leeds at the O2 Academy and the band were really good to them.

You can buy The Talks’ music from all the usual digital platforms and they have just signed a contract with a record company in Germany who will be handling all the physical distribution so their vinyl and CDs will be available in shops all over Europe and the UK. The latest album is available on a limited edition of 500 on red vinyl, and has sold really well so, if you fancy one of those, I wouldn’t waste much time. I’m tempted myself – I’m a bit of a coloured vinyl girl. After that the vinyl will be the same great music but black, so not as pretty to watch spinning!

They have also been selling physical music via their own website and through a couple of independent record shops. Pat really likes independent record shops. They are always run with passion and heart driven but tend to be up against it with high rents and other practical financial obstacles. Although, despite downloading and competition from supermarkets and their tendency to quietly die away, there seems to be a resurgence as people are turning back to physical media as it is something real to have and to hold. The Talks have found that their sales of vinyl have gone through the roof. They couldn’t believe it. When they started pressing the vinyl they wondered if anyone would actually buy it as it is more expensive, both to produce and to buy, but it has gone really, really well.

When you listen to a single you often just listen to it superficially but if you listen closer you realise that there are a lot of ingredients that have contributed to this particular auditory dish, and you can start to identify all the different flavours that make up the whole.

Pat says that he wasn’t expecting to feel the way that he did when he actually had a record to hold and Iain adds that, in a way, it is quite profound. It brings back memories of the records that Pat’s dad used to have and that Pat then went onto mess up by practicing scratching with!

We talk about how difficult it is to extend into different genres. Even though they love to experiment with different sounds and musical avenues it is something that has to be managed quite carefully and creatively in order to keep coherence and not alienate their listener/fan base. They have achieved this successfully in their latest album, 2014’s well received Commoners, Peers, Drunks & Thieves.

One standout track is called Don’t Look Behind You and the way The Talks are performing they certainly have got plenty to look forward to – as do we, the listeners.

They recently recorded a tribute to Trevor Bolder, a Hull native who was bassist for Wishbone Ash and Uriah Heap and for Bowie’s band, the Spiders From Mars. Iain knew Trevor from when he was a teenager. He taught Iain how to play and was a big fan of The Talks, giving them some help with song writing and career guidance. Unfortunately he passed away in 2013 and they wanted to record a track as a tribute to this man that had been such a big influence on them.

They chose Changes, the first track from the 1971 Bowie album, Hunky Dory. Trevor really liked that album as it was new and fresh – he loved the exciting stuff – not rehashing the old. You can find the video for The Talks tribute version on You Tube.

Finally, I ask them to say something about each of them individually. Iain admits to being quite heavy on the drinks part of the rider but has had his crown taken away from him by both the last two keyboardists who tend to be quite extreme and demolish it and have made him look a bit of a wet blanket in comparison! (The Talks have two keyboardists who take it in turns to join the band on stage and, at the Matrix, it was the turn of Joe Holt.)

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Pat says that as he owns the recording studio, he tends to be quite involved in the production side and as he works with a lot of incredible bands, he gets to know what is going on in the Hull scene. The production for The Talks tends to be his experimentation space where he gets to try out all the crazy stuff.

As Titch and Jody weren’t around I left it to Pat and Iain to talk about them behind their backs. It turns out that Titch, who plays the drums – he loves drums – drums, drums and yet more drums – is the quiet one. He is reserved and has gradually become the sheepdog of the band. The one that runs around nipping at their ankles herding them to get where they need to be – in the van after a gig. That seems to have become his role. Always useful to have one person who can do that!

Then there is steady Jody. He plays guitar and has been Pat’s rock for a long time. He understands the sensible side of things and tends to rein in the craziness. He holds things together a lot of the time and has done for years.

They seem to have a good balance in the band and this has proved a strong attribute and kept them together even when they have been under immense pressure, such as on long European tours. In these circumstances you just can’t get out of anywhere, any space – you are stuck together. You’re stuck in a tiny space with four grown men, all their equipment and the rest of the kit/personal belongings needed for a long duration and the most mild mannered people are bound to get tetchy.

It can also get mildly bonkers and they get hooked up on running gags that go on for weeks.

When they found out that Jody had ridden a horse once, when he was 11, it escalated into ‘Jody does dressage’ (which sounds like a dodgy, 1970s film!).

Pat said that he doesn’t know of many bands that have stayed together as long as The Talks have under those conditions and with all the pressures that they have been under and, if nothing else they have stuck together through thick and thin and their ultimate triumph has been to have had that kind of personal relationship with people for that duration, under that kind of pressure. If they don’t come out of it with anything else they have always got that to look back on with pride. Iain agrees with that sentiment, absolutely.

And the future? They’ll go on with The Talks as long as everyone wants to. They are ambitious but they are not going to let anything rule them – certainly not something that they started as a love.

Thankfully, they have understanding partners. They have always been musicians, as long as they have been working and even from an early age. Pat turned his potty into a drum-kit. And they’re great fun to be with and to interview. A huge thank you to them for taking the time to have a long relaxing interview. It is certainly a bonus if people who make good music are amiable with it. No Divas here.

I head back to the club to catch the live sets, starting with The Franceens, a 3-piece garage/rock and roll band from York.

They were entertaining and performed to the crowd. Dan Oliver Gott, on lead vocals and guitar, reminded me a bit of a crazed werewolf as he glared at the audience, often walking off the stage, while still playing, and getting as upfront and personal as possible. Naomi Westerman, bass and backing vocals, was the calmer side, in a nonchalant way, a punk puppet with attitude as she often just flopped forward and stayed there. Fast paced and loud there was still that rock and roll beat that carried through the set, grounding the more frenetic punk/garage side of things. The Franceens are completed by drummer, Miles “Les” Morrison and being only a trio doesn’t diminish the noise as they crashed every track out with gusto.

And so to the headliners of the night, The Talks, who owned the place from the first and didn’t let it go until after the encore.

I can highly recommend going to see The Talks play live. Their music exploded into the venue, from the first note, and their presence totally filled, not only the entire stage, but also the whole room. Trying not to move was futile. They asked for bounce and they got bounce with a capital B O U N C and E. The floor moved that night as did the enthusiastic and appreciative audience. It’s hard to keep still when The Talks are giving it some, and they certainly didn’t stand still themselves for the entire duration of their excellent set.

Right from the immensely catchy Can Stand The Rain, Friday Night and Radio and, possibly my favourite track, Hacks, they had me through both the familiar and the unfamiliar and I would certainly go and see them play live again.

You can find lots and lots of videos on You Tube and they have a presence on all the major digital platforms.

Their website is: www.thetalks.co.uk. They’re a band well worth talking about – and listening to.

And I’m still tempted by that red bit of vinyl….

This feature appears in The Peoples Issue 35 Web Edition

Something amusing, something amazing at The Warehouse

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Tracey Edges finds something for everyone at The Warehouse.

The Warehouse is down Freeman Street. Some people probably will read that and then go no further. That would be a shame. This venue already has a battle on its hands, just to get people through the doors. It is a community project so the second battle is always going to be funding. Combine the two and what do you have?

Actually, you have a great venue with lots of potential.

Two years down the line from its opening maybe that potential could have been slightly more realised but there has been quite a turnover of staff, which is never helpful for growth and consistency, and a bank of volunteer staff, which is always a balancing act to manage.

So, hats off to them for their efforts to date. I have been to two events there, a few days apart, and had two totally different experiences.

The first event that I attended was in association with The Official Comedy Club: “3 Top Stand-up Comedians as seen on TV”. Unfortunately, they found that they turned up to entertain a rather small audience of about 30 people. Such a shame, especially as it was only £6 in advance for a ticket. To their credit all three comedians took it in their stride, especially as I would think that they feed on a much larger atmosphere.

The Warehouse auditorium (think large lecture theatre size) has a good third of the space dedicated to tiered flip down seating. It was comfortable enough for a few hours. To make for more of a club atmosphere, some round tables had been placed in front of the stage, with white, paper tablecloths and round glass balls filled with lights. This made for a more intimate setting. A large party, celebrating a birthday, sat right at the front and the cake was the star of quite a few running gags.

The host/compere/warm up comedian number one, Bryan Lacey, bantered and chatted with the closer members of the audience and was very personable. A nice touch was that he had been before and recognised some people. Bryan also remembered one member of the audience, an older gentleman, who delighted in heckling all of the comedians. To their credit they all managed him very well, without things turning nasty. That showed their professionalism.

I also liked the fact that Bryan got some local observations in. For example questioning the necessity for a dedicated sunblind shop in a northern UK town. Do we really have that much sun? “Must be a front for something else then….!” He also went through the Grimsby Telegraph, picking out local oddities. Bryan had a relaxed, unpretentious, natural style.

The middle man was edgier, fast talking, Irishman Ryan McDonnell and one of his stories centred about raceism, religious prejudice and, as he is, ginger-ism. As a fair proportion of the audience were of the red persuasion, myself included, it was easy to empathise and laugh along.

The third act, and presumably the headliner, comedian was Tim Clark. I don’t know whether it was his accent or just the manner in which he constructed his sentences but he reminded me of a mix of Jo Brand and Martin Clunes. His intelligent confidence owned the stage.

Humour is subjective and I laughed enough, at all three. They were a good mix as all very distinct personalities and styles. My main criticism was that by the time the final act finished we had had oodles of smut and I was bored and feeling that they were all better than that.

Student humour is lazy and I often feel that ‘adult’ is a misnomer in ‘adult humour’. They got laughs, I laughed, but I did start to do a bit of eye-rolling by the third variation of that particular theme.
I probably wouldn’t have gone to this show, as I was unfamiliar with these three comedians but they were all decent guys and I think most of the audience found something to laugh about – which is useful for a Comedy Club night out!

If you see one on again, September will be the next time, go and try it. Just because you may not know who the performers are, doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy it. For a reasonable price you may well find you have a fun night out. Decide on your comfort level of participation though and book your seat in accordance. If you want to be in the thick of it – go for the front. Otherwise hide towards the back. There was nothing nasty but a 19 year old, who was there with his mum, got a fair bit of near to the knuckle ribbing from all three.

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Old blue clock in the drost effect

My second evening of entertainment, provided by The Warehouse was Chris Good – Comedy Hypnotist “The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have In Your Sleep!”

Once again, this show was only £6, or £8 on the door and once again, wasn’t something that I would have normally gone to.

Up for anything though ….

except volunteering to be on the stage ….

Uh oh. No!

Happy to watch.

This had a bigger audience, but still plenty of room left for more people, and I wondered if Chris Good – Comedy Hypnotist would have enough volunteers to fill the row of chairs, spread right across the stage.
Much to my surprise, when the call went out, the chairs were all filled.

These volunteers were told that they wouldn’t be made to take off any clothing and they wouldn’t do anything they really didn’t want to. However, I’m still really pleased that I remained, bum firmly glued to seat.
I can’t say too much without spoiling the show for further audiences, but we’re not talking contemporary Derren Brown or magician, Dynamo here. Local man, Chris Good has been a hypnotist for 30 years and his set is of the more traditional variety. Not suitable for under 18s though due to some swearing and ‘adult humour’. (Pre-booked shows can be tailored to the audience and family versions are available).

Some of his subjects were more resistant to his suggestions and the row of volunteers were slowly whittled down to the more entertaining ones. There were a couple who didn’t feel comfortable and Chris didn’t make them feel bad for leaving.

Old blue clock in the drost effect
Old blue clock in the drost effect

We were talking to Chris before the show and he is a really nice guy. His daughter was his assistant for the evening. I was watching the show on my own but I can imagine that it is far more entertaining if you are with a crowd and some of your party volunteer to be hypnotised.

Better for Chris, as well, if he has several groups ‘joining in’ with the banter and upping the atmosphere for all. Chris and his daughter were really nice and it’s great to see local people entertaining more local people in a local venue.

The Warehouse has a lot to offer behind its white facade. Previously a carpet warehouse, now renovated to provide a multi-purpose entertainment centre suitable for all types of events, it also has a good sized bar area and a gym. All prices are very reasonable, from the ticket prices to the drinks.

So would I go back to The Warehouse?

Most definitely especially since on my second visit the bar had been totally rearranged to become a much more welcoming space.

Tables and chairs had been placed in front of the bar and the lights had been turned right down. The tables, complete with bowls of lights, were occupied and there was quite a buzz of activity.

Two very simple changes made for one massive improvement.

Also, when I first arrived and handed in my ticket I was welcomed by Toni, who asked if I knew where I was going. The first time I didn’t know but wasn’t asked. A welcoming smile makes a big difference – it says ‘thank you for bothering to come’ and tells you that you are entering a friendly place.

Later on, after the show, Toni handed me an evaluation sheet and we had a chat about the show and later she sought me out to give me a flyer for an upcoming show that she thought I may be interested in. Toni got the gold star for customer service, from me, that night. She was one of the volunteers from Foresight and she was genuinely pleasant and helpful.

There will be a greater range of events coming up such as One And Only Direction, a One Direction covers band and a range of dance classes.

The new events manager, is aiming to liven up The Warehouse whether it is with local band nights or contemporary performers from further afield so watch this space ….

You can check out all that the venue offers and see upcoming events either on the website or on their social media sites:

www.thewarehousegy.co.uk
Twitter: @TheWarehouse_GY
Facebook: The Warehouse – Grimsby

Performers mentioned in this review can be found on their websites as follows:
www.bryanlacey.co.uk
www.ryanmcdonnell.co.uk
www.hypnosisworld.co.uk

From The Peoples Issue 34 Web Edition

A clean chimney is a healthy chimney!

sweeps

We all know that if we have a real fire we should have our chimney swept regularly, that’s just common sense.

But perhaps we’re not entirely sure why it’s so important.

It’s got something to do with soot and Mary Poppins and not getting your Christmas presents dirty, we know that much, but further than that we probably can’t go and because of that it’s one of those essential pieces of home maintenance that often get postponed almost indefinitely. And that’s when problems can start because your chimney is a vital safety device for your home and a clean chimney is a healthy chimney!

Did you know that people with a flame effect gas fire in regular use should have their chimney swept once or twice a year? No nor did we but even with gas fires an unswept flue can sometimes create hazardous levels of carbon monoxide. Your chimney is the exhaust pipe for your home, getting rid of the toxic by products of combustion and it needs to be clear of blockages and obstructions. Soot build up, birds nests and debris from damaged brickwork can all stop your chimney from working properly and cause dangerous gases to leak back into your home. They also increase the risk of chimney fires and long term smoke damage to your furniture and to the fabric of your home.

So how often should a chimney be swept?
Usually once a year for light use and twice a year for fireplaces in regular use. A professional sweep will be able to advise you more exactly because some fuels, particularly wood and coal, burn dirtier than others.

Doesn’t it take ages and make a horrible mess?
Probably much less of either than you think. With modern techniques and equipment most professional sweeps work quickly and with minimal mess.

So how much will a sweep cost?
That’s one of those how long is a piece of string questions but prices start from about £35 to 40 for an open fire. If you need to have the integrity of your chimney seal tested, or any remedial work done, then your sweep will quote you a price.

How can we go about finding a reliable chimney sweep?
That’s an easier question. There are two trades associations for the industry, The Guild Of Master Chimney Sweeps and The National Association Of Chimney Sweeps, and you can make a start by going to the websites of one or the other or both, and searching for their members in your area. In a spirit of fairness you’ll find one sweep from each organisation on the page opposite and we’d suggest that having a word with them would be a good place to start.

So there you go. Chimney sweeping – more important than you realise, cheaper than you think and if you give one of our sweeps a ring you can be assured of first class service and minimal mess. So why not give your chimney a bit of TLC soon, because a healthy chimney makes for a healthy home!

This feature appears in The Peoples Issue 34

“SUSTAINABILITY AND TRACEABILITY ARE KEY” – WE TALK TO CHRIS SPARKES OF JAINES SEAFOODS

Jaines18

Chris Sparkes, owner of Jaines Seafood, and Chairman of the FMA, is a man with a strong sense of history. So much so that the entrance to his premises on the North Wall is home to a history wall with a timeline charting the development of the firm alongside the history of the Sparkes family.

Chris’s granddad is pictured as an apprentice in 1892, there’s the Saxon Onward, his father’s favourite vessel and there’s Chris himself as a monkfish buyer in the 1970s. He bought Jaines in 1990 and soon moved from the Pontoon to a larger building in Wharncliffe Road. In 2014 the firm rebranded as Jaines Seafoods and moved to its present location. The text and pictures on the wall tell the story of the family and the firm, but in so doing they also tell the story of an industry.

But for all his interest in the past Chris doesn’t believe that it should be allowed to dominate the way we do business today. “You have to know your own history and respect it,” he says “but you mustn’t be ruled by it. Things change all the time and this industry has changed more than most and it still changing. It has to in order to survive.”

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To see the extent of the change you only need to look at Jaines’ factory area with its recently extended production line and grading equipment and ultra efficient hygiene and quality control systems. It’s clear that a lot of money has been invested and that it has all been done to the very highest standard.

Everything is white or blue and literally gleaming. There are state of the art electronic boot washes and hand sanitisers at the entrance to the production areas.
When Chris says you could eat your dinner from the factory floor he means it.

In his capacity as chairman of the FMA Chris has played a significant role in the development of the new Seafood Grimsby and Humber brand and he’s at the forefront of the drive to improve traceability and sustainability. Jaines were recently presented with the Chain Of Custody Award by the Marine Stewardship Council for their implementation of their new traceability system.

“Traceability is vital for the future of the industry,” Chris explains. “The horse meat scandal did a lot of damage to the meat processing industry. We can’t allow anything like that to happen to us. We have to create a product that people can trust. Trust is vital to our livelihoods.

The new traceability regulations mean that all the fish we sell will carry a label saying where and when it was caught and by what vessel and where and how it was processed, so the customer can be sure that the fish they’re eating was sustainably and legally sourced and has been processed under the strictest hygiene conditions. We think that customers should think twice before buying fish that doesn’t carry the traceability labels.”

If all these changes can be put in place Chris sees a bright future for the seafood industry in this area. “It’s about adaptability,” he says. “This industry has a vibrant dynamic and the town is a centre for skills and knowledge and excellence. If you want fish or just about any kind of seafood then Grimsby is still the place to be. We don’t capture as much as we used to, but a lot of fish still comes through the town. We are gatherers of fish and expert processors. These are the skills which the industry must build on in order, not merely to survive, but also to strengthen and grow.”

From The Peoples Issue 34 Print Edition

Folk and Cider Festival 2015

Folk Festival

Once again the Cleethorpes Folk and Cider Festival has choo-chooed up the track and into festival history. I am sure I say the same thing every year, but we spend months looking forward to it and then the weekend really is like a flash in the pan, here and gone.

It’s impossible for us to know how many people came because of the nature of the venue and the looseness of the event but it must have been several thousand over the three days.

Every session of music was well attended with most performers having a capacity audience to enjoy their sets. Every time I saw the Morris Men performing they were playing to big crowds and the queue at the bar never seemed to go down so we can safely say we were well supported.

The joy of the festival is that it is an event the public can enjoy for free as there is no ticket charge. Long may this continue because the festival provides the resort with a fabulous community event that really is for all ages to enjoy. From babies in their prams to very senior folk, the festival has appeal to all and it is always a great pleasure to see families enjoying themselves.

There are always musical highlights but this year was of exceptionally high quality in terms of performances and it seems a bit too subjective to pick one act over another as they all delivered something special in their own unique ways.

Having said that, if I had to pick out a stand-out set I would say Headstander had it. They are young, funky, accomplished and with Amy Naylor at the helm, going places. Already masters of stagecraft they had the lunchtime audience eating out of the palms of their hands. More established acts like Leafblade, Steel Threads and the delightful Itchy Fingers were a joy to watch but every band or artist deserves their own accolades.

And so we look forward to 2016’s festival. Planning will begin very soon and while the crest of the wave is high we will all be pouring our enthusiasm and energy into making sure the line up is at least as good and that some of our favourites from this year get a well deserved invitation to come back again and wow us once more.

From The Peoples Issue 35 Web Edition

MIKE HARDING AT BARTON ROPERY – REVIEW

Harding

I expected Mike Harding to be funny last night. He has always been funny. I wondered whether he might be a bit flat and sad in response to the election or even bolshy and cross. But he was not; he was genial, warm and quietly hilarious. The time flew as he moved seamlessly between tales, jokes and readings of his poems and extracts from his forthcoming autobiography, The Adventures of the Crumpsall Kid, a must-read when it comes out on the basis of last night’s nuggets.

Harding gave an intimate glimpse into his life and times mainly through his anecdotes, some of which were hilariously funny but some of which were heartbreaking. His skill is in the way he moves between the joys and sorrows of life. His stories are tangible and touch the audience because of the common ground. Like many of his generation (he was born in 1944) he grew up fatherless. His twenty-three year old father was shot down and killed a month before his birth leaving his nineteen year old bride a widow and a mother within thirteen months of their marriage. Harding’s moving poem Photo Father told of how he constructed his father from his image over the years. He spoke matter-of-factly about his mother’s grief, of how in spite of re-marrying she never truly recovered from the loss of her first husband and never spoke to her son of his father. Off-setting what might have been a very sorrowful childhood was the presence of Irish Catholic grandparents who clearly adored the young Harding and he them. He brought his grandmother’s Catholic fervour to life in the poem The Devil’s Bible. She believed in the devil as a physical entity rather than as a concept of evil and terrified the young Harding with tales of how the devil would incarnate. His more earthy, atheist republican socialist grandfather would counter with constant criticism of the church and all its doings. On balance there is probably more of grandpa than grandma in the Harding of today although he is no tubthumping firebrand, more a witty and wry commentator on the parlous state of political affairs as he sees it.

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Harding read from the autobiography his account of his first day of school and all the attendant horror and trauma it entailed. The audience was rapt, no doubt many of them remembering similar traumas. Harding is all about common experience and a shared past. The demon infant class teacher Miss Worswick is a familiar figure to those who know his work. She is a character known to me and my family because of our shared love of Harding’s telling of the school nativity story You can see the angel’s bum Miss Worswick when one of the angels did indeed reveal all to the audience in a too-short tunic. However, Cissy Worswick was given humanity last night in a new poem about her, Cissy Worswick Waltzes. Harding took away that steely, martinet persona long associated with her and presented a lonely woman, a post-war spinster locked into a servile relationship caring for elderly parents, bound by routine which was broken once a week when after Sunday dinner, Miss Worswick would take advantage of her parents’ napping, close the parlour curtains, strip naked and waltz alone in the dark for an hour. The poem is almost unbearably sad as Miss Worswick comes to represent that generation of women who lost so much as a consequence of the Great War and who had limited, locked down lives.

Harding took the audience on a tour of his life from the brutal Catholic boys’ grammar school run by psychotic priests, through skiffle and youth rebellion to the gentle west of Ireland where he has a small cottage, a place of peace for him and his family, particularly his adored grandsons. I had to wipe my eyes more than once as he read The Running Boys of Summer a poem about missing the boys once they go home but also about so much of love and loss, awareness of getting old and that there is so much more behind than in front these days.

Harding is a seasoned performer and there was never an awkward pause or a dull moment last night. He has the dry humour of a curmudgeonly northerner; a Lancastrian who lives in Yorkshire and cracks jokes about selling trinkets to the natives with a twinkle in his eye all the time. He is a down to earth, pint of ale everyman, a chap who would not do you a bad turn if he could do you a good one with a strong sense of social justice. It bothers him greatly that women can go to prison for benefit fraud totalling £2000 but no one is in jail for the libor scandal that has led to the impoverishment of millions of people.

Harding is, like my parents and all of that generation, carrying a deep seam of sorrow from the Second World War, not so much from direct experience, they were babes in arms when it ended, but from what it did to their parents’ generation and what it meant. It touches everything and informs the very essence of their personhood. As that generation gets old and frail and dies away so does that sense of shared adversity and common purpose. There is nothing like it in the generations following them and that is clearly in evidence in the way the current alpha elite is stripping away at all that was achieved in the years post 1945. They have no sense of its value. Harding is old fashioned. His jokes and stories are old fashioned. But they belong to a world that is better, braver and more honest than the one that calls itself modern and metropolitan. I did not want to leave the world Harding built on the stage last night. It was imbued with kindness, compassion, humour and values worth holding on to. I hope he doesn’t plan to retire any time soon.

~

Mike Harding is on the web and on Facebook

Barton Ropery Hall is on the web at roperyhall.co.uk

From The Peoples Issue 34 Web Edition