Friday, 21 August 2015

FROM THE MOONS TO BE BOP (THE SOUNDTRACK TO AUGUST)



"This month I have mostly been listening too" As The Fast Shows Jed would have said if he had been rattling round Backinthefire Towers, quite a few music purchases this month,Starting with A revisit back to the dark bleak and very grey 1970's Yorkshire inhabited by the legendary axe hero from Wakefield,Mr Bill Nelson's Be bop Deluxe, one of the first bands I ever listened to as a mere slip of a lad all those years ago, great band, totally underrated, Anyway a nice 3 cd plus DVD "At the BBC" set was just crying out to be added to the shopping basket/cart on amazon, and at a great price that was just to good to miss! Nothing new really, nothing that I've not heard before, I'm not a big lover of boxsets mainly due to the endless remixes etc that get catapulted at you.
So we have the proverbial John Peel sessions from 1974 and 1977, a couple from the truly great "in concert" series, the later "sight and sound" series and not forgetting "the old grey whistle test" late night totally live programme, which I must add was one of my introductions to the music scene, now of course in a different format featuring Jools holland being his usual smug self appointed "boogie woogie" piano genius, oops I've deviated from the path into the woods, so let's get back on track!
Not had a chance to view the DVD yet, but the other 3 CDs are cracking, ok a few songs repeated but for me the stand out is the couple of versions of "panik in the world" which showed which direction nelson would be going in towards the end of 1978, with it's "punk rock electric guitar" and keyboards way up front in the mix.
Paul orwell! where do you start? how long you got? the time machine really did work, and we are transported back to the swinging (nearly)psychedelic 60's loads of layer upon layer of menacing guitars, great drum beats, huge cathedrals of hammond organ and trademark distorted vocals, all nicely wrapped up in a government health warning of "PLAY LOUD" which i did and rather a lot of times,and you can see why all his releases are sold out and much sought after by genuine music lovers and not-so genuine (ie the ebay vultures after a quick profit,way of the world now)Of course some might say its all been heard before and it probably has, but and a big but, its very different from whats around at the moment,rather a lot of incredibly dull bands with incredibly dull names and incredibly dull songs pretending they are something they are most definately not,which takes me on to the next 12 inches spinning around at 33RPM and played rather loud,(not wake up the neighbours loud)
THE MOONS Live at Bush Hall, A nice limited edition vinyl only live album, basically a round up of the last two albums and a couple of early songs, Maybe I'm of the totally 100% biased opinionated opinion of the moons but it should have been a Double! Great mix of classic well written well played  songs, the many influences are there, but not at the forefront, but just little nods towards the Beatles, t-Rex, early 70s rock, you know the score,Andy Crofts is right up there on the top table of Classic British songwriters sat nicely along side weller, Davies, morrisey, Gallagher, strummer, bolan and Townsend, add or delete your own thoughts to this line up.
So Theres a couple or 3 albums to go and search out, still working my way thru the Acid Jazz Boxset and still making my mind up,maybe a review to come later!!

HOMAGE TO CATALONIA

The beautiful little town of Tossa De Mar, I just love Catalunya, here's a few pictures taken on the recent family holiday! im not going in to writing a holiday account,far to long and boring for anyone except of course the people involved in said holiday!! just enjoy..
this is the main square down in the beachside area, full of little alleyways and narrow streets


the hotel Diana, a lovely old building now a boutique style hotel

view over towards the mountain ranges

the castle from the lovely fine beach

more avenues and alleyway!

the beachside road leading up to the castle

looking down from the castle towards tossa de mar


beautiful blue seas, and rocky coves
 

Friday, 10 July 2015

VIEWS FROM THE STEEL CITY (DAY 4)


Just like waiting for a bus, there's none for ages then two come at once! A return to the scene after being dormat for  what seems like the proverbial eternity, The Hawley appears with first and foremost a new bunch of songs, filled with observations, love, hate,angst and the odd ballad,all thrown in the high storrs mixer ,poured on to 12 inches of the finest black vinyl money can buy (well £17.99) and played extremely loud!
But hang on there's a tour!!! Yes the annual autumn tour and probably Hawleys biggest and most ambitious sheffield date so far, the cavernous arena!  Of course with his own twist on the frivolities, and with a nod towards the arenas locality slap bang  in what was once the epicentre of the steel industry, half of the arena is being used and turned into The Steel Hall, Yet another new venue in sheffield he will have played as a solo artist,slowly but surely the Speccy git from firth park chalks another venue of f his ever increasing list of  pubs, clubs, barrooms, chippys,tents oh and the odd concert hall, Where will it all end?

Thursday, 2 July 2015

THE RETURN OF RICHARD HAWLEY HOLLOW MEADOWS

Well looky here! its been a while since this chap showed his biscuit!!! Mr Hawley returns with another Sheffield titled album, Hollow Meadows is situated in the sheffield 6 district go and explore! all the info regarding the new album is here, go and buy the vinyl edition!

Richard Hawley

Recorded at Sheffield's Yellow Arch Studio in spring 2015, HOLLOW MEADOWS sees Hawley return to the classic, sophisticated songwriting and subtle arrangements that made him so widely loved and revered in the first place. Meditating on such themes as ageing, fallibility and relationships, much of the album shares a brooding, yet wistful and romantic atmosphere in keeping with early albums Late Night Final and Lowedges, as well as touches of 2009's Truelove's Gutter ('Nothing Like A Friend') and Standing At The Sky's Edge ('Which Way', 'Welcome The Sun').

For the first time ever, Hawley demoed the songs in his shed studio ('Disgracelands') with his long-time guitarist and confidant, Shez Sheridan (who also co-produced the album with Hawley and Colin Elliot). This allowed him to enter the studio with fully realised songs, and many of those original demos were so strong, they form part of the finished album, including the vocal to the sublime opening track, 'I Still Want You' – Hawley at his most vulnerable and romantic, with one of those choruses that only Hawley seems capable of writing, like a ballroom spotlight on a glitterball.

In the world of HOLLOW MEADOWS, everything seems to feed into Hawley's uniquely earthy strain of mysticism. All roads seem to lead back to the same place – literally in the case of the album's title. In keeping with the tradition of previous albums, which all allude to places in and around Sheffield, Hawley alighted on the name Hollow Meadows which was thought to be the location of a hospital that existed as recently as the 1950s. In fact, further research yielded that the area was originally known as Auley Meadows – a name thought to derive from the Hawley family who lived there between the 14th and 17th Century.

The album features some notable guests from the UK folk scene; Hawley's neighbour and friend Martin Simpson, who plays slide guitar and banjo on 'Long Time Down', and Nancy Kerr, who plays fiddle and viola on 'The World Looks Down', 'I Still Want You' and 'Nothing Like A Friend'. There is also a song inspired in part by Hawley's friendship with the iconic folk singer Norma Waterson ('Heart Of Oak'). Other guests include one of Hawley's oldest and dearest friends, Jarvis Cocker, who plays Rheem Kee super bass on 'Nothing Like A Friend', and the Hick Street Chip Shop Singers, who are made up of various Sheffield luminaires, including Slow Club's Rebecca Taylor.

HOLLOW MEADOWS is an album full of exceptional songwriting, beautiful melodies and harmonies, and some of the finest lyrics and vocals Hawley has ever written and recorded. It will further cement his reputation as one of Britain's greatest songwriters of the past 15 years.

Track listing:
1. I Still Want You
2. The World Looks Down
3. Which Way
4. Serenade Of Blue
5. Long Time Down
6. Nothing Like A Friend
7. Sometimes I Feel
8. Tuesday PM
9. Welcome The Sun
10. Heart Of Oak
11. What Love Means

VIEWS FROM THE STEEL CITY (day 3)

Sunset!! Last few days have been scorcho! So here's the sun setting over the ranmoor, ecclesall, crosspool areas of sheffield, this was taken from my back garden around 9.40 in the evening, I can never tire of watching the sun set as every evening it's completely different, let's hope for more good weather!!!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

VIEWS FROM THE STEEL CITY (day2)



The Arundel and Sidney street areas were part of Sheffields once great manufacturing heritage, an area full of little workshops with the odd larger factory dotted around, a great contrast in buildings some well over 100 years old stood side by side with the more modern buildings dating back to the 60s, yes over 50 years old and the newest buildings in the area! Cutlery, tools, silverware,jewellery etc where once the export from this area, over the years the decline of quality goods caused many of these firms to either close down or relocate to some sprawling greenbelt business park or enterprise zone,now the  empty and disused buildings are slowly coming back to life in a different form but also in a creative way.


Quite a few of the old buildings are now art spaces or gallery's or the odd coffeeshop/cafe, it's abandoned and derelict buildings are now giant canvas for the talented street and urban artists utilising this great art form, of which I will feature shortly.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

VIEWS FROM THE STEEL CITY (day 1)


My plan is to post a photo a day of various scenes, places, events in the steel city, if it happens or not, is well a different story. The above photo was just a spur of the moment thing, I was just walking thru Graves Park and spotted this beautiful bird just sat on the fence watching the world go by or eyeing up it's next meal! I stood and watched it for 5 mins and I'm sure he was returning the favour by watching me in this nice secluded part of the park, I'm not up on the various species of birds, I really should be as we have quite a few different types coming in  our garden.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

PAUL WELLER "SALON" MAGAZINE INTERVIEW




HERE'S A QUICK INTERVIEW I FOUND ONLINE DONE RECENTLY ON WELLERS RECENT US TOUR.
Paul Weller is a popular, much decorated solo star in the United Kingdom and regularly shows up on the cover of Mojo and other smart British magazines for his recent work. But for many, he’ll always be the singer, guitarist and main songwriter for the Jam, the mod revivalists and punk-rock band that lasted from 1976 to ’82 and helped bring British rock back to guitars, craftsmanship and tight, ‘60s-influenced songs. (When Weller broke up the band, he formed the Style Council, an R&B-and-cappuccino kind of group that moved in a very different direction.)


Weller is known for digging what he’s up to at the time and refusing to look back. He continues to love old music but is neither a Luddite nor a nostalgist. That’s part of the reason it’s startling to hear him saying that today’s musical and economic climate is so tough on young bands that if they were coming up today, the Jam would never have lasted long enough to make its third record, “All Mod Cons,” which marked the beginning of the band’s mature state. In fact, that and the two that followed – “Setting Sons” and “Sound Affects” – are as close as any band has come to matching the consecutive triumphs of the Beatles and Bob Dylan.
The Modfather is currently touring behind his new album, “Saturns Patterns.” Salon caught up with him around the time of his sound check in Chicago.
Your new record is expansive and forceful, with some psychedelia, some soul, some love songs … What kind of style or sound were you going for with this one, and did it change much as you went along?
It evolved as we worked on it, really. Once I got the band and the producer, I wanted a big drum sound and more grooves. We just let it go along. I had two or three books of songs I’d been working on for a few years.
I wanted something different, but didn’t know what it was until I heard it.
What kinds of guitars and amps are you using these days?
On this record I used a lot of new guitars – Gibson guitars, a Danelectro, and a Vox Teardrop. I used them mainly because I wasn’t familiar with them. When you pick up a new guitar, you play differently.
Then for amps, usually a Marshall combo.
Politics and social class were an important part of your early music – does that stuff still matter to you?
Social class and inequality do matter. But writing about politics … anything I write will be the same thing I wrote 40 years ago.  A lot of the problems in the U.K. are the same as they’ve ever been. It’s just more corporate.
Whenever there’s an economic crisis, the people on the lowest rung get hit harder. That’s f-cking universal, isn’t it?
The Tories won a big unexpected victory in Britain lately. Is this a new step backward, or the same old song?
It’s more of the same, really. I don’t know if it really makes any difference which party comes in. It’s just the system that’s sh-t. It’s about careerism.
Is it difficult to translate your political point of view into songs?
With politics, you need to find a new language for it. It comes to me or it doesn’t come to me. It’s like those political songs I wrote back in the ‘70s and ‘80s – they came naturally. Now I just enjoy the use of words, the rhythm of the words.
The instrumentation behind you has changed a lot over the years, but your singing style has been consistent for a long time now. Who are some of your favorite singers, new, old or whatever?
Of contemporary singers, Sam Smith I really like. Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics. Gruff Rhys from Super Furry Animals. And the singer from Vampire Weekend.
From the old day, there are so many … We’re in Chicago right now, so I’m thinking of Howlin’ Wolf and his original guitarist, Hubert Sumlin.
When I was a kid growing up, it was the black American soul and R&B singers, and the English singers like Steve Marriott who were imitating the black Americans. I still have the old stuff, I still really love it.
The music world has changed enormously since you started out in the ‘70s. Record stores used to be everywhere, record labels had a lot of people working for them, and albums routinely sold thousands, sometimes millions of copies. Is there any part of the old world you miss? And does anything seem better?

I miss the sense of magic and mystery. Everything is so instantaneous now. And so many “making of” shows and demo versions. I have bootlegs of Beatles records with every take of “Strawberry Fields.”used to like the anticipation of a record coming out, having to go to the record shop to hear it.
I can’t think of any other job or art form where people don’t get paid for what they do.
But digital sounds is getting better. It was pretty flat and crappy a few years back. There’s a bit more depth to it now.
The loss of record stores is a big change for music fans. Do you still go to them?
Every week if I can, when I’m back in London. I’ll go to Rough Trade and buy half a dozen things. Old stuff – old compilations – and new stuff, and I talk to the people who work there.
I’m of the generation that likes record shopping. I like the physical things, the artwork.
In England, there are a lot of vinyl shops cropping up, and a lot of the kids are into it. I have records from the ‘60s and ‘70s, they’re kind of scratchy but they sound great. The depth they used to have on those records – the depth on the low end.
But nothing stays the same, you’ve got to roll with it.
How else have things changed for musicians these days? Would you have been able – as a working-class kid from the edge of London – to break in now the way you did in the ‘70s?
It’s always been tough, but it’s much, much tougher.
It’s a bit of a fallacy to say, “Even if your records aren’t selling, you can make money playing live.” You have to get to a certain level [to break even]. If you’re playing clubs, you’re not making money.
It’s tough. Young bands really only get one shot – you make a few singles, or a record, and that’s it. If they don’t hit, they don’t get a chance to make their second record. You think of a lot of bands – like us [the Jam] – they didn’t get a hit until later. [In the current climate], we wouldn’t have gotten to make that third album [their commercial and stylistic breakthrough, “All Mod Cons”].
I’m grateful for that reason.
Your song “Burning Sky,” from the fourth Jam record, “Setting Sons,” is one of the best songs ever about the way economic pressures change people. What do you remember about writing it?
I remember there was a literary feel to that record. It was going to be a concept album about three friends who went different ways. I wrote five or six songs like that. But I got sort of f-cking bored and said, “I’ll just make a record.”
At that point I was paying a lot of attention to my lyrics. That song started out as prose that I set to music.
If you had time to put on an album now – old or new — what might you grab?
“A Love Supreme” by John Coltrane – I love that spiritual quality of it. And the Young Fathers [whose debut record is “Dead”] – three lads from Scotland.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

ABBEYDALE PICTURE HOUSE SHEFFIELD




Situated on the south side of Sheffield on Abbeydale road around a mile outside Sheffield City centre is the Abbeydale Picture palace. When opened by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield on 20 December 1920 the picture house was the largest and most luxurious cinema in Sheffield, often referred to as the "Picture Palace" because of the luxurious cream and gold colour scheme, and dark mahogany seats trimmed with green velvet. The picture house also boasted many intricate decorations and carvings, a mosaic floor in the foyer and a glass canopy with a marble pillar to the outside of the building,over the years this fine building has,like most if not all suburban cinemas fallen by the wayside and been converted into various carpet warehouses,supermarkets, churches, even pubs and now lead a different life from what they where intended for.As a young lad in the mid seventies i can remember going in 1975 to see a James Bond Film, this would have been around the time when it was near to closing down, as Sheffield City Centre Cinemas had most of the big films showing and the dwindling suburban audiences much preferred a trip to the city centre. from the late 70s onwards, various parts of the palace have been used for different things, the downstairs ballroom was a well know mod/northern soul club known as the KGB or the K GEE BEE, it was one of my early introductions to the emerging mod scene around 1979-80 there was always a few tasty scooters parked outside on certain nights of the week when the club ran and also the odd band that played there, it was a destination to head for after seeing a band at the broadfield pub,(400 yards away)  I'm not sure of the origins of the name and the club, but over the years the KGB northern soul club has appeared in various venues in and around Sheffield with quite a lot of the old northern DJs still playing under the KGB soul club banner.
Throughout the 1980s the building was used quite successfully by the Drakes Office Equipment business, who converted quite a bit of the balcony area into there offices and used the downstairs area,now with all seating removed as a display area,which must have been quite unusual with it's slopping floor! However on a recent tour of the building it was said it was quite a successful and prolific way of enticing customers in to view there wares!
Drakes made the most out of the building by using the downstairs as a snooker hall and  in recent years a bar was opened aptly called the "Bar abbey" which was quite a happening place putting bands on and various soul and ska nights,recently it's had a transformation and morphed into "the picture house social" aiming at the "beardy arty" crowd that have suddenly moved into the abbeydale/nether edge area,not had the chance to visit yet,but seems to have a lot more happening with it selling food and loads of different beers,table tennis and it's own small cinema.The picture on the right shows the original fire curtain backdrop in front of the stage, this is a truly great  piece of history and well worth a visit purely to see this, the advertising is local shops and businesses that sadly are no more, not sure from when this dates from,possibly the 50s.
The downstairs area had the seats removed a long time ago and makes quite a nice area for all the food and craft stalls on market days,towards the back there is an area with settees scattered around so you can sit down and enjoy your buns,cakes or sandwiches!

Current owners of the building had plans to turn it into a climbing wall business,but pulled out as Sheffield seemed to be flooded with them,so at present they have ideas to hold functions and the odd concert, plus the regular vintage and food markets that take place,slowly but surely the picture palace is getting back on its feet millions need to be spent to restore it to its former glory,which the owners don't have,and lottery grants can't be given as the owners want it for business use.
My own thoughts are that it's a very similar building and location as the Manchester Apollo,and could very possibly offer residents of the steel city a very big alternative to the venues on offer in our city centre. Only time will tell!



Friday, 8 May 2015

CAMDEN TOWN BREWERY,CAMDEN HELLS BEER STORIES PART 2


Part 2! I could have readers of the blog thinking I'm turning into an alcoholic!,Comes a time in life when you realise that the common and popular brews on most bars are Shite!! Namely your carling,Heineken, carlsberg, god forbid Fosters,john smiths,you get the picture? I've been a long time fan for over thirty years of "wife beater" or good old Stella Artois,lovely drink,some daft reason some people claim they can't handle it, I'm digressing and going slightly of subject like i always do!
Ok on a recent trip to london i did a bit of research beforehand on what decent brews i could find
And Camden came up quite a lot,and as we where making our way up to the Camden (chalkfarm) roundhouse I thought I was sorted, but alas great plans  sometimes don't come with a win,and we didn't go in the right bars that served it.
Craft and Dough a great little pizza restaurant in the Kelham Island area of Sheffield has a huge selection of craft beers including Camden and some great pizzas, coming in a can,on pouring it had a lovely clear golden colour to it and a nice clean strong head,and of course all poured into a nice Camden logo glass. Nice little "fizz" to it as well! This is a lovely cool crisp lager,loads of body and quite refreshing from first to last drop, I bought a couple of bottles recently at £1.50 a bottle it's a steal,in fact the bottled is in my opinion far superior to the  canned  version, a lovely strong colour tasty and aromatic,great artwork on the labels as well very eye catching Which I think draws you in as it stands out from the crowd.
 CAMDEN TOWN BREWERY

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

BRADFIELD BREWERY, BELGIUM BLUE. BEER STORIES PART 1


I like a Beer or two! Sheffield has many pubs and breweries, it also has a great past,with the (one time) Giants of Stones,Wards and Whitbread Breweries taking centre stage in the 7 Hills, Present day sheffield has quite a few very very good (not so micro) breweries, one i particularly like is the Tipple from the Bradfield Brewery,situated in the small village of bradfield on the outskirts of the North of sheffield is called Farmers Belgium Blue, Now the downside to this excellent beer is that it is only brewed from November onwards, this unique beer has a very christmasy appeal to it with its slightly blue tint,or purple tint! which is i think down to the drinkers interpretation of it! i think the general idea is to give it overtones of christmas berries, one thing i will say is its a damn shame this beer is not produced all year round. available in bottles and 5 litre mini kegs or if you are extremely flush or having a bit of a knees up with mates a 9 gallon barrel is available! I'm going to try and get around to featuring there 2015 range of beers if possible, so please stay tuned!!

PLEASE FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW FOR MORE LOVELY BEERS



Monday, 8 December 2014

FOOTBALL REMEMBERS

 
 
On Sunday 7th December our club Norton Lees Juniors u12s did there bit for this great memorial to the brave young men who fought for our country  in the first world war.
‘Football  Remembers’  is  the  series  of  programmes  and  events  being  delivered  jointly  by  the  Premier  League,  The  FA  and  the  Football  League,  in  partnership  with  the  British  Council,  to  commemorate  the  First  World  War.  In  2014  most  activity  centres on  one  of  the  most  iconic  moments  of  the  First  World  War,  the  1914  Christmas Truce  football  match.  Football  Remembers  kicked  off  in  May  2014  when  the  partners launched  a  Football  Remembers  education  pack  that  was  sent  to  more  than  30,000  schools  across  the  UK.  It  includes  resources  to  help  children  learn  about  the  Truce  and  football’s  role  in  recruitment  and  morale  during  the  First  World  War.    

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

THE OLDEST DERBY MATCH IN THE WORLD SHEFFIELD FC V HALLAM FC

 
 
So,as they say,"it's been a long time"!!Not been to visit the coach and horses for a couple of years,this was a  double header game, and at £7 you just can't go wrong