Sunday, 29 April 2012

A Brilliant Week to Report of Music and Festival Progress

Another busy week has passed; my feet have hardly touched the ground as Meetings and great music have sort of all merged into a mass in my slightly over taxed brain.

It all started with a super Nellie Folk on Monday night.  It’s a pity that it would seem that certain, now former regulars, are still refusing to come because of the extended spot given to Tina and Matt back in February.  Who’s punishing who?  

Group politics aside we had some lovely performances, with Mr David Kidman, Rob Slow, John Statter, John Nicholson, Tom Donaldson and a host of others all in find voice.

Now you may have noticed that I’ve not mentioned MC of the night Roy Blackman, who was of course in amazing singing voice, and typical organisational chaos.  However, it is the new dimension to his performance that made the evening a stand out Nellie Folk.  Unfortunately, I missed it, the bus service having messed me around, but ladies if he repeats this feat you are all in for a treat. 

Apparently Roy starts the song in his normal enthusiastic and passionate manner, and as the song moves on the eagled eyed will see that Roy’s trousers will start to slip, until by the end of the song his trousers are neatly wrapped around his ankles. 

Now if this does not pull in an audience for Roy then I don’t know what will.  Personally I think that Roy has been watching too many re-runs of Spike Milligan programmes.  I’m told that Roy is seeking Sponsorship from Y Fronts.  And good luck to him.  Good job that his usual practice of offering peanuts around was dropped for the night I think.  

All’s well that ends well, none of the ladies ran away.

Into Tuesday and off we went to the Advice folks to try to thrash out a Constitution and Operating model for Rotherham Art Events.  No one is more frustrated than I that we’ve not progressed this much further  over the past month.  However, the action plan is in place, and with a Meeting in this coming week we should have it all in place.

So to Wednesday’s first General Meeting of Rotherham Art Events.  Despite the dreadful weather around twenty folks turned up at The Bridge to take part in what was at times a lively discussion.  It was fantastic to see the Council represented by Lizzy, and people from across the Art genres – reassuring to that the ideas and objectives being developed by RAE are shared by so many Artists.

The Meeting gave us the opportunity for me to explain a few things, correct a few misconceptions and listen to a few new ideas, which I’m sure will be incorporated into the organisation.  I was struck also by the number of people in attendance who are not involved in the so called main stream of the Rotherham Arts Community, which is exactly what we are trying to achieve.  

Watch out for some fine tuning of the business pages on the RAE Web Site in the week ahead.

Following the Meeting on Wednesday there was a real treat for those who stayed on. 

Swansong Acoustic, Karen and Nigel did a magic thirty minute set in difficult circumstances providing fantastic support to Kurt Sawalies and Barnie who were appearing in Rotherham as part of their UK Tour. 

A great mix of cover songs, and Kurt’s Cat Stevens covers simply blows me away, all that with the brilliant bass of Barnie, well impressed.  

And good to see Networking at its best at work.   Looks as if Karen and Nigel may be heading to European venues in the future.  That’s what I call a result.

On Thursday it was to Clifton Park Mick, Jane and myself headed to meet the Manager to discuss possible events we could get involved with. 

Watch out for News of an Open Spaces Promotion Festival weekend over the 18th August, lots of great stuff promised.

However specific to RAE, I think that we made a reasonable impression and I have to say the facilities in and around the Park for Art events is fantastic, I was well impressed with the Walled Garden area, and we have many ideas that might make the area work to the benefit of all.

Part of Fund Raising programme will be to seek to run a series of Band afternoons from the Bandstand, watch out for news of these as we move into the Summer months, or was that March?

Open Minds Theatre have already recognised the potential of The Walled Gardens in Clifton Park, at the end of May we’ll be treated to a performance of “The Taming of the Shrew” in Urdu, see the diary pages and poster for full details.  And I have to say ticket prices are fantastic, only £5 and concessions £3.

So wind the week up an ultra-busy day.   A late morning taken up talking about publicity for RAE Events, an afternoon full of some great Training from SYFAB about making Funding Bids. 

Then in the evening I headed out to the “English Rebels” Concert.  What a way to end the week. 

The Rotherham Red Choir seems to get better every time I hear them and in the Old Market Gallery space they sounded absolutely amazing as the sound carried around the building.  The programme of songs chosen, with historic perspective to each, ranged from the Levellers, Tolpuddle Martyrs and Miners.  Plus a lovely arrangement of Raise Your Banners.   

Harmony and voices to kill for, but then I’ve always loved that full choir sound.

Ray Hearne gave us a  typically gritty set of his songs, along with a poem about Sebastian Cole that might well lead to us all being locked up for the duration of the Olympic Games.  There’s an anger in Ray’s work and delivery at the moment, could it be the frustration that a certain age brings with it.  Right up my Street though, and his delivery of Rotherham Sands was simply brilliant.

And to finish the evening off, Toein’ In The Dark.  Wow.  Again, clever arrangements of songs carrying a powerful message.  The lead vocal harmony of Carmel and Andy, superbly backed by Bob and Jenny, with a wonderful use of instruments, especially the multi-tasking Bob just holds one spell bound, so spell bound I nearly missed my last bus home.

My spies tell me that there has been a little more progress on the much anticipated Toein’  second CD.  Good news indeed.

And they had no need to bribe me either, but they did with far too generous words about my humble role in the promotion of Rotherham arts and the presentation of a “The Witch is Dead” T shirt.  The witch being non other than Maggie Thatcher.

Speaking of which by sheer coincidence I’ve been talking to John McCullagh this week; that’s the chap who wrote Dance on The Grave of Mrs Thatcher.   He will be visiting the UK in late October / November, and I’ve been lucky enough to snap him up for a Concert to be part of the Rotherham Open Arts Festival Fringe.  The date will be 30th October, and John will be supported by one of young and very talented singer song writers Phil Sinclair.  I suppose we now have to say that the Fringe now has International content and incidentally John has been working with some top people recently and has a growing reputation for his work in the colonies.

I finally got to listen to the Papa Legbas EP Four Shots this week.  My spies being able to afford the price of this piece of “fine art” and share the contents thereof. 

Papa Legbas, as many in Rotherham know, are essentially a live, good fun Band, with a big sound, and capturing that raw, edge of the seat, musical excitement on a studio recording is so difficult, as the Mashers discovered when Myke and I recorded “Deliberate Mistake”. 

However, the four tracks, all originals, on this EP had me jumping around and dancing through the paper scattered around my Office.  All the imperfections of a live performance are there, yet the vocal play between male vocalist Tim and female Rachel hold the songs together wonderfully. 

My advice is to get a copy and make your own minds up, as this is a series of taster tracks that the Band should be really proud of.  Masher cap off to you guys and dolls.

The packaging is nice too. 

Two bits of news going on for you painters of art. 

There is to be an Exhibition of local Artists in the new Riverside Library, and application forms are available on application from the Council.  HERE  

I had the privilege of taking a look around the new Library during the week and a fine place, a state of the art service being provided there. 

Of course like so many I’m disappointed that we’ve lost the little theatre as part of the move to the new building, but currently there appears to be  a small space in what will be the Gallery area where Storytelling and Poetical performances might take place. 

If you’ve not yet visited the new Council Building then nip in and take a look, it’s lovely place.  However, one does wonder about the cost, and someone suggested to me this week that Tesco who were planning to build on the old Council Building Site, have stopped their building programme. 

The new ROAR Exhibition has opened in the Imperial Building with some fine pieces of work on display, again well worth a few minutes of your time.  This is a rolling Exhibition so if you would like your work included then contact Matt Butt at The Art Space, at Westgate House.   HERE

And voting has started for the new work to be shown by Gallery Town.  It’s a great concept, with enlarged pictures being shown around Town.  Unfortunately, the current Exhibition around the Town has not impacted upon me at all, and there is reason to debate if enlarged versions of well-known art actually impacts in an urban or commercial environment.  Perhaps the money would have been better spent on more challenging art; art that would impact and divide opinion and stimulate debate.  Also it needs to be a little more visible around the Town, I like to think I walk around with eyes open most of the time, and I can’t say that I’ve seen one of these giant pictures.   Just a thought.  You can find out more about Gallery Town HERE

Back to the music and exciting news that Jack’s Rake will be releasing their CD, with the very original title, Jack’s Rake, on the 12th May.  I for one will be looking forward to listening this one.  You can Pre Order HERE

And so to the busy week coming up.  In the words of the Prime Minister, besides the normal round of Meetings and consultations, The Masher will be mainly finishing off RAE detail, and will be heading out on Tuesday to the Red Lion, Braithwell for a sing at this great little Folk Club, the fun starts around 8:00pm, and as Mr Statter and his good lady will be sunning themselves somewhere Su and Barrie will be in charge of proceedings.

The weekend is one of those non-stop Bank Holiday’s for The Masher.  On Saturday 5th March in the morning he will be joining the hoards of the Rotherham Trade Union Movement and the Rotherham Against the Cuts boys and girl on their traditional May Day March.  The demonstration heads off from the Town Hall at around 10:30am and there will be a rally in All Saints Square from around 11:00 where the Rotherham Red Choir and The Rawmarsh Masher will add a song or two to the proceedings. 

In the afternoon it’s a dash up to the Wath Folk Festival, where at 3;00pm, I’m hosting the Silver Roots Competition, a contest for the over 45s, and not quite fitting into the Youth and Emerging Talent Categories.   I think I might still have space for one or two more applicants so Email HERE if you would like to take part and have the chance of winning £50 and a Cup.

Then on Sunday we head to Filey, where the Mashers will be playing a set for the Filey Folk Festival.  We’re on around 6:00pm, having been moved up the Bill.  So if you’re in Filey come and seek us out.

You can find the host of events happening over the May Day Bank Holiday HERE on the Diary page, please remember to check Web Sites or with Organisers about the regular session.  

But just a special note for a Session / Open Mic gaining in popularity that meets Monthly, and will be taking place on Wednesday 2nd at The Chequers at Whiston.

And that’s about it folks other than to say, whatever you are doing this week, have great fun and support local artists and above all KEEP IT LIVE.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

RAE Meeting, News and Developments / Banners High / and The Masher on the road again

What can he possibly have to say after managing to push last week’s News Blog out so late…………. You certainly don’t know me do you………

Let’s start with a review of what turned into quite a busy week. 

On Monday night I headed out to a meeting of the Rotherham Branch of Equity at The Bridge.  This proved to be a very productive meeting in terms of support for Rotherham Art Events and what we are seeking to achieve with the grass roots arts in the Borough and for making many more new contacts.

Equity as viewed as being mainly for professional performing and theatrical / film / TV technicians, yet their membership is available to any performer with a record and proof of five paying Gigs in one year. 

I would urge everyone, even those of us who would consider ourselves to be jobbing occasional giggers to consider membership, not necessarily for the politics, but more for the protection that membership of the Union can provide, especially linked with a membership of the Musicians Union. 

You can find out more about Equity HERE, or watch this space for the next Rotherham Meeting at The Bridge in Rotherham and just come along.  

Now, over last weekend I ran out of one of my tablets, you know what it is like, the box is in the cupboard, therefore the brain says you must have at least one strip left, when in fact you’ve left the empty box on the shelf so to remember the name of the drug.  Result a two day wait.  This was my anti shake tablet, the one that stops involuntary vibrations in the muscles, not a good one to run out of – and I found out why.

So Sunday to Wednesday I was mostly in a lethargic state of mind while the electricity would shoot through the body from time to time.  The trick was staying relaxed, which is why Wednesday’s News Blog covered in depth issues that arose at the beginning of the week.

Anyway, it wasn’t helped when on Tuesday Roy called to inform me that I was playing at Handsworth that night, something I had either completely forgotten or misheard our conversation as I had it on my Diary for May.  But hey………..

The Sutherland Road Crew were quickly press ganged into action and The Masher, complete with his glad rags made it to The Cross Keys, Handsworth.  And he was glad that he did.  It turned into a super little Gig, with a really fantastic audience or in my view backing singers.  From the first song people were joining in on the songs, which really helps to generate a great atmosphere and as such a super experience for the performer, in this case me. 

I’ve been lucky to have had two Gigs like this recently, one at Barnsley and now Handsworth.

Oh what was the first song, The Gates Of Hell, and I’d not sung it for a long time, a very long time, yet it was remembered, which is great.  You artists out there who do out of the norm material will know what I mean.

The session part of the evening was fantastic, with Rob Slow at his very best, (I really wished he did more and got some of his great songs recorded) Gary, who had even taken the trouble to write a song about Roy and (humble humble) me and wow being right up to date the work that Rotherham Art Events has embarked on.  I hope he does not lose the napkin on which it was written lol  And great see Phoebe and Sylvia out and about, plus a rare solo performance from Barrie, who was also on such high that he accompanied Sue for a song or two.

And of course the poet’s contribution, with a real mixture of super lyrical storytelling and verse from Carol and humour from Hairy Dave plus many others who I hope will forgive me for not remembering their names.  All their contributions were very much appreciated.

Go get to The Cross Keys next month for another super night, one that promises to be full of poetical humour with Hairy Dave taking centre stage.  That is Tuesday 15th May.

I managed to crawl to Town during Tuesday for a chat with someone who might be up to have ago at the Commercial Fund Raising.  Some new ideas came out of the Meeting, and maybe we’ll have an announcement in around five weeks.  However, The Commercial Fund Raising role is huge, and perhaps requires a separate small Team so if you were thinking of getting involved in this area don’t be put off by the fact that Meetings are taking place.  The roles pay a Commission.

Wednesday gave me some catch up time and the delayed “Moans” News Blog was published, if you’ve not caught up with it yet it’s HERE

Thursday, Jane I spent a very interesting day making more contacts and learning a considerable amount about making bids to The Big Lottery Fund at a training day put on by SYFAB.  I can really recommend these days as it really does give you a chance to network and meet other organisations.  As well as getting loads of pointers as to why bids go wrong.   You can find out more about SYFAB and what they do HERE

We’re in that awkward position at the moment where we cannot move forward on bids until RAE is properly constituted.  Jane and I will be having a meeting on Tuesday with advisers and we hope to be in a position to quickly move towards a Business Meeting of RAE and then on to setting up a Bank Account properly, and then onto getting our bids in.

However, it is time to get everyone together along with anyone else who might have an interest and so we have called a General Meeting of RAE for Wednesday 25th April.  Sorry about relatively short notice.  It’s basically a find out what it’s about ask questions and meet the team session, and of course a chance to volunteer help for Slamfest and The Fringe.  It kicks off at 7:00pm.  To sweeten the medicine of the Meeting we have a Concert to follow, with the ever popular Swansong Acoustic supporting Kurt Sawalies who is currently on a UK Tour from Germany.  This will be his third visit to Rotherham and if you’ve not already enjoyed one of his Concerts then you are in for a real treat.

While on the Fund Raising matters.  RAE is seeking to become self-sustaining, so that bid grants can be concentrated upon initiating new projects for the Arts in the Community.  In the rather austere economic conditions that we are starting out we have to be imaginative about how we go about generating funds.  We have already put into place a number of ways in which individuals and businesses can help us, and you can find them on the Web Site. 

For business, there are Sponsorship, part Sponsorship, and a relatively inexpensive Friend Scheme, while for the individual there are two levels of Friendship scheme in place. 

I would though draw your attention to the Brochure / Programme Advertising.  Special rates for ROAR Members, etc.  So check out the page HERE.  We will need your copy by the middle of May at the latest.   If there’s a business or Trade Union out there who would like to Sponsor the programme £300 buys the outside back cover and ads on both the Acoustic Rotherham and RAE Web Site for a year for the Banners High Festival.

Our first Festival is of course Banners High on the 2nd June, an event which has not been without controversy around certain circles in Town.  Some silly people instead of seeking cooperation think it’s great fun to cause inconvenience, e.g. bringing the Festival to the attention of the Police, the first time in all my time as a Promoter in Rotherham this has happened.  The long arm of the law are satisfied that we do not pose a threat to public order and safety now. 

The On line Box Office is HERE.  £10 for an amazing day of thought provoking discussion, music and words cannot be bad value and there is a limited edition T Shirt that people can order to.  It’s not all heavy political stuff, The Ed Pole Tudor Concert with support from three top local Bands including Papa Legbas is a chance for a rite wiggle and knees up.

The Banners High Festival has been given full support from Rotherham Against The Cuts and The Rotherham Trades Council.

We hope to have a buy over the counter Box Office open the first week in May. 

However because of the venue sizes tickets are limited to 250 for each event or for the Day Ticket so get your reservations in as soon as you can.

If we make a surplus the money will be carried over to Slamfest at the end of July.  The cost of the Banners High will be £1,500. 

So who is speaking? Well, names are hard to place yet, but shall we say we’ll be having a representative from The Respect Party, Liberty, and a few more, with musical interludes from The Rotherham Red Choir and The Mashers, there will be one other artist which has yet to confirm.  For the Acts appearing in the afternoon session see the main page HERE

Where was I?  Oh yes Friday!   A great a super progressive meeting with Tom Donaldson and King of Rock Mick Hill.  Wow the ideas came flooding out.  Watch out for Fund Raising Concerts and more coming your way over the Months ahead.  Mick did twist my arm into a pint and a half which as you know with my medication is not a great idea, so once back on the bus that was that!  I shall have to check notes to see if the ideas make sense.

AND LET US NOT FORGET ACOUSTIC ROTHERHAM 15 29th April at The Queens, Rawmarsh.  Starts 1:00pm ish  

Now I’m going to be honest, I’ve not done as much work on this one as should have done.  However, we have Richard and Debbie Row coming from North Yorkshire, I’m hoping that Gaz has remembered that some version of Stomping on Spiders is supposed to be making their way up the M1 from Worcestershire, and Keystone Acoustic are making a welcome return. 

Following the success of the less formal format towards the end of the last Session we will be seeking to do the same, the PA will still be there for those who need it. 

If you want to book a spot just Email at

However, given the short notice I’m going to open it all up a bit and if anyone wants to come along and give us a song or two they will be really welcome.

From here on in Acoustic Rotherham Events will be tied into RAE and so organisation etc will be back to normal.  I apologise for the tardiness on this occasion.

AND WHERE ARE YOU OVER 45 YOUNG’UNS? We need you!  What for?  The Wath Folk Festival “Silver Roots Competition”.  A top prize of £50 + a Cup, + Tickets to the rest of the Festival including the Main Concerts; can’t be bad.  Email me HERE to get your name down.   It takes place at the Red Lion in Wath on Saturday 5th May, 1:00pm according to the flier and runs to around 4:00pm However, the start time is variable according to which information source one is using so watch this space for the proper time.

The 5th May is going to busy, as 10:30am at Town Hall, The Rotherham May Day March will be gathering, organised by Rotherham Against The Cuts.  I think The Masher has been roped in to provide a little music – but we’ll see if it’s raining.

There’s a fantastic Concert this coming week at the Old Market Gallery on Corporation Street, if you’ve not found it yet, it’s the glass fronted building opposite the Imperial Building.  But to the Concert.  It’s entitled The English Rebels with the fantastic Rotherham Red Choir, Toein’ In The Dark, and Ray Hearne adding to what promises to be a great evening. Oh, when is it?  Friday 27th April at 8:00pm.  Entry is £5 or £3 for the low waged.

And this in a Nellie Folk week.  Yes it’s Nellie Folk on Monday 23rd – which is of course St Georges Day.  This is Rotherham’s best singers / musician Folk Club, so why not pop out and come and give us a song?

I think that there is now more than enough here to fill the head…………………. However,

ROAR are mounting a new Exhibition “The Creativity of Rotherham” in the Imperial Building starting Monday 26th April, ANYONE who has something to exhibit of A3 or smaller is welcome to submit work, even after the exhibition has started.  You’ll need to contact Matt at ROAR for more information

And of course we welcome Sharon Gill to her new Post as CEO of ROAR and wish her the best of luck in her role.

Don’t forget to Sponsor Carol Robson’s Critter adventure in aid of the ladies who are suffering as a result of PIP Implant scandal.  You can find a form in Poets Corner HERE

The development of the new look Web Site continues.  We’re going well. 

The Dairy pages are all up to date find out all the great stuff in the week ahead HERE

And that does it for now. 

Whatever you are doing this week have great fun, support local artists and KEEP IT LIVE

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Festival s / Moans and Groans and I'm Late Getting this Up

This week I really don’t have a lot to say – that’s why this week’s Blog is late going up on line, or one of them.

It was after all the week after Easter.

Typically, loads of people I needed to talk to had all cleared off on a “Spring break” which meant I have been left to twiddle my thumbs.

However, before getting into what my thumbs have been twiddling at, my spies have been reporting good things about The Sheffield Folk Session Weekend Festival that went off over the Easter weekend.  While attendances at the various venues was middling, and including of course many of the “usual suspects”, it’s said that there was enough to promise better things in future years.

Being out and about during the week into Easter, I have to say that publicity about the Event was minimal, indeed I only came across the glossy Flier on the Thursday.  But we should be used to this.  One of my spies who ventured down the Parkway to take part in the event tells me that signing and mapping of events was, at least for him, was not that clear.  But any sort of criticism of a “grass roots” event of this sort is rather churlish. 

One Concert that was by all accounts a rousing success was the Hallamshire Traditions Sponsored “Rarely Heard” Concert.  The Concert, hosted by Paul & Liz Davenport, featured the talent of Pete Smith,  John Bowden & Vic Shepheard, Tagwen Roberts, Simon Haywood, Hugh Waller with a Band made up of Raymond Greenoken, Patrick Walker and Kate Green.  It was one of those I would have loved to have been at.   

From what I’m told it was a fantastic way to kick off the Easter weekend. 

Congratulations to all involved for all the work that went into the planning and promoting of this Festival, it’s one that will for sure establish itself on the South Yorkshire Folk Calendar.

And thank you Paul, I’ve nicked one of your photographs.

My time has been mainly spent working on the new look to the Acoustic Rotherham Web Site, HERE which is now totally a standalone Site.   Think it looks a lot better and reflects the more professional approach that needs to be made now that Acoustic Rotherham has an important part to play as part of Rotherham Art Events, Web Site HERE 

The key pages will be converted; however, using my stats as a guide I shall be pruning back on the site and concentrating all efforts on the most popular pages.   However, I will provide links to some of the older pages under an archive.  I will not be changing the pages but it will give some opportunity to dig back if necessary.

Unfortunately as I write I also have a problem with my Email people which I hope will be sorted in short time, hence the lack of an update last week.

Preparations for the Banners High Festival continues well.  We’re still waiting on Speaker Confirmation before the main publicity goes out.  Details and tickets, £10 for the whole day or £5 for the afternoon and £5 for the evening if bought in advance.  Unwaged concession on day ticket only £5  More details HERE

You'll also find details of the Banners High T Shirt
 Yesterday (Monday) I received what I think was intended to be a friendly Email from “Official Sources” suggesting that one or two people may have got the impression from my Blogs that the Council were spending tens of thousands of pounds on the Mayors Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Street Party to be mounted in the Town Centre on the 2nd June.   Well, let’s be honest, I did say it in one of those moments where I must have been in a ruthless mode.  So  I’m happy to put the record right by stating that for “tens of thousands”, read “potentially thousands of pounds”.

I have based this on the sketchy outline we were given of the Street Party.  Unless someone know differently I personally fail to see how the event can be mounted for less than thousands, via both direct cost and internal costs to the Council.

It was pointed out that the Entertainment planned for the event has in the main been donated, again, and contributing, despite all the fine words, to a culture of Rotherham Art on the cheap.  It’s clear that this is going to be a hard nut to crack, but RAE will be doing everything it can, with the support of Equity and other artist and arts based Organisations will be seeking to change.  It might take time but if Rotherham cultural Festivals and Artists are to be taken seriously at all levels from pro – to semi pro – emerging talent then we must be seeking to invest in their efforts. 

I know, Dickie is a fine one to talk, but hey a start has to be made somewhere, by us all.

The Email also questions the loss of 200 jobs in the 2012 / 2013 Rotherham Borough Council Budget as reported by the Advertiser.   

Granted this sort of stat taken in its raw form can be misleading as with natural wastage, etc., the actual number of people losing jobs never quite reaches these heights.  My humble view is that there is no difference between natural wastage and sending out redundancy notices, it all amounts to the same thing, less jobs. 

And of course this does not account for the jobs that will be lost as a result to “cuts” to frontline services provided via other organisations.

However, I am more than happy, and relieved to report, that these cuts have not affected the RMBC Arts Services. Indeed many Councils have made major cuts in the Arts, and so it’s great to see that Rotherham Council recognises the importance of the Arts within the Community.

Finally, well almost finally, the contents of my Blog, while seeking to inform, also contain many views that are personal to me, which is what Blogging is all about, some people may agree with what I have to say, others may disagree, and for those who feel really strong about what I might say the comments box for each Blog always remains open and unless clearly abusive, and I’ve never had that (touch wood) remains unedited. 

Long-time readers of The Blog know only too well that it is not unknown for The Masher to unintentionally upset someone, or on some occasions to directly upset some people – even, dare he say, to get a fact wrong here and there.  Normally such matters are sorted quickly

Let’s be clear, The Masher does not in any way speak for the whole of the Rotherham Arts. 

I would suggest that Banners High is one of those waves that come along from time to time and that we need to ride out, and then once 2nd June is out of the way we’ll be flying in full co-operation mode, towards Slamfest at the end of July.

Let us not forget, Banners High is after all a celebration of how the Arts can be used as a tool of protest, and we’ve covered all the bases from a Rally, to an afternoon of creative words and music, to a Concert providing a more light hearted mode of protest, (the spoonful of sugar approach lol)

As such, it’s not surprising that a few waves have been whipped up and it demonstrates a healthy debate one hopes. 

What makes me choke though is that while I’m using my Blog to support various people and processes within Rotherham Arts not a word is said, indeed the good folks do not have the time to bother to read what is being put out, it’s only when there is sniff of controversy that all of a sudden my Blog becomes the most important piece reading in the Town.  It does explain why this past week has seen a record number of back issue hits.  I would also add as one parting shot from this section that all the basic information about Rotherham Art Events and Acoustic Rotherham can be found on the relevant Web Sites, which stated earlier, have recently been greatly improved.

So my hand slapped and retaliation delivered we move on.

The first General Meeting of Rotherham Art Events will take place at The Bridge in Rotherham on 25th April 2012 7:00pm Upstairs.   Everyone is welcome, especially those who have something to bring to the Organisation or has a project or idea that might be used at Slamfest or The Fringe Festival. 

Mainly though it’s a getting to know you exercise as while some people may be quite well known many people on the Committee have not really been involved in what might be described as the mainstream of Rotherham Art productions in the past.

As a real special treat, and a sort of carrot, I’ve managed to talk Kurt Sawalies, who is in the UK on a Tour, into providing us with a Concert to follow the Meeting.  We might also talk someone into doing a support spot, but one thing is for certain it will be a Masher free zone.   So no excuses for not coming.

Poet and great supporter of the Arts in Rotherham, as well as editing the Poets Corner on the Acoustic Rotherham Web Site, Carol Robson, has been going through a rough period.  When she had her breast implant surgery done the Surgeon used PIP implants which on checking were found to be leaking.  After considerable hassle she has found a surgeon who will do a replacement operation, but at considerable cost.  The original Clinic having been taken over and the new owners refusing to accept liability for the PIP Implants. 

Many women find themselves in this dreadful situation.  Quite often the impression is given that breast Implants are a cosmetic procedure, a vanity opt in.  However, for a lot of women, Carol being one of them, the procedure was essential, and to now find that they have been let down by the Carers to whom they trusted the work.

Carol is undertaking a Sponsored Creepy Crawly event, where she will be exposing herself, sorry, will be playing with some of the little critters.  The event is organised by the Trusted PIP Group, and will be taking place at a Wild Life Park in Hertfordshire.   You can find the Sponsorship Form in Poets Corner, from Friday.  Please Sponsor Carol, download and print off a form and send it to her.  These ladies deserve our support.

Great news is the release of the Papa Legba’s new EP Four Shots.  And about time too some would say.  Now what was it Tim told me say.  The EP is a masterpiece of modern musical engineering, featuring Rotherham’s favourite band at their eccentric very best.  One suspects that copies will be available at all their Gigs at a very reasonable and democratic price. 

I look forward to a Review copy by return………………………….

I’d give you a HEADS UP to a great evening of music on the 27th April at The Old Market Gallery on Corporation Street, featuring the Rotherham Red Choir, Toein’ In The Dark and Ray Hearne.  It should be a very special way to celebrate the start of May Day. 

And on Saturday 5th May there will be a traditional march starting at the Town Hall Square 10:30am followed by a rally in All Saints Square, with music from The Rotherham Red Choir and who knows? Perhaps even the Rawmarsh Mashrer.  We should know by then if the Country will have sent a message to the millionaires in Government that the current austerity programme is unacceptable.   

Over 45? Play the guitar? Sing songs?  Then why not enter the Wath Folk Festival Silver Roots Competition?  An interesting line up is developing, and of course it’s all going to be introduced by The Rawmarsh Masher who will be passing on some of his slick guitar tips.  Keen followers of the Mashers will know that he has 101 variations on the three basic chords……………..   It’s free entry, and runs from 1:00pm at The Red Lion on Saturday 5th May.   Email me at

I shall be at both events.

Art Organisations from all genres interested in talking to Schools have a great opportunity on May 3rd at The Arts Interchange, which is being held at the Old Market Gallery.  The event runs from 4:00pm.  If you would like a stall / take part, then please Email Matt Butt at ROAR

Starting the 26th April a new Exhibition starts within the Imperial Building Gallery, “The Creativity of Rotherham” mounted by ROAR.  This Exhibition is open to all genres, from text to fine art, and if you have a piece that is A3 mounted then pop into the Gallery for more detail or see the poster alongside this paragraph.  The Exhibition ends on 24th May. 

Anyone around the Cotswolds area this weekend have a real treat in store.  It’s the Oxford Folk Weekend where Paul & Liz Davenport will be performing, and the Cheltenham Poetry Festival will be in full swing.

And of course all the usual stuff will be going on so check out the Diary Listings Page HERE

So whatever you are doing this week, have fun, support local music, and keep it live.