Friday, 21 November 2014

Negative Impact of RMBC + Foundation Records News + the Chit Chat

Apologies for the lack of pictures - still struggling to get Browser settings right in Windows 8.1   If you know how to fix this problem let me know!  

 The new Mashing Machine is installed, only took three days!  Lol    Let it be a warning to you that when downloading essentials like Flash And the Adobe Reader, make sure you go to the Official Web Sites – there are a whole number of sites out there with misleading addresses who’s only aim is to infect your computer with as much rubbish as can be thrown at it.  I had pop ups coming up all over the place and then once I had sorted those it became clear that certain system files had become corrupted.  The only thing to do was to mount a rescue through the full recovery facility, and that took an amazing ten hours to complete.   Then despite having all the programmes and serial numbers prepared, it took another full day to load the machine, despite the machine zipping through processes. 

But we’re into full or near to full action now!

So the Minister of Education thinks that Art is luxury! Reducing options at the end of University.   She has no solid evidence for this just a gut feeling, one that has little basis in the real World.   In fact it’s the artists who are trained to be flexible and imaginative, and have been driving force behind our social development and much that is good in our Society like music, paintings, sculpting, crafting and so much more.

It would appear that this is a concept shared by RMBC, who having guaranteed GBP 20,000 to help mount the Shakespeare Festival in 2015 suddenly decided that they had changed their mind.  Yes, yet another kick in the teeth for the young people of Rotherham.    What’s the Shakespeare Festival?   It’s a festival that is taken out to the schools encompassing 1,500 children in drama and the works of Shakespeare, culminating in a series of performances at Magna – sometimes the attendance at these can reach 2,000.

The Festival has received recognition not only the UK where it is recognised as a “best practice” methodology for teaching literacy, drama and bringing Shakespeare into the 21st Century, it also has enormous international recognition, with Katherine making a pilgrimage to Zambia to provide essential training, indeed in 2014 there was a video linkup where the performance were streamed into Zambia.  

The Council decision throws planning for 2015 into complete chaos.   Arts Council Grants depend upon support from local Councils, and Rotherham have withdrawn that support.  Steps are being taken to try and find other sourcing for the 20,000 GBP 

There is a Text fund raising appeal as well, and you can find the number on the RAE News page HERE

In my humble opinion is that RMBC should be hanging their heads in shame.  Their decision hardly demonstrates a commitment to Young People at a time when they are being blasted for having a Children’s policy that is somewhat lacking in its execution.  

There is some talk around the corridors of power that the Council be taken into special measures – they deserve it and I hope that the people who made this decision are made to pay for their short sighted approach to the arts and the children of Rotherham.  

This is not a case of not being able to afford to cover the 20,000 GBP.  The money had been budgeted and earmarked.   So well done RMBC, your decision making is once again flawed and nonsensical, and having seen the acting Children’ Head in action on the telly tonight I can see why such a short sighted decision was made; a pure I will because I can, mentality, and just you try to change my mind.    

 There is still time for RMBC to change their mind.  Find you Councillor HERE and send them an Email – and of course you shouldn’t let your MP escape either. HERE

And yet more Reports are published in the give Rotherham a good kicking Campaign.   The first, the Commons Select Committee blaming the Police and a one Party Council and a new organisation to be drawn into the argument OFSTED.  Then a couple of hours later OFSTED themselves publish a report blaming the Children’s Department of the Council. 

Of course the Council is telling us that everything is changing, that there is more transparency, yet we’re told that none of the known victims have been contacted by the Council or the Police – so no change there.  We’re told by RMBC that the Police and Social Workers now all work out of the same Office sitting side by side; all that means to me is that one floor of Riverside is now full of inactivity. 

OK Dicky is being a bit Nelson, seeing with only one eye, but I just wish that the Council would keep their mouth shut.  Confidence is not going to be gained by “words”, it’s the visible signs of ACTION that will count.

In equal measure the same applies to Police.  Based upon word of mouth evidence, it would seem that there is no obvious change in Police practices or patrolling.  

But let’s be clear, while Rotherham takes the kicking, there are shock after shock Reports to come from Towns and Cities throughout the UK.   Rotherham is the tip of a very deep and big iceberg.

Confused?   You certainly will be by the end of the year, we’ve still got some big ones to come, and none of them will be good news for the Town. 

Roy Blackman is a South Yorkshire / Rotherham treasure.   He’s not going to be about forever.   So on Tuesday it was a pleasure to go along to the launch of Roy’s second CD “A Northern Life” at The Bridge.   Rather a disappointing turn out again with poets and some expected musicians missing.  It’s such a pity for whatever the reason for any falling out we need to support song writers of Roy’s genre, stories and political statements of South Yorkshire. 

We had a number of guest appearances: John Young who produced this CD, Ray Hearne, Paul Pearson, and of course that man of song David Kidman who did his usual fantastic job as MC.   I did have some nice pictures but they were on my phone, which I have lost.  Not a clever boy.  

Sat listening to his songs, some performed by the other artists appearing on the Bill, I was struck by the pictures that his lyrics paint, to the point where if you close your eyes one is watching a video, no more so than the “Bonny Reds of Barnsley” sang to the tune of match of the day and a celebration of when Barnsley won the FA Cup.

You’ll need to contact John Young or hunt down Roy for copies of the new CD. Baring three songs it’s all new material, and the three old tracks are taken from his first CD “Roy Blackman Rotherham’s Man of Memories” and you can get them HERE  The CD has nearly all the lyrics in the sleeve booklet.    Until the end of November, both CDs can be bought for 5GBP each with “A Northern Life” going up to 10GBP from the 1st December.   So make sure you snap up a bargain.

Wednesday was manic, with an ArtNav Meeting, Rebecca Moss at ROAR Talk and of course the ROAR Board Meeting.   It never rains unless it pours.   Lol   The ArtNav session was held with Culture Partners to pin down a few more guidelines for the Consultation Process that they are under taking.   I have to say I was disappointed by the number of practitioners who took the trouble to come along to the Meeting.  Indeed it was mainly the key organisations and a huge representation from the Youth Organisations, which was fantastic and added an angle that is often overlooked during these exercises. 

IT’S NOT TOO LATE to have your say.   If you would like to Interviewed during the consultation process contact Sharon Gill (The ArtNav convener) HERE

I really cannot under emphasise the importance of this Consultation process for the Arts in Rotherham and I’m saddened by the number of Arts related Organisations that are not yet engaging with the exercise.  Some the people are those who for various reasons don’t engage with the current Art Groups or for various reasons moan about the so called Rotherham Art Establishment.    Being a musician (loose term lol) I am most disappointed not to see representation from what appears to be the secret society called the Music Hub.  Two people have told me they were going to invite RAE – and over a near four month period I have heard nothing!   Rant on that one over. 

I really enjoyed the ROAR Talk given by Rebecca Moss.  Her work is to say the least different, and so detailed.  I always admire people with the talent to organise the brain to organise a concept into a reality and this Rebecca clearly does in the very finest detail.   One of her pieces of work was a poem written on the stem of a swan’s feather, so small that with the naked eye you stood no chance of reading it.  It was done, by hand, the finest of custom nibs bought from Japan.   It was a feature of the recent Exhibition at the Old Market Gallery.  More recently her work has centred upon experimental photography, her perception of a smashed up alarm clock has to be seen to be believed. 

I got out on Saturday night with Mrs Masher in tow.   It was good friend’s birthday, 60th, God how time moves on.  Somewhere between Masher Towers and Rawmarsh Trades and Labour / taxi to Fitz and the Fitz Bar my phone picked itself up and went like the clappers to a place where no one could see  / hear it!!   So a great start to the night out.   Mrs Masher of course was really useful by not having any credit on her phone!!!   Looks like an Insurance claim. 

Having suffered the Karaoke at the Fitz, some of the voices were excellent he adds in haste - we returned to Rawmarsh to catch the last set of the “turn”.   The second set started with a bit of Stevie Wonder, moving straight into the Fu Fighters, at which point Mrs Masher announces, it all sounds the same lol.  We headed home.   

Folkies, watch out for a number of top nights coming in the New Year.  The purpose of the concerts will be to raise funds to fight UKIP at next year’s elections both Council and General.  We’re hoping for one very special night where one and hopefully two of the lefts legends will be appearing.  That excludes The Masher, who might go into pain killing overload to make an appearance at one of the concerts.  

There are series of warm up concerts coming at St Jame’s Hall on the 29th November, featuring John Young, The Young O’ Two’s, The Ley Brothers and the Choir of Singing for Fun under the the Leadership of Phoebe, + other special guests they say.  

All funds raised will be spent on Campaigns against those organisations that seek to divide the people of Rotherham.   Rotherham’s strength lays in it’s unity.  

We also hope to have a rock event featuring Rotherham Bands, the last at the Rugby Club, while successful, I believe, could have done with one or two truly local Bands.    

Mick has been rubbing shoulders with the likes of Robert Plant in Leeds but has reported that Sunday afternoon’s outing with System Of Hate at The Cutlers proved to be a great afternoon of music.   Keep an eye out for the Sunday concerts (this coming week it is Alvarez Kings, back by popular demand).   If you’ve not yet sampled a pint of Chantry Real Ale on a Sunday afternoon this will be as good as any to give it a try.   Good Ale slips down a treat with good music.

Some good news.  RAE have successfully joined up with MyPlace in Rotherham to put together the Foundation Records project.   Keen readers will know that we’ve been working on this for some time and having been directed up a couple of dead ends we’ve finally pinned it down.   Watch this space for how you / young people can get involved.   We will be looking to have auditions in the later part of January 2015 with the first recordings happening soon after that, so watch the RAE Facebook and RAE Web Site for the details as they become available.  

The final total going to the Royal British Legion from the efforts of the Something Special Hookers, reached a magnificent figure in excess of 700GBP.   Brilliant work as I never get tired of saying.

And so we move to the weekend ahead.   It’s the last weekend off for Live at The Trades before heading towards a fantastic four Gig build up towards the Festive Day.   Tickets for all four events are selling well, mainly because we have something for everyone.  Punk, Classic Pop Rock, the eighties and classic electronic eighties sounds.  We start with a real cracker, the UKSubs returning to Rotherham, and we have an amazing support, with The Shambolix, Systems of Hate, The Sons of El Roacho, Cambodia and Sneaking Stupidity all up for a real Party.  Check the poster for stage timings, and if you want a seat you’ll going to have to be early for this one.   Tickets are 11:00 GBP and can be bought from on Hotline Number 01709 719296 (Dickie lost his phone), the Trades (we still don’t have their number), Mezmerize on Wellgate, The Cutlers, and of course at Online with WegotTickets by following the appropriate links in The RAE Box Office HERE

This Saturday the Old Market Gallery is hosting a Makers Market, where amongst the stalls you will find Minx.  The Market opens between 5pm and 10pm.   Sonnet will be playing The Cutlers, while Resurrection will be playing SNAFU. 

Monday has Nellie Folk in it’s regular spot starting at 8:45.  

At ROAR Art Space, Westgate the Christmas Make is underway, you’re not too late to join in on the Christmas crafting ideas running on Wednesdays between 3:00pm and 7:00pm.  Not only do you get some great ideas and the opportunity to make them, but you also get to learn how to use all the equipment that ROAR has available.     This is the seasonal version of Project, Project.    

Also at ROAR the scribble walls are still very much in use, extending ROAR’s celebration of the Big Draw. 

All the events we know of can be found on the RAE Listings page HERE

And that just about sums it up for this week

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