Friday, 29 April 2016

A True Story about Patrick Craig

Last autumn my teen decided she'd move from reviewing music to promoting it. So one night in October I headed to Nottingham to help out with taking money at the door and such.
Originally, two guys had been expected to perform but an extra one had been added at the last minute  As I got there, taking my jacket off and setting my little table up, the guys were just finishing sound-checking and that "late addition", Patrick Craig, was starting to play. Something in his voice or what he was singing made me stop what I was doing and listen - and I was mesmerised.
He's not the only singer/songwriter I've discovered over the past few months, through either my teen's gigs or places I'm been on my own, but most of them I've checked out through music streaming sites before hearing them live; Patrick was totally unexpected - and more memorable for it.

Since then I've followed him and his plans over social media, demanded his EPs for Christmas presents, gone to see him whenever he's been performing locally - and hopefully not come over as a weird stalker! Today his debut album, True Story, is released - hopefully the first step to bigger things. Have a listen via the link below -

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Music and Cake at The Maypole - my new favourite venue

This is my new favourite place to go out for the evening - The Maypole Inn in Derby. It's cute and quirky, decorated with old photos and bric-a-brac, and a cross somewhere between a country pub and a tearoom. 

So, with that in mind, it's probably fitting that the first event I went to, last week, was an Acousticake evening. There was live music from three local artists (including my teen) and there was free cake; hence acousti-cake.
How civilised is that?

There'll be more of these evenings - and I'll be back!

Patrick Craig

Then, this Thursday evening we were back to see Tim OT and Patrick Craig reaching the end of a short tour they've been on before the launch of Patrick's debut album.

If you're a regular reader of this blog (are there even such people?), you'll know I've seen both of them before but on the bill with other artists. Together they work even better. Their sounds aren't the same but complement each other.
Patrick, with a voice that moves from whispering to a roar, sings more of personal angst; Tim mixes a bit of social commentary in with his romantic mishaps, a bit like a young Billy Bragg.

Tim OT

No free cake this time, but there was lots on the menu - and tea and coffee being served all night (something to console the designated drivers)

Sadly, there wasn't much of a crowd, but I'm hoping that hasn't put them off Derby completely and that they'll be back soon. Meanwhile I'm off to listen to their cds....

Find The Maypole here

and on Bandcamp Tim OT
and Patrick Craig

Friday, 15 April 2016

Another Year, Another Birthday

Well, another birthday's come and gone.

 Another year older. No getting out of it.

Another year wiser? Not sure about that.

Certainly it's another year closer to my next 'landmark' birthday (one that I don't quite want to admit to) but at the same time, due to changing goalposts, I'm no nearer to pension age and a free bus pass.

I don't feel remotely old enough for this. Some part of me will be forever a teenager - though my energy and fitness levels might not agree with that thought - and in many ways I'm back at a time of life when it's possible to be irresponsible and self-centred. No mortgage. No job. No children to take care of. Basically a feeling that now it's time for self-indulgence - not a diet of cake and cocktails, but a chance to take up all those things I've been meaning to but never found the time. I shan't be getting out my back-pack and heading off for a gap year (ageing parents prevent me even taking a normal holiday) but hopefully getting out my old dried-up paints, the pile of language cds, going out more in the evening etc etc

I've become aware that it's too easy to fall into a trap of doing very little; pottering round the house and garden, watching a box set of an evening, or wasting a day just doing the supermarket shop! Somehow, any tasks just seem to expand to fit the day. That teenage bit of me doesn't want to settle down into a comfortable middle-age of shrinking horizons. It wants to seize the day, get out there and do something!

So, added to my New Year resolutions, that's my aim for this year - to stop finding excuses, and DO something!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Good venue, great music, dodgy photos....

A couple of Sundays ago we headed off to Ripley for a pub-based evening of acoustic music. It may be only twenty minutes away but to be honest I can't remember the last time I went to Ripley, so everything was new and exciting!

We'd heard about the evening through singer/songwriter Joe McCorriston when we saw him performing not that long ago in Nottingham, and since then I'd found, and followed, the organisers, Roots Acoustic, on social media (as you do) They promote local musicians at three pub venues in the Notts/Derby area, with events three nights of every week, but we thought we'd wait and go along to Joe McCorriston's gig as our first.

Arthur Cunnington

The venue was the Thorn Tree Inn on Ripley's market square - so easy enough for even us out-of-towners to find - and we arrived earlier than most, so grabbed a table at the front and settled down. As the place filled up I was surprised to find the audience older than I'd expected -  this is probably due to going along to a lot of events organised by my Teen, and attended by her friends, so anyone over 25 starts to look old(!), but it was nice that for once I didn't feel like the most ancient person there.

David Kay

As I've already said, the promoters,  Roots Acoustic, usually put on local 'undiscovered' acts but this evening they were drawn from all over the country - first act Rosina had travelled up from Wiltshire, Joe McCorriston and David Kay had come down from Morecambe and South Cumbria, making Arthur Cunnington, from 'near-by' Melton Mowbray, the nearest to a local. All of them would fit loosely under a banner of 'folk' music, though with very different styles, and all in all we had a great evening (fortunately calls from the audience for Wurzels' songs were resisted).

Joe McCorriston

We'll definitely be back to see more performers at these Roots Acoustic evenings - and to check out the other venues.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Chatsworth in Spring - daffodils, rhododendrons and still water

A lovely sunny day last weekend enticed us out to Chatsworth for a wander round the gardens.

I hadn't expected to find many flowers yet, but, although the formal borders near the house were still empty, the wilder areas were full of daffodils.

I've been before early in Spring but don't remember seeing a daffodil display as fabulous as this before!

Heading away from the busier areas and up the steps behind the maze, we found rhododendron bushes in full bloom

Then headed back to the house past still ponds reflecting the sky

Sunday, 10 April 2016

New Year Resolutions - Three Months On ...

Anyone else remember their New Year's resolutions? Still going to the gym? sticking to that diet? I'm sort of glad my resolutions were easier....

Ok, I'm a bit late with this three month 'progress check' or whatever you might like to call it but April came in along with a nasty cold virus and it's taken me a week or more to shift it.

So...three months into my New Years resolutions and to be honest after a good start I think things are slowing down a bit.

Taking things bit by bit ...

Physical de-cluttering - I started off enthusiastically, sorted out a bin-liner size charity bag of clothes and took them to the drop off point, found some material left over from a previous project and gave it a new life, picked out some books that could go to friends or charity shops, and rescued some of last year's homegrown veg from the compost heap - one week making 'weird' marmalade from pumpkin, the next using up the pumpkin in chutney and turning stored apples and frozen raspberries into jam ....  BUT ....this last month things have been allowed to drift. In a way, looking back over the last month I realise how MUCH I've let things slide, so I'm determined to carry on with this. I really could do with a functioning spare room and the only way to get one is to clear the rubbish out!

Spend less time on social media - hmm, not sure about this one. I 'think' I've cut down on it during the day but possibly spending more time there in the evening. Without tracking who's using the pc and when, it's impossible to be sure....

Stop RT-ing every single competition - definitely a success! One resolution that I'm sticking to. I haven't won a single unwanted prize this year. Still entering the ones I actually WANT to win though...

Cutting back on book reading/reviewing  -  not by a drastic amount but enough to reduce the pressure. I'm trying to limit myself to books I REALLY want to read instead of agreeing to every offer. On the down-side, I'm still tempted to download every vaguely appealing book I spot on Netgalley

Get up earlier - erm, no! Definitely must try harder at this one.

Get a life - The feeling behind this was to get out more now the teen has left home, maybe try out something new but above all not end up (as some friends admitted they were worried about doing) staying in every night watching TV. In some ways I've been quite busy, but mainly doing the things I did before - a couple of book related events, theatre trips (Nottingham Playhouse Any Means Necessary  and Derby Theatre Look Back In Anger and an updated feminist version Jinny), and book club. A couple of nights out though really have fitted in with the new 'get a life' plan; the first an evening of acoustic music in a pub, the second an evening of both books and music - for us two oldies to go out to this sort of event without the teen in charge is unknown, so it's really a big step outside my comfort zone.

Get Out More - at first this was more a sort of pottering about resolution - walking up to the library, doing bits and bobs around the garden, watching the sunset - but as the year's progressed we've been out and about more  - to see snowdrops in bloom on an almost spur of the moment trip to Biddulph Grange Gardens while dropping the teen back off at uni, taking advantage of a sunny day to go out to a local park. Also, with flowers and salads shooting up in the greenhouse, and weeds trying to take over the garden, I'm spending more time outside, though preferably on sunny days.

Blog more - although I'm keeping up with tracking these resolutions, and writing about some of the places and events I've been to, I'm not sure I'm quite blogging as I'd intended. For one thing, I'd like to bring all my various blogs together (apart from the book review site) but I rather resent the time I'd have to spend organising this!

I think things are going ok at the moment, though both 'de-cluttering' and 'getting up' need some work. The next three months will bring us to mid-summer I wonder how things will have gone by then...