Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Foxwood at The Hop

It's just a hop down the road for Foxwood Steel to the Hop on Granary Wharf. And there was a little stage for us. Right in the middle. We moved it to by the Hop window. It's a curious thing about bars, schools, venues in general in the UK. Even parks now. We all want to play outside in summer, but where's the roof? It's in Homebase or B and Q and it takes off in a high wind - that is, if Health and Safety even let you put it up.

Oh for the bandstands of yore. Now we have, on a couple of occasions played for the re-inauguration of bandstands , one in Bradford [Lister Park I think] about 4 years ago, and Horsforth Hall Park in Leeds - that was way back last century - 1997-ish, I think.

Anyway, it nearly rained at the Hop, but it didn't. That was about as exciting as it got. No, I lie. We were kept with a steady supply of cups of tea, which, to my mind, makes a gig. Of course buns would be paradise; but tea is halfway there. Obviously, am not going to go on about this, but before any gig there is a certain amount of dragging the pans down the garden, loading, driving, finding where to drop off and where to park; there's always a skirmish with security, which usually involves the first words, "You can't park here . . . " This is followed on the rainy days by, "You can't put that up there . ."

. . . so, where was I, oh yes, unloading, guarding, driving off for the car park, setting up . . So before you even hit the first G chord for Always On My Mind [more Pet Shop than Elvis], you've experienced some physical labour and a small amount of mental trauma.

"Cuppa?" "Absolutely"

I'll put in the pictures when I remember which ancient computer I put them onto, and whenever I have two hours to spare as they deign to grind into action. This is us last year when Amy from the Silver Doves joined us.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Otley: A Right Proper Carnival

Dear Debs

Taking a break from gigging, I headed south to the big Anti-Acadmies Alliance conference in London last weekend. Of course, pans must go on, every summer weekend, and so Natalie and Carrie-ann held the fort, taking the Silver Robins from City of Leeds school to play for Little London Community Day, while Mrs Durkin and Miss Holt looked after our gorgeous Little London year 5 Percussion group.

But suddenly it's the 3rd weekend in June, and now it's Otley Carnival. Like Brotherton and Byram, it's a proper, old-fashioned carnival with floats and proper fancy dress, troupes and marching bands. Foxwood, East Steel, Doves and you and Caroline from South Steel. And, then a dancing troupe from Leeds Museums, with West Indian style costumes, as you can see below, and some well-practised dancing.

Two things fell off the float after we hasd stopped; one had a happy ending; one not so.

One: Taking her phone out of her pocket, Natalie watched in dismay as her ring of white gold and with sentimental bounced behind a banner and out onto the ground below. Happy ending; it was mostly gravel and such grass as there was was short. I found it.

Two: Karen from East Steel/Steel Rising was not so lucky: getting off the float, and sad ending: she knocked her elbow on the lorry, and finished her day at the first aid tent. Now, with her arm in a sling she needs to be practising one-handed, methinks!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Dear Debs Now It's Shipley

Dear Debs,

This letter to Carriacou often finds you closer to home. In fact you and I have just spent two nights in a field near Shipley. I did take some photos, but I lost the camera the following evening, so those pictures of the triple canal locks will just have to remain in our memories.

Before setting up my own tent, I spent some time looking at the setting sun, trying to face north, work out east and west, thinking left and right and then I set up the tent entrance so it would get the sun all day. Sadly I forgot the sun was nearly overhead, and I decided to be near a tree for cosiness, and also got shade.

And the moral is that you don't have to have to go miles away from home i.e. Leeds in order to get away from it all. And actually, being near to home meant that when I drained my car battery with the camping light, it wasn't too far the following evening for Diane to come over with the jump leads that she bought en route.

But I did think Debs, that you were spoiling the fun a bit by reading the instructions. I always just used to touch the different terminals with the different leads until they didn't spark too much. Used to work to work for me, and the nervous-looking donor drivers.

I came back to Leeds on Thursday and that night my neighbour and friend, Deborah died in a house fire. This was a very sad event, and not really appropriate, Debs for me to talk about in this blog to you. However, it happened. So it must be known.

At the weekend, on Saturday East Steel played for Judy's big birthday. Players were Karen, Ali, Judy, Joyce, Adele, Cathy, Vicky with guests, Bella and Rameice and me, Bex and Nat. No camera, no photos as yet for Judy's do

On Sunday, Foxwood Steel and the Leeds Silver Doves played for the Big Lunch for Valley Court on Cardigan Road. We debuted our new Events Tent. We were Georgia, me, Bex, Natalie, Amy, Joe M and Varshika, with guest, Jo from ArtForms. Children were Jordan, James, Michael and Maya, and here is Michael posing on the banner. The event was organised by David and Sandra from Valley Court, and it did indeed bring the community together is the bestest ever big garden.