Friday, 31 May 2013

Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows play We Love Leeds at Leeds Museum

The sun came out and shone on Leeds. The Sparrows came out and we played our tunes on the Leeds Museum café terrace.

We staff nearly, but not quite outnumbered the Sparrows themselves. They were Danii [all the way from Harrogate!], Peter [all the way from near Ilkley], Millie and Georgia E from Leeds itself. Teachers were me [Victoria], Bex, Tim and Natalie, with Vicky on Smalls duty, and now I count this up . . . .

Darlington's mum turned up. That was a nice moment. Last time we were together was the Albert Hall for M4Youth Schools Prom.

Ronnie the Rhino danced with us, and the audience grew just in time for our last tune.

But, no matter - in weather like that, and on town centre stone, our music would have carried all down and around Cookridge Street and Rossington. Nice way to end half-term. Thanks to Louise and Sarah for having us.

Three Johns at the Brudenell

Tim didn't remember that I had talked him into seeing a band who was part of my history in Leeds, and who was part of the indie/punk scene in Leeds back in the 80s. A quick text put him right, and thus there we were, me, Tim and Daise, saying hi and mwah, mwah [air-kissing, don't you know] to John, John and Brenny, and Patrick, and Wendy, and JFK [that's John Keenan, not the late president].

I can't imagine why so many photos were out of focus!

A historical afterthought. In 1980 something, me, Rick and Steve and our trusty drum machine were the support act for the Three Johns at the Tartan Bar, Leeds Uni.

The three of us spent hours thinking up our name, The Belgrade Astros, only to discover that the name was taken. I went onto the stage on that occasion with Rick's thoughts ringing in my ears: that if stage fright got the better of him and Steve, I would be on my own.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Foxwood Steel play The Moor, Sheffield

Now then Debs,

If it's a Bank Holiday weekend, we must have some more pan-playing to do.

Before that it's over to Manchester to see that Leeds isn't the only town to let great buildings rot, and to make rhubarb fool.

Then it's down to the Moor in Sheffield town centre for me, Katie, Tim, Danielle, Varshika, Sophie, Georgia and Amy.

Rick takes me and Katie in the van; and the others take the 11.02 train, at first worried that Varshika hasn't showed up only to find her curled up in the same train carriage as them.

This is another nice town centre event; excellent gazebos and good safety rails.

The Lord Mayor has a few words on air with Radio Sheffield, and then, I believe the good folks of Sheffield get Foxwood Steel over their airwaves.

We rattle through as many tunes as possible, only repeating Boardwalk and Dead or Alive.

I go home and pass out. Varshika, Sophie, Amy and Tim go to the Brudenell [as in Social Club] where I eventually join them. These pictures are out of focus, which I think is just as well.

Daisy and Alice are Magpies Three at Leeds Uni and at the Corn Exchange

Well Debs, I had barely jumped down from the Little Blue [Van] when I found myself at the Uni Alex Clegg Theatre with Lizzie, Charlotte, Tim and Bex watching Daisy and Alice present To Do. My daughter or not, it was mentally good. Lizzie laughed so much I thought she would burst her stitches! After that I went for "a drink" in the Union Terrace Bar.

Three pints later!

Well Debs, this week I was either watching Daisy in a show or babysitting her daughter. I excelled myself on Wednesday by doing both. Took Lola to the Corn Exchange to watch Shara's students end-of-year-amazing show, which Daisy and Alice were compering.

It lasted longer than we expected so by the end, Lola had fallen off the big barber's chair that I had found for her to sit on [OMG]; had to be taken to the Ladies through the performance area [OMG] and was now joining in with the dancing[OMG].  On the plus side I met again an old [as in former, of course] ex-colleague, Vilmore whose Rock Challenge choreography for and at City of Leeds School were legendary. And much missed.

I have tackled Reception at Meltham Moor

Well, Debs,

I forgot to tell you about working in your old neck of the woods:

Like yourself, I teach secondary, and like yourself for a reason. So when Meltham Moor [Primary School] contacted me to do a workshop and mentioned Yrs 6, 5,4, and then 3,2,1 and Reception, and then Nursery, I was thinking no. Then I remembered work is work, and besides that, my pride was possibly surfacing. Reader, I took the gig.

And then decided to take the steelpans over in my little blue van the Friday before. This turned out to be the day an accident closed the M62, and consequently choked up the A62. I spent four hours on the A62 befrore conceding defeat and turned right towards Bradford. Put my feet up in Mughal's, Leeds Road, Bradford, charged my phone, told home where I was. [Also, obviously some pechoras changed hands]

Left Leeds at 3pm, got back at 8pm, having not even got anywhere near Meltham Moor. Hmm.

On Monday and Tuesday I took on comers, and I like to think I rocked [Louise W may be the judge of that!], and Debs, I even enjoyed teaching a Reception class. Don't tell anyone. Give me raging hormones anytime. Here's picture of traffic on and around the !62

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows play Breeze on Briggate,

Breeze on Briggate. What it says on the tin.

Rick and I delivered the pans to the backstage nearly-marquee at 9.30 [before half the band were awake, I'll wager!]. Stacked them neatly, and left the gazebo/marquee to be built around them.

Sunny. Crowded. Dancing gran. Found Theo and Jo busking pan and kit just down from the stage. So pans very much alive and well in Leeds.

Met the Sparrows backstage from 2.15 on. In the end we were Naomi, Georgia E, Danielle L, Danii, Peter, Claudia, George, Ciara, Danielle H. Because we were missing some holiday-makers we were joined by Varshika, Amy and Katie. [Katie tried to [point out that she had only come to watch!]. Leaders were myself, Natalie, Bex and Tim. Joining us mostly on percussion: Theo, Jo and Cameron [who, like Katie weren't quite expecting it!]. And not forgetting the Queen of all forms, all cameras, all stuff like that: Vicky.

Backstage crew knew their stuff, stage manager offered us a medal for our efficient settingupness. Well, it's not just about the 30 minutes of rubber on steel!

The "dancing gran" earlier mentioned features on an eponymous youtube clip of herself dancing to us playing Is Heat on Briggate three years ago. See also the Facebook Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows page for video clips and more pics.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows, SILC Unleashed, Allerton All Stars, Leeds Steel United play Wharfedale Festival May 2013

Allerton All Stars
Well, I arranged for us all to meet at Leeds Station in plenty of time for us to be desperately early for the King's Hall. Just as well.

I brought the first half over on the 4.32 and Natalie and Tim brought up the rear on the 5.02. Vicky had already met Rick with the van, and most pans were on the stage. And, let's face it, it was easier setting up with half the players than with all.

SILC Unleashed
Xanthe appeared with her wonderful SILC Unleashed at about the same time.

Allerton All Stars didn't like their name, but that's it till they come up with a better one [they didn't like Grangettes either]. They played One More River, Sledging and El Condor Pasa. They were Polly, Claudia, Sophie, Josie, Ciara, Eva, Rameice. I played the melody with Josie. I was rubbish. Sorry, Josie. [Have since found out that Ciara knew the melody. That makes me double rubbish].

SILC Unleashed [now that is a good name] played Unnatural Selection by Muse. They were Xanthe, Jake and Dan. And they brought their fan club! Yo!

Sparrows played their Festival 2013 set. Which they have called,  Dreamed a Bridge Over Always Hearts. Actually sometimes it's I Dreamed a Bridge over Loving Jars.

Leeds Steel United
Then all of us together as Leeds Steel United played Next to Me. Ace.

We had chips [they had fish and . . ] and then caught the 8.21 back to Leeds. To say that Lawnswood and Allerton Grange bonded even more would be an understatement! What a racket!
{thanks as ever to Vicky for loading and pics beyond the call of duty.]

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Russian meal, and Ray, Jane and Rosie say goodbye

If it's Monday, it must be partytime!

First off, I jump onto the Bradford train 5 minutes before it leaves, apparently beating Joanna and pal to it by 2 minutes!  Good grief! How can I be fashionably late if two others are later?

We get off at Bradford Forster Square, walk up to the Russian Restuarant, sit down and meet all the others who have come from other places by other means. Bob's bought a bottle of vodka. We all make variable attempts to order in Russian. Galina is really "fashionably"!

I now have to rush down to Interchange [not "just down the road"!], and jump on the 8.21.

At Leeds I take a taxi to Queenswood Social Club, and arrive as the speeches are ending.

I do get to see Ray's wonderful percussionists do some tunes. And two of them, now in the UK Youth Orchestra, were not even born when I worked with their dads: Eric at John Smeaton, and Dave at Corpus Christi.

Get a lift home from Joe M. Ace. Got to prepare for Wharfedale tomorrow. Stress.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Foxwood Steel play Half Marathon, Leeds

Well, it's a sunny Sunday morning, and not everyone in Foxwood Steel is awake. But those of us who are have just parked up in the Vesper Gate Abbey/Kirkstall Road, and are just finding out that our new gazebos are pink, and not red. So hoping it doesn't rain, we set up our little seven-piece at the side of the road.

We are me, Bex, Varshika, Amy, Danielle, Tim, Alan, Lizzie, and [the ever-patient] Vicky.

Cutting out all our subtle tunes, we set about a set of soca and rock, and discover that once the two front runners have come past, it's is relentless. Bex and I swop melody for bass until we discover that Alan and Tim can learn a bass line in 4 bars flat. Yo.

So who's looking after Mikey and James?

Vicky is in the traffic behind the runners, and has abandoned all hope of playing by the time she gets here. Now, who's looking after Mikey and James!

Half-marathon - relentless, hard-work and ace. But just how many people does it take to pack the last stands into a van?

By the time it did start raining, we just used the pub's parasols, and Alan just got wet.

[PS, Varshika has just called in to say, in their defence, that both she and Danielle had one working hand each and Amy had a bad back!]

Monday, 13 May 2013

Jet Lag, from Workers' Memorial Day to Samba Workshop to TUC Rally to Council Deputation

Now then Debs
You only do 3,000 miles each time you flip off to work, so obviously you won't undestand my suffering [flying all the way to Singapore!].

Astrid explained earnestly to me that as I was going backwards i.e. westwards, the jet lag would be imperceptible, compared to the four days spent in Singapore in a haze.

Not so. I spent the next two two weeks in a daze! During this daze, Margaret Thatcher's funeral put an end to the council meeting that I was due to speak at. Debs, that was probably just as well!

On April 27 it was Workers' Memorial Day. Not so well attended as the day and its all star cast speakers deserved. They included the city council leader,  a Leeds MP,  the leader of the unions: CWU, UCATT and chair and secretary of Yorkshire and Humberside TUC, and Bishop of Leeds and Ripon.
a packed Leeds Town Hall from the risers

By contrast the following day found me squashed on the risers at Leeds town Hall as part of the adoring crowd for Nigel Kennedy. Really too squashed for meaningful viewing. Anyway, glad I saw him in the flesh.
Nigel on right

On Wednesday Ray did a great, and I mean great samba and djembe workshop for the YAMSEN:SpeciallyMusic AGM. As we have now been without a base, a place to rehearse, or to store our instruments for six months now we were rather demob happy - as you can tell from the pic of Gail and Diane. Of course, where once we could nip down the corridor for the djembes, which belonged to another organisation, now Ray had to drive three ten miles there and back in order to collect them. A bit of of a drag.

But the workshop was inspiring, and me and Tim went to the Brudenell for the second time in a week, which probably equals the amount of times I went last year!

Mayday weekend: TUC rally on Saturday, and almost all of Sunday on the allotment. It'll be beans, beans, carrots in a couple of months' time.

On Wednesday I finally took my deputation to the Council meeting. Good thing I was over the jet leg
Richard from NUT and banner