Stored away for 30 years, Alison O’Neill’s unseen 1980s’ rock concert photographs go on show for first time at City Screen

Robert Smith of The Cure at Edinburgh Playhouse in 1985. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

ALISON O’Neill has never exhibited her photographs of 1980s’ rock musicians until now.

What took her so long? “Shyness,” says the North Yorkshire photographer and language services translator, whose Trapped In The Light exhibition of Robert Smith, Ian McCulloch et al is running in the Sky Lounge – the upstairs corridor – at City Screen Picturehouse, York, until September 10.

“Being in the right place at the right time takes luck and a bit of determination, and in the ’80s I had both, when I got to know The Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen,” she says. “The opportunity this gave me yielded photos that show a fan’s eye view of bands both on and off stage.”

After studying Film & Literature at Warwick University, Alison moved to Berlin for a few years and then back to Yorkshire, where she became a freelance translator of German and Dutch into English.

Her black-and-white photographs remained filed away since those Eighties’ days, most seen only by Alison’s friends, until the drive to exhibit them was finally sparked by attending exhibitions by a friend in Berlin and rock photographer Richard Bellia in London.

On show at last – the exhibition was delayed by the pandemic – are photos taken between early 1982 and 1989 at locations from London to Edinburgh, featuring The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Cramps, Wilko Johnson, Alan Vega and local bands.

“If you want a link between them, I think all the acts bar the Hastings band – seen on a weekend away – featured on John Peel’s Radio One show. But that’s as strong a link as it gets,” says Alison.

In the frame now: North Yorkshire photographer Alison O’Neill

Here CharlesHutchPress puts photographer Alison O’Neill in focus in a question-and-answer session about Trapped In The Light.

What is your connection with Yorkshire? Were you born here? 

“I can’t claim to be a Yorkshire native, because I was born down south (oh, the shame!).

 “But I was brought up in Yorkshire from an early age, Hull, then Pickering, so I have many friends here and my mother was still in the region, so I came back here after years away in the Midlands and Germany.”

How come the exhibition is at City Screen?

“When I asked around, City Screen were the first people to say yes to an exhibition – and it’s a brilliant space. Originally it was due to happen in May 2020 [before Covid intervened], and so the last two years’ wait has been worse than the 30-plus before.”

Alison O’Neill, pictured in 1984. “I was a Cure fan, not a Goth,” she says. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

When did you start taking photographs and what was your first camera?

“I got an Instamatic when I was eight. By the time I was 19, I seriously needed a better one, because the old camera wasn’t up to it.”

Why rock photography?

“I fell in love with music in my teens. And when I started photographing musicians, I realised that as they were engrossed in what they were doing, they aren’t (usually) self-conscious about photos being taken.”

Were you subjected to the long-standing “First three numbers and No flash” rule for concert photographers?

“Not in relation to the pictures in this exhibition. I was an amateur photographer, so often I couldn’t get my camera in at all, but in some cases the bands gave me passes, other times the venue wasn’t as strict. I didn’t use flash much anyway.”

Echo & The Bunnymen at Lancaster University in 1984. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

How did you get to know The Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen? 

“Long stories! But I will say it was a lot easier to meet bands in those days. And they were very friendly and open and generous with passes. The Cure, in particular, often hung around after the show to sign stuff for anyone who wanted, so you could get to talk to them then.”

What drew you to those bands: the hair, the coats, the lips, the lipstick, the darkness…the music?!

“The emotion. The passion.”

Were you ever a Goth?

“No, I was a Cure fan!  But there was a time when the way The Cure fans dressed was like a prototype for Goths.”

Audience at hardcore gig, 1986. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

Which is your favourite 1980s’ album by The Cure and why? Likewise, Echo & The Bunnymen?

“I can’t do these! Years ago, I decided that I’d have to have Desert Island Bands, because I can’t choose between their albums.”

How did you gain access to photograph bands, both on stage and particularly off-stage?

“I’d ask, if I caught them going in. And once they knew me – and presumably I didn’t upset anyone – they were willing to let me hang around.”

Was your rock photography a hobby or were your works printed at the time in publications/magazines/fanzines?

“It was a hobby, although I would have liked to have worked professionally, but I lacked the confidence to sell my work. A few of my pictures have been used in the local press (Leamington), fanzines and once in a CD booklet for Nikki Sudden’s Groove (not one that’s in this exhibition).”

Thee Wylde Things at Hastings, 1987. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

You say: “Being in the right place at the right time takes luck and a bit of determination”. Discuss…

“Well, I’ve sneaked in back doors at venues in my time, and bluffed security guards. At a venue in Prague where I expected to be on the guest list (but wasn’t, at least they didn’t find my name), I talked to a doorman in English – which he clearly didn’t understand – for so long that he just took my arm and pulled me inside.”

Was it more difficult, being a female photographer?

“It certainly was to be taken seriously. I imagine it still is. I could dine well on the number of people, including friends, who, learning about my music fandom go ‘oh, so you’re a groupie’. Cue Paddington death stare.”

Did you photograph any bands in York in the 1980s?  If so, who, where and when?

“I did get to see TX82 – the last embodiment of Teardrop Explodes – at York Uni, but it was seated and I was near the back so I didn’t get anything good.”

Echo & The Bunnymen guitarist Will Sergeant backstage. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

Do you have a favourite among your photos?

“It’s a close thing between Robert Smith in profile seated backstage and Will Sergeant having just drawn a cartoon on a blackboard backstage.”

Why focus on black-and-white photography in this exhibition?

“Simply to give coherence to the selection. Likewise keeping it to a set period.”

When you look back at your work from the 1980s with a 2020s’ eye, what strikes you about your work?

“How lucky I was with the timing. So many exciting artists working in wildly differing styles, and the openness to outsiders (such as me) coming along.”

Wilko Johnson at Warwick University Students’ Union, 1985. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

What makes a good rock photographer and who is your favourite?

“I think you need a lot of patience. Anton Corbijn is my absolute favourite, but I’m lucky to have a print by Richard Bellia. I was a real photographer nerd back in the glory days of the NME and Melody Make, so I could list several more…”

Might you look to produce an accompanying book?

“I have put together a small photo book as a memento under the same title, Trapped In The Light. It’s my first try, so I’ve been waiting with bated breath to see how it’s worked out.

“My copy has arrived in time for the exhibition opening, which is rather impressive, given I only ordered it last Sunday.

“I can see a few things that need tweaking if I were to offer it for sale. The printer has a sale on, so for orders placed by August 14,I’ll be asking £34.95 plus postage and packaging. After that, the price would depend on what offers are available.”

The Cramps at Warwick Arts Centre, 1986. Copyright: Alison O’Neill

Final question, Alison. Do you still take photographs? If so, what do you now photograph and with what camera?

“I still have a film camera, but I don’t take it out that often. I did photograph The Murder Capital when they played The Crescent, but that was in 2019. And like everyone I use my mobile for shots of varying quality.”

Trapped In The Light, 1980s Music Photos by Alison O’Neill, runs at Sky Lounge, City Screen Picturehouse, Coney Street, York, August 7 to September 10. Admission is free, open daily. Limited-edition framed prints can be ordered at £195 to £395, depending on size.

Check out Alison’s website at

Did you know?

THE exhibition title Trapped In The Light – an apt description of the photographer’s art – is taken from the lyrics to The Cure’s song M.

The poster for Alison O’Neill’s exhibition at City Screen Picturehouse, Trapped In The Light

Who’s better? Picasso or Warhol? Here’s the verdict of acerbic New Yorker Fran Lebowitz in arts podcast Two Big Egos…

Fran Lebowitz: Opinions aplenty at Grand Opera House, York

CULTURE vultures Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson mull over American writer and Netflix documentary acerbic wit Fran Lebowitz’s night with bite at the Grand Opera House, York, in Episode 98 of Two Big Egos In A Small Car.

Under discussion too are Steve Coogan and Hugh Grant talking politics, The Smile’s detour from Radiohead and the new Suicide compilation.

Final thought: is the writing on the wall for Eng. Lit studies at university? To listen, head to:

Michael Palin’s From North Korea Into Iraq tour show heading for Grand Opera House

From North Korea Into Iraq: Yorkshireman Michael Palin’s journey for his TV series, tour show and book

MONTY Python comedy legend and intrepid globetrotter Michael Palin will give a first-hand account of his extraordinary journeys through two countries on the dark side of history on his new solo tour this autumn, From North Korea Into Iraq.

The Yorkshireman’s only Yorkshire destination on his nine-date itinerary will be the Grand Opera House, York, on October 6.

Using photos and film shot at the time, Palin, 79, will recall his challenging adventures in the tightly controlled time bomb of the People’s Republic of North Korea and the bruised land of Iraq, once the home of civilisation, torn apart over the past 30 years by brutal war and bloodshed.

Both named by President George Bush as being part of the Axis of Evil, these two countries are often portrayed as international pariahs, two of the last places you would want to visit, but for Sheffield-born Palin the best part of travelling is looking behind the headlines and discovering what life is really like for the people who live there.

“We shouldn’t forget that we share a common humanity with the people of North Korea and Iraq,” says globe-trotting Michael Palin

“We shouldn’t forget that we share a common humanity with the people of North Korea and Iraq, and in both these tough and difficult countries we found, as you will see, humour and hope, ambition, expectation, warmth, hospitality and extraordinary resilience,” he says.

“These journeys were for me a total eye-opener. From North Korea Into Iraq may take you out of your comfort zone but I hope, like me, that once we’ve travelled together, your feelings about these two countries, and the wider world we share, will never be quite the same again.”

Palin’s theatre tour will follow the autumn launch of his new Channel 5 series, Michael Palin: Into Iraq, produced by ITN Productions.  

Palin’s accompanying new book, Into Iraq, will be published by Hutchinson Heinemann on September 15.

York tickets are on sale on 0844 871 7615 or at

The poster for Michael Palin’s From North Korea Into Iraq tour

More Things To Do in York and beyond when money isn’t everything and friends mean more. List No. 90, from The Press

Joe Spud (Matthew Hudson) , front, centre, seeks friends in David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy when he has too much of everything else. Picture: Mark Douet

MUSICALS, a children’s show, outdoor concerts, burlesque, baroque music and mystery bring contrasts aplenty to Charles Hutchinson’s diary.

Family show of the week: Birmingham Stage Company in David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy, Grand Opera House, York, July 14 to 17

JOE Spud is the richest boy in the country. At 12, he has his own sports car, two pet crocodiles and £100,000-a-week pocket money from his father Len’s radical loo roll fortune.

What Joe lacks, alas, after the family’s move to a palatial house is a friend, whereupon he decides to leave his posh school for a new start at the local comp. Things do not go as planned, however, leading to his young life becoming a rollercoaster as he tries to find what money cannot buy. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or

Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company’s night of heroes and villains at the JoRo

Musical stories of the week: Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company Does Heroes And Villains, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tonight, 7.30pm

A HERO. A villain. A power struggle between good and bad. An epic Act 1 finale. Sound familiar? Tonight, director Ben Huntley and musical director Jess Douglas bring to life the story of every musical you have ever seen in an evening of musical theatre songs for plucky protagonists and dastardly villains from Wicked, Hamilton, Sweeney Todd, The Sound Of Music and many more. 

Along the way, other key characters will help, or possibly hinder, these intrepid characters. Box office: 01904 501935 or

Elbow: Heading for Scarborough tonight

East Coast outdoor gig of the week: Elbow, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, tonight, gates, 6pm

PLAYING together since sixth-form college days in Bury in 1990 and taking the name Elbow since 1997, Guy Garvey’s band arrive in Scarborough on the back of releasing their ninth studio album, Flying Dream 1.

Fresh from last month’s Platinum Party at the Palace rendition of One Day Like This outside Buckingham Palace, Elbow head outdoors once more this weekend to perform Lippy Kids, My Sad Captains, Magnificent, New York Morning et al – and hopefully early gem Station Approach. Box office:

Bryan Adams: Quick return to the Yorkshire open air on Sunday

West Yorkshire open-air gig of the week: Bryan Adams, Harewood House, near Leeds, Sunday, gates, 6pm

CANADIAN rocker Bryan Adams plays his second outdoor show of the Yorkshire summer this weekend, following his July 1 appearance at Scarborough Open Air Theatre.

Adams, 61, will be showcasing his 15th studio album, So Happy It Hurts, and once more he will do Run To You, Cuts Like A Knife, Summer Of ’69, (Everything I Do) I Do It For You et al for you too. Box office:

Simon Rodda in Heady Conduct Theatre’s Tiresias

Storytelling show of the week: Heady Conduct Theatre in Tiresias, Theatre At The Mill, Stillington, near York, Sunday, 7.30pm

HEADY Conduct Theatre’s short tour of their storytelling show of rejuvenated Greek myths and legends concludes at Stillington Mill this weekend, a long way from Tiresias’s previous performances pre-pandemic in New Zealand.

Co-artistic director Simon Rodda plays blind prophet Tiresias, who is given the gift to predict the future by Zeus, in a theatre piece about the extraordinary ability of humans to face adversity, often with mischief, humour and rebellion.

Rachel Barnes accompanies Rodda with singing and a live score on guitar and cello. Box office:

Mikhail Lim’s Seymour is torn between Lauren Sheriston’s Audrey, left, and Emily Ramsden’s Audrey II in York Stage’s Little Shop Of Horrors

Anniversary of the week: York Stage in Little Shop Of Horrors, York Theatre Royal, July 14 to 23

YORK Stage make their York Theatre Royal debut with Nik Briggs’s 40th anniversary production of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s Fifties’ B-movie musical spoof.

Is there a way out of Skid Row, the New York ghetto where life is full of broken American dreams and dead ends? When flower shop assistant Seymour (Mikhail Lim) discovers a mysterious new plant with killer potential, hope may be on the horizon. So too fame, fortune and even romance with kind, sweet, delicate Audrey (Lauren Sheriston), but bloodthirsty Audrey II (Emily Ramsden) has other ideas. Box office: 01904 623568 or

The poster for An Evening Of Burlesque at York Barbican

Glitz with a twist: An Evening Of Burlesque, York Barbican, July 21, 7pm

BRITAIN’S longest-running Burlesque variety show is bigger than ever on its latest tour with its 21st century twist on an old-fashioned blend of stylish cabaret, comedy, music, circus and burlesque.

Expect glitz and glamour, fun and feathers, fan dancing and fabulous costumes, speciality artistes and cabaret turns, circus stars and comedians, World Guinness record holders and champagne showgirls. Box office:

filoBarocco: Performing baroque music at Explore York libraries

Exploring music: Baroque Around The Books community tour of Explore York libraries, July 21 and 22. UPDATE: MINI-TOUR CANCELLED

MUSICAL group filoBarocco is undertaking a Baroque Around The Books mini-tour of three community libraries in a new National Centre for Early Music initiative with Explore York supported by Culture & Wellbeing York.

filoBarocco will be visiting Acomb Explore on July 21 at 11am, Tang Hall Explore, July 21, 3.30pm, and Clifton Explore, July 22, 11am. Tickets are free but must be pre-booked at

Lucy Worsley: Uncovering the mysteries behind Agatha Christie’s life

History meets mystery: An Evening With Lucy Worsley On Agatha Christie, York Theatre Royal, September 26, 7.30pm

THE Queen of History will investigate the Queen of Crime in an illustrated talk that delves into the life of such an elusive, enigmatic 20th century figure.

Why did Agatha Christie spend her career pretending that she was just an ordinary housewife, a retiring Edwardian lady of leisure, when clearly she wasn’t? Agatha went surfing in Hawaii, loved fast cars and was intrigued by psychology, the new science that helped her through mental illness. 

Sharing her research of the storyteller’s personal letters and papers, writer, broadcaster, speaker and Historic Royal Palaces chief curator Lucy Worsley will uncover the real, revolutionary, thoroughly modern Christie. Box office: 01904 623568 or

Podcast question of the week: Is Cruise in for a bruisin’ review or is tip-top Tom gunning for glory? Find out here

The poster for Top Gun: Maverick, playing cinemas everywhere, all day and most of the night

TWO Big Egos In A Small Car culture podcasters Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson set their sights on Tom Cruise and Top Gun: Maverick in Episode 93.

Under discussion too: Ray Liotta RIP; summer nights at Scarborough Open Air Theatre and Luna Cinema, and Kahlil Gibran’s spiritual uplift in The Prophet.

To listen, head to:

Who’s performing at Ryedale Festival and when in a July event full of Handel, Vaughan Williams and even an ABBA sing-song?

Baritone Roderick Wilson: Artist in residence at 2022 Ryedale Festival

THE 2022 Ryedale Festival will embrace 300 performers in 52 concerts from July 15 to 31, kicking of the event’s fifth decade of inspiring performances in beautiful North Yorkshire locations.

Under Christopher Glynn’s artistic directorship, the festival will find a special place for Handel’s music, including a pop-up production of his magical opera Acis And Galatea that will visit three churches.

The music and legacy of Ralph Vaughan Williams will be in focus too, as will the genre-blending elan of Errollyn Wallen and the 50th anniversary of Swedish supergroup Abba.

The Kanneh-Mason family will open the festival on July 15 with a concert by the seven brothers and sisters from Nottingham, aged between 11 and 24. On July 16, Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason will be in conversation with Edward Seckerson in House of Music: Raising The Kanneh-Masonsa joyful celebration of this extraordinary musical story.

Six world premieres will take centre stage. Julian Philips will mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Vaughan Williams with Looking West, a new work inspired by the ancient stories and landscapes of northern England. 

Composer Julian Philips: World premiere of Looking West

Roxanna Panufnik’s Babylonia will go on an imaginative journey to the Middle East, while Errollyn Wallen and Tarik O’Regan will explore the myth of creation in their co-composed work Ancestor, to be premiered by Philharmonia Baroque. 

Joseph Howard’s community song cycle Seven Mercies celebrated the heritage and talent of Pickering on May 21; Robert Balanas will be debuting an ABBA medley for solo violin, and Callum Au will be bringing a new work co-commissioned with Spitalfields Festival.

A strong line-up of artists in residence will be in Ryedale for the festival. Baritone Roderick Williams will lead two of the four concerts marking Vaughan Williams’s anniversary with Christopher Glynn and fellow artists in residence the Maxwell Quartet, as well as leading a singing masterclass with talented young artists. The Gesualdo Six will perform two vibrant programmes in Ampleforth Abbey and Castle Howard.

The festival’s two ensembles in residence, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque (in their first UK tour for more than a decade), will present one of Handel’s Dixit Dominus, a tour-de-force of vocal and instrumental virtuosity that bubbles with the energy and exuberance of youth.

Ryedale Festival Young Artists will be in the spotlight too. Violinist Roberts Balanas will perform a late-night candlelit concert, while Scottish accordionist Ryan Corbett will set out on a “troubadour trail” across Ryedale, bringing music – from the grandeur of Bach to the romance of Tchaikovsky – to beautiful and little-known churches across the region.

The Maxwell Quartet: Artists in residence

Soprano Siân Dicker and pianist Krystal Tunnicliffe will create a relaxed, informal and interactive concert for people living with dementia, their friends, family and carers – and anyone else who would like to attend. Bassoonist Ashby Mayes will collaborate with Krystal Tunnicliffe in an enterprising programme at a coffee concert.

Further highlights will include the London Mozart Players with pianist conductor Martin James Bartlett; The National Youth Choir of Great Britain performing a programme on the theme of environment; Pete Long and Friends playing 100 Years Of Jazz In 99 Minutes and fast-rising soloists such as violinist Johan Dalene, cellist Bruno Phillipe, trumpeter Lucienne Renaudin Vary, harpsichordist Richard Egarr and pianists Rebeca Omordia and Alim Beisembayev. Renaudin Vary will give a brass masterclass too.

Dame Janet Baker will be in conversation with Edward Seckerson and a visit from poet, author and broadcaster Lemn Sissay will be among the literary events. Family concerts will include a musical version of the modern children’s classic Izzy Gizmo.

For the final gala concert, trumpeter Lucienne Renaudin Vary will join the Royal Northern Sinfonia for a sunny-spirited concerto at the heart of an eclectic programme that will take in  lyricism of two English romantics, a Bach-inspired work by Errollyn Wallen and one of Haydn’s most rousing and witty symphonies.

A new partnership with the Richard Shephard Foundation is working in primary schools to transform the festival’s engagement with children across Yorkshire. Already this has supported Seven Mercies, a new Community Song Cycle by Joseph Howard and Emma Harding at the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering, on May 21. Inspired by the church’s famous murals, this celebration of local heritage and talent took the theme of countering difficult times through small acts of kindness.

Dame Janet Baker: In conversation at Duncombe Park

Seven Mercies is one of two major elements of the festival taking place outside the main festival in July. Post festival, on October 29, the Hallé Orchestra and Chorus, Natalya Romaniw, Alice Coote, Thomas Atkins, James Platt and conductor Sir Mark Elder will perform Verdi’s mighty and dramatic Requiem in York Minster.

First-time ticket-buyers can attend selected events for £10, under-18s for £5. All are invited to watch the free-to-view additional content that will be shared on the digital platform RyeStream.

Artistic director Christopher Glynn says: “From legendary artists such as Dame Janet Baker to stars of the new generation like the Kanneh-Masons, we’ve brought together a line-up of international quality to perform in stunning locations across the beautiful area of Ryedale, from historic old churches to magnificent stately homes.

“As always, the festival is a celebration of music and place, and how they can enhance each other. I’m especially pleased that we are working with the Richard Shephard Music Foundation to bring musical opportunities to primary school children across Yorkshire, and that hundreds of tickets will be available from as little as £5 for under-18s and first-time attenders. We look forward to welcoming music-lovers from far and wide to Ryedale this summer.”

For full details, go to: Box office: 01751 475777;; in person from Memorial Hall, Potter Hill, Pickering, second floor, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9.30am to 2.30pm.

Opening concert: The Kanneh-Mason family of musicians

2022 Ryedale Festival programme

July 15, 7pm, St Peter’s Church, Norton

Opening Concert

Kanneh-Mason Family

July 16, 3pm, St Michael’s Church, Malton

House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason

July 16, 8pm, St Mary’s Priory Church, Old Malton

Johan Dalene, violin

Charles Owen, piano

July 17, 3pm, Helmsley Arts Centre

Family Concert

July 17, 7pm, Duncombe Park

Pre-concert talk: Katy Hamilton

London Mozart Players: July 23 concert

July 17, 8pm, Duncombe Park

The Wanderer

Roderick Williams, baritone

Christopher Glynn, piano

July 18, 11am, Helmsley Arts Centre

Shakespeare’s Infinite Variety

Lucy Beckett, speaker

July 18, 3pm to 5pm, Helmsley Arts Centre

Roderick Williams, masterclass

July 18, 7pm, Sledmere House and Church

Double Concert

July 19, 11am, All Saints’ Church, Slingsby

The Maxwell Quartet

Christopher Glynn: Ryedale Festival artistic director

July 19, 2pm, All Saints’ Church, Helmsley

Pre-concert talk

Katy Hamilton

July 19, 3pm, All Saints’ Church, Helmsley

Acis And Galatea I

July 19, 9.30pm, The Milton Rooms, Malton

Late-Night Folk

July 20, 11am, Birdsall House

Margaret Fingerhut, piano

July 20, 3pm, St Mary’s Church, Lastingham

Acis And Galatea II

July 20, 7pm, Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering

Pre-concert talk

Katy Hamilton

Trumpet player Lucienne Renaudin Vary. Picture: Simon Fowler

July 20, 8pm, Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering

Mystical Songs

Roderick Williams & The Maxwell Quartet

July 21, 11am, St Nicholas Church, Husthwaite

Troubadour Trail I

Ryan Corbett, accordion

July 21, 3pm, St Michael’s Church, Malton

Acis And Galatea III

July 21, 8pm, Birdsall House

Bruno Phillipe, cello

Tanguy de Williencourt, piano

July 22, 1pm, Church of St Martin-on-the-Hill, Scarborough

National Youth Choir

Poet Lemn Sissay:

July 22, 3pm, St Hilda’s Church, Sherburn

Troubadour Trail II

Ryan Corbett, accordion

July 22, 8pm, The Milton Rooms, Malton

100 Years Of Jazz In 99 Minutes

Pete Long and Friends

July 23, 11am, Holy Cross Church, East Gilling

Troubadour Trail III

Ryan Corbett, accordion

July 23, 3pm to 5pm, The Milton Rooms, Malton

Come and Sing ABBA!

July 23, 8pm, St Peter’s Church, Norton

London Mozart Players

July 24, 3pm, James Holt Concert Hall, Kirkbymoorside

Kirkbymoorside Town Brass Band

July 24, 6.30pm, All Saints’ Church, Kirkbymoorside

Alim Beisembayev, piano

July 24, 9.30pm, All Saints’ Church, Kirkbymoorside

Late-Night Candlelit Concert

Roberts Balanas, violin

July 25, 11am, All Saints’ Church, Hovingham

Rebeca Omordia,piano

July 25, 2pm, Hovingham Hall

National Youth Chamber Choir

Philharmonia Baroque

July 25, 7.30pm, Duncombe Park

Dame Janet Baker

In conversation with Edward Seckerson

The Gesualdo Six. Picture: Ash Mills

July 26, 11am, St Lawrence’s ’s Church, York

Music For A While

Rowan Pierce & Philharmonia Baroque

July 26, 8pm, Ampleforth Abbey

The Gesualdo Six

July 27, 11am, St Michael’s Church, Coxwold

Lucienne Renaudin Vary, trumpet

Félicien Brut, accordion

July 27, 7pm, Castle Howard

Triple Concert

July 28, 11am, St Oswald’s Church, Sowerby

Ashby Mayes, bassoon

Krystal Tunnicliffe, piano

July 28, 3pm, The Milton Rooms, Malton

Dementia-friendly Concert

Siân Dicker, soprano

Krystal Tunnicliffe, piano

Harpsichordist Richard Egarr: A Byrde In The Hande candlelit concert

July 28, 7pm, Duncombe Park

Stephen Kovacevich, piano

July 28, 9.30pm, St Gregory’s Minster, Kirkdale

Late-Night Candlelit Concert

Richard Egarr, harpsichord

July 29, 11am, St Peter’s Church, Norton

Inner City Brass

July 29, 3pm to 5pm, James Holt Concert Hall, Kirkbymoorside

Brass masterclass

Lucienne Renaudin Vary

July 29, 7pm, St Peter’s Church, Norton

A Garden Of Good And Evil

Philharmonia Baroque

July 30, 11am, All Saints’ Church, Hovingham

Siân Dicker, soprano

Krystal Tunnicliffe, piano

July 30, 3pm, The Galtres Centre, Easingwold

Lemn Sissay

My Name Is Why

July 30, 6pm, Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering

Pre-concert talk

July 30, 7.30pm, Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering

Looking West

July 31, 3pm, The Worsley Arms, Hovingham

Jazz in the Garden

July 31, 5pm, All Saints’ Church, Hovingham

Festival Service

July 31, 6.30pm, Hovingham Hall

Final Gala Concert

Royal Northern Sinfonia

Lucienne Renaudin Vary, trumpet

Post-festival concert: October 29, 7.30pm, York Minster

Hallé Orchestra and Chorus

Verdi: Requiem

Natalya Romaniw, soprano

Alice Coote, mezzo-soprano

Thomas Atkins, tenor

James Platt, bass

Sir Mark Elder, conductor

Pete Bearder speaks truth to power in Homer To Hip Hop lecture for Say Owt and York Literature Festival at The Crescent

Pete Bearder: Speaking the truth to power at The Crescent on June 19

SAY Owt, York’s performance poetry forum, teams up with York Literature Festival to present author and poet Pete “The Temp” Bearder in Homer To Hip Hop at The Crescent, York, on June 19.

Bearder’s 7.30pm performance lecture on a people’s history of spoken word and poetry will be “part gig, part TedTalk, part party” as he speaks truth to power.

Introducing Bearder’s show, Say Owt artistic director Henry Raby says: “As we enter the post-Covid comeback, meet the artistic revivals that have remade the world from the bottom up.

“Find out why wordsmiths have always been vilified, feared and revered, from the ballad singers and Beat poets, to the icons of dub, punk and hip hop. The spoken word has always been the most immediate tool of cultural revival. This show brings a proud history to life and asks what we can do with it next.”

Say Owt artistic director Henry Raby

Former national Poetry Slam champion, spoken word poet, author and comic Bearder brings to life the poetic movements that have shaped history. His work has been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and Newsnight and his Homer To Hip Hop show follows the release of his ground-breaking book Stage Invasion: Poetry & The Spoken Word Renaissance.

Support on June 19 comes from Raby, Say Owt’s “token punk poet”, who has appeared at festivals across the UK and on BBC Radio York. “Althea Thall will be bringing her story-telling energy too and, finally, Jonny Crawshaw will be DJing a hip-hop set afterwards,” says Henry.

Tickets cost £10 via

The poster for Pete “The Temp” Bearder’s Homer To Hip Hop tour show

Passion drives football convert Sue Clayton’s portrait project marking York City’s centenary as promotion is clinched

Sue Clayton’s portrait of Michael Miles, creator of the Y-Front fanzine, whose conversation with Sue on a park bench led to her York City centenary project

IT began with a chance conversation on a Museum Gardens bench on a summer’s day.

It ended with 140 portraits by a Wigginton artist from a family of football haters who became a season ticket holder, cheering on York City at the LNER Community Stadium as promotion to the National League was clinched last Saturday.

Sue Clayton’s portraits will be revealed en masse on Saturday at the York City Football Club Fans’ Centenary Celebration at  Cliffe Village Institute, near Selby, where Bubwith-born club legend Chris Topping (463 appearances,1968-1978) will perform the opening ceremony at the 10am to 4pm event.

A3 prints of the entire collection will be available for the first time at the celebration: mounted and ready to pop into a frame for £25 each or £40 for a framed version.  

Wigginton artist and York City supporter Sue Clayton with her 140 portraits

“This year-long project came about from having a chat last year with Michael Miles, a lifelong York City fan who creates the Y-Front fanzine,” says Sue. “The passion Michael showed for his club captured my attention: it was one of those conversations where someone’s passion for something sparks your own interest to listen to them. 

“I suggested I should paint a few fan portraits. Then, when he mentioned it would be the club’s centenary this year, I realised a new art project was germinating in my mind and I was fizzing with creativity.”

At first, Sue anticipated painting maybe ten portraits from the photographs and stories sent to her. Instead, the project grew and grew, not even stopping at 100 paintings to mark 100 years.

“It was so strange really, a total perseverance on my behalf, with many 3am finishes,” she says. “In reality it may have been prudent to stop when I reached 100 but I still had images I wanted to paint; I wanted to do the fans justice.”

Baby: Sue Clayton’s painting of York City’s “youngest supporter”

Each 30cm square in size, the portraits span multiple media, from watercolours to oils, acrylics to charcoal, pencil to collage. “In the collection, there are brides, babies, fans pictured in celebration sadly no longer with us, sisters, dads and sons, friendships…the full range of life in all its glorious forms,” says Sue, who is now adding former players to her portrait portfolio.

She is drawn to “painting portraits of people whose stories I want to tell”, such as her exhibition of children and young adults with Down Syndrome, entitled 21, on display in the Tent of Hope at the NHS York Vaccination Centre at Askham Bar, York, last  May and June.

“I’m equally passionate about making art accessible to all and love the concept of art meeting football,” she says. “A wonderful year-long journey has led me to the fantastic warmth of the fan community. From knowing so little about football, my son James and I are now fully signed-up season ticket holders roaring with the crowds on the terraces, culminating in the amazing play-off final last weekend.”  

Sue believes passion creates the best portraits. “As an artist, I was on a roll with this project and became very quickly immersed within it. The range and scope of the photos sent in could let my imagination free, and it enabled me to paint such a range of ages within the series,” she says.

Match of the day at Bootham Crescent: A newly married couple at York City’s former ground, as painted by Sue Clayton

“From a sitter’s perspective, I think the fan in the act of celebrating, oblivious to all, just consumed with joy, is really delicious to paint.  Equally, the moment capturing a fan watching the team intensely, apprehension etched on their face tells a great story.”

Saturday’s celebration is taking place at Cliffe on account of Michael Miles living there. “There’s quite a gathering of fans in the village, who call themselves ‘The Cliffe Minstermen’,” says Sue.

“Michael was eager to create an event just for the fans. The response has been phenomenal, with offers of help, sponsorship from the fans and fabulous raffle prizes donated. It’s a perfect chance to gather and celebrate not just the centenary but last week’s victory to go up a division.”

Look out for Jack Radcliffe’s match reports from the 2021-2022 season, on full display on Saturday. “Jack, who, like my son James, has Down Syndrome, has captured the hearts of the team, in particular goalie Pete Jameson, and the fans too,” says Sue. “His match reports are superb with such honesty and integrity.  He led the team on to the pitch for the final game and did the lap of honour with them.”

The poster for Saturday’s York City FC Fans’ Centenary Celebration

“Football-type” food and drink will be available; a colouring competition for children promises fabulous prizes, and the raffle prizes will range from football kits and signed footballs, to a portrait commission from Sue and signed lyrics from Shed Seven’s Rick Witter for the club’s terrace anthem, Chasing City Rainbows.

The legacy of Sue’s portraits will build. “Work will begin soon on a book about the portrait project and some of the wonderful stories behind the faces,” she says. “I believe so strongly that these stories should not be lost and want them to be part of the archives for the club’s centenary.

“The portraits will form a large art installation inside the fanzone at the LNER Community Stadium later in the year as a permanent feature, and the Give It A Go Joe drama group has expressed an interest in developing these stories further to create some community theatre. Not bad from a chat on a park bench, eh?!”

As for the future of the original portraits, “some will go on display in York Hospital, and I would dearly love to show them again in their entirety in York centre before the collection will be broken up at the end of the year.  If any galleries, museums or community spaces are interested, I would love to hear from them via”

CharlesHutchPress has a hatful of questions for artist Sue Clayton

That winning feeling: Portrait artist Sue Clayton, her son James, 20, and daughter Lily, 17, celebrate York City’s promotion-clinching victory over Boston United last Saturday

Just how exciting was last Saturday’s play-off final?

“OH my!!  Fab-u-lous!!  I was already in bits when Jack [Radcliffe] led out the players to start the game.  What a superstar Jack is and a great ambassador for the club.  When that second goal went in, it was just amazing! 

“The feeling of ‘we’ve got this…we’ve really got this’!   Y-Front fanzine editor Michael Miles said he’d worked out he’d been supporting York for 34 years with three promotions; James and I come along and we’re promoted in our first year!  Who knows what next season will bring at this rate!”

Were the stories you were sent as important as the photographs you transformed into portraits?

“Often the stories came after the photos were sent. I can’t say they directly informed my paintings but I did have a wry smile on my face with some as fans had told me some of their escapades. 

Sue Clayton’s portrait of York City supporter Phil, “painted in blue and yellow as a testament to his daily posts on Twitter as he worked as a teacher in Ukraine”

“The one portrait that did affect me profoundly was the painting of Phil, the fan who was working as a teacher in Ukraine. His daily posts on Twitter, sharing the terror of the situation, haunted me. His portrait is painted in blue and yellow as a testament to this time.

“I’m hoping that more anecdotes and tales will emerge at Saturday’s event as the fans see the whole collection. There will be a book there to write down any memories and I will be interviewing fans as my next mini-project to get those stories down before they are lost.”  

How did you settle on the 30cm square size and the wide range of materials for the portraits? 

“I decided on the 30cm square format as I knew there would be a lot of paintings.  I like a square, I feel it’s more contemporary and I always feel it works well if I want to closely crop an image and focus in on the action of the face. 

City Till We Die: Sisters show their colours in Sue Clayton’s painting

“I’ve used a wide range of mediums because that’s me, I suppose!  I enjoy the luscious butteryness of oils, the quick drying and layering of acrylics and the wonderful flow of watercolours. Spoilt for choice!

“I did worry that the whole collection might not adhere to one particular style: would people realise they were all by the same artist?  It’s often advised to pursue a particular style so that your work is recognisable, but I’ve long decided to just do ‘me’ and try not to play to any rules.”

Last year, when announcing this project in CharlesHutchPress, you said you were “not a follower of football myself”. Earlier this month, you told the Yorkshire Post: “I grew up in a football-hating family, never watched football and we were the least sporting family going.” How come you have caught the York City bug, along with James, both becoming season ticket holders? 

“Well, obviously I didn’t know what I was missing!  Initially, I suppose I went for a bit of research to find out what it was all about.  I soon became caught up with the match; it was a glorious day and the season had just begun. Having a season ticket meant I saw the same faces each match; a smile and a nod to other fans led on to conversations and before you know it ,you are part of a community.

Sue Clayton’s portrait of former York City defender Chris Topping, a promotion winner in 1971 and 1974, who will open Saturday’s centenary fan celebration at Cliffe Village Institute

“It’s not just the game of football, it’s the fans, the people who work with the team, the stadium, the traditions.  It has also become a chance to share something special with James.”  

Saturday’s centenary event carries the promise of “full football-type food and drink”. What represents such delights to you?!

“The warm smell of a fresh pie wafting by as the fans make their way to the seats (I have got to say, I have never tasted anything so good as the pie in Bromley!)  I notice quite a few fans still like their Bovril. 

“For the event on Saturday, the lads have arranged local pies, pasties, sausage rolls and peas. There’ll also be a curry or chilli and chips.”

York City cult hero Richard Brodie, bustling centre forward in the 2007-2010 seasons and for a 2016-2017 second coming, nicknamed Angel of the North on account of his arms-outstretched goal celebration. “Such a lovely chap, and he’s still passionate about City,” says Sue

How come Rick Witter is donating his Chasing City Rainbows lyrics to Saturday’s celebration?

“Shed Seven’s Chasing Rainbows was adopted as York City’s song when it came out in 1996 and was sung on the terraces by City fans.  It can be heard at most matches.  Rick has kindly supported Saturday’s raffle for the fans by sending in a hand-written, reworded version for the fans to now say ‘Chasing City Rainbows’. A lovely collector’s piece for both City fans and music fans.”

How will the portrait book project progress?

“The book is still an embryo of an idea but it will happen!  I’d love for all the images to be recorded in one book alongside the fans’ stories.  I kind of feel it is my duty to record this project, so that it’s not forgotten, archived away for future fans, along with the stories.  My daughter Lily is a passionate reader and writer, so this will be a joint project with her.”

Iain Dunn, York City winger (1988-1991) turned matchday summariser for BBC Radio York, portrayed in City red and blue by Sue Clayton

When will your portrait  installation be in place at the LNER Community Stadium?

“No date as yet, as I have only just finished painting them.  Talks will begin soon to get the ball in motion.” 

What will be your next project?

“The book – a new, uncharted territory for me.  I’ll also work on a range of portraits of ex- players. There’s a wonderful network out there; fans are loyal and never forget their heroes, so I think it’s time to honour them. 

“But hey, who knows? I might find myself chatting to someone on a park bench again and that spark of an idea begins again. It certainly opened up a whole new exciting challenge for me last time.”

A poster collage of Sue Clayton’s portraits

Kinks Kovered! Two Big Egos In A Small Car podcasters interview author Martin Hutchinson in Episode 86

The cover artwork for Martin Hutchinson’s On Track…The Kinks Every Album, Every Song, published by Burning Shed Books

ON Track…The Kinks Every Album, Every Song is the labour-of-love deep dive from music journalist, comedy writer and TV quizzer Martin Hutchinson.

In Episode 86 of Two Big Egos In A Small Car, culture podcasters Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson [no relation] interview Martin about why he chose The Kinks for his debut book and what research he undertook.

Graham and Martin then discuss why The Kinks and Ray Davies stood out, assessing their standing in rock history and why they were never rated as an albums band at their Sixties and Seventies’ peak.

Martin reveals his favourite Kinks songs and albums and speculates whether Ray and brother Dave will ever make up and tour again.

To listen, here is the link:

Putting art on the map: York Open Studios busier than ever but Staithes Festival stalls

Whimsical automata maker Philip Wilkinson: Making his York Open Studios debut at 241 Burton Stone Lane, York

THE sun is out for weekend two of the biggest ever York Open Studios but Staithes Festival of Arts and Heritage “can’t continue”.

Dormant in the Covid years of 2020 and 2021, now a shortage of locations and manpower has brought down the festival curtain, perhaps permanently, after the scrapping of the 2022 event in the North Yorkshire fishing village.

Blame the “staycation effect” that fills the cottages all year round, squeezing out artists, say the organisers of this volunteer-run event. “We feel that the model we based the SFAH on is no longer workable and that if the festival were to come back in any form it would need a radical re-think,” reads the official announcement. “We regret we must cancel SFAH 2022 and for the foreseeable future.”

Two Bigs Egos In A Small Car arts podcasters Graham Chalmers and Charles Hutchinson discuss the contrasting fortunes of these two long-running celebrations of northern art and crafts in Episode 85.

What else is bothering the chatty art duo? Under discussion are: Oscars 2022, the fallout; Sheffield Leadmill’s future; Michael Bay’s hyper-action movie Ambulance; writer Harry Sword versus Public Service Broadcasting; Magritte, the back story. Oh, and what is Clifford’s Tower?

To listen, go to:

To discover who and where to check out at York Open Studios, from 10am to 5pm today and tomorrow, visit: