Vintage Sitwell photographs at Woodend donated to Scarborough Museums Trust

Andrew Clay, chief executive of Scarborough Museums Trust, with archive material donated by William Sitwell in the Sitwell Library at Woodend, Scarborough. Picture: Tony Bartholomew.

UNIQUE vintage photographs depicting Woodend, in its days as the private Scarborough summer home of the Sitwell literary family, have been donated to Scarborough Museums Trust by a descendant, journalist William Sitwell.

William is the grandson of writer Sacheverell Sitwell, who, together with brother Osbert and sister Edith, spent many summers at the house in The Crescent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The most famous of the three siblings, William’s great-aunt Edith, was born at Woodend in 1887. William writes for The Daily Telegraph, among other publications, and is a judge on BBC1’s MasterChef.

The Sitwell conservatory at Woodend, Scarborough, in the late 19th or early 20th century. Copyright: Scarborough Museums Trust

When clearing out family belongings, he came across photos that show Woodend, now a creative industries centre, in its heyday as a family home, with a spacious entrance hall, busy living rooms and a palm-filled glasshouse.

William Sitwell says: “I’ve visited Scarborough on many occasions and have always relished a trip to Woodend, now a creative hub run by a collection of talented people my ancestors would be proud of.

“But it’s always strange walking around a museum and wondering what it must have been like as a home, with the presence of my eccentric forebears. When I came across these old photographs, the settings looked familiar and then I realised they were of Woodend, fully furnished and looking very Victorian.

The Sitwell conservatory today, now the Woodend Gallery. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

“I knew at once that they should be sent to Andrew Clay [chief executive of Scarborough Museums Trust], who would cherish them and share them with visitors. They bring a wonderful insight to a lost era.”

Clay says: “The vintage photographs of Woodend are delightful. We have often wondered what these rooms looked like when the Sitwell family lived here and now we have a tantalising glimpse of Woodend in that era.

“It is fascinating to see the beautiful furnishings that once adorned these spaces. They conjure up a long-lost age of elegance and remind us today how sophisticated life on The Crescent really was. We are very grateful to William Sitwell for making this gift and we look forward to keeping in touch.”

Scarborough Museums Trust’s venues – Scarborough Art Gallery, the Rotunda Museum and the Woodend Gallery – are closed during Lockdown 3, but the trust hopes to be able to put the photographs on public display as soon as possible.

Another room at Woodend, from the Sitwell archive material donated to Scarborough Museums Trust by William Sitwell

Explore York libraries to provide essential services during Lockdown 3

York Explore Library and Archive

EXPLORE libraries in York will stay open during Lockdown 3 for essential services.

Books will be available through click and collect, while access to computers and printing will be given to people who do not have these at home. All books at present on loan will be renewed until March 31 2021. 

Explore centres in York, Acomb and Tang Hall will be open during the lockdown by pre-booked appointment only from Monday to Saturday. Computer access will be available at all three sites, with click-and-collect books available only from Acomb and Tang Hall.

The Reading Café at Rowntree Park will open every day for takeaway. All other Explore libraries and reading cafés in the city will be closed. The City Archives at York Explore are closed too, but archivists can answer questions by email. 

Online, Explore is offering free e-Books and audiobooks for all ages, free newspapers and magazines from around the world via the PressReader app, and a varied events programme via Zoom, featuring well-known authors, together with workshops and activities.

Explore’s specialist team has put together information to support people, covering everything from home schooling to maintaining health and wellbeing. All links can be found at www.exploreyork.org.uk

Fiona Williams, Explore’s chief executive, says: “Giving access to our pcs [personal computers] means everyone in York has access to the internet and isn’t digitally excluded.

“Opening at York, Acomb and Tang Hall provides a good coverage across the whole city. We will be monitoring usage and feedback and will be able to make changes in response.

“We have made everyone’s books due back on March 31, so no-one has to worry about fines. We will also continue with developing more online services in addition to those already available.”

Fiona adds: “I’m happy that our takeaway service from Rowntree Park Reading Café is available seven days a week. Many people take their exercise in the park and this means they can pick up a coffee.  It’s a shame that we’re back here in another lockdown, but we will hope that there’s a better future in a few months.” 

Councillor Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, leisure and communities, says: “As the city comes together once again to fight Coronavirus and stay home as much as possible, it’s great to see our libraries adapt to continue essential services and offer resources for residents across the city.

“From story books for children staying home, to Zoom courses and workshops for those of us learning a new skill this lockdown, York’s libraries continue to offer something for everyone.

“I want to thank the brilliant staff and volunteers at Explore, and all those in community services, who are adapting to the new lockdown and working hard to serve the residents of York at this critical time.” 

Full details, such as opening hours during lockdown and how to book an appointment, can be found at https://exploreyork.org.uk/explore-during-lockdown/.

More Things To Do in and around York and at home in 2021, whatever barriers may yet lie ahead. List No 23, courtesy of The Press

Grayson Perry: Two shows in York in 2021; one an exhibition of “Lost Pots” at York Art Gallery, the other, his existentialist gig, A Show For Normal People, at York Barbican

AFTER a year where killjoy Covid-19 re-wrote the arts and events diary over and over again, here comes 2021, when the pandemic will still have a Red Pen influence.

Armed with a pantomime fairy’s magic wand rather than Madame Arcati’s crystal ball from Blithe Spirit, when what we need is a jab in the arm pronto, Charles Hutchinson picks out potential highlights from the New Year ahead that York will start in Tier 3.

Velma Celli: Had planned to present A Brief History Of Drag at Theatre @41 Monkgate in January; now heading online at home instead

Back on screen: Velma Celli, Large & Lit In Lockdown Again, streaming on January 8

AFTER his “Fleshius Creepius” panto villain in York Stage’s Jack And The Beanstalk, Ian Stroughair was planning to pull on his drag rags for a live Velma Celli show in January, and maybe more shows to follow, at his adopted winter home of Theatre @41 Monkgate.

Instead, he writes: “Darlings, as we head back into a lockdown in York, I am back on the streaming! My first show is next Friday at 8pm. I would love you to join me for an hour of camp cabaret fun! Get those requests and shout-outs in!” Tickets for Virtual Velma start at £10 via http://bit.ly/3nVaa4N; expect an online show every Friday from Ian’s new riverside abode.

Shed Seven: Headlining all-Yorkshire bill at The Piece Hall, Halifax, in the summer

Open-air one-off event of the summer: Shed Seven, The Piece Hall, Halifax, June 26

FRESH from releasing live album Another Night, Another Town as a reminder of what everyone has had to miss in 2020, Shed Seven have confirmed their Piece Hall headliner in Halifax has been rearranged for next summer.

The Sheds have picked an all-Yorkshire support bill of Leeds bands The Wedding Present and The Pigeon Detectives and fast-rising fellow York act Skylights. For tickets, go to lunatickets.co.uk or seetickets.com.

Cocktail Party 1989, copyright of Grayson Perry/Victoria Miro, from the Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years exhibition, opening at CoCA, York Art Gallery, in May

Most anticipated York exhibition of 2021: Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years, York Art Gallery, May 28 to September 5

CHANNEL 4’s  champion of people’s art in lockdown, Grayson Perry, will present his Covid-crocked 2020 exhibition of “lost pots” at the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) next spring and summer instead.

The Pre-Therapy Years reassembles Perry’s earliest forays into ceramics; 70 “explosive and creative works” he made between 1982 and 1994. Look out too for the potter, painter, TV presenter and social commentator’s existentialist September 6 gig at York Barbican: Grayson Perry: A Show For Normal People, wherein he will “distract you from the very meaninglessness of life in the way only a man in a dress can”.

Chris Moreno: No festive cheer at Christmas, but now he looks forward to presenting The Great Yorkshire Easter Pantomime, Aladdin, on Knavesmire, York, in spring 2021

A pantomime in the spring? Yes, The Great Yorkshire Easter Pantomime in a tent on Knavesmire, York, March 19 to April 11

CHRIS Moreno, director of Three Bears’ Productions four pantomimes at the Grand Opera House from 2016 to 2019, will direct York’s first ever “tentomime”, Aladdin, this spring with a cast of “21 colourful characters”.

The Great Yorkshire Easter Pantomime will be presented in the luxurious, heated Tented Palace, Knavesmire, in a socially distanced configuration compliant with Covid-19 guidance.

The big top will have a capacity of 976 in tiered, cushioned seating, while the stage will span 50 metres, comprising a palace façade, projected scenery and magical special effects. Look out for the flying carpets.

Going solo: Julie Hesmondhalgh in The Greatest Play In The History Of The World at York Theatre Royal from February 16

Falling in love again with theatre: The Love Season at York Theatre Royal, February 14 to April 21

ON December 15, York Theatre Royal announced plans to reopen on St Valentine’s Day for The Love Season, with the audience capacity reduced from 750 to a socially distanced 345.

Full details will be confirmed in the New Year with tickets going on sale on January 8, and that remains the case, says chief executive Tom Bird, after hearing yesterday afternoon’s statement to the House of Commons by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

“We’re carrying on with our plans, including presenting Coronation Street and Broadchurch actor Julie Hesmondhalgh in husband Ian Kershaw’s one-woman play, The Greatest Play In The History Of The World, from February 16 to 20,” he confirmed.

Van Morrison: A brace of bracing nights at York Barbican in May

Six of the best at York Barbican in 2021

YORK Barbican has remained closed since the March lockdown, foregoing even the UK Snooker Championships in November and December.

A reopening date is yet to be announced but mark these shows in your diary, if only in pencil: Rob Brydon, A Night Of Songs & Laughter, April 14; Jimmy Carr, Terribly Funny, May 2; country duo The Shires, May 23; Van Morrison, May 25 and 26; Paul Weller, June 29, and Rufus Wainwright, Unfollow The Rules Tour, October 13.

Ceramicist Beccy Ridsdel: Looking forward to the 20th anniversary of York Open Studios

Anniversary celebration of the year: York Open Studios, April 17 and 18; 24 and 25, 10am to 5pm

2020 turned into a virtual Open Studios with displays online and in windows, but already 140 artists and makers are confirmed for the 20th anniversary event in the spring when they will show and sell their work within their homes and workspaces.

Many of 2020’s selected artists have deferred their space to 2021, but new additions will be announced soon, the website teases. “We’re channelling the optimism and enthusiasm from all our artists to ensure this year’s 20th show is one of the best,” says event co-founder and ceramicist Beccy Ridsdel.

Dr Delma Tomlin: Administrative director of the 2021 York Early Music Festival, running from July 9 to 17

And what about?

Festivals galore, as always, in the self-anointed “City of Festivals”. Coming up are the Jorvik Viking Festival; York Fashion Week; York Literature Festival; York Early Music Festival; York Festival of Ideas, the Aesthetica Short Film Festival and more besides. 

A Christmas message from CharlesHutchPress, dear reader

HERE’S to more going out and less staying in in 2021, once the jabs go to work at large.

In the meantime, thank you to all those in the world of arts and culture who have still made it worth running this site by finding ways to entertain, enlighten and excite in 2020 by thinking and acting outside the box, against the odds and the tide of the killjoy pandemic.

Merry Yorkshire Christmas, in whatever minimalist form you will be gathering.

Charles H

Explore York libraries, archives and reading cafes reopen this week after Lockdown 2

EXPLORE York libraries, archives and reading cafés will re-open for browsing and drop-ins from this week post-Lockdown 2.

The reading cafés at Hungate and Rowntree Park will resume eating-in and takeaway service from today (2/12/2020). On Friday (4/12/2020), all libraries will re-open for drop-ins, browsing and computer and printer use.

The Archives at York Explore will be open for pre-booked appointments from Friday; reading cafés at York Explore, Acomb and Tang Hall will open from that day too. 

Full information can be found at https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/were-back/

Explore York continues to provide a range of online Library At Home services:

* Online events and activities programme for people of all ages at: https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/digital/events-and-activities-this-autumn-and-winter/

* Free E-books and E-Audiobooks to borrow at: https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/digital/e-books

* Free newspapers and magazines via Press Reader at:  https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/digital/e-magazines/

In a nutshell…

YORK, Scarborough, Harrogate and North Yorkshire will be in Tier 2 from the end of Lockdown 2.

South and West Yorkshire and the Humber are doomed to Tier 3.

CharlesHutchPress will keep an eye on the impact on the arts: what’s on, what’s off, what’s what, in York and beyond.

As for London, the most densely populated city in the UK? Tier 2. What a surprise. The North-South divide rolls on…

Ground control to Major Tim, take your debut tour to York Barbican next November

Peake performance: Astronaut Tim Peake will re-live his journey into space at York Barbican next November

BRITISH astronaut Tim Peake’s debut tour show, My Journey To Space, will touch down at York Barbican on November 2 2021. Ticket sales will be launched on Friday at 10am at yorkbarbican.co.uk.

In December 2015, the European Space Agency spaceman became the first Brit to visit the International Space Station to conduct a spacewalk – and run a marathon! – while orbiting Planet Earth almost 3,000 times.

Major Peake, 48, will be “your personal guide through life in space, with unprecedented access, breath-taking photographs, and never-before-seen incredible footage”, as the former barman re-lives his epic and thrilling journey to the International Space Station.

He will give an insight into an astronaut’s pathway to space and back: from training to launch, spacewalk to re-entry as he reveals the secrets, the science and the everyday wonders of how and why humans journey into space.

Sharing his passion for aviation, exploration and adventure, he will recall the sights, the smells, the fear, the exhilaration, of his six-month mission, together with the deep and abiding wonderment of the view from space of the place we call home. “It’s impossible to look down on Earth from space and not be mesmerised by the fragile beauty of our planet,” he says.

Major Peake had been booked to bring his show Limitless to York Theatre Royal on October 11 until the Coronavirus pandemic intervened. That night he would have reflected on the surprising journey that made him the first Briton in space for nearly 20 years and the first ever to complete a spacewalk, when he repaired the space station’s power supply with NASA astronaut Tim Kopra.

Make space in your diary for Major Tim Peake’s York Barbican show on his debut tour

Those tales would have covered his time training in the British Army and as an Apache helicopter pilot and flight instructor deployed to Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.  

Major Peake was to have discussed how it felt to be selected for the European Space Agency from more than 8,000 candidates and the six years of training that followed; learning Russian on the icy plains of Siberia, and coping with darkness and claustrophobia in the caves of Sardinia and under the oceans of the United States. 

The Limitless: In Conversation with Astronaut Tim Peake event took its title from his autobiography, Limitless, whose publication by Century still went ahead on October 15.

Every ticket for this Penguin Live show – one of only five on the autumn tour – was to have included a signed copy of his £20 memoir.

Major Peake attended the UK Schools Space Conference at the University of York’s department of physics in November 2016 and gave a public lecture there on the highs and lows of life aboard the International Space Station in September 2017.

The Soyuz TMA-19M descent module, the capsule that transported Major Peake safely back to Earth, went on display at the National Railway Museum, York, in January 2018, complemented by a space-age virtual reality experience narrated by the astronaut himself.

How saying farewell to David Bowie in rabbit form set scribbler Terry Brett on his way to penning cartoon book for hospice UPDATED 24/11/2020

Bertt deBaldock’s first #GoodRabbitGone: David Bowie

PYRAMID Gallery owner Terry Brett has set a target of £3,000 to raise for St Leonard’s Hospice, in York, with his book of self-penned cartoons of celebrity memorials, portrayed as rabbits.

While his shop in Stonegate, York, has been closed for the second lockdown, Terry has placed his books and a collecting tin on a table outside. “To help things along, I’ve been putting framed pictures and small craft gifts on there that can be taken away for free or a small donation,” he says.

“So far, after three weeks of collecting, including donations via Just Giving, I’ve raised more than £700 for the hospice.”

It all began with the exit stage left of David Bowie on January 10 2016, the day the music died in a year when it died again and again and again. Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael on Christmas Day.

Bertt appropriates a prop comedic effect from Acorn Antiques for his goodbye to Victoria Wood

“I had to do something when I heard about Bowie’s death. So I drew him as a rabbit. Bertt x,” explains the introduction to Good Rabbits Gone, a cartoon compendium of death notices for “inspiring individuals, all of them ‘one in a million’, who passed into their own preferred alternative dimension during the years between 2016 and January 2020.”

Bertt deBaldock is the nom de scribble of Terry Brett, colour-blind artist, ukulele player, long-ago chartered surveyor and now long-running proprietor of Pyramid Gallery, in Stonegate, York, whose book is available in a limited-edition print run of 300 copies.

Why rabbits, you may be asking. “I grew up surrounded by fields that were full of hares and rabbits,” says Terry. “The hares are very proud and confident creatures, but rabbits are extremely vulnerable. They are more successful than hares, because they are constantly on the look-out for trouble. Nice that the meekest creature on the planet is also one of the most prolific and content.

Pyramid Gallery owner and curator Terry Brett, aka cartoon scribbler Bertt deBaldock, with a stand of his Good Rabbits Gone books outside his shop in Stonegate, York

“The cartoon image was inspired by my two daughters’ pet rabbit that I looked after. I’ve been drawing a cartoon of that rabbit in a comic-style Christmas card for 25 years. When Bowie died in 2016, I drew the rabbit with a lightning flash [from the Aladdin Sane album cover], just as a way of acknowledging the man. Then I put it on Twitter and it started an obsession!”

That very first #GoodRabbitGone read: “Ground control to Major Tom, There’s something wrong! 10 January 2016, age 69. The man who sold the world”. “Bowie was such a vulnerable young man trying to find his way as a performance artist who fortuitously discovered he could write brilliant songs and re-invent pop music to express himself,” says Terry.

“I think he struggled with the stardom and hid behind invented personas. But in the end, he became himself again – and really quite nice. We all do this. Even Donald Trump might! (Though he probably hasn’t got enough decades left to do so).

In each cartoon valedictory, “drawn in a rush at the time of passing” for publishing on Twitter and Facebook, the wording and imagery feed off each other: affirmation of how we recollect both visually and verbally.

Firestarter extinguished: Bertt’s farewell to The Prodigy’s Keith Flint

““His invented personas were an important part of his act; that’s why it felt good to draw an image of Bowie on the day he died. On later Good Rabbits, I started to try and capture the subject’s face and character,” says Terry.

“I find great satisfaction in the process of reading up about the individual and then trying to capture the character. The words chosen to go with the cartoon become important later, to add humour or some sort of gravitas.

“I’m trying to express some sort of reason as to why that individual gained notoriety. It’s not always easy, but in the process of finding importance I become quite attached to the character. If I cannot find something that feels important, I wait until an image comes that amuses me.”

2016 turned into the annus horribilis of impactful deaths: Sir George Martin; Sir Terry Wogan; Ronnie Corbett; Victoria Wood; Muhammad Ali, the knock-outs kept coming. Was it a pure coincidence that Terry started the series that year?

And finally: Bertt responds to the news of the passing of newsreader Richard Baker

“It was because Bowie’s death moved me,” he says. “I also learnt to play and sing The Man Who Sold The World on my ukulele on the same day, which I played at our band rehearsal that evening.

“This was the year that I turned 60. I was quite shocked that someone who had been such an important part of my culture had died in his sixties. When you are 50-something, old age seems decades away. At 60, you suddenly wonder ‘where did the previous decade go?’”

Bertt’s 2016 list took in R.I.P. America, 8 November 2016, The Day They Elected To Trump. “I have a general rule, not to do politicians or make political comment. I am apolitical, as is this rabbit,” he wrote. “However, I felt so sad to witness this day. It felt like morality and fairness had been washed away.”

Terry says: “I’m naturally inclined to think of myself as left of centre and last year I joined the Green Party for the first time, just to encourage them. I’ve been an environmental campaigner since the 1980s, when I was on the Greenpeace payroll as a fundraising coordinator.

“I felt very sad to see Trump elected as president, so I drew the flag as a rabbit, with all the stars sliding off,” says Terry, recalling his reaction on November 8 2016

“Having said that, I was born into a very right-wing society and have respect for the views of many people I know who have right-wing views. To me, party politics are a distraction from the main issues such as respect, kindness, fairness and love for one another.”

Trump’s election resulted from left and right arguing between themselves about ideology, suggests Terry. “They should be more focused on core values and they would find that they want the same thing, which is the respect of others,” he argues.

“Trump’s objectionable behaviour and the pedalling of false opinions stirred up a crazed following that has been very detrimental to society in the USA and here in the UK. I felt very sad to see Trump elected as president, so I drew the flag as a rabbit, with all the stars sliding off.”

Terry used to keep a list of deaths through the year, writing them down in a notebook by the side of his bed while listening to Today on BBC Radio 4. “But the internet has made me a bit lazy; it’s so easy to look them up now!” he says.

Terry Brett holds a copy of Bertt deBaldock’s cartoon book, compiled in aid of St Leonard’s Hospice

Good Rabbits Gone Volume One In A Million takes in, for example, Sir Roger Moore (Shaken: 14 October 1927; Not Stirred: 23 May 2017), Sir Ken Dodd (Tickled to death 11 March 2018) The Prodigy’s Keith “Firestarter” Flint (Sparked: 17 September 1969; Snuffed: 4 March 2019). Note the witty yet poignant wording each time.

“When I draw the cartoon, I scribble a few words that come to mind. Later, I started to put them in the book and erased the original words,” says Terry. “I started to think of synonyms for ‘birth’ and ‘death’ that were appropriate to the individual – maybe a line from a song lyric or song title.

“In the case of barcode inventor Norman Joseph Woodland – my favourite of all in a late addition to the book – I wrote ‘Barcoded Sep 6 1921’ and ‘Beeped December 9 2012’. I like to imagine him reading it and laughing.”

What qualities make someone qualify at Bertt’s pearly gates for a memorial testimonial? Cultural icons? Influences on Terry’s life? His book shelves? “I need to feel a response and I need to feel stirred to make the effort to draw something,” he says. “I miss quite a lot of people and later feel I should have included them.

Terry Brett’s favourite: Bertt’s check-out to barcode inventor Norman Joseph Woodland

“So, the first quality is probably their notoriety, then I start to look at what they actually did. Some of these people I knew nothing about until they died. And there are two, Bryan ‘Yogi B’ Smith, my yoga teacher, and Don Walls, a wonderful poet, who were important to me in York but not at all famous.” 

Volume 2 is taking shape through 2020. “A few of my favourites are Vera Lynn, with a Spitfire and Hurricane flying over the white cliffs of Dover; Tim Brooke-Taylor; Terry Jones, as a naked rabbit playing the piano with the phrase ‘And Now For Something Completely Different’; Nobby Stiles, holding the World Cup in one hand and his false teeth in the other,” says Terry.

“There’s Toots Hibbert, the first musician to use the word ‘Reggay’ (sic); guitarist Julian Bream (Picked 15 July 1933; Plucked 14 August 2020); Peter Green, of Fleetwood Mac; actress Olivia de Havilland (Gone with the Wind)…

“…Supreme Court Judge and women’s rights campaigner Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Honor Blackman; Julie Felix; composer Ennio Morricone, entangled in spaghetti; the astronomer Heather Couper, and Beatles photographer Astrid Kirchherr.”

Gone Western: RIP composer Ennio Morricone, as recorded by Bertt

Terry finished the book in Lockdown 1 but the pandemic has prevented him from holding a proper launch at Pyramid Gallery. Instead, copies are available by emailing pyramidgallery.com or ringing 01904 641187, as well as from the table outside Pyramid Gallery. A suggested donation of £10 should be made to St Leonard’s Hospice at justgiving.com/fundraising/terry-brett5.

“It’s going well and it’s wonderful to be able to chat to people about it,” says Terry. “So, thank you for donating to a wonderful hospice that could not exist without public support.”

Terry’s father, Maurice Brett, founder of Stevenage Flying Club, died of prostate cancer in 2002. “He checked himself into a hospice only 24 hours before he died. I don’t think he could come to terms with it until he went to the hospice,” he says.

Olivia de Havilland has gone, as depicted by Bertt

“He was working on a magazine article about a vintage aeroplane three days prior to that. Going to the hospice gave him control and was a way of making the decision to let himself die. Hospices give the terminally ill dignity. They are run independently from the NHS and rely on fundraising. I hope they are still around when my time comes!”

Contemplating what gravestone humour may lie n store for Terry himself, he says: “Mine could say…something like ‘Borrowed a pencil: 19 April 1956; Burrowed with a pencil: ….,’ but I’ve always been a really bad time-keeper, so I think it should be ‘Late Again’.”

Covid-19 2020 has been a year of vulnerability, fretful uncertainty of both present and future and an increased awareness of death, making Good Rabbits Gone all the more pertinent.

“We’re all having to come to terms with our mortality,” says Terry. “Mine was the first generation in human history to be able to expect to live to over 60. Maybe that was a short-lived expectation. I hope not though!” 

The front cover of Good Rabbits Gone, Volume One In A Million, as “scribbled” by Terry Brett’s artist alter ego Bertt deBaldock

Should you be wondering No 1.

Why use the name Bertt deBaldock?

“A particular friend in my youth always called me ‘Bertt’ and I was born in Baldock, well, a mile away in a tiny hamlet called Bygrave, in north Hertfordshire,” explains Terry.

“I use the French preposition ‘de’ in the same way that it is used in the name ‘DeBrett’s’, which is basically a list of the most influential people, many of whom are deceased or about to be.”

Valedictory to Vera: Bertt’s last note for Vera Lynn

Should you be wondering No. 2

How does colour-blindness affect you in your artistic work, Terry?

“I’m red/green colour-blind…a bit of a handicap for anyone involved in the arts.  I prefer to call it ‘colour confusion’,” he says.

“I can actually see all colours, but sometimes one confuses another. I can tell green from brown, but sometimes get them mixed up.”

Spoken-word artist Liv Torc to host online Haiflu Ever After event for Explore York

EXPLORE York Libraries and Archives will play host to spoken-word artist Liv Torc’s online event, Haiflu Ever After, on November 10 from 7pm to 8pm.

Supported by Forward Arts Foundation, Torc will perform her poetry, discuss her pandemic poetry initiative, Project Haiflu, and invite audience members to share their own #haiflu in the chat panel.

Tuesday’s event forms part of Explore’s World Turned Upside Down 2020 #haiflu edition, where people in York are asked to send in haiku and doodles about their own experiences of lockdown since March.

These will be included in a limited-edition chapbook to be lodged in Explore’s archive as a record of this strange and challenging time.

Project Haiflu started in March 2020 when Torc asked her friends on Facebook to share how they were feeling about lockdown. This resulted in 12 weekly poetry films, combining original photography and music and a special event for libraries, all making for a compelling social history archive of these extraordinary days. Haiflu even ended up being featured on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Next, Torc intends to develop the project into a show to tour around British libraries and village halls, combining the haiflu films with her own poetry, which charts her experiences of lockdown, including a three-week hospital stay and a commission for the BBC Make A Difference campaign.

Online access to Haiflu Ever After is free but must be booked on Explore York’s Eventbrite page to receive a link to the Zoom meeting.

Liv Torc: “Plunges the vast caverns and dormant volcanoes of the human and planetary condition”

Who is Liv Torc?

LIVis a spoken-word artist, published poet and producer who “plunges the vast caverns and dormant volcanoes of the human and planetary condition”.

A BBC Radio 4 Slam winner, former Bard of Exeter and now co-host of The Hip Yak Poetry Shack, she runs the spoken-word stage at WOMAD, Project Haiflu and the Hip Yak Poetry School. 

In 2019, her poem on climate change in the face of motherhood, The Human Emergency, went viral across the world, seen by 80,000 people. That year too, she performed at Glastonbury Festival on the Poetry and Words stage and represented Somerset for the BBC’s National Poetry Day celebrations.

In 2020 she was chosen as one of four Siren Poets by Cape Farewell for a commission on climate change in the time of Covid and wrote and filmed a poem for the BBC’s Make A Difference campaign.

Find out more at livtorc.co.uk.

Open and shut case of what will happen to York’s Explore libraries in Lockdown 2

Read on….

YORK libraries will stay open for essential services in Lockdown 2, when the Explore York Libraries and Archives services will include free PC and internet access and click-and-collect books.

In a statement released today, Explore York said: “Explore’s libraries are an essential service for the people of York. They are essential for keeping people connected through free access to PCs and the internet.

“And they provide essential and significant support for everyone’s health and wellbeing too with free books, newspapers and online events to keep people of all ages entertained and informed during these challenging times.

“Therefore, Explore’s chief executive, Fiona Williams, is happy to confirm that she will be keeping some libraries open during the second national lockdown starting on November 5.”

Explore centres at York, Tang Hall and Acomb will be open from Tuesday to Saturday, starting from November 10, for pre-booked appointments with access to PCs and printers and pre-ordered books for collection. Explore’s cafes at Rowntree Park and Hungate will be open for takeaway service only.

All books due back during lockdown will be renewed automatically; likewise that will apply to all items on loan, so you do not have to worry about overdue charges.

To join the library online, visit https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/getting-a-library-card-or-yorkcard/ or send an email to contact@exploreyork.org.uk

All libraries will be closed from November 5 to 10 to prepare for the changes.

The full story brought to book:

Libraries open: Explore centres at Acomb, Tang Hall and York will be open for appointments only from Tuesday, November 10. All other libraries are closed. Be aware, there will be no drop-in or browsing at any library.

Opening hours at Acomb, Tang Hall and York will be Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm. Books can be pre-ordered for collection from Acomb, Tang Hall and York libraries. 

You can reserve books from the Explore catalogue as usual and the library will contact you when they are ready to collect. 

Or you can choose a Lucky Dip: complete the form for children or the form for adults and Explore will pick some books based on your preferences.

Computers and printing will be available at Acomb, Tang Hall and York libraries. Bookings will be for one hour only and must be made in advance, either online or by phone to the library you want to use.

Events:

Explore has a full programme of online live events and activities planned for November to keep adults and children entertained and informed 

E-library:

Books, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines are all free to borrow and available 24/7.

Library at Home:

Explore has gathered together a treasury of online links and information for children and families about reading, culture and creativity and archives and local history and to support health and wellbeing.

The Enquiries service will be operating as normal during office hours.

Home Library:

A doorstep delivery service will continue for vulnerable and housebound Home Library Service customers.

The Toy Library will be suspended during the lockdown period.

Archives:

The Archives Reading Room will be closed from November 5 in line with archives services nationally. 

Reading Cafes:

The reading cafes at Rowntree Park and Hungate will be open during the lockdown, operating a takeaway service. Reading cafes at York, Acomb and Tang Hall will be closed. 

All these changes will be operational from November 5.