Idea of the day at the online York Festival of Ideas: The Poverty of Covid-19 Responses, talk, 6pm, 9/6/2020

Philip Alston: Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

“WESTERN governments have loudly proclaimed the need for radical responses to the pandemic, but for the most part their lavish spending has doubled down on existing policies while paving the way for a whole new round of austerity policies.”

So says Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights from June 2014 to April 20 and a New York University School of Law professor to boot.

In this evening’s online talk, Australian-born Alston will examine responses to Covid-19 and the impact on those already experiencing poverty and inequality.

Booking is required at: eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-poverty-of-covid-19-responses-tickets-105532677078.

Brought to you remotely by the University of York, York Festival of Ideas is full of ideas until June 14, gathered under the new umbrella of Virtual Horizons. Visit yorkfestivalofideas.com/2020-online/.

Idea of the day at the online York Festival of Ideas: How To Grow A Human, 6pm talk, 8/6/2020

How To Grow A Human: Adventures In How We Are Made And Who We Are: Dr Philip Ball’s talk at the 2020 York Festival of Ideas this evening

SCIENCE writer Dr Philip Ball asks: “What does it mean to be human and to have a ‘self’ in the face of new scientific developments in genetic editing, cloning and the growth of tissues and organs outside the body?”

His question, posited at the online York Festival of Ideas this evening, was prompted by seeing his own skin cells used to grow clumps of new neurons that organise themselves into ‘mini-brains’.

Pondering the concepts of identity and biological individuality in his 6pm talk, he delves into cell biology, embryology and humanity’s deep evolutionary past when complex creatures like us emerged from single-celled life, as he offers a new perspective on how humans think about ourselves.

“In an age when we are increasingly encouraged to regard the ‘self’ as an abstract sequence of genetic information, or as a pattern of neural activity that might be ‘downloaded’ to a computer, he returns us to the body – to flesh and blood – and anchors a conception of personhood in this unique and ephemeral mortal coil,” says the York Festival of Ideas website.

“Ball, author of How To Build A Human, brings us back to ourselves, but in doing so, challenges old preconceptions and values about life and humanity. Prepare to rethink how we exist in the world.”

After his talk, subtitled Adventures In How We Are Made And Who We Are,  online festival-goers are invited to join Ball on Twitter for a live question-and-answer session at 7pm @philipcball. 

Admission to the online talk is free but booking is required at: eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-grow-a-human-tickets-105237249446.

Brought to you remotely by the University of York, York Festival of Ideas is full of ideas until June 14, gathering under the new umbrella of Virtual Horizons. For more details, visit yorkfestivalofideas.com/2020-online/

Did you know?

Dr Philip Ball is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Idea of the day at the online York Festival of Ideas: Technologies for the Future – A Response from the Heart, 4pm, 7/6/2020

Technologies for the future: under discussion by Alice Courvoisier. Drawing by:: Jess Wallace

SCIENTIST Alice Courvoisier takes a hard look at technologies we surround ourselves with, discussing their impact on our lives, the environment and the lives of others, in this afternoon’s audio podcast.

Most importantly, in Technologies for the Future – A Response from the Heart, she asks: what would form a sound basis for ethical and responsible technological innovation?

“In a context where technologies are often imposed from the top down or by for-profit corporations without proper public scrutiny, I believe this question is relevant to everyone and should be reclaimed by the public sphere,” says Alice, who taught mathematics in the electronic engineering department at the University of York and is a keen storyteller too.

“At this time of extreme uncertainty and misinformation, I will argue that meaningful answers can only come from reconnecting with our hearts.”

Alice, who has taken part in every York Festival of Ideas since 2013, adds: “Please be aware that some of the content can be emotionally challenging as we address issues such as environmental justice, cultural and unconscious bias, and work to dismantle the Western narrative of linear progress.”

Alice Courvoisier

Admission to this podcast is free; access is via Alice’s blog at https://ethicsinstem.blogspot.com/2020/05/york-festival-of-ideas-online-techs-for.html. Booking is not required.

“I love the freedom of thought offered by the Festival Of Ideas: to approach a theme from the viewpoints of different disciplines,” says Alice.

Brought to you remotely by the University of York, York Festival of Ideas is full of ideas until June 14, gathering under the new umbrella of Virtual Horizons. For the full programme, visit yorkfestivalofideas.com/2020-online/.

Did you know? Alice in numberland

Dr Alice Courvoisier taught a Lifelong Learning course on the History of Numbers at the University of York.

Idea of the day at the online York Festival of Ideas: Talk the walk in Foot Work, 1pm

Foot Work: A shoe-in for the York Festival of Ideas idea of the day

DO you ever think about what your shoes are doing to the world?

Let author Tansy E Hoskins do the thinking Foot Work for you at the 2020 stay-at-home York Festival of Ideas, now running online under the Virtual  Horizons umbrella.

From 1pm to 2pm this afternoon (June 6), Hoskins asks: Do you know where your shoes come from? Do you know where they go when you’re done with them?

These are the facts: in 2018, 66.3 million pairs of shoes were manufactured across the world every single day. “They have never been cheaper to buy, and we have never been more convinced that we need to buy them. Yet their cost to the planet has never been greater,” says the festival website.

“Find out why, if we don’t act fast, this humble household object will take us to the point of no return.”

Hoskins, author of Foot Work: What Your Shoes Are Doing To The World, will take online festival-goers deep into the heart of the industry, revealing how it is exploiting workers and deceiving consumers.

To book a free ticket, go to: eventbrite.co.uk/e/foot-work-what-your-shoes-are-doing-to-the-world-tickets-105236214350.

You can find textile, clothing and footwear industry author and journalist Tansy E Hoskins online at: tansyhoskins.orgTwitter.com/tansyhoskins and Instagram.com/tansyhoskins.

Brought to you remotely by the University of York, York Festival of Ideas is full of ideas until June 14. Visit yorkfestivalofideas.com/2020-online/.

Nothing happening in these slightly loosened Lockdown limbo days. Everything called off. Here are More Things To Do on the home front, courtesy of The Press, York. LIST No. 6

Nothing happening full stop. Now, with time on your frequently washed hands, home is where the art is and plenty else besides

EXIT 10 Things To See Next Week in York and beyond for the unforeseeable future in Stay Alert, but still sort-of-inert, Baby-Step Britannia. Make do with home entertainment, wherever you may be, in whatever configuration that you interpret the Government’s green-for-go rules now permits in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. From behind his door ajar, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Alan Ayckbourn and Heather Stoney in their Scarborough garden. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Arts event of the week ahead and beyond: Alan Ayckbourn’s Anno Domino, online from May 25 to June 25

WHEN the Coronavirus pandemic meant Truth Will Out would not be out this summer at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre, Alan Ayckbourn responded by writing a new play in lockdown, Anno Domino.

And not only write and direct it, but perform in the audio recording too, marking his return to acting, 58 years after his last appearance on a professional stage.

What’s more, former radio producer Ayckbourn, 81, has teamed up with his wife, actress Heather Stoney, his co-star in that 1964 production, to record the new show.

His 84th play takes the form of an audio account of the break-up of a long-established marriage and the domino effect that has on family and friends, Ayckbourn and Stoney playing four characters each, aged 18 to 75. “We were just mucking about in our sitting room,” says Ayckbourn, who also supplied the sound effects.

The world premiere of Anno Domino will be available for free exclusively on the SJT’s website, sjt.uk.com, from noon on Monday, May 25 to noon on June 25. 

York Musical Theatre Company in Off-Stage But Online 2, Sunday, 7.30pm

AFTER the success of the inaugural Off-Stage But Online! concert on April 26, York Musical Theatre Company return with a second digital performance on Sunday, live on the company’s YouTube channel from 7.30pm.

This weekend’s programme is compiled by musical director Paul Laidlaw again and features 25 numbers performed at home by Matthew Ainsworth, Jessa & Mick Liversidge, John Haigh, Eleanor Leaper, Chris Hagyard and Florence Taylor, among others.

Expect video recordings of numbers from Rent, Les Miserables, Heathers, A Chorus Line, Follies, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, Company and Showboat.

Fieri Consort: Online concert from the National Centre for Early Music archives

National Centre for Early Music streamed concerts, May 30 and June 13

THE NCEM, in Walmgate, York, continues to share concerts from its archive on Facebook and online. The next will be on Saturday, May 30, featuring one of the last concerts by the European Union Baroque Orchestra, captured in March 2017.

On June 13 comes the chance to enjoy music by past winners of the York Early Music International Young Artists Competition, a double bill featuring Fieri Consort from 2017 and last year’s winners L’Apothéose.

To view these concerts for free at 1pm, follow https://www.facebook.com/yorkearlymusic/ or log on to the NCEM website, ncem.co.uk.

Barbara Marten in the role of Heworth housewife and suffragette Annie Seymour Pearson in York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre’s community production Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes

Still streaming: Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes, York Theatre Royal Collective Arts programme

YORK Theatre Royal is streaming the 2017 community play Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes for free on its YouTube channel until May 31.

Co-produced with Pilot Theatre, this outdoor and indoor production was performed by a community cast of 150 and a choir of 80, taking the form of a protest play that recalled how women in York ran safe houses, organised meetings, smashed windows and fire-bombed pillar boxes as part of the early 20th century Suffragette movement.

“Now the stage is dark and the streets are empty, but looking back to the way in which that show brought people together, inspiring them in so many ways, is a wonderful reminder of the power of theatre and community,” says playwright Bridget Foreman.

York artist Sue Clayton’s stairs, newly painted in rainbow-coloured trim

Activity of the week: Decorating your house in the bright spring light

BE inspired by York portrait artist Sue Clayton, whose painting of Sainsbury’s trolley attendant Andrew Fair, from her York Heroes series in 2018, appeared on the first episode of Grayson Perry’s Channel 4 show Grayson’s Art Club.

“The urge to paint left me temporarily, which frightened me, but home decorating began instead and my creativity was encouraged this way, from ripping up the stairs carpet and painting the stairs in rainbow colours to remember this period, through to painting a cupboard with a Chinese heron/crane,” she says.

Maybe a Chinese heron would be too ambitious as a starting point, but painting the stairs in rainbow colours…?

 Jeff Beck: New date for York Barbican show in 2021

Still keep trying to find good news

LEEDS Festival in late-August, cancelled. York Early Music Festival’s summer of Method & Madness in July, off. Jeff Beck at York Barbican this week, not now. The list of cancellations shows no sign of coming to an end, but always look on the bright side of strife by seeking out updates on websites.

Leeds Festival at Bramham Park will return in 2021; so too will York Early Music Festival. As for Jeff Beck: there is a hi-ho silver lining there too. The legendary Wallington guitarist and two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, now 75, has re-arranged his gig for April 22 2021.

Jonathan Williams’s stained-glass artwork for our Corona crisis times 

Clap for Carers

STAND by your doors, bang a gong, at 8pm every Thursday, no excuses. Theatre-goers, concert-goers, save your hand-clapping for our NHS doctors, hospital staff, carers, volunteers and key workers.

If one work of art encapsulates a city in gratitude, and in prayer, step forward Jonathan Williams’s stained glass window of York Minster and York Hospital in rainbow union.

Lips/ink: A pensive Simon Armitage, Yorkshireman of words, both spoken and written

And what about…

NEW albums by Badly Drawn Boy, The 1975 and The Dears. Poet Laureate Simon Armitage’s new series of interviews on BBC Sounds and his appearance and musical choices on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Channel 4’s Gogglebox for weekly political insight. Going to a garden centre, where plant salvation awaits.

 

Nothing happening in these Lockdown limbo days. Everything off. Here are 10 Things To Do on the home front, courtesy of The Press, York. LIST No. 4

Nothing happening full stop. Now, with time on your frequently washed hands, home is where the art is and plenty else besides

EXIT 10 Things To See Next Week in York and beyond for the unforeseeable future in our now extended Lockdown hibernation. Enter home entertainment, wherever you may be, whether together or in self-isolation, in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. From behind his closed door, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Celebrating Shakespeare’s 456th birthday: Tamsin Greig as loyal servant Malvolia in the National Theatre’s Twelfth Night, screening on YouTube from tonight

Shakespeare’s birthday

WILLIAM Shakespeare’s 456th birthday falls today. The Bard, by the way, was no stranger to writing under debilitating duress, working in London amid the bubonic plagues of 1592 and 1603, when more than 30,000 Londoners died, and a third plague in 1606.

That year alone, Bill quilled three of his mightiest works, King Lear, Macbeth and Antony & Cleopatra. Tonight is a chance to celebrate on a lighter note, watching the National Theatre in the NT At Home YouTube streaming of Twelfth Night, starring Tamsin Greig as loyal servant Malvolia, at 7pm for free. Twelfth Night will be available for seven nights and days on demand.

No Morris dancing in York on St George’s Day under lockdown rules

St George’s Day

TODAY is not only the Bard’s birthday but also St George’s Day, in principle another cause for English celebration, given the dragon-slaying, princess-saving Roman soldier’s status as this nation’s patron saint. However, if outbreaks of Morris Dancing and Punch & Judy shows are the best we can throw at it in usual circumstances, maybe Lockdown is a chance for some home schooling instead.

Today’s task: Find out in more detail who St George was; why he is England’s patron saint and why the English flag is a red cross on white. Oh, and come up with your own way of celebrating at home; surely it must be better than dancing with bells on.

York Shut Studios…but artists embrace the virtual to compensate for Coronavirus-enforced cancellation

York Open Studios going virtual

THIS should have been weekend number two for York Open Studios, the chance to see work by 144 artists and craft makers in 100 locations in and around York, whether in their homes or studios.

Instead, as with last weekend, it will be York Shut Studios but that does not mean York’s artists have put their brushes into lockdown. Creativity demands improvisation, and so you can head to yorkopenstudios.co.uk for the “Virtual Open Studio”, where you can still bring their home work into your home.

Stream team: Compere Tim FitzHigham, left, and comedian Mark Watson in their living rooms for the first Your Place Comedy online show

Your Place Comedy, streamed from their living room to yours

AT the initiation of Selby Town Hall arts centre manager Chris Jones, here comes Your Place Comedy, a Sunday night when comedians stream a live show via YouTube and Facebook from their living room into yours. There is no charge, but you can make donations to be split between the ten small, independent northern venues that have come together for this Lockdown scheme.

The first one, featuring Hull humorist Lucy Beaumont and a pyjama-clad Mark Watson, drew 3,500 viewers last Sunday. Chris is planning the second 8pm online gig for May 3 at yourplacecomedy.co.uk; acts to be confirmed.

Puppet Theatre: the third Lockdown Legends Challenge set by York  Theatre Royal

Lockdown Legends Challenge, set by York Theatre Royal

EACH Monday morning, York Theatre Royal will post a theatrical #LockdownLegendsChallenge on its Twitter and Facebook pages for the whole family to take part in, just for fun. Even the participation of pets is “actively encouraged”.

After One-Minute Plays in week one and Costume Creation in week two, this week’s challenge is Puppet Theatre, or pup-pet theatre if your pooch partakes. “Re-create a scene from Shakespeare with household objects,” comes the invitation. “Then send your responses to lockdownlegends@yorktheatreroyal.co.uk and we’ll share these on our social media pages throughout the week.”

It’s time for Bingo in the street

Vintage game of the week: Bingo…in your street

BINGO is all about houses, and Lockdown Limbo is the chance to shout “House” in a game conducted with neighbours in our sunny springtime streets at Bruce Forsyth’s favourite social distance: “Nice two metres, two metres nice”.

What is bingo, should you never have ventured to Mecca Bingo or Clifton Bingo Club? Bingo is “a game in which players mark off numbers on cards as the numbers are drawn randomly by a caller, the winner being the first person to mark off all their numbers and exclaim ‘House’.” Repeat. Bingo.

The Boomtown Rats: Re-arranged York Barbican gig

Still keep trying to find good news

DEER Shed Festival, off. Courtney Marie Andrews at Pocklington Arts Centre in June, off. The Boomtown Rats at York Barbican, off. Jack Dee, Off The Telly, Barbican too, off. The list of cancellations grows like the spring grass, but do keep visiting websites for updates.

Deer Shed, at Baldersby Park, Thirsk? Definitely returning in summer 2021. Boomtown Rats? October 26. Jack Dee, October 1. No news on Courtney, yet, alas.

Venturing outdoors…

…FOR your daily exercise, be that a run, a cycle ride or a stroll near home, in a changing environment. Amid these disconnected, alien, strange days, your senses heightened, there is the chance to appreciate the previously unexperienced: the bird song in excelsis, a chorus no longer impeded by traffic; the bluer, bigger skies; the fresher air, the pollution levels so noticeably dropping.

York actor Mick Liversidge has taken to reciting Shakespeare’s sonnets in the fields, exercising mind and body alike. Why not Shake up your routine too?

York’s city walls lit up in blue for the NHS

Clap for Carers

STAND by your doors at 8pm every Thursday, no excuses. Theatre-goers, concert-goers, save your hand-clapping for our NHS doctors, hospital staff, carers, volunteers and key workers. How moving, too, to see familiar buildings and landmarks bathed in blue light: a tribute growing and glowing by the week.

Play at home: York country singer Twinnie’s new album, Hollywood Gypsy, released on April 17

And what about…

NEW albums by Laura Marling, Ron Sexsmith, Cornershop and York country singer Twinnie. Interior design books. Cerys Matthews and Guy Garvey on Sundays on BBC 6Music. The return of BBC One’s Killing Eve on Sunday nights and iPlayer. A themed new recipe of the week, whatever reason and seasoning grabs you.

Catching Rick Witter’s improvised home version of Shed Seven’s Chasing Rainbows on social media:. “I’m just staying home all the time”. Well, you are, aren’t you.

Copyright of The Press, York

Nothing happening in these long lockdown days. Everything off. Here are 10 Things To Do on the home front, courtesy of The Press, York. WEEK THREE

Nothing happening full stop. Now, with time on your frequently washed hands, home is where the art is and plenty else besides

EXIT 10 Things To See Next Week in York and beyond for the unforeseeable future. Enter home entertainment, wherever you may be, whether together or in self-isolation, in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. From behind his closed door, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these suggestions.

Lockdown Legends Challenge, set by York Theatre Royal

EACH Monday morning, York Theatre Royal will post a theatrical #LockdownLegendsChallenge on its Twitter and Facebook pages for the whole family to take part in, just for fun. Even the participation of pets is “actively encouraged”.

York Theatre Royal: ideas for creating your own theatre magic at home in the Lockdown Legends Challenge

This week’s challenge is to make a one-minute play. “Send us your responses to lockdownlegends@yorktheatreroyal.co.uk and we’ll share these on our social media pages throughout the week,” says the Theatre Royal. “Remember to keep safe – and stay creative.”

Setting up a film reviewers’ club online

ARE you missing discussing the latest hit films at City Screen, Everyman York, Vue York and Cineworld? If so, why not start or join a film reviewers’ club online on WhatsApp, with the group having a name.

One group member chooses a film, old, recent, cult, blockbuster, world, British, American, whatever; gives a brief synopsis and initial thoughts behind the choice; sets a start and finishing date for viewing (whether on DVD, Netflix, etc), and then everyone gathers for a chat online to give their short reviews.

Explore York’s library and archive at York Explore, Museum Street, York

Explore York’s Libraries From Home

THE Explore York library and archive service will be developing online activities such as a Virtual Book Group, while updating regularly as “new things” come on stream and sharing them on social media, using #LibrariesFromHome.

Up and running now: 5,000 Ebooks and audio books for adults and children, free to borrow from exploreyork.org.uk/digital/e-books/; a new York Images site for exploring the city’s history through photographs, illustrations, maps and archival documents at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/york-images/; and the chance to start your family tree using Ancestry and Find My Past, for free, at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/online-reference/.

The Queen show must go on: We Will Rock You will rock you in 2021

Keep trying to find good news

DALBY Forest concerts, chopped. The first four classics of the flat racing season, all non-runners. Wimbledon tennis, out. Harrogate International Festivals summer season, off. York Festival, gone. Scarborough Open Air Theatre, shut. The list of cancellations keeps growing, but against that backdrop, theatres, music venues and festivals are busy re-booking acts and shows for later in the year or next year.

Keep visiting websites for updates, whether York Barbican, York Theatre Royal, the Grand Opera House, The Crescent, wherever. We Will Rock You has just been confirmed for the Grand Opera House for March 22 to 27 next year.

Look out too for the streaming of past hit shows. More and more theatres and arts companies are doing this…

Breath of fresh Eyre: The National Theatre’s innovative Jane Eyre, directed by Sally Cookson. This picture features the 2017 touring cast at the Grand Opera House, York

…For example, National Theatre At Home on YouTube

HULL playwright Richard Bean’s comic romp One Man, Two Guvnors has drawn more than two million viewers since being launched on the National Theatre’s YouTube channel last Thursday.

Next up, available for free from 7pm this evening for a week, will be Sally Cookson’s innovative, dynamic, remarkable stage adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Yorkshire novel, Jane Eyre. You may recall the NT’s touring production from its week-long run at the Grand Opera House, York, in May 2017. Truly worth staying in for…but you will be doing that anyway, won’t you.

Window of opportunity : Cancelled York Open Studios finds a way still to showcase art

Venturing outdoors…to spot #openwindowsyork2020 

AMID the strict Government strictures, when allowed out to walk the dog or take that one burst of mentally and physically beneficial exercise a day, you can discover a new form of “window dressing” and maybe even “window shopping” near you.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shut the doors on York Open Studios 2020, when 144 artists and makers would have been welcoming visitors on April 17 to 19 and 25 and 26. Enterprising as ever, they now say: “We can’t open our doors, but we can show you our work through our windows”, as they launch #openwindowsyork2020. “If you see one, let us know,” they add.

Welcome back Backgammon

Vintage game of the week: Backgammon

LOCKDOWN is the perfect chance to dust off faithful old games consigned to gathering dust on top shelves.

Bring back Backgammon, one of the oldest known board games, whose history can be traced back nearly 5,000 years to archaeological discoveries in Mesopotamia. In this quick-thinking two-player game, each player has 15 pieces that move between 24 triangles, according to the roll of two dice. You gotta roll with it, as Oasis once sang.

Easter egg hunt

EASTER Day celebrations demand an Easter egg hunt, whether indoors or in the garden, if that is possible.

Two customs spring to mind: firstly, wrapping eggs in ribbon for boiling that will then leave a pretty decorative pattern on the eggs.

Secondly, writing poetic ditties as clues for the Easter egg hunter to find the hidden chocolate goodies. Happy hunting, happy Easter, dear readers.

Clap for Carers

YES, we miss the sound of applause bursting through our theatre walls, but for now, save your hand-clapping for showing support every Thursday at 8pm for our NHS doctors, hospital staff, carers, rising tide of volunteers and key workers. God bless them all.

Paul Merton: Welcome back Have I Got News For You for series number 59

And what about…

BOOKS on pandemics and plagues. Cookbooks. The return of BBC One’s Have I Got News For You on Fridays, albeit in compromised social-distancing-from-home form. The shockumentary series Tiger King:  Murder, Mayhem And Madness on Netflix. Writing a 10 Things list like this one.

Reading the regular Tweets from Reece Dinsdale, Emmerdale actor full of nous, and Alan Lane, Slung Low artistic director and man of action around Leeds. Keep drinking hot drinks and gargling regularly, as well as all that hand-washing.

CORONAVIRUS: Harrogate International Festivals cancel all the summer season

“Deep regret and sadness”: Sharon Canavar, chief executive of Harrogate International Festivals, announcing the cancellation of the 2020 summer season

THE Harrogate International Festivals summer season will not go ahead, a decision with “huge financial implications that place the future of the festivals at risk”.

The Coronavirus pandemic has put paid to the Harrogate Music Festival, Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Berwins Salon North, Spiegeltent and Children’s Festival, as well as several outdoor theatre and community events.

Announcing the cancellation with “deep regret and sadness”, chief executive Sharon Canavar said: “This difficult decision was made after carefully assessing several factors, but most importantly the health and safety of everyone involved: our audience, artists, suppliers, partners, volunteers, staff and the wider community.

“Many months of dedicated work went into planning this exceptional season and we share in the disappointment that will be felt by the many writers, musicians, thinkers, performers and festival-goers who were set to join us in Harrogate.”

Her statement continued: “As a not-for-profit arts charity, we are reliant on our events programme and ticket income, alongside sponsor support and donor philanthropy, and so the cancellation of our main season has huge financial implications that place the future of our festivals at risk.

“But despite the unprecedented challenge we now face, our mission to bring immersive and moving cultural experiences to as many people as possible remains unchanged.”

Harrogate International Festivals will continue “our unparalleled celebration” of crime fiction with the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2020, alongside an extensive online programme of author interviews and more besides ahead of the award announcement in July.

In addition, the HIF Player will be launched to allow everyone a virtual festival experience at home. This free online hub will bring together archive event recordings, digital book clubs, learning resources for children and activities for little ones, and it will be updated regularly with new content to keep audiences entertained.

The chief executive’s statement continued: “Since 1966, we have proved an artistic force to be reckoned with and a key cultural provider for the North of England with a diverse year-round portfolio that celebrates world-class artists, champions new talent and plays a vital part in the community with education outreach and inspiring activities.

“Art and culture help us understand what it means to be human and how to make sense of life, and festivals are a vital part of this ecology. When this troubling time passes, we will need – more than ever – the transformative power of the arts to bring communities together, to inspire hope, to lift spirits and change lives. We thank you for your support.”

The festival website, harrogateinternationalfestivals.com, now carries the request Please Consider Making A Donation: “Support our arts charity in this challenging time”.

All quiet in the library but Explore York encourages Libraries from Home online opportunities. Here’s what you can do…

York Explore Library and Archive, the York hub of Explore York in Museum Street, York

THIS is the time to explore Explore York online, providing the Libraries from Home service during the Coronavirus lockdown.

“If you are confused or overwhelmed by the huge amount of information on offer, Explore can help,” says executive assistant Gillian Holmes, encouraging visits to the website, exploreyork.org.uk, “where it is simple to find what you need”.

This encouragement comes after all Explore York library buildings, reading cafes and the City Archives were closed to the public from 12 noon on March 21, in response to Government strictures.

“We are making it easy for people to find information and advice, as well as inspiration, as we all deal with the Coronavirus crisis.”

The Explore website has assorted useful links to help people cope during the coming weeks. “Some sites have always been part of our online offer and some are brand new,” says Gillian.

“We are also working with City of York Council and our many partners in York, so that our communities can join together and we continue to support their initiatives, just as we will when our buildings open again. 

“Organisations across the country are developing their online services in this challenging time. We are using our expertise to gather together the best offers and add them to the lists of sites we recommend.” 

Explore York will be developing online activities of its own, such as a Virtual Book Group. “We will be updating the website regularly as these new things come on stream and sharing on social media using #LibrariesFromHome,” says Gillian.

The York Explore building: Quiet in the library but still seeking to be busy online

What’s available online from Explore York:

Updates on how Explore is responding during the pandemic and updates about what’s new at https://www.exploreyork.org.uk/coronavirus/ 

Information and support during the Coronavirus crisis from official sources at exploreyork.org.uk/recommended-websites/coronavirus-resources/ 

5000 Ebooks and audio books for adults and children free to borrow from the online library at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/e-books/ 

The chance to visit the new York Images site to explore the history of the city through photographs, illustrations, maps and archival documents at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/york-images/ 

The opportunity to start your family tree using Ancestry and Find My Past. The library editions are both free to use from home at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/online-reference/

Reliable information about everything can be found on the Online Reference pages at exploreyork.org.uk/digital/online-reference/ 

“Everything is free to access,” says Gillian. “All you need is a library card. You can get a card online and start using it immediately at exploreyork.org.uk/getting-a-library-card-or-yorkcard/.” 

Nothing happening in these long lock-down days. Everything off. Here are 10 Things To Do on the home front, courtesy of The Press, York. Week two.

Nothing happening full stop. Now, with time on your frequently washed hands, home is where the art is and plenty else besides

EXIT 10 Things To See Next Week in York and beyond for the unforeseeable future. Enter home entertainment, wherever you may be, whether still together or in isolation, in the shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic. From behind his closed door, CHARLES HUTCHINSON makes these further suggestions.

Compiling lists of best songs by favourite artists

THE Beatles, The Rolling Stones, solo Beatles, Van Morrison, Velvet Underground, solo Velvets, Bob Dylan, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, The Smiths, The Fall, whoever. Make a Top Ten or even Top 20, then send to friends to ask for their suggestions for the list and why they disagree with you.

You could also set up arguments: Kylie’s Top Ten versus Madonna; The Specials versus Madness; Holland Dozier Holland versus Bacharach and David; Rod Stewart versus Elton John; Abba versus Queen; U2 versus Coldplay. Any others?

Madness: More special than The Specials or is that utter madness?

Desert Island Slipped Discs

IF past editions of the BBC Radio 4 Sunday morning staple have slipped your attention, it is never too late to discover the back catalogue at the Beeb online. You could pick a running theme, such as artists, musicians, poets, scientists, entrepreneurs, comedians, sportsmen, film stars, pioneers and church leaders.

Or, given the very necessary daily Covid-19 briefings from Number 10, how about politicians? Margaret Thatcher (1978); Edward Heath (1988); Enoch Powell (1989); Alan Clark (1995); Tony Blair (1996); Gordon Brown (1996); David Cameron (2006)…or, for a satirical variation, Spitting Image’s Peter Fluck and Roger Law (1987)?  

Picking his eight before making it to Number 10: Tony Blair on Desert Island Discs in 1996

Follow the advice of Stephen Fry

FOLLOWING up last Thursday’s 10 Things advice to make a timetable for the day, Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning interview on the Beeb with national treasure and former Cundall Manor prep school teacher Stephen Fry elicited one gem of a suggestion. Take time, take longer, to do things, whether cooking a dish from a recipe book, or even when brushing your teeth.

Fry, the president of MIND, also advocated taking up a new hobby, or re-discovering a craft, in his case, calligraphy. Further suggestions: learn a language; learn sign language; test yourself on road signs (when did you last do that?).

Meanwhile, Fry’s partner in comedy since Cambridge Footlights days, House doctor Hugh Laurie, says of Coronavirus: “We solve it together by staying apart.”  Couldn’t have put it better.

Time to take time: Stephen Fry’s philosophy for these Coronavirus clampdown days

Administer a spring clean

STUCK at home, as you really should be by now, key workers excepted, this is the chance to gut rooms; to go through files, drawers, cupboards; to work out what clothes to keep and which to donate to charity shops. Likewise, games; books; kitchen utensils. Update Christmas card lists and address books.

Make time for nostalgia

DIG out old scrapbooks (Leeds United, League Champions, 1973-1974; the Cardiff Candlewits revue show, The Rantings Of A Raw Prawn, at the 1982 Edinburgh Fringe; cookery crush Nigella Lawson’s recipes – more pictures than recipes, to be truthful – to give three Hutch examples). Ah, those were the days.

Likewise, take a look through old photo albums, sure to trigger memories and promote family discussions… and maybe even lead you to research your family ancestry in the manner of BBC One’s Who Do You Think You Are?.

Scrapbook memories: Leeds United, champions, 1973-1974

Try to find good news

GREAT Yorkshire Show off. Ryedale Festival off. York Pride off. The Olympic Games off. The list of cancellations keeps growing. Against that backdrop, however, theatres, music venues and festivals are busy re-booking acts and shows for later in the year or next year.

Keep visiting websites for updates, whether York Barbican, York Theatre Royal, the Grand Opera House, wherever.

Look out too for the streaming of past shows. More and more theatres and arts companies are doing this.

Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett, on Stonegate, York, with a Piers Browne painting, before the Coronavirus shutdown

Online exhibitions

GALLERIES in York are going online to keep the art (and hopefully sales) going. Step forward Pyramid Gallery, in Stonegate, where owner Terry Brett has launched Strange Days.

This service is not only a website portal for works from this season’s Full Sunlight show, featuring Askrigg artist Piers Browne and Holtby sculptor Hannah Arnup, but Terry also is inviting the 144 artists from next month’s cancelled York Open Studios to show their work on there too.

One of Tom Wood’s paintings from The Abstract Crow, Lotte Inch Gallery’s first online-only exhibition

Anywhere else?

LOTTE Inch Gallery, at Fourteen Bootham, will host its first online-only exhibition, Yorkshire artist Tom Wood’s The Abstract Crow, from April 17 to May 16.

“Known for his imaginative and allusive abstract approach to painting, Tom will pay homage to his love for the natural world in his new paintings,” says Lotte.

Venturing outdoors 

AMID the stricter Government strictures, aside from walking the dog and one burst of exercise a day, gardening looks the most fruitful way to spend time outdoors. The first mow of the season; buds coming through; plants to plant; garden furniture to varnish: ready, steady, grow. 

One to follow on Twitter: Reasons To Stay Alive author Matt Haig. Picture: MIke Tipping

And what about…

Podcasts. Books. More podcasts. More books. Season two of Liar on Monday nights on ITV. Noughts + Crosses on BBC One on Thursdays. Writing a 10 Things like this one. Reading the regular Tweets from Matt Haig, the Reasons To Stay Alive author with the York past. Drinking hot drinks, gargling regularly, and building up your zinc levels, as well as all that hand-washing.

See you later, self-isolator.

Copyright of The Press, York