More Things To Do in Ryedale, York and beyond “the carriage ride of your life”. Hutch’s List No. 11, from Gazette & Herald

Katherine Lea: Making her Hotbuckle Productions debut in Pride & Prejudice

BUCKLE up for Austen’s sister act, Shakespeare’s battle of the sexes and Sheridan’s scandalous comedy of manners, plus music, art and poetry in the library, baroque and blues concerts and tragic opera, advises Charles Hutchinson.   

Ryedale play of the week: Hotbuckle Productions in Pride & Prejudice, Helmsley Arts Centre, Saturday, 7.30pm

IN artistic director Adrian Preater’s humorous, multi role-playing adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, Hotbuckle Productions enter the world of the Bennets.

From headstrong Elizabeth to proud Mr Darcy, rich characterisations abound as five sisters deal with marriage, morality and misconceptions. “Hotbuckle up for the carriage ride of your life” with Joanna Purslow, Tomas Mason and company newcomer Katherine Lea. Box office: 01439 771700 or

Patricia Qua: Ceramicist and graphic designer taking part in York Open Studios for the first time in Hempland Drive, York

Art around every corner: York Open Studios, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm

AS many as 156 artists and makers who live or work within a ten-mile radius of York will be welcoming visitors to 106 workspaces to show and sell their art, ranging from ceramics, collage, digital, illustration, jewellery and mixed media to painting, print, photography, sculpture, textiles, glass and wood. Among them will be 31 new participants. Full details and a map can be found at Look out for booklets around the city too.

Keeping an eye on things: English Touring Opera in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut at York Theatre Royal

Opera of the week: English Touring Opera in Manon Lescaut, York Theatre Royal, Friday, 7.30pm

ENGLISH Touring Opera returns to York in Jude Christian radical production of Giacomo Puccini’s heartbreaking Manon Lescaut, for which she brings incisive direction to her sharp, poetic new translation.

Puccini’s 1892 breakthrough hit presents a devastating depiction of a woman wrestling with her desire for love on her own terms and the rigid double standards imposed on her by society. Box office: 01904 623568 or

London Obbligato Collective: Opening the York Baroque+ Day at the NCEM

Classical concert of the week: London Obbligato Collective, York Baroque+ Day, National Centre for Early Music, York Saturday, 12 noon  

FORMED by Masumi Yamamoto, the new London Obbligato Collective focuses on “accompanied harpsichord sonatas”, where the harpsichord is given the solo role within the trio sonata texture, highlighting and enriching the colours and nuances of the instrument.

Next Saturday’s programme includes 18th century music by Felice Giardini, Johann Christian Bach and Carl Friedrich. Box office: 01904 658338 or

Lydea Perkins, as Lady Teazle, and Joseph Marcell, as Sir Peter Teazle, in Tilted Wig’s The School For Scandal. Picture: Anthony Robling

Touring play of the week: Tilted Wig, Malvern Theatres and Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, present The School For Scandal, York Theatre Royal, April 23 to 27, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and 7.30pm Saturday matinees

JOSEPH Marcell, fondly remembered as Geoffrey the butler in the American comedy series Fresh Prince of Bel Air, stars in Seán Aydon’s new production of Richard B Sheridan’s comedy of manners The School For Scandal, where gossip never goes out of fashion.

Marcell plays Sir Peter Teazle, who believes his young wife is sleeping with someone else. Not true, but she is starting to think that if her husband believes it, she should give it a go. After all, if you are going to cause a scandal, you may as well enjoy it. Box office: 01904 623568 or

Florence Poskitt: Stepping in to play Kate in York Shakespeare Project’s The Taming Of The Shrew

Seventies’ Shakespeare play of the week: York Shakespeare Project in The Taming Of The Shrew, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, April 23 to 27, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday

IN a late change of cast, actor-musician Florence Poskitt, from the York musical comedy duo Fladam, is taking over the principal role of Kate in Maggie Smales’s production of Shakespeare’s controversial battle of the sexes, now set in 1970.

A psychedelic world is opening up, promising peace, love and equality, but Kate was born to be wild and wants a voice of her own. The times they are a’changin’ and the old order is dead…or is it? Let battle commence. Box office:

Redfish Blues Band: Returning to Milton Rooms, Malton

Blues gig of the week: Redfish Blues Band, Ryedale Blues Club, Milton Rooms, Malton, April 25, 8pm

NOMINATED for Blues Band of the Year and Blues Album of the Year in the UK 2024 Blues Awards, Redfish Blues Band return to Malton with Christian Sharpe on vocals and guitar, Steve McGuckin on Hammond, Rod Mackay on bass and Steve Gibson on drums.

As witnessed on their Together Is Better album and Soho Rising (Girls, Girls, Girls) single, they play a delicious, bubbling gumbo of blues, soul, gospel and funk in live performances defined by energy and restraint. Box office: 01653 696240 or

Kai West’s poster for Bull’s Live At The Library day on May 19, based on the Cluedo board game design

Gig announcement of the week: Bull present Live At The Library, York Explore Library & Archive, Library Square, York, May 19, from 12 noon

YORK Explore and Please Please You team up with York band Bull for a day of music, art and poetry to celebrate Explore York’s tenth birthday and raise funds for York’s libraries. The climax will be a 6.30pm to 10pm gig by Bull, Marnie Glum, Rowan and performance poet Stu Freestone (tickets,

Free activities include open mic-style performances run by Bull frontman Tom Beer in the Marriott Room from midday, featuring Gabbie Lord, Maggie, Gilles, She Choir, Filipe, Old Time Rags, Eve Thomas & Co and more,  plus art workshops for all ages hosted by Izzy Williamson (lino printing, 1pm) and Bull bassist and illustrator Kai West (T-shirt design and screen printing, 12 noon to 2pm) in the Garden Room, with donations welcome.

Bull launch second album Engines Of Honey over two days at The Crescent with gigs, DJs, jamboree art fair, bingo, quiz… and curry

Bull: Two nights and a jamboree day at The Crescent to mark the release of Engines Of Honey

BULL, York’s “finest purveyors of jangling indie joy”, launch second album Engines Of Honey with a brace of home-city shows at The Crescent this weekend.

Their tour booker has sent the guitar-powered slacker pop quintet on a frankly bonkers itinerary, beginning in Brighton on March 14, where frontman Tom Beer slept on a bean bag – “a comfy, long bean bag,” he says – at his cousin’s house, followed by Bristol.

Next came Manchester on Saturday; Edinburgh on Sunday, where Tom took a restorative run up Arthur’s Seat first thing on Monday morning; Newcastle last night (20/3/2024); Glasgow tonight; then, back home to York after all that mileage, tomorrow and Saturday, before a London finale at the Windmill, Brixton, on March 28.

“Ex-tour booker,” jokes Tom in a Wednesday morning chat in the Explore York library hush of The Centre @ Burnholme.

“Rather than music, I’d been doing a lot of painting, some little doodles – one we used for the artwork for the Red Rooves single – now some bigger ones as well, though I’ve got no plans to exhibit them, but this tour has reinvigorated me massively, making me realise I do want to do more music.

“I’m now realising that life is a round thing, where you can do lots of different things. So I can do some music, some law, some painting, some gardening, some swimming pool construction.”

Playing plenty of squash and tennis too, sometimes against fellow York singer and songwriter Sam Griffiths of The Howl & The Hum. “I beat him at squash; he beats me at tennis,” says Tom.

Kai West’s cover artwork for Bull’s Engines Of Honey

We shall return to “some law” and “some swimming pool construction” later, but first the new album, Engines Of Honey, the title taken from a lyric (from Stranger), not a song title, in the tradition of the Pixies.

“Sam [Griffiths] says that when you bring something out it reminds you that you exist,” says Tom. “You can take it way too seriously, but it’s just some songs for people to listen to, and if people have like them, that’s great. The reaction to the album has been really good.”

Released on March 1, with distribution by AWAL, who did likewise for The Howl & The Hum’s Human Contact in 2020, Engines Of Honey is available via Bandcamp on CD and vinyl, and digitally too, but not at record shops.

Billed on Facebook as “our second greatest hits”, the album’s arrival has not been accompanied by the fanfare that met the alt-rock dandies’ March 2021 debut, Discover Effortless Living, after Bull became the first York band since Shed Seven to sign for a major label, fully ten years after their formation. £20,000 from EMI came their way, along with a further £5,000 backing for 2022 EP Stuck.

“Signing to EMI opened up a lot of doors in terms of the record being sold in places like HMV, which was a big deal for us, and brought us headlines. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy where people start taking you seriously,” says Tom.

Not everything went swimmingly, however. “We were going to put out another album with EMI and went down to London to meet them, but I had a bit of a burn-out after their 2022-23 tour, when I kind of realised I didn’t want to be focusing on music as much as I’d done before…so I started a new job.”

Tom had studied for a law degree at Newcastle University in earlier days. “I’m now working as a planning consultant for the gypsy and traveller community nationally, and I’m a trustee for the York Travellers Trust too. It’s about giving them stable private homes, but where they can live their traditional lifestyle,” he says.

“I’m working with lawyer Marc Willers, a leading King’s Counsellor on gypsy and traveller issues, who’s been such an inspiration to me. We met up last week when Bull were playing Brighton, and I’m considering doing a pupillage down there.”

Bull on the March tour trail: Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Glasgow, York, last stop London

Tom decided that Bull should not push for the second album with EMI. “It wasn’t the right fit, to be honest,” he reflects. “We’re a cult independent band from York, That’s what we are. We’re not going to be the next Wet Leg. We have cult appeal, a catalogue of 35 songs, and a small group of people around the world that like us, and that’s all we want.”

Twelve of those songs form Engines Of Honey, recorded by singer, guitarist and principal songwriter Tom, keyboard-playing sister Holly Beer, guitarist Dan Lucas, drummer Tom Gabbatiss and bassist Kai West with producer Remko Schouten in his Amsterdam studio, as was the case for Discover Effortless Living, with further recordings at Tom’s parents’ house in York. “Adding endless harmonies, shakers, timpani and saxophone,” as Tom puts it.

Bull are in a good place, says Tom. “It doesn’t matter that we didn’t do a second album with EMI. We’re happy where we are because you can’t make money from music unless you’re huge, and we were broke,” he says.

“I wasn’t making ends meet, so I needed to get a job. We’re not exactly business people. We tried but it kills it. I started taking things too seriously, but it’s only music. Though I feel very conflicted about it. I don’t feel I’ve quit, but I was working way too hard at it, to the point where I can’t do that any more.

“Music is much more personal than other careers; you feel it too deeply, where it would activate my ‘fight or flight’, so I had to stop doing it, but thankfully Holly and Dan and the rest of the band took over finishing the album, with Dan doing the lion’s share of the mixing.””

Bull: Playing a different set each night at The Crescent on Friday and Saturday

Bull have signed to new management; a further York live event is upcoming at the York Explore library on May 17, and recording plans are afoot already for two more albums, one with Renko Schouten at his new studio in rural Spain, the other, “super-lo-fi” in York.

“We’re trying to strike a deal with Renko to build him a guitar-shaped swimming pool on his land to cover making the next album,” says Tom. Polymath Kai is a builder among his multiple skills, should you be wondering.

Turning 30, Tom finds himself becoming more of a home bird. “I’m engaged; I want to have kids, make normal money from a job,” he says. “I had to give up on my rock’n’roll dream, which is unreal. Only Bob Dylan pulls off the never-ending tour, and I’m not sure how happy he is. I just want to be have friends around me. Be a good citizen for York.”

First up, Bull play two entirely different sets tomorrow and on Saturday with no repeats and DJ sets afterwards by Victor Alvarez, the Mexican-masked host of the Golden Ball’s Latin nights, Sophisticated Boom Boom DJs, from the Micklegate Social, DJ Dr Vic, DJ Georgie, probably Joe Coates and maybe Tom Beer too, picked from his record collection.

In between comes Saturdays’ free daytime jamboree, kicking off at 2pm with an art fair featuring Jade Blood, Harry Clowes, Kai West and Izzy Williamson and more. Ben Crosthwaite’s music quiz at 5pm will be followed by Jade Blood’s Art Bingo with prizes at 6pm.

Look out too for Bull’s homemade curry, cooked up by Kai West, and a memoraBullia exhibition with 20 Bull T-shirts down the years, posters, promotional artwork and record sleeve designs. MemoraBullia, Tom? “I came up with that!” he says.

Please Please You and Brudenell Presents present Bull at The Crescent, York, tomorrow, supported by FEET, from London, and Vehicle, from Leeds, 7.30pm. Tickets still available at Saturday, supported by Eugene Glorious and Fat Spatula, 7.30pm, sold out.

Album launch Saturday Daytime Jamboree, The Crescent, 2pm onwards; free entry. To buy Engines Of Honey, go to:

Kai West’s poster artwork for Bull’s album launch weekender

More Things To Do in Ryedale, York and beyond the yellow brick road. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 7, from the Gazette & Herald

Le Collectif de Blues: Making their Ryedale Blues Club debut

BLUES and the yellow brick road, New Orleans jazz and Sondheim, egg hunts and art workshops, an album launch and a pop double bill make Charles Hutchinson’s latest list.

Blues gig of the week: Le Collectif de Blues, Milton Rooms, Malton, tonight (21/3/2024), 8pm

FOR the first time, Ryedale Blues Club presents the straight-up, no-nonsense Chicago blues of Le Collectif de Blues at the Milton Rooms. Expect a “killer harp, low key, small amps, no effects” brand of blues. “Just as it should be,” they say. Hull blues and rock musician Steve Fulsham is on the bill too. Box office: 01653 696240 or

Alligator Gumbo: New Orleans jazz from Leeds in Helmsley

Jazz gig of the week: Alligator Gumbo, Helmsley Arts Centre, Saturday, 7.30pm

PERFORMING everywhere from rowdy bars to prestigious jazz festivals since 2011, Leeds combo Alligator Gumbo play jazz from the hey-day of the New Orleans swing/jazz era, in particular the “Roaring Twenties”, when music was raw and largely improvised with melodies and solos happening simultaneously. 

Striving to keep the New Orleans sound alive, Alligator Gumbo play the popular songs that defined this time and place. Box office: 01439 771700 or

Baby boom: Ryedale Youth Theatre choreographer Lauren Hood, front left, producer/director Chloe Shipley and musical director Rachael Clarke with their babies and The Wizard Of Oz cast members

Ryedale musical of the week: Ryedale Youth Theatre in The Wizard Of Oz, Milton Rooms, Malton, March 27 to 30, 7.15pm plus 2pm Thursday and Saturday matinees

REHEARSALS were paused for several weeks when three key members of Ryedale Youth Theatre’s production team took time out to be with their new arrivals. Choreographer Lauren Hood had a baby son, musical director Rachael Clarke, a daughter, and producer/director Chloe Shipley, a son. Choreographer Rachel Morris is having a baby too, due after the show’s run.

Rehearsals resumed in February for L Frank Baum’s musical story of Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow and their journey along the yellow brick road to meet the Wizard of Oz. Box office:

Sam Hird: Heading home to York to sing Sondheim with Pick Me Up Theatre

Musical revue of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Sondheim We Remember, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, March 27 to 30, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

ROYAL College of Music student Sam Hird returns home to York to join his father Mark Hird in the Pick Me Up Theatre company for Sondheim We Remember’s selection of music from Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway shows, film scores and television specials.

Taking part too in this celebration of the New York composer and lyricist will be show director Helen ‘Bells’ Spencer, Susannah Baines, Emma Louise Dickinson, Alexandra Mather, Florence Poskitt, Catherine Foster, Andrew Roberts, Nick Sephton and Matthew Warry. Box office:

Bassist Kai West’s poster for Bull’s two-day album launch at The Crescent

York album launch of the week: Bull at The Crescent, Friday and Saturday, 7.30pm

BULL, York’s “finest purveyors of jangling indie joy”, launch second album Engines Of Honey with a brace of home-city shows, supported by FEET and Vehicle on Friday, then Fat Spatula and Eugene Gorgeous on Saturday.

Vocalist/songwriter Tom Beer, guitarist Dan Lucas, drummer Tom Gabbatiss, keyboard player Holly Beer and bassist Kai West promise entirely different sets for each night with no repeats. What’s more, they are making a day of it on the Saturday with a free daytime jamboree from 2pm, featuring an art fair, Ben Crosthwaite’s music quiz, bingo with Jade Blood, Bull’s homemade curry and a memoraBullia exhibition, plus post-gig DJs. Box office:

The National Trust guide to Easter activties

Easter egg hunt of the fortnight: Nunnington Hall, Nunnington, near Helmsley, Saturday to April 7, 10.30am to 5pm; last entry, 4.15pm.

FAMILIES can enjoy a fun-packed visit to the National Trust property of Nunnington Hall throughout the Easter school holiday, when children can take part in an Easter egg hunt trail around the freshly mown garden, with activities to be completed such as an egg and spoon race, archery and boules, before receiving their egg.

Children can enjoy drawing and painting in the creative hub; take part in seed planting in the cutting garden; explore the Lion’s Den play area, with its obstacle course, rope bridge and climbing frame; learn about composting and spend time in the bird-watching area. On March 31 and April 1, additional garden activities include races on the main lawn and bird-feeder making. Tickets:

Artist Nicola Hutchinson: Hosting two days of workshops at Helmsley Arts Centre

Workshop of the week: A Creative Art Adventure, Helmsley Arts Centre, Monday and Tuesday, 10am to 3pm

ARTIST Nicola Hutchinson embarks on an enchanting journey through a world of creativity this Easter holiday in a two-day workshop for children aged eight to 11, focusing on exploration and discovery.

These sessions offer the chance to learn new skills and techniques in a relaxed setting, with a variety of art materials provided to experiment with drawing, painting, and collage skills. All levels and abilities are welcome; snacks and drinks are provided; please dress to get messy. Tickets: 01439 771700 or

York gig announcement of the week: Wet Wet Wet & Heather Small, York Barbican, October 13 2025

Wet Wet Wet with special guest Heather Small: Playing York Barbican in October 2025

WHEN Wet Wet Wet headlined a festival in Dubai, who should they bump into but Heather Small, the big voice of M People. She duly accepted their invitation to be the special guest at all dates on their 2025 tour.

Wet Wet Wet will be returning to York Barbican after their January 31 2024 double bill with Go West on the Best Of Both Worlds Tour. In the line-up will be founding member and bassist Graeme Clark, long-standing guitarist Graeme Duffin and singer Kevin Simm, The Voice UK winner and former Liberty X member, who joined the Scottish group in 2018. Tickets go on sale on Friday at 10am at

More Things To Do in York and beyond with plenty of Bull and no bull. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 12 for 2024, from The Press, York

Bass player Kai West’s poster for Bull’s two-day album launch for Engines Of Honey at The Crescent

COMEDY legends and Arthurian tales, Welsh rock firebrands and a bullish album launch, an Italian dance champion and spa town illuminations have Charles Hutchinson reaching for his diary.

York album launch of the week: Bull at The Crescent, March 22 and 23, 7.30pm

BULL, York’s “finest purveyors of jangling indie joy”, launch second album Engines Of Honey with a brace of home-city shows, supported by FEET and Vehicle on Friday, then Fat Spatula and Eugene Gorgeous on Saturday.

Vocalist/songwriter Tom Beer, guitarist Dan Lucas, drummer Tom Gabbatiss, keyboard player Holly Beer and bassist Kai West promise entirely different sets for each night with no repeats. What’s more, they are making a day of it on the Saturday with a free daytime jamboree from 2pm, featuring an art fair, Ben Crosthwaite’s music quiz, bingo with Jade Blood, Bull’s homemade curry and a memoraBullia exhibition, plus post-gig DJs. Box office:

Rolling out a barrel of laughs: Al Murray at Grand Opera House, York

Comedy at the treble at Grand Opera House, York: Al Murray, Guv Island, Sunday, 7.30pm; An Evening With The Fast Show, Tuesday, 7.30pm; Frank Skinner, 30 Years Of Dirt, Thursday, 7.30pm.

STANDING up so you don’t have to take it lying it down anymore, Al Murray, the Pub Landlord, is back “to make sense of the questions you probably already had the answers to” in Guv Island.

An Evening With The Fast Show sold out suitably fast. Original cast members Simon Day, Charlie Higson, John Thomson, Paul Whitehouse, Mark Williams and Arabella Weir mark their 30th anniversary with behind-the-scenes insights into their television characters and catchphrases, recreating favourite moments too. Two nights later, Brummie comedian and TV and radio presenter Frank Skinner reflects on his own 30-year landmark. Box office:

Fast talking: An Evening With The Fast Show at Grand Opera House, York, on Tuesday

Please Please You presents: C Duncan, Rise at Bluebird Bakery, Acomb, York, Wednesday, 7.30pm

THE son of two classical musicians, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland-trained multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter C Duncan – ‘C’ stands for Christopher – plays solo at Rise.

The Glaswegian musician will be performing songs from his four albums: 2015’s Mercury Prize-nominated Architect, 2016’s The Midnight Sun, 2019’s Health and 2022’s Alluvium, recorded at his home studio at Helensburgh. He is an artist too, painting all the artwork for his Bella Union releases. Box office:

Feeder’s poster for their Black/Red tour, visiting York Barbican on Tuesday

Welsh invaders of the week: Feeder, supported by Girlband!, York Barbican, Tuesday, 8pm

ANTHEMIC Newport rock band Feeder mark their 30th anniversary with a spring tour and the April 5 release of a new studio double album, Black/Red, on Big Teeth Music.

Accruing seven million record sales, Grant Nicholas and Take Hirose’s group chalked up 20 Top 40 hits from 1997’s High to 2008’s We Are The People, and the likes of Just The Way I’m Feeling, Buck Rogers, Feeling A Moment, Tumble And Fall, Just A Day, Fear Of Flying and Lost And Found surely will feature in their set. Leeds Brudenell Social Club awaits on April 7 at 8pm. Box office: York,; Leeds,

Leigh Francis: Leeds comedian heads to York on My First Time tour

Yorkshire comedian of the week: Leigh Francis, My First Time, York Barbican, Wednesday, 7.45pm

LEEDS comedian, radio presenter and Bo’ Selecta! sketch show regular Leigh Francis is the scabrous, scatological, sometimes rubber-faced humorist behind the characters Keith Lemon, The Bear, Avid Merrion and Amanda Holden’s ‘gran’, Myrtle, along with celebrity impressions of David Dickinson, Ant and Dec and Louis Theroux.

All feature in Francis’s debut venture into the live environment in a tour show that combines sketches with buckets of audience interaction. “Come see me being other people live for the first time!” he says. Also playing Hull City Hall, March 22; Leeds Grand Theatre, April 6. Box office: York,; Hull,; Leeds,

Giovanni Pernice: Let him entertain you at York Barbican

Dance show of the week: Giovanni Pernice, Let Me Entertain You, York Barbican, Thursday 7.30pm

GIOVANNI Pernice, the Sicilian dancer from Strictly Come Dancing and BAFTA winner, returns to York Barbican on his 2024 tour, Let Me Entertain You.

Pernice, dancer, performer, showman and Guinness World Record holder for jive kicks and flick to boot, will be joined by fellow professional dancers and West End performers in a show of non-stop action. Box office: 

Le Navet Bete: History in the re-making in King Arthur at York Theatre Royal

Legend of the week: Le Navet Bete in King Arthur, York Theatre Royal, Thursday to Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

AFTER Treasure Island and Dracula: The Bloody Truth, Le Navet Bete head back to York Theatre Royal for a retelling of the Arthurian legend, King Arthur, in their inimitable comedic style. Camelot is in trouble, and Arthur knows that if he fails to turn things around, this civilisation will be forgotten and be known as nothing more than a rather dull time in British history.

When three hapless squires approach him about changing that legacy, however, a legend is born in a new comedy for the ages, suitable for the whole family. Box office: 01904 623568 or

Jamie Cullum: All that jazz at York Barbican in November. Picture: Charles Gall

York gig announcement of the week: Jamie Cullum, York Barbican, November 12

DID you know that Jamie Cullum failed his Grade 4 piano exam and can barely read music? Nevertheless, the Rochford-born pianist, now 44, became the biggest-selling British jazz musician of all time. This autumn he will play 14 British dates, visiting York as his only Yorkshire destination. Tickets will go on sale on March 22 at 10am at

In Focus: BEAM Light Festival, Harrogate, today, dusk (6.30pm) to 10pm

James Bawn’s light installation at the Cenotaph war memorial in Harrogate for the BEAM Light Festival. Picture: Charlotte Graham

COMMISSIONED by Harrogate International Festivals, Element 3 Design is illuminating Harrogate town centre with a light installation trail of spa-town locations, landmarks and green spaces, some iconic, others unexpected, ten in total.

Visitors and locals alike will see Harrogate in a completely different light in this new festival, as James Bawn follows up his 2019 light show by using lighting beams, projections and soundscapes to animate the likes of the Cenotaph and Crescent Gardens, while Valley Gardens trees will be lit with dancing twinkling lights. No need to book, just show up!

Supported by Future 50, North Yorkshire Council, Visit North Yorkshire and Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID), the Beam Light Festival festival is free: no need to book, just show up!

Business owners and the Harrogate community are encouraged to create their own lights for display in their windows to enhance the trail.

Beam follows on from such Harrogate large-scale outdoor events as the Fire Garden and the post-pandemicFire & Light Festival. Matthew Chapman, Harrogate BID manager, says: “Harrogate BID are thrilled to continue our close partnership with Harrogate International Festivals and Beam will be another fantastic occasion to celebrate this further.

“With anticipated increased footfall and spend for our members, a new and unique Harrogate experience delivering our objective of a ‘Vibrant Town’, we cannot wait to see Beam come to fruition and really put Harrogate on the map.”

Councillor Simon Myers, North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for culture, arts and housing, says: “Beam demonstrates the importance of free-to-attend events to animate our communities and ensure access to the arts for the widest possible audiences.

“Large events like this are an opportunity to celebrate the spaces which we live and work in and enjoy, and Beam is sure to present the town in a brand new light.”

Fiona Movley, chair of the Future 50 Appeal, says: “Harrogate International Festivals’ Future 50 Appeal was created to ensure the widest possible access to the arts for our community, and to develop artists of the future. We are excited to light up our town and shine a light on the creative talent we have in our region.”

The ten locations for the BEAM Light Fesival

1. Valley Gardens

WORKING with sound artist Dan Fox, the Elgar Walk within the Valley Gardens will be transformed with a Glittering Grove. Thousands of specks of light dance across trees and paths creating a sparkling path as you head towards the sculpture that will have a single light beam hitting the clouds above.

2. Crescent Gardens

USING searchlights to cast patterns across the sky, the lights and soundscape will create a magical spectacle. At the heart of the installation is the iconic Cupid and Psyche statue from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which brings the timeless tale of love and transformation to life.

3. Picture Frame/Montpellier Hill

SEE yourself in a different light as the Picture Frame is picked out in different colours to accentuate the design. Strike a pose!

4. Cenotaph & Field of Light

THE Cenotaph war memorial will be illuminated with narrow beams of light to make a solemn and dignified artwork paying tribute to the sacrifices of those who served.

A field of light created by solar jars will glow in the darkness. As the sun sets and the jars come to life, the area will be transformed into a magical sea of twinkling lights.

5. St Peter’s Church

SUBTLE lighting to highlight the beautiful architecture will provide a serene and contemplative atmosphere for visitors to reflect and find solace in this tranquil space among the illuminated surroundings.

6. Jubilee Memorial

SEE Queen Victoria bathed in colour to accentuate the architecture of this memorial commemorating the 1887 Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

7. Victoria Shopping Centre

A DYNAMIC lighting design, complemented by a carefully curated soundscape, will elevate the architecture of this building inspired by the work of Palladio in Italy 450 years ago.

8. The Exchange Building

THE central stairwell of The Exchange will be illuminated to be seen from miles around. Searchlights on the roof will cast beams of light into the night sky, further accentuating the impact the building has had on the townscape.

9. Library Gardens & Library

THE Library Gardens will be lit carefully, playing with light and shadow, whilst the Carnegie Library will tell stories through light projection on the front of the building.

10. Cedar Court Hotel

A COLOURFUL animated light will wash the building in colour, illuminating the beautiful architecture.

Lit up in words: James Bawn’s Harrogate 1571 sculpture, created in 2019 and now part of the BEAM festival. Picture: Celestine Dubruel

The Howl & The Hum, Bull and Huge to play Make It York’s new YorkLife festival weekend in Parliament Street in April

The Howl & The Hum: York Life headliners on April 3

YORK’S new spring festival weekend will showcase the city’s musicians, performers, comedians and more besides on April 2 and 3.

Organised by Make It York, YorkLife will see more than 30 performers and organisations head to Parliament Street for a free open event from 11am to 9pm each day with no need to book tickets in advance.

The Saturday headliners will be Big Donaghy’s long-running York party band Huge; the Sunday bill will climax with The Howl & The Hum in their biggest home-city performance since gracing York Minster on May 25 2021.

Both bands will play the main YorkLife stage as part of a programme curated by York’s Music Venue Network, presenting such York acts as Bull, Kitty VR, Flatcap Carnival and Hyde Family Jam.

An array of interactive sessions will be held by York organisations, taking in theatre workshops, instrumental workshops, face painting, comedy and dance performances, plus fire performers and circus acts.

The main stage on Parliament Street will have an open viewing area with a 500 capacity, while a covered stretch tent will hold a York Gin bar and seating area for 90 people with a one-in, one-out policy.

YorkLife is supported by City of York Council’s ARG (Additional Restrictions Grant) funding, which aims to boost businesses impacted by Covid-19. The April 2 and 3 programme has been curated with York residents in mind and to support the city’s recovery from Covid.

Big Ian Donaghy: Fronting Huge on the YorkLIfe main stage on April 2

Councillor Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, leisure and communities, says: “Our cultural sector is the lifeblood of our communities. There is so much talent in York, from musicians to comedians and poets to performers, which makes our city so vibrant and unique.

“YorkLife is an excellent way to celebrate our home-grown musicians and performers, particularly after what has been a challenging few years for us all. I would encourage residents to join the festival and enjoy the best of York’s own talent.”

Sarah Loftus, Make It York’s managing director, says: “YorkLife is a celebration of York talent and culture, from our street musicians to our community groups. We want to really celebrate the sense of community in York and we’re encouraging residents to join the party and see some of the hottest talent York has to offer.”

Chris Sherrington, from the York Music Venue Network, says: “It’s wonderful to have this opportunity to showcase some of York’s amazingly talented artists who have developed their careers across the city of York’s many great grassroots music venues.

“As part of YorkLife weekend, we’re looking forward to celebrating the return of live music to the city and enjoying the wonderful variety of music for one and all. This event has been a true cooperative effort of York’s event industry and creatives and we look forward to working on future events.”

To find out more about YorkLife, head to The full line-up will be announced later this month. 

Bull: Home-city gig for York’s first band to sign to a major label since Shed Seven

Confirmed acts and workshops


The Howl & The Hum; Huge; Bull; Kitty VR; Flatcap Carnival; Hyde Family Jam;  Floral Pattern; Bargestra and Wounded Bear.


Mud Pie Arts: Cloud Tales interactive storytelling;

Thunk It Theatre: Build Our City theatre workshop; 

Gemma Wood: York Skyline art;

Fantastic Faces:  Face painting; 

York Mix Radio:  Quiz; 

York Dance Space:  Dance performance;

Burning Duck Comedy Club: Comedy night; 

Henry Raby, from Say Owt: Spoken poetry; 

Matt Barfoot: Drumming workshop; 

Christian Topman: Ukulele workshop; 

Polly Bennet: Little Vikings PQA York performing arts workshop; 

Innovation Entertainment: Circus workshops. 

Nicolette Hobson and Gemma Drury of Mud Pie Arts: Hosting Cloud Tales interactive storytelling workshops at YorkLife

More Things To Do in York and beyond and online as Step 3 tiptoes into the light. List No. 33, courtesy of The Press, York

Minster Men: The Howl & The Hum to play livestreamed concert at York Minster on Tuesday

THE Indian Variant may be dampening down hopes for June 21, but Charles Hutchinson’s diary is still filled with hope, concerts, festivals, exhibitions and a Minster livestreaming.

Livestreaming of the week ahead: The Howl & The Hum, Live At York Minster, Tuesday, 8pm   to 9.30pm

YORK rock band The Howl & The Hum are performing a one-off streamed concert in the Nave of York Minster on Tuesday, with tickets available via

The 8.15pm setlist will be built around last year’s debut album, Human Contact, whose prescient title chimed with pandemic times as such contact became more restricted, even barred. New material may well feature too. “I reckon it will,” says frontman Sam Griffiths.

Rachel Croft: York singer-songwriter to perform on Songs Under Skies acoustic double bill with Wounded Bear at the NCEM. Picture: Amy D’Agorne

A fistful of outdoor gigs: Songs Under Skies, National Centre for Early Music, York, in June  

SONGS Under Skies will return to the NCEM’s churchyard gardens at St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York, next month.

Five outdoor acoustic double bills from 6.30pm to 8.30pm will comprise Wounded Bear and Rachel Croft on June 1; Kell Chambers and Nadedja, June 2; Katie Spencer and Joshua Burnell, June 14; Zak Ford and Alice Simmons, June 15, and Epilogues and Sunflower Thieves, June 16.

As with last September’s debut series, the socially distanced, Covid-safe season two will be presented in association with The Crescent community venue, The Fulford Arms and the Music Venues Alliance. Box office: at

Hope Is The New Hero, by Jake T, from Rawcliffe and Clifton Without, for the Hope display at the According To McGee gallery in York

Children’s art show of the week in York: Hope projections, According To McGee, York, tonight, tomorrow, then Wednesday to Friday for the next two weeks, 6pm to 9pm nightly

HOPE springs nocturnal in a collaboration between primary school artists from York and around the world at York gallery According To McGee.

Under the title of Hope, the artwork will be on display in light projections in the window of the Tower Street gallery in a creative response to the pandemic.

Digital artists Nick Walters is overseeing evenings featuring projections of 350 artworks selected from 3,000 images from cities in 33 countries.

York artist Sue Clayton, second from right, with NHS York Vaccination Centre site manager Will McEvoy, Nimbuscare director of quality and patient experience Michelle Phillips and Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer at the unveiling – but not unmasking! – of the 21 exhibition at Askham Bar

Jab in the arm for art: Sue Clayton’s 21 exhibition, NHS York Vaccination Centre, Askham Bar, York, until June 13

WHAT a captive audience for Sue Clayton’s portrait exhibition of children and young adults with Down Syndrome, presented in association with Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC).

As many as 3,000 people a day are attending the Askham Bar vaccination centre to receive a jab in the “Tent Of Hope”, where biodegradable prints of Sue’s paintings are in place.

The theme of 21 symbolises the extra 21st chromosome that people with Down Syndrome have, Sue’s energetic son James among them. 

Manic Street Preachers: New tour, new album…oh, and a new single called…Orwellian

Gig announcement of the week in York: Manic Street Preachers, York Barbican, October 4

WELSH rock band Manic Street Preachers’ 14-date autumn itinerary will showcase the September 3 release of their 14th studio album, The Ultra Vivid Lament, on Columbia/Sony.

In a departure from 2018’s Resistance Is Futile, the new record is the first Manics’ studio set to be conceived initially on piano rather than guitar.

James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore last played York Barbican in May 2019. Their support will be The Anchoress, the Welsh-born multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and author Catherine Anne Davies. Tickets sales go live tomorrow (21/5/2021) at 10am at

Mad about the Boy: Boy George and Culture Club perennial members Roy Hay and Mikey Craig are off to the Yorkshire seaside

Gig announcement of the week outside York: Culture Club, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, August 14

EIGHTIES’ icon Boy George and Culture Club are off to the Yorkshire seaside in a new addition to the packed Scarborough Open Air Theatre programme.

Bexleyheath-born frontman and fashion innovator George O’Dowd, who turns 60 on June 14, will perform alongside original band members Roy Hay and Mikey Craig in a “stunning live band”. Tickets go on sale for the 8,000-capacity show via tomorrow (21/5/2021) at 9am.

Rachel Podger: The Violinist Speaks concert at York Early Music Festival 2021. Picture: Theresa Pewal

Festival launch of the week: York Early Music Festival 2021, July 12 to 16

PRESENTED by the National Centre of Early Music, the classical York Early Music Festival 2021 will have the theme of Encounters, most vitally between audience and artists after lockdown loosening.

Among the guest artists will be violinist Rachel Podger; lutenist Jacob Heringman; bass Matthew Brook; the Monteverdi String Band; harpsichordist Steven Devine; The Society Of Strange & Ancient Instruments; La Vaghezza and Ensemble Clement Janequin.

Taking part too will be vocal ensemble Stile Antico and Spanish Baroque ensemble L’Apothéose. Tickets are on sale at Upcoming too will be YEMF 21 Online, from July 15 to 18, featuring festival concerts and commissioned highlights.

Bull in a field: York alt.rock band booked for Deer Shed: Base Camp Plus festival

No Deer Shed 11 festival, but here comes Deer Shed: Base Camp Plus, Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, Thirsk, July 30 to August 1

AFTER last summer’s Base Camp, Deer Shed Festival co-directors Oliver Jones and Kate Webster have created Base Camp Plus with a female-headlined main stage, live music, DJ sets, comedy and shows. As with last year’s event, each camping pitch will contain its own Portaloo and washing facilities.

Jane Weaver, Dream Wife and Porridge Radio are the headliners; York bands Bull and New York Brass Band will be playing too; John Shuttleworth, Mark Watson and Angelos Epithemiou lead the comedy.

The organisers will adhere to the Step 3 restrictions in place since Monday, limiting the capacity, with social distancing and face coverings in covered areas. For tickets, go to:

And what about?

Brief encounter: York drag diva Velma Celli in Love Is Love: A Brief History Of Drag at York Theatre Royal

Velma Celli in Love Is Love: A Brief History Of Drag, York Theatre Royal, May 29, 8pm

YORK drag diva deluxe Velma Celli’s fabulous contribution to York Theatre Royal’s reopening Love Season will be one of Velma’s regular cabaret shows, re-titled Love Is Love: A Brief Of History Of Drag specially to meet the love brief.

Joining Velma – the creation of York musical actor Ian Stroughair – will be two guest acts, Jordan Fox, Ian’s co-star in Jack And The Beanstalk, and Jessica Steel, together with backing singers Kimberley Ensor and Grace Lancaster, musical director Ben Papworth, drummer Clark Howard and guitarist Al Morrison.

Ian last appeared on the Theatre Royal in Kes at the age of 14, all of 24 years ago.

News BULLetin…

Bull boutique: York band to set up pop-up market stall tomorrow

BULLet point: “If you find yourself in York tomorrow (15/5/2021), you may see a bit of BULL activity in and around Shambles Market as the York band will be serving up a BULL Boutique to sell all things BULL and also from their friends from Young Thugs Records. They’ll be busking around the city throughout the day.”

A case of Bull in a kinda shop.

Today is the day to Discover Effortless Living in York as Bull release debut album

Band and the banner: Bull take to the River Ouse on the album launch day for Discover Effortless Living as the artwork hangs from Millennium Bridge, York

BAND formed: 2011. Debut album released on major label: March 26 2021. No wonder York alt-rock  dandies Bull rolled out a large banner of the cover artwork for Discover Effortless Living from Millennium Bridge today.

“It feels great. I’m really excited,” says songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Tom Beer, revelling in one of the most joyful stories in the history of York’s music scene, as the first buds of spring deliver Bull’s 13-track flourish on EMI Records, in conjunction with York promoters, producers and proponents of potent pop, Young Thugs.

“We’ve been working on bringing out the album all year [since signing to EMI last July] and it’s just exciting that it’s done and ready to go.”

Ten years to reach this zenith, and you thought elephants had a long gestation period. “We didn’t know we’d ever get to this point. We’d never bet on it,” admits Tom, after Bull became the first York act since Shed Seven in October 1993 to sign to a major label.

“It definitely feels all the more significant because it’s not only a year’s work. Everything we’ve done has been incremental, learning as we go, for years.”

Are Bull the hardest working band in York, Tom? “I’m not sure we can be called that! I’ll give that to The Howl & The Hum. Not that we haven’t worked hard, but we’ve always just done what we wanted to do. When you work at something you love, it’s not work, is it?” he says. “I’ve only just started calling it ‘work’ in recent years.”

Going Green: The artwork for Bull’s first single for EMI, a song written as long ago as 2012

Bull have hit the roof, in the best way possible. “We’ve just played a gig on the EMI roof,” reveals Tom. When? “Um…I only remember dates in the future.”

Sometime in March, anyway, as Tom, guitarist Dan Lucas, drummer Tom Gabbatiss and bass player and artist Kai West followed in the London footsteps of The Beatles in their last public performance on the Apple offices rooftop at Savile Row on January 30 1969 and U2 in a not-so-secret gig atop BBC Broadcasting House on February 27 2009 to launch their 12th album, No Line On The Horizon.

The Beatles, U2, what esteemed company Bull are keeping. “We’ve actually been called The English Beatles, which we quite liked!” says Tom.

“We had a few meetings at The Golden Ball [York’s first community co-operative pub in Cromwell Road] and came up with a few whacky ideas, and originally we thought we’d just try to play on the roof without telling EMI, just doing it on the day, maybe with the help of the janitor.”

Instead, it developed into a full-blown performance, playing all 13 tracks from Discover Effortless Living. “It will be broadcast on Jericho Keys’ BBC Music Introducing show on BBC Radio York tomorrow [27/3/2021, from 8pm],” says Tom.

“As for actually releasing it, we’re pitching it to various sources, but it will be available to watch via our Facebook site on a date to be confirmed.”

“Everything we’ve done has been incremental, learning as we go, for years,” says Bull’s Tom Beer on the day their debut album arrives

Bull made their little piece of rock’n’roll history on that rooftop. “Apparently we’re the first band to play on EMI’s offices, at the Universal Music building next to King’s Cross [Four Pancras Square, to be precise],” says Tom.

“It was insane! Like, the food that day was better than anything we’d eaten in years! The roof must be 20 storeys up. Brilliant up there, but cold. It was bracing to say the least. We even had a drone photographing us that looked as big as a helicopter! We’re editing that now.”

No fewer than seven singles were released from Michael Jackson’s 1982 album, Thriller, and Bull are on his tail with Eugene this week becoming the fifth from Discover Effortless Living, in the wake of Green, Bonzo Please, Love Goo and Disco Living.

Tom’s mini-symphony of self-flagellation spans the various stages of feeling down on yourself – from lethargy and frustration to anger – using tempo changes to “paint an audio picture”. In its brief visit of only two minutes and 38 seconds, the idiosyncratic song manages to be both melancholy and spritely at the same time.

“It’s a real kick-yourself-when-you’re-down song,” says Tom. “I wrote Eugene when I was feeling dissatisfied with what I was doing. It’s kind of a self-hate song, you know when people talk about self-love? It’s not that. I’m slating myself; it moves through the key changes and different moods, and ends in a way that mocks the sadness, another form of self-deprecation!”

One of the red apples from Bull’s animated video for new single Eugene

Recalling penning Eugene, Tom says: “I felt rubbish at the time but I did feel better for writing it. The problem is singing it for ten years, still having to revisit that apathy, but hopefully it’s preventative to getting back to that state.”

Mulling over the kick-yourself-when-you’re-down subject matter: “I used to listen to a lot of Elliott Smith [the American singer-songwriter who took his own life with a knife in 2003],” says Tom. “There’s a line in High Fidelity: ‘What comes first? The music or the misery? I had a down year when I wrote Eugene…but I think the answer might be ‘music’, though…”.

Who’s Eugene, Tom? “We used to name a lot of our songs around our original drummer Louis’s friends, such as Eddie’s Cap. We like the idea of giving the song a name, as opposed to lifting it from a lyric.

“Eugene is named after Joe G, Joseph G. Louis used to call him Gorgeous G. So Eugene. My brother Paddy’s band are called Eugene Gorgeous after this guy too.”

The video is an animated gem in a collaboration with artist friends of the band that reflects the song’s different moods. Band members Dan and Kai set the ball rolling with a burst of DIY Claymation before handing over to artists Jack Iredale, Rory Welbrock, Roxy Linklater and Tom’s sister, Holly Beer, who each tackled a different animation style.

York band Bull pictured in….Scarborough. Picture: Amy D’Agorne Craghill

“With all those key changes, the song’s a bit of a rollercoaster, and we wanted to mirror that in the visuals, splitting it into animated sections, but we also thought: ‘Does it need something to tie it together?’, so we made the arbitrary decision, or maybe not, that all the animations had to feature a red apple,” says Tom. First Adam and Eve, then Snow White, now Bull!

Summing up the album as “13 songs written and rocked on between the years 2012 and 2020”, Tom elaborates on the origin of the title: “It’s taken from the opening lyric to the final track, Disco Living. We wanted to use a lyric from the album and felt like this was a good one.

” I first saw the words Discover Effortless Living in London, written on the side of a mansion being built and thought it was funny. It also ties in with ideas around class, new beginnings, a golden era of prosperity, and hoping to have life ‘in the bag’.”

What would constitute “effortless living”, Tom? “I just think it’s a contradiction in terms. That’s what was funny about it. Effortless living? I don’t think anyone would want to discover it. Effort is surely worth the effort?” he says.

“My idea of discovering how to live is to take things slowly; finding joy in the little things; having lots of different things on the go at the same time, and not worrying about any of them too much. Maybe lockdown has been a necessary change of pace. A nice change of pace. It’s the first time I’ve had a routine since school.”

Spread out: The artwork for Bull’s debut album, Discover Effortless Living

Tom finds joy in going for walks. “I love walking in suburbia; it’s my favourite thing. I’ve always loved it. You have really good conversations on walks, and I love discovering roads and parts of communities I’ve not seen before,” he says.

Now those discoveries are as much in Scarborough as elsewhere after moving from York with girlfriend Martha – band member Dan’s sister – a year and a half ago.

“Martha is a midwife and it was either Oxford or Scarborough that she would be working in. It was time we lived together; we both liked Scarborough; it’s close, so I can go to York, rehearse all day, then get back to Scarborough.”

Tom and Martha are living in Castle Road. “We’re south-facing, so out of the window we have incredible views of the South Bay,” he says.

“In fact, Castle Road is where we made the album cover, at St Mary’s Church. We knew we wanted somewhere with beautifully green grass, the greener the better. I called the church up on the phone, to ask if we could use the churchyard [where Haworth novelist Anne Bronte is buried, by the way].

Richard Hawley pictured at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, for the album cover for Coles Corner

“I said, ‘can we have it between 10am and 5pm, if we clean up afterwards ourselves?’, and this man very kindly said ‘yes’.”

To create the cover image, Bull combined items they found on the street with “lots of flowers we picked”. “I hope they’ve grown back,” says Tom. “A bunch of people came up to ask ‘what are you  doing?’, and once we told them, they said, ‘oh, that’s nice’. Some people even sat and watched!”

And so, St Mary’s Church churchyard becomes the second Scarborough setting for a landmark album sleeve, after the Art Deco frontage of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, at the former Scarborough Odeon, graced the cover of Richard Hawley’s Coles Corner, released in September 2005.

The band portrait at the top of this interview was taken in Scarborough too by Amy D’Agorne Craghill. “There’s this amazing place on the North Bay. From the castle, you walk through the castle walls to woodland with all these orange-coloured rocks and that’s where Amy took it,” says Tom.

A further Bull image in Scarborough came about when they stumbled across 100 gnomes in a woman’s garden. Who could resist using gnomes for a picture? Not Bull. Permission was duly forthcoming.

What’s next? Bull in a china shop?

On the edge: “We didn’t know we’d ever get to this point. We’d never bet on it,” says Tom Beer of Bull’s progress to a major-label debut album

Track listing for Bull’s Discover Effortless Living: Bedroom Floor; Love Goo; Green; Shiny Bowl; Eugene; Eddie’s Cap; Serious Baby; Perfect Teeth; Find Myself A Job; Bonzo Please;
In A Jar; Smoke and Disco Living.

Bull invite you to Discover Effortless Living with March release of their debut album

On the charge: York band Bull announce spring release for debut album

STILL sworn to secrecy in December, York band Bull have now confirmed the long-mooted name and release date for their major label debut album, no bull.

Discover Effortless Living – a title abbreviated for last year’s single Disco Living – will be out on March 26, launched on EMI Records in conjunction with York music hive Young Thugs.

To celebrate, here comes the York alt-rockers’ fifth single, Eugene, released today on the back of Disco Living, Green, Bonzo Please and the Love Goo EP that closed out a year when Bull became the first York band to sign to a major label since Nineties’ chart regulars Shed Seven.

“I wrote the song when I was feeling dissatisfied with what I was doing,” says singer Tom Beer of his mini-symphony of self-flagellation that trips through the various stages of feeling down on yourself.

Moods of lethargy, frustration and anger are captured in the tempo changes of a song that is melancholic yet spritely simultaneously: typical tropes of Bull’s idiosyncratic song-writing.   

“It’s kind of a self-hate song. You know when people talk about self-love? It’s not that. I’m slating myself,” reveals Tom. “It moves through the key changes and different moods and ends in a way that mocks the sadness, another form of self-deprecation!”

The accompanying video is again a collaboration with artist friends of Bull that reflects the song’s ever-changing moods. Guitarist Dan Lucas and bassist Kai West kick everything off with some DIY Claymation before handing over to artists Jack Iredale, Rory Welbrock, Roxy Linklater and Holly Beer, who each tackle a different animation style.

Discover Effortless Living promises a “cornucopia of alt. rock sounds, the band having refined their song-writing style into 13 indie bangers”.

“It features songs written and rocked on between the years 2012 and 2018, with Love Goo being the newest one on there, the freshest,” Tom says. “The album title is taken from the opening lyric to the final track Disco Living. We wanted to use a lyric from the album and felt like this was a good one.

“I first saw the words in London written on the side of a mansion being built on the Millionaire Mile and thought it was hilarious.  

“I was on my way to Hampstead, got off somewhere wrong, which usually happens to me in London, and that’s when I saw the billboard – and the tune came to me immediately!

“The billboard was advertising what was going to be built behind: homes for ‘effortless living’, and that led to lyrics that tie in with ideas around class, new beginnings, a golden era of prosperity, and hoping to have life ‘in the bag’.”

Bull hope that 2021 will see them returning to the stage to promote their debut album, although December’s talk of an April tour, taking in York and Leeds, is yet to be set in stone amid the ongoing Lockdown 3. On Twitter today, however, they tantalise: “World’s largest Bull party at The Crescent as soon as.”

In the meantime, the track listing is rubber-stamped as: Bedroom Floor; Love Goo; Green; Shiny Bowl; Eugene; Eddie’s Cap; Serious Baby; Perfect Teeth; Find Myself A Job; Bonzo Please; In A Jar; Smoke and Disco Living.

Looking ahead, “we’ve written lots of new songs, progressing towards the next album,” says Tom.