PYRAMID Gallery, in Stonegate, York, will hold a second opening of its festive show, Comfort And Joy, on Friday (17/11/2023), when award-winning glass maker Allister Malcolm and Alison Vincent will be in attendance from 3pm to 7pm.
“We’ll be serving drinks and nibbles in celebration of their work and their success following being on BBC One’s Make It At Market, which was first aired in January,” says gallery owner Terry Brett, ahead of the show’s repeat airing on BBC One on November 24 at 7.30pm.
“As part of Allister’s mentorship with Alison, he arranged for her to have an exhibition of her work here at Pyramid. We’re very grateful for the mention of Pyramid on the show and for the continued success of our relationship with both Allister and Alison.”
Terry adds: “We’ll also have former teacher-turned-artist Jo Kenny here for Friday’s special event. Jo and her colleague Caroline White have created Joy Jars for our Christmas show, and Jo will be here to talk about her processes and inspirations.”
Comfort And Joy, a celebration of art and sculpture all made by hand in the UK, will run until January 20 2024, featuring ceramics, glass, prints and paintings.
“From the affordable to the aspirational, we have curated a very joyful show for the festive period filled with fantastic art for sale for presents or for your own home,” says Terry.
Artists include: Lesley Birch, paintings; Emma Whitelock, paintings; Dinny Pocock, needlefelt sculpture; Helen Martino, ceramic sculpture; Anita Klein, linocuts and paintings; Paul Smith, sculpture; Peter Hayes, sculpture; Joy McMillan, glass sculpture and jewellery; Tracy Knowles, stained glass; Jo Kenny, blown glass, and Sarah Williams, paintings.
Hilke Macintyre, paintings, prints and ceramics; Eva Mileusnic, ceramics; Eliza Southwood, prints; Hannah Gibson, glass sculpture; E&M Glass, glass sculpture; Morag Reekie, glass sculpture; Fidelma Massey, bronze and ceramic sculpture; Louise Connell, mixed media sculpture; Kate Buckley, porcelain origami, and many more. Jewellery by more than 75 makers features too.
FIVE days of short films lead off a week long on Latin pop and school rock musicals, plus science and sticks, dance moves and festive designs, as Charles Hutchinson reports.
Festival of the week: Aesthetica Short Film Festival, York city centre, November 8 to 12
THE 13th edition of York’s Aesthetica Short Film Festival combines 300 films and 15 venues in a five-day showcase of worldwide independent film that champions emerging creative talent.
Guest programmes explore the climate crisis, Black British cinema and LGBTQ+ experiences. Look out too for the Aesthetica Games Lab, in celebration of video game culture, plus multiple masterclasses, networking sessions, kids’ workshops, AI workshops and the VR Lab’s selection of 360 (degree) and immersive film experiences. York residents can save 50 per cent each day with the York Days Discount. Full programme and tickets: asff.co.uk.
Exhibition launch of the week: Comfort And Joy, Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, November 4, 11am to 3pm, until mid-January 2024
PYRAMID Gallery’s Christmas show, Comfort And Joy, combines paintings, prints, ceramics, sculpture and glass. Look out for needlepoint by Dinny Pocock, jewellery by Joy McMillan and sculpture by Paul Smith, Lynn Muir, Helen Martino, Peter Hayes, Eva Mileusnic, Gwen Vaughan, Fidelma Massey and Louise Connell, among others.
On show too will be paintings and original prints by Sarah Williams, Anita Klein, Lesley Birch, Eliza Southwood, Emma Whitelock, Trevor Price, Mychael Barratt and Hilke Macintyre, porcelain origami by Kate Buckley, plus glass by Keith Cummings, E&M Glass, Hannah Gibson, Tracey Knowles, Will Shakspeare, Morag Reekie, Jo Kenny and more besides. Attending today’s launch will be Smith, Birch, McMillan, Whitelock and Knowles.
Inspired event: York Artists & Designer Makers’ Annual Christmas Show, York Cemetery Chapel, Cemetery Road, York, November 4 and 5, 10am to 5pm
YORK artists and designers return to York Cemetery Chapel this weekend for their Inspired festive showcase. Adrienne French will be exhibiting paintings; Jo Bagshaw and Richard Whitelegg, jewellery; Elliot Harrison, illustrations; Catherine Boyne-Whitelegg, pottery; John Watts and Wilf Williams, furniture; Petra Bradley, textiles; Sally Clarke, prints, and Simon Palmour, photography.
Science show of the week: Tutti Frutti and One Tenth Human in The Lightbulb Princess, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, November 5, 2pm
LEEDS company Tutti Frutti Productions and Lancaster’s One Tenth Human team up for a magical, fun-filled 50-minute extravaganza for children aged four and upwards that explores the science behind electricity.
Kai’s sister Ray is determined that Mum will enjoy a perfect Christmas. It may be way too early, but already she has Kai and Ali hunting everywhere for decorations. When they find tree-top sparkly fairy Filomina, an unexpected adventure begins, one where they will need your help in a show full of electrifying storytelling and original songs. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Song and dance of the week: An Evening With Anton Du Beke And Friends, York Theatre Royal, November 6, 7.30pm
STRICTLY Come Dancing legend and judge Anton Du Beke sashays into York with his live band, guest singer Lance Ellington and dancers for a fab-u-lous evening of song, dance and laughter. The ballroom king will be combining songs and dances that have inspired him with behind-the-scenes stories from his many years on Strictly. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
New musical of the week: La Bamba!, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm; Wednesday and Saturday, 2.30pm
NOT to be confused with the 1987 film of the same name or Richie Valens’ teenage hit from 1958, La Bamba! is a new musical fiesta of passion, pride and Latin pop anthems starring Strictly Come Dancing champion Pasha Kovalev, The Wanted’s Siva Kaneswaran and rising star Inês Fernandez, choreographed by Strictly’s Graziano Di Prima.
Follow young Los Angeles dreamer Sofia as she takes her first steps toward stardom and witnesses the power of music to unite communities. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Children’s show of the week: Freckle Productions in Stick Man, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday, 4.30pm; Wednesday, 10.30am, 1.30pm and 4.30pm
WHAT begins as a morning jog becomes a misadventure for Stick Man: a dog wants to play Fetch, a swan builds a nest with him, and he even ends up atop a fire. How will Stick Man return to the family tree in time for Christmas?
Adapting Julia Donaldson’s book, Freckle Productions combine puppetry, songs, live music and funky moves in the 55-minute performance. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Are you ready to rock?York Light Youth in School Of Rock, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee
YORK Light Youth’s tenth anniversary show is the York premiere of the technically and musically challenging musical School Of Rock, combining young performers aged ten to 17 and York Light Opera Company adults.
Based on the 2003 film, the storyline follows Jonny Holbek’s Dewey Finn, a failed wannabe rock star, who vows to turn his clueless prep school students into a rock band to enter Battle of the Bands. Along the way, Dewey finds romance, self-worth, a proper job, while initiating the children and their parents in the beauty of rock. Box office: josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Recommended but fully booked
QUEEN of British soul Beverley Knight’s York Barbican concert on Thursday has sold out, as has indie pop trio Scouting For Girls’ gig there the next night.
In Focus:Gigs of the week: Teenage Fanclub on tour in Leeds and Sheffield with new album Nothing Lasts Forever in tow
GLASGOW indie legends Teenage Fanclub follow up September’s release of 11th full-length studio album Nothing Lasts Forever with a 12-date November tour, taking in Yorkshire gigs in Leeds on Wednesday (sold out) and Sheffield on November 12
On songs looking for positives while faced with the grim realities of the 21st century, songwriters and guitarists Raymond McGinley and Norman Blake are joined by Francis Macdonald on drums, Dave McGowan on bass and Euros Childs on keyboards.
Light is a recurring theme, both as a metaphor for hope and as an ultimate destination further down the road. That said, although McGinley and Blake found themselves covering similar ground, it was pure coincidence.
McGinley says:“We never talk about what we’re going to do before we start making a record. We don’t plan much other than the nuts and bolts of where we’re going to record and when.
“That thing about light was completely accidental; we didn’t realise that until we’d finished half the songs. The record feels reflective, and I think the more we do this thing, the more we become comfortable with going to that place of melancholy, feeling and expressing those feelings.”
Blake reflects: “These songs are definitely personal. You’re getting older, you’re going into the cupboard getting the black suit out more often. Thoughts of mortality and the idea of the light must have been playing on our minds a lot.
“The songs on the last record were influenced by the break-up of my marriage. It was cathartic to write those songs. These new songs are reflective of how I’m feeling now, coming out of that period.
“They’re fairly optimistic, there’s an acceptance of a situation and all of the experience that comes with that acceptance. When we write, it’s a reflection of our lives, which are pretty ordinary.
“We’re not extraordinary people, and normal people get older. There’s a lot to write about in the mundane. I love reading Raymond Carver. Very often there’s not a lot that happens in those stories, but they speak to lived experience.”
While the vocals and finishing touches on Nothing Lasts Forever were added at McGinley’s place in Glasgow, the music was recorded in an intense ten-day period in the bucolic Welsh countryside at Rockfield Studios, near Monmouth, in late August.
This environment led to a record full of soft breezes, wide skies, beauty and space. “We like to get something out of where we go, and you can definitely hear a stamp of Rockfield on the record,” says McGinley.
“We recorded our album Howdy there in the late ’90s. Prior to that, I’d been a bit reluctant to go as everyone seemed to record there, especially if you were signed to Creation, but I thought I’d go and have a look at the place. “
McGinley continues: “When I went down there, I loved the fact that there’s no memorabilia about anyone who’s ever been in the studio. The only visual musical reference is a picture of [pioneering space age record producer} Joe Meek on their office wall.
“Anyway, over 20 years after our first visit, we decided to go back. When you’re there, it feels like your place. We’re really rubbish at trying to find words to describe how our music sounds, but maybe because we recorded in Rockfield in late summer, there’s something pastoral about the record.”
Blake, McGinley, Macdonald, McGowan and Childs arrived at the residential studio without a fixed plan. Their confidence and ease with working together meant the record came together quickly.
McGinley says: “When we got offered ten days in Rockfield, we weren’t ready in our minds but then we just thought, ‘**** it’ and went for it. If you’re sitting around waiting for the stars to align, you can end up never doing anything. We turned up and worked our way through ideas, and came up with some while we were there.
“The song Foreign Land was born in the studio. If we hadn’t gone there at that point through happenstance, that song wouldn’t exist. We like to let things happen. As people, we find a deadline inspiring. We like to put ourselves on the spot and see what happens. We usually get away with it. This record is the cliche of the blank canvas, which thankfully we managed to fill.”
Blake adds:“We’ve all been playing together for such a long time. In the past, whoever had written the song would have been the director. ‘This is how I’m hearing the drums, if you could play the bass like this’…We don’t do that now.
“Raymond or myself would just bring in the idea and people would listen and play what works with it. We’d play for a couple of hours and that would be the arrangement. There’s a trust that comes from knowing each other such a long time, a kind of telepathy. Everyone knows where they fit in the puzzle.”
The seven-minute acoustic closing track, I Will Love You, looks to a point beyond the fury and polarisation of our modern discourse, to a time when“the bigots are gone/after they apologise/for all the harm that they’ve done”.
McGinley says: “In many ways, us-and-them-ism has taken over the world. I Will Love You is looking for positivity but it’s being totally fatalistic at the same time. This s**t will exist forever, what are you going to do about it?
“I came up with the line ‘I will love you/until the flags are put down/and the exceptionalists are buried under the ground’ while I was playing the guitar. I started wondering what that was all about and where it might go. It’s looking for positives within a fatalistic, negative view of human nature.”
The full track listing is: Foreign Land; Tired Of Being Alone; I Left A Light On; See The Light; It’s Alright; Falling Into The Sun; Self-Sedation; Middle Of My Mind; Back To The Light and I Will Love You.
Teenage Fanclub play Leeds Brudenell Social Club, Wednesday, doors 7.30pm, sold out; Leadmill, Sheffield, November 12, 7.30pm. Support comes from Sweet Baboo. Box office for Sheffield: leadmill.co.uk.