TWO Big Egos In A Small Car culture podcasters Chalmers & Hutch have their say in Episode 67.
Also under discussion are Blood Youth, heavy metal and heady beer; James & Happy Mondays’ Manchester night in Leeds; Harrogate Theatre’s sublime pantomime, Cinderella; Mick Jagger’s dedication to the blues and House Of Gucci’s style versus content.
CLOWNS, ominous things, Grayson, James, tango, chamber music, horrible British history and watercolours in teamwork add up to shows aplenty for Charles Hutchinson and normal people alike to check out.
Sketch comedy show of the week: The Dead Ducks: Ducks Out Of Water, Theatre@41 Monkgate, York, tomorrow (3/9/2021), 8pm
UNIVERSITY of York Comedy Society sketch troupe The Dead Ducks make their Theatre@41 debut with Ducks Out Of Water as a cast of five serves up fun scenes that range from the relatable to the ridiculous.
Be prepared for completely original content in a humorous mix of parody and farce with a delectable side order of top-notch acting.
Look out for pirates, cowboys, clowns and assorted animals, alongside Winnie the Pooh, Sherlock Holmes and Mickey Mouse “like you have never seen them before”. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk/events/.
Exhibition of the week: Suzanne McQuade, Touch Of Tranquillity, Village Gallery, Colliergate, York, until Octoger 23; open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm
LEEDS watercolourist Suzanne McQuade quit her long-standing customer service job five years ago to take the plunge and become a full-time artist.
“Using watercolours is like teamwork; I have to allow the watercolour to move and merge, and utilise the patterns it creates,” says Suzanne, who loves how this medium’s translucency enables light to flood into her landscapes and seascapes.
Drawing inspiration from the British countryside and coastline, she paints what she finds captivating, from a dramatic sky to underwater rocks. “I try to make the scene in front of me to be as beautiful as possible,” she says.
Open-air theatre show of the week: Small Small Ominous Things, Theatre At The Mill, Stillington Mill, near York, Saturday, 8pm
LOOK out for a tiny red gun hidden in the grass; a picture of a puppy eating a toy dinosaur; a dull feeling in the pit of your stomach; a bug burrowing into your skin.
Welcome to a late-night mix of stories, tales and unsettling considerations from partners Megan Drury and Alexander Wright, Australian actor, writer and creative artist and North Yorkshire writer, theatre-maker and visionary facilitator respectively.
Gather around the fire as they collaborate for the first time live At The Mill, bringing small, small ominous things out into late-summer’s fading light. Box office: tickettailor.com/events/atthemill/
Who-knows-what-to-expect gig of the week: Grayson Perry: A Show For Normal People, York Barbican, Monday, 7.30pm
IN his own words, despite being an award-winning artist, Bafta-winning TV presenter, Reith lecturer and best-selling author, Grayson Perry is a normal person – and just like other normal people, he is “marginally aware that we’re all going to die”.
Cue Grayson Perry: A Show For Normal People, where Grayson takes you through an enlightening, eye-watering evening wherein this kind of existentialism descends from worthiness to silliness. “You’ll leave safe and warm in the knowledge that nothing really matters anyway,” his show patter promises.
Grayson asks, and possibly answers, these big questions in a show “sure to distract you from the very meaninglessness of life in the way only a man in a dress can.” Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Gig of the week outside York: James, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, September 9, gates open at 6pm
WHERE better for James to play a summer show in the wake of releasing their 2021 single Beautiful Beaches than at Scarborough Open Air Theatre.
The Manchester legends will be combining myriad anthemic favourites with selections from their “sweet 16th” album, All The Colours Of You, released in June.
Fronted by Clifford-born Tim Booth, James are completing a hattrick of Scarborough OAT visits after shows in May 2015 and August 18. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com
Well worth the wait: Misatango: Prima’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration, Temple Hall, York St John University, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York, September 11, 7.30pm
AFTER a year’s delay, Prima Vocal Ensemble director Ewa Salecka is thrilled to be holding the York choir’s tenth anniversary concert at last at a socially distanced Temple Hall.
At the concert’s core will be “the fabulous Misa a Buenos Aires, Misatango, an exhilarating fusion of Tango and Latin Mass”, by Argentinian composer Martín Palmeri, performed with the Mowbray Orchestra string quartet, bandoneon virtuoso Julian Rowlands, pianist Greg Birch and mezzo-soprano soloist Lucy Jubb. Box office: primavocalensemble.com.
Festival of the month: York Chamber Music Festival, September 16 to 18
CANADIAN pianist Angela Hewitt plays YCMF’s opening recital on September 16 and joins fellow festival artists Anthony Marwood and Pablo Hernan, violins, Lilli Maijala, viola, and Tim Lowe, cellist, for the closing gala concert on September 18, both at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York.
Marwood, Hernan, Maijala and Lowe play string quartets by Haydn, Mendelssohn and Schumann at the NCEM on September 17.
Festival director Lowe joins pianist John Paul Ekins for the first 1pm concert at the Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, on September 17; on the next lunchtime, Ekins plays works that connect Beethoven and Liszt. Box office: email@example.com.
History in the re-making: The Horrible Histories in Barmy Britain, Grand Opera House, York, October 21 to 24
CAN you beat battling Boudicca? What if a Viking moved in next door? Would you lose your heart or head to horrible Henry VIII? Can evil Elizabeth entertain England?
Will Parliament survive gunpowder Guy? Dare you stand and deliver to dastardly Dick Turpin? Escape the clutches of Burke and Hare and move to the groove with party Queen Victoria?
So many questions for The Horrible Histories’ Live On Stage team to answer with the aid of the 3D illusions of Bogglevision as skulls hover, dams burst and missiles fly into the family audience. For tickets for Birmingham Stage Company’s eye-popping, gruesome, scary and unbelievable trip through British history, go to atgtickets.com/york.
DEER Shed Festival has been postponed for the second successive summer under the pandemic cloud, this time the lack of viable Covid cancellation insurance being a hurdle too far.
Initially, encouraged by the Government roadmap to unlocking set in place on February 22, organisers Oliver and Katie Jones decided to go “full steam ahead” from July 30 to August 1 at Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, Thirsk.
They vowed to “work flat out” to deliver “what looks like a full fat Deer Shed 11”. Now, however, they have announced the postponement of the “three-day wonderland of music, arts, science and sport for all ages”, headlined by Stereolab, James and Baxter Dury.
New dates are in place for Deer Shed 12 from July 29 to July 31 2022, and the back-up plan of “exciting” new Base Camp Plus is in place for this summer.
In a website statement to Deer Shedders under the title “The bad news”, Oliver and Kate say: “We have made the decision to postpone Deer Shed until 2022. Many things remain uncertain for festivals this summer, but the lack of Covid cancellation insurance is the one hurdle we have been unable to clear.
“Earlier in the year, we were hopeful a Government-backed Covid insurance scheme would be in place, but we now have no reason to believe it will be despite frantic industry lobbying.”
The statement continues: “Deer Shed is still a 100 per cent independent family owned and run festival, and the risks of running without insurance leave Kate and myself financially exposed well beyond our comfort zone.
“We will, of course, offer ticket refunds for Deer Shed 11 or rollovers to Deer Shed 12. We really appreciate those of you who will again be able to support us by rolling over your tickets to 2022.”
Full details on the postponement can be found at: deershedfestival.com/dsf11postponement/, where all manner of questions are answered too. Any further questions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Refunds applications should be made by April 29. Alternatively, Deer Shed can provide a voucher to the 2023 event if you cannot make the 2022 dates.
Under the headline “The good news”, Oliver and Kate confirm they instead will run a smaller event within their comfort zone: Base Camp Plus, an upgrade on last summer’s “hugely successful” Base Camp, with extra bits, on the July 30 to August 1 weekend.
This will take the form of “a safe camping weekend in Baldersby Park, with plenty of space, loads of camping options, including your own loo,” says the organisers. “Park next to your pitch, book next to your mates, bring the dog…
“Plus live music and comedy performances (at last!), food, drink, partying, campfires, workshops, theatre, well-being, swingballs and anything else we dream up.
“Of course, the plus does rely on continued progress in the unlocking roadmap. We will have more details in the coming weeks, space is limited, so register your interest and be first in line when we release tickets.” To express that interest, visit the website.
Looking ahead, the line-up for Deer Shed 10 last summer had rolled over to Deer Shed 11, but this will not be the case for 2022.
“After carrying the line-up over once before, we feel a fresh start for 2022 is necessary, particularly with some fantastic recent additions to the Deer Shed music and arts booking team,” say Oliver and Kate.
We know many of you were looking forward to seeing the acts billed at Deer Shed Festival 11, but we strongly believe this is the best option for facilitating the most exciting line-up possible next year.”
Deer Shed Festival joins early June’s Download Festival, at Donington Park, Leicestershire, and August’s five-day Boomtown, at Mattersley Estate, Hampshire, in announcing their cancellation this week in light of the Government still refusing to offer festival insurance against Coronavirus to such outdoor events.
All eyes now will be on Yorkshire’s biggest open-air event of the summer, Leeds Festival, set to play to full crowds with Covid-secure protocols in place from August 27 to 29 at Bramham Park, near Wetherby.
Festival organiser Melvin Benn, of Festival Republic, has been prominent in asking the Government to provide festival insurance, but Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has resisted such calls again this week.
In a nutshell, independent festivals are reluctant to throw money at non-refundable costs without the assurance of insurance being in place.
As for bigger events, such as Leeds Festival, Mr Benn says: “The worry about insurance is not confined to the smaller festivals, I have that worry too. We’re all working really tightly together on all of this – the big festivals and small festivals are being very collaborative.”
In a letter to the Prime Minister, 42 Conservative MPs are asking the Government to support a £250 million insurance scheme to enable event organisers to “ensure that live music festivals can proceed with their plans to go ahead after 21 June”.
Watch this space for what will happen next as Roadmap Step 3 and Step 4 unfold, with the tantalising prospect of freedom from lockdown measures on Summer Solstice Day.
JAMES are to release their “sweet 16th” studio album, All The Colours Of You, on June 4.
Billed as a “miraculous conception” by Clifford-born frontman Tim Booth, it was recorded in part before the Covid pandemic struck, with the Grammy award-winning Jacknife Lee on production duties with the Manchester band for the first time.
Lee has been at the desk previously for U2, REM, Taylor Swift, Snow Patrol and The Killers, and has brought a fresh approach to James’s sound. Working remotely from his studio, he liaised with vocalist Booth, his neighbour in Topanga Canyon, California, and bassist Jim Glennie in the Scottish Highlands, reimagining their demos and capturing the band in all their virtual glory.
“The result is a record with the most arena-ready and fresh tracks of their 38-year career; the sound of one of Britain’s best bands deconstructed and reassembled by one of the world’s most renowned producers,” proclaims the press release.
Booth says: “With all the s**t that went down in 2020, this was a miraculous conception and another big jump forward for us on the back of the last three albums. I hope it reflects the colours of these crazy times. Sweet sixteen is a proper album, no fillers and is up there with our best. With love, Tim.”
Glennie is pleased, proud and surprised by the record in equal measure. “Jacknife has pushed us and the songs somewhere new and it’s very exciting,” he says. “After all these years, we are still challenging ourselves and our fans. Enjoy.”
All The Colours Of You follows last December’s release of Live In Extraordinary Times, a live double album and DVD with a title twist on their 2018 studio set, Living In Extraordinary Times.
“As requested by many lovers of the band – a live DVD and album to capture the spirit of the gigs of the last few years,” said Booth at the time. “Hopefully, this will help us through the long nights of lockdown – reliving these gatherings of intimacy and passion. Thank you for coming along for the ride in the crazy world of James.”
All The Colours Of You will be James’s first album since being signed by joint managing directors Jim Chancellor and Mike Roe to Virgin Music Label & Artists Services, formerly Caroline International.
They have a new publishing home too in Kobalt Music, these changes “reinforcing the endless and restless ambition they have” as they approach their fourth decade as a band.
The track listing will be: ZERO; All The Colours Of You; Recover; Beautiful Beaches; Wherever It Takes Us; Hush; Miss America; Getting Myself Into; Magic Bus; Isabella and XYST.
From the first line on ZERO – “We’re all gonna die” – Booth addresses difficult subjects throughout the 11 tracks, with themes ranging from politics and climate change to dealing with the loss of a loved one during the pandemic.
Miss America examines that disunited country’s tarnished image through the eyes of a beauty pageant (“Miss America’s wearing thin, she’s all tiaras and glamour”), while Beautiful Beaches focuses on the fires that ravaged California and follows a vision Booth had of an earthquake that caused his family to flee for refuge (“That life we left behind, we’re racing down to those beautiful beaches”).
The title-track first single tackles the Trump years head on. Based in the USA for many years, Booth, 61, has witnessed at first hand the divisiveness and hatred stoked by the former President. Highlighting the sharp rise of white supremacy during Trump’s four years in office, the song nevertheless ultimately offers hope of a new and brighter future with the refrain “Love all the colours, all the colours of you”.
Recover, the album’s most poignant and delicate song, deals with the death of Tim’s father-in-law from Covid-19 in the UK. Uplifting and joyful in honouring a loved one’s legacy and spirit, it offers a celebration of life, not the sadness of death, affirming that “We will remember how to pass your spirit on”.
All The Colours Of You will be available in myriad formats: standard CD; D2C deluxe CD with bonus artwork, photos and pictures in a DVD hardback book package; standard LP; D2C deluxe LP on swirl coloured vinyl; D2C deluxe LP on picture-disc vinyl; indies and HMV deluxe LP on multi-coloured vinyl and even on cassette. Pre-orders can be made at: https://james.lnk.to/AllTheColoursOfYouSo.
James will open their seven-date 2021 tour at Leeds First Direct Arena on November 25, supported by fellow Manchester maverick institution Happy Mondays. “Soo looking forward to seeing you,” said Booth, when announcing the gigs last November on Twitter and at wearejames.com. “We’re playing with the brilliant Happy Mondays. Last played with them in 1988, hopefully this time they won’t steal our rider or try and spike my drink…”
The tour has sold faster than any previous James tour, chalking up 60,000 ticket sales for shows in Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Dublin, Manchester and London. Remaining tickets are available at: https://wearejames.com/live/
In the summer, James will headline the Saturday bill at Deer Shed Festival 11, confirmed to run from July 30 to August 1 at Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, near Thirsk. “In light of the recent Government unlocking roadmap, we are now working flat out to bring you an amazing festival,” say the festival team, led by director Oliver Jones.
“We will bring you the maximum possible fun in July and that currently looks like a full fat Deer Shed 11. The safety of everyone in attendance will always come first, and should circumstances change, none of our audience will lose out.” Tickets are available at https://www.deershedfestival.com/tickets/.
JAMES will open their 2021 winter tour at Leeds First Direct Arena on November 25, supported by fellow Manchester institution Happy Mondays.
“Feels like a new dawn to trumpet a celebratory tour, a week after the first news of hope,” said Clifford-raised frontman Tim Booth on Twitter. ”Soo looking forward to seeing you.
“We’re playing with the brilliant Happy Mondays. Last played with them in 1988, hopefully this time they won’t steal our rider or try and spike my drink…”
James announced their seven-date itinerary on official website wearejames.com. “Lockdown greetings to one and all. In these extraordinary times, obviously our traditional winter tour won’t be possible, but let’s set a date for this time next year so we in Jamesland collectively have something to look forward to!” it stated.
“With that in mind, you’re cordially invited to our 2021 winter tour of the UK and Ireland, joined by very special guests and fellow Mancunian mavericks, Happy Mondays.”
Welcoming Shaun Ryder’s Madchester icons aboard, bassist Jim Glennie said: “True Manchester legends and old band buddies, it will be an honour to have them as our very special guests. Make sure you get your tickets for an exceptional double bill of fun and fantastic music.”
Pre-sale tickets go on sale at 9.30am tomorrow (18/11/2020); remaining tickets will be on general sale from 9.30am on Friday with more details on the Live page at wearejames.com.
The website also trailered “thrilling whispers on the new music front”: “Springtime 2021 there’s a brand new James studio album due – our sweet sixteenth! – currently entitled All The Colours Of You. Much more of that to come, shouted from the rooftops, in due time!”
The message concluded: “Hopefully this newsflash has brightened a dreary day with thoughts of winter singalongs to come and a year full of new music. Of course, you can still order our forthcoming live album and DVD if you can’t wait for your James fix! Stay warm and well X.”
The aforementioned live album and DVD, Live In Extraordinary Times – a title twist on their 2018 studio set Living In Extraordinary Times – will be released on December 11.
“You asked (okay – pleaded, pestered, perhaps even profaned) and finally we’ve delivered,” the website proclaimed. “A new live double album and DVD! Including a beautiful photo-book set, as well as coloured vinyl, double deluxe CD, signed prints (get in early!), T-shirts, the full works.”
Booth, 60, commented: “As requested by many lovers of the band – a live DVD and album to capture the spirit of the gigs of the last few years. Hopefully, this will help us through the long nights of lockdown – reliving these gatherings of intimacy and passion. Thank you for coming along for the ride in the crazy world of James.”
The website bulletin went on: “In a year feeling anything but ordinary, this special collection reminds us of the power and connection of live music.
“Released just in time for St Nick to get his hands on it for you…11th December 2020. Sorry we can’t put on one of our traditional winter tours to warm your quarantined cockles but hopefully this is the next best thing.”
In the meantime, bask in the memory of James shows of recent Yorkshire times – Leeds First Direct Arena, Scarborough Open Air Theatre and the night in March 2019 when fighting broke out at Hull Bonus Arena – as you dance just like Fred Astaire until next winter’s tour.