Poem Of The Week: 'The Latest Decalogue' By Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861)

The Latest Decalogue Thou shalt have one God only; who Would be at the expense of two? No graven images may be Worshipped, except the currency: Swear not at all; for, for thy curse Thine enemy is none the worse: At church on Sunday to attend Will serve to keep the world thy friend: Honour thy parents; that is, all From whom advancement may befall: …

Sam Fender – On Fire In Leeds

A few weeks back I walked into a record store in Newcastle and spotted local lad, Sam Fender’s new album, Seventeen Going Under, which was proudly promoted by the staff. A small handwritten note said “I saw Sam performing a few years ago at a small gig and I always knew he would make it”. Fender is often compared to Bruce Springsteen. It is a comparison that is partly true but I would say there is far more Razorlight…

Danny And Luke – Thunderstruck In Ilkley

If you had said to any rock fan who saw Thunder in the early 90s that in 30 years’ time you would be sat down at the Kings Hall in Ilkley, listening to the two leading members giving an insight to their career, they might not have believed you. Danny Bowes and Luke Morley led the audience through a poignant, revealing and, at times, hilarious journey through the highs and lows of being in one of Britain’s top rock…

Tales From The Script As Ed Sheeran And Supporting Cast Shine

Those lucky enough to get tickets the Radio City Hits Live concert at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, were rewarded with a concert that was fast paced, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable. With the dream line up of acts only appearing on stage for twenty minutes or so it meant that your favourite act was gone way too fast; though on the flip side if you didn’t like a particular act you were soon put out of your misery! The next time…

Poem Of The Week: 'The Drum' By John Scott Of Amwell (1731-1783)

The Drum I HATE that drum's discordant sound, Parading round, and round, and round: To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields, And lures from cities and from fields, To sell their liberty for charms Of tawdry lace, and glittering arms; And when Ambition's voice commands, To march, and fight and fall, in foreign lands. I hate that drum's discordant sound, Parading round, and round, and round: To me it talks of ravaged plains, And burning towns and ruined swains, And mangled limbs, and dying groans, And widow's tears, and orphans’ moans; And all that Misery's hand…

‘The Heart Of Most Murders is …’ : The Heron’s Cry By Ann Cleeves

By George, I needed something a bit less maudlin given my recent assortment of reading matter, so the prospect of a new murder mystery was just the job, and there being only three deaths, it seemed positively lighthearted! I like Ann Cleeves’ books and was keen to meet her latest detective. This is the second Matthew Venn novel and it was purely by chance that The Last Call was on TV at the same time – not necessarily a good…

Iceland's Mammoth Eurovision Export Daði Freyr

Glaswegian duo HYYTS have been having one 'helluvatime' in 2021. Not only did they release a pop-tastic EP, but they have been able to return to the live circuit and show off their killer hooks and stunning vocals. While lyrically mellow, this is a killer duo whose infectious beats prove a very impressive opener for Iceland's mammoth Eurovision export Daði Freyr. While Daði Freyr is most commonly…

Album Review: Ronan Keating Songs From Home

Some boyband members attempt solo stardom and fall at the first hurdle. Others experience phenomenal success then fade. Only an elite club manage to maintain prolonged solo success. Ronan Keating is one of the lucky few. Having debuted as a solo star…

Album Review: The Darkness: Return Back To The Limelight With New Album Motorheart

British rock outfit The Darkness have never denied that they were influenced by luminaries such as Thin Lizzy and Queen. Combined with these influences the group led…

Album Review: Dreamboats & Petticoats - Bringing On Back The Good Times

There appears to be plenty of life left in the Dreamboats and Petticoats franchise as this new compilation spread over 4 CD’s whets the appetite yet again for fans of 1960’s music. The compilers have realised that an older generation still buy CD’s either to play at home or in their cars though most car manufacturers these days do not supply a CD player in their vehicles. CD1 is entitled Bringing On

Album Review: Jools Holland - Pianola. Piano & Friends (Warner Music)

Catalogue No: 0190296656835 Instructions; Jools Holland ‘Morris Dance’ feat. Trombone Shorty and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra; Booker T. ‘Rockin’ Lock-in’ feat. George Latham; Tom Jones ‘Forgive Me’ feat. London Contemporary Voices and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra; David Gilmour ‘Blues For The End Of Time’ feat. sonic space

A Dream Of String Vests: Ian Duhig – New And Selected Poems

If it was possible to extrapolate and catalogue every reference, every literary or historical allusion, every formal device from this glittering collection of old and new poems, you’d be obliged, at the very least, to doff your cap to a stupendous intellect. Not that forelock-tugging is Ian Duhig’s bag: the cleaving towards equity and redress that animates his poetic mandate, no less than that of Tony Harrison, is an instinctive corrective to the double-handed absurdity of obeisance. Of the sort…

Review: The End Of The World Is Flat – Simon Edge

For those familiar with the work of Simon Edge, his recent novel is not going to disappoint. The End of the World is Flat brings us a refreshingly pointed reflection on the zeitgeist: a light-hearted lampoon, underpinned with a wit and intelligence that gives resonance to the satire. Woven into the prose is an excoriating commentary on our current state of affairs, how easily we let intangible forces grip our consciousness. But none of this detracts from the humour that…

‘May This Curse End With Me’: The Song Of Youth By Montserrat Roig

Earlier this year I read Victoria Princewill’s astonishingly emotive debut novel, In The Palace Of Flowers. Set in the opulent Persian royal court of the Qajars at the end of the nineteenth century, Princewill’s novel addresses the fear of being forgotten. Her enslaved protagonists are forced to navigate omnipotent, profoundly malefic political and ideological forces, whilst simultaneously enduring the brutal suppression of their authentic selves. Princewill’s audacious triumph was to use her novel to deny history and those writing it, the…

Album Review: Thank You - Diana Ross

With UK tour dates scheduled for 2022, Diana Ross closes out 2021 with the delivery of her first studio album in 15 years (and her first original material since 1999's Every Day Is A New Day). Written and recorded during the lockdowns last…

Tramlines- Sheffield’s Biggest Musical Festival Reveals 2022 Line Up

Tramlines, Sheffield’s biggest city-based music festival has announced the lineup for the 2022 event at Hillsborough Park in Sheffield from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th July. Headlining are Sam Fender (Friday), Kasabian (Saturday), and Madness (Sunday) Other acts performing over the three day event include The Wombats, The Vaccines, James, Declan McKenna, Sigrid, Becky Hill, Reverend and The Makers, Little Man Tate, Shed Seven, Self Esteem, The Coral, Sports Team, Inhaler, The Snuts, Jade Bird, Sam Ryder, Yard Act, Lottery Winners,…

Deacon Blue – Making Blackpool Rock In A City Of Love

The last time I visited the Blackpool Opera House was during lockdown in one of those virtual experiences where you watch the show on a screen in your own home. The audience was made up of images of itself, shown on TV screens placed on top of the seats in the stalls. It felt surreal, detached and soulless. It felt so good to be able to actually walk back into the Blackpool Opera House full of excited Deacon Blue fans. The…

If Paradise... Andy Fairweather Low & The Low Riders At Settle

Andy Fairweather Low’s genial onstage persona does not dovetail neatly with expectation: his easy wit and endearing self-deprecation are entirely at odds with an illustrious career whose stepping stones en route have included Amen Corner and several successful solo ventures. Low’s connections are the stuff of legend: he has accompanied Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Roger Waters, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, and many others in various historical incarnations. And the irony was not lost on him; seemingly at home in the…

Classical CD Review: Chopin Nocturnes Stephen Hough

Chopin Nocturnes Stephen Hough Nocturnes: B flat minor Op 9 No 1; E flat major Op9 No2; B major Op 9 No 3; F major Op 15 No 1; F sharp major Op 15 No 2; G minor Op 15 No 3; C sharp minor Op 27 No 1; D flat major Op 27 No 2; B major Op 32 No 1; A flat major Op 32 No 2; G minor Op 37 No 1; G major Op 37 No…

Jools Holland – Still A Cool Cat In Harrogate

Jools Holland, along with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, returned to the Harrogate Conference Centre at the weekend for what is now becoming an annual fixture. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions last year, most of the audience had held on to their tickets for near on two years. Their patience was rewarded with a great performance – not only by Holland and his orchestra but by the many special guests who arrived on stage at his concert. As always, the night…

Slade Get Down And Get With It This December

Somehow it wouldn’t really be Christmas without at least hearing once the Slade classic, Merry Xmas Everybody. The 1973 Number 1 was actually recorded in the summer of that year but has since become a festive classic. Now in 2021, led by founder member Dave Hill on lead guitar with John Berry who joined in 2003 on lead vocals, bass, acoustic guitar and violin. John has also played bass with Mud, The Sweet, Screaming Lord Sutch, The Tremeloes, Bay City…

Classical CD Reviews: Josquin's Legacy - The Gesualdo Six & Felix & Fanny Mendelssohn String Quartets

This finely tuned a cappella ensemble,…

The World Of Never Again: The Nine By Gwen Strauss

We are approaching a time of remembrance once again. I know many might not regard reading about the abhorrent treatment of fellow humans by the German SS during World War Two as entertainment, but sometimes it can be sobering and thought-provoking to reflect upon the trials and tribulations of others, to learn and to remember, and, sometimes, to put one’s own life into perspective. The heroines of this book were the same age as my own mum who volunteered to…

Steps Find A Spring In Their Step

They might be cheesier than a wedge of Wensleydale but there is no denying that Steps are just as pleasing and hard to resist. The five piece kicked off their What The Future Holds tour at the Sheffield Arena for a night of unashamedly pure pop. The charts are a duller place without them but Faye Tozer, Lee Latchford-Evans, Lisa Scott-Lee, Claire Richards and Ian ‘H’ Watkins were back in Sheffield to give their fans a night to forget all the…

Poem Of The Week: 'Emily Writes Such A Good Letter' By Stevie Smith (1902-71)

Emily Writes Such a Good Letter Mabel was married last week So now only Tom left The doctor didn’t like Arthur’s cough I have been in bed since Easter A touch of the old trouble I am downstairs today As I write this I can hear Arthur roaming overhead He loves to roam Thank heavens he has plenty of space to roam in We have seven bedrooms And an annexe Which leaves a flat for the chauffeur and his wife We have much to be thankful for The new vicar came yesterday People say he brings…

Bright, Sparkling And Engaging Magic Flute - York Opera

{10}As most of the masked audience settled into their seats at York Theatre Royal last night, it felt they were part of the set as the undertones in Mozart's Magic Flute are around Masonic initiation. As musical director, Derek Chivers raised his baton the orchestra got off to an unsure start in the opening bars of the overture but soon found their stride. Della Blood representing the Magic Flute, Isabel Dowell on Bassoon and doubling up as the bird-catcher's calling theme,…

Sixties Gold – Golden Memories In Leeds

Things do not always go as planned. The original date of the Sixties Gold concert should have been last autumn but Covid restrictions saw the date moved to this year. Due to illness, Steve Ellis from the Love Affair was not able to perform. The Merseybeats were absent, as were The Tremeloes, because lead singer Chip Hawkes was unwell. His son Chesney was due to stand in, but he had contracted Covid, so stayed away from the concert at…

The Lemon Table – A Bittersweet Treat

The Lemon Table offers its audience sixty-five glorious minutes of unadulterated Ian McDiarmid, probably better known for his role as Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars series. McDiarmid has selected two monologues from Julian Barnes' 2005 book of short stories The Lemon Table, both of which explore what it is to grow old. Both monologues feature an older man and, at first sight, that is all they have in common; but, as the story unfolds, other parallels and perspectives emerge. Geoffrey,…

JLS Beat Again In Leeds

Those who managed to arrive early and get through the Covid and security checks that are all too common these days for entry to large events at venues, such as Leeds Arena, were rewarded with an impressive set from newcomer Cassa Jackson. An early 7pm start meant that over half the audience were still outside queuing to get into the arena. The London-based singer reminded me of a touch of Taylor Swift with a dash of Amy Winehouse. She has some…

Jamie Cullum – The Pianoman Returns After A Long Interval

Jamie Cullum finally arrived at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on a tour that originally started over two years ago. The last concert I saw before the first lockdown, over 18 months ago, was seeing him in York. In-between times Cullum wrote and recorded a Christmas album, but for his fans, it certainly has been a long interval between the York performance and now. Most the audience had bought their tickets over two or three years ago. With this in mind Cullum,…