Poem Of The Week: 'Tamer & Gyrfalcon' By Yvonne Reddick

Tamer & Gyrfalcon The wood is fenced. Those fields are walled. Your horses kick against their stalls. You show me lures and hoods and gloves, And you say you’ll tame me with your love. I gralloch fawns. I eat raw fox. I won’t stay caged within this box. You clamp a ring to my scaly thigh And bind my ankles. Go on, fly! My feet are scythes. My face an axe. Pray that when you call, I don’t come back. Here, to adumbrate Tennyson, is nature ‘red in tooth and claw’.…

The Bog Togher And The Byerley Turk: Ireland's Forgotten Past By Turtle Bunbury

Acclaimed broadcaster, writer and journalist Turtle Bunbury has pulled off a feat of exquisite skill - the upholding of a mandate to edify entertainingly without overwhelming his audience in scholarly aridity. Ireland’s Forgotten Past is a rare and cherishable thing: combining assiduous research with a nose for ribald fun, Bunbury disinters the odd, the arcane and the profoundly surprising from the dark recesses of a mostly unknown history. His purview is panoramic: beginning with the tectonic continental shifts of distant geological…

HATARI - Neylustrans

The Eurovision Song Contest has a little bit of a mixed history in the UK. While many perceived it as something of a joke in the mid-nineties through the late noughties, it has been impossible for those detractors to deny the strength of some of the more recent entries and winners. While Loreen's Euphoria may not have made her a household name, both Mans Zelmerlöw and Conchita Wurst have enjoyed international acclaim and chart success in the aftermath. However, one…

Singles Of The Week: 21 February 2020

This week in music has been dominated by the big name appearances at the Brits, with Dave, Billie Eilish and Stormzy all proving big winners - while Celeste showed with her captivating why she is the act that has everyone's tongues wagging at the moment. With the week that was already today's chip paper, we focus on the songs that may capture your imagination this week... SINGLE OF THE WEEK: Daði og Gagnamagnið - Think About Things (Rating: 5/5) Currently competing for…

Republica - Republica (Deluxe Edition)

Back in 1996 Republica launched their eponymous debut album in a period when female fronted indie outfits were showing their male contemporaries how to really stand out in the crowd. Although comparisons to the equally feisty Garbage, lush Echobelly and a intriguing Elastica were inevitable, Saffron Sprackling and her band mates proved with the #4 charting album that they were a dynamic musical force to be reckoned with. Nearly quarter of a century later the group are still touring and more…

'I Thought I Was Going To Die From All The Art': Judith Levin And The Art Of The Moors

‘I want to feel lost in it,’ says Judith Levin as we look at the moor scene propped up on the easel. Levin works on landscapes from the Yorkshire Moors in her studio and apartment, located on the outskirts of Leeds; or should that be apartment and studio? Paintings, draped in dust sheets, line the halls and, in the kitchen, a skylight glows blue above her easel as the living and artistic space blur. I’m not lost, but I am…

Musical Motivation: Black Lilys

Black Lilys are a French brother and sister duo Camille & Robin Faure who, inspired by the beauty and sheer power of human resilience, magically create a lush musical landscape in a sensitive, ethereal brew of  ‘dark pop.’ They produce music that balances both strength and vulnerability, a smooth blend between Robin’s driving guitar melodies and Camille’s effortless husky, breathy vocals. Based in both Lyon and Edinburgh, the band release their first UK single ‘Yalakta’ on 3rd April 2020. We…

Northern Broadsides Quality Street. A Delightful Confection

"Jane Eyre goes to the Panto" might be an unkind summary of Laurie Sansom's first outing as Artistic Director of Northern Broadsides, nonetheless it is a reasonable shorthand. J.M.Barrie's original piece is called Quality Street, and it was so popular in its day that that its name was used by the chocolate manufacturer Mackintosh, from Halifax. Characters from the play were used regularly in the early advertising for the chocolates and the film and stage versions remained hugely popular from the…

ela. - Liebe Und Krieg

ela. is not a household name in the UK, but she is an artist that Eurovision fans will be familiar with. Back in 2014 she took to the stage in Denmark to represent Germany alongside her former bandmates Yvonne Grünwald and Natalie Plöger to perform Is It Right as Elaiza. The group boasted an addictive Neofolk sound which may have seen them finish in 18th place, but enjoy chart success around Europe, with not just the single but the stunning…

seeds At Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre

Shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award, seeds comes to Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre next month as part of a UK tour. Sensitively written by Mel Pennant, it tells the story of two mothers united in sorrow, unable to escape the tragedy and violence of knife crime. Together, they try to face the hardship of protecting their sons – one in life, and one in death. On Michael Thomas’s birthday, his cake sits in his mother’s living room, its candles burning undisturbed. Jackie…

Poem Of The Week: 'Snow' By Edward Thomas

At a time of apparently relentless deluge, we might yearn for the muffling silence of the white stuff. When streams become rivers and rivers become lakes, changed landscapes throw our sense of proportion, leave us at our lowest annual ebb, incarcerated by the twin spectres of SAD and looming climate emergency. Snow is a handy cognitive corrective, unless you are a hill farmer in which case it is almost certainly an airborne punishment. Snow In the gloom of whiteness, In the great silence…

Opera North Turns The Screw On Britten

Returning to Leeds Grand, Opera North's The Turn of the Screw is a disturbingly dark and accurate rendition of the Henry James novella of the same name. Originally appearing in serial format in Collier's Weekly magazine - 1998, and described as a 'horror novella' - the work has passed through a few hands but has remained raw and untamed. It is alleged that the story was given to Henry James by the then Archbishop of Canterbury. We can but wonder at…

Song Of The Wind: White Ink Stains By Eleanor Brown

Eleanor Brown’s first collection of poems, since her acclaimed volume Maiden Speech of 1996, is freighted with unspoken empathy. This unusual and beautiful volume gathers the lost voices of the past in a benign web of poetic exegesis, restoring individual merit commemoratively and declaring an affinity with those who ‘go down in history’ unnoticed, in Tony Harrison’s resonant words. Some of the poems here are responses to interviews recorded for the Reading Sheffield oral history project. Using an approximation of individual…

Rambert At The Bradford Alhambra. A Lesson In Abstraction

From the startled gazelle-like opening sequence, via a prog-rock live-action video-style entertainment, to a silent movie - albeit with a tub-thumping sound track - Rambert's ramble into the Bradford's Alhambra has delivered three complex, physical and deeply abstract pieces of their art. Presentient The first of Rambert's pieces, Presentient, opened with a gorgeous, slow motion, leggy, graceful perambulation around the stage. Accompanied by American composer Steve Reich's complex piece Triple Quartet, dancer Kym Sojourna immediately captivated the audience. After such a…

Barnstorming Premiere At The SJT

The Red Barn Murder, as the popular press would call it in 1827, was one of those capital crimes that gripped the public of Jane Austen’s time and became part of a culture that lived on for generations. The village, Polstead, Suffolk, where the murder took place quickly became a tourist attraction and the barn, where Mary Marten’s body was discovered, was haunted by souvenir hunters. The particularly gruesome nature of the killing and the manhunt for the murderer shocked…

Phoenix Dance In Black Waters

Phoenix Dance Theatre burst onto the Leeds Playhouse stage last night with their latest exploration of the lives and history of people of colour. Anybody familiar with the works of Phoenix will have been completely unsurprised at the power and uncompromising nature of the work. Both from an auditory and physical perspective this was a no-holds-barred evocation of two desperately tragic events in history. And by 'tragic' I don't wish to imply that these were accidents; both events were wicked atrocities…

Review: Normal People by Sally Rooney

Christmas (which now seems so far away) means Santa and in our case that always includes books. This year, the variety was notable. Anton du Beke’s Moonlight over Mayfair still awaits my attention (and Mum is impatient to get her hands on it, too!) as does Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage. The first one I picked up, though, was Sally Rooney’s Normal People. An odd title but, then, who defines what’s normal? Rooney’s second novel is inspirational and thought-provoking, exploring…

Pre-Raphaelite Knights: Reinventing The Medieval World At The Bowes Museum

This exhibition is all about colour, beauty achieved through attention to detail, and above all it asks the viewer to imagine what life was like if you had lived in a mythical world full of legends. It features some of the masters of the Pre-Raphaelite art movement: John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Sir Edward Burne-Jones and William Holman Hunt. These artists and their colleagues were controversial. They prompted a huge debate because they believed art should, first and foremost,…

Andrez Harriott - Damage Control And Workshops

He's a member of British RnB band Damage selling over one million records, but away from the limelight Andrez Harriott BSc, PgCert, PgDip, MA is CEO and Founder of The Liminality Group. While heading out with his The Big Reunion co-stars on tour during February and March, he is using his time to provide deterrent messages to at risk children across the UK. We caught up with him to find out more... Hi Andrez, it's been a good few years since

Ásgeir - One Of Iceland's Finest Musical Exports

Ásgeir is one of Iceland's finest musical exports ever. Having broken all records with his debut album on his home turf, the understated intimacy of the English re-recording In The Silence saw him melt hearts the world over. As he releases his third studio album in both Icelandic and English simultaneously, we caught up with him to find out what we can expect from both the record and the tour. Hi Ásgeir, are you feeling ready for the world to hear

Review: Birds Of Prey And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn

Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is a project that has been a long time coming for Margot Robbie. After excelling in Suicide Squad as fan favourite DC comics villain/antihero Harley Quinn, Robbie was very much at the forefront of the development of this new adult-aimed all-female ensemble project inspired in part by Jordan B. Garfinkel and Chuck Dixon’s “Birds of Prey” comic books, even pitching it to Warner Brothers. And boy has the effort…

Bill Brandt And Henry Moore: At The Hepworth, Wakefield

This exhibition explores the fascinating parallels of the works of photographer Bill Brandt (1904-1983) and sculptor Henry Moore (1898-1986). Brandt and Moore crossed paths during the Second World War, when they were both creating images of civilians in the London Underground during the Blitz The exhibition opens with the occasion they both met in 1942, when Brandt photographed Moore in his studio for an article in Lilliput magazine. That article put side by side the two artists' shelter pictures, and explored their…

Newbies Give Joseph Fresh Impetus

Considering that Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat has successfully been pedalling its wares since 1968, I think it is fair to say that reviews can no longer be about the musical, more about those nervous actors who are charged with stepping into the main roles! How do you judge a libretto, score and production in its own right when audiences, the ultimate critics, have been returning time and again for more than half a century, to watch this light-hearted, feelgood look…

Overblown But Enjoyable - Spirit Of The Dance

David King, producer of Spirit of the Dance, has a nice line in modesty, referring to himself as ‘the working man’s Andrew Lloyd Webber’ on the company website. In fact, there are more flattering adjectives about the show in each paragraph of the site’s digital copy than Dr Johnson probably has on each page of his daily diary: breath-taking, runaway express train, powerful and so the list goes on. But then, Mr King probably had a hand in penning the copy! My…

Review: Life In Our Hands at Settle Stories

This living hand, now warm and capable Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold And in the icy silence of the tomb, So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood So in my veins red life might stream again, And thou be conscience-calm’d – see here it is – I hold it towards you. John Keats The inherent expressiveness of hands, the power to describe, to dexterously fabricate, to gesticulate wildly, to…

Asgeir - Bury The Moon

Hailing from the tiny village Laugarbakki in Iceland, introvert Ásgeir is an unlikely international icon. However, anyone who heard his 2012 debut Dýrð í dauðaþögn fell in love instantly. While understanding the lyrics was not needed to for the listener to be moved uncontrollably by the raw, honest emotion displayed on the album's 10 songs, the 2014 translated release - In The Silence - transformed him from record breaking Icelandic act to an artist in demand the world over. Both…

Gabrielle Aplin - Dear Happy

Half a decade has disappeared since Gabrielle Aplin released her acclaimed sophomore album Light Up The Dark. Having initially established herself as a tender folkster, her sophomore record showed that she was unafraid to shake things up and defy expectations. A poppy, upbeat collection that was infectiously addictive from start to finish, Aplin proved irresistible for radio producers. Although since her last album she has released two EPs, Dear Happy marks the return to the long-player and it is a…

Poem Of The Week: 'Everything Is Going To Be All Right' By Derek Mahon

Everything Is Going to Be All Right How should I not be glad to contemplate the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window and a high tide reflected on the ceiling? There will be dying, there will be dying, but there is no need to go into that. The poems flow from the hand unbidden and the hidden source is the watchful heart. The sun rises in spite of everything and the far cities are beautiful and bright. I lie here in a riot of sunlight watching the day break and the…

A Marriage Of Figaro

Excuse the errant indefinite article; there have been so many Marriages of Figaro that to call any one The marriage seems a little presumptuous. Unbowed by this and the ever present potential for a 3½ hour musical cliche, Opera North has bravely stepped once more onto the scales to be weighed. Figaro is, after all, one of the big ones. The original play Marriage of Figaro was written in 1784 by the playwright Pierre Beaumarchais. Nine years earlier he had started…

Turner: Northern Exposure At The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate

If you have never been to The Mercer Art Gallery, then now is the time to break your duck. For those more familiar with Harrogate's jewel, The Mercer, then you need to schedule another visit to see this outstanding exhibition. The exhibition retraces JMW Turner's northern tour of 1797, and includes rarely seen paintings. We could wax lyrical about Turner's visit being a formative part of Turner's development, but we won't because judging from his output he was already truly accomplished, and…