Category: Culture

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Unsung Heroes in Hexham

Kate Bredin

Communities in and around Hexham have nominated their Unsung Heroes, sharing stories about the everyday people who have inspired them, and now song-writer and performer Bridie is looking for North East musicians to take part in the next stage of the project. Bridie explains, “For me, writing songs is all about capturing stories that would otherwise be lost so it’s a real joy to write about these Unsung Heroes who have made a difference in their local community, and until now, not received the recognition they deserve. We’ve had some really heart-warming nominations and now we’re looking for local people with a passion for music to get involved. “

Poetry Corner

The Lords of Misrule

Suzanne Fairless-Aitken

On the banks of the Thames Between Vauxhall and Ranelagh Big Ben strikes for the masked ball. Welcome to the Pleasure Gardens one and all! A Parliament of Fouls in a world-upside-down, Carnal carnivalesque, Masquerading as government The Lords of Misrule hail Clown Prince Boris, See his gilded masque, bumbling persona, How jolly, how funny, […]

Princesses and makeup at the local virtual xmas market: Part 2

Yvonne Wancke

Jill is keen on the idea of supporting other businesses to help us all overcome challenges and move into 2021 with greater optimism. She says: “I love the idea of the Christmas market as I think and hope this year people want to support small businesses and buy locally if they can.“

Opinion

Lies, damn lies, and statistics … never lie!

Peter Howarth

They were universally referred to, and still are, as ‘The Entertainers’. Tino Asprilla’s hat-trick against Barcelona? Magic. Peter Beardsley’s catalogue of skills? Wonderful to watch. Andy Cole’s run over a couple of seasons when he averaged a goal a game? Jaw-dropping. No matter what their local loyalty was, during this period Newcastle United was almost every fan’s favourite second team.

Envy Motel release Trendsetter

Yvonne Wancke

“Trendsetter is about how the media and modern-day trends affects narcissistic tendencies and allows a narcissistic person to believe they are perfect without any flaws. The song is written from a male perspective, expressing their experience with a significant other, and delves into how the narcissist cares a lot more about what other people think, and being accepted, rather than treating anyone who actually cares with respect and decency.”

Opinion

I’ve got those lazy crazy lockdown blues

Peter Lathan

I’m also beginning to think that I am suffering from some bizarre form of Stockholm Syndrome. I put my shoes on this morning (first time I’ve worn shoes or socks for months) and went out to start the car. Guess what? The battery is flat, not the teeniest, weeniest, tiniest suggestion of the smallest scintilla of a little sparklet, and, you know, I feel almost relieved at finding another reason not to go out.

Harry Gallagher’s poetry for people

Judi Sutherland

I think everything has changed. The smashed fragments are still in the air, so we’ll have to see what happens when or if things settle. What will the new ‘normal’ look like? Search me. I know I’ve had to get used to reading to my own face on a screen at Zoom events, which is weird!

Theatre after Covid

Peter Lathan

After the longest theatre closures in English history (1642 – 1660 by Cromwell), theatre was revitalised.

Rafal’s Blue Wings

Kim Sanderson

I had my small independent record label named Blue Wings Records where I promoted and released tracks from small independent electronic artists. But when my wife got seriously sick I decided to stopped working on the record label and care for her.

Is Sunak leaving you out?

Peter Lathan

When, before the Chancellor’s statement, the Bylines editor suggested I wrote a commentary piece on government policy (i.e. change your mind every few minutes) as it related to theatre I said, “I wouldn’t dare write a political article – I suspect only every tenth word would be publishable!”

UPDATED

Don’t miss the Highlights

Christopher Wancke

Highlights Rural Touring Company puts on a programme of music, theatre and dance in Northumberland, County Durham and Cumbria. How will this change and develop as a result of Covid-19?

Opinion

No good news ever goes unpunished

Peter Lathan

Billingham Forum plans to go ahead with its panto this year…Cause, you may think, for celebration. A little bit of good news amid the theatrical gloom. ..

Ghost Light: an interview with Jen Stevens, singer songwriter

Yvonne Wancke

“I come from quite a musical family, I started learning piano aged four and have sung for as long as I can remember. My parents were into a mixed bag of music, so I grew up listening to everything from the Beatles to Grieg. I started off studying classical music, both for piano and voice and then moved towards folk and jazz. I was gigging from the age of 15 and have worked as a professional musician since then. Music has always been an integral part of my life.”

Opinion

Lions laughing at donkeys

Gareth Kearns

This is how comedy generally, and most particularly political satire, works: the people with no power lampoon, satirise, or rip the proverbial out of those who actually hold the power. It is a ‘punching up’ from below. The powerless show up the foibles, the hypocrisies, the failures of the powerful who have such influence and even control over their lives. The humour is found in the release of tension. The powerful are rarely, if ever, hurt by this – and when they are it’s usually because they are engaged in a practice so egregious that history will never be their friend anyway.

A Creative UK in a Creative Europe

Julie Ward

The UK government has chosen not to renew or continue its relationship with the Creative Europe programme after the end of the calendar year. This is a move that is viewed as a retrograde step on both sides of the channel and doesn’t fit with the government’s own narrative about a close relationship with our nearest neighbours nor its tub-thumping global Britain rhetoric.

Review

Arbuthnot goes back to school

Yvonne Wancke

“You are not alone” How do you feel about going back to school? That’s a question mainly for children but also for parents, teachers, carers. It’s been around five months since many of us were at school. You may feel excited, nervous, anxious and a whole range of emotions. Last week the Customs House set […]

Writers cramp and time travel

Richard Abbott-Brailey

“How do you deal with writer’s block?” This question is often asked of authors, screenwriters and playwrights but what exactly is writer’s block? According to Wikipedia. writer’s block is: “a condition… in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown.” I am an author of a published novel, […]

Climate Activism via Letters To Power

Julie Ward

Years ago (in the last century) I attended a conference at Lancaster University on arts and the environment where I met ‘artivists’ from Platform, a London-based collective of artists, educators and researchers who were undertaking extraordinary projects such as ‘Unravelling the Carbon Web’, which partly consisted of Platform members walking around all BP establishments including […]

Grim Beauty

Daisy Windsor

A review of Jane Eyre (2011 film) I must confess to being something of a Jane Eyre fan and so I was surprised that I had missed this film adaptation at the time when it came out. I first read the book aged 12 when I was at school. I remember the book: a rather […]

England 2020

Peter Lathan

There is a play – in fact, there are, no doubt, many plays – to be written about England during the pandemic but writing something now would be a bit like ending Romeo and Juliet with the balcony scene. Sadly there is so much more to play out.

North East venues paint the town red

Joanne Oliver

The culture and hospitality sector is in danger. Many theatres have a limited number of months, or weeks before they completely run out of funding. Pubs that employ musicians to draw in punters are struggling badly and some are closing for good. People who work in the arts sector are finding themselves with little or […]

Our friends in the north

Séamus O’Hanlon

If you enjoy The Crown, a show with an impressive scope, spanning decades and revealing insights to recent British history, then this is an alternative for you during lockdown. Our Friends in the North may not have had the same budget and gloss, but it is a powerful creation that focuses on ordinary people. A 1996 miniseries, […]