Going for a song

IMG_0190.JPGAmazing, fantastic, exhilarating, enjoyable, strenuous. Just some of the words I’ve used as people have asked me how the C2C ride went.

Many are surprised that I’m suffering no after effects from the ride, but to be honest it’s not really the marathon people think it is. I’ve talked to several people since Friday who have also completed the ride – just a few among the twenty thousand who complete it each year.

If you were one of the people who sponsored me I am really grateful for your support. You may like to consider giving regularly to either of the charities I was representing.

logo_100x122.gifRiding Lights Theatre Company has a membership scheme for regular givers. It offers a number of benefits as well as the confidence that you are supporting a very special professional and Christian Theatre Company.


The Funzi and Bodo Trust is engaged in long term projects in those communities on the south eastern coast of Kenya. Regular support allows them to plan their educational and medical projects with confidence.

If you didn’t sponsor me it’s not too late. The Justgiving sites are still open for business. Click on the links and you can join in to help.

Riding Lights Theatre Company
The Funzi and Bodo Trust

On Black HillWhere to next for me and my machine? I’d love to do John O’Groats to Lands End but that would carve a huge hole in my diary. Possibly Liverpool to Hull – I’d need to borrow a hybrid bike for that one because of the many off road sections. Be sure I’ll let you know when it’s being planned.

Thank you for following my adventure – I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. The memories will stay with me for a long time. One thing I discovered as I drove my bike upwards in the Pennines. Singing is a great way to control breathing on the inclines. So if you were somewhere near the summit of Hartside or Black Hill and thought the local chapel was having a choir practice it was possibly me belting out hymns and songs of praise in the strange rhythm my panting heart demanded. I can recommend it – not just on the hills. Singing is good for you – body, soul and spirit. Especially if you have someone to praise for your very existence.

The Damned United

I have recently seen two films. The Boat that Rocked and The Damned United.
The second of those films I watched on my own, the assumption being that it was a man’s film. It gave me the chance to enjoy it without being conscious of what Joan might have thought of it had she been sitting next to me; a significant factor.

The Damned United

The Damned United

Brian Clough as depicted by Michael Sheen, was not a complicated person. He had drive, doubts, nerve, he was obsessed, thought a lot of himself and told anyone who would listen, and many who cared not to, just how good he was.
His dependence on Peter Taylor, who put up with almost all of his arrogance in a very gracious way, was clear from the start. So when Clough went to Leeds without Taylor, it was also clear he was being set up to fail.
For me the film rang true because of that honest depiction of both sides of leadership shown in the character of Brian Clough. That it was set in a footballing context only made it more engaging. It had that northern grit seen in films like Brassed Off, The Full Monty and Billy Elliot, and reflected a working class world that still existed in the 70s. I left the City Screen in York, thoughtful and satisfied.
So I was delighted by the Screen Yorkshire interview with Andy Harries of Left Bank Pictures who lifted the curtain on the negotiations behind the scenes that allowed him to film The Damned United in Yorkshire.

The Boat That Rocked? Well it did, but for me the film sank. The music was good but the weak storyline and the monotonous depiction of debauched lifestyles on board Radio Rock was tasteless. It wasn’t a worthy document of the pioneers who opened up a channel for pop radio in the UK. There are better ways of wiping the smug grins off the faces of BBC and government officials than pretending pirate radio was responsible not only for free radio but also for the whole of the permissive age. On reflection this was more the man’s film in a unreconstructed, cave man sort of way. Brian Clough’s story was much more about real life and family and gives insight into a man’s world with a very accessible storyline.

Standing in the Long Now

Greenbelt – Greenbelt 09: Standing in the Long Now

Confused by the title for this blog post? It’s the theme for Greenbelt 2009. The quote’s taken from Brian Eno “… all round interesting thinker”. It’s about taking a longer view in contrast to the “do it now” culture in which many of us live. There’s even a foundation dedicated to it.

So now is the time to book for Greenbelt – described as as the most family friendly festival of rthe summer – a place for everyone to explore life more deeply.  Despite the theme for the festival – there are discounts for doing it NOW!

Duke Special and Tony Hart

Tony Hart

Tony Hart

Sad news about the death of Tony Hart. As a kid it never entered my mind to enter a picture for his gallery – let along to imagine seeing it on the telly accompanied by this familair piece of music “Left Bank Two”  BBC NEWS | Magazine | A bit of vibraphone nostalgia

And now he’s gone, taking with him a gentler age of children’s TV shows, although he still had his fans among people much younger than my notalgic age.

I was at the Duke Special gig at The Duchess in York on Saturday. Pete Wilson was promoting his Album Cover Art Competition which was to be judged by no less than Tony Hart. Apparently he gave a moving tribute to Tony Hart at his gig in London on Monday.

The Duke Special gig in York was musically excellent but visually demanding. The low stage and good crowd hid the musicians from view for most of the evening unless you were very close to the front.

Later, Pete moved into the audience and sang at the piano on the audience floor. Very intimate. Good musicians don’t need to stage full of gear to make a good sound. The place resounded with all the fun of a pub singalong. The backing singers were excellent too!

Thanks to Luke for unplugging the cooling fan so that Pete could hear himself sing. It gave a whole new meaning to Duke Special Unplugged.