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Thursday 5th April 2018
Been a busy few weeks getting settled into Blackpool... here are some odd bits and pieces to tide us over by way of news and first we'll focus on some of the artistes we've featured over the last few years.
Just learnt last night through their Instagram account that Passion Bel Canon's guitarist/vocalist Will Barter is leaving the band and plays his last gig with them on Saturday. The news felt like a bolt out the blue and am sad to learn of his departure. On a better note, Honey Bane's website has been restored after being offline for a few weeks, but still no sight or sound of Bouche.
Jessica Law has completed her album and is preparing to send copies out to her Kickstarter backers and that's certain to be an interesting listen. She moved from Bristol to Cambridge last year for what she thought would be a short time, but now appears she's taking a more permanent residence. Jenni Noyes also broke a year plus long silence a few weeks ago, promising to return with some new music.
So. Blackpool. All is fine and dandy and one is having good fun though creatively haven't been too active as I've been focusing on other areas of my life. I did take in an open floor night at the Bootleg called "Exposure" which I went to, scouting it out as a possible event to play in the future. Sad to say there is absolutely no chance of that ever happening if the set up I witnessed is anything to go by. I'm too polite to list what I found wrong and distasteful about that.
I took in a performance of "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" at the Grand Theatre last Saturday. It starred Phil Daniels in the title role. I enjoyed the show... the set design and lighting was very impressive and rather hard to describe. However, I felt that it did veer closely to farce in nature during the second act which rather dullened it's impact.
I attended two meetings involving LeftCoast last week. The first was sorting out some voluntary duties for later in the year. The second was the third and final meeting in a series I've attended (February's meeting was a nightmare as I hadn't yet moved and had to dash to straight from the rail station trainlagged from another Northern Trains fiasco of a journey) to deal with a big project entitled LeftBehind. More details can be found on LeftCoast's site as to what that's all about. I used these meetings basically to find out more about what's happening creative-wise in Blackpool and meet some of the people who are involved. It was fun meeting and bantering with comedienne Ruth E.Cockburn and again, a delight catching up with Linda Hampton.
I've been indulging in odd bits of photography, some of which can be seen on our Instagram page. Meanwhile, a big project is fermenting in the bowels of my mind and my next step in Blackpool is to resurrect The Brian Prebble Experience, a performance art ensemble I used to work under over 20 years ago. You'll be finding out more about Prebble as time goes by but regardless to say, it's time the mothballs were removed and that is set back into motion to unleash it's own brand of the peculiar and bizarre for the 21st Century as it explores a concept that involves everybody, including myself but which I personally despise... and if yer thinking "huh?" just you wait till Prebble is living and breathing in front of you!
It's gonna be fun... looking most forward to it!
Tuesday 10th April 2018
Life grows ever busier and more interesting in Blackpool. On Sunday 8th April, I went along to the Pub Poets evening at the Bootleg Social Bar on Topping Street... and after almost 21 years, resurrected my old performance art project The Brian Prebble Experience. Last seen at the Spiders Web in Grimsby on August 20th 1997, The Brian Prebble Experience returned to active duty with performances of "Telephone" - last performed at the Egg Cafe in Liverpool on 12th February 2001 and the notorious "Turquoise Underpants" which had last been aired on 2nd September 1999 at the Jacaranda also in Liverpool. It went down well and I was pleasantly surprised and delighted how all present got into the spirit and madness of Prebble.
A good evening of entertainment. A lot of quality material being performed and an enjoyable spirited atmosphere all round. They helped wiped fresh memories of 2 other "open floor" events I've witnessed in Blackpool both of which left me cold for a variety of reasons.
I am now on the lookout for a handful of other performance based artistes to work alongside me in The Brian Prebble Experience. This is to be a collective using the stage to wreak all manner of mayhem and surrealism. Musicians, actors, poets, dancers... would be more than welcome to join in. The ultimate aim is to use the stage to explore, improvise, walk tightropes (metaphorically of course) and above all have FUN entertaining audiences. There is a larger project it will be a part of which I am intent on aiming at the Edinburgh Festival in the future. If by any chance you're interested, or know anyone who might be, please message me via my email address pictured below or on our Twitter page.
Today I was honoured to be added to ICAN. This is an ever growing network of independent creative artists, helping unify and promote the many talents based in and around Blackpool and we're in excellent company! I have just added a new menu above featuring some of the Blackpool talents/events I have so far encountered and champion. Over time, we will build a new section in this website to cater for the Blackpool scene which will be more than what we currently have - a bunch of links to the artistes' websites.
My life in Blackpool is getting off to a terrific start. My photographic adventures are chronicled on Instagram and recently added some brief video snippets there as well. We've returned to live performance after a very long absence, ideas are building up, opportunities being sought and explored...
Sunday 15th April 2018
Another interesting week comes to an end - Thursday and Friday just gone saw a host of things going on which I went along to. On Thursday evening, The Electric Sunshine Project took over the Blackpool College Theatre to present 5 newly written scripts being given a public reading. They hold a scriptwriting course and this was the culmination for its participants, getting to have their work read out aloud by a bunch of professional actors and receiving feedback from the audience. The 5 works were rather diverse, covering a few interesting subjects. TESP leader Melanie Whitehead read aloud stage directions to help put us in the frame and I enjoyed what unfolded. Linda Hampton wrote - and read in - a wonderfully funny comic drama based in a gym that stood out because it was so well written with excellent characterisation. I have Linda to thank for alerting me the previous day of this event otherwise I would not had witnessed it, nor would I had come face to face with photographer Claire Walmsley-Griffiths for the first time. Claire is working on a project linked above entitled "Time and Tide" in which she's been tracking down performers from the Blackpool scene from the 1970's and before, getting their stories, photos and memorabilia to bring their experiences to life and preserve them for posterity.
Friday had me visiting Shaw's Cafe for the opening of a new art exhibition by Mathew Jones. Mathew began painting as therapy whilst suffering depression and happily it opened up a new world and life for him that helped him to conquer the condition. It was well attended and I enjoyed some of Mathew's work. So did others as during the time I was present, he had several sales. I chatted with Mathew for a few minutes about his work and thoughts on art and creativity which I enjoyed and he looks set to do very well. Also in attendance were photographers Dawn Mander and Kate Yates and it was great to catch up with them.
Following that, I then attended the first edition of the Dead Good Poets at The Brew Room pub. It was reasonably attended but I personally found the room, on the first floor above the pub itself rather cold and clinical and not my idea of a good venue for poetry. Worse, the second half of the show was hampered by a band rehearsing directly above the poets... the band were rather loud and drowned out whatever was being recited. A mixture of the room acoustics then this extraneous noise meant I was barely able to decipher any of the poetry that was performed so have no idea if it was any good or not. Everybody else seemed happy with the venue and the organisers looked a bit hurt when I gave them an honest answer when asked for my opinion on this venue. Thing is, if you ask me a question, you're gonna get an honest answer and there was no point in bullshitting and pretending the venue is good when to me, it isn't. But, I was in a minority of one and I wish the Dead Good Poets all the best in there though it's doubtful I will return which is a shame but no point in going to something if you can't understand what's going on.
Saturday was a grand and busy day for Blackpool as for the first time this year, it enjoyed warm temperatures and brilliant sunshine all day and evening. I went for a wander that morning around Cleveleys where I took a whole load of photos. I wasn't in the best of moods and thought I was wasting my time so it was a surprise to return home, look at the photos and find there were several good ones. I tend to find that if I manage to get one good photo in every hundred I take, I've done OK, so to find several was a delight and various Instagram followers enjoyed the results as well. In the evening I took the camera with me when I went for my usual evening wander. That was another productive photo session which was made all the more fun by running into Dawn and Kate who were also busy, enjoying the weather and photo opportunities.
Unfortunately, Sunday was a return to the grey and damp conditions we've had too long in Blackpool but, we're due much more sunny and warm weather and I've no doubt there will be plenty more photo opportunities to indulge in and enjoy. For the many of you who snap photos on your phones, you really don't know what you're missing out on as photography is a fun hobby and one which can get you looking at the world around you a little differently and over time, with more respect and wonder. They do say the best things in life are free and there is a wonderful rich world to explore... if you actually bother to look!
Tuesday 24th April 2018
Last Friday, Jessica Law released her first full length album "...Apparently" following on from 4 EP's released over the last few years. "...Apparently" is the result of her Kickstarter campaign last year which I gladly backed. I've yet to fully listen to the album but the few bits I have heard, it's clear that it's a diverse and eccentric affair. You can buy a download or a combined download and limited edition CD by clicking the album image above. As a taster, you can check out this live video of Jessica performing one track "The Collared Dove" live with the string quartet that appear on a handful of tracks on the album. Jessica is certainly an odd individual talent of the sort I respect and admire for keeping true to themselves.
Otherwise, it's been reasonably quiet since the previous update as I've been busy making plans. Last weekend saw me out and about armed with my trusty camera making the most of the brief burst of summery weather and managed to get quite a few great photos some of which you can see on our Instagram page.
I'm currently plotting to piece together some kind of a radio show for you all to download. Well, to the Millennials my "radio shows" are what they'd call "podcasts" but I don't do that nonsensical lingo - nowadays people don't "release" albums, they "drop" them. Knickers to all that, we speak 20th Century English around here! The radio show should feature a few Brickbat endorsed acts along with a bunch of unique moments drawn from my own infamous tape archive. It will either keep you amused, or you'll dump it into the nearest recycle bin faster than you can say "tree."
As ever, stayed tuned.