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Friday 21st December 2018
So, Christmas is almost upon us and 2018 is shortly to come to an end. As I’ve often declared in these news pages, 2018 has been a FANTASTIC year. Unfortunately, there was one major mistake as on Monday the 17th I reluctantly had to quit my job. I had only been back 4 days and they were the most draining 4 days of my entire life. I was determined to stick it out as long as possible as hey, quite a few days over Christmas where one would had been earning double time, but I have learned to LISTEN to my body and brain and together they were screaming “ENOUGH!” and I knew to continue any longer was going to be damaging to my health. I was most upset about it all, but one has to look after number one and even now, a few days later, I’m still slowly recovering and recharging. Let’s just say certain people were not happy with my decision and gave me some grief for it, but I am now awaiting interviews for 2 more jobs. I’m certainly not sitting idle. The biggest problem that emerged with the job were 1, it was full time 2, it was physically and mentally demanding with barely a moment to breathe and 3, the peculiar working hours which meant doing shifts in the morning to early afternoon then again in the evening. It left me with zero time for anything else so am now hoping to get part time work as I need enough free time to do what I’m gonna be doing in 2019.
Anyway, that’s behind me now so no need to dwell any longer on it.
On Instagram I have started a short series, a countdown to 2019 where each day we cover each month of 2018 using outtake photos and odd stray ones which I’ve so far not published. It’s been interesting wading through countless thousands of photos to select items for that series as one can definitely see how my style began to develop. January to April, seen now are pretty boring. I was taking mostly “postcard” shots with an occasional snap of some street life and gradually, the street stuff begins to take over. What’s also very noticeable is my use of the camera itself as it wasn’t until June that I finally got to grips with the many settings as before then, there are many shoots which are ruined by over or under-exposed shots. May/June is amusing as that was when I seemed to focus mostly on shots of people smoking or tattoos. There was some business that went on behind the scenes I’d rather not go into detail about that brought the cigarette/tattoo photos to an end. Since then, I pretty much found my voice or eye. I will admit though I still have a long way to go as for every 100 photos I take, I’m lucky if one or two are good enough for publication so there really are thousands of “bad” photos which are a bit cringeful to see again!
I will also admit that my photography has been mostly by accident as I never set out to indulge in it in any other form than an occasional hobby. I had a lot of other plans and ideas I wanted to focus on, but Blackpool is home to a host of great street photographers who bless their hearts welcomed me into their fold and have been very supportive and encouraging. Impossible to name them all but special honourable mentions go to Dawn Mander, Kate Yates and Ant Clark. Seriously though, I doubt Blackpool can be bettered for street photography as all year round there is always plenty to capture!
2018 has for me been a major personal odyssey. Without going into much detail as to what led to relocating to Blackpool, essentially when I did settle here it was to stage a complete reboot of my life. On that level, the results have been dramatic and successful. My main aim was to re-engage with my creativity by taking advantage of what Blackpool has to offer and becoming a part of the local creative scene. The process began in October 2017 when I had an hour long meeting with Jenny Rutter at LeftCoast to find out more about that organisation and of what else is going on creatively in Blackpool. In January, I attended the first “LeftBehind” meeting chaired by LeftCoast which was interesting and in a way amusing as I hadn’t yet moved here nor could I contribute to that project, but it was vital research and an opportunity to start meeting some of the main names in Blackpool as was also the case regarding the two follow up meetings in February and March which put me in contact with members of ICan and various others.
I moved near the end of February and in March began stirring into life as I indulged in photography and set to work on myself as I was overweight and in need to sort something out. Cue joining up with T-12 for a gym and fitness regime. That consisted of twice weekly gym workouts which ended in November by which time I had shed two stone in weight, lost several inches round my waist and gotten used to a healthier diet and lifestyle which has made an enormous difference.
April saw me checking out the Pub Poets and performed for the first time in 11 years. The biggest surprise for me wasn’t that I went down well, but the fact I didn’t feel nervous and furthermore it felt like I’d never been away as I was so confident and assured. I performed there again over the next three successive months, each time with great results. I then decided to take a break from that because I don’t want to get too established as “a poet” as performance wise I am many other things but finding such opportunities in Blackpool is not as easy as I hoped it would be and is an issue I’m intent on exploring in 2019.
May had me taking in Ruth E. Cockburn doing a hometown performance of her show “Love Letters From Blackpool” which I thoroughly enjoyed and finally collaborating with The Electric Sunshine Project as Melanie Whitehead hosted a short drop in drama course. That was terrific fun and a good way to work with Melanie. June was a brilliant month for photography. The drop in drama course then gave way to a very different course devoted to creative writing and short stories in particular. I wasn’t at all inspired by it as I'd hoped but again, a great way to explore and spread my wings.
July was even better for photography as I had two major LeftCoast voluntary duties to work on which in turn enabled some great photo opps as I found myself smack deep within the Wordpool Festival in Stanley Park and the following week, the Tram Sunday festival in Fleetwood. Both truly unforgettable experiences I enjoyed enormously. August, season in full swing I had a great time capturing the many punks who were in town for their “Rebellion Festival” - they were good spirited unlike the ghastly “young farmers” who had invaded a couple of months earlier and caused endless mayhem, shame and destruction. The Electric Sunshine Project staged “Sandgrown Tails”, a show I absolutely loved which kept me smiling.
September, I began the Electric Sunshine Project’s scriptwriting course as well as entering into talks with LeftCoast about a project I’m still waiting to hear the outcome of. October saw my first attempt at a script starting to take shape and then there was the RUSH spectacle via LeftCoast where on a very chilly evening, Blackpool got to witness a spectacle that will live long in memories and was great fun to be involved with that in a voluntary role.
November, I gained the job, and quit the gym. I also sadly had to quit the scriptwriting course, but Melanie went out of her way to ensure I could still be involved. The job took over my life and gave way to a fortnight out of Blackpool on family duties. Shortly before I returned in December, at Melanie’s suggestion my script in progress was given a reading in public to an audience who loved it. If that isn’t enough to persuade me to continue working on the script... and as sadly lamented in the first paragraph, I then quit the job 4 days after returning.
So, on many levels it’s been a very eventful year... not to mention a busy and happy one. I have gotten to meet many of the main names within Blackpool, gained a lot of respect and curiosity and the stage is set for a very exciting and productive 2019 continuing to build upon what we’ve done in 2018. 2018 is even ending in an interesting manner for me as I have been invited to a Christmas Day meal and an event on New Years Eve to see in the New Year... in years past, I would had declined such invites in an instant but one of the big things about Blackpool for me is breaking old habits, coming out my shell, indulging and experiencing things I’ve not done before so gladly accepted the invites and am looking most forward to them. There are also two possible jobs I’m to be interviewed for so shouldn’t be out of work for too long.
2019? Watch this space! I’m not gonna let you in on any of my plans as of yet but I intend it to be an even busier and more exciting year all round where I hope Brickbat Enterprises heads off in new directions.
Hope you all enjoy Christmas, and all the best for 2019.
Friday 4th January 2019
Into 2019 we go and it marks our 4th year as an online presence and time for yet another major change.
I'm STILL awaiting news and developments on the scheme I've been hinting at the past couple of months which will give Brickbat Enterprises a new direction to head in but whilst we wait a little longer, the website and our ideals are going to be changing anyway. When I started this site in mid 2015, it was devoted to seeking and promoting interesting musical talent I encountered. Unfortunately, almost all the acts I uncovered and featured here have fallen silent, broken up or quietly moved on to other things. The recent decision of one of the first acts we backed - Passion Bel Canon - felt like the end of an era. It's been very hard to find quality new music acts and artistes to feature because I'm so damn fussy! 2018 was a year of major change with me resettling in Blackpool and building up a presence and reputation there, keeping busy with my own projects and ventures. Henceforth, we are going to retire the original concept of the site as there is no point in continuing to try and promote acts who are no longer active, have nothing new to sell or plug.
Given I am rather active on the Blackpool scene, we will therefore shift our focus fully upon Blackpool and what is going on in and around there and also utilise this site to promote my own personal ventures such as my photography, performances, writings and whatever else I get up to in the name of "creativity"!
This is going to necessitate yet another revamp of the entire website. I will be slaving away on that over the next few weeks and won't go live with it until it's completed to my satisfaction and it will be a totally new site, format etc. Hence all existing content will cease to exist. I'm aiming to have the new site up and live by March 1st.
I would like to thank each and every one of the artistes we featured over the years. I can now reveal that almost all of them were genuinely surprised and bewildered when I originally contacted them as they understandably found it almost unreal that there was a complete stranger out there who gladly offered them FREE promotion and webspace without any demands or obligations. When I was offered free merchandise in return, I always refused it, making it clear I would rather buy it from them. My intents were always sincere and genuine and it's been an interesting journey.
So, this is inevitably gonna be our last update in our current guise, so stay tuned, keep checking back and hopefully come March there will be a brand new Brickbat Enterprises site for you all to explore and enjoy.