As a one time Glam Rocker from the 1970's sang before he fell into shame, dishonour and tabloid public enemy #1. Hello, hello, it's good to be back!
Ian, Guzzisue and myself have just returned from our latest travels. Naturally I will be posting details on these, but I have so much to catch up on from this year for the time being. It will be difficult to follow The Long Not Winding Road series as this included new horizons, cities and emotional experiences.
When Ian found himself joining the masses of workers losing their jobs, things were not looking too hopeful for this summer, however it gave us chance to find cheaper options to be entertained. I will start with the Nottingham City Pulse 2009.
The event was held over the Whit Bank Holiday period at the end of May around the city centre. In all there were six stages around the centre with the usual buskers plying their talents as well.
With the sun shinning and Nottingham alive with saturday shoppers we sat ourselves down in St Mark's Square to listen to songs from the 1920's and 30's performed by the Hot Potato Syncopators, looking quite dashing in their dickies and evening suits. Music to give images of punting down a river, complete with picnic hamper and wind up gramophone abound. The group were so impressed with the recording of their performance that it now appears on their web site, so for your enjoyment, I give you the Hot Potato Syncopators.
Moving along to Nottingham Castle wall, by the statue of Robin Hood, a new stage and marque complete with a dance floor had been erected for this year. Previously there had been only a small stage. Admittedly I was convinced that this would not work, however, like most humans, this bear can make mistakes and the idea was a complete success with people dancing to big band music and local ceilidh bands amongst other types of music.
Five Go Off are a local folk/ceilidh band consisting of four talented musicians. Inside the marquee they managed to get people of all ages up and dancing by slowly talking the steps through slowly so the dancers could get an idea of what they were meant to be doing. Denny Plowman, one of the musicians also took on the mantle of caller for the dances.
The Henly Farrell Big Band, another locally based band. The band features a traditional line up of 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 5 saxes, piano, bass, guitar, drums and 2 singers. I was only able to be at the start of the band's set and the video below is rather mellow. Later on when I returned the marquee was in full swing with several dancers on their feet.
Leaving the marquee behind, it is time to head towards Chapel Bar, Nottingham's continental area. Here there are several restaurants with seating available on the pedestrianised area. At the top of Chapel Bar there is another small stage, occupied by yet another local group, The Hot Club Trio. They consist of two guitars and a double bass. Arriving here a little late Ian and myself only caught the last number, I Surrender The Win, a breathtaking performance. The Hot Club Trio certainly suited the ambiance and I would have liked to hear more from them.
From here it is only a short walk to the centre of Nottingham and the Market Square. A few years ago the square looked like the picture below.
However the city council decided that the area needed a revamp. In the foreground below the two grassed areas were public conveniences that had well passed their use by date. The central area was well used by skateboarders and people that liked a drink or five, whilst at the top near to the council house, there were two fountains. On many occasions these had to be switched off and drained due to detergent being thrown in.
The New Old Market Square now looks like this.
A vast open space that just shouts out "Use Me!" And so it gets used. Now we have craft fairs, continental markets, a large Ferris wheel and Nottingham Riviera. The Market Square's website for future events can be found here.
But I digress a little. The event is the City Pulse and taking the main stage is James Hunter. James is a talented bluesman from the Deep South of England, living in a caravan in Colchester, when he was nine. His ability to work the crowd is second to none. He was the ideal person to headline on the Monday and bring the Pulse to a close.
Walking along the left hand side of the Council House is Long Row. Here is the final band I shall showcase. The Big Beat are a collective that not only specialise in educating, but also pass on their eco message at festivals as well as planning corporate events. Their act is certainly lively and I struggled to keep the camera steady filming them.
In the local elections this year the council that has put the funding for the two City Pulses has lost power. I look forward to 2010 to see what happens next.