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Showing posts from June, 2014

Billy Bragg in Holmfirth

Last night I went to Holmfirth to see the 'Bard of Barking', Billy Bragg at the Picturedrome.

A lovely sunny evening, I caught the 310 from Huddersfield Bus Station and after a surprisingly pleasant journey through the heavily-wooded Holme Valley, arrived in Holmfirth, which is gearing up for the Grand Depart, as indicated by the many little yellow bicycles and posters around the town.

The great thing about Holmfirth is the compact nature of the centre. Within a hundred yards or so of the Bus Station there are pubs, places to eat, and the town's main venue, the Picturedrome. A former cinema, it hosts a regular stream of popular and often established artists. Coming up in the next few months are acts like Gary Numan, the Levellers and Ian Hunter and the Rant Band, interspersed with names like Think Floyd and Let's Zep, who, I assume, are tribute acts. 

First things first. A pint of Spotland Gold at the Brambles, pleasantly quiet for once, where I caught a bit of the footba…

Brighouse and Brass

One of the great things about spring and early summer - apart from the days being longer, and hopefully warmer - is the fact that there always seems to be a festival of some description somewhere. In the last few weeks I have been to several beer festivals - Mayfest at Square Chapel in Halifax, the Navigation, Mirfield, and the Beck, Brighouse.

Aside from that I have been to a couple of others with different themes. Last week in Brighouse we had the 2nd '40's Weekend. This was an unashamed nostalgia trip, with a Spitfire fly-past, military vehicles and personnel in period dress, and which brought thousands in to the town, particularly on Sunday when the weather was fantastic. The fact that it coincided with the 70th anniversary of D-Day made it all the more pertinent.
Brighouse always has the ability to party when it gets the chance and last weekend was no exception. Certainly the pubs I visited - Wetherspoons, the Ship and the Commercial all got into the mood. Great to see a lo…

Toumani and Sidiki

Mali is a massive, landlocked country in North West Africa covering an area of around 1.24 million square kilometres(480,000 square miles in old money). Covering such a wide area, the terrain ranges from desert to savannah and then on to cultivated land.With a population of around 14.5 million, as you can imagine,it is also not very crowded, Bamako, the capital, has about 1.8 million residents, but otherwise it is predominantly rural.

I must admit, I don't know a lot about the country although I am eager to learn. In 2012 there was an uprising in the north by Tuareg rebels, which was ultimately quelled by the Malian army, aided by the French for whom at one time Mali was a colony. Agriculture is the country's main economic activity, but with rich reserves of gold, kaolin and salt, mining is also important.

Mali first hit my consciousness when I went to see Andy Kershaw, former Radio 1 DJ, journalist and now Todmorden resident promoting his excellent book, 'No Off Switch'…