Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from December, 2017

Positive Sounds and Negative Space - The Best Music of 2017....

2017 has brought us some mighty fine music. Here's the pick of my favourites and a few thoughts....

I have probably listened to a greater variety of music than ever this year, partly because the majority of my radio listening switched on to BBC 6 Music, giving me the opportunity to listen to a lot of new and up and coming bands that I would have probably not heard otherwise. Artists I had previously had to search out for myself like the War on Drugs, Kurt Vile, and St Vincent are regularly played as well, and with excellent playlists in many of the pubs I regularly visit, with streaming from the likes of Spotify becoming more common rather than relying on the anodyne soundtracks we have become accustomed to, the exposure to great music has been better than ever before.

Sadly, as last year, we lost a number of great musicians. One of them was Tom Petty, whom I had seen at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, on his first tour of the UK in 1977. He was supporting Nils Lofgren with the H…

Sorting Out The Puzzle....

Last Sunday, I walked the canal towpath from Sowerby Bridge to Hebden Bridge with some friends. Not far in to the walk, we passed the forlorn sight of the iconic Puzzle Hall Inn, which sadly closed at the end of 2015, since when it has lain empty, alone, save for the odd passing vandal. But for so many people, it holds so many special memories.

The Puzzle was well-known throughout the land and beyond, playing host to many a musician, poet, and other artists, who would play inside, or in later years, on the bespoke stage which had been built outside on the site of the former toilets. It eventually became one of the top small jazz venues in the country. But, growing up in Sowerby Bridge, the Puzzle was a place to meet, a place to retreat, or simply a place to go for a good pint and good conversation.

I first visited the Puzzle in my late teens. The pub, which had once had its own brewery, as indicated by its distinctive tower, was owned by Wards of Sheffield in those days, which marked …

New Bars Join the Fold....

A brace of new bars have come on to the local scene. So naturally I have been along to give them the once-over....

Last weekend I visited a couple of new places that had opened up recently in Calderdale. I had been told about the first one during the previous week by my mate Tom over a pint at the Market Tavern in Brighouse. He mentioned that a work colleague had opened up a new bar in Hebden Bridge called something like Rambling Rose, or Ramble and Rose, as a cafe bar with real ales. So last Saturday, I took the train to Hebden and had a pint at Vocation and Co, before wandering further into town. Next door to the Old Gate was Ramble + Rose.

I walked in, the bar to the left of me, and large sofas and low tables to the right, with further seating through to the back. Several people were dotted around the place. On the bar were 4 hand pumps, although only 3 were in use, and there were a further 5 beers on tap. As well as the beers and other drinks, as indicated by the large cakes jocke…

The Hands of Time....

A few weeks ago I was sat having a natter with friends in the Jubilee Refreshment Rooms in Sowerby Bridge when one of the group mentioned that a box of old Good Beer Guides had been left by someone. Nothing unusual about that: Andrew, one of the proprietors, is a serious collector of pub and brewery memorabilia, and frequently there are bits of this and that being dropped off. Indeed, more than once, we have mentioned the old West Riding Brewery pub sign from the Barge and Barrel in Elland which ended up in my mum and dad's garage, only for it to be left behind and lost when they moved house, which always leaves Andrew looking wistful!

Anyway, back to the beer guides. We each took a volume to thumb through. I got 1979. Wow, things were more different than I remember. Yes, I knew the local pubs were dominated by Websters and Tetleys - both big breweries, both closed some years ago. But some of the pubs raised an eyebrow - the Calder and Hebble, a Tetleys house at the bottom of Salt…