Monday, 21 December 2009

Gigs in Worcester - January 2010

Gigs in Worcester - January 2010
January 8th Worcester Arts Workshop : Calm Like A Riot & Nomad67. 8pm £3 Link Link2

January 10th Cap n Gown, Worcester: Richard Clarke @ 9pm

January 14th 2010 @ The Wishing Well, Bromsgrove: Richard Clarke and Howard Kenny. Link


January 17th @ The Pheasant: Alter Vertigo, Brian Maiden + Spoonfedz

January 23rd @ The C&A: Bastards of the Sky, Mother Trucker, Bast Shirukume CANCELLED

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Tweak Bird & Lightning Bolt @ Capsule

Lightning Bolt + Tweak Bird + Pete Prescription @ Capsule, Vivid
Tuesday 8th December 2009 

Last Tuesday a few of us from Worcester made our first visit to Capsule at Vivid to see Tweak Bird and Lightning Bolt. Not only was it our first gig at Vivid it was our first time seeing both bands, and both impressed.

Vivid had a bit of an art installation feel to it: white walls with the names of all the bands who played over the past 10 years on the walls and angular projector lighting. The crowd seemed amiable and the beer was good.

We missed most of Pete Prescription who played guitar over synths and samples, with video projected onto the screen behind him.

Pete Prescription

Next on were Tweak Bird, a brotherly two piece from Illinois, USA on drums and guitar. They played high tempo, noisy, pounding tunes that both had your foot taping and head nodding to the grungy, occasionally psychodelic tunes. Hard to describe, yet weirdly reminded me think of the White Stripes meets Suzi Quattro. Hugely enjoyable.

Tweak Bird

Tweak Bird

Tweak Bird

Next on were the much anticipated Lightning Bolt. We knew they were going to be loud but we were glad of the ear plugs that were handed out at the door. Even harder to describe - intense, crazy, pounding wall of noise that had had the crowd moving to the beat and occasionally spilling over onto the band - I was saved by the bass player after the crowd surged forward during one of the more intense songs. The bass and banjo strung bass made the most amazing yet rhythmic sounds while the vocoder style vocals blended well with the noise (I mean that in good way!). They were simply amazing and the fact that they were toe to toe with the audience made it even more special.

Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt

I'm already looking forward to this weekend's gig at Vivid, with the line-up including Una Corda and Calvados Beam Trio.


Tweak Bird

Lightning Bolt

Capsule are 10 - Closing Party

Lightning Bolt + Tweak Bird + Pete Prescription @ Capsule

Photos copyright Mark Hoy 2009

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Gigs in Worcester - November & December 2009


Live music in Worcester

December 2009

Saturday 28th November 2009: Anger Management, Betrayed by Many, MasterWarbeast @ The C&A, St. Johns, Worcester. £4 Myspace link.

Friday 4th December @ Pig and Drum at 8:00pm FREE:


Sunday 6th December, 2009: Novmeber & The Criminal - @ The Chill Festival in Cripplegate Park

Wednesday 9th December, 2009: November & The Criminal, Luke Leighfield@ The Firefly

Wednesday 9th December, 2009: Howard Kenny, w/Careful Jepson. 20:00 @ The Cellar Bar

Thursday 10th December, 2009
: Nomad67, Mudball & Absolute Ataxia @ The Marrs Bar £4

Thursday 17th December, 2009:
Esteban, Theo, Great Eskimo Hoax & Howard Kenny @ the Marrs Bar. 8pm - 12pm, FREE ENTRY

Saturday 19th December, 2009: Dudes Of Neptune, Lost Boy Scout, Admiral Daydream & The Stolen Souvenirs. (TBC) @ The Llama Lounge CANCELLED

Sunday 20th December, 2009: Calm Like A Riot, Spoon Fedz and Dandelion Killers @ Drummonds

Sunday 27th December, 2009:
Nomad67 @ The Cellar Bar.

Sunday, 27 December 2009:  Between Us & the fire. 19:30 - 23:00 , the Crown and Anchor, Hylton Road, Worcester.

Wednesday 29th December 2009: Calm Like A Riot, Skewwhiff, Cracked Actors & Shuddervision @ The Marrs Bar

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Gigs in Worcester - October 2009


Live Music in Worcester

October 2009

There are a few good gigs coming up in Worcester soon, with some of them part of the Oxjam music event. - Oxjam website


Esteban!,The Kings and Queens of England, The Capital
Date: Saturday, 24th October 2009
Time: 15:30 - 18:30Esteban!
Location: the crown and anchor

Scarlet Carmina, No Age, Joe Patroni (Oxjam)
Date: Saturday, 24th October 2009
Time: 16.45
Location: The Pig N Drum, Lowesmoor

Zebedy Rays,November And The Criminal, Dissolutes (Oxjam)
Date: Saturday, 24th October 2009
Time: 20.00
Location: The Firefly, Lowesmoor


Gwyn Ashton, Brian Maiden, Caroline Fitzgerald, Johnny Kowalski & Jez Mort

Date: Sunday, 25th October 2009
Time: 13:30 - 17:00Nitkowski
Location: The Old Rectifying House

Oxjam: Dean Elliott, Claire Boswell, Skewiff, Zang Tang
Date: Sunday 25th October
Time: 14.15 - 17.00
Location: Keystones, Worcester

Oxjam: Nitkowski, Esteban (not on the Oxjam flyer??), Hair Traffic Control,
Richard Clarke
Date: Sunday 25th October
Time: 19.30
Location: Keystones, Worcester

Jonquil + Great Eskimo Hoax (task in hand)
Date: Sunday 25th October
Time: 20:00 - £3
Location: Firefly, Lowesmoor.

Oxjam: Mother Dirt, Tallulah Fix, Last Boy Scout
Date Sunday 25th October @ 17:15 - 19.45
Location: The Pig & Drum


Owen Tromans + November And The Criminal (task in hand)
Date: Wednesday 28th OctoberNovember and the criminal
Time: 20:00 - free
Location: Firefly, Lowesmoor.


Esteban!, November and the Criminal,
Lewis spelt backwards
Date: Friday, 30th October 2009 at 20:00
Location: The Firefly


Esteban!,Gary Harper Band, Robot Knows Best, Acres of Ocean
Date: Saturday, 31st October 2009Esteban!
Time: 19:00 - 23:00
Location: the crown and anchor

Date: Thursday 5th Nov 2009 @ 19:30
Location: THE PIG AND DRUM - free


Oxjam Gigs in Worcester (added 20.10.09)

Esteban at the C&A, 24.10.09
Scarlett Carmina 24.10.09
Zebedy Rays 24.10.09
Acoustic afternoon @ The Old Rectifying House 25.10.09
Nitkowski @ Keystones 25.10.09
Halloween Party @ The Firely - Esteban!, November & the criminal 30.10.09
Esteban! @ the Firefly 30.10.09
Esteban! @ the C&A 31.10.09
Halloween Party @ the C&A 31.10.09
task in hand
days old booking (pig n drum)

The Oxjam, Worcester Facebook thingy is private (you have to add them as a friend - there isn't a group like most of the other Oxjam events have set up), which makes no sense for a charity event??

The mySpace for the Pig N Drum hasn't been updated for 2 years - does anyone have their current website?

Friday, 25 September 2009

Google sidewiki

Google have launched a new browser plugin called SideWiki. It allows you to leave comments for other SideWiki users to read, so the term wiki is a bit misleading as it's more like a "please leave a comment" feature of blog or web article.

Here's what Google says:

Google sidewiki

New! Contribute helpful information with Google Sidewiki:

  • Click the Sidewiki button on any web page
  • Add helpful information about the entire page or any part of the page
  • Publish to the browser sidebar for others to read

You can download it from

Is it any good or a useful feature? Try it and see. I would suggest participation is the key to it's success and the quality/ relevance of any comments left.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Worcester Music Festival 2009

Worcester Music Festival 2009

more to follow...

Well I still haven't had enough spare time to add any info on Worcester Music Festival. Between work and being away at Cheddar Bikefest this weekend I've not had enough time...

I did have a pleasant surprise on Thursday though. The final of the Worcester Music Festival photography competition was held at the Arts Cafe in Worcester (I had two photos in the final 25).

The mayor of Worcester was presenting the prizes. Joe Singh was in 3rd place with his photo of Jason Bowd, David Yanez was 2nd with his photo of Noor from Highway 5. At this point I was chatting to Dan from Calm Like A Riot as I thought that was the end of my potential placing so I didn't hear the Mayor announce that I'd won with my photo of Johnny P. from Calm Like A Riot:

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Cycling and knee pain

This is for me to remember the links I found that discuss cycling and knee pain. Also knee strengthening exercises, VMO and foam rolling. Plus a few shoulder rehab links as I have a dodgy shoulder:
geName_E_ArticleMyofacialRelease (Cressey) Saddle height
VMO exercises on You Tube Tennis ball shoulder rehab exercise Shoulder "dislocation" exercise with a theraband

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Live music in Worcester (WR1)


There's no single website listing live music in Worcester for all venues, so here's a list of the few that I can find. (and I don't mean covers!). - music at The Marrs Bar, Peirpoint St. - music nights organised by the Task In Hand. Website is not being updated. They also have a mySpace that appears to updated regularly.

Undercurrent: gigs by the Task In Hand at the Marrs Bar. Can't find a website... "The people who brought you Task In Hand are also running the Under Current sessions here on the last Thursday of each month bringing some of the best local and not so local talent about. £3" music at The Bedwardine pub, St. Johns. No links to the bands playing and text is very small. - gigs in Worcestershire. Local BBC radio website.
- Not Just Sauce. Venues and Promoters in Worcester (but not Evolution?). It's June and the homepage still shows gigs in May... They also have a myspace.

Worcester Music Festival on Facebook.

Worcester Music Group on Facebook

The Firefly pub on Facebook

The Task in Hand on Facebook

Evolution on LastFM

Cellar Bar on Facebook - Cellar Bar, Foregate Street.

Days Old Booking - "Putting on Live music in Worcester From Punk/Hardcore/Emo/ and anything else..."

Further afield:

The Lamb (West Malvern) on - The Lamb in West Malvern. No links to the bands playing.

Hereford - "Broad Sheep has been the definitive what's on guide to the Arts in Herefordshire, South Shropshire and the Welsh Borders." (their words).

Robbins Well, Leamington Spa - gigs at the Robbins Well pub, Leamington Spa. Another Leamington related mySpace here.

If a website listing gigs at Evolution exists I couldn't find it...

Monday, 16 March 2009

My CFL light mod featured on

Just a quick note of thanks to Udi over at for featuring my Halogen to CFL site light modification on his website.

It's a website that I visit often to see what good ideas and tips I can find for making photography kit for a minimum outlay. I'd rather make something and work out whether I really need it or not before spending money on some "proper" kit that I may subsequently find I don't need/ want/ use.

Plus it's always fun to make something and use it to create a great photo although many of mine seem to follow the Edison ethic of discovering 999 ways not to make a lightbulb before the 1000th way becomes clear... no pun intended :)

DIY Halogen to CFL conversion

If you're not familiar with it's an inspirational Photography DIY website run by Udi Tirosh.

In his own words, DIY is:
So to answer the question, why is this site here ( This is my way of sharing the knowledge I have, and trying to help other photographers to make cheap affordable photography equipment.

I hope to provide a place for photographers to share, and learn from each other. To bring cheap studio equipment to those who can't really buy all the expensive stuff out there. And to bring back the joy of making something out of nothing.

and I can say it's made my week to have been mentioned :)

Thursday, 12 March 2009

What is Twitter and how does it work?


My first thoughts when I saw Twitter was "how does this work and why would anyone join?" I had a google and still couldn't work it out.

I understood even less how it was valued at roughly $250million based on it's business model - the idea of a business model based on an individuals status posted on a website using less than 140 characters seemed bizarre.

A few weeks later I think I have a better idea of how it works but only based on my limited observations and cynical thoughts. Twitter users seem to approximately fit four profiles:
  • Your average person.
  • As above but with a blog.
  • Someone who blogs often and has a revenue stream from their blogs/ web activities.
  • Spammers
I'm sure if I was writing a sociology essay I'd get a D+ for such sweeping generalizations but I'm sure you get the idea.

Anyway, I started as a Type I, Twittering the odd thing I'd done, read or planned to do. A stream of consciousness as and when the inclination took me.

I'm now Type II - I started a blog and sometimes posted tiny URLs to my blog in Twitter (dreams of huge revenue streams still on hold). Still haven't really got the hang of it but trying to make sense of it. This is probably why I only have a handful of followers and am neither bothered by this nor doing anything to increase it.

Type III is a big step up from Type II and uses Twitter to fully support their blogging and other web based activities, from magazines, photographers, brands, comedians, etc., creating a "stream" that provides snippets of information related to their profession and to their web activities. etc. I'm guessing this group gives the Twitter business model it's greatest value, both from the number of followers and regular Tweeting. I follow a few Type IIIs because of their niche and the content of their Tweets.

Type IV I categorise as a spammer and are best avoided unless you want 20 status updates a day. Their blogs and websites provide no real content other than "how to make money from blogging", "make money from Twitter", "be an Internet entrepreneur" and other dross. All their Tweets link to their infomercials and they probably use automated software to update their Twitter status with essential links to their crap.
I make sure I don't follow any Type IV Twits.

Please note this blog post isn't meant to be taken too seriously but is my ill-informed opinion based on what I've seen over the past month or so.

Feel free to leave a comment whether you agree or not. And my twitter is if you're interested :)

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Calm Like A Riot - Birmingham


Calm Like A Riot played a gig last Saturday at the Flapper pub in Birmingham with four other bands in a local heat for Surface Unsigned. The Flapper was a good venue- small, dark and intimate allowing the crowd to get up close and personal if they chose.

Some pre
-gig nerves seemed to fire Calm Like A Riot into giving possibly their best performance to date, putting on a tight display and John (vocals) almost fit to bust with enthusiasm and energy. The PA was good for such a small venue and allowed the band to shine, with plenty of interaction between the band and the audience who were down the front enjoying the Calm Like A Riot experience.

At the end of the evening the votes from the bewildering "voting system" (text, audience, the other bands and industry pundits) were added up and the four bands proceeding to the next round were given in no particular order.

When the third band announced were not Calm Like A Riot things were pretty tense in the band and in the partisan audience will all eyes on John, who was standing just in front of the compere...

Why did we worry? Calm Like A Riot easily qualified for the next round with the highest number of votes and the only band on the night to receive an industry vote.

The next gig is 7.30pm
17th May 2009 at The Rainbow Under the Arch, Birmingham B9 4EE

More details available here.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

DIY Halogen to CFL Light conversion - part 1

DIY Halogen to CFL Light conversion - part 1

What you'll need:

1. 45/ 50W 5400k CFL bulbs, ideally with a CRI > 90 (954).

2. ES (E27) lampholder

3. A few tools: drill with HSS bit, hacksaw blade and file, screwdriver, electrical cable, heat shrink, scissors.

DIY Halogen to CFL conversion

The steps:

1. The halogen site light, lampholder and CFL bulb are shown in photo ONE.

2. Undo the external retaining screw, remove the glass from the door, the inner relfective shield and the halogen lampholder, as shown in photo TWO.

3. Flip the light over, undo the screws in the electrical box, loosen the screws and remove the cables to the halogen bulb lampholder, as shown in photo THREE.

4. If you're lucky your site light will be long enough to fit a CFL bulb and E27 lampholder inside the body of the light. Unfortunately mine was too small so I've had to resort to mounting the E27 lampholder externally.

Mark the position of the new lampholder on the side of the light (it makes the wiring easier if you do this on the same end of the lamp where the cables were removed from the junction box).

Be careful to not cut the hole to high as the slope of the side will mean the bulb will hit the glass in the door (if you keep the glass), as shown in photo FIVE (oops, that should have been labelled FOUR).

5. Now either drill lots of holes and use a hacksaw blade to cut out the hole, or use a jigsaw with an HSS blade. File the sides smooth with a metal file, as shown in photo FOUR.

6. Cut a length of electrical cable long enough to reach from the electrical junction box to the end of the new lampholder. Wire it into the electrical junction box into the connectors you removed the halogen lampholder cables from, and the other end to the E27 lampholder. Photo SIX.

7. Screw in a bulb and test it all works OK. Make sure the wiring is connected correctly and safely. Once you're happy it works undo the lampholder screws and put sufficient heatshrink on the cable to cover the lampholder and the cables that go into it (I used a combination of 50mm, 25mm and 10mm heatshrink). Reconnect the cable to the lampholder, position the heatshrink and shrink to fit with a heat gun.
Photo SEVEN.

8. Now cut a larger hole in the bulb end of the reflector and fit it into the light (I added some aluminium foil behind it as there are a few extra holes in it.

For safety I recommend using a rubber grommet on the new hole to prevent the metal thread on the bulb touching the body of the light. Depending on the E27 lampholder and the thickness of the grommet it is possible that the bulb may not screw fully into the lampholder and therefore not work. You'll have to judge this depending on the components that you have.

I didn't a grommet so used some electrical insulating tape on the edges of the new hole and also at the top of the thread on the CFL bulb.

Carefully screw the CFL bulb into the E27 lampholder until it is secure- mine is a pinch fit (you can see the black heatshrink on the lampholder). If it doesn't work when you test it tighten it up a bit more but be careful not to break the bulb. Photo EIGHT.

A few comments:

Although the photo shows the two lights mounted horizontally I plan to mount them vertically - two high and two low. Depending on how they work I'll also be adding some barndoors to them. Hopefully this will follow in part 2.

I'll be adding this to my blog with individal photos but for the present the write-up will be the same as this one.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

Remember: safefty first. If you're not confident DON'T do it.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Calm Like A Riot


Calm in the light, originally uploaded by ukespresso.

Calm Like A Riot played this week in Wolverhampton's Little Civic as part of Battle of the Bands. They played 4 songs to impress the judges but despite an impressive and typically spirited performance came second. Onwards and upwards!

The other bands were metal so they may have been fighting an uphill battle before they started but the short, sharp and sweet set went down well. Calm Like A Riot hail from Worcester and write/ play all their own songs that are hard to label but have a hint of Rage Against The Machine, a splash of hip-hop and a twist of punk attitude.

Make up your own mind- listen to their music at

If you're on Facebook visit them here.

NB: I had planned to do an introductory type first post but... "We're supposed to start with these operation programs first. That's major boring shit. Let's do something a little more fun. How about... combat training."