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Wales, United Kingdom
You know those diagrams in science textbooks that show the water cycle? Water evaporates from the sea and cools as it rises over the land until it condenses into clouds. Well that's where I live - where the clouds are born. It's very beautiful here, and it's also very damp. I don't yet know what I'll be writing about here. I had a blog a few years ago called, "Growing Things and Making Things," and there will be some continuity with that, but my life has moved on since then. I'm at a stage of reflection and re-evaluation - you could call it a mid life crisis - and this blog will reflect that. There'll be posts about things I'm doing - foraging, cooking, crafts, daft experiments (which may overlap with any or all of the other three) - posts about my thoughts on life, photos of beautiful Welsh scenery, maybe some Welsh language, and probably a bit of politics. Because it's important.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A bit of culture

In his self sufficiency book, John Seymour talks about True culture, about wild nights in the pub, when the Gaelic music and ambiance have been been fantastic. When I first read about this, I felt a little wistful. I would love to experience such culture, but how does one find it? Yet now, the first Wednesday of every month finds me in the pub, amongst friends, soaking up the fantastic ambiance and enjoying live music played by a motley selection of musicians who turn up and join in.

We are incredibly lucky that the owners of our local, The Hafod are keen to promote this kind of true culture. Not only are there the first Wednesday jamming sessions, but there are more organised concerts, with visiting musicians performing to a paying audience. These are also roughly once a month, and we've seen some excellent performances, but it was obvious that the promoter (not the hotel owners) was having difficulty doing the promotion on top of his day job. For a start, he doesn't even live nearby, so putting up posters, for example, was a lot of hassle. Eventually he decided that it was time to pass on the baton to someone else, and asked us if we'd be interested in taking over.

So it was that I, who spent my teenage years in fear of the question, What kind of music do you like? because I was so clueless about music, I have become a music promoter. This is very bizarre, but also very exciting. I do enjoy music, I just don't know anything about it! Luckily, Ian is a lot more tuned in to musical things than I am, so between us we stand a chance of making this work. We also have the considerable advantage of having friends who promote independent and unsigned musicians through online radio shows - Glenn's Thursday Breakdown on xrp radio (temporarily broken down, but hopefully back soon) and Kate's SunshineCast on Gashouse Radio (from Kent to Wales via Philadelphia - the wonderful world of the internet!) These two DJs* have introduced us to some wonderful musicians, some of whom we've booked to come and play at the Hafod.

We've already had our first gig, with the awesomely talented Troy Faid. One of our friends said to me that evening, I've never even heard of him. I've heard half a song and I'm already a fan. The rest of the audience were just as appreciative and the evening was a great success. The big fear with taking on something like that is that we could lose a lot of money, but we just about broke even (thanks to a rather generous arrangement with the sound engineer, who's a good friend of ours), which was a relief. We're hoping to build on this with our next gig, the Sound of the Sirens, another band we heard first on our friends' radio shows.

There's more to this than finding and booking excellent bands. It's not a huge amount of work, but posters must be distributed, and I need to dust off my html skills to work on the website. It's very nerve-wracking, not knowing whether people are going to turn up or not. Of course we want a decent audience for the artists, but it's also our money on the line! We're never going to make our fortune doing this, but if we can avoid losing money then we can keep organising gigs, and contributing to the true culture of our community.

I would have liked to show you pictures of music at the Hafod, but flash photography tends to disrupt the atmosphere a bit, so I couldn't find any decent pics. Instead I'll leave you with the promotional shot for the next gig, Tue 5th June - do come along ;-)

Sound of the Sirens
Sound of the Sirens

These girls are as talented as they are beautiful, which isn't always the case. We're really looking forward to introducing our friends to their music.


* Both are also musicians in their own rights, and we're very excited that Kate will be coming to play at the Hafod in August.


  1. Nice post!
    Thanks for your kind words. Richard and me are looking forward to playing for you in August :)

  2. Congratulations! Be careful though... I know from experience that "fun music jobs" can turn into real work rather quickly!

    Anyhow, I spent 16 years working in "the business" so if there's anything I can do to help, just shout. Don't know how you're paying the artists, but there are ways to structure a contract that can offer you at least some financial protection while still making sure the artists get paid fairly. It's been a while, but I'd be happy to share some "insider tricks of the trade" if it would be helpful.

    1. Thanks for the offer of help - any tips would be gratefully received. Could I chat to you about this somewhere less public? I can't find your email, but mine's on my profile, if you wouldn't mind dropping me a line.

  3. Cor how exciting! Sounds like it would be a lot of fun too... Seems so long since I have been to a gig, probably because it, er, is. There's this place a few miles away where they put gigs on in their barn so hopefully we might get to one of those one day. You've got to have something to do after fretting about courgettes all day, haven't you?! BTW loved your ideas for your terrace. Might employ some of your ideas on our new 'lawn' which is now 83% thistles... Grass. Pah!


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