Thursday, 24 September 2015

Westland Place Open Studios 1st of Oct 6pm till 9pm

Gordon Beswick requests your company at the opening of the Westland Place Open Studios 2015 where he is showing new paintings, films and collaborative work in his studio space.
The artists at Westland Place Studios are opening their doors to the public over the first weekend in October. All are welcome to meet the artists, view and buy their work or just explore their building. Westland Place Studios is one of the oldest established artist communities in and around Hoxton and Old St. It’s a hive of creativity home to painters, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, illustrators, ceramicists and designers. In total 23 artists occupy the evocative spaces spread over four floors of this former tobacco pouch and smokers’ pipe factory. The work of the resident artists spans a wide range of art disciplines and creative approaches. It’s a stimulating environment for all those working in the building and an exciting place to visit. The opening evening will include a special live performance commencing at 7pm. Visit the Westland Place Studios website for more details. Entry is free. All are welcome. Opening times: Thursday 1st Oct 6 – 9pm Saturday 3rd Oct 12 – 6pm Sunday 4th Oct 12 – 6pm 3 Westland Place isoff City Road, (N1 7LP) - it's less than 5 minutes walk from Old Street Tube

Friday, 18 September 2015

New E.P. by Imani Hekima

Imani Hekima releases his first recordings since his 2012 debut album, Imanifesto. The Keep It Simple EP features four newly penned songs from the Yorkshire-based solo artist, the lead track ‘Keep It Simple’, ‘Stepping to The Light’, ‘Rose-Tainted Glasses’ and ‘Feet Of Clay’. The set was recorded in Sheffield at the PianoRecording studio, with production duties handled by James Bacon, an excellent composer/pianist in his own right.
Mr Hekima says: “The songs I’ve released before have a strong political slant, often covering controversial topics, and are fairly outspoken. This time I wanted to develop my writing, keeping it thoughtful and socially relevant, yet with more of a feelgood factor musically and lyrically.” The Rebel Magazine says: "Listening to Imani Hekima sing and play is a treat because the man has talent. These days many people in the Pop music world can talk, rap a rhyme or carry a tune but not many people can really sing in a way that draws you in and moves you. On the first track of this e.p. I found myself being charmed by Imani's voice and beautiful piano playing. I would guess Hekima has a few records by Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers and Micheal Jackson in his collection. Like them, when he sings he sounds sincere and genuine. It's nice to hear some new songs that are irony free and from the heart unlike most stuff in the charts at the moment. There's no cynicism on this e.p. The track Feet of Clay has a slight 80s McCartney feel about it. The song builds nicely and has a good bridge. This E.P. is great but if I heard a whole album of songs like these I recon Hekima is like McCartney in that he could do with a Lennon to add some edge and insist on a few lyric changes here, there and everywhere. But there can be no denying there is some magic in these tracks. I hope someone on the radio gives him some airplay. Hekima needs to keep keeping it simple and he needs to keep going - the man and his music both deserve to do well." The Keep It Simple EP shall be available as a download on 18th September 2015 from iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.
More info on Imani: Singer-songwriter & pianist Imani Hekima draws from a wealth of musical experience, often blending an eclectic, soulful sound with sharp social commentary. Based in his hometown of Bradford , his musical journey goes back to the 1980s, when, as a member of 2 tone styled band Spectre, he played support slots to Aswad, Lee Scratch Perry, Augustus Pablo, Junior Delgado and The Redskins. When Spectre split in the early 90s, he took the opportunity to further his musical knowledge, developing an interest in jazz, studying classical piano and achieving a BA honours degree in music. Since then he has taught music privately, and gigged as a session player & solo pianist covering a gamut of styles from jazz to Bollywood. Imani’s first solo recording was released in 2010, the single 'Shame', followed by other single releases 'The Robots’ Rebellion' & 'Just Beneath The Skin'. His debut album Imanifesto was released in 2012. Much of Imani’s lyrical approach is marked by socially conscious messages, while musically he mixes soul, pop, dub and jazz-flavoured elements to create his own eclectic sound. (Photo by Riaz Ahmed of Studio68 Photography).

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Respect to Jeremy Corbyn

The rise and rise of Jeremy Corbyn is a source of great joy for me. I feel more hopeful and optimistic about The Labour Party and what they can achieve than I have in 20 years. More than 400,000 voted in the recent leadership election and Corbyn won by a landslide. In the last three days he's attracted 30,000 new people to become Labour party members. At the recent TUC conference in Brighton he said: "The values that people bring to joining the party and the party brings to them have to be things that we fight for every single day. I want the unions and the Labour Party to work together to win people over to the basic values we all accept, to change minds and change politics so that we can have a Labour government, we can look in a different direction, we can look away from the policy of growing inequality." I like the new Corbyn shadow cabinet and that there are now an equal number of female politicians as male. I like the fact there is now a Shadow Minister for Mental Health, and I like the fact he's changed Prime Minister's Questions by allowing Labour members a say in what gets asked. The Mail, Sun and most other papers have been doing their best to attack and ridicule him but his ever growing number of supporters are fighting back.
The Battle of Britain took place 75 years ago and it's right that we remember those who were wounded or lost their life defending future generations. Labour's new leader Jeremy Corbyn attended a special ceremony at St Pauls yesterday because he felt the heroism of the RAF in the Battle of Britain was something we all owe an enormous debt of gratitude. Corbyn's mother served as an air raid warden and his father was in the Home Guard. He said: "Like that whole generation, they showed tremendous courage and determination to defeat fascism." After the service, he said it had made him think of his mother and "the ARP [air raid precautions] medal she was given". However J.C. has been attacked in the media for not singing "God Save The Queen" which they claim is both offensive and unpatriotic. Below Harry Leslie Smith used twitter to defend J.C.
On Facebook others have made a different point:
It's also worth remembering that if their editor is a tax dodger - The Daily Mail aren't really in a position to say who is and isn't loyal to Britain!
And finally, the people who buy the tabloids should remember it wasn't that long ago the same press people were hacking into the phones of The Royal Family - how far from respectable behavior can one get?

Monday, 14 September 2015

Photos from Micko Westmoreland's "Yours ETC Abc" album launch party

Artists Barry Thompson and Liam Scully.
Catherine A Side B Side Gallery and her helpers.
A painting of Bowie by Mikey Georgeson
Ranking Mikey in front of a painting of The Beat by Team Beswick & Pye
Micko Westmoreland performs "Everyone's talking 'bout Pop Muisc!"
Mikey Georgeson sings "You Shine A Light"
Lovely Deborah
Lovely Georgie
Lovely Geraldine
Lovely Martin Brown
Lucky Julian gets a kiss off sexy Derek
Mr Spizz
Lovely Sukie
Lovely Mervyn
Lovely Paul in front of Rowland Smith's Yoko painting
Lovely Sarah Doyle
Lovely Hugh Mendes and friends
Lovely Robert
Lovely Sandra
Congratulations to Micko Westmoreland
Lovely Julie
Lovely L.A. Woman
CHEERS!
The new album by Micko Westmoreland is available from Landline Records

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Thursday 6pm till 9pm at The A Side B Side Gallery

"London, New York, Paris, Munich" everyone is talking about a new Pop Art exhibition and album launch party organised by myself, Astrid Horkheimer and Micko Westmoreland. The p.v. is on the 10th of Sept from 6pm till 9pm. The gallery is then open on the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th from 12 till 6pm. The A-side B-side Gallery is part of Hackney Downs Studios, The address is: Amhurst Terrace, London E8 2BT.
For your chance to not only win a signed copy of the new Yours Etc Abc L.P. but also a painting of Micko Westmoreland by Harry Pye worth millions all you have to do is come to the private view tomorrow which lasts from 6pm till 9pm and buy a one pound raffle ticket.
Every one who buys a one pound raffle ticket will receive a charming Brian Jones badge!
The show features painting, prints, drawings and a few surprises.
Artists Mac Honeyman and Fabian Webb Brown have made a small den in one corner of the gallery where visitors can sit and write their fave song lyrics.
Geraldine Swayne has made a small but beautiful painting of Micheal Jackson and a parrot.
Julie Bennett is showing her painting of Florence & The Machine.
Barry Thompson has made brilliant drawings and paintings of the late Kurt Cobain. Hugh Mendes is contributing obituary paintings of both Soul legend Issac Hayes and the loathsome former Top of The Pops presenter Jimmy Saville.
Team Beswick & Pye doff their caps to 2-Tone legends The Beat.
Liam Scully is installing his Artists Sign Trident/Tidal' series of drawings. Mikey Georgeson has made a dreamy painting of Roy Orbison. Other artists in the show include Dominic of Luton, The Wrong Paul Hamilton, Bob London, and Rude Boy Ray Gange!
FIND: A-side B-side Gallery is located off Amhurst Terrace within the Hackney Downs Studios and is a stones throw away from Hackney Central, Dalston & Stoke Newington. TRAVEL: For public transport the closest stations are: Rectory Road & Hackney Downs or Dalston Kingsland & Dalston Junction. The nearest bus routes are 30, 276 & 488. PARKING: Parking in the car park outside the gallery is restricted to 15 mins for loading & drop offs. Daily parking permits are available from the Hackney Downs Studios reception or alternatively, there are parking bays nearby on Amhurst Road & Downs Park Road. EATING: The Russet, our nearby restaurant & cafe provides locally sourced breakfast, lunch and dinner service including delicious handmade pastries and cakes! They are open 8.30 - 11pm most days. Check their website for details... ️ The gallery & cafe are fully wheelchair accessible

Saturday, 5 September 2015

R.I.P. Rico Rodriguez

Emmanuel "Rico" Rodriguez (17 October 1934 - 04 September 2015) gets a mention in Ian Dury's song Reasons To be Cheerful. Like a million others I agree with Dury that "listening to Rico" is one of the great pleasures in life. The distinctive emotive sounds Rico could make on his trombone were unique. Rico was a versatile musician with plenty of tricks up his sleeve. He could make music that sounded sad and even haunting but it was more than that - he was an artist with a gift and his ability was something special. Rico was taught trombone by Don Drummond and made classic records with other ska legends such as Prince Buster and then later moved to Britain and worked with The Specials. I love the way he plays on "Do Nothing" and "Message To You Rudy". And he contributed an amazing solo on the extended version of Ghost Town which is regarded by many as the best reggae single to get to number one in the British charts. In more recent times he was a member of Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and consequently got to tour all over the UK. No one can say his talent went unnoticed - many stars like Paul Weller wanted him on their albums, Trojan records brought a 2 CD box set of his earliest recordings, he was also awarded both an MBE in 2007 and a Jamaican Silver Award in 2012. In March 2010 I went to Brighton to see Jerry Dammers & His Spatial Arkestra featuring Rico. It was a good turn out. The audience were very mixed, different ages and backgrounds etc which was good. There were a lot of breath taking moments. There was a wild re-working of the Bat Man theme with crazy sax solos. They did a new versions of Ghost Town which was great. Rico was on fine form and got a hero's welcome. After the show the musicians came and played outside and met the crowd and I took this photo:
I remember on the train on the way home how the Sun Ra tunes and chants had really stuck in my head. The musicians were all dressed in Egyptian clothes and the idea was they were like travelers going back and forth in time. At one stage in the evening Jerry tried to get everyone in the audience to gargle - it was nuts but somehow it all just about worked. I was impressed and everything felt very positive – it was a really good night. However, my favourite Rico memory was a concert that happened 6 months earlier in Soho where Rico was joined onstage by Dick Cuthell.
I've always been a huge fan of The Specials in their 2-tone days. In my opinion Rico and Dick Cuthell (who played flugel horn, cornet, and trumpet) turned several good Specials songs into truly great ones. For some reason Dick Cuthell retired from the music scene in the 1990s and wasn't heard of for quite some time. But in 2003 Jerry Dammers got Rico, Dick Cuthell, bassist Horace Panter, and singer/guitarist Lynval Golding together to work on a brand new track called "First Victims of War." Dammers believed he could get all The Specials back together and come back with a new material that would carry on where Ghost Town left off but sadly things didn't go to plan and nothing got released. However, the night Dick and Rico played Gaz's Rockin' Blues was just magic. When I got to the venue in Wardour Street Rico was there and he greeted me with a big smile, shook my hand and thanked me for coming.
Gaz Mayall introduced Rico to the crowd who were all incredibly young and explained Rico had played on some groundbreaking albums. Before he came on stage there were lots of great records playing, mostly old ska classics. But Gaz said that the last track we heard was brand new. He explained that Jerry Dammers had asked him to play a new track because he wanted to see how the club reacted. The new track which was a collaboration between Jerry, Dick and Rico was really good and certainly the most radio friendly thing Jerry had been involved with for a couple of decades. It went down really well and the crowd were all dancing away. Then, when Rico & the band started playing and it was fantastic. I have no idea what albums there were playing tracks from but it was an absolutely brilliant set. Dick and Rico worked so well together. The music they played was so exciting and fresh and infectious. It was just really, really good.
Another reason the night was so great was their sax player Michael "Bammie" Rose who was equally ten out of ten. I bumped into Rico for a third time in October 2013. I was at Charing Cross station and we came face to face at the barrier. I said hello and told him he was my favourite musician. He put his trombone down, shook my hand and then talked to me as though we were old friends. "I'm off to see Jools" he explained. I asked if Roland Gift would be singing with them and Rico said they were going to be working with one of The Spice Girls and laughed as he said it will be interesting to see how it goes. And then I asked about Jerry's orchestra and he said "next time Jerry does something I'll be there." Just then another guy walked up and asked if he could shake Rico's hand too. He said Rico was his favourite musician too and asked if I could take a photo of them as "it's not ever day you meet a legend." Rico was amused by the attention and wished us both well before boarding his train.
In July 2014 Rico, Jerry and Specials singer Nev Staple performed at The Barbican together. Regrettably I didn't go as it clashed with something. I'd heard it was a great night but that Rico was beginning to look a bit frail. Although Rico continued collaborating and performing and taking part in events like The International Ska Festival it became clear his health was deteriorating. After hearing news of his death Specials bassist Horace Panter tweeted: "Such an outpouring of love and respect on Twitter tonight for Rico Rodriguez RIP! A lovely man with a huge talent!" I completely agree with that. Some people say you die three times. The first time is when your heart stops beating. The second time is when they put you in the ground. And the last time is when everyone stops talking and thinking about you. Rico Rodriguez is too good to be forgotten!