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Sidetracks And Detours present PASS IT ON 33 weekly walkabout 31st  December 2023

Sidetracks And Detours



weekly walkabout Sunday 31st  December 2023

Hello. We wish you a Happy New Year of reading Sidetracks And Detours, our free, not-for-profit daily blog of arts related news. We hope, too, that you will continue reading our weekly walkabout Sunday Supplement pages here at PASS IT ON and that you will feel free to share our news with your like-minded arts loving friends. We take this opportunity today to remind you of our contributors and their contributions.

We look forward to some exciting improvements to our content in the next twelve months by including more of our own exclusive interviews with artists and other movers and shakers and music makers on the national and international scene. We will be commencing the new year with a handful of really major classical concerts being held here on Lanzarote throughout the month of January 2024 as part of the 40th Annual Internacional Festival de Classical Musico de Canaria. Symphony Orchestras, Chamber Musicians and soloists will all be reviewed on these pages, and throughout the year we will introduce other musicians, dancers, poets, writers, visual artists, sculptors and other members of the performing arts.

We are also very happy to invite readers with something to say about the arts to draft an article and send it to my e mail


We will fully attribute your piece, whether it is news, previews, interviews or reviews ! So allow us to introduce  some of  our most frequent contributors.



Researching History

The Twelve Reading Days Of Christmas


The who, what, when, where, why of  Sidetracks And Detours /PASS IT ON

all across the arts

The Rochdale Festival of Ideas 2024

Live Jazz

previews by JAZZ IN READING

Jazz On Air

check on the mixcloud

Hot Biscuits prepared by STEVE BEWICK

Live Music

January Concerts at The Stoller Hall, Manchester

previews by NEWSLETTER

Island Insight

Yaiza Municipal Band

reviewed by NORMAN WARWICK

Researching History

The Twelve Reading Days Of Christmas 


Father Christmas was good to me this year with gifts from Canada, Austria, and Cumberland.  

One gift was a biography of Cecil Sharp, the early 20th century folk song and Morris Dance collector. The author of that book, David Sutcliffe, resides in Somerset.  However, in thinking of Cecil Sharp I also think of the bringer of his story, and many other stories, Father Christmas himself.

In my December 24th piece in PASS IT ON I recalled the old Lancashire Christmas as recorded in the Victorian author, Ben Brierley, and his various stories written from the 1850s to 1880s. I recorded his tales featuring the Yule log, Kissing Bush, crippled folk fiddler, hot ‘steam engine’ potato pies and dancing to old fashioned folk tunes. However I did not mention old Father Christmas. Brierley does mention him in other stories however, but only as the presiding spirit of the festivities, whose benevolent hand is in the merry making and jollification of each household. In Brierley’s time Father Christmas was represented as a green or brown coated master of buffoonery festooned with holly in the Mummer’s plays. Charles Dickens makes someone very much like him the green attired and holly –bedecked ‘Spirit of Christmas Present’ in A Christmas Carol.

In the past of course he went by many names, including ‘Sir Christmas’ or ‘King Christmas’, and even perhaps the Green Knight of the 14th century eponymous poem, with green shoulder length hair and freshly chopped holly bush, who bursts into the Yuletide celebrations of King Arthur as the alarming, but uninvited main guest. Trickery and manly challenges follow, leading to the next Christmas and New Year in which the Green Knight becomes an even more trick- loving host.

In my childhood Father Christmas had become a hooded red coated and white bearded fellow who overawed us all by somehow entering our houses despite the doors being locked. And after consuming the brandy and biscuits left out for him, left all those presents I had asked for in sending my request up our chimney via coal fire and updraft. Later, in Canada I became acquainted of a similar dressed fellow, but in a shorter coat with no hood. Instead he wore what the Canadians called a woollen floppy ‘toque’. This oddly attired chap our schoolteachers told us was borrowed from the Americans who had borrowed him from the old Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam (New York) and was originally their Sinterklaas or Sint Nicolaas (Saint Nicholas), who as a red- coated and mitred bishop, delivered presents to all good children on St Nicholas’s Day ,6th December.

And Sinter Klaas does exactly that still on St Nicholas’s Eve or Day in the Netherlands, travelling on horseback with at least one companion called Swarte Piet (black Piet), a sooty faced Moorish attired lad who helps in climbing down chimneys. They both travel by boat from Spain and Sinterklaas rides a whitish grey horse. Today there are many Black Piets helping the Goedheiligman ( Good Holy Man).

Thanks to Clement Moore’s  1823 poem A Visit from St Nicholas and its opening line ‘Twas the night before Christmas’, Saint Nick or Santa Claus has in America acquired Scandinavian attributes with reindeer and sleigh whose travels now encompass the whole world, not on St Nicholas’s Day but at Christmas eve and Christmas Day pre-dawn hours. And as I write, thanks to Hollywood and the all -encompassing American cultural empire, ’Santa Claus’ has today nearly completely taken over from the old English Father Christmas.

But not for me, or for JRR Tolkien, who staunchly kept the hooded, but awfully lonely, hospitality bringer trudging steadily onward through the snow to the Tolkien household in his Letters from Father Christmas.

For some old Father Christmas is synonymous with the old year trudging steadily onward to its exit at December’s end and the birth of the infant New Year. Some say that Father Christmas is the father of the old year and the Olden Tyme of Yuletide who meets the newborn year at Christmas with the infant babe of the Gospels and the legends of homely stables and the gifts of the Magi.  Or again, that the Father of hospitality and jollification is a counterpoint to the spiritual infancy of the newborn religious sensibility. In this of course we are reminded that Christmas has 12 days of jollification beginning on 25th December and ending on 5th of January. Traditionally we put our decorations up on Christmas Eve and take them down after 12th Day. This is what I still do, though I make an exception by putting my outside home- made evergreen wreaths on the outside doors on St Thomas’s Day (21 December), a day, long remembered in English folklore, as a charity day as well as a pointer to longer and brighter times. The old rhyme has it: ‘St Thomas, pray, St Thomas pray, Longest Night and Shortest Day’. This year however, week- long windy, squally, rainy and dismally dull weather has made havoc of the outside wreaths and kept me more of an inside hermit. No Dickensian Christmas here with falling snow (locally known as Christmas Goose Feathers) and endless parties. I have missed two festive events due to the weather and am doomed to spending the twelve days in splendid book-reading isolation.

So with a chunk of the twelve days already gone, I thank Father Christmas for his care this Yuletide and await his exit in hope that I can emulate the Lancashire Old year passing of 1889 as told by Samuel Laycock in his poem  Good-bye Owd Year! :

Well, let that pass, Aw bear no malice, mind thee:

     Tha’rt clearin’ eawt, an’ one things very sure,’ –

‘At when we hear th’church bells ring eawt at midneet, –

     Tha’ ll tak‘ thi hook, an trouble me no moor.

Though Laycock has an axe to grind against the Old Year, in his poem he gets the Old Year to have a cup of ‘pop’ and refreshment in his humble home before he goes. And Sam does ask Old Year how he is going to get home as the trains will have stopped running by midnight. Is he going to walk? Sam gets his wife Sarah to ‘stuff a muffin’ in the departing guest’s pocket. This is reminiscent of the Christmas Eve mince pie and brandy for Father Christmas I suppose. The Old Year leaves Sam’s House with a tear in his eye and the two have become friends, saddened that it is now indeed ‘time to go’.

But Old Father Time or Year (or Christmas) does leave fond memories as all the memories of the past are vested in time-honoured Christmas tree baubles and Christmas cards sent from friend and family old and new. It is a time for remembering the past and looking forward to the new, even if it is merely spending the remaining Twelve Days of Christmas reading books received as presents. As for me I will be finishing my Cecil Sharp biography, Robert Tomb’s The English & Their Story, John Buckley and Spencer Jones’s The Armchair General, Can You win the Great War, Amy Jeffs’s Wild, Tales from Old Britain and Rosemary Penfold’s A Field Full of Butterflies, Memories of a Romany Childhood. But more of all these in the New Year.

Until then may the Old Year say an amicable goodbye to you all and may your reading pleasures last beyond the Twelve Days.

SIDETRACKS AND DETOUR / PASS IT ON answering your question

WHO  are You?

SIDETRACKS AND DETOURS would like to thank all our readers for your support and interest in our not-for-profit blog. It is always good to hear from you, letting us know what you like about the magazine and to receive the congratulations from those of you who commented on our achieving our thousandth edition not long ago. Those of you who e mail us via the blog with constructive criticism are actually making a great contribution and have even led to us employing proof readers. We are trying constantly to make our lay-outs better and more vibrant and you will also note that we have been joined, this year particularly, by some very loyal voluntary contributors.

One of our longest serving contributors is art historian, writer and dialect expert Michael Higgins. (Shown far left with friend and colleague Sid Calderbank) , Michael reports on folk-lore He regularly attended  the meetings of those Bard From The Baum on a Sunday night in the Rochdale pub bearing the name, and remains part of the Poetry On Tap meetings still held in the town. He also writes for The Bugle and is a member of  The Lancashire Society.

Its members know  that there is a rich vein of literature ready to be presented to anyone interested . There is the poetry and prose of Waugh, Laycock, Brierley and others which is a bedrock of great reading and performance.

But beyond that there are the songs and stories of ordinary folk and these need to be recorded, if this has not taken place already. In this way the Lancashire Society will not only present the work of past masters but will also record and present new work, wherever it is found. To assist this they have obtained funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund which will enable them to put the Society’s work on a firm footing in order to deliver its aims.

All this takes place in the form of concerts and dialect festivals as well as the archive of material found elsewhere on thier website and in the recordings made by participants in the society. The Lancashire Society hopes that this desire also stimulates you to join us in saving the Lancashire heritage – and developing it for the future with new work. If you would like to become a member you can download a membership form from the link in the Navigation column on their web.

Reporting from all across the arts (aata) in Greater Manchester, Steve Cooke (right) sends weekly columns to The Manchester Evening News Group and then forwards them to us at the end of the month and allows us to share what we think might be relevant to readers wherever they are. Steve and I were once partners at all across the arts and I know how much Steve, who is also a trustee at Vibe, about which we have previously carried articles on these pages, cares for his community and I see that reflected clearly in his writings.

Like us, Steve opens his pages of all across the arts to contributions from writers and these are often experts in their field, such as Dr. Joe Dawson. A composer and musician, Joe presents a weekly series of live classical music lunch-time events in a beautiful setting in Rochdale, England.

Another composer and musician, Graham Marshall, lives in the same town as Dr. Joe Dawson, and he too presents classical concerts for Rochdale Music Society and carries previews and reviews of these events on his Facebook pages. His knowledge, and love, of classical music informs all his reviews as does his admiration of the artists performing. We are very grateful to Graham for allowing us to borrow his pieces to share with our readers.

One of the major art forms we cover here at PASS IT ON is poetry and we feel blessed to have contributors of the quality and understanding of Seamus Kelly, one of the most introspective and inspiring poets in the UK, who also contributes arts and poetry related articles for Steve Cooke at aata and allows us to share them with you. I have worked with Seamus at many live events and even worked with him in education faculties too, where I witnessed for myself the empathy he had with our students.

We also have Lanzarote coverage from journalist, poet and yoga facilitator,  Mercedes Minguela, perhaps because of her yoga qualifications, Mercedes understands the notion of  stillness, and employs it in her poetry as a counterpoint to the frequent vibrancy in her work.

A third poetry contributor, The Poet In The Rain, is a nom de plume of a writer of several novels and poetry anthologies. We first met, when we found ourselves left stranded in a downpour whilst queuing for a John Stewart concert at The Bloomsbury Theatre in London, maybe a quarter of a century or more ago, and passed the time by reciting our poems to one another.

Our occasional Festival Findings column is written by Alfred Michael, who looks at important arts and music festivals of the past, present and future. Alfred is a former journalist at The Yorkshire Post, now settled in the Midlands of England, ideally placed to reach plenty of festival sites.  His love of the arts and an an eye for accuracy sees him work as a dress maker as a hobby. Alfred is also a DIY enthusiast.

As for arts festivals here on Lanzarote, we rely on Claudie to supply us with regular news of her home gallery exhibitions in Orzola. Not only is she a prolific and often profound artist  who creates exhibits arising from her constant search of text and textures relevant to everyday life here on the island, but she is also a hugely enthusiastic advocate of the arts as an agent of change.

You will be aware of the huge jazz content that has landmarked another outpost here at PASS IT ONRibble Valley Jazz And Blues keep us updated on their regular gigs in the valley, their radio broadcasts and their massive annual festival.

Jim Wade, from Jazz In Reading sends us comprehensive previews of gigs in his region and also, in what seems to be an ever expanding hinterland, his colleague Trevor Bannister sends reviews of some of their best gigs. Trevor has also recently sent us a book review of a work about Big Joe Turner, a piece we published recently. We look forward to more reviews of other jazz books on his shelf he might like to review for us.

Jazz in Reading stages regular events with top-class bands at Reading’s Progress Theatre.

They list jazz events in Reading and the wider area at no charge – simply submit your gig details. We also offer an affordable service to further promote events.

Jazz in Reading, using its extensive contacts in the jazz world, is in an excellent position to help you find the right band for your wedding, party or other special occasion.

Rob Adams, a jazz journalist, delivers an all-embracing  list of gigs and comments from the jazz world in a perfectly titled listing called Music That´s Going Places, that stretches from Inverness to London.

Rob himself is a freelance journalist and Musicians´ Agent.

Although Rob still writes for newspapers, magazines and websites, these days he spends more time with his agency, Rob Adams Music Touring.

He has a small roster of clients – the internationally respected saxophonist Tommy Smith, award-winning jazz-classical crossover group New Focus, traditional Scottish harper Karen Marshalsay, drummer Alyn Cosker and pianist Peter Johnstone.

Rob Adams has also organised tours, concerts and festival appearances for the Venezuelan pianist Leo Blanco, Norwegian bass master Arild Andersen’s trio, Indian violin virtuoso Jyotsna Srikanth, British-Nigerian singer and songwriter Ola Onabule, singer Christine Tobin, saxophonist Brian Molley, and the Anglo-Sicilian duo Guitar Journey. You can find out more about the agency at https://www.robadamsmusictouring.com/

Jazz music in the UK is well served by a plethora of glossy magazine publications and, of course, by plenty of radio broadcasts dedicated to the genre. Among the best of the tasty fare served up On Air is the platter of Hot Biscuits baked by Steve Bewick. He and I co-hosted a community radio on Crescent Radio Rochdale that ran for three years and was my introduction to jazz beyond the commercial mainstream. Steve now delivers his Hot Biscuits from Mixcloud.com. He sends us weekly discographies and previews of his broadcasts. More than all that, however, he introduces us to artists like Jenny Bray, who has also written for Sidetracks and Detours about the making of her recently released album, One Hare One Owl. We are looking forward to a further interview with Jenny in the New Year. It was also thanks to Steve that I fell in love with the music of Karla Harris and Joe Alterman, particularly their incredible current album of Moon To Gold which, according to Spotify was my third most played track in 2023.

Ralph Dent has written half a dozen articles for us under the enigmatic title of Remembered Music, that is actually very appropriate for a column that discusses the music of the early twentieth century, about songs such as Shenendoah and The Christmas Song and artists such as Hoagy Carmichael with his Old Buttermilk Sky, and Paul Robeson.

Tony Brady has written a series of books about his school days and the friends he made during that time. He has written about those books and talks about how school life moved  between glorious and grim. He has also written for us about the charity work he has since been involved in and about meeting the then – Prince Charles, several years ago now at an awareness raising event about homelessness. He spends some time, at work and play, here on Lanzarote every year and has just let us know that he will back here on 4th January. So. I´m pretty sure we will be including more of his work here in PASS IT ON.

All of this has recently been handed over to our photographer, Dutton The Button, for proof reading and we are confident you will have noticed a much more precise accuracy of text than when I used to try to proof my own words. Elizabeth Ann Warwick (right) is my wife´s correct name, but her nickname is Dee, and although she has only recently taken up the post she is doing a fine job. (even if she moans about it all the time,) She might even discard her working name of Dutton The Button  and start to deliver under the name of Photo And Proof.

A friend of Dee´s is a half of a couple who cannot be named, but who served as undercover reporters both here on the island and over in the UK, as they live their lives half and half in terms of locations.  The lady is a little terrier who won´t let go of a story until she knows important details such as where the grandmother of the third violinist in the orchestra was born.

Juliet´s partner, Romeo, (not their real names) is my co-driver when the four of us go to gigs and they also cover for Dee and I whenever we have double-booked. He and Juliet then attend one of two events we have doubled up on, and then give me a verbal account of what they saw, and I type it up for him and print it in his  (false) name !! Their real names are Mulder and Skully !!

As we have mentioned, we receive comments from our readers all the time, mostly telling us what they like and sometimes telling us what they don´t like. Peter Pearson has become a spokesman for our readers, over the last few months, penning a column called  A Reader´s Perspective All Points Forward, covering Americana music, classical music and sixties pop music as well as music-books and DVDs . I have known Peter as an occasional acquaintance for around thirty years now, bumping into him at various gigs up and down the country. We share a huge admiration for the music and writing of John Stewart, and I expect we first met among the loyal friends and front row dancers at one of John´s gigs. I was amazed that Peter contacted me a couple of years after I had settled here on Lanzarote, saying in an e mail that he didn´t know if I was the same Norman Warwick he remembered from those few brief discussions we had shared, but he had just read an on line edition of Sidetracks and Detours, and thus began an e mail friendship that has culminated in him becoming such a valued contributor to this PASS IT ON  supplement that we launched in earlier  in 2023.

Norman Warwick ( ´tis I) contributes his Island Insights Column to PASS IT ON  each week. This is work that often also appears in his weekly column in Lanzarote Information, a subscription newsletter.

Newsletters, of course, are a hugely important source of information, and we are recipients of fantastic postings such those produced by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Music In Portsmouth and I Love Manchester and The Stoller Hall in that city. A reader recently e mailed us to say how strange it feels to learn of events in Manchester, only eight miles down the road from him, being reported on from Lanzarote.

Other newsletters are received from The Adsubian Gallery, The Lanzarote Art Gallery and, English Folk Expo & Sound Roots.

We have always been particularly proud of our synergy with The Adsubian Gallery. Somehow we received an e mail flyer from them about four years ago, and we have carried those missives ever since. They hold not only regular exhibitions by highly rated artists but also deliver workshops for aspirant artists, sometimes delivered by artists who have exhibited. Over Christmas, though, came the sad news that due to the poor health of one of the two partners, the Gallery is to close early in the New Year. They have been such community conscious  purveyors of the arts that the closure will surely be a blow to the small village in which they were located on mainland Spain. The village (left) is a cluster  of around only two hundred houses between the sea and the mountains, restanques covered with orange trees. There is a main street descending towards the old wash-house that can be observed from the terrace of the gallery. Among the eight-hundred villagers, there are  artists, painters, sculptors, photographers, musicians and comedians. The village enjoys a cultural life driven by professors, journalists, an historian, writers etc.

Originally populated by majorquin families, the village has seen an arrival of newcomers in the 70’s who immediately fell in love with the place. They come from various European countries and decided to buy a house for their holidays or to live there year-round.

About 50 houses belong to Adsubians at heart from: Germans, English, Belgians, French, Dutch and Italian. They take part in the village lifestyle and join its celebrations, customs and perpetuate the « l’adsubian way of life ».

PASS IT ON  has not yet learned whether the wonderful web site will remain in situ, but it seems less than likely I would have thought,  so why not check out their Facebook page while you can ?

The newsletters on Lanzarote tend to appear in the form of the magazines that are aimed not only at our indigenous people but also for our tourist visitors from around the world. These include Lanzarote e Life, Turismo and the wonderful Lancelot, still running with the heart of a kid, in its fortieth year.

The honorary editor of Lancelot, (right), are real friends of Sidetracks And Detours, and PASS IT ON. Not only have they invited us to cover book launches of Larry´s own works, but also to meet other authors to whom Larry has given time, advice and assistance in launching their own works. Informally Larry and Liz advise about the best films being shown in Lanzarote in English. I have twice had my own work published in Lancelot, which is a great source of pride to me.

Sidetracks And Detours would be lonesome trails indeed without all the wonderful people mentioned above.

WHAT are Sidetracks And Detours & PASS IT ON?

We are not-for-profit blogs, collated and published from Lanzarote. Our daily Monday To Friday, Sidetracks And Detours  blog is usually a one feature post, always arts related. As we are fond of saying, we cover poetry and pottery, dance and drumming, stage and screen, literature and lyrics, dance and drumming, writing and whatever else we can find. These articles are predominantly written by Norman Warwick but occasional guest writers contribute pieces too.

PASS IT ON  is a Sunday Supplement that includes listings, newsletters and pieces by all those mentioned earlier in this article.

WHEN were these publications launched?

It would take a long time to wander all the way back to  the first steps we took on this road less travelled. I met Ian Johnson of Stampede Promotions at a John Stewart gig and learned that he and his two man company were effectively creating small gigs for Americana Independent musicians wanting to raise their profile through a UK tour. In conversation with Ian, I could hardly believe it when I learned he was pretty much the UK promoter of almost all the American singer-songwriters that were in my recorded music collection. We spoke that night of setting up a magazine called Sidetracks  and the following year when John Stewart came to the UK for his next tour we launched our first edition at the first gig, and it may be true, or it may be legend, that Peter Pearson was the first fan to hand over his 50p for a copy. Even at that price the typed, photocopied, stapled-together ´pamphlets´ were punching above their weight. These, too, were not-for-profit issues, with the cover price  only paying for the photo copying of 200 copies. Sidetracks was a copy, but a very poor one, of Omaha Rainbow, a John Stewart fan publication owned and collated by Peter O´Brien. This had far higher presentation values and, being longer established and based in London, easier access to some of the major American singer song writers seeking to become known in the UK.

Nevertheless, over a five year period Sidetracks gathered exclusive interviews with Tom Paxton, Katy Moffatt, Guy Clark, John Stewart (in an interviewed conducted by Norman Warwick and The Poet In The Rain).

It was at a Stampede Promotions gig that I met, and sold a copy of Sidetracks to Dave Deverson. He expressed his liking for the mag and in a long interval discussion I learned  that his knowledge of what was still a long way off being called Americana was as extensive as mine and Ian´s and Peter Pearson´s. Dave also had a massive knowledge of the blues and I learned a lot about that genre from him over the next few years.

He suggested, of course, that Sidetracks would benefit from better production qualities and I agreed, but told him we were not-for-profit and that I didn´t have the personal finances to invest in it. He then suggested a partnership in launching a new magazine to include American and Blues music, and we decided on calling it Detour. Ian was happy enough with this, as the new magazine was, of course, still promoting his rostra of artists, and the new Detour, although published only quarterly, looked far more professional on the merchandise desk and sold like hot biscuits, to coin a jazz phrase.

Dave was ultra-professional and I was very proud to be associated with a magazine that over the next five years attracted great exclusive interviews with the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Mary Chapin Carpenter and with Micky Newbury, one of my favourite writers and certainly my favourite interviewee.

Detour also attracted some of the best writers around such as Maurice Hope, but gradually Dave placed a greater emphasis on the blues, as was his right, and I didn´t feel quite at home anymore. The regular production meetings meant a two hundred mile round trip to Dave´s beautiful home in Beverley in Yorkshire.

By now I was seeing my own work published in some of my favourite country music magazines such as Stillwater Times, produced by UK  singer writer Graeme  Livingstone, North Country and Country Matters and was more than happy to serve as a freelance contributor.

Throughout all this time I was in a folk duo with my mate Colin Lever. We played the clubs and festivals in the north country and recorded four albums of original material, Colin has since employed some of our songs in a radio performance of Open Mic, a reminiscence of those  folk club, including the fact that American songwriter Jeff McDonald recorded our song, Old Black Guitar Case.

WHERE do you get your stories from and where do they go?

If we take December 2023 as a fairly typical month we  have received items from mainland Spain, the UK, South Korea, America, Canada, Israel and The Canary Islands (Lanzarote in particular, of course). We get our stories, often from where imagination begins and they head off on light years of travel. 

WHY  do you think there is a need for such work?

I´m no longer sure there is a NEED any longer, as so much discussion about the arts takes place now on social media. However our aspiration / flight of fancy call it what you will is to create a global community of arts lovers who are receptive to arts from other countries and generations. Our own reading generation is probably most composed of the over sixty generation, but our comments and tastes do inform younger generations and the younger gneratiosn let´s say Molly Tuttle, can enthuse our core audience.

lThe Rochdale Festival Of Ideas 2024


Got an idea? Here’s your chance to be a part of Rochdale’s new festival.

Rochdale Borough Festival of Ideas launches next year and now organisers are on the look-out for artists and groups who would like to be part of it, with applicants invited to apply for between £300 – £4,000 to help bring their idea to life at the festival.

The major new six-day festival will be staged in March next year, accompanying the official re-opening of Rochdale Town Hall.

Whether it’s a workshop, a pop-up, intervention, mural, digital installation, event, a performance, or an activity – festival organisers Rochdale Borough Council are encouraging you to think outside the box, consider collaborations and be creative. You could be a community group, artist, business, co-op, S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) collective, sports group, tech start-up, or another organisation with a great idea.

Between five and eight ideas will then be chosen for the ‘Everyday Innovation’ programme part of the event, delivered in partnership with The Culture Co-op, Rochdale Borough’s Creative People and Places Programme, funded by Arts Council England.

Rochdale Borough Festival of Ideas runs from Monday 4th to Saturday 9th March, promising a showcase of creativity, innovation, and performance around the themes of imagine, create, discover.

Councillor Janet Emsley, the council’s cabinet member for equity, safety, and reform, said they are interested in hearing about all kinds of ideas, big and small from across the borough. She said: “This new festival will provide a platform for curious minds to explore, so we’re looking for ideas which would enhance people’s day, or even transform a public space. If you think your Idea fits the bill, we’d love to hear from you and can provide the funding to make it happen. Whether it’s a cul-de-sac you want to close and transform for the day, a specific bus route you want to create a piece of traveling artwork for; or a grey wall you walk past every day; a reservoir or canal you have a vision for, whatever it is, get in touch.”

The line-up will be announced in the new year but expect visual arts, music, electrifying live performances, thought-provoking talks, interactive installations, and lots more, as originality and imagination is celebrated. Taking inspiration from the borough’s rich heritage whilst remaining future focused, there will be a blend of hands-on and digital programming and many events will be free to attend. The festival will provide a platform for curious minds to explore and discover, with a family programme running throughout.

To find out more and how to apply or arrange an informal chat visit rochdale.gov.uk/festivalofideas

The ideas chosen to receive support will be revealed in January.

The re-launched Rochdale Town Hall will be one of a host of festival venues across the borough. Its major restoration has been funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Rochdale Borough Council.

pass it on logo

Live Jazz

Big Colors Big Band
… with the Pangbourne Jazz Club rhythm section:
Terry Hutchins (guitar) | Andy Crowdy (double bass)
Jim Pollard (piano) | Brian Greene (drums)

Sunday 7 January | 7:30pm start
Only £12.50 entry | Cheap bar | Raffle | Public Car Park

previewed by JAZZ IN READING

Pangbourne Logo

The Big Colors Big Band (right) was formed in 2008 by former National Youth Jazz Orchestra and NYJO Graduates trumpet player, David Shiers, and The Spin Jazz Club founder, academic and drummer Dr Mark Doffman.

You can hear the band on Apple Music and Spotify.

Many great players have gigged with the band but are not heard on the 2010 Big Colors album including: Brandon Allen, Ross Anderson, Ewen Baird, Ed Barker, Rik Bolton, Joe Carey, Louis Dowdeswell, Martin Dunsdon, Jim Gold, Binker Golding, Sue Greenway, Nathan Hawken, Greg Heath, John Hoare, Matt Hope, James Lowe, James Mitchum, Andy Panayi, Martin Pickett, Art Themen, Andy Townsend and Steve Waterman.

On air sign background

Jazz On Air

check the mixcloud – new schedule starts 8th January

Hot Biscuits prepared by STEVE BEWICK

Island Life

Yaiza Municipal Band, Casa de la Culture, Lanzarote


December 2023


We pulled up outside their house to pick up our two undercover reporters to find only one of them waiting for us at their gate. It transpired the she who will not be named was feeling unwell but the Chief Superintendent was determined to fulfil his duties of digging for news and contacts.  It was brave of him to allow me to drive the unlit road through the blackness of night until Yaiza´s football stadium shone its floodlights upon us, whilst casting eerie shadows on the mountain across the road. Still, we could at least now see our way to the Casa de la Culture, now just up the road, although finding a place to park was not quite so straightforward. The huge car park was pretty full, what with people coming to gaze in admiration at the lights and the Belen and many others to attend the evening´s concert by the Yaiza Municipal Brass Band.

As we stepped into the theatre, Cacophony,  Discordant And Loud were  giving  evidence that there is  no sound much worse than a brass band when its tuning up.

However, we have heard The Yaiza Municipal Brass Band (left) play on several occasions, including three of these annual concerts, and we knew that all the fine-tuning would prove worth it.

The room had filled  a good deal before  the concert proper began, and the magnificent swell of an opening Christmas Carol medley filled the room and floated out into the town through the open door. It was a wonderful arrangement that shone the spotlight on soloists and sections of the band. The prolonged applause was well deserved.

A series of classical pieces was well chosen, with percussion ably setting and keeping the tempo. There was a great deal of the oomph we associate with brass bands, but there were gentler, sweeter and beautifully melodious passages too.

There was another medley of carols, again perfectly and interestingly arranged.

Then came a version of Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps a song made famous by Doris Day. Perhaps – Perhaps – Perhaps, also known as Quizas, Quizas, Quizas, is a popular song that was composed by Cuban songwriter Osvaldo Farrés in 1947. The song gained widespread popularity with its English version performed by the legendary American singer Doris Day. Known for her angelic voice and captivating performances, Day’s rendition of Perhaps – Perhaps – Perhaps captured the hearts of millions.

doris day I´m not sure how we in the audience refrained from getting up to dance for the finale,  as its captivating Cuban rhythms reminded us of the demure Doris at her most flirtatious. The bongo players were so good that this sounded like a segueway by Dave Arch and his singers on Strictly Come Dancing. Just about everybody in their seats, in the audience and in the orchestra were tapping their feet, swaying their hips and shrugging their shoulders.

The lyrics of Perhaps – Perhaps – Perhaps tell a tale of uncertainty and longing. It revolves around a speaker expressing their feelings of love and desire towards someone, but unsure if those feelings would be reciprocated. The use of the word “perhaps” adds an air of hesitation and vulnerability to the song, capturing the essence of a tentative love confession.

Our undercover reporter caught up with and  had been chatting with Marianne Whelpdale, a musician and director, who had been in the audience tonight. We know Marianne fairly well and have covered a number of her choral performances on these pages. We understand there are some more performances to look forward to, so we expect to bring you more news, previews and reviews as appropriate

Meanwhile, Dee and I chatted with some of the orchestra outside after the concert, swapping business cards and arranging an interview with one of the players, so watch this space over the next few weeks.

On the same day as this triumphant concert took place, a new financial package was announced  by The Government of the Canary Islands, through the Department of Universities, Science and Innovation and Culture of the Government of the Canary Islands directed by Migdalia Machín,

An allocation of  nearly 900,000 euros has been ear-marked for the rehabilitation of the “Benito Pérez Armas” House of Culture (above) in the municipality of Yaiza. The proposed improvements will be carried out within the objectives of the Canary Islands Executive for the conservation of the historical heritage of the Canary Islands, and in this case, of the island of Lanzarote. This is in part due to the current state of slight deterioration of the building and the grounds, but the wording of the announcement would suggest that the work to be carried out will be in sympathy with the history and tradtion of the venue.

For the Minister of Universities, Science and Innovation and Culture of the Government of the Canary Islands, Migdalia Machín, “this action represents the materialization of the Government’s objective and commitment to the protection of our heritage and the conservation of the most emblematic buildings on the island, in this case, in the south of Lanzarote.”

In this sense, the counselor points out that “the safeguarding of all those spaces where culture is developed and offered, while at the same time being a hotbed of creation and meeting of artists, will always be a priority for this Ministry of Culture.”

The subsidized activity must be carried out before December 31, 2024.

The Casa de la Culture at Yaiza or the “Casa Benito Pérez Armas”, as it is more often known, was declared a Site of Cultural Interest in 1989 and is included in the Catalogue of Historical Artistic Heritage of the Lanzarote Island Plan.

It is an 18th century colonial mansion located in the town. Our photograph (left) shows a view of the courtyard from inside the Casa and shows the view into the courtyard from the Casa de la Culture.

Today it serves as a cultural enclave that hosts a wide variety of events, such as theatres, art exhibitions and concerts, in addition to housing the Municipal Library.

The venue is, of course, a venue that attracts tourists as they stroll round the beautiful town of Yaiza with is magnificent church and town square. December 2023 saw the square and the Casa de la Culture festooned with Christmas lights, and housing a magnificent arts installation of the annual Belen-

A series of musical events, (and a book launch by Roger Trend, author of a new book about The Volcanoes of the island, all helped draw large crowds and capacity audiences to the various events. We have been delighted to report on such events on these pages recently..

And now we can promise to keep you informed of developments.

In a typical New Year marital tiff my wife Dee writes about why none of my music ever makes it on to her Spotify play lists and the following day I explain why I glorify Spotify, We roll over 2023 with reflections on the arts year that was and we are then Guided By Voices to the essential Ewan MacColl. All that begins tomorrow, Monday 1st January, 2024. in our daily not for profit blogs at Sidetracks And Detours. So, I guess it´s time to say


and to say a massive thank you / gracias to all our writers, correspondents, artists and not least all our friends readers for making this a happy and successful and very nearly harmonious year in the Sidetracks And Detours office !

To all readers, writers and friends of Sidetracks & Detours / PASS IT ON

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