Commissions welcomed! We are available for Radio and TV work, Event Compering, PR and Media Consultancy, Ghostwriting
- also foreign language translation and interpreting in French, German, Italian, Spanish and a bit of Dutch and Czech....

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Ice Hockey: Flyers Thaw Freeze In Chiller Thriller

Saturday 31st March 2012
English League Division 2 North
Fylde Flyers 13 - Flintshire Freeze 8

Period Scores: 3-4, 6-3, 4-1
Shots On Goal: Flyers 63 - Freeze 62
Penalties In Minutes: Flyers 32 - Freeze 78
Flyers Scorers: Clark 5+1, Veldze 4+0, Caunce 1+6, Whitby 1+1, Hall 0+3, Hulme, Marriott both 1+0
Flyers MVP: Andy Clark
Referees: Steve Brown, Pete Liversage
Attendance: 134

Flyers Remaining Games:
Saturday 7th April: home v Sheffield Senators 5pm
Saturday 14th April: home v Hull ENL Stingrays 5pm
Sunday 15th April: away at Lancashire Raptors (Blackburn)

Photo: Flyers captain Wayne Whitby celebrates a goal (photo by Adam Tranter)

Match Report

Well, having praised the guys to the skies for their great performance last week against league runners up Sutton Sting, it’s really hard to find more words to express how much I enjoyed  this match against 3rd place Flintshire Freeze.

For me – donning the rosy tinted glasses of nostalgia – this was just like a good old fashioned ice hockey match from the 1980s – the sort of game that used to finish 20-18, as opposed to the more sophisticated 7-5 type scorelines that we tend to get nowadays.  Lots of goals, lots of penalties, loads of icing calls, plus a player from the away team desperate to cast himself as pantomime villain for the night – in this case visiting netminder Matt Compton who seemed more interested in leaving his crease to join in – or even start – altercations than minding his own net…!

Having said that, you don’t beat a team like Flintshire 13-8 without putting together some good play yourselves. I missed the first 15 minutes and the score was 2-3 when I arrived but I was pleased to be able to witness the obligatory Second Period Game Changing Incident which, this time, came early and happened at the end of the first period.  Leading 4-3 with less than 60 seconds to go until the buzzer, the Freeze – apparently bored with normal ice hockey – decided instead to see how many players they could squeeze into their penalty box at the same time, which gave the Flyers a 5-3 player advantage for the start of the second period.

Now, this is new improved Flyers – the team who make the most of powerplays – and the Subzero rink erupted when Latvian under 20 international Elvis Veldze scored the equaliser  within 30 seconds of the restart.  Freeze, obviously misreading the script hit a short handed goal to edge back in front but Elvis levelled again.  Again Freeze edged ahead – ahead Flyers drew level then the killer blow. Three  powerplay goals for the flyers in the period put them in front, winning the period 6-3 and gave them a lead that would eventually win them the match.

It really was a superb performance from the whole Flyers team. 7 players got on the scoresheet, with Veldze back to his best with 4 goals and leading playmaker Bobby Caunce chipping in with  1+6 but the most outstanding display of the night came from Andy Clark who was in the middle of everything. His 5 +1 tally for the night plus all round competitiveness brought him the Most Valued Player award and his talents will be missed as work commitments mean that he can’t play in the Flyers remaining fixtures.   

As things stand, Flyers are just one point behind Bradford Bulldogs in the ED2N league table with three games to play.  Bulldogs have played all their games already so 6th place is definitely there for the taking. Flyers play Sheffield Senators on 7th April, who are just 3 points ahead having played a game more and on recent results, you wouldn’t bet against the Flyers finishing a creditable  5th in their first season of  league action.

More info: http://www.eiha.co.uk/Leagues/EnglishNational/North2.aspx

NWCFL Premier Division: AFC Blackpool 3 - Flixton 2

Two goals from Ben Waddington (in right of photo) and one by Mark Beattie were enough to win this close fought encounter with Flixton.  The result leaves the Mechanics in a highly creditable 7th place in the NWCFL Premier Division in their first season since winning promotion.

Their next match is on Wednesday 4th April away at AFC Liverpool.

Squires Gate FC are at home to Runcorn Linnets on Tuesday evening 3rd April and then again to Bacup Borough on Saturday 7th April - 3pm kick off.

The two South Shore rivals meet at Squire's Gate's School Lane home on Easter Monday 9th April at 3pm.  AFC Blackpool won the home fixture 2-0 on Boxing Day.

more info:  www.nwcfl.com  www.afcblackpool.co.uk

Friday, 30 March 2012

Review: "Bullets and Daffodils - The Wilfred Owen Story" at the North Euston Hotel, Fleetwood, Friday, 30th March 2012


I have long held the theory that most of our current social problems as a nation can be traced back to the First World War and our inability to understand what the survivors had been through.   This evening’s profoundly moving performance of the first musical representation of Wilfred Owen work - “Bullets and Daffodils” - really brought home the stark reality of the horrors of the so-called Great War.

Like Owen, the show’s writer, composer/singer/songwriter Dean Johnson was educated at The Birkenhead Institute.  Dean found Owen’s poems “have a great metre” and, from a songwriter’s point of view, are easy to translate into songs.  Dean was approached by Wirral Council to write a song to celebrate the Peninsular. Wilfred Owen’s name was on the list the Council had compiled and so began the journey to write and produce “Bullets and Daffodils”.

John Gorman, writer/entertainer and David Gilmour, leader and guitarist of Pink Floyd have contributed and the narrator is Christopher Timothy, the actor - best known for his role as James Herriot.  Company Manager is Janet Holmes.

Interspersed with the narration, Dean Johnson sings, Chloe Torpey takes on the mantle of Wilfred’s Mother Susan telling us her side of the story and reading some of her favourite son's letters to her, Charlotte Roberts, choreographer/dancer illustrates the deep current of emotions with her amazing “body poetry”, Charlie Griffiths sings some of the songs and finally Phil Gwilliam appears as Wilfred Owen at the end of the show.   The whole show adds up to a deeply emotional experience, telling the story of Wilfred Owen’s short life – definitely not to be missed.

After the show and a short refreshment break, the Company reassembled to demonstrate Dean’s point about Wilfred Owen’s poetry, following a reading of one of Owen’s poems by Phil Gwiliam with Dean singing the words and playing guitar.  There was then a question and answer session for the production is an on-going work and the Company really appreciate feedback.

“Bullets and Daffodils” is currently touring most of the places that Owen visited and will be at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London on Sunday 29th July.

The Wilfred Owen Story have the UK's first permanent exhibition commemorating Wilfred Owen at 24 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, Wirral CH41 6AE, Tel.: 07539371925.  Having been brought up on the Wirral and educated in Birkenhead, I admit to being just a little biased but the area is really delightful and has much to offer – definitely worth a visit sooner rather than later.

For further details please see www.wilfredowenstory.com and find the Company on Facebook. – Bullets and Daffodils (The Wilfred Owen Story).

CD Release: Come On In by the Mardigras Bombers

In our Lancashire Songwriters Showcase radio show on Preston FM this evening we are featuring a song from this new Mardigras Bombers album "Come On In".

Title: Come On In
Artist: Mardigras Bombers
Genre: Punk
Released by: STP Records / STP 11

Tracklisting:
1: Validate The Mission, 2: No Sleep, 3: New Locusts, 4: Resurrection Gang, 5: Ah Pook!, 6: Girl X, 7: Alien Heat, 8: Invisible Idiots, 9: Love Explained, 10: Modest Proposal

Order link: http://www.stprecords.co.uk/page4.htm

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Launch Of The Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde Sub Committee Of Variety, Blackpool North Pier

A crisp, sunny evening saw the launch of the Blackpool Wyre and Fylde Sub Committee of the well-known children’s charity Variety (formerly known as The Variety Club of Great Britain) on Blackpool’s iconic North Pier. 

North Pier is being renovated, having been purchased recently by Peter Sedgwick – but that is another, very romantic story.  Tonight we are here to meet the Chairman of the local branch of Variety – Fiona Whitworth - introduced in fine style by Blackpool’s Town Crier Barry McQueen, with Matthew Lamb on hand to serenade us with some fantastic swing songs before and after the official business of the evening.

The Variety Club of Great Britain or "Variety" as it is now called is  a household name, well-known for their special Sunshine Coaches – one of which was donated recently to Redmarsh the school for children with disabilities and learning difficulties in Thornton Cleveleys – but the charity does so much more than that for disadvantaged and handicapped children- from providing special car seats and custom-built wheelchairs, to providing life-saving equipment in hospitals.

Before directing everyone present out onto the Pier for the launch of dozens of red heart balloons, Fiona thanked Councillor Alan Mathews, Deputy Mayor of Blackpool, who was accompanied by his wife, Deputy Mayoress Angela Mathews, for their support.Among others, Fiona also thanked the Sedgwick Family who not only gave the use of the North Pier for the launch party in the Costa Coffee Café but have also offered Variety the chance to hold collections during the summer shows on North Pier. 

Before the release of the red balloons, two very special, gold balloons were released in loving memory of two of Blackpool’s most famous Variety supporters who have recentlydied - Pat Mancini and Frank Carson. Standing on the Pier with Blackpool Tower in the background and the sea gently lapping around us, it was a very emotional moment watching first the two gold balloons and then the mass of red heart shaped balloons flying off into the blue, Blackpool sky.

For further informationregarding Variety, please see www.varietyclub.org.uk/
For furtherinformation on what’s on at North Pier, Blackpool, please see
www.northpierblackpool.co.uk -

Lancashire Songwriters Radio Showcase 4 on 103.2 Preston FM - Friday 7pm

Join us for one hour of new original music written and performed by artists from across the northwest in our fantastic "Lancashire Songwriters Showcase" on 103.2 Preston FM this Friday evening from 7pm.

In this poptastically brilliant edition, we will be featuring:

Sara Dowling, Ellie Dacombe, Combination Head, Deep In The Mire, Troubadour, Razordog, Nancy Petulengro, Alun Parry, Twood feat. Gavin Thomas, Age Of Glass, Bright Shapes, The Blind Kings, Sea, Glyn Bailey & The Many Splendid Things, Sarah Ellen Hughes & The Mardigras Bombers.

So don't forget to tune in from 7pm on Friday 30th March.

You can hear Preston FM on 103.2 FM in local area or listen live across the world at www.preston.fm

Monday, 26 March 2012

The Old Trafford Branch of the Royal British Legion invite you to a 1940s themed D-Day Dance 9th June 2012

The recently-formed Old Trafford Branch of the Royal British Legion are organising a special dance with a 1940s theme to commemorate the 68th Anniversary of D-Day.

The dance will be held on 9th June 2012 from 7.30 p.m. - there will be music, cabaret entertainment, a raffle and much more at the Stretford Ex-Servces and Social Club in Stretford, Manchester.

Tickets are £7.50 which includes supper.

For further information, please contact the Branch Chairman on 07758 073770.

Stretford Ex-Services and Social Club
30 Talbot Road
Manchester M16 0PF

Tram:  Trafford Bar Station


Sunday, 25 March 2012

Ice Hockey: Wyre Seagulls Pick Up Away Win Over Coventry Honey Badgers

Saturday 25th March 2012 - Recreational Challenge Match

Coventry Honey Badgers 10 - Wyre Seagulls 19 (or possibly 9-18...)

Seagulls scorers:
Danny Jones 7 & 3, Joe Charlton 5 & 8, Simon Pearce 1 & 3, Dan Coxon. 0 & 1, Thomas Quigley. 0 & 1, Mark Gibson 0 & 2, Ben Quarmby 2 & 2, Craig Bruce. 1 & 0, Clayton Jones 1 & 0, Mark Jeffries 1 & 0

Seagulls Penalty - Mark Gibson 2 mins tripping
Seagulls MVP - Iain McLaughlin

Shots on goal
1st period - Seagulls (Pete Bleakley) 14-4 goals / HB 18-5 goals
2nd period - (PB) 7-2 goals (Stephen Wilson) 5-1 goals / HB 20-8 goals
3rd period - (SW) 11 shots / HB 18 shots - goals not recorded on sheet ?

The Wyre Seagulls will welcome the Honey Badgers of Coventry to the SubZero rink in Cleveleys on 16th June 2012 for a return fixture.

Seagulls are in home action against Grimsby on Saturday 21st April.

Photo (by Lisa Jones): Danny Jones and Joe Charlton celebrate a Wyre Seagulls goal

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Ice Hockey: Fylde Flyers 7 - Sutton Sting 4

Saturday 24th March 2012
English League Division 2 North
Fylde Flyers 7 - Sutton Sting 4
Period Scores: 0-1, 5-2, 2-1
Shots On Goal; Flyers 77 - Sting 78
Penalties In Minutes: Flyers 52 - Sting 51

Flyers Scorers: Ric Hulme 2+2, Mark Gillingham & Elvis Veldze 2+1, Andy Clark 1+1, Bobby Caunce 0+2, Tony Melbourn, Kurtis Hall, Wayne Whitby, Stewart Marriott all 0+1
Flyers MVP: Stewart Marriott (in photo)
Referees: Guy McKenzie, John Freeman
Attendance: 127

Our Match Report:
Fledgling ice hockey team Fylde Flyers put in their best home  performance of the season so far to take the scalp of high flying Sutton Sting, who have booked their place in the end of season promotion play off, having already been confirmed runners up in English League Division 2 North.

The Flyers narrowly lost the previous home encounter with Sutton 5-6 back in January and had also been  beaten 7-3 and 13-2 in away matches so this hard fought and well deserved  7-4 victory came as quite a sensation.

I have been (privately) critical of the Flyers for losing concentration during the second period of games  where a close scoreline has run away from them and also of not making the most of powerplay situations where they have not been able to make their man advantage count but, thankfully, none of this came to pass in this game.

After  a very close first period, by the end of which the Flyers were “only 0-1” down, it looked as of the second period hoodoo was going to set in again as the Sting scored after just 13 seconds of the restart with their first attack of the second period.  Undaunted, however, the Flyers held their ground and finally managed to find the net themselves after 25 minutes when Ric Hulme got on the end of a Mark Gillingham pass to open the home account.

The almost by now obligatory “Second Period Game  Changing Incident” came shortly after this but, happily for the home crowd, it favoured the Flyers on this occasion. A minor altercation involving Flyers Dan Bracegirdle suddenly turned very nasty as his heftier Sting opponent ripped off his helmet and smashed him in the face.  This earned the aggressor a “2+5+10+game” penalty while Dan picked up a 2+10 for his part in incident. The 2 minute penalties cancelled each other out in “sin bin” terms meaning that the Sting then found themselves a player short for the entire duration of the 5 minute major penalty. 

There followed what I consider to be some of the best ice hockey that I have seen in 30 years of watching the game at various levels and certainly at the SubZero ice arena this season.  Penalty-punishing has not been the Flyers strongpoint but three clinically executed powerplay goals – one from Andy Clark and two from Mark Gillingham (just thirty seconds between the first two) – really turned the game on its head – and announced the Flyers coming of age in ice hockey terms.

The Sting did hit back before the end of the second period but that was cancelled out by a superb Elvis Veldze strike – 5-2 for the period, 5-3 overall, and the Flyers just didn’t look back from then on.   A Ric Hulme goal early in the last period served to settle any nerves and Sutton’s last goal of the game was quickly countered by another Elvis strike.

The last 10 minutes were goal-less but still full of end to end action with Flyers taking most of penalties as they fought to keep to resurgent Sting out of the game.

This highly entertaining encounter saw Flyers being marginally outshot by 77 to 78 and a whopping 103 penalty minutes being dished out (Flyers 52 – Sting 51) but if they can play like that in their remaining home matches, Flinsthire Freeze, Sheffield Senators and Hull Stingrays are in for one hell of a game!

Flyers Remaining Games:
Saturday 31st March: home v Flintshire Freeze
Saturday 7th April: home v Sheffield Senators
Saturday 14th April: home v Hull Stingrays
Sunday 15th April: away at Lancashire Raptors.

More info: http://www.eiha.co.uk/Leagues/EnglishNational/North2.aspx



Friday, 23 March 2012

Revised Dates for April 2012 Swing Sundays at the Parks Art Deco Cafe, Stanley Park, Blackpool

STOP PRESS! Revised dates for Swing Sundays during April. Music is played for diners from 1 to 3pm:

Sunday, 1st April 2012 - Frank Flynn Trio (pictured)
Sunday, 8th April 2012 - Flip
Sunday, 15th April 2012 - That Swing Thing with Sara Cheston
Sunday, 22nd April 2012 - Vineyard
Sunday, 29th April 2012 - Dan Forshaw & Mike Taylor

PLEASE NOTE:  It may be advisable to book now for Easter Sunday lunch as Mothering Sunday sold out very quickly indeed...

Bookings: 01253 395191   www.parksartdecocafe.co.uk
Parks Art Deco Cafe, Stanley Park, West Park Drive, Blackpool, FY3 9EQ

Charity Concert For Pendleside Hospice & Derian House at Colne Municipal Hall - 4th November

30th  January 2010, Colne Muni , late on Sunday night 25 musicians went on stage and gave a raucous encore to an appreciative audience after 10 hours of high quality bands and artists playing to raise much needed money for the Hospice Charity…………Sunday 4th November 2012 at the same venue they are going to do it all over again.
This time out it is going to be a joint venture between Pendleside Hospice in Reedley and Derian House Childrens Hospice, Chorley.

At the initial meeting of the bands there was a massive vote of support for the gig, which will feature  many of the top musicians in the area. These already include The Milltown Brothers,  Hate Syndicate, The Rubbish, Half Angels, Big Picture, Supernova with more to come online. There will also be a section of the event dedicated to acoustic music with Roger Westbrook,John Hollins,Lewis Nelson playing solo sets . Youth song and dance will be a prominent theme of the day, featuring the Arden Youth Choir and Sanderson Dance Studio confirmed as performing during the event .In addition, there will be poetry and comedy sets ,with Mike Garry and Micky P Kerr in the frame to do a spot.

There are already 8 associate sponsors in place with an opportunity available to have a main sponsor for £750 + vat still remaining along with any individuals or companies wishing to become an associate sponsor in blocks of  £100 + vat. Tickets for the event will be £10 and these will go on sale in August. The gig will start at 2pm at Colne Muni. All the proceeds will be split between the two charities ALL the artists involved are giving their time and talent free of charge to help maximise the money generated for the Charities.

A website, Twitter and Facebook page will be going online shortly. Anybody wishing to get involved or make donations to the event or get further information please contact  Mark Nelson mark.nelson@lancashirerugby.com or 07736427111.

Further details will be released throughout the summer and autumn leading up to the “Songs from the Neighbourhood“ Concert Sunday 4th November 2012 , Colne Muni Hall, 2 pm to 11 pm.

Celtic Dream Coming To Blackpool North Pier Theatre - 7th April

Fresh from the shores of The Emerald isle, The Celtic Dream show has been created to bring audiences one of the most original & authentic shows in the world.

 Embodying the true spirit of Ireland, this production is a breathtaking myriad of brilliant dance, phenomenal vocals, astounding musicianship and glittering costumes.

 With a selection of the finest dancers, award winning choreographers, and top vocalists and musicians from around Ireland, Celtic Dream will enchant and take audiences on an uplifting journey of song and dance with a kaleidoscope of colour against a backdrop of highly infectious, powerful and spirit invoking soundtrack.

The Celtic Dream show is the perfect blend of traditional Irish music alongside modern songs. Audiences will enjoy time honoured tunes from ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘Carrickfergus’ to the haunting modern day classics of Sarah McLachlan's ‘In the Arms of the Angels’.  Celtic Dream will leave audiences mesmerised and wanting more and more of the ultimate Irish experience.

 For more information please visit: http://bit.ly/Celtic-Dream-Tour-Dates

Easter Jazz At North Euston Hotel, Fleetwood - 6th 7th 8th April

Good Friday 6th April
Two piano Jazz in the Vantini Room from 4.30 till 6pm - £5.00 including tea, coffee and biscuits
Six-in-a-bar with Rosie featuring top jazz saxophonist John Hallam (in photo) in the ballroom from 8 till 11.00 £12.50
    Easter Saturday 7th April
  • Ted Taylor Trio Vantini Room from 12.30pm - 2.30pm £5.00 including tea, coffee and biscuits
  • Master Class with internationally acclaimed trumpet player Enrico Tomasso in the ballroom from 3.30pm-4.30pm £5.00
  • Mike Lovell's All Stars featuring Enrico Tomasso in the ballroom from 8pm-11pm £12.50
Easter Sunday 8th April
Zazous Anglaise Gypsy Jazz in the family room from 12 noon till 2.30pm £5.00 including tea,coffee and biscuits
  • Wyre Levee Stompers in the family room from 3pm-5pm FREE
  • Sounds 18 Big Band Vantini room from 8.30pm-11.15pm £5.00
For tickets and more information, call the North Euston Hotel on 01253 876525
or visit:  http://www.northeustonhotel.com/easter-jazz.php

To find out more about John Hallam, look here: http://www.johnhallamjazz.co.uk/

To find out more about Mike Lovell's 6 In A Bar and Jazz All Stars, look here: http://www.btinternet.com/~jazzworld/6inabar.htm

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Liam Halewood To Sing At Blackpool Pride 2012

We had a fascinating chat with Blackpool based singer Liam Halewood (centre in photo) about his music, why the Liverpool born lad loves Blackpool and about the fact that he has been invited to sing at this June's Blackpool Pride event.

You can hear what Liam had to say by clicking on the relevant sound icon below (please note this may take longer to load if you are using a Mac...):



To find out more about the 2012 Blackpool Pride event, click here: www.prideblackpool.com

To see Liam Halewood's video of "You Raise Me Up", click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?hl=en&v=OJSEfHVBSiw&gl=US


Jazz Lunch at the Wyrebank, Garstang - Sunday, 6th May 2012

Wyrebank Banqueting Suite, the truly beautiful new venue nestled next to the lovely Marina in Garstang, present a special "Afternoon of Jazz" with the Sue Parish Duo on Sunday, 6th May 2012.

A 2-course lunch will be served from 12 - 2 pm - £19.95 per person, booking essential.

For further information or to book, please call 01995 605455

Or visit the website at:  www.wyrebank-functions.co.uk

More information about Sue Parish can be found here:  www.sueparish.com

Wyrebank Banqueting Suite, The Moorings, Church Street, GARSTANG, Preston, Lancashire, PR3 1PG


Sarah Ellen Hughes Coming To Parks Art Deco Cafe, Blackpool - 25th March

There's great live music on Sunday lunchtime at the Parks Stanley Park Art Deco Cafe in Blackpool as top London-based jazz singer Sarah Ellen Hughes makes a special appearance from 1 to 3pm.

Accompanied by top local keyboard player Mike Taylor, she'll be performing songs from her new CD "The Story So Far" copies of which will be available to buy on the day, as well as other popular songs.

Table booking is advised ( call 01253 395191) and there will be the usual range of great food and drinks available available as always.

To find out more about the Parks Art Deco Cafe and its Swing Sunday music events, visit: www.parksartdecocafe.co.uk

To find out more about Sarah Ellen Hughes, go to: www.sarahellenhughes.co.uk

Listen Again: Sue Hayward Interview About Happy House, Kenya

If you missed our "Best Kept Secrets...In Conversation" show on 103.2 Preston FM on Friday evening, you can catch up with the fascinating chat we had with Sue hayward, founder of the Happy House childrens home in Kenya right now.

To listen, just click on the sound icon below (please note this may take longer to load if you are using a Mac...):




To find out more about the Happy House, the Children Of Watamu charity and what YOU can do to help, visit their website here: www.childrenofwatamu.net

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Russian State Ballet of Siberia - Review of Sleeping Beauty at the Grand Theatre Blackpool 18th March 2012

If you hurry you could perhaps get tickets to see Giselle at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool on Monday, 19th March 2012!

The wonderful Russian State Ballet of Siberia returned to the Grand Theatre for their second visit this year to perform Sleeping Beauty.

This is a delightful, magical ballet, closely following the fairytale of the King and Queen who forgot to invite one of the fairies to the christening of their baby daughter Princess Aurora.  The lights go down in the auditorium, the orchestra (complete with harp on one end and four, huge drums on the other - completely filling the width of the stage) stand as one and the Musical Director comes in, bows to the audience and the Overture begins.  Tchaikovsky's beautiful score does not age. the story is magical and what is there not to like in classical ballet with beautiful costumes, athletic dancers, clever lighting, amazing choreography, wonderful music and of course the iconic setting that is Blackpool's Grand Theatre.

We are very lucky that the Grand Theatre, Blackpool is on the extensive list of theatres visited by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia.  How they do it I just don't know but I am so very glad they do. The costumes look fresh, the dancers too - and how they fit in rehearsals and classes with such a huge tour, criss crossing the UK is a mystery.

Tonight's performance was superb - the gorgeous sets make the relatively small stage look huge, giving the illusion of a grand palace full of courtiers.  Was it my imagination or was there a touch of Joan Collins in Dynasty in the role of Carabosse (the uninvited fairy) who came on stage with an entourage of huge, "mutant Ninja" mice.  I still feel a shiver when the furious Carabosse appears, makes her threats and puts a curse on the baby!

But, to quote the young hero of the film "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", '...it will be all right in the end and if it isn't all right, it isn't the end yet...' - the Lilac Fairy and her helpers come dancing on to reduce the effects of the curse to falling asleep for 100 years.  There follows a comic scene where all knitting needles are banished and Carabosse tries to incriminate the Court's Chamberlayne but the Queen manages to convince the King that everything will be all right and the Chamberlayne is reprieved. Phew.

Next, is Princess Aurora's 16th birthday party where the beautiful Princess meets and dances with with her prospective suitors, politely asking her parents' advice, which she promptly forgets when an old lady appears with a spindle.  Oh dear!  Maybe I am biased, but the ballerina dancing the part of Princess Aurora tonight reminded me very much of Hollie Robinson, Miss Blackpool 2011 - she had gorgeous, short, platinum blond hair and wore a glittering tiara, much like Hollie when she won the title.  And Hollie is a fabulous dancer as well.

All too soon, the curtain descents and we have time for drinks, ice creams, a stretch of the legs before the story winds to its conclusion, with delightful pas de trois with Aurora and her Prince and the Lilac Fairy in a dream of things to come before a glittering finale when the Prince defeats Carabosse and kisses Aurora awake. Then the wedding celebrations begin with entertainment from Pantomime Characters Puss in Boots, Cinderella and her Prince, Red-Riding Hood and the Wolf and the Bluebirds of happiness.  The moral of the tale:  make sure you check your invitation list very carefully.

If you are new to ballet and don't really know when to clap (see London-based Jazz Singer Sarah Ellen Hughes blog on how annoying it can be for performers when people clap in the wrong place), you never need to worry with the Russian State Ballet of Siberia because a member of the Company sits in the audience to guide applause.  With grateful thanks to everyone involved in this wonderful production - from the star dancers, corps de ballet, teachers, choreographers, costume designers, orchestra, Conductor, and all those beavering away behind the scenes, not forgetting the people in charge of lighting and sound - we look forward to seeing you in Blackpool again soon.  Bon Voyage.

The Ballet Company are touring the country from December 2011 to March 2012. For a full list of tour dates and venues, click here: http://www.ents24.com/web/artist/76724/Russian_State_Ballet_of_Siberia.html

For further information about what's on at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool see www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk  or call 01253 743339 - you might like to consider becoming a Friend of the Theatre if you live in the North West.

And in the beautiful programme, we noticed there is a Russian Ballet Society based here in the UK and they have 'Friends' as well.  For further information check out www.russianballetsociety.co.uk

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Ice Hockey: Fylde Flyers 7 - Flintshire Freeze 9

Saturday 17th March 2012
English National League Division 2 North
Fylde Flyers 7 - Flintshire Freeze 9

Period Scores: 3-4, 2-2, 2-3
Shots On Goal: Flyers 67 - Freeze 79
Penalties In Minutes:  Flyers 34 - Freeze 18

Flyers Scorers: Elvis Veldze 2+2, Dan Bracegirdle 2+0, Kurtis Hall 1+1, Mark Gillingham 1+1, Ric Hulme 1+0, Tom Murphy 0+2, Wayne Whitby 0+2, Andy Clark 0+1
Flyers MVP: Andy Clark
Referee: Guy McKenzie, Ben Abbott
Attendance: 141

Photo by Nigel Fairhurst

Sunday 18th March 2012
English National League Division 2 North
Sutton Sting 13 - Fylde Flyers 2
Period Scores: 7-0, 3-0, 3-2

Flyers Remaining Games:
Saturday 24th March: home v Sutton Sting
Saturday 31st March: home v Flintshire Freeze
Saturday 7th April: home v Sheffield Senators
Saturday 14th April: home v Hull Stingrays
Sunday 15th April: away at Lancashire Raptors.

More info:  http://www.eiha.co.uk/Leagues/EnglishNational/North2.aspx




NWCFL Premier Division: AFC Blackpool 1 - Maine Road 1


More to come!

more info: www.nwcfl.com  or www.afcblackpool.co.uk

Friday, 16 March 2012

Seri-Grafff 2 - Return Of The Print: Exhibition By Robin Ross


What: Screen Printer Robin Ross returns with a brand new collection of hand pulled limited edition screen prints.

Where: Sides Art and Frames. 1 Tudor Buildings, South Westby St, Lytham, FY8 5JE. Tel 01253 737409
 
When: Runs until 21st April, open  Monday - Friday 9.30am - 5.00pm.

Why: Well, to pinch a quote from Stephen Fry: Robin Ross - Wow!

Definitely worth a trip to Lytham to check this out - some great images on show here from New York skyscrapers to bits of Berlin Wall, ageing punks to a coffee machine!  There's also a great print of top soul saxophonist Snake Davis in action (see picture, next to Lucy).

These prints are highly collectable and would look good in any house / office / business, so why not splash out and support local initiative and innovation...

To think, Robin Ross used to pay ME - now I'm giving HIM money..!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Gala Dinner at the Norbreck Castle Hotel, Friday, 29th June 2012

The Norbreck Castle Hotel will again be hosting a special Armed Forces Week Gala Dinner. This year's event will be held on Friday, 29th June 2012 and tickets are £17.95 per person.  Tables of 10 are available.  Please book early as this is a very popular event.

For further information about the Gala Dinner, please call the Sales Team on 01253 352341.

For further details regarding special, limited offers of 2- and 3-night breaks at the Norbreck Castle Hotel, please visit www.britanniahotels.com




"Best Kept Secrets...In Conversation" Show on 103.2 Preston FM - Friday 7pm

In our highly popular "Best Kept Secrets...In Conversation" show on 103.2 Preston FM this Friday evening from 7pm we will be featuring: 
  • Sue Hayward talking about the Happy House children's home in Kenya
  • An interview with Parisian musical trio We Were Evergreen
  • A review of our evening spent with the Capricorn Singers ladies choir (pictured)
  • Dan McCafferty from classic rock band Nazareth talking about their current UK tour
  • Elizabeth Gomm talking about her guitarist son Jon Gomm
  • and New releases from Alun Parry and Alex Butler.
So make it a date! You can tune in to Preston FM on 103.2 FM in the local area or listen in worldwide via the internet at http://www.preston.fm/

 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Film Review: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Directed by John Madden and Produced by Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin, this is a delightful film.

The story revolves around a crumbling palace in India, now owned by the son of the previous owner, who has a dream of restoring the building to its original glory. Anyone who has ever had a dream can identify with that.

The plan is to turn the palace into a retirement hotel for 'beautiful, elderly people' and a group of Brits are the first guests.  But the hotel is far from ready and so begins a delightful adventure, with several little sub plots, including educating a call centre as to how to call an elderly person in the UK.

With fantastic casting by Michelle Guish and Seher Latif, the main parts are played to perfection by Dev Patel, Tena Desal, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup and Tom Wilkinson.  The original music is by Thomas Newman and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is definitely worth seeing.  The underlying message seems to be that it is never too late in life to start again or to find some magic.

As always, we find it impossible to leave the cinema until the screen has gone black - after all, no film would make it to the screen without the hard work and dedication of the back-room boys and girls, as well as the director, producer, stars, extras, and so on.   You never know, we just might meet someone involved behind the scenes one day ... a big thank you to all involved for a wonderful film.

Are you heading to Lytham St. Annes for the Men's Open Golf in July?


If you are heading to Lytham St. Annes for the Men’s Open Golf from 19th – 22nd July then you will be visiting Lancashire’s “Golf Coast”.  This section of the Fylde Coast has so much more to offer than just golf and boasts several towns, including Blackpool, Fleetwood, Poulton-le-Fylde and Kirkham. 

Lytham – with it’s green scene of the Lytham Proms – is famous for shrimps, cockles, sea bass and grey mullet.  Here you will find small family run shops, such as Stringers the Department Store, which has a coffee shop and Lanagans the best fish and game shop for miles, giving Lytham its own special identity.   Restaurants include Boscos in Lytham Square – Jazz every Tuesday evening,  Portofino, Zest and Henry’s. Cafes - try Fancy That and Berties.   Lytham’s Clifton Arms Hotel in Lytham is where some of the world’s finest golfers have stayed.

Lytham and St. Annes are in fact two, separate towns, divided by the village of Ansdell with its beautiful White Church and Fairhaven Lake.  Ansdell, named after the artist Richard Ansdell RA ,has the longest sea stone wall in Europe.   Ansdell and Fairhaven share the same railway station.  Fairhaven on the seaside is graced by luxurious promenade houses overlooking the lake and Ribble Estuary.  There is a restaurant by the lake.

St. Annes on the Sea is famous for the Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Course.  Here you will find another, family-run department store – J.R. Taylors, which has a very nice restaurant.  Other good cafes/restaurants are Silantros in Wood Street – live music most weekends and Mike Taylor pianist on Tuesday lunchtimes -  and Antons in Garden Street.  The Pavilion Restaurant and Tea Room in Ashton Gardens also feature a singer most weekend evenings.  The Olive Tree serves Greek food and also features live music.  If you like pizza then check out Baccaro.

St. Annes is also home to CoCo and Tom 13 – 15 Garden Street – where you will find a large selection of men’s and women’s clothes and accessories.

This area also boasts a local chain of supermarkets called Booths, the nearest being Marton (Blackpool) and Lytham – both have excellent cafes.

No visit to this area would be complete without seeing what is arguably the most beautiful cabaret venue in the UK – The Sands Venue on the Promenade in Blackpool, near the Tower. Here you will find a Tea Dance with scrumptious tea every Tuesday afternoon from 2 - 4.30 pm, with Frontline a superb quarter to provide the music, and top entertainers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Variety show in aid of the RNLI, 18th April 2012, Colne Municipal Theatre



The Muni Theatre in Colne is hosting a Charity Variety Show in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.   The musical extravaganza on Wednesday, April 18th, will boast a spectacular selection of entertainment, featuring everything from music to magic.

Compere and comedian Des Day will be in charge of the proceedings and introducing a host of talent throughout the evening.   Des, who is no stranger to the stage, has appeared in theatre, pantomime and clubs for the last few decades, keeping audiences of all ages thoroughly entertained.  He has produced a number of charity variety shows, including this one at the Muni Theatre.  

Joining him on the night will be:

Maddy Lane, a versatile vocal entertainer whose fantastic voice makes her a firm favourite at charity evenings.

Professional circus entertainer, John Paul, who has appeared at numerous national and international circuses, such as the Mexican State Circus, the Netherlands National Circus and the American Three Ring Circus.

Brian Sefton, an international magic sensation who regularly appears at Blackpool North Pier Variety Show during summer seasons and top theatres and clubs throughout the country.

Classic Sounds, a vocal duo featuring Ann Cookson and Peter Blackburn, bring you songs from the shows. Both of them have appeared in musicals and theatre productions nationwide. Ann recently performed to an audience that included music legend Tim Rice and Peter is coming to Colne fresh from singing at the Edinburgh Festival.

To complement the acts, the fantastic Suzanne Roberts Dancers will keep the audience entertained with their ballet and tap dance routines. 

The Charity Variety Show is certain to be an entertaining night out, with proceeds being donated to the RNLI, so book your ticket now!

The show starts at 7.15pm, tickets are £8.50 in advance and £9.50 on the night.

To book your ticket, contact The Muni Theatre on 01282 661234 or visit www.themuni.co.uk

Exhibition of paintings and pottery at the Heritage Centre, Lytham 27th March - 15th April 2012


Monday, 12 March 2012

Gilbert O'Sullivan CD Competition Result

We are pleased to announce that the winners of the CD competition to win copies of the new Gilbert O'Sullivan greatest hits collection "A Singer And His Songs" were:

Elizabeth Gomm from Blackpool (pictured)
Auriel Dawson from Germany and
Patricia Forbes from Darwen.

Tune in again this Friday evening to have a chance of winning a copy of the "Big Dogz" CD by classic rock band Nazareth!

Blackpool Seagulls Support Kenya Childrens Charity

We were very pleased to be able to meet up today and have a chat with Sue Hayward, founder of the Happy House children's home for orphans and needy children in Kenya, and the associated umbrella project Children of Watamu.

The Happy House is celebrating its 2nd birthday with a fund raising event at the Sheraton Hotel in Blackpool on Friday evening and we gave Sue and Blackpool based co-ordinator Libby Gomm some prizes for the raffle and some presenst to take back to Kenya for the children.

Sue sold her home in Blackpool to help set up the children's home in Kenya and lives over there helping to care for the children. She is back on a flying visit to pick up difficulkt to source supplies and attend the party on Friday evening.
You'll be able to hear our fascinating interview with Sue and Libby in our "Best Kept Secrets...In Conversation" radio show on 103.2 Preston FM on Friday evening from 7pm (listen live worldwide via the internet at www.preston.fm) and after broadcast it will be posted on here so that you can listen again on demand.

To find out more about the Happy House and Children of Watamu, visit the website at: www.childrenofwatamu.net

To find out more about the Blackpool Seagulls recreational ice hockey team, go to: www.blackpoolseagulls.co.uk

Photo: Sue Hayward of the Happy House with a Blackpool Seagulls scarf.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

RMS Titanic - 100 years on Lancashire Commemorates - April 2012

With many links with Lancashire, the County Palatine commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of RMS Titanic on the night of 14th to 15th April 1912 with several special events.

On Saturday, 14th April 2012 the North Euston Hotel, Fleetwood is offering an informative talk by Jill Marr, followed by a special commemorative dinner with music.

The menu reflects the first class dinner served on the Titanic - condensed and modernised to include 7 courses followed by cheese, Port and coffee.

There will be a question and answer session following the meal.  The cost is £29.95 per person or £62.50 for Dinner, Bed and Breakfast per person.

To book, please call 01253 876525
or check out the North Euston's website on www.northeustonhotel.com

The North Euston Hotel, The Esplanade, Fleetwood, Lancashire FY7 6BN.

Many people will be aware of the Lancashire connection of Mr. Wallace Hartley the bandmaster on the Titanic, who was born in Colne but apart from the Managing Director of the White Star Line, Mr. Ismay, who was born in Crosby, several members of the crew were also from Lancashire and at least one passenger was from St. Annes on the Sea.

For an in-depth look at the crew members, please see www.titanicinlancs.com - where you will also find details of commemorative events taking place in East Lancashire and details of the Titanic in Lancashire Museum in Colne.

And in St. Anne-on-the-Sea, Arnold Sumner suggests "Thinking about the sinking of the Titanic a hundred years ago".  His idea is that as many of us as possible get together in an informal gathering and go down to St. Annes beach on Saturday, 14th and Sunday, 15th April to build a sand model of the Titanic to remember one of the worst shipping disasters ever.

According to Arnold, who is currently researching the St. Annes passengers aboard the Titanic, a Mr Arthur Gee of Riley Avenue in St. Annes, was on board, on his way to Mexico. In a letter to his wife dated 10th April 1912, Mr Gee said: "In the language of the poet, "This is a knock-out". I have never seen anything so magnificent, even in a first class hotel. I might be living in a palace. It is, indeed, an experience...".

For further information, please contact Mr Sumner on 07980 403516 or 01253 721608.



The Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool, 18th and 19th March 2012



The Grand Theatre is delighted to bring one of Russia’s most acclaimed ballet companies back to Blackpool. The Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia will perform Sleeping Beauty on 18th March and Giselle on 19th March.

In a magical Fairy Kingdom a princess, Aurora, is born and the Lilac Fairy and all her maidens are invited to the celebrations. The evil fairy Carabosse isn’t invited, but attends anyway disguised as a beautiful fairy and casts a spell over Aurora – cursing her that on her 16th birthday she will prick her finger and die.

Trying to save the Princess the Lilac Fairy casts another spell, saying that the princess will only fall asleep after pricking her finger.

Sixteen years later Carabosse smuggles a needle into the castle on the night of Aurora’s birthday party. The princess pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep.

One hundred years pass and the Lilac Fairy meets Prince Florimund who sees a picture of Aurora and falls in love with her. Knowing true loves kiss can wake the princess from the spell the Lilac Fairy takes the prince to battle Carabosse and save the princess.

Stunning choreography, sumptuous costumes and wonderful sets form the fantasy world in which the Lilac Fairy struggles against the evil Carabosse.

The story of Giselle and her aristocratic but duplicitous lover Albrecht is set to a glorious score and brought to life by the magnificent costumes and virtuoso performances.

Set in the Rhineland in the Middle Ages during the grape harvest Duke Albrecht disguises himself as a peasant so he can ‘sow a few wild oats’ before his marriage. He flirts with Giselle who falls in love with him. When she learns the truth she goes mad and dies.

Summoned from her grave by the Wilis, female spirits who, jilted before their wedding day, rise from their graves and seek revenge upon men by dancing them to death, Giselle goes in search of Albrecht...

Formed in 1981, The Russian State Ballet of Siberia has quickly established itself as one of Russia’s leading ballet companies and has built an international reputation for delivering performances of outstanding quality and unusual depth. The soloists and corps de ballet are superb, and never fail to delight audiences with their breathtaking physical ability and dazzling costumes.

Sleeping Beauty is at the Grand Theatre on Sunday 18th March and Giselle will be performed on Monday 19th March. Tickets start from £20.

Don’t forget! Book for both ballets at the same time for just £55.
(Stalls and Dress Circle only)

Book your seats now by calling the Grand Theatre Box Office on 01253 743339, 
online at www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk  
or at the Grand Theatre information sales point in the Houndshill Shopping Centre.

Parking is available at a discounted rate at the secure West Street Car Park, directly opposite the theatre’s entrance. Book your parking ticket when you book your show tickets from the Box Office and you can have parking from 5.30pm until 12.30am for only £2.50!

Ballet facts:

Sleeping Beauty
  • Sleeping Beauty is Tchaikovsky’s longest ballet at nearly 4 hours in length! It is nearly always cut.
  • Tchaikovsky finished the ballet score at the end of May 1889,having spent a total of 40 days on it.
  • Many fairytale characters, including Puss in Boots and Red Riding Hood, appear in the final act.

Giselle
  • The role of Giselle is one of the most sought after in ballet. To be cast in the role, a ballerina must have near perfect technique, great drama skills and outstanding grace.
  • Giselle revolves around the themes of forest spirits, forces of nature and death. The second act of the ballet, in which everyone wears white, is known as the ‘white act’.  
  • Giselle was first performed at the Paris Opéra’s Salle Le Peletier in Juen 1841.

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Release Of The Week: "It Means Nuthin When You're Dead" - Wasted Life

In our “Best Kept Secrets…In Conversation” show on 103.2 Preston FM last week, our release of the week was this latest offering from the rather excellent STP Records by Stoke on Trent punks Wasted Life.  We played the track “Those Were The Days” and heartily recommend checking out this band and their new CD.

“It Means Nuthin When You’re Dead” – Wasted Life
STP Records - STP 010 / Released 25th February 2012
Tracklisting:
1: Why Me
2: State Of Anxiety
3: Long Time Dead
4: Deprivation
5: Those Were The Days
6: Bad Habits
7: Four Years Flat
8: All Fucked Up
9: Everything For You
10: Arrogance
11: Betrayed By Truth
12: Mistakes

Ice Hockey: Fylde Flyers 4 - Sheffield Senators 11

Saturday 10th March 2012
English League Division2 North
Fylde Flyers 4 – Sheffield Senators 11
Period Scores: 2-1, 1-7, 2-3
Shots On Goal:  Flyers 74 – Senators 67
Penalties In Minutes: Flyers 16 – Senators 14
Flyers Scorers:  Andy Clark 2+2, Bobby Caunce 1+1, Mark Gillingham 1+0, Kurtis Hall 0+2
Flyers Penalties: Elvis Veldze 6, Andy Clark 4, Antony Melbourne, Janis Grinbergs, Matt Gibson  all 2
Flyers MVP: Mark Gillingham
Match Officials: Pering / Goodwin
Attendance: 129

Next Home Match:  Saturday 17th March v Flintshire Freeze (ED2N)– 5pm Face Off
Photo: Andrew Clark by Adam Tranter