I will not lie: yes, I do miss going to gigs all the time. When we made the decision to move to Dorset, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to buy tickets on a whim for all the bands we wanted to see. When I was a music journalist and living in London, I could go to four/five gigs a week (hey, who could refuse a free entry to a metal/goth/industrial/cyberpunk/neofolk/other alternative genre gig?). Then I moved to Essex and any gig would entail an hour on a train, both ways. As I was a hardened commuter, it was fine for a few years.
But for my last year in the South East, though, the train journeys to and from London for gigs, exhibitions and the like became a pet-hate - and an expensive one at that.
So when our excellent local band The Dolmen (who happen to be big players on the UK and European alternative circuit) organise a gig in their hometown to celebrate a local historical event, we just had to be there.
And the bonus: they invited London band PerKelt to come and join us in Weymouth! Or rather, it seems, PerKelt volunteered their services for expenses only according to The Dolmen’s frontman Taloch Jameson. This was quite a brave move following the disruption to the road and transport networks caused by “the Beast from the East” and storm Emma!
Thankfully, everyone made it to the Weymouth Centenery Club – granted, not the most glamorous of venues, but anyone who’s been to a gig at the 02 Academy Islington in London knows that appearances can be deceptive and it’s what’s happening inside that counts!
The concert was part of an annual weekend of events organised around the theme of The Crabchurch Conspiracy, an aborted 1645 royalist plot to retake the ports of Weymouth and Melcombe for the King during the English Civil War. Every year, re-enactments and dramatizations of the conspiracy take place in Weymouth to celebrate the triumph of the local anti-royalists – and the free spirit of the local inhabitants, past and present.
Present of course was the author of the book which has inspired the whole weekend – Mark Vine, who wrote the book recounting the events, The Crabchurch Conspiracy.
The Dolmen started by playing songs from their album The Crabchurch Conspiracy, written to accompany the book. To add some drama to the proceedings, each track was introduced with gusto by an actor setting the scene for each song. The band's evocative, action and emotion-packed set took us to the heart of the story.
You could almost smell the sweat, the gunpowder and the blood and hear the screams of the slain and wounded.
PerKelt are based in London and are a young, multi-national and multi-instrumental (and incredibly energetic) outfit who will probably blow your mind if you see them live. Signed to Suriya Recordings, a new record label launched in the autumn of 2017 by no other than Youth (yes, Youth, you know, the legendary producer and founding member of one of our favourite bands, Killing Joke!), PerKelt play "Pagan Speed Folk". Recorders, tribal drums, acoustic guitar, harp, fiddle (courtesy of brand new member Duncan) - it is an explosive mix inspired by folk tales and legends and the writings of William Shakespeare! There is an energy here, and some mystery too... Paya's voice rises above the music like an enchanted entity and you cannot take your eyes off her as she switches recorders, then goes from harp to recorder and from recorder to voice. David, the "smiling drummer", provides the raw energy whilst Stepan's virtuoso classical guitar playing contributes the core thread for each song. Breathtaking (literally!)
It was time for Taloch to swap his acoustic guitar for an electric one and The Dolmen gave us an absolutely brilliant set; this is a band who play to huge crowds but always seem to put the same energy into their concert wherever they are and how small the venue (thankfully, the volume monitor in the corner behaved itself!).
This is "Medieval Celtic Folk Rock" for the 21st Century, at its best and most inspired, with rousing and solid melodies, spiritual and meaningful lyrics, oodles of charisma and a passion for freedom which is incredibly infectious.
As PerKelt joins The Dolmen for the last few minutes, we know we are in for a treat - and all musical hell breaks loose, and the evening ends with a huge, raucous Celtic bang.
It was an event of fantastic music and storytelling, of passion and enthusiasm for history, human endeavour, imagination and creativity. I feel privileged to have been there!
The "official" pictures of our event by the lovely SteveK photography are now up!
Go and have a look HERE, they show the great atmosphere of the evening!
And... We have done it!
And it was truly exceptional!
Well, what can I say? We had a wonderful evening yesterday at The Harrison in the company of our talented writers and musicians who were all captivating in their own unique way!
A lot of people have commented on the quality of the guests, the great venue, the fantastic atmosphere and on the look of the merch stall!
People have discovered new musicians and writers, which is exactly the aim of our evenings: to bring new audiences to authors and musicians and vice versa.
We think it is important for people to get out of their comfort zone and mix and match genres and scenes.
I wish to say a massive thank you to our writers and musicians Sarah Channing Wright, Syd Moore, Cathi Unsworth, Kirsten Morrison, Hi-Reciprocity, Kate Arnold.
Thank you to our sound man Rob for his help throughout the evening - we wouldn't have done it without him.
Thank you to Matt ArtPix for all the visuals and for being our man on the merch stall!
Thank you to photographer Stevek Photography - we will post a link to Steve's photographs of the event once they are online!
Thank you to Alan Pride for his professionalism and expertise!
Thank you to our wonderful audience who were so attentive!
It is becoming more and more difficult to find an audience like you who genuinely listens to the readers and musicians!
We were really chuffed to have in the audience members of some of the best bands around at the moment!
It was a real pleasure and honour to have with us Andy Heintz (front man of Flesh Tetris and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing) as well as Charlie Fink and Justine Armatage of the superb The Cesarians...
I personally cannot wait to see them all on stage soon.
We do hope it will not be another two years before the next London: Winter Tales event, and we already have a few ideas for the next one as well as for some "Out of London" events...
Watch this space!
You can see a few pictures of the evening on Matt ArtPix's blog HERE.
Simon Satori (aka Hi-Reciprocity) has already written a gem of a review about the evening... Read it below!
On Saturday, I went to ‘Winter Tales 2: The Witching Hour’. This was Carya Gish and Matt ArtPix and Alan Pride’s mini-festival of words and music. I love it. It’s a great and original concept to get darker styles of music together with smart and scary literature. This particular one had a theme of Witchcraft which I think all the artists kept to… or at least sneaked into their sets. :)
Three days to go until our event, and we are all getting very excited indeed, especially as we only have 8 tickets to sell to be SOLD OUT! Be quick!
It will truly be a unique event of dark words and beguiling music.
Alan of Oil54 will welcome you on the door and Matt ArtPix and I will be manning the fab merch stall!
Talking about merch stall...
We will have some special bundles of my two novels, I Am a Muse and The Book of Thoth at the incredible price of... £12! (usually £6 and £12 at events and RRP £7.99 and RRP £15 respectively!)
I hope to see you there!
All the details for our London event are now on the events page! Go HERE to know all there is to know about this fabulous evening of music and spoken word!
Or rather... the ArcanePixMobile - coming to a music festival/vintage/antiques market/fair near you!
A great little ex-fire brigade van perfect for developing our ventures, in the red colour we both use for our branding - it's the perfect match.
See you on the road soon!
Portland Bill is in the background...
The first teaser poster is out!
Do you remember London: Winter Tales back in February 2016?
Well, we are bringing you yet another evening of words and music...
More news soon!
The Right Place should by now be finished. I worked incredibly hard on background stories, personalities and locations during my residency at Norburton Hall in Dorset (before my move) in autumn 2015-winter 2016. Then the house hunting/studies/freelance work took over and I haven't been able to write for a long, long time.
I am resuming writing this January 2018 - at last. I am giving myself a whole year to write that crucial first draft, but I am secretly hoping that it will take half that time...
It will all depend on the day job...
New publication date: Late 2019.
I am at the "conception" stage of Hell Lane: A Barton Stacey Mystery: jotting down ideas, finding characters' names (I'm having fun with that one) and starting thinking about background stories, plot, etc. There will probably be some research too as I'd like to set this one either in the 30s, 40s or 50s...
I've spent my holidays reading Agatha Christie for inspiration!
I guess it's a start...
Provisional pub date: Late 2021.
2017 has been a challenging year for us at Arcane Publishing and Matt ArtPix, in good and bad ways.
We finally moved to our new HQ in Dorset at the tail end of January, but I have personally found it difficult to keep Arcane Publishing active - all this because independent publishing doesn't pay the bills and I've had to find something to do just that whilst Matt ArtPix and I find ways to finance/develop our respective and joint ventures.
Even though I now find myself surrounded by the very landscape that has inspired my third novel The Right Place, I have found myself unable to write, and therefore the first draft of The Right Place is still where I left it in March 2016. This has made me feel very sad and impatient indeed, especially as ideas keep popping out in my head about characters and settings for my fourth novel, Hell Lane. I am trying to find ways of combining a (daunting) day job with the writing, something I haven't had to do for the past eight years - it is a bit of a shock to the system.
Unfortunately, it looks like The Right Place will not publish before 2019 - and this is an optimistic estimate, unless I start playing the lottery and I win.
Arcane and Matt ArtPix do have loads of projects and ideas, and we hope to be able to share them with you soon. Watch this space!
And in the meantime, do not forget to go and check out Matt ArtPix's blog!
See you in 2018!
I leave you with some photos of one of my favourite places ever (taken yesterday afternoon): the coast along the B3157 and the West Dorset Ridgeway!
I think therefore I write.
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