News

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – Arts Weekend

A one-off arts event is taking place in Leek in November (16th-18th) celebrating the links between the Staffordshire Moorlands and the epic medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

This 14th century Arthurian tale features chivalry, romance, temptation and a beheading challenge.  Members of the public are invited to take part and make their mark in a pictorial retelling of the tale guided by local, internationally known artist Sue Prince.  People will also be able to listen to a talk, eat medieval food and take a guided walk to the stunning Lud’s Church with Gawain specialist Clive Foden.

Most scholars now agree that the unknown author of the Gawain poem came from this area and tell-tale signs of this are not only the local accent and words which appear throughout the work, but also local features, such as The Roaches and Lud’s Church, which figure in the action.  The event is being organised by the Dr Plot’s Lesser Known Leek committee who celebrate the poem each July with a parade through the town, complete with giants, culminating in a re-telling of the tale to delighted crowds.

Before the public workshops, Sue Prince, who lives in Ilam, will teach the skill of painting a ‘bonad’ (a style of narrative folk art in egg tempera) to art students at Leek College, and some will become her expert helpers. Then on Friday 16th everyone is invited to come to the Foxlowe, learn the technique and add to Sue’s version of the story: they can even paint a medieval version of themselves along the bottom of the artwork.  The workshop will be repeated on Saturday 17th November, at the College, also from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.

Also on the Saturday there will be a free children’s workshop Knights, Princesses and Monsters (10.00 am to 3.00 pm) at the Foxlowe, where children can make their own puppets of mediaeval characters.

Clive Foden, a skilled woodcarver and Gawain specialist, will travel from Norfolk to deliver one of his enthralling talks on the evening of Saturday 17th November at the Foxlowe Arts Centre.  He will discuss the poet’s interest in craftsmanship as well as the unmistakeable landscape clues in the poem. The following day, Sunday 18th, Clive will also lead a guided walk over The Roaches and down into Lud’s Church – the poem’s Chapel in the Green where Gawain meets the Green Knight to submit to beheading!

All the events are free (apart from a small transport cost to the guided walk) and to enable them, a successful crowdfunding campaign was launched on 24 September to raise the £3375 needed.

Sequence of Events

Friday, 16th November (10 am – 4 pm) The Town that Painted at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Market Place, Leek.

This will be a free community ‘paint-in’ of the folk art retelling of the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, led by Sue Prince.

Saturday, 17th November (10 am – 4 pm) The Town that Painted at the New Art Block at Leek College, Stockwell Street.  Continuation of the free community ‘paint-in’ but at a different venue.

Saturday, 17th November (10 am – 3 pm)  Knights, Princesses and Monsters.  Workshop for children to make puppets of mediaeval characters.

Saturday, 17th November (7 pm onwards) Craftsmanship and the Gawain Poet at the Foxlowe cafe.

This will be a free talk given by Clive Foden, which will also include mediaeval food to taste.

Sunday, 18th November (10.30 am) Guided Walk to Lud’s Church.  Meet at Leek’s Market Place for the minibus.

The walk will be led by Clive Foden  and the cost will be £10 each to cover transport costs.  There are limited places, so please book  by e-mailing sirgawainleek@gmail.com or 07989-986672.

You can follow on Facebook at Sir Gawain and Leek or on Twitter @sirgawainleek.

Background

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of four late 14th century Middle English poems, written in a North West Midland dialect (the others being Pearl, Purity and Patience) and surviving in a single manuscript, held in the British Library. All are thought to have been written by the same unknown author, now known either as the Pearl or the Gawain Poet, believed to have lived and worked around Leek, North Staffordshire. 

For further information

Please contact Lindsay Trevarthen on sirgawainleek@gmail.com or 07989-986672.

John Bramwell

Singer-songwriter John Bramwell, supported by Dave Fidler, played a unique and captivating largely acoustic solo set at the Foxlowe on Friday the 9th of November, 2018, accompanied by multi-instrumentalists Alan Lowles and Dave Fidler.

Despite the Autumn storm that was raging outside – you could hear the wind howling and rain battering down outside during the quieter moments of his set – around 50 or so hardy, enthusiastic and highly partisan fans braved the weather and turned out to watch an evening of songs “inspired by the spirit of liberty, independence, adventure and solitude that John has enjoyed on the road, as well as the diverse emotions that escape and travel can bring about – from sadness to exhilaration”, with vocalised sound effects, audience participation and often hilarious asides, interpolations and interactions with members of the audience and his entourage between songs.

Biographical Information

John Bramwell is one of the UK’s most unique and talented singer-songwriters.

Performing as a musician for over 30 years, John started out as the front man of a four-piece band called “The Ignition” that toured in the 1980’s. Following that he became a solo performer and Granada Television presenter, Johnny Dangerously.

Bramwell formed ‘The Mouth’ in the 1990’s with friend and musician Bryan Glancy and later worked booking bands at the longstanding and legendary Manchester venue ‘Night and Day’. It was here that he met Pete Jobson and formed ‘I am Kloot’ in 1999.

The three piece alternative rock band went on to release ten albums, receiving a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 2011 for the exquisite, Sky at Night, produced by Guy Garvey & Craig Potter from ‘Elbow’.

Each ‘I am Kloot’ album is a brilliant showcase for John’s skilful songwriting and distinctive vocal style.

A brilliant showman, throughout his career John has developed a legendary, live reputation establishing a relationship with audiences with his refreshing honesty, tall stories and his catchphrase “here’s another song about drinking and disaster”.

His new solo album, called Leave Alone the Empty Spaces, is out now. The record is a stunning showcase of John’s fabulous, widely acclaimed song-writing and his unique voice. It’s the first completely new collection of songs by John as a solo artist since he started his adventures away from ‘I am Kloot’.

Dave Fidler’s first solo album, I’m Not Here, and the Easy Gone, Easy Come EP are also availabe, including on Spotify and iTunes for your listening pleasure.

Dave Fidler at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

John Bramwell at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

 

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

ST13 Nov-Dec 2018

An on-line copy of ST13 (No 54) is now available.

Follow the links for the full text:

ST13 COVER Nov-Dec 2018

ST13 INSIDE Nov-Dec 2018

Thunder Hammer Spooktacular Halloween Ball

Thunder Hammer made their third appearance at the Foxlowe on Saturday the 27th of October.

As with their previous two appearances, the event was a sell out, and the Foxlowe was packed.

Billed as a Halloween Ball, the more extrovert and adventurous members of the audience dressing up as zombies, Día de Muertos (Mexican Day of the Dead) Señors, Señoras and Señoritas, Axl and Slash from Guns N’ Roses, Horror Film characters, and Marvel and DC Comic characters, amongst other costumes. It looked like a lot of effort had gone into the hair, makeup and costumes, and you all must have had some funny looks travelling to the venue or if you were out and about around town beforehand!

The Band themselves were in their usual stage clothes, although Leek-based bassist Jonathan ‘JP’ Parsons was rocking a pair of cowboy boots! The band members in full are:

  • Simon Ward – Lead Vocals
  • Ben Forrester – Lead Guitar
  • Dave Leese – Lead Guitar
  • Jonathan ‘JP’ Parsons – Bass
  • Josh Jones – Drums

Our very own local ‘Monsters of Rock’ play a mix of Classic Rock and Heavy Metal covers, and this was their first show back together as a full band after their lower-key acoustic appearance in Leek, and now legendary sell out preformance at Trentham Gardens in the summer, which saw over 2500 rock fans descend upon Trentham to witness the Hammer in action.

Warning – some of the following photos contain fake blood and gore, and outrageous riffage and face-melting shredding, which some viewers may find disturbing!

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

Thunder Hammer at the Foxlowe, 27th of October, 2018 Photo by Giles Metcalfe

All photos by Giles Metcalfe.

Bob Newns – Ever Expanding Colour

Bob was Head of Art in High Schools and Associate Lecturer in PGCE at Manchester Metropolitan University. His paintings have been exhibited in a variety of centres in the North West.

During November and December his current Acrylic paintings can be viewed in the Foxlowe Cafe and also in the Upstairs Gallery.

Apple Fest Juice Legacy

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Leek Blues and Americana Festival 2018 FXLW

Now in its sixth year, the expanded Leek Blues and Americana Festival 2018 was held at 20 different indoor and outdoor venues all across Leek, with more than 60 bands playing, from Wednesday the 3rd of October to Sunday the 7th of October. The Festival was a great success.

On Wednesday the 3rd of October, The Foxlowe Arts Centre hosted The Guy Tortora Band, with support from Dave Luke & Chuck Micallef.

Dave Luke & Chuck Micallef, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Dave Luke & Chuck Micallef

The Guy Tortora Band, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Guy Tortora Band

Sunday the 7th of October saw the FXLW: Americana sessions taking place all-afternoon and into the evening, featuring an eclectic lineup of six bands and artists playing from 12 noon until 7pm – Adam Coxon & Rick Ford, The Rye Sisters, Mean Mary & Frank James, Lissy Taylor, Fine Lines, and The Strange Blue Dreams.

Adam Coxon & Rick Ford, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Adam Coxon & Rick Ford

The Rye Sisters, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Rye Sisters

Mean Mary & Frank James, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Mean Mary & Frank James

Lissy Taylor, at the Foxlowe Arts Centre

Lissy Taylor

Fine Lines, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

Fine Lines

The Strange Blue Dreams, at The Foxlowe Arts Centre

The Strange Blue Dreams

A big thank you to everyone involved – the artists who played on Wednesday night and on the Sunday, the sponsors, the Foxlowe staff and volunteers for all their hard work in staging the events, and to all that attended.

All photography by Giles Metcalfe.

Gawain and the Green Knight – Crowdfunding Call

Gawain – diligence and faith by Sue Prince

A one-off arts event is taking place in Leek in November celebrating the links between the Staffordshire Moorlands and the epic medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

This 14th century Arthurian tale features chivalry, romance, temptation and a beheading challenge.  Members of the public will be invited to take part and make their mark in a pictorial retelling of the tale guided by local, internationally known artist Sue Prince.  People will also be able to listen to a talk, eat medieval food and take a guided walk to the stunning Lud’s Church with Gawain specialist Clive Foden.

To support the weekend’s events and make a pledge, please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sir-gawain-leek and keep an eye out for updates and further information.  You can follow on Facebook at Sir Gawain and Leek or on Twitter @sirgawainleek.

Most scholars now agree that the unknown author of the Gawain poem came from this area and tell-tale signs of this are not only the local accent and words which appear throughout the work, but also local features, such as The Roaches and Lud’s Church, which figure in the action.  The event is being organised by the Dr Plot’s Lesser Known Leek committee who celebrate the poem each July with a parade through the town, complete with giants, culminating in a re-telling of the tale to delighted crowds.

Before the public workshops, Sue Prince, who lives in Ilam, will teach the skill of painting a ‘bonad’ (a style of narrative folk art in egg tempera) to art students at Leek College, and some will become her expert helpers. Then on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th November, everyone is invited to come to the college, learn the technique and add to Sue’s version of the story: they can even paint a medieval version of themselves along the bottom of the artwork.

Clive Foden, a skilled woodcarver and Gawain specialist, will travel from Norfolk to deliver one of his enthralling talks on the evening of Saturday 17th November at the Foxlowe Arts Centre.  He will discuss the poet’s interest in craftsmanship as well as the unmistakeable landscape clues in the poem. The following day, Sunday 18th, Clive will also lead a guided walk over The Roaches and down into Lud’s Church – the poem’s Chapel in the Green where Gawain meets the Green Knight to submit to beheading!

All the events are free (apart from a small transport cost to the guided walk) and to enable them, a crowdfunding campaign was launched on 24 September (running for four weeks) to raise the £3375 needed. There are lots of exciting rewards in return for sponsorship!

People can choose to be immortalised in this unique artwork by being depicted as a character from the poem, such as Sir Bertilak and his lovely wife, or King Arthur and Guinevere.  Other possibilities are Knights of the Round Table, several courtly ladies, and Morgan le Fay, Arthur’s wicked sister.  There are even a number of mythical beasts like the woodwose. Or perhaps your horse could be Gringolet, or your dog a hunting hound? Other rewards on offer are the opportunity to be a giant and take part in the annual Dr Plot’s celebration as Gawain or the Green Knight. or being taught how to play medieval bagpipes.  But if none of those tempt you, then there you will be able to pledge for copies of Sue Prince’s stunning finished artwork in various forms, or just make a donation, so there’s something for everyone and to suit every pocket!

To support the weekend’s events and make a pledge, please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/sir-gawain-leek and keep an eye out for updates and further information.  You can follow on Facebook at Sir Gawain and Leek or on Twitter @sirgawainleek.

Background

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of four late 14th century Middle English poems, written in a North West Midland dialect (the others being Pearl, Purity and Patience) and surviving in a single manuscript, held in the British Library. All are thought to have been written by the same unknown author, now known either as the Pearl or the Gawain Poet, believed to have lived and worked around Leek, North Staffordshire. 

For further information

Please contact Lindsay Trevarthen on sirgawainleek@gmail.com or 07989-986672.

Earth, Sea And Sky

Earth, Sea And Sky – Paintings by Philip Bennett.

A personal view

For two centuries our understanding of the English landscape has been shaped and conditioned by those great works of the 18th Century landscape painters. However, developments in the visual technologies over the past two decades have made looking and seeing on a micro and macro scale available to each and everyone of us. We are a very sophisticated visual society, and it can be said with certainty that we all perceive the world around us in very unique and individual ways.

Gigging the Blues Away

The ever-growing Leek Blues & Americana Festival is returning this autumn – and once again the Foxlowe will be one of the many venues across the town which will be hosting gigs.

First up will be the UK public premiere of the blues film Sidemen: Long Road to Glory (12A) on Tuesday October 2. Admission £5.

Then The Guy Tortora Band will be performing at the Foxlowe on Wednesday October 3. Born and raised in Pasadena, California, Guy Tortora is currently based in London. He is a guitar player of some accomplishment and a distinctive songwriter. He will be joined for this Foxlowe gig by Dave Luke and Chuck Micallef.

Then on Sunday October 7, there will be an amazing selection (FXLW Anericana) of some of the finest local, national and international Americana acts taking to the Foxlowe stage. The line-up is: Adam Coxon & Rick Ford, The Rye Sisters, Mean Mary & Frank James, Fine Lines, Lissy Taylor, and Strange Blue Dreams.

Wristbands £10 for 16 year olds and over.

Free admission for under 16s.

For further information about, and to purchase tickets for all Leek Blues & Americana gigs, visit www.leekblues.co.uk

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