Thursday, 24 April 2014


As we move ever closer to the Bridie Jackson and The Arbour album launch, it's time now to reveal the track list of the album.


New Skin
Diminutive Man
We Talked Again
Sandgate Dandling Song
Crying Beast
One Winter Evening

A full review of the album - and of the launch show - will follow next week.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Time is running out to catch Bridie Jackson and The Arbour on the Launch Tour.

Head for Kendal, Manchester or Gateshead this week if you can!

Monday, 21 April 2014


A postcard from Bridie Jackson and The Arbour!
Not only that, but they have also very kindly sent me their brand new album - New Skin!

As we head towards the official launch event (Saturday 26 April at the Gateshead Old Town Hall) we shall continue to post about Bridie Jackson and The Arbour here at Marsh Towers for the rest of the week. Stay tuned!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Caravan At The Arc

The Arc, Stockton
Prog rock is not exactly my favourite musical genre but I have been known to dabble; gig-wise, at least.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Caravan. I'd heard a good slice of their very early catalogue but had not followed the band's historical progress.

Tristan Mackay started the evening's entertainment with a fine set of bluesy acoustic ballads.
Caravan took to the stage shortly afterwards - a five-man, black-clad group. Pye Hastings, centre stage,  took the vocal duties for the majority of the songs. He is one of the Caravan originals, although three of the others go back a very long way too. Geoffrey Richardson featured on vocals too, but also played virtually everything imaginable: guitar, flute, clarinet, viola, mandolin...even the spoons. Jim Leverton was on bass and Jan Schelhaas on keyboards. Newest member Mark Walker was on the drums, a position he has held for the last three or four years. His youthful energy (''he's our carer'' quipped Geoffrey Richardson) gave him a touch of the Keith Moons at various points.

They played a couple of obligatory crowd-pleasers - namely In Land of Grey and Pink and Golf Girl - early on in the set, followed by the lengthy Nine Feet Underground (in eight parts) later on in the evening.
However, I enjoyed their more recent material much more, especially the songs from the new album, Paradise Filter.  Dead Man Walking, Trust Me I'm a Doctor and the album's title track were particularly good. More rock, less prog.
I enjoyed hearing the anecdotes between the songs. It's good to know where the inspiration for the songwriting process comes from.

Caravan played for two hours without a break. They did very well, as most of their songs feature intrinsic musical arrangements, with all five musicians pulling out all of the stops in unison.
 Despite the extended set, the evening flew by.
Follow the Caravan news and tour dates over at their official website.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Sutton Hoo

40 years after being intrigued at school by the story of Sutton Hoo, I finally got around to visiting the site.

Here are a few snaps of the famous burial mounds of East Anglia and their surrounding features.
The iconic image of the Anglo-Saxon helmet marks the entrance to the site. It's an image seen repeatedly throughout the exhibition.
Tranmer House - formerly Sutton Hoo House - belonged to Edith Pretty, who instigated the exploration of the burial mounds. She donated the subsequently unearthed treasure to the British Museum, where most of the significant finds can still be seen. Tranmer House is now open to visitors.
Authentic burial mound!

A replica helmet, as found in the exhibition hall. It's well worth watching the 8-minute explanatory video, which sets up the exhibition very nicely.
A reproduction of the longboat found inside one of the mounds. Did the original really featured King Raedwald, or somebody else?

For further details regarding Sutton Hoo, head for the National Trust website.

Monday, 14 April 2014

RAF Museum, London

I enjoyed my recent trip to the RAF Museum, London.

There were hangers full of vintage aircraft, a sneak preview of the new Lightning MK2 and plenty of very instructive information boards. It's worth setting aside a full day for the museum.

Here are a few snaps featuring some very familiar planes.