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Culture Crawl Reflection

Rachel Horne has a chat about Culture Crawl with Dreambakes

Words: Rachel Horne

Photography: Rod Jackson

Firstly, as a local business, why did you want to get behind Culture Crawl?

We wanted to get behind it because Doncaster has an amazing arts and culture scene that doesn’t get enough recognition.

People always say things like ‘oh I wish we had events like xxxx in Doncaster’ but never do anything to help plan them or talk about them. THIS is the sort of event Doncaster needs in order to change perceptions and show we are a flourishing town.

Wowsa, thank you for getting our vision. It is frustrating when I read comments online, people want Doncaster to be like Leeds or Sheffield, then don’t offer support. Putting on Culture Crawl was a massive risk, we were scared people wouldn’t get it or turn out, but we created a solid marketing campaign, largely in print (YES, PRINT’S NOT DEAD). This included 10,000 flyers, 1000 Maps, and people came out in droves. Can I ask what the vibe was like at Dreambakes on the night?

Doncopolitan and other independent entrepreneurs are really trying hard to introduce new and alternative events to Doncaster which I think a) is a big risk for those involved and b) will hopefully help people believe in the town and start buying and investing in it.

The vibe was amazing. We had a big queue at the Vamanos truck that we hosted outside, and people were coming in to enjoy their food and then have dessert. There was a real buzz and vibrancy in the air. People were chatting, laughing, just generally enjoying themselves and being incredibly positive.

Also, it’s nice to celebrate Doncaster as a place, rather than just doing a copycat event that’s worked in, say, Leeds or Sheffield. Honestly, you guys did an amazing job.

Thanks mate, I’ll pay ya bribe laters.

The thing I liked about the Culture Crawl was that it wasn’t focused on drinking; that wasn’t a motivation for people to come out. So, people were out for it because of the event in itself, because they were genuinely interested in the arts. I dare say some people just had tacos and left, but the majority I asked were out to look at the event. Just shows you what can happen if people actually take action with their ideas.

 

I just wanted to bring more people into town than the Coca Cola truck did in Christmas 2016. It’s been bugging me, that. Did you guys sell out of cake?

We did yes, we sold all the cake I had made just for the event and almost all the cake for the following day.

It was also a goal to do this event on a night when no-one would be in town to prove that we can get people out.

Yeah, I wasn’t 100% sure about it being on a Tuesday but it totally makes sense if you wanted it to be proven that it was just for the event.

I thought the route was really good and had a great mix of things to look at and do as well.

Like there wasn’t an overlap so there was a reason to come to each venue. 

Did you manage to check-out the venues?

No, I was working until half nine. From what people have said they were great! There didn’t seem to be a ‘favourite’, but it was great to see other businesses getting behind the event. It felt like a real breath of fresh air.

I could practically see the blood, sweat and tears you guys had all put in!

It was hard graft but certainly worth it.

 

Follow up dates on Culture Crawl on our website:

doncopolitan.com/culturecrawl

Get the date for the next Culture Crawl in your diary:

Tuesday 30th October, 5pm.

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The Ted Hughes Poetry Festival

The Ted Hughes Festival (South Yorkshire)

Words: The Ted Hughes festival

Photography: The Ted Hughes festival

The Ted Hughes Festival (South Yorkshire) welcomes its fourth and most diverse festival to date this September. Bridging the gap between hip-hop culture and poetry by incorporating the raw message from the mean streets of Philadelphia, and ‘blowing it up’ on the mean streets of Mexborough. A former mining and market town surrounded by ex-mining villages.

Taking place at a local Business Centre, the old Grammar School where poet Ted Hughes studied, the overarching project aims to celebrate the fact that Mexborough was Hughes’ home from 1938-1951, his formative years as a poet in the town.

Commemorating Hughes’ time in the town, the project also seeks to develop art and creativity in his name.

Each year the project produces the annual Ted Hughes Poetry Festival (this year 7th – 9th of September) programming high quality poets and performers with both established and rising reputations. The festival program also includes visual arts, children’s activities and a distinctive strand of poetry walks.

Festival Creative Director Michele Beck states:

“Mexborough is in the lowest 10% of deprivation nationally and suffers from unemployment, low-wages, a high crime rate, anti-social behaviour, substance misuse issues, limited cultural opportunities and a culture of low aspiration. The festival’s ethos is to develop a more positive sense of identity arising from the town’s connection with a figure of the stature of Ted Hughes and opportunities for active involvement as audience members, participants,
or artists. No one else is telling this story or capitalising on Hughess’ links to Mexborough. In this context, it is important that the festival continues to grow in quality, scale and range”.

In the recent Brexit vote (Mexborough was heavily Pro-Brexit) a polarisation has subsequently developed within the community. The festival organisers are seeking to diversify the festival, to contribute to wider community cohesion and to challenge parochialism.

In partnership with a local organisation ‘Breaking Beats’ who work extensively with young people in Doncaster, teaching spray painting, music production and beatboxing, the organisers are fusing Hughes’ heritage with urban art forms. Some of the young adults engaged with the project have a lack of self-confidence and have had little or no engagement with the literature world.

The festival aims to support grassroots creative talent including a 16 year old rap artist, Fionn McCloskey from Sheffield and Hive Young Writers, who are all under 25 and from across the region.

This year the festival’s line-up includes impressive headliners whose moral fabric and work align with the projects aims. Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother) is an internationally touring musician, poet, visual artist, and workshop facilitator from Philadelphia. She’s performed at numerous festivals, colleges, galleries, and museums. Her debut album, Fetish Bones, was named one of the top experimental albums of the year by Pitchfork as well as one of the best albums of the year by The Wire magazine.

Other headlining poets include Manchester based Mike Garry who has won admiration far and wide and his collaboration with New Order in New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2014, which received five-star reviews. His poetry is regularly heard on BBC Radio 5 Live, Radio 4, BBC Breakfast, Match of the Day, Sky TV and his work with Manchester United & Nike has elevated Mike’s poetry to an international audience. He has read his poems in prisons, young offenders institutions, mental health hospitals, children’s homes, youth clubs and local pubs. He’s passionate about taking live poetry to the places it wouldn’t normally reach and to people who wouldn’t normally listen to it. His performances are passionate swirling rhythms of thoughts and emotions converted into monologues of quick fire words.

Supporting Mike Garry is Kate Fox, a stand-up poet. Her second comedy series was broadcast on Radio 4 last June. She has been Poet in Residence for the Great North Run, Glastonbury Festival and Saturday Live on Radio 4. She has been commissioned by the Yorkshire Festival, Hull 2017
and several literature festivals. She recently successfully completed her PhD on class, gender and Northern English regional identity in stand-up performance, having held a full-time studentship in the Performance and Cultural Industries School at the University of Leeds.

Michele Beck sums up the importance of this year’s festival contributors:

“This poetry is real, it’s raw – it harbours from the soul of people who have known hardship and struggle – who have a social conscious and who wish to express themselves for the benefit of others. We are at a crucial and exciting time in poetry, the traditional elitist poetry can’t reach these people. This is a movement and it’s an important one”.

The Ted Hughes Festival (South Yorkshire) runs from the 7th to the9th of September, 2018 with a range of exciting and diverse events taking place in and around Mexborough. For full details please visit:

tedhughesproject.com

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A Stirling Time at Doncaster Brewery

Pint Club visits Doncaster Brewery to try their Stirling coffee stout

Words: Danny McMillan

Doncaster Brewery & Tap

Doncaster Brewery’s Stirling Single Coffee Stout 4.5%

Cost £3 

For this issue of Pint Club, I headed over to the Doncaster Brewery & Tap, a local micro-brewery located in Doncaster Town Centre, to see what locally brewed beers they had on offer. I first went here a long time ago when it was first opening up and it still offers the same warm welcome and friendly customers it always has. There have been subtle but largely effective changes to the furniture and menus, along with the addition of board games and a number of events happening throughout the week. Located in a close yet quiet part of town just off Waterdale, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a peaceful pint with friends and like-minded people.

After relighting my joy of stout in the past few weeks, I decided to give the Stirling Single Coffee Stout a try and see how it compared with the others I’ve been having recently. At the bar, I was told this had an especially strong coffee taste to it, and that had me a little worried. I love coffee but didn’t think I would want the taste so prevalent in my pint. I took my drink and sat down after handing over the very reasonable £3 price tag.

This beverage, born just a short walk away from where I now sat, blew my mind as I took the first sip. What a lovely tipple this was. The strong coffee taste I had worried about was actually the highlight of this drink as the dark undertones of rich coffee made the pint go down beautifully. I definitely enjoyed the Stirling Silver Coffee Stout a lot more than I first expected and will definitely be trying it again.

Looking around this quaint little bar you can clearly see there is a community here. The walls are decorated with pictures of the past alongside posters and adverts for future events such as the Tuesday Quiz Night and a local Ukulele group every third Sunday of the month. This place offers something for everybody. If you’re in town and wanting a tasty pint, I highly recommend this bar. Check out their website and Facebook page to keep up-to-date with future events.

I would rate this pub a solid 8/10.

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Mamma Wheatley’s Craft Club

Unleash your creativity and make some new friends at Craft Club

Words: Charlotte Felters

I CAN’T DO IT! was my first thought when Doncopolitan asked me if I would like to write a piece about Craft Club.  I had the same reaction when I read about Mamma Wheatley’s Craft Club back in December 2017, but here I am 6 months later, attending and writing about it.

Note to self, say yes to more things.

I originally became aware of Doncopolitan in 2015 at DNweekeND. I remember thinking then that it was more than just a magazine, it was a movement, a different way of thinking, and I wanted to be a part of it. Sometime after DNweekeND, I went to a photography class run by Shane Peagram where I briefly met the magazine’s founders, Rachel and Warren. After just one visit to Donco HQ, I was made to feel really welcome and even gifted a book and a gorgeous print by a local artist. Also, Warren very kindly used a photograph I took that night in an exhibition at the Notorious Aardvark record shop in Doncaster.

Life, work, low confidence and exceptionally low vitamin D meant that I had a long break from anything Doncopolitan related – until Craft Club, that is.

So, what is Craft Club? Apart from exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a group of lovely humans (and one dog) ranging from age nine, through millenials to quite a bit older, who all meet to craft, laugh and chat. Run by June, aka Mama Wheatley, we meet every Monday, 6.30pm – 8.30pm at the Doncopolitan HQ on Copley Road. It’s perfect for those who work all day. We only pay £5 per week and the money is put back into the group to pay for materials and snacks.

The number of crafters varies weekly, so there’s no pressure to come every week if you don’t feel like it. We make anything, from paper flowers to flowerpot men. I’ve even learned to knit, taught by a very patient Rose in an almost perfect (fully clothed) re-enactment of the pottery scene from Ghost. You can bring something of your own to work on or if, like me, you realise you’re not half as creative as you hoped, you can come mainly for the banter and biscuits.

Doncopolitan HQ itself is a really lovely space and it’s always nice to see which exhibition or artwork decorates the walls week-to-week. Most recent was the colourful work of local artist, Imogen, from her exhibition ‘Her World’.

For me, it just took a little bit of encouragement from cofounder, Rachel, to finally turn up. But, when I did, I was immediately welcomed into the group. You don’t need me to tell you the people of Doncaster are a good bunch and that shows in our craft club.  If we’re not crafting then we’re laughing, dancing, having cuddles from Rufus (the dog) or being shown how it’s done from a very talented nine-year-old.

What’s also lovely is that, as the weeks have progressed, so has the nature of the group.  We’ve had a couple of theatre trips and there’s even a faint mention of a #craftclubontour trip to Bali in 2019.

Of course, everyone has their own reasons for attending the group and equally everyone is welcome.  Personally, mine is to try and make a small dent in the often disheartening and depressing cycle of eat, sleep, work, repeat. I can honestly say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. I just needed that little push.

So, if you’re reading this or you’ve heard about Mamma Wheatley’s Craft Club before and you think you might like to give it a go, then consider this your little push. We’d love to meet you.

Craft club is held every Monday 6.30 – 8.30 pm at Doncopolitan HQ, 83 Copley Road

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Image is Everything

John Kelly interviews John Lydon on the eve of Public Image Limited’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

Words: John Kelly

First formed in 1978 after the break-up of The Sex Pistols, Lydon has fearlessly steered P.I.L. through a number of forward-thinking releases. Beginning with the experimental post-punk blast of ‘First Edition’ and the dystopian dub of ‘Metal Box’ through to the industrial world rhythms of ‘Flowers of Romance and the anarchic avant-rock of ‘Album’, Lydon has never been comfortable with the ‘punk’ tag and continues to push musical boundaries with the current P.I.L. line-up

This interview was first aired on Sine FM’s ‘Orange Flavoured Pipe Machine’ on 29th April 2018.

John, how are you, sir?

Allo! I’m very much alive thank you!

That kind of leads us nicely into my first question, actually. You’re celebrating 40 years of Public Image Ltd, quite an achievement considering all you’ve been through.

Er…yeah. But for me, now I’ve got here, it’s not good enough and I want another 40! I’ve got to be honest, the level of work I’ve been maintaining is high!

Do you think P.I.L. has received enough respect over the years considering the fantastic legacy of work you’ve produced?

Probably not. It’s been far easier for the media to be cynical. But things are changing, you know? It’s just because I’ve got the persistence of an elephant. I suppose you get there in the end and people start listening and paying attention and realising I’m not just a filthy, foul-mouthed yob. I’m a lot of other things besides.

It seems to me you’ve had that life-long struggle trying to defy categories and labels. You’ve always seemed willing to transcend expectations and break barriers, even those thrown up by the so-called ‘punk’ movement.

Yeah, well you’ve got to be ahead of the curve, ain’t ya? And you mustn’t be imitating anyone, and that’s definitely me and my lifestyle. I’m not into copying, imitating or fitting comfortably into a category. The way I write and the things I write about are the things that matter, not only to me but to the people around me – to my family, my friends, my culture, my nations, my planet Earth…and you can’t do that wrapped up in pop garb, whether it be a studded leather jacket or a sequined tuxedo. Either way, they’re just images. You’ve got to keep away from getting entrapped in that and ensnared. Unfortunately, a lot of punk kids got trapped into thinking that was all there was.

Do you still find yourself defined by the work you did in the Pistols?

Not willingly. There’ll They’ll always be the haters in the national press and no matter how much you try to be accurate, honest and decent, they still play the dirty game and give it a nasty headline and misdirect people. But that’s the world we live in. I’m sure the people that appreciate what I do are smarter than that and don’t buy into it. As for the masses, well, hello! I’ve always known the masses to be sheeeeeep. Ha, ha, ha… I’m not one to bleat amongst the flock. I could have done that. I could have hung on my laurels and pumped out endless imitations of myself and made millions. But that ‘ain’t my way. Respect is the thing that I seek.

It must have been enormously liberating to draw on those wider musical influences.

I had to work against the easy money. But the trouble with that was that meant NO MONEY! Ha, ha, ha! And with noooooo money, it’s very hard to keep members and a permanent outfit. And that’s the way it’s been up until the last ten years. I’ve finally managed to break free of the stranglehold of corporate thinking record labels, formed our own label and now we have such a thing as continuity and a sense of permanence and dignity about it. We run it ourselves. That’s how it has to be. And this way, we can guarantee wages. And we love playing live. All the fears and phobias are still there before I go on stage, but there’s a sense of gratitude that I know I’m walking on to a stage with three blokes who I completely respect and respect me.

The current line-up is tremendous and draws on past P.I.L. line-ups with Lou Edmunds back in the fold alongside Bruce Smith who also served time in The Pop Group and The Slits.

The only new addition is Scott [Firth] who is just such a friendly, easy-going, outward looking bloke. No snobbery in him. Perfect. Because for me it’s always the personalities first and the musicianship can come second. But my God, didn’t I land well because I think they’re three of the toughest boys on any stage you’ve ever heard!

Are you still listening to music and enjoying stuff being created these days?

Not when I’m preparing for a tour, no. I don’t want a Taylor Swift melody to creep into my head. Although that’s not possible actually because I don’t know if she has any!

Are you looking forward to visiting the UK despite your problems in the past?

Listen, I’m there twice a year! That’s where my family are. Just because I’ve moved my business abroad; and had to because we couldn’t get gigs anywhere. The only way we could really operate was by setting up in New York and from there I expanded. That’s how it is. You go where the work is. There’s no point sitting on your socialist, moralistic a-hole and getting nowhere, ‘cos if the powers that be won’t move, they won’t move. So, you move. And when you come back you wave a big flag in their face and embarrass the hell out of them! Ha, ha, ha!

What can we expect to hear in the set list at these forthcoming gigs, John?

Oh, a huge variety. We’ll shape shift it about a bit. Basically, it’s all driven by audience vibration. I love these small venues because I can look into the eyes of everybody out there and I can feel their energies. I know when they’re sympathetic to where we’re going, and I know what they’re pleading and asking for. Hello, audience. Don’t shout out requests ‘cos we don’t do bar mitzvahs or weddings. Ha, ha, ha.

Just be polite and transmit it psychically.

Yeah, we’re not a showband on the love boat. It’s not like that. Just let me feel your energy and that will change the tempo. Some songs of course are bound to be sad ‘cos the subject matter is sad, while others are just complete escapism. And we need both things in life. In order to survive as a human being, you need to understand all of your emotions, be in control of them and know when to not be in control of them. That’s what Public Image is absolutely experimenting in.

(And with that, Mr. Lydon launches into this touching farewell homily and is gone…)

‘The Public Image is Rotten (Songs from the Heart)’ Career Box Set (1978-2015) is available from July 20th via UNIVERSAL.

For more details about the forthcoming P.I.L. documentary visit https://thepublicimageisrotten.com/