Words: Craig Manga
Photography: Gavin Morrow
Welcome to another world… An alien world of alien shapes and sounds. This is a place of new language, new tastes and new smells. If there are more senses than six, then this is where it’s at. This is a counter-art movement beamed from another dimension.
Where do we do find ourselves? Where is this new weird planet?
Actually, in the most unlikely of places. An oft-forgotten town without a cathedral, or university, a town of closed pits, disillusionment, coffee shops and bars, of pub rockers and tribute bands. In a tiny multi-cultural corner of a South Yorkshire town – Doncaster.
If you’ve been lucky enough to be part of the story so far, read no further. These are familiar adventures in a northern landscape. This is the New Weird Planet.
New Weird Planet – linked with a Friday radio show on Donny’s own SineFM 102.6 – quickly affiliated with Doncopolitan, is home to the eclectic, the weird, the warped, the wonderfully wayward, and above all, the wonky. This is a wondrous series of events including the best live music yet to be discovered, with an experimental and exploratory approach to showcasing. New Weird Planet call it the ‘Wonkfest’. There have been three of them. And people are still talking.
New Weird Planet has no boundaries – other than it should never be merely ordinary – it includes all races, religions, ages, gender. NWP provokes, entertains, excites and delivers evening after evening of wonky ‘warpwerks’ (sic), installation, alt-music, wordplay, and curiosities.
Previous (and future) freq. shows (v1.0- v3.0) feature such happenings as… drumming robots and experimental sonic inventions, aroma-wafting experiments into poetry, 25-piece anti-choirs, galleries, cine8 mutilation with sharpies and hot pins, looper-pedal acapella voicescapes, zappa-shaped avant-jazz, exploratory sonic surgery and mindbending genre-bending. Sludge, kraut, prog, cosmische, alt-pop, broken dance floor and electronica!
The music industry is a growth sector worth over £4.4 billion to the UK economy, growing year on year, and Higher Rhythm, believe that anyone, anywhere, with the correct support and determination, can play a part in this National success story. We are therefore excited to announce that we are putting the music industry firmly on the agenda at this year’s DN Skills Fest being held on 7th February at The Dome, Doncaster.
Organised by Doncaster Chamber and Doncaster Skills Academy, DN Skills Fest will see over 1500 local young people visiting on the day to find out more about their further education and career options. As well as presenting a stand about the music industry career options available through both of our professional music industry facilities in Doncaster, such as our new BTEC National Diploma we will also be presenting a panel of music industry experts discussing the ever expanding range of roles and careers now available in the music industry.
The panel will feature: Timm Cleasby – Operation Director Tramlines Festival, Skinny Pelembe – locally raised music artist signed to a global record deal (and cited as one of the UK’s most exciting new music prospects), Simon Benger- Music Relationship Manager at Arts Council England, and Bex Ransom, Creative Programme Officer at Help Musicians UK. The panel will also be compared by Christian Carlisle, presenter and producer at BBC Introducing South Yorkshire.
The experts will share their experience and tips about employment in the modern music industry and the things you need to do to secure a career in it, also answering any questions from the audience. The panel will start at 10am, it’s free to enter, and it will be perfectly pitched for young people considering their career options, or even for teachers or careers advisors who need better information for signposting young people to the music industry.
TEL: 01302 327769
Rachel Horne talks about the Buddhist centre located in the Lindholme Hall.
Words: Rachel Horne
Have you heard of Gomde, Doncaster’s internationally renowned centre for the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism? Nope. You’re in for quite a shock. Located in the grounds of Lindholme Hall, this incredible centre has nothing to do with HMP Lindholme, but is in fact an incredible retreat and sanctuary on a 180-acre estate and island. Who knew?
In July 2009, during the annual seminar in Gomde, Denmark, the UK Paulette and David Benjamin, a retired couple and practicing Buddhists consulted with their Rinpoche Chokyi Nyima the spiritual director of Ranjung Yeshe UK (a charity set-up to help anyone who is interested studying Buddhism) in Nepal for guidance on setting up a UK Centre. His advice suggested they look for somewhere, “beautiful, secluded and remote with buildings”. Within a six week period they’d found Lindholme Hall and purchased it on the same day as both a total solar eclipse and a new moon.
The centre aims to support existing Buddhist practitioners, old and new, as well as those who would like to find out about Buddhist philosophy and practice.
When Rangjung Yeshe UK purchased the site, David and Paulette had no idea how incredible it was. There is archaeological evidence of human presence on the estate dating back thousands of years when the area was an island surrounded by water. In 2010, Dr. Buckland carried out research on the land and found a knapped flint which has been dated at approximately 16,000 years old. A local amateur historian, Mr Oliver, discovered a 5,000 year old wooden trackway buried in the peatland to the north of the island. It is one of only four track ways in Europe and is as old as Stonehenge. There is evidence to suggest Lindholme Island was the location of a chapel in ancient times.
Regularly visited by scientists, archaeologists and conservationists, this Lindholme is barely to known to Doncaster’s residents. Yet this untouched habitat is so rare scientists are stating that it is as important as the Amazon rainforest. The mixture of wetlands and peatlands seem flat and barren to the untrained eye, yet it is home to one of the highest diversity of species in the country. Paulette informs me there’s a rare beetle that only lives at Lindholme and nowhere else in the world.
Many practicing Buddhists from across the world come to visit Gomde, including high profile celebrities. Earlier this month Hollywood actor Richard Gere visited. Sadly I wasn’t there that day!
In 2017, I started regularly visiting the centre with my friend Suzie Wassail, who has studied some Buddhist teachings and incorporated it into her work as a holistic therapist and counsellor. Suzie joked that Gomde was like visiting Moominland (90s cartoon set on an alien planet) where you get tea, biccies and transcendental chit chat with monk Lama Oser from Ka-Nying Shedrup Ling monastery in Nepal.
The meditation and study group held every Tuesday 7- 9pm is the perfect introduction to Buddhism if, like me, you are a complete novice. The first hour is spent in ´study´ and discussion. We chat through issues such as materialism in modern society, fear of death and dying, karma, how to understand the human condition, emotions and negative attachments. The second part of the evening is for guided meditation which follows the Buddha Shayamuni practice which involves visualisation, chanting and sitting meditation based on the historical Buddha. Although I still feel very nervous as a westerner taking part, creating that stillness in my mind always helps me to feel much calmer and more grounded. These Tuesday evenings certainly help me get through busy stressful days.
It’s helped me to find clarity and compassion at a difficult time. I don’t think I’ll be converting to this beautiful faith anytime soon (although I’d never say never), but it has had a profound effect on me. If you are going through a difficult time, I would sincerely recommend visiting.
So, why is it then, that few Doncastrians know about this incredible place on our doorstep? Is it because of austerity, Brexit, failing high streets, Spice and substance misuse in our communities are all distracting us from how truly amazing our town is? Are we too busy moaning about our everyday woes on social media to realise what we have?
Taking to Lama Oser, I discussed the idea of apathy in Doncaster. He says that although our country is very rich people can be “very lacking inside” and that “people think that the material world will bring us peace but it doesn’t”. He says with practice and mediation we learn to quieten our mind, then we can start to find our true Buddha nature that is rich hearted and full of compassion.
So, if you are reading this feeling, stressed out and fed up with the modern world, maybe it’s time to head up to Gomde. Set the sat nav for DN7 6DT and turn off at Harry’s Fish Bar in Dunsville, you’ll find yourself in another world.
“We want everyone in whatever way they want, to be part of this international centre for study and meditation” – Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
Please telephone beforehand to make an appointment and check someone will be available to show you around and explain our activities. Call 01302 842 503 or email email@example.com
The Legendary Fairport Convention to Perform at Cast, Wednesday 6th Feb.
Words: Mick Jenkinson
Since opening in 2013, Doncaster’s Cast theatre has played host to some of the major names in British folk music, from the very early visit of Kate Rusby, right up to Christmas 2018 when Steeleye Span’s Maddy Prior brought her Christmas Carnival Band to town. This February, however, will bring probably the biggest folk act we’ve seen at the theatre, a band for whom the labels legendary and iconic, for once don’t seem like hyperbole.
In 2017 Fairport Convention celebrated fifty years on the road, and their passion for live performance has never wavered. They arrive in Doncaster as part of a national winter tour and on the back of two sell-out tours in 2018.
The group has attracted critical acclaim throughout its long career: they won a coveted BBC Lifetime Achievement Award, Radio 2 listeners have voted their ground-breaking album Liege & Lief ‘The Most Influential Folk Album of All Time’, and their story and music frequently features on radio and television.
Fairport are also in the pretty unique position of having their own summer festival. Cropredy began as an intimate ‘band and friends’ occasion in the early ‘80’s and has grown a major event attracting 20,000 revellers each summer.
Renowned as the founding fathers of British folk-rock, the band has maintained consistently high standards and remains as entertaining as ever. Still bold, vigorous and willing to take musical chances, an evening with Fairport never fails to dazzle and delight audiences. This concert will showcase the band’s musical sophistication and instrumental virtuosity during a fascinating journey through their inspiring and extensive repertoire.
“Impressive musicians with a great back catalogue. Fairport still take chances and clearly enjoy themselves…” – The Guardian
“brilliance undiminished by the years…absolutely stunning…the highlights come in such abundance and in such rapid succession you hardly know where to start” – Slap Magazine.
Tickets are priced at £25.50 and are available from the Cast box office or online.
Mick Jenkinson – Dec 2018
Words: Callam Fox
I decided to go vegan not because of some horrible documentary about factory farmed animals, not because I dislike the taste of meat and dairy or because I felt guilty about eating it.I would be lying if I were to say these reasons played no part at all in changing my eating habits because of course they had some presence and still continue to grow in importance the longer I go on being vegan. But, the main reason for me was the new exciting cooking opportunities. Cooking and baking is something I have been interested in since I was a teenager and once I had moved out of my parents house and had free reign of my own kitchen, i started to love it even more.
I would start slow cooking a pork joint at 8pm knowing it wouldn’t be ready for pulling until 1am,I’d make homemade mint and lamb burgers to take to BBQs instead of buying some and constantly be on theInternet looking for the next thing I could wrap in bacon or drown in cheddar cheese. I remember oneChristmas cooking the standard traditional dinner with all the trimmings but then going on to place the whole dinner into a giant Yorkshire pudding. The bird, the roasties, the veg, the pigs in blankets and the gravy all rammed inside the pud then wrapping this in a bacon lattice and cooking till crispy so each person at the table had the own Yorkshire pudding bacon wrapped Christmas dinner.
It was epic, but as more of my friends gradually started to go vegan I would have to re-think whatI could cook if they came round, and I would love being cooked for, to find that what I was being served tasted really good despite having no meat or dairy in it. So, the more I started to cook vegan whilst being a meat eater the more I started to realise going vegan might not be as hard as I originally thought it was going to be. So I walked up to the diving board and belly flopped straight into the world of vegan food. The first thing I noticed was how you become more personally involved in your weekly supermarket shop. Having to read everything you pick up and being shocked when things that you love and assume will be fine to eat, actually has semi-skimmed milk powder in it or dry egg and instantly thinking… why!? Seriously, why has this packet of Tesco’s finest chilli and lime kettle chips got semi skimmed milk in? Is that really needed? And then as time goes on and you start to read the ingredients more and take time to really see what you’re eating, it’s overwhelming and really frustrating how many products have animal ingredients in! Especially when they could easily be replaced or dropped. So 8 months down the line I am still vegan and i am still finding and enjoying new recipes to cook. Here is a recipe for one thing I do miss, and one of the hardest things I have found to replicate:
½ x tsp-Himalayan black salt (for the traditional eggy flavour)
2 x tsp-No-Egg (made with 4 x tbsp. water)
200ml-warm water (for crispier less dense pud use sparkling water)
150 ml-soya milk
½ x tsp-baking powder
1 x tsp-apple cider vinegar
12 x tsp-vegetable oil (1 x tsp per hole in your Yorkshire pudding tin)
Put 1 tsp of vegetable oil into each hole of a 12-hole Yorkshire pudding tin
Place the tin in the oven and pre-heat to 200oC for around 10-15mins.
In a jug or bowl, whisk the No-Egg with the water until frothy. Add the warm water, milk and apple cider vinegar and whisk until thoroughly mixed.
Into a new bowl, sieve the flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly add the liquid ingredients whilst whisking. Keep whisking until a lump-free, foamy batter is formed. Transfer into a clean jug for easy pouring.
Take out the pudding tin and pour the batter into each of the holes. The oil should be nice and hot and beginning to smoke and so the batter should start to cook and bubble immediately. Put the tin back into the oven and shut the door. Bake for 15-20 minutes before dropping the heat to 180 oC for a further 10 minutes.
Half way through open the oven up and make sure nothing is burning and give the tin a turn for even baking. When the time is up remove the puds from the oven and leave to chill for 5 mins, then gently slide a blunt knife around the edges of the puddings, popping each one out, enjoy with your roast or even cold with some mustard like me.