Cellar Door: Backstage Pizzazz at KU Bar

Are gig nights really as thrilling from the band's perspective as they may seem? Having written about the production of Cellar Door’s music and the members themselves, I joined them at several gigs to experience it from their side.This piece will focus on two of their gigs at KU Bar: one as part of the highly successful return of XFEST and another as a supporting band for The Hummingbirds.

Edinburgh: A Visit to the Athens of the North

Before the festive season started, I took a short break in Edinburgh: a Scottish world criss-crossed with mythological intrigue, Greek splendour, cosmopolitan diversity and natural beauty. You do not need much prior planning to discover its secrets. You simply need to walk and take it all in. Here is a possible travel plan: simple, spontaneous and filled with visual tasters.

An Afternoon Inside The Copper House — A Boutique Hair Salon in Middlesbrough

The moment I stepped into The Copper House on Baker Street I thought I had stepped into a late 19th century seafarer and antique collector’s house. They describe themselves as a boutique hair salon with a difference. It was this coupled with the online profiles of the stylists that made me choose this salon above other hairdressing salons when I first arrived in Teesside. I knew that I was looking for something out of the ordinary. A personal touch. An original artistic vision. A respect for the science of hairstyling ...

Cellar Door: Life and Times

Cellar Door make the necessary sacrifices to create and maintain a professional image as a band not so much with widespread success as the ultimate goal but for the sake of doing something worthwhile, tangible and enjoyable as a group of friends. No wonder they describe themselves as simply “five lads from Teesside making alternative indie music”. Nothing more, nothing less. But there is more to these five lads than meets the eye as I discovered while exploring the lives and times of Cellar Door.

Lost State of Dance and Enjoyment

A last look at the story of Lost State of Dance — the band known for bringing back the 80s to the North East. — capturing two live performances of their music in two locations: Darlington and Stockton-on-Tees. These performances represent the fusion of four different people and their outlooks on life in a space of time that is meant to be enjoyed and remembered by many people.

Cellar Door: From Pig Pen Rehearsal Studios to Blast Recording

It was once said that "of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words in all of history, that 'cellar door' is the most beautiful." That is what Cellar Door, five lads from Teesside, decided they wanted to capture in their music: the most beautiful combination of sounds possible. And this is a glimpse into the writing and recording of those beautiful sounds ...

Bridge Diary 1.2: Newport

This is the second entry in my Bridge Diary, which I started in memory of a grandfather I wish I had known better. There was no doubt as to which bridge would be next in line to be taken apart, rivet by rivet, and turned into words. The Tees Newport Bridge — that red and silver marvel of engineering — was in fact the bridge that started it all ...

I came. I saw. I heard. Mouses.

Almost a month has passed since The Georgian Theatre hosted perhaps one of the most anticipated and talked about local music events of 2016: ‘The Mouses Album’ launch. It was not simply a string of anticipation connected to the release of their debut album, nor even to the upcoming live performance and all the wonderful wacky details expected from a Mouses's gig. For many there, mostly local supporters and bands ...

Rounton Coffee Roasters: Putting the Special Back into 'Speciality Coffee'

Rounton Coffee Roasters have retained everything special of the original concept of ‘speciality coffee’. During my visit to this artisan coffee roastery, located near a beautiful village in North Yorkshire, I discovered that they were more than just a coffee company and what they offered was more than just coffee: it was an experience born from an ideal, a life journey and an imported Turkish coffee roaster.

Monday Nights at Grizzo's

For several Monday nights I ventured into the centre of Hartlepool to join the members of Lost State of Dance in their weekly band practice. While most Hartlepudlians were busy preparing their dinner or having their first pint of the week, a tiny percentage of the town’s population broke the monotonous life cycle of work, eat, sleep. Entering the tumultuous wave of artistic expression ...

Holi Festival of Colours — Drinking, Dancing and Smoking our way to Equality

On the thirteenth full moon day of the lunar month of August, Wembley Stadium’s Green Car Park turned a bright tarry violet as thousands gathered to take part in London’s Holi Festival of Colours. When I got invited to the festival I had no idea what to expect. I was just told to wear white — the whiter the better, the purer, the readier to being reborn.

What awaited me was a spiritual experience of dehydration in a large concrete parking lot in London.

Journeying into 'The Way of Tea'

Mint Hobo have established themselves as masters of ‘the Way of Coffee’, leaving clear footprints in the trail of freshly ground coffee houses scattered across the North East. Their new project, however, leads the team into an unknown world marked by simplicity, grace and beauty and sees them slipping through velvety mounds of green tea powder and jugs of milk in their exploration of this ancient drink ... As an avid green tea drinker and matcha fanatic, it was with much excitement that I joined their matcha green tea experiment.

Bridge Diary 1.1 — Infinity

My grandfather toured the world's bridges, including those in the United Kingdom. He perhaps walked Middlesbrough’s streets long before me. If he had, I might not know what he thought of the town but I know he would've been transfixed by its bridges. The Bridge Diary series is a tribute to him and to the often overlooked beauty that these ingenious constructions bring to a region’s landscape.

Starting with Infinity.

Mint Hobo: Candy and Stardust (of the black liquid kind)

We’ve all been there. We’ve all craved the perfect cup of coffee ... at an inconvenient time. A time when the perfect cup was either a) unattainable (and we had to make do with generic, shoddy cups), or b) we had no idea where to look for it. Well, if you happen to be in or around Teesside you only have to follow the Tees upstream all the way until you spot the majestic stone bridge of Yarm. And somewhere along the cobbled High Street you might spot a gingerbread man: the guardian of the North East’s mecca of coffee.