It has been a while ….

It has been some considerable time since my last personal blog. Last May in fact, if I don’t count that “tome” I wrote about the whole Gasworks / Wayne Clapham flame war debacle (long since deleted – if you want to know more, ask around – storm in a cup in the grand scheme of things). I would like to start by reminding you that this is more of a personal journal than an impartial news feed and should therefore be considered as such.

Summer/autumn saw Suicide By Cop playing a few gigs around town which was very enjoyable. I am enjoying the pace of SBC, nice and steady away with no real agenda apart from making and playing music. We are looking to record in February (postponed from November), which is something I am looking forward to immensely as it is my favourite part of being in a band. We have a great line-up and some songs which I am very proud of so I am having a whale of a time.

In September, we formalised a plan which we started looking at in September ’08 which was to get people from different venues to work together and help promote Bradford better. I named it the Bradford Music Collective and the idea evolved into a web resource as well as a central committee of people who are looking at ways in which we can improve promotion and relations. This is the main reason why I haven’t composed a personal blog for ages. The BMC (as we now call it for short) was kind of kicked into life by Paul “Ziggy” Sewell, who is the owner of Rio’s. At the time, it was located just in Leeds but his plan was to open an additional, smaller club venue in Bradford. People had been pining after the return of Rio’s to the city since it disappeared in 2007. Paul conceded that his return to Bradford would not be as effective without everybody else working together and with his potential clout for advertising, the advantages for everyone were obvious and it seemed like a good time to get the ball rolling with the idea.

Overall, people seem positive about the idea and I have made some new friends as well as getting in touch with people I only kind of knew. It is still very early days yet and there are still lots of ideas which need to be put into action. I like the website though and we have had some great feedback about that. Many thanks to Chris Hall for his web-skills and my good friend Michael Ayres for his sterling graphical design work. I have been publishing the news page content by myself up to press and to be honest it is not as extensive as I would like it to be. I have learned a little bit more about social networking info services such as Blogger / Twitter and how to interact them with each other as well as MySpace and Facebook status updates in the process.

 Ideally, it would be nice to get everybody working in the same direction. This is not always possible and so therefore there are one or two ommisions from the list of venues which people would possibly associate with this kind of thing. As far as the Gasworks (physically one of the largest live venues in the city) is concerned, the proprietor Max Marshall decided that he did not want to work with anybody else at the time and wanted to go it alone. His perogative of course, after all it is his business to do with what he pleases. He decided to escalate the disinterest to disdain by posting a series of unpleasant comments and snide remarks against a number of us who are involved in the BMC on Facebook. Since most of us have removed and blocked him, we can no longer see first hand if this is a practice which has continued (although there are always people talking so it all gets back).

It all stemmed from various comments (allegedly originating from Wayne Clapham) being posted online by Gasworks staff and a subsequent flame war – this was something which was taken out of all proportion and really seemed to set the scene for the future of Max’s attitude towards others and it would seem in particular myself. I went out of my way to be right with Max but he kept reverting to form and spouting his bitter remarks until in the end, I simply stopped using his establishment and severed any ties I might have had with him. It was a shame really because I did enjoy the club and I’d like to think that we used to get on alright. I could go on with this and there are other things I really could write about him but at the end of the day, it is not going to change anything for the better. I have my opinions about him, as do others and really have no axe to grind with anybody else. I just think that that whole episode was a huge shame for all parties involved.

All things considered though, the BMC committee have agreed that should the Gasworks wish to take part in future, then they can do. I can’t really see it happening but the door is not closed from our end.

Autumn was a bit of an emotional time as Scottish and Newcastle brewery decided to cut short Mick and Billy’s lease at The Mannville Arms. I was pretty attached to the old place as not only was it a haunt from years gone by but in recent times, I had put some effort into helping make it the best venue we could. I had played there loads of times – in 4 different bands in just 2 years as well as DJ’d countless times and invited lots of bands to play. In some ways, it was a part of me. After we were hoofed out, Mick and Billy swiftly moved into managing the Zuu bar across town where we set up our stall and carried on the operation. Shortly afterwards The Black Swan came under the same management and Sean and Hayley took the place on.

All of this happened in a very short space of time. From initially finding out that the tenure was being terminated (19th October), to a massive closing down night (31st October) to then moving into the new place and having an opening weekend (6th November) was just 3 weeks. To add to the madness, it was just a fortnight from then that the Mannville Arms pub re-opened under new management. As you might appreciate, this all happened very quickly for us all. Personally it took some adjusting and at the time of writing I think I have only just finished coming to terms with it really.

The couple who now have the Mannville, Steve and Jade are good people who worked at the old place when we were all there and Tom Marshall, who is now once again helping out with the entertainment, is a friend of mine, who was part of the team for a long time and helped build the Mannville before. The pub is quite different now. I know a few people who still use the place, work there and of those, I think a few prefer it as it is. I wish them all the best with their endeavours. They are getting some decent bands on as well as various other musics and they are making a go of it. Good luck to them.

The New Mannville Arms have been approached about potentially taking part in the BMC but as have yet declined to reply. However, it has been mentioned that in a change of attitude, Max from the Gasworks has met with Steve about the two places collaborating. Business-wise it makes sense since they are geographically close to each other but considering Max’s general attitude towards other venues, I guess one has to question his motives.

Anyway, in and amongst the whole Mannville episode, the new Bradford Rio’s opened to initial enthusiasm from some old faces, myself included. I think it is a great little club with some decent potential. There is still work to be done, as there is with the Zuu bar but together we have all set our collective stall up and just 6 weeks or so down the line, people are still getting used to the area. In 2010 we can build on that and hopefully both businesses can grow.

So, I guess none of this is news to anyone and if you have read this far then well done! It’s just an online journal of my thoughts and opinions. A lot of it, I am sick of talking about so this can be regarded as a last purge before 2010.

One new year’s resolution is to not let myself get bogged down by “he said, she said” politics. Bradford is not a huge city but there is no reason why we should get consumed by a small town mentality. Perhaps hypocritical of me to say after this post? I can’t say I disagree really. 2009 has been a big learning curve about a lot of that kind of thing. Not just for me but for a few of us. I suppose at the end of the day, let the trolls flame and let the players play their games ……

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