Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Wordpress skills.


I have been working with agencies and businesses for about fifteen years and have been working to SEO principles since the last century (wow it was easy back then!).

As a long-term freelancer I appreciate that I make my clients' lives easier by working fast and with the minimum of fuss.

I also provide a service for keeping Wordpress sites secure, backed up and free of spam.  This includes making sure all plugins and core code is bang up to date. I consider it all part of the service. 

I've usually charge by the hour because my clients tend to be quite surprised when they see just how much I can achieve in a short amount of time. I've built entire Wordpress sites in less than two hours!

I am also a published writer and photographer, so I really can offer you a very holistic approach to managing your website

Lets talk!

Get in touch through the contact page on this blog or via my main website at

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bye bye Dura Ace

When I bought my first (and still current) road bike I knew that it had enjoyed a rather 'lively' existance before becoming a part of my modest stable. It had Dura Ace durrelier and front crankset and Ultegra brifters and front changer, and there's no way that kind of kit would be within my budget if it wasn't nearing the end of the gracefully elegant shiny phase of its existence. Part of the reason I got such a good price was that there was a noticeable ker-grun-chunk in the drive chain somewhere. The silvery cap on one of the shifters was missing long before I became custodian of this fine machine, and I gaffa-taped down the other silvery cap to stop it rattling. 

I sort of got used to the various noises of mechanical discourtesy the gentlest of bimbles would audibly reveal from my beloved machine. If other riders asked what all the noises were I told them it was my knees. 

Things came to a head during this year's Dunwhich Dynamo when I found I couldn't use the biggest three cogs on the rear cassette without the drive chain slipping like a Grifter in 'slip gear' and making a sound like a rusty chainsaw with engine trouble cutting through an antique mantrap (complete with antique man). Folk laughed sheepishly as they hurtled past me up modest hills and I feared for my chum plums every time I rose from my saddle. 

I took the bike in for a bit of a tickle from my friendly local bike doctor and he confirmed what I already feared - the cassette, chain and front cranks had less life in them than a mortuary waiting room after lights out. There's simply no way I could keep up with the financial pace of Dura Ace so all the knackered parts were replace with bits from the spares box (including a steel crank!), but the Dura Ace crank arms remain. 

So now my bike may be a little uglier, and a little heavier, but my god is it silent!  I LOVE it!  It really is like having a new bike! Smoooooth!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Junk Culture tour diary - three days eight idiots - Day 3

Swindon - Megabowl
Sunday 21st March 2004
Best of Enemies
Second In Line
Junk Culture

As if we weren't dubious enough about playing in a bowling alley our doubts were confirmed when we were informed that tonight had been relabelled as a battle of the bands contest. We kill time by making the most of the free bowling on offer and I win my first ever game of anything, twice!

Jon attempts to exact revenge on Stuart by gassing half the room, sadly the only effect this has is to put me off my packed lunch, revenge will be mine in the car though, there's a storm brewing,,, Who says lunchtime drinking is bad!

We play pretty well but none of us are taking it seriously and for some reason I spend the gap between each song laughing like a maniac. We weren't much more sensible when we were playing, with backing vocals being sung into disused cymbal stands and overly long stadium rock endings to all our songs. The compere had the most horrified look on his face that I think I've ever seen. After watching Second In Line with yet another bassist having a go we only hang around long enough to watch Stuart get electrocuted on an arcade machine before heading off assuming that Best of Enemies will win on account of the fact that they all have matching black haircuts or something. Nothing personal against them though.

After a brief kick about in the car park and a grazed knee we head back home to Ipswich feeling more than a little sad that this was our last wee tour with Kate. We also realised that we had slipped down the bill over the three days from headline on Friday to going on first in Swindon!

Bedtime - 1.30am
Chief Farter - Andrew (hurrah!)

Junk Culture tour diary - three days eight idiots - Day 2

Newbury - Waterside Youth Centre
Saturday 20th March 2004
Second In Line
Junk Culture
The Griswalds
Sidewalk Riot

It's always a pleasure to bump into the cheery Griswalds folk, and today is no exception. We find ourselves is a pretty bloody great venue with what is probably the biggest stage we have ever played on. Kids were waiting outside in the cold and had turned up earlier in the day to buy advance tickets for the show, this is looking good. We spend most of our waiting time constantly going outside for a smoke (the venue was no-smoking) and wondering if we'll remember any of our songs tonight. We had a brief moment of stardom when a photographer from the local rag turned up to take our photo. Paul from Second In Line accuses me of pulling a scary faces, everyone finds the idea of me looking scary hilarious. 

The Griswalds are bloody great tonight, it's just a shame that most of the kids are outside smoking sneaky tabs and sucking down strong cider.

We loaded up with Pro-Plus and take to the stage with no idea of how well we are going to play, just because we were as loose as a wino's bowels last night doesn't mean that we have actually practised or anything. A couple of songs into the set and everyone is active, excited and playing the same songs as each other at the same time! Kate is really on fire tonight and bouncing round the stage like a girl possessed. As we came to the end of our last song I amble over to Kate and give her a friendly nudge, she retaliates so fast it catches me totally off guard and quite frankly she kicked my ass. As I lay defeated and trapped by Kate's guitar strap I can hear the kids screaming at us as her guitar continues to wail like a penguin on a rocket sled. I also wonder if I will get my head kicked in by the bouncers for picking on a girl! Jon heard some kids refer to Kate as 'the girl with the feedback'.

Before we know what's happening Second in Line have taken to the stage with a bassist who apparently hasn't played for them for years and just happened to be at the show and fancied giving it a go! This is pretty typical of the whole Second In Line experience. The kids in Newbury are insane, smashing each other about the place and running round like little cider fuelled Tasmanian devils. We were also introduced to the delights of the 'wall of death', where two lines of nutters face each other then play a sort of hardcore British bulldog. The thing that made it really interesting was the kid that joined the throng by ollying in on his skateboard! 

Far from it being Second In Line's responsibility to try and stop this sort of behaviour they invited the skater kid on stage to jump over his mates who were laying on the floor in front. To everyone's amazement he did it! By the end of the night we all agreed that this was one of the most amazing shows we have ever seen and wandered off into the Newbury night in search of lardy food goods.

Bedtime - 3.30am
Chief Snorer - Stuart
Chief Farter - Stuart

Junk Culture tour diary - three days eight idiots

I realise this post will be of very marginal interest, but I just stumbled across a tour diary I wrote during the last few dates that my old band Junk Culture played.

Kidderminster - Sutton Arms
Friday 19th March 2004
Junk Culture
Weak 13
Second in Line

Before I start I should explain that this was supposed to be day three of a six date tour but due to idiots we lost the first three dates of the tour. We got off to a fairly usual start, the Red Flag van that we usually borrow died just before we were due to pick it up, Jonny had lost his hi-hats and
one of us had the shits. The shits coupled with my need to stop for a piss every 30 miles made for a truly great four hours in the car! Sadly Stuart's arse was on top form as well. He used to use being vegetarian as an excuse for his foul guts but now that the band is mostly veggie the smells can only be a result of some sort of organic rotting bowel dwelling demon. We call him legion for his smells are many. As we had to take a car instead of the van conditions could best be described as tight and lumpy.

As we arrived at the Sutton Arms in Kidderminster the rumbling sound of metal emanated from the place, fortunately we just a couple of free cds this was soon replaced by a night of Immortal Alice on the PA! The venue was very much a Phoenix Nights affair, with a small stage at the front and long rows of tables with bench seats either side. The guy that put us on was Kriss from Girls Love Ponies, this man was so much like an English version of Jim from Immortal Alice it was creepy, in fact I kept calling him Jim by accident!

First up were Second in Line who despite missing a member tonight were more tight and rocking than we've ever seen before. Sadly I managed to destroy this when they forced me up on stage to play a dodgy cover of Ice Ice Baby. I'm even surprised with myself that I manage to arse up a song that only has two notes! While we wait for anarcho hip-hop metal coolsters Weak 13 Stu and I retired to the saloon bar to gawp at the locals and chat up the barmaid.

Whilst we soaked up the delightful local dialect I was challenged to play a huge bugle type thing that was hanging up behind the bar. I obliged but as I prepared to blow like I'd never blown before I didn't notice that I had held the business end up to ear of the pissed up old dude I was stood next too. One good blast and he was soon reeling back with a shocked look on his face and busy fingers trying to switch off his hearing aids. I was worried about the management being pissed off with me until the landlord tried to climb over the bar to shove a paintbrush handle up the deafened punter's arse! The landlady bought a tee shirt and we're booked to return in September so I guess the management must have liked our own unique brand of crowd control!

By the time we had returned to the live room and wedged ourselves back behind the corner table that we had claimed as 'camp JC' Weak 13 were in full effect. They were what could best be described as angry with beats. Quite good fun to watch as well, the angry girl singer took off with her wireless mic and marched down the top of the centre row of tables that ran down the room, only occasionally slipping on beer mats! Kriss was walking beside her with raised arms, I guess to catch her in case she fell but it looked to the untrained eye like he was just a huge fan trying to get closer to the action! Just a week earlier Weak 13 had all their merch stolen, so if someone tries to sell you Weak 13 merch and they don't have half their hair shaved off or don't look like Anarcho punx then report it!

Now the time had finally come for our first ever live show with stand-in guitarist Kate. Kate has only been with us for three weeks and used to play in the Ipswich band Violent Playground. Back in Ipswich Kate has a reputation for on stage violence, towards other band members, instruments and pretty much anything else within five metres of her when the set finishes playing and needs some way of burning off the excess energy so I join her on stage with slight trepidation. One pack of Pro-Plus and 30 minutes later we were done.

For some reason we seemed to forget how any of our songs went, but it was kinda fun anyway. I got away without being beaten up by Kate tonight; all she did was throw her guitar across the room when we finished.

Cementing our opinion of him as being one of the best promoters ever Kriss grabbed our merch at the end of the night and went round badgering the punters to buy something, excellent!

We packed up to the ambient sounds of yoofs doing wheelies around the car park on shopping scooters and hurtled off down the road following the Second in Line lot back to Newbury.

We swapped CB radios before leaving and made good use of the airwaves by creatively swearing at each other for the couple of hours back to our home for the weekend. We only stopped once for Stuart's bowels, only to have him defile three of the cubicles at the service station. While we were waiting we found what must have been the easiest arcade game ever and all walked away with armful of Sesame street toys. Paul from Second in Line was good enough to put us up for weekend and Stuart repaid the kindness by waiting till everyone had gone to bed before parking his breakfast.

Bedtime - 4.30am
Chief Snorer - Jon
Chief Farter - Stuart

Go to day two...

Friday, August 09, 2013

How to stop getting punctures on your bike

Punctures were starting to take the enjoyment out of my cycling until I found out how to stop getting punctures.  I had a job on an industrial estate and had to cycle past a windscreen repair place that always had a skip full of glass outside; I hated cycling past that skip and hearing the hisssssss of a new puncture.  The roads and cycle paths between my house and work seemed littered with thousands of puncture hazards.  At worst I was getting five punctures a week - I was getting a puncture nearly 50% of the time I rode my bike!  I'd had enough.  Then a friend gave me the answer.

Prevent punctures on your bike.

The answer is a tyre, a tyre called a Schwalbe Marathon Plus.  These tyres are 'armoured' with a thick layer of kevlar protection, and as soon as I fitted these tyres the punctures stopped.  Well they almost stopped, I still get the occasional puncture, but now if I do get a puncture it's a massive nail or something that would stop anything, rather then punctures being caused by EVERYTHING I RIDE OVER.

Baxi DuoTec boiler - hot water problem - how to fix it!

Our Baxi Duo-Tec combi boiler has been great and hasn't let us down once.  We don't have a thermostat on our shower (it's just a tap-fixed thing) so we use the hot water dial on the front of our Baxi Duo Tec.  Until a few weeks ago this method of setting the hot water temperature worked a treat - we'd set the water temperature to 45oC on the front of the boiler and then just switch on the hot tap on the bath tap / shower combo, have a lovely shower then set the temperature of the hot water back up to about 60oC.  Actually that's not entirely true; usually I'd forget to set the hot water back to 'very hot' and would only realise when I did the washing up.

A few weeks ago we started setting the hot water to 43oC instead of 45oC, and then it was 40oC instead of 43oC.  In short we were having to set the Baxi boiler to a lower water temperature in order to have a tolerably hot shower.  Both my wife and I thought this was our imagination, but before much longer we were having to set the hot water temperature dial as low as it would go, and it was still hot enough to cook our flesh.

I tried to google a few phrases like 'baxi duo tec too high temperature' but didn't find any conclusive information on how to fix the problem.  Then the error code E50 started flashing up and we lost all hot water.

How to fix the Baxi Duo-Tec boiler hot water problem.

Call your plumber.  I know this seems like an obvious answer, and if you're a bit more technical than I am then you might be able to fix the problem yourself, especially when I actually tell you what causes the problem and how it is fixed.  The hot water sensor (pictured on this post) tends to leak a little, and if you live in a hard water area then this causes limescale to build up on the hot water sensor, which of course affects how hot the boiler thinks the water is.  The thicker the limescale the higher your boiler will raise the water temperature.  You can probably replace this part yourself, apparently it's a common problem with all boilers in a hard water area.  I called our plumber, because he's a top lad and I didn't want the responsibility of having to tell my wife I'd broken the boiler and flooded the house trying to fix the hot water problem myself.

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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Ipswich Arts Centre website R.I.P - Jan 2012 to August 2013

I launched the Ipswich Arts Centre website as a reaction to a 'what are you doing to improve your town' type question levelled at me during a radio interview.  I decided I probably could at least get people talking about whether Ipswich needed an Arts Centre.  On the whole the discussion was very healthy and positive.

A year and a half later the arts and live music scene in Ipswich has moved on and grown again, and much like when I took the decision to shut down the Ipswich Gigs website I don't think the Ipswich Arts Centre website is needed any more.  The conversation has moved on, and the conversation is happening elsewhere.  This is good.

The links below will take you to the bits of information that we built up on the site that we think it's worth archiving.

Ipswich Arts Centre - the archive

Ipswich Venue Information

The petition

The media coverage

Case studies - Arts Centres in other towns

Arts Centre case studies - Ipswich Arts Centre

These case studies on other Arts Centres is archived from the Ipswich Arts Centre website which is now closed.

Norwich Arts Centre

Information very kindly provided by Amy Wragg with some information taken from

Norwich Arts Centre is a small, independently run venue with charitable status (Charity No: 274803) situated close to the centre of Norwich. We aim to offer a broad range of performing and media arts of the highest quality to the community, together with a programme of participatory workshops and activities that offer good access to the arts.  The centre celebrated its 30th anniversary in June 2007. It was originally opened in a disused department store on St Benedict’s Street in 1977 and moved to its current site, St Swithin’s Church on St Benedict’s Street, in 1980.

Arts Council Funded.
£117,217 in 2008/2009, £120,381 in 2009/2010, £123,014 in 2010/2011 and £114,526 in 2011/2012.
As a national portfolio organisation, Norwich Arts Centre has been offered £190,000 in 2012/2013, £190,000 in 2013/2014 and £190,000 in 2014/2015. This is subject to a funding agreement being agreed. (Taken from the Arts Council website)

Raising revenue
Venue hire fee and bar take is also very important. It costs £600 to hire the main room (capacity 275) but they will consider ticket splits too for those who don’t have financial backing like myself. They also hire about the bar (capacity 100ish) as a smaller affordable space for things like local acoustic gigs, poetry and comedy.

Staff and volunteers
It is run by a small team of paid staff (maybe only 5 full time and a handful more part time) will check exact numbers with them when they open again for the new year.

They work with quite a few volunteers, manning the door, selling tickets, programme distribution, merch stand manning. I will get exact figures in the new year but yes, volunteers are vital.

Harlow Square

Information kindly provided by Steve (who works at Harlow Square).  Find out more at

The Square is Harlow’s live entertainment venue with a 30-year history at the heart of the music scene in the town. The Square offers a varied programme across a wide range of musical genres to appeal to all ages within our community, with both major artists and local acts as well as Comedy (one of the oldest established nights) and Quiz nights.

Organisation type
We’re a Limited Liability Partnership.  This was chosen over Limited Company at the suggestion of accountants, for various reasons.  This isn’t to say that we wouldn’t switch to a Social Enterprise in the future.

Entirely self financed. The running of the building falls on the four partners and we have no backing whatsoever, so if no one comes, the building shuts.

Staff and volunteers
Currently around 30 part time staff. We have a few volunteers who help with some aspects of promotion, but generally everyone is paid.

Otley Courthouse

Information kindly ferreted out by Ian Bareham and provided by Otley Courthouse Centre Manager Robbie Swale, so HUGE thanks to both!

Otley Courthouse is a unique development, run by local people, in Otley, West Yorkshire. In 2004, after an eight year development period we transformed a redundant nineteenth century magistrates court into a unique ‘arts and resource centre’ for our community.

The Courthouse Today
The building today is busy seven days a week. It’s a place where people of all ages and abilities can try things out, see a film, catch an exhibition, watch a show, listen to good music, enjoy a performance by International artists and get access to advice and support- Otley CAB are just across the courtyard. It’s somewhere which acts as a springboard for local people who want to change direction, start a new career, set up a small creative business, establish an arts event, have fun and discover more about their talents – or simply try volunteering.
Local groups come to rehearse, hold meetings and events and take the opportunity to work together in new ways. Local artists and the town partnership occupy the workspaces. Volunteers aged from 15-80 plus support our part time staff team by running reception, selling tickets, dealing with IT, distributing publicity, serving in the cafe and stewarding events.

Programming Policy
Otley Courthouse enables local people of all ages and with a range of needs to access a wide variety of arts and creative activities. Since opening the Courthouse has established a rich programme of more than 70 professional evening arts performances a year- from world music and theatre to contemporary dance, live literature, comedy and film.

Over the years, the Courthouse has received funding from a variety of generous sources. Now, the Courthouse receives a small grant from Leeds City Council, equating to about 4.5% of its income, a number of other grants from charitable trusts (around 4%) and self-generates the other 91.5% of its income from room hire, box office income, local fundraising, our Friends Scheme, and our bar and cafe.

The Courthouse has a small staff team of two part time office staff, two site managers and a variety of casual bar and cafe staff. The staff team are supported by a freelance bookkeeper and programmer, and an amazing team of over 100 volunteers, who work on everything from Reception and Box Office to the Cafe to publicity.The organisation is a Registered Charity and Limited Company, and as such has a board of trustees, who give their time to help the development of the organisation.

Ipswich Arts Centre - the media coverage

This list of media coverage is archived from the Ipswich Arts Centre website which is now closed.

Media coverage

Evening Star
Town arts centre gets my support 

Music Heritage UK
Ipswich campaign gathers momentum 

Ipswich Venues - Ipswich Arts Centre

This list of Ipswich venues is archived from the Ipswich Arts Centre website which is now closed.

Name Capacity Seated Standing Pub? Accessibility information Link
Corn Exchange 1000 standing 800/900 seated Yes Yes No Fully DDA compliant Click here...
Council chambers Main chamber 180 seated or standing Gallery 1 100 acoustic or comedy Gallery 3 100 acoustic or comedy Yes Yes No Fully DDA compliant Click here...
Holy Trinity Church 400 seated Yes No No Full accessibility Click here...
Holy Trinity Hall 100 Yes Yes No Full accessibility Click here...
KAI 300 ? ? No ? Click here...
New Wolsey Studio 100 Yes Yes No Full accessibility Click here...
New Wolsey Theatre 400 Yes No No Full accessibility Click here...
St Peter's by the Waterfront 160 Yes Yes No Disabled access and facilities Click here...
The Blue Room (PJ Mcgintys) 90 Yes Yes Yes No - Stairs to venue Click here...
The Green Room (PJ Mcgintys) ? Yes Yes Yes ? Click here...
The Grinning Rat ? Yes Yes Yes ? Click here...
The Malthouse 1200 ? Yes No ? Click here...
The Manor Ballroom ? Yes Yes No ? Click here...
The Railway ? Yes Yes Yes ? Click here...
The Regent 1529 Yes No No Disabled access including a wheelchair lift to the Circle Lounge. Six wheelchair spaces in auditorium. Click here...
The Steamboat Taven ? Yes Yes Yes ? Click here...
Theta 200 Yes Yes No Full accessibility Click here...
The Swan ? Yes Yes Yes ? Click here...

Ipswich Arts Centre - The Petition

The petition list below is archived from the Ipswich Arts Centre website, which is now closed.

John Skelt,
I really don't know where to start so I won't repeat what has been written 1000 times before. Ipswich needs a decent venue as Andrew articulates. A serious point being, we are no longer a serious place for bands to stop which has been a serious problem for best part of 25 years now. The number of Ipswich People I bump into at gigs in Norwich, London and future afield says it all. Support this campaign. I will.

Andrew Laws,
Let's get this discussion started properly; the need has been there for years!

Ilona Stretch,
YES! We definitely need an arts centre in Ipswich and I'm totally up for helping out however I can :).

Kevin Lock,

I cannot think of anything that would help the music scene more in Ipswich.

We needed a facility like this in the 80's.90's and we still do.There have been gallant campaigns for a venue for Ipswich (V.I.C)but to no avail. We are now a university town and should have a centre for creative arts & music.Stowmarket is ahead of Ipswich with the John Peel centre.Will we see a centre for Ipswich in our lifetime ???

David Booty,
An Ipswich Arts Centre is exactly what the local music scene needs!


Dale Russell,

Gareth Patch,
I think there is definitely a demand for a purpose-driven building in Ipswich, but it won’t survive on gigs alone. It needs to be cross-cultural and encompass a range of arts, not just music.

Darren Olley,
After several very long winded emails to book a certain Ipswich "venue" which is near the "Waterfront" for my band to play, I was in the end told that "oh sorry, we don't have a licence for dancing"! Was I being fobbed off because the band was going to be somewhat noisier than a choir or brass band? Who knows! The powers that be will tell you until they're blue in the face that Ipswich has more than enough places for people to enjoy entertainment, but (in my opinion) not the type of entertainment that most people are desperate for. I remember a time when I didn't have enough money to see every band I wanted to at what was then The Gaumont. I remember Lemmy's surprise at a Motorhead gig at The Regent, when security wouldn't let people stand up and dance. Ipswich needs a mid-sized venue which isn't afraid to book bands that people don't just sit down to and clap politely.

Mark Parker,
I do a couple of trips a month to Norfolk, Cambridge or Colchester to see bands and comedians. I'd be a regular customer at a mid-sized venue in Ipswich, spending my money supporting local talent, local jobs as well as raising the town's profile across the regions and the country.

A nice medium size venue would be ideal to cater for music fans who are currently missing out on a lot of good acts due to no medium size venue in Ipswich

We need this so badly!!!

Dominic Cattermole,
Long overdue in the town. This would open up many new and interesting avenues towards the town. As yet uncatered for. Ipswich, sadly, has been missing out for years.

Hannah Scott,

James Booty,

Lisa Hinton,
The need for a live venue in Ipswich is long overdue. It works in Colchester so why not here?? Anything that brings money into the town must be a good thing.

Nigel Ball,

Simon finbow,

Mark Aaron,
With a growing land enthusiastiv live music scene in the UK, Ipswich is missing out on the cultural and financial benefit of having a thriving venue for live music.

William Sarginson,

Thomas Coleman,
I'm on board, sounds like a superb idea.

Martin Briggs,


Ed Barnes,
Anything I can do to help, just say the word. The town is desperate for this.

Matt brideburger,
This would be good for any shoegazing, drone and noise rock act so Please support we really need this in ippo : )

Gemma Grayston,

Daniel Lee Harvey,

Gary Abbott,

Davin Cattermole,

Tom Haxell,
Ipswich has a bad reputation in the media and is often seen as somewhere for touring bands to avoid completely – even filler dates are usually disregarded.
At the moment there are thousands more bands and artists than there are avenues for them to perform – whether that be record companies, booking agents or venues. Ipswich needs a good recognised venue to put it on the touring map. This WILL raise the “media’s” opinion of the town and increase local trade in nearby pubs and restaurants. There is no reason why an arts centre couldn’t work and is what Ipswich has been crying out for for years.

ben howells,

Ian \'Trainy\' Bareham,
It would be great get a Arts Centre where Ipswich vibrant and different scenes could benefit from. Look at the draw of Ipswich Music Day. Help with Monday Night Madness at Steamboat last year show how diverse and varied the talent is in this town with the different scenes genre. We need to nuture and support all these strands and get Ipswich on the tour band map.

Marcus Sutton,

jess stewart,
ipswich is crying out for a art center. lets make it happen!

Rayon Nelson,
Yes, I do believe and support the need of an art centre in ipswich. It would make such a difference and will bring attention to local talent in the town it self.

Jonathan Wright,
There was a time that people used to come to Ipswich because of it's buzzing evening atmosphere. That has since disappeared. Having an arts centre would help take Ipswich back to its former heights!

owen williams,
definitely need to have a venue like this! in a band based in Stowmarket (serious delirium) and would love to have something like this

Amelia Williams,


Bob Bowers,
The fans and the passion are there but this town has needed a venue forever! Local supports and bigger bands. How could you disagree with this?

Amo Ehlert,
We need a decent venue in Ipswich. Pubs are great; but having to travel to Norwhich/ Colchester/London to see better bands becomes a chore. I'll support this all the way through.

I think people need to invest in somthing fun.Music and arts can devide opinion but also bring people together a bit like sport i spose but much more interesting in my opinion.So yeah I am totaly behind the campaign...

Stuart Gough,
I currently have 1 ticket for Colchester AC, 1 for The Apex in Bury St. Edmunds and two for Norwich AC. I have lived in Ipswich for eleven years and despair at the lack of such a facility in this town as those named above. Peppery have been promoting gigs in Ipswich for most of my eleven years and I have been to many of their gigs at the Manor Ballroom and a couple at the New Wolsey; this is about as near to what I am looking for, but a long way from the standard of Norwich AC, which hosts a high calibre of artists on a frequent basis, they currently have more on their schedule that interest me than I can afford. Even a small town like Halesworth has a fantastic and thriving venue in The Cut. I hope Ipswich manages to develop and support an Arts Centre before I get too old for gigs. How old is that? I've been going to live gigs since 1980 and don't feel like stopping any time soon.

Frances Nicholls,

Peter Hepworth,

Sue Hayes,

Monday, August 05, 2013

Bye bye BSO MTB, you were...

...shit. I bought you in 2001 when I decided that I would cycle everywhere instead of driving.  My previous bike was a Raleigh Mustang bought with my paper-round money, by comparison you (what were you? A Raleigh Montana?) were light as a feather, all 25kg of you.  I learned quite quickly that cycling you to a meeting with clients was like choosing to push a tractor to make a good impression with a surly farmer.

Your front suspension was fun, for at least a month, until I took you full tilt down the side of a hill in Porlock (Somerset), after which every subsequent ride felt like pushing a stone lawnmower through half-set blancmange.

In the years we were together you had two cranksets, two seats, about a thousand brake pads, three rear derailleurs, at least a couple of chains.  Your frame was built to last, but everything else was made of cheese.

One derailleur karked it as a result of me doing a bunny hop to try and impress the wife.  The fact that a bike destined to be used off road didn't have a gear system capable of coping with my pathetic attempt at a 2cm bunny hop gave me grave doubts about the abilities of your designers.

At first I was impressed with your disc brakes, until I realised they didn't make much of an effort to stop the momentum my considerable bulk could accumulate down modest gradients.

Covering you in stickers as a theft deterrent was somewhat optimistic, the fact you weighed more than a baby ox (coupled with the drivechain's inability to effectively transfer power from legs to wheels) meant that should I have actually seen someone nicking you I would have the luxury of laughing at the thief's stupidity before deciding whether to reclaim my property -  which could be done by calmly walking to catch them up.

So this is the end, my shed is full and I've since discovered that road bikes allow me to go up hills without my lungs turning inside out through my nostrils I love you even less.  You're going to join several thousand other bikes in a shipping container bound for Africa, where some poor soul will stare with confusion at your many stickers, probably wondering why an English numpty would want photos of the toilets at a place called CBGBs on their bike.

Bye bye, I'm not sure I'm going to miss you.