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Blue Monday: Holly Blues In Spring

Holly Blue Butterfly

Blue Monday: Holly Blues In Spring

These last few weeks of warm, sunny weather have brought out many of our native butterflies and they have been delightful! The Holly Blue is the first of the British blues to emerge from overwintering pupae in the Spring generation. They stay high in the trees most of the time and you have the best chance of seeing them near holly trees, where this generation will lay their eggs. The late Summer generation, hatched from these larvae will, in turn, lay their eggs on the ivy to complete this wonderful cycle! I finally managed to get close to one as it sunned itself, lower down on brambles, at Dapdune Wharf on the Wey Navigation in Guildford. It refused to open those beautiful, little wings but you can still see the silvery-blue of the undersides.

Holly Blue Butterfly

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Golden Crown

Guild Castle surrounded by daffodils

Golden Crown

Yesterday I joined a group of local photographers for a photoramble around Guildford. We picked the wrong day! It was absolutely tipping it down with rain and most of the group gave up before reaching the Castle Grounds. Well the daffodils were truly glorious, crowning the hill with gold. Shame about the sky at the time which was grey and featureless! For my Fotospeed Challenge image I decided that I would merge a beautiful spring-blue sky from Saturday into my photo of the castle. The resulting composite is the sight that I had been imagining enjoying and capturing on our day out! Despite the rain I loved going around the grounds, seeing the beautiful daffodils, primrose and blossoms. There was so much birdsong and a real feel of life springing up around me! I am looking forward to seeing the grounds carpeted with tulips soon 🙂

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Meg Barwell

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Music and lighting really is the embodiment of ambience! I prefer my music LIVE and ORIGINAL. Fortunately, there is an abundance of musical talent in my area with many local, live-music venues and promoters! I am blessed to be able to call some of these fantastic musicians my friends and artistic collaborators. I love discovering new music! Open-mic nights are a great way to support local talent and and enjoy an eclectic mix of musical genres.

One Winter’s Night is the brainchild of Guildford based promoter and musician Gavin Thomas. Produced every January by GT Live Sessions, this concert is a collection of acoustic performances at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. It was fantastic to watch my friends Richard and Calliopi, from Cardboard Carousel, and Claudia Stark perform on a big stage where they truly belong! The lighting design from John Harris along with the subtle staging from Liza Cheal and Jamie Barber, of the Yvonne Arnaud, added yet more ambience to what was a magical evening of music from the community, for the community.

Thanks to sponsorship from KP Snacks Limited, all the money raised on the night will be donated to two local charities, Challengers and The Onslow Ward at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. Challengers are an independent charity, developing and delivering inclusive play and leisure for disabled children and young people across Surrey, Hampshire and the surrounding areas. Onslow Ward is the inpatient unit for Oncology and Haematology at the Royal Surrey Hospital. The ward is in desperate need of a powered hoist that can be positioned by any bed on the ward, enabling a single nurse/carer to safely move patients in and out of the beds. I know the Royal Surrey Hospital very well myself as it is where I was first admitted with Crohn’s nearly twenty two years ago. They saved my life. My first stay as an inpatient was for about six weeks so I know how much of a difference a hoist like this will mean to both staff and patients alike!

The Dirty Carols and Sophie & Vikki

Tom Gortler

Claudia Stark

Keith Bayley featuring Gavin Thomas

Eva Perrin Fontana

Cardboard Carousel

Portland

Meg Barwell

Bare Jams

And finally…..

I’ve also put together a compilation video of the nights’ performances for your enjoyment! Please note that The Dirty Carols recreate songs that you may know well, BUT with alternate and slightly rude (sometimes, oh okay, most of the time!) lyrics. If you are playing this video to younger people, or are of a sensitive nature, then you may forward through (or mute) their hilarious songs. No offence is intended or taken!

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Butterflies And Flutterbyes – Genesis Extended

Steve Hackett

Legendary guitarist Steve Hackett performed and wrote with Genesis from 1971 until 1977. Having penned so many of the classic Genesis songs of the era, Steve and his band put together the brilliant Genesis Revisited II tour, album and DVD in 2012 and 2013.

I was privileged to be at The Hammersmith Apollo concert in May 2013 for the filming of the DVD, with special guest appearances including Nik Kershaw, John Wetton, Jakko Jakszyk, Steve Rothery and Amanda Lehmann. What an extraordinary concert it was and I can certainly recommend the DVD, not just to Genesis and Hackett fans, but to all music lovers!

The tour has been critically acclaimed across the world, continuing to sell out venues and receiving rapturous applause from spellbound audiences. Genesis Revisited II deservedly won the Best Live Event category at the The Progressive Music Awards 2013. With such high demand for tickets the tour has been extended this year.

Steve Hackett – Guitars and Vocals

On Monday the 3rd of November, the tour buses rolled into Guildford, once the home town for the original members of Genesis, to perform to yet another sold out concert at G Live. The venue started life as The Guildford Civic Hall in 1962, playing host to some of the worlds’ musical greats including The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Eric Clapton and later in the 1990’s The Prodigy and The Levellers.

Rob Townsend – Sax, Flute and Percussion

It surprised me to discover that Genesis only ever performed at the Civic once, in 1980 for The Duke Tour. This, of course, was post Hackett, although the band had performed at the nearby University of Surrey in January 1972 for the Nursery Crime Tour. It was later in that same year that Peter Gabriel first donned one of his infamous costumes during the Dublin concert of the Foxtrot tour.

Nick Beggs – Bass Guitar and Chapman Stick

It was wonderful to see and hear Steve’s band perform together in the intimate setting of G Live. There’s something about the venue that has always brought audience and performers closer together than the size of the hall would suggest possible. This was remarked upon by all the band members after the show. I do hope that they will return to Guildford again with more of Steve Hackett’s great music! Steve has performed and recorded with Roger King, Rob Townsend, Gary O’Toole and Nick Beggs for many years now. Keyboard player, Roger King, mixed and recorded the first Genesis Revisited album in 1996.

Roger King – Keyboards

Vocalist, Nad Sylvan joined the band for the Genesis Revisited II tour in 2012. I was hugely impressed by this theatrical, Swedish singer when I saw the band perform at The Hammersmith Apollo last year. He is most certainly an inspirational part of the band. I wonder how hard it will be for them all to end this tour together! Nad first caught Steve’s attention performing on the Unifaun album; a piece of original music inspired by 1970’s era Genesis. His voice resonates a mix of both Gabriel and Collins, while his dramatic performance is so reminiscent of Gabriel’s love of story-telling.

Nad Sylvan – Vocals

The highlight of these concerts, for me, has been hearing Supper’s Ready performed live. I get Butterflies and Flutterbyes whenever I listen to this track from the Foxtrot album, but experiencing it live is pure magic! Blood On The Rooftops is another treat, sending shivers down my spine as the acoustic intro sweeps into harmonious vocals and tender saxophone arrangements. This is one of the few times that we get to see drummer, Gary O’Toole, as he rises behind his drums to serenade us just as co-writer, Phil Collins, would have done in years past.

Gary O’Toole – Drums, Percussion and Vocals

Genesis really brought the concept of stage-lighting to a new level, setting the scene for the future, in partnership with Vari-Lite. The lighting for this tour has been quite exceptional and is so exciting for me as a photographer! I hope that my galleries convey some of the nuances of the music, the drama of performance and the camaraderie of this brilliant band.

Genesis Revisited II - The Band

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Work Of Art – Julia K

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work Of Art - Julia K

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work Of Art

Michelle says “When someone says “art,” they often use it as shorthand for “paintings and sculptures.” Art is everywhere, though: in nature, in architecture, in literature, and more. It’s anywhere we see beauty and meaning.”

I couldn’t agree more! I see art and beauty everywhere I look. One of my great joys in life is working alongside other like-minded artists, like Julia K. Julia is a wonderful singer/songwriter who is also my friend, my muse and my collaborator!

My favourite collaboration with Julia, so far, has been the creation of the video for Julia’s song “Strong” which I directed. We also held an exhibition with fellow photographer Tom O’Donoghue, culminating in an intimate concert in the medieval Undercroft in Guildford.

My featured image is the cover artwork for the single which is available on Amazon and iTunes. The photos in the gallery tell the story of the making of a music video. From the tranquil and beautiful setting of Fleet Pond on a very chilly February morning to the fabulous interior of the converted mansion at South Hill Park.

Finally, our work or art is the video itself. We hope you enjoy it! Look out for my dad’s artwork used as props too 🙂

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Jaw To The Floor

Jaw To The Floor

When was the last time you were so blown away by a piece of music that your jaw left a dent in the floor?

Well, the packed audience at The Boileroom, in Guildford, tonight all experienced an entire evening of jaw-dropping and mind-blowing musicianship, courtesy of Petteri Sariola, Mike Dawes and Jon Gomm.

Getting one of the best solo guitarists on the world would be nice, getting three is ridiculous. But the stars aligned and we managed to find a date that fitted all three of their calendars, this is a very special one-off show.”

Perhaps you’ve already seen Jon Gomm’s fabulous video “Passionflower” on YouTube, or Mike Dawes’ phenomenal version of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know?

If not, there’s no excuse, just follow those links and be astounded!

As ever, more to come, review and photo wise, on my Facebook Page as soon as possible.

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Pete Doherty at The Boileroom

Pete Doherty at The Boileroom

Pete Doherty, Babyshambles’ frontman, former member of The Libertines and one of the most iconic musicians of the past decade has just embarked on a one-off, intimate tour of the UK.

Tonight, The Boileroom in Guildford was a sold out event. Great to have been there! Pete and Alan Wass, who performed as support tonight, have recorded a song together as The Lipstick Melodies entitled Hired Gun.

The main set was, unfortunately, cut short after some technical difficulties. With the crowd crying out for the classics we didn’t really get a chance to hear Pete’s new material.

There’s really no denying that he is a truly gifted singer/songwriter! I’m sure all those lucky enough to be going along to the forthcoming Babyshambles tour will be in for a musical treat.

I’ve always had huge respect for Pete’s work, not only as a singer/songwriter but also for his poetry, art and other musings within his Books of Albion. I feel he really lays himself bare in these diaries. A brave thing to do for any artist!

Sometimes though, I wonder just how much of his work, both written and drawn, and the man himself, has actually been misread.

Thanks for the music Pete!

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The Levellers

The Levellers

Well that was a truly triumphant return to Guildford for a band that many off us in the area are just a little bit passionate about 😉

The Levellers treated us to a wonderful selection of songs, both old and new. The crowd (and one little photographer) didn’t stop dancing! The audience had a good voice too tonight as we all joined in with classics such as, What A Beautiful Day, One Way, Hope Street and The Boatman.

Static on The Airwaves is a great new crowd pleaser along with The Recruiting Sergeant, which reminded me of previous songs like Another Man’s Cause. It also holds memories of the Pink Floyd song, The Soldiers Dream, from The Final Cut

The Levellers have almost always had Guildford on the tour list, performing at what was The Civic Hall and is now, revamped and renamed, G Live. Great to have them back!

The thousands of people who’ve attended GuilFest (sadly gone now) over the years will have very fond memories of The Levellers, Drunk in Public and Guildford’s favourite friend, Simon Friend!

Hope to see you all at Beautiful Days Festival!