Items filtered by date: April 2016

Time for you to have your say

  • Published in News

We have finally got round to having a facility on the site for any feedback you might want to give us, either on our music, our videos or on any of the articles posted on our web pages. There is now a comment box at the end of every article and we hope you’ll avail yourselves of the opportunity to add your own input. Also we’re always open to ideas for future articles or maybe you’d like to offer to write one yourself. There is also a new index on the site pointing to past features.

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Bar Pinzales opens new chapter in village life

  • Published in Venues

A new lease of life is to be injected into the heart of our village thanks to the best news of 2016 so far: the much mourned and much missed Bar Pinzales is to reopen very soon after more than a year lurking in the charred shadows of what used to be (see our February tribute). There has been a hive of activity in the venue across the road from the red house over recent weeks. Now the stage has been redesigned, newly painted and spruced up, all set for the bar to reclaim its rightful place as the centre of village life. And it’s now bright red inside, so that must be a good omen.

Red House had a sneak preview of the new-look bar and met Marcial, one of a group of friends who have rallied round former Bar Pinzales stalwart, Pichi, in a consortium set on rescuing the place from further decline and giving it back to the village. Marcial proudly gave us a tour of the place (though we do know it well) and outlined what will be on offer: tapas, espichas in the garden, lunches on the terrace, cenas in the ballroom, weekend programmes of live entertainment and, most important of all, the convivial atmosphere that has always been a hallmark of Bar Pinzales and made it such a great and welcoming place to get together with friends over a beverage. Marcial’s enthusiasm is unquestioned. So is ours.

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Too many strings, too many notes attached...

Times are hard for pianos, partly their own fault. For starters they’re big and heavy, taking up one whole wall in the average room in the average house and then being really difficult to move to get to any rotting mouse corpse abandoned underneath by the cat. Even with so-called portable keyboards the word “portable” is a bit of a misnomer: they weigh a ton. For seconds pianos, once a fixture in every other working class home, fell victim to the promise of instant stardom held out by the guitar. While Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard were the really outrageous bad boys of rock – boy did they treat their instruments rough – the homely Bert Weedon was leading lots of young men (mainly) through simple chord progressions in the privacy of their own bedrooms. The writing was on the wall for pianos: in the late 1960s, piano sales in the UK were recorded as some 14,000 sold per year: by 2013 that figure was way down to 4,000. By contrast currently 300,000 pianos are made every year in China, of which 250,000 are for use in China.

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Notes on a well-travelled piano

The day the piano arrived in our nascent Bukowski’s Piano Bar and Diner in Sheffield saw emotion and excitement take precedence over all the cleaning and prep work still to be done before our opening night. As pictured, Geoff stopped everything to tinkle the ivories. They had a good pedigree.

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Fencing by numbers

Some music stands the test of time. Some doesn’t. It simply disappears into obscurity. For every song that lasts, thousands have been lost along the way, casualties of changing tastes. And then there are those which don’t deserve to have survived and yet they linger like a bad smell.
 
A quick look at some of the 12” singles I bought in 1983/84 and I find The Killing Moon by Echo and the Bunnymen, Living on Video by Trans-X, The First Picture of You by The Lotus Eaters, The More You Live The More You Love by A Flock of Seagulls and Every Breath You Take by The Police. One of these songs remains in the collective consciousness of the 21st Century, the others have been consigned to the archives. But on an individual level this forgotten music can live on, an instant evocation of time and place. A song instantly transports you back to a time and a place far more effectively than a photo ever could.
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Me and Charlie B.

I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t encountered Charles Bukowski but, for better or worse, I probably wouldn’t be here writing this. I don’t think his presence in my life over the last twenty-five years or so has effected any big changes in me but it certainly has led to some big changes in my circumstances.

Bukowski was never cool. Although he was writing all through the time of the beat generation he never commanded the respect that Jack Kerouac or Alan Ginsberg won. He never garnered the stoned kudos of William Burroughs or Hunter S Thompson and he was never bestowed the heavy-weight mantle like Norman Mailer or John Updike. He was just Charles Bukowski; plugging away at his typewriter, working the shitty jobs, eyeing up the dubious ladies, scrapping in the backyards of dingy watering holes, listening to his music and of course drinking.

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A funny kind of love song

A year or so ago Maggie had gone to England and I was here doing a ‘Rodriguez’ as they say in this part of the world -something along the lines of: when the cat’s away... I’ve known Maggie for half of my life and in that time we’ve gone a few rounds on that roller-coaster and so when she’s away I sometimes feel like I’m missing a part of myself.

One night I was in a sentimental mood and thought I’d write a love song. Now I don’t know if it is because I’m a bloke or English or too self-absorbed but the very idea of revealing certain emotions is very difficult. What started out as a love song turned into an apology for my own short-comings and an acknowledgement that I can be hard to live with at times. It is only in the final chorus that I manage to partially expose my own feelings. What that says about me is not very positive but hey ho the wind and the rain. The essence of the song is in the uncompleted sentiment of the title Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop and even just writing this is difficult enough so I’ll just say that it is dedicated to Maggie. GR

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Itinerant music man makes world his studio

French-born Hugo Labattut crossed paths with Red House Work in Lisbon. He is now working in Turkey, his latest stop in a world-wide life-long adventure, making music wherever he goes, be it Mongolia or Bolivia. He is pictured here recording his latest album in Istanbul. Here’s his story so far, in his own words:

I was born in the south west of France in a little city called Dax, I actually never lived there but all my family is originally from that place. When I was little, music was not really important, although I have some memories of my mother’s records, such as Sonny Rollins or some blues and jazz collection that I still listen to. My father never really listened to music: he is more like a silent person, I guess he doesn’t know it but his mind is probably full of music. The only French records I remember were from Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Higelin and Arthur H. This music is actually a big part of my life now but at that time I never really felt passionate about music... until I listened to Michael Jackson! I couldn’t stop listening to him. I knew everything about him and I was inventing the “lyrics” because of course I couldn’t speak any English. I don’t think he is a big source of inspiration now in my music but I guess he is the first artist that made me feel something. After that, Michael Jackson’s time, I remember listening more to jazz and blues records and particularly Sidney Bechet and his version of Summertime, that always amazed me.

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About

Red House Work is the body of music, songs and videos written and produced by the band, Red House, based in Pinzales, Gijón. Here we also give you a flavour of our cultural and musical interests and those of others. Contact us on: redhousepostbox@gmail.com

Red House Work es el conjunto de la música, las canciones y los vídeos escritos y producidos por el grupo Red House, con base en el pueblo de Pinzales, Gijón. En esta web os ofrecemos también una muestra de nuestros gustos culturales y musicales y los de otra gente afín a nuestro proyecto. Podéis contactar con nosotros a través de:redhousepostbox@gmail.com