Save Hare Hill House

Hare Hill House is a historic part of Littleborough’s past and is a magnificent building which should be preserved. It has recently been jeopardised by developers, after Rochdale Council declared it surplus to requirements after serving for many years as the neighbourhood office.

Since 2008, Moor End Trust has been searching for another use for this beautiful building. After five years of endeavouring, the Trust were finally bestowed the keys in November of last year. From here, they had to put together a business plan – they had to get the community on their side, and needed volunteers to make their whole idea work.

The plan was to create an Arts, Community and Enterprise Centre from the historic building. A haven for the Littleborough community, available for use for events activities, meetings, workshops, theatre, music, and training – a true community centre. This could potentially be the first community or civic centre that Littleborough has seen, and its community of 13,000 feel that they’re in need of one.

The centre will go by the name spACE@Hare Hill House, and will also house a community café which, in addition to serving the centre, will also cater for Hare Hill Park. The upper floors of the building will provide office or studio space for small, enterprising businesses and artists.

spACE@Hare Hill House could potentially be a big boost for Littleborough, and has the ability to help enterprising or creative minds get off the ground.

In May of this year, the Trust submitted their plan, after having gathered an Interim Management Committee and a team of kindred spirits who had volunteered to clean, clear, and run events at the House over the six months since claiming the keys.

The Trust has been granted a further 12 months to allow time to demonstrate to the council that it can undertake all necessary repair works on the house and raise the money needed.

The Trust is seeking an initial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which uses money raised from the National Lottery to give grants, allowing councils and organisations to sustain their heritage. In addition to this, there are hopes that the Trust will be short-listed for the Yorkshire Building Society Legacy Fund and the Engage Mutual Foundation Community Awards – both of which being decided by public vote.If the Trust’s applications are successful it would enable the transformation of a wonderful building and give Littleborough the community centre that it needs.

Vote online to help spACE@Hare Hill House win £5,000:

https://www.engagemutual.com/foundation/projects/hare-hill-house/

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia pilot

If you’re easily offended, I’m gonna go right ahead and say that It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is likely not the sitcom for you. As a series, it is basically four people (later five, following the curious addition of Danny DeVito) arguing, disagreeing, and ultimately shouting at each other for twenty-or-so minutes. They manage to get themselves into absurd situations, and their inherent ineptitude and obnoxious self-importance only makes everything worse. I love it, myself, and this is an opinion shared by millions.

In the first minute of the pilot alone we catch a glimpse of Mac’s racism, which follows throughout the episode, interspersed with a smidge of homophobia for good measure. It’s a decidedly bold move in a pilot episode, tackling subjects like these straight off the bat, though I’m pleased to report that the Always Sunny team pull it off wondrously. Something about the group’s dynamic is instantly appealing, and the stark opening of the series without any sort of formal introduction to the characters agrees with me as a viewer. I like the sense that we’ve just been thrown into a day in the life of these four people as an onlooker, a voyeur who has yet to get to know the quirks and traits of the people that we’re watching. Three of these mystery personas are immediately branded “weird” by Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson), though, which does set the tone somewhat for the rest of the series. These are some rather weird people.

Also agreeable is the distinct and often intentionally obvious lack of laugh-track; awkward moments made awkwarder by the palpable silences that arise. All it takes is a slip of Mac’s slightly bigoted tongue and we’re left cringing silently in our seats for a few seconds. It’s inspired.

Then, suddenly, the title sequence. Essentially just a bunch of shots of Philadelphia, cobbled together and then coupled with a queer and rather jazzy little number. Not quite what you’d expect from an FX sitcom, and I like that too. It’s different, and it’s refreshing. I also like the juxtaposition between the night-time shots of Philly and the title of the programme itself; maybe it’s not always sunny in Philadelphia after all.

After this rather cute title sequence, we’re faced with our four friends, along with Dee’s new friend Terrell, talking amicably around a table. All of the awkwardness seems to have dissipated, until suddenly Mac puts his foot in his mouth again and yes, all the awkwardness is back like a tide. Does it ever really leave?

The pilot also introduces us to Charlie’s love interest, The Waitress – somebody who could not reciprocate his affections less, but he doesn’t allow himself to be disheartened. Indeed, any interest that he shows in Janell is merely to prove to The Waitress that he isn’t racist, would that she might change her mind and finally decide she likes him (as if). My personal favourite development, though, has to be Dennis. He’s a straight male, and he knows to be so, but his ego is so inflated, so overstated, that he allows a stream of homosexual men to flirt with him. This even gets to the point where he dresses and acts differently, to make himself most aesthetically pleasing to them. His ego is relishing this…right up to the point where he’s hilariously duped into believing that he’s “spent the night” with two gay men.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a true riot – it crosses lines that other sitcoms wouldn’t dare breach, and it absolutely makes it work. Each character has their own charm, if you could call it that, and they bounce off each other in hysterical ways each week. This is definitely a programme that I would recommend to someone who doesn’t take their life too seriously.

FKA twigs – LP1 (2014)

This album is one that has had the most effect on me this year; not least because it’s so radically different from the music that I enjoyed prior. I feel as though twigs has opened a door for me with LP1, broadening my musical spectrum and making me just that little bit more receptive of music that isn’t messy fuzzy guitar indie. It’s quite masterful, if I’m honest – a true pleasure to soak in from start to finish. Twigs manages to quite intriguingly combine R&B, trip-hop, and electronica, and yet keep a very true and very present sense of musical identity. Some will label her “PBR&B” (or “Hipster R&B”; the “PBR” bit is derived from Pabst Blue Ribbon, the preferred lager of American hipsters, apparently), but I doubt one could ever devise a label that truly fits twigs’ style.

The music is busy, and yet somehow strikingly minimalist at the same time. Each layer has its own duty, but each duty is carried out with a subtlety that leaves you with a gelled and carefully sculpted final product. It has a breathless, weightless sort of beauty about it that I have simply never encountered before in an album. Every track astounds, from the Portishead-esque Lights On, to the ever-swelling climacticism of Two Weeks, to the haunting, almost hymn-like Closer.  Her voice coos, whispers, gently kisses your ear, quivers slightly but remains ever so dexterous and agile, never coming down flat, never missing a beat. LP1 has been written through nothing but sheer intelligence and the purest musical talent, painstakingly thought-out tracks, and a level of production that makes the ears all but sigh with pleasure.

Speaking of which – I’ve also encountered few albums that feature as many songs that seem as baldly about sex as this one. Take, “When I trust you we can do it with the lights on,” from Lights On. Strikes you as a simple line about sexuality, no? Well, twigs herself said in an interview with Pitchfork that that lyric is actually “a metaphor for letting certain people see the different, ugly sides of you that others won’t be able to see,” and that the lyric in truth is about vulnerability and self-image – so apparently thinking that it’s a lyric about aesthetics and sex is a misconception (is there a pun in there somewhere? Ouch). See – everything is thought through, everything has a meaning, and let there be not a shadow of a doubt when I say that FKA twigs is going to be enormous.

Beginnings

…And so here I am, welcomed by the warm embrace of WordPress; my wonderment mirroring that of a small boy entering the seemingly infinite realm of Toys R’ Us, or a hesitant alien scout taking its first slimy and betentacled slitherings on the surface of a forbidding new world. You may find that to be an exaggeration, and admittedly you’d be right, but I am to some degree tentatively baby-stepping my way around this new website. That said, I should probably have taken up something like this a long time ago. I love to write, and I love to read, and these are two things that I can do to my heart’s content on WordPress, yet here I am, beginning. But anyway.

Should this page attract any readers at all, they can expect to find all kinds of inane ramblings; basically whatever’s on my mind. I do love music, and doubtless will cover new album releases and live show experiences, along with whatever’s happening in my local community at the time. For example, the annual Walsden bonfire took place a stone’s throw from my abode, which I could have written about if I had been there. However, I wasn’t, so you’re going to have to look elsewhere if you really wanna know how that went down. Alternately, if that seems too much like effort, I can give you the lowdown right here, as my mother tells it; there were swarms of Todmorden High schoolchildren and a few fireworks. I promise my proper posts will be a little more in-depth than that, though, dear conjectured reader. You’ll just have to bear with me for the time being. I’ll be back before too long with something similarly inane to ramble about.