Here's Another Fine Jacket You've Got Me Into

Andrew poses in a bright blue tailcoat, with hot pink lapels, and a bowler hat.

Saturday was the Unity Day 2009 hospitality night - and yours truly was compère for the evening. I borrowed this marvelous tailcoat from the Ladybird's bottomless circus wardrobe. I don't know that pink and blue are my best colours, but it was fun to wear and got plenty of compliments.

The hospitality night is a chance for the Unity Day volunteers to catch up with each other, let our hair down and have a jolly good knees-up. We do it every year as our way of saying thanks to each other for helping to make Unity Day happen. Lots of us like to dress up to the nines, making a change from muddy boots and steward t-shirts.

There was music from some great local bands: anarchic dance from big-band Bassa Bassa, easy-groovin' reggae from The Roots Family UK, and the oddly named Ukelele Bitchslap, who are lovely. Many thanks to all of them for coming along to entertain us. Between bands I slipped in a recital of Three Ha'pence A Foot by Marriott Edgar, to show folk just how bad the rain could have been.

An exquisite new patchwork Unity banner was shown off by Maggie and Kerri, the new Unity Day wall calendar was passed around, and we saw video and photos from this year's main event. Plus, the home-made curry was superb.

Now the serious business of the Christmas panto can begin...

Unity Day Battle of the Bands - part 2

The results are in, and we have a winner! The judges chose Sawsound to play in the band tent on Saturday, citing their innovative spirit, so well done to them.

Andrew poses in a multi-coloured stripey tailcoat, with open arms

All the other acts were great, and I had a good time meeting them. I was really impressed with the willingness of the acts to lend each other some kit. Sawsound loaned some guitar cables, 3 Man Bench brought a mixing desk, and I got a phone call about microphone cables just as I was leaving my flat. That's the Unity Day spirit.

(Saving Time didn't turn up to play. Saved about 40 minutes, that did.)

There wasn't any mystery guest, contrary to what the flyer said. (Unless you count me, which I'm not.)

I got in touch with the Ladybirds, and managed to borrow this fabulous stripy tailcoat from the secret circus costume den. It was a lot of fun to wear - just look at those cuffs! They're big enough to hide pigeons in!

Andrew poses in a multi-coloured stripey tailcoat, hand on hip.

(Sorry about the mincing. Couldn't be helped.)

Just one week to go until Unity Day... I'm starting to get very excited.

Unity Day 2009 Battle of the Bands

I've been roped in as compère for the Unity Day "Battle of the Bands" this Sunday. Come along to the last fundraiser before the big day...

TJ's Woodhouse Club, Woodhouse Street, Leeds. Starts 7pm till late. 4 quid on the door, all proceeds go towards Hyde Park Unity Day.

The winning fish (as judged by the Unity Day management committee) gets to play the one remaining slot on the Chemic Tavern's Beer and Band Taverna stage. Taking part are:

Most of them have web-sites with audio, so I'll give them all a good listen. I like to get the feel of all the acts, so I can get the crowd on their side.

Hope to see you there!

A Night of Mirth and Merriment

This year's Unity Day fund-raisers are getting off to a flying start... and I'll be there telling a story or two.

A Night of Gypsy & Folk Music, Mirth and Merriment

Friday 20th March
TJ's Woodhouse Club

Na Zdrove (DJ set)
Tatu Carreta
Pretty Polly's Beard (including celiah!)
Claudio the Gypsy Spy
Banat Eshorouk - Arabian Dance Group

8pm 'till late!
£4 - all proceeds to Unity Day 2009

Update: (26/3/2009) I got to be the compere as well as tell a story! I introduced Tatu Carreta (a great band) and the belly dancers, then told the story of "Jack and the Gun" and a poem about gypsies. Regrettably, I couldn't late stay for Pretty Polly's Beard, but I heard that their ceilidh dance was a blast. The evening made a few hundred quid for Unity Day

Out Of My Tree

Out Of My Tree is an environmental and community arts exhibition, to be held at Holy Trinity Church in Leeds. I'll be there telling tree-themed stories in the evening, on Wednesday 26th November.

Update (9th Nov): I've received further details of the event to pass along...

"Out Of My Tree"

Artists and permaculturalists relate the beauty and wonder of trees.

Holy Trinity Church
Boar Lane, Leeds, LS1 6HW

24th-29th November 2008

1-5pm on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday
2-5pm Tuesday and Friday
11-1pm Saturday.

Workshops and talks programme

Tuesday 25th

"Reclaim Christmas" Tree decoration workshop on 2.30-4.30pm.

Wednesday 26th

"Straw bail house building" talk by Zac Solomons, 3-3.30pm.
Learn more about sustainable housing.

"Edible Cities" talk by Niels Corfield, 4-4.40pm.
Proposal on how to make the city more productive by transforming redundant spaces.

Story writing workshop 7-8.30pm
Tree-themed storytelling & open mic night 8.30pm-12pm.
Donations on the door. Tea and cake.

There will also be a Plant Sale and information displays about local environmental projects.

Come and play throughout the week.

More Info