Friday, 31 August 2012

MuHa - Beeston Square, 25 August 2012

MuHa were the last band to appear in Beeston as part of the Summer in the Square/Beeston Summer Music series of events.

They had the distinction of having been recommended to me by an old friend of this blog, Rocking Rob Chandler, a man whose chords cause quivering wherever they are heard.

I had some reservations, but I have to say that the old saying "Rocking Rob won`t steer you wrong" was proved to be true yet again. MuHa, performing as a four-piece on this occasion, proved be one of the musical high points of a year in which I`ve heard quite a bit of live music.

Purveyors of `new roots from Eastern Europe` , they bring together musicians of differing musical leanings and backgrounds and attempt to blend their diverse styles into a cohesive musical package.

Nine times out of ten when musicians do that, you wish they hadn`t bothered, but MuHa are the one out of ten when it really does work. The only problem is, it`s very difficult to describe how they sound !

They are fronted by Iryna Muha who sang, played acoustic rhythm guitar and also briefly played an instrument which I now know to be a berimbau which I personally thought sounded awesome.

On lead acoustic guitar was a man with the dubious distinction of having once been a Latvian rock legend, Dmitry Fedotov. A superb player, he reminded me of Mr Whatshisname who played on Al Stewart`s `Modern Times` album.   

On bass guitar - an electric bass - was Louise Clements, an artist-type who apparently has the misfortune to work in Derby`s supremely ugly Quad building.  She didn`t plonk along like some rock player, she didn`t push herself forward excessively or do anything wildly innovative but in my view she was just the right player for this band.

Completing the band on this occasion was drummer Colm O`Hanlon. Again, not an obtrusive player, but as far as I could see he didn`t falter once in two hours.

As you might have noticed, I`m still not much nearer describing their sound. All I can really say is that the first set seemed to include quite a few Russian folk songs, sung in Russian. No way would I have known them as folk music of any sort without being told. To me, they did need the lead guitar to add a bit of colour, but as they had that, they sounded fine. The second set had a touch of jazz/swing here and there and even a smidgen of blues.

I was probably more at home with the second set, but truthfully in two hours there was really nothing I disliked and I would happily have heard them play for longer.

Would I listen to them at home ? I`m not sure. Would I see them again live ? Definitely.

They`re different, but if you`re at all open-minded about live music give them a chance - they deserve it.


News From Hoonaloon 31 August 2012

Another month is coming to an end, we`re all a little older but not much wiser.

At present we have an arrangement with ABE that all the books we have in stock that were reduced in price as part of our sale in July are still being offered at that reduced price, but that new titles added after that sale ended are going online at full price.

We realise that this is a time when many people are facing challenges on the money front and that customers are increasingly cost-conscious.

For that reason, we leaving the discount in place on the items in question until the middle of Sept - the discount will probably come off around 15 Sept 2012.

Bag yourself a bargain and help us make some more spaces in our filing system - visit our online shop at ABE without delay.

And always remember our motto - Respect the Book !

Local Produce

In keeping with the general slant of this blog, here are a few samples of home-grown literary produce, recommended in order to enable you to live a full and varied reading life !

At 5279 in our listings is Harold H Mather`s Clock and Watch Makers of Nottingham, one of few books for those of a horological persuasion to be written by a direct descendant of one of Bonnie Prince Charlie`s soldiers.
Harold H Mather worked on the railways for much of his life and was well-known locally for his conservation work and interest in local history. Something of an authority on antique clocks, he personally restored and repaired a number of those held in local museums.
Another local inhabitant with an interest in conservation is Derbyshire`s Berlie Doherty. Berlie, a two-time Carnegie Medal for Literature winner, has turned her hand  to novels, plays, poetry, screenplays and much else, writing for youngsters and adults alike.
Published by Nottingham`s Five Leaves, A Beautiful Place for a murder is set in her home town of Edale and can be found at 5292 in our listings.
Fresh from D H Lawrence Country and with coal dust in it`s veins, The Eastwood Anthology brings together both amateur and professional writers from the area, plus a small number of writers from elsewhere linked to the group via it`s Write Connection project. A copy can be found at 5291 in our listings.
That`s all for now. To keep up to date with us why not follow our online newsletter at And remember -
Respect the Book !

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Rambling On Some More

In my recent posting Ramblin On (this blog, 20 June 2012), I looked at the campaigns work of the Ramblers.

The theme is taken up by guidebook writer Andrew McCloy in a recent article ;

Also interesting are ;

Saturday, 18 August 2012

60s R Us - Beeston Summer in the square 18 August 2012

It`s Saturday, it`s August and it`s time to head for Beeston for another bout of free live music.

As the name suggests, 60s R Us promote themselves as a `60s covers band. If you want to get pedantic about it, actually they`re a mid `50s - early `70s covers band and therein lies there great strength.

They perform no original material. They are capable musicians adept at vocal harmonies but they are not likely to attempt unusual arrangements or cover anything too obscure - there are no northern soul `b` sides or tunes by almost-forgotten rockabilly acts of the past among their material.

What sets them apart from others is their willingness to tackle songs that other bands, with some justification, would find too daunting. Thus we find covers of Reflections of my Life (Marmalade) ,  Stuck in the Middle With You (Stealer`s Wheel), Meet Me On The Corner (Lindisfarne) and Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival) among the more predictable Beatles, Monkees, Small Faces and Elvis covers. Other surprises, though possibly less challenging, included a version of Marc Bolan`s Jitterbug Boogie ! 

Another band might have stumbled along the way attempting what is, in it`s own way, quite an adventurous set, but 60s R Us were convincing throughout. They never came across like a variety act and pretty much the only song that I thought didn`t suit them too well was a cover of the Rolling Stones` Honky Tonk Women. That`s really very impressive given the range of material they attempt and the fact that they played for around two hours in total.

At the end of the day, they cover guitar-based pop/rock/rock `n` roll of the past. They obviously love it, it`s what they do and they do it well. If you`re going to see a covers band, this is the one to see. 

Footnote - I have a particular ability to mis-hear lyrics, which causes my friends much amusement. For years I belived Be Bop Deluxe sang about "Having a ball with the men in velour" on their song Beauty Secrets ( it`s actually "...  the men of the law"). I`m guessing therefore that when 60s R Us did a `50s medley including Return to Sender and It`s All or Nothing, one of the tunes wasn`t actually called Hey, Little Robot Girl which is what it sounded like to me. If anyone knows what it really was, I`d be interested to know. Maybe I should write a song with that title !


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Carmina - Summer in the Square - 11 August 2012


The ultra-enjoyable Carmina appeared as one of the Summer in the Square attractions in Beeston, Notts last Saturday.

It was their second Summer in the Square gig (is it still called a `gig` when it takes place in the afternoon ?) and the second time I`ve seen them live, the two things being not entirely unconnected.

They blend a mixture of jazz and folk influences, the end result tending to be jazzy folk rather than folky jazz, which is probably a good thing.

Their great achievement is to perform music that is actually quite innovative whilst still sounding accessible. I would venture to suggest they were just as well received by passing shoppers as by more music-minded bods like myself.

The other thing about them is that they are not only a `songs` band but also an `arrangements` band and indeed an `instrumentalists` band. In my personal experience the three things are not often to be found in combination in this way.

They seem to have one or two songs about death and related topics but oddly they still sound pretty uplifting even when dwelling on such morbid matters.

I did have one or two entirely subjective quibbles (I can`t abide scat singing for a start !)  but these need not detain us.

Overall, if I had to give them marks out of 10, I would probably go for around 9, with the proviso that at their very best they probably merit an 11.

The next Summer in the Square band will be `60s R Us, a 1960s tribute act as the name suggests, on Sat 18 Aug 2012.

Mary Shelley Speaks !

Yesterday I went to a production of Frankenstein at Nottingham`s Theatre Royal.

As I was leaving, a pleasant young man handed me a flyer (below) advertising Mary Shelley`s first interview for over 190 years and inviting me to Watch the Mother of Monsters for free at You Tube.

How could I miss such an opportunity ? Like many people who work from home I`m wary of You Tube and it`s potential for distracting a person from things that really need to get done,  but I tracked down said interview and engaged my ears in the procedure known as `listening`.

What I found wasn`t really my bag of chips but on the other hand, it was an intelligent attempt to introduce a wider audience to the life and times of Mary Shelley and her peers, quite quirky in it`s way and enlivened with flashes of humour, but essentially a fairly substantial piece of work presented in an accessible way.

I`m not so sure that Mary Shelley can still be regarded as a woman unjustly overshadowed by her better-known male associates, though I agree that once that was true. Still, this is an amusing and intelligent piece that deserves a wider audience.

Give it a go ;

Monday, 13 August 2012

Favourite Walks - Heanor/Marlpool/Shipley Park etc

Not so long ago (13 July) I posted details of one of my favourite walks in the area of Heanor/Marlpool etc.

That particular walk is based loosely on Amber Valley Routeway Number 6, and you should be able to request details of that walk via the Visit Amber Valley website.

Should anyone be needing any more information, parts of the walk also incorporate Public Bridleway 24 (Long Lane, Shipley). Long Lane is unusual in that it is at various points a footpath (Public Footpath 19), a Bridleway and a private road. However, for our purposes I gather the relevant area is the Bridleway, which leads from Hassocks Lane (A6007) through Bentley`s Plantation and ultimately through the grounds of MFN nightclub to Shipley Lock, as previously explained.

I belive Derbyshire County Council are the relevant contact point for more information on that part of the walk. Here are a couple of links ;

Happy walking !

Friday, 10 August 2012

Summer in the Square (Beeston)

Quite some time ago now, I used this blog to ask if anyone knew the name of a Central African band I`d seen performing at the annual Summer in the Square series of live shows in Beeston.

No-one actually came forward as a result of my question, but I believe the band in question to be Les Elus, a band who hail from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) but are currently resident in Derby.

Sadly I`ve missed their most recent appearance at  Summer in the Square (4 August 2012), but on the plus side I do still have the chance to catch the remainder of the season.

The bands who are yet to appear are Carmina (who I`ve seen before and who are excellent) , 60s R Us and  MuHa). For more details use this link ;

One thing I`ve noticed about Beeston, is that while the main shopping area (basically one street) appears to be bustling, explore further and even within the town centre there are quite a few empty shops. In an effort to address this issue, it is being promoted as a place to visit. Here`s a link ;

Bag a Bookish Bargain

And now, a word from our sponsor !

The Hoonaloon Books July sale, which has now officially ended, was a considerable success.

In light of this, we`ve come to an arrangement with ABE whereby all the items we still have which  were discounted as part of the sale are still available at the sale price, but new items added by us subsequently are going on at the full price.

This will continue for the foreseeable future - probably until later this month.

The latest Hoonaloon Books Newsletter can be found at and obviously we`d encourage you to have a look at that. Additionally, we thought we`d take this opportunity to show you a few items we`ve acquired recently with a more-or-less local connection.

Born and raised in Eastwood, Notts, D H Lawrence had extensive connections with various locations on the Notts/Derbyshire border, particularly Eastwood and Brinsley. Hardy and Harris` book A D H Lawrence Album appears at 5242 in our listings  and was brought into the world by Moorland Publishing, who are lucky enough to be based in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

Born and raised in Sibthorpe, Daniel Taylor began his journalistic career with a post at the Newark and South Notts Advertiser. Although he long ago graduated to writing for national titles, he still harbours in hs heart a deep love for Notts Forest FC. Read all about it in his worthy tome Deep Into the Forest, which you can find at 5187 in our listings.

St John`s College is a theological college in Nottingham. Their publication Walking to a Different Drumbeat (pictured) provides interested parties with daily readings for Advent and Christmas (5238), as does their Looking Towards the Dawn (5155 and 5160).

That`s just a small selection from the 4,000 or so books we currently have in stock.

Don`t forget to check out our monthly newsletter and remember -

Respect the Book !

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Nottingham Riverside Festival 2012

Having spent last weekend at the Nottingham Riverside Festival, I think it`s time for a quick musical interlude.

Here`s an all-too-hasty guide to just a few of the musical delights on offer ;


Ngoma take you on a musical tour of southern Africa, with songs from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and elsewhere. Like most African/World Music bands  they incorporate a reggae influence on a number of tunes. They perform capably and have some strong material, but I did feel that overall there was maybe something lacking. They give me the impression that they could be a great band, but on present showing they may be content just to be a good band.


The third or fourth time I`ve seen this band. They serve up a locally-brewed cocktail of folk and country influences, performed in a punchy, energetic style. For myself, they`re a band I prefer to consume in small doses, but I know plenty of people who would be only too happy to consume a sizeable kettle of Wholesome Fish in a single serving. 


Unexpectedly, one of my two favourite acts of the week-end.  Based in Canada, these purveyors of articulate folk impressed me so much I caught both of their sets. Theirs is a wide-ranging trawl through a variety of forms of folk, from medieval music to (you`ve guessed it !) Bob Dylan (a great version of The Times They Are A Changing), ending, perhaps surprisingly, with a folked-up rendition of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.

 Despite their obvious eclecticism, they connected well with an audience whose level of familiarity with folk ranged from `hard-core devotee` to `never heard anything like this before` . Seek them out, they`re worth it.


I only caught the last few numbers of Tom Wardle`s set, but I thought I`d give him a mention. If melodic pop/rock incorporating covers of tunes by the Beatles and Chuck Berry is your bag, you may want to check him out. It is a shame he was let down by a rather tinny sound system, but I`m sure he won himself a few followers.


I had no intention of catching this band and we were only using the bandstand area as a short cut elsewhere when we caught this fine guitar-based trio playing swing-influenced  jazz and blues tunes. Adapting readily, we changed our plans and stayed to hear more. I wasn`t totally convinced by their rendition of the jazz standard Caravan, but other than that I loved them, as did many others. My other favourite act of the weekend.


Also climbing my personal hit parade were local lads Golden Troubadours.  They were actually introduced as Velvet Troubadours, but I`ve checked and they are in fact unconnected with James Loney`s Minnesota masters of melody and are definitely called Golden Troubadours. They perform what I would call soft rock, reminiscent at times of the band America who had a hit in the `70s with Horse With No Name. If Finest Kind and Trio Manouche were my joint favourites, the GTs lag only a little behind.


Inevitably, there were other acts I would have liked to have seen, but circumstances dictated otherwise. For jazz buffs I`d like to mention the Nottingham Jazz Orchestra and the Teddy Fullick Quintet, both of which I`ve seen before.

I had also hoped to catch Carlton Brass, but there appears to be an iron law of fate that sees to it that I only get to see one brass band a year. As I saw the Matlock Band only recently I suppose it was inevitable I should miss Carlton Brass, but hopefully I`ll get another chance some time in the future.

I had also been hoping to catch local reggae band The Naturalites, who I saw a number of times in my youth. Unfortunately, a thunderstorm broke out only around ten minutes before they were due on stage in the bandstand area. With no jacket and two small children in tow, it just wasn`t viable to hang around to see if they went on, which seemed unlikely.

By sheer chance, a friend of mine who`s working abroad caught a live set by founding Naturalite Ossie Gad (formerly Ossie Sams) in Paris recently and tells me he was favourably impressed.

There is quite a bit online about Naturalites past and present which you may wish to check out. It would be interesting to know if anyone else remembers two other Nottingham-based reggae bands, Positive Vibes and Far Image ?

Anyway, that`s enough from me, but I hope these few comments will encourage you to check some of these excellent musicians who can so easily be overlooked.