Wednesday 9 December 2020

Auckland Christmas Newsletter 2020

Aucklands Christmas Newsletter 2020

Although at risk of repeating what everyone else is thinking, and writing, in the run up to Christmas, this has been a pretty unusual year. I have hardly been out of Norfolk, and have certainly missed the usual mixture of live concerts, gigs and festivals that have characterised the summers of the last few years.

Fred, Sarah and Noah (who will be celebrating his third birthday on December 20th) were joined by Edith, who arrived on September 15th - by far the best news of 2020 for all of us. We took advantage of the easing of the lockdown in the Summer and, whilst none of us made it overseas, I played host for a week in August, when Florence joined Fred, Sarah and Noah here in Poringland for some lovely days out to the coast, as well as a bit of relaxation in the back garden.

Hopefully we will all enjoy a safe and happy Christmas, and stay strong for whatever 2021 decides to bring us.

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Les Auckers en France 2019 - The Manoir Experience (Read this then pass it on to Harry...)

It is quite a while since I last had a foreign holiday, five years to be exact. Not that it has been a case of not wanting to, more an adopted state of inertia focused by a need to live within my means. Since giving up work, I have been living a modest, but pretty busy, life here in Norwich, volunteering at the local Arts Centre and writing music and theatre reviews for our local listing magazine. Imagine, therefore, my surprise and delight when, last March, I received an e-mail from The Sunday Times informing me that I had won a week's holiday in the Loire Valley.

And not just any holiday - oh no, this was a vast rural manor house with room for 14, situated bang in the middle of the famous Anjou wine growing area. It had an outdoor heated swimming pool, barbecue area, table tennis, and even a trampoline. A quick glance on the website for Pure France (the holiday company that offers Manoir Coteaux within its portfolio of properties) revealed what a sensational prize this was. And to make it even better Brittany Ferries were providing a return channel crossing for a car and up to four adults.

One slight problem. Who to invite along? I live on my own, my wife died twelve years ago and both my children have since grown up and left home. Just who does a retired 62 year old billy-no-mates invite along on such a fantastic holiday? Well, the prize organisers were very understanding - I could defer taking the prize until June 2019, meaning that both the children could use some of their next year's annual leave and, even better, five very good family friends from Worthing would also be able to join us.

The property is a Saturday to Saturday let, and I had opted to drive my van down to Portsmouth on the Friday, catch the overnight ferry to St Malo, and rendezvous with my son, daughter-in-law and 18 month old grandson at the property on the Saturday afternoon. They had crossed the Channel the previous Saturday and already spent seven days exploring the Brittany and Normandy coast. Our Worthing friends, who are massively involved with their local cricket club, would drive through the tunnel on Sunday morning, arrive for Sunday teatime, and leave on the following Friday morning in time to make it back for the next game. They have to maintain their batting averages!

My daughter decided to take the Eurostar to Paris and spend the first weekend staying with some French friends before getting the train to Saumur on the Monday morning. She would then take a flight from Tours to Stansted at the end of the week. So, including the toddler, this made for a tri-generational party of ten. And what a party we had!

I arrived and was met at the property by the Pure France reps, Ian and Lynn who welcomed me and showed me around Manoir Coteaux. It is described as being in the village of Les Verchers-sur-Layons, a village just south of Doué-la-Fonataine, but is actually in the nearby community of  Savonnière, which consists of just a handful of rural properties, mostly wine growers. You will need your car to reach Doué where, as well as a good selection of bars, restaurants and local shops, you will find on its outskirts an excellent and well-stocked Super-U, complete with petrol station. Remember, though, that you are in France, and supermarkets do not routinely open on Sundays (although smaller local shops may open until lunchtime).

As Ian and Lynn showed me around it was like being taken on a guided tour of a stately home! In the main manor house are four enormous bedrooms, including one with four-poster bed. In the adjoining annexe are three further bedrooms. For purely logistical reasons we decided to sleep the Auckland family in the main house, and keep the Worthing friends together in the annexe. And I got to claim the room with the four-poster bed! Not that the domestic arrangements mattered, other than for sleeping and bathing. Although accessed via different entrances, and each having its own facilities, the demarcations were entirely arbitrary. We tended to use the annexe lounge area for watching the TV (our once a night 'guilty pleasure' was watching Love Island, purely because one contestants was the sister of our Worthing friend's flat-mate). 

Similarly, we would all gather together by the pool during the day, on the terrace in the evening for drinks, and in the large kitchen for breakfast and dinner. On the night of our arrival the main priority was to ensure that we could stream the Champions League football final from a mobile phone to one of the colour televisions (we had an ardent Tottenham fan in our midst), so dinner that night was beer and pizza. On the second night we had forgotten about Sunday supermarket hours, so decided to get a take-away from the excellent Belgian-run 'Une Frite Une Fois' in Doué. However, for the next four nights we teamed up to create our own 'Come Dine With Me' competition, complete with entertainments, and with videos and scores being uploaded daily to the holiday WhatsApp group. The final night was a glorious 'eat-up-everything-that's-left-in-the-fridge' style operation, otherwise referred to as a 'hot and cold collation'.

And as I drove my daughter to Tours airport on the Saturday morning, I had time to reflect on the wonderful week that we had spent at Manoir Coteaux. Had the sun continued to blaze for the entire seven days we would, of course, been blissfully happy and would probably have never left the Manoir's grounds other than to purchase more beer. Everybody enjoyed the pool and, with the added security and protection of the electronic alarm, we felt secure about having a toddler on the loose, even with all the strict adult supervision. As it turned out, we had a couple of days when it was more conducive to explore the area, giving us a chance to visit Saumur, Angers and Tours, as well as visit the extraordinary Bioparc Zoo near Doué, opened in 1961 and housing over 100 different animals in a unique troglodyte quarry setting. 

We also spent an afternoon tasting the wines produced by our neighbours at the Domaine Bodineau. Owners Frédéric and Anne-Sophie may have appeared slightly bemused when the nine of us walked in and asked to taste 'all of the wines' (it was a 'Withnail & I' moment to be sure). I hope that the orders we placed with them at the end were adequate recompense for their friendly welcome, their hospitality, and also their patience. These are the exact same wines that, for our convenience, Pure France had sent us pre-arrival tasting notes and order form, but there really is no substitute for first sampling the goods, and talking to the growers in person. The wines of the Loire are certainly delicious. They are mostly best drunk young, and perhaps for this reason they do not attain the same cachet in the UK as the classic vintage wines of the Bordeaux or Burgundy regions. I am now a firm convert to the Muscadets, the Anjou Cabernets, and even the Anjou Rouge, but I suspect they will be a lot harder to find at a reasonable price when I search them out in the UK. Good job I filled up the van ahead of my return.

Graham, the owner of the Manoir, lives in another completely separate part of the property, and was genuinely friendly without ever being intrusive. The Manoir was filled with many personal mementos and possessions (including an original watercolour by one of my favourite Suffolk artists, Mary Grundy) and this helped to cultivate a genuine appreciation that we were 'borrowing' somebody's cherished home for the week. Ian and Lynn were also only ever a telephone call away should they have been needed. 

As the rest of the party headed back to the UK, I swapped my four-poster bed for a couple of mattresses in the back of my van and spent the next seven days working my way along the Loire to the coast, visiting Nantes, then north and east to St Nazaire, Quimper, Concarneau, Dinard, St Malo, Cancale, Mont St Michel, and the Normandy D-Day beaches (where just a week earlier, on June 6th,  the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Allied Forces' liberation of France had been widely marked), and finally spending a few hours in Bayeux before getting the ferry from Caen back to Portsmouth. It was the denouement to an incredible fortnight, with a trove of memories and experiences to store and to savour.

I know that newspaper competitions are largely a question of luck, and that winners are usually picked at random, but I would like to extend my sincere thanks to The Sunday Times for their serendipitous choice in selecting my name as their winner, and to Kate and Gemma for liaising with the competition promoters to make it happen for me. Thank you to Hugh, Lucie and Brenda at Pure France for organising the accommodation (yes, I would love to book another holiday with you guys at some point), and to Ian and Lynn, and of course Graham, for your on-site attention. Thank you to Jane at Brittany Ferries for sorting the channel crossings out for me, and enabling me to take my van across instead of just a standard car - I couldn't have visited all those places in that second week without your co-operation. And lastly, but by no means least, to my wonderful children, family and friends who made the effort to came out to play, and made it such a perfect time for me.

Now, to seek out the next batch of competitions...

Website address for Pure France -
Details of Manoir Coteaux -
YouTube video of Manoir Coteaux -

Website address for Brittany Ferries -

Website for Domaine Bodineau -

Website for Doué-la-Fontaine BioParc -

Trip Advisor review for Une Frite Une Fois -

Wednesday 16 August 2017

The Transports, by Peter Bellamy - A Norfolk Love Story?

I have lived in Norwich now for over thirty years, yet still this city throws up new stories, and new places for me to visit. Take Kett's Heights, for example. I knew the story of Kett's Rebellion against land enclosures back in 1549, and knew that Robert Kett's rebels marched upon Norwich and besieged the city. The high ground which they used to make camp to the East of the city is now known as Kett's Heights, owned by Norwich City Council but supported by the Friends of Kett's Heights who aim to maintain the area as a welcoming space for the local community and visitors to Norwich.

I first made my way up to Kett's Heights only a few months ago. There is a gateway on the right hand side as you ascend Kett's Hill from the roundabout at the junction of Gurney Road, Barrack Street, and Bishop Bridge Road. Passing through this gate, and climbing the stepped path through the trees, brings you to an open area that was might once have been an orchard. This open area is perfect for outdoor theatre performances, and is indeed where I saw local company The Common Lot perform their history of migration show, 'Come Yew In', back in July. Proceed slightly further, and you arrive at the beacon installed in 1988 to mark the anniversary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada. At this point one is treated to panoramic views of the city of Norwich, including the castle, both cathedrals and the city hall and clock tower. It is now a vital destination on any tour for my visiting family or friends.

On Sunday August 13th this year I was back again, this time to watch a performance of Peter Bellamy's legendary ballad opera 'The Transports'. Written in 1973, and released at the end of the golden age of concept albums in 1977, 'The Transports' featured such folk luminaries of the time as Martin Carthy, Mike Waterson, Norma Waterson, June Tabor and Dave Swarbrick. It tells the true love story of Henry Cable and Susannah Holmes, who were separately tried for theft in 1783.

The death sentences are commuted to transportation to the Americas but, because of the American War of Independence, they remain in Norwich Prison for a period of three years, during which time Henry and Susannah start an illicit affair, and bear a child. When transportation commences to Australia instead Henry and Susannah are destined to be separated, and Susannah is told to give up the child. A public campaign taken to Lord Sydney, the then Home Secretary, results in permission for the threesome to travel together, and for Henry and Susannah to marry. They are even donated a bounty of £20, raised by public subscription, to establish their new life in Australia.

When Henry and Susannah arrive in Australia in 1788 they become the first convict transportees to be married in Sydney, and the first to successfully sue in court (Their 'bounty' of £20 was plundered by the captain of the ship, but Henry managed to win damages of £15 against him). Henry becomes a successful businessman in New South Wales, and he and Susannah had another ten children. Two hundred years on there are literally hundreds of descendants of Henry and Susannah who can trace their ancestry directly back to that early convict ship. The story remains today as much a part of the history of New South Wales as it does of Norwich.

Whilst 'The Transports' has been performed many times since 1977, local amateur theatre group Crude Apache are one of the only companies to fully dramatize it. This year's tour has seen their production performed at various locations around Norwich over the last ten days, as well as at Wymondham, Whitlingham Park and the Geledeston Locks. This swansong performance on a Sunday afternoon at Ketts Heights was my chance to see Crude Apache's cast of ten singers and twelve musicians bring this story to life.


At just over an hour in length this is a challenging project for any amateur company to achieve, but musical director Tim Lane and director Panda Monium have managed to create a magical performance that holds our attention from start to finish. Admittedly some of the performers' voices are stronger than others, and the band occasionally falters in maintaining momentum, but for the largely seated audience on the grass at Ketts Heights, the enchantment is clear to see, helped by the dappled sunlight shining through the surrounding trees. No narrator is needed to guide us through the storyline - Bellamy's words and music and the commitment of the cast mean that we are totally engrossed in every detail of this poignant and reflective love story. Of particular mention are Gillian Dean (who plays Susannah Holmes) and Leo Oakley (who takes the part of Henry Cable).

Thank you to Crude Apache for such a scintillating and enlightening afternoon, and to the Friends of Kett's Heights for their continued work in restoring the beauty of this iconic location.

Crude Apache Theatre Company Facebook page -

Friends of Kett's Heights Facebook page -

Thursday 10 August 2017

Sonic Youths Celebrate Three Years of Showcases at Norwich Arts Centre

What a day for a third birthday party! It is August, but the rain started about lunchtime and just got heavier and heavier and heavier as the afternoon progressed. Even by early evening it was still coming down so hard that I had no option but to get the car out if I was going to attend the celebrations organised by Annie Catwoman at Norwich Arts Centre to celebrate three years of her Sonic Youths Showcases.

Open to all musicians of any genre, as long as they are between the ages of 14 and 19, Sonic Youths has provided a regular platform for young acts with original material who are either looking to make the move from practice and rehearsal to performing in front of a live audience, or just want to experience the atmosphere of playing in this prestigious venue.

Submission of demos in either audio or video format is invited by Annie, who then curates a lunchtime showcase in the Adnams Mission Hall Bar every three months or so. And once she has gotten her claws into you, you will probably be invited back to take part in further Sonic Youths events, either back at NAC or at various festival stages across the region. So far this this year Sonic Youths have had a stage in Norwich city centre as part of YNAF for the Lord Mayor's Celebrations, organised a couple of #ICYMI ('in case you missed it') reunion shows, and also curated a stage at Latitude. And as her sonic youths ultimately grow and fly away Annie continues to follow them all, posting updates and news via the Sonic Youths social media pages.

So tonight we have five acts performing, three on the main stage and two in the Adnams Mission Hall Bar. First up on the main stage is multi-instrumentalist and singer Hydra Lerna, known to many of us as Abigail Blake. Still playing her trademark harp, but now with a sound that capitalises on her growing production and studio skills, Abigail's new material seems to be advancing away from her earlier fusion of dubstep beats overlaid with twinkling loops, and is now entering a phase of self-exploration and new sounds. However, the harp has not yet been abandoned, and we are also treated to a recently composed instrumental piece that seems to take inspiration from her own personal hero, Agnes Obel.

In the bar Flora Pechey is already on stage and waiting to go. She has a confidence that defies an appearance of vulnerability, a voice that is gentle yet is clearly capable of reaching the big notes, and a songwriting style that is peppered with moments of unique phrasing that seem to possess almost hip-hop etymology. 

We'll Be Detectives perform tonight on the main stage as a three-piece, fronted by guitarist and lead singer Jonny Briggs. They are grungey, but without falling into the trap of trying to be or sound like Nirvana. Their own description of 'alternative rock bangers for everyone' seems to sum them up perfectly. Great songs executed with real stage presence.

Back in the bar one of the most talented of the new wave of Norwich singer-songwriters is setting up. Finn Doherty is a record company A&R person's dream - chiselled good looks, confident and personable - and possessing a sackful of songs deftly performed on guitars backed up with an array of pedals, samples and loops. As he plays, a group of girls move forward to surround him and begin to dance. Blend the musical DNAs of Ed Sheeran and Declan McKenna and you could create a singer more valuable than a bumper bag of bitcoins. But do it quickly, before this guy makes it big. 

The final act nearly doesn't make it beyond the first two lines of their opening number when Peach Club vocalist Katie Revell suddenly and without warning hits the stage, leaving the rest of the band not knowing quite what to do. Apparently the band had been throwing some shapes in the dressing room earlier when Katie had twisted her knee. Hopefully it is nothing more serious. The way she went down it looked as though a ligament might have snapped. A chair and an ice-pack are quickly located and rushed onto the stage, and Katie bravely re-starts the set from a seated position. But it isn't long before once again the energy and sounds of Peach Club prove impossible not to get up and dance to, even if you are the injured lead singer. Getting better and better with each and every performance, Peach Club have a defiant riot-grrrl politic and attitude that the music business desperately needs. Just take it easy in those pre-show warm-ups.

Hydra Lerna website -

Flora Pechey on Soundcloud -

We'll Be Detectives on Bandcamp -
We'll Be Detectives Facebook -

Finn Doherty on Soundcloud -

Peach Club on Soundcloud -

Sonic Youths Twitter -

The next Sonic Youths showcase will take place at Norwich Arts Centre on Saturday 9th September. Check out for further details.

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Is This The Machine They Are Secretly Building, or is it just a Proto-Type?

Big Brother is watching? Ever since 1949, when George Orwell published his dystopian novel, 1984, conspiracists and libertarians alike have continued to warn us of a society that unwittingly allows itself to be scrutinised and monitored in minute detail. A database of recorded conversations, messages and images held for our own benefit. To protect us. For our own good.

Tonight, sixty eight years later, and with the horrors of Manchester and London Bridge fresh in our minds, Lincoln-based performance company Proto-Type brought their acclaimed show A Machine They Are Secretly Building to Norwich Arts Centre.

Within the space of just over one hour, and with the aid of a series of projected images and graphics, performers Rachel Baynton and Gillian Lees take us on a journey that begins in Whitehall in 1943 and propels us into the near-future, as our government and their security services' role in protecting us from perceived and potential enemies is put under the microscope.

As technology develops exponentially, then so does the storage capacity of the databases required to contain the bank of intercepted images, telephone conversations and online footprints of our daily lives. All unwittingly gifted away by our acceptance of the T&C's of our internet providers and mobile phone companies.

There is so much information presented within this show that you will almost certainly want to buy a copy of the script. Fortunately this is available at the end of the performance. But even if you try to wing it, and head off home with the image of Rachel and Gillian's balaclava-clad challenging resonating within your consciousness there is still much to stimulate thought. 

Why, for example, do we appear so keen to purchase dashcams for our cars, and download apps onto our mobile phones that allow us to check up on everything from intruders on the drive to the nursing care employed to look after our ageing relatives, and to monitor the childcare to whom we willingly delegate our parental responsibilities?

If you had the opportunity to view footage of a deceased loved one, or remember what you looked like fifty years ago, would you not log on to a retrospective version of Google Street View?

This is a brilliantly presented and thought-provoking show that I would urge you all to see. Agree, disagree, or just sit in the middle ground and allow this data be collected and catalogued, you will not leave without your mind buzzing with food for thought. 

And maybe a little bit of concern.

Proto-type Theater will be presenting There's A Machine They're Secretly Building  at the Edinburgh Fringe from 15th - 27th August. 

Monday 5 June 2017

It Was Never Going to Be an Easy World - David Ford at Norwich Arts Centre

Back in January 2003 I took my then fourteen year old son to Norwich Arts Centre for one of his first ever experiences of a live music gig. The band was an Eastbourne trio by the name of Easyworld, and we both came away from the evening as big fans of the band, and also of the venue.

Alas, Easyworld were not to survive beyond 2004, although I would still recommend their two albums from that era, 2002's This Is Where I Stand and its excellent follow-up Kill The Last Romantic.

Although the band split, lead singer David Ford went on to release a string of solo albums, beginning with 2005's I Sincerely Apologise For All The Trouble I've Caused and culminating with 2014's The Arrangement. Critical acclaim followed, with return visits to Norwich Arts Centre in 2006 and 2007, and an appearance at 2010's Latitude Festival, being included among my re-acquaintances.

Despite collecting a loyal fanbase, receiving rave reviews from The Sunday Times, Word magazine and The Daily Telegraph, and writing a hit song for French superstar Johnny Halliday, commercial success still eluded Ford. He even went on to write an autobiographical account of his experiences in How To Nearly Make It In The Music Industry.

Anyhow, I digress. It is 2017, and I am back at Norwich Arts Centre. It is a Saturday night, and David Ford is here for one of ten UK dates in June accompanied by Michele Stodart (of The Magic Numbers), and New York City singer songwriter JP Ruggieri.

And it is JP Ruggieri who opens the evening with a gentle set of self-penned songs, mostly from his forthcoming album - of which sneaky advance-of-release copies were available at the merch stand. Ruggieri plays his guitars and sings, whilst Michele Stodard accompanies on bass and Ford is on keyboards. And this is what proves to be the formula for tonight's show. Each of the three artists has taken the time to learn and play each others' material, apparently with very little rehearsal time, but in so doing deliver a collaborative performance brimming with warmth and mutual respect. Some in the audience clearly remember JP from his appearance here just a couple of months ago supporting Jarrod Dickinson. Others will be queuing to buy tickets for his return to The Bicycle Shop on the 27th of this month.

JP Ruggieri

After a short break the trusty trio return to the stage, this time with Michele Stodart performing from her catalogue of material - open and honest songs with lush melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Quite different from songs written with brother Romeo for The Magic Numbers, Stodart abandons the bass to accompany herself on guitar whilst Ruggieri and Ford play alongside. Like that other 'gurning' bass player, Esme from Haim, Stodart pulls some awesome expressions out of the bag as she works through her set, but the voice is stunningly beautiful. As well as knowing her from The Magic Numbers, some of the audience will have seen her appearance at Norwich Arts Centre earlier this year alongside Ben Watt and Bernard Butler.

Michele Stodart

David Ford, as well as being a brilliant musician, is also an engaging and eloquent host, and we are not long into his set before we are hearing his views on the music industry, and also on the state of the global economy. The latter is borne out of an explanation of ideas and themes from his as-yet-unreleased new album -  it is the consequences of the way in which our banks were bailed out with public money that seems to irk him most.

David Ford

Like many other visiting artists who play the Arts Centre, Ford seems impressed with Norwich, even if St Benedicts Street is the yardstick being used to reach that conclusion. A suggestion from the audience that he explores Prince of Wales Road is given short thrift. But what again comes out of this set is the cameraderie and connection that clearly exists between these three musicians, and also with Irish drummer Phil Wilkinson. Although the posted set times suggest a one hour headline set and two thirty minute support slots, these four musicians have, to all intent and purposes, played for the entire evening with just the briefest of intervals, and the quality has been superb throughout.

David Ford is one of a growing number of artists who find the whole process of 'the encore' to be fake, and insulting to the intelligence of the audience. 'Why else', he asks, 'would a performer deliberately hold back their greatest hit or latest single on the assumption of receiving sufficient applause to justify an encore. Instead, and with the curfew approaching, Ford, Stodart, Ruggieri and Wilkinson choose to end the evening with a hugely fun version of The Knack's 1979 hit 'My Sharona', probably the least expected song ever with which to finish this evening of beautiful music.

Nobody said it would be an easy world.

Didgeridoos and Didgeridongs - Sonic Youths at Norwich Arts Centre

This was certainly one of the most intriguing and varied of  the Saturday afternoon Sonic Youths showcases that I have had the pleasure of attending at Norwich Arts Centre, and it was good to see the Adnams Mission Hall Bar buzzing on this, the first weekend of Summer.

And, as I settled myself at the bar with a pint of Wolf Brewery's Golden Jackal (3.7% ABV for all you real ale nuts - a honey-ish pale brew with a deceptively moreish flavour), Annie Catwoman's megaphone trill called the house to order and welcomed our first act to the stage, with a warning about anticipated volume levels, and the offer of earplugs to those with sensitive ears. 

For this was Ten Wxlves, the alter-ego of fourteen year old electronic bedroom composer Harley Riecansky, whose set features a blistering barrage of beats, samples and dub-step bass that is totally engrossing and hugely enjoyable. Referencing everything from Daft Punk to Pendulum to Fatboy Slim, Harley makes the whole process seem so slick and easy. And that is not just idle praise from an old-timer who still has serious problems setting his i-Pod to 'shuffle'. This was the sound of a young man who had had every foot tapping, as well as a few dance steps thrown by the youngsters present. Hugely impressed.

Ten Wxlves

Next up was possibly the most bizarre act to grace the Sonic Youths Showcase, ever. I would suspect that sound engineer Conor has never been asked to mike up a didgeridoo before, but that is exactly what was required for the next act. Featuring three guys whose busking is familiar to many around the streets of Norwich, and whose 'Just Doo It' t-shirts leave no doubt about the good-time vibe and dominant instrument employed, The Didgeridoods are exactly what it says on the tin - Ciarán Skipper swapping his trombone for something a little more antipodean, and augmented by Oskar Beckley on African drum and Izaac Adam on cajon, cowbell, and anything else he can hit his sticks on, which apppears to include chairs, tables and bar surfaces. The 'doods' take us through a free-form set happily seated on the floor, which is possibly another first for Sonic Youths, before inviting former Lobster sax-man Dominic Trevor to accompany them on the final flourish to their set, the imaginatively titled Didgeridong. Free-form and respectful Aboriginal-inspired jazz on a Saturday afternoon. Just love it. If you see these 'doods' busking around the city please drop a polymer-based fiver into their hat, although I am assured that nickel, brass and copper based products are equally acceptable.

The Didgeridoods feat. Dominic Trevor

Third act up is local singer songwriter Finn Doherty, and someone who I have seen perform several times before. Very confident, and very accomplished. Not only in his singing, playing and songwriting skills, but by his ability to embrace technology, and loop his own voice and rhythms into performances. I love his own material, and would certainly recommend his Heritage and Parenting EP. Particularly like the Jaztec remix of Bruv, and the Stevie Wonder cover of  So What The Fuss. Look out for Finn appearing alongside Leaone and Hydra Lerna at The Owl Sanctuary on June 15th.

Finn Doherty

Finally, and certainly not least, is Wymondham-based five-piece Tuesday Club. Never seen them before, but see lots of summery potential in their sound, which seems to include Wham!, Vampire Weekend and Friendly Fires in their influences. You'll get a chance to see them again at Bury St Edmunds' Homegrown Festival (9th - 11th June).

Tuesday Club

So, as we filter out into the summer sunshine, the sound crew are already prepping for the evening's show - a triple header led by ex-Easyworld frontman David Ford, together with The Magic Numbers' Michelle Stodart and Connecticut-based guitarist JP Ruggieri. A gig which I will share with you later.

And don't forget that Sonic Youths will be hosting acts on Norwich Arts Centre's Stage outside The Forum on July 8th, part of this year's Young Norfolk Arts Festival. Lineup is rumoured to include Cabrakid, Lobster, Midnight Zoo, and Maya Law & Allergy Kid.