Saturday 23 October 2021

Mark Harrison: The Road to Liberty

The Road to Liberty
Mark Harrison

We have followed the progress of Mark Harrison's albums here at Marsh Towers for nearly a decade, from the trilogy of Crooked Smile (2012), The World Outside (2014) and Turpentine (2016) through to 2018's The Panoramic View.

There have been many changes to the world between then and now. For a songwriter, the changes provide inspiration, whether the subject matter represents a good or bad change. Indeed, The Road to Liberty is a double album, chock-full of catchy tunes and extremely thoughtful lyrics. All of the songs were written by Mark himself.

Do not let the catchy aspect of the songs trick you into thinking the songs lack depth; nothing could be further from the truth. Each song tells a story. Some are about people and others are about our own feelings, whether we are looking inward or pondering the effect our actions have on others.

The song titles act as fine teasers for the treats in store.

The genre is officially roots music but the blues and folk aspects shine through particularly strongly. Mark's style doesn't even need such labels, of course. He remains a true original, with a unique talent for storytelling.

In contrast to my reviews of Mark's earlier albums, I am going to let the man himself tell you all about the songs by means of this fine brace of YouTube videos.

I still live in hope that I will be able catch Mark and his band at a gig at some point. Meanwhile, I have 21 excellent new songs to explore in greater detail.

Find out more about Mark, his music and his tour dates over at his official website.

Saturday 16 October 2021

Unprecedented Times - A Cartoon Diary of Lockdown

My brilliant friend Bridie Jackson is, together with Clare Brown, releasing a book of her famous lockdown cartoons.

Here is a short summary of the project and its aims:

Hello, we are Bridie Jackson and Clare Brown and we are delighted to bring you Unprecedented Times, a cartoon diary chronicling the recent lockdowns of 2020/2021. This project came about because Bridie needed a distraction from the baffling realities of lockdown, so started drawing daily topical doodles and occasionally sharing these on social media. Some people found these amusing and were kind enough to suggest they were turned into a book, Clare came on board as a designer and here we are.

After costs, profits raised from book sales will be donated to two amazing charities; Arts Emergency and Rainbow Home. Arts Emergency is an award-winning mentoring charity that help young people from underrepresented backgrounds break into the arts and humanities, and Rainbow Home are a small locally based charity whose fundamental aim is to reduce the significant difficulties and hardship experienced by LGBTQ+ asylum seekers in the North East of England.

Rather strategically, we’re bringing the book out just in time for Christmas Shopping, and our promise to you is that everything will be delivered by the first week in December at the latest.

There’s several different offers and price points available, from digital downloads to signed copies and even the opportunity to buy an original cartoons, so hopefully there is something for everyone.

Thanks in advance for your support,

Bridie and Clare

I have known Bridie for a long time (type Bridie's name into the search box of this blog to find out more about her work) and I am happy to support her latest venture.

Head here to see the various available packages.

Saturday 2 October 2021

Project 30: 2021-22

Project 30 is back and here are the details of two new events.

KO Championship

Each of the rounds will feature one game played at the normal time limit (36 moves in 90 minutes followed by an extra 15 minutes on each clock to play to a finish). Colours will be decided immediately before the games in the usual fashion.

Drawn games will require a replay with colours reversed, which can be played at any time limit agreed by both opponents. If both players cannot reach agreement the aforementioned timings will be used.

Round One

Sean Cassidy v Richard Harris

Kevin Waterman v Stephen Ollis​

Round Two

Sean Marsh v John Garnett

Dave Baillie v Peter Harker

Matt Jackman v Royce Parker

Winner of Sean Cassidy v Richard Harris v Winner of Kevin Waterman v Stephen Ollis

First Target Date: Please try to complete the first two rounds before Christmas 2021.

Rapidplay Championship

For this year, I have changed the format slightly.

This is because I am very aware of the need for all of us to play more games as we try to return to over-the-board action and with this format everyone is guaranteed extra experience.

Therefore, we are starting with two groups of players.

During the group phase, we will play every player in our own group twice (with 30 minutes on each clock).

The top two players from each group will advance to the semi-finals (winner of group A vs. runner-up of group B and vice versa.)

The semi-finals will be four Rapidplay games and the final will be six games.

Group A

Sean Marsh

Matt Jackman

Richard Harris

Kevin Waterman

Sean Cassidy

Group B

Dave Baillie

John Garnett

Royce Parker

Peter Harker

Stephen Ollis

First Target Date:
Please try to complete at least three of your group fixtures by Christmas 2021.

Stop press - early results: Matt Jackman 2-0 Richard Harris; Sean Marsh 2-0 Sean Cassidy.