One of our fabulous volunteers and resident expert Rob has kindly agreed to do a weekly blog about the work carried out each week at our volunteer driven community project Digging Deeside. We meet every week on a Wednesday between 10am and 12noon in the community allotment/gardens located at the back of the job centre in Connah’s Quay. EVERYONE IS WELCOME.
The project has turned into a very social occasion and we always make sure everyone has a cuppa and a biscuit. Again, another volunteer Claire very kindly donated monies to keep us in milk and biscuits for many months! One of the most important aspects of the project is to ensure that everyone is having a good time and feels welcome.
We often receive offers of kind donations, from seeds to tools stores and we will consider any donations as we do like to make use of these where possible. If you would like more information about the project, please call Sarah on 07759 753 473 or email email@example.com
Hi all this is the first of the weekly blogs on the progress of the allotment.
Jobs that were done today Planting out of the seedlings that were brought back to the allotment, after being looked after by Rob one of the volunteers. They were planted 2 weeks ago and the plants were:
Other jobs carried out were to hand harvest the best potatoes that were ready and left the small ones alone. All this was done by feeling around in the soil around the base of the plant this is a good tip as the rest of the potatoes will continue to grow so you can get a better yield from the plant. And also waging war on the mare’s tail (Equisetum arvense) which is an ongoing war!
RAINBOWBIZ GETS CASH BOOST FOR ECO PROJECT DIGGING DEESIDE
Flintshire has benefited from a cash injection thanks to an environmental grant scheme from Keep Wales Tidy and Tesco.
Volunteers from Digging Deeside were thrilled to hear they’d been successful in applying for an All Wales Grant of £500 which they then used to buy hand tools, seed trays, watering cans, compost, safety equipment and a small stove to refresh thirsty volunteers.
Community groups, schools and charitable organisations across Wales were asked to apply to the All Wales Grant Scheme from November 2014, with grants of £100 – £500 available to help them with their very own green initiatives.
Run by environmental charity, Keep Wales Tidy and funded by Tesco’s single use carrier bag charge, the aim of the All Wales Grant Scheme is to assist communities across Wales in real environmental actions, both financially and practically, to help improve their local environment.
As part of their environmental project, Digging Deeside offers an informal outdoor drop in to members of the community who want to get together, socialise, maintain the community gardens and learn new skills. RainbowBiz have secured a raised bed style community allotment at Connah’s Quay Community Allotments for the project. Digging Deeside is a new project which is volunteer run and facilitated by project leaders from RainbowBiz. The project was created as a green outdoor activity to promote healthy lifestyles and well being by learning to grow vegetables and herbs in a safe social environment. Over the last few weeks the volunteers have cleared the allotment area of weeds and planted new vegetables and fruit, which are now blooming! Digging Deeside has now started to help the current volunteers to maintain the Quayscape Community Gardens, so these new tools and equipment will be very welcome as we have a large space to maintain. It is hoped that in the future months more volunteers will join the project, as many hands make light work. Digging Deeside has already had some very generous donations from members of the community and local Council. Councillor Eric Faulkner very kindly made a purpose built potting bench for the project after a discussion with project leaders about difficulties that some of the volunteers have with mobility. This will enable wheelchair users to be able to pot plant seedlings comfortably and independently plant these on in the raised bed allotment plot.
The project is still in need of a small lockable wooden shed to keep some basic equipment on site for those volunteers who like to visit the project on a daily basis. If you are able to help the project with any donations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07759 753 473.
Darren Cook, volunteer from Digging Deeside said, “I really enjoyed shopping with Sue and Sarah in various shopping stores in Deeside and Chester for the grant equipment. Digging Deeside is a project for all of the local people of any age or abilities. Meeting or working on the Community Gardens is good for everybody and everything, our nature and our local area. For myself personally it helps me when I chat with other people and make new friends. Also it’s very healthy both mentally and physically, because working with nature is good for my mind and chatting with people and making new friends and looking after and maintaining nature is good for my heart. Being involved with Digging Deeside is very healthy too, especially on a nice day, breathing in fresh air is good for you and the sunshine makes you happy. Keep Wales Tidy were very kind and generous in giving RainbowBiz a grant enabling them to purchase many more things so that hopefully we can accommodate more volunteers with the necessary tools for jobs on the garden or the allotments.”
Lesley Jones, Chief Executive of Keep Wales Tidy, said: “I am delighted that so many groups and environmental projects across Wales have benefitted from a financial boost thanks to the All Wales Grants Scheme. It’s vital that we all do our bit to care for our local environment and through the scheme, local people across Wales have been able to get the support, resources and expert advice they need to carry out their environmental improvement projects. Keep Wales Tidy would like to thank Tesco customers for their support with the single use carrier bag donation, resulting in a successful All Wales Grant Scheme.”
For more information on the All Wales Grant Scheme, please e-mail email@example.com or visit the website www.keepwalestidy.org. The grant scheme was the first project to be launched thanks to a partnership between Keep Wales Tidy and Tesco, after 27,000 Tesco customers took part in a vote to choose Keep Wales Tidy as the charity to benefit from Tesco’s carrier bag charge in Wales from 1 st October 2014.
A Flintshire based Social Enterprise RainbowBiz recently launched their latest community project called “Digging Deeside”. RainbowBiz have secured a raised bed style community allotment at Connah’s Quay Community Allotments. “Digging Deeside” is a new project which will be group run by volunteers and facilitated by project leaders. The project was created as a green outdoor activity to promote healthy lifestyles by learning to grow vegetables and herbs in a safe social environment.
Project Leader Sarah Way said “We will particularly welcome individuals who are at risk of isolation in the community as this project will be a safe place to meet new friends. Anyone is welcome to join us at the Connah’s Quay Community Allotments (located behind the Job Centre). We meet every Wednesday between 10am and 12noon. Activities include planting, researching plants, making plant supports, perennial plant and herb planting, composting, recycling and making new friends.”
Once the allotment has been planted out for the first season, volunteers will be encouraged to maintain the plot, water plants and eventually harvest vegetables when ready. It is hoped that some of the produce can be entered into our local “Fruit and Vegetable Show” at the end of August.
RainbowBiz Director Sue Oliver told us “We are extremely grateful to Connah’s Quay Town Council who have supported RainbowBiz during the setup of this project and we are looking forward to working with them on many other community based events.”
Connah’s Quay Town Council Clerk, Ian Jones said “The Town Council is delighted that ’Digging Deeside’ has been so popular and the results at the allotment site speaks volumes for this innovative community based scheme. With modern day pressures and stress it is important that people find time to relax with a hobby or pastime that they enjoy.
Gardening is a British way of life and this project not only provides a hobby with the prospect of success when the produce is grown, it also provides good community spirit and social interaction. We hope some produce will be entered into the Flower Fruit and Vegetable Show being held in the Civic Hall on 29 August.”
Next door to the allotment plot there is a community garden which requires some maintenance throughout the year, volunteers will be encouraged to help maintain the garden for the benefit of the community. This will bring a sense of ownership and pride to the volunteers as they will see it as a beautiful green space they have helped to create for local people to enjoy. Digging Deeside are also looking for skilled volunteers to help build an accessible work space area for people with different abilities to use. The project also welcomes donations of unwanted tools, gloves, seeds, plants and are specifically looking for a greenhouse and shed. Please contact RainbowBiz who co-ordinate this project on 07759 753 473 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jill Blandford, Volunteer Co-ordinator said “Step Up, Step Out is a supported volunteering project, run by Flintshire Mind and Flintshire Local Voluntary Council. We go out every Tuesday as a group and sample a whole variety of volunteering opportunities throughout the country. Individuals gain confidence to then continue to get involved in local projects themselves. It has been great fun being part of Digging Deeside from the outset, helping prepare the raised bed and start planting. Individuals can get involved as much or as little as suits them. There is opportunity to skills share, but most importantly to relax in a beautiful spot and have fun. The community allotment is like an oasis of calm in an urban environment.”
The borderlands of North East Wales have a rich and fascinating history, from the Iron Age hillforts of the Clwydian Range and our Medieval castles to the varied industrial heritage, including the North Wales collieries, the lead mines at Halkyn and Minera, Buckley potteries and steelworks on Deeside, along with the railways and River Dee ports that supported them.
Over the years numerous local groups have formed to gather and collate their local history. The oldest is Flintshire Historical Society, formed in 1911 and still flourishing, and the newest is Deeside and District Local History Society, formed in 2014. The North East Wales Heritage Forum is an exciting new initiative to bring together everyone who has an interest in local history to celebrate, conserve and promote our rich heritage.
Representatives from over 40 local groups and heritage organisations are meeting on the morning of 19th June at Connah’s Quay Civic Hall to get the forum established. David Hanson MP will open the proceedings along with Councillor Hughes, the Chairman of Flintshire County Council, followed by speakers from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales, Glyndwr University, Ysgol Maes Garmon and Flintshire Museum Service.
In the afternoon, from 2pm to 5pm, we are holding a Local History Fair ‘Discover the History on your Doorstep’ which is open to all. There will be over 20 displays, ranging from exhibitions on individual towns and villages to artefacts from the Flintshire Museum Store and hands on activities organised by Clwyd and Powys Archaeological Trust. You do not need to be a member of a local history society to come along in the afternoon. Everyone is welocme, including local schools. Please call in to find out more about your local area.
There has never been any secret that the founders of RainbowBiz have been long time fans of musician and vocalist Melissa Etheridge. So imagine our excitement when we found out that Melissa would be playing in London this year. Of course we planned a few days around the gig as we don’t have a holiday break very often. We booked a budget hotel, and got a great deal with Virgin Trains and left North Wales full of anticipation. If you have never heard songs by Melissa Etheridge, her live performances are always outstanding. Melissa is highly committed to giving her all at live shows. After releasing her most recent album “This is M.E” earlier this year, the Melissa Etheridge solo concert was never going to disappoint.
We arrived at the venue an hour or so before the start of the show. The Shepherd’s Bush Empire is a stunning building, an old theatre with stained glass and beautiful décor. A truly intimate place for any concert, but especially so when the star of the show is so in touch with her audience. This was a “Solo Tour”, which means (obviously) that there was only Melissa on stage with a huge selection of her guitars, pedals, drums and a piano.
Melissa Etheridge is an absolute joy to watch live, and has so much fun on stage, building each track starting with drum loops, acoustic and electric guitars and vocals, she is exceptionally talented and versatile. With a voice to rival Janis Joplin in her prime, Melissa filled the Shepherd’s Bush Empire with her mix of rock, blues and soul from the heart.
She clearly felt at ease with her audience as she chatted about her Radio 2 interview with Sir Terry Wogan the day before with Lucy Spraggan and went on to joke that she used to be intimidated by the British accent. This made a few giggle as we always thought of Melissa as being pretty feisty. You can hear the full interview here.
The Set List
Opening with “Chrome Plated Heart”, then on to the more rockier “I’m the only one” and “Come to my window” Melissa’s vocals were raw and evocative throughout. New songs from the album included the bluesy “Ain’t That Bad” and “Monster”, anthems like “Take My Number”, “Like a Preacher” went down really well and the very personal “Who are you waiting for” which was written by Melissa as part of her vows for her wedding last year to her best friend and partner in life, Linda Wallem. Melissa even managed to fit in “Gently we row” the beautiful song from “Fearless Love” written for her daughter after a fan in the audience held up a hand written request for her to sing it. Iconic “Like the Way I do” from 1988, possibly her most famous song was saved until last, everyone was dancing and singing along. The atmosphere was electric, Melissa was on top form and clearly thrives on live performances. We can’t wait to see her again!
If you have never experienced Melissa Etheridge before, she is a passionate blend of American rock and blues with flavours of Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant and even Bruce Springsteen, but with an unique magical ability to lure audiences deep inside her soul. You will have a chance to see her in Europe in July as more tour dates have been released here.
RainbowBiz met Anita-Jo from New York
From a personal point of view it was fantastic to meet some of Melissa’s fans, Anita-Jo who recognized us from Twitter as the girls from “RainbowBiz”, she had flown in from New York especially for “This Is M.E”. We loved meeting Frank Cverna, Wolfgang from Germany, Bodil and Tanya from Denmark and Nikki Lamborn, Been and the “Never The Bride” team from the UK.
Keep Wales Tidy is searching for volunteers across Wales to help get our beaches and coastline looking spick and span!
The third annual Clean Coast Week, sponsored by McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd, takes place from the 8–17 May 2015. The campaign coincides with Clean Europe Week which aims to reduce litter and promote responsible behaviour across the sea as well as here in Wales.
In Flintshire, a Big Beach Clean is taking place at Presthaven Sands and Talacre on Saturday 9th May from 10am.
Directions: We will be meeting at Presthaven Beach Resort, off Shore Road, Lower Gronant, near Prestatyn. Drive to the bottom of Shore Road until you reach the security gate. The security guards will be aware that the event is taking place and will let you through. Follow the road through the resort until you see the Spar shop on your left hand side. You can park in the car park outside the Spar. Walk up the left hand side of the building, where we will be waiting to meet people. See the map below:
Please contact email@example.com, if you intend to go along or if you would like more information. Bourne Leisure will be providing refreshments, so it would be useful to have an idea of numbers.
This is a great opportunity for everyone to get involved in appreciating and caring for our coast- from fixing local windswept fencing to clearing debris and litter left on our beaches.
Clean Coast Week 2015 follows the success of previous campaigns in 2013 and 2014, also sponsored by McDonald’s, when over 225 registered events took place across the Welsh coast, with over 5,100 people getting involved in collecting more than 5,000 bags of rubbish.
Go on, do your bit to Keep Wales Tidy in Flintshire!
Nikki Lamborn & Catherine ‘Been’ Feeney from Never The Bride to perform at a gig in Liverpool
We have the pleasure of talking to Nikki Lamborn & Catherine ‘Been’ Feeney founder members, composers and producers of band Never the Bride.
Lead singer Nikki Lamborn is one of the most talented vocalists in the music world today. From Bristol, England, she left for the bright lights of London after working since the age of 15 at everything from hairdressing to waitressing, as she knew there was no road too tough to follow her dream to sing.
Catherine ‘Been’ Feeney is main composer, keyboard player, vocalist and occasional guitarist. She is an exceptionally talented songwriter who brings a unique blend of strength and melody to each song, which makes this duo who they are today. Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, she also made her way to London where she met Nikki on stage in a London Pub. Soon after they started writing and working together and haven’t stopped since.
You can order your own copy of their new album Jealously from here now!
Hi ladies! Thank you for agreeing to answer some of our burning questions.
We have to start off by saying we first saw you perform at a recent festival and you completely blew us away. From across the camping field we heard “Like The Way I Do” blasting out and as we are massive Melissa Etheridge fans, we literally ran to the stage to see you perform an amazing set. Have you ever met Melissa and are you also a fans of hers?
NIKKI – WE ARE HUGE MELISSA FANS, WE’VE FOLLOWED HER FOR YEARS AND HAVE SEEN HER PERFORM MANY TIMES. SADLY WE HAVEN’T MET HER BUT WE’VE JUST RECORDED “LIKE THE WAY I DO ” ON OUR NEW ALBUM JEALOUSY. I THINK BEEN WANTS TO WRITE TO HER AND ASK HER IF WE CAN SEND HER A COPY. :O)
BEEN – Melissa is an exceptional artist, everything coming from the heart. Her lyrics, especially on her early albums, are unique and as women we know exactly where she’s coming from. We were at her solo show recently in London (SEVEN GUITARS ON STAGE, Two with Two necks!) and guess what, we did give our album to her manager and hopefully he’ll pass it on. She sang her beautiful interpretation of The Weakness in Me, mentioned that for 20 years she’s been asking Joan Armatrading to duet on it with her and it’s always a no. We’d love to sing and play with her on Like the Way I Do but that’s a big ask as it’s perhaps her biggest song. However…a bit of piano on there might be a first! Wouldn’t it be something if she said yes !
Never The Bride / Melissa trivia – When we were signed to Atlantic Records, we had a track on the Encomium album, a tribute to Led Zeppelin. Our version of Going to California was on there with the greats, we even got a gold disc! Anyway, Billboard thought our track was Melissa singing under a Pseudonym, nice compliment for Nikki !
Where is your favourite venue or city to perform and do you have any particular inspirational or funny stories you would like to share with us?
NIKKI – WE’VE PLAYED ALL OVER THE WORLD, ITS DIFFICULT TO SAY WHICH IS OUR FAVOURITE CITY BECAUSE EVERYWHERE WE GO WE ALWAYS HAVE A GREAT TIME. WE HAVE ENDLESS STORIES WHERE DO WE START!? ACTUALLY WE ARE WRITING A BOOK WHICH INCLUDES STORIES OF OUR TOURS, RECORD DEALS, BACK STAGE ANTICS AND MORE! AS WELL AS WRITING WE HAVE CAMERA CREW FILMING US TELLING THOSE STORIES TOO, WHEN ALL IS READY TO GO WE’LL TOUR THE BOOK ,THE MUSIC AND TELL THE STORIES AND ON OUR SOCIAL SITES AND NETWORKS PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO DOWNLOAD SOME OF THE MINI FILMS OF US CHATTING. SOME OF THEM ARE HYSTERICAL, ITS HARD TO BELIEVE ALL THE THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED TO US IN OUR CAREER.
BEEN – all shall be revealed soon!
What is your favourite style of music to sing to and who would you say has inspired you musically?
NIKKI – THAT’S ANOTHER DIFFICULT QUESTION BUT I SUPPOSE I MUST SAY THAT I LOVE SOME OF THE OLD JAZZ, BLUES, GOSPEL SINGERS LIKE ELLA FITZGERALD, SARAH VAUGHAN, DINAH WASHINGTON, ETTA JAMES, BILLY HOLIDAY EVEN SHIRLEY BASSEY. I GREW UP LISTENING TO ALL OF IT MY FATHER WAS A DRUMMER IN A BIG BAND, HE’D PLAY HIS RECORDS ALL THE TIME. WHEN I GOT OLDER AND STARTED TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MUSIC I GOT INTO ARETHA FRANKLIN, TINA TURNER, CHER, BETTE MIDLER HAD A HUGH INPACT ON ME, EVEN BEFORE SHE WAS IN THE FILM THE ROSE HER SONGS AND VOCAL DELIVERY REALLY INSPIRED ME, SHE GAVE SO MUCH IN HER PERFORMANCES, SADLY PEOPLE DON’T PERFORM LIKE THAT ANY MORE. I’M ALSO A BIG STEVIE NICKS FAN SHE’S THE REAL DEAL, AND ANNIE LENNOX ROCKS…
BEEN – I have totally eclectic tastes in music, very into singers and songs more than musicians. Being a songwriter I hear the singer and the song before anything else on the record. The first singer to give me goose bumps was Aretha Franklin, Say a Little Prayer, I will never forget the feeling. They don’t have to great singers to turn me on though, I love artists like Regina Spector, love the way she tells stories as with Jane Siberry, her album ‘When I Was a Boy’ is one of my desert island discs for sure. I recently discovered an act I love from the US called Striking Matches, girl and boy, great singer songwriters and the girl, Sarah Zimmerman, is special for sure.
You’ve rubbed shoulders with many famous artists, including Bryan Adams and Roger Daltry. How was this amazing experience? Would you like to perform with any other artists?
NIKKI – I DID A DUET WITH BRYAN ADAMS AT THE BIRMINGHAM NEC, THAT WAS PRETTY SPECIAL AND QUITE SCARY. ALSO, BEEN & I TOURED THE UK & AUSTRALIA WITH ROGER DALTREY AND SOME OTHER FAMOUS FOLKS, NEVER THE BRIDE HAVE SUPPORTED “THE WHO”, ONCE AT WEMBLEY AND ONCE IN MY HOMETOWN OF BRISTOL. WE STILL CAN’T BELIEVE ALL THE PEOPLE WE’VE BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH TO WORK WITH ITS AMAZING BECAUSE ACTUALLY THERE ARE STILL THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO’VE NEVER HEARD OF US! WE’VE DONE GLASTONBURY WITH DAME SHIRLEY BASSEY, CHICHESTER FESTIVAL WITH CHRISSIE HYNDES, THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL WITH ELTON JOHN, AND HAVE PLAYED WITH A HUGH LIST OF FAMOUS ARTISTS ,WE STILL PINCH OURSELVES NOW! I WOULD LOVE TO WORK WITH TINA TURNER, SHE IS THE QUEEN OF ROCK!
BEEN – Nikki has been described by a journalist as a love child of Robert Plant and Tina Turner, could be nice for me to be on stage playing for all three legends together!
What would you say is your proudest professional achievement to date?
NIKKI – THERE ARE TWO FOR ME, THE FIRST WAS WHEN ROGER DALTREY CAME ONSTAGE AFTER OUR PERFORMANCE WITH HIM AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL, HELD UP MY ARM AND SAID TO THE AUDIENCE” NIKKI LAMBORN IS THE BEST FEMALE ROCK SINGER SINCE JANIS JOPLIN, AND I KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, I KNEW JANIS”…. MY MUM AND DAD WE’RE IN THE AUDIENCE , IT WAS A PROUD MOMENT FOR US ALL, IT BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE. THE OTHER WAS THE MOMENT WE MET DAME SHIRLEY BASSEY FOR THE FIRST TIME AFTER SHE’D AGREED TO RECORD A SONG WE’D WRITTEN. SHE PERFORMED IT FOR THE FIRST TIME AT THE ROYAL VARIETY SHOW IN FRONT OF THE QUEEN…AGAIN A VERY SPECIAL MOMENT FOR US. WE WENT ON TO PRODUCE HER ALBUM “GET THE PARTY STARTED” WHICH BECAME A TOP TEN HIT FOR THE DAME.
BEEN – Some of the live stuff has been great of course, but one big moment for me was getting signed to Atlantic Records, there were Nikki and I on the label that Aretha and so many other amazing artists were signed to in the day, no mean feat!
You have an awesome style of dress, we love the rock chick look. Do you have someone who makes your clothes, or a favourite store?
Nikki – Why thank you ladies, we have various places we get our clothes, Camden Market is one and we’ve found that sometimes you can find something really special in a second hand shop. The one thing I do have made is my basques or corsets as some people call them. These are made by a great company called “The Catwalk Collection London”, Daniella the owner has become a great friend. Its important to have a corset that fits you well, too tight and you can’t breathe to sing, to loose and you cant perform cos your too worried your boobs are gonna fall out!! haa haaaa. x
BEEN – and lets not forget our New Rock Boots…’we wear boots all summer long’ – I got my first pair over 20 years ago, still have them – really cool pair of retro rocks – then I felt like I was walking on air wearing them, the latest pair I have weigh around 2 kilos each boot, keeps me fit ! Nikki even walks her dog in them, that’s’ serious boot love.
People seeing you live for the first time will probably notice there is a large female presence in the band. Have you both always wanted to work with other women musically?
NIKKI – UNTIL I STARTED WORKING WITH BEEN I’D ALWAYS WORKED WITH MEN IN MY BANDS, I MUST SAY THAT HAVING THE CAMARADERIE OF WOMEN IS A PLUS, BEEN AND I ARE BEST FRIENDS TOO SO THERE’S STRENGTH IN THAT. WHEN WE PLAY WITH THE FULL LINE UP WHICH YOU’LL SEE WHEN YOU COME TO SEE US IN LIVERPOOL IN MAY, YOU’LL MEET SALLY JO OUR VIOLINIST, SHES AN AWESOME BLONDE BOMBSHELL WITH A SLEEVE OF TATTOOS AND AN ELECTRIC SIX STRING FLYING V VIOLIN!!!
BEEN – we’re usually outnumbered by the boys in the band so if we’re making that impression, our female presence must be larger than life! It’s fun with the girlzzz for sure!
Nikki, you are a voice coach when you are not performing. Can you tell us more about this work and what type of people you have worked with over the years?
NIKKI – WHEN I CAME TO LONDON I’D NEVER BEEN TO A VOCAL COACH, ONCE I STARTED GOING OUT AND SEEING OTHER SINGERS I KNEW I NEEDED TO UP MY GAME. I MANAGED TO GET IN WITH GLYNN JONES, HE WAS VOCAL COACH TO ANNIE LENNOX, HEATHER SMALLS, TOM JONES, ELTON JOHN AND OTHER WELL KNOWN ARTISTS , I STAYED WITH HIM FOR 15 YEARS, SADLY HE DIED AROUND 10 YEARS AGO. I WAS ALREADY COACHING HIS METHOD WITH HIS BLESSING WHILST HE WAS ALIVE, ITS SAVED MY LIFE AS A VOCALIST. HIS METHOD TEACHES YOU TO SING FROM YOUR DIAPHRAGM AND NOT YOUR THROAT ITS AMAZING. I’VE COACHED/COACH BEVERLEY KNIGHT, NEWTON FAULKNER, JOCELYN BROWN, LANA DEL RAY, EVEN COURTNEY LOVE! ITS CERTAINLY NEVER DULL!
Been, you both own Lock Stock & Barrel Records, have you found this a good way to help other performers be heard and do you have a particular favourite band you have discovered?
BEEN – The label was originally for our own music then we had our wonderful Shirley Bassey experience. She fell in love with one of our songs, The Living Tree, and was singing it on TV, in concert and then to The Queen no less at A Royal Variety Performance. We were thrilled…here we have one of the most amazing singers of all time singing our song. We kept thinking when is she going record it. So I asked her and mad as it sounds she said ‘to tell you the truth I don’t have a deal at the moment”. We couldn’t believe it and set about changing that then as Nikki says, the rest is history. We got her back in the top 40 with our song, went on to produce her ‘Get The Parted Started’ album which reached number 6 in UK album charts then we masterminded getting her on Glastonbury, Sunday headline act 2007. We were on stage with her, colossal feeling to be on stage with a true Diva.
There seems to be a very large following of fans for Never The Bride from all over the world, we met people from Scandinavia at LFest. Do you still have places left to tour where you would like to engage even more fans?
NIKKI – OMG YES!! WE’D LOVE TO TOUR MORE IN THE USA, CANADA, AND JAPAN, THAT WOULD BE AMAZING!
Can you tell us your favourite three Never The Bride songs and why you like them?
NIKKI – THATS A TOUGHY! I’LL HAVE TO GIVE YOU 6 SONGS…. I LOVE “BETTYS SONG”, “LIVING TREE”, “TIGER BAY”, “YOU’RE NOT ALONE”, “CRY OUT”, “LOSER IN LOVE”. THE REASON IS BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL HONEST, THE LYRICS ARE TELLING A STORY THAT YOU CAN VISUALISE WHILST THE SONG IS BEING PERFORMED. ALSO THE MELODIES ARE EXCITING AND GREAT FOR PEOPLE TO SING ALONG TO WITH THE BAND.
BEEN – As Nikki says. Hard to choose but off the top of my head – Cry Out – It ‘s one of the first songs we wrote together and people have come up to us at concerts or written to us telling how the lyric changed their lives …
April Rain is about the thoughts that come into your head, about what we all go through. The heartbreak you see on the news, struggles, battles, hopes and dreams shattered but we don’t give up, there’s a way out.
Then of course there’s The Living Tree. It’s always been one of our big songs but since Shirley Bassey recorded it, every few months another version will pop up on YouTube with other people doing their camp interpretations, some great and some not so but just amazing that our song has taken a life of its own, it’s not just ours anymore.
Are you very friendly with other members of your band and crew, do you socialise together, is it more like a big family?
NIKKI – WE SOCIALISE WHEN WE’RE ON TOUR BUT AT HOME WE ONLY SEE EACH OTHER FOR REHEARSALS AND GIGS, ITS NOTHING PERSONAL ITS JUST THAT EVERYONE IS ALWAYS WORKING ALL THE TIME. IF WE HAVE A PARTY OR SOMETHING WE INVITE THE BAND BUT MORE OFTEN THAN NOT THEY DON’T MAKE IT. WHEN YOU’RE SELF EMPLOYED YOU NEED TO MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES.
BEEN – yes at home they’re all busy busy but when they do show up at one of our soirees it’s great, they bring along their fiddles and guitars and tambourines and away we go!
Tell us about one of your favourite moments from the last few years of performing with Never The Bride?
NIKKI – I HAD A BIRTHDAY GIG A FEW YEARS AGO AND HAD ASKED A FRIEND TO BE OUR A SPECIAL GUEST , ALSO ON THE SAME NIGHT, I KNEW THAT SOME OF OUR FRIENDS WE’RE COMING OVER FROM NORWAY. THE FRIENDS FROM NORWAY WERE A LOVELY GUY AND GAL WHO’D MET AT ONE OF OUR GIGS WHILST WE WERE PLAYING IN HIS HOMETOWN. HE’D BEEN IN TOUCH WITH ME TO SAY THAT HE WANTED TO ASK HER TO MARRY HIM AND ASKED IF HE COULD DO IT AT OUR GIG, OF COURSE WE SAID YES (THE GIRL HAD NO IDEA). THERE WERE OTHER FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHO’D ALSO COME WITH THEM WHO HAD NO IDEA WHAT THE NIGHT HAD IN STORE. THE GIG WAS SOLD OUT, THROUGHOUT THE EVENING VARIOUS GUESTS JOINED US ONSTAGE FOR A DUET WITH ME IN THINK INCLUDING CHESNEY HAWKES THAT NIGHT, WE’D SAND ISLANDS IN THE STREAM (DOLLY PARTON AND KENNY ROGERS). THE ATMOSPHERE WAS ELECTRIC, IT WAS TIME TO ASK LARS AND TRINE TO COME TO THE STAGE (THE YOUNG BOY AND GIRL). I JUST SAID, OK, WE HAVE SOME FRIENDS HERE FROM NORWAY TONIGHT , COULD LARS AND TRINE PLEASE COME TO THE STAGE. I INTRODUCED THEM AND TOLD THE AUDIENCE HOW WE’D ALL MET AND HOW THEY’D MET, THEN I GAVE THE MICROPHONE TO LARS. LARS WENT DOWN ON ONE KNEE ONSTAGE IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE ROOM AND AND PROPOSED TO HER, SHE SAID YES , TEARS STREAMING DOWN HER FACE AND WE LAUNCHED INTO THEIR FAVOURITE NTB SONG ,”HOW MANY DAYS”. THERE WASN’T A DRY EYE IN THE HOUSE, IT WAS SO EMOTIONAL. THEN TO TOP IT ALL OFF, I INVITED OUR SPECIAL GUEST TO THE STAGE , GARY BROOKER IS THE THE LEAD SINGER /WRITER OF PROCAL HARUM, HE WROTE, “A WHITER SHADE OF PALE”. NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE SO DIDN’T REALISE WHO HE WAS AT FIRST. HE SANG SOME BLUES AND PLAYED PIANO ACCOMPANIED BY THE BAND, BEEN MOVED ACROSS TO PLAY THE HAMMOND ORGAN, THEN, GARY GAVE BEEN THE NOD AND SHE STARTED THAT FAMOUS OPENING RIFF OF A WHITER SHADE OF PALE, AS SOON AS GARY SANG THE FIRST LINE THE WHOLE ROOM WAS ON THEIR FEET! WE DUETTED THE SONG TOGETHER AND THAT WAS THE END OF A FANTASTIC EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER OF A NIGHT!
BEEN – Nikki has mentioned some but one of the things I love about Never The Bride is we never know what will happen on a gig. Anything can happen! We can have a set planned then it can all go out the window and another favourite moment is created, that’s what’s magic about live music.
Are there any plans for another tour, or new album coming up?
NIKKI – WE ARE ALREADY ON TOUR THIS YEAR PROMOTING OUR NEW ALBUM “JEALOUSY”. WE’RE JUST BACK FROM DOING 3000 MILES IN MARCH ALONE! 5 GIGS IN NORWAY ALL IN DIFFERENT TOWNS, AND 2 NIGHTS IN FRANCE, THEN LONDON AND BRISTOL ON OUR RETURN. WE HAVE A LONG LIST OF DATES FOR THIS YEAR ON OUR WEBSITE NEVERTHEBRIDE.COM INCLUDING OUR GIG IN LIVERPOOL.
BEEN – we also have plans to go back into the studio soon to record more original material we have so many songs waiting to get out there…soon !
Will you be at any festivals again next summer? Do you enjoy staying to listen to other bands at festivals and more importantly, to party?
NIKKI – TO BE HONEST WE DON’T GET TO GO OTHER BANDS VERY OFTEN AS I SAID EARLIER IN THIS INTERVIEW WE’RE ALWAYS WORKING OURSELVES. BUT IF WE ARE PLAYING AT A FESTIVAL AND THERE’S SOMEONE WE WANT TO SEE THEN YES OF COURSE IF ITS POSSIBLE WE’LL STAY. THIS YEAR SO FAR WE HAVE TICKETS FOR MELISSA ETHERIDGE, GLADYS KNIGHT AND BETTE MIDLER. THERE ARE TONS OF ARTISTS I’D LOVE TO SEE BUT THEY DON’T PLAY THE UK THAT OFTEN AND WHEN THEY DO WE’RE BUSY. I TRIED TO GET TICKETS FOR TONY BENNETT AND LADY GAGA, THEY’RE GREAT TOGETHER. I LOVE KD LANGS VOICE BUT SHE DOE’ST TOUR MUCH NOW. WE LOVE TO PARTY, IF THE ATMOSPHERES RIGHT THE PEEPS ARE COOL AND IT ALL JUST ROLLS THAT WHEN ITS BEST.
BEEN – we would love to have the luxury of hanging out for the whole weekend at festivals to enjoy the vibe and the other bands but it never works out that way. You have to get back on the road !
What would your ideal Friday night involve?
NIKKI – DRINKS AND DINNER WITH GOOD FRIENDS, SHARING STORIES AND LAUGHING ABOUT THINGS WE’VE ALL DONE TOGETHER IN THE PAST.
BEEN – I like lazy Sundays !
What CD is in your car stereo right now?
NIKKI – I DON’T LISTEN TO MUSIC IN MY CAR, I NEED SOME QUIET TIME NOW AND AGAIN. MY LIFE IS MUSIC 24/7. IF ITS NOT PLAYING IN THE BAND, REHEARSING OR WRITING, ITS TEACHING AND ADDED TOGETHER THAT’S A LOT OF MUSIC!! I SOMETIMES PLAY SOME NINA SIMONE OR CAROL KING IF I HAVE A WEEKEND OFF. BEEN BOUGHT ME A TURNTABLE FOR CHRISTMAS, WE HAVEN’T HAD TIME TO SET IT UP YET AS WE’VE BEEN SO BUSY BUT WHEN WE DO I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING SOME OF MY OLD VINYL AGAIN.
BEEN – I don’t do music much in the car either! I love chat shows, hearing everyday people have a good old go about all sorts of subjects, makes me think!
At home I listen to my totally eclectic wonderful collection of music, mostly in the mornings! Today I’ve been listening all sorts, my song of the day John Mayer – Your Body is a Wonderland !
What is your favourite movie and show of all time, and why?
NIKKI – BLIMEY, WELL, I LOVE THE SOUND OF MUSIC. I THINK IT HAS EVERYTHING, ITS FUNNY, SAD, REAL, MUSICAL GENIUS AND JULIE ANDREWS IS JUST AMAZING! X :O)
BEEN – that’s a tough one – imagine how many movies we’ve seen and how many of them are great great movies!
You’ll think I’m going for The Wizard of Oz! Who couldn’t love Dorothy and Toto? Judy Garland – Somewhere over the Rainbow- the singer and the song. Undeniable!
If you could make the world a better place, what one wish would be your priority?
NIKKI – LIVE AND LET LIVE… STOP ALL THE WARS AND HATRED BETWEEN PEOPLE CAUSED BY RELIGION , RACISISM, HOMOPHOBIA, IGNORANCE , ARROGANCE , INTOLERANCE.
BEEN – I know it’s an impossible dream, but to let people live where they want to live in harmony.
Nikki and Been, it has been an absolute pleasure to chat to you both, and to take up some of your valuable time! You are two of the most caring and professional artists we have ever met. We do hope to join you at the gig in Liverpool. Thank you, Sue and Sarah x
NIKKI AND BEEN – THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR INVITING US TO TALK TO YOU. WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU SOON, MAYBE AT OUR GIG IN LIVERPOOL. PEACE & LOVE NIKKI AND BEEN X X
You may remember we attended Manchester Pride last year in support of George House Trust, a fabulous charity based in Manchester that we still hold in close regard. RainbowBiz also raised a staggering £500 for George House Trust with the help of Andy Bell from Erasure and the fantastic online support that each and every one of you offer us. You can read below a press release from George House Trust which details their latest fundraiser, please feel free to share this with all your friends!
We’re delighted to announce that George House Trust is hosting its first ever Drag Ball, as part of our 30th Anniversary events. The Drag Ball will be at the Freemason’s Hall on Saturday 18th July and tickets are £20, the price includes cava on arrival and canapes.
The aim of this ball is to fundraise, to raise awareness and to formally celebrate our City and its vibrant drag scene. This event is the first of its kind in the country, combining the genres of cabaret and alternative drag under one roof. We’re extremely excited about our Ball and hope that you are able to join us for an evening of unique performances and special guests.
Tickets are available to buy online from http://www.ght.org.uk/dragball . You will also be able to purchase any additional tickets on behalf of your friends or guests who you want to join you on the night. The venue has a limited capacity and tickets are sold on a first come first served basis.
Finally, any support you can give us around promoting this event on social media and through your networks would be very much appreciated.
Marketing and Community Fundraising Coordinator
Well we finally found some time this week to re-vamp our website! It has been on our “to do list” for some time now, but the demand for our workshops has had to take priority over the past few weeks.
We have updated our homepage to let you know a little more about what RainbowBiz Limited is doing and the ethos behind the work we are doing in our local community. If you are interested in getting involved, feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org as we have lots of ideas on how we can involve members of our local community to join us.
One of those ideas is to run workshops in and around Flintshire, we have already secured a number of bookings and North Wales Police have given us some excellent feedback from our Online Safety Workshop, telling us they are “mightily impressed” with the workshop! This is something we are very proud of and we are planning on developing this relationship in conjunction with our future workshops.
Sometimes you receive something that warms your heart and reassures you that the work you are doing is making a difference and helping others. Earlier this week we received an email from the fabulous Leaders at 1st Connah’s Quay Scout Group, thanking us for our support over the past year or so and attaching this wonderful letter of thanks. We are so proud of this that we have also added their comments to our testimonials page.
Our long time followers will notice a change to the overall colour scheme too, we felt this reflected us more appropriately and the colours we have chosen are more subtle on the eye. Of course, we will be keeping our branded logo, which was very kindly designed for us in the early days by a fantastic local designer.
So please, get involved, get in touch, even if you just want to run an idea by us, we are always happy to chat or meet up to talk about how we can make Flintshire an even more fabulous place to live and visit.
We have been to see the fabulous Basix Wrestling team several times now! Every performance they give is an explosive fun filled one, that engages full audience participation. We asked them to share some more information with us about what they do… see their blog below.
Do you, your child or someone you know love wrestling and are looking to become one?
Basix Wrestling are a wrestling organisation based in North Wales and do live shows across Wales and the UK and have been for the past 10 years. We now have a training school opened at DL Fitness based in Connah’s Quay where qualified and experienced wrestlers who work on professional shows will teach you the ins and outs of wrestling, including break falls to body slams, cross bodies to cross faces, hurracarranas to powerbombs, ring presence and performance.
The wrestling trainers include: ‘Iron Man’ Mike Roberts (head trainer), Dazzling Danny Valentine, Tony Bond, Rockgod 50 and Jonny Blaze!!
Hard work and a good attitude and passion will then lead you to perform on Basix live shows, we are always looking for someone new to join the Basix roster.
Our shows are always fun for the workers and the audience, we welcome all ages of fans and the Basix crew are always determined to deliver an explosive performance for the viewers as each show involves something different every time. At the end of the night the wrestlers come from back stage to sign autographs on the merchandise such as posters that we sell, chat and pose for photos.
Our next show will be Saturday 25th of April, at the Coedpoeth Parish Hall 7:00pm Doors, Bell time at 7:30pm so please spread word to see some amazing wrestlers perform and family friendly entertainment – all for you.
For more info please feel free to comment, or Contact Us direct!