Filled with TEES PRIDE

Wednesday 31st is the final day to enter this year’s Tees Pride 10k and 3k Fun Run. Whether you race, run, jog, walk, hop or crawl round don’t miss out on one of the stand out days in the Teesside calendar.
I was gutted last year as I missed out due to work. A weird concept for me as I usually manage to avoid the W word whenever possible.

I was actually doing something interesting, embarking on an archaeological investigation at the former home of Bradford Park Avenue. It would take something like that or being invited to perform in a Berlin to tempt me away from the Tees Pride 10k, that happened to me 3 or 4 years ago as well.

Ken and Shirley This year I will be amongst the runners congregating on Hall Drive. But only just. I was injured 200 metres or so from the finish of my 249th parkrun at Stewart Park. With the finish line just around the corner I limped and then hopped home, taking considerably longer than Usain Bolt to complete that “spint.”

That was on July 16th. I still haven’t completed my 250th parkrun and have only just started running again today.

At that point in July the Tees 10k seemed a long way off and surely I would be running. I have limped my way right through the school summer holidays and have as September became ever closer I began to think I might actually miss out on the run for the second year in a row. What a nightmare.

My first attempts at come backs failed. I went back to square one almost after trying to walk too far. But then last week, a points failure on the London Underground meant I was late for the Boro match and I had no option but to run across the park at Fulham to Craven Cottage. When I was still able to run the next day I entered the race. Before my ankle had chance to complain.

Now I will be joining thousands of runners, walkers and charity fund-raisers in running that circuit around south Middlesbrough on Sunday, September 4.

Anyway, I hope you will join me. It is always a fantastic atmosphere. The support from other runners as well as the amount of friends, families and well wishers lining the route makes it outstanding to take part in. You don’t get that kind of warmth at many other events.

There are many landmarks to look out for on the route. The 17th century Grade One listed Acklam Hall is near the start line. Now a restaurant and so open to the general public. Along Acklam Road is the start of the Avenue of Trees with their amazing vista of the hall. This once stretched right through to Low Lane where Brookfield has since been constructed.

Ladgate Lane is ancient routeway, just how ancient is uncertain. The name is Viking but could it even have Roman origins. The descent down to Marton West Beck is welcome to runners, to the right is an elbow of the former road and an old pub, the Slip Inn once stood at the very bottom of the valley.

On the same side of the road was the former site of Tollesby Hall an 18th century mansion and the remains of Viking age long houses were excavated close by.

When I was a youngster, everyone asked to get off the bus at Marton Bungalow, even though the former cafe had long since been demolished near Marton Crossroads. People probably ask for the Tudor garage these days.

When you turn towards the town this was once a leafy little lane that became the virtual driveway to Henry Bolckow’s Marton Hall residence, lit up with new fangled electric lights and all mod cons.

We then run down to the exotic side of the town the former french quarter of Belle Vue  ;) . Along Keith Road you might well be in need of some light refreshments, fortunately some of the locals could oblige with large water cannons.

Towards the end of Green Lane there is the distinctive white stepped gable of the Montessori nursery. Then it is the turn into Acklam Hall and an annoying slight incline all the way to Acklam shops. Look out for the Coronation pub. I don’t know what that West Ham colour scheme is all about but I do know a little about the name. It was going to be called Edward VIII but then he abdicated before his coronation.

Further down the road you can see a former Blacksmiths shops and stables with 1878 written in bricks, that shows you how rural Acklam was still in the late Victorian period. By this time you are on the home stretch and heading for the speed bumps of Hall Drive, speeding to a finish.

This year’s 10k will start and finish on Hall Drive, adjacent to the junction with Cowley Road.

The new Athletes’ Village is on the green space between Hall Drive and Acklam Hall, with a warm-up space, and somewhere to meet friends and relatives after the race.

Organisers are also reminding local residents that road closures around the course will take effect from 8.30am, with the morning’s events as follows:

  • 8am Athletes’ Village opens
  • 30am Full road closure around the course
  • 50am SABIC Fun Run warm-up (main stage)
  • 15am SABIC Fun Run (Avenue of Trees/Hall Drive)SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
  • 30am Taylor Wimpey Elite 10k Wheelchair Race
  • 45am SABIC Fun Run presentation (main stage)
  • 20am Taylor Wimpey Elite 10k Wheelchair presentation
  • 25am Taylor Wimpey 10k warm-up (main stage)
  • 45am Taylor Wimpey 10k Start (Hall Drive/Cowley Road)
  • Noon Taylor Wimpey 10k presentation (main stage)
  • 1pm Estimated re-opening of roads

I hope to see you on Sunday in the race. If you are a near novice then be careful not to be too ambitious. Just aim to get round the course like me and set yourself a marker to beat next year. Go out and enjoy being part of one of the best events on Teesside.

  • Participants are reminded that no entries will be taken on the day for either the Taylor Wimpey Tees Pride 10k or the SABIC 3k Fun Run.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESFor full details and entry information on the 2016 Taylor Wimpey Tees Price 10k and SABIC 3k Fun Run on Sunday, September 4 visit, drop in to any of Middlesbrough’s Everyone Active sport and leisure venues or call 01642 200833.


Entries close on Wednesday, August 31.



Introducing Corey Bowen Middlesbrough Young Alt Pop Pretender

At the tender age of 21 Corey Bowen is a veteran of two of the biggest musical festivals in Green Man and T in the Park. He has released two superb singles in the startling psychedelic debut of  ‘If Birds Wish To Fly’ followed by the fizzing pop of ‘Back To 95.’ He now has his sights firmly set on a third release. You could say Corey Bowen is coming of age as one of Middlesbrough’s brightest musical hopes.

Corey Bowen is described by BBC Introducing’s Bob Fischer as being “quietly eccentric (which I like)” and creating music “as fresh as a daisy.” Bob’s first contact with Corey was hearing “If Birds Wish To Fly” which the BBC Tees man described as being “a lovely, loopy bit of psychedelic pop.”

I can only agree. I fell in love with the song immediately on hearing it. So, I was excited at the prospect of meeting the new Middlesbrough music guru.

I caught up with Corey, on a gloriously warm and sunny summer’s afternoon at the doughnut bar in Linthorpe Road. I reflected it was such a fitting day to meet and chat with a young man who released such a slice of summery pop as Back to 95. It has all the upbeat optimism for your summer holiday perusing and musing.

Q: Tell me a little bit about your background Corey.

corey bowenCorey: I got into songwriting and playing instruments when I was about 13. The first thing that I really thought to do within music was write songs. I was never really that keen on being a fantastic guitarist or anything like that it was always about words and writing as opposed to the instruments. I suppose when I got a bit older I got more of an interest in the sound of guitars and different synthesisers etc but it has always remained the most important thing writing the actual words.

It came from a lot of the music that my mam was listening to at the time. She was listening to a lot of The Smiths CDs and somehow through that I discovered Nirvana and that side of it. Just a classic teenage music fan story but I always credit Morrissey and Nirvana as the first artists that actually made me want to do music when I was that age.

Q: So, artists from before you were born.

C: Well, yes, it is strange really.

Corey’s friend: A lot of music on the way to football as well.

C: We played football as kids, age 10 or 11 our dad’s would have CDs on in the car. My dad to this day buzzes because he had the first ever Arctic Monkeys demo in his car. There were probably a few dodgy ones. But my dad used to listen to Ocean Colour Scene and Oasis, so he got me onto a lot of Brit Pop, from quite an early age I was quite familiar with that. But my dad also got me into Billy Joel as well, who is one of my favourite songwriters ever.

Q: A crafter of songs.

C: Yes, absolutely. He is. It is a lot to do with my parents in terms of first getting into music. They are not musical people as such but it was the first time I was shown music. It was the first music I knew and listened to properly. That is kind of how I got into it.

Q: You have a single out now. But how and when did you start performing?

C: I have at the minute yes. I started performing after 2 or 3 years of playing. When I got to 14 or 15 I was thinking where can I go with it now. In school I was looking for people that could play instruments. At the time a couple of my close friends in school were getting into playing instruments so it was a natural thing to start playing together. So, yes I was probably about 15 when I started playing live.

The first gig I played was in Middlesbrough Music (used to be near the bus station). Do you know where the acoustic instruments were at the back? There used to be nothing there. So I used to go in and would ask Tony, “will you let my band play?” and he said, “yes.” And he let us use all the nice guitars from the shop because we had ropy equipment at the time. That was the first time we played live.

Q: When did you go and play in a live venue.

C: With bands when I was younger I played in venues around the town at various gigs that mates were putting on. I didn’t start getting gigs that had real significance until I started performing under my own name. I didn’t start writing and recording under my name until I was about 18 or 19. I am 21 now. That was when I started to really take it seriously.

I think starting to write and record under my own name for me was symbolic of me dedicating all of my time. It is a cliché but it is my life now. I don’t have any other commitments.

When I started performing under my own name or writing under it and releasing stuff that is when I started getting gigs around the country. I put a demo on line and it was the first thing that I had ever released under my own name. Right off the back of that, a couple of weeks or maybe a month later I ended up being asked to do a tour. From there it started to snowball and I started to get better gig offers and bigger gig offers.

Q:  It is a great starting point that people made you offers after hearing and liking your music.

C: Yes definitely. When I put that first demo on line I was very much doing it for myself, for something to do. That was what I enjoyed doing. It wasn’t doing it to go out looking to tour or even play live to be honest. It was never something that I envisaged with this guise. I’m happy that it happened, very much so. I have played some really good gigs since.

Playing live isn’t the focal point of what I do. Although it is the root of a lot of factors. But it has never really been the main thing. It was after that tour that I started getting interest. People were getting in touch to work with me. It was off the back of that tour that I got in touch with my management team. All that sort of thing came after the tour. It just goes to show when you play live and you do the big gigs show you see things come of it.

So it was probably about 2 or 3 years ago that I started playing outside Middlesbrough.

Q: And you have played at festivals haven’t you?

C: Yes we did Green Man last year down in the Brecon Beacons in Wales. That was an amazing festival. But I am not really much of a festival goer myself but that was a really cool festival and a really nice place to play. That was just after the first single went out. We were meant to play at 2 in the afternoon but because we were playing 2 weeks after the single came out we ended up being pushed up to play at 10 on the night. I think that was the biggest crowd I have played to.

Q: How did that feel?

C: I was on a buzz to be honest.

Q: That is good it could do one way or another with such a big crowd.

C: Oh definitely. Even though I am still quite young and it is very early doors in terms of career or whatever you want to call it. I have been playing live since I was 14 or 15. It is something that I have grown up with. So, over time you gradually become confident. Without wanting to sound big headed, I am confident enough in the songs to be able to comfortably stand on stage (am not going to say be proud because that makes it sound a bit desperate) and play them to how ever many people.

Q: That must have been superb that prime slot at Green Man.
C: Yes definitely. The people were there to see us play live and that doesn’t go unappreciated. The people are at a festival and they can pretty much do what they want. And 10pm is peak festival time. So for people to take time out and come and see us when we are not really well known at all..

Q: They are discovering someone.

C: That is right. I think that festival Green Man is a great place to do that as they do highlight the smaller acts. It is just acts that they believe in as opposed to those that are going to draw the biggest crowds. When a festival does that and you can see the purity of the booking scheme, it is just bands that they are in to; it tends to attract a crowd anyway. That is a really good festival, I really enjoyed that one.

Q: Do you have two singles now then?

C: If Birds Wish To Fly was the first single followed by Back to 95.

Q: You were talking about the music you first listened to and those artists in turn would have listened to music from the 60s and this has influences of both.

C: Oh definitely. I always say when asked that I write really naturally. The lyrics and guitar chords or progression becomes not stream of conscience but comes very naturally. I try to write really naturally and it has got to come from within. But with both singles I made a conscious decision to try to try and make a song like that. With 95, the latest single, I knew that I wanted to make that type of song and it had to be upbeat. Have a radio friendly feel.

Q: Very summery as well.

C: Yes it is. And it was a very conscious effort to make that type of song. And it is the same with “Birds” the first single which is like you said more 60s, a lot more psychy, spacey in the production. That was a conscious effort to make an upbeat, organ led 60s sounding pop song.

It is the songs that have not been released or no one has heard that are the most important for me in terms of artistic identity and integrity.

Q: Do people hear those songs when you play live?

C: Yes they will do. I always try and squeeze in as many songs that people will not have heard before. We always tend to play a different set every time we play live.

We make a decision a few weeks before and rehearse those songs. Apart from on the tour we have never played the same set two gigs in a row. I think that is a cool thing as well. Certainly one of things I take from going to a gig or seeing an artist is the idea that it is a momentary thing. That performance isn’t just going to happen again the next night. That is something that I appreciate so it is something that I want to try and keep doing. It keeps it interesting too. I wrote the single Birds two years ago and 95 when I was 17, nearly five years ago. So releasing it was a strange thing but I still like it.

When we do play live I like to keep it fresh. More a momentary performance.

Q: So if I went to see you tomorrow and I had seen you a couple of years ago I would hear a different set.

C: Absolutely. But I do like to draw a straight line through a project. As you said if you had seen us two years ago it would be a different set to tomorrow but you would be able to draw some sort of straight line through it in that it has got identity stamped on it. I like to think it has got those sort of properties.

Q: We would know it is you.

C: Yes, although it is a different band and it would sound like a different band but I still feel it has got my identity on it. I have a vision of what I want to write, if something doesn’t fit into that I find it hard to care about it.

Q: It has integrity?

C: Yes, definitely. I find if I don’t feel attached to a song or a live set then I feel like it wasn’t us. I can’t get a buzz out of it. Or I can’t get think of the positives about it. I might just be a control freak (laughs).

Q: What are you doing next?

corey smokesC: I am in the middle of recording an EP. I have a studio of sorts set up at my house. That is where I do all my recording, demo’ing etc. We have been in studios to do the two singles. Recording at home is something that I have always done since I first started playing instruments. To get back into that now in a more serious, work based, to see it in that light, to work on something that means something is I think going to be the way forward. It is always something that I have pushed but for obvious reasons like sound quality you have got to go in a studio now and again I think.

Q: Will it be released on a label?

C: I am not entirely sure. The last two singles have been released independently and while a record deal seems to be the be all and end all or make or break, whether “means something” or not. It is usually a record deal that decides that.

Q: But it depends what that record deal actually covers doesn’t it?

C: Of course. It is open to the label’s interpretation or the artist. But either way I am going to be happy to release it.

I feel the EP coming up is the best possible representation of where I am at the minute as a songwriter and as a person. It says a lot I think. And being primarily a lyricist that is what I want to do. I am not really too fussed about a wicked riff, it is all about having a good melody and good lyrics for me. So, yes I am really excited to get that out but whether it is on a label or not I am not entirely sure yet. But either way it is going to be good.

The EP should be out in the summer.

Corey Bowen was recently selected to play on the BBC Introducing Stage at T in the Park in Scotland. He has long been championed here by BBC Tees Introducing host Bob Fischer who did not hesitate in recommending Corey. Such a prodigious talent Corey Bowen is set to fly.






Boro’s Caravan Club

What Makes You Proud About Middlesbrough? One of the questions The Caravan Gallery is asking as its pop up shop HUB next to McDonalds on Linthorpe Road. You can answer this for yourself inside in a number of interactive ways.

caravan 1In Middlesbrough town centre until 27th August, national and international artists and photographers Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale are documenting the reality and surreality of everyday life in the area.  Based in The Hub (located next door to McDonalds), the Middlesbrough Pride of Place Project, part of the touring Caravan Gallery, is a thought provoking alternative Tourist Information Office, collecting everything and anything Middlesbrough themed and there is a full size wall map documenting people’s journey’s and lives in Middlesbrough.  There are a mix of images, objects and local people’s thoughts on things that celebrate the essence of the town, the best of which will be captured in a book.

Founders Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale travel the country capturing the extraordinary ‘reality and surreality’ of the way people live in the UK and have brought their project to Teesside.

Setting the scene with a local tour, The Caravan Gallery has travelled around Teesside’s neighbourhoods including in an actual old caravan; Redcar market, the Cleveland Show, South Bank Festival, Captain Cook Square, North Ormesby market with a final visit to  the town square this week on the 11th August.

The Middlesbrough Pride of Place Project converts an empty shop on Linthorpe Road (next door to McDonalds) into a civic hub-cum-alternative visitor information centre exploring Middlesbrough’s identity. The artists have on display their own photos of the area which document unseen aspects of the way we live and our region’s hidden gems. They’ll set aside what has been called ‘the tourist’s gaze’ to see places that are seldom visited or thought worthy of ‘tourist’ attention. Members of the public are be encouraged to join in by taking a warts and all look at their town across its beauty and brutality.

caravan gallery 2You can write unique Teesside phrases on the wall and fill in the hidden or personal special places on a giant hand drawn wall map of Middlesbrough. I penned on all the former grounds of Middlesbrough FC. What else would you expect?

caravan mapAlongside the artists photographic visions of Teesside you can leave your own photos and artwork. There is a collection of sports team photos, works and old school teams included. And there are tables to make your own artistic statements or perhaps have a chat and leave your memories of living, working and “going out” in Middlesbrough.

The project complements extra{ordinary}: Photographs of Britain by The Caravan Gallery, presented at mima. This exhibition captures the uniqueness of the people and places in the UK through images made across the country over the past 15 years.

Throughout this time The Caravan Gallery has examined the practices of daily life and processes of social change that the mainstream media frequently overlook. The documented sites and sights are often those beneath a threshold of visibility.

caravan 3Jan Williams said: “We hope our extra{ordinary} exhibition at mima inspires people to look around them and see their own surroundings in a new light.  The Middlesbrough Pride of Place Project will invite people to explore local and regional distinctiveness by contributing to an exhibition which will grow daily as visitors’ stories, observations and artworks are added.  Familiar places may even take on a new allure as overlooked details come to light when people reconnect with their surroundings.”

By fostering personal connections, The Caravan Gallery aims to encourage people to get together and talk about where they live and how places affect the way they feel and behave.

Chris Teasdale said: “We liken any town or city to a museum – a place where you experience the same comfortable places.  But turn the corner and you’re instantly presented with something unexpected, with astonishment and wonder.”

The Caravan Gallery’s summer programme began with an open submission photography competition, inviting Teesside residents (native and adoptive) to view their town with fresh eyes, capturing what’s special, unusual or perhaps distinctive in this part of the world. The most captivating entries will be printed and displayed in the Middlesbrough Pride of Place Project.

Free to enjoy, extra{ordinary} and the Middlesbrough Pride of Place Project are part of a major touring project by The Caravan Gallery funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

caravan 4More information on The Caravan Gallery can be found at: Website:

Pride of Place Project – open until 27 August 2016

95 Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 5DD

Opening Times: Tuesday – Saturday, 10.00am – 5.30pm

Closing party: Saturday 27 August, 5.00pm – 8.00pm

extra{ordinary}: Photographs of Britain by The Caravan Gallery – running until – 18 September 2016

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima)

Opening Times: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10.00am – 4.30pm, Thursday, 10.00am – 7.00pm; Sunday, 12.00pm – 4.00pm


Orange Pip’s Boro Buzz

On Saturday it was the third Orange Pip Market and once again Baker Street, Middlesbrough was absolutely buzzing and the place to be.

orange pip july tom
Artisan food and drink, live entertainment and a fantastic atmosphere; Orange Pip Market is Middlesbrough’s biggest success story of the summer. Remember, stick a cross against the last Saturday of every month in your diary.

orange pip uly tall 3In fact even the weather has been playing ball because there is rarely a cloud in the sky when market day comes round and temperatures invariably soar. This all contributes to a market day that is packing out the Edwardian terraced Baker Street from 12 noon to early evening and giving the independent traders that feed and water us a massive and well deserved fillip.

If it is good for them then it is also so good for the town and the area. I guess the next thing to ask is where does the market go from here? When winter comes and finally the market day weather breaks how will everyone head for cover?

With such runaway popularity is there a possibility of spreading to neighbouring Bedford Street where the premises of some of the stalls are actually based? That could help produce an even bigger footfall or would that serve to dissipate the impact of an event that is now a real focal point for the whole community.

orange pip july tall 2
There were face painters, hair stylists and vintage photographers at work on entering Baker Street on Saturday.  Stalls selling cakes, crepes, teas, coffees and salad presented welcoming and fragrant aromas. Hog roasts were going down an absolute treat. And an Orange Pip twist on the Tees-tastic Parmo, an artisan Parmo was proving a major hit.

The brilliant Tom Joshua and his mighty band kicked off the live music entertainment in fine style. A young lad who is proving himself to be a singer songwriter of real skill, Tom wooed the crowds spilling out from the tables and chairs and stopped people in their tracks processing down the pavements either side. He even had us joining in his final chorus.

A marvellous Middlesbrough afternoon and once again Pip Pip hooray for the organisers of the Orange Pip Market.

orange pip 2

orange pip 1

orange pip olde youngorange pip 2