Remembering the Boro Class of 1926

In season 1926/27 Boro smashed the record books wide open, not only winning promotion back to the top flight but blowing the opposition away in a goal storm of 122 league goals. In his first full season since signing from Durham City, centre forward George Camsell hammered in an incredible 59 league goals. You can now relive this fantastic season in a brand new mini exhibition at the Bob End of Dorman Museum with all the stats, action photos, mementoes and memories from that momentous campaign.

Wales shirtDo look out for some truly stunning exhibits. An appeal was put out by the exhibition organisers, Dorman Museum and Middlesbrough Football Collectors Society but never in anyone’s wildest dreams did they envisage the response. There are not one but three international shirts from the inter war years on display. A white England shirt worn by George Camsell and a red Wales shirt swapped by George with Welsh international Tom Griffiths. There is also a quite exceptional item, probably not seen in public in 70 years. It is the international shirt worn by George in a remarkable and quite controversial international. It was the only time England played in blue at home, George Camsell’s scored twice in a 3-0 defeat of Germany.

What match the atmosphere around this match is that Germany were playing under the Nazi flag. The exhibition chronicles. How there were demonstrations in the lead up and on the day of the game itself. It is appalling that the match was actually played at the ground of a Jewish club in Tottenham’s White Hart Lane.

There were 10 000 Germans in the ground and they made their presence felt both in London and at the game. The German team are pictured in the exhibition giving the Nazi salute before kick off and the Germans in the crowd replied in kind.

Blue England shirtThe exploits of the great George Camsell are quite rightly given focus beyond the 1926/27 season. The striker was so unfortunate to have seen his amazing league scoring record pipped at the post as Everton’s Dixie Dean scored 60 league goals the very next season. George was also unfortunate in that his England scoring run of hitting the net in nine successive internationals was one less than the ten recorded by Steve Bloomer. But it is amazing to think that Camsell scored 18 goals in just 9 caps. Different times of course, in that he was left out so many times after scoring performances.

There is plenty of space for all the other star names of that special season.  And maybe the unluckiest man of all, manager Herbert Bamlett, sacked before the season was over by directors obsessed with landing the Spurs manager, Peter McWilliam. Bamlett didn’t even get chance to be a part of the victory celebrations.

The exhibition is showing for 3 months, so plenty of time to catch it, perhaps on the way to a Middlesbrough game and celebrate again the anniversary of a great Boro season when there was a real goal rush from the men playing in red.

Meadowlark Winging Their Way To The Westgarth

Gig of the week could well be when Bristol duo Meadowlark arrive at the Westgarth Social Club this Saturday night. The hotly tipped band are touring nationally at present promoting their new single, the very wonderful ‘Headlights’.

Set for release on 28th October via Believe Recordings (James Vincent McMorrow, Aquilo), ‘Headlights’ swiftly follows the recently released singles ‘Paraffin’ and ‘Quicksand’, both of which have gained Meadowlark widespread acclaim for their captivating melodies and lush production, cementing them as a band to watch for 2017.

meadowlark 1Meadowlark are presently on a UK tour which taking in Birmingham, Brighton, Leeds, London, Leicester, Manchester and Middlesbrough. It is an outstanding itinerary and once again Middlesbrough pulls the hottest touring acts because of the strength of our audiences, promoters, venues, in short our welcome.

You can listen to ‘Headlights’ on Soundcloud: Here

Meadowlark are Kate McGill (vocals & keys) and Dan Broadley (guitars). Before the band, Kate had clocked up tens of millions of views on YouTube for her catalogue of covers. She released an album, had tracks played on Radio 2, and spent a summer in Los Angeles writing with various renowned hitmakers. Dan, meanwhile, was playing in various rock bands and earning a reputation as a great director having made videos with the likes of Don Broco, Lower Than Atlantis and Mallory Knox.  But Kate was feeling drastically unfulfilled, worried she was only going to be known for covering other people’s songs when she had so many of her own waiting for an audience.

Dan, meanwhile, musical tastes changing and growing all the time, was lumbered with bandmates that would neither shift their focus or gig further than 10 miles from home. Something had to give. With both Dan and Kate hailing from Plymouth, a town with a relatively small music scene, it’s little surprise they already knew of each other.

Now living in Bristol, Kate speculatively contacted Dan wondering if he might be interested in collaborating. Sure enough he was, and soon after she was driving down to the south coast, where, after drinking a fair amount of wine to calm her nerves, they started jamming. Both enthuse how natural that first meeting was, and from then on, they’ve known working together was the right thing to be doing. Despite the advice of those around them claiming to know better, Kate and Dan threw themselves into it and Meadowlark was born.

‘Paraffin’, ‘Quicksand’, and ‘Headlights’ all offer a taster of what to expect from the duo’s anticipated debut album which is set to arrive in early 2017. These singles follow the success of Meadowlark’s early track, ‘Eyes Wide’, which was added to BBC Radio 1’s Introducing playlist, XFM’s evening playlist and featured on Hype Machine’s Top 20. Since then, the band have had songs soundtrack Vampire Diaries and Made in Chelsea, they’ve performed on Glastonbury’s Introducing stage, and have performed at numerous industry showcases including the Great Escape and MAMA festival in Paris and more.

meadowlark 2The emotive single, Headlight, was written by the Bristol duo (Kate McGill; vocals and keys and Dan Broadley; guitars) after they were deeply moved by a story on Humans of New York (HONY) about a family working in a brick kiln in Pakistan. The pair weren’t the only ones moved by the words and photos of the HONY post, within mere days the story went on to fundraise over $2 million for the charity working with families trapped in this situation.

McGill explains, “We were so heartbroken reading these stories. We get so swept up in our lives and forget how lucky we are on a daily basis. We wanted to acknowledge these incredibly brave people and all those who devote their lives to helping them.’”

Meadowlark play live at the Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough this Saturday 1st October. £8.50.


Leddie MC Spinning Circles and making Waves


One talented young woman from Middlesbrough is making waves with the release of her superb single, Circles. Leddie MC is no stranger to acclaim having achieved significant success in the hip hop duo, Leddie and Smoggy. Now Leddie is flying solo and judging by Circles she is really reaching the heights.

Produced by collaborator Alex Bailey, ‘Circles’ is the third single taken from Leddie MC’s debut EP Home in my Head.

leddie circlesCircles is a reflection on the friends and indeed former friends of Leddie MCs. Beautiful, poetic vocabulary enriches this track from the off. The subject matter could be dark as Leddie is forced to cut out the weak links and dramatically reduce her circle of close friends.

We feel the growing pains of Leddie but finally digest a message of hope as she squares the circle with close friends that really care and are there for her.

Leddie MC has never sounded so personal and yet so grounded. It is a track we can all relate to and through the power of her word play and the spiralling melody of Alex Bailey’s guitar it is so uplifting and memorable. Just to underline the uplifting tone the song ends with a sample from inspirational speaker Trent Shelton.

Ben Hoy-Taylor has produced a really bright, summery video as we spin in circles through Middlesbrough’s Albert Park.

Leddie and Smoggy have built up a big following over the years as the outstanding North East Hip Hop duo. They have made such a big  splash beyond the region and live gigs have included notable support slots with Devlin, Scroobius Pip vs Dan Le Sac, Skinnyman, Chester P and Lowkey.

Leddie is now following the single and EP release by working on a debut album, to be  produced by Burnley MC and Producer, Seek The Northerner. We will really look forward to hearing that.

I am delighted to say that Leddie MC kindly answered a few questions I flung her way. I as keen to know more about this release and her thoughts on her rising career so far. Also I wondered about her views on whether growing up in Middlesbrough is really damaging for girls.

I love the lyrics and the language you use. Have you always been interested in words and did you enjoy poetry at school? Circles is very poetic to me. How did you come to get into hip hop?

I used to be obsessed with football before I ever made music, and I think as I grew older, I became more reclusive. I think it was a sign of the times really, just because the internet was flourishing, the likes of msn, bebo etc and I think I started to write lyrics to pass the time. My dad used to play the likes of Eminem and Warren G and I used to hate it, until I listened properly. It intrigued me a lot and the more I got into it, the more I studied how Eminem put words and rhyme schemes together and I enjoyed doing it myself. I think of it as a puzzle, using multi-syllabic rhymes that not only rhyme but also create a picture, or tell a story. I think my mind became stagnant and I wanted something more for myself. I started to sacrifice spending time with my friends to learn more, and I picked up on learning new words which I tried to introduce into rhymes I was writing and it all kind of grew from there.

Who were your influences?

The first Hip Hop influence I had was Eminem, The intricate schemes and his lyrical ability astounded me and its something I admired a lot. I also listened to the likes of Warren G, and grew to listening other MCs such as Immortal Technique, G Unit, C Rayz Walz etc. When I reached 16, I went to college and a friend I met there introduced me to UK Hip Hop – Yungun, Mystro, Lowkey, Poisonous Poets, Skinnyman, Taskforce, Foreign Beggars, Out Da Ville etc and I fell in love with the UK side of things. It felt more authentic to me, because I could relate so much more, and it felt so close to home. The beats resonated and I loved how the different accents shone through within the music.

leddie circles 2What was it like making the leap from writing and recording to performing live?

It actually happened completely by accident and never really happened intentionally. I met Smoggy in college, along with D, Kitch and Vinny. I was the only female in the two years of the course I took and after the introductory assembly I kinda followed them out as they had similar style clothing… The baggy hoody and trackies, and looked how a Hip Hop head would. They asked what music I liked, and asked if I had ever written rhymes since I liked Rap. I told them I had and they were talking about all catching up on the weekend round the corner from me at Smog’s flat. We wrote a few tunes, recorded them and ended up with a gig a few months later. I didn’t really have an option to say No, they laughed it off and basically told me I was doing it regardless.

At the time, I was shy, filled with nerves and crippling anxiety and I had low self esteem and I wished the ground would have swallowed me up.

Are there are stand out gigs for you as a performer?

We did a gig in Brixton after I released a few solo tracks on Myspace years ago with a group called “The Peoples Army” and the atmosphere, the entire vibe and the acts just blew my mind. The North East was alienated, I was given the opportunity to open the show as a solo act and invited Smoggy, and that’s how we started as “Leddie and Smoggy”. Acts like Lowkey, Logic, Chester P, Wordplay, Mic Righteous and Frantic Frank were all there, and it was a huge gig. We ended up getting a lift to Chiswick by Wordplay and Lowkey and ended up getting stopped and searched by police.

We’ve done so many, most of which we have enjoyed at Hip Hop nights, but Indie nights were always best in the Boro.

Was it daunting at all going solo after Leddie and Smoggy? After the incredible success and critical acclaim?

I’m still performing with Smoggy, were working on a second album… BUT, we both had things we wanted to achieve as solo artists too. I worked with a producer called Alex Bailey so I didn’t exactly feel like I was completely on my own. I’m currently working with a lad from Burnley called Seek the Northerner and he has nursed many a breakdown in regards to success and acclaim.

As a female, you’re either celebrated because you’re a female that can rap, or you’re hated because you’re a female that can rap, in a male dominated culture. I think some men somehow feel like their masculinity is taken away by supporting a female MC, when in reality, it’s the opposite.

I’ve been writing new music, and sending it to Seek the Northerner whom has been critiquing it from an “outside the NE” point of view, and trying to make me more accessible.

How do you set about writing? Is it quick or slow process? What inspires you?

It depends. I usually start with a concept or the end bar of my verse and work backwards to work up to the build of the last punch.

I’m quite a slow writer, I used to be a lot slower as I over think and agonise so much over rhyme schemes and I’d delete it all and start again. Now it’s much more fluent because I don’t tend to overthink them anymore. I let it flow out and I write it down, then I edit bits to either become more complicated, or switch certain parts of bars around to work more fluently.

Travelling and actually living are what is inspiring me the most at the moment. In between working and making music, I love to just live, and put music to the back of my mind, just to refresh my brain… then when I go to write, I feel reenergised and ready to get back into it.

leddie circles 3Circles has messages within it that many will be able to relate to. Do you like to explore subjects that are personal but can strike a chord with the listener?

Definitely. But then at the same time I feel like I need to write about things which may not appeal to so many people. Circles was inspired by a song by Joe Budden, named Castles. I wrote the verses whilst listening to that track. I felt so betrayed and so let down by old friends that I felt had given me the freedom to be myself and loved me for it, but were never actually there when I needed them.

Over the last few years I’ve cut ties with people I thought I never would and its all been part of my own journey. I was obese and miserable and I thought I was going to end up dead. When I started to better myself they were nowhere to be seen and it pretty much became a solo mission, and it became more about survival.

More and more of my music is becoming more emotional because I’m open to feeling certain things now. Before, it was something I cut out, and focused more on the likes of the government etc. But if I’m going to be entirely honest, writing about everything happening around the globe so much was mentally draining and it actually added to my depression.

I’m not saying I’m never writing about these things, but sometimes you need to take a step back and also care for your mental wellbeing.

What are your hopes for this new release?

At the moment, my hopes are just to spread my name around whilst working on new stuff. I feel like the L&S album was so strong that as solo MCs we need to both establish ourselves, and create our own sounds before revisiting the second L&S album.

Have you got any gigs lined up?

Not as of yet… We are interested in performing our new set though. Finally Middlesbrough was described in a recent report as the worst place in the country to be a girl? You have already achieved so much from being so young here in Mbro. Would you say it is possible for other girls to achieve their goals being brought up here in Mbro?

Absolutely. I don’t believe that we are limited because we are Female, we are limited due to the segregation from other parts of the country, and the divide between the North and the South. We have so many young people (not only females) that are perfecting a craft, but can’t get the push they need because there is no funding to help them. Regardless of this, they are working hard behind the scenes, as we have done for many years, and they are determined to achieve something. If you see a friend asking for you to support what they do, whether it is to vote on a poll for them to win a 10 minute show slot at their local night, to share their music video, a photo of their art piece they have been working on for months, their short films etc then please share, like, vote etc and help them to achieve their dreams. Once we support and help each other, the rest will fall in line. We have built the world, now we just have to go out and conquer it.




Innovative Artist Dianne Needs Your Support to Exhibit in Middlesbrough and London

Middlesbrough artist Dianne Bowell is looking to raise £4,400 by Friday, Oct 7th 2016 in order to create and exhibit a series of innovative new paintings which will explore her life story, femininity, hopes, fears and fantasies.

“Sirens of My Relief” is a crowdfunding project to create a new, experimental body of work to exhibit at both The Python Gallery in Middlesbrough and then The Brick Lane Gallery in London. The exhibition will open in January 2017 in Middlesbrough giving the artist 3 months to create the work for this, selected pieces will then be transported and shown in London.

dianne sirens 1I know Dianne’s work well because as well as attending some of her previous shows in Middlesbruogh we share office space in Brentnall Business Centre now the hub for Gilkes Street Artists. I feel so privileged to be constantly passing by the distinctive and quite outstanding figurative paintings of Dianne in my corridor. It adds no end of interest to my work day. I am lucky to have such a talented neighbour and would urge everyone to support the painter in her double quest.

Dianne’s contemporary figurative and portrait paintings are both exhibited and sold on-line. They explore beauty, femininity, love, passion and the sense of self. They are extremely personal, windows onto an inner world and yet are instantly accessible. Dianne draws inspiration from memories, life experiences and dreams.

dianne siren 2 “I have a distinctive style, my work has been said to be instantly recognisable, even when exploring new techniques and materials. I tend to use an idiosyncratic colour pallet of blues, turquoises and violet hues, mixed with monochrome styles. I aim to create exciting unconventional pieces which are authentic and resonate with the viewer.” – Dianne

Dianne has set up a Kickstarter Crowdfunding campaign to help her achieve these goals, the money will help towards materials to create the paintings, including canvas and paints, framing, preview events for the exhibitions and publicity materials.

dianne siren 3Funding will also be welcome to pay for the exhibition in London and the transportation of the paintings. Dianne says, “Being invited to exhibit in a London Gallery is a hugely exciting achievement for me, and this could open up so many doors and really give me the break I need to get my work seen by other galleries and collectors. Unfortunately if the Kickstater project isn’t successful I wouldn’t be able to achieve this at this time.”

Kickstarter, whose mission is to bring creative projects to life, allows the general public to support projects like this by pledging amounts from £1 upwards with the benefit of receiving tiered rewards, such as digital downloads, cards, prints, original paintings and even commissioned paintings.

dianne siren 4Interested parties are invited to visit Dianne’s Website  to find out more and for links to the Kickstarter Project.

Kickstarter Site:

Click Kickstarter