…TIP is green for GO!
Oh my word… the Tour of Infinite Possibility is actually real! We’re starting our journey through a maze of shark infested spreadsheets and perilously dangerous calendars. It’s been a little scary, a little daunting and quite marvellous. A little bit like planning to ride a wild horse. When you’ve never ridden a horse before.
So we met up two weeks ago to try and match up all the many groups and individuals who have signed up for the Tour of Infinite Possibility with songs and locations… It’s a big ol’ task. Nearly 200 groups, organisations and individuals have signed up so far! Far more than we ever thought and a thoroughly intimidating number.. An amazing and at times bamboozling array of people are getting involved; brass bands, choirs, pensioners, schools, music centres, ukulele groups, and even a cheese makery! Who’d have thought Harrogate had a musically literate Roller Derby team? In fact who even knows what roller-derby is?! All we know is that it sounds DANGEROUS.
So we’ve started this wagon rolling doing what we’re calling “Hello!” gigs – part gig, part workshop – in Grassington, Addingham, Sheffield (Kelham Island), Hawes and Ripon. The idea behind the “Hello! gigs is that we get to have a bit of a play, hopefully show people that we’re a “Proper” band, and start to get people involved in making music with us. Basically we’re just trying to start conversations with whole towns. We’re putting the band back together. We’re starting to place the very first duplo blocks on which we’re going to try and build this crazy thing.
It’s been a lot like this >>
We’ve been getting people singing, playing bells, playing ukuleles and starting to learn our songs. There have been some beautiful moments.
We stumbled our way into #hsTIP with a trip to Grassington and nearby Burnsall. Starting the day at Burnsall VA Primary School – a school of 34 pupils – we set up and played to an excited bunch of young peeps. Headteacher Mrs. Jameson was tasked with a bell solo, they pretended to ride bikes and the kids showed us their African drumming. It was loud and out of control and we felt totally at home.
Then we were off to the “The Dev” to hook up with plenty of last year’s A Band Anyone Can Join lovelies who came to help us launch the “TIP ship” (careful how you say that now [grins]) in glorious singalong stylee. What was meant to be just a hello to new people turned into a massive jam with ukes, guitars fiddles and everyone singing their heart out.
Addingham was a bit of an unknown for us really. As we’re always prepared we started with Addingham Scouts. Marvellous stuff – such energy and enthusiasm. As has now become customary at TIP Hello Gigs, we play a few songs, then describes the project. As he gets to the bit where he’s asking these bunch of young men to join our band to play in their home town, you could see faces light up. Grins creeping across faces. Looks being shot at friends either side, glints in eyes. Lovely stuff.
Then off to The Crown (for a lovely pint) where after a near fist fight with a trad jazz band we were joined by a whole bunch of new and friendly faces. Some peeps from singing groups, some peeps from Dales Jam, and the offer to work with up to 2000 kids at a single school. The question is asked: how does the cycle powered stage work? Will we all fit on? We try to act as if we know. Plans are hatched. Beer is drunk. Friendships are begun. Solos are played in dozen-strong (near) unison.
Sheffield (Kelham Island):
Sheffield is big. It doesn’t know us. Someone introduced us to Kelham. 20 years ago a bit of an industrial wasteland but now a vibrant, friendly, living, breathing community. We do three gigs in one day and start to move on from not really knowing anyone. The Green City Cafe, The Riverside and The Kelham Island Tavern. The day seemed to gain momentum, culminating in a lovely sing-along at The Kelham Island Tavern and a whole bunch of lovely excited people. On the way home there was a lot of “we’re very lucky people” going on. We’re starting to get verrry excited about this now. This badly stitched panorama shows the lovely TIPsters.
We’ve not been to Hawes before as a band so it was a bit of an unknown. Thankfully the wonderful Lucy Barrow of Wensleydale Creamery had entered her details in “The Form Of Infinite Possibility”. She’d managed to get the staff the last hour off (yes, the place they make Wensleydale cheese! Awesome!) to come and meet us, and for us to hopefully convert some of their staff, by way of pure enthusiasm, into being part of our band. I’m always aware that in situations like this we’ve got be really wary of not feeling like an invasion. We need to win people over. TIP needs to feel like “we’d like to come to work in and with your community if you’ll have us”, not “we’re coming in taking over your town”. It’s a balancing act. A bit of a challenge but a challenge we were expecting… But we got cheese! So it’s already a good day… Then off to The Fountain where we have massive amounts of pie and feel tired and play to just a handful of people. It’s good and we pick up some people. We’ve got work to do in Hawes though – which is fair enough – it’s a new town for us. Thinking back over it it’s not that this is hard. It’s actually amazing that all the other gigs have gone as well they have! This is all fine. Bit by bit we build the TIP ship.
Just a single gig in Ripon. Back to an old favourite, The Golden Lion for another pint of fine ale, seven scampi, and the last Hello Gig of week one. A brilliant selection of peeps turn up – new guitarists, friends we’ve played for in Ripon before, and not to mention three of my favourites (Kyle, Naomi and Trev) from the marvelously named “The Grand Old Uke Of York”. Lots of music is made. Some of these gigs have totally felt like a collaboration. Which unbelievably is what we hoped! A lovely end to week one of The Tour Of Infinite Possibility. Here’s a wee audioboo of our first ever run of Eurospin with our Ripon TIPsters.
So, that’s week one. TIP is out in the world. We’ve met with just some of the people from more than half the towns. It’s been a major effort to get these 7 gigs in and we think we’ve got another 85 sessions to make happen if this is going to work! It’s all been great though. We’ve also been on Stray FM, BBC Yorkshire, Radio Sheffield, Radio Leeds and BBC telly again this week. Which is nice. And there’s a 48 sheet poster of us up on my road (it’s Huxley here BTW). We’ve yet to do a gig in front of it… but we’re trying to work it out.
This week has been great. Hard work but with the help and enthusiasm of a whole bunch of friends and strangers it feels like we’re off and rolling. We can feel the army we need starting to gather… This might just work. It might even be amazing.
In “Other News”:
Oh… and lastly… we’re going to release an album next week. Finally, we’re putting the Crypt Covers out as an album. Plenty more on that soon. It’s gonna be a bloggy ol’ week I reckon!
See you on the road!