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Jon Teamlaverne Jon Teamlaverne | 10:44 UK time, Thursday, 13 January 2011

Luke Haines - Outsider Music


One of my favourite artists Luke Haines, the man behind The Auteurs and Black Box Recorder is doing a one-off gig at The Hoxton Pony in East London next Wednesday, the 19th Jan.


He's showcasing songs from a project he did towards the end of last year called Outsider Music. He recorded 50 unique versions of an album - each one had 10 songs on, taken from a pool of a possible 15. Each one had a different track listing and was recorded in different ways - one apparently even features Haines having to stop to open the door to the postman. Haines sold the albums, each an individual hand-numbered CD to his fans through his website at £75 a pop. Pretty pricey, but he would argue you are getting a unique work of art.


He's playing the songs for what he claims will be the first and last time on Wednesday night. He's an artist who may not have maintained as high a profile as he once had but has kept the quality of his work consistently high. He doesn't perform live that often, but when he does you can be sure of side helpings of black humour and bile to go with his very fine music.




Have you ever been curling? No, thought not. Remember, it's that sport that we won once at the Winter Olympics that involves stones and brushes. I've played it and you know what, it's a lot of fun. Sort of like bowls meets cleaning, on ice, without skates. And a lot more fun than that sounds.


So, if you fancy an unusual sporting activity to tell your friends about this winter, why not give it a go? It's the sort of thing that could be fun for a birthday party.


Your options are wide open if you live in Scotland - there are over 20 rinks there and loads and loads of clubs. There's Murrayfield Curling in Edinburgh, The Peak in Stirling ('curling in Stirling' has a very satisfying ring to it) and Curl Aberdeen plus loads more. Check out The Royal Caledonian Curling Club website for more details.


In England there is, unbelievably, only one rink. Fentons Rink is near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. This is where I've played. It's great fun. You get given all the equipment and a quick lesson and then you're allowed to play your own games - you pick it up amazingly quickly. There's no need to be able to skate as there aren't any skates involved. You have special shoes and there's no way you'd fall over onto the ice. You have to book in advance. They're open till mid-April, as are most of the Scottish clubs. You can take the train straight from London to Tunbridge Wells and get a taxi to the rink from there.


Unfortunately if you don't live in the South, you're looking at a trip to either Scotland or Wales. In Wales, things are overseen by Welsh Curling who are based at Deeside Ice Rink.


Beatboxing and jokes...


And finally, a couple of tours for you - very different but both with music at their heart.


Shlomo is one of the UK's finest human beatboxers. He's collaborated with an amazing array of people including Jarvis Cocker, Martha Wainwright, Damon Albarn and DJ Yoda. He performed with Björk at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympics, for which he was nominated for a Grammy. Chuck in with that the fact that he is a classically trained percussionist and speaks 4 languages. Basically, he's beatbox royalty, and now he's coming to a town near you.


His new tour, Mouthtronica, is billed as a mixture of storytelling and beatboxing. The storytelling should be pretty interesting; Shlomo is of Iraqi, Israeli and German descent and he promises to tell his life story going right back to when he was 3 years old playing Arabic drums and belly dancing at his Iraqi-Jewish grandmother's parties.


He'll also be teaching a beatbox masterclass at each venue before the show. The tour goes all over the UK throughout February and March.


And just a quick mention for Lenny Henry's new tour Cradle to Rave. I have to declare an interest here - I know Lenny well from writing Rudy's Rare Records, the sitcom he stars in on Radio 4 - but I saw a preview of the tour show the other day and thought it was shaping up to be really good.


It's about Lenny's life through music going back to his earliest memories of reggae parties at his parents' house and taking in such things as doing backing vocals for Kate Bush (true). Lenny's having a bit of a renaissance at the moment after having played Othello and this show should continue that. The tour runs right through till May.



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