Friday, March 19, 2021

Helen and The Neighbourhood Dogs - New Material for 2021

I am pleased and proud to announce that we have new product dropping this week*.

‘Hollow Man’ was recorded remotely in lockdown by the entire group, and is coupled with a new version of crowd-pleasing, set-closing favourite ‘Nelson’.

Both songs will be available on our Bandcamp site from Sunday March 21st.

Two accompanying videos will be aired as part of ‘What the Helstock?’ virtual festival on the Blue House Agency Facebook page livestream on Saturday the 20th - scheduled showtime is around half past eight GMT depending on prevailing winds and weather conditions in the East Anglian region -

This is a digital only release, but you can listen to it a couple of times for free online before you make your mind up as to whether you want to own it or not.

We also do parties, festivals and house concerts, so once we’re up and running again, if you like what you hear, do get in touch.

*Ed - please check with the young folk to see if this is still what they do.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

“He’s thrown a kettle over a pub - what have you done..?”

You would be surprised - although not unduly, I feel -  at how little I make from this Blog. I know you like to think of me descending from my Dubai apartment in order to do a little light dictation between mocktail shoots, but it’s not all like sourdough and circuses in my career. That’s why I work in a car park, and you don’t*. 

Looking back - as I frequently do - over past chapters (mainly for throwback posts originally published on the same date as whenever I find myself in a contemplative mood - which is most of the time, these days) I sometimes wonder why certain entries have caught, if not the Zeitgeist, then occasionally eine vor├╝bergehende Stimmung. As it turns out, this is usually when someone with more friends than me has reposted something on Facebook. I remember looking at the visitor count when it got to twenty thousand and thinking that was pretty impressive. I could visualise it as a well-attended Cropredy Festival, which was pretty special for me. Most individual entries get forty or fifty passing views, which if translated into a pub gig, would keep me more than happy and entertained for an evening (as, hopefully, I would them) so I’m quite happy essentially scribbling in the margins, occasionally making a grab for attention when I get involved with one of my celebrity friends.

It’s a very similar take on what I do with what I occasionally refer to as my music ‘career’. A few folk gathered together - every so often a festival crowd, and/or some perfect strangers taking the time out to let you know how they enjoyed the show. This is obviously a lot trickier than simply sitting down with a hot cup of tea and - very much in the manner and spirit of Led Zeppelin, simply rambling on. We have to get into a room, make things up out of our own heads, play them all at the same time - one of the issues with the great unpleasantness over the last year or so has been that even in times of reduced lockdown, allowing six people to meet in a socially-distanced scenario doesn’t really help if you’re in a seven piece band. You can’t always leave out the banjo player... 

As part of our prep for this year’s What the Helstock we have written, individually prepared, recorded, videoed and remotely submitted our parts for a brand new song, Fiddly has lovingly assembled, cut and pasted, re-worked, mixed and sent out rough mixes (that’s six other opinions to wrangle, remember) as well as revamping the band favourite (we usually close the first set with it) that we’ve been working on and tweaking via electronic mail and dead letter boxes for about a year now, and we won’t even be able to hear the applause when it goes out. A fellow traveller colleague spent hours on his multi-tracked, loving synchronised, cross-cultural, split-screen recording and was encouraged that it had clocked up a couple of hundred views on YouTube in under a week. One of our workmates whipped out her phone and navigated quickly to her sister’s TikTok. “She’s had one point one million views” she explained. We looked on, impressed. “What did she do?!” we breathed in wonder.

“She got bored one day and dyed our pond blue”.

*Big up to the Park and Ride Massive. Whaddup, Beaches?