British-based writer with a passion for sport and travel, music and photography. Proud dad, exploring the world anew through the eyes of a forthright toddler.
Emerging from lockdown
When lockdown struck, Teesside singer-songwriter Amelia Coburn was on the point of getting back to the recording studio. Nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards in 2017, she put the music on pause to complete her studies in Modern Languages at Nottingham University – only to re-emerge into a very different cultural climate.
The Art of Isolation
It started as a project to highlight the failings of Britain’s care system. By a quirk of timing, it turned into something that captured the zeitgeist of 2020. ‘Home Alone’, Sharon Bailey’s exploration of the often-isolated lives of elderly people, unexpectedly tapped into a universal experience as the COVID lockdown struck.
Waiting for hockey to come back
When Britain announced its lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the hockey players at Whitley Bay ice rink feared the worst. The refrigeration unit was switched off and, for the first time since the rink opened in 1955, the ice melted. For the ‘pay-to-play’ teams that operate from the Hillheads venue, things looked bleak.
Hockey in Chile
Four years ago I was privileged to visit Chile to report on the local ice hockey scene over there. Deep into Patagonia, this was what I found:
Once, Cockfield’s playing field was home to some of the unlikely heroes of amateur football. In the 1920s, a time of industrial strife and economic depression, the miners of Cockfield FC twice took the name of this ‘two-street pit village’ deep into the FA Amateur Cup. A run to the semis in 1923 had the so-called ‘village wonder team’ making headlines; only Evesham United could halt their march.
Keeping the beat alive
For Britain’s independent music scene, lockdown is taking a toll. Venues are closed, so no gigs. Studios are closed, so no rehearsal space or recording time. The innovation shown in producing virtual performances can plug a gap, but it struggles to recapture the thrill of performing live in front of an audience. Even though the easing of lockdown means pubs can reopen this weekend, bars that specialise in live music are ordered to keep their stages closed.
Socially distant soccer
The training session came to an end and one of the triallists made his way over to say thanks for the opportunity. Instinctively, he offered his hand ... but right now in England, handshakes are off limits. As sport cautiously returns to action, everyone has plenty to learn.
Durham's beautiful launderette
By day, the soundtrack is the throb of dryers and the roar of the spin cycle, at night, the Old Cinema Launderette dances to a different beat. The distinctive Durham venue has created a special niche for itself as one of the best bijou concert halls in the country. Quirky and intimate, it’s invited an impressive array of artists – from folksters to punks – to put on a show in front of the tumble dryers, earning rave write-ups in the national press along the way.