What do Neo Soul, Psychedelic Folk, Dubstep, Blues, Jazz, Psychedelic Rock and Reggae have in common? Not much but we have recorded all that and more at Highbury Studio in January. Goodness knows what February has in store. If you know singers or musicians around the West Midlands who might appreciate our warm analogue sound please do everyone a favour and just send them a link to us:
I have two main memories of The Ramones. One was seeing them perform at Barbarellas club in Birmingham which was inspirational. The other was later when I was in ‘the music biz’ and having dinner in London with Ken Kushnick of Sire Records. It was the days of the first mobiles the size of bricks. Ken’s phone goes, “Ok” says Kenny “just back away and walk quietly out of the studio saying nothing”. The call is not much longer. “Who was that?” Says I, “Joey Ramone” says Kenny. “They’re in the studio in NY with Phil Spector and he’s just pulled a gun on them”. “Oh!” says I.
“You can move to a nuisance”
Those words chilled me at the time I heard them in 2009 as they were from a senior officer in BCC’s Environmental Health Department. They were used by one of the panel members representing Environmental Health, Licensing, and Planning Departments at an informal discussion at the Town Hall, kindly hosted by them, to share views and questions between the departments and landlords, venue managers and other interested parties re recent issues around live music venues and complaints from new residents to the area around those already existing venues.
The same gentlemen referred to the “Human right to a good night’s sleep” I’ve not checked but I was convinced that he was convinced that this was in the European statute of human rights.
So his and the department’s position, revealed clearly that evening is that if a complaining resident’s sleep was disturbed after 11pm even if they knew it would be when they moved to the property then “Environmental health officers who are qualified and trained to assess whether a noise is likely to be a statutory nuisance would be legally obliged to take legal action to stop the statutory nuisance”.
This meeting was held following the closure of the wonderful Fiddle and Bone, the threat to The Nightingale, the restrictions placed on The Spotted Dog and major difficulties for The Rainbow amongst others. During the meeting I concluded that the only way to preserve important music venues was to try to ensure that there was no inappropriate building of new residences near to them and that this had to be done at the planning stage.
Oddly I’d watched fascinated as the planning department refused permission for a new apartment build in Digbeth in 2008 on fears that “Residents would find the noise of gunfire and explosions from the neighbouring Gun Barrel Proofing House unbearable”. I knew that area well and had never heard a dicky bird from the Gun Barrel Proofing House myself but this showed the planning department had grasped the concept of not allowing development near to an important resource where new residents complaints might threaten the resource.