And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?

Credits: the internet

Where on earth did 2017 go to? It’s time for the annual head scratching and thinking, “I’m sure we had a few more months somewhere at the back of the cupboard. Have we really run out?” So, as Old Father Time pops out to the corner shop to grab us a fresh pack of twelve (overpriced and a brand you’ve never heard of), let’s take stock of what we did with the last dozen.

The Blog

Old Rope started as a blog on 31st January 2009, almost nine years ago. It was relaunched to little fanfare on 14th February 2016, with all the old posts archived away from prying eyes. You didn’t need perfect vision this year to notice that the blog had largely fallen by the wayside, as poor discipline and other demands on my time sucked its life force like the space vampires in the 1985 movie Lifeforce (or a million other films). One of my new year’s rezzies is to revitalise the blog and write more regularly. Wage labour is the enemy. Make time to make love.

Soul y Vida

Started in 2016, Soul y Vida is a bimonthly solidarity party for Leeds No Borders. The name is a play on Sol y Vida (Sun and Life), which was a well known anarchist group active in and around Barcelona in the 1920s and 30s. The group would organise picnics and hiking trips, promoted naturism, produced the magazine Iniciales and helped found the famous Iberian Anarchist Federation, the FAI. We have now put on eight nights with ten guest DJs (including the irrepressible and joyous Soul y Vida Youth Team). We’ve had a whale of a time doing the night and hope to continue into the new year, but there’s a few things to take into consideration. You can hear our AGM podcast as we mull it all over and spin some great tunes.

OR: IRL

This summer Old Rope ‘curated’ Here’s Sound – a load of DJs and bands playing a fundraiser for MerseyAid Refugee and Homeless Support. The title was a play on three factors: the name of the venue (Sound), the presentation of music (literally ‘here is some sound”) and reassurance to migrants seeking to make their home here (‘sound’ is local slang for ‘good’). We also gave out free mix CDs representing various people involved in the event.

Proper dues to all who gave their time and talent to make the night a success, including the bands: Town Bike, Eton Mess, Mark Murphy and Alex Gavaghan; the DJs: Ste Lewin (Plastic Phantastique), Danny Evans (Soul y Vida), Marty Mc, Giulia Davanzante and Joyce Guillarducci (Cansei do Mainstream) who was over from Brazil; plus Jane for help with the poster, Pete Bentham for advice and the lamps (kinnell, that was a faff!) and all the staff at the venue for living up to their name (Katie and Jay in particular). Most importantly of all, thanks to all who came, dug the music and donated their cash. Let’s do it again sometime next year.

Plastique Phantastique

In December myself and Ste from MINCEMEAT (“frazzled lounge punk”) tried a new thing at Craft Taproom in Liverpool called Plastique Phantastique. It’s described as “All viny DJs spinning slabs of garage, punk, soul and hip-hop”. We’re hoping to do it again some time in the new year, so come along and say ‘Howdy!’. I erroneously spelt it ‘Fantastique’ on the poster because I am a cretin.

Misprint! 😦

Podcast

Hefty Tomatoes began in summer 2016 and has gone from (relative) strength to strength since. In a nutshell it’s me playing vinyl records and chatting about them. In its first year I put out a half-hour episode every week for 52 weeks solid. I don’t think I’ve ever committed that much to anything in my life before. It seems little wonder that the blog suffered, as the podcast became the definitive Old Rope output. As Hefty Tomatoes entered its second year, it shifted to fortnightly uploads, giving us all a bit more breathing space. To date there have been sixteen guests on the show, picking the tracks and offering up stimulating or drunken conversation, plus ten more cameo appearances. In episode 9 of year 1 we set a precedent of podcasting from abroad (with Giulia in Italy) and this year there were shows from Lima, Machu Picchu and a festival in the Faroe Islands. There’s lots more guest appearances lined up for the months ahead, plus in January I’m hoping to announce a new (rather different) spoken word podcast. Watch this space, space-watchers!

Over to you…

How was your year? Who were your fave guests on the podcast? Anything you’d like to see from the blog, podcast or gigs in the months to come? We’re in all the usual places (Twitter and Facey, basically) if you wanna chat. However your 2017 panned out, I wish you all the best for 2018. Let’s make it a good one. ❤ ❤

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