Helen McCookery Book with Martin Stephenson: the Potting Shed Friday 7th August.

Helen McCookery Book with Martin Stephenson
Helen McCookery Book with Martin Stephenson

On Monday 21st May 1984, I paid a whole £1 to see Helen and the Horns play the legendary Janeys in Gourock. Her previous band the Chefs had been at the core of a particularly vibrant alternative and punk scene in Brighton, perhaps the most influential outside of London (although Glasgow and Manchester peeps might argue the toss about that). Peel Sessions regulars, their eponymous album is still one of my favourites.

So it was a delight to hear probably the sweetest voice of the festival and that signature guitar sound on Friday at the Potting Shed. Helen McCookerybook pairs this with astute observational lyrics often tinged with a dash of humour and a surreal twist.

Helen McCookery Book-3
” astute observational lyrics often tinged with a dash of humour and a surreal twist.”

Picking away on his acoustic stage left was Martin Stephenson – never did get to see him play Gourock with the Daintees, but the gigs I did make at various venues around the country are too many to list.

Helen (Dr) Reddington has written a very fine accessible book based on her PhD thesis, The Lost Women of Rock Music: Female Musicians of the Punk Era (Studies in Popular Music). Everybody should have a read at this especially all those women musicians out there. Beyond that she has one of the few blogs I visit regularly, the Saturday after her performance she authored a lovely piece; Musings on Belladrum: really worth a read.

Make sure you check out our Belladrum 2015 page for all the news and reviews of what’s happening at the festival.

Still in the mood for a festival then check out the forthcoming North Hop festival featuring the best beer, gin and local music in the area.

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Life-long engagement with music and a truly eclectic taste (although prog-rock and metal will usually have me scrambling for the off button). If pushed, I would have to say the Velvet Underground are one of the most important band’s of all time. Although I consider myself first and foremost a photographer, as regards reviewing I guess I cut my teeth in the vibrant fanzine scene of the 80’s. Around the same time I started taking photographs and, to be brief, performance and photography were made for each other: perfect match.