Happy Friday, people! You may know from my blog post on using Twitter effectively that I don’t really do #FollowFriday, though I appreciate the thought when people take the time to do so! There are so many people I could mention in an #FF tweet, but I’m not sure how effective a technique it is to send followers their way, given how many long strings of Tweeps get shared thusly on a Friday.
I thought, therefore, it might be better for me to do a Friday blog post every now and again to highlight some of the great people I work with/admire/have discovered who are doing things I think are worthy of your attention! I hope you’re moved to follow them on Twitter, Facebook or even real life. (Not literally follow them, like. Crazy behaviour.)
So, here are my first Five On Friday (henceforth tagged with #5onFri) – in no particular order of greatness:
I’ve been a fan of (and occasional happy participant in) Adam Turkington‘s work since his trans and Urban Arts Academy wunder-projects, and love what I’m seeing from his new venture, Seedhead Arts. An arts events, management and consultancy business based in Belfast, Seedhead’s recent and ongoing projects include the Mid-Week Magic Club, upcoming festival Titanic Lockdown (New Order, Happy Mondays, Lee Scratch Perry) and a truly innovative venture turning a disused-but-beautiful building in Belfast into a thriving hub for the creative community – The Open Source.
I’m including Seedhead in this particular week’s list partly because Adam had a landmark birthday in the last week. And I missed it. But sure belated cake’s nearly better, for being unexpected, eh Adam?
I’ve enjoyed many a shindig in the former bonded whiskey warehouse that is the Oh Yeah Centre, from a La Faro gig-slash-ganch-a-thon to Palookaville‘s NYE bash, Palookananny (where we in Beat’n Drum were invited to intensify the mayhem with a live set). I’ve attended music industry talks and took part in one, talking about social media for musicians, and played a set for a Love Music Hate Racism gig, this time two years ago. There are many, many great people involved in this charity (including wonderful volunteers) but I want to give an extra-special, Derry (hi)-style shout-out to a dedicated, passionate, and great-craic woman who’s been at the centre of so much of the realised potential of the place.
She also had a landmark birthday recently.
I missed that too. (In my defence, I have temporarily decamped to the sticks.)
NB: With tomorrow being International Record Store Day, the Oh Yeah’s got a special event on, in collaboration with DSNT – live music, merch and free beer at their Record Day Solidarity Event. If you’re nearby, drop in.
From the Oh Yeah/Charlotte it’s an easy jump to Scream Blue Murmur, since Scream Blue’s Gordon is Charlotte’s fiancé. And since the first workshop I attended in the Oh Yeah was given by ex-Stiff Little Fingers drummer, the absolute gent that is Brian Faloon – who played in Scream Blue Murmur until he went and moved to the States for love. (I also already knew SBM’s Phat Bob from our previous shared career as code monkeys. Bob once borrowed my computer and returned it to my desk in its component parts. He thinks I’ve forgotten, but Bob, I’m just biding my time…)
How to describe Scream Blue Murmur – well, the official line is “spoken word/ruff-housin’/tribal fusion”, but it’s an ever-shifting, beautiful beast best experienced live – although for a mere £5 you can pretend they’re in your house, via the gift of Bandcamp and their brand-new EP Belfast Sun. The first time I saw them, I had a flashback to that great ‘Woman… Woooaaaahh-man!’ scene in So I Married An Axe Murderer – and then it got a whole lot more interactive, and raucous.
I did some social media work with SBM recently, and am looking forward to lots of behind-the-scenes/touring video footage – these guys and gals get around. (And they’ve promised they won’t leave the social media updating to Aisling, ahem. *subtle reminder*)
Health in Mind (NI) is a new, innovative collaboration between four mental health charities and Libraries NI. You may already know that I got into coaching after a (scary-at-the-time but ulimately transformative) experience of depression, back in 2004; I’m passionate about helping people boost their mental health before it becomes a problem and removing the stigma of mental illness. No-one is immune, and we can all increase our coping mechanisms to handle the big adventure we call Life.
I’ve already done one free stress management workshop for Health In Mind, in Strabane Library – participants shared a lot of great feedback and their own ideas on how to beat (bad*) stress. (*There’s a good type too!) The staff are really passionate about the project – and for most of the books I mentioned, were shouting out “We’ve got that one downstairs!” (and making notes of the others). Tomorrow, I’m off to Holywood Library to do another free workshop – 2pm-3:30pm, no registration required, and you can see more info on this event page.
Health In Mind recently launched a resource-full website, Facebook page and Twitter feed, so please share the links generously! And remember to like the Soul Ambition: Life page for links and resources too.
Last, but by no means least, is fantastic boutique travel company Bespoke Belfast, headed up by my favourite Welsh-woman/Ulster adoptee, Melita Williams. I met Melita when I was delivering the “Go For It!” entrepreneurship programme, and was immediately impressed by her passion for travel, for outstanding customer service and for all the great things this area has to offer. We’ve since become ffrindiau da (did I get it right?!) and I’ve been so delighted to watch her take her company from strength to strength, diversifying from wonderfully unique vintage weekends and sporting event breaks to exclusive corporate experiences.
Melita’s just one of the warmest, most effervescent people I know – and is a complete magpie for hidden gems to enjoy! So if you’re looking for a truly special travel experience on this emerald isle, you could not be in better hands than hers. I mean, just read this: “All overnight trips include the unique Bespoke Belfast special bubbles and cupcake welcome reception where you will meet your personal travel co-ordinator and receive your luxury goody bag full of locally produced Northern Irish treats!” Does your usual travel provider give you all that..? Get in touch!
So to all those involved in my Five on Friday, and to you who’ve read this far, diolch a nos da!