Author Archives: Anna Flaps

About Anna Flaps

Yarp?

Harnessing the power of the tube…

Like many struggling bands, we’ll try almost anything to get our music heard (except murder, animal cruelty, sexual favours and pay-to-play gigs).

So, in the spirit of succumbing to modern technology, we’re dusting off our faces and getting in front of a camera for a few little live videos. We’re trying to keep it creative and in the spirit of everything else we do, so the first one was filmed through a bush at the bottom of a garden:

It’s a new song for Ben’s niece Evie who just turned one. We hope you like it, there’ll be more to come… though we’ve started simple, you can expect more excitement in future. e.g: explosions, car chases, will.i.am style stuff, bangbangbang shapow etc.

Also, we have an AWESOME gig coming up on June 16th, here’s the fb event:

http://www.facebook.com/events/312233422193113/

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Filed under Gigs, Herons!, Video

Some Things Run Wild* – Phase one

Phase one of our album recording is complete! We have the bulk of 13 songs recorded, and now have the chance to relax and decide which tracks are shoddy enough to be re-recorded.

The process has begun like a bit of a fairytale, and we hope the magic hasn’t yet run out. After our Buskathon fundraiser, we started the hunt for a place to record. We’re not fans of traditional studios, and wanted to find some kind of secluded house or cottage (an upgrade from the stable we recorded our first album in) which we could fill with microphones, duvets, instruments, home cooking, decent tea, and a backgammon set, and record the album in our own time and with our own stuff. We were busy trawling the internet and local contacts for a musician-friendly cottage, when a medieval manor house fell into our laps. And who can say no to a medieval manor house?

In fact, it’s a medieval and Tudor manor house with notable nineteenth-century additions, full of art and surrounded by sculptures, only a 5 minute drive from our home in Gloucestershire. Legend has it, it was the house in which the gunpowder plot was conceived. Not only convenient, but brilliant beyond our wildest dreams. The owner – a new friend of ours – was going to be away with his family during the time we’d booked Aidan (our engineer/clarinetist) to come over to help, so we wouldn’t be bothering anyone, except Ivanka, the lovely housekeeper and Reggie, the dog (and they were both very accommodating).

Over 7 days we recorded the bulk of 13 songs, working an average of 12 hours a day. Aidan was a powerhouse of an engineer, and I doubt he actually slept at all, working late into the night, comping, stomping, bouncing down, bouncing around, and all the mysterious things that engineers get up to with their mixing desks.

We had some brilliant guest musicians to help out during the week. Marianne from Hot Feet (one of the greatest local bands and best buddies of ours) recorded some gorgeous backing vocals on our new song Tell Me Girls, as did our old collaborator and part-time lover Wallis Bird, who also recorded some kick-ass guitar solos. Aidan barely got a look in on the performance side, but will be adding some clarinets and other bits and bobs over the next few months, if he can fit it in to his tight schedule promoting his own long-awaited studio album. You can see some more photographic evidence of our recording adventure here on the aul’ facebook if you fancy it.

Over the next few months, the incomparable Jo Silverston is going to arrange some strings for certain songs, and we’ll be overdubbing a bunch more arrangement ideas, from trumpets to gangs of children shouting. We hope to release a single in April/May, along with a video. The album should be out by the end of the year LATEST, but hopefully quite a bit sooner than that.

Meanwhile, we’re still trying not to lose steam promoting our first album, which is still pretty new to the world. You can read our first review at wewritelists.com and hopefully more press will follow soon…

Thanks again to everyone who has helped out so far, we can’t wait to be able to put the finished product in your hands… and then charge you a a very reasonable price for it 😉

Yours affectionately,

Herons!

* ‘Some Things Run Wild’ is the title of the new album.

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Filed under Album, Herons!, Uncategorized

Putting the ‘fun’ into album funding!

What an incredible weekend!

We busked for 24 hours, raised £750, one Stroud pound, one euro, a bag of mushrooms, a bunch of carrots and some hot apple cider.

We played our own songs, sang songs by everyone from Neil Young to George Michael to Cyndi Lauper to Daft Punk, and we were joined by some special guests who eased the strain on our vocals. Special mention goes to Wallis Bird who was with us Friday evening and all day Saturday and made the whole thing 100 times more enjoyable with her incredible energy, mad guitar skillz and rousing renditions of Eddi Reader’s Per-er-er-er-er-er-fect.

We were also asked to do a last minute interview and song with Paul Moss on BBC Radio Gloucestershire, which you can listen to here for the next few days, and we’ll be appearing in the newspaper Stroud Life next week.

Phew! Thanks to everyone who helped and donated, there are some great snaps up on our facebook page, and remember, if you donated you get to have your name in the album credits – if you didn’t manage to give us your name, please email heronstheband@gmail.com.

Update: Thanks to our ‘Donate’ button, we’re now on £800!! This is amazing, thanks again.

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Filed under Album, Herons!

Help us record our next album!

Join the facebook event here.

Hello there, how are you?

Herons! is an independent band. We’re not signed, we have no manager or publisher or any type of investment, but we don’t see that as a bad thing. There’s a lot of work involved in managing our own band, but it also means that we have complete freedom and control. Continue reading

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Filed under Album, Gigs, Herons!

Folk in a Box

Herons! are very excited to be involved with Folk in a Box at the upcoming Stroud Fringe, sponsored by The Prince Albert.

What on earth is Folk in a Box? Some of you may ask. Well, it’s probably best described as ‘Britain’s smallest music venue’ (if not the world’s). It’s one performer, one audience member, one song, all in a box about the size of a luxury shed. Possibly the most intimate performance you could ever experience!

Herons! will be joining forces with Folk in a Box veteran Emily Barker, plus the excellent Johnny Barlow, (no relation of Gary, sadly) Tom Jacob out of hermes, and a couple of ‘celebrity guests’, plus more acts to be announced. We’ll all be buzzing about the box in Stroud on Saturday the 3rd of September at the Shambles Market, between 10:00 and 15:00; and Sunday the 4th of September at the Cornhill market place, between 13:00 and 17:00. We’ll be serving tea and coffee and wearing silly hats and ‘the craic will be mighty’ as they say.

See you there!

In other news, we now have a facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/heronstheband

Please ‘like’ us. Oh please oh please oh please! We ‘like’ you!

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Filed under Gigs, Uncategorized

Fishy Business

By Anna Jacob

Hello there, gorgeous!

Ben and I have recently been feeding our obsessive man crush on the one and only Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (or Huge Furry-Witty-Man as my Dad has hilariously christened him).

So along with cooking droolsome food, being gorgeous and lovely and clever and oh, bloody hell we just love him so much – he’s been taking on the dumbass EU fishing laws which mean that idiotic quantities of beautiful delicious fish is being thrown back into the sea dead instead of feeding the world. Watch the excellent series of three programmes he’s made here.

I don’t have a television.  There are so few programmes I would be interested in watching, it simply wouldn’t be worth the license fees. However, I’m glad iPlayer and 4od came along so I can enjoy programmes like this from time to time on me ‘aul MacBook. This is what the power of television should be used for in my opinion – making positive changes and educating ig’nant people like me. Not endless D-list Celebrity Come Eat Kangaroo Eyelids In The Jungle Whilst Jigging With The Stars or whatever series they’re on at the moment.

I’ve just signed the Fish Fight petition and I suggest you do too. You can find it here.

So don’t flounder about, you sprat, sign now! Convincing you to sign up is my sole porpoise in writing this blog, you won’t find any red herrings here, I cod you not.

Enough fish puns for ya? I’ll stop carping on now and let you mussel in and sign the petition.

What a lovely pair.

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Filed under Food, Waste Reduction

Top 10 fashions which ought to be lost to history

By Anna Jacob

During the last year I have endured a day job in the midst of the sickeningly trendy Brick Lane in East London. Although I have the ominous daily feeling that I am living in the world of Nathan Barley, some of this toxic trendiness has managed to seep into me. I now sport the type of fringe I had as a 5 year old and am seriously considering buying a pair of yellow brogues.

Now, there is nothing wrong with fashion generally. (Except that it seems to enslave young women in the richest and poorest societies both – and I have now seen two men on Brick Lane carrying women’s handbags.) I think it’s nice to look nice, to know what suits you and to express your individuality through the choices you make at Topshop.

However, a line must be drawn somewhere!

We have throughout history seen the re-emergence of many dubious and delightful fashion items from the past, and I for one, live in hope that the day will come when I can resurrect the Spice Girl style platform trainers which are lovingly kept in the bottom of a cupboard at my parents’ house. Not to mention body glitter.

Alas, there are some items which I feel should never ever darken our wardrobe doorways again. Garments which are so inherently ugly or stupid or even dangerous that they deserve to be lost forever to the annals of history.

Here is my shortlist of 10:

1. Shoulder Pads (on women, mostly)

If your goal is to make your head look tiny and alone, atop rugger bugger shoulders, then these are the accessory for you!

To be fair now, a light shoulder pad does play a structural role in suits of certain fabrics, but in any other situation they just look horrible.

Victoria Beckham seems to think that novelty shoulder shapes are a good idea. She is wrong, just as she was wrong about music.

Not so much shoulder pads as a severely botched boob job by the look of it.

2. The Scrunchie

This is possibly the only subject on which I agree with Sex and the City’s stance. Scrunchies are bad and ugly and don’t look good on anyone over the age of 6 or possibly 6 and a half. American Apparel are trying very hard to bring this little waste of fabric back into fashion. I don’t know why. Perhaps they hate beauty.

American Apparel, trying to 'Sexify' the Scrunchy with some weird cleavage.

3. Acid Wash

Need I say more?

4. Ugg Boots

 

Pamela Anderson = Numpty

As a sort of uber-slipper I think these are great. They’re really toasty and comfy and nice on the toes. As a boot though, I think they are bad for the world. Firstly, they suit almost no-one. If your thigh is wider than the boot (which most thighs are) you’re basically turning your leg into a definition-less woolly tree trunk.

As well as being hideously unflattering, during the ‘Vogue of Ugg’ a few years back, the poor fashion victims who couldn’t afford the massive price tag on the genuine ‘Ugg’ were lumbered with cheap imitations whose heel supports collapsed in minutes, leaving the wearer plodding along on the instep of the boot while the sole worked its way up their outer leg. Have a little look online and you’ll find endless podiatrists despairing over the Ugg-ly legacy of this boot.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen someone wearing these, and I hope that’s because we’ve learned our lesson. They shouldn’t take too long to biodegrade.

5. Low-Cut Tops on Men

 

JLS. Some kind of boy band apparently.

I’ve recently noticed this new phenomenon and I’m quite terrified by it. In the above photo it looks like the chap in the middle has stretched a nice plum-coloured woman’s blouse over his gym tits. I can’t believe this isn’t a joke. I don’t even want to acknowledge the chap on the left, although I’m glad to see that he’s hanging his head in shame.

Let’s move on quickly to something less upsetting but more pointless and stupid:

6. Toe-less Boots

 

Why?

 

I just don’t understand the point of these. When would you wear them? In winter your toes will get cold, in summer the rest of your foot will get hot and you’ll have some really weird tan lines, and what if it rains?!!

Not to mention the fact that most adult toes are gross, and unless there are toe-free socks available, I’m guessing you have to go without? Foot commando? At least the resulting sweat can drip out of the toe hole I suppose.

7. Corsetry

In the 1550s, Catherine de’ Medici, wife of King Henry II of France enforced a ban on thick waists at court attendance, thus heralding many years of waist squishing in fashion. Now, I actually think corsets can look quite cool, but they are in this list because they can be downright silly when taken too far.

I’m against any item, fashion based or otherwise that incapacitates women in any way. Many Doctors deplored corsets in their time. This is a snippet from a copy of The Lancet, published in 1869: “(when wearing a corset) …the lungs would be quite unprovided with air, and she would speedily die but for the action of the diaphragm. By this she is saved, but her safety is purchased at a ruinous expense.” Many women argued back to The Lancet that their corsets were in fact beneficial to their health and that they genuinely enjoyed wearing them. But then as these women were educated enough to write in to a medical journal, I’m guessing they weren’t the type of women who were doing much manual labour, and when they did get off their arses for a bit of a dance, the Victorians had to designate ‘Fainting Rooms’ for all the ladies whose corset-restricted lung capacity caused them to conk out at parties.

Continuing with the extreme theme:

8. Foot Binding

Admittedly foot binding is more of a custom than a fashion, as it stubbornly went on for around a thousand years. I’m also pretty sure that foot binding won’t be back in Vogue any time soon. However, it’s something I’ve been sort of morbidly fascinated with for years and this was an excuse to look at some truly awful phtotographs and descriptions.

For those who have no idea what the bonkers images above are, I shall explain. Foot binding began in China during the 10th century and was only outlawed in the Republic of China as recently as 1911. The process involved breaking the toes and the arch of the foot and then binding tightly to achieve ideally a 3 inch foot from toe to heel. I just measured my foot and it’s just over 8 inches from toe to heel. I simply can’t imagine trying to hobble a long on a couple of bound and broken 3 inchers (although, this hobble, known as the ‘Lotus gait’ was supposedly incredibly sexy to men). Obviously foot binding was horribly painful, damaging and dangerous for the women affected, whose feet were first bound between the tender ages of 3 and 14. Infections would often occur, toenails were often ripped out and as the circulation in the foot was so fucked, infections could often spread into the bones and cause death! So let’s be grateful for progress and feminism and all that and let’s really appreciate our Birkenstocks.

And now for something much less harrowing:

9. Sportswear as Everyday Wear

When I see people wearing head-to-toe sportswear in the streets, I am always tempted to ask: Excuse me, are you an athlete? No? No, I didn’t think so, fatty. So why exactly are you dressed in what looks like branded pajamas? Oh, right, you couldn’t be arsed putting proper clothes on this morning. Well at least that BBQ sauce stain next to the Adidas logo on your chest really brings out the deadness in your eyes.

Sportswear + Scrunchie. Two wrongs do not make a right. However, they do make comedy gold.

Unduly harsh as that last paragraph was, I do often feel a bit miffed after having taken the trouble to put on presentable clothing in the morning, to be faced with the distasteful image of a plethora of arse cracks peeking over saggy elastic waistbands.

And why, I ask myself is this such a common sight?

Because it’s comfortable! Oh, well if it’s comfort you want, surely a moomoo would suit you better, no?

Because it’s practical! Oh yes, you needn’t bother changing before bed, as a tracksuit is basically pajamas, and if you get too hot, they’re highly flammable, so they’ll just burn straight off your body!

In case you were wondering, I also think that svelte ladies in Juicy Couture sports-pajamas look like douchebags. I’m not just attacking the cheap and chubby.

10. Sexy Adult Clothing on Pre-Teens

The one on the left is Miley's little sister. She's 9 and she has her own clothing range.

I’ve never been any good at walking in heels or wearing short skirts with any sort of gracefulness. It seems my mistake was to waste my childhood on scab-picking, worm racing, kiss-chase and football stickers when I should have been getting in some heel-walking practice and dressing like a tiny hooker.

What on earth could they possibly be carrying in those handbags? The tattered remains of their youth?

Afterword

Please join in and tell me your most hated fashion items. I could have run to twenty but I feel I may have offended enough people already.

Thanks for reading.

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Filed under Fashion, Fashion, Global Justice, Top Fives, Top Tens