Tag Archives: Benjamin Kritikos

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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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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Stroud, The Prince Albert & Sam Shepard

Why, hello there.  Haven’t spoken to you in a while.  Just thought I’d say hi and let you know some of the more interesting things we’ve been up to lately.

After trading the crushing monotony of London for a life resembling real life in Gloucestershire, Anna and I have finally settled in.  The Stroud area, where we’ve made our home, is an old industrial hub of the Cotswolds, making it less posh than other Cotswold towns, and also quite a bit more gritty and interesting.  Its 40,000 (or so) inhabitants are as varied as any city I’ve been to; so as well as Wurzels and Fred Wests, you also find coffee experts, brilliant anarchist letter-press artists and poets, dozens of young bands, old beardy legends, my favourite brewery in the Cotswolds — and the greatest farmers’ market that just about takes over the entire pedestrian-friendly town every Saturday.

When we first arrived, I was skint and in need of a beer.  Hence, I arrived at The Prince Albert pub, on Rodborough Hill.  From experience, I’ve learned that playing music is the best way to make friends, and if you’re skint it’s also a good way to get people to buy you beers.  When I rocked up to the Albert’s open mic night, I killed a few birds with one stone.  Between songs, I admitted to the audience my need of work; when I got off stage, three people offered.

The Prince Albert has become a kind of Mecca for other London expats seeking clean air and cheaper rent in the area.  Herons! have been lucky enough to collaborate with some amazing musicians who’ve found themselves situated cosily in the Five Valleys.  Last weekend, we performed at our beloved Albert with cellist and producer/arranger extraordinaire Jo SilverstonEmily Barker also graced us with her dulcet tones, when she, Anna and I brought the set to a finish with a cover of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” — not without trepidation!  As an encore, special guests Vena Portae (Emily Barker & Dom Coyote), joined us on stage to sing “The Old Triangle”, which sounded great with Dom’s wonderful bass harmony.

In other news, I was lucky enough to work with actor Jack Tarlton and director Simon Usher on a short theatre piece entitled Making The Sound Of Loneliness, which explored the work of American poet, playwright and actor Sam Shepard, set to music that I composed for the piece.  The performance used extracts from a large cross-section of Shepard’s prose, and was performed by Jack Tarlton and David Beames.  The performance took place at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston on the 22nd of September as part of the Side Orders festival, courtesy of Actors Touring Company.

Making The Sound Of Loneliness counts as my first musical foray into theatre, and I hope it won’t be the last.  The experience was doubly rewarding for me, as I’d never really heard of Sam Shepard (besides as Patti Smith’s ex-boyfriend); I spent the whole workshopping week being blown away by this great American writer whose whole body of work I can look forward to reading.  Luckily, there is a possibility of Making The Sound Of Loneliness getting a full run in the New Year, so watch this space for more info.

Until next time, keep your chins up this autumn.  Port and Stilton help.

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Scorched Earth, Four Years On

Four years ago, I was living in Dublin. It was the winter of ’06 coming into ’07, and it was bitterly cold. Well — it doesn’t really get bitterly cold in Ireland. What happens is, it gets sort of cold and really damp, which makes the cold feel much worse than it really is.

Winters are pretty tough for me. I’ve never been a winter person. I’m not sure if it’s the lack of light or the lack or warmth, or the combination of the two, but it gets grim and feeling like it’ll never end. The damp winds blow right through all the layers of clothes and my big navy P-coat and my longjohns, and all I can think of doing is curling up by an open fire and sleeping until the snowdrops and crocuses pop up their little heads to announce with a chorus of whispering the arrival of spring.

But, of course, come hell, high water, weather or winter, everybody’s got to put their shoulders to the wheel. Luckily for me, the wheel was spinning in Dalkey, south of Dublin City on the bay that was once referred to as “The British Bay of Naples”. Now, I’ve never been to Naples or its bay, and Ireland isn’t part of Britain anymore, but I think I get the gist. You would, too, if you saw Dalkey: they’ve got one of the best vistas in all the-world-that’s-known-to-me.

Down at Bullock harbour, you can visit the seals, who always pop their noses up hoping that a friendly reveller will throw them something by way of comestibles. Up the road was Vico Road, one of the most beautiful agglomeration of extravagant housing a person could hope to see without being stared at strangely for being there. It’s a rich area, but I get the feeling that because it’s so nice to look at, nobody there really blames you for gawping.

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This Week: Top Five Reasons You Should Leave The Catholic Church

Image by Sky Thompson

That is, if you are unfortunate enough to rank among its numbers.

by Ben Kritikos

Many people don’t realise that when the Vatican boasts of its one billion believers, many non-believers are included in that figure by virtue of their baptism.  I reckon a good chunk of that billion don’t believe in religion at all; they may even be atheists.  Nonetheless, a decision made for them before their birth will continue to empower what is decidedly a nasty, parasitic institution.

It’s unfortunate, but true: unless you actively leave the Catholic Church by issuing the diocese where you were baptised and confirmed with an Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica, you will still be counted among its members.  I’m guessing you haven’t done that.

Here’s the good news: an Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica is nothing more than a formal act of defection from the Catholic Church.  You can basically write one yourself, or use the help of this website if you live in Ireland, and this one if you live anywhere else.  It takes a whole ten minutes to write the Actus, find your diocese’s address, and be done with it.  These are my top five reasons you should actively do so.

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Filed under Global Justice, Religion, Top Fives