Indieterria Review – Membranes and guests at Manchester Ritz

The Membranes, HENGE, Queen Zee, LIINES, The Pack (Theatre Of Hate) and Glove
Saturday, June 8, 2019
O2 Ritz, Manchester

Membranes fans are probably the most patient fans in the world. It took four long years for the band to return with the follow up to their excellent “Dark Matter/Dark Energy ” album. The new release entitled “What Nature Gives…Nature Takes Away” was finally released on the 7th of June and to commemorate this occasion, John Robb  & Co, booked a home-coming gig. They didn’t invite just one or two support acts. Instead, they have brought a full mini festival to the O2 Ritz.

Glove, a duo consisting of artists Slosilver and Stephanie Finegan opened the night with their energetic set. Many bands are called the next big thing, but Glove definitely deserve this title. Both artists were true firecrackers on stage. Matching outfits and colourful make up only added up to their appeal, but it was their music that made a huge impression on everyone. It’s very hard to classify their sound: there is punk rock, ska, indie, elements of grrlpower movement from the 90’s. From several styles, they create an unique combination that is truly their own. Gloves released their debut EP on May 4th and we had the pleasure of listening to it in its entirety.



The Pack (Theatre of Hate) were next on stage and their classic, uncompromising punk rock was greeted with delight by the public and massive moshpit formed to test the bouncy floor at the Ritz. I was equally delighted to see many young faces in the crowd wearing fan hawks and studded jackets. Indeed, punk’s not dead. Watching the band from the press pit (for the first time in my life) gives the reviewer a bit of a different perspective and at the same time I can tick this off my bucket list. Press review? Done! Light and sound at the Roskilde festival for the Sweedish death band band? Done! Taking pictures in the pit? Done as well! In the end, my pictures turned not very good and I had to rely on my pit partner in crime, Neil Winward. He kindly donated several excellent shoots of his own for this reviw and I’m very grateful!

You can follow Neil’s photography page at:


Added at the 11th hour, all female group, the LIINES are going from strength to strength. The band consists of  Zoe McVeigh (vocals, guitar), Tamsin Middleton (bass) and Leila O’Sullivan (drums). On Saturday, they played their best show yet. If you haven’t seen them live, you are committing a crime. Loud, bold and perfect in every detail, the trio easily proved that they are a force to be reckoned with. Their next gig in Manchester will take place on 17th of July at Festival Square, so book your seat in the front row!


I was looking forward to seeing Queen Zee for months after reading enthusiastic reviews on the internet and I wasn’t disappointed. Queen arrived in a blaze of glory and red light. Their set was built on powerful riffs, glam rock extravaganza and endless energy. There was a good deal of tongue-in-cheek humour between the songs that brightened the seriousness of their lyrics. My only complaint? Their show was too short and demands for “one more song” saw the band off stage and into the green room.


Next act, HENGE were something out of this world. Literally. They didn’t even pretend to be human. In fact, they travelled the universe in the name of rave to teach mankind to love, dance and take care of trees. The lead singer, Zhor wore a cape, voice modulator and plasma ball hat. The rest of the band consisted of  Grok, a human synthesiser player, Nom, the frog drummer and Goo, Venusian refugee on the keyboard. Henge are definitively a party band serving a convincingly alien mixture of rave, ABBA inspired disco, psychedelic rock with some heavy use of cowbell in certain songs. Despite their weirdness, everyone loved them and their merch stand welcomed a large crowd after the gig.


The final act for the night, the Membranes were greeted by a massive cheer from the gig goers when they finally appeared on the scene around 20:30 pm. As promised, the band were accompanied by a 10 piece BIMM Manchester choir conducted by Claire Pilling. I have seen Membranes play at the Alphabet Brewery in December 2018 and I thought they were excellent back then, but they sounded and looked even better now. They were like a fantastically oiled machine: well tuned in, strong and surprising. The show started with ” The Universe Explodes Into A Billion Photons Of Pure White Light”, followed by “Dark Energy” and “Do the Supernova” that sent the audience into a frenzied pogo. The new album was also well represented with “A Strange Perfume”, “Black Is the Colour” and the title track “What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away”. It was one of the best gigs (or mini festivals) I have attended this year and the next show better be earth-shattering as the bar has been set very high indeed.


Vanadian Avenue would like to thank The Membranes and John Robb, Claire Pilling and the rest of the Manchester punk community for the opportunity to film and review the gig and for the great time they offered. A big thank you to Neil Winward for his pictures and to Shauna McLarnon from Shameless Promotion for her kind words and assistance. Thank you so much!

Special shout out to the lovely people from AF gang (IDLES community) who took me under their wings. All is love!

Rita Dabrowicz

Indieterria presents A Very Insecure Exhibition

Dear Readers,

A Very Insecure Exhibition flyer #1

The opening of A Very Insecure Exhibition – the place was packed!

The opening of A Very Insecure Exhibition

Vanadian Avenue has always been about music, pop culture and art. We absolutely adore any artistic activity and when we are notified that something interesting and unique is going to take place, we cannot help ourselves but to check it out. After hearing that two legendary music photographers, Karen McBride and Shari Dawson are going to do a collective exhibition, we booked hotel, tickets and off we went to see what was happening in the kingdom of Mancunia.

Before arriving to Manchester, we spoke to both artists about their exhibition, but they were mysterious as Sphinxes and didn’t reveal anything about it. They were so adamant not to let things slip, that they refused to name the place of the exhibition until the last day and even then, they had to be convinced by the BBC DJ to do it.

In the days of social media and constant bombardment by notifications, such attitude may be surprising but knowing both ladies, we can understand why they chose to promote their event in this way.

Thomas Haywood of The Blinders – the most popular print at the exhibition

The opening of A Very Insecure Exhibition – the famous Elbow image!

First of all, both Karen and Shari are fiercely independent. They don’t follow any trends and they don’t look up to anybody else. Secondly, they take the Manchester motto of “doing things differently” very literally and always come up with something fresh and exciting. They are also trend setters, always a step ahead of the game. When the rest of the world is busy printing stage times to the last seconds or sending invites, Karen and Shari do the opposite. They provided their fans with minimal information and encouraged them to patiently wait for the right moment. And this tactics worked like a charm! When we arrived at the PROJECTS MCR skate park venue where the exhibition took place, we found out that the place was tightly packed. It was really fascinating to watch – people queued eagerly, exchanging ideas and being excited like  group of kids before unpacking their presents on Christmas morning. We have never seen anything like this before. In a world over-saturated with news, being told only the bare minimum, suddenly seems radical and very punk!

Shari Denson and Karen McBride – photo by Simon Lee

Skatepark MCR is a very specific place, full of concrete pillars, fantastic graffiti (the portrait of Princess Leia is probably one of the best we have seen in our lives!), slops and ramps. It is located under Mancunian Way and is separated from the main road by a fence. Holding exposition in an open air venue can be tricky on a chilly  February night, but the organizers made sure that the cafe was opened and served hot drinks and cakes to those who needed a little something to warm them up. There was also another drink bar, crafty built from recycled pallets and placed among the pictures that served cold drinks and ice creams.

John Robb (The Membranes/Louder Than War Magazine) who also conducted interview with Karen and Shari at the opening

At the bar

Since learning about the location of the exhibition, we were speculating among ourselves how Karen and Shari’s pictures are going to be displayed. After many guesses, we reached the conclusion that the venue is so unusual that the set up is probably going to be very traditional. We imagined rows of white, elegant boards with pictures displayed in even rows and the visitors passing from one end of the venue to the other with a glass of wine in hand, admiring them. You can imagine our surprise when we saw the final layout! Absolutely nothing traditional, no boards, no elegant browsing! The images, although beautifully printed on large scale billboards, were plastered alongside the slops, hang from the ceiling and were displayed on the walls or even covered the ramps and the floor! To get to see them, we had to move really close. We were forced to bend down, get on our knees, climb and walk around the uneven edges. And in that moment, we truly understood the genius of both photographers. Their art is not to be displayed in a museum or just glanced over. It needed to be felt, touched, breathed in. It was supposed to be in-your-face, it was supposed to feel like you had to work to earn the right to see those images. Only then we could truly appreciated them. The images are strictly linked to the city of Manchester. They portray musicians, artists, cultural icons and regular people frozen in  a single moment in time. They are not static, they are expressive, moving, they feel alive. They would still look beautiful in an art gallery, but it would never be the same. And the title finally made sense. A Very Insecure Exhibition was exactly that – vulnerable, chaotic, unique yet inspiring and very much alive. It felt true and one of a kind. By the end of the evening, the public could take the prints home and the exposition was gone. One time event only, one evening, something brief but beautiful. Just like real life.

Malicia and Keith Higgins

Musicians Against Homelessness Manchester Manager – Andy White

Malicia and photographer Neil Winward

Malicia and music promoter Paul Cartwright

Paul Cartwright

Rita and Mancunian poet – Karl Hildebrandt

Admiring, or taking the photographs home was not the only attraction of the evening. John Robb, punk rock legend and editor of Louder Than War magazine interviewed Karen and Shari for nearly half an hour and we had a chance to listen to their anecdotes, stories from working behind the stages and experiences as professional photographers in one of the most competitive and difficult industries. In the end, Karen and Shari received small gifts form the grateful visitors – two chocolate cameras!

“A Very Insecure Exhibition” proved to be a very big success for both artists. There is a talk that another event will take place in 2020. We cannot wait.

Flyer for next year`s event.

See you shortly,

As usual – you can see entire gallery of snaps below:

The Exhibition:



The Opening:

All the best

Indieterria meets Karen McBride

Welcome again!

The grand opening of “A Very Insecure Exhibition” for two leading Manchester photographers Shari Denson and Karen McBridde, is approaching quickly.

In less than a week, the audience will be treated to a unique artistic experience: a one night only event combining photography, art and networking. Both ladies are fiercely independent and they are known for doing things the Mancunian way – being innovative and different. We can expect many surprises and many aces up their sleeves.

Karen McBride herself

We have a good news! The secret location for the exhibition has been revealed on the waves of the BBC Radio Manchester! Karen and Shari appeared on Mike Sweeney’s middday show on Monday, 18th of February at 10 am. Mike grilled them to get the information out and finally we know where the exhibition is taking place. It will open at 8pm, on Friday 22nd of February at Projekts MCR (SkatePark at Mancunian Way). We also know that a special bar has been built for the guests so please expect the unexpected!

Address: 97 London Rd, Manchester M1 2PG

Mike Sweeney Show

You can listen to the show online for 30 days at:
Also, you can listen to the recordings of the show below:

Yesterday, we have spoken with Shari Denson about her career and photography. If you’d like to read it, you can find it at:

Today, we have sat down with her co-conspirator and a fellow photographer, Karen McBride to discuss the beginnings of her passion for photography, first cameras and her many, many accomplishments. It is always a pleasure to speak to women that inspired entire generation of new photographers, artists and painters.

John Robb (Membranes) photographed by Karen McBride

Staying up late with Robbie Williams on tour, working with Debbie Harry, winning a prize for aerial photography – you are one of the most exciting guests we have interviewed so far. Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Karen McBride: My name is Karen and I take pictures. I love what I do and hope that you do too.

You hold a degree in Ancient History and Archaeology and carved yourself a name as innovative and influential music photographer. Can you tell us what lead you from academia to rock and roll halls and tour buses?  

Karen McBride: Well, my brother was in a band and he needed some pictures for his album artwork. I’d been into photography from an early age and art too, he knew this and so I took his pictures. More bands found out what I was doing, they liked the results and it built up from there.

We heard that you found your first camera – a Kodak Brownie – in a bin. Is it an urban legend or a true story? And if it is, do you still have that camera? 

Karen McBride: It’s a true story and yes I still have it. The camera comes with me everywhere. I tried to restore it but you can’t get film for it anymore. But it’s my mascot.

JJ Rosa photographed by Karen McBride

Over the years, you have photographed biggest names in the industry: Pink, Robbie Williams, Lou Reed, Liam Gallagher, Billy Bragg, Green Day, Debbie Harry, Elbow, Prodigy and your works have been used by Sony, Warner Music, NME, MTV, Classic Rock, Clash Magazine.  You have been called one of the most significant female photographers of your generation by Slash. When you started out, were you experiencing this level of success in a male dominated field?

Karen McBride: Starting out, you can never imagine where anything takes you, really. I could never have imagined, I’d ever be able to sustain a career this long, let alone, create images that bands and the general public still like. I’m glad they do though!

Despite your incredible accomplishments, you don’t shy from working with unsigned artists or young and upcoming bands – for example The Blinders. Not many photographers of your calibre would do that. Do you think it is important to support artists at the beginning of their careers?

Karen McBride: I could never shy away from them, they are exciting in my opinion it would be so wrong to ignore them just because I shoot bigger artists too. in fact I love the rawness of the new band.

Guy Connor of Paris Riots photographed by Karen McBride

You enjoy a reputation of a local hero in Manchester. John Robb (The Membranes/Louder Than War Magazine) described you as “Unashamedly Mancunian. While other contemporaries headed South, Karen has always resisted the lure of the bright lights of London for the unmistakable and unique vibe of her hometown”. It seems that you have influenced Manchester as much as Manchester influenced you.

Karen McBride: I’m deeply humbled that anyone would see me as all hero!

There is something unique about your style. The aesthetics, colour palette, the dynamics remind us of  the classic images on the record sleeves of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Accidentally, your first book was also called “Elvis Would Have Really Liked Me”. Is it us or has The King been an inspiration?

Karen McBride: That book is still a work in progress. The guy who designed the cover and content was a long standing friend of mine and passed away last year. It will get published and it will be dedicated to him. I miss him deeply. He understood my creative approach. He would be so proud of this exhibition. It’ll be the first one he’s missed.

And yes, the King has provided my backdrop. Everything I ever photographed came from being inspired by American music.

Flyer promoting A Very Insecure Exhibition

You are known for unusual photography projects and expositions. In 2011, you held a talk at The Deaf Institute during Photo-book Month Manchester, to which you brought a model and ended the meeting with a real life photo session exercise for the audience. In 2015, you held another talked about exposition “Stripped Back” that combined photography and collages with live music and artistic performance. You also launched your own clothing brand during that event. You like to keep your audience on their toes.

Karen McBride: Thank you! “Stripped back” was performed in The Green Room, which is now called Gorilla. In 2007, the venue was sold out and it was much smaller than it is now. It had a capacity of 200 back then. I try to do things differently and I think when you see the new exposition, you will know first hand what all the others exhibitions were about.

On 22nd of February, alongside another female photographer Shari Denson, you will hold an photographic display entitled “A very insecure exhibition”. This is a special, one night only event and the venue still is not disclosed. We are told to expect a true celebration of creativity. Tell us more about it. Where does the unusual name come from?

Karen McBride: I was planning a solo exhibition and my friend, Shari Denson offered to do a press shot for me. We started talking and laughing and talking again…and we ended up photographing each other!  So I said to her that I’d found a very interesting venue and that it would be selfish to do the exhibition on my own as her work is stunning too! She jumped at the chance and here we are. It’s very exciting to work with her, as I admire her so much. It really makes perfect sense for us to do it together.


Cover of A Very Insecure Exhibition book produced by Karen McBride and Shari Denson

The exhibition is accompanied by a beautifully printed art-book. Apparently it can be open from both sides and will contain 50 pictures: an even split of 25 images for each one of you. Will it feature any of the photographs from the exhibition or is it to showcase your newest works? Will it be possible to purchase the book after the exhibition?

Karen McBride: (laughing) Yes I think it might do! and You can order the book online:

It is only the beginning of the year and your calendar is already full. Please tell us what have you planned for the spring and summer? Any tips where can we see your works?

Karen McBride: I never discuss my diary. I take every day as it comes. For now you can see my work alongside Shari’s’ on the 22nd Feb in Manchester.

The famous last question at Indieterria: let’s say that you can photograph any person or any event in the world. No time or space restrictions. Were are you going and who’s going to be immortalised by your camera?

Karen McBride: Elvis, anywhere he wants!

Cover of A Very Insecure Exhibition book produced by Karen McBride and Shari Denson

A Very Insecure Exhibition:

22nd February
Projekts MCR (SkatePark at Mancunian Way)
20:00 pm – 23:30 pm

Tickets costing ÂŁ6 – ÂŁ8 can be obtained from the address:

There are daily updates to the event (please remember that the location of the event is still not disclosed)- so keep your eyes open

The exhibition is proving to be very popular – and the media take notice. You can safely say that the event will be a success when Visit Manchester and national music magazine both pick up the story!

 For those who enjoy a bit of additional reading, we have found a bunch of articles about Karen and her work.

You are cordially invited to the exhibition and we hope we will see many familiar faces in Manchester!


Indieterria meets Shari Denson

Dear Readers,

In December 2018, we have travelled to Manchester to see a photography exhibition entitled “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”. It chronicled city`s musical heritage via the lenses of local photographers. We have to admit – it was an extraordinary experience to see all the iconic shots beautifully laid out at the Manchester Central Library. As expected thousands of locals and tourists alike flocked to see it. We promised ourselves that next time another such exhibition is held in Manchester, we`d be back to attend its opening.

Meg Lores of The White Stripes photographed by Shari Denson

And we are!  We cannot be more excited to tell you that on February 22nd two leading female photographers – Karen McBride and  Shari Denson will join forces to create one night only photography exposition (in a secret location for now) to showcase their work. If you are a music obsessive like us  – you don’t need an introduction to the magnificent images produced by both ladies.  Everyone else just needs to know this – Karen and Shari revolutionised pages of music magazines and bands portfolios. They set the bar incredibly high but also inspired many starting photographers.

We are lucky – not only a weekend of incredible art and music awaits us in Manchester  – we also were able to interview both iconic photographers ahead of the exhibition for this blog.

This chapter is dedicated to Shari Denson, you can read our interview with Karen McBride by clicking on the link below:

So without further delay.  Dear readers – please meet one of the most influential music photographers known to English music scene.

Shari Denson photographed by Stuart Hadfield

You worked with the likes of White Stripes, Interpol and Elbow while your images have been featured  on album covers (Ian Brown), in print (Independent, NME, Guardian, Louder Than War), in retail (Amazon) and on television (The Mercury Prize, Later with Jools Holland). Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Shari Denson: Hello, I’m Shari

It is said that you became a photographer after attending  many concerts around Manchester – including legendary venues such as Manchester Apollo. Looking back, was there ever a definitive moment  when you realized that you wanted to capture moments on film, or was it rather a longer process that lead you to photography?

Shari Denson:  It was long, long process. I’ve been a bar maid, a stage manager, a clapper/loader and focus puller on films amongst other things before I finally started being serious about photography. I wanted to make films and was doing a film studies degree. When I had my first child half way through the degree I switched to still photography so I could be in control of my time. You have to go by everyone else’s schedule when working on a film. So even though I’d always taken photos at gigs from being young, it was never with a view to making anything beautiful or striking, it was just for memories. I mean, my photos still serve as memories now but hopefully with an extra layer or two.  So  I was 30 when I got my first SLR camera and fell in love with photography. Fairly soon after that, I needed to complete an assignment for university and I decided to do it on live music photography.  And that was where it began for me.

Music was always around you – your brother  as dedicated gig goer took you to see The Teardrop Explodes and Echo and the Bunnymen when you were just ten years old, while your father  was a musician. This may sound a bit like a question they ask on Desert Island Discs – but if you were to name five records that shaped you the most – what would you choose?

Shari Denson:  I’d chose the following:

More Songs about Buildings and Food – Talking Heads
For the Roses – Joni Mitchell
Desire – Bob Dylan
The Spangle Maker 12” which also included Pearly-Dewdrops Drops – Cocteau Twins
Porcupine – Echo and the Bunnymen

iconic image of Elbow – photographed by Shari Denson

Every photographer could write a book about funny, slightly horrifying or straightforwardly weird situations they encounter behind the scenes of the glamour photo-shoots. Please, share one such a story with our readers.

Shari Denson:  That time I took a Sheffield band, Trap 2 on Saddleworth Moor in the freezing cold winter..forgetting it was a bit nippy, then asked them to hang about near some trees in the woods on the way back home, whilst I lit them with fireworks. All I could see was smoke, and all I could hear was coughing and spluttering, whilst I assured them everything was fine. The shots were awful but we had a scream. Great band, and really lovely lads who put with all sorts from me (laughs)

Your best known photo – that of Elbow from the promo session to their album “The Seldom Seen Kid” has been recreated as a mosaic by artist Mark Kennedy,  and is now exhibited on outside wall of the iconic Affleck’s  store. We imagine you must be feeling very proud every time you are on Tib Street.

Shari Denson: Yes, I mean it would have been nice to know about it 10 years ago when Mark decided he wanted to use the image… I only found out about a year ago. I’m sure my parents, who were still around at the time, would have been very proud indeed.

Mosaic by artist Mark Kennedy displayed at the wall of iconic Manchester landmark- Affleck`s

Besides photography, you also direct videos and worked with Blaney, The Winachi Tribe, The Northstand, The Tapestry, The Backhanders, and The New Southern Electrikk among others.  Was it hard to transition from photography to video? Do you have any artists that you would like to work with?

Shari Denson:  Well, as I said before, I’ve always been interested in the moving image,  so the transition was exciting. I had the pleasure of learning how to use Final Cut editing software during my time at Badkamra, a video production company so it seemed natural thing to make music videos.  I wouldn’t name any band in particular, I just like to work with creative and collaborative, like-minded people.

In 2007 you had your first exhibition entitled “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member” at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery. Other exhibition soon followed such as solo exposition at the Kro2 Oxford Road in Manchester in 2013, Night & Day Café in 2014 or Suffragette City in 2018. How do you prepare yourself before each event?  

Shari Denson:  Mostly by having a major meltdown. Apart from Night & Day, which was made much easier by Jan, who helped me immensely.

Your next exposition is a one night only “A Very Insecure Exhibition” that will happen on 22 February 2019 in yet undisclosed location in Manchester. It will be a joint event with another well known photographer Karen McBride. Can you tell us what can we expect?

Shari Denson: (laughs) I can only tell you this…you can expect something different….heartfelt and beautiful whilst being bold and powerful.

Trap photographed by Shari Denson

There is also a book prepared for the occasion. It looks amazing from the promotional shot we have seen so far. How long did the entire event took planning wise. And can the book be purchased online by those who cannot make it to the opening? 

Shari Denson:  Yes, it can. At  We’re very pleased with it.

Manchester is famous for many things, among them Vimto, football and (of course) the music scene. The National Football Museum has been opened in the city centre since 2011 but somehow The Music Museum still hasn’t happened yet. Do you think it is high time that Manchester got a dedicated  place to properly celebrate its photographic and musical heritage?

Shari Denson:  I think that sounds like a marvelous idea!

You must have been asked many times about  your favourite shot you have taken. We want to know the opposite: what picture (if given the chance) would you permanently removed from your catalogue?

Shari Denson:  None. Each and every one has it’s place. They serve as my memories. I get emotionally attached to them and I don’t deal well with loss, so I wouldn’t get rid of any.

Flyer for the exhibition

A Very Insecure Exhibition

22nd February
Now revealed as Projekts MCR (SkatePark at Mancunian Way)
97 London Rd, Manchester M1 2PG
20:00 pm – 23:30 pm

Tickets cost ÂŁ6 -ÂŁ8 and can be purchased from the link below:

You can also get all the newest updates from the event page:

Flyer for A Very Insecure Exhibition

You can follow Shari on social media and we encourage you to do it, she is a phenomenal artist!

For those who enjoy a bit of additional reading, we have found a bunch of articles about Shari and her work.

What else can we tell you?  Come back next week as we will publish our interview with Karen McBride. And prepare yourself for updates, images and maybe even polaroids from the opening. Its gonna be a proper party in the North.

All the best for now,

Indieterria meets Jesse River Dylan Murray

Dear Readers,

JRDM`s heart shaped logo

Let`s take a walk on the wild side.  Our next discovery is not only talented singer-songwriter, with a unique sense of fashion and penchant for poetry.  They also have a list of inspirations long for a mile (William Shatner, Shrek, Ted Hughes, Stefan Raab, David Attenborough, Julian Lennon to name a few), witnessed Eurovision in Vienna and have a whole box of cds from their trip to India. They play rock but their debut EP is called “Classical Music”. Feeling confused? Good, a little vertigo won’t hurt. We have been observing Jesse River Dylan Murray for weeks at the open mic nights around town and finally had a chance to question them for this month`s edition of Indieterria. We hope you will enjoy this interview, because we surely had so much fun preparing it. Can you blame us? Jesse`s cool as few tons of Persian kittens and we can barely wait for 19th of July when the EP and the jaws will drop.

Life’s got everything to do with music

Look sharp! Jesse is a skilled photographer taking all his promotional shots. Ah those pesky kids today, daring to be creative and talented!

Meeting Jesse River Dylan Murray almost feels like stumbling upon the icons of rock and roll golden era. Soft-spoken, dressed in vividly colorful attire that places them somewhere between Marc Bolan and David Bowie, Jesse instantly becomes the center of attention. Their impromptu, refreshingly innovative sessions at the open mic nights around Worcester are like a breath of fresh air. Having heard the rave reviews, we wasted no time to see them in action for ourselves. This is what we have learnt…

Jesse River Dylan-Murray – that’s a fantastic name and a well suited one for a rock star.  Please introduce yourself.

Well, it’s not a stage name in case anyone was wondering, it is my full birth name. I’m apparently named after River Phoenix & Bob Dylan. I’m a guitar-playing songwriter based in Worcester (against my will) and I inhale hope and exhale disappointment. I don’t really aim to become a rockstar – in fact the very term somewhat grates against me like splintery wood. I feel like that whole title has been & gone and comes with this set of specific ways on how to do music which I don’t want to be tied down by. I loathe describing myself almost as much as I loathe BBC Radio 2 & The X Factor.

You have studied at Nunnery Wood High School that is known for placing a great emphasis on art and music. Other graduates include Jodi Hughes, Ewan Pollock and brothers Zac and Alfie Jeavons- from Lost Tiger to the Wild. Did the artistic education help to shape you as a musician?

 I always thought Nunnery Wood was a science-biased school… I had very little interest in music generally when I was there. Pretty much all I was listening to at the time was Marilyn Manson & Michael Jackson (my goth phase & my inner child viciously grinding against each other.) It wasn’t until 2010 when I started to really get into music fanatically (starting with Alice Cooper) and I didn’t get my first guitar until the middle of 2013, a year after I’d left college. My mother’s boyfriend, who had been playing since the 60s, probably, gave me a few lessons in the beginning, but the short answer is that I was never formally educated in music nor was I at all inspired by my educational background. I hated school with a near-maniacal passion and still look back on it with disdain.

Jesse as a guitar hero (self portrait)

One of your songs entitled “Smoke without fire” received a lot of airplays on social media. It is a very complex and interesting composition. Can you tell us more about its beginnings? What is the message behind it?

This song I can actually, unlike most of my songs, pinpoint to an exact moment in time. I was having a conversation with my stepdad in a pub last March and we were talking about rumours & the media, and he said something like “People say there’s no smoke without fire, but you know there absolutely is.” And that’s what the song’s really about in my mind. Spurious rumours, dirty gossip, twisted media. From the playground level to the international level. A bit of anger there in that song

Given the opportunity, we have to ask about another of your songs – “Everyone Wants To Look At Me But Nobody Wants To Look Me In The Eye”. With its poetic yet sarcastically sad lyrics and melodic riffs, it almost sounds like a track that didn’t make the cut for The Smiths’ “The Queen is dead” album.

“Classical Music” EP cover

“I live on the outside of the outside because the rebels and the punks and the freaks and the queers don’t want to know me.” It’s a fairly straightforward song I think, with its almost comically mammoth title. Not entirely sure when I conceived that song, but I had the title stuck in my head for what felt like at least a couple of years. I mean it’s obviously about being stared at and not fitting in, as so many songs are (I’m not even a Radiohead fan) but on another level it’s a lot more. It’s about not even fitting in in the usual groups of outcasts, feeling out of place literally everywhere, accepted or otherwise, but most importantly not even having any clue what you are. To paraphrase the brilliant Chicago-originated musician Ezra Furman: “People say ‘oh just be yourself’ but I don’t have any clue what that is…”.

Your debut EP entitled “Classical music” will be released on 19th of July. What can we expect? Are any of your previously released demos included or are you going to treat your fans to something completely new?

Smoke Without Fire is on there in the center of it. Everyone Wants… is currently being worked on to be released separately. The EP will contain 6 tracks – 5 original plus an instrumental bit of classical music (hey-hey did somebody say theming ho-ho) – at a rather beefy 31 minutes and will cost ÂŁ3 – that’s the same as a meal deal readers, only this lunch don’t have no consume-by date! It will also contain the bouncy anti-pop protest anthem That’s Got Nothing to Do With Music, which I’ve been bombarding poor old Worcester with for a while and will most likely be released as the leading single for this by the time this issue of SLAP comes out, available for download. So get on that.

You have recorded at the famous MayB Studios in Pershore along many established acts such as jazz sensation Hot Fingers, London legendary punk rockers Bad Habits or Worcester Music Festival veterans Amorphica. How would you describe working with one of the best music producers and engineers in the county?

The studio’s owner, Peter May`s top person. He always knows exactly what he’s doing and is pretty quick to figure out what you want if you’re not sure how to describe the sound you’re looking for. He’s in the room with you through the whole process – no soundproof glass, no separate room – so you get a proper teamwork feel to it and it’s pretty easy to communicate quickly enough and make the most of your time there (which is also pretty cheap at ÂŁ10 an hour.) He is, so far, my only experience of working with a producer/engineer and I feel like I’ve lucked out. You also get to work with some pretty swanky top-notch equipment, and if you’re really nice to him he’ll even make you a lovely cup of tea.

Imagine you have a chance to gather any musicians from local or international scene to create an ultimate artistic dream team. Who would share the stage with you and why?

 Thinking locally, I’m a big fan of Ellie Williams and her end-of-the-world song writing and absolutely bellowing pipes. Looking forward to her EP when it comes out and I’d love to work with her. I also like Ben Dallow quite a lot – locally nicknamed “Britpop Ben” for I suppose his rather Gallagher-esque appearance and drone. He has a great non-stop style of guitar playing where he mixes rhythm and lead really well, and gives the impression of being so ice-cool you could hit him with your car and he might not even notice. There’s also Rueben Lovett, Cheltenham-based guitar player and a brilliant writer. Only ever seen him live once so far, right after I’d just left the stage at Marrs Bar’s open mic. I was so sweaty and needed to step outside to cool off, but found myself rooted to the spot by this unique charisma he has. A bit punky but largely just special. Don’t know about a bassist and drummer though… just a load of writers & mostly guitar players lacking the foundations. Chaos.

Sit down next to me (auto-portrait)

Your fashion sense is very unique and you have been compared to David Bowie’s stage persona of Ziggy Stardust and Adam Ant’s Prince Charming. What inspire you?

 My sense of fashion just exploded one day in Cheltenham, when I was 15 years old. I was there seeing my very first ever gig, and my friends & I found this vintage clothes shop on a side street called Browsers. And I’m talking ridiculous vintage here: flares, tassels, glitter, shoulder-pads, zebra-print. I’d never been somewhere like there before. Prior to that I was on the tail-end of my goth phase and moving into the zone of checkered shirts (God knows why) but in that shop something in my head clicked and said “Hang on… I can wear anything!” And I went to that gig that night wearing this ridiculous heavy red velvet waistcoat with 2-foot-long tassels dangling from it (still got it too.) My sense of fashion just evolved from there and that wear-anything philosophy. I’ve since lost sight of the point of even gender-pigeonholing and mix in the make-up, heels & dresses with the suits, leather jackets & jumpsuits. I want it all. I just get bored very, very easily and don’t like to stick to one style for long.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? Where can we see you play live?

 My EP launch party will be at The Chestnut on Wednesday July 19th – that’s free entry as well – and I’ll have my very first paid gig at the Brecon Fringe Festival on August 13th. Beyond that I’ll keep inflicting myself upon the open mics of Worcestershire – primarily The Marrs Bar, Firefly & Chestnut – until I move away. I’m still small time. I’ve only been performing regularly for about 14 months. You’ve caught me in what are hopefully only the very early stages. Just another noise-maker in a line of noise-makers. Though my noise is often a few decibels apart from the night’s standard – either quieter or louder, depending on my general mood and whether I want to croon about a mythical Greek monster or bellow & growl about alcohol. Do come see the noise, though. It will be – deep breaths now – FUN.

Poster for the EP launch party on July 19th 2019

You can follow Jesse at:

And you can buy the EP here:

You can find this interview in the July edition of Slap Magazine: 

or download the file from here:


Nearly a centerfold! Jesse featured in SLAP Magazine July 2017

As we said, before we sat down to talk with Jesse, we seen them several times performing live and each time Jesse would blow us away. Their stage presence is immaculate and the clothes and killer shoes are just unearthly. It`s like Richey Edwards raiding Bernard Butler`s wardrobe in the 1990s. Or Freddie Mercury, or Syd Barrett or Brian Molka or Marc Bolan or Stevie Nicks…it`s like walking on set of Velvet Goldmine, Breakfast on Pluto live… we can go on until tomorrow morning.

We took some shots for you, so you can judge for yourselves.

Jesse`s amazing stage outfits.

Dressed to slay we tell you.

Classic look and killer heels

We will see you on the 19th July for the EP launch. As Jesse said – it will be FUN.

Mal+Rita D.

**** Update 26/07/2017****

New Poster for the EP launch

Pushing at the boundaries – “Classical Music” EP launch

Chestnut Inn in Worcester is an unusual place. For starters it looks like it should belong in Hay On Wye. Books and antiques can be found in every corner. On second glance, the pub feels like a crossover between Leaky Cauldron and Peel Archive.  Fat, red cat roams around demanding cuddles from the customers, big portraits of rock and blues stars on the walls seem alive and there are vinyl records in big piles near the bar. No wonder that  Chestnut was chosen as a venue for Jesse River Dylan Murray`s EP launch on 19 July 2017.

The Chestnut Inn in Worcester

This place is like Cash in the Attic episode

Some of those records are really old and still being used!

Large portraits that give Chestnut Inn quite a character

Chestnut Inn decor is out this world, we tell you.

That is self explanatory!

A wild child of Worcester music scene, Jesse cannot be easily squeezed  into a box and they have more aces in their sleeve than a skilled gambler.  One moment channeling Bowie, the next singing like Tom Waits, Jesse easily changes from glam to indie to alternative with charm and buoyancy that captivates the audience. We can tell you that when we entered The Chestnut, the house was full.

Before Jesse hit the stage, we had a pleasure to listen to two support acts: Stephen L Wright (locally known as Nobby Wright) and Benjamin Dallow.  Stephen L. Wright continues a proud tradition of classic blues and we are sure that sooner than later Nobby will find himself on the other side of the Pond. Ben Dallow (who filled in for Redwood as she could not perform due to conflicting schedules) on the other hand is fully immersed in British rock. There is a lot of Oasis and Paul Weller influences in Ben`s music but since when comparison to the Modfather is a bad thing? Dallows version of Jam`s That’s Entertainment was fresh and done in his own style, so no complaints from us here. It also should be noted that Ben`s performance was arranged the night before the EP launch at a last minute but it worked out perfectly. That’s the beauty of our local music scene.

Ben Dallow during his performance

Rock`n`Roll star

We think we need to introduce Ben to Mikey Johns of This Feeling.

Once Ben Dallow finished his set – it was all about Jesse and their music. With their signature guitar, full make up on and snow white shirt, Murray mirrored Richey Edwards in passion and  stage persona and equaled American indie sensation Michete in outspokenness.  They played the EP in full and when that was not enough, they turned to a cover (brilliant version of Heroin by Velvet Underground).

For a young performer Jesse surely has dedicated friends – some of them came as far as London for the launch and at the end of the night, Jesse was presented  with a huge bouquet of summer flowers. Not Morrissey-esque flowers but equally sweet.

Bold in their performance, but there was a bit of stage fright too, we think.

Rocking to a crowded room

Jesse on stage

a view from the first row

In their element

Not everything was perfect. Jesse like many other acts has to learn on the job and perhaps the set was too longish but we did not really mind. Even if we had to buy the EP from one of Jesse`s friends and not the artist themselves.

It was a fun night – full of excellent music, chaos, silly conversations, too many pints and had all the marks of “I was there” moment. If given right amount of endurance in this dog-eat-dog industry, Jesse River Dylan Murray has all the talent and persona to become not just a local starlet – but a full grown rock and roll start in their own right.

Better than Moz.

Set list

The day after thank you note from the artist.


Jesse River Dylan Murray:

Stephen L Wright (also known as Nobby Wright)

Ben Dallow

The Chestnut Inn

EP launch review in SLAP Magazine, August 2017

Our review has been now published in August issue of Slap Magazine. You can read the magazine online (turn to page 43) here:

Or download a copy from here:


JRDM – pink bullet logo

If you need to purchase a copy of the EP – please click on the link below. It costs just £3 and supports a very talented performer who, like many on Worcester music scene, is fully independent and  DIY.

Cover of the digital single That`s got nothing to do with music that accompanied the EP launch

The EP is accompanied by a free download digital single “That`s got nothing to do with music”. Jesse decided not only to give one song completely free for their listeners, but also offered lyrics (it`s actually a very long and contemplative poem) and hi res artwork.  We really believe this is a fair deal – from a very promising artist. You know what to do!

On 12th July, the single was debuted at BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester to a warm welcome from listeners and the broadcaster Andrew Marston himself

That`s Got Nothing To Do With Music debuted on BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester on July 12th 2017

And if you need any more recommendation to get yourself a copy of “Classical Music” – please have a look at the photo posted recently by Steve Lamacq (of New Musical Express, Radio 1 and BBC 6 Music fame). Jesse`s EP has landed on his desk and was scheduled for listening. We think this is uber cool and only shows what potential JRDM has!


EP has made its way to 6 Music!

Hope you enjoy the review, coming up – everybody`s fav section – images from two great local photographers!


**** Update 28/07/2017****

It`s been a week since the EP launch (you can buy it HERE) and  we are getting some amazing shots from the night. Please let us show you photographs done by Andy O`Hare. Andy is a journalist of local chapter of BBC (BBC Hereford and Worcester) and also a staff member at the local SLAP Magazine. He is often seen in front rows, documenting local music scene with his camera in hand– the amount of gigs he attended would make John Peel envious!

Andy was so kind to come and photograph the EP launch despite a very busy schedule. And he allowed us  to republish some of his shots on our blog.

Diolch Andy!

Please visit Andy at:

Peace out,
Mal+ Rita

**** Update 02/08/2017****

EP launch in the lens of Duncan Graves

More coverage dear readers! Let us present you with some stunning works of Duncan Graves. Originally from Manchester, Duncan relocated to Worcester and has been one of the cornerstones of the scene for many years. He is a freelance photographer working with local bands and  magazines and documenting the music community we have in town.

Duncan was so kind to come and shot the EP launch and he agreed for his images to be part of this humble blog. And thanks to him, we can finally close the gap in our coverage as we did not have any shots of Stephen L Wright performing.

Stephen L. Wright by Duncan Graves

Folk hero- Stephen L. Wright, photo by Duncan Graves

Benjamin Dallow – photo by Duncan Graves

That`s entertainment – Ben Dallow photographed by Duncan Graves

Jesse photographed by Duncan Graves


Duncan`s a top lad. You can send kudos (and your gig dates) to him here:


EP on the inside

EP back

We will round up  our coverage of Jesse`s EP with this statement. Classical Music has been sitting in our stereo for good three weeks now and we just love it to bits. It is such a nice little local record and surely one of the best debts we have seen on our scene in a long while. Actually, we spoke to folks who have been attending local gigs for years and what pops up in almost every conversation is the excitement people feel. Peace and The Tights  are brought up (two local bands that hit it big) and how they made the town proud.  What is also being noticed is Jesse`s much more ambitious approach and his strive to forge his own stage persona. Imagine, if this kid grows to be new Bowie – mentioned one gig veteran we ran into at the Market Hall Records one Saturday morning when we were all digging through newly arrived rarities. And there was no sarcasm in his voice. That man been going to shows around West Midlands for thirty five years and seen the good, the bad and the ugly of local music. If Jesse is able to win over such hardened listeners, then what really can stop him? All the best Jesse, we have our fingers crossed!

Ps. We really think you look better with flowers than Moz. Thanks for reading this blog!

Jesse is shocked. Mission accomplished! ^-^

Indieterria crew is so so happy with how this blog tuned out – and we hope you agree with us dear readers. Weeks of following the artist, at least 11 updates and corrections and we think we nailed it. Its rock and roll and we are so excited to bring you all the details and angles to the story:)

Mal & Rita

Carnival in Malta in 19 clicks

Dear Readers,

Carnival has arrived! It’s a good time to wear fancy clothes, to put on your cat ears and party like it is 1999. Or should we say 1989? (apologies to both Prince and Taylor Swift).


Prince Charming

Prince Charming


Indian Princess

Indian Princess


Lady lost in thoughts

Lady lost in thoughts


Popular costume motive - Colombina of  Commedia dell'Arte

Popular costume motive – Arlecchina  of Commedia dell’Arte

We have a week-end out of office, so we decided to grab our cameras and hit the streets of Malta to take some portraits. We plan to have a nice selection of images of people in costumes by Sunday afternoon, and we will surely share them with you. To make things even more exciting, we have decided to dig deep into our archives and we have found some incredible photos from previous year (9-10 February 2013). How about a double – Carnival photo coverage? Sounds good? You bet!


Popular costume motive -  a different version of Arlecchina. Here she is known as  Franceschina, Smeraldina, Oliva, Nespola, Spinetta Ricciolina, Corallina or Diamantina. She is often a rich or noble lady adorned in green/emerald robes.

Popular costume motive – a different version of Arlecchina. Here she is known as Franceschina, Smeraldina, Oliva, Nespola, Spinetta Ricciolina, Corallina or Diamantina. She is often a rich or noble lady adorned in green/emerald robes.


To serve and protect

To serve and protect


The original form of female carnival character - Columbine of Commedia dell'arte

The original form of female carnival character – Columbine of Commedia dell’arte


Our favourite shot. She was simply stunningly beautiful.

Our favourite shot. She was simply stunningly beautiful.

Malta is one of world’s smallest states (316 km2 or 122 sq miles) divided between three islands and one of the most populated places on the globe (with 500 000 residents and 3 millions of tourists throughout the year, density reaches 1,306.8/km2 or 3,413.9/sq m – that’s more than Hong Kong).

This tiny island is extremely colourful and occasionally loud. So, nothing captures the spirit of the island like the week before Ash Wednesday.

Il-Karnival ta`Malta (as it is called in native tongue) holds a special position among all festas and public holidays on the island. It is celebrated annually since 1535 (that’s two-hundred years longer than Rio!) and is regarded as a major tourist attraction. The daily celebrations take place in the capital – Valletta, the nightly celebrations move to Nadur in the island of Gozo. Each year sees a street parade, band marches and floats competition. It is also a fantastic opportunity for any photographer – hand made costumes of the revellers take months to prepare and the results are astonishing. Maltese are also protective of children, taking photos of youngsters is frowned upon; the Carnival is probably the only time when a photographer can snap away photos of anybody without being yelled at.


Butterfly Lady

Butterfly Lady


The Show Girl from French Tradition of  Moulin Rouge

The Show Girl from French Tradition of Moulin Rouge


Modern Carnival costumes often use the character of Indian Princess/Native Princess. In European carnival tradition it is not seen as offending gesture. More like a homage to Disney`s Pocahontas.

Modern Carnival costumes often use the character of Indian Princess/Native Princess. In European carnival tradition it is not seen as offending gesture. More like a homage to Disney`s Pocahontas.

Through-out its history, the carnival was a source of entertainment and controversy. The Knights of Malta, who brought the tradition to the island, had to reprimand residents numerous times over costumes or lavish celebrations. In 1569 a ban was issued by Grand Master Giovanni Paolo Lascaris to keep women away from the Knights` celebrations. It also forbade masks – those who would resist faced penalty of being publicly whipped. Maltese public answered in a typical Mediterranean fashion – regular riots erupted, a Jesuit church was ransacked and Grand Master Lascaris had to evacuate himself from St James Cavalier building in Valletta. It is worth noting that the next time Maltese decided to take to the streets was in 1919 due to prices of bread (incident is known as “Sette Giugno” or “Seventh of June”, and is celebrated as a milestone towards the independence of the Island).


Maiko (Geisha in training)

Maiko (Geisha in training)


Professional Carnival actor from Venice. His costume was made for the use of local Italian theater and was one of a kind. Show stopper.

Professional Carnival actor from Venice. His costume was made for the use of local Italian theater and was one of a kind. Show stopper.


101 Dalmatians. The girls were not twins.

101 Dalmatians. The girls were not twins.

The story of Grand Master Lascaris constitutes our favourite anecdote – today St. James Cavalier hosts an art centre, cinema and a popular restaurant. The photos in this post have been taken on 9-10 February, 2013, and we had our lunches at St James. We were wondering what Grand Master Lascaris would say. Let’s hope that our choice of local ricotta pie would be approved…

Carnival can stir up controversy even in this day and age. In 2009 revellers were arrested in Nadur for dressing up as Jesus and nuns. One person was handed a month – long prison sentence, the rest were acquitted. It was due to ancient blasphemy and censorship laws that Malta is now getting rid of. In 2010, both Rita and I took part in the art exhibition called “The Art of Silence” against the censorship and Rita commented against the carnival arrests with one of her paintings. You can see the coverage in the link below:

Speaking of Rita being artistic and all about carnival cheer, in 2011 she also held a small exposition of her carnival masks at the Soap Café shop in Sliema. It was a very cool experience; you can recall it by visiting the post here:


Another popular character from modern carnival tradition - a warrior lady or gladiator

Another popular character from modern carnival tradition – a warrior lady or gladiator


Home made costumes are the best ones. Especially if they come with a candy floss.

Home made costumes are the best ones. Especially if they come with a candy floss.


Perrot from  Commedia dell'Arte - male character in his most noble/rich version. Often paired with Diamantina.

Perrot from Commedia dell’Arte – male character in his most noble/rich version. Often paired with Diamantina.

But back to the streets and the people in lovely costumes. The weather in February can be harsh and windy. In 2013, we had to dress ourselves up like we were taking part in Trans-Siberian expedition and tried to keep ourselves warm and hydrated at all times. Yet still became violently sick in the end. But we are very proud of the end effect. We wanted to portray not just stunning costumes or cute kids. We hoped to show the diversity of people you can meet on Maltese streets, all dressed up and celebrating in their own ways by using photography as the medium.

Think of it as one roll of film used well…


Gender-bender. Rapunzel  from Disney movie Tangled.

Gender-bender. Rapunzel from Disney movie Tangled.


Family affair - mother poses with her son against a carnival float

Family affair – mother poses with her son against a carnival float

If you want a longer read about Maltese Carnival, you may net-surf to those destinations:


Malta Tourism Authority:


Detailed blog about the Carnival:

We will be back quite soon with photos from this year’s festival and our observations. But we want to leave you with a most wonderful and suitable song for the moment. This is how we feel running around with cameras.

Ladies and Gentlemen, one and only Natalie Merchant and her “Carnival”.


Castlemartin Firing Range in 19 clicks

Aye travellers!

The Tour de Wales goes on! As promised we are back on track again and ready to report about our adventures during the summer. Good news is that November is almost finished and we will be greeting the much more people-friendly December in less than a week! Christmas spirit, better weather and lots of festive markets to go to! We cannot wait to visit the Victorian Fayre in Worcester, and this year we are also planning to see the German Market in Birmingham. As usual, so much to do, so much to see and so little time – oh well, the life of a cultural blogger is a difficult one. Choosing between the places to go can be a heart-breaking task indeed J

Have you missed previous stops on or tour around Wales? Use the links below to see where we have been before:

Ogmore-by-Sea Review Part 1:
Ogmore-by-Sea Review Part 2:
Saundersfoot in 20 clicks:
Barrafundle Bay in 30 clicks:
Broadhaven South in 27 clicks:
St Govan’s Chapel:

All right, our last destination was the St Govan’s Chapel – beautiful, tiny place of worship near the village of Bosherton. The chapel is located at Castlemartin Fining Range, a piece of land now owned by Ministry of Defense that once belonged to the posh landowners, the Earls of Cawdor. Castlemartin is worth visiting for its breathtaking sights and truly impressive limestone cliffs but it also has a rich history. Interested? Follow us!

Have you ever wondered where the name Castlemartin came from? If you think it’s a combination of two words “castle” and “martin”, you are very close. The village built on a sandstone peninsula was founded around 5th or 6th century. It had an impressive motte-and bailey castle erected by Norman and Scandinavian invaders in the 11th century and large farms that supplied food for local residents and Marcher Lords. The castle didn’t survive to our times but the remains can be seen even today. They are quite extensive and measure 70m x 60m. Well preserved remains of a ring-bank and remnants of the outer ditch can also be located. Amateur archaeologists will be delighted to know that Normans have used foundation of an earlier building to create the castle, probably an Iron Age Roman fort.

Excellent photographs of the castle remains can be found here:

The village grew steadily around the castle and in the 13th century a Catholic church dedicated to St Martin has been added to the community. Within few years, the village became known as the Martel Castell, the Castle of St Martin, or Castlemartin for short. The church is still standing and has been renovated in the 19th century thanks to the generous donations by the Cawdor family. Today the parish is known as St Michael and All Angels. There is a different church also known as St Michael and All Angels in Stackpole. In Wales things just cannot be simple! We haven’t seen the churches yet, but next time we are in Pembroke, Rita is going to photograph them from every angle. You have her word for that.

Once again, please visit the website of Royal Commission on the ancient and historical monuments of Wales. This excellent site offers the best and most accurate information on almost any listed building in Pembrokshire:’S+CHURCH,+CASTLEMARTIN/

Castlemartin nowadays is a sleepy village that offers good BB accommodation to tourists and climbing enthusiasts. It may not be impressive but not many people realize that it is one of few remaining places in Wales that has been entirely English-speaking for the last 900 years or more.

We have mentioned in our previous entry that Castlemartin Training Range has been established in 1939, just before the start of WW2 as a place where the British Army and fleet could train undetected. This remote coastal location was perfect for this goal and Ministry of Defense used every possible legal trick to take the land away from the noble family. The range covers 2,390 hectares and 12 nautical miles off the coast. It consists of two parts: Range East available to tourists (this is where St Govan’s Chapel is located) and Range West that is closed off to visitors and you need a special permission to enter. The permission is granted quite often these days and many organized climbing groups come here to conquer some of the most impressive limestone walls. We have seen several red metal climbing poles on Range East but we didn’t have the chance to see the climbers in action. Rita is secretly planning to team up with some local climbing expedition and go with them to take some pictures – we tell you it will be some truly magnificent photo-session. If you’d like to enter Range West, be prepared for a 40 minute military style briefing about security and safety! Here’s another very interested link and several times when the briefing will be held in 2015:

Range West is known for its wonderful fauna (you can spot rare wild orchids there as well) but Range East is also very interesting. There is an old training ground used by military personnel, tanks and vehicles during the war, Cold War helicopter landing pads made out of stone, antishelters, bunkers and even small rail tracks for heavy cannons. Urban legends mention that several secret weapons were tested in those shelters but the data is classified and nobody knows anything for sure. Our guide has mentioned several big transmitters and radars being created here in 1950’s and 1960 but majority of them went out of use before our birth and what remains are the stone pillars and bare foundations. Those who like reading about military equipment will be delighted to know that Range East is considered unique and is preserved for its historical and educational value. An excellent article about the can be found here:

Here are our favourites pictures from the Castlemartin Range tour:


Castlemartin Range

Castlemartin Range


View from the top

View from the top


Castlemartin Range near the St Gowan's Chapel

Castlemartin Range near the St Gowan’s Chapel


High Cliffs

High Cliffs


Beach below with a sharp rock knowns as The Beacon or The Lighthouse

Beach below with a sharp rock known as The Beacon or The Lighthouse


Closer look at The Beacon

Closer look at The Beacon


Large beach at the other side of the Range

Large stone beach at the other side of the Range


Red climbing post near the old bunkers

Red climbing post near the old bunkers


Stone circles - they were used as a practice targets for military planes

Stone circles – they were used as a practice targets for military planes


Closer look at the circles, this one was made in early 1960's

Closer look at the circles, this one was made in early 1960’s


Don't look down!

Don’t look down!


Old bunkers from The Cold War era are not longer used by the military and their entrances have been bricked up.

Old bunkers from Cold War era are not longer used by the military and their entrances have been bricked up.


Castlemartin Range information board for the tourists. The range is closed for 44 weeks a year

Castlemartin Range information board for the tourists. The range is closed for 44 weeks a year


Long ravine with derelict train tracks

Long ravine with derelict train tracks


Old navigation station is actually still operational and is being used to monitor the weather conditions alongside the Pembroke coast

Old navigation station is actually still operational and is being used to monitor the weather conditions alongside the Pembroke coast


Rockly plateau is now home to hundreds of rabbits

Rocky plateau is now home to hundreds of rabbits


The magnificient coastline looks splendid in the sun

The magnificent coastline looks splendid in the sun


Cracked stone surface crates mini lakes and rock pools

Cracked stone surface crates mini lakes and rock pools


It may look nice and calm, but the ocean is very dangerous around the range with many hidden vortexes and strong currents

It may look nice and calm, but the ocean is very dangerous around the range with many hidden vortexes and strong currents

You want to know more? Look no further, we have selected the best websites to give you more information about the subject:–2

Click to access Castlemartin.pdf

And if you meed something extra: A great info about the range – print the map if you want to discover all roads and walking trails – castlemartin_range_trail

We are leaving Castlemartin behind and moving onto something bigger and better (in our humble opinion of course). The last stop on our Tour de Wales will be the lovely town of Pembroke. If you haven’t seen the grand castle there, you haven’t seen the beauty and splendor of medieval Wales!

Return soon
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Broadhaven South in 27 clicks

Hello again!

Few days ago we complained about the gloomy winter weather in the UK. Today, we need the biblical ark! It has been raining cats and dogs and the canals around Worcester are now full. This is an annual river Severn flooding and Rita will have a lot of difficulties reaching her work. Streets will be closed, traffic jams will go for miles and only Mal will enjoy the lovely Mediterranean climate. Oh well, on days like these, all you can truly do is to put the heating on and look at some lovely photographs!

If you have missed our Tour de Wales, so far we have visited Ogmore-by-Sea, Saundersfoot and Barafundle Bay. You can read the reviews below:

Ogmore-by-Sea Review Part1:
Ogmore-by-Sea Review Part2:
Saundersfoot in 20 clicks:
Barrafundle Bay in 30 clicks:

As promised, we are still staying within the borders of the lovely Stackpole Estate. After seeing how beautiful Barafundle Bay is, we decided to show you another private beach that once belonged to the magnificently rich Earls of Cawdor. This beach is called Broadhaven and is located just two kilometers away from the picturesque village of Bosherston. We need to be very precise here – there are two beaches known as Broadhaven. The one we are interested in is officially known as Broadhaven South, the other is simply called Broadhaven. The other beach is situated near the village of Broadhaven, in the south east corner of St Bride’s Bay and lies in The Havens Community of Pembrokeshire. Please don’t make the same mistake as we did and ask the local residents how to get to Broadhaven Beach. You will receive pretty conflicting directions. Be more precise and either ask for Broadhaven South or for the Broadhaven Beach.

The two beaches are located quite close to each other but if you are new to the area, traveling on the narrow country roads can be a real challenge. To make matters even worse, SatNav on your phone will be useless, the internet connection in these parts of Wales is the worst we have seen! You will have to rely on the locals and road signs – almost as going back to The Middle Ages!

After arriving at Broadhaven South, the first thing you notice is a large car park and camping grounds at the popular Trevallen Farm (Bosherston, Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA71 5DR, Telephone: 01646 661643). Again, you will be charged five pounds for parking. On a busy day, you might be asked by the parking attendant to stay only for several hours, as the parking spaces are being filled very quickly. Forget about the free parking after 17:30, in the summer you will not find a single place to park until 2 o’clock in the morning! Broadhaven is a very popular location – it is visited by thousands tourists each season. In recent years, it has also become a particularly favourite spot for rock climbers and surfers.

Luckily for tourists, Broadhaven South is not as remote as Barafundle Bay. National Trust has a small office near the parking that sells tickets, food, memorabilia, beach gear and souvenirs. You can even sign up as a National Trust member if you wish – you will not have to pay for the parking. This is what we have done and it proved to be a great decision. There is also an ice-cream van that has been in operation since the early 1960’s. The gentleman who owns it said that he is going to retire soon but each year he is delaying the decision. He remembered the original Cawdor Court at Stackpole and he could tell many interesting stories about the place. He informed us that the reason why the fantastic house was demolished was because it was abandoned for long period of time and the taxes for the land were too high to keep it. The Cawdor family apparently returned to their native Scotland and the grounds were sold. New owners were too poor to renovate the grand mansion and sadly it was destroyed. As a child, the gentleman was taught to swim by one of the Earl’s personal swimming instructors, who sometimes made exceptions for the local kids and worked for free. We were glad to hear that Broadhaven South has not changed much since them – it means the beach still remains clean and is not polluted.

Broadhaven South is surrounded by high cliffs and lime stones. The sand dunes are also much higher than those near Barafundle Bay and you will need a pair of sturdy shoes to walk around them. Don’t forget that the dunes and cliffs are part of coastal national reserve – you are allowed only to walk on designed paths not to disturb the local fauna and flora. Several plants growing on the rocks are indigenous to the local ecosystem and you will not find them anywhere else. Many people are involved in saving this splendid place for future generations!

The unspoilt and untamed beauty of Broadhaven South has been used as a filming location. In 1989, C.S. Lewis story “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” (one of the books from “Chronicles of Narnia”) has been shot for a miniseries produced by BBC. In 2010, the post production and additional scenes for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1& 2 were filmed here while the house of wizards, Bill and Flaur Weasley, the Seashell Cottage was created at the nearby beach of Fresh Water West. Broadhaven South has been used several times in Doctor Who as well – as you can see this is a famous ground for every fan of fantasy genre!

Last but not least – we also need to mention The Church Rock, a small but famous limestone solitary standing in the middle of the water some 150 yards from the sandy beach. If you believe the urban legends, The Church Rock is said to be some sort of an alien beacon or maybe an orientation point for the unidentified flying objects. It is true that UFO’s have been spotted many times flying around the beach. We haven’t seen any men in black sunbathing during our visit, but any paranormal activity at Broadhaven South could be a case for Mulder and Scully. We still believe!


Broadhaven South - do not confuse with Broadchurch!

Broadhaven South – do not confuse with Broadchurch!


National Trust office

National Trust office


Ice scream stand offers treats to everyone including the fans of Mortal Kombat video game series

Ice scream stand offers treats to everyone including the fans of Mortal Kombat video game series


Road to the beach

Road to the beach


Sand dunes

Sand dunes


The beach is popular all year round

The beach is popular all year round


This particular picture has been edited by Mal to show you how the difference between natural pictures and those edited in Photoshop

This particular picture has been edited by Mal to show you the difference between natural pictures and those edited in Photoshop


We arrived at the low tide, usually in the afternoon this part of the beach is covered by water

We arrived at the low tide, usually in the afternoon this part of the beach is covered by water


At low tide the beach is growing in size

At low tide the beach is growing in size


Rocks and sand - the beach looks almost like a California desert

Rocks and sand – the beach looks almost like a California desert


Church Rock on the horizon

Church Rock on the horizon


Calm waters

Calm waters


Foot prints  - humans and animals. The dogs are welcomed to the beach

Foot prints – humans and animals. Dogs are welcomed to the beach


The water is blue and green in the sunshine. It is considered the cleanest  in Wales

The water is blue and green in the sunshine. It is considered the cleanest in Wales


How do you tell there is a razorshell hidden in the sand?

How do you tell there is a razorshell hidden in the sand?


Broadhaven South is known from the dramatic coastline filled with limestone cliffs and caves

Broadhaven South is known from the dramatic coastline filled with limestone cliffs and caves


Another beach and another Labrador swimming

Another beach and another Labrador swimming


Cave close up

Cave close up


Inside the cave

Inside the cave


The lime stones are pretty interesting if you look at them up close

The lime stones are pretty interesting if you look at them up close


The Coastal riff near the edge of Broadhaven beach

The Coastal riff near the edge of Broadhaven beach


Cliffs again

Cliffs again


This massive lime stone block is known locally as The Wall

This massive lime stone block is known locally as The Wall


Rising tide creates  small streams along the beach

Rising tide creates small streams along the beach


Water is quickly reclaiming the sand

Water is quickly reclaiming the sand


Soon the sand is underwater and the tourists are escaping onto the sand sunes

Soon the sand is underwater and the tourists are escaping onto the sand dunes


Panorama of Broadhaven South

Panorama of Broadhaven South

You can learn more about Broadhaven South by reading the links below:

BBC Nature:
Bluestone Wales:
Pembrokshire Coast:
Visit Pembrokshire:

All right, our work in Stackpole is done for now. We are moving, but we are not going very far. Just two miles away from Broadhaven South, there is a small 12th Century chapel that we always wanted to see. Please return soon, – One castle a day will be back!

Till then,
Rita and Mal