Celebrating the bicentennial of Stoodley Pike monument

A gathering to celebrate the bicentennial of Stoodley Pike monument, on the highest part of Langfield Common, overlooking Todmorden. The original monument was inspired by the Treaty of Paris in 1814, and as such it (or at least the stone monument which now stands in its place) is listed as one of the oldest towers in the world dedicated to peace. You can view one of my previous panoramas from the monument, during the lighting of a beacon for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, here.

This celebration included music from Todmorden Community Brass Band and the Handmade Samba band; giant puppets from Thingumajig, and a mayoral speech. There was a great party atmosphere, and the weather was uncharacteristically sunny. The celebration was especially apposite for Anglo-French relations because, as well as the monument standing testament to almost two centuries of peace between Britain and France, the party included a gathering of visitors from Todmorden’s twin town, Ronq in France; and all this occurs in the same year as the world’s most famous cycle race comes to Yorkshire, with the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014. Vive l’entente cordiale!

The finale of the celebration was the release of two hundred homing pigeons from the parapet of the monument… this panorama captures the moment they flew away into the distance over the crowd.


Pace Egg play performance at Heptonstall

One of the Calder Valley’s most popular folk attractions is the annual Pace Egg Play. Its origins are now lost in the mists of time, but it continues delight generation after generation with a delightfully haphazard mix of performance, audience interaction and comedy. Revived in 1979 after a brief hiatus, the roots of Pace Egging hark back to before the 1500s, and are quite different across the north of England. In many towns the tradition has died out, but it’s still performed in the upper valley by players from Hepstonstall, and Calder Valley High at Mytholmroyd…

Clog-wearing players perform well-trodden routines and well-loved lines to an appreciative (and increasingly merry) audience in Weaver’s Square, Heptonstall, on the hill above Hebden Bridge in Calderdale. The central theme is a bit hazy, but involves St George and a host of others; a degree of pantomime theatre; some swordplay; and a healthy amount of ale-swigging.

It’s always a bonus when the sun’s out on Good Friday, and the audience numbers were swollen for this, the final performance of the day. As the players tend to retire to one or other of Heptonstall’s hostelries between stagings for some well-earned liquid refreshment, this was a glorious mix of ad-libbed responses, fluid moves and the occasional flubbed line, all being embraced and egged on by the audience. “Mince pies hot, mince pies cold; mince pies in the jar, nine days old…”

There’s much more information on the Pace Egg play here



Twitch and Wilkes from Optimo (Espacio)

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser.

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser.

Finally caught the renowned Optimo DJ duo in action at the Reading Rooms in Dundee. Last time I was here, in 2008, I saw Andrew Weatherall in action and I wanted to shoot a panorama but wasn’t able to). This time I came prepared… and determined…

Optimo (Espacio) was a long-running club night/institution in Glasgow. The weekly residency may’ve finished but JD Twitch and JG Wilkes regularly take their show on the road to showcase the mixes which make their DJ sets so legendary.

Eclectic is an oft-used term but it genuinely applies to these guys’ sets. Note the AC/DC sleeve poking out; not often you’ll hear that in a tracklist next to Chicago acid house classics and Boddika jack trax. I’ve been enjoying their mixes for close to a decade so it was good to finally see them in person.

Don’t worry, bee happy: Todmorden’s Pollination Parade

Wide-angle elevated photo of Pollination Parade in Todmorden

Here’s an aerial panorama of this weekend’s Pollination Parade (as it passes Todmorden Market) which launched Incredible Edible Todmorden’s new Green Route…and coincided with both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend, and a welcome window of sunshine!

The parade showcased the best of local creative talent. Led by Handmade Parade and featuring artworks from Thingumajig Theatre it was a riot of color, activity and music. The atmosphere was great; the costumes and performances were fantastic; and everyone had a brilliant time.

If you were there, see if you can spot yourself in the crowd by linking on the picture below to view a 360° view. (My favourite bits are the young lad doing a handstand, and Andrew Kim energetically at the fore of the parade on his stilts!)

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser

(Update) Here’s a couple more views, this time from outside the front of the Town Hall on Halifax Road.

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser


May the 4th be with you: Star Wars exhibition at FullCircle Gallery, Leeds

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser

Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser

Friday May the 4th saw the opening of the excellent @StarWarsLeeds exhibition at FullCircle Gallery off Kirkstall Road, Leeds. Organised and curated by TheHangGang and Leeds Alternative Comics, it brought together a range of contemporary artists’ designs and creations unified by the Star Wars universe, and a collection of vintage toys.

Back in 2008 I shot a panorama of Barry aka TheHangGang’s toy room, and gawped at the selection of carded Star Wars figures he had displayed next to his vinyl toys. Fast forward a shade more than four years and his collection is bigger, better and badder than ever. As a kid, I had a decent collection of Star Wars figurines, and the imagination to transport them and I to wherever I wanted to be, but they were loved, used and abused rather than left box-fresh. So seeing a the range of pristine figures, and the accompanying vehicles, all displayed perfectly was enough to bring out the inner child in me once again.

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