Kathryn Had A Vinyl Birthday!


So then, the love of my life, Kathryn Backhouse had a birthday today – she has given permission for me to print her age on this blog. She is no longer twenty one years old but has reached the fine age of thirty three –  we call this a “vinyl birthday” in our house (33 // 45 // 78). She has grown in beauty and grace everyday since I met her drunkenly in a nightclub when she was 21.

The road of matrimony has not been smooth due to me and my health but Kathryn has always been there to level out my Yin with her Yang. She is the best thing to ever happen to me.

So, what happened on her birthday? I admit I missed out on the first part (the AM of the day) due to a late night at CREAO Studio with Stewart and Allan recording the Sound of Wonder Show.

However, as soon as I woke I was dispensing gifts.

For Kathryn’s birthday I bought her a print by locally acclaimed artist Robby Burns and some vinyl – well, it is a vinyl birthday (33rpm) so I bought her the vinyl she would like. I got her two records by Blood Youth – a local group who Kathryn has been following for a year or so. I admit we are yet to stick it on, but it bodes well and their sticker is on our fridge now.

Here are an image Kathryn took with her phone of one of her gifts –



I went for a power snooze around two and woke up at five – this was quite disconcerting as I thought I had broken the bad cycle of day time sleeping. Still – it rejuvenated me for the on-coming evening. We had a table booked at the local Cau Restaurant and the meal there was fantastic!

I am always worried that this will turn in to a “what I had for tea” blog – but seriously, I cannot praise the food and the friendly staff at Cau higher – they really looked after us and the food was tip top. Whilst at Cau, we experimented – we figured we had never taken a selfie in our eleven year’s worth of relationship. So, I plucked up the courage and asked Kathryn if I could take a selfie – and what a selfie:

We hot footed it down to Major Tom’s Social Club to see about getting a few beers down us. Simon G. was there and he was a the life and soul of the get together – me, Kathryn and Simon chewed the fat and had a great time. The highlight of my beer tasting was buying a can of Verdant’s “Chasing Kevin” – a delicious Cornish Pale Ale brewed using five Malts.

I gave the barkeeps’, Sam & Joe, a taste and went home carrying a cactus with a sense that all is well with the world. Yes, there were drunken farmers arguing with Take-Away shops. But, there was also us, a couple walking home, who were so desperately in love that the roots of the initial blossom of their relationship have intertwined so much that me and Kathryn are inseparable for a lifetime and beyond.

I love you Kathryn. Happy Birthday. x


First W/E In May 2017


Despite my attempt to start blogging “I am feeling X” I am still blogging “This is a post about.” Why is this? It seems a difficult trend to shift – changing the way that I blog is problematic: is it a desire to report? Is it how I see my blog? Is it the very backbone of current trends in Blogging? Either way, this is a blog post about my weekend. The first w/e in May 2017.

A lot of fun-time people have started to consider Thursday to be the first day of the w/e – so let’s start there. Me and my good mate Stewart met up at 10 Devonshire for a libation. DJ Trev was holding his annual ‘May the Fourth’ Star Wars Quiz and things were getting a bit shouty. It would have been great to spend time in there pitting our whits against some serious Star War folk but we had other plans – we were going to record a radio show.

So, we hotfooted it over to Allan’s studio, CREAO Studio, and set up for a night of bad links but excellent music. Stewart really tripped himself up with some of the links but I have watched the man blossom. When he started to do his show he could hardly speak the man was so nervous – now, he has volunteered to speak after every track. He is a credit to himself and it seems to have really helped him come out of his shell. Below is his show …

On Friday afternoon I met up with my mum – she made one of her rare trips in to town and we went to Bean & Bud on Commercial street – it really is the best cup of tea (and coffee!) in town. I had a double espresso and mum went for a pot of house blend – we talked small talk and caught up – it was an innocent meeting of family and reassuring. Mum is retired now and they have plans to move out of the area to a more quieter place – It means that meeting up with mum will become a rarer and rarer thing …

Friday night was part of a new wheeze. I was DJing at RETRO Bar under the name “Andy from Guerrilla Dub System.” Things got quite busy and it was a good atmosphere. Thanks to the bar staff for looking after me and keeping the night flowing. I played a good enough set – mixed tempo and mixed in key – but it seemed to go down okay and there were a few people dancing.

Staturday saw Chico’s Revenge – I ordered a Pizza from the Take-away Chico’s, across the road from RETRO Bar, and then fell asleep immediately after scoffing the cheesy bologna delight. It did not site well the next morning so activity was limited to pacing around the flat with stomach cramp.

Saturday afternoon I met Meagn. Megan is the person who started the Recovery Shoebox Project – a mental health tolkit – that she runs by herself. I had an input in to the building of her website. I helped get www.recoveryshoeboxproject.org up on to my server and showed a good friend, Michelle, how to design the thing. It seems Michelle has caught the design bug and could not stop tinkering with the site all the way until it went live. Me and Michelle’s fiancé popped out for a swift half in Major Tom’s then I set about redesigning my web portfolio – www.treebarkdesign.com.

Sunday was a very lazy day: I did not get out of my Pyjamas, hahaha.

Instead I recorded my radio show – I think I have found a good formula for the show – I was worried that people would tire of hearing my voice. So, I went and stopped speaking. However, I felt I was not making enough of a statement with that format for a show – so the below is a compromise. Part DJ set/ Part Speaky speak.

CREAO Studio 4/20


No, not the 4/20 that has so much meaning to my friends – I am merely referring to the date. On the 20th April I set off to CREAO Studio to do the mastering of our second EP – it is a right corker! Due out on the 12th May, it carries on from where we left off with the first EP. Expect plenty of bass and a nod to the founding fathers of dub reggae. Here is the artwork to the EP that I did a while ago –

Pound Of Dub – Guerrilla Dub System’s second EP.


Whilst up at the studio I helped record Stewart’s radio show for him: it was a right laugh as Stew’s tongue frequently trips over the more exotic band’s names – he is bloody useless at pronouncing Icelandic singers – but, then so am I; Stewart does not make it easy for himself my playing a Mongolian Nose Flute ensemble quickly followed by a hip-hop act from Soweto. But he gives it his all and it is a pleasure to help out.

Whilst up at the studio I fired off a few shots of my Harinzumi camera – the results are ace! Stewart now wants one of these for Xmas and Daren H. was enamored with the thing too – it really is a winner.


CREAO Studio 4/20

First Attempt With My New Harinezumi Guru


Harinezumi is Japanese for ‘Hedgehog’ – it is also awesome as a camera.

To be honest, the cost of film purchase and development had taken the fun out of Lomography. I was worried too much about the cost of the prints that I did not snap away as you should. However, after finding a Japanese site that claimed these cameras were “King of Artistic Digital” I was intrigued.

I found a brand new Harinezumi Guru from 2011 in France and I have been pacing about waiting on Colissimo delivering the thing.

My Harinezumi Guru camera arrived today around 14:50 and I was showered and away from my computer at 15:20. A quick stop at Bass & Bligh later and I had acquired a battery and Micro SD card – unfortunately these are not supplied with the camera – and I headed off to Major Tom’s to read the manual.

Over a friendly, delicious pint of Atom Pale Ale I familiarised myself with the rudimentary controls of the camera – six buttons and that is all you have. I fired off a few in the pub and headed out. Here are the results –


First Attempt with My Harinezumi Guru

New Job


To compliment the web/graphic design that I do to help keep a roof over mine and Kathryn’s heads – I have my first set of regular hours for quite some time.

Saturday night saw me DJ in RETRO Bar, Harrogate and I have been offered a residency.



Above is a practice mix of my set on Saturday – I did not get to play it in it’s entirety having had my set time cut due to blown speakers. But, still – I am now a resident DJ at Retro Bar. Hopefully the following poster that I designed explains it better:


Granny B


I am writing this late on Easter Monday’s afternoon – struggling to make sense of my emotions. The weekend got off to a hell of a bad start; on Good Friday my mum phoned to tell me that Granny had passed away peacefully, loosing her battle with Dementia.

The end months were not graceful for Granny B – she was such a proud woman and it was sad to see her laid so low with an illness. She had been battling dementia for a number of years; what a sad, cruel illness.

If it had not been for Granny, I do not think I would have pursued an academic bent towards Zoology & Botany. I studied Wildlife Conservation at Plymouth Uni with the hope of working with the Big 5 in Africa – however, my health intervened on that one. We used to walk miles, despite her age, to see the Canadian Geese that used to stop off on the farm in Norfolk. She was over the moon when I told her I had managed to get a job at Newby Hall as a gardener – she confided in me that she had often thought about dropping out of Nursing and becoming a gardener herself.

However, she was a very good Nurse – a Gold Standard nurse and a Sister, I believe.

I will always remember the time when Granny, the beaming matriarch, took me and my brother and sister down to London to the Natural History Museum – this is what spurred my enthusiasm for wildlife – even if the reason for going down there was to see the Dinosaurs. I managed to sneak through an open door and see some of the private collection – I was so thrilled. I believe she takes her recipe for Seville Casserole (beef and orange hotpot) with her but she leaves a legacy that the greater Leamington area can be grateful for; she worked tirelessly for the regions health cause’s and was eventually awarded an MBE for her services to Health & The Elderly.

When I was told of her passing I did not have mixed emotions – I burst in to floods of tears. But, now the raw grief and shock has gone, I can see that it was her time to go. She is no longer suffering – but there is a granny shaped hole in my psyche.

Below is a photograph of my Grandparents – only Granny Dornoch (on the left) is surviving. Grandpa passed away 1st July 2016 and now Granny B joins him – she will be making sure everything is in order wherever she is.

Dementia really is a cruel illness – Granny was such a proud lady in life, before the illness crept over her. She was the beaming matriarch who would deal out the Chocolate Fudge Pudding to the Children’s table first. She ruled the family with a rod of iron but, ultimately, she was very fair. She had a massive influence on all three of us (me, my brother and my sister) and I do not think we would have got where we are without her encouragement.

In life she was a lion of a woman – age reduced her stature and I have to admit it was not pleasant to see. However, I now need to be there for the rest of the family – God knows what Dad and his three brothers are going through (having lost both their parents in less than a year). All I can do is offer a shoulder of support and bear witness to the great life that Granny Backhouse led.

This Isn’t Spam


I have come to the conclusion that Facebook is now just a tool for promotion.

Be this promotion of the self or promotion of a product or event. Maybe that is something cynical to say – but am I on point on this? If you think so then please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

I am trying to minimise my impact on my friend’s FB feeds by sticking to this blog. I have stopped the auto-publish to FB so that people will have to come to my blog, Ijo Pona, to find out what I am up to and I am not spamming up their feed’s.

This could be be seen as shooting myself in the foot, some people only use their computer to go on FB. However, traffic could dip and lull in getting people this site, but I need to re-evaluate why I blog.

The reason I blog is to keep a tab of what I have been up to – what with my memory and such, keeping tabs on what I have been up to over the past five years that I have been blogging would prove some what elusive. So, why do I need to promote it to FB? Wouldn’t I be compounding the theory that FB is just used for promotion? If I was trying to recruit FB’rs to visit this blog would that very act be ‘promotion’?

In days of yore, people used to post up pictures of drunken nights out and even what they were eating, photos of friends vomiting and cats – now FB has become a marketing tool to ‘further your reach.’ So, I am taking a break from FB (he says) to stick to Blogging a bit more – one of the things I am conscious of is that there is a whole internet lying out there ready to explore and I just stick to a few sites a day, on a loop.

Essentially, the blogging renaissance starts now: Blogging, for when you’re tired of Facebook dramas.

So, what else have I been up to other than thinking of funny things to write about Facebook?

The Weekend

This weekend has been a bit of a conundrum – Friday was spent with Ms Backhouse – we just chilled and pottered around the flat.

Saturday was on Hiatus for me as I had not slept the night in between. Kathryn had a wale of a time as she took her Girl Guide group to Bradford to go to the Media Museum and then ice-skating. She came home tired but satisfied around five in the afternoon to a warm reception from me. I just sulked all day and realised it is best for me to stay from semi-religious children’s units. With my interest in The Occult I really doubt people will let me in a Church.

Sunday has been great so far – I woke up nice and early at eight in the morning after a refreshing 10 hour’s sleep. The birds were tweeting and the sun was shining. A few cups of tea later and I was ready to lounge. I managed to listen to a repeat of Stewart’s Sound Of Wonder on the internet.

I then had a go at recording my own show. Here it is –

It is quite a relaxed show – if it wasn’t for the crap links I do then it will be near a decent production – well, I like the music – although it is not to everyone’s taste.

In other news I spent a good while on Friday eyeing up cheap digital, toy cameras.

Digital Toy Camera

Worry not, parents – this camera would cost US$9.12 on eBay – it has similar (ish) results to my Lomo cameras – as in saturated colours, inherent unpredictability and general awesomeness – but it only costs the price of a roll of film and that film’s development to buy the whole camera. It is very tempting to get it – everyone needs a hobby.

To ask if it is just as good as my DSLR is the wrong question – they are different sports, not different leagues. A completely different concept. With my DSLR I am after resolute documentation and fine images. With this Digital Toy Camera I am hoping for blurry, saturated, off-kilter shots that ooze fun. I think I know which one I would rather take with me to a gig and I think I know which one will get the majority of use – the toy camera, in all honesty.

At US$9.12 is is throw-away cheap – and at £13 to £16 to purchase a film and procure it’s development it really is a no-brainer.

First port of call when checking out a new camera is always Flickr. I am a Flickr Pro and I love that site – I can easily spend hours a day just sat there either curating or browsing – you get to see the world through other people’s microcosms – their little patch of Earth and all the particulars therein – it is a joy to behold. The point of interest is the group “Toy Digital” for this weekend – it has a whole load of images that drew my eye and made me think of digital toy cameras – plus the saving on the money front that going digital would reap.

So, food for though – but not thought for food (I imagine it would taste of Spleen).