Not often a brass band makes the front page of a paper...

Discussion in 'The Auditorium - Concert Details' started by bigcol, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. bigcol

    bigcol Member

    Even if it's the Northern Echo.

    A POLICE band has withdrawn from a theatre show about the decline of the coal industry after its involvement stirred up ill-feeling among the region’s mining community.
    Durham Constabulary brass band had been lined up to play a major role in Brassed Off, at Darlington Civic Theatre, next month.
    It has pulled out amid fears objectors could set up picket lines outside the theatre.
    Many members of the region’s mining community felt the involvement of a police band, albeit one made up of civilians, was insensitive in the context of the force’s role in the 1984 miners’ strikes.
  2. James Yelland

    James Yelland Active Member

    By coincidence, there is a review of a production of Brassed Off (playing in York) reviewed in today's Times (which may be the same production scheduled for Darlington). The reviewer wasn't overly impressed with the production, and comments that many of the band don't look like colliers! Hardly surprising I suppose, given that few bands nowadays have miners in their ranks, even those with 'colliery' in their names. It doesn't say who the band in question is, though.
  3. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    According to the report, there are no police members in the band, and a number of ex-miners and children. I note also that the organisation that objected, Durham Miners' Association, sponsors another brass band in the area, and can't help wondering if alongside considerations of principle, there are also other considerations about poaching a nice job. I hope not, that would be very cheap behaviour - but it does look suspicious to the disinterested eye.

    Sounds like a mucky business to me. And while I appreciate how very deeply feelings were hurt back then on the subject, 1984 was a very long time ago. One can live in hate such that one feels justified in contriving something like this 30 years later, or one can move on. I know which I'd rather do in that situation.
  4. Backrowdiva

    Backrowdiva Member

    It is the same production, Local bands are playing Grimley in each area, the reviews in the Guardian were good (I'll have to have a look at the Times one. BTW if you fancy seing Jim it's on at the Belgrade, Coventry from 24th-26th April
  5. Chris Hicks

    Chris Hicks Member

    Given the reported fee fee that is being paid (see comments section on 4barsrest) I wouldn't have thought the sponsored band will be trying to poach the job.
  6. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    There was no fees offered when this company sort bands in other areas - only "expenses" which equated to £800 for 6 or 7 performances including 2 matinees and 4 rehearsals before. They insisted on the same players for all the gigs.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  7. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Good, I hope not. Apologies for raising the point, it just jumped out to my eye, and I thought it worth discussing. Glad it can be put to bed so easily.

    FWIW, I did deliberately avoid suggesting that the sponsored band had anything to do with the actions of their sponsors. It seems at least Chris read that into my words, when I in fact tried to avoid that meaning being there.
  8. B.Portas

    B.Portas Member

    I'm in the York band, playing until the 8th March, and most of us are available to go up on the 17th, to do the Darlington shows, if need be. We've received pretty good reviews so far (The Guardian is particularly positive, but some said that the actors lay on the 'ee bah gum' accents a bit too thickly).

    We hadn't been told exactly why the Durham band have pulled out - so this is quite illuminating.
  9. It is very easy for others to assume that they know what the aggrieved ought do having been treated badly, Dave.

    My reading about the pit closures suggests that the police's involvement in them was itself a "mucky" affair, to say the least. I can fully understand that the very principle of hiring a police band, whether or not there were actually police players in the band, would be objectionable in mining areas, and especially in a production about those very pit closures. The numerous cover-ups, dirty tricks and other scandals involving the police that keep emerging do little to dispel that on-balance view, or to reassure.

    Thirty years is not a long time ago when lives were ruined by others, which is what the miners believe; whether that is rightly or wrongly is immaterial to the feelings involved. A long time in that context will extend to some while after all concerned are dead.
  10. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Indeed, that is how people work. But I'm not going to stand by and condone the deliberate keeping alive of the contention. At some point people have to draw a line, and say "enough is enough", to acknowledge that what was done is done and dusted, and that keeping hate alive benefits no one, least of all those who are hating.

    As I wrote "I know which I'd rather do". That says nothing about whether I'd be able to or not. No judgement implied on those who were greatly wronged 30 years ago. Simply the statement of what I think would be good to see. If we have to wait another 30 years before people have cooled down enough on the subject to be dispassionate about it, then that's what we have to do. But it's lax just to let people hate on unchallenged, even if their emotions were right and proper originally.
  11. I don't know where the idea came that this was "deliberate keeping alive of the contention". It seems to me that the objections were in response to the appointment of a police band. Whether they came about as the result of any concerted or deliberate policy to keep the anger going, I can't see any of us really knowing. Having read what else you have written on this thread, I am surprised that you insist that what you say isn't judgemental.

    Personally, I would very much like to see fine-tooth-and-comb investigations of these matters by authorities of integrity and having teeth. I have no mining connections or any axe to grind. It simply troubles me to see apparent wrongdoing by those whose job is to protect the public against it. For me, that does not amount to wishing for those affected to keep hate alive, or anything like it. However, if there are those aggrieved who know police abuse to be a fact (and I do not know myself any more than anyone else who was not there), then peace will, I strongly suspect, depend on seeing justice.
  12. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    I think the reason a "police" band took up this performance opportunity was due to the timing of the booking in Durham; coinciding with the North of England areas. I don't think the Durham police band compete. The same touring theater company have a performance in Nottingham which I think clashes with the Midlands area too; they ended up with a scratch band formed from players not taking part in the areas.
  13. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    No? A group has objected to another group on grounds that the article Colin provided links strongly to events of 30 years ago, a narrative that we are all familiar with, at least in outline. If the facts are as presented in that report, then the phrase of mine you quoted seems perfectly apt. Evidently not every nuance of the story is present in the report, but the narrative seems clear. Unless the report is deliberately slanted (always a possibility with emotive issues), I can't immediately see where the unclearness comes from.

    Tell me what you think I have written and what you think I have meant by writing it that is in contradiction. Happy to clear up confusion or confirm suspicions.
  14. Perhaps our misunderstanding arises from what you and I mean by “deliberate”, which might differ. Perhaps your definition here is along the lines of “choosing not to ignore, or not to act”. For me, the applicable definition in this context relates to hate for hate's sake. The emotions driving the choice to continue seeking redress may well be involuntary, and I suggest that they are very likely to be so. Those involved might well wish, sometimes, at least, that they could be unburdened and get on with something else.

    Apart from the idea that it was all “deliberate keeping alive...” one thing that is judgemental is your declaration that ”...people have to draw a line, and say "enough is enough..." “Have to” says that they are absolutely (therefore not merely in your judgement) right to draw that line and wrong if they do not.

    Overall, Dave, although I know that you have qualified your posts and protested to the contrary, what you say comes over clearly to me as pronouncement upon the objectors.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  15. iffytboner

    iffytboner Member

    I feel I need to add my tuppence worth.
    My wife and I are also part of the York band taking part in the show. It is a scratch band that was formed because the local bands which were approached were either unable to play at the level required (music includes Florentiner and William Tell) or were unavailable due to rehearsing for the Northern and Yorkshire areas. The same issues apply for the run in Darlington.

    From the social / political angle – Many families and communities were deeply affected by the strike. The West Yorks part of my family had Uncles who were in pit management (at work) and their sons who were actually miners (on strike). Add to that a brother in the police force (trying to keep the two apart) and you can see why feelings in some areas still run high. When the pits closed, thousands of jobs were lost in very small areas. It was not uncommon for virtually the whole of a village to be dependant on mining in one way or another, whether directly as miners / managers or in pubs, clubs, shops and other supporting businesses that make a successful community. When the main employment provider is removed, it takes a long time for things to settle down and there are still people who will never forgive the Thatcher regime for “systematically destroying the mining industry” (quote from the show).

    As far as the critics go, the majority, including The Guardian thought the show was well worth watching. I can only assume that the Times reviewer was more used to the London theatre scene where they have the ability to change a whole set in a few seconds and remove a 30 foot tall pit head complete with a lift and wheel, part of which can be seen at the rear of the photo call pic in the link below

    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  16. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Well, "deliberate" as in "it's in our power to not make a fuss over this thing but we choose to do so". Perhaps you understood something stronger from my sentence? You argue that the depth of emotions stirred by this make this all but involuntary; I say that there is always a choice. Both are true, and shifting the small distance from one to the other can look both a dauntingly large and an improbably small step, depending on such things as the individual personalities involved in decision making.

    Drawing lines - I think we can all agree that there always comes a point after any conflict when it is clearly beneficial to all concerned to just quietly drop things? The example of Northern Ireland was in my mind as I wrote that (some current concerns about the direction of progress there notwithstanding). After all that, now may not be an appropriate moment to attempt to draw that line (hence my sentence about maybe having to wait another 30 years and your sentence about 30 years not being a long time), but I do think that one should always be questioning how we are doing in regard to reaching that appropriate time - if a line can be drawn now and we let the opportunity pass, then that probably isn't the best outcome.

    I do think we are making pretty much the same point, but approaching it from different directions - my (and I think your?) basic idea is that it's a pity that this outcome has happened, with my gut reaction being that the onus is on those who objected, while yours (I think - I do hesitate to read between the lines of your posts, please let me know if this is wrong) is to sympathise with them. But we both seem to recognise that the reality of the situation probably lies messily in between those two poles.
  17. iffytboner

    iffytboner Member

    I was also trying to add the following to my post but the 5 minute editing rule beat me…. (plea to mods to extend it to at least an hour)
    I have also never seen a show of this type in provincial theatre where all bar one of the actors in the band are actually playing the majority of their parts. Some have not played since childhood and have put in one heck of a lot of work to be able to join in. Even the Flugel soloist (Clara Darcy) is really playing “orange juice” and very well she plays it too!!


  18. Bob Sherunkle

    Bob Sherunkle Active Member

    This story has national coverage

    Was on Radio 5live news this morning including interviews with a bloke from the Durham Miner's Association (I can't tell you what he was saying as I don't speak geordie) and a representative of the band who was more interested in telling us that they were highly regarded for their entertaining programmes than dealing with the issue at hand. He waffled on until the interview got bored with him and cut him off.

    Daily Mail (extract) said:-

    It is set to hit the stage next month “to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike of 1984”.

    But instead of using any of the country’s miners’ brass bands - which have kept going despite the pit closures - the drama dunces hired the Durham Constabulary Brass Band instead.

    Some members of the police band may include former PCs who patrolled picket lines during the 1984 miners’ strike, veteran miners told the Mirror.

    The revelation sparked outrage in mining communities - forcing the police band to pull out on Thursday.

    Davey Hopper, of the Durham Miners’ Association, said: “I’ve never heard of anything as ridiculous in my life.

    “We were going to have the men who truncheoned us down and destroyed our communities now playing music for us.”

    I love the term "drama dunces"

    It does seem rather insensitive. Even after 30 years.

    Bob xx
  19. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Perhaps there we have the nub of it... Is it, as Davey Hopper says, "the men who truncheoned us down", or as the report says "made up of civilians"?
  20. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    If its the same touring production as Nottingham then I cannot understand their mindset.

    They booked the Nottingham theatre for a time that clashes with the areas then refused to pay any fee apart from minimum expenses such as car parking. I'm sure the fees negotiated for all the individual players in their scratch band add up to several times what any established band would have charged.

    Booking a police band for a production about the miners strike shows real insensitivity. Doing it at the same time as the areas shows a complete lack of knowledge about brass bands. Expecting them to to do it for nothing just adds insult to injury.

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