Don’t Stop the Music

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After last week’s failed attempt to recapture my youth, playing football, it was off to Hackney Marshes on Sunday for Day 2 of the Radio 1 Big Weekend. Normally, the site is occupied by 82 football pitches and over the years has witnessed players such as Bobby Moore, Stuart Pearce and David Beckham demonstrate their talents on its ‘turf’ as well as the classic 90’s Nike Blur advert.

However, this weekend Hackney Marshes played host to talents of a different nature…music.

Following tweeted advice and updates from @rogermosey, @PhilipGlanville and @HackneyAbbott, I arrived at the muddy festival site in my newly purchased wellies and a youthful outlook rather than look.

The free event was really well organised, with an eclectic mix of acts, admittedly some more appealing than others. Credit and many thanks to the organisers from the BBC and the London Borough of Hackney for putting together a truly memorable event.

Camera Creativity

During the wait for Jessie-J on the main stage, I noticed a family group stood beside me. The children were in the process of applying day-glo face paints while balancing precariously in the mud on small buffet stools. They then proceeded to take photographs of themselves using smart phones, before editing them quickly and efficiently and then sending them off into the ether. Their use of technology was intuitive and it was great to witness not just their creativity, but their confidence too.

Personally, I prefer taking photographs to being photographed, but these children were in their element doing both. Their posing implied a distinct lack of fear of losing their souls!

Witnessing this scene made me wonder about children and photography projects. Subsequent online research has led me to Photo Voice and the One Shot Project, which I highly recommend.

If you know of more, please point me in their direction.

Back to the Music…

The acts following Jessie-J came and went, some with more memorable performances than others. Tinie Tempah certainly made an impression on the crowd, as did Ben Howard, Enter Shikari, Taio Cruz and Rihanna, especially her duet with Jay-Z on ‘Run This Town’. However, Dizzee Rascal, to me, remains an acquired taste.

Music was again a prominent feature in my Monday meeting with Geoff Barton (@therealgeoffbarton) at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds. Following a presentation of 360 People to the leadership team, Geoff proudly showed me around his school, during which we eavesdropped on an extra-curricular choir rehearsal. The sounds created by the students and their teacher literally made the hairs on my neck stand up. Geoff explained to me the importance of music in helping set the ethos of the school, and we then discussed the ways in which music can both humble and inspire.

The outstanding work in other areas of the arts and sport at King Edward VI School jump out at you, as does the commitment to opening the students’ eyes to other cultures and experiences.  During my visit, I was introduced to one student who had visited Shanghai. I was further amazed to discover that  a group of students had visited Iraq earlier in the year and that a delegation of students had been invited to meet Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

While there I came across the question, ‘Why do I need a teacher when I have Google?’ which had been posed by Ian Gilbert. However, having met Geoff and listening to him talk passionately about learning, the answer is obvious…we can not rely entirely upon technology; we need the Geoff Bartons of this world  to inspire learners and educators alike.

For further information, view the websites:

Images courtesy of:


Bryn Llewellyn
27 June 2012.

A Cracking Weekend of Football

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Last weekend got off to a cracking start. Friday was an Orientation Day with Evolve SI’s John Bishop and 24 ‘hopefuls’ from the 200 people who had applied to be part of the first Health Mentor cohort in Tower Hamlets. The all-day event was intense but most rewarding. John and I were both really impressed by the calibre of the participants; their comments revealed a willingness to learn and demonstrated a keen ability to reflect.

A quick change and it was on to the newly revamped Kings Cross station to catch a train, whose 19:48 departure coincided with the Euro 12 kick-off between England and Sweden. The WiFi on board Grand Central Rail is very good, unfortunately not good enough for live streaming. However, alt-tech ensured I was kept up to date on the progress of the match; thank you to tweeters and texters alike. As the kick-off had been delayed, I was able to watch the final 20 minutes in a friendly but far-from-salubrious pub near the delights of Doncaster station. The locals were errr, local and vocal, the liveliest of whom were leaving just as I arrived, their mission to get to Ukraine in time for England’s final group stage match.

Saturday morning and time for my own mission…to secure footwear suitable for the Diamond Jubilee football match, one of the events in Graham Morgan’s Double 30 celebrations. Having rescued my shin pads from the car-boot boxes earlier in the morning, I finally settled on a pair of retro Adidas Samba trainers to complete the equipment checklist.

A hasty dash to Marley Stadium and the chance to meet my team mates, some of whom were known, others of whom soon became known. The banter in the changing rooms quickly transported me back to my youth. The warm-up and subsequent match demonstrated that my team mates had clearly played above and beyond my own Sunday league standards. Viewers of the match highlights DVD will know just what I mean. Rather than give marks out of 10 for each player, special mentions must go to Paul Bilston, Damon Fox, John Bishop and Graham Morgan from Evolve SI, as well as Mick Driver, Derek Radcliffe, Colin Morris and the undoubted Man of the Match, Des Hamilton*.

It was early on in the game that I realised that:

A. The pitch was indeed big;

B. My fitness levels were not as they once were.

At the end of the game, I knew fully that my earlier realisations were accurate and that the dull pain in my groin was only outweighed by the growing pain in my wrist. Ooooer!

It was only during the evening’s celebrations for Graham’s Double 30 that I realised the pain was beginning to worsen. Even with the medicinal effects of a few Saltaire Blondes**, amazing entertainment courtesy of Deana Morgan and amusing conversations with various hippies, a few Beatles, a Jimi Hendrix or two and various Thunderbird characters, I knew it was time to head back home and seek some pain killers.

Sunday morning came with the inevitable trip to A & E at Bradford Royal Infirmary…not exactly the Father’s Day I had in mind. That said, the BRI staff: the receptionist, the triage team, radiographer, nurses, doctors and consultants were outstanding. Their expert care and genuine warmth were most appreciated.

So, I will now be wearing a fetching plaster cast for quite some time and thanks to one nurse I now know how to correctly pronounce ‘scaphoid’.

It is only now that I wish my retirement from playing football had been permanent; hindsight truly is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, my mobility is now slightly restricted so I will be considering ‘alternatives’ for this half term: proof reading and editing End of Year Reports, anyone? Hopefully a unique, one-off service…

* Yes, THE Des Hamilton, who played over 100 matches for Bradford City, scoring for them at Wembley, and also played for my beloved dodgy team, Newcastle United FC.

** It’s a drink!!

Images courtesy of:


Superman and the Corby Trouser Press

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Two days training and three nights in three very different hotels. I now feel like a fully-fledged sales rep on the road and as such, I have finally succumbed to the lure of the Corby Trouser Press. It has taken me a while to get there but I have arrived.

The two days of training were for Evolve staff to consider and further develop ideas for the forthcoming XLR8 Transition Camps. The first was based in Birmingham for the West Midlands and Wales regions, the second in Wakefield for the Yorkshire and Humberside regions. The sessions were co-delivered by myself and the ever-enthusiastic Graham Morgan, complete with his recent RADA qualification.

Both training sessions allowed us to share our ideas and take on board suggestions that will make the XLR8 Transition Camps outstanding. The Evolve Health Mentors embraced the ideas and rightly identified areas to improve. I was really impressed by the discussions and dialogue during the group tasks. It was heartwarming to hear the Health Mentors use phrases such as ‘active learning’ and recognising ‘the need for progression’.

I was also particularly impressed by the way the Health Mentors from the different regions worked collaboratively in their teams.

One graduate commented that the structure of planning was excellent. One apprentice was pleased that the programme was ‘targeting different children…not just sporty ones’.

Funding means that the 2week XLR8 Transition Camps are free, with two themes: ‘Super-Heroes’ and ‘What’s THE Idea?’

Both themes follow a four format day:

  • XLR8 Vitality – Physical Engagement Games
  • XLR8 Enterprise – Enquiring Minds
  • XLR8 Enterprise – DigITal Media
  • XLR8 Talent – Creative Arts and Performance

If I was the parent of a Year 6 child, or indeed an actual Year 6 child, I would be smiling. The sessions promise to be fun and active with opportunities to make new friends and help make transition smoother. Watch this space for further information…or better still, give me or Evolve a shout…

Meanwhile, I am now off to re-draft further sessions featuring various Super-Heroes. However, I really need to remove the mental image of Super Man struggling to use the Corby Trouser Press on his cape, tights and underwear…

Images Courtesy of Google Images:

Bryn Llewellyn, 14 June 2011