The Kubricks Rock The Soundhouse

A Saturday night out in Colchester for me these days usually involves ending up in The Bull to check out the bands in the pub’s dedicated on-site music venue, the Soundhouse. Last night’s trip into town was to be no exception, so after a couple of pints of Blue Moon in Hudson Bar on Head Street mingling with the town’s trendy set (being over 40 we were of course invisible to them) we were Crouch Street bound as word had reached us that The Kubricks were in town.

On arrival at The Bull Dave Richards, the owner, greeted us at the door, and after a brief stop at the main bar to grab a couple of drinks we made our way through to the Soundhouse in time for our main event. After an enthusiastic introduction from Ben Howard, Colchester’s very own Mr Cool, The Kubricks, a nine-piece band from London, hit the stage and nearly blew the roof off the packed venue; in the process instantly propelling themselves onto my Fantasy Gig Line-Up. Fantasy Gig Line-Up, I hear you ask, what’s that? Well simply put, it’s a list of the bands and artists I would want to have playing if I was organising my own party, say for a significant birthday, wedding, or perhaps a mini festival in the garden. It goes without saying that these acts that would all have to be within my limited budget, so the likes of Simple Minds and Blondie are on my separate Post Lottery Win Fantasy Gig Line-Up. My restricted budget line-up so far includes Colchester’s Ady Johnson, Animal Noise, Modern English and F.O.X to name but a few. And of course The Kubricks, who have now given me a headache with the running order. But I digress.

If your musical tastes include any of the following –  Ska, Jazz, Rock, Northern Soul, Rock and Pop you will love The Kubricks. If they don’t, I think I’d still be safe placing a bet that you will love them. Fronted by the energetic and charismatic Peter Shreeves, The Kubricks belted out a high energy set that kept the house rocking for forty-five minutes, delivering infectious song after song that showed why they were so in demand during last year’s festival season, playing at no less than seven festivals, three of which they headlined, as well as playing main support slots for UB40, The Toasters and Buster Shuffle. Their influences clearly come from the best of British Ska, in fact their website proudly features this quote from Horace Panter, the bassist in The Specials:

“I can hear Madness, The Ruts, Squeeze and The Clash in there… all mashed up to make something very listenable. There are tunes you can sing in the bath or at the traffic lights. Intelligent lyrics and danceable too!! ”

It’s not often I go to a gig, see a band for the first time, and feel like their songs are already a part of me. With great songwriting, and a memorable performance that over-delivered on everything that the audience could have wanted, that is exactly what The Kubricks achieved for me.

The Kubricks are a band not to be missed, so make sure you catch them next time they are in town.

Simon Crow


The Cinema and iPhone Etiquette*

With talk of Curzon Cinemas setting up shop in the former Keddies building in the town’s Queen Street, and Head Street’s Odeon bracing itself for this year’s summer blockbusters, Colchester 101’s resident movie reviewer Andy Oliver wants to address iPhone etiquette in the cinema.

How exciting is your life?

Are you and your Facebook friends regularly saving the world from megalomaniac, self-replicating robots with daddy issues? Have you dropped out of the back of a plane in your unfeasibly cool muscle-car lately and your Snapchat chums need to know about it? Are tweets about Sergeant Troy’s romantic and, worryingly, swashbuckling pursuit of you the trending hashtag that millions hang on?



Then what are you doing sitting in a cinema? Surely nothing, nothing, that a huge team of professional film makers, money men and actors put up there, on the silver screen, is going to be of any interest to you; nothing they sweat over, pore over, brow beat and (metaphorically) flagellate themselves over is going to excite any response from you; you are the gods who walk among us and nothing is more interesting than you.

But, for the rest of us, the ones who work in our dreary jobs, with our dreary lives and our drearily low number of Twitter followers and our dreary Facebook statuses, that stuff projected up there, that colourful, noisy, emotional, funny, touching stuff; that magical stuff for which we have had to spend our hard earned money to see and enjoy; that, “Stuff that dreams are made of”; that is about as exciting as our lives get.

And that’s why it’s so annoying when you start checking or, worse, answering your bloody mobile phone. That sudden shaft of light in the dark; that unexpected gorilla-glass glow; that unwelcome explanatory exchange (“Yeah, I’m at the pictures, mate….Yeah, it’s alright, not as exciting as my life… Yeah, that’s why I didn’t turn my phone off… lol”), these are the things that pluck us out of our cinematic reverie, that distract and annoy, irritate and, possibly, destroy our enjoyment of the moving images we paid our hard-earned cash to watch.


Here’s the thing: “You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake”. You are not an avenging superhero; you are neither fast nor furious; and, if you don’t turn that phone off, you are not far enough away from the madding crowd. Whilst you are there in the dark with us, you are one of us!

The cinema is NOT your home, it is a public place, more importantly, a public place where not only you but everyone who is there with you has paid actual money to be. Everyone has paid money because it is a place in which they want to be, watching a film they want to see. Like it or not, once those lights go down and the movie starts to play, you are part of a communal experience and no longer an individual; for the duration of the movie, whether or not you are enjoying it or how good it actually is, you are a small part of a whole, try not to be the bacterial interloper that upsets any part of it. Even the original hipster, Holden Caulfield, admitted, “If I ever sat behind myself in a movie or something, I’d probably lean over and tell myself to please shut up.”

Fans of Radio 5 Live’s flagship film show have long been aware of the Code of Conduct launched by hosts Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode, of which mobile phone usage is but one of ten heinous crimes against fellow patrons (a copy of “The Code” can be found here HERE. In the United States some of the smaller chains have taken a zero tolerance view on phone use, throwing offending patrons out, usually to cheers and applause from the other cinema goers.

Maybe there’ll be a time when it’ll be socially acceptable to check your social networks statuses in a cinema, though I hope not; maybe cinemas will reserve the rear few rows of seats for serial tweeters (a kind of throwback to the days when the left hand side of the theatre was reserved for smokers); maybe technology will allow “Likes” to be transmitted to the pleasure centres of your brain; maybe, maybe… But that day ain’t yet, sunshine, so keep that phone in your pocket or bag or, even better, turn it off until you leave the auditorium.

Thank you for your consideration.

*Other annoying distraction makers are available


Andy Oliver
Andy Oliver

My Music Masters Of The Month – May 2015

Meet Jeanette Lynes, a Colchester musician who sings with Sound Mirrors and The Significant Others. Jeanette is also the promoter who has been running Acoustic Bull on the 2nd Thursday of each month for four years, and Bullstock Music Festival for three years, at The Bull in Colchester.

Each month I am going to write about acoustic, covers and original acts that have impressed me and I’m going to begin with my highlights from Cosmic Puffin 8.

Well, what a great musical start to this month! Local legend, Jamie Anderson, started organising Cosmic Puffin music festivals on Mersea Island 8 years ago and each year they go from strength to strength. Raising thousands of pounds for charity, the festival is a big draw for musicians and festival-goers, with six stages accommodating more than 100 acts and providing something for just about everyone… no matter how weird! I had the great pleasure of performing there a few years ago with Lady Bird & The Larks and then again this year with Sound Mirrors on The River Stage. The whole festival appeared to be run like a well-oiled machine, but with just the right amount of laid-back hippy-appeal that you would expect and want from a small(ish) music event run entirely by volunteers.


‘Fishclaw’ are a six-piece instrumental group who play a mix of up-tempo beats and melodies with traditional folk influences and immersive ‘soundscapes’. With double bass, violin, whistle/flute & accordion amongst their armoury they had the place enthralled – it’s impossible to not dance… or at least tap your foot!

Give them a listen:


I don’t get to see many cover bands but this one could also be in the Acoustic section of my article… ‘The Bijoux Toots’, also affectionately known as ‘The Toots’. They say they are ‘Americana Popfolk Nugrass’ and if you like shanties, reels and unexpected pop songs played by some great folk musicians then this will be right up your street. Using condenser microphones, the ones that pick up all surrounding sound, they stood in two groups leaning in and out blending their voices and instruments to great effect.

A video taste of The River Stage:


‘Mouthful Of Ashtrays’ played on The Cosmic Stage and my word they filled it with some jaw-droppingly good old-fashioned rock with a hint of country! They had everything going on… the music, the vibe, the harmonies and, of course, the stance. Centre stage in dark glasses, one foot on the monitor and wielding his bass guitar like a machine gun, Mark Shillaker played up brilliantly to the exuberant crowd.

See them in action on The Cosmic Stage:


Jeanette Lynes

We’re back

Did you miss us?

Colchester 101 was originally launched in print form in November 2010 and was an instant hit with Colchestrians who quickly found they couldn’t get enough of the magazine’s diverse mix of locally focused content, written and contributed by local people. 10,000 copies a month were snapped up from pubs, bars, restaurants, gyms, supermarkets, the cinema, and countless local shops as fast as we could distribute them by readers eager for their monthly fix of news about local bands, the arts scene, Colchester United and much, much more, all jostling for space amongst interviews with the likes of John Cooper Clarke, Adamski and Modern English as well as local favourites including Animal Noise, Ady Johnson and New Town Kings.

Unfortunately, the time spent every month preparing the artwork, checking printer’s proofs and carrying out press passes, let alone distributing all those copies, proved too much of a distraction from our day jobs, so eventually we made the reluctant decision to end production.

Fast forward to 2015 and we’re back, this time online, and fired up with renewed enthusiasm.  We believe that there is still an appetite for local content, in fact maybe more so than before, so we’re bringing back some of your old favourites, along with a few new contributors too. And, without strict deadlines to hit, we won’t need to pull all-nighters this time round to get the artwork finished and off to the printers.  As an online publication we can upload content as and when it comes in, as well as including video and audio, meaning that Colchester 101 can take on a life that wasn’t possible in a 32 page A4 format.

I hope you enjoy the all new Colchester 101.



Minories Reduced

Modern English

Castle Park

Waiting Room


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