All posts by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

A keen reader and lover of music plus of course my lifelong support of the mighty Potters, Stoke City! Enjoy running and fundraising.

Theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 announced as “Loneliness”

We’re pleased to let you know that the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 is ……… “Loneliness”.

The week will run from Monday 9th May until Sunday 15th May 2022 and will raise awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental wellbeing, as well as the practical steps that can be taken to address it. 

Loneliness affects millions of people in the UK every year and has had a huge impact on our mental health during the pandemic.   

That is why we have chosen it as our theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022. Our connection to other people and our community is fundamental to protecting our mental health and we need to find better ways of tackling the epidemic of loneliness. We can all play a part in this.

Mental Health Awareness Week was started by the Foundation more than two decades ago and has now grown to become one of the UK’s most recognised campaigns. It has helped transform awareness of mental health and grow understanding of how we can improve mental health, both as individuals and as a society.

Happiful magazine Jan 2022, mental health support & Sarah Millican

Looking for support with your mental health? Here are some places that can help

Comedian Sarah Millican’s #JoinIn campaign which takes place on Christmas Day over on Twitter, which is there for anyone feeling alone.

Anxious times in the office

Music on my headphones helps me cope at work big time. Why? Well, in the office you can often only hear doom ‘n’ gloom which sends my mind off in a spin and scenarios overload. I am not a pessimistic person, just that my mind loves to work on worst case scenarios!

Office environments can be both good and bad from an anxiety point of view. Good in that you have fellow colleagues around to chat too and actually see in person, as opposed to on teams/zoom. Bad is the scaremongering, and often baseless ‘facts’, they chat about. That’s fine but it does affect others who may not be saying anything and instead worrying away on the inside.

Sometimes engage the brain before speaking… Boris take note 😉

Tune of the Day – Astral Drive  is songwriter and producer Phil Thornalley’s vision of a long lost album from the 1970s that only existed in his own mind. It is a wonderfully uplifting listen…

Journal of an anxious man :)

Like many out there in the real world (as opposed to the fantasy world of social media), the ongoing pandemic has really been affecting peoples well-being and metal health. Certainly for me the lockdowns, which started in March 2020, sent me into full on panic/anxiety mode and I am now on medication to help me, which it does. But you also need to have some coping strategies and people support (which I am very lucky to have).

The coping strategies often form part of Cognitive Behavioural/ Therapy (CBT) which is not as scary as it sounds! I attended a six week course back in 2019 via MIND and it proved very useful. However, I have been a bit lax on doing worry time and proper relaxation techniques. One strategy which my wife said to try was journaling and here I am 🙂 Well, blogging as like many I hardly use a pen and paper nowadays.

I am aiming to jot down my thoughts & feelings each day if possible, or at least a few times per week. The reason for making this public is not because I am a show off (far from it!!!) but in the hope it may help somebody else and to hear other people’s experiences. Please do feel free to comment.

Each post will also feature my Tune of the Day as music is very important to me and has been a constant companion from early on in my life.

The Taerks Christmas Sunday session Sunday 12 December at 4PM EST/9pm BST

Facebook event page

Plus broadcast live on GRTR! Radio

You better watch out, and you better not cry cause Taerkie Clause is coming to town! We’re doing a special Holiday edition of our GRTR! Sunday Sessions streaming live on Facebook and Get Ready To Rock! Radio!

Nordoff Robbins joint winner at the UK Mental Health and Wellbeing Awards 2021

Music therapist, Fraser Simpson, won the award on behalf of Nordoff Robbins for his work with our partners, Mountbatten Hospice. Mountbatten delivers hospice and end of life services across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, supporting up to 3,000 people on any one day within their own homes, as well as in the hospices buildings.

Fraser’s online work at Mountbatten Hospice during the pandemic, and in particular a song-writing/recording project with Mountbatten Young Adults group and the combined Community Choirs of Mountbatten Isle of Wight and Mountbatten Hampshire, was one of 17 shortlisted projects to be nominated for this prestigious award.

Upon accepting the award, Fraser said:

“Thank you for this award, which I am overwhelmed to receive on behalf of Nordoff Robbins, for delivering a music therapy service at Mountbatten Hospices Isle of Wight and Southampton throughout the pandemic.

For many months, Mountbatten’s very active psycho-social programme (open to the entire local community) and day, self-help and rehabilitation services had to be delivered very differently – with many of these services being delivered virtually though online services and programmes. The music therapy service moved online, offering relief from the social isolation experienced by so many. Music did its magical work of connecting, uplifting, enlivening and enabling, despite the limitations of online working.”

You can read the full article here

How was 2021 for you…Mark Stay

Author, scriptwriter, podcaster & more…Mark Stay gives us the lowdown on his year and plans for 2022, plus some music, film & book recommendations…

The highs & lows of 2021…
The highs… Going back to the movies has been great (even if we’re often the only people in the cinema wearing masks). We kicked it off by seeing the Lord of the Rings trilogy on the big screen, which our kids had never experienced before. Just magical.


Also managed to write more this year than any other. A couple of books, a few short stories, and a bunch of screenplays, and there’s also a TV thing happening that I can’t talk about. It’s been a productive year. I prefer to keep my head down and write rather than wail on social media these days. That’s where the lows are.

Read any good books lately…
The audiobook of Rutger Bregman’s Humankind kept me sane over the summer. Humanity is not as bad as we make ourselves out to be. I can also recommend the audiobook of Seth Rogen’s Yearbook, which is hilarious, though your mileage may vary depending on your tolerance for stoner stories. I’m in the middle of a proof copy of Caimh McDonnell’s This Charming Man, the second in his Stranger Times series, which is joyful page-turning, gripping fun. Highly recommended.

For research, I’m listening to Get Tusked, which is about Fleetwood Mac making the album Tusk after Rumours became the biggest album in the world. Things get a wee bit strained as you can imagine. For film nerds, I loved My Life as a Mankiewicz, by the late, great screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz. One of the most gleefully gossipy books about movies you’ll ever read.

Films & TV series you’d recommend a watch over the Christmas & New Year break…
I know the Ted Lasso thing is in danger of being overblown, but it really is like a warm hug. I got into it during the second lockdown and it will help restore your faith in humanity. You can balance that with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia which we’re loving, though we can only watch one episode at a time as they’re such despicable people.

Only Murders in the Building is the best thing Steve Martin has done since Bowfinger, and as a whodunnit it really keeps you on the hook. I’m really looking forward to Peter Jackson’s Beatles three-part documentary Get Back. I suspect I’m going to be watching that on hard repeat.

In our house, Christmas officially starts when we all gather to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol, and there’s a rumour that Disney might finally be releasing the full version with the song When Love Is Found.

Heard any good music recently…
Ocean to Ocean by Tori Amos is my favourite album of hers since Scarlett’s Walk. Some of the best stuff she’s ever done. Wet Leg are a cracking duo from the Isle of Wight. They’ve only released two songs — Chaise Longue and Wet Dream — and they’re both belters. I stumbled across the video for Rumors by Lizzo and Cardi B on Apple TV and it’s like an R-rated version of Disney’s Hercules. It has to be seen to be believed and the song is an instant classic. And as a longtime Floyd fan I was delighted to get the CD of the 2019 remix of A Momentary Lapse of Reason (MP3s just aren’t the same). To hear Nick and Rick on the album as they should always have been is a real treat.

What have you got planned for next year and beyond…
Busy year in 2022. My new film Unwelcome comes out on St Patrick’s Day in the UK and the USA. And the third of the Witches of Woodville books — The Ghost of Ivy Barn — is out in May. Hoping to do more festivals and book events and actually meet people!

Anything else to add…
Unwelcome Trailer: 

You can discover more about The Witches of Woodville books and even get some free short stories here: https://witchesofwoodville.com

Everyday Kindess short story collection raising money for Shelter

Everyday Kindness is a charity anthology of short, fictional stories of kindness, edited by LJ Ross. These uplifting tales of hope and of small, everyday kindnesses are intended to support wider, positive mental health goals and foster wellbeing through the act of reading tales of goodwill inspired by others. Featuring authors across the spectrum of literature, some international bestsellers and award-winning writers amongst them, this is a unique collection of words.

All proceeds from the book will be donated to Shelter, a charity that helps millions of people a year struggling with bad housing or homelessness.

Authors include: LJ Ross, Adam Hamdy, Alex Smith, Alexander Gordon Smith, Alison Stockham, Anne O’Leary, Barbara Copperthwaite, J.D. Kirk, C.L. Taylor, Caroline Mitchell, Chris McDonald, C.K. McDonnell, Claire Sheehy, Clare Flynn, Darren O’Sullivan, David Leadbeater, Debbie Young, Deborah Carr, Emma Robinson, Graham Brack, Hannah Lynn, Heather Martin, Holly Martin, Ian Sainsbury, Imogen Clark, James Gilbert, Jane Corry, Jean Gill, J.J. Marsh, Judith O’Reilly, Kelly Clayton, Kim Nash, Leah Mercer, Liz Fenwick, Louise Beech, Louise Jensen, Louise Mumford, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Marcia Woolf, Mark Stay, Marcie Steele, Natasha Bache, Nick Jackson, Nick Quantrill, Nicky Black, Patricia Gibney, Rachel Sargeant, Rob Parker, Rob Scragg, S.E. Lynes, Shelley Day, Casey Kelleher, Sophie Hannah, Victoria Connelly, Victoria Cooke, Will Dean.

“A win/win when it comes to making you feel good – the stories will do just that, and buying this book will help homeless people.” – Val Mcdermid

“Jack Reacher is a wanderer by choice. Others are homeless through no fault of their own – illness, the loss of a job, the loss of a partner. We need a better system. Buy this book and you’ll enjoy some great stories, and you’ll help Shelter – our best advocate for housing fairness.” – Lee Child

“What a treasure trove of stories! Each one has a different style and I enjoyed all of them. A highly recommended collection for a good cause!” – Glynis Peters

“I loved every page! Each story was the hug I needed, and the stories from this amazing collection of talented authors were told with poignancy. Exactly what the world needs right now.” – Jessica Ryn

GYPSY PISTOLEROS bid for the Xmas No.1 & raising funds for Shelter

GYPSY PISTOLEROS the swashbuckling renegade flamenco rock rumba punk ‘n’ roll pioneers are aiming for the Xmas No.1 spot with a cracking version of the world anthem, Livin la Vida Loca!

These sleazers are unashamedly going for a Christmas hit, with a Day of the Dead‘ inspired video which will be available very soon. This Xmas No.1 Campaign begins today (Nov 2nd, Dia de los Muertos Festival) and is fully released on 17th December. It is backed by the Guru of Xmas Hits Jon Morter. With all proceeds going to Shelter.

Be sure to join the party it’s gonna be a blast!

CLICK HERE TO STREAM LIVIN LA VIDA LOCA

Jon Morter is best known for his gatecrashing of the music industry in 2009 with his phenomenal Rage Against The X Factor campaign, sweeping Rap/Metal band Rage Against The Machine into the sought after UK Christmas No.1 spot.  This success opened the door for Jon to work on campaigns for some big artists in the industry including Nirvana, Sex Pistols, Rod Stewart, David Essex, a No.1 album for The Rolling Stones, AC/DC‘s highest-ever chart placing in the UK singles chart, Rik Mayall’s 2010 World Cup single (which incidentally Jon campaigned for again after Rik’s death making the UK No.7 in 2014), and the 2012 Christmas No.1 campaign for The Justice Collective.

Gypsy Pistoleros may be best described as being the ideal house band for the fictitious Titty Twister bar of Rodriguez’s From Dusk Til Dawn. Between the nods to Morricone’s tense, tumbleweed atmospheres and the Gypsy Kings’ manic Mediterranean energy, a New York Dolls raw glam spark and a surplus of prime G ’n’ R attitude!

The sound is flamenco & rumba in a head-on collision with punk/rock riffs, pounding bass and thrashing drums. The songs span madly in the best rock ‘n’ roll tradition with big hooks, attitude, and sleaze. Yet those flamenco breaks got into your head and refuse to leave – this unique hybrid rocks.

Nordoff Robbins 2021 Christmas Concerts

Taking place at 7pm on Tuesday 14th Dec 2021 at St Luke’s Church, Chelsea, the welcome return of the Nordoff Robbins Carol Service showcases a star-studded line up including Sir Rod Stewart – one of the most important and best-selling artists of all time, the magnetic Irish singer-songwriter Imelda May and chart-topping saxophonist and presenter Jess Gillam. With Christmas carols sung by some of the music industry’s most celebrated artists, from music giants to and coming young talent, the evening will also feature a host of celebrities giving festive readings.* Tickets are available from carols.nordoff-robbins.org.uk, priced £50.

Following the music therapy charity’s first virtual Christmas event in 2020, Nordoff Robbins is also offering music lovers who can’t attend the church the opportunity to come together to experience the Christmas magic by watching ‘The Stars Come Out To Sing At Christmas 2021’, hosted by the iconic Nile Rodgers. The free-to-view streamed concert will feature carols and readings from St Luke’s Church along with exclusive additional performances from stars around the world, which fans can access at 7pm GMT on Sunday 19th December via carols.nordoff-robbins.org.uk. Donations are encouraged throughout this very special festive evening to enable Nordoff Robbins’ dedicated music therapists to support those who need it most to experience the joy and power of music – helping communication and reducing isolation.

Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy is delighted to have Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited as a funding partner for the second year. 

The online concert will be supported by London Stock Exchange through streaming on its Issuer Services Spark (https://www.lsegissuerservices.com/spark). Spark is a digital platform that enables London Stock Exchange clients and partners to distribute a range of digital and thought leadership content.

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Rod Stewart - Carol Concert 2021
CHIC - Nile Rogers New Years Eve 2017-18 by Jill Furmanovsky

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