Our Christmas Annual Introductions Mick Harding I can’t believe we’re here again; it seems like 5 minutes since last time. We’ve had a great year and without all your support we wouldn’t be able to achieve what we do. In particular I’d like to thank my long suffering other half who puts up with me being out, a lot! Maybe she enjoys it? I’d also like to thank my daughter Meg who always manages to bring me straight back down to earth. If I think we’re playing a really great gig at a festival, it’s always reassuring to look out into the crowd and see her completely ignoring us, head stuck in book. Mike Richmond The main theme of 2011 for me has been spending money I don’t have on gadgets I don’t need. Now that I have a full complement of guitars, bouzoukis and mandolins, this year was focused on consolidating and updating the technology in the house. Panacea for me is being able take photos on the iPhone, edit them on the Macbook and look at them on the iPad before printing them out on the wireless printer. The time it takes me to get all of this equipment playing together nicely precludes me from actually enjoying any of my content, so the plan for 2012 is to do just that. James Paddison I love this time of year, the cold weather, maybe snow and the magic of Christmas. There are enough ordinary days in the year and it is nice to make the effort for the special ones. Saying that the shopping part does not usually go well for me, (apparently it is the 25th December every year but it still takes me by surprise!) but that is what Christmas Eve is for. I’d like to wish you and your families a Happy Christmas and Great New Year. I hope that Father Christmas brings all that you could wish for. Leigh Hirst How fast a year flies! I can’t believe it’s been a year since we were here celebrating the previous year and announcing ‘Regret’ as our first single off ‘Secrets’. We were hopeful for a strong year and though we hit a few barriers and bumps on the way, it did not disappoint. The highlight of my year had to be performing at the BBC Club, walking past Chris Martin and our album playing over their sound system as Jack Osbourne was sipping a coffee a few tables away. Thank you all for you support over the past year, here’s to 2012! Andy Clark For me it’s been a year of highs and lows. Things started off really well with the recording of the new album and the anticipation of releasing it for you all to hear. Unfortunately though, things didn’t quite work out to plan and there was a long delay before we were finally able to release it. We have had some great gigs this year and have met some lovely people along the way. We are all very excited about the thought of coming up with a whole set of new songs for next year and we hope you stay with us! 2 | Circus Envy 2011 Annual
January - March January and a freezing cold 2011 began for me and Nicki with Bellowhead and fireworks in fancy dress at the Royal Festival Hall. Ironically, the theme for the fancy dress theme was ‘Circus’. Coincidence? Memories of the start of the year are a bit hazy although the headache was a corker. Hair of the dog with some London Pride overlooking the Thames soon sorted that one out. I can also confirm that Jools Holland’s Hootenanny is pre-recorded! I know this because Bellowhead were onstage at exactly the same time they were apparently playing on the telly — scandalous! For the band 2011 began where we finished 2010 — in the studio. We put the finishing touches to the album and released the first single from it. ‘Regret’ seemed to go down well with punters and critics and set the benchmark for the New Year, peaking in the iTunes Singer Songwriter Top 20! For a couple of weeks we were jostling for position with a young songwriter called Ed Sheeran. I wonder how he got on with his year... After adding some polish and tweaks our friend and producer Andy Bell (no, he wasn’t in Erasure) sent the CD off to Sony where it was mastered on the kit used for Sting’s last record (Sting doesn’t know this by the way, it was a bit of an under the counter sort of arrangement, if you know what I mean…). Meanwhile we headed to the rehearsal room to work up the album tracks into live songs. It actually proved more difficult than we thought — having a full orchestra in a song seemed like a great idea in the recording studio but was a nightmare to recreate live with a bouzouki, some guitars, 2 singers and Leigh. We banned James from using his dodgy keyboard orchestra samples too although he still ‘accidentally’ selects the odd weird tone from time to time. We finally hit the road in March at Bridlington Spa where we played a sell out show for our good friends David and Jean who run an acoustic club. It was a top night and set the tone for our live shows this year by letting us do two of our favourite things — play our songs on stage and tease Leigh in public. We’re still not sure which one we enjoy most. We also met a young duo called Sea Fret who are pretty amazing — watch out for them. In the meantime we were doing lots behind the scenes, booking gigs, getting the amazing album artwork from our good friend Paul Terry and training for the Jane Tomlinson 10K. We received the finished album in March and were delighted with it. It’s worth mentioning the amazing violin and strings on the record — played by our mate Sam Sweeney and the pedal steel guitar played by PJ Wright. I apparently thanked PJ for this at Cropredy in August. I have no memory of this or indeed much else at Cropredy this year as Leigh can testify (he can’t remember much either). Apparently I was ‘shushed’ several times while watching Fairport Conventions set, which isn’t bad really in an outdoor crowd of 20,000. Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. Mick Circus Envy 2011 Annual | 3
April - June April started off with our first appearance at the Fruit Market which was a warm up/promo gig for the Beverley Folk Festival. This was the second time we had shared the stage with an extremely talented duo called Sea Fret, we were all blown away by their performance and it was a great night which the BBC also attended, giving their support once again. So into May and it began with a long trip all the way down to Bishop Stortford. I had finished a night shift that same morning so I was particularly tired. The festival itself was relatively small but there was a great atmosphere and vibe to it. Although it was a long way to travel for a short set it was worth the effort as we all enjoyed the performance and received some good feedback… oh and we got to see the real side of the music industry. We briefly met one of the lads out of Dodgy who were playing later on that night. To be polite, let’s just say that you wouldn’t have thought they were arguably one of the more successful bands in the 90’s! It just shows as a wise man once told me; ‘It takes years to reach the top and days to hit rock bottom’ On 7th May we played a charity gig in Bradford to raise money and awareness for Hope for Justice and Christians Against Poverty. This was probably one of the best locations we’ve ever played. We were well looked after with some lovely food and a green room and the music throughout the evening was to a high standard with a very receptive audience. We donated all the money from CD sales on the night to the two charities. Sunday 15th May, the Jane Tomlinson 10k in Hull. Mick, James, Leigh and I managed to run the race together in a total time of 57mins. The Circus Envy boys also began playing a few rounds of golf this year, which makes a change from seeing each other with instruments in our hands all the time! Mike produced an online video to accompany our track, The Burning Sky to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Hull Blitz and gave people the chance to download it for a donation. Our beautiful baby girl was born on 19th May- we called her Jessica. Both Mick and Mike both have daughters so Jessica made it a hatrick of girls (not including Leigh of course!) Thank you to everyone for their kind gifts and well wishes at the time. We’re now all eagerly awaiting the fourth arrival to the band in April with the great news that James and Lynne are expecting! June 19th saw us play at Beverley Folk Festival and Jessica got to go to her first gig — and cry throughout! Well at least someone else enjoyed our performance as we got a great review from FATEA Magazine. Thank you for all your support throughout the year. I hope you have a great evening and a very merry Christmas. See you all in 2012. Andy 4 | Circus Envy 2011 Annual
July - September The summer months are always a relaxing time for those in my profession, but that certainly wasn’t the case for the band as we had numerous festival appearances. July kicked off with our debut appearance at the Moonbeams Festival at the Wold Top Brewery situated on top of the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds. Even though we had the first slot of the day, we played to an inviting and bustling crowd and we are delighted to have been invited back for the 2012 festival. Also during July, we received an e-mail from our friend Alison Shaw at BBC Leeds enquiring whether we would be willing to join an ensemble of musicians and perform the 3rd movement of ‘A Symphony for Yorkshire’ — A community project we were involved in the year before — at the Yorkshire and Humber O2 Media Awards. August saw a return to The Sesh at the Linnet and Lark. This was the first time I’d ever played there, but for the rest of the band this was a return to their roots since Andy, James and Mike played here back in their earlier years in the band ‘still life’. Towards the end of the month, we headed to the Lime Tree Festival in North Yorkshire, a truly eclectic festival which was made obvious by the heavy base line from the dance tent thudding through the fields as we attempted to put up our tents – Mick watching over us with a smug smile, sat in his campervan. Following a sleepless night for many of us we headed off towards Malton stopping off in Helmsley and taking in the sights and a spot of lunch. The audience at The Milton Rooms were excellent and this proved to be one of the more memorable gigs of the year. As September approached, we played one of the stages at Hull’s Freedom Festival and though we were a man down, the crowd were clapping and singing along. We also returned to Stripped at the Wellington Inn, one of our favourite nights and venues in Hull. They have the largest variety of ales and cider that I’ve ever seen, with a huge walk in fridge with all the varieties on display – definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been before. We rounded off the month with a performance at Farnsfield Acoustic in Nottingham, an excellent venue run by extremely dedicated and wonderful people: Jenny Parsons and co. We had a lot to live up to since the usual acts that frequent their stage are the likes of Fairport Convention, Steve Knightley and Dave Swarbrick amongst other high profile acts. However, we relaxed into one of our strongest performances of the year and for me, was the most memorable gig of 2011. As we rapidly approach six years in the current line-up, I can honestly say that each year has been a new adventure as the profile of the band increases. Through constant support from people like you, we are being asked to play on grander stages, to larger audiences. I am looking forward to what 2012 will bring for Circus Envy. Merry Christmas to you all. Leigh Circus Envy 2011 Annual | 5
October - December Following the release of our album, Secrets, and a year of hard work, the final quarter of the year had a real radio theme. We went down to London to perform at a showcase arranged by our PR company in the BBC’s bar, next door to the Radio 2 studios. Just missing Coldplay, who were leaving as we arrived, we played to a selection of industry types and BBC Radio producers over the course of four hours, before retiring back to our hotel in Wembley for a well earned rest and caught Coldplay’s appearance on Later… With Jools Holland. Fresh from carrying equipment across London on foot the day before, we hit the M1 first thing the next morning and drove the full length of it in order to get to a radio session in Harrogate for Jennie Lees at Stray FM. Jenny treated us very well and it was a pleasure for us to perform for her. We covered Jessie J’s “Price Tag” with added bouzouki and cajon and thoroughly enjoyed our day. Our second BBC Radio 2 play followed, on Mike Harding’s show. He really enjoyed our video of Bright Phoebus which we created for YouTube in honour of Mike Waterson’s passing earlier in the year, and he played our version of Three Score and Ten on his folk show, which was completely unexpected and made us very proud. We also released a single, Say Something, which had plenty of play on BBC Radio Humberside’s Introducing show. The show has been one of our most stalwart supporters over the last few years and we are honoured to have been invited to take part in their tenth anniversary show next year. The team in Hull work tirelessly to promote local talent and the music scene in the area would be much weaker without them. We took a break from keeping Costa Coffee in business from the middle of December in order to concentrate on preparing for our Christmas show in Barton, which led to plenty of gentle teasing as Leigh tried to get his chops around George Michael and I fought valiantly against my guitar as it tried to prevent me from playing a very straightforward guitar line I had prepared and written down. I blamed the way I had written it in my book, but never took the logical next step of writing it down more clearly. And so we reach the end of December — we are proud of what we have achieved this year, and we were humbled by the speed at which tickets to our Christmas show sold out. We are sure you will all enjoy the night and we have been working around the clock in order to prepare a show that will justify your support over the last twelve months. We have a great support act in Hannah Scott, whose skill makes us feel like amateurs, and there are some surprises in store for the night! We’ll see you all in the New Year: we already have some festivals lined up and will keep you informed as to our whereabouts as the year progresses. Thanks again to every one of you for your support. Mike 6 | Circus Envy 2011 Annual
2011 Gigs & Events 19th March 7th April 1st May 7th May 70th Anniversary of Hull Blitz 15th May 29th May 19th June 9th July 14th July 16th August 27th August 28th August 2nd September 11th September 15th September 24th September 2nd October 25th October 6th Decemer 10th December
Acoustic @ The Spa (Bridlington) Fruit, Folk Acoustic & Roots Bishop Stortford Music Festival Love Unplugged (Bradford) The Burning Sky Video Jane Tomlinson Hull 10K Cleethorpes Folk Party Beverley Folk Festival Moonbeams Festival O2 Media Awards (York Race course) The Sesh Lime Tree Festival The Milton Rooms (Malton) Freedom Festival (Hull) Radio, The Oliver Sessions Stripped Farnsfield Acoustic (Nottingham) Hull Trinity Festival BBC Club (London) The Grafton Ropery Hall
Thanks We would all like to thank you for your continued support. Also our thanks go to Andy Bell, Sam Sweeney, PJ Wright, Tony and Denise at Manilla PR, All at Radio Humberside, Hannah Scott, Ben Till, Paul Terry Design, Simon Wilcock at LVK Print, John Redhead at POPex Design, John and Sally at Akcent Media, The Ropewalk staff for clearing up the party poppers and last but not least Nicki and Megan, Lynne, Naomi and Jessica, Becky and Aurora, and our families. Finally the rest of the band would like to thank Leigh for providing the source of our constant amusement, long may it continue! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, look forward to seeing you all in 2012.
Circus Envy 2011 Annual | 7
Circus Envy No Prize Crossword
Across 4. This band gave us our name 6. It has eight strings and Mike plays one 9. Fairport’s Oxfordshire field 10. Our January single 12. He can play virtually anything - and fix your boiler! 13. He fiddled about with us on our record! 14. We’ve all got them and they gave us a title this year 16. The tallest member of the band? Down 1. His pyjamas weren’t wrong 2. Lunar light gives you this festival 3. Leigh and Mick’s summer downfall!! 5. Sing into one to find this member 6. We played our first gig of the year here 7. Not on sea, but vocally strong? 8. The eldest member of the band 11. Give this a ring to find our producer 15. Mick sits on one!
Annual designed by POPex Design (www.popex.co.uk) and printed by LVK Print.