Gazelle lead singer Ryan Dunn on effect of lockdown: “It really put a spanner in the works”

By Samuel Gill

Lockdown has affected many businesses, such as the entertainment sector, with live music having no potential roadmap in sight for bands to return to venues since the lockdown earlier this year in March.

Ryan Dunn is lead singer for the Leicester-based band Gazelle who, as well as a following in their home city, started to gain major traction further afield before lockdown.

Speaking about the effect of the lockdown from their perspective, he admits that there were big plans in the offing.

“Just before lockdown, we had a few things in the pipeline that were looking really good for us. There were television appearances and a few festivals so it really put a spanner in the works. It was quite annoying to be honest. We’re just hoping we can continue that when we get back,” said Dunn.

A lockdown demo was released by the band called This is My England ahead of the 75th anniversary of VE Day and this time has led to music being made differently including for Dunn and Gazelle.

“I’ve been writing a lot of new music and getting a few tunes down so I suppose in that respect, it’s been a bit of a blessing to get that time to write some new tunes.

“I think you can be a bit more experimental. I think it’s a time you can reflect and try and work out how you stand and hone your skills a bit more.”

Dunn’s last gig was at The Cookie back in March as a solo acoustic set with The Magic Mod, a sign which still adorns the venue today and like many, he didn’t think it’d be this long since his last gig.

He added: “To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to think at the time. I wasn’t too worried about it. I was a bit reluctant to go into lockdown so it was nice to get that last gig in and I definitely didn’t expect it to be almost a year. If you actually go by the Cookie, The Magic Mod is still there, it’s a bit weird to see.”

PRECURSOR: Ryan Dunn on stage at The Cookie before lockdown – Photo – Robert O’Brien/ Snake Oil Music News

So how does he see the future of live music and venues? Dunn believes it has been an apparent issue since lockdown began.

“I don’t think they’re doing enough to protect venues, pubs or any sort of small business. I think they jump to put us into lockdown too quickly sometimes and don’t stop to think of the consequences it has on the businesses.”

Leicester barber believes future is bleak in event of second lockdown

By Samuel Gill

Barber Cameron Hallam in his shop on Evington Road before the pandemic.

Among the industries to be hit the hardest by the Coronavirus pandemic is hair and beauty, especially in Leicester where the restrictions have lasted longest.

Leicester-based barber Cameron Hallam, who has owned Cameron’s Cutz since 2005, spoke to Leicestershire Press and believes that businesses closing is inevitable if a second lockdown or a circuit breaker is introduced.

“I feel that is in the air. I’ve just got the same anxious feeling. I’d not be surprised if they did this circuit breaker. I hope I’m wrong, I think it’s definitely possible,” said Hallam.

“The general government have got to support the local government to support the local business. If they do that in the right time frame which I doubt they will because it took a long time to get support when it went into lockdown before. If they don’t, you’ve got to start thinking, I can’t keep doing this.”

“There’s no furlough, that doesn’t exist for any small business or anyone like myself. You’re going to wander up high streets and you’re going to see places closing. The rent doesn’t go away.”

Hallam due to his reputation is often booked up but since the lockdown, his usual turnover has gone down and he believes there is a main reason for this.

“I would say it has impacted me up to 25% less than I’d usually take in turnover. If you look it across the board, people are doing less. I think people are worried for their jobs and their futures. I always think of a haircut as a luxury. It’s a treat because you want to feel good and look good. People are not going anywhere.”

Reopening was heavily impacted by a local lockdown for Leicester and he believes that as a city, they were treated poorly.

“That was probably the toughest thing from all of this for me personally. When they initially gave me the date of July 4 for Hair and Beauty to reopen, I thought ok I’ve got the date there, there’s a light at the end of it all. Then to get the local lockdown, that took the wing out of my sails that was tough,” he added.

“Psychologically that impacted me. I felt Leicester got done a bit as well. I feel we were a bit of a social experiment.”

Leicester City Council hold community food growing event

By Yousuf Ali.

About a half dozen projects set up stall at the City Hall as part as Leicester’s Food Plan this afternoon in the hopes to encourage food growing.

Leicester’s Food Plan is a long-term programme to make Leicester a healthy and sustainable food city.

Susan Holden, project manager of Food Plan, said: “We’re supporting food growing groups. It’s all about people getting involved in growing food.”

The event commenced at 2.00pm with the event ending with an informal discussion on supporting the development of food growing across the city.

Projects from all over the city set up stall to encourage people to grow fruit and vegetable, in the hopes to encourage healthy eating.

The drop in session was not only about growing food, but also a chance to network with other groups.

Felecity Roos, from Trent Rivers Trust, also set up stall to inform people about sustainable water use. She said: “We’re running a project to try and improve water quality and reduce risk of flooding in Leicester.”

The council also offer a scheme called Get Growing Grant which funds different groups and projects who want start growing their own fruit and vegetables.

Empire brought into spotlight at Newarke Museum

By Ollie Heppenstall.

Newarke

A series of lectures about the British Empire’s involvement in Afghanistan is to take place at the Newarke Houses museum.

Empire in the Balance, by Amarpal Singh Sidhu, will look at the battles of Chillianwallah and Gujarat. It runs parallel to an exhibition about the British Empire in a wider context.

The exhibition is being held until June 11th, while the talk itself is happening on March 22nd at 6.00pm.

Leicester prepares for Gateway opening

By Muhsin Cabdi.

gateway

One of Leicester’s oldest and most historic structures will be open to the public next week.

The Magazine Gateway, which was used to store weapons in Medieval times, will be the focus of a guided tour on Sunday the 26th of March.

The Gateway is opened to the public on the last Sunday of every month.

The building will be open from 11.00am-3.00pm visitors are advised to arrive a few minutes before 11.00am so that a prompt start can be made.

The group tour is £2.50 per individual and has limited spaces.

The tour is to be led by Blue Badge guides, who will share their expert knowledge with visitors.

However, visitors who do not wish to partake in the group tour are invited to explore the historic landmark of Leicester on their own free of charge.