Sunday, 20 December 2009

University Challenge round 2 and more Christmas stuff

Hi Cherryaders!

Hope you’re all enjoying the snow as much as I am! It’s absolutely beautiful, yesterday we went out to the Christmas markets and walked around in the snow in the shadow of the giant Santa on top of the town hall before going home to prepare Cherryade Towers for our little Christmas party, we had a lovely evening and it was so nice to see everyone! I’m now back in St. Annes with my parents for Christmas and Adam Cherryade will be joining me on Wednesday when he finishes work. We made snowmen and snowballs before I left which was great!

Our second round University Challenge match against Kings College London will be on tomorrow night (21st December) at 8.00pm on BBC Two or you can watch it for a week after on Iplayer, tune in to see if we can make it to the quarter finals!

In other news, I’ve been very busy with uni work so have been at home a lot, but, this has meant that I’ve had lovely Christmas tv (hello Slow Club, I love your song but this is about actual TV!) constantly on in the background (I like a bit of background noise to help me concentrate!) I’ll watch any old crap as long as it’s about Christmas, in fact as far as Christmas TV goes, the tackier the better! So, some TV highlights:
Sweep (Sooty’s pal) singing ‘Away in a Manger’ on the Alan Titchmarsh show
Kirsty Allsopp explaining how easy and economical a home-made Christmas can be but making it look anything but on Channel 4
The Hairy Bikers cooking and being cheerful while cooking for their celeb mates
The Paul O’Grady Christmas pantomime

What’s been disappointing is the lack of Nigella Lawson on our screens. I don’t like cookery programmes usually (well, apart from at Christmas) but I will watch anything with Nigella in, I know she’s an obvious crush but she is lovely! Some of her recipes are deadly though!

Also a reminder that the Dandelion Radio Festive Fifty will be broadcast from midnight on Christmas Day but don't worry if you miss it as it will be repeated every day throughout December and January along with the other brilliant Dandelion shows here:
tune in to say if your favourites made it in!

Anyway, hope you’re all enjoying Christmas as much as I am, will try and get another post up, probably about University Challenge, before the big day!

Finally, another rollover advent calendar update:
17th December: chocolate Christmas pudding and picture of Hello Kitty with present
18th December: chocolate star and picture of Hello Kitty dressed as one of Santa’s elves and holding paint brush and hammer
19th December: chocolate shepherd (again) and a picture of Hello Kitty holding a holly wreath.
20th December: chocolate holly leaf and picture of Hello Kitty decorating a Christmas tree

Lots of Christmas love,
Rach Cherryade xx

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Christmas albums I love (and you should too!)

As promised, here is a bit about my favourite Christmas music and why I love it so much. Firstly, here’s a list of my favourite Christmas albums:
A Very Cherry Christmas volumes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (obviously!)
I know I’m biased but they really are amazing, I started compiling these albums to satisfy my own love of Christmas music, so the fact that others love them too is amazing, some of the best bands in the world have appeared on these compilations, and they are far more than a seasonal novelty, all the songs on all 5 volumes mean a great deal to me and I am so happy and honoured that so many wonderful bands have been willing to participate. If you haven’t heard them you can buy all 5 cds for only £18 + p and p here:

Other (non Cherryade) festive albums I love include:
Get Thee Behind Me Santa (Skinny Dog)
Compiled by the inimitable Spinmaster Plantpot, this is a unique and truly special compilation released in 2002 which has inspired my love of Christmas music more than almost anything else. Featuring truly amazing Christmas songs from the likes of Jeffrey Lewis, Zombina and the Skeletones, Prewar Yardsale, Fun Size Lions, Major Matt Mason USA, Paul The Girl, Herman Dune, Flamingo 50, Jack Hayter and loads more, it really is one of the great over-looked compilations of our time and something everyone should own.

A Christmas Gift From Fortuna Pop! Volumes 1 and 2 (Fortuna Pop!)
One of my favourite indiepop labels of all time, London’s all-conquering Fortuna Pop! Was even kind enough to release two truly beautiful seasonal mini-albums earlier this decade, featuring utterly magical and spell-binding contributions from the likes of The Aislers Set, Home Science, The Chemistry Experiment, Airport Girl, The Action Time, The Pines, Butterflies Of Love, The Loves, Sportique and, of course, Bearsuit! These are ‘proper’ Christmas albums, not ironic, they instantly make you feel Christmassy, these cds are for me what the Phil Spektor Christmas album is for others, while I am very fond of the Phil Spektor album, it doesn’t evoke the season for me in the same way that these Fortuna Pop! Compilations do.

The World In Winter (Cherry Red)
A label which should need absolutely no introduction, and the same should be able to be said about this lovely Christmas compilation. Featuring a selection of the legendary label’s wonderful roster, this is a truly essential compilation of heartfelt and gorgeous songs, a must for fans of Cherry Red and Christmas music alike!

It’s A Cool Cool Christmas (XFM)
Released to raise money for Shelter back in 2002, this compilation, as you might expect from anything with an XFM endorsement (not including you in that Jon Kennedy, we love you, you’re ace, just mean the rest of the predictable dross most XFM djs play!) is not entirely without its fair share of duff tracks from bands who should know better (yes, I’m looking at you Flaming Lips!), and some expected dross from musical wallpaper like Snow Patrol. However, it’s worth it for Belle and Sebastian’s truly beautiful rendition of ‘O Come OCome Emmanuel’, lovely Lauren Laverne’s version of ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’, Gorkys’ Welsh Christmas interlude and the haunting Drugstore track. Also, a few bands I don’t usually have a lot of time for, such as Grandaddy and Eels pleasantly surprise with their contributions, not a bad album then and all for a good cause!

Gold, Frankincense and Purr (Purr Records)
Compiled by probably the UK’s leading expert on Christmas music, Gareth of Lipstick On Your Collar and Go Ape fame, this is a truly special compilation released on Bath’s Purr Records a few years ago. As well as the brilliant pun of the title, there are truly memorable wonky pop songs from the likes of the sadly missed Motormark, The Seven Inches, Bucky, Velodrome 2000 and many more. Only problem is you’re highly unlikely to be able to find a copy anywhere as it sold out years ago!

Cwistmas Twee (Total Gaylord)
Now, I don’t know much about Total Gaylord as a label but this is a perfect little indiepop compilation bringinging together some of America’s finest exponents of twee with seasonal offerings from the likes of The Icicles, The Specific Heats, Lil Hospital, Colin Clary and even a Chanukah themed song from The Smittens!

An Indiecator Christmas (volumes 1 and 2)
Recent additions to the festive canon, with vol. 1 being released last year and vol. 2 just out. More sublime indiepop thrills from an international selection box of artists from the tweecore underground, very nice indeed!

12 Days Of Christmas Bubblewrap)
Another compilation that’s new for 2009. Fabulous Cardiff supergroup Little My came up with the idea of asking 11 of their favourite bands to record a song based on one of the gifts mentioned in the 12 Days of Christmas. This 12 track beauty is the result, with the likes of The School and The Bobby McGee’s joining Little My in rethinking the Christmas favourite, an absolutely brilliant little album, perfect Christmas present!

A Kindercore Christmas (Kindercore)
A lovely holiday compilation from the legendary Athens, Georgia based label, featuring label bands and friends, a real treasure trove of seasonal treats!

Ho! Ho! Ho! casgliad o ganeuon nadolidd
This Welsh language Christmas compilation was released and compiled by Radio 1 superstar dj Huw Stephens in 2006 and is very lovely indeed, even though I don’t speak any Welsh, I do speak the international language of sleighbells which are in abundance here!

A Homocrime Christmas (Homocrime)
A compilation released by the legendary club night in around 2002, it captures the spirit of the night perfectly and features truly awesome queer artists such as Blue Minkies, good luck tracking it down though!

Filthy Little Angels Christmas compilations (Filthy Little Angels)
One of the best and most exciting labels around, FLA are also extraordinarily generous and give away loads of amazing free downloads. This has been the case with their bumper annual Christmas compilations which have always been free downloads. This is the fifth in the series and boasts an eye-watering selection of amazing seasonal hits, you can download it free from:
where you can also celebrate their fifth anniversary with them by downloading another free treat, a ‘best of FLA’ compilation absolutely bursting with some of the best songs by the best bands you’ll ever hear!

Right, that’s enough for now, in a few days I’ll post something about my favourite Christmas songs that aren’t on these albums, there’s a Christmas tv post coming too!

Cherry Christmas love,
Rach Cherryade xxx
advent calendar update:
December 15th: chocolate shepherd and picture of Hello Kitty in Santa suit waving
December 16th: chocolate penguin and picture of Hello Kitty in a Christmas stocking

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

A Very Cherry Christmas party

Ah, it’s been a busy old week. As I’d mentioned, The Lovely Eggs and Schwervon gig on Tuesday was magnificent. On Wednesday and Thursday I was very busy with uni work. All was going well, I had a lot to do but was running to schedule. I had a number of important things to do on Friday, a lot of seminars to go to and forms to drop off, but unfortunately on Thursday night I started with a migraine, I hoped it would be gone by Friday morning but, of course, it hadn’t, I had to cancel all my appointments (I could barely send the e-mails so making my way into town seemed a very bad idea!) I then spent the rest of what should have been a productive day trying to get ridof the migraine and panicing about everything I was missing, also I was worried it wouldn’t ease off in time for the Cherryade Christmas party on Saturday. Luckily, by Friday afternoon I’d started to feel much better and so was up bright and early on Saturday to go into town and get last minute bits for the Christmas gig. I still wasn’t feeling quite right so went home and had a nap in the afternoon before Adam picked up Jimmy from the Bobby McGee’s from the bus station and brought him back to Cherryade Towers.

It was lovely to see Jimmy, we haven’t seen him in ages and it’s always great to catch up! Unfortunately Eleanor couldn’t be at the gig because she was at a fashion show in London showing some of her wonderful dresses, she’s a very talented dress maker!

Jimmy managed to add plenty of new pictures to his latest project ‘Elvis and the ladies’ (pictures of girls holding a Lego Elvis) that night managing to get pictures with most of the leading ladies of the Manchester music scene who were there that night, all the photos are on Facebook if you want to see them!

I went and changed into my fairy outfit (it has to get worn as much in December as possible cause I love it and can’t wear it the rest of the year! Anyway, once I was ready and had prised Adam away from the snooker we all set off to Café Saki to be there for the soundcheck and setting up.

Soph was already there and had everything under control. Soph is incredibly organised and just generally amazing, the night would never have happened without her!

Anyway, all the bands turned up, soundcheck went ahead and we were ready to get started on time. Only problem was that it was still a bit quiet though this was soon remedied as lots of people arrived just in time. Rebecca (looking lovely in her newly made elf outfit, she’s incredibly creative!) kicked off proceedings by reading her beautiful Christmas poem before explaining the rules of Christmas song bingo (everyone got a bingo card with names of Christmas songs on it which they had to tick off if they heard the songs while we were djing between bands, prizes for a line and full house!) and then introduced Jimmy who played a brilliant solo set and everyone loved him, who doesn’s? He asked Lauren from Shrieking Violets and Marble Krusher to join him with a bit of impromptue trumpet playing on ‘There’s A Place’ and played a selection of favourites and new songs and got the night off to an awesome start!

Next came The Shrieking Violets who played a really lovely set, they’ve got some beautiful songs and are great musicians too, I love Natalie’s distinctive voice as well! After that came Doris and the Jumpers, they seem to get better every time I see them, their songs are amazing and they shone despite a few sound issues, especially impressive was April’s dressing as a parcel for the performance of their Christmas song with Natalie Shrieking Violet on violin. Unfortunately, it all got a bit quiet after Doris and sadly there weren’t many people left to watch the last band of the night, The 10p Mixes, who played a wonderful set mixing their own songs with a selection of festive covers including Christmas Is Cancelled (originally by The Long Blondes) and Fairytale of New York, those who stuck around were in for a real treat!

Adam and I played Christmas songs between bands and for a little bit afterwards before packing up at about 1.30am.

I’d like to thank Soph for making the whole night happen and generally being a brilliant friend and organiser, Dave and Kirsty Under Achievers for letting us have our Christmas party downstairs at their fab night, Rebecca for compering and reading her poem, Jimmy McGee, Shrieking Violets, The 10p Mixes and Doris and the Jumpers for performing and everyone who came down to watch! We had a great time!

Christmas love,
Rach Cherryade xxx
Ps advent update: December 14th chocolate tree and a picture of Hello Kitty dressed as Santa in fake beard and all!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Urgent: Solipsists Anonymous at Fuel Cafe tonight

Just a very quick message to say that you should all head down to Fuel Cafe in Withington tonight where our friend and local hero Grant is hosting the latest of his unique variety nights, Solipsists Anonymous.

Tonight's is set to be extra special with performances from Pajama Party, the legendary Alan from Cogna, Crazy Horse and a comedy and music performance from Grant himself.

It kicks off upstairs at 8pm, hope to see you there.

Rach Cherryade xxx
p.s. Advent update:
December 11th: chocolate stocking and picture of Hello Kitty wearing a hat with bear ears on
December 12th: chocolate figure which we think is a Magi (is that a plural noun? If so, what is one magi? Oh, and I should probably include the words 'king' or 'wise man' for anyone who doesn't know their nativity story too well!) picture of Hello Kitty wearing Santa suit and waving
December 13th: chocolate candle and picture of Hello Kitty wrapped up in winter clothes and waving

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Changes of stage times for Saturday's Very Cherry Christmas party

Hi Cherryaders, just a quick mesage to update stage times:
12pm The 10p Mixes
11.30pm Doris and the Jumpers
11pm Shrieking Violets
10pm Jimmy from the Bobby McGee's solo set
9.40pm Poetry reading by Rebecca Willmott

See you Saturday,
Rach xx
p.s. advent calendar update:
Dec 10th chocolate robin and a picture of Hello Kitty wearing a hat with reindeer antlers on.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

A Very Cherry Christmas party

Hi Cherryaders!

The Cherryade Christmas party in collaboration with Under Achievers Please Try Harder is nearly upon us so here are the details, hope lots of uyou can make it, it’s going to be amazing:
Where? Café Saki, Rusholme, downstairs
When? Saturday December 12th 9pm-3am
What? The Christmas party of the year with Christmas bingo, an all night Christmas disco, lots of Christmas treats and a present from Santa for everyone who comes and live performances from the following bands (stage times are subject to change)
11.15pm The 10p Mixes
10.45pm The Shrieking Violets
10.15pm Doris and the Jumpers
9.30pm Jimmy from The Bobby McGee’s (solo set)
9.20pm Poetry reading by Rebecca Willmott

Also, there’ll be the usual brilliant Under Achievers djs upstairs if all the festive cheer is getting a bit much for you! All for only £4!

Copiesof A Very Cherry Christmas vol. 5 will also be available on the night. All of the artists performing on the night have tracks on the compilation. You can find out more about the album here:

Lots of Cherry Christmas love,
Rach Cherryade xxx
p.s. Dec 9th advent calendar update: chocolate teddy with bow and a picture of another teddy lying down next to some presents.

The return of Christmas

So, lots of festive stuff to catch up with since our return from ATP, I’ll try and post about the weekend later, but, right now, here is a bit of a festive round-up for you:

Firstly, advent calendar updates, in case you thought I’d forgotten! This is quite a long list as we’ve been away for a few days:
Dec 5th: chocolate sleigh and a picture of Hello Kitty wearing a Santa hat
Dec 6th: chocolate nativity scene and a picture of Hello Kitty hugging a giant candy cane
Dec 7th: chocolate reindeer and another picture of Hello Kitty wearing a Santa hat
Dec 8th: chocolate snowman and a picture of Hello Kitty wearing scarf and gloves and holding a pile of presents

Some recent Christmas activities have included trips to the lovely Manchester Christmas markets, essential if you’ve never been, all kinds of delicious festive food and drink from all over the world, mulled wine, gingerbread, chocolates, chestnuts, cheese, meat and all kinds of goodies, plus it’s near the town hall with the giant Santa and the decorations are beautiful and there’s Christmas music wherever you go! Adam is particularly fond of the giant bratwursts!

We also caught The School, Little My and Help Stamp Out Loneliness at a gig at Star and Garter where both The School and Little My performed their brilliant Christmas songs as part of their wonderful sets! We also saw Marble Krusher at Fuel where they played a great set as including their Christmas song ‘Summer Toys (Winter Version), which, by an amazing coincidence, you can find along with The School’s Christmas track on A Very Cherry Christmas 5 available here:
plus, if that weren’t enough you can be all five volumes (vol. 4 actually features the Little My Christmas song) for only £18 + p and p at the same link!

Last night we went to see The Lovely Eggs and Schwervon at Café Saki. What an amazing gig, I’ve already raved extensively about the genius of The Lovely Eggs and last night was no exception. What made it extra special was the fact that they played both of their Christmas songs ‘I’m Going To Build My Snowman Better Than Yours’ and ‘Tyranosaurus Rex for Christmas’, both of which are, amazingly enough, available on volumes of a Very Cherry Christmas which you can buy from the link above! Also playing were New York’s Schwervon who played a fabulous set, brilliant songs and really lovely people too, plus we got to catch up with Dave and Kirsty, Soph and Paul, Drew, Selina, Marcus and Ste, great night all round!

Will post about Christmas music and tv over the next few days,
Lots of cherry Christmas love,
Rach Cherryade xxx

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The third/fourth day of Christmas

As I suspected, I've not had time to finish writing up my post about favourite Christmas music, I'll post it when we get back on Monday.

So, I'll just tie up a few festive loose ends:
Advent calendar: Dec 3rd, a chocolate cracker and a picture of Hello Kitty in a Christmas stocking holding a candy cane, Dec 4th, a chocolate Santa and a Kitty holding a candy cane and wearing a hat and scarf. Will catch up with doors 5 and 6 on Monday!

Also, some great stuff happening this weekend, we're off to All Tomorrow's Parties (setting off early so should go to sleep now!), Pastels, Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Television Personalities, Sonic Youth are all playing, should be amazing, Adam Cherryade is particularly excited. We're sharing a chalet with Beck and Gaz should be fun, I'm led to believe it has a TV, I hope so anyway!

Unfortunately, going to ATP means we have to miss an amazing gig that's happening in Taurus Bar in Manchester this evening (Friday Dec 4th). 'Pussy Whipped' is the first of what will hopefully become a regular event, it's organised by our very good friend, local queer punk superstar and all round good egg, Ste Mccabe, and is going to be a queer grrrl extravaganza with performances from the fabulous Cage the Elephant, Manchester's brilliant new council flat queers Maria and the Gay and of course from Ste himself. Please go along and support this, it's only £4 and is really going to shake up Canal Street, help ensure it's not the last one and be sure to get there early as Taurus is tiny and is likely to fill up fast!

Schwervon and The Lovely Eggs are playing at Saki Bar in Rusholme on Tuesday December 8th

Dec 12th sees A Very Cherry Christmas party in partnership with Under Achievers at Cafe Saki with performances from The 10p Mixes, Jimmy from the Bobby McGee's, Shrieking Violets, Doris and the Jumpers and Rebecca Willmott, a Santa's grotto with Cherryade presents for all, an all-night Christmas disco, Christmas song bingo and mince pies, candy canes and other festive treats, it's going to be amazing and it all kicks off at 9pm! Hope to see you there!

See you when we get back from ATP,
Have a great weekend,
Rach Cherryade xxx

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The second day of Christmas: Why I love Christmas music

Hi Cherryaders!

Ok, so, once again I don’t get around to posting till after midnight, but who needs to sleep in December anyway, it’s just too magical! Anyway, finished off decorating the tree today while watching Christmas TV, god I love Christmas TV, I’ll watch any old rubbish as long as it mentions the c word (no, not that one!). In my advent calendar there was a chocolate angel and, somewhat perplexingly, a picture of a winking Hello Kitty (hmm…) anyway, got lots of work done today as we’re away at All Tomorrow’s Parties this weekend and I don’t want to fall behind!

As promised, here is a bit about my favourite Christmas music and why I love it so much. I'm going to start by posting the full version of an article I wrote for the December edition of the wonderful Pull Yourself Together zine, an edited version of which can be found in the current issue along with an advert for A Very Cherry Christmas 5 (which you can still buy direct from:
on special offer with the first 4 volumes and on its own from all good record shops and Itunes, distributed by Cargo, did I mention that?)

Tomorrow I will post about some of my favourite Christmas albums, singles and individual seasonal tracks. Hope you enjoy the article, lots of Cherry Christmas love, Rach Cherryade xx

When we started running Cherryade Records, one of my dreams for the label was to release a great Christmas album, I love Christmas and Christmas music and they play such a significant part in my life that it seemed like something we just had to do. So, in December 2005 we released our second ever record, entitled A Very Cherry Christmas featuring 13 tracks from artists including Das Wanderlust and Misty’s Big Adventure. I’d considered it as something of a vanity project, something which I would enjoy but that not many others were likely to care about. However, I was wrong. I’d always been told that being so obsessed with Christmas music was a bit odd but after releasing A Very Cherry Christmas I realised my passion for festive music wasn’t as unusual as I’d imagined. We sold lots of copies of the Christmas album to Christmas music officianados all over the world and I was contacted by dozens of fellow enthusiasts offering to swap obscure and often forgotten Christmas gems with me. I’ve kept in contact with many of them and we continue to exchange Christmas tunes that we’ve unearthed throughout the year because, Christmas songs aren’t just for Christmas!

Another thing that happened after the first Very Cherry Christmas compilation was released was that we were contacted by a number of bands asking if they could be on volume 2. We hadn’t really considered a volume 2, I’d released a Christmas album and that was that, but then how could I resist the offer of more new Christmas songs? Many bands told us that they’d been recording Christmas songs (or wanted to) for a while but that they just couldn’t figure out what to do with them. I think there’s a view of Christmas songs as having a very short shelf life and that if they’re not listened to by December 25th then they’ve lost all relevance. This seems unique to Christmas songs though, because there are lots of summer and spring inspired songs but people don’t seem to have much compunction about listening to those at other times of year.

I think there is also the idea that many Christmas records are ‘novelty’ records, which becomes a synonym for silly or effemeral. Of course some Christmas songs are silly, but others can be beautiful, heart-breaking, gloomy, joyful or uplifting, just like other subjects that can inspire amazing records Christmas can inspire a range of emotions and artistic expressions.

So, now we’re up to volume 5 of A Very Cherry Christmas, I can’t quite believe we’ve got this far. I hope that the truly amazing artists who’ve contributed to our compilations since 2005 and the quality and diversity of tracks has gone some way to proving that Christmas records are not necessarily disposable or cynically cashing in. We’ve sometimes been asked if A Very Cherry Christmas is meant to be ironic, which is a little frustrating as it implies that it’s only ok to like Christmas in an ironic way, there’s nothing ironic about my love for Christmas or indeed about the love a lot of the bands we’ve featured have for Christmas! However, we don’t limit appearances on the compilations to those who feel like I do about the season, I also love songs that deal with the dark side of the season because that is one of the elements which make it such an inspirational time of year, and I hope that A Very Cherry Christmas celebrates the fact that not all Christmas songs have to be bright and joyful.

I’ve talked a lot about our own Christmas albums but I’d like to recommend the following Xmas classics to any fellow fans who might not have heard them, these are absolutely essential listening:
Get Thee Behind Me Santa (Zombina and the Skeletones, Jeffrey Lewis, Herman Dune, etc.)
A Christmas Gift From Fortuna Pop! Volumes 1 and 2 (Bearsuit, Aislers Set, The Loves, etc.)
Gold, Frankincense and Purr (Motormark, Bucky, Velodrome 2000, Seven Inches, etc.)

There are so many more albums, singles, eps and individual songs which I just don’t have room to list here, but if anybody would like some more recommendations or would like to recommend something to me or offer a song for A Very Cherry Christmas vol. 6 then please do e-mail:

Have a Very Cherry Christmas!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The first day of Christmas

I meant to post this before midnight, it's now officially the second day of December but since I haven't gone to bed yet I'm still classing it as the first!

Anyway, it's December, in case you hadn't noticed, which means it's Christmas! I know some people might disagree with me and say Christmas doesn't start till Christmas Eve and that December is just the build-up to Christmas, but, hey, the build-up starts here at Cherryade Towers some time In July and we have two little Christmas trees up all year round!

So, I've got the big tree (artificial of course, you can't get pink real trees, and besides, the needles drop everywhere and plastic is always superior to real trees and flowers, much cleaner and tidier and shinier!) and a Hello Kitty angel for the top plus I have just bought some brand new decorations, a set of Disney Princess baubles, a gingerbread man stood on a Christmas cake, a bucket containing candy cane and sweeties (not real!), a plastic sparkly cupcake, some pink tinsel, some battery operated pink fairy lights and chocolate decorations from Aldi, it'll be the prettiest tree ever! Hoping to put it up on Thursday before we go to ATP.

I was kindly asked to write two articles on why Christmas music is so special recently. One is in the latest edition of the Pull Yourself Together fanzine, which is brilliant and can be picked up from most good record shops all over the UK. Thanks to Dan and Hannah for asking me to contribute and for putting such a lovely advert for A Very Cherry Christmas vol. 5 in there!

The lovely Natalie Bradbury of fabulous local band The Shrieking Violets has also very kindly asked me some questions about the Very Cherry Christmas compilations, why I love Christmas music and Cherryade in general. You can read the great article she wrote about it, plus a fab review of A Very Cherry Christmas 5 here:
where you can read more of Natalie's really beautiful writings about life in this wonderful city amongst other fascinating topics!

You can still buy A Very Cherry Christmas vol. 5 here:
as well as from all good record shops (distributed by Cargo) and on Itunes but the Cherryade Website is the only place where you can grab an amazing bargain by buying all 5 volumes of our utterly amazing Christmas compilation series for only £18 + £2 p and p, in fact it's the only place to buy volumes 1-4!

The December Dandelion schedule is now streaming here:
where you can hear our very special Christmas show as well as all the other amazing shows!

Tomorrow I will post a list of some of my other favourite Christmas albums and songs as well as a guide to what's coming up in this magical month!

There was a chocolate bell in my Hello Kitty advent calendar today!

Lots of Cherry Christmas love,
Rach Cherryade xxx

Friday, 27 November 2009

University Challenge: Our first round match against RVC

I’ve been struggling to write about what happened in our first round match. A lot of the day was something of a blur, but thanks to re-watching the match and thanks to David Clarke from the excellent Life After Mastermind blog:
who gave me some helpful advice about writing about quiz experiences, I have managed to cobble together a vague account of what happened.

So, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

The day started like a military operation. Adam had taken the day off work to be able to attend the match. My dad was in such a nervous state that he drove up from Blackpool to be with us by 10am. My mum was on holiday in Portugal so it seemed sensible for him to come and spend the morning with us instead of fretting on his own at home! As I mentioned in my previous UC blog entry, it was partly because of my dad that I’d applied to be on the show in the first place, he was so excited that I was going to be on the show but he was also extremely nervous. So, I left Adam to look after dad while I went to have my hair and nails done. I wanted to make sure my hair was as bright as it could be for filming as if the pink has started to fade I’m sure my brain doesn’t work as well, the Samson effect I suppose, though I don’t think his hair was pink! Anyway, I needed all the help I could get!

Anyway, I left the hairdressers, went home and got changed in record time. I had planned my outfit carefully. Though the BBC obviously doesn’t allow product placement I cunningly managed to sneak the Cherryade logo in by wearing a dress and accessories covered in cherries!

Then we set off into town, picking up Anna on the way and, for once, arriving at Granada in time!

I waved goodbye to Adam, my dad and Anna as they went off to the audience door while we were ushered past security and into reception. From there we were taken to our dressing room and then given the much coveted lunch vouchers! Though having a dressing room was very nice, I have to say that we didn’t spend any time in there, just dumped our stuff and went off to explore the culinary delights of the Granada canteen where we all stretched our lunch vouchers to the limit (I kind of understand how politicians can get carried away with expenses now!) We sat eating our subsidised lunch while looking for celebrities to spot. We met Jeremy Paxman while we were queueing, he was a gent and let us have his tray. We also saw the actor who plays Norris in Coronation Street. I must say that I get on really well with my team, they’re great guys, and so we had a nice chat over lunch before being whisked off to make-up, where we were all dolled-up ready for the cameras. The make-up artists are amazing, really lovely ladies and it was so interesting discussing their job with them, I learned that as well as doing standard make-up for shows like UC they also do special effects make-up such as fake blood and bruises for soaps like Hollyoaks. She also told me they’re often given scripts in advance so they can pre-plan make-up based on the character’s personality and situation and the conditions of the scene being filmed. I had no idea how specialised and intense make-up artistry was.

Anyway, after that we went to the green room to relax and wait for our match. At this point we found out who we would be playing. UC matches are filmed in blocks of two, they ask the four teams in a block to arrive together, but as ours was to be the second match, we got to sit in the green room with our first round opponents, The Royal Veterinary College (a college of the University of London) and watched live footage of the match before ours, between Edinburgh and University of Central Lancashire, which was shown on the screen in the green room. The green room was lovely, lots of food and drink (tea before the match and alcohol after!) and was very relaxing. It was nice to be playing the second match as we got to relax, have a nice chat, fuel up on caffeine and get a look at what the filming process involves but from the comfort and privacy of the green room!

The match before ours was over far too soon though and the nerves set in as the production team came to take us to the studio for our match, the walk down the corridor was terrifying, I had butterflies for the first time. We hadn’t had time to talk to our opposition before the match so we were very nervous as this was the first time we met. UC is filmed in front of a studio audience and the set, albeit quite basic, suddenly seemed quite big. Each team were announced in turn by the warm-up man (who I recognised because of his 2-part BBC 7 series ‘Moths Ate My Dr Who Scarf’ and from appearances at the Comedy Store but annoyingly I can’t remember his name) and we walked on from the wings to applause. I hadn’t expected this because we’re obviously not being filmed at this point but it did make it feel like an event! We got settled behind our desk and did all the preparatory house-keeping stuff like testing buzzers, having last-minute make-up adjustments, etc. Then there was some discussion about the fact that I’m much shorter than the rest of the team and that this was going to look a bit weird on tv so a runner was dispatched to find a cushion, eventually I was raised up to an adequate height and we were set. The team then had to explain that the picture rounds would work a bit differently due to my Braille cards which would have to be changed between picture rounds. Matches are usually recorded straight through, unless there’s a technical problem or disputed question or something, but to take away the first set of cards and replace them with those for the second picture round would require stopping filming for a moment but it was done very quickly and worked out well and I must thank the production team for being so helpful with this and making the picture rounds so accessible. Once this was done we were able to take stock of the fact that we were actually sat behind one of the hallowed desks with a buzzer in front of us and Jeremy Paxman sat behind his desk ready to grill us for 26 minutes under the bright studio lights while being watched by a studio audience, it didn’t seem real somehow, but it was and it was too late to turn back!

Before filming starts, there’s a ‘knock-about’ game where Roger Tilling (the inimitable voice of UC) asks a couple of starters and sets of bonuses to give the teams a chance to get familiar with buzzing in and conferring and talking into the mics, this only lasts 2 or 3 minutes and also gives teams the opportunity to practise their introductions, this is more difficult than it sounds as you have to decide how you’re going to introduce your course (do you say reading or studying and if, like me, you’re doing a PHD in DIY music since 1995 in the UK and USA, do you say that and risk the audience at home sputtering over the rubbish they let students study now’ or do you, as I did, choose to say something vague like “I’m studying for A PHD in English and American Studies. Then there’s the controversy over where you come from. I’ve lived in Manchester for three years now but some people who saw our first round match asked why I didn’t say I came from Blackpool where I grew up, despite the fact I haven’t lived there since I went off to uni in Lancaster in 2003. So I think I was right to claim Manchester as my home town!). Then, without further ado, we’re into the game.

The distinctive theme music starts playing, this is really it, we sit there terrified as the music stops, Roger Tilling welcomes the audience at home and introduces our host and the studio audience claps. We have a quick breather while Jeremy makes his usual urbane and witty introduction to the show and then to our opponents (they get introduced first so we have a little breather as the camera focuses on them, but I’m too nervous to concentrate on what Jeremy says until he introduces us with some kind comments. We manage to get through our introductions without anyone forgetting their name or course, and, without further ado (Jeremy actually says he’s not going to explain the rules because we must all know them by now!) we’re off. First starter is one of those ‘which word connects…’ questions, this one is asking after a five letter word that is an archaic word for a sailor’s turn at the helm, a feat of magic, the cards played in a single… at this point I find myself buzzing in,before I really knew what I was doing, then Roger Tilling is saying Manchester Neiman and I’m saying ‘trick’ and it’s right, I can’t quite believe it. My main worry was going home without having answered a single question correctly, this can’t possibly happen now, no matter what happens from now on, I am very relieved and settle back into my chair for a bonus round on inscriptions on £2 coins which requires very little knowledge of the coins themselves, just a working knowledge of a few well-known facts, we duly breeze through the bonuses with a clean sweep. Next question is on a German composer and is quickly picked up by our captain Jakob who knows it’s Wagner, good stuff! We then have an odd bonus round on spots, another clean sweep, Jakob and Nick recall Bowdler’s objection to the Macbeth quotation ‘out damned spot’, I remember that the spots on a John Dory were said to be the fingerprints of St. Peter and Nick and Jakob remember Hogarth’s use of beauty spots to denote lysentiousness. RVC get off the mark by identifying a vandergraff generator in the next question and getting a clean sweep on constellations to close the gap. Tom impresses by a lightning quick recognition of a cultural cringe and we are offered a very tasty bonus round on pairs of words formed with the addition of an s. These are some of my favourite kinds of bonuses as I love word play and can actually be of some help! So, we get our 15 points without much ado! With considerably more ado we turn our attention to the first picture round. I must say at this point that I held out no hope of being any use to my team on the picture round as my Braille reading is appalling (I only learned it when I was 18 and have never really used it properly cause I read everything off the computer) and it was going to take me half an hour to read the few words on the card! The picture round involved identifying a poem by the last words of each line of one stanza. Tom had a guess which seemed fair enough but all credit to RVC who, to Mr. Paxman’s great surprise, identified it as Tennyson’s work. Unfortunately they were unable to identify the authors of the three poems in the bonus round, it was very tricky though!

Next starter is about a biblical tribe, Jakob has a guess at Philistines it’s wrong and is passed to RVC, Tom Shaw buzzes in and correctly identifies the tribe in question as the Hittites. RVC are given a particularly nasty bonus round on famous people from Gibrolta and unfortunately fail to convert any of them. Here comes a starter on a surname, ‘Which surname connects a serial killer executed in 1953, a writer of mystery stories…’ I go for the buzzer, I know this, if I don’t get this I’ll never live it down, it’s one of my specialist subjects, ‘Manchester Neiman’ for some reason I say ‘is it Christie?’ but I’m sure it is. Agatha Christie is my favourite author, I am obsessed with her work, I was hoping for a question on one of her novels, something to showcase my Christie fandom but this name question will do! We’re rewarded with a horrible round on opera. I know nothing about opera, we’re all looking at Jakob, our classical music expert, he makes educated guesses (more than I could have managed, but unfortunately none are right, still, we’re doing ok. Nick and RVC’s Hannah bones both have a stab at identifying a Thomas, both are unfortunately wrong, Jeremy was looking for Thomas Walsingham so we’re offered a new starter. Both Rvc’s Sid Sudunagunter and I have a stab at the next starter asking after a book in the Old Testament, once again we’re both wrong, Judges was the answer. So, another starter, someone’s got to get this! Tom duly identifies the Italian word being looked for is ciao and we have a set of bonuses about Canadian history which don’t exactly suit us and we fail to add to our point score. So, halfway mark and both RVC and us are putting points on the board. The halfway mark is, as always, signified by the music round, oh goody, it’s classical music, I’ll sit this one out! Luckily Nick is able to identify an extract of Holst’s planets in what seems like an indecently short amount of time, very impressive! Hooray, our bonuses are other extracts from The Planets and our job is to name the planet in question. I don’t think any of us were that familiar with the suite but we made educated guesses based on the mood of the music and thus were able to identify two out of the three planets correctly.

A starter on literary husbands is looking for Thomas Hardy, Tom has a stab at Yeats though so another starter goes begging. On the next starter we’re back to the planets a question about what’s missing from a planetary nemonic. The answer is Pluto and Nick once again picks it up to give us a bonus round on Shakespeare’s problem plays, we get Troelus and Cressida but fail to identify the next two from their convoluted storylines, Jeremy quips that he can see why they’re called ‘problem plays’! Nick’s on the case again with the definition of the law of diminishing return and we polish off a nice set of bonuses on WWII for another 15 points. Tom knows that Kubla Khan is the answer to the next starter and we’ve got a set of bonuses on sound in diagnosis, we manage to get two of them right so not too bad! Oh dear, a science starter, I zone out, RVC’s Tom Shaw buzzes in and gives the answer ‘entrapy’, Jeremy asks him to repeat it, apparently it’s not right, Nick buzzes in with ‘enthalpy’ which is right. Apparently ‘entrapy’ and ‘enthalpy’ are different things, but as I have no idea what either is it all seems very clever to me! Unfortunately our transport related bonuses don’t cover us in glory and we get a round 0! Ah, here’s the second picture round. I turn over my card and start to read. But, hang on, something weird has happened, I have finished reading this Latin phrase, I know what it means and nobody has buzzed in yet, this shouldn’t be happening, I go for the buzzer and offer my answer ‘love conquers all’ and it is, hooray! Our bonuses are more Latin phrases (I knew that Latin GCSE would come in handy one day!) Nick and Jakob deal with the first phrase ‘an ornament and a shield’ while I’m still reading, the second card is taking me so long to read that I’m forced to wave the white flag and the rest of the team aren’t having more luck with it, the last phrase ‘caput inter nubila’ is pored over for a bit, some jokes about nubile’ are duly made then I realise what it means, ‘head in the clouds’, I’m so excited about this breakthrough that I embarrassed myself by sounding a bit over-enthusiastic, Jakob takes my answer and offers it to Jeremy, it’s right, I’m pleased!

It would be disingenuous not to admit that at this point we were pretty confident that we were going to win the game. There were only a few minutes left and we were quite far ahead but RVC were putting up a good fight and the next question is about the founding of a newspaper, Tom buzzes in with News of The World, unfortunately the answer is The Times which is identified by RVC Shaw earning them a difficult set of engineering bonuses, unfortunately they fail to convert any of them. The next starter, asking after an industrial port goes begging again. The next question about a liquid measurement is incorrectly answered by RVC Shaw before Jakob buzzes in and identifies it as a pint for quite a pleasant round of bonuses on comparing land areas of countries to Wales, France = lots of Waleses, 7 Rhode Islands would fit in Wales and you’d squeeze one and a half Wales into Belgium! RVC Shaw fights back by identifying the Bernese Alps but the team fail to identify any of the academy award winning films that make up their bonus round.

My most embarrassing moment of the match follows as I answer a question on Katie Melua thereby giving the (entirely eronious) impression that I might actually like bland rubbish like that (like listening to paint dry), I didn’t really need to buzz in, we’d won already at this point but pointlust got the better of me! Anyway, we got a question on peristalsis, which we got then our second bonus on something complicated and sciencey but the gong went before we could have a go at answering it. At the gong the score was 235/60 to us. Jeremy tells RVC that it’s not the worst score they’ve had and that they seemed to enjoy themselves. I’d like to pay tribute to RVC who were a better team than their score suggested and who were very good contestants indeed, we greatly enjoyed playing them!

I’d also like to say that I think the rest of my team are awesome, really great people who are a pleasure to spend hours at Granada Studios with as well as being a very clever bunch! Their knowledge of such a wide range of subjects is astounding.

We had our photos taken with Jeremy behind the desk then went back to the green room to celebrate our victory with BBC wine, lovely stuff! We had a lovely chat and then eventually went off home. I was actually djing in Leeds that night so didn’t get much of a rest! Still, it was an amazing day!

Our second round match against Kings College London is scheduled for broadcast on BBC Two at 8pm on Monday Dec 21st. I’ll post an account of that after it’s happened!

Rach Cherryade xxx

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A Very Cherry Christmas volume 5

Cherryade is delighted to celebrate reaching its 30th release with the fifth in our annual ‘A Very Cherry Christmas’ festive compilation series.

The previous 4 volumes have featured specially recorded seasonal tunes from some of the best bands around, including A Smile and A Ribbon, Das Wanderlust, The Bobby Mcgee’s, Misty’s Big Adventure, The Lovely Eggs, Little My, Dawn of the Replicants, Paul Hawkins, True Adventures, Fever Fever, Applicants, Hotpants Romance, The Deirdres and many, many more. Over the last four years, ‘A Very Cherry Christmas has become something of a festive institution, with tracks from every compilation receiving extensive airplay from the likes of Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, Rob Da Bank, Steve Lamacq and Bethan Elfin, 6 Music’s Tom Robinson and Mark Riley and XFM’s Jon Kennedy, as well as a number of other dj’s all over the world and reviews in Plan B and The Independent.

So, A Very Cherry Christmas vol. 5 has a lot to live up to, and we’re delighted to say it doesn’t disappoint! Boasting 25 festive treats from some of the best bands around today, 21 brand new tracks and 4 favourites from the first 4 volumes, including The School, Das Wanderlust, Persil, Shrag, Allo Darlin’, The Bobby McGee’s, The Lovely Eggs, Mia Vigar, The Gresham Flyers, Foxes, Sparky’s Magic Piano and many, many more, it may be the best in the series so far and is sure to still sound as fresh and exciting in July as it did on Christmas day, and it’s a bargain too, beats novelty socks and jumpers any day!

You can order A Very Cherry Christmas 5 now direct from us at:
The album will also be available to buy in all good record shops and on Itunes (distributed by Cargo) making it the first volume of A Very Cherry Christmas to be available outside the Cherryade website. However, the Cherryade website is the only place you can buy all 5 amazing compilations together for the bargain price of just £18 + £2 p and p!

Here is the track listing:

1. The School - Let Me Be the Fairy on Your Christmas Tree Tonight

2. Das Wanderlust - Someone To Pull Crackers With

3. Allo Darlin’ - Space Christmas

4. The Lovely Eggs - Tyrannosaurus Rex For Christmas

5. The 10p Mixes – Christmas Number One

6. Fever Fever - Little Drummer Boy

7. Detox Cute & The Beauty Junkies – Unhappy New Year

8. Sparky’s Magic Piano – The Escape From Aled Jones

9. Persil – Dear Santa

10. Mia Vigar – What The Hell

11. Tiger MCs – The Way That You Arrived

12. Hearts!Attack – It Was Christmas That Killed Us

13. The Gresham Flyers - Mistletoe Misadventure

14. Foxes – Christmas Songs

15. The Bobby McGee’s - Sub Santalales

16. Shrag - Stop the Revelry

17. The Hi-Life Companion - Brockweir Winter Reverie

18. Doris and the Jumpers - Murder under the mistletoe

19. Humousexual - Come Take My Hand In Winter

20. Shrieking Violets - Jethro (Song For)

21. Rebecca Willmott - A Christmas Echo

22. The Pocket Gods - KFC (kentucky fried christmas)

23. Master Solo - The last Xmas of Achiebald Sterling

24. Everett True – A Christmas Tale

25. Marble Krusher – Summer Toys (Winter version)

To celebrate the release of the album we will be hosting a very special Christmas party at Cafe Saki (in conjunction with Under Achievers Please Try Harder' on December 12th from 9pm with live performances from The 10p Mixes:
a solo set from Jimmy from The Bobby McGee's:
and Shrieking Violets:
plus a santa's grotto with Cherryade goodies for everyone who attends, the return of Christmas song bingo, an all-night Christmas disco and lots of mince pies, candy canes and other goodies, absolutely not to be missed!

What reviewers have said:
‘Continuing a welcome tradition from the mighty Cherryade Records, it now feels like Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without this annual compilation.’
Martin Kendrick for Noize Makes Enemies

‘This compilation is the best thing to happen to Christmas since sprouts – I should point out that I love sprouts!’

‘It’s that time of year again when the people at Cherryade reach into bulging Santa’s sack and pick out assorted shiny aural trinkets. This DIY music compilation of fiercely independent artists is the perfect gift for kids who miss John Peel’s Festive Fifty.’
God Is In The Tv

‘You’d have to be a very hard-hearted Scrooge McDuck not to welcome the arrival of the annual Christmas compilation from everyone’s favourite DIY label Cherryade Records.’
Lobster Quadrille

‘Probably the most indie label in Europe, Manchester-based DIY-label Cherryade Records have got into the spirit over the last 4 years with A Very Cherry Christmas, an annual compilation that brings together some of the most DIY and indie performers who, in a parallel universe, would be no. 1 on Top of the Pops.’
The Independent

Trapped in my flat: A dream come true...

This is the first in a series of (totally self-indulgent and of no interest to anyone but me) posts which will profile some of the lovely things which I have squirrelled away in the kingdom of kitsch that is Cherryade Towers! Just to explain, our flat (Cherryade Towers) is the first 'grown-up' home I've ever lived in, the first place that wasn't my parents' house, or a hall of residence or a house I shared with friends. It belongs to Adam Cherryade and I and we are very proud of it. Despite the felling of maturity that owning your own home is supposed to bring, Cherryade Towers is essentially decorated in the way the seven-year-old me would probably have wanted it to look. It's very colourful (mostly pink!) and gloriously loud and mismatched. The lounge, in particular, is the focal point of the flat, I treat it as a kind of living museum, it's full of lovely things and I do find myself wandering around it sometimes just looking at all the stuff, the wonder still hasn't worn off! But, like a museum, the lounge is not really meant to be used. When we have guests round we take them in the lounge but it's not a room we use every day and I get very annoyed if Adam tries to eat biscuits in there while watching tv! Our lounge is certainly not minimalist, there are ornaments and knick-knacks everywhere you look, little miniature collections of My Little Ponies, plastic cakes, pictures of cakes, fairies, Hello Kitties, porcelain shoes, Strawberry Shortcake dolls, Baby Cham glasses and plastic deer, snow globes and loads more. Then there are individual items such as the beautiful cocktail cabinet with lamp attached, the man painting a glass of wine on an easel and encased in a bottle of mysterious booze, a lamp in the shape of a cocktail glass, a pineapple ice bucket, a 1950s chrome electric fire in the shape of a yacht, a pink keyboard I'll never be able to play, a Tiffany-style glass lamp with strawberries on and so much more (which I'll discuss in future blogs). Essentially Cherryade Towers is full of the kind of things nobody else would probably want but which make it feel like my home, like somewhere I belong, and, even if it's not to everyone's taste, visitors certainly seem to enjoy looking at all the stuff too! My only worry is that my inability to get rid of anything, plus the fact thatboxes of records are steadily taking over what bits of the flat aren't already full of brightly coloured bits of plastic, might mean that I may one day be buried under an avalanche of treasures, ah well, it'd be worth it!

So, the first item in this virtual tour will be the latest additions to our collection. My dad found them in his shop and wanted to get them out the way and figured they'd be perfect in our flat (this is the way we acquire a lot of our junk, er, heirlooms!). They are two of those machines you used to put 10p in as a kid and get a plastic ball out of which would have a plastic ring or a wonky model of a horse or soldier in garish colours in them, remember those? Well, I do, and then imagine if you'd been given an entire one of these as a kid and could undo them and take out as many of the balls as you wanted, my childhood dream come true! I must admit, I'm perhaps not as enthusiastic about the contents as I would have been as a kid but they still look fabulous in our lounge, they're a bright red with a yellow flap where the toys come out, and with all the different colour balls inside they do look very in-keeping with the rest of the room! So, welcome to Cherryade Towers brightly coloured plastic ball machines that I don't know the proper name for, you'll never leave!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Out and about in Manchester (long post alert!)

Hi there!

I've been neglecting this blog as I've had lots of work on but I'm going to make up for it with this epic blog! So, highlights of the last couple of weeks (only just got round to writing them up) plus some great events that are coming up:

Monday (26th October)
Los Campesinos! Live at the Deaf Institute in Manchester
Ah, Los Campesinos!, a band to restore your faith in the record buying public (kind of!) They played Manchester Academy 2 last time we saw them so I was a little surprised to hear they were playing the smaller(though definitely much nicer) Deaf Institute this time around.The Deaf Institute is fast becoming the new Night and Day, it’s much nicer, like an old theatre, drinks aren’t quite as expensive and the toilets less disgusting, plus, unlike Night and Day, the room is just a much better shape for watching bands in.

So, we got there at 9pm, thinking that would give us loads of time since LC were headlining but when we arrived the roo was already full to bursting (we knew it had sold out some time ago and were glad we bought tickets early) but were still surprised that it has filled up so fast. It soon became obvious why as when we walked in the band were already setting up on stage! I’d like to thank the lovely doorman who found us some seats upstairs, we’d both have liked to be down the front dancing but there was no way of getting down there and mot much of chance of dancing with everyone crammed in! So, we had to watch the show in comfort from seats with a great view of the stage where we didn’t get to be pushed about and try to avoid crowd surfing, guitar playing band members! It’s a hard life, we did get to wave to our friends from our balcony seats!

Anyway, enough about the venue, how were Los Campesinos!? I hear you ask, well, they were, of course, utterly amazing. I’m not a music reviewer so I won’t go through a song by song account of the gig, suffices to say thatLos Campesinos! Are as magical live as on record, watching them is a very intense experience, one of those bands that sonically recreate the simultaneously magical and stomach-churning feeling of falling in love for the first time. The xylophone sparkles, the violin shimmers, Gareth’s vocals send shivers down your spine, just beautiful, really beautiful. The new songs are fabulous and I can’t wait for the third album to appear! Their new vocalist is fabulous too! They really are an extraordinary band, capable of invoking joy and melancholy, hope and despair all in the space of one song and with a warming sense of humour too! If you haven’t seen them please remedy it asap!

Long live Los Campesinos!

Afterwards we indulged in one of our new favourite hobbies, standing outside venues talking to people before the door staff shoo us away! Anyway, due to the fact that our friends officially have the most awesome music taste ever ever, loads of them were of course at the gig, more might have been there but as I said tickets sold fast! So we saw lovely Ros and Rose (Hug Party, Manchester’s premier hip pop duo and absolutely fantastic people!) and waved at Beck and Gaz from a distance before making a hasty exit, as I wanted to get home for Apprentice USA (yeah, I know…) but when we were leaving we saw the fabulous Kirsty Under Achievers doing some flyering outside (she and Dave really do work hard!) and of course we wanted to stop and chat, then Hannah and Dan from Pull Yourself Together appeared and we all chatted for ages, eventually the cold made us disperse. I missed the first episode of Apprentice USA, but it was worth it!

Tuesday 27th October
In the early evening I presented a short paper about my PHD, thanks to everyone that came along and asked some really insightful answers, one on inclusion and exclusion in DIY music, in particular, has really got me thinking (and writing!)

Tuesday is, of course, Fuel quiz night. Team Cherryade was a bit different as Grant was busy rehearsing for what was likely to be one of the musical events of the year (more about that later) but we were joined by our Norwich friends James and Christa and half of Lancaster legends Cogna, in the form of Alan! This week we were up to w and x in the alphabetical questions series, the x round was very science based, less said about our performance the better!

Wednesday 28th October
A lovely relaxing evening spent at Pull Yourself Together at Common. Hannah and Dan organise a really lovely night where you can sit and listen to great records (they have impeccable taste!) in a really nice venue, chat to friends and flick through the latest edition of the truly excellent PYT zine. James and Christa came along and we had fun chatting about Norwich and stuff. Hannah and Dan have asked If I’d like to write an article about Christmas music for the December PYT zine, which I’m really excited about!

Thursday 29th October
Stayed at home and got some work done.

Friday 30th October
Ah Kissing Just For Practise, the monthly Belle and Sebastian disco at the Star and Garter, always a joy, an indiepop fan’s wet dream really. Maybe give it a miss if you don’t like Belle and Sebastian (and, frankly, shame on you!) but thankfully I love them, so a night of B and S treats interspersed with heavenly indiepop beauties from the likes of Bearsuit (swoon), Hefner, Los Campesinos!, Magnetic Fields, Bis, Kenickie and so much more, flawless really! No wonder everyone we know seems to go! So glad it’s monthly now, it went through a stage of being every three or even six months, grrr!

Saturday 31st October
Whooo! I actually enjoy Halloween more as a (theoretical) adult than I did as a kid, better parties are probably the main reason! This Halloween was a corker. We’d released our first ever Halloween record this year, a very limited edition super-spooky Twin Peaks themed single by one of the greatest bands of all time (I’m not exaggerating, visit if you don’t believe me!) by Lancaster heroes The Lovely Eggs entitled ‘Haunt Me Out’. The cd was printed with one of Agent Dale Cooper’s fave donuts and came with a Laura Palmer half heart necklace and the whole package was beautiful as those of you who bought it will know, for those of you haven’t got a copy, I’m afraid it’s totally sold out though you can get the three tracks on Itunes.

Anyway, The Eggs were on a mini UK tour promoting the single and our lovely friends at Manchester’s officially friendliest and most fun night out Under Achievers Please Try Harder, were able to put the Eggs on at their super Halloween party. For those of you who’ve never been, Under Achievers is held over two floors at Café Saki in Rusholme with djs upstairs and bands (and later djs) downstairs. Anyway, this was an even more special night than usual since it was of course fancy dress, I must say that so many people had made such an amazing effort, I felt a bit bad that my only real concession to the spookiness of the evening was to forego wearing pink for the evening! Well, I kind of cobbled together a costume out of a Victorian style black frilly skirt, a black top with spiderweb sleeves, a spider necklace, black pointy shoes, black fingerless lace gloves and a black feather and net fascinator which I thought looked kind of funerial… Christmas is more my fancy dress season, time to dust off the fairy outfit I think! Anyway, others who’d made an amazing effort included Rebecca in a fabulous pumpkin outfit with pumpkin top hat, Catriona dressed as a giant bee, Vic, Beck, Jenny and others as a brace of Freddy Mercurys in that video where he wears a dress (I’m not a Queen fan so don’t ask me which song it was!) but needless to say some impressive moustaches were in evidence, Dave Under Achiever as Meatloaf (after the diet) and Natlie Shrieking Violet as a gargoyle.

Anyway, enough about costumes and on to the bands. One of the most eagerly awaited events of the night was the return to life of Michael Jackson to play at Under Achievers for one night only, well, ok not really MJ, but something even better! Our friend Grant, star of radio and of many tribute bands as well as a great singer/songwriter in his own right and general all-round renaissance man was due to unveil his performance of Michael Jackson’s thriller. Expectations were high and Grant and Kirsty (who proved her versatility by being both the scared girl in the video at the beginning and later a zombie) and James, who also made a fabulous zombie had had to put in a lot of rehearsal for this special occasion. It was worth it, everyone loved it, those that arrived too late missed a treat! The choreography was fantastic! MJ lives!

Anyway, The Lovely Eggs also had something very special planned (though every Eggs gig is a special occasion) as they took to the stage in Twin Peaks costume with David dressed as Laura Palmer and Holly (terrifyingly convincingly) as Bob, did I mention how amazing they are? Well they are and they played a remarkable set as usual, kicking off with Twin Peaks Halloween single Haunt Me Out and blasting through a totally spell-binding set that left the audience panting for more. There were also lots of TP fans in the audience who seemed to appreciate all the Twin Peaks banter! It was great to see so many people singing along to Digital Accordion at the end too!

Under Achievers is a truly special night where we always feel safe and welcome and that always seems to be full of friends, ah! Can’t wait for Dec 12th when Dave and Kirsty are kindly letting Soph and I take over the downstairs for A Very Cherry Christmas Cherryade party! More about that very soon!

Holly and David Lovely Eggs were staying over with us after Under Achievers so we stayed up and chatted for a bit even though Adam had to be up at 7.30am for work!

Sunday 8th November
Went to the Manchester Art Gallery to check out the two new exhibitions The Angels Of Anarchy female surrealists exhibition including work by celebrated artists such as Frida Kahlo and Dorothea Tanning and lesser known work by equally exciting artists, a fascinating repost to the male-dominated surrealist movement of the early 20th century. Other exhibition was of three sets of Goya’s prints, strangely both dated and timeless, and very powerful. I think it is the universality of the allegories used in the prints which make them so powerful.

What’s coming up over the next week or two:
Can’t wait to have The Lovely Eggs back in Manchester for the brilliant Asparagus Next Left at the Star and Garter on November 20th. Also, the next Under Achievers is on this Saturday (14th November) at Café Saki as usual, get there by 9pm to catch Grant doing a short set! Also this weekend, an absolutely essential gig for any indiepop fan is the Nottingham indiepop all-dayer featuring performances from Tender Trap, The School, Of Mice and Mental Arithmetic, Allo Darlin’ and many more!

Also, in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s nearly Christmas, hooray, I’m so so excited (I love Christmas, just thought I’d better mention that in case nobody had noticed!), only 42 days to go! The German Christmas markets will be open soon, Manchester is very beautiful at this time of year! Oh, and we are going to the Nightmare Before Christmas All Tomorrow’s Parties at Minehead, some great bands playing, I’m usually put off ATP by the beard-stroking seriousness of a lot of the bands that play, but this one has got some great bands like Pastels, Pains of Being Pure At Heart and Buzzcocks playing, should be amazing, hope there’s a tv in the chalet though!

Phew, that was a long post,
A post will be up about the much anticipated Very Cherry Christmas vol. 5 soon!

Rach xxx

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Please vote in the Dandelion Radio Festive Fifty

Hi, yes, it that's time of year again, the time when seemingly everyone is coming up with their end of year lists. So, if you've been thinking about this already (or even if you haven't) then you can help to ensure that your tracks of the year make it into the only end of year chart that really matters, the Dandelion Radio Festive Fifty!

Dandelion Radio is a fully licensed online radio station dedicated to seeking out new and exciting music, inspired by the spirit of John Peel and we've been hosting the Festive Fifty, the annual chart voted for by listeners which John had hosted on his Radio 1 show for many years until his death in 2004, since 2006.

You can vote for your three favourite tracks released this year by visiting:
it only takes a moment and you don't have to register.

Voting is open now but closes at 12am on December 1st. The chart will be broadcast on Christmas Day and repeated once a day for the rest of December and January.

Happy voting!

Rach xxxx

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Presenting a paper at a history seminar...

Hi, just a quick note to say that I'm presenting a paper about some of the research for my PHD on Tuesday evening from 5pm in the poetry centre, Samuel Alexander building. If any Manchester uni post-grad students are reading this and fancy coming along then it'd be great to see you.

Rach xx

Saturday, 24 October 2009

University Challenge 2009-2010 - Making the Manchester team

I know that everyone who knows me is probably bored to death of University Challenge talk by now, but since we recorded our first round match in June and it was broadcast on July 13th and our second round match isn’t being shown till Monday 21st December I’m afraid you’ll all have to put up with this a bit longer!

Anyway, it’s been such an exciting (and slightly surreal) experience that I thought I should maybe document it for posterity.

So, here’s the story of how I ended up on the team and how we prepared for our first match, the next exciting instalment will describe what happened when we faced London’s Royal Veterinary College in our round 1 match, Hope the excitement doesn’t get too much!

To begin with, I love quizzes and useless trivia, I will watch pretty much any tv quiz and am a pub quiz regular, team Cherryade (Grant ‘Handsome Devil’ Curnow, Anna Smith, Adam Cherryade Wiseman and I, attend the Fuel Café quiz (probably the best quiz and quiz master in Manchester!) every Tuesday evening with varying degrees of success! I got into the habit of watching University Challenge as a kid because my dad was always a big fan and we used to watch it together and see who could get most questions right.

When I heard that my uni (Manchester) were holding auditions for the UC team for the 2009-2010 series, I knew I had to go along and give it a go, both because it’s the ultimate quiz and because I knew my dad would be absolutely delighted if I ended up on the team.

So, I went along to the first stage of the selection process, which involved answering 100 questions in a written test with the top 12 scorers returning later the same day for a round of buzzer questions. I should explain that the Manchester selection process is run by Stephen who has been putting the Manchester team together (with great success) for some years now. He collated the scores of the buzzer game and put together a team based on the top scores and on the subject areas covered and invited the top5 back to become the 2009-2010 team and reserve, and, to my amazement, I was invited to join the team along with fellow team mates Tom Whyman, Nick Daunt, our captain Jakob Whitfield and our reserve Jonathan Davy, a truly excellent team and me, ah well…

Once we’d been chosen to be on the team we had the opportunity to play a few practise matches against contestants from previous Manchester teams which was amazingly helpful on getting used to answering quickly and taking risks by buzzing early, plus to get the chance to practise against such distinguished quiz experts, including the unstoppable Henry from last year’s UC Manchester team and, more recently, along with our coach Stephen as part of a formidable team on TV’s most difficult quiz, Only Connect.

The four of us didn’t really know each other before being on the team, though it turned out to be something of a miracle that Tom and I had never met properly as we’re both quite involved in the local music scene and thus know loads of the same people. Anyway, I think we gelled pretty quickly as a team, we soon learned about each other’s quiz strengths and weaknesses, for example, not to ask me anything about science, maths or classical music but to bow to my superior knowledge of Agatha Christie or anything really trivial, essentially, my specialist subject was the kind of questions that Jeremy Paxman sneers at when he has to ask them! Still, somebody has to know that stuff! Oh, and I quite like word games, but not opera, definitely not opera!

To be honest, I really didn’t have time to get nervous about filming our first round match beforehand. I was very absorbed in a chapter of my PHD which was proving very exciting (though also time-consuming) and as soon as that was done we hopped in the Cherryademobile and went off for a blissful week on a Cherryade tour with two of the very best bands in the whole world, The Lovely Eggs
and Hotpants Romance
(I’ll write something about this tour one day) from which we only returned a few days before filming.

Find out what happened when we met The Royal Veterinary College in round 1 in the next exciting instalment…

Rach Cherryade xxxxx

Monday, 19 October 2009

Please would you help me with my PHD research?

Hi again!

I'm currently studying for a PHD in English and American studies at Manchester University. It's about the cultural and social impact of being involved in the making, promoting, distributing or consuming of DIY music. If you're involved, or have been involved, in any way then I would really really love to hear from you about your opinions and experiences. If you'd like to help me out then please e-mail:
and I'll send you more details. The research is approved by the university ethics committee.

Rach Cherryade xxxxxx


Hi there, welcome to the new Cherryade blog, a place where you can, as the name would suggest, find out all the news from Cherryade Towers, don't get too excited!

This blog is likely to include the following:
News about Cherryade releases and what Cherryade bands are up to

Other music I love

Stuff about my PHD (which is about DIY music in the UK and America)

Discussions of TV programmes I love

Descriptions of our beautiful flat, Cherryade Towers, and the assorted knick knacks that live in it.

Dandelion Radio stuff

Posts about my experiences of being on the Manchester University Challenge team 2009-2010

Lots of BBC7 appreciation.

The countdown to Christmas, and lots of general Christmas love.

Description of nights and days out, gigs, club nights, festivals, museums, galleries, etc.

The occasional rant.

A bit of feminism.

A lot of tweeness.

Quiz stuff.

Agatha Christie fandom.

And so much more (well, not much more really!)

Hope you enjoy it!

Rach x
Christmas countdown: only 66 days to go, today's advent calendar picture, a boot with a mouse peeping out of it!