Terminal Jive

Creative projects by Abigail Ward

Stepping down from MDMArchive

DJing at Freight Island. Photo: Nick Marchant

After 17 years of involvement with MDMArchive I have decided to step down from my role as archive manager and curator to focus on my career as a musician, DJ, writer and creative facilitator. I’d like to thank everyone on the archive team and our Board of Trustees for being my companions on this ride, which has been deeply rewarding, occasionally anarchic and pretty exhausting. I think it has been our shared sense of humour that has kept us going.

I’d particularly like to mention Mat Norman, the big brother I never had, for getting me involved in the first place; Alison Surtees for always being ahead of the curve on democratising heritage; Cathy Brooks for getting me back into making my own music and helping me out of spreadsheet despair; and to Sarah Feinstein for truly seeing my work and celebrating it. Thanks also to our chair Dave Carter for his tenacity in gaining charitable status.

In July we lost MDMArchive co-founder and co-chair, CP Lee, whose Shake, Rattle & Rain book was the initial spark that ignited the Archive. I’d like to acknowledge all that Chris gave to our organisation over the years: unparalleled knowledge of Manchester music, usually coupled with unparalleled belly laughs.

Particular highlights on the journey have included creating 1 Top Class Manager – The Notebooks of Rob Gretton; Queer Noise at the People’s History Museum; We Are Dynamite! at NIAMOS; and The Lapsed Clubber Audio Map.

We Are Dynamite! at NIAMOS

But my abiding passion has always been our online archive, which I created back in 2004-5 with our long-term digital developer, Ashley Kennerley. Ash and I have worked hard together on several iterations of the website, and overseen its constant maintenance. Special thanks to Ash for his creativity, calm problem-solving skills and database-whispering ability.

It has been amazing to watch the development of the website and archive, which now has over 22,000 uploads from its community of users. The images and stories contained within it are a true source of learning and inspiration. I have particularly enjoyed making and using the online exhibitions facility – there are so many lesser-known stories about Greater Manchester music that deserve to be revealed.

In order to remain a living, breathing community archive, we need to encourage more and more users to upload. You can help us do that by adding your favourite images and stories to the site, and, in turn, sharing those uploads through social media.

As a charity, MDMArchive is in a period of transition and our Board of Trustees is currently scoping out the future of the organisation. They’d like to hear from any individuals or organisations who may be interested working with us. Please contact info@mdmarchive.co.uk if you’d like to have a chat, making your emails FAO Alison Surtees.

Queer Noise at People’s History Museum

Gay Rave For Weight Loss

Last July I did a gig at Dance Yrself Clean at YES – a colourful queer dance party celebrating LCD Soundsystem, DFA Records, 80s pop, Chemical Brothers, Simian Mobile Disco, Robyn and the environs. It was nice for me to play outside of my comfort zone (i.e. melancholy soul that makes everyone want to cry and go home). A practice mix that I did for the night came up on shuffle recently and I ended up doing a protracted, ungainly dance-based work-out to it that I’m glad only my houseplants bore witness to.

I thought I’d share the mix with all you fitness freaks and newly-minted runners.

It starts off really big, daft and cheesy and gets quite nasty and menacing at the end – like all the best parties.

There’s an under-appreciated Annie Lennox track on there, some old DFA stuff, a track that sounds a bit like a George Michael B-side, but isn’t, some Thunderdome rave and a slice of Soulwax that I played on my 30 birthday. Back then it sounded absolutely mental – a new adventure in digital weirdness. Not sure it’s stood the test of time, but all ruddy good fun. Perversely I forgot to play any LCD!

ALL LIVE, NO JIVE!

Forthcoming DJ gigs

Design by Stan Chow

Feb
Sat 1st – YES
Thur 13th – People’s History Museum’s 10th Birthday
Thur 20th – CULTUREPLEX
Fri 21st – The Refuge

Mar
Fri 6th – Amp at HOME
Sat 7th – Suffragette City at The Refuge
Sat 13th – The Refuge
Fri 27th – The Refuge

April
Fri 3rd – The Refuge
Fri 10th – The Refuge
Thur 16th – CULTUREPLEX
Fri 17th – The Refuge
Sat 25th – MDMA 17th Birthday Party (Private)

Please see my Twitter & Facebook for times and other details.

All DJ gigs cancelled for the foreseeable, due to Coronavirus.

DM Lab music sessions at Z-arts

DM Lab supports the development of new accessible musical instruments for Disabled musicians. Drake Music holds meetings every month, led by musician Abigail Ward, at Levi’s Studios at Z-arts, Hulme, Manchester where disabled musicians, music technologists, coders and instrument-makers gather to discuss, develop projects, have a jam, and access the recording studios.

Meetings range from small informal gatherings where work is shared and developed, to larger presentation based events and everything in between. For further information please contact abigailward@drakemusic.org.

2020 dates:
Mon Jan 27
Mon Feb 24
Mon Mar 30
Mon April 27
Mon May 18
Mon June 29
Mon Jul 27

Mon Aug 24 (TBC)
Mon Sep 28 (TBC)
Mon Oct 26 (TBC)
Mon Nov 30 (TBC)
Mon Dec 14 (TBC)

Please note: Z-arts dates are cancelled due to Coronavirus.


Suffragette City 2020

Suffragette City 2019. Photo: Claire Angel

Saturday March 7th sees the return of Suffragette City – the women-led all-day music event at The Refuge, which raises money for Greater Manchester women’s charities.

At a time when refuges are suffering deep cuts and many women’s groups have to rely on self-organisation to fundraise, coming together to make a difference is more important than ever.

Last year the event raised over £3k and we hope to smash that record and enjoy coming together in the same atmosphere of love, defiance and celebration.

BUY TICKETS HERE.

Curated by Rina Ladybeige (The Social Service), Chris Massey (Electriks/Sprechen), Abigail Ward (Manchester Digital Music Archive) and Kath McDermott (BBC 6 Music), the day and night event will feature the usual array of female DJ talent playing cross-genre party music for discerning dancers.

PUBLIC BAR (Free) 2pm-1am

Abigail Ward
Andrea Trout
Paulette
Mix-Stress (Rebecca Never Becky)
BB (Supernature Disco)
Zoë & Leila (LIINES)
Reeshy vs Rinny
Soo Wilkinson
Alison Bell
Justine Alderman (Across The Tracks)

BASEMENT (£5 tickets) 10pm-3am

Philippa Jarman
(Homo Electric)
Disco Mums
Ladybeige (The Social Service)
Kim Lana

Artwork is by celebrated Manchester designer Stan Chow.

A limited run of t-shirts and posters featuring Stan’s artwork will be sold to raise money. T-shirts are by Applique Apparel.

The public bar will be free to enter and the basement club night will be ticketed, with all proceeds going to:

Women Asylum Seekers Together in Greater Manchester (WAST)
Emmeline’s Pantry
Keeping out Girls Safe (KOGS)
Contact Hostel

#SuffragetteCity2020

Cheque delivered to Women Asylum Seekers Together. Photo: Rina Ladybeige

A host of heavenly angels

I woke up at five-ish this morning, for some reason thinking about Kirsty Maccoll. I have always been a huge fan of her voice and writing, and have an intense weakness for those spectacular, sparkling harmonies.

I was very troubled by her death, and it continues to crop up in my mind from time to time. Listening to ‘Days’ is almost unbearable – I’ve dashed out of many a shop to avoid hearing it since. I braved it this morning, though, and remembered how much I love the production: those rimshots at the beginning, really live and ‘roomy’ compared to the relative dryness of the vocal. The bass in at 0.36, and a subtle build to full, shiny, pop majesty – layers of complexity sounding like simplicity itself. And Johnny, of course.

What really murders me about the song, though, is its stoicism. We have Ray to thank for that. It should be called ‘Days (or How the English Grieve)’.

When I was a teenager I used to borrow tapes from the library. Kirsty’s ‘Galore’ was pored over. When you folded out the sleeve there were various plaudits from people she had worked with. I remember reading Morrissey’s in his idiosyncratic handwriting: “She has great songs and a crackin’ bust.” 

What the fuck would Kirsty think of Morrissey now? Can you imagine? He wrote about her death in his morbidly unputdownable autobiography. Apparently he was the one who suggested she visit the Mexican resort in which she eventually lost her life.

After ‘Days’ I played something I haven’t clocked before: the 12” version of ‘A New England’. Wow! Talk about a host of heavenly angels – it sounds really festive and does exactly what an 80s extended mix should do. It’s fucking amazing. I’m guessing it’s arranged by Steve Lillywhite. To all those people who can no longer bear to listen to The Smiths, dive in for joy.

“I don’t feel sad about letting you go, I just feel sad about letting you know.”

Forthcoming DJ gigs

Photo: Jen Amelia

Nov
Wed 6th – Wilson’s Social
Fri 8th – The Refuge
Wed 13th CULTUREPLEX
Sat 9th – YES
Thur 28th – CULTUREPLEX
Fri 29th – The Refuge

Dec
Sun 1st – One Deck at Electrik with Vicky Maclure & Jonny Owen
Thur 5th – Hatch
Fri 6th – The Refuge
Wed 11th – British Culture Archive exhibition launch at The Refuge
Thur 12th – CULTUREPLEX
Wed 18th – Wilson’s Social
Wed 19th – Hatch
Fri 27th – The Refuge

Jan
Thur 2nd – CULTUREPLEX
Fri 10th – The Refuge
Thur 24th – The Refuge
Thur 30th – The Refuge

Please see my Twitter & Facebook for times and other details.

Big Strings Attached Vol. whatever

Last year I was a given a novel called Nod by a friend. It’s a dystopian affair that tells the story of what happens in society when suddenly, over night, almost everyone loses the ability to sleep.

The blurb says: after six days of absolute sleep deprivation, psychosis will set in. After four weeks the body will die. In the interim, panic ensues and a bizarre new world arises in which those previously on the fringes of society take the lead.

When I look around me at the moment I see so many elements of Nod’s hallucinatory chaos and despair.

Nod was written by a bloke called Adrian Barnes (born in Blackpool). In an author’s note at the end of the book entitled ‘My cancer is as strange as my fiction’ he confides that as the book approached publication, he was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour.

He says, ‘As both the disease and my novel progressed I began to notice eerie similarities between the two, even down to the physical similarity between the eye on the book’s cover and an image of the tumour itself, with its vein-like tendrils spreading out across my brain […] I began to see the end of everything. I was going to slowly lose the people I love, as Paul [the protagonist] did. Insomnia made the world insane to Paul, just as my damaged brain has made the world insane to me.’

In the final paragraph of the novel, the character Paul says:

So this is my final entry. Time to say goodbye to it all, to the world and all of the words I’ve loved so much. Goodbye to it all.

I go to my bed and lie down flat on my back.

Goodbye to chocolate and puppies and hard ons and old running shoes and used books and Christmas morning and crisp newspapers and babies and Coca Cola and sunburned skin and white cotton sheets and bad moods and late night eating and high speed internet and Charlie Brown and ice cream and Beatle music and Beach Boys harmonies and fruit smoothies and thrift stores and black and white photos and favourite books and cold beer and snow storms and heavy rain and meals in restaurants and arriving and departing and exhaustion and the need to piss and tiredness and bicycles and cars and kisses on the neck and stretching and arguments and water and salt and painting and shade and Dickensian waifs and waxy pine needles and hot sand and the smell of cedar and every line Shakespeare ever wrote and shaving and sore muscles and crunching ice cubes and mail boxes and popcorn in movie theatres and pay cheques and the smell of limes and

[Ends]

But what has this got to do with the mix of music below?

Just a feeling.

Marcus Hamblett – Vibraphone Piece

Raphael Doyle – I Come From Ireland

myageisdigital – Vanish

New Tutenkhamen – Tutankhamen Theme

Jospeh Malik  – Love Bound

Chrysta Bell & David Lynch – Swing With Me

Isabelle Mayereau – Orange Bleu

Penguin Cafe – Chapter

Jon Hassell  – Dreaming

Corinna Repp – Release Me

Unity is Strength: Manchester & Salford Women’s TUC and other stories



This is a podcast about rebel women of the trade union movement. It’s inspired by the recent discovery of a set of minutes books that tell the story of Manchester and Salford Women’s Trades Union Council from 1895 to 1919.

It will introduce you to some trailblazing, risk-taking women who fought hard to improve pay and conditions for poor female workers in the early 1900s and contrast their triumphs and challenges with those of young female trade unionists today.

You’ll hear about the Women’s TUC organising secretaries Eva Gore Booth and Mary Quaile, and a contentious resolution put to the Council by Christabel Pankhurst.

Produced and presented by Abigail Ward.

Featuring: Bernadette Hyland (Mary Quaile Club), Sarah Woolley (BFAWU), Claire Trevor (Unite), Alison Surtees (Bectu), Mary Sayer (Unite) and Michael Herbert (Mary Quaile Club).

Image: Mary Quaile, 1925.

Music: Jennifer Reid, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Electrelane

Special thanks to: Working Class Movement Library, Manchester Histories and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

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