Another pic from the Rancid Monkey shoot we did.
It appears that there is a lot of interest in this Chepstow based band. Readers of this blog will be familiar that the band won a National contest, now they have been offered a record deal by Welsh based record company Optimum Records.
The band are in the studio at the time of writing completing their EP and will not make a decisions as to which label they will aim for until all tracks are in the bag.
A small selection of the shots for the new Lazarou Hairstylists website that I have been commissioned to shoot. The site is not live as yet but I am told is nearly there. The site is being built by Website Design Centre Group http://www.websitedesigncentre.com for Lazarou Hairstylists and Beauty Salon for their salon in Pontypridd, s e Wales.
I have just completed three days training for Venture Wales, the pan Wales Business Start-Up Agency.
The training took place in Park Place in Cardiff and – I’m pleased to say that I had a really lively bunch attending.
All the delegates are in the process of just starting a business or in the very early days of trading. I had a wide range of businesses there including:
- Restoration Painting & Decorating
- Sound Design and Music Production
- Bag Design & Manufacture
- Business Psychologist
- A Hot Sauce Manufacturer
- A Design Agency
- A Photographer
- Interior Design
In 1974 I joined CBS/Arbiter Ltd. in their London offices as a Promotions Manager. My main role was to ensure that the ‘name’ musicians of the day (especially drummers) were playing our products. This would involve me attending the BBC Studios in Shepherds Bush every Wednesday to watch the filming of Top of The Pops and to encourage the acts appearing to consider and or swap over to CBS musical instruments. I also had to visit all my old haunts including theatres and concerts halls for the same reason. For the first 6 months, it felt like I hadn’t stopped playing professionally. I was still in the Smokey recording studios, and the TV studios, and all those grubby back-stage areas. The only difference was that this time, I didn’t have to play!
Another of my roles at CBS/A (and there were many!) was to demonstrate the product to interested potential customers en masse, usually on behalf of one of our European distributors or retail outlets. The events are known as ‘Drum Clinics’. I did literally dozens of these things a lot on my own and some with ‘Star’ drummers such as Jon Hiseman and Roy Burns.
The picture shown is from a clinic tour I did of Sweden for Brinks Music, the Swedish distributor of the time. The owner of the company, Stig, was a lovely guy and went out of his way to make my stay in his Country a happy one. He also provided a three piece band to travel with me, Guitar, Bass and Keyboards. On the occasion this pic was taken, I had arrived in the Country at about 4.00 pm and by 7.00 pm we had all the demonstration kits set up, I had rehearsed a couple of numbers with the guys in the group and by the time I had changed clothes ready for the set, there were 500 people sitting in the audience!
It was Stig who was responsible for introducing me to the drummers with ABBA (they had two), Ola Brunkert and Malando Gassama and through that introduction both drummers played our kits throughout their world tour in 1977.
The picture below is from the front page of the London Evening News Monday February 14th 1977.
The article was by John Blake and the picture was taken by David Thorpe. It was a bit of a coup for me and I felt quite pleased that I had managed to get two drum kits on the front page of a major London paper, and, behind ABBA one of the biggest bands in the world.
Unfortunately, despite all the hard work put in by all the team at CBS/Arbiter Auto-Tune Drums didn’t stay the course and were eventually discontinued.
The beauty of being freelance and having a ‘Portfolio’ of business options means that, if one area of your expertise – in your portfolio – is suffering you can concentrate on another area where that sector is not so depressed. At the moment the photography side of the business is quiet, I am therefore concentrating more on the Management & Training Consultancy side which, fortunately is keeping me busy.
Yesterday, I spent the day with an old friend and colleague Barry Quilter, Barry is Operations Director and second in command at Venture Wales.
We spent the day at the Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells in mid Wales, with about 75 other like-minded individuals, who all had one objective which was, to investigate methods of improving what we deliver and how we deliver training, for the new business start ups in Wales.
The day was organised by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) and more specifically the Department for the Economy & Transport as part of the many programmes they fund throughout the Principality to assist both new and existing businesses.
The day consisted of firstly discussing the content of the Business Training that is currently delivered by the providers across Wales. The delegates were all pre-arranged into teams based on their knowledge and location, and to ensure an even distribution of skills and talent. Each team also had a number of WAG personnel present who were able to clarify any areas of contract criteria, that may require clarification.
All in all an excellent session where personal experiences and good practices were shared. This session also considered the currency of the training programme and whether it still met the needs of new businesses and if not, what changes needed to be addressed. We discussed the provision for delivering the training courses in the Welsh language, which a considerable number of businesses prefer, especially in north Wales. Amongst a myriad of other topics discussed were, the Marketing section of the training programme and how this could be improved and updated, especially in the area of internet marketing.
The next stage was concerned with the various methods used by the different providers in their delivery, the times and the days/weeks, content and the skills required by those delivering the training, both now and for the future.
All in all an excellent day, and all thanks to WAG for organising the day and specifically Jon Linford and Arwel Williams, managers at the DfET who I understand were responsible for the operational and logistics (amongst other things) for the day.
Next stage of this review will be to meet up again to discuss all the many, many ‘written’ comments and suggestions that each team provided. All this information now needs to be collated and evaluated and conclusions and suggestions prepared for the next session and meeting of the group, sometime within the coming weeks.
Thinking of Self-Employment?
If anyone is considering starting up their own enterprise – whether it’s a one-man photography business or an Incorporated business employing many – and you reside in Wales, you can contact me by leaving a comment on this page with your contact details and, I will then signpost you to the best person to handle your query. Alternatively, you can also contact Venture Wales direct and/or WAG where you will find a considerable amount of information to assist you to.
Obviously, any contact details you leave with me on this blog, will not be sold, shared or given to anyone other than those that I am specifically asked to pass on to.
As I have mentioned a few times before, I am quite actively involved in Management and Business Development, and, whilst in the process of sorting pics etc to digitise I came across this clip. It was a promotion that I was organising/co-ordinating with Barclays Bank and Venture Wales. Venture Wales are one of the most successful Enterprise Agencies in Wales and literally start (or help to start) 100’s of businesses each year.
If anyone is interested in starting their own business and feel they would benefit from some sound advice, get in touch with Venture Wales, who can point you in the right direction, before you start the business.
I should point out that I am not an employee of either Venture Wales or Barclays bank and all the comments I make on my blog are specifically mine.
Although, no longer employed by Venture Wales, I do provide training services for their clients, as an external independent Adviser.
I have just finished shooting the last watch for my client MintVintageWatches.com I was quite pleased that as I was e-mailing him the photo-files, they were going straight onto ebay and were being sold. Which meant that the pics must have been not too bad!
However, that is the end of that contract for the moment, due to ‘credit crunch’ restrictions on the jewellery business.