Russ Cavanagh on Vimeo

I decided to build a new platform for my more serious video work, and this can be found by typing “Russ Cavanagh on Vimeo”.

Vimeo has a cleaner, more customisable interface than Youtube. It is the most popular choice for serious video enthusiasts and professionals alike.

I previously had a Vimeo Plus account for a few years and decided that now is the time to start grouping and presenting my better films once again. Click on the pic below to visit my channel.

russ cavanagh on vimeo

Ps. I’ll still be chucking stuff onto my Youtube channel, where there’s a lot more videos that are purely for fun.

Farewell to Museums Sheffield

I produced a video yesterday as a way of saying farewell to Museums~Sheffield.

It was only in September last year that I became involved with the organisation and have been involved with so many aspects of volunteering there: helping facilitate school visits; engaging with the public through object-handling sessions; conducting many market research interviews; helping out on the retail side; assisting at events … and quite a bit more besides.

But I need to concentrate on activities that have any potential to bring me paid work. And so as a farewell gesture to Museums Sheffield, I made this wee video yesterday:

Update before January ends

January has been pretty eventful in terms of music and other pursuits.

I was appointed Principal Cornet of a Championship Section brass band in Yorkshire. Principal Cornet is brass banding’s equivalent of First Violinist in an orchestra – quite an honour and quite a responsibility, especially in this part of the country where my band – Strata Brass – is up against world-famous names like Black Dyke, Brighouse & Rastrick and Grimethorpe. It will make a nice footnote in my life story, perhaps.

I’ve also been helping out Museums-Sheffield with work on market research as well as helping take down their Christmas stock in the Millennium Gallery. Being involved with Museums-Sheffield is like finding an island in the sea of life that one is always glad to shore up to.

Otherwise, I’ve knocked up a few more music videos, each very different:

Remembering my brother

Tomorrow marks the fifth anniversary of my brother’s passing from this world.

Keith was my closest confidante and best friend; picking me up when I needed it, and sharing with me those moments when life was at its fullest as well as emptiest.

A tireless advocate for the arts, photography in particular, Keith Cavanagh was respected and highly regarded in cultured circles in London and Deal (in Kent) where he lived. Not long before he died, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.

Being his only sibling, I had to deal with all of his affairs in the run-up to his death and across the inevitable period of settling his estate. It was heartbreaking that my elderly dad was still alive during those times. Keith was 58.

However, I still smile and laugh to myself each time I remember him, even though there can be no more memories in the making and no more tomorrows with the man I still love more than anyone ever.

RIP, Keith. You deserve to be in a great place now.

Keith Cavanagh

My pic of Keith taken in 2009

Photo by George Plemfer, taken ca 1978

Beautiful portrait made by George Plemper, ca 1978

Christmas fun making videos

I decided to fill the festive vacuum with some Christmas fun making a couple of music videos.

This first one features yours truly playing Bb Cornet with Dinnington Brass Band in the summer of 2015. I won “Best Soloist” awards at banding competitions in 2014 and 2015 playing Cry Me A River and the conductor’s mum filmed a couple of performances at summer concerts. I hope you like the playing, music, and inventive video edit!

The second clip was put together entirely from my flat – mostly sitting at a kitchen table with a couple of musical instruments, a Zoom recorder and Audacity editing software. It really is amazing what inexpensive or free technology can enable us to produce these days! The visuals are old timelapse clips I had on a hard drive. It’s just a bit of Christmas fun!

My videos bring crowdfunding success!

I make promo videos every now and again that aim to help business start-ups and it was nice to find out that one I made earlier this year contributed to a crowdfunding success!

Pikonic project
Mark Wrigley is a physicist based in Stocksbridge, near Sheffield. He invented an astronomical telescope built mainly with a 3-D printer and using Raspberry Pi technology.

Mark raised £5,790 – 105% of his target – using the indiegogo crowdfunding platform. Here’s Mark’s crowdfunding page, his website, and below is the video I made for him:

Infinite Crypt
I enjoyed similar success last year when I made a promo video for a Kickstarter campaign. Infinite Crypt is a small business, also based in Sheffield, that exceeded it’s £6,000 crowdfunding target to raise £10,813. The business makes self-construct 3-D terrain for tabletop gamers. Here’s my vid:

Get in touch
It’s particularly gratifying that both businesses actually involve manufacturing. Get in touch (russcavanagh[at]gmail.com) if you want to discuss your own plans for a crowdfunding project and find out how I might help!

A Christmas round-up

Here’s a Christmas round-up as we approach the big day …

This past year has been a mix of delight and disappointment – as is probably the case with most folk.

Some money has been earned from multimedia work, mainly producing videos or editing text for third parties, but I can’t honestly call 2015 a year where I made much of a living.

Performing with a manual typewriter during the Edinburgh Festival this year was an especially memorable time.

However, volunteering with Museums-Sheffield has been a great pleasure and will hopefully provide a left-of-field way of finding remunerative work in 2016.

Over this period, one that’s often quiet in commercial terms for creative freelancers, I’ll be knuckling down to finishing a series of vignettes that I aim to try getting published in print (or on Amazon at worst). The short stories provide snapshots of life during the 1980s and ’90s in Edinburgh, London and Sheffield. Although mainly tales of quiet desperation and poverty, there’s a lot of humour and unbelievable but true anecdotes.

I’ve also resurrected my ecoonomicsurvivor.me.uk site and plan to develop this much further; the name explains itself.

Battle of the Bands Best SOloist croppedRecent news includes another live spot last week on BBC Radio Sheffield’s Rony Robinson show, and a continuation of playing numerous gigs with brass bands based in South Yorkshire.

Indeed, I was lucky enough to win “Best Soloist” prize in the 1st & 2nd Sections competition run by Ireland Colliery Brass Band in July.

I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a successful 2016. The world is a particularly uncertain place right now and my thoughts are with our own here in the UK as well as those living with conflict abroad.

On the subject of brass bands and Christmas, here’s a short video I made when out on the streets with Old Silkstone Band on Boxing Day last year:

Museum of Horrors and more

Work with Museums-Sheffield slackened off slightly for me over the past couple of weeks after a real Museum of Horrors experience …

The museum folks put on a showing of Night of the Living Dead as a late-evening treat for Halloween fans on Friday 30th October. The venue was Weston Park Museum, which certainly was creepy thanks to several corridors being unlit and staff wearing ghoulish make-up (me included). The modest crowd loved it – we ran a bar – and I got a chance to watch the B&W 1968 classic that’s funnier than one might suspect director George Romero intended.

Another kind of script …

So after a couple of weeks to recover my shattered wits hiding under a duvet, I carried out another Museum job – this time with a pot of black coffee sat safely on my desk at home yesterday morning.

A few Joe Scarborough paintings (Source: Google Images)

A few Joe Scarborough paintings (Source: Google Images)

Joe Scarborough is a painter who is popular in Sheffield and recognised as a super artist across and well beyond Yorkshire. His cartoonish illustration style is perhaps best described as “Where’s Wally-meets-Lowry” and his work is both educational and fun to look at. Scarborough’s work not only features in national art collections but is widely available in print format and to be found in publications.

Weston Park Museum, one of Museums-Sheffield’s prestige sites, has just installed a 30-foot panorama by Scarborough depicting “Sheffield through the Ages”. The work took six years to complete and takes us on a trip right across the city and covers the years from the 1940s up to the current decade.

The colourful work is already proving a smash hit with kids and parents visiting Weston Park – the latter often explaining familiar Sheffield scenes from the past to their wide-eyed youngsters.

BBC Radio Sheffield interviewed the artist very recently and I was tasked with transcribing what turned out to be 1,500 words to be made available soon in printed format. (An iPlayer link here if you want to hear the interview. Hurry! It will expire in 22 days!)

I actually met Joe Scarborough at a fundraising event I helped organise for Sheffield’s excellent Merlin Theatre about 20 years ago. Remembering him as a warm and generous man, it was a pleasure to hear his voice again over the weekend, albeit through iPlayer.

All work and play!

How does one inspire youngsters to learn about the work of being a curator in a museum?

A couple of days ago I was privileged to work with two groups of 30 five-year-olds by assisting Anita, a super lady who works with Museums-Sheffield. Also present were the kids’ teachers and classroom assistants, all of whom clearly enjoyed bringing their classes out of school and into Sheffield’s amazing Weston Park Museum.

whipping top

Each session started off with the children discussing a display of toys in the museum’s public area. They learned how to assess whether each toy was old or new and had a chance to point out their favourites: how kids do love to be asked for their opinions!

Then it was a trip upstairs to a spacious activity room where Anita and I had previously spread a wide selection of toys (some old, some new) out across five tables, each with six seats. But first-off the kids sat in a large semi-circle in front of Anita where she encouraged them to decide which toys – ones she’d already chosen – were likely to be from bygone times and which were more modern. What was most encouraging in this session was that a spinning aeroplanes toy, dating from early last century, was preferred over a talking Buzz Lightyear model – suggesting an early nous for being a museum curator. Continue reading

PACES

I interviewed Norman Perrin last year about his tireless work bringing the issue of conductive education to the fore.

Norman told the story of an amazing organisation he helped found well over twenty years ago to help young and older adults living with cerebral palsy.

Norman Perrin of PACESWho are you and what was the position you retired from at Paces?

My name is Norman Perrin and I’m the founder of Paces and its first Chief Executive. In August 2014 I stepped down, being replaced as Chief Executive by Gavin Teasdale.

What is Paces and when was it founded? Who was involved with setting it up?

Paces came together around 1992, though it wasn’t registered as a charity until 1996. At that time, Scope (it was still The Spastics Society then) was organizing two Conductive Education summer schools and I managed to persuade them to hold one in Sheffield.

By then loads of families, many from Sheffield, had heard of “conductive education” and had made the still difficult journey to the Peto Institute in Budapest, Hungary. So, for three weeks in the summer of 1992, we had 100 children and their families come to Sheffield from all over the UK, along with 50 conductors (“teachers”) from the Peto Institute. Sheffield Hallam University (at Collegiate Crescent) hosted the event brilliantly. Two more summer schools were held in 1993 and 1994.

The idea for Paces grew out of some of us wanting visiting families to have the best possible stay in Sheffield and the urge to do something more permanent. Continue reading