Bowie producer to work with Teesside star

GENIUS: Alistair Sheerin supported The Enemy this summer (Credit: Richard David Blain)

GENIUS: Alistair Sheerin supported The Enemy this summer (Credit: Richard David Blain)

HEADLINE slot at the top club in your home town – check. Supporting a band with three top 10 albums across the country – check. Working in the studio with David Bowie’s producer and band mate – check.

Middlesbrough’s very own Alistair Sheerin is quickly developing the portfolio of every aspiring musician’s dream.

Just last year the 23-year-old had supported Miles Kane on several occasions and now the singer/songwriter is operating with New York City producer Mark Plati.

“My initial reaction was ‘wow, David Bowie’ as everyone’s would be,” said Alistair.

“Then I checked him out and I noticed he’d worked with the Cure, Fleetwood Mac and Prince.

“So I was excited at first but once I started working with him all of that went away.”

When Alistair and his manager first picked Mark up from the airport they instantly formed a bond over mutual interests.

He said: “We spoke a lot about musk that we both love. I was naming American artists which I really like. As soon as I mentioned Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen we hit it off straight away.

“So when we got talking it was as if we could agree on something without even discussing it.”

ACCOMPLISHED: Mark Plati in the studio

ACCOMPLISHED: Mark Plati in the studio

The acquisition of Mark Plati to Alistair’s ever-growing set-up is sure to offer a whole new realm of opportunities.

Speaking about whether plans have been made to visit the Big Apple, Alistair declared nothing has been set in stone.

“We are looking to but it’s not a case of just New York, more like wherever we end up,” said Alistair.

“Mark is the producer and he knows which studios work best for my sound so a lot of it relies on him.”

Alistair and his bandmates spent the summer supporting indie rockers The Enemy on a number of tour dates across the country.

The Enemy’s Tom Clarke once hailed the Eston born star as ‘a f**king genius’, and the frontman says he learned a lot from the Coventry band.

“It was a good experience – the buzz was great and the crowds were amazing,” said Alistair.

“Working with Tom was good and I think he is underrated as a songwriter.

“The way I see him work he is so fast paced – I could mention something and straight away he would get it.”

The latest track Have You Ever Been So Low has received praise after gaining airtime from BBC Introducing in York & North Yorkshire.

With 50 songs already recorded and around 20 still to go it seems the focus is set on producing more records.

Alistair said: “There is loads of stuff going on at the moment, such as a brand new track which was written not long ago which Mark produced and mixed.

“I’m just keeping it gradual and keeping the buzz going and see how it all goes.”

from Tside

Boro Crush Canaries To Fly To Second Place

Embedded image permalink

READY FOR ACTION: The two teams kick-off prior to Middlesbrough’s emphatic win over Norwich City

Middlesbrough made it one defeat from 11 games as they continue their sparkling run of form with a thumping 4-0 win over Norwich City.

Captain fantastic Grant Leadbitter netted a header and a penalty while Patrick Bamford and substitute Yanic Wildshcut added to the Canaries humiliation.

The win lifts Boro level on points with top of the league Bournemouth who they face at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday in a top of the table clash.

Aitor Karanka made two changes in this game replacing Wildschut and Emilio Nsue with Ryan Fredericks and Albert Adomah who recovered from illness.

Former Boro midfielder Gary O’Neil retained his place in the Norwich team after an impressive debut against Bolton last Friday.

A crowd of 16,468 were at the Riverside to see the Canary mauling after their last meeting was a 1-1 draw in January 2011.

First Half

Boro hit the ground the running straight from the off and showed their intentions when Fredericks shot over from 20 yards.

But it didn’t take long for Boro to make their mark as a one-two between Adomah and Kike freed the Ghanian down the flank and his low cross found the head of Bamford to finish well. Cracking start!

The Reds were making good use of the ball and their decision making, mixed with a good level of passing and tempo was spot on.

But the game lulled for another 20 minutes and Norwich looked like they were going to find a way back through with shots from O’Neil and Nathan Redmond coming close.

There was little to watch during this first half until the 33rd minute when George Friend was bundled down in the box and Nigel Miller pointed to the spot.

The resulting penalty was never in doubt as Grant Leadbitter sent John Ruddy the wrong way and send the Boro fans into rapturous celebration.

Kike’s hard work almost paid off he weaved his way into the box only to see his shot blocked by Russell Martin, which was a glorious opportunity.

The game remained cagey but Boro were having more of the ball and they were proving difficult to break down.

Second Half

The second half picked up from where the game had left off as a slow start could only produce a sailing shot from Cameron Jerome, Norwich’s star striker with eight goals.

Boro started to regain their rythem and Tomlin was showing his class with some neat trickery and vision before Leadbitter fired a shot shortly after that was parried by Ruddy.

Another goal seemed like it was a matter of time and Ruddy was on hand again to tip wide Fredericks shot from 30 yards.

But the East Anglian’s futile resistance was broken when Tomlin’s chipped through ball found the head of Leadbitter who audaciously looped a header over the despondent Ruddy to make it 3-0.

The Smoggies were looking a joy to watch as Boro were in full control and the organisation and shape when Boro didn’t have the ball was terrific.

The performance was rounded off in the 85th minute when Ruddy spilt Leadbitter’s corner to the feet of Wildschut who back heeled through several Norwich defenders to nestle the ball into the back of the net.


Aitor Karanka had mixed emotions after the game and admitted that he wasn’t very pleased with the way the side played in the first half.

He said: “I was very pleased with the result tonight and the way the lads played in the second half, but I wasn’t pleased with the first. We didn’t play the way we normally do.

“I am happy with where we are but we need to keep our feet on the ground and focus on Bournemouth.

“More depth to the squad has helped us but we need to keep working as we are. From the chairman to the kitman, one are one team.”

Norwich manager Neil Adams was saddened by his teams performance and said: “It is the most disappointed I’ve been in charge.

“We got what we deserved. We had good players who didn’t play well on the day.”


Middlesbrough (4-2-3-1): Konstantopoulos; Fredericks, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Clayton, Leadbitter (c); Adomah (Reach 48′), Bamford (Vossen 74′), Tomlin; Kike (Wildschut 68′)

Norwich City: (4-2-3-1): Ruddy; Whitaker, Martin, Turner, Olsson; O’Neil, Tettey (Hooper 45′); Redmond, Howson, Lafferty (Murphy 57′); Jerome (Grabban 77′) Man of the Match: Grant Leadbitter


Goals: Middlesbrough 4-0 Norwich City

Shots (on target): Middlesbrough – 15 (6) – Norwich City – 6 (1)

Corners: Middlesbrough 12 – 2 Norwich City

Fouls: Middlesbrough 9 – 13 Norwich City

Yellow cards: Middlesbrough – 2 (Leadbitter, Clayton) – 3 Norwich (Martin, Murphy, Jerome)

Attendance: 16,468

Referee: Nigel Miller

Unused subs:

Middlesbrough: (Mejias, Omeruo, Whitehead, Nsue)

Norwich: (Rudd, Johnson, Miquel, Cuellar)

Player Ratings:

Dimi Konstanopoulos – 7

Ryan Fredericks – 8

Daniel Ayala – 7

Ben Gibson – 8

George Friend – 8

Adam Clayton – 8

Grant Leadbitter – 9

Albert Adomah – 7

Patrick Bamford – 8

Lee Tomlin – 9

Kike – 8

Jelle Vossen – 7

Yanic Wildschut – 7

Adam Reach – 7

from Tside

Youth unemployment in the North East – is performing arts the solution?

TALENT: Lucy French outside of the Red Dreams charity

TALENT: Lucy French outside of the Red Dreams charity

Youngsters in the North East are turning to performing arts to tackle unemployment. Tside reporter Jack Crute takes a look at some of the great work going on in performing arts groups and how this is helping to boosts job prospects for young people across the region.


LOCAL drama teachers and performing arts schools are encouraging teenagers to engage in performing arts in order to develop vital skills which will help them gain employment.

There are clear benefits from partaking in such activities – such as teamwork and confidence building – but will it all really help?

A report published by the House of Commons Library last week shows that the North East suffers from the highest unemployment figures in the whole of the UK.

Currently, 9.3% of the North East is unemployed, compared with the UK average of 6.9%, and a massive 19.1% of 16-24 year olds are neither in work or education.

While it does feel like teenagers’ futures in the North East are bleak, some people are helping to change the tide.

Red Dreams Charity

Red Dreams offers youngsters in Hartlepool a place to express themselves, perform and develop their skills.

The organisation last year opened the doors on a unit which houses rehearsal rooms, recording studios, photography facilities and a whole host of other state-of-the-art equipment to give members vital experience.

The unit sees up to 200 teenagers a week and offers a variety of different activities and opportunities.

The charity was launched by Pete and Dawn McManus, after their 16-year-old son Kyle  died following a brain haemorrhage in 2007. Kyle was a lover of performing arts.

The team now employ five interns as part of the Government’s Creative Employment Programme, offering young people the chance to develop their technical skills in music and social media.

One of its young acts, Nick Dixon, auditioned for The Voice and received acclaim from judges, Jessie J and Tom Jones.

He tried out for a second time earlier this year and received more strong comments, but didn’t quite manage to get that all important chair-spin.

Another of Red Dream’s artists, Lucy French, recently released her own extended play, entitled Vicious Cycles.

The 18-year-old, who studies at Hartlepool’s Brinkburn Sixth Form College, says that working with Red Dreams has been a “life changing experience”.

Lucy, who is signed to home-grown record label Otiss Music, plans to continue working on new music with another EP on the way.

The record label is home to 10 acts, including Elena Larkin, Paul Hart and Lost in Paradise – all of whom have released music on the independent label.

Two of it’s artists, Matty “Consept” Kitching and Kate Williams, recently auditioned for The X Factor and have made it through to perform in front of judges Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and co. Maybe this Christmas will see Hartlepool’s very first number one single!?

Performing Arts in Education

In the small town of Hartlepool alone, there are over 10 dance schools and several more drama groups and Glee clubs, all giving youngsters an opportunity to have fun and express themselves.

While these out-of-school clubs are greatly beneficial to many children, it’s surprising to discover that drama and music no longer form part of the national curriculum, meaning the subjects could get overlooked.

However, most schools in the local area have chosen to continue investing in the subjects.

Ellie Hopwood, head of performing arts at Manor College of Technology in Hartlepool, believes the teaching of the subject is vital.

In 2016, Manor College of Technology will open its doors to a brand new school building, with performing arts taking centre stage.

The build will include a brand new performing arts hub right in the centre of the school, featuring state-of-the-art technology and equipment to further enhance the teaching of drama and music.

In 2011, the school invested over £50,000 in a ‘Boom Room’, equipped with a recording studio and musical instruments to give students and local residents a place to experiment with music.

Success Stories

It’s unlikely that every Northern performer will go on to have number one singles or a Hollywood penthouse, but there are many success stories to already come out of the region.

Earlier this year, a group of teens from Hartlepool made it to the semi-final in CBBC’s Glee Club competition, and recent X Factor winners Little Mix and James Arthur come from the North.

In an economy that’s tougher than ever to survive in, nobody can deny that the skills performing arts can provide are beneficial, but only time will tell if all of the hard work will pay off.

from Tside

Science building investment will “change the way students learn”

FUTURISTIC: Artists impression of the new-look Orion building.

FUTURISTIC: Artists impression of the new-look Orion building.

A MULTI-MILLION pound revamp of a Teesside University Science and Engineering building is set to “change the way students learn”.

The University is ploughing £6 million into creating a “futuristic look” for the Science and Engineering school’s Orion building, on Southfield Road.

The building will be remodelled to include a three-storey glass extension, allowing passers-buy to “see the latest technologies in action” and bring it in line with more modern buildings such as the Phoenix and newly-announced Campus Heart.

The refurbishment will also include a 200-seat auditorium, new laboratories and workshops, as well as an investment into the latest industry standard equipment. A flight simulation laboratory will also be developed for aerospace engineering students, with a full-size aircraft for design projects.

Malcolm Page, Chief Operating Officer of the University, said: “This is part of a major programme of investment to enhance the experience and support we provide to students on our campus.”

The work comes as part of a £30 million investment into the University, which includes the new £20m Campus Heart building next to the library, due to open in Summer 2015.

BRIGHT SPARK: Danielle looks forward to the redevelopment.

BRIGHT SPARK: Danielle looks forward to the redevelopment.

Danielle Fuller, who studies Biology in the Orion buildings, said: “The new building proposals sound fantastic and me and my classmates can’t wait to move in when it opens in the summer.

“It’s one of the older buildings at the University and we’re all pleased that it is being brought up to date.”

Peter Ward, who also studies Sciences at the University, added: “I’m really excited that the University is investing more into science and giving us even more tools to succeed on our courses.

“The new building is definitely going to change the way we learn.”

The building, which is set to open in Summer 2015,  will be concentrated on four key areas, including the manufacturing industry, power engineering, aerospace engineering and a new centre for testing.


from Tside

Karanka Looks To Unite Players Ahead Of Norwich Clash

STICK TOGETHER: Boro boss Aitor Karanka insists the players need to keep going as they are (Photo courtesy of Evening Gazette)

Middlesbrough look to make it one defeat from 11 as they take on Norwich City in one of the biggest games of the season.

Boro go into this game a point ahead of the East Anglians as the Championship table becomes increasingly tighter as the games go on.

A defeat for Boro could see them fall into seventh place but a win may well propel them to the top of the table for the first time this season.

Norwich have fallen to sixth place in a recent bad spell but this game could very well shape Boro’s season as they seek to continue their sparkling run of form.

Head coach Aitor Karanka admitted it will be a tough week with Boro facing high flying Bournemouth on Saturday but the team remains fully focused on the game tomorrow night.

He said: “We have won the game at Rotheram which was always going to be difficult. And we have two important games at Norwich and Bournemouth,

“But our focus is on tomorrow night at Norwich. It will be a difficult game because they are a Premier League club.

“We beat Fulham and Cardiff but I am confident because we normally do well against those teams.”

Karanka added that is still a lot of work today in this long Championship season and it still remains very tight at the top.

He added: “I said after the Rotheram game its amazing right now but there is still a long way so we have to keep working in the same way.

“We are going to have very good moments and very bad moments but we need to stick together.”

In other news, Middlesbrough winger Adam Reach has signed a new four-and-a-half year deal with the club which keeps him at the club until 2019.

He’s been rewarded with his first long term deal after some sparkling performances and holding down a place in the Boro team.

from Tside