Billy Lockett Talks To TSide

Billy Lockett has announced headline shows across the UK

Billy Lockett will play headline shows across the UK

For the past four years singer-songwriter Billy Lockett has made a name for himself by supporting the likes of Nina Nesbitt and Birdy.

He has now released dates for his very own headline tour.

In March 2016 he will play intimate gigs in Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Bristol and London.

Still without a studio album, Billy is still able to pull in crowds that will sing their hearts out to his tunes from EPs such as Hard Man and Your Love Hurts.

“It’s a huge buzz because it means people have come purely from loving my EPs,” he said.

“I am concentrating on making the live shows incredible.”

However, the studio side of things are going well. His debut album has recently been finished but the songwriting doesn’t stop now.

“I still like to always keep writing non stop,” Billy said.

The first EP that includes Hardman, Balance and Don’t Wait Up to name just three, his songwriting ability is definitely up to scratch and since then the experience has only improved him.

Find his YouTube channel and you’ ll come across various tracks recorded in his cellar. The walls of that cellar have witnessed the growth of Billy Lockett.

Billy said: “I learnt how to play down there, had my first three bands practice down there, and then went solo and wrote pretty much every EP and the whole album down there.” A pretty special place indeed.

Another place that Billy sees as special is Glasgow – described as: “my favourite place to play, always has been and always will be” – a date at the famous King Tuts was included on the latest tour. Glasgow will be visited again when he plays ‘Nice n Sleazy’ on March 26.

“I will be focusing on the album and hoping to get it out in the not so distant future,” he explains optimistically.

The local BBC Introducing network around his Northampton hometown took an interest in him last year, although he doesn’t feel it broke his career.

He said: “I still do everything myself but that is kind of how I like it.”

Billy has some advice for  those starting out.

He said: “Touring and supporting artists is the best way because you can meet the fans.”


Tickets are on sale now. They are available on Ticketmaster.

Keep up with Billy Lockett on:

Twitter: @billylockett

Facebook: Billy Lockett Music


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Fancy some sun, sea and sport?


LLORET DE MAR: Students will be spending most of their time here Picture courtesy of Xavi Garcia

SPORT society students at Teesside University are getting ready to hit the road for SportsVest.

SportsVest is an annual event for sports societies from universities in the UK and abroad, and has been running since 2009.

The event is a week-long trip to Lloret de Mar, Spain, where all visitors will enjoy activities, day trips and parties throughout the week.

The SportsVest website details what students can expect from the week, the schedule includes: foam parties, UV paint parties, cruises, and a Barcelona day trip.

Ashleigh Mann, a member of the Equestrian club, is going on the trip.

She  said: “It’s a week-long trip for sports society students to go away and enjoy themselves.”

“This is the first time the Equestrian club had considered going and we are going with the American Football Society at the university.

Along with day trips and night activities the website boasts a variety of sports on offer for students including Basketball, Dodgeball, Waterpolo and Golf.

Since the first event in 2009 SportsVest has seen headline DJ sets from Scott Mills, Annie Mac and Danny Howard.

This year’s line-up of DJ’s has yet to be announced.

Ashleigh said: “I am most looking forward to horse riding in the mountains and the day in Barcelona should be good with trying out the Spanish cuisine and just having a good time.”

The trip altogether costs around £390 with £50 deposit being given back at the end of the visit.

SportsVest is running for three consecutive weeks starting on March 19.

For more information on SportsVest visit:

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Happy Mondays heading back to Teesside

Happy Mondays

The Happy Mondays are set to return to Teesside.

The group is set to play the massive club at Teesvalley Arena on Linthorpe Road and the gig is predicted to be a sell out with fans across the area already  buzzing at the news..

The Madchester music icons are making their first appearance on Teesside since their performance at 2014’s Stockton weekender.

Famous in the late 80’s and 90’s for songs like ‘Step On’ and ‘Hallelujah’, the Mondays inspired a generation of fans and musicians alike with their cross of alternative and dance music.

Innovators of the Madchester music scene alongside New Order, The Stone Roses and The Charlatans, they have a big following on Teesside from older fans who visited the Hacienda to younger ones wondering why music like this isn’t in the charts anymore.

Their classic albums ‘Squirrel and G-Man’, ‘Bummed’ and ‘Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches’ are all over a quarter of a century old now so fond memories will be generated for fans when they perform a number of their hits.

Tickets went on sale at 9am on Friday January 29 for around £30.

With the event sure to be a packed out TeesValley Arena and tickets expecting to sell out very quick make sure you don’t miss out!






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Fertile Ground Dance Company workshop: Post from Perform@tees

Fertile Ground Dance Company visited the dance students this week to give an inspiring repertoire workshop based on the companie’s current pieces. Great to see our very own Bethany Robinson as part of the company this year! We are looking forward to welcome the company back for the audition in April!

from perform@tees

New health and fitness centre opens its doors at Teesside University

A MULTI-MILLION pound gym has opened it doors on campus at Teesside University after months of construction.

The new centre, which is an extension of the Olympia Building, brings together the University’s sports and fitness facilities under one roof.

Costing around £2.75m, the newly launched state of the art investment includes a host of high quality machines and boasts brand new equipment.

THE GYM: The new facility which cost £2.75m

THE GYM: The new facility which cost £2.75m

Andy McLaren, Project Manager of the build said: “The new facility is greatly improved from what we had at the Brittan building.”

“The health and well being department were keen to push for the same as we have at Middlesbrough Sports Village.

“Over the past year we have liaised with clients to see what they wanted in the new gym, and we feel we have got everything we wished for.”

Located on the first floor is a running track which will eventually extend to 30 metres, as well as include running spikes on it’s surface.

Major investment has been made on the free weights section, including brand new dumbbells, benches and a rig which houses six lifting platforms.

A special floor has been installed which allows the users to drop heavy weights without the worry of damage.

Three specialist treatment rooms will also be available for staff and student to use. These meeting rooms can accommodate personal training consultations and sports massages.

Upstairs, four new treadmills have joined the existing cardiovascular machines which were brought from the Brittan building.

There are also a number of resistance machines, an Omnia training system and a multi-purpose studio which will host fitness classes such as spinning.

The studio, which features a sprung floor and a bespoke music system, can be separated by a unique screen that when fully closed creates two separate rooms.

Darren Vipond, Director of Campus Services said: “We see this as the next piece of the jigsaw to enhance the student experience.”

“It leads into the next stage of the development plan, where we will invest in the library and student’s union.

“We hope that by doing this we will increase our national student survey score.”

Members who already have a health and fitness subscription are entitled to use the upgraded facilities, as well as take advantage of existing lockers and separate male and female sauna rooms.

This also includes the use of the climbing wall, personal exercise programmes and access to the squash and badminton courts.

You can also swim for free at the Neptune Centre swimming pool.

Opening times are  Monday-Friday 7.15am to 9.30pm with increased staff for the gym’s launch.

For people who aren’t already registered, but are interested in joining, the prices are £100 a year for students and £120 a year for staff, which can be paid online or at the gym itself.


Trying out equipment at the new gym







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Subtle Kraft Dance Company: Post from Perform@tees

Subtle Kraft visited the University for a practical workshop with students on the BA (Hons) Dance course.

They returned the following day to stage a unique performance and question and answer session.

Subtle Kraft is an inclusive contemporary dance company who use movement as an expression of enjoyment, communication and humanity. The visit to Teesside was part of its ‘Moments Revisited’ tour which is also calling at London and Edinburgh.

Around 25 students took part in the workshop and benefited from learning new techniques and perspectives of dance teaching and choreography.

Lorraine Smith, Senior Lecturer in Dance, said: ‘Both myself and the students were inspired by Subtle Kraft’s work. The company engaged the students in new innovative methods of translating movement to a wide range of people. They create and present their work in a very interesting way and it provided the students with an inspiring approach to choreography and performance.’

from perform@tees

Transfer window wishes for Boro fans.

MIDDLESBROUGH have enjoyed a good first half of the 2015/16 season, breaking clean sheet records and being for the large part the front runner in the Championship.

Currently sat in second place only a point behind leaders Hull with a game in hand, Boro are well on track for promotion and end their seven year absence from England’s top flight is in sight.

With promotion in sight Middlesbrough have looked to strengthen their already strong side by bringing in a player of  Gaston Ramirez’s quality, a player with experience at top levels, having played for Southampton in the premier league and Uruguay in the world cup.

With the transfer window still open we went out to the streets of Middlesbrough to find out who the fans want their club to sign in their bid for promotion.

There was a few names thrown about, amongst them was the 2014/15 Championship player of the year and Boro hero, Patrick Bamford.

KEY MAN: Striker Paddy Bamford has been star player all season.

Bamford’s 2014/15 Season was very impressive for the young man currently contracted to Chelsea. His 17 league goals and impressive performances landed him the Sky Bet Championship player of the year award, so it’s no wonder fans would love to see the Englishmen return to the club for one more loan spell, with on fan saying: 
“Bamford bring him, get him in on loan, see what he can do… and get rid of Kike while we’re at it”

There was also mention of Ross McCormick, a player heavily linked with a move away from London based Fulham.

Fulham, currently 19th reportedly rejected a transfer request from the player recently, perhaps showing some unsettlement with the Scotsman.

However the need for strikers is not the only concern for the Boro faithful with a few fans claiming they need a new centre half to partner Daniel Ayala while regular starter Ben Gibson, has a spell on the side-lines due to injury.
One fan said: “Well, seeing as they’ve already signed Gaston Ramirez as a quick attacking player, i’ll like to see another experienced centre half come in, because I think Amorebieta is a bit erratic especially while Gibson’s out.”

Will the Boro fans get their wish and get a centre half or striker in before the clock strikes midnight on the transfer deadline day? Only time will tell, but as it stands it looks like they’ll be sticking with Amorebieta and Kike for now, I bet the riverside faithful are happy about that.


Middlesbrough transfer signings

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Tour de Middlesbrough gets ready to race

CYCLING: The Tour de Yorkshire was a huge success last year. (Credit: Middlesbrough Council)


Middlesbrough has been named as one of the key locations in the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire.

On May 1 Middlesbrough will be the starting point for the third and final stage of the race, with riders racing from the famous MIMA gallery in the town centre to the finish line in Scarborough’s Northern Bay.

Other notable locations will be in Thirsk, North Allerton and the award winning market town of Helmsley.

The riders will be mostly spending their time racing through the beautiful North Yorkshire Moors National Park, just like they did in the augural event last year.

This is an exciting time for sport in Middlesbrough, with this important role in the Tour de Yorkshire only adding to the hype.

Speaking to the Middlesbrough council’s website, Councillor Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “It is a huge honour for Middlesbrough to host the start of the final stage of the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire.”

“The town will provide a fantastic backdrop for this truly world-class event and we look forward to welcoming cycling fans from far and wide to what will be a memorable spectacle.

“The theme for the stage is a celebration of our proud links with Captain James Cook and this is an opportunity to share that heritage with a whole new audience.”

Despite the overall event traditionally being more suited to sprint racers, this particular stage will be a haven for climbers, with six King of the Mountain jerseys on offer, the highest number in the overall tour.

These jerseys will be won at the scenic points of Sutton Bank, Blakey Ridge, Grosmont, Robin Hood’s Bay, Harwood Dale and Oliver’s Mount.

There will be two major sprints in the 198km ride, the longest stage on the tour.

These will be held in Thirsk and around Whitby Abbey.

The overall ascent of the stage is a total of 2,593m, also the highest on the tour.

There will also be an opportunity for amateur riders, or even complete novices to experience and take in the atmosphere themselves, and race in the third stage of the tour.

They can choose to race the bulk of the tour, or go for the shorter distances of either 85km or 40km.

To find out more information about taking part in this event, log onto

Middlesbrough Council is also looking for the general public to be volunteers to help out during the event.

People are being urged to fill out a survey through their website, where they will then be in touch with the town’s police forces in order to make sure the event runs smoothly.

Middlesbrough’s children will be benefiting too from the event.

The Tour de France legacy event, known as Bank Bike Libraries, will once again sponsored by Yorkshire Bank. This helps children around Yorkshire ride bikes for free in order to build up fitness and confidence.

Coverage of the event will be available on ITV4 and also Eurosport from April 29 – May 1.

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The Jihadis Next Door: Was Channel 4 right in airing it?

ABU RUMAYSAH: Currently in Syria fighting for ISIS

Channel 4’s recent documentary ‘The Jihadis Next Door’ was eye-opening, but could it be seen as a form of propaganda for terrorists?

In the film Jamie Roberts interviews members of a radical Islam group from London about their beliefs and actions.

One of the members Abu Rumaysah, who was a bouncy castle salesman, is now allegedly the ISIS’ executer, the ‘masked murderer’, and has become one of the most wanted men in the world.
While the documentary was being filmed, Abu Rumaysah was arrested along with nine other men for encouraging terrorism.

He was later released on bail and eventually fled to Syria with his wife and children.

The aim of this radical group is to promote the ideology of Sharia law which consists of covering women, no alcohol or gambling, no homosexuality and being extremely punished for any crimes or sins committed.

During the film, Roberts said: “I’m nervous about providing this small group the media platform they crave.’”

ISIS use social media to share a lot of their content and help spread it to the western world in hope to recruit more members, and so it is debatable to wonder whether programmes like this are benefiting them or destroying their image.

MASKED MURDERER: ISIS member, alleged to be Abu Rumaysah

After Abu Rumaysah left, the documentary continued by interviewing Abu Haleema who was also part of the group.

A 14 year-old Australian boy was arrested for plotting to behead police after speaking to Abu Haleema via Twitter.

It has been said that over 700 Britons have travelled to Syria to join ISIS, 100 of them being females.

ISIS use platforms such as Twitter to engage with young people who are more likely to be ‘brainwashed’ and convinced.

During the interview Abu Haleema says he knows a fair amount of people who have left England to fight.

Throughout the film the group is seen promoting itself on the streets of London when a member of the public calls them brainwashed and says that this a front to recruiting people for ISIS who are terrorists.

The influence on younger people is only increasing, and it can be seen as though programmes like this is a form of propaganda as it publicises this extremist group to the world.

One scene shows Abu Haleema making a statement to the press outside of court.

He said: “This is a war against Islam and Muslims.”

Statements such as this, could affect the thinking of a vulnerable person watching the show, making them consider this as a reason to join this group.

ISIS need the media to succeed, and cannot proceed with recruiting or sharing their videos without it.

News reports and programmes like this only help to make them more noticeable and important therefore empowering them as a group.

The literal Arabic definition of the word ‘Jihad’ is effort, and revolves around positive connotations in Islam.

However through the media, this word has become associated with negative meanings relating to extremist terrorist groups. I feel as though the media speaks of these groups as though they represent Muslims like me, when in fact they do not.

The majority of Muslims disagree very much with radical groups and ISIS and are against their actions and policies. As a Muslim living in a Western society, it can get frustrating and disappointing to see so much negativity around Islam in the media.

I think negative press around Islam only creates more hatred towards the religion and does no good for people like me who feel like we are being put in the same category as terrorists.

The media’s reports on radical groups has shed a negative light on Islam, portraying a small group as though they are the real representation of the majority of Muslims.

Over the years, the image of Islam has only become damaged, as words such as ‘terrorist’ and ‘Jihad’ are linked with it.

Documentaries revolving around ISIS have started to become more popular.

Channel 4 also aired ‘My Son the Jihadi’ and ‘My Twin the Jihadi’.

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Aslyum seekers and the red door – the truth behind the headlines

Middlesbrough was the centre of a national outcry recently when it was revealed that asylum seekers living in the town had allegedly had all of their front doors painted red. It was claimed that this had led to some migrants being an easy target for abuse and vandalism. Tside reporters Amani Ibrahimi and Ryan Welsh took to the streets to talk to those affected.

They had come to Britain to escape the horrors of life in their own country with some ending up in a small North-East corner of England known as Middlesbrough.

The majority have been welcomed with open arms but for some the experience of life on Teesside took an unpleasant turn after they were allegedly given santuary in homes all painted with red doors.

It was claimed that this  made them victims of racial abuse and vandalism and residents of Union Street and Gresham Road in the town have had eggs, stones and dog excrement thrown at their houses, as well as right-wing slogans scratched into their doors.

The homes, owned by Stockton-based Jomast, were highlighted in an article in The Times newspaper which claimed that out of 168 houses, 155 of them had red doors and out of 66  they visited, asylum seekers were found living in them.

RED DOORS: Homes of asylum seeker

RED DOORS: Homes of asylum seeker

This story was even  being reported in the New York Times and other reports compared the situation to Nazi Germany.

But how true is all of this?

We spoke to two asylum seekers who told us about their experiences.

An asylum seeker from Iran said: ”The red door was an indication of being the residence of an asylum seeker and everyone in the local area knew that including prostitutes who would knock on the door.”

“Teenagers were throwing things at the windows mainly late at night.’

“Some asylum seekers were asked for money, chased and threatened.”

He told us his door has now been painted a different colour.

“It has only been recently done so it is too early to say whether there has been any changes,” He said.

“The door colour has changed but the property is still here and people know this.

“I don’t expect to see any immediate effect, but if anything it would be for the future residents, but at the moment it is just a change of colour and nothing else.’’

He also said there have been problems in the past with who are sharing these homes together.

”There should be some thoughts going into dispersing the individuals. All these houses are shared and often they are of different cultures and language,” he said.

A 31-year-old Kuwaiti man  said he was aware of problems.

”I heard that there were a few rough people causing problems in the area,” he said.

”When I would go to see my friends they would tell me that young children would throw stones or eggs at their homes.

”After journalists visited us, they changed the colour of our door.”

Stuart Monk, owner and managing director of Jomast, was recently questioned by MPs in Parliament about this issue.

BOBBY BENJAMIN: Local artist

BOBBY BENJAMIN: Local artist

Mr Monk, who is one of Teesside’s richest men with an estimated £175m fortune, told MPs that the homes of asylum seekers had not been specifically targeted.

He repeatedly told the hearing: “My firm had received no reports of incidents from asylum seekers regarding the colour of the doors.”

Before it was decided to repaint the doors, local artist Bobby Benjamin came up with the idea to do so as a community project.

With his artistic background, he saw this as an opportunity to make a change however did not manage to begin this project before the doors were repainted.

His strategy was to start an online petition naming it ‘Any Colour You Like’ as a way of beating the repainting commissioned by Jomast.

Bobby planned to ask tenants what colour they would like their doors to be painted in order to stop the abuse.

DOORS REPAINTED: red doors being painted to different colours

DOORS REPAINTED: Red doors being painted to different colours

He is pleased that something is now being done about this, even if it was not him who got to start repainting first.

“I think it’s great, I just hope it’s done in the right way, what we don’t want is them to paint all the red doors blue then the problem persists,” he said.

“I think the approach I would have had is to paint everybody’s door, but you can’t expect Jomast to do that.

“Middlesbrough already has the highest quota of immigration in the UK, even though there is cultural differences if we can find a way to nullify that, Middlesbrough can act as a beacon for the rest of the country.

“People could then take a leaf out of our book in dealing with these issues.”


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