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We’re all going on a… busmans holiday – 4th September

After numerous blogged and tweeted hints, Hope and Social are proud to announce our next “event”. Book it in now (well, actually, in a few minutes)…

We’re off to the seaside.

To celebrate the end of summer, we’re holding another of the now (in)famous Hope and Social events. So far we’ve had a gig in our studio and made a record, turned our studio into a Bistro and recorded a song for our album… this time, we’re taking the “Summer Holiday” approach and hopping on a beautiful (weather permitting) topless (open-topped I believe they’re called), double-decker Routemaster… yep, the one with the pole at the back for near-death-experience swinging on (NB – health and safety says “NO!”) … and we’re damn excited about it to boot.

NB event does not include topless pole-dancing.

The Plan

Subject to change (expect this to change). As per usual, we’ll be fleshing this out with further shenanigans between now and the event itself but you can expect something along the lines of:

York Pullman Routemaster – Pic by Carl Spencer

– Trip to the seaside on a beautiful York PullmanRoutemaster.
– The band, playing on the bus for your delectation. No doubt, at some point making some very obvious Cliff Richard reference or other.
– We will, no doubt, Have Fun and Make Art. So expect [shudders] audience participation.
– We’ll stop at one of our all time favourite venues “The Lion Inn“, Blakey Ridge “Best pub in the North York Moors” – The Guardian. Which, incidentally, was the venue for Rich’s wedding too. We’ve a long and beautiful relationship with the place, come share our fave pub. Food will be available here should you feel peckish (not included in event price).
– All things being well (we still have to iron out a couple of kinks on this exact bit), we’re heading to Runswick Bay, to the site of good ol’ Jason’s wedding where we’ll be having:

– A Barbecue on the beach (included in the price)
– A gig at the Sailing Club (included in the price)
– A swim…. maybe (bring your cossie)
– The finishing off the “Marching On Through” video series and the culmination of much fan-involvement fun.

The Pricing

So, we’ve spec’d out the cost of a train journey and bus to Robin Hood’s Bay costs upwards of £33, we’re going to get you there and back, feed you at the beach, and provide entertainment throughout for £25 (plus Eventbrite booking fee). The only thing we’ve not included really is your drinks for the day, and your food at the Lion Inn.

We think it’s good value but if you need any convincing (and to give you some context) here’s what people say about our events:

“The most unique and enjoyable gig I’ve been to” – James Lester

“Every Hope and Social gig is an event, and a Hope and Social event is like Christmas morning when I was five” – Ellen Schauer

“An excellent evening filled with glorious entertainment and laughs along the way” – Dawn Storey

“the wee Irish fella serving me tea was alright and I like playing my kazzoo out of time to annoy people around me” – Stuart Ward


Remix – Do What You Must

Sorry for the Delay…

… we will now resume tramsmission.

Back in December we promised we’d release all the parts to the Hope and Social song of your choice from “Architect…”The out and out winner with 10% more than any other track was “Do What You Must”, and though we called the winner in March, a catastrophic hard-drive failure involving a dog, a bag and a litre of milk has meant that until now, we’ve not been able to get the parts to you… until now!

We’re very pleased to say that we’ve now uploaded the files for you to use, re-appropriate and remix as you see fit . When we had it, we made it sound like this…

… and now we want to hand it over to you. DOWNLOAD DO WHAT YOU MUST

The link is to a account so you may have to register to download. Apologies for this, it was the best way we could get 2gb of audio files to you (though that did zip down to 0.7gb). If you do feel iffy about providing a proper email address you can always use

A Bit Of Background

Ash on kit, Ed on mics

We recorded Do What you Must in two sections, the band section was recorded in our crypt studio and the end section upstairs with our lovely Hope and Social friends and family choir.

The Files

Do What You Must – Notes for the intrepid mixer

The Zip folder, as we said is here, and for seasoned audio pros we must apologise for the ramshackle bunch of audio we recorded. Possibly the worst culprit is the room mic for the vocal which has some weird phase thing going on in relation to the close mic which is a shame.

You’ll probably also want to know that there are 54 tracks of audio goodness (if you include the rubbish voc-room mic) and that the tempo is 129 BPM.

There is some lovely stuff in here too, birds tweeting on the outside mics, the pipe organ, our “friends, fans and family” choir.

We’ve tried to make this as easy as possible to re-import into your DAW of choice, so stuff is in it’s appropriate folders. We suggest importing folder by folder to help you organise your project. Also, we’d recommend bringing all your faders down to -6db or this’ll knock seven bells out of your master buss, but you audiophiles’ll know that anyway eh? [wink]

If you’re new to this, or if you don’t already have a multi-track editor/DAW then we highly recommend “Reaper“, and as it says on the Reaper website…

“The evaluation version of Reaper is complete and uncrippled. There are no artificial interruptions or restrictions, and you can save and load projects normally. We believe in giving you a fair chance to make sure that REAPER works correctly with your hardware and suits your workflow. The Reaper installer simply copies Reaper and its support files to disk. It does not install anything except itself. If after 30 days you decide that Reaper is not for you, simply delete it.”

We like this ethic, it may well remind you of how we distribute our music – a chance to try before you buy. If you love it as much as we do, do what we’ve done and please purchase a license.

The Lovely Blue Organ

What Next

Let us know how you get on, and when you’re done , please email us and let us know where we can hear and download the file. We love Soundcloud as a way of sharing music. It’s easily embeddable and looks very pretty.

We’ll happily spread news of your good work on the t’interwebs and all that. We may wish to feature your schtuff on our soundcloud account too but in the spirit of sharing, if we can all agree that we can all use this as freely as possible though obviously we still own the original recordings, and we grant permissions for you to re-appropriate thm as you see fit providing we’re credited as the original songwriters and owners of the original recordings eh? Aw good, that’s nice.


Right then, over to you! Have fun now and if you have any questions, please tweet @thehuxcapacitor @edhombre @socialsimon and tag it with #hopeandsocial and/or #dowhatyoumust

You can also contact us via the blog here.

Or you could feedback to us on the page (but twitter’s sooo much better eh?)

Speak soon, two rings when you get in.


Bees and Summer

Big Bee - by flickr's aussiegall

Well hello everyone on this fine June morning. The world is full of colour and bees (well not that many bees) and we’re on our way to yet more sun filled Hope and Social dates. Yes gather up your smock and jump on the funbus…where better to be once England have been knocked out of the World Cup by an unstoppable Algerian centre forward?


We’re getting more dates in all the time (come on Hux get off that iPhone and book us some more gigs) for the summer and can’t wait to get back out entertaining the troops. We kick off proceedings this weekend at the Rough Beats festival. Should be a right giggle – great music, small intimate crowd and the historic Clapham station just a stone’s throw away. Oh you can’t beat it. If you want special discounted tickets for the Saturday when we’re on then please go to and get your wallet out…

More information on these and more dates soon but just for now so you can add it to your diary:

  • June 5, Rough Beats Festival – Yorkshire
  • July 1, Yardbird Club, Grimsby
  • July 8, On a boat, Oxford
  • July 15, Mojo, Manchester
  • July 16, Living Room Gig, Yorkshire
  • July 17, Deershed Festival, Baldersby Park, Topcliffe
  • July 17, The Sun Inn, Nr Harrogate
  • July 23, The Rainbow, Birmingham
  • July 29, Harrogate Theatre, Harrogate (supporting Field Music – Simon on his own!)
  • Aug 14, Deighton Festival, Deighton
  • Aug 15, Moor Music Festival, Skipton

So some great dates… Moor Music will be a blast as ever and come along to see Simon support the fantastic Field Music in the even more fantastic Harrogate Theatre on July 29th. All good stuff. We’re also playing John Lewis summer festival but only the worker bees can come to that. Sold out? Us?


April continues to be well received – thank you so much for all your wonderful comments and emails. What’s next I hear you cry? Well, we’ve got some MASSIVE plans for the summer and autumn. It’s going to be bigger than Ed’s debt and wider than Hux’s eyes I assure you. Keep posted and there’ll be more information very very soon. Oh, and we’ve hit our stride with the living rooms gigs now so if you want to get Hope and Social crammed between your sofa and your hostess trolley give us a shout!


Yes, we know, the site has been down for some time now but we are so nearly there. It’s been a mammoth slog of coding and arguing over layout. Rock. And. Roll. Be patient you good good people. Be patient.

Cheerio but be back soon…


April, Track 10, Eurospin

This was truely one of the most heartwarming things we’ve done…  Yet another of the the magical, wonderful, impossible, crazy things that are only possible because of the wonderful friends and fans around us.

Come Dine With Us - By 3B Media

For those who don’t know we turned our crypt studio into a French restaurant for the evening, served a 3 course french meal to 70 people, acted as waiters for the evening, played live as people ate, tuned 50 wine bottles which then became the bassline (blows) and rhythm section (chinks) for the song and recorded the song live with the (now drunk) crowd blowing, clanking, banging and singing along. Still can’t believe it actually worked!

It’s the last track on the album and the last blog in this series. Eurospin, again, came from a load of demos that Rich, Si and I did last June. It was pretty throw away at the time – Si on pump organ, me on my Casio (with Casio waltz beat) and Rich playing a Spongebob Squarepants ukulele  which was absolutely untuneable. It had something about it though and kept making it through the culls… We kept describing it as “French Supermarket music” and when I exported that really rough demo I named it Eurospin as that’s the supermarket my mum goes to when she’s on holiday. (It’s actually like an Italian Co-op but we ain’t about the borders in this band…)

When we came to listen through the demos James, commented that the track sounded like the sort of thing you would hear in French Bistro…and out of tiny acorns do eating and recording experiences grow! James’ comment sowed the seed that was nurtured and grown by the band and (mostly!) Ben Denison and became the wonderful Come Dine With Us event that we hosted in the Crypt on March 27th. We always had the plan to record it live and drink wine and eat cheese and make it a really fun recording but the whole idea just escalated and escalated to become the whole Come Dine With Us experience…

Here’s the NSFW version of the invitation ditty we recorded on one mic so we could sell tickets via bandcamp. This is the first time we tried to bleep out “that f*cking glockenspiel” and missed the cuss word… very funny…

The documentary video at the top of this post gives an idea of the level of work that was put in by other people to make this all happen and none of it would have occurred without the enthusiasm of the mighty and utterly irrepressible Ben Denison. Half over excited puppy, half fiendish social media genius without his energy it would never have happened.

Our awesome "Bistro Le Crypt" sign - C/O JiffyJen

So G’bless you, G’bless your amazing mum who cooked amazing food for 70 people with no running water and no kitchen, G’bless James Hamiliton for tuning all the wine bottles and somehow getting the crowd to make it work (when it all came together it was a truely magical moment), G’bless The Team, without whom, none of this would have so seamlessly hung together – in fact, it would have been an unmitigated disaster, G’bless Jen Booth who made our fantastic Bistro le Crypt  sign (we tweeted, she came and saved our sign-less asses0, and to all our amazing guests who came and who joined in so wholeheartedly… thank you. It was one of those events that really defines what we do… Being with people, doing amazing things and creating magic from nothing. There was so much joy and happiness in the room that night…

We really didn’t know if it would work at all; it was so precarious. So many things could have gone wrong and it just came together. We only wrote the “hold your chin up high” end section a few days before… come the morning of the gig/meal we’d never played it as a band, we had no way of checking if the recording would work, if the wine bottle orchestra would work (and come out on the recording) but it somehow all came together. There was some editing as the bottle clinks were in every mic so we had no separation. We had to edit the song part to the parts where the chinks were in time and it when that just happened to come together in terms of the band performances it was a really magical moment too.

On the album version it fades out at the end to the sound of the brass band marching out of the church door and off around the church… That’s us that is. As the brass band fades out the last sounds on the album are birdsong and then in the far distance a police siren and I guess that for me that is what “April” is about. Trying to do great things, appreciating the wonderful things around us and doing all these things despite the fact that quite often life is in fact a shithouse.

Eurospin is not my favourite song on the album but it’s kinda my favourite bit on the album. Watch the amazing video below. You got to love the amazement on our faces that it’s working and the fact that the crowd just make it look so easy…

Oh, and James Hamilton = AMAZING.

(If you download April from Bandcamp you also get a load of wonderful photos from the evening by the rather talented and wonderful 3B Media guys who also did the videos… like everything we do it’s as free as you want it to be…)

A "3B Media" & ScottishPenguin Mashup

There’s a special enjoyment that comes from making art with new people, and we believe in involving those who join us on our musical journey, those bars of angels who march on through with us. Moreover, we believe it’s now part of the music industries landscape, and it feels like we’re galvanising our fanbase as we go. The buzz online before this event was quite staggering. The hashtag #comedinewithus was used to promote the event before and after the big day and by not only including our fans in our event, but also on the album, they have been our PR team throughout the launch of the album and throughout our recent April tour. Every day there have been people from all over the country, and beyond, plugging our album on Twitter, Facebook and in their blogs, even (rather brilliantly) bastardising the 3B Media pics from the night.

Another success from our point of view was again due to making some art; we also appear to be living in the future now as we know people who own lasers and keep them in their garage. We bought some lazy susans, had them etched with a record, and stylus arm and silent auctioned them off on the night. They are rather amazing, and if we ever get any more done, I’m buying one, but for now, this video will have to suffice.

This one off event paid for the pressing of “April”. Yes we called in all the favours, and nobody got paid, but as Mick Jagger has recently been explaining, apart from a wee blip, this is how music has always been. The event made a profit in its own right, the lazy susans made a profit, Culture Vulture featured a blog on the event and we even got a mention on 6Music for the event and the youtube fan videos are still springing up from the event. In terms of enjoyment, creating art, being sustainable, making a profit, strengthening our relationship with fans, creating a digital/online footprint and giving the band the heart and the momentum to carry on, we consider Come Dine With Us to be one of our greatest successes.

Oh… and one last thing… Ben emailed the track and videos to Eurospin HQ in Italy… their rather charming response:

From: <Emmanuelle@>
Date: Fri, May 7, 2010 at 4:56 PM
Subject: Rif: Your Song
To: bendenison@


I have received your e-mail and let my colleagues hear your songs. We all have appreciate very much either the sound, the rhythm and the voice, besides the title of the last song of your album of course.

Thank you, guys! I wish you personally a great success, hoping to see you soon on the stage.

Best regards,

Emmanuelle Dellanotte
– Ufficio Marketing –
Eurospin Italia Spa

It’s all good.

April, Track 9, Marching on Through

This track started out as a really really simple jam in the studio – sort of a warm up really as we were preparing to do something else. We have a pump organ in the Crypt which Ed bought for a bottle of wine about a year ago. It’s a magnificent machine (apart from the fact that the whole thing is slightly out of tune so all other instruments have to tune to it, oh and the very top note is stuck on) –  a real joy to play – and I quite often sit down at it and mess around when we’re between tracks…I just love it. So I think it started with myself, Gary and Simon (Goff) playing around the verse section and it was Simon that bagged the fantastic riff which all the instruments now play. It was a really great tune from the off but it started to become a sort of H&S anthem or battle song when we came back to rework it with the idea that it would be a call to arms – a song for the road and all the people who give their time, money, hearts and souls to share a couple of hours of joy at one of our shows.

Last year I moved away from Leeds and so for this recording period the days in the Crypt were bookended by a 45 minute drive to and from home. With past records I’ve had lyrics much more fully formed before we even started recording tracks but as this process was MUCH quicker and more fluid a lot of the lyrics were written as the track was being recorded – sometimes in fact as the vocals were being recorded (as with Caught in the Wake and Pitching Far Too High). Most nights in the car I’d spend forming the lyrics or fragments of lines, singing the track in the car on the way home, jotting down the ideas in my book at traffic lights or pulling in to sing them into a voice-recorder on my phone. The chorus for this was started in such a way – with the town names being integral to that from the start. I first suggested they be part of the actual sung line all the way through the end (as the “Hartlepool” line is on the recording) but Hux had the idea of shouting them out instead. Web2 master that he is the call went straight out on Twitter for town names to feature in the track and the shouted names you hear on the record are the result of that process.

The brass really make this song – another fantastic arrangement by James and an effort well above and beyond the call of duty as he gathered together a make-shift marching band to come and record for the day. I wasn’t around for that day but I’m hoping Ed, Hux or James will enlighten us with some more details…. I know they ended up actually marching around the outside of the church and recording it with a couple of mics – which is the refrain you hear right at the end of the album after Eurospin.

I know we probably bang on about this too much at times but we really have had some incredible experiences in this band and met some wonderful people in the “roads and the towns” and this song is about keeping on that march and enjoying music, gigs, making art, putting on a show, meeting people and sharing some great times, and importantly about doing those things for their own sake and own reward, not because it’ll get you to some mythical destination or produce some grand reward. We turned a huge corner when we became Hope and Social – we stopped the pointless fight to ‘make it’, to get radioplay at any cost, to sell out this gig or that, to get on MTV, to have the hit… we decided to only do the things which involved people and which, in turn, we enjoyed. I know it seemed like insanity for those who followed Four Day Hombre but the sentiment in this song is genuine and we’re still marching on through because of that decision and the good times it’s allowed.

I think I speak for Hux as well in saying that we love singing the line “Wherever we meet there’ll be bars of angels”. It’s not a collective noun by the way, it means just what it says. Bars of Angels.