Folk Radio UK: ‘Blue Rose Code – Interview & Video Session’

An interview with Ross Wilson, published by Folk Radio UK.

Blue Rose Code – Interview & Video Session

Blue Rose Code

Ross Wilson of Blue Rose Code runs his hand repeatedly through his thick lumberjack beard, gripping it roughly as he shakes his head in obvious frustration. His pursed lips shift into a wry smile before he opens his mouth and lets out a short Scottish chuckle, obviously amused at the simple question: Are you enjoying your tour? “Nothing irritates me more than hearing musicians complain about doing the thing they profess to love” Ross says “bedwetting musicians moaning about touring, it’s high class problems. For me, I love it”.

Since the release of his debut album North Ten in February, Ross has been busy: he’s clocked around sixty gigs, played the summer festivals, taken an exclusive trip with the BBC to Nashville and recorded two EP’s. So with the live tour soon coming to an end, what’s next? Wilson grins excitedly at this question “We’re going into the studio in December” he says rapping the table emphatically, “after that there’ll be no more live dates until the Album launch in May next year”.

Despite the buoyant progress, anyone who is familiar with Blue Rose Code’s more melancholy songs knows there’s a darker story behind the recent success. Now a recovering alcoholic, Ross struggled with addiction for years, eventually ditching music entirely during 2009 in an effort to dry himself out. He suffered for eighteen long months before gradually returning to music, but the purge did little to stem his drinking. For such a passionate musician, how did he manage without it? Ross lowers his head, shaking it at the same time “I thought it was going to save me” he says with steady eyes and childish honesty “I thought I’d be able to take myself out of the music business and that would help me drink safely”.

Checking himself in for treatment, Ross slowly managed to re-gain self control, weaning himself off the bottle. Several years later he’s teetotal, bringing his coffee mug up to his mouth his brow furrows and he kneads his temple as he considers the question: What was the decisive moment? “Either I was going to be a musician, or I wasn’t” he says slowly, leaning forward in his chair, placing the coffee mug on the table “and here I am, on licensed premises. It’s fine for me to be around drink because it’s not what I want to do anymore”.

With the dark days steadily receding, Blue Rose Code has been quickly gaining attention in the British folk scene, he has shared stages with the likes of Lau, King Creosote as well as the legendary Bert Jansch. Selected by the BBC for a recent showcase in Nashville, Ross and other emerging UK musicians performed in the international event, “It was great fun, amazing” he smirks modestly, his thick beard nodding up and down.

Later that evening Ross walked casually onto the stage, smiling and greeting the audience with his affable Scottish charisma, in the darkness the chatter quickly became subdued and all eyes focused on this hairy man in the tartan shirt. Performing solo, he was without the harmonies, double bass, banjo and other elements that make his album North Ten so thick and rich. But despite this, he was still a demanding presence. From the up beat ‘Julie’ to the eerie ‘Acquainted with the Night’ his solo presence was sublime, holding the audiences attention fixed for the full hour and half which was no small feat in such a cosy bar. After the encore he set down his guitar, stepped to the mike wiping his brow and looked out at the shadowy faces, “I’d like to thank you all. I’ve had a wonderful evening, you’ve been lovely”. The applause erupted.

There’s something particular about Blue Rose Code that resonates strongly with certain people. A word that perhaps nails this down, a word that appears in reviews of his album from time after time is ‘authentic’. Ross doesn’t disagree, tilting his head knowingly, “What groups everything together, what underpins it all” he pauses for effect “is me. The experiences I’ve had”. With lyrics covering his depression, addiction, heartbreak and love, everything is raw and visceral. “If I’m not being authentic”, Ross continues, spreading his arms wide, “then why would anyone want to plug into what I’m doing? First and foremost music has to be from the heart, it has to be authentic”

So with the tour winding down, how does he think his new album is going to turn out? Ross’s face cracks into a wide smile “All musicians say this”, his eyes light up and he pulls his chair towards the table, “but my next record will be even better than the last”.

‘Boys Will Be Girls’ – Pig House Pictures, Edition IV

In the small fishing village of Falmouth, what started as photographing friends in bedrooms dressing up, became living in the drag capital of the world, following the biggest queens in business. Working for Madam JoJo’s as staff photographer, Harriet kept her Polaroid and Hasselblad close, and captured life in the prized Tranny Shack competition. Invited behind the curtain, she saw and recorded, boys being girls

A substantial body of work, this first sparked into life as a second year project, with a few portraits of Falmouth students dressed as queens. As final year at University dawned and students were tasked with one final assignment, Harriet took the early idea and ran with it. Missing lectures, she hustled contacts and entered London’s glamorous drag world. Working at the notorious Madam JoJo’s, she became part of the thriving scene, “for one month I was there every Monday, Thursday and Friday.” She followed the queens night and day; made friends and gained trust. As the weeks passed rolls of film began piling up, and from the thousands of frames she found the edit which turned into a book.

Every player in this vibrant world is unique; there are Londoners, foreigners, young and old. “Some of them are hilarious, but some are really promiscuous. And you wouldn’t be able to tell if they were a man.” Each blurs their sexuality differently, but the women they become are constructed with precision. Larger than life in all areas, Harriet was surrounded with names that demanded attention: Ruby Wednesday, Dusty O; Snow White Trash; Matilda Von Mattress; Bourgeoisie; Miss Red. These are big names for big characters, and all of them were looking to perform. “It was never a problem for me photographing them, because they loved the camera.” Near bursting out of the frames, they flocked to the camera with glamour and poise.

Past the loud posing and glitzy names, there is another reality captured, more striking and honest. For the audience, they only see the glamorous powdered front – a striking woman in a tightly fitted dress – and buried beneath is an everyday guy. But in between, somewhere in the middle, in a lonely bedroom or a busy changing room, there is a period of transformation: Faces layered in makeup, body parts strapped away, buzz cuts covered, voices raised, expressions changed, walks altered. This twilight period lasts maybe an hour at the most, and only a few are privy to it. “When I arrived at the beginning of the night I would see them as themselves and then they’d put their makeup on they’d change into a different person. It was the strangest experience.” From mundane to fabulous, and fabulous to mundane, Harriet caught the shedding of their skin.

Contrasting with these candid and intimate moments are the series of classic studio portraits. Shot solely in Falmouth, these men are the local student queens. We have no drag scene here, and no businessmen with money, but the performance still continues for them in a similar glamorous manner. In the controlled environment the aesthetic naturally changes: Fleeting poses become formal and gazing eyes more vulnerable. Without an audience, in a quite room, these men reveal different things to the camera. “I like working in the studio, but it’s just the studio: White background, lights. There’s a lot more you can work with on location, and shooting in an environment like Madam JoJo’s there was so much going on.” How would the London queens, raucous and wild, have reacted to the clinical studio? Probably with ease. They are performers after all.

Through the body of work, with some frames in particular, you can see the influence of Nan Goldin. Their themes connect on some level: rich intimate moments in other worlds. And their styles overlap at certain points, with raw shots surrounded in blacks and deep reds. Harriet is conscious and respectful of this link; “I used her work aesthetically as a reference point, for my images to develop around. Aesthetically she was really important to me.” How she got there though wasn’t the same: Nan pointed a camera at her life, Harriet entered the lives of others and brought the camera with her. But the frames she came away with are close enough to pay tribute, and far enough apart to be her own.

The big thick book, ‘Boys Will Be Girls’ is printed and a University exhibition is close on the horizon, so this bold project seems to be over. But perhaps, there may be hope for more. Graduation is complete, and Harriet’s moving to the capital to start assisting in industry. “I’m going to try and carry it on when I’m in London because I’ll be close. I’m going to try.” We hope you do.

Cash Boy & Selector: Against All Odds

WHEN you drive past Okahandja, down a long dusty road lined with prowling warthogs and baboons, you eventually reach the Osire Refugee Settlement.

Founded in 1992, the camp has accommodated tens of thousands of men, women and children fleeing from conflict in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Despite aid from the UN and the Namibian government, life is harsh in this environment and many still struggle for their daily existence. But out of this adversity, Lusamba Bertin and Kawaya Jean have beaten the odds by pursuing their dreams of making music.

Performing under the stage names of Cash Boy and Selector, the 22-year-old cousins are just starting to hit their stride.

After dominating all talent shows around Okahandja, they were invited to perform at the Osire refugee camp for African Children’s Day which led to a stint of radio airtime.

In 2011 they became registered artists with the Namibian Society of Composers and Authors of Music (NASCAM), since then they have been performing regularly at expos and events in Okahandja and Windhoek.

This chain of events all began in 2007, when Bertin and Jean first started making music during a Grade 10 class at the Osire settlement school.

“We just started drumming and rapping during music class, and eventually we started getting better. It all started from there,” said Bertin.

Now living together in Okahandja, the artists practice their music every evening after a hard days work. Both still study and work full time. Jean is at the University of Namibia (Unam) and runs his own woodcraft business whilst Bertin is taking electrical classes at the Katutura Youth Enterprise Centre (Kayec) and is a cellphone technician at AD General Dealer. They record in every spare moment, keeping their dream alive.

Currently working with Okahandja producers DK, Maximillian and Creative Madness, Cash Boy and Selector are collaborating with a variety of local talent. Giving back to the community that made them, they have plans to stage a talent show in Windhoek during July, with a cash prize going to the winning group.

They’ll be performing for the local crowd but they won’t be competing, those days are over for the Osire rappers.

Oster 14 Speed Blender Review

The Oster blenders 14 speed blender is a sharp looking machine featuring a sturdy glass pitcher. With all of the dial settings you’re sure to find something that works.

Oster blenders come in a variety of different price ranges and styles, going from about $30 to over $70. You generally get what you pay for in terms of quality. At around $50 the Oster 14 speed blender is not the highest quality product you’ll find on the market, but it does offer some good features.

You’ll find a cool 14 speed setting dial along with a pulse function. The glass jar is very sturdy, and overall the blender just looks good. The brushed chrome finished, although plastic and not metal, looks sharp and matches most modern kitchen decors and new appliances.

In terms of quality, most of the reviews that we read vary to extremes in terms of how people feel about the Oster 14 speed. Some people really love it, saying that it can handle all of their blending tasks while others hate it, saying it breaks very easily and has a weak motor. So if you do buy this blender, just make sure you hold onto your receipt as Oster will cover most defects with a one year warranty.

Check For the Best Price

 

The Good

  • Good looking – Oster blenders generally look good, and the 14 speed model is no exception
  • Sturdy jar – the pitcher on the Oster 14 speed is made of strong glass and has measuring marks on the side
  • Affordable – you can generally find these blenders for under $50
  • Nice controls – the 14 speed dial has settings to meet all of your blending needs

 

The Bad

  1. Poor quality – there were breakage reports and wildly mixed consumer reviews of this Oster blender
  2. Lacks power – may not have the power to handle tougher blending jobs

 

Models

There is currently only one Oster 14 speed blender model.

Model
Average Consumer Rating
Number of Reviews
6854
3.5
40+

 

Features

The Oster 14 speed blender features a sturdy, scratch resistant, dishwasher safe, glass jar, and stainless steel ice crushing blades. Its’ all metal engine driver system is the only one offered in its category and price range. The Oster 14 speed blender has a 450 watt powerful engine and a dial controller with 14 speed settings including a pulse function.

The cord can be conveniently stored under the attractive brushed nickel chrome base.

 

Features Table

Price $45.00 – $50.00
Capacity 40 ounces
Number of Speeds 14
Jar Material Glass
Power 450 Watts
Dishwasher Safe Yes
Dimensions Height: 14 inches, Length: 10″, Depth:8″
Weight 10.6 pounds
Warranty 1 year
Colors Brushed chrome
Ice Crusher Yes
Pulse Function Yes
Digital Display No
Preprogrammed Settings No
Timer No
Food Processor Attachments No
Included Recipes No
Cord Storage Yes

Summary of the most helpful positive reviews:

Owners like the heavy glass jar and its rib shape. They also like the large number of speed options and the setting dial and push button feature. They felt that the price was right and that the Oster 14 speed looked good in their kitchen with the brushed nickel design.

Summary of the most helpful negative reviews:

There were owner reports of the motor failing, problems with the ring on the base, and the blades spinning but without enough power to blend anything tough like crushing ice. Several owners question the quality of this blender.

Oster 12 Speed Blender Review

The Osterizer blender 12 speed model may not be up to the quality standards of old Osters but for a blender under $40 it offers some basic features and is not that bad of a buy.

Although certainly not up to the quality standards of the “old, classic” Oster blenders that you may remember from your childhood, the Osterizer blender 12 speed model is very inexpensive and offers some good basic features. I certainly would not expect it to last as long or offer the power and versatility you can find from some of the other higher rated more expensive blenders you’ll see on this site. But for about $35 you get a basic, working blender that can take care of some of your simple blending tasks. As with most blenders we’ve found, you pretty much get what you pay for.

The Osterizer blender has 12 speeds, which is cool, and it’s designed to liquefy soup, whip cream, mix drinks, blend batters, chop nuts, and stir up party dips. So it should be able to take care of most of the basic blender tasks that you’d expect to use it for.

If you’re on a tight budget, then the Osterizer is a good choice, just don’t expect it too last very long or to blend up ice chunk free smoothies.

Check For the Best Price

 

The Good

  • 12 speeds – you’re sure to find one that fits for any blending task you are working on.
  • Nice pitcher – the glass pitcher is nice and sturdy and dishwasher safe
  • Inexpensive – this blender is very affordable

 

The Bad

  • Low quality – there were many reports of this blender breaking after just a short time.
  • Hard time with ice – you may find some larger than desirable ice chunks in your smoothie.

 

Models

There is currently one model of the Osterizer 12 speed blender. There are several different colors offered for this model, each of which has a different number associated with it.

Model
Average Consumer Rating
Number of Reviews
Oster 12 Speed Osterizer Blender Model 6642
3.0
10+

 

Features

The Osterizer 12 speed blender features a cube design that is very compact and looks good on your countertop. The glass jar is dishwasher safe and scratch resistant, and offers measurement marks in both ounces and liters. The plastic lid has a 2 ounce removable measuring cup in the middle. The blades are stainless steel and are driven by a 450 watt motor. There is a pulse function and a grate button, which can be used for easily cleaning the glass container.

 

Features Table

Price $35.00 – $40.00
Capacity 40 ounces
Number of Speeds 12
Jar Material Glass
Power 450 Watts
Dishwasher Safe Yes
Dimensions Height: 12.8 inches, Length: 10.4″, Depth:7.2″
Weight 10 pounds
Warranty 1 year
Colors Black, white, blue, red, grey, almond
Ice Crusher Yes
Pulse Function Yes
Digital Display No
Preprogrammed Settings No
Timer No
Food Processor Attachments No
Included Recipes No
Cord Storage No

 

 

Summary of the most helpful positive reviews:

Users like the 12 speed options. Some say that for a cheap blender this is a good buy.

 

Summary of the most helpful negative reviews:

Owners wish that the other parts, other than the glass jar pitcher were dishwasher safe as well. There were several reports of engine failure, burning smells and breakage. These reviewers who also owned classic older Oster blenders for years, say that they sure don’t make them like they used to. There was a report of the plastic cap in the middle falling down into the blender and getting grinded up. Several owners also say that the Osterizer blender is just not that powerful, and leaves small ice chunks when blending smoothies.

Oster Beehive Blender Review

The Oster Beehive blender keeps things simple with 2 settings and an easy flip switch. It’ll look great in any kitchen with such a cool, sleek design.

The Oster Beehive Blender 4093 Classic Model is a sturdy, basic, workhouse of a blender. It does not offer fancy features, just 2 settings, pulse and blend. Most owners enjoy this simplicity and feel that it makes the blender less likely to break in the long run. The design is very sleek as well, and looks great in any kitchen. The motor may be a bit under powered, 500 watt as opposed to other blenders that feature 600 watts. So if you’re going to load it up with a lot of heavy foods and have a big family to blend for, you may want to get something more powerful. Otherwise the Oster Beehive blender is a great purchase and sure to last many years.

Check For the Best Price

 

The Good

  • Easy to clean – the control panel on the front is very simplistic so you don’t have all the buttons on the front that allow dirt and food to get between them, like on many other blenders.
  • Good pitcher – strong, sturdy glass
  • Stable – rubber feet on the bottom keep this blender in place
  • Attractive – the design is classic, and elegant
  • Durable – built solid
  • Good Value – a well-built blender for the price
  • Precise Control – with only two settings, you get very accurate blending
  • High Quality – a good product

 

The Bad

  • Lacks power for bigger blending jobs – 500 watts instead of 600+
  • Plastic base not as sturdy as rest of blender – this could crack as a result

 

Models

The Oster Beehive Blender comes in the following model numbers:

Model
Average Consumer Rating
Number of Ratings
4093 Classic Beehive
4.0
180+
4096 Designer Series
4.0
20+
4119-022 2 Speed 500 Watt
4.0
80+

 

The best Oster Beehive Model is the 4093 Classic Beehive according to the features offered, overall customer satisfaction, and the number of ratings.

 

Features

The Oster 4093 Classic Beehive blender has a powerful 500 watt motor that easily grates, grinds and chops foods, and crushes ice with ease. It has a very simple control panel, offering 2 speeds and a pulse function, both of which you can access by just flipping the switch on the front panel. The pulse option is for chopping food. The glass container is 40 ounces (5 cups, 1.18 liters) and ribbed, giving it a classic, elegant shaped design, and it is marked in both ounces and liters. It is scratch resistant and dishwasher safe. The base is all chrome and has rubber soles at the bottom to keep the whole blender very stable. The ice crushing blade is stainless steel and can be removed for easy cleaning. The Oster Beehive blender is backed by a one year warranty.

 

Features Table

Price $5.99 – $67.99
Capacity 40 ounces
Number of Speeds 2
Jar Material Glass
Power 500 Watt
Dishwasher Safe Yes
Dimensions Height: 16 inches, Length: 7-1/4, Depth: 7-1/4
Weight 11 pounds
Warranty 1 year
Colors Chrome/Black
Ice Crusher Yes
Pulse Function Yes
Digital Display No
Preprogrammed Settings No
Timer No
Food Processor Attachments No
Included Recipes Yes

 

Summary of the most helpful positive reviews:

Many owners report that the Oster Beehive Blender is very strong and durable. They like that it has a metal shaft that fits directly into the pitcher’s base. They also like how the blender looks and comment how elegant the style is. Most think that it blends very well on harder items like ice, which it turns to snow. A lot of people like the simplicity of a 2 speed blender. People who’ve had other blenders that offer more speeds feel that all those speeds are really not necessary, 2 is more than sufficient.

Summary of the most helpful negative reviews:
Some say that the Oster Beehive is not powerful enough if you load it up with a lot of food. A few report it breaking after a couple years and the plastic base cracking, which seems to be the weakest part of this blender.