Dear Reader: A house divided against itself + UK Foos' night of triumph

On stage at Harrogate Theatre - UK Foo Fighters playing their 'electric' set after the interval. Featured are Nick Wight  (keyboards), Jamie Valentine (guitar), Alex Bailey  (drums) Jay Apperley  (lead vocals) and Arron Warner (bass).
On stage at Harrogate Theatre - UK Foo Fighters playing their 'electric' set after the interval. Featured are Nick Wight (keyboards), Jamie Valentine (guitar), Alex Bailey (drums) Jay Apperley (lead vocals) and Arron Warner (bass).

A personal column with Graham Chalmers of the Harrogate Advertiser

There was a civilised hum when I turned up at Pannal Village Hall last Thursday night after crawling through a bumper to bumper queue of cars all the way from central Harrogate.

I’d heard matters could get a little heated at the series of public exhibitions organised by North Yorkshire County Council about traffic congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

It was certainly very busy but there was no hint of anything untoward as I strolled through the entrance.

If information was money, this packed village hall was a little goldmine.

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In the ground floor’s function room I found the public mingling with the county council officers and politicians who were behind this event designed to back up the 12-week public consultation about whether the problem of congestion demanded sustainable transport measures or some new roads or a bit of both.

In the meeting room on the first floor other people were chatting with members of Pannal Parish Council who’d set up their own exhibition on the same issue to make sure everyone knew their village might be interested in a new road.

Outside visitors were pausing to talk to campaigners from the Harrogate and Knaresborough Alliance for Less Traffic - or HALT - intent on making it clear they were in favour of sustainable transport measures but not new roads.

One small building. Three sets of people. Three sets of ideas.

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Last Friday night’s Harrogate Theatre’s biggest proper rock gig for years ended up a huge success.

A huge success for fantastic headliners UK Foo Fighters who hail from Harrogate.

A huge success for the local charities benefiting from the £4,500 raised by this soldout concert – Harrogate Hospital’s Cardiac Unit and Harrogate Theatre Restoration Appeal.

A huge success for the event’s organisers Phil Lowe of Harrogate Theatre and Jay Apperley of the UK Foo Fighters, who I’d originally suggested the idea to in January.

Even my “Harrogate can rock” stage speech seemed to go down okay.

So worried had I been in the build-up, I decided to visit the rehearsals the night before to practice my small role but the doors were locked. I couldn't get in.

The reason was simple. There were rehearsals going on inside.

And my phone was half a mile away in the car.

Luckily I bumped into a backing singer outside the theatre who had brought her mobile.

Having introduced myself to the band, chatted about the running order for the next night’s show, I said my goodbyes with a flourish and headed back to the labyrinth of narrow corridors within this distinguished Grade II listed theatre to find my way out.

The exit was there alright but the doors were locked. Obviously.

Not so much rock n roll, more ‘Spinal Tap’.

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