Dear Reader: A ‘secret’ gig in Harrogate and the joys of bus travel

Graham Chalmers

Graham Chalmers

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By Harrogate Advertiser columnist Graham Chalmers

One minute I was at Platform Open, a brilliant new art exhibition held at Morphets, chatting to the friendly director of this venerable Harrogate auctioneers, Nigel Smith, the next minute a taxi was dropping me off at the other end of town.

”Are you sure you want me to let you out here?” the driver said, peering into the empty darkness of a low level industrial estate.

“Are you sure you’re going to be alright?” he added as I shut the door behind me.

A short walk later I was inside Home Fire studios, surrounded by musicians and music fans, sharing a beer or two, waiting inside the practice room for the private gig to begin.

Set Sails were great - a punchy, grungey rock band with a country tinge and a blonde siren of a lead singer whose vocals were almost too big for the room and its ultra-low ceiling.

I lingered for a bit afterwards, letting the moment breathe a little longer, then stepped outside.

Everything was dark and still.

Harrogate lay quietly under the stars.

I can’t claim to speak for everyone but I’m about the only person I know who uses public transport on a reasonably regular basis.

I’ve never understood the stigma.

Apart from the ease and comfort of hopping on the 1a or the number 36, a bus so luxurious it lacks only a cocktail bar, there’s obvious environmental benefits to public transport - the reduction in emissions, improvements in air quality.

But getting to Platform Open on Friday night had proved a problem. Bus after bus had gone past in the wrong direction and nothing was coming my way.

After a fruitless 30 minutes or so at the bus stop I would have gladly have gotten behind the wheel of any car going.

Even a VW.