Dear Reader: Tackling flood causes and Bowie tribute night

Graham Chalmers of the Harrogate Advertiser with legendary rock music photographer Gered Mankowitz.
Graham Chalmers of the Harrogate Advertiser with legendary rock music photographer Gered Mankowitz.

Regular column by the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers

I whipped off my slightly festive chunky knitwear jumper to reveal a David Bowie T-shirt which was probably a bit skinny for me.

It was the best moment of my Bowie tribute set at Ten Devonshire Place’s vinyl-only night in Harrogate.

Overall, the performance was my most amateurish yet. I didn’t see the point of trying to compete with the event’s host, the effortlessly professional DJ Trev.

One of my fellow vinyl aficiandos somehow got away with playing some James Last but it was good to share the decks with old friends like Rachel Gregory and Renee Dickinson.

In a break between DJs, the latter told me all about her days as a young journalist in the music press in London in the 1970s.

Lucky thing, she seems to have met everyone, even David Bowie, if I remember correctly. Maybe not.

Nowadays Renee Dickinson is the chair of Parkinson’s UK Harrogate and District Branch.

Perhaps the rock n roll generation was the giving generation?

Along the winding, rolling roads in wild and woolly Nidderdale I went on the way to an interview.

Past Mackenzies Smokehouse in Blubberhouses, grey mist clinging to the desolate moors, over Greenhow Hill and onwards to Grassington.

Water streamed across the tarmac but at least the back road to the B6265 was open, unlike the A59 which was closed at Kex Gill after the recent flooding.

How on earth was I meant to reach Dan Turner to talk about river management and flood risks?

But the end result was well worth the journey. A senior projects officer with the Yorkshire Dales River Trust, this impressive young man was full of practical ideas, as you can see for yourself in the feature inside this issue.

His sheer enthusiasm lightened the dismal day.

What a difference from our initial meeting last July in bright sunshine by the tranquil waters of the Nidd.