BPREVIEW: Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser @ Actress & Bishop 27.01.20

Words by Ed King

Genevieve Miles will perform as part of a special line up at the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser gig – to be held at the Actress & Bishop on Monday 27th January. Also appearing will be Rhianna Keane, Echo Gecco, PJJ and Mr. K.

Entry to the gig is free, but with a suggested donation of £3 – or whatever you have left after the weekend (fiscally speaking). All proceeds go to the Action for M.E. national charity, which campaigns across the UK ‘to end the ignorance, injustice and neglect faced by people with M.E.’

Doors open for the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser gig from 7pm, held upstairs at the Actress & Bishop. For more direct gig information, click here to visit the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser Facebook event page.

In a healthy hodge podge of approach and style, this Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser gig brings an evening of live music and spoken word, embacing genres from neo-soul to indie pop. You might even find a little space disco in there… trust us, you’ll know it when you hear it.

But organised by Genevieve Miles, who’s sophomore Libra Rising EP was released in May 2019, the evening is being organised ‘to raise money and awareness’ to hep sufferers of M.E. – challenging the stigma of the debilitating disorder and helping to support the patient founded Action for M.E. charity.

Miles has suffered with M.E. since she was 14 years old, with the disorder altering the path of the formative years most of us take for granted. But through her music she was able to find both a platform of expression and the personal drive to challenge her M.E. head on, committing to performances even though ‘sometimes it was so refreshing and enjoyable, other times it was painful and really just horrible.’

In an article written for the Action for M.E. website, Miles explains: ‘I definitely feel like I missed out on a proper teenage experience. I remember in school thinking I would never get a relieved ‘Friday feeling’ again because Friday just meant a weekend of being wiped out stuck in the house before somehow dragging myself out for lessons again on the Monday.’

An often misunderstood disorder, M.E. can be hard to diagnose and as of yet has no cure – only the treatment of symptoms. But the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser gig is hoping to help change and challenge this, as Miles continues: ‘I’ve recruited some of my favourite Birmingham artists for a gig to raise money and awareness for M.E. It feels so good to be organising this gig, it gave me a confidence to be more open about my experience of M.E. with my friends. I’ve always found it really hard to explain because there are so many different symptoms; I rarely explained to my friends how I felt, so this new confidence is freeing.’

But keen to keep music also at the core of this event, Genevieve Miles has programmed an eclectic line up from the local live music scene. Rhianna Keane will be bringing her neo-soul and R’nB vibes to the evening, whilst Echo Gecco will be wrapping their finely stitched blanket of prog, rock and jazz tinged genres around the crowd.

PJJ will be spicing things up/sleazing things down with a little bit of the aforementioned space disco, as Mr. K delivers a set of ‘genre-bending spoken word music that engages and impacts.’ And last but not least is Genevieve Miles, who will be performing her plucky-in-the-face-of-adversity indie pop.

But if our oh-so-clever descriptions aren’t grabbing you, never fear… there’s a handy Spotify playlist to help promote the show. Stop, look, and listen below:

Genevieve Miles will perform as part of the Action 4 M.E. Fundraiser at the Actress & Bishop on Monday 27th January – alongside Rhianna Keane, Echo Gecco, PJJ, and Mr K. For direct gig info and links to online ticket sales, click here to visit the Facebook event page. 

For more on Genevieve Miles, visit www.genevievemiles.com

For more from Action for M.E., visit www.actionforme.org.uk

For more on the Actress & Bishop, including venue details and further event listings, visit www.theactressandbishop.co.uk


NOT NORMAL NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual aggression in the music industry and beyond – from dance floor to dressing room, everyone deserves a safe place to play.

To learn more about the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here. To sign up and join the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here.

If you have been affected by any issues surrounding sexual violence – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL NOT OK website.

INTERVIEW: Lydia Brookes – Singing for Supper @ The Castle & Falcon 24.11.17

Singing for Supper @ The Castle & Falcon 24.11.17Words by Ed King / Pics courtesy of Lush Birmingham

On Friday 24th November, The Castle and Falcon in Balsall Heath will be hosting Singing for Supper, a live gig with a somewhat stellar line up – You Dirty Blue, Sofa King, Alfresco Love Sounds, The Chalet Lines will all be performing for only a £5.50 door charge. For online ticket sales, click here.

With each act worth the ticket price to just see them on stage, you’ve got three. Not a bad way to spend your money on Black Friday.

But it gets better. Singing for Supper has been organised by the Lush Birmingham soap store to raise money for The Night Shelter – a Coventry based “safe place” that “provides aid to refugees, asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers – people with no recourse to public funds, which means they’re not entitled to any benefits or any help.”

Birmingham Review caught up with Lydia Brookes, one of the Singing for Supper promoters and a ‘Lush Ambassador’, to ask what made them foray into the world of music promotions on arguably the busiest retail day of the year.

“Homelessness is a huge problem,” explains Brookes, “we see ‘rooflessness’ every single day. It’s an issue close to our hearts at Lush and we wanted to work with this charity (The Night Shelter) because they’re part of such an important community resource”. The Night Shelter is one of the services of support available at the Coventry Peace House, a collection of renovated terrace houses that work on a portfolio of charitable endevours – including projects “to make the area more environmentally friendly, to give people safe spaces and places to learn,” tells Brookes. “We care a lot about this organisation because it’s so small but it’s doing so much. It’s quite unique and we really got behind their ethos”.

But this event is looking at a broader problem than just homelessness, which in itself is a growing killer on the bitter cold streets of the UK. Lush Rocks, a name born from the retailers move into charitable music promotions, hopes their Singing for Supper gig on Friday 24th November will help raise both “money and public awareness” for the plight of those lost in the UK’s immigration cracks, whilst encouraging “people to think about the choices they’re make in and help in any way they can”.

The Night Shelter at the Coventry Peace House“People sometimes don’t realise that asylum seekers aren’t allowed to work, or claim benefits, until their case has been heard,” explains Brookes, “so refused asylum seekers essentially have no options. Only if they’re in an absolute destitution can they apply for funds and even then it’s not guaranteed. The Night Shelter gives the people a warm place to sleep, it gives them beds, its gives people access to showers and hot meals.”

And what about the school of thought that is more anti-immigration to begin with? This is a prevalent issue in the UK, but one that can receive more divided and divisive attention than just straightforward compassion. “We respect everyone’s views,” tells Brookes, “but it’s worth remembering that a good deal of asylum seeker cases that are initially refused then get granted on appeal – and these are cases that should have been granted in the first place, with the administrations going back to them saying ‘you do have a viable claim and this should have been previously granted.’ Whatever your views are on asylum seekers and destitute refugees, we need to treat them as human beings. We have to view people as people, first and foremost.”

But charitable endevours aside, Singing for Supper is a gig simply well worth the door charge – especially with You Dirty Blue on the bill, a Tamworth alt-rock two piece who recently supported Wolf Alice on the first day of their UK tour and are pegged for big and bright things in 2018.

Lydia Brookes and Joseph Parker – Singing for Supper @ The Castle & Falcon 24.11.17“We’re really excited,” explains Brookes, “especially about The Chalet Lines as it’s the solo act from one of the Lush Birmingham staff (Joseph Parker). Sofa King have a really funky vibe to them and we also got Alfresco Love Sounds. Then there’s You Dirty Blue who won’t be playing in small venues for long… this will be a good chance to see them in an ‘intimate’ setting.”

With all the acts “doing it voluntarily”Singing for Supper  at The Castle and Falcon on Friday 24th November should be able to raise a decent chunk of change for The Night Shelter – a support service that is especially pertinent at this time of year.

And if you are fighting your way to bargain blissteria this Friday, Lush Birmingham are also asking for donations of “non-perishable food items with a high energy content, things like jam and sugar. Also simple toiletries, so toothpaste, tooth brushes, toilet roll. And blankets. Just think ‘if I had to get buy on very few things, what would I need’”.

It’s almost as if this time of year isn’t just about shopping for yourself…

Singing for Supper comes to The Castle & Falcon on Friday 24th November, with You Dirty Blue, Sofa Kings, Alfresco Love Sounds and The Chalet Lines performing – as presented by Lush Rocks (from the Ambassadors Team at Lush Birmingham). 

All money raised from the gig will go to support The Night Shelter at the Coventry Peace House – a shelter for refugees, asylum seekers and people who have ‘no recourse to public funds’. For online gig ticket sales, click here.

For more on The Night Shelter, visit www.naccom.org.uk/members/peace-house-night-shelter/ 

For more on Coventry Peace House, visit www.coventrypeacehouse.wixsite.com/coventry-peace-house 

For more from The Castle & Falcon, including venue details and online ticket sales, visit www.castleandfalcon.com


Lush Birmingham are also looking for donations of non-perishable food items, toiletries and FMCGs such as sugar, breakfast cereal, rice, jam, toothbrushes, toothpaste, cooking oil, instant coffee, toilet roll, or washing powder.

If you can’t attend the Lush Rock Singing for Supper event at The Castle & Falcon on Friday 24th Nov, donations can be sent to the Lush Ambassadors Team at: Lush Birmingham, 23 New St, Birmingham B2 4RQ  

To find out more about Lush Birmingham, visit www.uk.lush.com/shop/birmingham


To learn more about the problems faced by asylum seekers coming to the UK and people who are ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’, please visit the following website for the Birmingham based Asylum Support and Immigration Resource Team (ASIRT) www.asirt.org.uk