Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Backbeat: How music helped Coventry teen Whizzy escape torment of bullies

Articles by Pete Chambers from his Backbeat Column in the Coventry Telegraph.

Backbeat: How music helped Coventry teen Whizzy escape torment of bullies

Damon Lee Gallagher-Smallbridge, AKA Whizzy, 
a Coventry teenager who has battled the torment of bullies with rap music. 
Picture: Mark Rider.

Hearing a 16-year-old boy rapping about suicide is disturbing stuff, especially when you learn he’s from Coventry and the source of his anguish is from being bullied for his autism.

Like so many before him, Damon Lee Gallagher-Smallridge – or ‘Whizzy’ – has transcended the pain by the power of rap music, in his words and in his songs.

One song, Whizzy Alone 2015, is a harrowing tale of a young boy, his thoughts of escape, and his love for his mum, who through it all keeps him going and keeps his dreams alive.

It’s a superb rap, made even more powerful when you realise the words are for real. This is real life.

I asked Whizzy about the song.

“I have been into music since I was about ten, starting writing at the age of 13,” he said.

“I’m 16 now and the thing that inspired me to write the Alone song was just I was bullied at school, picked on all the time for being the kid with glasses or the kid who wants to be a rapper.

“I didn't wanna go school any more because I was sick of all the insults.

“Then I started writing my thoughts and feelings down and starting making raps about everything that was going on.

“I was also bullied because I’m autistic and I struggle to communicate with others so, for me, music is an escape from what’s going on in my life."

I asked him where he would like to be in two years’ time.

“In the future I will be hopefully be touring around the world,” said Whizzy.

“Performing my music and hopefully helping all the other people who are bullied to write their thoughts down.

“I would love to be a headliner in Coventry one day, as I would love people to know me as the kid from Cov who made it.

“I wanna just be on tour around the world, showcasing my talents and doing workshops for young kids to help them out.”

It would be wonderful to think he has found his escape through the music he loves.

You can hear the song  here on Soundcloud.

The Ellipsis battle the beasts within
The Ellipsis, who have just released a song called Two Wolves

The Ellipsis have a new song called Two Wolves.

Basically it’s an allegorical tale of the battle between the two wolves inside us all, one wolf is evil and one is good.

The video for the song has been based on the 1981 classic John Landis film, An American Werewolf in London, and was shot in a few locations including the London Underground.

The band are having an exclusive showing of it at The Big Comfy Bookshop, Fargo Village on Thursday, September 24. It will be a nice intimate affair where the band will talk about their songs and play some of their best stuff acoustically.

There will also be the video's director, actor, graphic designers, local businesses as well as Angela Prior-Kimble from Heaven in Fargo, who assisted with the styling for the video. She has a long, colourful career in movie costume designing.

Happy birthday, FarGo Village

FarGo Village, in partnership with Imagineer Productions, are creating a ‘bloco’ - a costumed carnival street band and dancers, which will perform outside at FarGo Fused event on Saturday, September 26 to celebrate its first birthday.

The music will be a fuse of samba reggae, ska, dancehall and house.

Doc Martens competition winners announced

Congratulations to the winners of our Doc Marten book competition – Pete Conway and Chris Mcgovern.

We asked which King song features the lyric 'Get Your Boots On'. The answer was Love and Pride.

Please collect your prizes from the Coventry Music Museum, open from Thursday to Sunday, 10am till 4pm.

Farewell Jonny Concrete, hello Wilde
New on the scene, Wilde

So as we lament the end of Yes Sunshine, another fine local band calls it a day. Yes, Jonny Concrete are no more,

The good news is that Dean Ingram and Becky Lawless are to continue to work as a duo.

So with all this news of splits, it’s good to hear we have a great new band on the scene called Wilde, and judging by what I have heard so far, they're definitely ones to watch for the future.

The band, namely Shay Simpkins, Ed Pinder and Matty Purnell, are up for creating exciting and powerful energy-filled songs.

Oddly enough, the guys are going to be supporting Yes Sunshine as they bow out on their final gig on October 19 at the Kasbah.

The Commonjets, yet another top band, are also supporting.
Go ape at Zephyr Lounge

On Saturday, September 26, look out for the 100% APE gig at Zephyr Lounge, Leamington, featuring Electrik Custard, Satsangi and Dark Houdini.

Doors open at 8pm, it’s £5 entry on the door, although tickets are also available from Seismic Records Box Office.

Live music will be up to midnight, followed by DJs until 2am.
Back to rudeboy roots

Those who know The Specials/2-Tone story will know that part of its early history began with original rudeboy Neville Staple and Trevor 'ET Rockers' Evans and The Jah Baddis Sound System, before Neville joined the band.

On Sunday, October 4 from 3pm, The Jah Baddis Sound System is back for a very special all-day party at the Sphinx Sports and Social Club.

In conjunction with Fargo Scooters and Skabretta Events, in aid of the Train Track Awareness Memorial Stone in loving memory of Declan Callum, the day also includes sets by Second City Soul Band, Anthony Harty and Rudegirls Kirstie and Sugary.

There will be an amazing auction, DJs, special guests and lots more.

Entrance is a £5 donation, children free.

Tickets from Fargo Scooters, 2-Tone Village or email

Pete Chambers for Coventry Telegraph

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