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Sometimes in life there are things that are unavoidable; exams, those boring obligatory visits to Aunty Rita’s 65th birthday party or simply growing up. Nothing is permanent except change. When my friends, Lloyd, Charlie, Ben, and I had our first band practice in the summer of 2010 we never realised how lucky we were to be starting something that would play such a large part in our lives and for so long. So when University became an imminent prospect you wouldn’t blame us for feeling a change in the direction of the good ship Heseltine. So what do four lads, who have known each other through secondary school (and in some cases even longer), do when they won’t see each other for up to three months at a time when they have been gigging once or twice a month for the past three years?The answer, if you know anything about boys, is they don’t think about it too much. So we didn’t. Lloyd and Charlie went off to Durham, Ben took a trip to Brazil and I, James, went to Sheffield. We never called an end to Heseltine but I suppose we didn’t really have any plans for it either, apart to jam as and when we could. One thing was for certain, Brazil is too far away to organize a band practice.

So when I got to university and met all my new flatmates, one of the first things I did was take out my guitar and within a matter of time we were all singing along to songs we knew. Some of my new friends could play guitar too and even more some of them could hold a decent tune! I was in luck! Surrounded by musicians - there must be the potential to put a band together here - how hard can it be? Well the answer to that, dear reader, is very.

I guess I’d never fully appreciated 2 things about having a band in our hometowns of Bolton/Bury.

1) At home we always had a place to practice and the facilities to practice. We had a PA and amps stored where we practiced and more importantly a drum kit. You wouldn’t believe the difficultly I’ve had of finding a drum kit, never mind a drummer!

2) My band are my best friends. We set up a band because we were mates and we just wanted to have a good time, get a couple of gigs in, see if we’d get any money for beer - typical stuff. But the experiences and laughs we’ve shared at band practices, playing gigs, watching gigs and going to parties together have been second to none. During my whole first year at university I’ve made some good friends, all of whom I’m sure I could work with in bands but none of them are drummers or bassists. This made me realise how lucky we were with Heseltine.

At Christmas 2013, 4 months after starting uni, Lloyd, Charlie, and myself had a band practice while Ben was still in Brazil. Before uni we’d said that we would still have a few jams but we thought future gigs were probably unlikely. By Christmas I think we had all realised that Heseltine was still our priority and that anything else would have to be extremely good to even come close to what we had achieved as this band.

One thing that has always helped us is having support from our friends in bands like Disfunktional and The Versions who are still going stong too and well worth checking out.

So at Easter we made our comeback at a gig at our old school which we’ve always loved playing, then we got a gig in Sheffield playing to a completely new crowd which was incredibly exciting.

Now, before we go back to university, we’re topping the bill playing our third Designer Magazine gig - who have been great to us for all of our time together. Not only is Alex’s promotion of extremely high quality and commitment but the atmosphere of Designer Magazine gigs really puts you at the heart of Manchester’s music scene - which anyone who’s tasted it would know is the place your band wants to be. So, the moral of this tale.

Change is inevitable. I don’t live in Bolton anymore, I live in Sheffield. The people is see everyday don’t come from around here. I don’t get to play guitar in a band as often as I used to but one thing is certain; Through all the change we’ve gone through in recent times our band has stayed the same, and we’ve been lucky enough to keep the wheel turning. It gives me hope that we keep writing songs together, having laughs together and most importantly keeping Heseltine more than a band of musicians, but a band of brothers. When something happens so often it can be easy to take it for granted. So if you’re going to uni this year or next, or even the year after, always make time to come home and have a jam with your mates. You might not realise it now, but it’ll be something that is worth holding onto.

James - Lead Guitarist of Heseltine

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