Friday, 14 October 2016

Attic Foray No.1

For some time I've been thinking I should empty the attic whilst I'm fit enough to climb up there. (Fit? You call this fit??? - Yup! Like a butcher's dog...) So seeing as how the pile of stuff up there lifts the roof tiles on warm days when it expands, there could be several forays needed and thus "No.1"...

Now admittedly I didn't spend an awful lot of time up there today and in fact only my top half made it through the trapdoor. This, I hasten to add, was because there was stuff close to hand near the trap door. Not because the bottom half would not fit through! Anyway, the first item to hand was a 45 rpm extended play (E.P.) record.

Released in 1959 this has Enid Blyton herself telling the story whilst Denis Bryer and Cyril Shaps provide voices and songs with backing from no less a personage as Ron Goodwin and His Concert Orchestra. He recorded several albums under Columbia's Studio 2 Stereo label during the 1950s and 60s, being particularly famous for film theme music. He also had several single releases.

A set of Marvel Comics came to hand and turned out to be the complete set of the film adaptation of Robocop 2.

Forgetting for a moment the actual lead character, the rest of the premise - greedy corporations taking over politics and the running of all hitherto publicly-funded services - is eerily starting to become familiar.

Marvel Comics published quite a few film adaptations over the years. I have a two-part adaptation of The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, though sadly the character of Margiana looks nothing like Caroline Munro who played her. The Robocop 2 comics were published August-September 1990.

State of the art graphics for computer games 27 years ago were not quite the bee's knees... This advert was on the back cover of one of the above comics.

This was what I'd actually gone up looking for. My binder of all twelve issues of Film Review magazine from 1979. Whilst up there I replaced my copy of the 1978 binder, forgetting perhaps that the idea is to empty the attic...

So afficionados of my Film Review... er... reviews... can rest assured that the next set of articles will commence sixth or seventh with, if not exactly forthwith!

I also found this binder, which is labelled Practical Photography 1980. Oh, how I wish it still held those magazines. Sometime, probably towards the middle of the 1990s I stupidly (this is what comes of deciding to do things like empty attics...) threw them away. I had loads of them. I did scan the covers of the year 1985, but at the time scanners were not that brilliant, screen resolutions were laughably small and my scans are a mere 227x325 pixels, some of them a mess of contrast and density. I might relent and let you have a look though...

There's definitely a bit of a theme to those covers that you wouldn't find today. If I've offended anyone with these images, then please crawl back into your tiny mind and feel free not to come here to be offended again. I'll try my best not to miss you.

And instead of all those wonderful magazines that contained such good advice about taking photos of all manner of subjects, not just portraits and glamour, I find a set of magazines BBC Homes & Antiques. Can't wait... Fran, why did we buy these...?

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Music I Love - 'E'

It's the turn of the fifth letter of the alphabet as I take a look at artists whose music I have loved and still love.

Sheena Easton comes first alphabetically and started her career in a TV reality show The Big Time which showed her making her record Modern Girl. In the event EMI held that record and released her 9 to 5 track as her first record instead. This soon caused confusion due to Dolly Parton's film and record and became known as Morning Train instead for the chorus lyrics - My baby takes the morning train. He works from 9 to 5 and then...

In the dying days of seaside cafe jukeboxes (1980) this was the record you heard played on them all. EMI rushed out Modern Girl as a swift follow up and in no time she was making history as the first James Bond theme artist to feature singing on screen during the main titles of For Your Eyes Only.

Dave Edmunds is one of my guitar heroes. From classical music thrashed on fuzz guitar (Sabre Dance) through covers of hits of The Ronettes such as Baby I Love You and in the guise of Dave Edmunds' Rockpile for the hit I Hear You Knockin' to my favourite Girls Talk. He appeared as David Essex's girl-hunting guitarist in the film Stardust, stopping playing in mid-song to chat up a girl, yet contributing to a definitive sixties sound on a blinding version of Need A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues. He did a TV special as part of a series Guitarists At The BBC or something like that - This was 1980s, long before the 2008 Guitar Heroes at The BBC on BBC Four. I saw it when it first aired and have been watching for it to be repeated ever since. Each episode featured a different guitarist. Anther episode featured B.B. King I remember.

The Electric Light Orchestra. Or ELO if you prefer but then that would mess up my alphabetical ordering... The first single 10358 Overture driven by Roy Wood was gob-smacking in it's unheard of use of the cello as a rock instrument at the time, but once Roy got interested in Wizzard and his own solo efforts and left Jeff Lynne to get on with things then those things really did approach the sublime.

The singles kept getting into the charts but the albums were just fabulous with a mix of very simple sounds and other tracks that sounded as though Phil Spector's trademark wall of sound had achieved Great Wall of China proportions...

For me, it culminated in this album, Out Of The Blue, which was a double-album and included the heavenly Mr. Blue Sky. His comeback concert at Hyde Park a short while ago was wonderful. I wish I could have been there. Even better to be there on stage playing those oh so brilliant songs.

Duke Ellington. I have quite a few 78 rpm records of his. I'm not a huge fan, but I do keep coming back to Take The 'A' Train which was one of his huge hits. There were many variations of the band, orchestra, smaller groupings of musicians over the years. Some are a bit too Jazz for me - I like my music more structured.

Out of all the great music written by The Bee Gees for the film Saturday Night Fever one of my favourites was this track by Yvonne Elliman called If I Can't Have You. It turned up also on the B Side of one of The Bee Gees own hits - the songwriters' own version, but Yvonne's was the version that stuck in my brain. She had other hits - Love Me probably being the best known of them, but If I Can't Have You is the ear worm.

One of those 1970s Supergroups, where musicians already making waves through past bands, come together in a crescendo of egos and either fall flat or produce something that delights some and bewilders others. Emerson, Lake and Palmer (or ELP but that would mess up... well you know...) definitely came into that category. Their first eponymous album had a few ok tracks. Tarkus was acclaimed by some but I bought it, found it a self-indulgent mess and threw it away (I kid you not). But this one, Trilogy, I still have and it contains some brilliant music. Some tracks demand hard concentration if you are to enjoy them. Without it, you find them an annoying distraction, and others have moments of humour and surprise. The ending honky tonk piano of The Sheriff which then leads into a following track with synthesizers playing a Hoedown... The wistful From The Beginning with a superbly toned recording of an acoustic guitar and the final wild Abaddon's Bolero.

Enya was one of those artists I find hard to categorise really. Orinoco Flow was fun enough with another ear worm Sail away, sail away, sail away... and I thought that would be it until I heard the theme for another documentary series The Celts.

Then suddenly her music seemed to be in cinemas everywhere and would-be followers were searching attics for great-great-granny's dulcimer. There were some very memorable tunes. I was never really struck with her singing if I'm honest, it's the instrumentals I go for. Oh, and I love the thunderclap on Storms In Africa...

Yes indeed, sooner or later the Rhythm Is Gonna Get Ya... Leaping from the ranks of Miami Sound Machine comes Gloria Estefan and soon she discovers that amongst the rock of tracks like Hot Summer Nights, she can croon the old croon tunes too.

Can't Stay Away From You from the previous album was followed by Here We Are, Don't Wanna Lose You, and Your Love Is Bad For Me on this, the second album I expended hard-earned cash on.

I have no records of this artist, but have watched Suzan Erens many times on the videos of violinist Andre Rieu and whilst she left his collection of soloists quite a while ago, I still enjoy particularly her rendition of I Belong To Me from the musical Elisabeth.

And finally before I make up my mind who to include and who to leave out of my 'F' article without leaving certain people FURYous... I could not leave out the fabulous Everly Brothers, Phil and Don, who provided so much of the background to my musical youth. Just hearing the intro to Cathy's Clown and I am instantly 6 years old again and on holiday with my parents and brother in Bridlington, Yorkshire. I heard it lots of other places as well, but somehow, that is the image that it stirs up. I, together with my musical best bud, David, do an Elderly Brothers spot every gig we play... Thanks lads.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Creeping Bentgrass in Charnock Richard

Saturday 8 October 2016. This last weekend we played for a charity event in Charnock Richard - the village in Lancashire, not the nearby motorway services...

We were at the Football Club playing for one of Jack Gerrard's events. He's the man behind the Chorley steam fairs and all monies were going to Rainbow House.

We played to a fairly packed house and what a great crowd they were, singing along and loads of enthusiastic applause. We took another four bookings on the night, so we must have done something right!

Friday, 30 September 2016

At Loggerheads on Kefalonia

Thursday 15 September 2016. It's another tender boat day today for our last day before flying back to England. We have breakfast and head up to the Medusa Lounge to pick up tickets for the tender boats.

We are in Kefalonia. Thomson Dream is moored in a lagoon and being ferried by tender boat to Argostoli. A steep zig-zag road with hairpin bends climbs the mountain on the opposite side of the lagoon.

Once again we have forsaken the organised tours for getting off and hoofing it. Though one of tours was intriguing as it visited an underground lake at Melissani.

However Argostoli had its own surprise in store for us as we walk alongside the moored boats and find a huge loggerhead turtle swimming happily towards us!

He wasn't on his own. All the way along the side of the lagoon groups of people are stopping to watch and take photos of the turtles. In 2013 a scientific study counted 27 individual turtles. Nothing keeps them here, they are here because they want to be.

Carrying on down the edge of the lagoon we come to a massive market stall loaded down with fresh vegetables and fruit.

Ah... and I'll just check up on my flower shop... Anyone who knows me will know I can't tell a tulip from a sunflower...

I am a bit too late to get a decent shot of the road train passing out of sight, but the church makes a lovely sight on its own.

The bridge across the lagoon, splitting it into two. The half that Thomson Dream is moored in leads out to the Aegean Sea and the side to our right in this photo leads to the Ionian Sea.

Cafe bars stretch along the water's edge, smiling staff asking if it's time for a coffee or drink. I'm standing on the bridge taking this photo when out of the corner of my eye I see something thrown into the water and an instant commotion around it.

A shoal of fish is excited at the unexpected snack!

Walking down I had said a casual "Maybe later..." to a young lady at one cafe. Walking back she said "Is it later now?" and ... why not? Our lagoon-side table is visited by a passing turtle!

Miss Franny points him out as he makes another pass.

Refreshed and feet rested, we turn away from the lagoon to have a look around the town. A short narrow street leads to a marble-paved modern shopping street. It is a long street, but kept traffic free and we wander along the entire length and back again.

Down a little square off the street is a 1964 Ford Taunus, the equivalent to the UK's Ford Cortina MkII.

The back end reminds me very much of Dad's Ford Zephyr 6 Mk IV, which was this very same colour!

It's 25 minutes to twelve and 29 degrees centigrade. Warm, but not too warm. We decide to have lunch off the boat to give us more time to look around. We buy some postcards and magnets to weight the fridge down - so annoying when it floats off... and Miss Franny buys some sandals.

We head back to the same cafe bar we had a drink at and have some lunch, but the waiters are making mistakes and the owner is in a bit of a mood, shouting at them, so it takes the edge off it a bit. There are the same groups of turtle watchers along the side of the lagoon.

The fish too are still swimming up and down, hopeful of a few treats being thrown in.

Palm nuts, growing on one of a row of trees planted alongside the lagoon.

There is a queue for the tenders and we walk past to see what there might be along the lagoon if we walk the other way. There isn't a lot... A small car ferry sets off with a small number of cars that have reversed on, so they can just drive off without any manoeuvring. Looking back it looks like the queue for the tender boats has shrunk considerably and we set off back and wait to board a boat back to the ship.

We had eaten every night in the Orion Restaurant on Deck 4, which gave us waiter service. We had stuck with the same waitering team that we started with last Friday and since the Monday evening our Assistant Waiter, Jayson, was waiting by the door as the restaurant opened to take Miss Franny's arm and lead her towards our table. Many nights we would find Pauline and Brian seated on the next table and with just a small partition between us we were soon chatting to them as our meals progressed from course to course.

And it's our last night aboard for this time, so time to scoot up to the Waters' Edge Bar and listen to 2 Intense, Tomas and Maris.

With Ben playing we have not been able to chat to them between their sets unless we lost our seats and went somewhere else. Tonight after their last set we head off to the Lido Restaurant which is very quiet by now (it's gone midnight).

We spend another hour with them then regretfully have to finish the last bits of packing in order to leave our cases outside the cabin by 1:30 am, from where they will be taken off the ship when it docks at Corfu in the morning and arranged so we can just find them and put them onto a coach for the airport in the morning.

We'll meet again...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...