THE BEWICKS ARE BACK IN TOWN:
by Norman Warwick
Marlene Bewick arrived, as she always does, sprinkling literature like stardust down on to my desk. Among this wonderful assortment was a collection of poetry, Men´s Mournings. by Mike Garry a former artist-in-school of mine, many years ago. How could Marlene have known that and how she have known that I once sat on panel with Mike in a public debate about whether or not poetry is enhanced by music. She couldn´t have known that that only a few weeks ago I strode across the a long-haired guy in a restaurant here on Lnazarote and asked if he was Mike Garry, so similar did he look to my former friend as I remembered him. I had forgotten to remember, though, that my memory of Mike was of the Mike Garry of forty years ago. Marlene didn´t know any of that, but she knew I am a poet and she knew this was a poetry book, so this was not an example of ´the alchemy of creativity´ we shall be examining in our Lendanear To Music in-print festival in a couple of weeks time. That Marlele ghad included Men´s Mournings in my goody bag was, of course, just one of those happy accidents that can´t be fully explained.
By similar serendipity she also included a copy of Rants, Rhymes And Reflections, a collection by a legendary Rochdale poet, Tim Bobbin. The writer i`s described on the back cover as ´the hammer of hypocracy. This collectioonhas been mentioned before on Sidetracks & Detours pages by our arts and culture correspondent, Michael Higgins.
Marlene also brought me two programmes of the full Rochdale Literature And Ideas Festivals for 2018 and 2019, with loads of interesting reading about artists, writers and projects. With thse was the ´music issue´of Scribble, a prestigious pamphlet of Noerth West put together every year by Cartwheel Arts, a Hewyood based revenue-funded arts organisation that does so much good work in my old borough. This pamphlet, in particular, houses a pomme from John Siddique, another of my former colleagues at Artists In Schools. There is also a spotlight on Tony Walsh, a poet who did so much to unify and console us following the Manchester Arena bombing. Well kown poets in the region like Katie Haigh and carol Keys are also included as is the late, great Julia McClay.
Tucked in among all these was an order of service for the recent funeral of David Woonton, a member of Rochdale Music Society. David was a good guy, always well dressed, but actually the cover of the order showed him in absolute sartorial splendour. As I looked down the prayers and hymns of the occasion I noted a song I had not previously known, called When Peace Like A River that seems to have quite a story behind that we will bring to these pages later in the year.
Marlene also delivered a well-spotted lesser known album featuring Elvis Costello in one of his many faceless disguises on a recording called Terror And Magnificence with John Harlo,
If Marlene´s benevolence is truly a ´happy accident´ rather than a turning of the ´alchemy of creativity´ then my eventual writing about this, after a few more hearings, might somehow be rerad by Rochdale´s publisher of ine press poetry, Andrew Moorhouse. We have referred many times on these pages to Andrew´s exhaltation of all things Costello, and perhaps he could then shed new light on an album that is something of a rarity.
So, Marlene and Steve (left) have left me enough reading and listening to see me through until she next arrives bearing holiday gifts, sometime in 2024 or 2025.
However, beware oh ye who live in old Rochdale town, because as Thin Lizzy (right) kept warning you, The Bewicks are back in town. They have been over here on Lanzarote for a fortnight, but were looking forward to getting back to their own arts scene to see what is scheduled to take place soon and to lament, perhaps, what they had recently missed. They are still hungry for arts and culture,…..and jazz, which Steve believes is the same thing.
We took Steve and Marlene to Teatro San Bartolme on Lanzarote (left) whilst they were here and saw a show that included a tribute to Tina Turner. At Middleton Arena (part of Rochdale MBC) in the UK there was a live tribute performances to Tina Turner just as we were nodding in Ms. Turner´s direction at the Teatro and you can see our Lanzarote review under the title of SinfonicAs: An Unforgettable gig filed in our archives on Monday May 16th 2022.
As for the Arena event in Middleton (right) , Steve Cooke previewed in his column of 13th May in The Rochdale Observer, a real stand-and-stare in wonder at Tina in Middleton Totally Tina would rock photo 4 into Middleton that evening with the UK´s original, award winning tribute act, also known as Justine Ruddoch, and her talented crew.
When the real Tina (left) burst on to the scene, she won the hearts of music fans from the outset, creating a fearsome reputation for her live performances.
Early hits such as River Deep Mountain High, Proud Mary and Nutbrush City Limits were just a taste of what was to come.
We Don´t Need Another Hero, Simply The Best and What´s Love Got To Do With It continued her jet-propelled career.
Justine Ruddoch (right) admits that she has paid great attention to footage of her favourite music icon and has note Turner´s passion and attention to detail, and seeks to emulate that. She is determined to deliver authentic performances in a re-creation of the rock and roll Queen´s stage shows.
This year´s production is a heady mixture of nostalgia and surprise. With all the major Tina Turner hits, her best loved duets, much loved covers with a twist in the tale, and should therefore have something for everyone. Jumping Jack Flash, Honky Tonk Woman, Get Back and It´s Only Rock And Roll (bit I like it) have been added to a set that already includes classics like Private Dancer.
All the songs are enhanced by the customary flourish of sparkling high heels, flamboyant tail-feathers, high energy dance routines and musical genius. It invited full audience engagement to create a truly special event.
Justine, a past winner of cult television talent show, Stars In Their Eyes, performming as Anastasia, is known in the business for her professionalism and drive and has now been singing publicly for more than twenty years.
She is understandably proud of her cast and crew who have helped her create the longest running Tina Turner tribute.
´ I am thrilled with this production´, she says. ´We have come so far. Having been told on so many occasions that I sounded like Tina, I decided to take the plunge and spent hours and hours familiarising myself with her life story by accumuklating loads of video footage to learn her mannersisms and body movements. We always add our own personalities to the show each ytear, the element of surprise keeops things fresh, but my ultimate aim is to remain faithful to a Tine Turner liove concert, paying tribute to here career and bringiong the best version of this amazing woman, by bringing her voice, her passion and even her legs to her many fans.´
As we broke bread and shared wine with the Bewick´s we all reminisced about Rochdale, and I remembered that I once played at Springfield Park in a charity football with town´s best loved comic, Jimmy Cricket (left). As he took the kick off to start the match he did his little Irish dance, all the time looking down at his feet, in their willies marked L and R, as he sang ´disco´s here and disco´s there´ in that beautiful accent he has.
In fact we spent some of that time compiling a playlist under the title of a phrase borrowed, I think, from Cowboy Jack Clement, of Summer Hits Summer Not-
a sidetracks & detours selection
SUMMER HITS SUMMER NOT
Marlene And Steve Bewick
Dee And Norman Warwick
Summertime by Billie Holiday
Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks
Happy Together by The Turtles
Diamonds In The Soles Of Her Shoes by Paul Simon
Those Were The Days by Mary Hopkiun
Sketches In Spain by Miles Davis
Summertime by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
Days Like This by Van Morrison
Stormy Weather by Judy Garland
on The Dunes by Tina May
all the tracks above were selected by Mr. & Mrs Bewick
all the tracks below were selected by Mr. & Mrs. Warwick
Summer Holiday by Cliff Richard
Honey by Bobby Goldsboro
Rise by Gabrielle
Surfin´ USA by The Beach Boys
Summer Breeze by The Isley Brothers
The Day We Went To Bangor by Fiddler´s Dram
What A Day For A Daydream by The Lovion´Spoonful
Days by The Kinks
Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer by Nat King Cole
Summer Nights by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John
SUMMER HITS SUMMER NOT
All tracks can be found on line
This selection (c) Sidetracks & Detours 2022
And then I noticed another article by Steve Cooke elsewhere on his all across the arts page in The Rochdale Observer, under the headline of Celebrity Support For Local Thespians.
Excitement has been building, Steve explained, for the opening night of musical comedy, The Producers, at The Champness Hall in Rochdale.
Legendary Irish comedian (and adopted Rochdalian) Jimmy Cricket called into rehearsals to see what all the fuss was about and he reported he was ´blown away by the talented cast about to perform in the 700 seater venue in the heart of Rochdale town centre,.
photo 7 Jimmy met with the cast and crew of The Rochdale Musical Theatre Company to show his support and to wiosh them well with their upcoming production.
Ít´s so good´, he said, ´to see live musical theatre back in the centre of Rochdale. We´ve really missed our theatres and live events over the past couple of years. With this young, talented cast I´m sure The Producers (right) will sell out every night. I encourage our community to get behind this fabulous, vibrant musical comedy. The laugh out loud, all singing, all dancing production will be accompanied by a live twelve piece orchestra, is one you must not miss and I urge you to see it´.
The show from 12th to 21st May at Champness Hall, Rochdale.
It was a slightly surreal experience to be rambling on about Rochdale and its excellent arts scene whilst at the same time trying to extoll the virtues of our own exciting and eclectic arts scene here on Lanzarote. Steve Cooke (left) delivers weekly pages championing Rochdale in a way I try to emulate on Lanzarote in celebrating community, national and global arts here at Sidetracks & Detours.
It was good to know what Steve and Marlene Bewick could look forward to on their return home, but we also learned from another excellent writer from Rochdale that they had missed what sounds like an excellent classical music concert.
Writing on his facebook page, Graham Marshall (right) shared his review of the Rochdale Music Society’s recent concert by the Victoria String Quartet:As both Steve and Graham allow us to pass on their news, i am delighted to bring you articles today from two writers who do so much for their town, They know their stuff, these guys, and shine spotlights on aspirant and established artist working in and around the Rochdale Observer.
From high jinks Haydn to masterful Mendelssohn the members of the Victoria String Quartet (below left) showed their class in a beautifully balanced programme of music which kept the audience enthralled throughout. Violinists Benedict Holland and David Greed, Violist Catherine Yates and Cellist Jennifer Langridge brought their individual consummate skills and artistry together to perform four very different works with the maximum impact to be expected of such a wealth of expertise and experience.
Their first work was Haydn’s Quartet in B flat Op. 33 No. 4, one of the set of quartets which were to inspire Mozart to take further the expansion of the medium Haydn began by treating all four contributors to the musical discussion with equal dignity and freedom, and to lead on to Beethoven’s late quartet masterpieces. This particular work is, like so much of Haydn’s music, immediately attractive and enjoyable in every way, as this performance amply illustrated.
Their second work had been scheduled long before the sudden death last December of the afore-mentioned Rochdale Music Society Treasurer, David Woonton (shown right surrounded by musicians) , a long-standing friend of the Victoria Quartet. It was a poignant inclusion in their programme: Puccini’s Cristemi (Chrysanthemums), written on the night the composer’s friend, The Duke of Savoy, died in 1870. With David Woonton in mind the Quartet gave a moving account of this tribute music with its elegiac impact – appreciative, not mournful.
They ended the first half of the concert with Britten’s Three Divertimenti, all that was left of a project the composer began with the intention of making a set of musical portraits of his former school friends. It is unashamedly music designed to entertain, which they played with great panache, each making the most of their skill in manipulating their instruments in meticulous response to the composer’s ingenious – and sometimes unmusical (?) – demands. The overall effect was deliciously OTT and sent the audience off to continue to relish it during the interval.
The second half of the concert was devoted to Mendelssohn’s Quartet in D major Op. 44 No. 1, a work of deep emotional strength and technical prowess, which could easily prove too much for less courageous and accomplished performers. From the opening rush of blood to the musical brain in the upward thrusting theme played by the first violin to the final fling of the last movement’s concerted conclusion it gives no quarter in its demands on the players and listeners alike. That the audience was totally taken in by its appeal, wherever it took them through its varied and colourful musical landscape during its four contrasting movements, is a tribute to the vision and staying power of players who enter fully into the musical challenges and opportunities composers afford.
A very different kind of experience, but equally rewarding, is to be looked forward to in the next concert of the Rochdale Music Society on June 18th in Heywood Civic Centre. This will be an evening of Boplicity Jazz performed by Mike Hall land Friends – an evening of mainstream jazz standards played in contemporary mainstream fashion. Visit www.rochdaledmusicsociety.org for further details.
So, I bet the Bewicks, who will have been back in old Rochdale town for a week now, have already been trying to secure their tickets for Boplicity Jazz !. And we might hear more about that on Steve´s splendid weekly jazz show, Hot Biscuits and we will keep you updated with links to his show.
He did explain to me what mix-cloud is (a massive warehouse somewhere) and how it works ( you close your eyes and make a wish) so that whenever you click on hios link his programme will start immediately, whereas in the past readers had to log in at 9.00 pm or stream the programme, often in still water.
He and Gary Heywood Everett present the show with a featured album or artist each week with Gary offering a biographical background and Steve and musical review.
They also highlight emerging or established jazz acts playing in their area, and also take a look at the global jazz scene as they follow their art wherever it takes them