SIDETRACKS AND DETOURS
take weekend walkabout number 11
sharing arts news and inviting you to
PASS IT ON
Sunday 30th July 2023
We´re just setting off on our weekly walkabout, and we will follow a youth-led ´Balmy Army all across the arts to witness a fantastic, eye-opening work of art called Find Your Eyes. We will later gfather for a Toad Lane Classical concert. Travel with us as we call in at The Adsubina Gallery in Spain to preview a couple of their forthcoming exhibitions. We´ll then follow Jazz Music That´s Going Places in August before stopping to share a plate of Hot Biscuits with Steve Bewick, a radio presenter of Jazz on air. We´ll look over the horizon from a reader´s perspective as he shows us all points all points forward. Join us too as we seek to explore the memories that define the song selections for our playlists and finally enjoy our island insights. So, come follow your art,….
all across the arts
YOUTH-LED BALMY ARMY review by Steve Cooke
MANCHESTER INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
FIND YOUR EYES by Benji Reid, Manchester Academy:
July 2023 review by Steve Cooke
classical music:Toad Lane Concerts (TLC) July 2023
DUNCAN GLENDAY: PIANO review by Dr Joe Dawson
Visual Arts preview by Norman Warwick
The Adsubian Gallery, Spain
TRANSICIÓN from TETYANA KARABAN
Visual Arts by Norman Warwick
The Adsubian Gallery “DIBUJOS, PINTURAS Y COLLAGES”
de PHILIPPE ROUFFIAC”
MUSIC THAT´S GOING PLACES shared by Rob Adams
Jazz On Air
HOT BISCUITS served by Steve Bewick
A Reader´s Perspective
ALL POINTS FORWARD by Peter Pearson.
PHOENIX CONCERT AND FLIGHTS OF EAGLES
MEMORIES OF SONG SELECTIONS by Ralph Dent
Sinéad O’Connor Passes Away at Age 56
Norman Warwick is moved by Matt Mitchell piece
Island Insights from Norman Warwick
El Relojero de los Suenos by Habemus Teatro
Theatre Tent, Teguise, 9th July 2023
THE ART OF TIMING
YOUTH-LED BALMY ARMY
THE POWER OF ART AND ACTIVISM
MIF23 BALMY ARMY AT HOME – YOUTH-LED
review by Steve Cooke
Amongst the array of wonderful events that make up MIF23 from Yayoi Kusama to Benji Reid to Afrodeutsche Balmy Army stands out as shining beacon of hope in our uncertain and for many frightening world.
The Balmy Army project is a movement for youth-led mental health activating the power of art and activism.
Over the past year young people, artists, madpride organisers, radical dreamers, disability justice doers and everyone else trying to cope have come together with the common aim of striving for Mental health support that works.
The have been busy sharing poetry, making placards, activating social media takeovers and mass acts of civil disobedience, In fact crea0ting a space where anything (safe) can happen, where the Balmy Army can play, plan protests, give performances and even print ‘Madidas’ t-shirts.
Balmy Army is made by 80 young people from Greater Manchester, with the vacuum cleaner [James Leadbitter], Kevin Edward Turner, Lizzie Chapman, Toni-Dee, Caz Hughes, Evyn Seaton-Mooney, Rory Aaron, Rosalyne Norford, Gráinne Flynn, Cara Looij, Sascha Gilmour, Charlie Clark, HOME, Factory International, Contact, 42nd Street, Gorse Hill Studios, the Hope and Horizon Wards at Fairfield Hospital, Awakening Most of us are struggling with our mental health or have a family member, colleague of friend who is and maybe we are supporting someone who is working in mental health or perhaps feeling the effects of poor mental health in our communities. The Balmy Army reminds us that beyond what we can do as individuals, community care, and creativity are some of our In the words of one of the young people “Balmy Army has changed my life and I’m positive we’re going to change the world. I’m so proud of my fellow artists, grateful for the facilitators and forever in awe of the amazing work we have accomplished and are yet to accomplish”.
I urge you to find time to experience Balmy Army for yourselves – it’s free to drop into the Balmy Army’s space at HOME
Balmy Army runs until 17 September at HOME:
Phone: 0161 200 1500
Captioning Relaxed Performance BSL Interpreting Wheelchair Access Assistive Hearing.
‘the vacuum cleaner’ tells us:
“I went through mental health care as a young person, it was crap then and its crap now. Nothing seems to get better, however much those in charge say it has. I was in an adolescent hospital 20 years ago, has the mental health care got any better since then? Not enough, let’s put it that way. (I totally: acknowledge there are some cool people doing good stuff in young people’s mental health care – I’m not attacking them, we need you sooooo bad).
How many more excuses should we accept?
I want to work with YOU to imagine, dream up and then make real the mental health care you desire, that your friends deserve and that adults just don’t seem to be able to give you.
I’m starting a long-term project called Balmy Army. It’s part art, part activism and part mutual care project. I want to help you fight for what should be a basic right…. good mental health care. I want to do this because I know how much bad mental health care affected me. (I’m lucky to still be here). It’s going to start in Greater Manchester – but hopefully could be a national thing…
SO, let’s do this thing, let’s make an army of young people who are struggling with their mental health. Let’s not be ashamed of who we are, let’s be totally proud of what we can do together. Let’s imagine something brilliant and kind and that actually works.
Let’s do thing safely, sustainably, let’s do it right and take our time… but not like 20 years (lol).”
A note about language… the vacuum cleaner says.
“The language around mental health is still in debate; I think it always will be. In a similar way to how it is around race, gender, sexuality and so. That’s a good thing, we’ve always got to get better at it, and try to reduce harm.
In a lot of my art work I use the language around mental health in a playful way, words like mental, mad, barmy, crazy. For me personally I want to reclaim these words as something to not be ashamed of. Perhaps in a similar way to how Queer has been reclaimed. I understand not everyone is down with this. But I also want you to know that I use these words with love. Because I love crazy people.
We are amazing. We are really good at surviving, and helping others, and being empathic, and standing in solidarity with other people who face mainstream BS. Being mad isn’t easy, and it’s really important to be honest about that, but equally I’m not going to be ashamed of who I am, what I have been through, and how I want to talk about my experience. I want to be able to love my madness – so much so I did a project called Madlove. I’m not going to let it define me, but I’m also not going to ignore it
logo all across the arts
MANCHESTER INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
FIND YOUR EYES by Benji Reid
Manchester Academy: July 2023
review by Steve Cooke
PHOTOGRAPHY By Oluwatosin Daniju
This event was 90 minutes of exhilarating, moving, stunning originality in the form of a combination of photography, dance, theatre, and music.
As Benji Reid and his team left the stage and the rapturous applause died down the person next to me said ‘I have been coming to the festival since 2009 and that was the best thing I have seen!’
Like most of the full-house I was initially unsure about what Find Your Eyes would offer. What is a ‘choreo-photolist’ as Benji Reid describes himself? Apparently, someone who combines photography, dance, and theatre. What we were treated to was 90 minutes of exhilarating, moving, stunning originality.
Benji Reid sat centre stage about to embark on a photoshoot, flanked by two huge screens, his back lit by a single spotlight. With camera in hand, he looks intently at the figures posing under his instructions in front of him. A bell announces Act one, he presses the shutter, a pause, the image he has captured appears in sharp focus on the screens, he glances at it, then on with the next, we are witnessing instant creativity.
Benji Reid has been a famous dancer, a leading member of Soul II Soul, and an early pioneer of hip-hop theatre. Turning away from performance he has taken up photography. MIF Director, John McGrath, now has encouraged and coaxed him back to the stage with this sensational outcome.
Find Your Eyes is a quotation borrowed from the American photographer Alec Soth, interpreted by Benji Reid in this show as about finding different ways to frame and cope with life’s complex challenges, about seeing differently.
His models are three stunningly exceptional dancers – Slate Hemedi (AKA Crazy), founder of Alliance Crew; pole dance champion Yvonne Smink; and Salomé Pressac, who works with Studio Wayne McGregor.
Benji Reid meticulously poses each shot with the dancers using their exceptional physical abilities to shape his vision.
His narrative of battles with mental health told through traumatic personal episodes is soundtracked by dramaturg Keisha Thompson’s varied music from hip-hop beats to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.
Sequences of portraits take us through a rollercoaster of emotions such as Slate Hemedi and Salomé Pressac depicting joy to resistance, anger, and sorrow, as Benji Reid choreographs with almost whispered, but clearly heard instructions.
Each meticulously-set image is immediately delivered in magnification on Ty Green’s set, complemented by Tupac Martir’s atmospheric lighting, with props precisely placed by choreographed studio assistants.
Three acts and 90 minutes fly by with each scene becoming more elaborate, the donning of fantastical, futuristic costumes, Salomé Smink as a human kite, breathtakingly holding position as a wind machine blows around her, Salomé Pressac, uncannily communicating sadness, lying on a light box, racked with pain, the heartbreaking story of his stroke-inflicted mother, tapping out her messages to the gods: “Come and save me” a god appears; she is resurrected.
In Find Your Eyes Benji Reid has transmuted his personal vulnerabilities into stunning art.
We have been privileged to see this engrossingly moving metamorphosis unfold before our eyes.
I hope that this is just the beginning of choreo-photalist Benji Reid’s work and that opportunities are created for many more people to experience what we have just witnessed.
Thanks to John McGrath and MIF for making Find Your Eyes possible.
Toad Lane Concerts (TLC) July 2023
DUNCAN GLENDAY: PIANO
review by Dr Joe Dawson
The TLC audience was delighted to welcome back pianist Duncan Glenday in a typically elegant and moving recital. Incidentally, the vintage 1933 Challen grand piano was the very same instrument he had played as a promising young teenager back at the old Art Gallery’s ‘Music at Lunchtime’ before it moved here to St Mary in the Baum. He subsequently developed the enormous potential he displayed by graduating first class from the prestigious joint course of the RNCM and Manchester University. As well as diplomas in professional performance, his competition successes included First Prizes in the John Ireland Competition and the Proctor-Gregg Recital Prize.
Duncan returned today in a busy schedule as an accomplished recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician and teacher. He has performed over 300 concerts throughout the UK. He is a piano teacher at the University of Manchester and the Founder and Artistic Director of the annual Uppermill Summer Music Festival.
We began with Schumann’s Novellette, followed by four of his Waldscenen (Woodland scenes). Duncan summoned up warm, descriptive tones from the vintage instrument through these charming pieces with their hints of hidden depths.
We then went on to tour other musical places with Guernsey for John Ireland’s ‘In a May Morning’ from “Sarnia,” then to sunnier climes with Andaluza by Granados, and Granada by Albeniz, their exciting strong Iberian rhythms ringing out.
Maxwell Davies’ solidly Scottish ‘Farewell to Stromness’ brought us back to the British Isles. This live performance and vital interpretation proved why it has remained a Classic FM favourite for many years. Finally, a commanding rendition of Chopin’s Barcarolle left the audience wanting more.
The Queen’s Award-winning Toad Lane Concerts are every Wednesday at 12.30pm at the Grade 1 listed church of St Mary in the Baum, Toad Lane, Rochdale, OL16 1DZ. Entrance fee is £6. No refreshments available now, but the venue is Covid-19 compliant. Contact 01706 648872 for further information.
logo Visual Arts
The Adsubian Gallery, Spain
TRANSICIÓN from TETYANA KARABAN
previewed by Norman Warwick
The splendid Adsubian Gallery in Spain keep us regularly informed about exciting exhibitions and events taking place. We are very grateful to Aldo Nonis y Louise Hurlow who keep us updated on all events. They tell us today that the next exhibition will run from 29th July until the 12th of August 2023
The inauguration is Saturday the 29th of July from 19.30h – refreshments will be served.
photo TETYANA KARABAN was born in the Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk. Since she was a child she has fascinated by images, and has felt the need to preserve the ethereal beauty of everything that surrounds her.
Tetyana was cultivating this interest during her adolescence and she opened herself up to a new world when she decided to study at the School of Drawing and at the University of Culture and Arts. There she discovered her passion for pencil and paper, which became key elements for her well-being.
In drawing the artist found her own way of capturing fleeting reality and expressing the essence of her being. She learned to ´escape´ and create her own inner world.
Among the plastic arts, she highlight her pencil work, usually clear and sharp, where she likes to add notes of colour, details that take on a life of their own. It’s her personal touch.
In these works Tetyana likes to reflect human emotions, finding inspiration in all those stimuli that wander through our daily lives: music, love, fear, friendship, human relationships, nature, living beings. All this is told from her own perception of reality and from her own life-experiences.
She seeks to project this vision of life, trying to capture the meaning of the images, things or objects that surround her, as well as their relationship with her sensations. In summary, this is what my paintings really are, a fusion between art, perception and emotions.
When Tatyana transmitted to us even these brief notes on her feelings we immediately became excited about her work.
We are, of course, continuing with our Adsubina Gallery Summer Season 2023. On Tuesday August 1st we welcome a
new exhibition to our annexe building that will run until August 15th.
The Adsubian Gallery
“DIBUJOS, PINTURAS Y COLLAGES”
de PHILIPPE ROUFFIAC”
The exhibition will be open to view during gallery opening hours.
Tuesday – Friday 10.00 – 13.00
Saturday – 10.00 – 13.00 and 17.00 – 20.00
There is an opportunity to meet the artist. Philippe Rouffiac on August 5th, when he will be at The Annexe between 18:00 AND 20:00 pm. As well as talking about his works, he will present his new book ´Art Stories´.
diagram “Through this book, I want to tell some stories that I have seen in my paintings. Surely each person will be able to create their own by saying “what I see is…”.
The stories are presented in two languages. I thank Agnès for allowing these ´Stories´ to travel even further.
My desire is to transmit a positive and enthusiastic inspiration, “a good vibration”, an exchange of energies through painting. Open the book and may the vibration be with you!
So, if you anywhere in the area try to visit The Adsubiam Gallery to see what all that excitement is about. Every news item The Adsubian Gallery send us is infused with a joy in sharing art, a desire to prompt artists ambition to engage with the Adsubian´s visítors and clients. If you do visit, please let us have your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org
from Jazz In Reading
Friday 11 August
About Jazz in Reading
Jazz in Reading stages regular events with top-class bands at Reading’s Progress Theatre. See the current programme here
We list jazz events in Reading and the wider area at no charge – simply submit your gig details. We also offer an affordable service to further promote events – such as the one above – by email: details here.
Jazz in Reading, using its extensive contacts in the jazz world, is in an excellent position to help you find the right band for your wedding, party or other special occasion.
The Thomas Heppell Band – Blues & Jazz
Thomas Heppell guitar and lead vocals, (left)
Jack Bryant drums, Howard Head bass
Pentahotel Reading, Oxford Rd, Reading RG1 7RH
Arrive 7pm | Music 7.30 – 10pm | Free entry | More info and tickets
Get ready to witness the extraordinary talent of this triple award-nominated rising Blues star and his talented band. Brace yourselves for an unforgettable night of soulful blues, jazz twists, electrifying guitar riffs, and raw, passionate vocals that will transport you to another world
Sunday 13 August
Mimi Rose duo
Mimi Rose (right) vocals, Lef Germenlis keys
Chalk, 31 Broad St, Wokingham RG40 1AU
4pm-6pm | Free entry | More info and tickets
Mimi Rose is an experienced, London-based performer who elevates the atmosphere with her soulful vocals, glamorous style and bright energy. With covers ranging from classic jazz standards to ‘Postmodern Jukebox’ style contemporary hits, Mimi creates the perfect setting for a classy Sunday afternoon out.
Sunday 20 August
Fleur Stevenson & Hugh Turner, vocal and guitar
Chalk, 31 Broad St, Wokingham RG40 1AU
4pm-6pm | Free entry | More info and tickets
Fleur Stevenson is gifted with a honeyed tone, an offbeat sense of humour and a naturally charismatic stage presence. She creates an instant rapport with her audience through sparkling narrative and an unerring instinct for choosing the right material to showcase her talent.
Sunday 27 August
Lizzie Cummings & Hugh Turner vocals and guitar
4pm-6pm | Free entry | More info and tickets
Set in Chalk’s beautiful courtyard, Lizzie’s lively presence and playful engagement of jazz swing covers makes for the perfect Sunday afternoon, with just the right amount of pathos for a ballad or two. Backed by Hugh Turner, one of the region’s
Wednesday 30 August
Mimi & The Mulberries
Mimi Rose vocals, Richard Meehan keys, Al Swainger bass, Paul Glover drums
Pentahotel, Oxford Road, Reading RG1 7RH
7.30-10pm | Free entry | More info and tickets
Step into the enchanting world of speakeasy vibes and timeless jazz as we proudly present Mimi & The Mulberries, a brand new jazz collaboration, making their captivating debut. Immerse yourself in the alluring ambience of our elegant venue, adorned with moody lighting, as the sultry sounds of jazz transport you to a bygone post modern jukebox era of sophistication and charm. It’s a musical event not to be missed.
MUSIC THAT´S GOING PLACES
shared by Rob Adams
August is a month when the focus generally falls on Edinburgh. First, though, there’s a concert in Glasgow on Friday 1st September to bring to your attention.
Steve Gadd is a bona fide drumming legend. His contributions to Paul Simon’s 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Steely Dan’s Aja and Chick Corea’s Three Quartets – to name just three – are peerless. Gadd’s group (right) with Danish saxophone-Hammond organ team Michael Blicher and Dan Hemmer’s appearance at the Mackintosh Church is already causing excitement. So much so that they’ve added a second concert on the 2nd. They play bluesy soul-jazz with a hint of Brazil (sample track here). More info on the gigs here
Guitar duo Don Paterson and Graeme Stephen (right) play the opening night (Friday 4th) of the celebration of Scottish music that’s taking place at the Rose Theatre for the duration of the Edinburgh Fringe. Full details here. Don’s memoir, Toy Fights, has been hailed as “a classic of its kind” by William Boyd, no less, and there will be words as well as music from Don but mostly music featuring the duo’s melodic creativity and captivating, conversational approach.
One of Edinburgh’s most spectacular venues, St Giles’ Cathedral hosts a spectacular Fringe show, Luminescence, featuring the internationally acclaimed artist Maria Rud painting in response to saxophonist Tommy Smith’s entirely spontaneous improvisations, with the images projected onto the cathedral’s inner wall. Luminescence runs from Thursday 17th to Saturday 19th and subscribers to this newsletter can get a discount on tickets by quoting the code Friend2023 here. When Maria and Tommy performed Luminescence before, audience responses were ecstatic and as Maria points out, each performance is unique.
Saxophonist Brian Molley’s (left) quartet celebrates the music of bossa nova and samba masters including Antonio Carlos Jobim in Espirito do Brasil at the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th. Brian has listened to and learned from the great Stan Getz’s cool phrasing of Corcovado and The Girl from Ipanema et al while his rhythm section are also capable of turning up the heat.
Saxophonist Tommy Smith and pianist Peter Johnstone (both shown right) feature in the celebration of Scottish music’s closing weekend at the Rose Theatre in Edinburgh, with a late evening concert on Sunday 27th. Tommy and Pete play acoustically and won wholehearted audience approval at the recent Buxton International Festival Jazz Weekend where a reviewer described their musicianship as “by turns truly stimulating, exciting and quietly moving.”
JAZZ LISTINGS August Diary
Fri 11 – Sun 13: Richard Michael plays the Great American Songbook
Fri 4: Brian Kellock & Colin Steele: Oliver!, Blue Note Nights
Sat 5: Brian Kellock & Colin Steele: Oliver!
Sun 6: Brian Kellock & Colin Steele: Oliver!, Soundbone
Mon 7: Soundbone
Tue 8: Blue Note Nights, Soundbone
Wed 9: Brian Kellock & Colin Steele: Oliver!
Thu 10, Fri 11: Jazz Guitar Heroes
Sat 12: Brian Kellock & Colin Steele: Oliver!
Sun 13: Jazz Guitar Heroes
Mon 14: Joni Mitchell Reconstructed
Tue 15: Anna Vanosi Trio, Jazz Undercover, Joni Mitchel Reconstructed
Wed 16: Jazz Undercover, Colin Steele Qnt
Thu 17: Jazz Guitar Heroes, Colin Steele Qnt
Fri 18, Sat 19: Jazz Undercover, Espirito do Brasil, Colin Steele Qnt
Sun 20: Jazz Undercover, Colin Steele Qnt
Mon 21, Tue 22: The Music of Parker and Gillespie
Wed 23, Thu 24: The Music of Parker and Gillespie, Valery Ponomarev
Fri 25: Blue Note Nights, Valery Ponomarev
Sat 26: Valery Ponomarev
Sun 27: Anna Vanosi, The Music of Parker and Gillespie, Blue Note Nights, Valery Ponomarev
Fri 4: Don Paterson & Graeme Stephen 9:30pm
Mon 7: Brian Kellock 9:30pm
Tue 8: Nimbus Sextet 9:30pm
Wed 9: Graeme Stephen & Pete Harvey: The Penalty (soundtrack) 9:30pm
Fri 11: Tom Bancroft, Phil Bancroft, Norman Willmore: Motian & Me 9:30pm
Sat 12: Helena Kay Trio 9:30pm
Sun 13: Brian Kellock’s Marty Party 7pm/Graeme Stephen & Aidan O’Rourke: Nosferatu (soundtrack) 9:30pm
Mon 14: Phil Bancroft Trio 9:30pm
Tue 15: Viper Swing 7pm/Trio Magico 9:30pm
Wed 16: Matt Carmichael & Fergus McCreadie 9:30pm
Thu 17: Tom Bancroft, Phil Bancroft, Adam Jackson: Motian & Me 9:30pm
Fri 18: Fat-Suit 9:30pm
Tue 22: Konrad Wiszniewski & Haftor Medboe 7pm/Georgia Cecile 9:30pm
Wed 23: Georgia Cecile 7pm/AKU 9:30pm
Thu 24: Matt Carmichael Qnt 9:30pm
Fri 25: Niki King 7pm
Sun 27: Tommy Smith & Peter Johnstone 9:30pm
Mon 28: Greg Lawson, Mario Caribe & Phil Alexander 9:30pm
Tue 22: Andrew Baker Qrt
Sat 19: Fat-Suit
Tue 1: Dan Reinstein
Wed 2: Nigel Price
Sat 5; Alex Garnett
Sun 6: Anita Wardell
Mon 7: Jim Mullen Organ Trio
Wed 16: Kate Williams Qrt
Thu 17: Duncan Eagles
Thu 24: Denys Baptiste
Sat 26: Bruce Adams with Alan Barnes
Wed 30: Tim Garland & Jason Rebello
Wed 2, Thu 3: Reuben James
Tue 8: Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Wed 9: Mama Terra
Thu 10: Nik Bärtsch Ronin
Fri 11: Carmen Lundy
Sun 13: Rory Ingham’s Trombone Assembly
Wed 16: Ben Jones
Fri 25, Sat 26: Leo Green Experience
Thu 31: Ian Shaw
As always. this list is not meant to be comprehensive; other gigs are available
Jazz On AirHOT BISCUITS
with Steve Bewick
With a career spanning twenty years so far, Lewis Harding is a professional musician performing and writing in a wide array of styles, from jazz to EDM, “Maybe you should write a jazz album.” This gentle prod was what prompted Lewis Harding Guitar UK‘s excellent debut jazz CD `Palm Thievery`. Tune in to this week´s Hot Biscuits and hear the background story from my colleague Gary Heywood-Everett.
Also included in the broadcast is Jonathan Gee with his ´bright eyes´ track, and there will be The Nigel Price Organ Trio and also the Tassos Spiliotopoulos Quartet, all of whom have appeared at St Ives Jazz Club recently. We present a brief profile on, and music from, Bud Powell, who plays `Sometime I’m Happy`. I´ll play a track from the Søren Bebe Trio to close the show. If this looks interesting pass it on and tune in anytime at www.mixcloud.com/stevebewick/ 24/07
A Reader´s Perspective
ALL POINTS FORWARD
by Peter Pearson.
PHOENIX CONCERT AND FLIGHTS OF EAGLES
The Phoenix Concerts Knowing that the Sidetracks and Detours editor, Norman Warwick, is planning one of his ´five day reading festivals, offering a look back at the career of John Stewart, I assumed that the timing of this was to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the release of The Pheonix Concerts, a much acclaimed live of the late singer-song-writer. Then I remembered that Norm doesn´t think, or do, chronology and when I asked him he informed the proposed festival is planned to coincide with the one thousandth edition of the Sidetracks And Detours Monday to Friday daily blog, that has recently been augmented by the Pass It On Weekend Walkabout Sunday Supplement. That is as good a reason as any, I suppose, to celebrate the career of an American artist who enjoyed a small but incredibly devoted fan base here in the UK. Norm and I and a good circle of friends like Ian Johnson at Stampede Promotions and John Graham Livingstone at Stillwater Times were part of that fan base.
There´s no spoiler alert needed here, as I will try not to allude to issues I would expect Norm to address in the ´festival´, but the news of such an event of course made me consider again the impact of John Stewart´s music
Norm tells me he thought he had found ¨hidden treasure´ when he discovered the Omaha Rainbow magazine which focussed so strongly on John and other singer-writers. Of course, being Norm, he cannot be quite sure of when or where he first saw the magazine. Whatever happened he immediately picked up all the back-copies he could. He tells me he immediately read them all from cover to cover, and then, years later, he took them all away with him when he and his wife, Dee, first went on holiday to Lanzarote, where he read them all through again on their hotel room balcony every night for a week.
I myself became aware of John Stewart largely from Noel Edmonds´ Radio 1 Sunday Show which featured all the great singer-writers of the nineteen-seventies Tim Blackmore (left), ,the show´s producer, was a big John fan.
I recall walking into the old HMV shop in town during a lunch hour, some fifty years ago. The shop had a fantastic sound system and they were playing The Phoenix Concerts -just released – 50 years ago!
I also remember sending a letter to the glossy magazione, Country Music People (CMP), circa 1976 asking why John was not given the attention I thought he deserved. Peter O’Brien, who was also a devotee of John, and indeed, I later learned, published eloquent occasional editions on John and similar artists in Omaha Rainbow, read my letter in CMP and subsequently contacted me and introduced me to his magazine. I became a subscriber and he posted me copies from then until he ceased publication. Peter was a teacher and an excellent writer. On ceasing publication he introduced me to Arthur Wood and his Kerrville Kronikles.
Unfortunately Arthur was happy to receive the new subscribers but was not a John Stewart fan. I did however subscribe to his mag until he ceased publication.
So, like Norm I enjoyed both Kerrville Kronikles and Stillwater Times a great deal.
I met Peter first at John’s New Brighton Floral Hall gig, which was the first live John Stewart performance I ever attended. I went there with my Dad who was a great fan of John Stewart, too.. That show was recorded for broadcast by Radio Merseyside. John thereafter visited Merseyside rather than Manchester for several years and my Dad came with me to his concerts. My dad was then in his sixties and I was in my thirties.
It would take me some time, and a calculator, to work out how many times I saw John´s gigs. Certainly every time he visited the UK after 1984, I would often catch two or more gigs on each tour which, for a long time, was annually. I´m sure Norm will have a couple of albums recorded at shows at Dalry in Scotland, and certainly the shows I saw there were the best.
Dreamers on the Rise is probably my favourite John Stewart song, although it is almost impossible to pick a particular song from such a great canon of work. Coincidentally, I´ve just learned that the song is Norm´s favourite, too. He says it reminds him of the kind of friendship, sustained to this day, that he enjoys with Colin Lever, his Lendanear songwriting partner.
I´m also now aware that Norm once sought permission to write an authorised biography of John Stewart.. He had interviewed John a number of times by then and felt they had a reasonable working relationship and so was perhaps slightly disappointed when John dismissed the idea with a one liner reponse of ´I´m not big on books !¨
Nevertheless, there are no books solely on John, though he is featured in books about The Kingston Trio the group he joined as a very young artist..
photo apf 4 Spencer Leigh, a writer broadcaster at BBC Radio Merseyside who also came to work closely with Stewart, told me the easy part of producing a book is is the writing of it !. The hard part is finding a publisher. Spencer, actually a much-publshed author and journalist, has pitched ideas to several publishers for a book about John, but they simply who say there is no market. I find that hard to fathom when much lesser lights have reams published about them. But that was the story of John.
Talking of Spencer Leigh I am sure the Sidetracks And Detours Remembering John Stewart will feature a tale that Norm tells everyone who will listen or read. It is a tale of serendipity that nevertheless reflects the impact and wide diaspora of The Omaha Rainbow Magazine. Over in the States toward just when commentators were proclaiming that The Twentieth Century Is Almost Over, Norm rec eived a monor accoladfe that to hear him talk was a bit like opening Live Aid ! His song Cup Finals Every Night, (see the imminent article shortly in Sidetracks And Detours) had been selected by Peter O´brien. for inclusion for the Loma Gold Chart that featured in every issue of Omaha Rainbow. Norm and Colin Lever´s recording of their self penned number written for their Lendanear was at number 9. That chart was read by a John Stewart acolyte in the States called Jeff McDonald a record producer and singer writer and he was, apparently, intrigued. He contacted Norm via Peter and ordered a copy of the tape, and a few weeks later he wrote to Norm and aksed why the song Old Black Guitar case wasn´t listed on the track list, and had Norm written the song, because if so he would like to record it. A year later Jeff undertook a short tour of the UK to promote his album, Born Smack Dab In The Middle, which included Cup Finals Every Night ! He and Norm (and Pete benbow played live at BBC Radio Merseyside for Spencer´s programme, and at the site of Strawberry. Maybe I ´ll leave it there and Let The Mystery Be, as the tale grows in the telling, especially when it´s Norm who is doing the telling !
Andy Fergus, proprietor at those Dalry gigs I mentioned earlier said John was “too good for the pooblic (sic).
It will be interesting to see if the forthcoming 50 year anniversary of The Phoenix Concerts will stimulate any interest.
There still remain outlets on which a celebratory event or album release or whatever might be publicised. Peter O’Brien has a John Stewart facebook page on which Dave Batti, a former playing partner and collaborator has posted saying there are plans for the ´John Stewart Band to perform a concert in the States playing the entire album´. Dave, suspected subject of a John Stewart line about ¨Dave is on the internet, talk, talk, talking´, would like to know if anybody knows the songs performed at the live concerts that were not included on the album. As of yet nobody seems to be able to answer that one, although John´s widow, and frequent accompanist, Buffy Ford, might well be able to help !
Meanwhile, the Sidetrack And Detours Editor editorial team has placed a cemi colon after the title of Knopfler Kronikles volume 10; so as to accommodate another volume about a new album due for release later this year,
Now Norman has just advised his volunteer (press-ganged?) contributors to Sidetracks And Detours of a proposed series provisionally entitled Essays Carried By Eagles. I think he thinks I generated this massive workload.
His missive landed in my e mail in tray this morning, proclaiming, as Norm does, that we should collate articles in the following folders.
The careers, before and beyond. of all personnel ever officially acknowledged as an Eagle
Timothy B Schmidt
¿ Very shortly after reading Norm´s communiqué, though, I heard of Randy Meiseners death. That was sad news, of course but not a great surprise as he had suffered ill health for a long time after leaving the Eagles.
Eagles´ Albums nominated as
Peter Pearson´s Pick
Recommended by Ralph Dent
books about The Eagles
Eagles: Before The Band by Ric Forgo
Eagles Up Ahead In The Distance by Ric Forgo
To The Limit; The Untold Story Of The Eagles
by Marc Elliot
The Eagles Take It To The Limit by Ben Fong-Torres
It was reassuring to see that I have read most of the books on Norm´s list, except the Forgo ones. Furthermore, I have just finished a new epub by Mick Wall. Dark Desert Highway, has been good read, and because he didn´t have it in his list I´m sure Norm will try persuade me to review it
But, as ever at Sidetracks And Detours, we´re looking ahead at All Points Forward.
logo recorded music
MEMORIES OF SONG SELECTIONS
by Ralph Dent
When Paste on-line magazine recently posted its journalists´ selections of the best fifty of number one hits I knew it would be, because all their lists, infuriating, argumentative and full of how could you leave out x and include y? I mean why ??,
are deliciously infuriating. Nevertheless I selected ten tracks from this particular cumulative list: not because I necessarily thought these were in any way a ´´best of´ compilation, but might instead be a list of ten songs that were writ large in my life, mostly for pretty obscure reasons.
I loved the song even more after it featured (playing from a radio on an episode of the The Royle Family. As two of the gormless guys that populated the programme were stripping off the óld wallpaper´ in the kitchen they were about to decorate the radio started playing Mambo Number Five and as we looked from behind as they were working we saw them beginning to bump and grind and twerk in time to the music. You maybe had to be there, but it was comedy gold
The compiler of the Paste on line list told us, There are few songs—and I don’t say this lightly—as totally bonkers and off-the-wall as Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5.” And I mean that as the highest of compliments. Here came a bald little dude with a pencil-thin mustache and a wide-brimmed hat, taking this beautiful mid-century jazz and dance instrumental and glazing the jankiest, horniest lyrics ever over it. A trend with the one-hit wonder is its novelty factor, with many of its plays coming from a place of confusion and curiosity and parody as much as they do musical enjoyment. I, for one, always find myself wondering who these women are, and why Bega is wooing them with song all at once. That has to be a suboptimal strategy, no?
Never mind—it’s fun because of its own ludicrous aura. Bega shimmies out there in a purple suit and gleaming white spats, and you’ve gotta let yourself get carried away by the electronic backing, the silken saxophone and our singer’s tongue-in-cheek recounting of his sexual escapades. “Mambo No. 5” is an earworm of the highest caliber, and it will be played at weddings until the end of time—better to accept its infectiousness. Take some time to celebrate all the Rita’s, Monica’s, Erica’s and Tina’s in your life today. If you don’t, Lou Bega will and he’ll send it all the way to the Top 5. —Miranda Wollen (50)
Vanilla Ice: “Ice Ice Baby”
Who among us has never sung ´bum bum bum,diddy bum bum, (Queen certainly did) and adapted the cool swagger of the ice-man?
I’ll set the scene, a Paste journalist wrote:
The year was 1990. Jelly sandals. Slip dresses. The colour, burgundy. A white guy named Robert Van Winkle sampled the Queen/David Bowie masterpiece “Under Pressure” without either party’s permission to create one of the rap songs of the decade. The origin of “Ice Ice Baby” is random and a little eyebrow-raising, as is the song itself (like, really kind of questionable—the titular saying is the chant of national African American fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha), but damn it if it isn’t catchy. There are very few songs out there that manage to tiptoe the line between listenable music and novelty rap, and Van Winkle figured it out—no matter how accidentally. There’s something infectious in his soul-patchy whisper rasping brashly over the melodies of artists arguably far more legitimate than he ever has been. Much like “Mambo No. 5,” it’s one of those ridiculous, inescapable songs that you just kind of have to allow yourself to love—and one that is impossible to keep out of the #1 chart spot. Vanilla Ice for all! —MW
This song, (and its reverse or double A side, January) were part of my guilty secrets of pop songs I loved but wouldn´t (couldn´t at that already old age, perhaps) admit to. Paste´s selection of it perhaps validates my good taste, though.
Scottish pop rockers Pilot have only really accomplished one big thing in their 50 years as a band, and it was releasing “Magic” in 1974. What a beautiful and underrated glam-infused soft-rock song that sounds both timeless and wholly emblematic of the era it was conceived in. Those backing harmonies are still, to this day, sun-soaked and hypnotic. “Magic” peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 and then fade into rock ‘n’ roll obscurity, as many other bands cracked the zeitgeist’s algorithm better than Pilot—and the latter wound up never becoming big forefathers of music, though “Magic” could have definitely gotten them there had the band harnessed the momentum better. Selena Gomez would later cover “Magic” and her rendition would hit the Hot 100 as well, albeit peaking at only #61—further proof that the song’s formula is timeless. —MM
Mungo Jerry: “In the Summertime”
It was the year of my O level exams that almost immediately became a search for a college where I could take them all again, having failed in seven of the nine I had taken, scraping only mediocre grades in the English Language and English Literature that were my two ´successes.´I blamed it on the music of that year which was just so damned catchy, I can remember that in my geography exam, with the room a sweaty silence of study, some younger year student, unaware of how easily distracted I could be even under exam conditions, walked past in the corridor outside whistling this tune. I heard it fade away after a few bars, but it was too late, and I dooby dum de dum, dooby dooby dummed for the rest of he morning, forgetting all about hinterlands and hieghts and maps, and countries and continets.
Who would’ve predicted that a British rock band named Mungo Jerry could make one of the most essential summer songs in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, asked the Paste journos., before immediately providing their own answer
Well, in 1970, the Middlesex quartet did just that. “In the Summertime” became an instant classic, peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 and having that irresistible counterculture-era sound. One of the most prominent skiffle hits in the history of popular music, Mungo Jerry’s one-hit wonder status is well-earned—and there are few songs that are so unequivocally beloved across generations. It’s taken on a new life in the last 20 years, as films like Mr. Deeds, Despicable Me 2 and X have used it on their soundtracks. Bandleader Ray Dorset’s vocals sound as cheery today as they did 53 years ago. —
Sinéad O’Connor: “Nothing Compares 2 U”
As I reflected in our above piece on the sad and early passing of this lady with such an incredible voice, she was to Sinead was an artis who was really only on my peripheral vision. The journalistic team selecting these best of the best tracks, and indeed that moving tribute made by Matt Mitchell in the same magazine, have helped me place her in a different perspective.
Initially written by Prince for his side band The Family, “Nothing Compares 2 U” became the career-defining song for Irish singer/songwriter Sinéad O’Connor in early-1990. Not only did it top the Hot 100 that year, but Billboard crowned it the best single of 1990, too. Through heavy airplay on MTV and a bevy of VMA and Grammy nominations, few vocalists were bigger at the dawn of the decade than O’Connor was—and seven-million copies of her album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got cements that truth. Though she hasn’t made any music that’s registered as great a response, O’Connor remains one of our loudest human rights advocates. One song vaulted her into household name status, and she’s only used that platform to elevate the voices of her peers. I’d say “Nothing Compares 2 U” did pretty well. —MMMM
M: “Pop Muzik”
I was one of the ´éverybody´who talked about Pop Muzik
Before doing research for this list, it had been years since I listened to M’s 1979 hit song “Pop Muzik”—and I’m so frustrated that I’d gone so long without it. What an absurd little synth-pop gem. It (surprisingly) topped the Hot 100 in 1979, which feels like a once-in-a-lifetime accolade. Synth-pop had not yet fully taken over the mainstream charts, as it was still an outside in the zeitgeist. But, through implementing experimental rhythm and disco architecture and harmonies, M’s only big hit was done perfectly. “Pop Muzik” is one of those tracks you can spend an entire day deconstructing. There are so many different styles being implemented in just a 3:21 runtime, but “Pop Muzik” creates its own world. —MM
T. Rex: “Bang a Gong (Get It On)
I heard the slightly older Grammar Schoolls who were among my Willow Road Sunday morning football tea,. Clive Lancaster and Roger Holland would speak in hushed tones of John Peel and of the dinosaur group he so often played. It all sounded a bit heavy and únderground´to me, but suddenly this dinosaur strode the earth having played the tyranasaurus to a T. There followed a string og Glam Rock hits, all of which I would come to include in any pop playlists I would create over the next fifty years.
The Paste team look back on this final pre-extinction flourish with a the recollection that this only big hit for glam rock icons T. Rex, “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” hit #10 on the Hot 100 in 1971.
It was a cornerstone track on the band’s album Electric Warrior, and it’s become a mainstay in popular culture ever since. With bandleader Marc Bolan running the show, T. Rex would never eclipse the starpower they exuded on “Bang a Gong (Get It On),” nor could they ever have. It’s one of those perfect, unmovable, generational tracks that only a select-few rock acts ever get an opportunity to write. “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” is as timeless as it is fresh and hypnotic. Tapping into it 52 years later is like tapping into it for the first time, even on the 500th listen. There’s a whole cosmos of boogie that lives inside of “Bang a Gong (Get It On),” and what a joy it is to untangle it with every listen. —MM
The Proclaimers: “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”
The Mayor of Rochdale holds an annual fund-raising Burns night ball attended by all the other Mayors of Greater Manchester. He booked me and my Touchstones writing group to give a poetry reading following the piping in of the Haggis. The town hall sopund system died completely just as we took to the stage, and no on could hear a word of the Burns work we tried to deliver,…. so inbstead, we leapt down from the stage and, for reasons that seem even more tenuous now than they did then, we stomped around the floor,(there ten of us) giving on an impromptu performance of 500 miles that I am sure the dignitaries thought might go on for 500 hours.
Paste memories of the song are different, of course,…
You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, we’ve all hummed it afterwards against our will. At least, I have. That fateful Season 2 episode of How I Met Your Mother has officially cemented The Proclaimers into my brain for the rest of my waking life, and if you’ve ever heard it, you’ll know exactly why. There’s something about that scruffy Scottish croon of twins Craig and Charlie Reed that just burrows into your brain before you have the time to scoff at the song’s absurdity, leaving you helpless against its advances. It’s silly and oh-so-1980s; a catalog of musings on love’s effect on the monotony of everyday life, with the brash forward momentum of two 26-year-old brothers who wrote a love song in a dingy Edinburgh flat. A thrumming drumline and gratuitous usage of “da-da-da” makes the tune impossible not to tap along to, and so be it. If it’s good enough for Ted and Marshall, it’s good enough for me. I’ll let it get stuck in my tape deck any day. —MW
Soft Cell: “Tainted Love”
The only hit song for Soft Cell, “Tainted Love,” is a perfect synth-pop rendition of the Edward Cobb-penned track originally made famous by Gloria Jones. But the English new wave duo transformed the greatness of “Tainted Love” by giving it a contemporary shine that was a bold, formulaic masterpiece that hit #8 on the Hot 100 in 1981. Though Soft Cell could never replicate “Tainted Love,” their debut album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret is one of the greatest synth-pop albums ever made. Rihanna would sample “Tainted Love” on her song “SOS,” and VH1 called it one of the greatest one-hit wonders of the 1980s.
We concur, and would go ever further by saying it’s one of the greatest electronic songs ever made. —MM and it is a song that has become an integral part of the soundtrack of my generation.
The Archies: “Sugar, Sugar”
I was a massive fan of The Monkees, condemned too soon and too easily as a prefabricated cartoon.character like band. Look back now, though at the great writers who were covered by the Monkees, and examine the carer of the bobble-hatted Mike Nesmith and compare all that to the Archies, who followed the Monkees, not as a pretend cartoon-like group, but as an actual cartoon group.
Speaking of hits built to last, the fictional cartoon band The Archies did that in 1969 with “Sugar, Sugar.” In fact, “Sugar, Sugar” was so popular that Billboard named it the #1 song of the year. Ron Dante’s lead vocals are pillowy and perfect, as the Archies long predated what the Gorillaz have perfect in the post-Y2K rock world. “Sugar, Sugar” is bubblegum pop doused in extra portions of sweetness. There’s nothing bad to say about the song; it’s an inoffensive masterpiece that can be danced to anywhere, anytime. I hope “Sugar, Sugar” endures for thousands, even millions of years. If the Earth caves in on itself, I’m sure that the Archies will be singing from beneath the rubble. When you make a #1 hit song so intoxicating and dreamy and catchy, it lives on well beyond the rest of us. —MM
Dexy’s Midnight Runners: “Come On Eileen”
Many of the songs from 1983 don’t hold up 40 years after their release, but that is how the ever-evolving landscape of mainstream music works. You take the good with the bad and embrace the beauty of what has become timeless and what remains stuck in the era it was born into.
So said the Paste tem, as if there was any need to justify this inclusion. Really, it has been the party song of my lifetime, made more rfelevant to me since I began working with Eileen Earnshaw, one of my poet-colleagues at that Mayoral Ball. Eileen was titles, inspiring, indefatigable among our circle of artists in Rochdale, but she wouldn´t be hurried and whenever she was called from the audience to read her (wonderful) work she would shuffle reams of paers, dally and dither, select one and then discard it,…and all the time all of su in the audience would roar out Come On Eileen.
However, “Come On Eileen”—the lone #1 hit from Dexy’s Midnight Runners—is, arguably, the most timeless song to ever crack open the Billboard Hot 100. What an infectious, dazzling cut of new wave injected with Celtic folk-pop. The modern music world had never seen such a dynamic, soulful song rule the world—which helps make “Come On Eileen” an eternal work of glorious art. That opening fiddle solo, the a-cappella outro (which was nixed from the single version) and the uptempo horn and mandolin that duet across the track’s bridge—how can you not hopelessly fall in love with the song over and over with each listen? “Eileen, I’ll hum this tune forever,” vocalist Kevin Rowland opines. Thankfully, all of us get to take part in that same, perfect destiny. —MM
Sinéad O’Connor Passes Away at Age 56
Norman Warwick is moved by Matt Mitchell piece
editr´s note Although she never quite fit into my ridiculously narrow criteria to slip easily into my the singer-writer classifications on my playlists I was aware, like all us what a frail but wonderful voice that was that interpreted Nothing Compares To You. There was something compelling about her, though, and althopugh she has only ever been in my peripheral vision, I never lost sight of her. I followed the mainstream media that made good copy out of hery appearance statement.
The national media in the UK, particularly have made much of the sad loss of Sinead O´Connor, but the most heartfelt comments I found were made by Matt Mitchell in the always reliable Paste On Line magazine.
photo Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns
Last week music fans all over the world were delivered the news that beloved Irish singer/songwriter Sinéad O’Connor has passed away at the age of 56. O’Connor rose to prominence on the heels of her 1990 cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” The song would ascend to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained there for four consecutive weeks in April and May of that year. Billboard’s Year-End chart slotted the hit at #3, behind Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” and Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love.”
But O’Connor’s legacy stretches far beyond the immediate success of “Nothing Compares 2 U.” The singer was one of the loudest voices in human rights advocacy, as she fought against child abuse and organized religion and pushed anti-racism efforts. O’Connor also prioritized conversations around trauma, mental health and spirituality.
Not only is “Troy” one of the single greatest vocal performances in rock history, but O’Connor’s songs “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “I Am Stretched on Your Grave” and “Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home” have remained essential pieces of the alt-rock cannon 30 years on. Her sophomore album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got was so good it has been long lauded as a definitive album of its era. And, to celebrate that record’s enduring successes, O’Connor was awarded the inaugural Classic Irish Album award at the RTÉ Choice Music Awards earlier this year. After a standing ovation from the audience, O’Connor dedicated the award to “each and every member of Ireland’s refugee community.”
Seven Grammy nominations and endless global adoration can’t possibly paint the full picture of O’Connor’s life, legacy and impact. She was one of our greatest living souls, and her presence in this lifetime will be greatly missed. For more than three decades, Sinéad O’Connor used her platform to elevate marginalized voices outside of her own. Her passing is a tremendous loss not just for the music industry, but for humanity as well.
a unique musical production
featuring actor John Malkovich
THE INFERNAL COMEDY
preview by Norman Warwick
The Infernal Comedy, a unique musical production featuring actor John Malkovich portraying a serial killer. Accompanied by the Orchester Wiener Akademie and sopranos Susanne Langbein and Chen Reiss.
Renowned actor and filmmaker John Malkovich (left) immerses us in the life of serial killer Jack Unterweger. From his life sentence for strangling a young woman in 1974 to his release and continuation of his crimes.
Directed by Michael Stturminger, this production combines Unterweger’s narration with music from composers such as Vivaldi, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Boccherini, Weber, and Gluck. An experience that transitions from touches of humor to dark drama.
The Infernal Comedy is part of the Canarias Extension of the Veranos del Taoro Festival and is supported by various institutions and sponsors,
El Relojero de los Suenos by Habemus Teatro
Theatre Tent, Teguise, 9th July 2023
Norman Warwick learns all about
THE ART OF TIMING
Two matches down in the Test series, the third test, at Headingly, therefore represented England´s last chance of keeping alive the possibility of a series win. Needing 250 for victory on the final day, (Sunday 9th July) required England to win the war of attrition that cricket was always intended to be. Watching such nail-biting days can leave a cricket fan living on his nerves. The Aussie bowlers peppered us with high, fast bowling and the England batsmen had to defend for their lives whilst reaming mindful of the nedd to score the 250 runs to win the match. It was painful to watch and as the ight fiorst eight wickets fell at regular intervals all hope diminished. There had been very few of the Bazball bish, biff, bosh shots spectators have so enjoyed in recentyears, but somehow the score kept crawling along faster than it actually felt to be. This was important to me which is why I was so ensconced in front of my tv, having gone inot the lounge at 11.00 am, and having told my wife we would leave at 4.00 pm for the concert we wanted to see in Teguise. At 3.45 there was very little chance of that happening. Down to our tail end batsmen we were still some thirty odd runs behind, but then bish, biff, bosh, simple as that, the match finisheh in victory for England 3.5o pm,….a dash out of the lange and into the bathromm, a rapid shave that still left me with a Ben Stokes stublle, but grey not ginger, a quick shower of the kind tht had made the Headingley wicket less than trustworthy over five days, I put my kit on, relieved I didn´t need my pads, and grabbed my wife and we took a quick single up to where our car was parked. We then arrived in Teguise at dead on 5.00 pm and realised that we thought was a free to all event was actually free only to those who had invitational tickets. Nevertheless the guy on the door let us in, and we took our seats to see a performance for children, (yeh, I know) called xxx and performed by xxxx. Fittingly on day like this had been, we were to watch a live musical about the art of timing !
There was An audience of around 298 Inginous grand-parents, mums and dads, a handful of teenagers and countless pre-teen brothers and sisters and toddlers and babies.. and we two seventy year olds with a forty odd year old son, and his wife daughter living in South Korea simply trying to look as if we belonged.
photo flier We need have had no fear. Everybody was chatting away to each and coochy cooing at the other people´s children, right up until the cast took to a stage and set that artfully represented a clock-mender´s premises. In fact to say the cast took to the stage is something of an understatement: they actually burst onto the stage, in the form of a schoolteacher leading her young students through the song Doh Ray Me. This might have been aimed at the children in the audience but we oldies made a pretty good foist of it, too, chanelling our favourite Julie Andrews, to deliver a powerful rendition.
The play lasted for sixty minutes, and although we could not understand a word of the Spanish we managed to get the gist of the narrative. One of the children in that class was the son of the old clock-mender, but the boy subsequently disappeared and was declared missing for many years. The clock-mender was distraught and as he worried and grieved over the years his skills diminished and his clocks and repairs no longer kept good time. He became plagued with nightmares about hisd missing son, and as the clocks become less and less reliable he loses all track of time. In a grey wfg that made him look like a an aged Tom Conto, the grandfather, previuouslñy a jokey, genial character became grumpier and grumpier.
All things end happily in children´s musicals I guess, and the father and son one were eventually reunited although it took a lot energy and mayhem to arrive at that point, woithas the small cast of around ten performers, ballet-danced. marched, shouted and sang with great enthusiasm and even greater aplomb. Choreography was in time, solo vocals were tuneful, ensemble vocals were powerful and some fo the slap stick and theatre schtick of the cast was superb. A lot of punch lines drew laughter and chuckles from the Spanish folk.
This was a performance of the kind I used to be involved in when I was living in Rochdale in the UK before we moved here in 2015. Arts revenue funded theatre groups would take plays like this touring around primary schools in our area, This was more elaborately staged, on this occasion, perhaps having a bigger budget available. However, its purpose was the same as those school visits I was involved in: to so engage the young children that they didn´t realise they were being taught. From tonight´s show there were ´lessons´ for various age groups. Children of reception class age were being taught the basics of telling the time, and later oprimary school ages were learniong aboput mpore pfreciose time-reading and some very valuable social awareness of loss and loneliness nad of hope and faith.
All age groups seemed mre than happy as we filed out this tent that today had served as very serviceable theatre. The night was still young and the sun still high as most people strolled back to their nearby homes. We walked back to our parked car, near the children´s swings and slides and roundabouts. Children were having the tome opf their lives as parents sat on surrounding, keeping a watchful eye but having no need to worry. All the cast, twenty somethings or slightly younger, were in the playground, too, engaging wioth the children by discussing the play as they swung, slid or spun full circle on the apparatus.
We left them all to it, of course, but were delighted to have been made to feel welcome and included in the theatre.
Instead, on this clear blue sky evening, we drove the five miles or so down to the long and beautiful Famara beach with the incredible El Risco cliffs. pointed jagged horizons etched aginst the sky, ther bodies painted golden by the evening sun. The drive back home through the vineyards and bodegas of La Geria was one we could really enjoy, being pretty much the only vehicle on the road until. We actually turned off the LZ 2 and took the stepp, winding road up to Femes, , which reaches ti apex right into the centre of town just outside the church and immediately begins and even twistier and steeper descent into the opposite end of Playa Blanca to which we live.
We had taken this route, though, as it would lead us to The Marina Rubicon, where can be found a number of our favourite restaurants, including Lani´s Snack Bar, so self-deprecatngly named.
It more than serves as a restaurant and the scrambled aggs and salad dish I had was washed own with a pint and wqas followed by one the establishments special ice cream desserfts. Dee went for the Spanish Omelette with a glass or two of white win. The place was busy and buzzing, and from our table we could see the sun setting over our house just at the foot of Montana Roja.
We arrived back home, in twilight at 9.55 pm.
Good night, love. I´ll just catch the Wimbledon highlights. See you in the morning.
There you go,…..its all about the timing.
o We return with our Monday to Friday daily fare of Sidetracks And Detours, tomorrow, 31st July. We will be Calling Out Around The World, inviting people to come join us to play Cup Finals Every Night, and hear Guilty Narrators Pardoned as we decide to Let The Mystery Be. And, of, course,m we´ll continue a bigger bookshelf to accommodate a book about Looking To Get Lost. You can always search our easy to examine archives of almost a thousand items but we´ll be back next Sunday to lead you on another Weekend Walkabout, as we share our news and invite you to , please,