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Sidetracks And Detours present PASS IT ON weekly walkabout supplement Sunday 9 12 23

Sidetracks And Detours



weekly walkabout Supplement

Sunday 9th December 2023

Hello and welcome to another edition of PASS IT ON, out free weekly not for profit blog that provides arts-related news and asks you to do with it as our title requests. Today we include news, previews, interviews and reviews and includes news from Rochdale Music Society, Jazz In Reading, Hot Biscuits jazz on air. We also have folk music news from Sound Roots and EFeX, and remembered music from Ralph Dent. All points forward sees our scout´s report that people are adding poetry to music and making films from boos. Island Insights also reveal that Lancelot is forty years old and that Lanzarote has recently celebrated its Constitution Day and that a Nobel prize winning book, dear to Lanzarote, is now twenty five years old.


All Actoss The Arts

previews, reviews, news and suggestions


Live Music

December 2023: Rochdale Light Orchestra

previewed by GRAHAM MARSHALL

Live JazzMusic

Jazz at Progress

previewed by JAZZ IN READING

Jazz On Air

Hot Biscuits

preview by STEVE BEWICK

Folk Music

Folk Are Talking

news from SOUND ROOTS

Remembered Music


Recalled by RALPH DENT

A Reader´s Perspective: All Points Forward

Does Music Enhance Poetry?

the views of PETER PEARSON

Island Insights

Lancelot Winter Edition 24 Now Available

Nobel Prize-winning book Is 25 Years Old

Constitution Day On Lanzarote


Rochdale Town Hall Re-opening

Concert with The Black Dyke Band

Preview by STEVE COOKE

In 1871 The Black Dyke Band performed at the original opening ceremony for Rochdale Town Hall. Now 153 years later the band will perform a special concert to reopen the newly refurbished Town Hall.

Over 160 years old, Black Dyke is probably the most famous Brass Band in the world having toured such places as Australia, Europe, Japan, and the USA. They have performed with pop icons such as The Beatles and Elton John and even a performed on The Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury in 2017.

They have now emerged as victorious at the 2023 National Brass Band Championships, held at the iconic Royal Albert Hall. Up against strong competition the mighty Black Dyke Band showcased its exceptional talent and determination and prevailed in a truly stylish manner.

Black Dyke definitely is no run of the mill Brass Band!

06 Mar 2024, 19:30

Rochdale, Town Hall, The Esplanade, Rochdale OL16 1AZ,

The Wrong Reindeer

Oldham Theatre Workshop

Preview by STEVE COOKE

The much-lamented demise of Oldham Coliseum Theatre, it is great to see that there will still be a seasonal presentation with OTW [Oldham Theatre Workshop] in association with Oldham Coliseum Theatre giving us The Wrong Reindeer.

A town where there’s nothing to look forward to. A donkey that wishes they were a reindeer and a child who can’t wish at all. As the winter sets in, and Christmas draws close, an unlikely friendship is formed, and an adventure begins that will remind everyone the true meaning of kindness.

Suitable for ages 4+

8 – 24 December


hristmas with Cantare

Preview by STEVE COOKE

Following their excellent concert with the Northern Baroque Orchestra at St Aidan’s the wonderful Cantare Ladies Choir have their first concert at the Parish Church of St Chad in the Rochdale Town Centre. This will also be current MD, Adam Summers’s farewell concert. It promises to be one of the highlights of the festive season with candlelight, mince pies, and beautiful festive music in an atmospheric setting.

Christmas with Cantare

Saturday, 16th December 2023, 7.30pm

Church of St Chad, Sparrow Hill, Rochdale, OL16 1QT

Tickets – £12 (children free), available from choir members.

Visit: Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/christmas-with-cantare-tickets-716868883127?aff=oddtdtcreator) – or on the door (cash or card payments accepted).

The choir was originally founded in 1982 as the Debrose Choir. In 2009, they changed their name to Cantare. Now Cantare includes women of all ages and from all walks of life – no superstars, just people who love to sing and who want to do it well. The repertoire is exciting and wide ranging, from pop standards and songs from the shows to classical and contemporary choral pieces. They enjoy a challenge, strive, very successfully, to make a great sound and they all have a brilliant time whilst we’re doing it.You can enjoy them performing regularly at concerts and other events throughout the year.

New garden accessible to all the senses coming in 2024.

Preview by STEVE COOKE

A new £60,000 accessible sensory garden is taking shape at Hollingworth Lake Country Park, which promises to deliver a diverse and balanced sensory experience to engage the senses..Work began earlier in the year thanks to initial funding of £27,500 from Pennines Township to kick off the vision created by DK Garden Designs. the garden, adjacent to the new café at the former visitor centre site, will include many elements to stimulate and engage all five senses, allowing visitors to experience nature in a unique and immersive way.

Various colours, shapes, and fragrances feature heavily in the design, which will be brought to life through different flowers and foliage..A woodland walk and wide stone pathways made from non-slip materials will allow access for wheelchair users, and raised flower beds will provide easy access for all ages and abilities.Plants and wind chimes will create sounds and movement, plus touchable elements such as sculptures, willow structures, and an orchard will be just some of the highlights.

Additional funding from a local memorial scheme has allowed for further planting and installation of a copper memorial tree and benches, which will sit proudly in the finished garden alongside several trees donated by the RSPCA. Once completed, the multipurpose all-season site will be ready for educational purposes, and a living willow structure meeting dome funded by local company Fraudenburg UK will hold events and classes in horticulture.Councillor Liam O’Rourke, the council’s cabinet member for climate change and environment, said: “This garden will introduce a significant new facility for our borough and allow rangers to develop community engagement activities, including wildlife and therapeutic gardening sessions, alongside volunteer sessions, where we hope to recruit more members to our Green Volunteer scheme.

“On top of many health benefits, the planned sights, sounds, and scents will offer a tranquil environment, providing a retreat away from the demands of daily life, and I cannot wait to see this inclusive area used to bring people together to connect, learn, and appreciate nature in the most beautiful of spaces.”

David Keegan added: “I’m so happy that DK Garden Design could create the plan for the new sensory garden. The layout has taken careful planning to make the garden accessible to all, focusing on delighting the senses along the way, which will evolve. There are still many exciting features to come, and I look forward to my continued connection, seeing the plan come alive for all to enjoy.”

The garden is due to be completed in early 2024.

Tuesday 12 December Edwin Waugh Dialect Society

Tonight’s session is “A Merry Yuletide” Kesmas Party. On this evening, members are invited to present their favourite dialect item with a Christmas theme, be it a poem, story, or song.

In the Chair: Alison Cooper

Edwin Waugh Dialect Society meetings are held on the second Tuesday of every month (previously Wednesday) from October to June, commencing at 7.30pm at St Andrew’s Methodist and United Reformed Church, Rochdale (between Rochdale Leisure Centre and Aldi). There is free onsite parking.

Annual subscription is £5, but voluntary donations at each meeting help defray the cost of the room hire. Your first meeting is free.

Formed in 1938 by a group of Lancashire Dialect enthusiasts, the objects of the society are the maintaining and increasing an interest in Lancashire.

At the meetings, members are entertained by a speaker or a performer.

Visit the link below for the full 2024 calendar.

Phone: 01706 826227

Visit: https://www.edwinwaughdialectsociety.com/events-calendar.html

7.30pm start – 9pm St Andrew’s Methodist and United Reformed Church, Entwistle Road, Rochdale OL16 2HZ

Live Music

Toad Lane Concerts

Joseph Buckmaster with Tim Kennedy piano

Review by DR. JOE DAWSON

Few things command the attention as much as a full-throated tenor voice, be it on the opera stage, football world cup anthem, or adverts for internet comparison sites. It immediately conveys passionate emotions writ large. Following the tradition of household names Mario Lanza and Pavarotti, Joseph Buckmaster proved to be a rising star.

He equally enjoys working with opera companies, such as Opera Holland Park and Heritage Opera, chorus for both the Royal Opera House and English National Opera, and concert and oratorio appearances. His career began as a Chorister and Lay Clerk at Chester Cathedral before studying at the RNCM and the Royal Academy of Music.

Joseph was expertly accompanied by multi-talented Tim Kennedy who studied music at Cambridge and is a freelance professional singer, vocal coach, organist, and piano accompanist, including ten years as a repetiteur at the RNCM. (See www.tim-kennedy.co.uk). Tim also supplied a delightful virtuoso solo piano interlude.

Glorious oratorio singing from Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus and Messiah, and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria linked well to operatic arias from Puccini’s La rondine, Verdi’s Rigoletto, and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Singing in English can be challenging but works by the American Lee Hoiby and Vaughan Williams were also effortlessly interpreted.

Finally two arias from Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni were ideally suited to Joseph’s maturing ‘lyric spinto’ voice, leaving the audience demanding more.

This was concert number 1,064 since taking over from the council in 2001. The Queen’s Award-winning Toad Lane Concerts are every Wednesday 12:30 – 13:30 at the Grade 1 listed St Mary in the Baum Church, Rochdale OL16 1DZ, admission £6.

Live Music

December 2023: Rochdale Light Orchestra

previewed by GRAHAM MARSHALLl

Our Christmas concert is on Wednesday, 13 December at 7.30pm in St. Michael’s parish church, Bamford, as the attached poster shows. I do hope there will be a good number of audience members ready to join in the carols and songs that will be mingled with the orchestral items.

Chris Irvin will be singing some Peter Warlock carols as well as wishing us all a merry little Christmas, and there will be the opportunity to play your part in a rousing performance of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus……

Do come and join us, if you can.

Live JazzMusic

Jazz at Progress

previewed by JAZZ IN READING

Jazz in Reading stages regular events with top-class bands at Reading’s Progress Theatre.

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 ones below.

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.

Bishop’s Court Farm

Dorchester on Thames OX10 7HP

16 and 17 December
Details below

Bish Bash Christmas Party and Silent Disco
A gastronomic musical extravaganza
Saturday 16 December 2023  7:30pm – 2am

A unique farm-to-table gastronomic experience that includes a mouth-watering three-course meal and a selection of delicious wines topped off by a magnificent musical menu featuring the irrepressible Soul Immigrants.

Positively fizzing with an infectious energy that’s been honed over the course of numerous live performances everywhere from Glastonbury to Ronnie Scott’s, the Soul Immigrants stir up a potent gumbo stew of soul and funk that’s guaranteed to get you dancing the night away.

Tickets: £42.00 (Booking Required)
Dinner, Drink, Entertainment & Silent Disco all included.

Late Night Silent Disco After Party 11.30pm – 2am

Zoe Gilby’s Festive Family Jazz Show
An unmissable Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious afternoon of music and fun for everyone from toddlers to grandparents.
Sunday 17 December 20234 – 5pm
  Photo Zoe and her brilliant band will be taking you on a whistle-stop tour that jumps and jives from the timeless Disney songbook all the way through to a crackerjack jukebox of joyous Christmas classics including Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and Let It Snow. Whether you’re four or 104, you’re never too young or too old to join the Jungle VIPs with these swingalong singalong songs. Under-fives: Free
6 to 18-year-olds: £10.00
Adults: £7.50
Tickets All kids are instructed to bring a responsible adult…as long as they behave.  
On air sign background

Jazz On Air

Hot Biscuits preview by STEVE BEWICK

Two weeks to go for shopping. You might find some ideas in this week’s Jazz Broadcast of Hot Biscuits. This includes a few live cuts from a great sax and guitar gig by Mike Hall and Andy Hume. Also

featured is Miguel Gorodi and Sam Braysher playing music by  Art Peppe and we have Ivor Neam and Jim Rattigan together on Reverie. Roy Fox & His Montmartre Café Orchestra take us to `Louisiana` and we will hear Tuba Skinny‘s 7-piece band. There will be Asha Parkinson Music and we close by heading off to visit to `Alice in Wonderland  with Tobie Medland. If this looks interesting then PASS IT

Folk Music

Folk Are Talking

news from SOUND ROOTS

Artists’ Open Call for EFEx 2025

We are now OPEN for artist applications for English Folk Expo 2025, running from Thu 20th – Sat 22nd March 2025.

English Folk Expo is the annual gathering of artists and industry for the showcase of English  folk, roots and acoustic artists in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, showcasing around 60 artists/bands across three days and attracting 200+ UK and non-UK industry, representing festivals, venues, labels, publishers, agents and more.

Eligible artists should be resident in England or English by birth and perform music in the broad genre of folk, roots and acoustic music. This includes global / worldwide and singer-songwriter genres. Artists should be export-ready and ideally have a team / representation in place.

For more information and to apply, click the button below.

EFEx 2023 Delegate Survey Results

Once again arts consultants the hub have undertaken a survey of delegates attending our event. While the full results from the survey aren’t yet available, we can share some of the headline results. Based on responses received

Total anticipated spend on artist bookings and other business by delegates over the next two years as a result of attending EFEx 2023 is just over £3m

This is almost double the total for 2022 and up 20% on the 2019 pre-pandemic levels

9 out of 10 delegates rated our showcase artists good or excellent
8 out of 10 rated the breadth of folk music showcased at EFEx as good or excellent

 Delegates were almost unanimous in their enthusiasm for the move to Manchester’s Northern Quarter

“Exceptional event. I felt welcome, I loved the music, folks were kind and approachable…I feel heartened that this event feels very open to all ages and styles. I’ll be following up very soon with all the folks I met.” 2023 EFEx delegate 

Folk Coming To Manchester

Jon Boden & Eliza Carthy’s Wassail
8th Dec | Stoller Hall

Before there was carolling, there was wassailing, where seasonal songs were exchanged for money, food and ale.
Final gallery seats now released! Please note: remaining seats are behind the stage with restricted view 

The Unthanks In Winter special guest Katherine Priddy
20th Dec | Albert Hall

Echoes of winter tunes known throughout the western world, mix with the traditional and the newly written, all passed with great care and love through The Unthanks filter.

Tim O’Brien & Jan Fabricius (left)
25th January | Hallé St Michael’sGrammy winner Tim O’Brien and Jan Fabricius, performing since 2015, offer intimate acoustic duets with guitar, mandolin, and vocals, blending original and traditional roots music. We know that our regular American correspondnet, Peter Pearson, will be attending this concert and are we are looking forward to publishing his review.

Folk Uo The Charts

The Folk On Foot Official Folk Chart for November 2023 UK & Ireland has an impressive twelve new entries including seven new entries in the top ten, including a new number 1.

The new number 1 comes from the on-going collaboration of Johnny Flynn & Robert MacFarlane. The album, ‘The Moon Also Rises’ (Transgressive), is the follow-up to, ‘Lost In The Cedar Wood’ released in 2021. The central themes of the new album are of light and dark, death and life, with the songwriting often inspired by the artists walks together on the South Downs.

Thea Gilmore is no stranger to the folk chart and lands this time at number 2 with a self-titled release ‘Thea Gilmore’ (Mighty Village). Folk Radio UK says of the album, ‘“Thea Gilmore” is an album shaped by personal upheaval, self-reinvention, uncompromising determinations and triumphant, empowered rebirth. Like a beacon, it leads the way out of the darkness.

Hot on its heels at number 3 is ‘First Loves & White Magnolias’ (Communion) by Bear’s Den combining two EPs released in 2023 with two new songs added. Bear’s Den’s Andrew Davie explains that, ‘White Magnolias really is a part 2 to First Loves, almost like an older version of the same person speaking in the first EP. On a songwriting level, I feel these are some of the most intimate songs I’ve ever written, and though at times there is a bitterness there, I think overall it’s still a very hopeful and honest record.’

The Smoke Fairies return to the Official Folk Album Chart with ‘Carried In Sound’ (Year Seven), in at number 6. Far Out Magazine says of the album, ‘Blending a distinctively traditional folk sound with modern rock influences, the album is a moody yet hopeful collection of songs, perfect for the darkening winter evenings.

‘Cyrm’ (Claddagh Records) by Øxn, in at number 7, is described by The Irish Times as, ‘A modern masterpiece from Irish neofolk supergroup’ that brings together members of the ubiquitous Lankum and Percolator with Katie Kim.

Number 8 is ‘Look Over The Wall See the Sky’ (River Lea Recordings) by John Francis Flynn. Released on the Rough Trade imprint that brought us Lisa O’Neill and Ye Vagabonds, this second album from Flynn follows his 2021 Best Emerging Artist Award at the Irish RTÉ Folk Awards.

The final top ten entry at number 10 is ‘Double You’ by Welsh harpist and Irish fiddle virtuoso Catrin Finch & Aoife Ní Bhriain on the respected Welsh Bendigedig label. Spiral Earth says of the new pairing, ‘Catrin and Aoife could almost be musical sisters, born of the same rigour, the same mingling of classical and traditional influences.

Other new entries this month are Bryony Griffiths & Alice Jones at 19 with ‘Wesselbobs’ (Selwyn Music), ‘Sooner After Solstice – A Transatlantic Folk Christmas’ (Sungrazing) by Winter Wilson at number 22 and Show of Hands ‘Roots 2’ (Hands On Music) at number 29.  The last two new entries in the top 40 go to ‘There Is Only Love And Fear’ (International Anthem) by Bex Burch at 39 and ‘Hare// Hunter// Moth// Ghost’ (Firecrest) by I am Wolf at number 40.

charts logo ***Charting artists, to receive chart graphics to celebrate your success please contact info@englishfolkexpo.com.

To view the full Official Folk Albums Chart chart click
here.  To watch to Official Folk Chart Show again, click here or the image below

The Official Folk Albums Chart is compiled by The Official Chart Company and produced by English Folk Expo. The Official Folk Albums Chart Show is presented by Folk On Foot with the support of English Folk Expo.

Remembered Music


Recalled by Ralph Dent

It was one of my favourite songs on earth, and whenever Sid Anderson would sing in the pubs, we would include Shenadoah. The origins of “Shenandoah,” perhaps one of America’s most recognizable folk tunes, are not so easily deciphered. Like many folk songs, it is impossible to determine exactly when the song was composed, yet the song probably did not originate later than the Civil War. In any case, by the end of the 19th century, “Shenandoah” had achieved widespread popularity, both on land and at sea.

I learned from my son, a few years after Sid and I had retired from the sticky-carpeted pub scene that American folklorist Alan Lomax suggested that “Shenandoah” was a sea-shanty and that its “composers” quite possibly were French-Canadian voyageurs. Sea-shanties were work songs used by sailors to coordinate the efforts of completing chores such as raising the ship’s anchor or hauling ropes. The formal structure of a shanty is simple: it consists of a solo lead that alternates with a boisterous chorus. With the sweeping melodic line of its familiar refrain, “Shenandoah” is the very nature of a sea-shanty; indeed, the song’s first appearance in print was in an article by William L. Alden, titled “Sailor Songs,” published in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in 1882.

As unclear as the song’s origin is, so is the definitive version and interpretation of its text. Some believe that the song refers to the river of the same name. Others suggest that it is of African-American origin, for it tells the tale of Sally, the daughter of the Indian Chief Shenandoah, who is courted for seven years by a white Missouri river trader. Regardless of these textual mysteries, “Shenandoah” remains an American classic.

My son tells me that Wkiipeadia, (whatever that is) , say  that  Shenandoah has at times been called Oh Shenandoah, Across Tthe Wide Missouri, Rolling River, Oh, My Rolling River, World of Misery. Many traditional folk song, sung in the Americas, and in the UK and other countries I assume were of similar uncertain origin, dating to the early 19th century.

The song Shenandoah appears to have originated with American and Canadian voyageurs or fur traders traveling down the Missouri River in canoes and has developed several different sets of lyrics. Some lyrics refer to the Oneida chief, Shenandoah,  and a canoe-going trader who wants to marry his daughter. By the mid 1800s versions of the song had become a sea shanty heard or sung by sailors in various parts of the world. The song is number 324 in the Roud Folk Song Index.

Other variations (due to the influence of its oral dispersion among different regions) include the Caribbean (St. Vincent) version, World of Misery, referring not to an “Indian princess” but to “the white mullata”.

Until the 19th century only adventurers who sought their fortunes as trappers and traders of beaver fur ventured into the lands of the indigenous peoples as far west as the Missouri River. Most of these French colonial “voyageurs” in the fur trade era were loners who became friendly with, and sometimes married, Native Americans.

Some lyrics of this song heard by and before 1860 tell the story of a trader who fell in love with the daughter of the Oneida Iroquois chief Shenandoah (1710–1816) who lived in the central New York state town of Oneida Castle. He was a co-founder of the Oneida Academy which became Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, and is buried on the campus grounds.

The canoe-going fur-trading voyageurs were great singers and songs were an important part of their culture. In the early 19th century flat-boat men who plied the Missouri River were known for their shanties, including Oh Shenandoah. Sailors heading down the Mississippi River picked up the song and made it a capstan shanty that they sang while hauling in the anchor. This boatmen’s song found its way down the Mississippi River to American clipper ships—and thus around the world

The song had become popular as a sea shanty with seafaring sailors by the mid 1800s. A version of the song called Shanadore was printed in Capt. Robert Chamblet Adams’ article Sailors’ Songs in the April 1876 issue of The New Dominion Monthly. He also included it in his 1879 book On Board the “Rocket

Shanadore was later printed as part of William L. Alden‘s article Sailor Songs in the July 1882 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, and in the 1892 book Songs that Never DieAlfred Mason Williams‘ 1895 Studies in Folk-song and Popular Poetry called it a “good specimen of a bowline chant”.

Percy Grainger recorded Charles Rosher of London England singing Shenandoah in 1906 and the recording is available online via the British Library Sound Archive. A recording sung by former shantyman Stanely Slade of Bristol, England, in 1943 is also publicly available.

In a 1930 letter to the UK newspaper The Times, a former sailor who had worked aboard clipper ships that carried wool between Australia and Great Britain in the 1880s said that he believed the song had originated as an African American spiritual which developed into a work song.

One of the first popular singers to record it was Paul Robeson, who released several versions from the 1930s onwards. His remain my favourite versions of the song, but I hear from my son that the song is still regularly covered down there where he lives and has been recorded by Jo Stafford, an artist I remember well, and even my grandson talks about the song telling me of versions by Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

Up here, Jerry Garcia, of the Grateful Dead tells me once recorded a version with David Grisman in 1993 but my son insists his own personal favourite rendition of Shenandoah was recorded by Tom Waits and Keith Richard as recently as 2013.

It still makes the hair rise  on the back of my neck when I hear that sustained note on the title-word of Shenandoah whenever anyone sings it here in here The Tower Of song.

A Reader´s Perspective: All Points Forward

Does Music Enhance Poetry?

the views of PETER PEARSON

I have previously mentioned on these pages that I enjoy songs with powerful lyrics which tell a story. So when Norman asked me whether I think music enhances poetry I felt duty bound to respond. I write this, though, in spite of the fact that poetry is not my specialist subject.

My dad at the age of 65, after retiring from his job as a joiner, enrolled on an Open University Humanities degree course. He loved poetry and along with the works of Shakespeare would often recite his favourites to me. He also enjoyed music and if he were here, would be able to respond to Norman’s question much better than I.

Words and music have always been intertwined. One of my favourite BBC Radio 3 programmes is Words And Music (right) which describes itself as a weekly journey of discovery, weaving together a range of music with poetry and prose.

Their recent Celebrating Shakespeare edition features Tracy- Ann Oberman and Reuben Joseph reading great Shakespeare speeches set with music.

Many classical composers, of course, have set poetry to music. A prime example being Schubert´s  lieder.

Of course, not all poems blend with music but I think there are many poems that would have gone unnoticed by a great many until combined with song and vice versa.

The poet laureate Sir John Betjeman combined his poetry with music in his album Banana Blush. Mike Read set one of my favourite Betjeman poems, Joan Hunter Dunn, to music. Betjeman’s poetry is of course strong enough to stand alone but even he must have felt that they might be enhanced by combining some of them to music.

The rise of the singer songwriter in the 1970’s with artists such as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen has promoted the use of lyric poetry in the power of a song. Both John Stewart and Guy Clark have been described as a Poet With Guitar. Here are the opening lyrics to John Stewart’s 1987 song Botswana:

Oh, I live in California. I can look out at the ocean

On the silver blue Pacific. It is always there to see,

But I’m so busy working that I don’t have time to see it,

But it’s the knowing that it’s there that means lot to me.

And it makes it hard, when I close my eyes,

When I can see the pictures taken at Botswanna—

The pictures of the children with the flies in their eyes.

And those with all the money,

they are having nervous breakdowns,

And they’re always taking pills

to make them feel the otherwise.

Well, how could I ever stumble

 or complain that things aren’t going right?

How could I ever fail to see rainbows in the skies?

And it makes it hard, when I close my eyes,

Because I can see the pictures taken at Botswanna—

The pictures of the children with the flies in their eyes.

The imagery of these lyrics together with music create a powerful emotive impact. So yes Norm I do think that music enhances poetry and vice versa.

Do a film and book always complement and improve each other?

That´s another question Norm has posed to me.

Apparently films based on books account for 70% of the top 20 grossing films worldwide.

Being an avid book reader I can think of many books I have read that when converted to film just do not do justice to the book. I often think that is because a film, of typically 2 hours duration, just cannot cover the essential detail contained in a 300-500 page book.

On the other hand there are films that entertain me much better than the book by cutting out large selections that are not key to the story.

One of my favourite fiction (or more precisely faction) novelists is James Michener (right) . Typically his books are about 500 pages long. His 1974 Centennial novel was the subject of a major TV adaption in 1978 starring Richard Chamberlain.

The series spanned over 18 hours of TV and the book was massive. I watched the series before I had read any of Michener’s novels and indeed it introduced me to his work.

Subsequently I read the book and I considered it a perfect complement to the TV series. Obviously a film could not have spanned the length of the TV series and I think it would have been impossible for it to complement the book. I have yet to see any film adaptions that complements his books, with the possible exception of the film South Pacific based on his first novel Tales From The South Pacific, a book untypical of all his other work and lending itself to careful story editing for film.

Herman Woulk’s Winds of War, a dense novel, lent itself to a massive TV miniseries but it would have been impossible to convert to a film of three hours or less in any meaningful way.

In Cold Blood, poster, (aka TRUMAN CAPOTE’S ), 1967. (Photo by LMPC via Getty Images)

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote,  a non-fiction crime novel was made into a 1967 film and I think perfectly complements the book. The story is fascinating and somewhat gruesome, but not dense. The denser the story, generally speaking, the more difficult it is I think for a film to do justice to it and at worst can completely miss the mark.

On the lighter side, I read many of Lee Child’s Reacher novels. When the films were made with Tom Cruise they were merely action movies and Tom Cruise bore no resemblance, either physical or otherwise, to the Reacher described in the books and the plots seemed distorted.  By all accounts most readers of the on-going Reacher series feel, as do I, completely turned off by the films. There was no comparison with the books.

The film Gone With The Wind diverted significantly from the book written by Margaret Mitchell, primarily because the limited screen time makes it impossible to capture the detail and background stories in the novel.

David Grann’s 2017 non fiction book, Killers of the FlowerMoon (right), was a best seller in the USA and has recently been adapted for film by Martin Scorcese, and I don´t think the book was widely read outside America. It is about their indigenous community and is a really good read but Scorcese has fundamentally changed the emphasis of the narrative. With a stellar cast, though, it is set to be one of the films of the year. I look forward to seeing a possible film adaption of his latest non-fiction book, The Wager – an absorbing tale of mutiny on the high seas.

Many of Dickens and Jane Austin´s books are perfect examples to me of where the book and film best complement each other.

J K Rowling and Ian Fleming are other examples.

So yes, sometimes the book and film complement each other but they may not necessarily improve each other.

l A good read Peter and I pretty much agree with what you have to say,

It was interesting for me, therefore, to read again Michael Higgins´ piece from last week. Whilst he wasn´t comparing film and book directly he was looking at the ´historical´ new film of Napolean. I had read that the film contained some fairly blatant historical inaccuracies, and although Michael is a fastidious student of History he seemed quite forgiving of the film.  By the way, I fully agree with you about In Cold Blood, ,….one of my favourite films

Island Insights

Lancelot Winter Edition 24 Now Available


It is a quarterly publication, but with 94 pages of in-depth content and colour photographs, Lancelot (right) requires daily attention from Larry (honorary editor) and Liz Yaskiel and their colleagues. As soon as one edition has been put to bed and kissed good night, then it is ´good morning´ at the break of the following morning to begin work on the next. Over the course of more than sixty publications, stretched over forty years

Larry and Liz have monitored, reported on and generated Lanzarote´s astonishing rise as a tourist destination, independent island, much loved member of The Canary Islands, and a place of peace and love and understanding.

This particular edition is as diverse and interesting as all those that have gone before.

The magazine always advises holiday visitors to our island about where to go, what to see and how to get there. Among the features on culture, dining out, holiday homes and tourists attractions you will find other in depth coverage of the World Travel Market and The Tourist Fair in London. There is even a contribution from British Ambassador who packs a lot of information into his festive message.

This is a pretty special edition for me, too, as it includes a contribution of mine on the John Malcovich one man play at Los Jameos Del Agua a few weeks ago, on which I also reported in Sidetracks And Detours.

We have featured Larry Yaskiel on our pages many times, and the last time we saw him was at a book launch  of a tome about the connections between the city of San Antonio in Texas, and Lanzarote. The island waved farewell in 1731 to a few families as they set out on a voyage that saw them become founding fathers of the town of their destination. All this has been brought beautifully to life in a book by Jose Juan Romero, and the launch (of the book) is reported on in this edition of Lancelot.  The accompanying photographs to this article in Lancelot have captured Dee and I in the front row of seats!!!

We also reported on this event in Sidetracks And Detours  on Thursday 7th November..

Island Insights

Nobel Prize-winning book Is 25 Years Old NORMAN WARWICK

It has been 25 years since José Saramago (right) was named Nobel Prize winner in Literature. The Portuguese resident in Lanzarote was always obsessed with ensuring that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights did not remain ´just a tool of good intentions, but would also become  recognized, to be respected and satisfied´. Today more than ever, with the different wars in the world, despite the fact that the most publicized ones are that of Russia against Ukraine, and that of Israel against Hamas, and in general against the Palestinian people, the fact is especially present that that the Declaration of Human Rights is not fulfilled. Massacres, inequalities, injustices and misery still shamefully coexist in our world without that declaration being enforceable.

Precisely, the Casa Museo-Saramago, taking advantage of the 25th anniversary of the Portuguese writer’s Nobel Prize in Literature, and the 75th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, is holding an event in the Casa de Tías Library, where they will reflect on what is happening in the world.

For this reason, Loueila Mint El Mamy, a renowned activist in defense of Human Rights, will star in a collective reflection on the symmetry of rights and duties proposed by the Nobel Prize winner.

Finally, the event will end with a toast in memory of José Saramago and all the people committed to the fight for Human Rights.

We have featured Jose Saramago in our pages a number of times over the past five years, and we hope this short report might inspire you, as residents  or tourists on Lanzarote to follow Sidetracks And Detours through Tias to find the house he lived in, now intact and incredible as a museum of such a man of words. Check out xxx (date) and xxx( title) in our archives

Island Insights

Constitution Day On Lanzarote

as described to NORMAN WARWICK

Wednesday, 6th December, was Constitution Day here, and islanders celebrated the Spanish Constitution, with the flag flying all over Lanzarote. It’s astonishing to think that Spain’s democracy is so young – it was only 50 years ago that Franco died, and between 1938 and 1975, the country was being run by a fascist dictator, who came to power following the bloodiest of civil wars, won with considerable support from Hitler. The last generation that remember the civil war are no longer with us, but there are plenty of people my age and older who grew up and lived under Franco’s leadership. That’s why it’s good that the country celebrates Constitution Day every year, and I’m sure many pause to reflect how far this still new democracy has come in such a relatively short time.

Wednesday was a holiday, and so is today, 8th December – today we’re celebrating the Virgin’s immaculate conception. It means by taking Thursday as a “bridge” day, many people were able to enjoy a really long weekend. Bridge days are dias del puente, and this one, because it gave everyone taking it five days off, is known as a “super puente.” Both Binter and Canaryfly put on extra flights this week, to accommodate all the people who are using the weekend to visit their families on other islands.

So here we end our Sunday sermon. Don´t worry, though, because tomorrow morning bright and early we set off once again on our strolls down the sidetracks and detours of the art. As Yuletide Comes To Yaiza, we will also look back on Festivals Forfeited and Festivals Found.

We then head over to Budokan to find Dylan in a box.

We deliver a comprehensive preview of the 40th Annual Festival de Classical Musico de Canaria, with full details of all performers and venues etc.

We´ll be home on Friday to continue building our bigger bookshelf and to attend the The Gospel Of Soul, a concert by the acclaimed Joshua Nelson and his singers.

We´ll take the following day off to watch the football on telly if you don´t mind but we promise to deliver another exciting edition of PASS IT ON come Sunday morning.

All this posted free at our daily not-for profit blog at Sidetracks And Detours


Oh, sorry, can we just remind you to please


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