Thursday, November 25

Charity Gigs.

Nowadays any singing that I do tends to be for celebration or charity.

That's me at a recent 60th birthday bash for a friend.

So in October I was pleased to be asked once again to sing at an afternoon garden party not far from The Potters House.
The charity gig was to raise money for Francis House Hospice for children, which is situated in Didsbury south Manchester. We've had quite a relationship with the hospice over the years, so we know  it takes around £2 m. per year  to keep it open
Attendance in the garden is usually by invitation only, though this year I noticed that some children crept in at the back, drawn in by the music.

The afternoon is organised by lovely Gordon and his beloved Kathy, though Gordon would poo poo the thought that it was his idea and his alone.


And Kathy,
always making sure that everyone is happy.

The master of ceremonies keeping everything running along  smoothly.

I love the fact that the ages of the partakers range from children under ten to oldies. I'm probably one of the oldies!
Also the range of musical types is as broad and wide as could be. And I like that as well.

Singing a Peggy Lee number..."Why don't you do right!"
backed by keyboard player extaordinaire Tim Firth.

I've always tended to sing with a jazz influence. But there were classical instumental and vocal performances, and teenagers with rock and pop music.

Keyboard, violin, flute, guitars and drum all had a place in the programme. Singers of classical, folk, pop, rock and jazz lined up to do their bit!

At the half way stage, we had cake and drinks  and amazingly for October, the weather was fine and we were able to stay out of doors for the whole afternoon.

In the middle of the garden a red watering can sat on top of a bird bath and into that container people were encouraged to drop their money or rather to push in the notes!

I think that the thing about these lovely charity dos is that all involved are volunteers. Nobody gets paid and every one has a great time because in some ways the pressure is off. Yet every one comes up trumps for the charity. I wonder where that leaves David Cameron's new political mantra that he has referring to the BIG society. Isn't it just happening quietly all over the place? 

Anglomania – Vivienne Westwood

This came up on my Facebook coutesy of my lovely niece Jessica Weber. I just had to share it , not just for the outlandish fashion, but also for the wonderful historical facts that Vivienne Westwood provides.
Try the link below if you want some good history of the English speaking peoples!

Anglomania – Vivienne Westwood

Wednesday, November 24

A Poem for Thursday

The Running Man.

The man who runs
    is running on the edge.
He never glances back.
He takes an even stride.
With every breath
    exactly as the last
He will not be afraid.
He only looks ahead.
Past events
    inhabit other lands.
They will not pull him down
Nor slow his measured pace.
The running man
    stays cool and beats the crowd.
His ears are blocked
To all unfriendly jeers.
Tho' mournful spirits
    call,he does not heed
Their plaintive cry
 To join them in the deep.
They taunt him
    and they whisper of the past.
Of deeds and words
 He rather would forget.
The running man
    stays low and hugs the edge.
Old tales and fables
Cannot harm his flesh,
Nor claim his mortal soul.

There is  an old celtic tale that the souls of the dead go down into the deep and rise up on the tops of the waves as they crash on the beach. They call to the living to join them. I suppose rather similar to the story of the Rhine Maidens who sit on the rocks at The Lorelei.
These thoughts along with the pun ,"the human race", got me thinking about the things that affect us and would try to pull us down.
I love all of these old stories, they have so much depth to them.

Tuesday, November 23

for Magpie Tales

Just a very little one about who I am.


It was another time
and another land.
But I was me
I still am.

Dougie's Poem.

It was always my opinion that mum was the one who fostered my love of music and poetry.
She sent me for lessons in singing, piano and speech and drama from the age of five.
She sat with me through the competitions and exams from the various societies, and coped when I didn't get the best of results or looked pleased when I did!
But an e-mail from my sister this week had me thinking about dad and his artistic leanings.
For a start, he sang from the moment that he got up until he left the house for work. And that was no quiet humming...that was a loud and often headache inducing baritone singing. Sometimes an old Irish folksong, sometimes a rousing hymn....."Rock of ages" ... was a favourite.
Mum played the piano, dad played the fiddle.
Mum painted oils, dad wrote poetry....Ah that had slipped my mind completely!

So here is one of dad's poems about his beloved Corkley in Armagh where he grew up.

                The Land of my Birth

Did you ever hear the call of the corncrake in the corn?
Did you ever hear the cuckoo when you rise up in the morn?
Did you ever hear a cock crow on the sound of Darkley Horn?
Have you ever been to Corkley, the place where I was born?

They say the sun shines brighter there, the moon gives whiter light;
The stars a dazzling twinkle give when they come out at night;
The grass it grows much greener there, the cows give richer cream;
The birds they sing much sweeter there or that's the way it seems;

It's nearly fifty years now since I left my kith and kin;
To settle in the city and a new life to begin;
But every time that I return to the place where I was born;
The chatter of the birds I love but I miss the Darkley Horn.

                                     Douglas McClelland
Photograph taken around the time that he left for the city.

[We've left the punctuation that he put in the poem]