My comment to an entry 'Just wondering' by spikesgirl58

1. Normally it would be the sound of acoustic instruments playing the music inspired by sounds of New Orleans drifting over the river Severn at Upton, but Covid has put pay to that. Perhaps I could go for a day trip and walk along the river bank playing "Going to Mardi-Gras" on the Clarinet.

2. Since I don't go to Wimbledon I won't say strawberries and cream. I will say Rum and Raisen Ice Cream, nettle beer and large mixed salads. Obviously not all in the same bowl...

3. 2015, I went to the seaside for a day with my friend Kathy and we had a picnic.

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Share Your World week commencing 8th June 2020

How comfortable are you speaking in front of large groups of people?

Ladies and gentlemen, unaccustomed as I am to public speaking I stand before you desperate to find the exit.

Not overly when it comes to formal matters, so I tend to try and have some kind of physical barrier to stand behind as for whatever reason it feels I have a safety net. Informal, I still tend to keep a bit of space between me and them, as you can imagine- social distancing has been quite easy for me.

What would be the best thing you could reasonably expect to find in a cave?

The way out?

When I was in my teens, going caving was a hobby I wanted to get more into. On a summer holiday in darkest Somerset I did a morning's "adventure caving" in Cheddar Gorge which was great fun, and fir my 14th birthday I went caving somewhere in the Brecon Beacons. This is a fairly fitting question for me because I also have an interest in Geology.

An interesting set of fossils would be great to find, failing that interesting stalagmite and stalactite structures or mineral veins would be nice. I suppose another thing to find would be tools of man from the stone age, or going back to all things geological a fusion of both. In the 1960 children’s science-fiction series Pathfinders in Space the astronauts exploring the moon find the body of a man preserved in rock with a stalagmite and stalactite structure having being formed around him (there’s a bit of brief lecture explaining how this has been done). Mind you, it’d probably be a bit of shock to stumble across.

What did you think was going to be amazing but turned out to be horrible?

I am not sure, the only thing which springs to mind is from a holiday to Turkey in which I nearly drowned in a water slide. Basically there was a huge multi-section water flume which was under immense pressure and the problem was it was too strong and I was severely low on weight so I got caught in a sort of back splash area and couldn’t get out. A chap came along not so long afterwards when they realized I hadn’t come out and lifted me out.

What’s the silliest thing you’ve observed someone get upset about?

That left over food from a wake was cold. It was while working at the Kynnersley Arms and a regular who when in a group tends to act like an attention seeking man-baby had come in for his regular few games of pool and gallon of Carling and spotted that we were putting out trays of leftover food. Naturally we distribute any leftovers to the regular drinkers as it would be a shame to waste it and it wouldn’t interfere with those in for a meal, so we casually place the tray around the nest of beer glasses while they shoot pool. Moments later he marches, with the body language of a petulant child, up to the manager with the small tray in front of him and goes into full tantrum mood because they aren’t hot and demands they be heated in the mircowave, because he expects the food to be served hot.

Share Your World


The Adventures of Sandman Sawyer

Well my Whit-week Bank Holiday weekend was not how I had originally envisaged it way back in January, had the dreaded C-Word not struck the UK I would now be chilling out after the end of the Bridgnorth Jazz festival and making my preparations for Upton- but alas it is not to be. So today I stuck bit of straw in my mouth, dug some paint tins out of the garage and went all Tom Sawyer and painted the fence. It will need a second coat tomorrow and a few fill-ins for the areas I missed, which mostly are in the areas where the fence is close to a solid item like a slab of crazy paving.

Mostly the weekend has been bits and pieces of garden maintenance, my life has become ever so exciting hasn't it. It's been over ten weeks since I last had an alcoholic beverage which apparently is the equivalent of a relaxing stay at Camarillo hotel and spa (as Bird would call his time at rehab). I have started reading "The Railway Detective" by Edward Marston which is a period novel about, yup you guessed it, railway related crimes investigated by Detective Inspector Colbeck. This is the first novel in a series featuring the character, of which I have one other novel: "The Circus Train Conspiracy", after a few inquiries on various bookgroups on Faceache I have been informed that although there is a running background story, the books can be read as stand alone stories.

So.... about the news I had last week in regards to Frank the potwasher, we've had information comeback to shed a little more light on the subject. I now know how he died, both Sandra D and I had speculated (and probably other members of staff) as to how he had died. Frank was not exactly in the best of shape, he ate way too much, drank a lot (and I mean a lot) and was on various medications and pain killers for a number of things including Fibromyalgia, and we it did cross our minds that because he wasn't getting people keeping an eye on how much he was drinking perhaps he'd accidentally mixed it up too much. This was not the case, what happened was far worse: he hanged himself in his garage. I'd heard that he had been struggling with the lockdown restrictions but never imagine it would have come to this. In situations like this you can't help but look back and think "what did we miss?", before lockdown he had decided to book off two weeks holiday because he'd lost a shift due to a drop in trade thanks to Covid concerns and I only saw him briefly, that was on the night the Pubs were told to shut and I will admit he did seem worried about the situation but in honesty, we all were. I am not an expert on these proceedings but I would imagine under the circumstances that there will be an inquest/inquiry and maybe then things will become clearer, though I don't think it will take place in a hurry. I talked to Ben 2, one of the chefs, and put forward the idea of getting a group of us together once larger gatherings are permitted (and if the pubs are open, the better) and giving him a bit of send off.

Right lets change the subject, here's lovely picture of Ben-dog chilling in the garden.

Ben's been a bit of a stubborn bugger at the moment, not wanting to go on walks and playing up when he does go out. When he doesn't want to go somewhere he really digs his paws into the ground or just plain lies down- he might only be a small dog, but he is a fair old unit. It might have been that during the day it was too warm for him but I feel it is just a sign that he is no longer a young dog and is getting on a bit, I think he'll be 11 in October. Mind you, he was sprightly enough around Heather and her dogs, so you never know- perhaps he is fed up with us being around all the time.

Hope you are all okay,

And Finally

Have I told you the story of the dark old empty barn?

My comment to an entry 'The Friday Five for May 22/just wondering' by spikesgirl58

1. Alcohol wise: a nice pale or blond ale. Non-alcohol: Iced tea with peach or raspberry or my slightly bizarre sort f fizzy fruit juice. Half fruit juice, quarter still water, quarter fizzy. I like a bit of fizz just to add a bit of texture.

2. I don't really have any superstitions, on the rare occasion I have a smoke (which would be a cigar) I won't take the third light but that's more to do with the fact that by the time it gets to me, that ruddy match will have been half way up to people's nostrils.

3. I don't think I have a favourite but I do like to write in lots of interesting colours.

4. So far A Street Cat Named Bob, At the Platform Edge, Quantum of Tweed: The Man in the Nissan Micra and Resurrection of the Daleks

5. Erm I don't think I know any music videos in the MTV sense... er Herbie Hancock: Rockit and Robbie Williams: Rock DJ are the only two I can think off

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Walking Back to Happiness

Well I have seen Heather for the first time in over 9 weeks, we went for a nice socially distanced walk in a park near her’s in Shrewsbury and naturally I bought along Ben-dog as I somehow doubt either of them would have talked to me again if I didn’t. Ben made such a big fuss of Heather when he saw her, Heather’s Pomeranian’s just gave me their usual “oh you’re here” look. It was good to see Heather again and we caught up on a lot of stuff, little irrelevant but fun things and some more serious stuff, all part of the rich pageant of the week. I decided to leave when it was feeding time for her dogs as I somehow think that Ben would not be happy if they were getting food and he was not.

Sunday I had intended to listen to Jazz Record Requests which was holding a tribute show to the late alto sax player Lee Konitz who passed away last month from Covid-19 at the age of 92, Konitz had quite the career working with legends such as Miles Davis and Stan Getz and modern day giants like Brad Mehldau, but me being incredibly clever tuned in an hour too late. I’ll catch up on BBC Sounds later in the week, Tuesday I listened to the Jazz Show with Jamie Cullum on BBC Radio 2 which closed with a favourite Jazz classic of mine: Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman”, a track which is just as controversial now as it was 61 years ago.

So since I missed Jazz Record Requests I spent my late Sunday afternoon was spent watching another classic film, this time I ventured forward and watched one of those new-fangled colour films. The film of choice this time was the 1967 movie version of Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass and the Pit, which starred James Donald, Andrew Keir, Julian Glover and Barbara Shelley. The film is essentially a stripped to basics version of the 1958 TV serial of the same name which gets rattles along at a fair old lick meaning that it doesn’t have the chance to breath the way the serial did, even if a number of the aesthetics benefit from film production as oppose to live television. These mostly occur towards the end of the film as we get a better sense of a city in chaos with mass riots taking place (even if they still take place off screen) and the climax is much clearly told in the film and while the coda scene from the TV serial is nice, the sudden end of the film kind of works a little better for the medium.

While I do prefer the TV version, I recommend the film for newcomers and the modern audience due to the slicker editing and more rapid pacing, plus the added bonus of it being in colour.

Tuesday was another day sorting out the new fence, something which has been pushed forward as on Monday Missy found her way into the neighbour’s garden again! We have it all sorted now and the next task I will be taking part in will be me doing my Tom Sawyer bit, painting the fence- though it won’t be a white fence and I won’t have a Huck Finn to help me out. After sorting out the fence I chilled with a comedy-horror movie called “The Old Dark House” which was made in 1932 and was adapted from a book by the man who wrote “An Inspector Calls”, J.B. Priestly. It stars Boris Karloff as the mute butler in the titular house which is owned by a family of crazy people essentially, later in the film we are treated to the film debut of a young Charles Laughton who performs with his native Yorkshire accent, quite surprising considering how we are use to seeing him perform. Laughton’s character is about the only element of the class structure satire present in the novel which has transferred to the film, there are a number of other story edits which mean that a few character actions stretch the imagination. There are some clever mirror shots and some good use of lighting but over all the film is often playing a bit too OTT by various characters meaning it just comes across as a bad melodrama rather than a biting satire on the Gothic horror story.

I hope you are all well.

A Small Ponder

I don't suppose anyone knows how Amy Cherry is doing? I doubt she has given me a second thought since 'the incident' but considering she does live in London I am a little concerned about her well-being.

It's the Weekend, I think

Since Wednesday there has been an easing down of the lockdown here in Blighty with some workplaces returning to operation with social distancing in place where possible and those capable of working from home continuing to do so. Now this poses a very interesting question for post-lockdown Britain- will people still have the option to continue to work from home if they can? The reason I muse this is indirectly due to a not-all complicated and 100% clear and boundary laid friendship with a certain crazy woman delightful young lady in a wheelchair, due to the nature of her physical disability access for her at a work place is not easy and it seems she does have a job she can do remotely. So will she, and others like her, have the option to continue to work remotely? If there have been any benefits from the Corona Virus crisis, it has been to prove to businesses that working remotely is not difficult to organize. Will see a greater increase in remote working, not just for those who are disabled but for others, single parent families, those who have a long commute etc... An increase in remote working would also mean that job opportunities would be available on a wider field. I have a feeling that there may well be a push towards this at first but as time goes on there will be a return to the traditional office system by stealth. I am sure that there are negatives and bumps which would need to be ironed out but I do hope that companies do offer and work towards the possibility where possible. Not so good for those of us who have "on-site" jobs but I guess we could benefit from less traffic en route to work/ less people on public transport etc...

Since my job is not one in the list of go back to work and probably won't be for a bit, I am on furlough pay and continuing to occupy my time by working out and doing work in the garden. Did I mention I have lost about 2 stone since being on furlough? I have been working in the garden as well, current job being to finish the new fence so that Missy won't escape into the neighbour's garden. Progress on this has been delayed a bit due to a need to relocate huge amounts of bricks to a new location, then prune back all the over grown ivy and branches and hope that Missy won't find a way to circumnavigate the now exposed old fence, it doesn't look like there is space but the fence is older then I am, so it might not stand up to a determined assault from Missy if she attempts it. I will say however that over the course of the week she has not being sniffing around that area, I guess the vermin she scented has moved on or she got it.

On to something rather less cheerful, last night I received a phone call from Sandra at work who broke me some very bad and distressing news: Frank the Pot Washer at the Down Inn died at some point over the past few days. His brother phoned the Down to inform Steve of the news, it would seem he had gone to check on Frank at his flat as he hadn't heard from since Wednesday and found him. At this stage we don't know much more (I believe whoever took the phone-call took a few moments to process the information and didn't make further inquiries), I could speculate some hypotheses but I don't think it is really the time to start casting aspersions as I don't have any thing to go on but hearsay and my own personal observations of the man.

Well with the lockdown easing a little bit tomorrow, Heather and I are planning a (socially distanced) walk around the Quarry with one of our respective dogs each. This will be the first time in 9 weeks that we would have seen one another and will be good to see her, I don't know if she'll be wearing a face mask or not but I am toying with a sort of scarf and stetson and suggest we hold up a Stage Coach- an idea partially bought on by seeing a photo of Alan's friend Fiona in what can best be described as a Cowboy film bandit scarf on Facebook a few weeks ago, being Surrey I would imagine that wouldn't look out the norm at all!

Midnight's Offspring

The sun may have had his hat on over the week but it hasn't been the warmest of weeks to be sitting in the sun doing nothing as I found when attempting to read on the garden bench. Fine if you are working though, as I found while putting up a new fence to stop Missy escaping into the neighbour's garden, plus I have also been weeding again. Tending the weeds in the garden is rapidly becoming akin to painting the Fourth Bridge, not to mention pulling up the grass between the paving slaps.

I recovered fully from my migraine the other day and have kept myself more hydrated since just to be on the safe side.

I am beginning to sleep a bit better know and have got myself a bit of a routine in the evening which I think is helping a lot, it basically involves walking the dogs, watching a film or something then either an hour of TV or radio, change for bed and read for a bit. On the news they have been talking about people having increasingly vivid dreams, I am not sure if I am but I have had a couple of Pub based dreams, one of which involved being stalked by a pint of beer, which I will put down to having not consumed any alcohol for 9 weeks.

Yesterday I read a book called Quantum of Tweed: The Man in the Nissan Micra which was published in 2012 as part of the Quick Reads initiative, a cross publisher set up designed to encourage regular and new readers with an aim of being simple and easy to digest. It's a fairly fun story about a man who runs a clothes shop accidentally taking on the career of a professional hitman, it is written in a very simple manner and it reminded me of some of the books you would find in the school library aimed at years 6,7 and 8.

Over the week my film choice has been decidedly old school with none of the films being later then 1952 and none in colour. The first, and most recent, was a 1952 Hammer film calledStolen Face. This was not an early example of the studios horror out put but a melodrama about a plastic surgeon (Paul Henreid) who while on holiday falls in love with a concert pianist (Lizbeth Scott) but is heartbroken to discover she is engaged. Feeling dejected he uses his skills as a plastic surgeon to remodel a female prisoner into her image and then marries her believing that he can reform her. This film while entertaining is problematic on a number of levels, most of which revolve around the doctor character. First up he does plastic surgery on prisoners because he believes having facial deformities makes them more likely to live a life of crime... Yes you did read that right, even for 1952 that seems a strange attitude and it is at least challenged, even if only briefly. Second it is the controlling and obsessive behaviour in regards to the love plot. He pretty much dictates what his wife can and can't do, but fortunately she can give as good as she gets. Then we come to the other problem, when the original woman turns up again and discovers he has essentially made a copy of her, she kind of shrugs it off. Not go "my god you're an obsessive nut job", no she calmly thinks about how he can divorce this woman (hdr fiancée having called the wedding off) and they can live happily ever after. The film is saved by some very strong performances and excellent direction, but ultimately the screenplay is too contrived and undeveloped.

Next up was a noir influenced gothic thriller called the Spiral Staircase, which is pretty difficult to go into details about without giving the game away so I will keep it brief. There is a murderer stalking a town who goes after women who have some form of disability and he soon the mute nurse of sick old lady becomes the subject of the murderer's attention. The film sets up three possible suspects as to the identity of the killer and the reasons behind the murder does tally with the character. There's a very strong Hitchcock feel about the film and the climax with the mute nurse trapped and failing to shout for help is pure Hitchcock, not to mention the voyeurism element. A very strong film.

Finally, The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), a very good and fairly faithful adaption of James M Cain's book. The raw sexuality between Frank and Cora is underplayed significantly to get past the censors but the Chemistry between John Garfield and Lana Turner sizzles throughout.

In other news I quite absent mindly entered a competition for the Doctor Who complete series 12 DVD and was quite surprised to learn I won! Quite an unusual occurance I can tell you.

Hope you are staying safe

Eagle Jazz Band 16th February 2020

With this we reach my final visit to Jazz Club 90, in other circumstances I would say so far or of the year but as we are all unpleasantly aware I suspect that the club will probably out of operation for the rest of the year. But let us forget the dreaded C word for now and get on with something far more pleasant.

This gig was the Eagle Jazz Band, a frequent visitor to the club and much beloved across the Trad Jazz scene across the area, a claim I will reinforce with them being chosen to open the 2018 Upton Upon Severn Jazz Festival, as usual the band was lead by the evergreen reedsman Matt Palmer whose continual energy and passion is much aided and amplified by the portrait of himself he keeps stored in his attic. For this occasion the band was joined by special guest Chris Marnie from the Savannah Jazz Band on the old banjo, with Pete Brown on Cornet and Trombone (both valve and slide), Terry Williams also on Valve Trombone, Brian Lawrence on bass and Tim Jones powering them all up in the engine room.

The first set opened with a tune which by now is fairly familiar to me called “Travelling Blues”, a strictly instrumental number which got the band off into a rip-roaring start and got the motors of the players and the audience running nicely. This level of energy was maintained for the next number which Matt Palmer took to the microphone to add his dulcet tones to, this was “Going to New Orleans” and was maintained for the next two numbers, both of which had a quadruped theme to their titles. The first was W.C. Handy’s “Yellow Dog Blues”, a number which is not about a cowardly canine but a reference to one of the many great train lines that crossed American on which migrant workers would hop aboard trains looking for places to work. For a long time I believed that the song was called “Easy Rider” due to the phrase being used frequently in the lyrics first half of the song and it was only when I purchased the album Louis Armstrong plays WC Handy that I realised that this was not the case, not that I would have made that mistake from this performance because as with the opener, this was an instrumental number. The second number with this slight theme was piece called “Moose March” which I first became aware of thanks to it being the opening track on a two-disc compilation representing the work of Bob Wallis and his Storyville Jazzmen, and I am pleased to say that Matt and his band surpassed Bob with their rendition. There was a bit of movement on stage as Matt switch from Clarinet to Soprano Saxophone and Terry took his place to at the microphone to give a rendition of “Ain’t She Sweet”, one of the many numbers to have featured in the BBC production of Dennis Potter’s Pennies from Heaven. The first set came to a close with a number with a title which I have often said to members of the opposite sex, and usually met with a polite no (and on other occasions a less polite go forth and multiply): “Give Me Your Telephone Number,” for which Matt Palmer switched from Soprano Saxophone to the Tenor. A good first set but I do believe that the band might have missed a trick by not closing it with a medley of “Give Me Your Telephone Number” “Yes, Yes. My Baby Said Yes, Yes”, ah well nevermind eh?

After the break in which I refilled with Holden’s Golden Glow, scoffed a Cheese and Onion roll, and totally failed to win on the raffle, the band returned to the stage and took us back to the early days of Jazz with a Jelly Roll Morton number called “Wolverine Blues”. The next number couldn’t have been more different despite being a song written roughly about the same time the arrangement set up her was dramatically different. This was a bossa-nova take on the Bing Crosby number “Out of Nowhere” for which Matt Palmer returned to the Tenor Sax and Terry once again taking on the vocal refrain and the arrangement completely changed the mood of the old love ballad. Pete took on the role of vocalist for the Sunday Spiritual slot (this isn’t an actual thing, just an observation I have noticed over time- at least I don’t think it is an actual thing) with a piece called “Higher Ground”, this was followed by a rendition one of my favourite ballads: “It’s Only A Paper Moon”. If you are familiar with Norman Granz and his Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts you will be aware of a piece called the Trumpet battle, while this performance of “Paper Moon” was vaguely following the idea with a sort-of battle between slide and valve trombones which was a bit of fun. Matt returned to the microphone for the vocals on the pen ultimate number which was a number I think we can all relate to, “I Get the Blues When It Rains,” and after all that energy from the guys throughout the gig I sense there was a bit of a knowing-wink at the audience by closing the session with “Weary Blues”.

I had hoped to attend the TJ Johnson and Alex Clarke gig which tied in the regular club member Alf’s 100th birthday but work commitments said otherwise, but as it was this was a great gig for me to go out on, and I hope that the situation changes and that Jazz Club 90 has note had its final chapter in Jazz history written.



More information about the club can be found at www.Jazzclub90.co.uk