Sunday, June 22, 2008

"A Story To Grip You!"

On Thursday, I visited the upper room at the "Bear and Billet" for the monthly session of Chester Writers. ( See my post: Oct 20th 07: "A special evening at the Bear and Billet" ) ) A mere 5 members turned up; numbers vary each month.But we sat at the end of a long refectory table in a room with leaded lights and dark oak beams and had a lively evening of reading and listening and talking.
And lots of congratulations to one of the 5: Stanley Salmons recently saw published his "Footprints in the ash" ( UKA Press) a crime thriller set south of Pompeii . It's available through Amazon ( see bk jacket (right) also Barnes and Noble. Brilliant news for Stanley ( a professor at Liverpool Uni, see ) The novel is a superb read...with a fabulous story set in the past, alongside gripping events in the present.
THEN on Friday, a tasty session of "Words and biscuits" writers ( post June 16th 07: "Words and biscuits: some more delicacies") when 7 members met to share stories and poems ( plus juicy news and the strongest of views!) All very different women, in every way imaginable....but we wouldn't be without each other for the world...

Monday, June 16, 2008

"Humph: Much Missed In My Kitchen "

We've spent hours at our kitchen table over the years...eating, of course....BUT also laughing with Humphrey Lyttleton and his Radio 4 crew on "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue ". (
THIS was great comedy with wonderful word play...AND also brilliant camaraderie, chaired by the most talented and affable of men. Humph'll be missed in our kitchen... for his music, for his wit and his sheer uniqueness.

Men like Humph attract unique tributes; it seems that after his death in April, flowers were left at Mornington Crescent in London....this was personally honouring the Crescent's legendary fantasy connection ( built up by Humph) in "ISIHAC" ( )
AND this reminded me of similar tributes... to comedian Ronnie Barker ( four candles alight on his coffin, four candles flickering in fans' honour of Barker's "4 Candles/fork handles sketch ...)
What happy tributes indeed... to deserving and talented personalities...

AND this w/end, Humph was again on the radio in an old recording; he was discussing a fellow Jazz musician called Louis Primo. Primo was from a similar stable as Louis Armstrong ( or should I say "night club"?) in New Orleans..BUT ignorant me had never heard of THIS Primo guy.
BUT sitting at my kitchen table eating scrambled eggs on toast and listening to this superb musician, was a delight. ..
Thankyou Humph for a great introduction.
It is appreciated....but best of all, it was fabulous hearing YOU in my kitchen again.

Friday, June 06, 2008

" Looking At Klimt in Liverpool"

Lots of Klimt's work is missing. You could be disappointed; so said a neighbour to my husband and me as we set off to Tate Liverpool today to see Gustav Klimt's new exhibition.

Klimt's work, this neighbour said, is treasured; it needs to be kept safe and much of it is fragile: therefore it must not travel. It must stay cared for and guarded in a permanent place, e.g. in Vienna or New York. Tate L'pool , she said, has well over 200 pieces in this exhibition, but only a third are actually Klimt's.

"It's full of work by other people, said this neighbour "and you'll probably wish for a whole lot more of Gustav......"

OK, that's true. But WHAT we saw today was sheer delight. We saw Klimt paintings, of course ...we saw them close up and personal; Klimt's serene and lovely women, the passionate ones, the lovers, his patrons. We saw gloss, opulence, seduction, gorgeousness in colour and shape....and we glimpsed the essence of the man through the faces of his women, as well as through his glorious greens, oranges, golds... and the rest.

AND we saw, too, dazzling landscapes: colours to thrill, more subdued ones and we glimpsed how Klimt experimented with surface and texture and layering... and with rhythms that mirrored nature itself.

We also saw how Klimt influenced...and was influenced....through places he went and through the spirit of his times...and also through the work of other designers and artists, in their products and their thinking.

We saw fine furniture, simple with understated elegance....and we saw room designs captured forever in sepia photos (demanding us to stare into them with the most searching of eyes);we saw Viennese salons, patron's homes, fabulous architecture, things people used daily, little details of their lives...and with our imaginations stirred, we fully appreciated the vastly innovative mind of Klimt.... and these other talented people, seeing how ideas produced masterpieces which need ( as my neighbour said) to be deeply treasured...but also shared if possible, which the Tate Ex so skilfully does.

THIS is a wonderful and fabulous exhibition ( those adjectives are, for once, no exagerration)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

" I Saw Him Standing There"( And he was Just 65, you know what I mean! )

I wanted to go. I was desperate to go. THEY ( this up and coming Liverpool band) were appearing at the RiverPark Ballroom**.
I knew where this was ( by the park, near the river, oddly enough) and opposite the City Baths, (where I always swam in the Pacific, rather than the Atlantic Pool, because I liked that name better...softer sounding? gentler, perhaps?) ....BUT as for me going to the River Park: my mother said a VERY firm "NO".
There was, she said, my homework ...and anyway, I was FAR too young to go out midweek ( not even a PROPER teenager yet) and she said, setting foot in a dance hall ( because that's what it was) was not to be encouraged...and the boys ( Big Will was one; he escaped to USA years ago, although some went away and came back, like I did) ...but I repeat: the boys who rang up my house suggesting I joined them, were, said my mother, MUCH older than me ( 2 yrs, actually) and they probably smoked ( they did, but merely tobacco...) and they'd probably fail all their exams anyway ( they didn't, far from it)....

SO: to my everlasting chagrin ( sounds like a disease, that) I missed seeing The Beatles... before They Hit Their Jackpot.
And that night in the River Park Ballroom, they sang " Hippy Hippy Shake" ( later sung by The Swinging Blue Jeans???) and also a rowdy song called " Hully Gully"; I've heard this song over the years and have felt forever MORTIFIED that I spent an historic evening pretending to learn French verbs at the diningroom table while really ( furiously) writing boys names in black felt tip pen all over my brown leather satchel...
BUT I saw one of them this Sunday. I saw Paul at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool ( standing there, you know what I mean) and I basked in his music, his history, his talent. I basked too in my own memories ( all kinds, happy ones and sad) as did countless others ( Liverpudlians, yes, but fans from all over the world) Paul sang " Eleanor Rigby", " Back in the USSR", " Yesterday", " Hey Jude", " A Day in the Life" and the brilliant " I saw her standing there"( and countless others)
George was always my favourite Beatle ( hangdog looks, Liverpudlian drawl).....the others were merely part of this great Band. And later I deserted the Beatles, fell for the Stones, (Jagger, especially) for their hint of the wicked, their raunchiness.....but nevertheless, the Beatles were a soundtrack to the lives of my generation ( whether you sang soprano in a choir, folk songs in a pub, rock in a cellar or hymns in church at Evensong) and on Sunday, as I watched Sir Paul at Anfield as part of Liverpool City of Culture, 2008, along with my husband, sons ( their treat to us) plus daughterinlaws's sister+husband, ....I shrieked and laughed and hmm, I cried.
BECAUSE it was absolutely fabulous.
** The Riverpark Ballroom was a little white building, pulled down years ago. In it's place is a smart retirement home. I wonder if the music of the ghostly Ballroom seeps through its walls, haunting the residents as they nod peacefully in their Parker Knowls...
PS McCartney's Support was great too: the Kaiser Chiefs ( especially singer Rick) and also the Liverpudlian Zutons, including saxophonist Abbi . Must mention Peter Kaye's introduction...very brief, but spot on!
PPS And a great w/end all together: Saturday spent on the shores of Lake Coniston celebrating the Birthdays of 2 very lovely friends ( he runs an outdoor centre where their party was held) Lots of friends/family ( incl some of mine) and all of it crowned by a hilarious dance in the early hrs to the 15 min version of Meat Loaf's " Bat out of hell"....the 2 participants shall remain nameless.