Wednesday, September 28, 2005

music and dancing

Tone and I have joined Black Dog Molly - a Molly side, a type of Morris dancing. It is such fun...... Tone plays guitar and I play piano accordion when I am not dancing. The dances I have learned so far all involve sticks!! but there are no bells or hankies in sight....

We will wear black and red and paint our faces black when we dance out (perform in public). The next dance out is the 29th October at Shugborough Hall for Hallowe'en. Hopefully we will be good enough to join in!

It is such a huge motivator to me for practising my accordion..... and I am also dead keen to find some local tunes and songs. I am hoping the Boat Band can help. I have found some names of tunes from a search on Mudcat discussion forum and think that the library archives might have something......

The other thing that motivates me, also tends to make me feel very inadequate and like giving up - is listening to amazing musicians like John Spiers (Squeezy) and Andy Cutting. We saw Andy last week playing very sweetly and warmly with June Tabor who has the deepest roundest voice I know and such emotion.

This is one of my favourite photos that I took - it's Squeezy's boxes at Fylde.

John Spiers is my idol along with his musical partner Jon Boden. We saw them first at Fylde Folk Festival in 2004 - twice in one day, and then with Bellowhead their band at Middlewich Folk Festival this year, and with Eliza Carthy as two of the Ratcatchers (wonderful festival, dreadful website...they have asked Tone if he is happy to let them use some of his photos!! which will definitely be an improvement).

Bellowhead are so exciting and I CANNOT sit/ stand still when they play - I HAVE to dance with ALL my soul......but it's hard to hear John's playing in many of the numbers. We saw Bellowhead again at Bridgnorth Folk Festival in August so now it's time to see them alone and I booked today to go to Northwich Folk Club on the 4th November. It's going to be a long wait. I love listening to their CD's. There is a new one due out in 3 weeks - have a listen to three MP3s on their site and see what you think........

Eliza is also fab - and her Mum Norma Waterson is brilliant too. We saw them at the New Vic and it was a beautiful evening. Not so keen on her Dad Martin Carthy but he writes well and he went up in my estimation when on watching a great programme last night about Bob Dylan it turns out they were bestest buddies!! Bob is the most amazing songwriter ever! and his early performances were so moving - I wish I'd seen him.....The new Scorcese film "No Direction Home" is so atmospheric and I can really understand why Dylan opted out of the scene - fame was no fun.

The first year we went to Middlewich was mainly to see Kate Rusby - who had Andy Cutting with her. We have seen Kate play a few times now including in Derby and Stafford. She introduced me to contemporary British folk music - I heard a snippet of Sir Eglamore on the radio one evening as I drove home and rushed into the house to turn it on and find out who she was. I was amazed at the energy and beauty of her voice and playing. She has a fantastic set of musicians behind her.

Having said that I first saw Eddi Reader in Fairground Attraction at the Queen's Theatre in Burslem in about 1986. That was probably my first ever folk gig, but I didn't know the genre. Brian Kennedy supported them and I was knocked out by him. I waited 4 years for his album The Great War of Words to come out! He has now sadly become a famous crooner in Ireland who gets women throwing their knickers at him - eeuugghh!!!

We saw both Eddi and Brian at Middlewich this year. Eddi was ace - she had Boo Hewerdine with her who wrote many of her best songs. We are due to see Boo at Biddulph Folk Club this Friday and he is doing a song-writing workshop on Saturday at Newcastle library that we are going to. The best thing about Brian was his bass player James Blennerhassett.

There are loads of great photos on atypical folk galleries that mostly Tone took - he's getting good at the hand-held low light action shots y'know!!!

So - I hope that's given you some idea what floats my boat musically in the folk scene...... I love loads of other stuff too - but I just had to tell you all about these people and encourage you to have a listen. A good place to get some ideas about what you like is the BBC2 radio website folk pages. The Mike Harding show is available to listen to if you miss it live on a Weds eve. The discussion forums are fairly interesting if a it obsessive! If you really want obsession take a look at the minute detail in which people compare notes about tunes and songs on Mudcat cafe. It is a good place to find out about particular music you are looking for, but can be overwhelming......

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Tone's camera

I took Tone's small Canon IXUS with me to London yesterday when I went to see the fabulous Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Tate Modern.

I also went down to Trafalgar Square to see the new statue on the fourth plinth - a statue of Alison Lapper and I was amazed - it is so beautiful and fits the site perfectly. The marble is white with pale grey veins and looks like skin.

I took a few photos and this is one of my favourites. I have also posted one on atypical and on yclepta.

Just after I took these photos, I dropped Tone's camera and buggered it - and I was so angry at myself - that means we now have 2 non-functioning cameras!! Can you believe it?

I just hope our insurance is worth the money we have paid into it over the years and pays out......

Friday, September 16, 2005

oh how I miss my camera

I know I have the D70 too but I can't carry it around all the time when at work etc.

I am off to London soon so I am going to borrow Tone's Canon IXUS. I am looking forward to being able to be creative.

Being back at work for the full week this week has been rather hard. I have been thinking a lot about Work Life Balance - this is a particularly NHS policy name. Tone and I went along to Black Dog Molly on Thursday night and had great fun - I played my piano accordion properly with other people for the first time and that was a challenge! I also learned a dance.... and we are definitely going back next week.

We also tried the new Community Gospel Choir that is meeting nearby last weekend. It was ok - it's good to sing with other people - but we didn't sing very much and the songs are not quite my sort of thing.....

the next thing to do is join a T'ai Chi class on Wednesday - we were going to go this week but had too much to do.

Blimey - I should be so relaxed and happy - what's wrong with me! I had a migraine on Monday, a dizzy spell on Wednesday and sinus pain all day today.

However - we have been to see the Scottish Ballet tonight and that really entertained me for a couple of hours so I feel a lot better. The dances called The Pump Room and 32 Cryptograms were amazing. I still feel tired but hopefully I am up to the trip to London.

If you see pictures here in the next few days, you'll know I was ok..........

Friday, September 09, 2005

damaged...but not beyond repair

that is assuming the insurance pays out....

The Nikon Coolpix 4500 that I try to keep with me when I'm out and about, particuarly for sky and cone shots is poorly.

When I wanted it to take a photo on Tuesday evening it made a terrible noise and a juddering when I turned it on. I had to take the battery out to turn it off again.

The quote for repair is £240! The Autofocus motor is part of a single sealed motor and lens unit that has to be replaced. So we are going to make an insurance claim.

Hopefully it will soon be better - fingers crossed......