Friday, 16 July 2010

Licensed to Thrill

The end of an era. Last Friday saw my last Concert with the HuMSA Swing Band. quite sad in a way but if you read my previous blog post you'd understand why it had to happen. Strangely enough it was my first solo with them in front of a paying audience - just to add to the pressure it was my first concert solo for 40 years in front of a paying audience

My Darling Wife took some pictures of me outside our house - I had this James Bond air about me that needed capturing.

My solo was played on a Flugel Horn which I enjoy playing. It has a rich, deep mellow tone almost dark and mysterious. Needs the right music for it though. Play it too high and badly it'll sound like a strangled cow!

The concert was a resounding success apparently. It was a Cabaret which was another first for me. Can't say it was totally enjoyable for me as everybody was eating, drinking and chattering. Seemed strange to be providing live background music! And boy! Was it hot...... got quite drippy.

Anyway, I made a recording of the concert but, unfortunately, the recorder had to be at the rear of the hall which meant it picked up all the chatterings as well.

If you're interested my solo can be found here - Can't Get Started.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Changing Direction

Busy week and a few decisions to be made. Should I sell some unused camera equipment and fund a better cornet? The results of which are shown here. Silver plated and hand made in Britain! Not much of that these days....

So, what's been happening to result in this?

Do you recall my return to my trumpet playing? That caused me to join the local music school in Huntingdon. HuMSA for short. That has been brilliant for me to rekindle and redevelop my abilities. The confidence I need to play in public has been a different story though. A year into it and few concerts later I still didn't have the confidence I had when I was a pimply youth!

The downside to the music school was having to spend so much of my weekend away from my darling wife. They wanted me to help more and more which ate into more of our precious weekend together. I needed a better means of utilising my time and allow me to continue to enjoy my playing. One of the ensembles I played with at the school was the "Brass Ensemble" - virtually a brass band but not enough players. Boy, do I enjoy that - it has become the highlight of my Saturdays at the school.

After some research I found that the local(ish) Brass Band in Somersham have rehearsals on Thursday evenings. I spoke to Marianne about this and she said it was better for me to be away in the evening as opposed to losing most of Saturday together. I spoke to Somersham Town Band and they were very happy to have me join them. I told them it couldn't happen this term as I was committed to the concerts booked with the Music School. But after the summer term I shall go to Somersham on a more permanent basis.

I went to a rehearsal with them to see if "I fit in" and it appears I do. They called to ask if I could 'dep' in a concert in Cambridge last Saturday. It was a joint concert with the Cambridge University Brass Band. What an event.

Here are a couple of links to some pieces I managed to record. I was too shy to set the device in a more practical position so, unfortunately, there is an unbalanced drum section but I don't think it detracts too much from what was a pleasant sound.

Pastorale - Goff Richards Somersham Town Band

Musket, Fife and Drum - this is the music to the UK TV series "Soldier, Soldier" played in conjunction with Cambridge University BB.

The wierd thing is I didn't seem to suffer the nerves I do when I play with the school - must be the uniform!

Ooh - that reminds me, I've not told you about my old school teacher have I? Next time....

Sunday, 2 May 2010

The Card Trick

Sincere Apologies for the tardy attitude toward my blog.... I'll do my best to change!

So much (really) has happened I don't know where to start so, a good thing to do would be to recount the happenings of this day.

It started when I got up out of bed.... should be a painless experience in itself but, well let's just say - it hurt, big time. Mainly because I was trying to 'slide' out carefully, only I didn't realise I was quite as close to edge of the bed as I was so, gravity took over earlier than anticipated. That caused me to scrape my left, outer thigh on the metal bed frame. Now, to save you the agony of doing this to see just how painful this can be, just take my word for it - it is excrutiatingly painful and debilitating. Don't, repeat don't do it!

If that wasn't enough imagine, if you will, the verbalising that is attendant with a situation such as I've described.

Marianne: "What have you done? What's happened?"

If I could've talked and responded sensibly instead of shouting stuff at the top of my voice I might have received the solace that was due me. Rather, I just became the recipient of yet more questions in Marianne's vain attempt to ascertain my condition. That condition was dire..... hobbling around the bedroom with a dead-leg (Charlie Horse I believe it is over the pond) was the only way I could transport myself.

Marianne: "That's a relief, I thought you had broken your leg!"

Visual and tactile investigation (I liked that bit) revelaed a lump the size of the bowl of a teaspoon which was surplanted atop another longish lump (3 inches x 1 inch). I've yet to check the colour of it but can only imagine Technicolor would like it for a test chart!

Moving on...... Shower? uneventful. Breakfast? uneventful. So, we discuss what we should do today. Marianne said there is a load of 'decluttering' to take place. I agree. Two lives of our ages coming together brings with it all matter of things - so much of it lost in the mists of time and is useless to us now..... to be rid of it will be a good thing.

I returned from band practice after dumping the first of the rubbish. It's at this point I think it would be a good idea for us to enjoy a meal together in a country pub.

On our travels to the place I was intending to go, Marianne suggested a little restaurant, The Windmill, just outside of Somersham. Thoroughly enjoyable meal and we shall return - if they will have us!

Just after I requested the bill I told Marianne I needed the little boys' room and gave her my bank card, just in case the waitress returned whilst I was otherwise engaged. I returned and she gave back my card. The bill (check - US) duly arrived, courtesy of the waitress along with some lovely mints. We were sat at a window table and the sun started to shine so we carried on chatting a bit (about 10 minutes).

Marianne: "Are you going to pay so we get home and finish what we were doing?"
"Ok, did you give me my card back? I can't find it"
"Yes, I did. You had it in your hand".
"I thought you had. Trouble is I can't find it anywhere".

I stood up, went through my wallet. Then I went through all my pockets. Then I searched the floor. Followed by looking down the crease/edge at the back of the chair. Marianne looked in her handbag. For good measure, I stood up and performed the same procedure as before in the hope I'd missed a pocket. No - nothing, zilch, nada! All my other cards, a few receipts and a book of postage stamps, but no bank card.

Marianne: "This is ridiculous, I gave it back to you, I'm sure I did".
"I know you did honey. I'm remember fiddling with it whilst we were nattering. Where is it now though?"
"Stand up again and go through your pockets and things."
"I'm not getting up again. People will think I've got St. Vitus dance."
"Stand up and let me search you."

So, there I was, stood in the restaurant being body searched (I liked that bit) in an attempt to locate the itinerant bank card. No. Still not anywhere to be seen.

You can imagine at this time we were becoming something of a spectacle. The staff asked us if there was a problem.

Me: "Don't worry, I can pay but I've lost my card. Any chance it got taken away when you cleared the table?"

The short answer to that was the staff hadn't seen it either. So, I paid with another card and they took our telephone number in case it turns up. I need to phone the bank now in case it's been stolen (there was a large group of people around our table whilst I was performing my stand up, sit down routine) I need to put a stop on the card.

We return to the car totally perplexed. Where has it gone? Was it really stolen? Never mind. Too late now, must call the bank.

I eventually got to talk to a human being after engaging in a monosyllabic conversation with a couple of computers and was given the opportunity to discuss my plight.

Bank: "What have you lost sir?"
"My bank card and my sanity. It's disappearance only happened 5 mins ago but I/we can't find it anywhere."
"Never mind sir. I've put a stop against the card and issued a request for you to receive a new one."

So, completely flat we continue on home, safe in the knowledge my bank funds are safe. But I kept wondering where on this planet could it have disapperared to.

Marianne: "It's not under your collar is it?"
"Don't laugh at me but I've just felt around my collar and it's not there!"

I really did actually look and I can't believe I even entertained the concept that it might be locked under my collar. That lady knows me too well!

Marianne: "How about up your sleeve?"
"Oh yeah. There it is. Well I never. How did it get there?"
"I saw you fiddling with it but didn't fully see you perform your conjuring trick. Because we were chatting I never gave too much consideration to what you were actually doing."
"Do you know, I vaguely recollect placing it up my sleeve thinking I could easily forget I'm doing this. I was so engrossed in our conversation I completely forgot all about it. Do you know what Marie.....? It's all coming back to me now. Yes, I did put it up my sleeve. Oh dear, what am I like?"

We laughed and we laughed. Then we laughed some more. Did I mention we laughed?

What a day!