Friday, 25 January 2013

GBE2 WEEK #88 (1-20-13 to 1-26-13): Music

Music has always been central to the Cropton household. I grew up enjoying much of the Big Band Sound, the divine Ms. Fitzgerald and the obligatory Rat Pack who I was, and still am, less than enthusiastic about. Despite that, I can still sing along with most of Frank Sinatra's recorded output grrrr

Ella Fitzgerald - Every time we say goodbye

Mum also liked classical music, particularly Rachmaninov Tchaikowsky and Chopin, while Dad had learned to play bugle then later bass drum in the ATC marching band, and he had learned to play piano (not well, but enthusiastically) at some point.

My 2 younger sisters and I both studied music at school and all of us learned to play a recorder. I later started to learn cello, but my pathway to becoming a reasonable musician got rudely shattered when I broke my arm. My sisters fared better, one studying flute and piano to 'A' level and the other getting to the Royal School of Music studying double-bass. I in much later life took up the fiddle, playing for various Morris dance sides and my home side, Stevenage Sword Dancers.

Stevenage Sword - Newbiggin - Whittlsea StrawBear Festival 2012

I can also hack out a few chords on guitar, and like most wannabe musicians of my age, I of course can play the obligatory 'Sunshine of your Love' :)

Cream - Sunshine of your love

Of course my lifelong liking for good guitar playing stemmed originally from the British 'Man with the red guitar' Hank Marvin, leader of 'The Shadows' who began as Cliff Richards backing band.

The Shadows - FBI

The ultimate mind blower for me came with Jimi Handrix, who remains a god amongst my pantheon of worship.

Jimi Hendrix - Bold as Love

In tandem with this I learned to enjoy a lot of accoustic music, initially through schoolfriends and the Collenswood School Folk Club in Stevenage and later Stevenage's official folk club which was based for many years in the upstairs room at the Red Lion pub in the Old Town. This interest led me into traditional English folk-song and the album 'Anthems in Eden' by Shirley and Dolly Collins remains a big fave.

The Guardian - Shirley Collins
Shirley and Dolly Collins = Pleasant and Delightful

Although Shirley is revered as the Queen of the English Folk Revival, Fairport Convention were the first to pioneer 'folk/rock' and their achievements over the years have helped to shape the modern folk world. I've long been a fan of them and all the band's various offshoots. Here's one of my favourite Fairport songs:

Fairport Convention - Crazy Man Michael

As I've grown older I've to enjoy most music apart from the commercialised pap that passes for pop these days(OMG I've turned into my Dad)

But throughout the years, 4 musicians have in particular rocked my boat and continue to do so. They are Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Roy Harper and Richard Thompson. It will be my great delight to see Roy receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Folk awards shortly.

Here's a few faves from each of these great musicians and artists

Roy Harper - On Summer Day

Joni Mitchell - Case of You

Paul Simon - Slip Sliding Away

Richard and Linda Thompson - Walking on a Wire

You've been listening to 'Desert Island Discs' with eeyorn the space donkey. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did

Thursday, 24 January 2013

GBE2 - Reintroducing myself

GBE2 WEEK #88 (1-20-13 to 1-26-13): Re-introducing myself

Hello all. For those who don't me, I have known Beth since the days when we both contributed to the original GBE group on Myspace.

For those who do know me, its been a tough year and I haven't had the energy or inspiration to do any GBE2-ing. I've lived with my ageing father on and off for the past 2 years and watched in dismay as chronic arthritis set into his right leg and to a lesser extent, his hands. He had always been a very active man and found the loss very hard to bear, I think. Despite this, he was also very obstinately independent and routinely and politely refused any offers of help from me.

For myself, it seems I am almost unemployable - I assume due to my age. Coupled with licking my wounds after a briefly glorious love affair, I began to drink a lot and on occasions disgacing myself badly. Dad was quite clear in his disaproval of my behaviour but allowed me stay on in the house. I was at least able to pay my share of all the bills which thankfully meant that I could not afford to become a permanent drunk.

Understandably, my 2 sisters have also been less than impressed with my behaviour and now have as little possible to do with me. I am hopeful that we can rebuild the fences in time.

So it was a very uneasy marriage of convenience for Dad and I, and for the most part we lived pretty much seperately. Dad died peacefully in September. Although his passing came as a shock the family take some comfort that he is no longer in constant pain or befuddled with painkillers.

Since then I've grieved for him, buried him, helped clear his house and get it ready to sell, and moved into a 1-BR apartment - still in Stevenage.

I'm grateful for all the support I've received from my friends in FB-land and the online bridge community, as well as a couple of real friends who help to keep me insane.

And I'm delighted to have Music as the topic for my re-entry into GBE2