‘Our’ Sound?

MRA and I watch those Gareth Malone programmes on BBC where he works with various groups of people to create or improve choirs. I’m not so taken with recent series where they’ve become knock-out competitions, but they can be interesting and certainly enriching for the participants.

The current series is regional. He selected from tapes then went around the country auditioning and picking best choirs. In Portsmouth we saw the Shanty Men performing on HMS Victory (where else?). I know those guys, I’ve performed with them and I like what they do. I’m always fond of anyone who keeps musical traditions alive – in my life for whatever reason it’s been rather more a matter of Mississippi than the Solent

Malone didn’t select them for the semi finals but he said of them:

“I am looking for people that represent the region and I feel like those guys absolutely represent this region. They’re from Portsmouth, they’ve got the right sound they are shanty men, they’ve been singing these shanties for 40 years”.

I’ve always thought that’s a really weird idea in the modern world. I’ve lived my whole life in Pompey, sung & played music throughout and have absolutely no feeling for sea shanties as being about my life. Do you?

Incidentally he chose the songs for the four choirs that went into the semi-final and they were:

Exeter; The Diana version of ‘Candle in the Wind’

Durham: Something by the Spice Girls

Leicester: Something by Bjork

Reading: Something by the Korgis

So maybe he wasn’t serious about anyone really ‘representing’ a region, any more than most Pompey footballers are from Buckland.


All for the best Pete (and Pete)

Pete has sent this from Copnor/USA and says

“To ‘Buckland’ Pete and all the other talented kids that were forced into schools designed to provide the “blue Collar” workers of the future by the 11+ . Thankfully it is recognized now, that kids develop at different ages, some sooner than later, and also that some kids do great but just do not “Test well” on the day. I found this in my Mum’s papers, she left me together with all my old school reports. This letter certainly brings it all back.”




Stone Me

Have you heard Blue & Lonesome yet?

What I’ve heard sounds alright, which is more than I’ve thought about most of their albums over the past 40 years. It’s not quite Let It Bleed or Exile on Main Street but it’s lively and I’ve always been a sucker for a 12-bar.