Tuesday, 31 March 2009

James Taylor and the woman in caramel

his & hers
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

What we learnt from early this morning's TV

James Taylor in concert BBC2

After watching the Wire again last night I was about to turn in when up pops a concert film initially I almost turned it off because even though he just passed a way I had confused John Martyn film (I’m a bit echo effected out I’m afraid) with James Taylor. This confusion I‘ve had for a while. I’ve come to James Taylor only recently I think years ago someone in cool leather jacket said he was a bit MOR and I just accepted this opinion coming as it did from behind some knock-off Camden market Raybans and in cloud of Marlboro light. I’ve heard his most famous songs but not much else. Anyway my computer was doing some down loading so I stayed watching. It was really good concert film (I think in general what with better cheaper cameras most concert films have got better all).

I didn’t realise he was so funny and engaging. He has a PowerPoint going behind him with funny suitable pictures to illustrate songs.
This was a home town gig so was a bit of a love in (which isn’t a crime) and some the material was clearly been road tested (but that again isn’t offence) if you not heard a line before it’s still as funny even the teller used it 100 times.

So it was a good show, I’m not sure if he did any “new” as I don’t know his back catalogue but it was entertaining and very human show. The audience were on the prosperous side. They were dressed in that smart casual way that Americas go in for, you know iron polo shirts tucked into ironed chinos coordinated down to their toes. In was probably at the time I’d listened uncritically to the leather jacket’s opinions that I first encountered this sort American uber coordination.

There was this rich American lass at Uni who was coordinated in a way no British person even the girls I knew were, with her clothes shoes, scarf even her eye make up all of a piece. She was a symphony in tasteful Armani brown like a character from a John Hughes film. I imagine she may even had had some James Taylor playing in her room, she was terribly exotic she ate popcorn with salt on it (I’d only recently moved from butterkist toffee to sugar), could afford to pay for scalped tickets for concerts and made international phone calls oh and she’d had been to Iceland to buy gold!

Not sure this all amounts to anything other than maybe black leather jackets don’t have all the answers despite their glamour.

Lost laughter in the breeze

Weller Evolution
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

The clothes stall on the Leather Market with the inexplicably good taste in music (my witterings passim) was playing "Town Called Malice" as I strolled past in a post prandial reverie (beetroot and chicken salad side order of Dolmares if your asking).
After a bit of thoughtful tooth sucking(well however long it takes to make a 4 floor lift journey and have a bit of light banter about microwaved pasta)

I reckon it's the best song ever by The Jam.*
That's unless you know differently?**

* today that is.
** even my dad said it was good once but I think it was mainly the pun in title he liked, which at the time I didn't get thinking it was just about a hard town like Rotherham or Grimsby.

Monday, 30 March 2009

G20 the storm gathers and other nonsense.

G20 let's fill this city with anarchist
At work we’ve been told to batten down the hatches for the onslaught of crazed anarchist trying to gain access to our massively un-contentious public sector organisation's City based office on April 1st. We’ve been told to look out for “anything unusual” this being Britain that’ll be vegetarianism, anyone who watches subtitled films or who doesn’t like Coldplay then. I am hoping for a Conradesque anarchist in a mask with a round bomb with bomb written on the side myself.!

G20 hooey
Oh and is it just me or does this smack of smear campaign. Isn’t the word “may” in this report heavily loaded to you? You don’t have to be paranoid to see the hand of the government briefing against people protesting against their increasingly pointless and toothless G20 conference.

ID cards not such a good idea now eh Jaqui!
so let's see it seems that centralising and keeping safe personal details in a government dept. has failed at the first test. As it's being claimed on Newsnight someone is trying to sell all the MP's expense receipts to the highestt bidder.

Nurse the (sun)screens

Los Marcellos Ferial - Sei diventata nera

I found this 7 inch "gem" the other day as you can see it's a hunk a hunk burnin' love. As usual with italian vinyl they do seem to flatter to decieve, have a look at the band and you'll see why the Senorita is on the sleeve. I think the song is a warning about exposing yourself to the sun , the title being literally translated as "you'll go black". I think it's good natured but you can't always be sure. I think the rest of the lyrics refer to using sunblock etc.

The you tube clip is the best sound but check out this vid it's Benny hill without Bob todd!

Friday, 27 March 2009


This week i have mostly been listening to.....

Whats going down well chez nous?

Who watches the Watchmen.....


Me eventually.....
Originally uploaded by bltphoto
me and BLBW actually....
Is it any good well? I enjoyed it a great deal. I suppose it depends if you like genre films. I can see why it's had mixed press but I do think the broadsheet critics like only a really narrow group of film.

As to Watchmen I think the film should have not have been so tied to the comic and gone with the story and characters and avoided filming frames from the book. If you are not keen on violence I would avoid it but if you like sc-fi super heroes stuff it's definitely worth seeing.

Red Riding: a view from the ’Hood

I’ve been watching and thinking about the Red Riding trilogy these last 3 weeks. I grew up just a few miles from the setting of the films, the cooling towers that loom in many of the films’ shots a reminder of the ones I could see steaming away from my bedroom window.

I am about the same age as David Peace and so around at the time of the films, his imagined world seems a little alien and so I’ve chosen to treat them as a hard boiled enjoyable fiction and not worry about too much about the anachronisms.

Except that is for the following:

“Half chips half rice”:
The character eating a Chinese at lunch time in “1983” in Yorkshire! When every one knows you can’ t get fast food even chips in many places except between 4 and 6.30pm even today. Many chippies even closing before the pubs turn out and never being open on a Sunday. Don’t get me wrong Yorkshire wasn’t backwards its just well people ate at home or not all. Oh and noodles what’s wrong with chips with your choppy Suey I mean one “Chinese” (I won’t use the name we use to use) near us use to even sell apple crumble or arctic roles for “afters” score!

“What time’s the Jump Circular due, love?”:
Another anachronisms common to most these films is driving; less people had cars in the olden days I know in drama cops and reporters can’t hang around waiting for Yorkshire traction to roll up but majority of people didn’t have cars back then. I bet even reporters had to use staff cars and went round the centre of Leeds etc on the bus.

“there’s a lass down the Rec who’ll let you do owt for a ride on y’BMX”:
Oh and I can say from bitter experience that Yorkshire women aren’t that easy. Of course brittle lonely needy blondes with a cruel past and inner nihilistic demons may have been in short supply at our school but me and my friends rarely popped round some lasses house and then cross faded to smoking sorrowfully regret laden post-coital fags in the gloom of thin light barely breaching the brown curtains. Having said that we all weren’t middle age men in car coats and fake tashes so were much much less of a catch obviously.

“Any shade you like as long as it’s brown”:
Oh and for the record after my magic roundabout curtains passed to my younger brother we had some home-made ones with vintage cars on them and I can’t think of room with large geometric wall paper in all my youth it was textured Anaglypta or wood chip as far as I can remember all painted white.

“Packed full of nuts.....”
Oh and in these 70’s re-creation shows they never mention Dutch Elm disease (imagine if all the foxes in Britain died out over 10 years) or the outbreak of Planter’s dried roast peanuts that swept through kids in 1978. Forget scag or rent boys there were kids at school who were on 3 or 4 packs of peanuts a day. Strangely I don’t remember anyone ever having a nut allergy.

“ Luxury......”
Everything else in the films was fine:
Being tortured with a small mammal tick
, I have had ferret down my trousers (some regional clichés do have a basis in fact!).

Random violence tick (apart from the kids there were a number of teachers who would randomly hit, clip, whack you for not much reason at all).

Drugs tick (apart from peanuts for all my childhood years we existed on a heady mix of refined sugar, sherbet, liquorice(Spanish), cheap crisp, midget gems, ice pops and of course warm cans of top deck shandy, refrigeration being a modern invention apparently).

Corrupt violent racist police tick (yep when the Met invaded South Yorkshire to illegally and immorally suppress the Miners’ Strike the place was immediately full of dodgy, cruel, foul and bent coppers!)

ps do you like our S’s picture of rhubarb fields and powerstations in the sodium glare, talented chap that S.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Magazine of the moment?

Saw this in smith's today. It's just a marvelous thing.

Fred Flingstone.....

The Defenestration of Lothian
So who is it then? Who’s been round Fred’s house with some rocks? Come on empty your pockets, you know it’s not the right thing......

I think however someone should ring Morris McWhirter (or his son) as I think we’ve found the victim of crime likely to receive the least amount of sympathy from the largest number of people.

Having a bad day?

Well, think again.

When was this picture taken?

A little quiz for wednesday: I found this nice postcard in a box and have been trying to work out when it was taken.

It must late 60's although the card was sent in 1982. The amount of wasteland around this bit of town still amazes me.

If you click through to flickr you can see some more notes I made on it.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Noticeable absence:

No comment: How daft is Fergies' continued refusal to talk to the BBC? It's just getting childish now, sending up some boot room bloke to prattle instead of of cherry nose grumbling for 2 minutes on MOTD every couple of weeks is silly. The idea that Man U get a bad deal from the Beeb is nonsense too their every move gets shown to exclusion of most other teams, they only need to win a tenner on the lottery and we get another monatage of their overpaid over exposed players plus we get all the tedious "greatest team, manager, stadium, bovril sellers in football guff!"

Ah well if it keeps him happy, he needs some solace to soften the knowledge that he's only the 3rd best manager ever after Cloughie and Bob Paisley...

Thursday, 19 March 2009

our new mini-site.....

Thursday Stuff

Masters of spin & little else:
Here’s the thing some Education Minster Sion Simon is on the radio tis morning wriggling about on a John Humphrey’s barb because his department via a quango have reneged on funding for FE colleges including my alma mater (new definition of progress: 20 years on and kids still being taught in prefabs?) leaving them potetially insolvent.

One reason for the problem is that the Minister seemed to have a greater knowledge of media jargon than of the problem at hand. He mentioned 2/3 phrases that showed he’d spent longer in media training than in lessons on setting and keeping to budgets etc.

10% Nonsense:
Do I have to repeat this? I got a new wallet for a replacement Oyster card this morning and inside Southeastern had stuck a little advert proudly telling us that in the last year 90% of their trains had run on time. So let’s see why don’t we all pay 22 quid a week instead of 25 seeing as 90 % is good enough?

The UK the cheap bast*rd of Europe
Seems we are going to charge 50 quid to foreign students and migrant workers to pay for public services they use during their time here. Now I have a suspicion that seeing as VAT etc hits poorer people harder than the well off (because it’s a higher proportion of their basic/limited spending) they already pay their share.

And of course Fred “scot-free” Godwin’s pension would pay for about 320,000 “foreigners”. But well it’s easier( and more politically expedient) to extract a day’s pay out of some Polish lass doing something useful like working in a shop or serving food than to chase down some failed feckless unqualified banker for his ill gotten and fraudulently obtained millions.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

18/03/2009 Fire in the immigration office on chancery lane

this is what it looked like when i left work i hope no one is hurt.

Sent earlier and posted from my phone.

What the web's been waiting for

I already have!
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

The Cure for all your ills, a rash er statement I've never made this best internet application bar none.

it's hamazing

Update: when I'm sober apologise to Russ who sent this along !!!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The wind was whistling all its charms

We watched our friends grow up together....

It's been National wear a foam Guinness hat day and the streets had a few more of what only the media call "revellers" on them. One such Quadrapede twin headed lad monster was on the bus. It explained (with it's most lucid head) that it was all in aid of celebrating all the snakes being driven onto the Isle of Man, which seemed fair enough. His symbiotic second head added it also meant there might be some pissed up student nurses in that place in New Cross. Nods all round.
Whizzing past the Venue they stagger up and in a slightly wobbly manner the monster you don't meet every day stumbled down the stairs and off to see if there were any Sisters of Mercy left for them. More likely however to fall a sleep arm in arm on a settee in a club , two undrunk pints of the black stuff miraculousy balancing on the arm of a sofa dangerously close to spilling over a slumbering trainee nurse from Sydenham and thankfully for all concerned not a snake in sight.

Now the song is nearly over,
We may never find out what it means
But there's a light I hold before me
And you're the measure of my dreams
The measure of my dreams

and Westwood will be Minister of Transport

The Worlds My Country

You know it’s a bad day when.....You wake up and find your new President is a 32 year old former DJ. On the film I saw he was doing 2 finger kiss blowing/salutes a’la Jay-Z (and 10 years olds boys playing footy in the park). It would be like waking up and discovering that your country had sent Chris Moyles to Tanzania to campaign to get rid of famine in developing countries.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Where's Yogi and boo boo?

What we learnt from tonights telly:

Yellowstone BBC2. What did we learn well you can only ever be po-faced about nature. This programme was one of the beebs new High Def nature programme so it was full of stunning images. You can imagine that the fur of the fox on the credits looks amazing in real life or in HD. We also got the obligatory helicopter shots and speeded up time lapse shots. Frankly I could have done without the programmes portentous voice over (by I think Spooks' Peter Firth). There doesn't seem to be any other way of describing nature on TV but in these hushed tones, tonight though we had at least three bits which we just plain funny:
A fox hunting for mice under snow diving headlong into a drift, if this was your dog you would've got 250 quid from Harry Hill but on Yellowstone just more seriousness.

Next up we had the otter, now otters are just funny. I bet even Brer otter giggles a bit when he sees his mate bound up. Otters in the snow are even more amusing.

lastly we had the punch line to the old Indian naming joke "so how did you get your name "2 wolves F**cking" " . We had to put up with Mr Serious intoning something about the alpha male as a hapless interloper wolf tries to run of from the pack all the time trapped in the "embrace" of the cheeky minx who lured him in. I bet this isn't the bit the BEEB want on youtube.
One of the great things about David Attenborough was that he wasn't afraid to laugh when confronted by the sheer joy of nature. But of course in this HD world you can't have presenters on screen on wildlife programmes anymore because you can't dub them into Portuguese to sell to Brazil.
Which is why we had to have the pointless 12 minutes Yellowstone People slot (to bulk out UK timeslots minus adverts to an hour). This film was about some bloke who shovels snow of buildings (to stop them being crushed) it was shot by someone who have never seen this or even this as what was an interesting tale was stretched way to long. Next week fascinating tales from the parking attendant.
So in future maybe just some music and perhaps a website with the minimal science they sneak into this sort of thing.

Oh and don't get me started on the Monty Hall's Great Escape. This is just the most expensive holiday video you've ever seen. At least the tossers on similar Channel 4 programmes are opening a Tuscan b&b with their own money. Old tossy Monty is on a paid holiday from my £139 lecturing us on we should all build our own compost toilets and make friends with our local clam fisherman.

Monty's proud of his carbon foot print but Monty it's fine to grow your own cabbages not sure if they are that organic if you have a helicopter shot of them going to market. Oh what's he doing now oh we are seeing that incredibly rare creature the pine marten as seen on every cocking Scottish wildlife show eating off someone's bird table whoopy do! I off to see if Family Guy is on!
Monday Update:
“Great minds” agree in T’old Sam Wollaston’s TV review of Yellowstone (in the paper) he comes to much the same conclusions as me. This is reassuring as I often seem to be at odds with large swathes of the viewing public’s taste. It’s good not to be the odd one out all the time.

There’s also an interview with School of Seven Bells. So let’s get this right the female members of band (who just happen to be striking looking) like eating pies and chips and talking about obscure dead mountaineers I may well be smitten.

Music to listen to and enjoy

Tunes on Sunday.
Here’s some recommendations for you.

Alpinism and other spring pursuits
My Last Fm widget gives the game away (particularly now I have the scrobbler on my phone) current faves are School of Seven Bells and the Byrds and some of the songs off the latest War child charity records.
First up School of Seven Bells Alpinism* who are really good I’ve seen umpteen descriptions of them suffice to say they have lush guitars with lush harmonised female voices and some electronics thrown in it’s all a bit 4AD or perhaps Stereolab but not as furrow browed & continental but you know well really good none the less. There’s even one track that’s got a Hooky/Joy Division bass line.

War what is it good for.......
Which brings us to the Hotchip's cover of Transmission on the Warchild LP which is good too, they turn up the Kraftwerk pedal and throw in some steel pan percussion hurrah! I’m also taken with Sister Sisters version of “Do the Strand” which I can see going down a storm at weddings this summer. The Lp’s all covers, you should avoid Beck’s (just in general not just here!) and for the same reasons The Kooks who make the mistake of covering a song previously covered by The Fall (which is always a hiding to nuffin’).
The rest of the tracks aren’t bad even Lilly Allen doesn’t have me shuffling past but the stand out track and further proof that Elbow are the greatest thing to come out of Bury since the flying shuttle .

Using the source material of a U2 song (running to stand still) they transmute it to if not gold one of those pebbles you find at the beach that sparkles when slick with sea water. I’ll stop now but it is excellent.
Not sure with this being for charity what you should do either buy the full lp it’s only a few quid or buy the tracks you like and top up the funds direct via gift aid.

12 string heroes well on most worlds anyway.
Other music prompted by Ali’s post is the Byrds. It’s one of the greatest sadness that we live in the one parallel world where The Byrds and their followers aren’t permanently top of the charts. In every other parallel world peace has broken out largely due to the sound of 12 string Rickenbacker guitars and roger McGuin’s little glasses. These worlds were even David Crosby’s occasional loud mouth nonsense is tolerated where no child goes without shoes, every women is educated and Marathons never go renamed Snickers. Sadly on this version of earth Simon Callow even muscles his way on to the cover of Orange Juice singles and for some reason any band who sound like the Byrds will never be more successful than Coldplay and all those country stars you’ve never heard off but sell 45 million albums.

Anyway if you like Byrds and don’t live on earth2.3 you need to head to down to Fopp where all 5 of their albums including extra tracks are going for 15 quid for 5 cds and some jolly repro sleeves in one tasty package.

Oh and I have also been spinning “Felicity” By the Juice mainly because I found the picture sleeve the other day and rescued it.
Cale the voice
Lastly I drove past an abandoned coalmine in Wales the last day and deep from its hidden depths I could hear an echo of a song if you listened carefully you could hear it John Cale’s version of LCD soundsystem’s “All My friends”. Which is just wonderfully I like the original but JC’s version just opens up the lyrics and well its just great.

So to conclude on a Welsh tip and to misquote Mr E Bevan these are my tunes show me yours?

*Things you’ll get sick of hearing about the band very soon, the singers are identical twins (except they look more like close sisters in the pictures!) and there name comes from a mythical south American pickpocket training test you know put some bells in teacher’s pocket if you make a noise nicking his wallet.....

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Snark hunting pictures just in

I've just updated spacejunk for anyone who may be lying in the gutter but is staring at the stars!

Friday, 13 March 2009

What’s he got in pocketses...... nowt actually!

AKA: Spring can’t come too soon.

Not for the obvious reasons (gambolling lambs, longer days) but so I can retire my overcoat for the season. The main reason being the left pocket has started to go again, the right one is already an oyster card and phone swallowing cloth tube and now this morning there’s a little gap appearing in the left. They both have the added excitement of a hole further in side in the coats lining so a phone or your house keys can whoosh down and out and for one “thrilling” moment last week almost bounce off a station platform into the path of a speeding train.

I could sew them up but I’ve done that at least twice already and each time the pockets get a little shallower. So if I do it again they will be only just be deep enough to accommodate a bookies’ pencil or a single cafe crème cigarillo (neither of which sadly I have much use for).

So let’s hope it just stays getting warmer so maybe next week I can abandon my coat and then maybe splash out on a new one next winter*.

Yours BLTP’s South London Sartorial Sloth correspondent

*(when as usual the shops will be full of 2010’s bikinis, I’ve never mastered this whole fashion out of sync with the Seasons thing)!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Will the real Faron Young.....

After all this time:
It’s pleasingly circular that a band whose name came from a misunderstanding while listening to song should do the same for one of their fans namely me.
Like all sensible people I loved Prefab Sprout when they first appeared and their 1st lp with the mysterious line “you give Faron Young ....four in the morning”. I’m not sure I knew who or what Faron Young was (and this was before there were more than 10 computers in Yorkshire let alone the interweb) I think in my mind I thought that FY was a she someone like Farrah Fawcett i.e. some kind of impossible unattainable sultry Californian goddess (as in this old national geographic shot I found ).
This seductive idea had persisted for a long while, in fact up to just last night when I got round to playing a recent batch of “rescued” singles. I’d been flicking through the mouldy Cilla 7 inches and had seen Faron Young’s “4 in the morning” and bought it purely to see what Paddy McAloon had been singing about all those years ago.

Now I’m not sure about the song yet but I’m slightly disappointed that Faron is a bloke and seemingly a purveyor of standard (for 1972) country and western songs. Now I know Paddy McAloon is more sensible in these matters than I but I was little let down, you’ll be telling me next that “Lola” by the Kinks wasn’t about a woman!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Ace of Clubs

Ace of Clubs
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

I'm starting to scare myself now!

It goes like this: Yesterday I was predicting spring again so today it was lovely and sunny so I wander into Greenwich and slowly get into a bad mood, buses on diversion, the crappy new shops in the market, in-line skaters in the park, then a biblical rain storm drenching everyone and no buses then one goes past without stopping and so I go stomping off with my soggy shopping. I'm waiting to cross the road and the gutters are rushing with rain and what should sail past on it's own... a singular piece of flotsam which instantly washes away my gloom. Yes a playing card washing down the street on it's own. Like I say it's even weirding me out now!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Blackthorn & Bees

Blackthorn & Bees
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

Takin' pictures of the Pretty flowers :let's have a heated debate!

I won't predict spring is arriving again, last time I did that we had "the snow"! All I will say is that I hope this bee collecting the first nectar and pollen of the year continues to thrive!

I had a strange conversation while pestering the bee to take it's picture. I was in the little park across the road on the way back from the market and was waving my phone around in the blossom, when a women comes up. I had my head phones on (can you imagine a phone that also plays music and takes picture all at once what times we live in!) away I was concentrating on the bee and only slowly realised she wasn't talking animatedly on her blue tooth but talking at me .

I removed my earbuds (why do people never see them?) and turned to her "what are you doin'?" "what are you doin' taking pictures of the pretty flowers?" she had been saying, she wasn't really a conversation person so I couldn't get in my usual reposte I use in these situations "because they are there " she just went on "what are you doin' taking pictures of the pretty flowers?".

I was flummoxed, normally I'm left to myself when out snapping and also I sort of thought she'd answered her own question ie "because they are pretty". Seeing as I didn't give much of a response (although I'm not sure she wanted one really) beyond smiling and muttering something about the blackthorn's "blossominess "she wandered off continuing to repeat at least twice her mantra........ "takin pictures of the pretty flowers".

I don't think she was intoxicated or otherwise distressed, she looked quite normal well dressed even. I don't know what it was all about, it was just a bit odd.

So here's my contentious picture of "the pretty flowers" and that hungry bee (which if not pretty is attractive in it's own hopefully less contentious way)

Friday, 6 March 2009

Mr Crane we were impressed with your cv

It's those son's of preachermen again!

I do like a good CV. I wish we got ones like this at work at bit more, we'd have snapped him up. Certainly more interesting than the usual backpacking and school volleyball captain.

He wrote this amongst other things in his sadly short curtailed life.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Oxford Blues

There's often long explanations as to why places like Oxford University still manage to control the country, beating places like Manchester that invented the computer and popular music and places like Barnsley responsible for the world's greatest football team.

But the reason isn’t the class system or privilege or even a higher intake of brainy types it’s because they are a big bunch of cheating gets!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Aces High or Low?

Gallery of the Lost and found: # 11

In all my travelling hither and yon over the last few days I didn’t have to time to tell you about my news, very minor in fact some might say trivial news even but cheery none the less....... I found another playing card for my street pack hurrah!

It’s the Ace of Diamonds: it was just as they all are lying there in the street near my gaff. It’s odd that I rarely find a discarded pack or even say half a pack scattered on the cobbles the most has been about 8-9 together and because you’ve got a have system I usually pick one at random (hoping I’ve not got it). Not sure why I have these rules it just would be cheating to pick up an entire pack all at once!

The card’s from a smaller than average sized pack so if we ever get round to playing a hand of “street canasta” it might be a bit obvious what you’re holding! Anyway only another 40 odd more to find before the big game!

PS. Oh and it’s got a pretty reverse design as well.

Last night I dreamt of the valleys

Late Night Music:

I’m still not sure it wasn’t a lucid dream.... A little awash with HPA and stepping out into the silence of a Welsh town. Not quiet like the hush in New Cross as I write, where there’s still the rattle of trains and the wail of sirens but the silence of no cars, no distant shouts, not even a robin defending its patch, the sort of silence that makes you tap your ears to check they are still working.

Then I wander along the empty high street and still nothing breaks the spell, it’s almost unnerving, won’t someone make some noise. Nearing my bed I’m glad to turn into my street and then it happens, a wisp of sound the aural equivalent of brushing past a lavender bush or a seeing a fleeting face in a crowd. A few more steps and it gets stronger until I can make out the tune, of all things “Hymns and arias”. As I get up close I find an entire male voice choir packed tightly into the low slung bar of my B&B. Packed as tightly as their matching blazers, faces shiny and flushed as they sing. Inside the hallway, staff and guests peer round the door listening to the men sing.

Joining them I am soon ushered into the bar to have a drink and then spend the following 30-40 minutes surrounded in the most wonderful of sound. Not a proper concert (that had been earlier across town) but a social post gig sing.

After each song finishes the talking and joking springs up, rounds are ordered and toilets found, then unbidden someone will start another verse or blow a tuning harmonica to set the key and it starts again, songs old and new, religious and profane.

The biggest joy is just standing in this tiny low space and being enveloped by the sound, a rare thing even for a live music fan. And then their coach arrives and slowly pints are sunk, bladders emptied, goodbyes said, and one last cheeky round bought and then they are gone singing their “so longs” as they leave. The beaming faces of the young bar staff testament to the power of the music.
It is the sort of event tourist boards would love to promote but like most of the perfect moments in life it came up out of the silence unsort, unplanned, unexpected and doubly welcome for being so.