Eurovision is on!

Eurovision is on tonight. A four or five hour song contest with European and a few non European countries challenging for the win. There are forty countries that compete in semifinals then twenty five in the final. Half the votes in the final come from the voting panels of each country and the rest come from a phone vote open to the public. The results take almost longer than the singing part. The singers can get up to twelve points from each judging panel and voters, so the total can rise well over a hundred or more. I’d like the UK to win but we got NO points last year. As we can’t vote for our own country I will be voting for Ukraine. They have a very good song called ‘Stephania’ I think, by the Kalush Orchestra.

Old songs

I keep hearing old songs on modern adverts on TV. I guess because some old songs are going out of copyright. Imagine an electric car being sold with Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra singing in the background. Or is it because musicians are selling off their play lists so advertisers can use them. I’m sure I’ve heard a few David Bowie songs on ads recently? It’s a funny old world, and songs that were written and recorded before most people were born are out there now….

Onedin line

I just listened to the Adagio from Spartacus. I know it as the theme music to a 1970’s TV series called the Onedin line. My mother used to collect LPs (long playing records) of classical music, and sometimes we would sit and listen to them. The adagio rises and falls, the music swells before it calms like a settling sea.

I haven’t heard it for forty years so I was surprised at how upset it made me. I cried so much. Memories can have that effect. These were good memories of a long time ago. If you want to hear it go to YouTube. It’s worth it.

The Cavern and the Beatles

When the Beatles were famous I was a child. By the time they split up I was still not very old. One of my earliest memories was hearing them on the radio. ‘Help’, Love me do’, ‘Yesterday’, I can still remember a lot of the words and tunes and I really feel nostalgic when I hear their songs.

I was a bit older when I heard of the Cavern Club in Liverpool, Merseyside. I never went there but cavern came up as a word prompt for a friend and suddenly I remembered where I’d heard the word. So I looked it up on the Internet (where I got the photo). The original club opened in 1957 as a jazz club. They didn’t like rock and roll but when it was taken over the Beatles started to play there in 1961 (they were previously known as the Quarrymen). Apparently they played there over 270 times. The club itself was a cellar with a curved arched ceiling. It closed in 1973 and was demolished so a railway line could be laid. The Cavern club did reopen but I’m not sure if it still is open.

Choir time

Go out and sing!

Join together in harmony

Open your mouth and heart.

Let your feelings out!

Sing songs of fun and glory,

Music to enhance your mood

Tunes that fold your memory in them

Like nectar, it is a wonderful food

It holds the world together

Plays through mind and soul

So sing of love and life and feelings

My choir makes me feel whole!

Join a choir?

We sing all sorts of music in the choirs I am in. We learn by repetition rather than using sheet music. We’ve been learning Bulgarian songs, and ones by Robert Burns recently. Also sea shanties. There is one choir called Clay Chorus that  has men and women singing in it and Loud Mouth Women which is a women only choir. Both are usually unaccompanied (a capella), although sometimes we have a guitar or ukulele to help with the tune. There are no auditions, people just come along and try. Many stay with the choirs for years. It was such a shame when we couldn’t meet because od Covid. Now all of us are vaccinated, we wear masks when we move around. The windows are open and we keep the room well ventilated. We do lateral flow tests to be safe. It’s fun to sing again.

Penkhull Wassail!

Morris dancers in their tatters

Memory of Doomesday Morris at Penkhull Wassail a couple of years ago. They danced and beat sticks to encourage the ancient Penkhull Apple tree to bud, flower and bear fruit later in the year. They were surrounded by a crowd of people, maybe two or three hundred. Some if us carried flaming torches to light our way. A walk around the boundaries of Penkhull and into local hostelries. I was part of the Mystery Singers choir who sang Wassail songs as we stopped off at the pubs…

Crowds and laughter, mad jolly japes, humans being gregarious. That’s what I miss. Thank goodness for Mysterious madness and eccentricity. Let’s pray to the gods of Wassail for this to come again one day, drink cider, jingle your bells, stamp your clogs, crash your sticks together! WASSAIL!