Sunday, 2 October 2011

Southport recital, Lawnmower Museum, and Books with Fossils and Shells!

Did a recital in Southport, wonderful old resort town. I long for the days one took a lot of leather suitcases and trunks on a steam-train, dressed in a travelling suit and went to a coastal town, staying in a splendid hotel and braving the foul weather!

Or the beautiful weather, as the case may be.

Southport's Lord Street was, apparently, the inspiration for the Champs-Elysees. Emperor Napoleon III stayed there, went back and said "Make one of those things here." In French, of course.

I adore this 1930s poster of a wet, unpleasant night in English winter, made glamorous by being in Southport! The artist of the poster, incidentally, was Italian.

At the end of the tour with Angela, in 2006. 
Southport pianist Angela Thompson and I did a tour of Wales together in 2006, and she's always said she'd have me to sing at her "Midweek Music" series. So she and I performed all sorts of songs from my forthcoming album, and they were massively well-received. I sang Love's Old Sweet Song and everyone sang the choruses. Halfway through the recital, I said "I don't know if you ever see these songs performed in concerts..." and the whole room shouted "No, never!"
And one woman on the front row said "No, nowadays it's a load of old rubbish!" Then she looked mildly shocked at herself and said "I don't mean this series...I mean generally..."

A picture of me singing in the concert. The lighting highlights the churchy accoutrements, and makes me look as if I'm saying something like 'Come into the arms of the Lord'. I'm actually saying 'You are my honeysuckle, I am the bee!'

By the way, you can have that song for free if you follow this link HERE

Afterwards, I made Angela take me to the Lawnmower museum! It's the only lawnmower museum in Britain! I wonder if it's the only lawnmower museum in the world? All I can say is that it's a fun place to visit! Upstairs in a hardware shop, easily missed. And look at this one...looks like a flying saucer! These old machines are marvels of ingenuity, and I learned all sorts of things about scythe-men, and how specialised a job it was, how skilled. And how a scythe-man only got his scythe when he was fully grown, because only then could it be made the right size for him.

Before the concert I went to the most fabulous bookshop, ever. Down a narrow alleyway (with old tiles) and then bang-o! Several floors of books, old leather sofas, old sheet music, and ROCKS, MINERALS, FOSSILS, SHELLS and INSECTS!! I bought a wonderful framed leaf-insect. And a book on modern dancing, written in 1925. Gives a whole chapter on how to make fancy dresses. Example:

Folly: For a smart lady's costume we suggest the following: a black hat with curved crown and two side points, such as town-criers are supposed to wear. on the front a large white woolly pom-pom. The dress is in one piece, tight-fitting round the chest, a strap over each shoulder and no sleeves; full round the skirt and coming to the knees. All this is in black sateen. yellow silk stockings and black patent leather shoes, with white pom-poms  on the insteps. A white ruff round the neck and a little strip of black ribbon, tied in a bow, at each wrist. Carrying in one hand, three large yellow air balloons. 

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