More Musicians ( I promise that these will be the last ones for a while)
I could see when I look at my collection that I haven’t drawn any contemporary pop and rock musicians and I wondered why. Then I realised that I don’t know much about new developments any more and the reason is because I don’t hear it, not because I don’t want to or that I don’t like it but I have come to love the spoken word even more. Radio 4 makes the background to my day, so much of the output is thought provoking or incredibly informative. I’m a huge fan of the dramas and stories. Life simply isn’t big enough for all the things you want to do and the places you want to go to. I don’t seem to want to watch TV any more, I prefer to choose a film or a TV series and watch it on my lap top. I admit it does cut you off from certain conversations. Can you believe it I have never watched Come Dancing in spite of my love of dance.
When Ken and I started playing we played lots of folk music, we belonged to a folk music group in Canterbury and twice a year we went to stay for the weekend at Springfield House near Rye. The food was fantastic and we were often up most of the night playing (no change there then) What made it special for me was that it was that it had been the home of Edward Burra and I’d always loved his paintings. Everywhere I went in that house and garden I could imagine him being there. His family were well off, they had eight servants. The house is elegant with a beautiful staircase as a kind of centrepiece. As a child Edward developed rheumatoid arthritis, this meant that he had to leave his boarding school and be taught at home. Apparently he said to his mother one day ‘I’m just going out’ and more or less left home just like that. Paul Nash encouraged him and introduced him to surrealism, but his work doesn’t fit into any ‘ism’ it is unique and personal. A bit like George Grosz or Otto Dix.
He loved to observe the seemy side of life wherever he travelled and he travelled a lot. Most of his work is on paper, his hands were very twisted with arthritis and he couldn’t cope with oil. He was just unfortunate that he lived in a time when abstract impressionism was king and figures almost non existent. He might have preferred it that way as he never went to any of his private views, fame might not have suited his personality. During the latter part of his life he made quirky rather dark landscape paintings, another unfashionable subject at that time.
He described Rye as ‘a duckie little Tinkerbell towne’ but who could help liking a man who also said ‘always join the minority’ So Springfield was full of his spirit for me.
At Springfield the two guitarists shown immediately above were brilliant song writers about everyday subjects. I wish I had the words to some of them. a lot of them were funny wry observations on life, Cockney in style, slightly Chas and Dave. I can remember one of them was called ‘Sunday Tea with my Gran’ The chorus being a repeat of all the food she put on the table.
There were various jazz clubs, mostly trad jazz, the one I went to most often was at the retro Walpole Hotel, in Margate. You could order food and drinks and listen to the band. It was held in the basement, you had to use this incredibly old fashioned iron fretted lift to get there. I guess there was a staircase but I was already finding them a bit difficult.
I couldn’t possibly leave this page without mentioning one of Ken’s favourite musicians, a local, born in Canterbury, sax and clarinet player Tony Coe. Ken knew Tony’s father, I think he was called George, they knew each other from dance band days as George also played the sax. We saw Tony play on lots of occasions but the one I remember with the greatest pleasure was a master class he did for the Canterbury Fringe Festival. He inspired them and taught them so much in a very short time. He is such a sensitive inventive player, his whole life is in his music.
Tony has the kind of hunched back that a lot of sax players develop.
Above… Tony with renowned jazz pianist Stan Tracey.
With a student at the master class held in the Old Synagogue, in Kings Street.
Above… a group of students playing as an ensemble at Tony’s master class. He taught them so much in a short time. I have enough of these musician drawings to make a book of anecdotes….but I won’t!