I’ve been having SO much fun!!!


For once – in brief – I’m here at East Dene and have been rehearsing for tonight’s :

. . .du da with Karen Street (Alan’s popping over later). She is truly amazing and we’ve already had a fantastic time swapping ideas, adding to a proposed set list – honestly, it’s like we are 2 kids unwrapping Christmas presents and spilling the Quality Street around with glee.

So do join us tonight for some squeezy fun. . . but beware, you become addicted! (see venue etc details below)

Then tomorrow, Karen and I are hosting a Creative Accordion Day – looking at putting swing into your squeeze and I’m having a look at English folk music by that I mean the repertoire of English folk tunes from any instrument – what makes it sound English. . . ?). I like thinking about things like that; I’m now engrossed in 2 books – the letters of John Keats to Fanny Brawne (swooning on his use of the English language) and the unofficial biography of Elton John which also recalls what else was happening at various stages of EJ’s career, like ‘Steptoe and Son’ on the tv and disco funk. . . I loved both the music and the artwork of albums such as ‘Yellow Brick Road’ and ‘Captain Fantastic’. Alan Aldridge – now there’s quite a colourful, dream-like and bizarre illustrator. . . I wonder if he also designs knitwear?

Tomorrow we’re at East Dene, home of Swinburne, next door to where Mr Dickens wrote ‘Great Expectations’ and just across the road from his grave where Edith Sitwell rushed to in order to pour milk on his grave. I didn’t realise that Algernon Swinburne modelled himself somewhat on Shelley (one of my favourites) and that Ms Sitwell (whose anniversary is on the 9th December this year) worshipped Swinburne. Some people talk about feeling like they are becoming children again; I seem to have stopped at age 14 when I discovered, in Wellingborough library, all the poetry to solve my queries about the poets’ names on all the roads on the Queensway Estate where I lived at the time. Quite a grand name for a London-overspill council estate in the mid 1970s.

My school route (walking – no one took their kids to school by cars then, I’m afraid. . .) was along Shelley Road, up Burns Road, along Swinburne Road, up Shakespeare Road, along Ruskin Avenue, along the Queensway, across to Tennyson Avenue and finally to Weavers’ Road where the Secondary School was. That library was also the first to get Groves Dictionary of Music so I was keen to swot up on all the composers’ biographies starting with Beethoven. What a little book worm I was, every afternoon after school for a couple of hours. . .yeah, yeah, went onto to become Head Girl. My, how times have changed!

Yet, that library was crucial to so much of my knowledge and great memories now. Ofcourse, the councils and governments want them axed. Hmmmmm. . . . .

Brief? Me?

I can be, if it involves good food, good music or a skip out for a walk by the sea. Which is now.

Come on down tonight or tomorrow (whatever instrument you play) or come and hear Paul Sivell give an illustrated talk about all the trees he’s worked with, been inspired by and more. . . we’re right by the sea, haunting Swinburne’s house, Holy Trinity Church, which reminds me about that ghost – oops! Gotta go, the sun’s casting diamonds on the sea (as Vic King would say. . .)