May 18

Why Jackie Turner Never Became A World Champion

 

turnerMy primary school was a curious and perhaps unique mix of children. Most of the pupils came from working class families - yes they could be precisely defined at that juncture - however a significant number were children from Jewish families. Some shared the same socio-economic profiles as the majority of children, however, significant percentage came from solidly middle class and professional backgrounds.

 

Sports day was an eagerly anticipated annual event, even for myself whose puny frame was never going to develop into any semblance of the athletic. The specific race was the one hundred yards. I am fortunate enough to posses a reasonably photographic memory and I can vitalize the scene even now these many year later. The bang of the Starting Pistol and a vision of Jackie Turner almost one third along the track before the other competitors had even put one running shoe in front of the other. I do not remember...

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May 12

A Touch Of The Red

 

harwoodMany years ago I lived in small village in England. Every Friday evening I would go to a popular local pub. Frank and Ann were very particular about who they would welcome into their arena of hospitality. The bar, just one room, resembled the lounge of a private rather than a public house and the appropriate standards of personal conduct were assumed. Key to the popularity of The House were the wonderful home made Pie and Peas, when ordered,  were served up on a tray with bowls, cutlery, and condiment holders for salt and malt vinegar.

 

Our particular group of regulars were a mixed bunch. The Vice-principle of a local technical college, the head of a Comprehensive. Derek who worked in the heating sector, another, a well travelled gentlemen who owned a petrol station, plus sundry others.

 

During the course of one previous week I had visited Harewood House. Designed by architects John Carr and Robert Adam, it was built, between 1759 and 1771,...

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May 12

How Little, People Take Note of History

 

sandybrownClarinettist, Sandy Brown was that rarity, an authentic and original voice.

 

Brown was born of Scottish parents in Izatnagar, Uttar Pradesh, India, where his father was a railway engineer. In the early 1930s, the family relocated to Edinburgh, Scotland, where Brown was later educated at the Royal High School.[1] He taught himself clarinet from the age of twelve. After National Service he studied architecture at Edinburgh College of Art. While there, in 1949, he also started a band with his old school friend Al Fairweather. The two achieved national recognition following a concert at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, in February 1952. In 1953, the band travelled south and played among other places at the newly built Royal Festival Hall in London. Brown returned to finish his studies in Edinburgh, but Fairweather decided to stay in London.

 

On completing his studies, Brown obtained a position as an acoustic engineer with the BBC...

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May 9

Taoyang Wang

Talent - Where does it come from

 

Chinese Opera

 

Looking on YouTube at Chinese Opera I came a across a truly astonishing video of the seven year old Taoyang Wang. Even if you are not familiar with Chinese Opera - maybe you find it difficult to like or appreciate - you would still be impressed by the effortless virtuosity of this small boy.

 

How does, one might ask, a small child of seven years of age, acquire a mastery of what is a incredibly and demanding art form? Watching the video you will see mastery, poise, a seriousness of purpose that transforms this child into something quite remarkable. At the end of the video, when he is being spoken to by the presenter of the television programme, Taoyang Wang becomes once again a small boy with the voice and demeanour of a small child.

 

Traditional Chinese opera or Xiqu, is a form of musical theatre in China with roots going back to the early periods in China. It is an amalgamation of various art forms that...

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May 7

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

 

The 1979 BBC adaptation of John Le Carré’s novel mystified a nation – but also featured one of the greatest performances ever seen on the small screen. The Guardian.

 

Tinker Tailor Sildier SpyWhy was this classic series thought to be so impenetrable, mysterious beyond comprehension, and even boring? I myself never found it to be any of these things. Over the years I have watched it again and again on DVD, sometimes binging its entirety at one sitting and have never ever found it to be anything other than totally compelling.

 

There is very little in the way of violent action. An exception the unfortunate Jim Prideaux trapped in a Czechoslovakian forest, the episode lacking any actual blood splattering the small screen. It is a sinister comedy of manners. This it makes the eventual murder of the detained and soon to be exiled 'Mole' even more shocking.

 

You need to have been born and reared in England to really appreciate the subtle indicators of...

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Real Book and The Smart Phone

Real Book and The Smart Phone

 

It has become a familiar sight. At jam sessions - forgivable [ ... ]

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All Blues

All Blues

 

"Astounded! is the only word I can use to describe my utter dismay" commented Major [ ... ]

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