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Thursday, June 16, 2005

seabold performers

Beanz Meanz Blues

And I mean it in the cool *musical* sense, not as one of my usual misery-guts whinges.

I do so like what's going on with Bagels and Beans.

The ambiance is relaxed and roomy, the staff are attentive and alert without being simpering Bainbridge - and my fellow customers fit all categories and ages, making it one of my favorite people-watching perches.

Speaking of which, do my eyes deceive me or does Bainbridge not boast the best-looking mothers/daughters duos around?

OK, I won't get an answer because you lot are so deuc'd correct, but I tell you, it's at least twice a day I've caught myself admiring some high-stepping filly only to glance at her companion and - phwoar! - it's the Mrs Robinson version totally foxy mom.

Interesting having this time-warp glimpse of how the daughters can turn out if they pace themselves and walk the paths of righteousness.

Yes, super place, and made even superer by the brilliant attraction of Friday evening entertainment by the Island's finest musicians.

Being an enthusiastic - if irregular - performer at Seabold Second Saturdays, I know most of the performers so of course I make the odious most of swaggering around and exchanging knowing winks and waves with the superstars.

Nor am I just a fair weather fretter: that pic up there is of just some of the CDs I won at an auction as a package deal of BI troubadour recordings:

  • Someday by the gravel-voiced Eddie Jay Williams - skilled guitarist and magician on the harmonica - whose first two tracks I played to a DJ from Radio Brighton, only to have her instantly burn a copy for playing on her show back home. As far as I know, she still is, and probably owes Eddie royalties galore, payable - erm - 'sometime'.
  • Songbird Emily Groff, 'Live from Seabold Hall'
  • Eleven Eleven by Dusty Rose (Billy Forrester & the siren-voiced Susan Welch, but also featuring the ubiquitous EJW, as well as Tania Opland, and Marilyn Davis)
  • Cut to Rhythm - Tania Opland & Mike Freeman
  • And a thoroughly raucous recording of the best of the Coffee Cantina Jam, Homemade Jam, including the above-mentioned types as well as the 'greats' like Larry Dewey, Mike Murray, 'Sandy' Sandridge, Bruce Haedt and Carl Sander.
  • Just wish I'd bagged something by Karena and Joe Prater, a bizarrely ka Cat Loves Crow - but no doubt they're on the Bagels/Beans concert list and I can bootleg a recording then.

emily groffThe first artiste I heard as part of B&B's chanteur evenings was, in fact, Emily Groff whom I blame entirely for crooning so sweetly I left in a haze thus forgetting to scoop up my glasses.

The next person I sort of heard, was the genial Larry Dewey, limbering up before the main event,larry dewey Eddie lurking to one side and blowing his usual amazing wails on one of his many mouth-organs (or are they called 'harps' in this folksy context?).

I meant to return later but was ambushed by a tone deaf pal who inveigled me into playing backgammon and revealing my cache of stilton and best port.

As if all that wasn't enough, as I sat enjoying this afternoon's bagel and cuppa, my eye was caught by a tattered paperback that I can't seem to find on Amazon,"On this Day in Rock 'n' Roll".

This being nothing if not a blog of the highest grade trivia, here are today's celebrations for June 15:

  • 1921 - Errol Garner born (you may not know his name, but you'll sure as heck have swayed and nuzzled to his composition, 'Misty')
  • 1941 - Harry Nilsson born
  • 1956 - Ivan Vaughan introduced a thoroughly sozzled John Lennon to a sober Paul McCartney
  • 1963 - release of Jan & Dean's Surf City.
  • But fie!, I hear you cry - why do we need to know of vulgar surfer-boy squealings? Well, I will tell you.

    fender telecasterWhen 1964 ended, so did my time at a wretched Sussex private school, enabling me to fly home to the bosom of my family in Hong Kong, armed only with a plucked-chicken haircut, a toffee-nosed Queen's English accent, and a gleaming Fender Telecaster on which I had acquired considerable skill, at the cost of Milton, Pythagoras and assorted classical declensions.

    Being English to my upraised pinkie, I naturally yearned to be a bleached-blond surfer hunk, and the combo I'd put together back in my UK prison played nothing but Beach Boys and Jan & Dean. I even recall a prefect listening in on a practice and commenting, "Honestly, chaps! You don't know how bloody silly you sound - you, in particular, Holmes, cavorting around with that ... that *instrument* and that bloody stupid falsetto." You get my drift.

    So out I go to Hong Kong where *all* the sexy girls I meet are creamy-skinned buxom Americaines wanting nothing to do with a knobbly-kneed Brit. And the one who shunned me with particular expertise was a gorgeous creature called Jackie Fishel. Guess who muggins crushed madly in lust with? Spot on.

    Well, one of the ways of keeping 10 years of exile and flagellation fresh was to attend the weekly youth club meetings where I could torture myself by watching young Jackie besport herself with the local muscle-bounders to the sounds of local bands.

    One evening a non-descript squirt who fancied himself as a singer turned up with the 45rpm of 'Surf City' which he played to the band for them to pick up the chords because he wanted to sing it live on stage. They didn't know it and they didn't want to know it. Up steps yours truly:

    "I can do it. I know the chords ..."

    "Really? Cool."

    "Yes, and I can do the falsetto harmony."

    "Yeh, well, never mind that - can you do the *high* bits?"

    Out with Telecaster up to the microphone, drummer counts us in and suddenly jerky limey Holmes is transformed into a hip-swaying raver with a *very* convincing line in Dick Dale-meets-the-Ventures surfer riffs and spot-on harmony in the disgraceful chorus proclaiming,

    "Two-o-o girls for e-e-v'ree boyyy"

    By the time the song ended, the squit would-be singer had decided that, accent be damn'd, I was one helluva good guy and his new best friend and I should come on back with the gang for a party at his place.

    Wait, it gets worse: when it emerged that I was driving my dad's car and could save him a taxi fare home, he asked if I had room for his sister. I was on the point of saying no - the MGB being strictly speaking only a *two*-seater - when up sashayed Jezebel Jackie.

    "Hey bro."

    "Wassup, shrimp face? Hey, you know Chris, right?"

    "Sure I do - flutter of lashes; jigger of magnificent chest - wow, that was amaa zing ... where'd you learn to play like that?" Modest shrug.

    "Hey Jackie - Chris is coming to the party 'n' he's giving us a ride in his MG sports car, so get your stuff together ..."

    "Well, it's not actually m-- "

    Too late! The dye was cast, Jackie had snared her trophy adoring swain **complete with hot wheels**, and *I*had landed myself the colony's Homecoming Queen as inconstant main squeeze (and mostly tease) for the summer.

    Surf City, indeed, guys n gals - I have the softest of spots for that bouncy ditty.

    And on this day tomorrow, June 16?

    • 1960 - Psycho opened in Hollywood.
    • 1961 - Rudolf Nureyev defected in Paris. (Mais sacré bleu! The wikipedia hotlink disagrees with "On This Day" and assigns Rudi's pirouette to freedom to the following day, June *17*.
    • 1967 - First Monterey Pop Festival

    Well, goodness, you spoiled creatures - you've got your Bainbridge stuff and you've got a raft of non BI-centric ramblings.

    Speaking of which - you darling dahling readers - I very much appreciate your support over my not having to slave over Bainbridgeana.

    I mean - honestly! - we've got ace blogs out there with Bainbridge actually in the name (leaden hint), and *still* Twerpa Anonymosa picks on *me* to squinch the coverage down to mere local derring-do ...

    Thank gawd yur back and feisty and wonderful and amazing as ever!! This "anonymous" sez post whatever you want! It's always good.
    Thanks, pal. One day when you shed yr Anon cloak, I owe you a large Pimms and myself a fun chat. Bless you.
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