Monday 27 February 2012

Barbara Thomson and Vivaldi

I've watched a couple of really inspirational films recently (thanks, Peter), both with a strong message from the world of music and both so completely different.  Barbara Thomson is one of the world's best improvising sax. players. Now in her late 60s, I used to hear her perform at the Bull pub in Barnes during the early 70s. Her husband is Jon Hiseman, a superb drummer still working with his old band, "Colosseum", as well as Barbara's outfit, "Paraphernalia". Barbara has Parkinson's disease and is fighting it hard. Seeing her perform under this terrible stress was spine-chillingly motivating. There is something about the sound she makes that would inspire anyone to listen to more and somehow get involved. I also respond to her crossover into rock and contemporary music - she composes for classical combos and choirs as well as working with Colosseum.

Friday 3 February 2012

Keeping Time

I recently had an outing to London to see a play.  This was "The Lady Killers", based on an old Ealing comedy film, originally starring Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom and Alec Guinness. The current play is written by Graham Linehan, of Father Ted and Black Books fame. It's a story of five crooks who plan a bank job. They take lodgings with an old lady, Mrs Wilberforce and pretend to be a string quintet. None of them can play a note.  Each criminal character might be seen as representing what was wrong with the morality of post-war Britain, the old lady in contrast suggesting a mythical tradition of English goodness, kindness and upright honesty. The theatre and the play thrust you body and soul into a world gone by; the moral questioning still relevant.