Little Sparrow and More


Today is the last day of a few days off – no particular reason for time off – just something to break up February and offer the chance of getting some things done around the house.  To that end, I have failed miserably and I don’t know why but I just couldn’t face starting a project: perhaps, because there are so many things that need attention and I feel overwhelmed. I then play games with myself all day that I will start emptying a closet in a minute, then after a snack and before you know it, yes, I have been on the computer looking at items I will literally never buy or getting lured down a rabbit-hole of dire political forecasts.

I hate to be such a cliché but there it is. Continue reading

Club Django and More



Last week a friend (actually, two separate friends, who both know me well)  invited me to come along and hear Club Django. I do love hearing bands play live and I particularly like this kind of music but sometimes it seems like too much trouble after a  long day at work and the concept of coming home and going out again seems unbearable.

Still, as noted here before, I find Klezmer (or so-called ‘Gypsy Jazz’) especially cheering and these past few weeks, I have been feeling super down and questioning almost everything I usually find enjoyable. That sounds bad and it hasn’t been as bad as all that, but I’ve been embroiled in my past and I feel so stirred up, I have not been sleeping and I’m overwhelmed a lot of the time.

So, on impulse, and despite the fact that The General was just as happy not to attend, I decided to accept after all and headed out at the especially odd time of 2pm, out of the glinty sunshine and into a darker venue to catch Club Django in concert.

And from the opening notes, I was so, so happy that I did.

The high-octane, soaring guitars matched the swinging violin beat for beat ( I couldn’t take my eyes off the technicolour hatted Rodion Boshoer, who was playing like he had been recently set on fire) and I felt absolutely transported; I was also amused to note that there were several extra, extra large coffee cups by the band’s amps.  Abbey Sholzberg’s energetic skill with the double bass was both lively and impressive, his faux-leopard vest charming and suitably quirky; basically, it was impossible not to be happy in that room and the crowd was loving it. I was so glad that I was there and that I had forced myself to come out.

Django himself,  would be well pleased. Continue reading

I Wanna Be Yours


I’ve often thought that if I had ever become an English teacher it would have been interesting to analyze the lyrics of songs as class assignments. So many songs are poetry in their own right (I’m looking at you Diamonds and Rust)  but will never be recognized as such; at least not in that respected canon of what really counts.

(And whilst I don’t envision Harold Bloom  excitedly rushing home to tease out the classical allusions buried within ‘Can’t  Feel  My Face’ anytime soon, the thing is, that song lyrics often assume a separate meaning for listeners than the original writer may have intended for himself.

And that is, simply part of the art.

(If you are reading this, Spock, you might just want to stop and do something else for a while, say, heave quietly. My brother is not good with tolerating anything that he considers to verge on Touchy-Feely-Eat-Pray-Love s**t …) Continue reading

David Bowie



My memories of David Bowie and my years as a teen in 1970s Britain cannot be separated from one another; they are stitched tightly together like a tapestry and as I discovered this week have not lost any of their potency.

I actually watched my hands shake when I read the news of his passing and have not been able to write about it till today.

My much older brother (whom I very fondly call ‘Spock’ ) took great enjoyment in regularly skewering my admiration of Bowie at the time although interestingly, this “phase” would continue into my adulthood since this was Not. A. Puppy Luu-uuv). Spock would frequently suggest that if Bowie was really the talent I claimed he was, he would not have to resort to the ‘gimmickry’ of different personas etc.

(Let’s just say that my brother was not entirely comfortable with Bowie’s sparkling, off-the-shoulder body stocking …)

Years later I stopped arguing with him or anyone else because if you are asking this kind of question you have either never listened to the music or, you just didn’t get it.

In which case, I feel badly for you – but cannot explain it.

To me Bowie was a poet, a  brilliant, self-taught intellectual (that crisp, almost Royal annunciation wasn’t acquired on the streets of Brixton) and despite the glittery beginning I absolutely lusted after him. His voice could bring me to my knees (the earnest phrasing, the lingering over a syllable) and I listened over and over, often deep into the night, creating my own anthems, hearing something different each time. Continue reading