Monday, July 11, 2011

A gentleman of leisure

Having taken the option of Voluntary Severance combined with early retirement at the end of May after 20 years with Wirral Council I've been far, far too busy to post anything to my blog. I've been attending lots of folk clubs, singarounds and festivals that I hadn't previously had time for, and been getting out on country walks in North Wales and Cheshire. Last Wednesday I went for an invigorating walk up Moel Siabod with my friend Frank which rewarded our efforts with some wonderful panoramic views of Snowdonia and waves of rolling hills stretching far to the south.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

In memory of Seve 1954-2011

In memory of Seve 1954-2011

Severiano Ballasteros
Was spectacular and unorthodox.
He danced a jig when he won;
He made golf fun.

Severiano Ballasteros, known universally just as "Seve" has died at the age of 54. He was a great golfer who made golf exciting to watch; he conveyed his enthusiasm in such a way that everyone who watched him play shared the thrills with him every inch of the way.

Matthew Edwards

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Dream of Napoleon

Napoleon's grave on St Helena

Napoleon died in exile on the island of St Helena 190 years ago today on 5 May 1821, although it was several weeks before the news of his death reached Europe. His body was initially buried on the island in a willow grove as shown in the illustration above taken from 'A Series of Views Illustrative of the Island of St Helena' by James Wathen, 1821 before it was transferred to Paris for reburial in 1840.

Jon Boden's song blog A Folk Song A Day features The Bonny Bunch of Roses as the song for today - a song about the enduring memory of Napoleon, but an earlier recording, for 15 August 2010 featured The Dream of Napoleon. 
This song came from the singing of the Norfolk fisherman, Sam Larner, and it expresses the myth of Napoleon as a liberator from tyrants. It may have been safer to express such views after Napoleon's death, but nevertheless it does give some evidence of one strand of English radicalism that looked to Napoleon for inspiration.

"Ye princes and rulers whose station ye bemean
Like scorpions ye spit forth venem and spleen
But liberty all over the world shall be seen
As I woke from my dream cried Napoleon."

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Ships and shanties in Liverpool

There were more ships and shanty singers at the waterfront festival on the May Bank Holiday Monday, and once again the sun was out so there were huge crowds attending and enjoying the spectacle. I enjoyed hearing the Young'uns, and was bowled over by their refreshing, and invigorating (and occasionally downright silly!) approach. They sing some of their own songs which are very good, besides more traditional material.I also enjoyed hearing Bernie Davis and Keith Price sing as Liverpool Packet aboard the Zebu - it was great to hear shanties sung on a real ship.
Running Man; street sculpture opposite King's Dock

Bernie Davis and Keith Price (Liverpool Packet) aboard the Zebu

Oosterschelde in Canning Half-tide Dock

The amazing Mekkanacul Morris Men

TS Pelican at Liverpool

The Young'uns at the Maritime Museum

Monday, May 02, 2011

Sir Henry Cooper 1934-2011

 Sir Henry Cooper 1934-2011

In fond memory
Of Our 'Enry;
A gent by universal repute,
And never a Brut.

© Matthew Edwards 2 May 2011

Sir Henry Cooper, former British and Commonwealth heavyweight boxing champion, has died aged 76. He was a lovely man, kind, honest and gentle to the core - except in the boxing ring where his fierce left hook once floored Cassius Clay (as Muhammad Ali was known at the time of their fight in 1963). He won some fame after his boxing career ended from advertising Brut deodorant.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shanties in Liverpool

After a very successful first Shanty Festival in Ellesmere Port over Easter, the focus of attention shifted to the other bank of the Mersey where the older Liverpool Shanty Festival is running over two weekends as part of the Spring on the Waterfront festival sponsored by Liverpool City Council and partners.

Here are some pictures taken on the opening day of the festival;-

Upmarket bar in Paradise Street

Crowds in Chavasse Park watching the Royal wedding

Pier Head

The floating stage

The Duckmarine dives into the "moshpit"!

Hughie Jones performing on the floating stage

Dem Liverpool gulls with their peroxide curls!

Kazimier Krunk Band playing in Liverpool One

They paved Paradise Street...

To misquote Joni Mitchell; "They paved Paradise Street, put up a shoping mall...". This Liverpool street was described by Stan Hugill in his book Sailortown as the most well-known street of Liverpool's Sailortown, and was infested by an army of prostitutes known as 'Liverpool Judies', and the street was lined with bars, brothels, and cheap boarding houses all designed to relieve the sailors of their money.

"Oh, as I was a-rollin' down Paradise Street,
Way, hay, blow the man down!
A Liverpool scuffer I chanct fer ter meet,
Oh, gimme some time ter blow the man down!"

Paradise Street in Liverpool One
The street is now part of the retail heaven developed by the Grosvenor Estate; Liverpool One, designed to relieve shoppers of their money!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Shanties in Ellesmere Port

Delicious meal at the Bunbury Arms!
Hissyfit on board the barge Bigmere

Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham
Bob Conroy and Hughie Jones

Evening at the Boat Museum

The first Easter Maritime Festival at Ellesmere Port Boat Museum was a great success over the Easter weekend. The warm sunny weather helped a lot in attracting crowds to come and enjoy days out among boats of all sizes. It was a very enjoyable social occasion too; good for meeting old friends and making new ones.

There were some great performances over the weekend, but the highlight for me was the Saturday evening concert with Shantyjack, Trim Rig and a Doxy, the Enkhuizen 4 who sang some lovely Dutch songs, Hughie Jones with Bob Conroy, Nine Tenths Below on a very successful first outing, and a magical performance from Hissyfit.

Congratulations to Derek and Julia for organising this event, and I'm looking forward to next year already!

Trim Rig and a Doxy (Derek and Julia)