The Joy of the Proms

Hello Dear Reader

The BBC Proms, such a varied event is underway once more. I have already listened to a few of the proms and last night I sat down to Mahler’s 5th. It is very difficult to describe to people what you end up listening too particularly here in words. There are the odd one or two you can sort of hint at, Da-Da-Da-Darrr, is one. (Guesses allowed no prizes given)

I do find that a full orchestra is something of a joy to hear. It gives the music a life of it’s own and each time there is just a little difference that makes it special. I think that is why the BBC Proms are important. They have such diversity that it does cater for almost everyone.  There are 58 days of Proms, on some days three or four concerts played over 12 hours. That is a lot of music. It is all here http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms . It’s not only the music, it’s the musicians as well. They play over thousands of hours of music, it is a mental and physical battle to reach the end.

The BBC Proms are well received and supported by a loyal following, yet it is growing and changing. Musical, film and now jazz Proms have recently drawn in a different audience. Also shows such as Doctor Who, very popular, have shown that music comes in many forms.

Each year, many people tune in to watch the Last Night of the Proms, with well known classical works. Sometimes, you have to dip into the unknown and find a gem such as I heard with Mahler.  I did once challenge a radio station to play something from Star Wars. At the time, I suggested that many film pieces were as good as classical. Last night, I found some of Mahler’s work very much like a soundtrack. Full circle.

So dear reader, this little classical work is complete, the last bars played.

Tagline: “Da Da Da Dar”

HayDay

Dear Reader

It has been a while since I last wrote a blog, a review of Captain America. I do intend to review X-Men:Days of future Past very soon. This blog is or will try to be, different. Why? This past weekend I had the good fortune to visit the Hay-on-Wye book festival. It was very much a spur of the moment thing really. I have always wanted to visit this famous event and without knowing it I managed to plan a weeks leave at the right time.

Why was it so important to go? Because of my love of books and writing really. I have been to Hay a number of times and managed to find a book I long thought would never be found. In today’s world, I suspect I would have used the internet more and located a copy. As it was the fun of searching through second-hand bookshops made it more of a discovery to me.

The actual festival takes place just outside Hay, in a tented village very much like a few other places that appear these days. The festival has grown somewhat and given the attention recently from BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans, it is in my view trying to fire the imagination of all writers and readers.

There is something to be said for acting on impulse. Sometimes it can bring surprising rewards and this weekend I had three. The setup of the festival was very straight forward, no need to pay to get in just wander round and enjoy the atmosphere. You could however pick one of a number of talks that were taking place throughout the day. Having looked at the various talks there were two that caught my eye both it seemed were fully booked.

Well, time to wander again. This is when good fortune smiled. I talked to one of the many volunteers who suggested we check the returns. A quick return back to the ticket sales and guess what, yes they had two tickets for a talk by Tom Hollander the star of BBC TVs show Rev.

I did mention impulse before. Well, it also pays to ask a second time. Good fortune smiled again and I got two tickets to listen to Benedict Cumberbatch and friends reading from a collection of letters.

To listen to any actor live is for me a joy. You can hear the true reflection of the character they are portraying in their voice. The letters were from a new book each one read by a variety of well known people. Every single person who came on stage delivered their letter with passion and energy, to the degree that you did feel the real emotions behind the words. There were so many people who appeared each one standing out. However two letters and their readers stood out; John Lloyd and Rob Brydon. John Lloyd delivered a memo which was both risky and so humorous, whereas Rob Brydon gave us Richard Burton in all his wonderful tones. If he had said, ‘Broadsword calling Danny Boy’ that would have been it.

The exchange of letters between two World War Two sweethearts as read by Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey (Molly from Sherlock) was almost as if they had written them themselves. Again the passion, tender care, the off-hand comments all shone through these two people. It was brilliant and I would recommend buying the books;

The second talk had an equally wonderful set up. Tom Hollander who starts as the central character from Rev, along with James Wood and Jon Canter have written the Rev Diaries. They talked about the creation of the book, why it happened and how it enabled the author to expand that world beyond the small screen. It was a very interesting insight into the whole process and once again showed the passion behind these characters. Tom Hollander read two parts from the dairy, which if you think about it, you could see the character thinking about but in a television show can’t always articulate. There was also the change to get the book signed which I did. However, I did not just wish to have my book signed without making at least one comment. That was to Tom himself on his wonderful portrayal of Dylan Thomas. I also shook his hand, to which I think he was a little surprised. That to me added to the signing and the day.

What did I take away from my first trip to this festival of literature arts? Firstly that books are alive and still doing well. Secondly, that the festival is also very much alive considering the number of people who attended. Thirdly, that impulse really does pay, as does asking just one more time.

Tagline: ‘Broadsword calling Danny Boy’.

 

It’s all restarting

Hello All

My web site is coming back after a couple of weeks online. I will repost some of my old blogs and of course write some new ones.

Watch this space.