Books and music, music and books,
of all the arts these are the two that I’ve lost myself the most in since childhood. And sometimes, of course, I combine the two.
One Train Later is the autobiography of The Police guitarist Andy Summers. I read this book in the last few leisurely days.
I was already familiar with the group’s hits, staple fare of the airwaves since I was growing up, and now this lockdown had afforded me some time to work my way through their albums. Acquainting myself with their less well known tracks, I made my way through their material in chronological order, allowing me to chart their development in a way that their fans at the time would have experienced them.
It further cemented the belief that my musical taste is fixed, mostly, on this side of the millennium.
Of course, there are a few exceptions, (and I don’t think it healthy for anyone to live solely in the past), and nothing can beat stumbling upon a great busker on the streets of Manchester when loaded down with bags in the wake of your wife’s shopping trail.
But that is a luxury currently denied to us, and so in the meanwhile it’s this:
books and music, music and books,
with hopefully good weather and copious amounts of coffee.
I’ve just heard of the death, at 81, of Astrid Kirchherr, the woman who helped define the early Beatles look when the then unknown Liverpool group were in Hamburg in the early sixties.
She took some of their early photographs, iconic photographs in a style that were ahead of everyone else at the time.
After these she also gave the (then) Fab Five their distinctive Beatle haircuts, the fifth being the talented but doomed artist Stuart Sutcliffe who she fell in love with. Later, reduced to four, and with Best replaced by Starr, they went on to conquer the world, as she proudly and sadly looked on.
Fifty eight years apart, I’d like to think that they’ve found each other again. R.I.P
With the demise, temporary or otherwise, of my son James’ team, Bury FC, I started taking him to watch a local non-league team by the name of Prestwich Heys.
A world away from the Premier League football that we could stay home and watch on the TV, it’s a real community club that values our support and attendance.
With no pretensions or VAR in sight, it’s proper football with proper fans, giving a warm welcome and an inclination to visit again – for the club quickly got under our skin to the extent that it has now become a family affair with both my wife and daughter also attending games.
We were having a great season, and then that damn Covid-19 virus arrived and everything was brought to a premature close.
In the meanwhile, a friend has started up a blog about all thing Heys to keep everyone still connected in these barren months. It isn’t on WordPress, but if you follow the link below you can enter your email address to subscribe to his posts.
So if you have an interest in non-league football; football in general; want to know what is going on in this part of Northern England, or to gain a glimpse of some of the things that I and my family get up to here in Manchester, UK, please follow the link and subscribe.
It’s a new blog and I’m sure the writer will appreciate the support of you lovely people.
His name is Rick, go say hello.
I’m sitting in the garden, once again, this time reading Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine.
It’s summer. I can smell summer; taste summer. My jackdaws are lining up along the neighbour’s rooftop, tethered by the sun.
It’s in the autumn I’ll think of my father; my grandparents, see the young ghosts of my brother and I playing cricket in the ginnel, dwarfed by walls I can comfortably peer over.
For now, it’s my children, playing with the dog as I pause to watch, mid-sentence, laughing on the threshold of a great beyond.
A rainy Manchester makes the city much more familiar to me. Heavy, grey skies instead of the blue.
And we can’t complain, this April just gone being the sunniest one on record. And the irony on me, as a fan of non-league football, is not lost. All through Autumn and Winter, match after match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Since attending matches at this level, I’ve never checked the weather reports so much than since I was a postman.
Then, once all football had been cancelled due to this pandemic, of course, we have had nothing but glorious weather.
“Every single match would have been on,” my son, James, lamented.
What days out we would have had. Days out being currently denied us. But such are the times.
Then, from local weather and local football, to local vernacular.
I spotted this recycling bin in the centre of Leeds.
‘Empty plastic and cans, nowt else’
It’s the use of that word: nowt
This is a word that we use in Manchester, too.
Is it a Yorkshire word that slipped unobtrusively over the border into Lancashire? Or did it take the other route, from Yorkshire to Lancashire? Arriving unheralded and, without us realising it, becoming a part of our everyday vernacular?
I looked it up.
The word nowt is a Northern English dialect term meaning nothing, none and no one. This local dialect word is in common usage among the people of Northern England, predominantly Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester. Nowt often features in the dialogue of the TV soap, Coronation Street.
Well, Corrie is a Manc soap, but, coming under the umbrella of Northern England, I reckon it’s a word that we can both lay claim to, Yorkshireman and Lancastrian alike.
Nowt wrong with that.
This is how we seem to be living life at the moment. But all will soon be back to normal.
Hang in there, guys. The days are still passing.