Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Swinglo hosts Tom Ashworth again

My cement mixer stopped working the other day. Normally, this wouldn’t register as a calamity but seeing as how I was in the middle of pointing along, high wall, there was a distinct possibility of having to mix the mortar by hand - with my back! - if I wanted to finish the job sometime before winter.

Cost of a new one was out of the question; somehow, without me noticing, the price of cement mixers had ballooned out of all proportion and now equated to something like the National Debt. I’m sure I never paid anything like that ten years ago. Anyway, according to Geoff who holds a professorship in fixing things, the solution to the problem was to repair the old one and I phoned up the company that had manufactured my trusty machine. In the intervening years this company, subject to numerous take-overs, had blossomed into a multi-national, multi-million, all plastic and glass, megalith and the conversation went something like this.

Good morning, how can we help?
Hello, I’ve got a cement mixer. It’s ten years old and the electric motor has stopped working. It just hums when you switch it on but if you hit it with a stick it starts to spin.
I’ll put you through to Sales, sir, they’ll sort you out.
Good morning, Sales.
Hello, I’ve got a cement mixer. It’s ten years old and the electric motor has stopped working. It just hums when you switch it on but if you hit it with a stick it starts to spin.
You need Parts, sir, I’ll put you through.
Hello, Parts.
Hello, I’ve got a cement mixer. It’s ten years old and the electric motor has stopped working. It just hums when you switch it on but if you hit it with a stick it starts to spin.
Sounds like you need Spares, sir, I’ll transfer you.
Good morning, Spares department.
Hello, I’ve got a cement mixer. It’s ten years old and the electric motor has stopped working. It just hums when you switch it on but if you hit it with a stick it starts to spin.
Technical, sir, you need the Technical Department.
And he put me through to Technical.
As soon as ‘Technical’ answered in a strong Midland’s accent I had a picture of him in my mind. He was a man of a particular age, wearing a brown warehouse coat, possibly a flat cap, chewing the end of a pencil, leaning on a counter and staring at an unfathomable piece of machinery.
Hello, I’ve got a cement mixer…
I’ll bet it’s a CS300 series. Is it yellow?
Well it was originally.
How old is it?
Ten years.
Does it hum when you switch it on?
Yes.
Have you tried hitting it with a stick?
Yes.
Capacitor. It’s your capacitor, part number CS5900148.
And don’t let them overcharge you. They try to charge over the odds on these capacitors.
And there you have it. At the deepest heart of these shining beacons of 21st century industry is a man in a brown coat.

God bless him.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Swinglo sings with massed male voice choir at Huddersfield Town Hall

Concert in aid of Alzheimer's disease organised by Norman Mellor at Huddersfield Town Hall

Thankfully our supporters loved the concert. I was drenched with sweat at the end and felt like a sardine. Colne Valley were in Loyds TSB suits - goodness knows how they felt. 
Black Dyke are amazing technically. The James Bond sequence was great and their final piece truly brilliant though I couldn't hear the title as their MD was facing the audience. The percussion section was enchanting.
Our two conductors were good (Tom Meredith, Steven Roberts) as were the pianists.
Sadly we also couldn't hear Sarah Ogden, but from behind she looked great. 
Our changing room was up amongst the rafters. 
Concert organised by Norman Mellor who was as imposing and larger than life as ever.
The massed choir repertoire was old-fashioned male voice which made a refreshing change from some of New Mill's more modern stuff.
Tom Ashworth, fresh from his blog success with Shallilo, has sneaked into a couple of the pics - very relaxed with his hands in his pockets. Roger from Honley is prominent, as our tenors in the far corner. Thanks to Ann with an 'e' Lane for the full frontal view.
I forgot my white shirt and had to forgo some of the rehearsal whilst I went to Next for a replacement. It was, after all, a concert for Alzheimer's disease research.