Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Hats and watches - New Mill and Llandudno 2018


There are a number of exquisite public art wooden carvings based on 'Alice in Wonderland'. The Mad Hatter was opposite the Queens Hotel on the promenade. Inland, there were March Hare, Queen of Hearts and a caterpillar. Queenie had rotting toes. Graham Evans suggested she was incontinent.

The Mad Hatter has a famous attribute, a feature shared by Rod Gooch and myself. We don't have the same hairdresser, but we do go in for the same style of headgear for the follicularly challenged. 'Peaky Blinder' is my current favourite. Rod was concerned about the button on the crown. Caps without are inferior apparently. My other touring cap is a match with my 'Harris Tweed' jacket and is buttonless. It's a personal blow.

The fund-raiser for the children's hospice caught me without cash. Unintended - the childbride is a similar volunteer. Rod met him when in full regalia - multicoloured T-shirt as well as trousers, red jacket and wait for it ... red top hat. Splendid, less so when I came later. Did Rod put in a bid for the hat?

Great to see Anne and Jim. Anne is one of Colwyn's pianists. We had a much better experience in 'Dylans' restaurant than they did.

I admit to being a child again with a new toy. It's a comfort thing. Second-hand pocket watch from the repair shop at Elsecar Heritage centre and chain from Beaverbrooks. I was cooling off from the Gt Orme ascent.




Up the Great Orme - New Mill and Llandudno 2018


Wiki tells us this is GB's only remaining cable-operated street tramway. The cars are permanently fixed to the cable. In San Francisco the cable is always running and the cars attach and detach.   Opened in 1902/03, the winding gear was steam powered, changing to electric in 1958.

The first section is a steep walk and then it levels off. Or you could go by tram. It's a must do thing and most people did.


Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Llandudno and New Mill Choir 2018



A concert with a male voice choir from Colwyn Bay. A mix of travel and accomodation, resolved for the concert, held in St John’s Methodist Church, Llandudno. Usual high standard of Welsh singing; disciplined, enthusiastic, technically spot on and great for the hard of hearing. Their serious Welsh Language repertoire was a good foil for our more light-hearted fare. The audience was appreciative. 
  It wasn’t quite deja vu, but nevertheless a reminder of our workshop weekends from the past. We would hire a bus and go down on the Friday, back Sunday. Just the guys in the Queens Hotel. Did we rehearse in the ballroom? I had a different room buddy every year - four in total before we moved to Scarborough in 2008. Our music guides were Len and Elizabeth and Anne and, on one occasion, Sheila Asquith.
  On Saturday night, a dozen of us would go to the Snowdon before joining the rest of the choir in the Kings Head. The current Snowdon, I discovered this weekend, must have had a makeover. It certainly didn’t resemble the one in which we used to play ‘bunnies’. A strange game where guys put their hands up to their ears (https://h2g2.com/entry/A697999) according to a set of rules. There was a chairman who’s word was law and lots of ways to make mistakes and get punished. Barry Garside was as brilliant as he was clueless - a more uncoordinated bloke I have yet to meet. 
  One night they had a turn; guitar, amp, voice and long hair. He had a Liverpool accent and kept referring to the times he’d met ‘John’. We stood and sang Myvanwy and brought the house down.
  The Kings Head would but a barrel on; was it Tram Driver? The pub was next to the Great Orme terminus. The regulars knew we were coming and we did a proper choir sing.
  Our free time was spent walking on the prom and the pier, dodging the lethal dive-bombing gulls. The locals recommended we ate our sandwiches under cover in one of the slot arcades.
  Back then we also had contacts with a North Wales Choir; Cantorion Colin Jones, an elite selection of singers from many choirs, under Colin’s direction - Colin was a close friend of Elizabeth. During our Llandudno weekends we would stop off in Bettws on the Sunday afternoon to listen to their rehearsal and perhaps do a joint item. They were impressive. We sang with them in Bettws and Wrexham and they came up to Huddersfield Town Hall. Colin also travelled to us in New Mill as a singing coach. Elizabeth recalls the contact with Colin and his men resulting in a step change in our performance quality.
  It was not our first time in St Johns either. We once did a Sunday morning set during regular morning worship.
  Llandudno today is the jewel. Long curving bay, wide promenade, pebble beach, lively seas and pale clean fronted hotels and boarding houses. Plenty to do, including a visit to Venue Cymru, the original site of the Arcadia Theatre, founded by Scarborough’s Will Catlin in 1915. Pierrots are making a Llandudno come-back this coming Saturday, 29th September. Lots of shopping opportunities and coffee. Plenty of accessible walking. The Great Orme is a challenge, but worthwhile. Dylan's is an excellent restaurant. Earlier in the year, we visited here and Menai on our wedding gig visit for Charlie’s daughter over in Anglesey. Lifeboat station as well. The Albert has quaffable real ales. 
  Is there anything to conclude from the then and now comparison? It’s a great place, with and without our ladies. They do influence the style of the weekend. Meeting fellow singers who you rarely see is great too. 
  I’m not really qualified to comment as to whether our singing will improve.