Monday, 1 July 2013

Dinosaurs, Dervishes and Divas - two weeks in Watford

One of the highlights of my recent nights out was an evening at my favourite night club, Ronnie Scott's jazz club in Soho.

I was there to see a famous son- Kyle Eastwood - son of that famous cowboy, Clint Eastwood, perform with his band. Now lets lets face it, if we're honest, most of us who had never heard of him, or his music, only really wanted to see him in concert due to the curiosity of who he was and therefore proving that living off a famous name does indeed work! But being a tadge sceptical about his musical abilities and suspicious of him hanging on the coat tails of that famous name, that initial scepticism was totally shot to pieces when I heard him play.

Never mind that he did look like a young, (but softer), version of his father; handsome, over 6ft tall, slim and with a head of thick blond hair,(mmmm.. I digress), I was astounded and surprised by Kyle's, songwriting abilities and superbly dexterous, double and electric bass playing, backed by a formidable quartet of quality jazz musicians. He's earned his musical spurs on his own merit, writing, composing and playing with a surprising variety and depth, using an eclectic sound of fusion jazz mixed with upbeat  jazz r&b and atmospherics -a good example was the mesmerising and haunting 'Marrakech'.

A great evening, and I'm relieved to say there was not a splat of chewed tobacci' spitooned onto the floor, and neither during the interval did the band sit in circle round the piano player eating beans, though he did play one number where he whistled effortlessly through his teeth at the begining of one song and just for a nano second showed a glimmer of his ancestry - a hint of being a chip off the old block and just as I thought I was about to hear the first strains of  'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly', the song mercifully evolved into a wonderful jazz ensemble.

But I was so spell bound that evening that the very next morning, I impulsively went out and bought two of his CD's, scanning meticulously to make sure Marrakech was listed on one of them. I haven't stopped playing it since and with every listening I'm transported back to images of exotic Kasbars, minarets and Whirling Dervishes.

And talking of mystical, frenzied, dances, the annual, open-air arts fesitival of the weird, and wonderful took place in the more prosaic Watford recently, called Imagine Watford, complete with its own, mesmerising, live, Whirling Dervish.

a whirling dervish closes a great two week open air arts festival in Watford High Street
Rehearsing his moves before the main act.
spinning to the end in the much longed for sunshine
Imagine Watford allows you to use your imagination. It included the weird, wonderful and downright bizarre.
 an act called 'trolleys' - I wonder why?
Its amzing what you can do with a standard shopping trolley
trolleys, dance and gymnastics
Trolleys was a great act but I will never be able to shop in Sainsburys in the same way again. I have to say that at no point were these trolleys taken from the Sainsburys supermarket, just round the corner!
But the two weeks was full of strange, weird as well as some very funny acts. There were life size dinosaurs,  a comedy act with all the performers wearing striped pyjams and using metal beds as props, with striped matching mattresses.
a comedy with the equally weird performance name of , 'Expedition Paddock'
the singing Expedition Paddocks.
And then there was 'Saurus' who roamed the High Street mixing in with the crowds and enthralling the kids.
Saurus - and their Saurus 'catcher'
and the kids loved them! what is it about dinosaurs and kids!
they just wanted to touch and meet these scary/lovable monsters.
Saurus trainer and child catcher !
more scary for the adults !
although not every one was too sure about them
you need long legs to keep control of the Saurus'
friend or foe? a truly international flavour to the festival. Saurus was a Dutch arts act
A Saurus catcher
Glissssendo Opus II - a Hungarian musical ensemble with a twist
One of the weirdest but somehow beautiful acts was Glissssendo Opus II (yes that is the correct spelling) Transporting themselves on coasters through the High Street, playing as they went on weird musical instruments with plumes of smoke eminating from conical cones on their backs.
they played really well- man, they were on fire!
bringing some colour to Watford's High Street
the magificent 'gliding', Glisssssendos'
.....bringing colour to the High Street
strange shaped trumpets for Glissssendo
there were acts with umbrellas - Splash - about climate change
and the crowd looked on...
strange banana shaped colourful balloons
which some loved and enjoyed...
and some didn't care too much for it at all.
and some had fun ....
but there were always the Imagine Watford volunteers in their distinctive orange t shirts to help and inform - seeing double!
and if all that was just too much to handle.........

just stay calm and chill out...!!
I've taken a lot of snaps these last two weeks and looks to continue that way when I recently got offered a great bit of news. It started with my regular bi monthly update meeting at work the other week. I went into my boss' office to talk all things Heritage and came out with a commission to do a photo front cover for a book!
Let me explain.. my boss is a part time author and has written several series books his present one is on London's Royal Parks. He's completed it but his publishers want a front cover photo. So.. he came to me. On completion, he's going to give me a whole book to illustrate - one that he's working on for the future. In addition we are both going to work on a book (complete with photos of course) on the heritage of Cassiobury Park, that the council can sell in the new hub building planned as part of the park's Heritage Lottery funded improvements. How good is that!
(c) copyright: words and photographs on this blog are copyright to Deborah Anne Brady- 2013