dilluns, 10 de desembre de 2012

I wish it could be Christmas every day - Wizzard

Ja es pot? A partir de quin dia es poden penjar cançons de nadal als blocs? Per mi, les ficaria tot el mes, ja que en sóc un gran fan de tota la musica que s'ha inspirat en aquestes festes o l'hivern en general. M'agrada la musica ben pensada i ben feta, amb un ambient d'hivern, però sobretot m'agraden els classics "sing-alongs" com aquesta ...
Des de que escric aquest bloc he intentat sempre no repetir cançons, i de fet hi he aconseguit en un 99% dels apunts, però avu tinc ganes de tornar a penjar aquesta joia. Es un classic - té tot el que necessita una cançó de nadal; els instruments, el piano, el saxo, les campanes; coros de xiquets; una gran chorus tornada de repetir; una musica que creix en alegria, pero no deixar de tenir un petit toquet de melaconia; i sobretot una peça que ens porta bons records ....
Aqui el teniu, del master Roy Wood (membre també del The Move i ELO), el grup Wizzard amb I wish it could be Christmas every day.
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Are you ready children? I am! It's time to start putting on the Christmas songs, those cool winter inspired melodies, and those out and out crazy sing-alongs like this one! I love them all, and my Christmas music collection just keeps growing.
One of the (few) rules of this blog has been to avoid repeating songs, and in fact I've more or less managed it. But not today, as I really want to kick off with this one again. This is a classic - it's got it all; saxophones, bells, piano, good bass line, ace chorus, kids' choirs ... and good memories.
So, here he is , (ex-The Move and ex-ELO) Roy Wood and Wizzard singing ....



dilluns, 3 de desembre de 2012

Avalon - Roxy Music #Catalonia #PartyNotOver

Passat una setmana, poca cosa puc afegir als analisi de tothom dels resultats de les eleccions, però intentaré explicar els numeros en l’apartat en anglès pel public no-català. Només diré aquí que queda més que clar que hi ha una majoria clarissima de diputats que voldrien fer el referendum, i una majoria clar, però no tan, de diputats a favor de l’independencia. I si comptem vots, també sembla clarissim que es miri com es miri un 60% dels votants podrien votar per l’independencia.

I aixì és com es mira des de fora – o sigui, “a que espereu?”. Clar, això és facil de dir només mirant els numeros, i si no has llegit Homenatge a Catalunya de George Orwell. Des de fora, crec, que és dificil entendre les peleas menors entre partits, i el temps que s’està perdent. Clar que hi ha altres temes importants que aclarir, però el tema de l’independencia és el Number One, i és la que o s’agafa ara o no l’agafarem en una generació. Oblidem-nos d’altres temes unos mesos (6), posem mans a l’obra i ja vereu com una majoria encara més gran veurà al final que l’unic futur per Catalunya és per aquest camí.

....

Dust settled on the Catalan elections, but not on the post-electoral bickering and whining and arguing and back-stabbing. The Catalan Parliament is a very different from the UK one, with many parties often leading to coalition governments. This time the votes went as follows:

CiU – centre-right Catalanist party = 50 MPs (down from 62)

ERC – left wing Catalanist party = 21 (up from 10)

PSC – socialists, favour a federal Spain = 20 (28)

PP – right-wing conservative “unionists” = 19 (18)

ICV – left wing Catalan ecologists = 13 (10)

Ciutadans – undefinable gang of unionists, I think = 9 (3)

CUP – left-wing alternative Catalanists = 3 (0)

And SI, another Catalanist group, lost their 3 seats.

Given the 135 seats in Parliament, 68 give a majority. Hence it’s clear that CiU+ERC+ICV+CUP = 87 MPs in favour of holding a referendum. ICV aren’t too sure how they’d vote in this referendum, but there would still be 74 MPs clearly in favour of independence, plus som ICV and a couple of PSC too apparently. Votes-wise, a similar situation – about 2/3 of votes went to pro-referendum parties, with only a 1/3 going to those against. So, what are we waiting for? Well, you obviously don’t know the workings of the minds of Catalan politicians, and perhaps a read of Orwell’s Homage To Catalonia would help out first. To cut a long story short, no one trusts the other party, or wants to miss a gear in the race to gain power. Instead of putting aside differences (albeit important ones) in the search for the greater good, they spend all their time – usually – bickering over the details. All very nice, and pure, but not very pragmatic. Yes, there are other problems, especially economic ones, but surely minimum agreements could be reached while the referendum process could go full speed ahead? In my opinion, they should accelerate the push for independence, as it’s the only thing which will allow for real solutions for the economic problems, as well as cultural and language-related ones. Now is not the time for dithering!

Luckily, it looks like the two leaders of CiU and ERC may have reached the same conclusion, but it’s still touch and go ... watch this space for further developments!







diumenge, 2 de desembre de 2012

Gloria #Three_Songs

Ja està aquí de nou, el concurs anual per "Millor cançó que es diu Gloria". Aqui els tres nominats ....
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That time of year again - the annual "Best song called Gloria" competition. This year's three nominees ...

U2, Laura Branigan, Mando Diao.



dijous, 29 de novembre de 2012

Shell Shock #ElsSetDelParliament

Un analis acurat dels resultats de les eleccions haurà d'esperar un altre dia ... però parlant en un bon amic que, com jo, mira tot aixo amb un bon sentit d'humor ens va sortir un dubte. Si hi ha 7 partits ara al parlament, per que, quan pinten els grafics, no usen tots els colors de l'arc de Sant Marti? D'aqui, vam passar a una altra opció, la qual seria proposar que als grafics de TV3 els representen cada u amb un dels 7 nanets de Blanca Neus :) Però, qui és qui? Aquí va la nostra proposta però hi ha moltes opcions - si voleu jugar ... ;)
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Today's post won't make much sense for any non-Catalans, sorry, but bear with us and in a few days there will be an exhaustive analysis of the election results before your eyes. For now, an after-midnight internet exchange with a good friend has led us to the following conclusion - if there are 7 parties in the Catalan Parliament, why not lighten things up and represent each one with one of the Seven Dwarfs?


Doc = el Savi = per logica, hauria de ser el Presi, Artur Mas, encara que de savi no sé si ha demostrat molt ...
Sleepy = Dormilega = Junqueras, del ERC, of course.
Grumpy = Rondinaire = Ciutadans - per la mala baba d'alguns ....
Happy = Feliç = L'Alicia, ja que sempre estàm contenta d'ella mateixa, i a més sembla que li ha passat alguna cosa a la cara que li deixa amb una somriure permanent ...
Sneezy = Esternuts = Joan de ICV, ja se sap, tant de verd ....
Bashful = El Timid = David del CUP, ja que de moment no ha pogut parlar gaire ... i a més té tota la pinta en alguns imatgens ...
Això només ens deixa amb Dopey = El Mut = haurà de ser Navarro per process d'eliminació.

(Això intenta ser humor - si algu se sent ofes, coses pitjors s'han dit aquests dies !! Mireu el part positiu de la vida, amics!)

dijous, 22 de novembre de 2012

Take a chance - Abba #Catalonia_25N

Un apunt breu sobre que està passant a Catalunya. No m'extendré en català ja que ho sabeu tot!! Només aniré a la conclusió meva personal - que hem de decidir si volem "jugar" una aposta o no. Si apostem per un Si al "dret de decidir", i tot seguit (però rapid), la consulta i declaració d'independencia, tenim molt a guanyar. Ningu ens podrà aturar. Si ens tirem enrere, col·lectivament, perdem aquesta oportunitat unica per uns altres 40 anys. No hi haurà més opcions, ja que Espanya ens passarà per damunt. És tot o no res, en la questió de la nació catalana.
Que si, que altres temes són importants, pero es que aquests temes sempre son importants i fa 2 anys, i 1 any, ja vam triar un model de dretes. D'aqui 1 o 2 anys, independents, podrem tornar a triar model de societat - pero el tren de l'independencia només ens passarà un cop en la vida. 
Que fem? En que confiem? Si ens enganyem, tornem a on estem (sempre enganyats), però, i si ens surten guanyadors les nostres apostes ......
.....
Regular visitors to the blog, if there's any left, will be wondering why I'm not preaching about Catalonia now that it's hot news. The thing is I am now officially the "last person with a job" in the Spanish State and it's becoming hard to find free time. Rajoy just phoned me to ask if I'd turn the lights off when Catalunya leaves ....
But here's a quick summary regurgitating previous posts - Catalunya "appeared" as a united body about 1000 years ago as different noble men and warriors did what they used to do. It formed an alliance with Aragon and was known as the Catalunya-Aragon kingdom for yonks. About 500 years ago, through different alliances and marriages this kingdom eventually formed a coalition with Castille, although each part kept their own rules, way of life, and political systems. About 300 years ago, there was a war with the Castille siding with the French and Bourbon kings and way of thinking, and the Catalans siding with the more liberal, open, dare-I-say democratic Austrian Empire. Catalonia lost and was brought under Spain's thumb for the next 300 years. Different attempts to re-gain their lost freedoms and autonomy have been crushed time and time again, with Franco in the 20th century even trying to do away with their culture and language. Franco died, the Spanish "democracy" gave Catalunya some limited autonomy, but also divided Spain into 17 other identical regions so as to water down the Catalan's, and please the armed forces and Franco fans. 30 years later, this autonomy has not satisfied Catalans, but Spanish govt believes it's too much. (this Brian-version of the history may all be true, or not, - that's why they invented Wikipedia, folks, so you can do your own checking up!)

A ground swell of feeling that the only way left (after 30 years of failed negotiations) is for out and out independence, has been growing and growing, till finally 1.5 million people marched in Barcelona in September for this objective. The usual softy President of Catalonia had his eyes finally opened, or his butt kicked, and at last admitted that Independence was a necessary goal. Abouut 70% of the Parliament voted on the need to hold a referendum in the next 4 years, and the President called snap elections to see if the public would match their actions with votes.
Sunday is election day.


dimecres, 31 d’octubre de 2012

Blac Magic Woman - Fleetwood Mac #Halloween_Castanyada_Festa

Una festa no és una festa sense bona musica, i celebreu lo que celebreu avui, aquesta peça no pot faltar ...

That time of year, and here's another song for those late night spooky spine-tingling music compilations ....



divendres, 26 d’octubre de 2012

The Laughing Policeman #Who'sLaughingNow

Diuen que aviat ens prohibiran fer fotos dels policies. Pos, en un ultim acte de rebeldia abans d'amagar-me a les muntanyes, us passo les ultimes fotos que hem fet ...
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The Spanish government in yet another demonstration of their openness and democratic way of thinking, have decided to prohibit the taking of photos or filming videos of policemen going about their every day work - such as infiltrating and breaking up otherwise peaceful protest marches, or splitting people's heads open ... anyway, before I have to head back into my secret mountain hideout, here are the last few photos I've been able to take. Publish and be dammed ...



dimarts, 16 d’octubre de 2012

4 songs - Kirsty MacColl

S'en parla molt dels artistes "famosos" que ens han deixat massa aviat - Lennon, Elvis, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, .... però de la Kirsty MacColl, es parla poc. Avuí, que no és ni el seu aniversari ni l'aniversari de la seva mort, toca fer-li un petit homentatge a aquesta gran cantant, i gran persona.
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Much has been said, and is said, about the well-known singers who have died too young, but not many "experts" talk about Kirsty MacColl. It's not her birthday, nor the anniversary of her death today, but evenso, here goes my homage to this great singer, and great person.


dimarts, 2 d’octubre de 2012

Passejada per l'historia de South Yorkshire / A walk through the history of SYorks


Avui intentarem explicar una bona passejada que podeu fer – si aneu 1000 km cap al nord, al comtat de Yorkshire! Dic “intentar” perquè això farem de memòria i amb el mínim ajut del Google. El començament serà als aparcaments del Elsecar Heritage Centre, just detras del pub el Market Inn, on podríem acabar la ruta amb una bona pinta. Aquest Centre és un intent de trobar una utilitat als antics edificis de les mines de carbó d’Elsecar, i aportar algo de diners i feina a aquell poble, al qual se’l va treure el seu motiu de ser als anys 80 quan van tancar la mina. Com podeu veure, la ruta és una bona excusa per a conèixer algo de l’historia d’aquest lloc. Fa un segle hi havia uns 100.000 persones treballant a les mines de South Yorkshire, fa 50 anys uns 50.000, i ara potser uns 5. Sis dels meus 7 oncles hi van treballar i diversos cosins, alguns van morir massa jovens i un va morir en un accident als 20 anys. Ara molta gent d’aquí estan a l’atur o han hagut de marxar. Gairebé tots els pobles del South Yorkshire tenien una o més mines de carbó i si no treballaves, depenies dels treballadors indirectament. Tot això va acabar quan Thatcher les va tancar, sense res a canvi.

Detras del aparcament veurem un camí que puja cap a un bosc (Kings Wood). Anem-hi. Passem el bosc i sortirem a uns camps enormes de blat. Per sort a Anglaterra hi ha molts de camins públics i aquí n’hi ha un que creu el camp. Desprès, un altre camp, fins que arribem a dalt d’un turo, sempre direcció sud/sud-est. A dalt de tot el camí continua, ara entre uns camps de blat a l’esquerra i un bosquet (Lee Wood) a la dreta. Passat uns 20 minuts, trobarem una clariana a ma dreta. I veurem això!

Aquest “monument” és de fet un folly, en anglès, aquests edificis sense gaire sentit ni utilitat que construïen abans els rics als seus terrenys. I amb això tenim el segon punt d’història del dia. Tot aquesta zona abans pertanyia al Earl of Fitzwilliam. Les mines, les cases, les granjes, tots els pobles dels voltants hi pertanyien. Ara no, però quan l’últim hereu de la família va adonar-se que ja no era una situació sostenible, va crear una fundació per tenir cura de tot, una entitat que vigili per a que la gent pugui continuar treballant en les petites industries o empreses ques’han muntat, i per a que un estil de vida i una estètica de poble tradicional no es perdis. Evidentment no abarca tant com abans, però si tot un poble, Wentworth, on totes les cases son de llogar, de la fundació, i les granjes i empreses.
Bé, aquest monument es diu Needle’s Eye (l’Ull de l’agulla) ja que es diu que el Earl ho va fer construir per guanyar una aposta – va apostar que ell podria conduir els seus cavalls per l’ull d’una agulla ...

Continuem pel camí i d’aquí 5 minuts sortim a la carretera. La creuem i seguim per un estret camí asfaltat (Station Lane) que ens porta a un grapat de 4 o 5 cases, amb cabina vermella de telèfons si no l’han tret;)
Davant nostre, veurem un altre bosc a l’esquerra i un monument que en sobresurt. Entrem el bosc i podem arribar-hi. No està obert per pujar normalment però és un altre folly, és diu Hoobers’ Stand i si tenim la sort de poder pujar dalt de tot, hi ha unes vistes espectaculars.

OK, tornem pel camí d’asfalt fins la carretera i baixem cap a l’esquerra. Sortirem a una carretera nacional però amb una bona vorera. Seguim-la 5 minuts, i veurem l’entrada a Wentworth Park a l’esquerra. Entrem-hi. Ja estem en els terrenys del parc, on els Earls tenen la seva residencia, Wentworth Woodhouse, encara que el parc sempre ha estat obert al públic. Abans els miners hi celebraven quantitat de festes, i ara la gent a l’atur hi passeja. El parc és preciós i al mig trobarem aquesta casa !

Té la fatxada més llarga d’Europa – és una casa poc coneguda però tots els experts diuen que té poc a envejar als palaus i mansions més famosos com fins i tot el palau de Buckingham. Encara que el parc és públic, la casa en si és privat. La fundació de Fitzwilliam no va poder seguir pagant els costos del seu manteniment i ara ho han comprat una gent, que sembla que la volen obrir per poder visitar i tornar a donar una mica de vida a aquesta zona.
Si continuem pel parc, veurem una manada de cérvols (que pertanyen a la reina Isabel!), i al final del camí, arribarem a uns llacs. Aquí jo pegaria mitja volta, i tornaria a pujar i sortir del parc. Seguim la carretera cap a l’esquerra 200m i entrem el poble de Wentworth. 
Si agafem el primer carrer a l’esquerra podem entrar el Centre de Jardineria que ha aprofitat una part dels jardins de la mansió. És un petit “poble” amb activitats pels petits, tea-rooms, restaurant, gelats fet a ma, carn produït al poble etc –perfecte per a dinar! I si entrem els jardins antics que han conservat, podem veure el ossera que tenien els Fitzwilliam !

Sortim del Garden Centre i entrem el poble. Bàsicament és un únic carrer ple de cases molt paregudes entre si, ja que totes pertanyen a la fundació. Hi ha dos pubs tradicionals que valen la pena visitar! I en un carrer secundari podem visitar les esglésies, una de “nova”, i una antiga on estan enterrats els Earls of Fitzwilliam.

Bé, continuem atravessant el poble, fins una carretera a la dreta senyalitzat Elsecar i Hoyland. Anem-hi i després de 5 minuts veurem un camí públic a ma dreta que tornarà a creuar camps i boscos fins arribar a l’aparcament original. Sense parar, potser el camí dura uns 2 o 3 hores, però evidentment s’ha de gaudir del dia i fer-ho durar aprofitant els photo-opportunities i llocs per beure i menjar!
Davant de l’aparcament podem trobar el parc públic d’Elsecar, amb un gran bandstand on podem sentir musica en directa si és un diumenge d’estiu, i on poden passejar els jubilats i aturats dia si dia també.

Passem de llarg el Market Inn de moment i entrem al Heritage Centre (centre de patrimoni històric). 

Hi trobarem lavabos on potser ja tenim ganes d’anar, segons quantes pintes hem begut, i un centre de visitants on t’explicaran que hi ha. Bàsicament a tots els petits edificis antics de la mina, hi ha botigues i tallers artesanals que intenten donar sortida a la gent d’aquest poble. D’iniciatives n’hi ha, però de diners de gastar, pocs. També un petit tram de via de ferrocarril on uns voluntaris han restaurat un tren de vapor. Alguns dies funciona. És un lloc interessant per a visitar per l’historia que hi ha, i a la vegada trist pels mateixos motius ...

Com a punt principal de la visita, val la pena visitar la maquina de vapor que usaven antiguament per bombejar l’aigua de les mines. És del tipus de Newcomen (un Newcomen steam engine), i és l’únic que queda en peu en el seu lloc de funcionament original a tota Anglaterra. Alguns dies de l’any uns voluntaris ho obren i fan una visita guiada. Valdria la pena abans de planificar la ruta, posar-nos en contacte amb el Visitor Centre per saber quins dies/hores ho obren.

Bé, encara que jo he fet aquesta ruta milers de vegades, l’idea d’escriure l’apunt m’ha vingut al cap llegint aquest llibre, Black Diamonds, que explica l’historia fascinant de la família Fitzwilliam i la casa Wentworth Woodhouse, i de pas l’historia social i industrial de South Yorkshire.

La musica, la típica musica de les bandes de vent dels miners al bandstand d’Elsecar ....
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Inspired by an amazing book I’ve just read, Black Diamonds,  I’ve decided to post on one of my favourite walks in South Yorkshire – basically as it’s one I can do from “home” (i.e. my parents’ home), but also as it is beautiful, peaceful and educational etc. Enough struggling for adjectives and let’s get to it ...
One possible starting point (it’s a circular route) would be the Elsecar HeritageCentre car park behind the Market Inn at the bottom of Elsecar. The Heritage Centre is basically an attempt to give some use to the old pit workshops and buildings left behind after the pits were closed down, while offering the local community a chance to get back on its feet after Mrs Thatcher so determinedly destroyed their lives back in the ‘80s. Anyway, more later when we come back here at the walk’s end. 

From the car park, head up a lane/path between the car park and the centre. You should be heading roughly south-east (I say, roughly, as I’m currently sitting 1000 km away writing this from memory) uphill. You soon enter Kings Wood, and have to stay left going up the hill, as opposed to veering right along other paths. After a short while, the path comes out into a corn (or wheat?) field and goes straight across it, still climbing. Another stile and another field and keep going up until eventually the fields “move”, and you have field to the left and wood to the right (Lee Wood for those of you with the sense to have packed an OS map). After another few minutes (maybe 20 from the car park), you will see a clearing on the right with this little beauty!

It’s one of Earl Fitzwilliam’s follies. The Fitzwilliams used to own everything you can see around here - villages, mines, farms, the lot. As you can see, apart from the views, this walk offers a good insight into the history of this area; mines, Earls, the rich and the workers, and this is why I insist on reading Black Diamonds before setting out. This particular folly is called Needle’s Eye and the story goes that Fitzwilliam built it so as to win a bet that he could drive his horse and carriage through the eye of a needle. Anyway, the woods are private, as are the lands hereabouts, and most of the village we are about to enter (Wentworth) – owned by Wentworth Estates, set up when the last generations of Fitzwilliams realised their situation was unsustainable and set up this entity to take over the running of this area as a private concern. A wise decision which has enabled this village to retain its character and many local people to work or set up their own businesses. So, the wood is private land but there’s nothing to say we can’t wander up to the folly to sit down and have a snack – and enjoy the views in both directions.

Afterwards, continue along the path till it comes out on a road. More or less straight across, you will see a country lane (Station Lane) continuing in the same direction as the path. Along here you will pass a small hamlet, farms, fields, and come up to small wood on your left. You should be able to see another monument sticking out of the wood. Walk up the path towards it. Known as Hoober Stand, the views from the top are incredible – but it’s only open on odd days (usually Sunday afternoons in summer) so it might be worth finding out when, before doing this walk – or doing it twice!

Having visited Hoober Stand and checked out its history on your smartphone internet, walk back through the wood, and along the lane to the road you crossed earlier. Turn left and walk down this road until you come out onto the main Wentworth-Rotherham road. There are wide verges to walk on.

 Turn right and walk towards the village of Wentworth. In no time you will see the main gate into the grounds of Wentworth Woodhouse on your left. Cross and enter (ice cream van sometimes available!). You can walk through the grounds, admiring the buildings of the Woodhouse on your right, and eventually you will get this view.

The Woodhouse itself – residence of the Fitzwilliams until halfway through the 20th century when they handed it over to the local council who opened a further education college, before eventually selling it. It now belongs to a family who hope to restore it to its former glory and open it to the public. As you can see, the front of the building is amazing, the longest in Europe and many “experts” say this house is a hidden treasure of England with nothing to envy of other more well-known stately homes. It has been closed to the public but tours are slowly becoming available (ask me for how), and as you can imagine, the interior is amazing.

Once you’ve taken a couple of photos, follow the path downwards to the bottom of the park, as far as a couple of lakes, passing along the way a herd of deer – property of Queen Elizabeth II.
Turn round and walk back up and out of the park. Follow the road left for two minutes and you enter the village. But just before that, at the war memorial, turn left, 200 yards up this road, and into the Wentworth Garden Centre, wherein you can enjoy homemade ice-cream, a cuppa, or a full blown meal in its recently enlarged tea-room. Plus you must pay the 70p to enter the Walled Gardens! Originally belonging to the Woodhouse, they are amazing and include a bear pit (with no bear at present)!

Back to the village. The main road goes straight through and is worth following to see how beautifully kept the houses and cottages are, as well as visiting two great pubs – The Rockingham Arms (my personal fave) and The George and Dragon (worth visiting too!). However, you should also allow time to follow the tree-lined path which runs parallel (behind the row of houses), and which you can get onto opposite the garden centre exit. It’s a nice walk up to the churches – the “new” one and the old one where we can see the graves of the Fitzwilliam dynasty.

As you reach the end of the village, turn right down the road to Hoyland/Elsecar. 5 minutes later you see a wood-yard on your right with a public footpath to the side. This path will take you through woods and over fields back down to the car park you started out from. Depending on how many pubs you visit, how much you eat in the garden centre and how long you stop and stare at some of the sights, the circular walk could have taken between 2.5 hours and a full day!
There are actually two car parks, connected, and they lead into the Heritage Centre, but maybe first you’d like to cross the road and visit Elsecar Park and its bandstand (summer  Sunday afternoons often feature music).

The Heritage Centre is a fascinating place for many reasons. To breathe the history in these buildings, and to see what it meant to this area (and others nearby) to lose all their industry at the stroke of a pen. There is a Visitor Centre which may be a good place to start out, after a quick visit to the loos if you’ve followed my advice so far on cuppas and beer.

 The buildings themselves are under-used and under-visited but show a desire by many people to set themselves up in business or share their initiatives with others. Many art and craft places, a cool printing place, traditional sweet shop, children’s indoor playhouse (avoid!!) etc. Down at the bottom of the pit yards, the old steam railway is gradually being restored by volunteers and may be working the day you visit. Ask at the Visitor Centre for the Newcomen Engine, a steam-operated engine for pumping water out of the mines, it is the only one of its kind still in its original location. I have never been inside, but apparently there are also the odd guided tours nowadays if you ask about them. 

And that’s all folks, unless you fancy another quick pint in the Market Inn – if you’re not driving.

If you know anything about the mining industry, or if you’ve read the Black Diamonds book beforehand, this walk is full of history. The contrast between the luxury and wealth of the Fitzwilliams, and the lifestyle and conditions of the miners is clearly on show – but also the connections between them as the Earls were “good” rich folk, those philanthropist ones who really seemed to care for “their” workers. Please read the book before passing judgement!
And now back to Elsecar bandstand ...

dissabte, 22 de setembre de 2012

Crocodile Cryer - Martin Stephenson & Daintees #Whatever happened

Continuem amb el exitos serie d'apunts anomenada “Que els va passar als ....?”. No per parlar de grups o cantants que han desaparegut del tot, sinó dels que han desaparegut de la meva vida. Aquells que en un moment donat, han sonat molt en la meva vida, però després els he perdut de la vista – potser encara toquen, però ja no m’arriben, o potser pels canvis en la meva vida ja no m’arriben, o potser s’han marxat a l’espai en un ovni.
Avui toca el turn a Martin Stephenson & the Daintees. Al finals dels 80 el meu germa em va gravar 2 excellents albums, Boat to Bolivia, i Gladsome Humor and Blue. Vaig venir a viure a Catalunya amb les 2 cintes a la maleta i no he sabut res més .. fins ara.
Es veu que van gravar un LP més, i van desfer la banda. Martin va continuar gravant amb altres grups o alguns albums ell tot sol, però sense tenir massa fama. Al any 2000 van tornar a formar la banda i al 2008 van tenir un petit exit amb LP  Western Eagle. Al 2012 han fet un gir tocant el LP Boat to Bolivia, del qual us posem Crocodile Cryer.

So, another thrilling installment of our successful series of posts entitled Whatever happened to ...?”. Not necessarily those singers or groups who have disappeared completely off the radar, but rather those who have disappeared from MY radar. Maybe they still sing, maybe they don’t, but I’m referring to those artists who at some point in my life have meant something to me, but then either through their or my fault, I’ve lost track of them.
Martin Stephenson & the Daintees. Towards the end of the 80s my brother taped two great albums for me; Boat to Bolivia , and Gladsome Humour and Blue. Then I came to Catalunya with the two tapes in my suitcase and never heard of the band again ... until now ...
Turns out they recorded another album and split up. Martin continued recording solo albums or with other artists throughout the 90s and reformed the band in 2000. They've made a couple of albums since, with 2008's Western Eagle being the most successful. In 2012 they've been touring with a show where they play the full Boat to Bolivia LP - from which, you're gonna hear this beauty, Crocodile Cryer.


dijous, 20 de setembre de 2012

Waterloo sunset - The Kinks #MadeMyDay


Aquest estiu ho hem passat de meravella mirant les olimpiades per la tele a Anglaterra. La cobertura del BBC ha estat molt bé, i hem vist de tot, i, com no, xalat com mai amb els èxits dels Team GB !! I els de Yorkshire – crec que van explicar que si Yorkshire fos un país hauria acabat 11 o 12 en la taula final de medalles.
Una de les coses més interessants que gairebé tota la premsa ha remarcat és que aquests jocs son un bon exemple de com es pot fer esport i ser educat, generós, honrat, humil – quan fins ara per molts de joves els seus role-models havien sigut els mals exemples dels futbolistes. A modo d’exemple, la primera dona en l’historia dels jocs en guanyar una medalla en boxeig, va resumir el seu èxit amb la frase, “It’s made my day” (m’ha alegrat el dia)!
A banda de l’esport, aquest any vaig decidir de mirar les ceremonies d’obertura i de closura com ja us vaig dir al bloc, bàsicament per a la música. Bé, si la d’obertura em va agradar molt, no puc dir lo mateix de la de closura. Va tenir moments impactants  com els Pet Shop Boys o The Kinks, però també trobo que, per ser una festa per als participants, es van dedicar massa temps als “vells” (George Michael, per exemple), que els esportistes de 20 anys ja no coneixen.
En fi, a veure fins a quan podem fer aguantar els bons sentiments que va generar el London 2012 
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Luckily we were in the UK for the Olympics and, although we couldn’t go to London, we managed to get through hours and hours of the BBC’s relatively good cover. What a year for Team GB, and for Yorkshire!
I was particularly interested to read many articles referring to the fact that most Olympic sportspeople seem to be polite, humble, honest, fair etc, and may provide a better role model for youngsters than some of our football players! If I had to stick with one phrase to sum up the Olympic spirit, I’ll go with what the first female boxer to ever win a gold medal (in the entire universe!) had to say, in a typically down-to-earth manner: “It’s made my day”. Wayne Rooney, watch and learn!
Apart from sport, I also made an effort to watch the opening and closing ceremonies for a change – basically for the music. I was impressed by the opening one, but found the closing one a bit of a let-down. If it was supposed to be a party for the participants, why did they have on so many “elderly” singers and groups that most 20-year old Russian athletes will never have heard of. Obviously a few exceptions made my night, such as the Pet Shop Boys and The Kinks.