I know this is rather last-minute but if you have a desire to be near the Thames at Hampton Court, this Friday, day after tomorrow that is, the 11th of August, Matt and I will be performing Old English Ditties at Garrick’s utterly charming Temple to Shakespeare, at 19:30pm.
It is truly the most magical venue. Built by the legendary Shakespearian actor David Garrick to entertain his guests with intimate readings, its acoustics and its architecture are inimate, and GORGEOUS. There will be food and wine available in the interval, and the ducks and geese can be heard throughout! We will do such lovely things as “The Miller of Dee”, “Oh Dear What Can the Matter Be” and also some sea shanties, and MAYBE some French ditties too while we’re at it. Tuneful and charming, and altogether lovely.

Here is one of the songs, performed at St. Thomas’s Hospital earlier this year:

On 26th of July, Matt and I were thrilled to perform at the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the German Military Cemetery in Cannock Chase. Over 5,000 war dead are buried here, in Stafford. It is one of the most stunning cemeteries I’ve seen. Well worth a visit. It has a dip in the middle of the long rolling plot of land, and on one slope are the First World War dead, and the other are the Second. Prisoners of War, sailors who drowned, and many shot down from the sky are laid to rest here, and every year teenagers from Germany and from Staffordshire stay at a nearby camp and tend the graves. The cooks at their camp are German Army chefs who come over and give of their services for free. The teens invited us to eat with them and we had some sausages in a white sauce with potatoes, which were VERY tasty, then we went and gave an impromptu concert for them in a nearby tent. NO acoustic in tents! None! But they were so attentive it worked. I said that Matt could play any style and to our astonishment, three of the young people asked him to play AC/DC! Like, retro! They also enjoyed our 1910s songs, I hasten to add. They particularly liked “Stay Down Here Where You Belong” of Irving Berlin.
The next day it rained but we performed the German prisoner-of-war song “Möwe du fliegst in die Heimat”, which means “Seagull, you fly to my homeland”. We needed to do an English version so that we could sing for both nations, but there’s no way to make the word “Seagull” sound poetic in English…they steal chips, they get into bins, they terrorize children. So I made it “bluebird” and the translation must have worked, because a few people assumed it was an English song, even though we did the German version as well! We then performed “Auf Wiedersehn” in the original German and then “Auf Wiedersehn Sweetheart” as was made famous by Dame Vera Lynn. At the high cross in the centre of the cemetery we were requested to do “Something modern and hopeful” so it was the Scorpions’ “Wind of Change”. Unamplified, the wind made our whistling bits inaudible, though I could see that most of the audience was whistling with us! I have video footage of this event and will post it in time…DO subscribe to the YouTube channel if interested! Which is HERE
On the 10th of September we will be closing an evening of quirky acts at the Spice of Life nightclub…I believe Matt and I will be on at 9:30pm, that is 2130hrs. It’s £4 to get in. We’ll be doing our best Edwardian pop music! When I have a link I’ll edit this post and add it! But if you’d like to get it in the diary it’s at 6 Moor Street, W1D 5NA, which is in Soho, just off Shaftesbury Avenue. Nice and central!

I’ll be playing the autoharp and Matt will be playing whatever he can physically manage to bring. Probably a bit like at this gig we did in Ealing a couple of weeks ago…but I’ll wear less of an “Ealing” Edwardian dress, more of a “Soho” one.

Maybe see you there!

Oh, nearly forgot! We will be performing medical songs and exotic songs at Mosquito Day at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine from 4 to 6pm on the 18th of August! Details: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-tale-of-control-campaigns-and-cunning-tickets-36059665430

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