Friday, June 27, 2014

Being Friday the 27th of June, 2014 ...

On this day, in the year of 1556, eleven men and two women, (subsequently known as the Stratford Martyrs,) were burned at the stake for refusing to recant their Protestant beliefs.
That was during the reign of Queen (Bloody) Mary ...

"Be frightened ... very frightened!"

Thus die heretics.

458 years later some friendly folk met at our usual venue to enjoy the innocent pleasure of sharing music.
We couldn’t burn Ken because live flames have been banned.
Mave knows why!

By mutual consent, (coercion or default?)  Paul accepted the throne of benign governance ...

Doesn't Paul have a benign countenance?

Paul is the only person who has ever succeeded in playing a melody on this device ...

Ken said, "Rollicking!"

Lynda was an orphan on God's highway ...

Orphan Girl at the Cemetery
Ack: Mr Squirrel.

No mother, no father ... there was widespread weeping!

Tony ran a workshop for children.
"I like to pee up the wall!" he sang.
We all joined in with hopping marsupials ...

Dogsbody wept.

Mike P. took us fishing ...

... and I used to sleep standing on my feet...

Meanwhile Mike H. sang about his birthday suit ...

We all went rollicking home on the evening tide...

Important news ...

We are assured of occupancy of the Guide Hall on Friday, 4th July.

The latest intelligence is that the builders move in on 21st July.
We should be OK for 11th and 18th.
After that we could be obliged to take a short holiday.
Watch this space -
If in doubt phone Colin on 01243 574021, or 07798 517523, or email

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Being Friday the 20th of June, 2014 ...

By the time this is published we’ll all have forgotten what really happened.

Who was MC?

Oh, yes, it was Berry.
Here’s his prettier half …

Berry opened in praise of our monarch ...

She’s a pretty nice girl

England may be out of the World Cup, but the British still beat Boney at Waterloo in 1815 …

It is indeed true that Napoleon suffered from piles.
He was treated by Baron Guillaume Dupuytren.

What else happened?

Marion sang of her professional aspiration …

Otherwise, I'll be a deep-sea diver!

Nigel sang about a tragic loss at sea …

CSS Alabama, 1864.

Lucy, accompanied by Roger, folked something up.
(Be careful how you say that!)
Actually, it was rather good.

Then we floated home on a somnolent river …


Yes, as you will have gathered, Dogsbody is back in communication.

There might shortly be some interruption of our tenancy of the Guide Hall because of the planned refurbishment.
Please look out for updates on this blog and at during July.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Communication Difficulties ...

Oh, dear ...

Once again my telephone land-line and broadband are out of action.

Just occasionally I have ephemeral access to the internet using a Wifi hopscotch. I am able to receive email on my mobile phone, (but that costs me money!)

So, if you need to contact me before next Thursday, (when I am promised a visit by a 'telecom specialist',) please use my mobile number: 07798 517523.

"You called, Sir?"

The customary weekly update to this blog might be delayed, with apologies to those few who regularly and enthusiastically look at it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Being FRIDAY the THIRTEENTH of June ...

Did we entertain superstition about the date?
We got on with business as usual.

Paul, occupying the seat of universal power, began with an historic tale about a famous battle in the colonies ...

I think the British lost!
(However, one year later, we won at Waterloo.)

Yvonne has been captivated by an international sporting event of no great importance.

Meanwhile, England lost to Italy.

When a Knight Won His Spurs …
Roger played and sang this children’s hymn written by Jan Struther set to a folk melody, Stowey, harmonised by RVW, and first performed in 1931 …

Roger did it better, and those of us of a certain vintage remembered our primary school hymn-books.

Who would have believed that Angela used to smoke those silly little cigarettes?

... but the synchronised whistling was rather good.
Angela promised Sun, Sun, Sun ...

Ken sang about an intoxicating beverage ...

Beer, glorious beer...

Mave confessed to having buried three husbands.
Now she's looking for another one.
There were no takers!

Mike recounted a visit to the IOW music festival ...

Sat in a circle in the Sun ...

Actually, I am a swan, declared Yvonne ...

Participants were sworn to secrecy when Dogsbody sang , "Death, oh Death, come take my wife ..."

Ophelia, John Everett Millais, 1829-1896
(I really didn't mean it!)

Finally, Lucy sent us home on a big 707 ...

Hear the mighty engines roar.

Otherwise we went home in our usual whispered tones.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Being Friday the 6th of June, 2014 ...

On this day, seventy years ago, we all know what happened …

'D-Day Assault, June 1944.'
 Orville Norman Fisher, (1911-98.)

We did not celebrate.
We commemorated, even though our elder statesman is not of sufficiently advanced years to actually remember.
(In truth, Berry will freely admit that he can’t even recall what he ate for breakfast!)

Mave sang about a seasonal agricultural activity …

Ken sang about a moonlighting occupation …

It's just what I do 'on-the-side!

Connor claimed, “I don’t drink as much as I used to …"

I will always love you!

Roger won a prize for naming a classical composer …

Thomas Tallis, 1505-85.

Melissa sang a song that was not written by Cat Stevens ...

Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.

Actually the words by Eleanor Farjeon were first published in 1931, set to a traditional Scottish/Gaelic melody, Bunessan.
Several of us remembered Morning has Broken from our primary-school hymn books.

Roger would have us believe that this is a trombone...

Berry pleased us all by performing Whale-meat and Gin

Angela and Paul sent us home with something like this …

That's Angela, Paul and Roger at Evershed Arts Centre in July last year.
Sure, the ambient lighting isn't good for video, but the sound is particularly agreeable.
Lots of us joined in.
Then we went home humming, (very quietly!)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Exploring the Phrygian Mode ...

(Pronounced ‘Frijian’, as in 'refridgerator'.)

Recently I contacted a remote mentor, Graham Pratt, seeking advice on a particular melody he used to accompany an ancient ballad, Patrick Spens.
Graham generously sent me some dots-and-lines.
He wrote, “It’s in the Phrygian Mode.”
“Ah … all makes sense now,” I replied.
I lied!

My ancient copy of The Oxford Companion to Music was undecipherable on the subject of modes.
Wikipedia was slightly more understandable regarding the Phrygian Mode ...

Try playing a scale, root E, on the piano on all the white notes:
E F G A B C D E ...

The intervals are: Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone.
It’s sort of E-minor-ish but, importantly, without any troublesome accidentals.
Got that?
(Why are sharps and flats called 'accidentals'?)

On Friday I sang Patrick Spens to the melody that Graham sent me.
(First time out is always a bit ris-key!)
As a competition I invited club participants to identify the composer of the original theme.
I must have got something right because Roger promptly exclaimed, “Tallis!” 
Roger won the Mars Bar.
“It sounds a bit like Monteverdi’s Vespa and Lambretta,” said Ken.
Ken won second prize for humour.

Tony sensitively and correctly observed that I was straining a little in the higher notes.
"Yes, but that's the friggin' mode!" I defensively responded.

Later I tried, (in the privacy of my bathroom,) transposing things down two tones. 
Now the scale looks thus:
C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C ...

Ouch ... don’t you just hate those black notes?!
(No, I did not play the concertina in the shower.)

For a truly astounding rendition of Patrick Spens in four-part harmony you must purchase Graham and Eileen Pratt's CD, The Greek King's Daughter, available at £11.99 by clicking here.

With my personal thanks to Graham Pratt who has been so very generous in sharing and explaining his and Eileen's material.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Being Friday the 30th of May, 2014 ...

It was a very strange set-up ...

Mike, who recently returned from a Hebridean adventure, took the chair ...

We welcomed Barry and his friends.
Here's Barry ...

Why is it that images of people singing always look
like the performer is experiencing considerable pain?
Barry regularly and self-deprecatingly introduces himself as a performer of 'puerile drivel'.
Actually, it's self-penned quality that you may experience most Tuesdays at the other folk club

Berry believes in celestial beings ...

Here's our own celestial being playing her new mandolin ...

"Is that G?"

We all joined in when Lynda sang about some Irish outer-wear ...

We discussed the origin of the runcible spoon again ...

Someone used this strange word: 'rallentando', for no clearly obvious reason.
Berry, among several others, did not understand!


Ken, singing from some palm-top electronic device, outrageously invited us to admire a female form ...

(Just a few people joined in the refrain. There was even some tentative applause.)

Paul then offered us redemption with a refreshing smattering of holiness.
Here he is singing because he's happy and free ...

This video was captured six years ago.
Paul has shaved a couple of times since then!

Then we all went home in hopes for another week in this terrestrial firmament.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

GET VOCAL: Forthcoming Event ...

Get Vocal Chichester Community Choir present …


Una May Olomolaiye – Returns by Popular Demand!

It’s not just happening with Gareth ...
If you’ve enjoyed watching choirs on TV and singing on your sofa, now it’s your turn!
Come and have a great sing, whether you sing in a choir, in church, at a folk club, or just in the privacy of your bathroom!

Sunday 22nd June, 2014:

10.30am  -  4.00pm  (door open at 10)        
North Mundham Village Hall,
School Lane,
North Mundham,
Chichester, PO20 1LA

Only £15 for the day.

To book please contact: Angela O’Brien
 0792 5870541

Una May is a vibrant, experienced choir leader.
She likes to share African traditional music, gospel, jazz, Tamla Mowtown, improvisation, rhythm skills and a whole lot more! Everything will be taught by ear (no need to read music).
No previous experience needed ... just bring yourself and have a go.

“Wow, what a brilliant teacher...please book Una May again!  We just can’t wait! Haven’t had such a fun, friendly day in ages – an absolute tonic!”

For more about Una May and her work, see her website: also see her in action at Sing for Water London on youtube where she leads African songs, in particular.

Tea/coffee and a bottle of water for each participant will be provided.
Please bring something for a shared pot luck lunch.

Directions: The Village Hall is just behind North Mundham School on B2166 between Runcton and Hunston, south of the A27 Chichester Bypass and has its own car park.

Here you see Una May at work ...

Don't worry about the weather ...
The Village Hall has a roof!