And Now A Massage from the Swedish Prime Minister

Upton Jazz Festival 2019 is done and dusted and feels like a distant memory despite it happening just over two weeks ago and once again the sentimental Sandman is back grafting.

A Short Piece on the Festival

This year I stopped in a B and B in Holly Green which is less then half a mile from Upton Upon Severn and the journey into town took less than ten minutes, the B and B was called The Rag House and was a very nice and cosy set up. It was essentially someone’s spare bedrooms being rented out but it was more then enough for my purposes. It was a family run affair and there was a real sense of community with the residents as over breakfast, the hosts were very friendly and the breakfast was top notch.

The festival was in the town again and once again there was no beer tent! There was however a small bar which was catering more towards the Gin and Fizz crowd but there was at least a beer available, even if rather pricey. There were a few mistakes in the festival such as only one band on the opening Thursday, and the band chosen weren’t the best choice to open with. They failed to make use of the Best of Young Jazz Marquee on Friday, it had a good capacity and I feel they missed out. There were less “trad” bands this year but I feel the reason for this probably stem from the unfortunate truth in regards to the age bracket of the performers and this seems to have irked one or two. There was an influx of younger bands and players which was good and a more broad approach to Jazz and there was even a bit of Jazz Funk thrown into the mix. All in all I felt the festival was an improvement on last year’s and I made a few new friends on the way.

Moving On

Heather has moved into her new flat and as it stands it is still in need of furnishing, at the moment all she has is her bed, two lawn chairs and assorted stuffed toys, the flat is part of a scheme to ease people with Autism into looking after themselves and so far she seems to have settled in okay.

We went to see Toy Story 4 at the cinema which was very good, and The Queen’s Corgi which was really not. Toy Story 4 acts as a coda to the original trilogy and has very much a changing of the guard tone about it. The presence of Forky is interesting as it sets up a whole string of metaphorical questions about the lives of Toys in the Toy Story Universe. There are some surprisingly mature themes in the film as it deals with the moving on and in a way retirement, also principal villain has an aspect of unrequited love about her and how people attempt to change themselves to be accepted. Without giving away too many spoilers it does explain why Bo-Peep doesn’t feature in Toy Story 3 and sets up two potential follow up films. Like the previous films there are plenty of jokes that will appeal to the adults in the audience and isn’t too childish to be off putting.

The Queen’s Corgi is pure shite on just about every level, with an unlikable spoilt lead character and a plot which really doesn’t work and a rather large number of questionable jokes and themes for a “children’s movie”. The main protagonist doesn’t learn from the negative experience and reinforces the notion of social segregation. The bulk of the film takes place in a Abandoned Dogs Shelter and effectively becomes a spoof of a prison movie. But rather go down the route of doing something akin to “The Great Escape” or even “Porridge” with dogs they decided to do “Scum” and “Prison Break”, with a dog fighting league and prison gangs. None of this is clever or funny and it begs the question to whom is the film supposed to be marketed at? In short avoid the film like the plague.

Next time I think I will be choosing the film we see together.

Work is a bit slow at the moment and as a consequence I have chosen to use up some of my holiday hours this coming week to spread the shifts around a bit and just give myself some time with Heather and some me time.

Albums wise, I purchased a few CDs at Upton Jazz festival including a solo album by John Hallam called “Just John” which is a series of solo performances on his various woodwind instruments on a variety of familiar tunes including “Stranger on the Shore”, “Stardust” and “When I’m Sixty-Four”; the After Hours Quintet which has some familiar standards like “Sunny Side of the Street”, “Jump, Jive and Wail” but also d few Dixieland/swing takes on some unusual material including the Artic Monkey’s “You’d Look Good on the Dance Floor” and Britney Spears’ “Toxic”; and a CD by the Dan Cassidy Quintet- A Jazz violinist from the USA who was very good, he is part of a musical family as his late sister was a singer apparently, she was called Eve or something similar… …

Plans for the week? While aside from working on the vegetable garden and tying up the tomato plant, not a huge amount. I am planning to take Heather to Alton Towers or Drayton Manor Park and hopefully get myself across to the Trumpet in Bilston for some live Jazz. Cinema wise, I will being seeing the new Spiderman movie and maybe Yesterday (even if it does seem to share the same storyline as “Fanfare for the Common Men”, I may even pop and see the Pavarotti documentary too.

Currently just under a third of the way through the second book in Andrew Cartmel’s Vinyl Detective series which on this occasions has the titular unnamed character hired to look into the death of a sixties pop star and possibly track down a missing child in the process, it is certainly of a different tone to the first book with perhaps more a detective story vibe about it from the outset. As with the first volume there is a lot of drug culture references which in the opening book mostly consisted of weed references, here it is a bit more reflective of the substances floating around in the 1960s.

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