Out and About in Lavenham!
On stage with Robbie Gladwell and his Band!
Hello every-one it’s just a very quick blog tonight as I have a full week ahead performing Pearly Queen shows to tie in with St Georges Day. To-day I had two shows back to back and I’m out again tomorrow performing the same and then over to the recording studio. If you caught my Facebook pages you will know Paul and I were performing away last weekend in the charming Suffolk town of Lavenham.
For all you 1940s fans out there you may be interested to know we will be returning to Lavenham for the towns 1940s event on Sunday 20th May. While we were in town we had lunch at The Crooked House, Munnings Tea Room
Show in Full Swing Rocking the Night Away!
and when the lady found out what we did she booked us straight away to perform. So if you happen to be in Lavenham on the 20th May do pop along to see us. We will be singing all day out-side from 10.30am – 4.30pm 20 minutes on twenty minutes off.
I have to say Lavenham is one of my favorite towns. It’s so Shakespearean and on this occasion Paul and I stayed at The Angel Hotel. I know the hotel having stayed there before and we had been booked to sing for a special 80th birthday. One set Pearly Queen as many of the guests including the Birthday boy were from London originally and the other set songs from the 1950s 60s and 70s which really got the party rocking! On this occasion we had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Robbie Gladwell and his band which some of you may remember from his days with “The Cockney Rebels”.
The evening couldn’t have gone better as we all sang along and rocked the night away. A big thank-you to Carole for inviting Paul and I to sing and for hosting such a wonderful party. I know Goff enjoyed his Birthday immensely!
Out-side The Crooked House at Munnings Tea Room!
This Saturday I will be hanging up my Pearly Queen costume in favor of my Chantilly lace petty coats as I sing the music of the 1950s and 60s at The Weatherly Centre in Biggleswade. Tickets are £10 each and you can find full details by clicking the photo.
That’s all my news for now Keep Watching and Toodle Pip!
Shooting on Location!
This last week has been very full on as I’ve been concentrating on Wednesdays photo shoot at Shuttleworth House. As with all these things it’s all about the preparation and I wanted to make the most of the opportunity having engaged top photographer Angela Adams to work with me on this shoot. Different photographers have different styles and Angela has a great understanding of location, space and how to use it to best advantage. She looks at composition slightly differently to me so when I have an idea for a shoot she is then able to improve and refine my idea which is extremely inspiring and refreshing.
Angela Setting Up the Perfect Shot!
On this occasion I wanted to record some of my Victorian and Edwardian costumes and thanks to Shuttleworth House they very kindly gave me permission to do so. Half the battle is finding the right location and although I often photograph in the studio to a white background when I need cut outs for my web-site these costumes needed splendor and location.
It’s very important to have good photos especially with social media. My instagram pages are growing and it’s lovely I can share with you all my love of costumes rather than just leaving them in the wardrobe. Some of these costumes are too
Getting into Costume!
fragile to wear for every Music Hall show I do depending on the conditions I’m having to perform in but through photographs you can still enjoy them.
For those of you who follow my facebook pages you may have already seen some of my behind the scenes shots. As with all these things there is a lot to do and I had 8 costumes to get through which doesn’t sound much but when you take into consideration all the foundation garments it’s quite a job. Fortunately Paul very kindly came along to help me and Angela brought along her assistant, another Paul to help with the lighting. When you work in stately homes it’s important to have the right lighting balance which is a skill in it’self. So often when you see a period drama on TV it’s easy to forget all the people behind the scenes who help to rig and light so it works for camera. It’s the same when it comes to still photography.
Creating the Perfect Lakme’ Shot!
We arrived at Shuttleworth for 10am and started shooting from 11am through to 5pm. It’s hard work as the first hour of the day is spent carrying the costumes into the venue and getting ready. I enjoy working with Angela as she directs me and sometimes I have to contort my body into shapes which at the time feel a bit odd but from the camera angle look perfectly natural. Angela said it will probably be about three weeks before I receive the finished shots so keep watching this space and I will share them with you as soon as I receive them.
Apart from photo shoots I also had a dress fitting with Judi this week as I plan and get my wardrobe ready for France and D-Day. I have a couple of new 1940s suits to wear this season as does Paul and this year we will be adding a couple of fresh musical elements into our show plans for June. So keep following and I will tell you more about that later a litter closer to the time.
Singing at the Piano!
Next weekend I will be performing for a private party at The Angel Hotel in Lavenham. Lavenham is a charming Suffolk village and every building looks like it was constructed at the time of William Shakespeare. It seems like ages since I was last at Lavenham so I’m looking forward to visiting very much.
That’s all my news for now. Keep Watching , Toodle Pip and Bye for now! 😉
Back in the Studio!
Songs in Production!
Firstly thank-you every-one who caught my radio show on Easter Sunday on 1940s radio and for all your kind comments. It’s still early days for me as I work on developing my radio voice and mike technique. It’s a different technique required for singing as it is for radio and the spoken word, I’ve learn’t a lot from listening to my last two shows. I still have another two shows recorded in the can waiting to be aired so when I next record program five I hope you will be able to hear a great improvement.
It had been my intention to blog long before today but these last few weeks I have been burning the candle at both ends with far too many late nights and early mornings. I’ve been out every day performing Easter Bonnet shows and getting back in the evenings to a mountain of paper work which doesn’t do it’self. I was also with Richard in the recording studio until gone 1.00 am last Wednesday laying down some demos for a client who has engaged me to sing for her wedding. It was necessary for me to record some rehearsal tracks as my client has pacifically request “I’ll be with You in Apple Blossom Time” and “Long ago and Far Away” and she wants to
Working Late in the Studio with Richard!
Getting Ready for the Shoot!
practice walking down the isle to “Apple Blossom Time”. I’ve had to commission these tracks especially so we’ve changed the time signature to “Apple Blossom Time” from 3/4 to 4/4 which will work better for walking. Richard has also produced a wonderful arrangement of “Long ago and Far Away” which I hope the bride will love.
Apart from working on new songs from the 1940s Richard has also produced
On Stage in Japan!
a great arrangement of the Cilla Black number “You’ve My World” which I’ve been wanting to sing for a long time. We’ve taken the number up a key which suits my voice better and brought in a complete orchestra for the 1970s number “What I did for Love”. I’m really looking forward to performing both
numbers as I have a very full diary ahead of me and it’s important to do the preparation now so everything is in place for the season. Forward planning is the only way to succeed!
With April comes The Best of British Magazines 1940s issue. This year the magazine wanted to do something different. Where I usually write an article about something to do with the 40s scene two months ago I met up with the editor Simon Stabler for an interview. Simon wanted to write an article about my early career and use photos from before I started on the 40s circuit. (Crikey is that me!) If you haven’t got your copy yet do pop down to WH Smiths and you can find me on page 46. To be honest I hardly recognise myself when I look back on my photographs especially the ones of me in Japan with the dances. It makes me chuckle when I see a brown face and a white neck and shoulders. I would never let that “faux pas” pass today!
Getting Ready for the Shoot!
Speaking of which this Wednesday I’m going to be working at Shuttleworth House with photographer Angela Adams. This photo shoot has been months in the planning and we are going to be photographing my Victorian and Edwardian costumes. I’ve been able to gain special permission from the estate and it’s a real privilege to be working with Angela again in such a beautiful location. Tomorrow I will be having a very light spay tan just to even out my colour which might seem a bit strange when you are doing a Victorian photo shoot but when you are as white as I am it’s very necessary. If anything the Japan photos prove that, and even with a spray tan on camera my skin looks normal and contestant from face to shoulders. Another trick I use is to always have my eye lashes dyed which gives the eye a natural definition and looks more natural.
Gosh I’ve just noticed the time and I must dash as I have lots to prepare for Wednesday. I’m also in the hair dress tomorrow getting ready for the shoot so much to do. Next week I will be heading off to Sufolk but more on that in my next blog.
Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉
Shopping at Hammersmith Vintage Fair!
Hello every-one I’ve been out every day this week performing Easter Bonnet Shows. Today I had a morning show so I was able to get back to the office in good time to finish my paperwork although it seems like every-one seems to be chasing the same dates which in many case I could have sold five times over. Tomorrow I have two shows back to back so it’s a busy time of year and it’s good to see my plans taking shape.
Oh before I forget – remember to tune into my radio show on 1940sradio .com on Sunday. I’ve produced an Easter Special and my program will be going out on air at 3am, 12pm and 7pm. I
The Perfect Buttons!
recorded the program a while ago so it will be good to hear it again and I hope you will enjoy my musical choices which all have a bit of an Easter theme so keep listening!
On Sunday I was in Hammersmith attending the Vintage Fashion fair at the Town Hall. It’s one of my favorite haunts as it’s the only place I know where I can buy vintage fashion and accessories all under one roof. Hammersmith always makes for a fabulous day out. On this occasion I had a list and I went with the sole intention to buy buttons and accessories. I’m currently having two 1940s dresses made and I was in need of some orange buttons. It’s great when a plan comes together and sure enough while I was there I was able to find just what I was looking for. However I had to be strict with myself and resist a few items I would have loved. In particular I came across the most beautiful 1940s blue tartan suit which would have been perfect for Scotland. I had to say no although
The Suit That Got Away!
I have a feeling this may be a decision I will regret as suits of this quality and condition don’t come up for sale that often. When I went back it had sold and now I really regret not buying it but I wanted to stick to my plan and buy accessories for the outfits I’m currently working on. While I was there I was able to buy a lapel dress clip for my new 1940s green suit plus a selection of flowers to make a corsage to tie in with a particular hat I wish to wear this season.
Last Monday after my show I visited Richard at his new recording studio in Bracknell. These last few years I’ve been concentrating on producing videos and showreels although I feel it’s high time to invest in some new musical arrangements. You may recall in a couple of my past blogs I met up with Mike Morgan a few weeks ago who is producing a “Grease” medley for me which if everything goes to plan I will be able to start using in May. I have a wedding coming up in June where the bride has requested “Long Ago and Far Away”
In Apple Blossom Time!
along with “Apple Blossom Time” two numbers I need to add to my collection. I’m also keen to expand my 1960s and 70s repertoire and I’m commissioning an arrangement of “You’re My World” and “What I did for Love”. For “What I Did for Love” we will be using a full orchestra which is very exciting!
That’s all my news for now as I continue with the Easter Bonnet show season. When I get back I shall be getting ready for a Victorian photo shoot at Shuttleworth House. But more on that later.
Keep Following, Toodle Pip and Bye for Now!
Me in Last Year’s Easter Bonnet!
Hello every-one I don’t know how many of you caught me on 1940radio.com last weekend but early indications show I got a good listenership which we only hope will grow over time. I’ve already recorded four shows although at the moment we will only be playing one show a month due to my singing commitments. It’s always good to have a few shows in loo so we don’t fall behind and I have lots of wonderful ideas I can’t wait to put into practice and share with you all on air!
Is it just me or has this winter been dragging on
A Simple Boater for Spring!
somewhat! I was so relived to see brighter weather these last few days. I’m board with wearing brown winter woollies all the time and I’m so looking forward to Spring. This week I’ve been out performing Easter Bonnet shows although I don’t really start the Easter season properly until next week when I will be running through to the 8th April. I’m raring to go as I have a new dress for the season (which always puts a spring in my step) you might have seen a picture of in my last blog. I’ve topped it off with a straw boater which I think looks very pretty, and well – I just wanted to make a fashion statement and bring straw boaters back for Spring. I can’t tell you how refreshing it feels to wear something pretty again after all this brown.
Electron Andy PATs Testing my Equipment for 2018!
My diary is starting to take shape and it’s important to have everything in place for the new up and coming season. On Tuesday I spent the morning having all my equipment PATs tested. It’s very important to keep up to date with these things and this year the labels are different. Each one has a bar code which means every piece of equipment can be traced and is properly documented. I was also able to give my van a good sweep out this week as it’s amazing just how much dust and dirt is accumulated when you are performing here there and every-where.
Paul is very pleased with his new tailored suit and he is looking forward to seeing Alex again so he can commission another one. I had a couple of fittings with Judi this week and she has already finished the alterations on one of my suits and nearly finished a dress which I shall be taking out to France for D-Day. On Sunday I hope to pop along to Hammersmith’s Vintage fashion fair. I’m really going for trimmings as it’s the only place I know where I can get genuine trimmings from the period and I’m keeping my eyes pealed for some Art Deco orange buttons to go with my new dress. The pattern is an original from the 40s and a couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to pick up a length of original Georgette Crape. I had a fitting tonight and the dress looks super. All it needs now are the right buttons and the combination will look amazing.
That’s all my news for now. Keep Watching and thank-you for following! 😉
In My Easter Bonnet!
Paul with His Tailor Alex Bentley!
Let me start my blog to-night by wishing all my Irish followers a very happy St Patricks Day. I’m sorry it’s been a while since I last wrote but I’ve had a very busy few weeks what with one thing and another. I’ve been away the last six days performing on the south coast and in between times Paul took me to meet his tailor Alex Bentley in Southsea. Paul has just had made an Irish Tweed 1930s design Bi swing suit with a half belt which he likes to wear with his 1930s Dobbs Trilby or flat cap. He’s had it made for this coming season which is starting to shape up nicely. Between shows I’ve been catching up with my contracts and e-mails and I’ve already sold in excess of 200 shows for 2018 which is very encouraging.
I had a show in Cambridgeshire on Mothers day and then I dashed down to Portsmouth straight after my show. On Thursday I drove back after my performance so I would be ready for last nights show at Wellingborough Golf Club which couldn’t have gone better. Paul and I were engaged to sing for a Golden Wedding Anniversary as we performed a mix of music from the 1930s through to the 70s.
Having a Chat with Alex!
As with all my shows there is a great deal of hidden preparation which I need to do so my performances are seamless. The trick is to predict and to always have a plan B and C ready should it be necessary to change direction. I spend a lot of my time programming and typing up show plans. I’m currently expanding my 70s and party repertoire which I know will be a good business investment. For the next three weeks it’s going to be a run of “Easter Bonnet” shows the first of which I performed last Thursday and it’s among one of my favorites.
Speaking of shows my first radio show went out on 1940sradio.com last Sunday and Tuesday and as yet I don’t know how I’ve done. I’d like to hear the show I recorded again just to refresh my memory. This weekend I plan to record a couple of more shows and while I’ve been away I’ve had lots of ideas which I must put forward to the powers that be. I’m
On Stage at Wellingborough Golf Club!
quite keen to give my shows a theme and I’ve already put together the content for another four programs. I don’t want to run before I can walk so I’m taking things slowly and I would like my shows to have a strong Hollywood movie musical content as that’s where my expertise in vintage music really lies. Watch this space and I will keep you posted!
Next week I have a couple of important meetings I must attend and I’m also booked in to have all my equipment PATS tested. Yes it’s that time of year again. I’m seeing my dress maker Judi on Tuesday who is making a couple of new 1940s dresses for me which I will be wearing out in France for the D-Day commemorations along with my uniforms.
That’s all my news for the moment. Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉
Collecting for Dogs for Good!
Firstly I’d like to start by thanking every-one who came down to All Saints Church on Tuesday to hear Paul and I sing for “Dogs for Good”. We made £177.84 which will be going straight to the charity and it was lovely to see Alvin who made a special guest appearance with his puppy carer and handler Annie Rourke. We had a lovely day and it was wonderful to see so many friends. So thank-you every-one for your fantastic support!
This last week I’ve been working flat out and once again I’m in a bit of a dash tonight as I have so much work to do before I head off on tour next
Paul Doing His Bit!
week. This Saturday I’m working down in Kent for a 1940s Time Travelling Tea Party which is taking place at Tatsfield Village Hall. I still need to prep my ATS uniform and polish my brass buttons and then on Sunday I’m in Cambridgeshire performing the Swinging 50s and 60s before heading off down to the South coast. I’m fully booked next week and then back up to Wellingborough Golf Club for a private party on Friday when I’m down to perform the music of the 1930s through to the 1970s. It’s full steam ahead and I have so much to get straight and done before I hit the road.
Getting Ready to Go On Air!
If you have been following me on facebook you may have seen on my pages that I’m going to be hosting my own music radio show on 1940s Radio. I was approached by the station as they thought I would have the ideal speaking voice for the American market. 1940sradio.com has a growing following across the pond in the United States and I’ve already put together two pilot shows the first of which is to go out on Tuesday and Sunday at 3.00am – 12.00am and at 7.00pm GMT. The different times are to tie up the the radio stations international listeners. As yet I don’t know if I will be any good as a radio host but I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity and I wanted to give it a go. I’ve lots of ideas and for my second show I took the theme of the Hollywood movie musicals so we will just have to see how I get on and if the Americans like me. If you get the opportunity please do tune in to hear me at 7.00pm and hopefully listeners will enjoy my musical choices.
Talking about music I had my first meeting with Mike Moran on Monday as we had a play through and discusses some ideas for my Grease medley. I had a feeling that when I brought along my Grease score he would know the writers personally and sure enough John Farrar is a personal friend along with Olivia Newton – John and so it goes on. I don’t think there is anyone in popular music or musical theater Mike hasn’t worked with at some time or other as the walls of his studio show no shortage of posters of films he’s written the music for.
I can’t wait to hear Mike’s first draft of the medley although quite what his fee is going to be I’m still not quite sure. However to have the chance of working with someone of his ability and talent was too good an opportunity to miss and I hope to have the medley done for May. I’m also seeing Richard at the end of the month where I hope to commission another couple of songs for later in the year.
That’s all my news for now and I’m afraid I wont be able to blog again until I get back after next week. In the meantime don’t miss my radio show!
Toodle Pip and Keep Following! 😉
The Show Must Go On as I Keep Trucking!
Careful on the Roads!
To-day I’ve been making the most of the snow working on the assumption that due to the bad weather most people are grounded at home which has enabled me to catch up on my phone calls and paperwork. I feel very proud that despite the bad weather it’s been business as usual and I’ve made all my appointments and shows this week. Even when I’m not performing I still have a lot to do in the office and a full weekend ahead.
On Tuesday I had a two hour drive over to Gloucester which even though it was trying had to snow I made it there and back without too much of a problem. Thursday was a little more difficult as I was booked to perform in Northampton for World Book Day and it was very hard going coming back through Milton Keynes. Fortunately people were driving carefully and as long as you trickle along slowly all is well. It’s when people drive too fast and brake suddenly that they start to skid and the problems occur.
Yesterday I had a show in Hemel Hempstead and on my way it was raining ice. I had been b
See You There!
ooked to perform for a very smart care home and all the residents were extremely pleased to see me. I believe that week they had lost quite a few entertainers due to the bad weather so they were very appreciative that I had made that extra special effort to be with them. Certainly as I was performing I could see the snow falling and the traffic building. I was able to get away just after 4pm which was probably just as well as I used all my local knowledge to navigate my way home predicting the problems avoiding any inclines and hills such as Billington Hill on the Leighton Buzzard Road cutting through the village and back onto the bypass and then through Leighton Buzzard town rather than sliding up to Wing Hill. That journey usually takes 40 minutes but on Friday it took 90 minutes. However I think I was very lucky as it could have taken many hours more if I hadn’t have known the roads which ment I was able to keep trucking.
I look Forward to Seeing You!
This evening I’m supposed to be going to see The Shambles Big Band in Dunstable so I’m hoping the roads wont be too bad although I’m worried about black ice. Don’t forget next week you can catch my show “A Song in my Heart” at All Saint’s Church as I sing to raise money for “Dogs for Good”. Dogs for Good are a wonderful charity who train dogs to assist adults and children with physical disabilities and children with autism. I will be joined on stage by special guest and Sinatra style singer Paul Marsden and we will be singing from 10.30am – 3pm every 20 minutes for donations in the coffee shop. It’s free to enter and every-one is welcome so it will be lovely to see you.
I’ve also had a poster sent through for a 1950s and 60s show I’m doing at the Weatherley Centre in Biggleswade on the 28th April. If you can’t make it along to see me on the 6th March then I hope you can see me in April. Please click onto the poster for details. In the mean time I have a few pilot radio shows to put together for a radio station but I shall tell you more about that in my next post.
Keep Watching and Toodle Pip! 😉