Out and About at the BCLM!
As you can see I’m a little later than normal with my blog this week largely because I’ve been extremely busy and I’ve had some sharp turn arounds. This week I opened with a “Song for Summer” in Kettering, then a “Magic of the Musicals” in Northampton, it was the turn of my “Stars and Stripes” show in Bicester on Friday and I will be concluding the week with a “Hooray for Hollywood” in Bushy this coming Sunday. So something different for every-day of the week which keeps things fresh and exciting.
Hooray for Hollywood in the Radio Shop!
Last weekend I had the pleasure of performing at the Black Country Living Museum’s 1940s event. It’s an amazing venue and we couldn’t have wished for better weather as the sun shone down all weekend. I had been booked to perform 3 x 45 minute shows daily plus a 60 minute Saturday night dance set so seven shows in total. The museum had put together a wonderful line up of acts which included The D-Day Darlings and the D-Day Juniors, George Formby, Winston Churchill and my personal favorites Flanagan and Allen.
On stage with Flanagan & Allen!
Special congratulations needs to go out to the Black Country Living Museum for staging such a great event and for their brilliant organizing and professionalism. I was also extremely impressed with the D-Day Juniors who were very professional, well schooled, disciplined and were a delight to see thanks to the dedication of D-Day Darlings lead singer Katie Ashby.
I’d been looking forward to this event for ages and I was keen to document the weekend. These days you have to be adapted at turning your hand to everything which was why I took the decision to engage a professional photographer. I was very fortunate to find Mark Slater who did a fantastic
Meeting Up with Wintson Churchill!
job for me photographing the event and my shows which included seven costume changes.
When it comes to photos the obvious one is me standing in front of a microphone singing which after a while I think photographically gets a bit boring. Yes it’s important to have these sort of shots but it’s much more interesting to be shot in costume on location. The Black Country Living Museum isn’t short of character and Mark and I made the most of the opportunity visiting the different shops, buildings and war time scenarios which were set up across the sight.
Gi Jive with Dancers!
Thanks to Mark’s skill and the museum granting us access I now have a fantastic collection of photos which I will be sharing with you all on my social media pages. In fact a few of you may have seen some of Mark’s shots on my Facebook pages already and I’m thrilled to have such a fantastic collection.
Normally when I’m at events I usually have to do my own sound but on this occasion we had a sound crew and it was great to work with John and Tyler who looked after our stage. BCLM had arranged for two stages and I was working the Park Stage
On Stage with Katie Ashby of The D-Day Darlings!
which to my mind was much nicer than the main stage which was down by the canal and surrounded by black coal dust. At night time they also lit braziers which blew across the main stage which must have been difficult for the D-day Darlings to sing through. The Park stage was clean and airy and we had all the stall holders around us making the space colourful and interesting. My dressing room was also right next door which couldn’t have been better and we had a steady flow of visitors all weekend. Perfect!
I always say variety is the spice of life and I made a point of performing seven non repetitive
Time for a Game of Cards between Shows!
costume shows over the weekend. I opened on Saturday with my ATS “We’ll Meet Again” show which always goes down well although the shows which attracted the most interest were my “Stage and Screen” and Saturday Night Lindy Hop show “In the Mood”. It’s lovely to see people up dancing, especially afterwards when they come up and say how much they have enjoyed my performance – and how nice it was to hear some-one singing something different!
A lot of thought goes into my shows not only on my uniforms and costumes but I also spend a
Roping in Sound Crew Tyler and Dan (Who was last Passing from the main Stage!)
great deal of time in the recording studio working with my musical arranger Richard Whennell on new musical arrangements. Although the internet has made music accessible the problem is so much of what is being performed has become over played making artists acts predictable. I’ve been plugging away for years and I forget sometimes just how much music I have, all of which are custom made arrangements. I had a count up after the weekend and including my medley arrangements I performed 147 numbers which doesn’t seem like it at the time but it just goes to show how much music I cover in a
The Man from the Ministry!
I currently have a couple of new arrangements in production, which I hope to pick up very soon. “Busy doing Nothing” from a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Try saying that with national health teeth). This was from a 1949 film starring Bing Crosby and Rhonda Fleming plus a full arrangement of In Apple Blossom Time. I hope to get these through in time for my performance at Bletchley Park on the 6th August but if not I will have them in time for Stonehurst Farm’s 1940s event on the 13th & 14th August. More
One of Harry’s Shots from TNMOC
news on that later so keep following my blogs.
Talking of Bletchley Park I had the pleasure of working with Harry and Suzanne of H100 – Photographer at The National Museum of Computing on Monday. I wouldn’t normally arrange a photo shoot straight after a big event but the TNMOC is extremely busy and getting a slot to do a shoot at all isn’t easy when they have such a busy time table. I felt very privileged they gave us access and this wonderful opportunity. I wanted to get a collection of working photos of
Taking Down Morse Code at TNMOC!
me as a Wrens by the early war time computers Tunny and Colossus. Sadly we couldn’t get any shots of me with the Bombe as it’s encased in perspex but the other shots have come out extremely well thanks to Harry’s skill. My plan is to use these shots in a music video along with Marks photos from the Black Country Living museum.
I’m investing a great deal in my photography this year and once I have the shots I’m able to divide them up and use them for different social media
Just Arriving for Work at Bletchley Park!
behind the scenes projects which I will be working on with my web-designers over the next couple of years.
Time is beating me this morning and I must crack on. I have a heap of paper-work to do today which I mustn’t put off. Next week I have a run on 1950s & 60s shows plus a special 1940s tea party to perform at Stanbridge Lower School which I’m looking forward to very much.
Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now!