Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Crowded House in the Forest

Last week we were fortunate enough to see Crowded House, one of our favourite bands, live in the open air of Thetford Forest. Having long been a fan of thier music (in fact I saw them way back in 1994 at Wembley Arena) we were really up for it as they say and they did not dissapoint. Supporting them and first on stage was Don Mcglashan another 'Kiwi' musician and songwriter formerly with a band called the Mutton Birds.

Don Mcglashan

Don was accompanied by Neil Finn on 'Anchor Me'

The weather stayed fine for the whole event and the setting was lovely. These events are organised by the Forrestry Commission and I must say they do it really well. I've been to lots of gigs with inadequate facilities where you're jostled & herded around sheeplike but this one was a joy.
Next onstage were Delays, who make a really tight and punchy sound with interesting vocal harmonies as you would expect with a band with a couple of albums behind them.


Then came Crowded House as dusk fell on the forest. They communicate so well with their audience playing a well balanced set of old hits mixed with some new material. Theirs is a beautifully structured pop/rock with cerebral lyrics but also dance and sing-a-long-ability and seeing them live again after so many years it was very apparent to me what a great singer Neil Finn is and also a very fine and original musician! Before I over egg the 'Finn' pie It has to be noted that the Crowded House sound and look is equally indebted to Nick Seymour's deceptively groovy and wobbly basslines (he's also an artist, check out his album covers and backdrops), Mark Hart's weird and wonderful and sometimes ethereal guitar parts (I especially like his fuzzed lap steel) and of corse the latest addition Matt Sherrod on Drums who plays like he's been there for years.

Crowded House

I also have to add that Neil Finn has not only the knack of writing hit songs with real integrity but has also been churning them out for 25 or more years with Crowded House, brother Tim, Split Enz and as a solo artist. I find it quite surprising how he is not mentioned far more often in those conversations about the great songwriters, you know the ones that go 'Paul Simon this, Neil Young That...blah blah Paul McCartney' etc. Simply take a listen to 'Pour le Monde' on their most recent album 'Time on Earth' and I'll rest my case.

A splendid time was indeed had by us all!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

West Mersea church from across the fishermen's hard ~ B pencil

Garlic from Carcasonne

Our 'Lovely' Linda from the Colchester Artcafé just got back from her holiday in France and has furnished us with these two magnificent bulbs of garlic. Unfortunately the picture doesn't do them justice, I should perhaps have included a coin (a euro cent) to give you some idea of scale, they are indeed large 'puppies'. I'll let you know what became of them in a future post.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

A Day at the Food Festival

A 'pie' trailer

Sarasparilla ~ very nice with sparkling mineral water

Ostrich or Venison?

My lunch, a chicken dish whos name eludes me


This Sunday I went to the Food Festival in the Castle Park along with Jenny, Holly & Jack, unfortunately Maggie had to work at the Mersea Art Cafe which was a real disappointment as she'd been looking forward to this event for some time and in fairness being the tartist in this partnership a food fest. is more up her street. Anyhow, we persevered on her behalf around the really busy stalls sampling all sorts of tasty (and also bland) morsals as we went.

Some real treats were:~

Frozen Yoghurt from Margaret's Frozen Luxuries who are just up the road in Earls Colne.

Cordials and Presses from James Edwards Botanical Beverage Co.

A Chicken Dish that I can't for the life of me remember the name, but was served with some creamy potatoes with lardons of bacon all of which was cooked in a large pan over a charcoal fire.

Something I always find a disapointment are flavoured cheeses, especially cheddar. At it's best it has be as good as any from around the world, so, why bung cranberries or pineapple or whatever in it...what's that all about? and you can always find them in abundance at these shows. Still, we had a super day in the 'Essex' sunshine which I rounded off with a better-than-average cappuccino from one of those 'nifty' coffee vans equipped with a hand pump espresso machine. I'd love to get my hands on one of those for the artcafe!!