Thursday, 31 July 2014

Morecambe Winter Gardens July 2014 - Baby - Caroline Stewart

Following on from my post yesterday.... Caroline does this song so well - one of the highlights of the one day convention at Morecambe Winter Gardens last weekend, 26th July. This one-day event is great fun; it's such a thrill to get into this wonderful old theatre and see it used for the sort of entertainment it was built for - and to help to raise funds for its restoration.

The teenage member of the society are all very good players indeed and they made use of the lovely weather to busk outside the main door when not on stage - an appreciative public threw a total of £80 into their uke cases, which was given to the Morecambe Winter Gardens restoration fund.

Francesca and Catalina Davies, Stuart Lowther and Cameron Aitken, busking for the restoration fund, Morecambe Winter Gardens

The audience!

The thrash! (Everyone joins in!)

Look at that stage... Laurel and Hardy, Lawrence Olivier, Sir Edward Elgar, Morecambe and Wise, the Beatles and George Formby himself have performed on that stage!

Myself... with Caroline Stewart, Kate Howard, Peter Pollard, Dale Norman and John Walley..... and Eric!

So much fun, laughter and good friendship...

So that's it for Morecambe, until next year - I do hope we do it next year... and I do think we shall!
Video and some of the photos by courtesy of Peter Pollard, GFS

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A GFS Ukafrolic at the Morecambe Winter Gardens, July 2014

Been too busy to blog. Sorry. Some have missed me - they said so... which is really nice, and I thank them and you for dropping in for time to time to see what's been going on in this Life of a Lady with a Ukulele or Two.... (now eleven, actually..... shhhhhh!)

Well, last weekend, a real humdinger of a Ukafrolic with a one-day convention of the George Formby Society at the old Winter Gardens theatre in Morecambe. Read more about this beautiful old theatre and the quest to restore it to its former glory here....

And here's a cracking video put together by Boris Seagal, to promote the Winter Gardens and the Trust... lots of Formby ladies represented here.... see my very good friend Kate Howard, who had traveled with her own LSH (Long-Suffering-Husband) all the way from the Isle of Skye - that's a LONG way from Morecambe - as she makes a wonderful job of Leaning on a Lamppost, on the very spot where George himself performed... you'll hear a few words from me and a glimpse of a quick strum on my lovely Dallas D, and you'll catch a glimpse of the incomparable Clarice Wokes and her sizeable array of tattoos, strumming away also! It's a great video and thanks to Boris for doing it - good for the Winter Gardens, good for the GFS!

Here's a full write-up of the day on the George Formby Society website.

There's a great gallery of photos, and you can read about how the society raised £1200 that day for the Winter Gardens restoration project. £80 of this was raised by a group of players including some of the younger members, who busked outside the theatre to the delight of the passers-by, many of whom then came in (the event was free of charge to the public) to enjoy the entertainment on offer. Read all about it...

Tomorrow I'll pop a few pics on here.

Did I play on stage? No. Shame on me. Woulda shoulda coulda - but didn't - because I wasn't happy that I had anything ready that day. To go on stage to sing and play, you need to feel that you have something so well buttoned up that you can't do it wrong - that's called confidence! Last weekend that just wasn't there. I don't want to do the same couple of songs every time I venture up on stage - so the repertoire has to grow - that takes commitment, effort, and practice. Practice, practice, practice - you just gotta do it. I've just gotta do it. No gain without pain. Ah me. And here's a night when I haven't done any - so - time to get the uke out.

Thanks for dropping in!

Friday, 27 June 2014

The Hawaiian theme went down a treat! More from the Uke Fest GB 2014

They'd got Taimane from Hawaii to top the bill - they'd got Craig Chee... so a Hawaiian theme for Uke Fest GB 2014 was a must. We had the weather, we had the music. We had the mood... a Hawaiian Ukafrolic in all but place!

Here are my mates, father and son Mark and Jim Watson... capturing the mood just beautifully, don't you think? It was great to see them again...

And here's another uke-pal Simon Grove (officially "Best Dressed Man"!) with Sarah Maisel and Craig Chee! The girl behind them is holding Sarah's de Silva Special ukulele, with the guinea-pig headstock... I had a hold of that, too... beautiful thing!

Craig Chee opened up the Saturday night concert, and brought Sarah on stage to join him. The songs they did together made one of the most heart-warming performances I've ever seen, their on-stage chemistry is perfect. Could be something to do with the fact that their off-stage chemistry is perfect, too!

For example - just watch this, a highlight of their performance together that evening..

Video by courtesy of Ed Doherty

Wonderful, just wonderful!

More to come... thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

In The Money with the Hot Potato Syncopators at Uke Fest GB 2014

The Saturday Night concert at the Uke Fest GB in Cheltenham was a blast from start to finish. The second act to appear was the band the Hot Potato Syncopators.

I'd never seen then before, but as soon as they came on stage in their suits with tails, I knew they'd be doing my kind of music - songs from the 20's, 30's and 40's, and doing it well.. but I wasn't prepared for the comedy... they were hilarious and fully deserved their standing ovation! Featuring two ukuleles and a teachest bass, and three of the most talented musical comedians I've ever seen, this band should be seen more!

Please watch and enjoy the Hot Potato Syncopators in their fabulous finale to their act, "We're In The Money"... video and photo courtesy of The Hot Potato Syncopators

And yes - I did catch some!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Uke-Fest GB 2014 - the Big Busk - a mass Ukafrolic!

The midsummer sun shone obligingly down from a clear blue sky, as we gathered with our ukuleles in the Imperial Gardens on Sunday morning, ready to hold a Big Busk outside Waterstones bookshop ... but a last-minute "Health & Safety" hitch over use of their balcony for the PA meant that the Big Busk stayed right where it was, on the lawn in the Imperial Gardens behind Cheltenham Town Hall. A much nicer spot for everyone to play anyway, I thought - as you'll see from my little video!

The Hawaiian theme was well in evidence from all the Hawaiian shirts and flower garlands sported by the ukers! And there was no shortage of dazzling costume hats, deely-boppers and sunglasses, all adding to the festival atmosphere. There were visitors from California and New Jersey, Australia, to name but a few of the foreign countries represented... and Hawaii was represented here by Craig Chee! Spot him on the stage here with Sarah Maisel, during "Making Love Ukulele-Style"!

And here's a grand photo, courtesy of Craig Chee!

A mass Ukufrolicking Busk that even managed to better last year's, in every respect! How that can bettered next year, I don't know, but I do know that they'll try!

Thanks for dropping in - I think I've just about recovered from all the fun!

Coming up, ASAP - the concerts and the new addition to the family, bought at the uke-fest - new uke!