Monday, 14 December 2009

Is it me?

This will be a photo light post as I've lost my camera. I've no idea how that happened as we are usually inseparable. It hasn't been a good week - my computer died in the week so I lost everything. Recovery is not looking good so I have invested in a laptop. I haven't even taken its plastic wrap off yet!

Last night I went with my Mum to see the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. I know - I should have checked the dress code in advance but I forgot and dressed up - I was going with my Mum after all! I felt as if I was drowning in a sea of greige ( a Laura Ashley shade name which adequately describes that colour between grey and beige)! I hadn't realised that a cardigan was obligatory topped with an anorak. I also had neglected to check out the minimum age requirement which must surely have been 70. Now I know its not that far away for me but I am determined not to let colour disappear from my life as I get older. Why do they do that?

We sat down (in the stalls as Mother doesn't like heights)and I had a delightful view of 60 brilliantly polished black shoes and grey trousered legs but not a lot above that.

Grimethorpe Colliery Band were the band behind the fabulous Brassedd Off film released some years ago. My mother grew up playing the cornet as the only girl in an all male band with my grandfather, a euphonium player, so I confess to having always enjoyed a good brass band. (There's lots of normal music I like - honest!)

The conductor arrived, the band struck up and I was enveloped by the wonderful rich tones of this fabulous band. My foot was tapping and I had a broad grin on my face. (Rather different to seeing David Bowie or Eric Clapton where I'd be likely to embarrass anyone with me!) I know its not everyone's cup of tea and is very much a northern "thing" linked to the pits and the large employers but their professionalism, skill and absolute pleasure was clear to see. They put on a fabulous performance and I loved it. I know it brought back precious memories for my Mum too. I admit to losing several tears when they played "Danny Boy" with the lights down and wearing their pit helmets with the helmet lights on - except they were brand new shiny white helmets which had clearly never seen a pit. And while I'm glad that we no longer have thousands of men suffering the daily toil of the pits and the resulting dreadful lung diseases I can't help but be sad for those who are still struggling with the fall out from the closing of the pits - especially in Nottinghamshire where the impact lives on...

So I have questions - why don't brass bands attract younger people? Have these bands had their day? What music would you go to with your Mum?

Hope your Christmas preparations are going well!

Love Wend


  1. Hi Wend

    I loved the film Brassed Off, and I love the sound of Brass Bands ... almost as much as I love listening to Welsh Male Voice Choirs. Every year a choir comes to Somerton and sings a full repertoire lasting a couple of hours, at the start of the Somerton Arts Festival. Mum and I always go.

    Seasons greetings!

    Sue x

  2. There's nothing like a good brass band and I loved that film too.
    I doubt I would go to any music event with my mum but I have been to see Bon Jovi with my daughter!! ;-)

  3. Hi just popped in to say hello, i am living in Northamptonshire also Lower Weedon, Stephne x

  4. Hmm, there were plenty of younge people in my husband's brass band when we lived in Cumbria. It was definitely a family thing, with three generations playing together in many bands. That was in the '90s, no doubt when Brassed Off was set (?? can't remember for sure). I don't know what it's like now but I suspect that the only young people to go to see a brass band would be players themselves. Bet it was fun, though!

  5. Well, I am happy to report that my son's school has a thriving brass band. He has also joined his local British Legion Brass Band recently, along with quite a few of his school friends! He loves it, has improved his playing hugely and has had 10 'gigs' at various places this month. He plays the trombone and he is 11 and we live in Suffolk, not the North! Tomorrow we are going listen to him in the big brass band/ carol concert at the local cinema and I bet it will be packed.

  6. Hi You! thanks for droppin by my blog and leaving such nice comments.
    I love a Brass Band - comming from Lancashire we had lots of local bands and lots of playing at every opportunity! One of my sons played in various bands as he grew up, he went on to do a degree in music, and still plays with them occasionally - usually when they are in a competition - although his jacket/uniform is getting a bit tight these days! lol!

    Vicky x

  7. I loved this post, there was almost a touch of the Allen Bennetts (have I spelt his name right?) there in the way you wrote. I love a brass band too, and give me a military band and I am away........... Christmas coming round very slowly to be sorted here.........

  8. Like COuntry Girl - my 11 year old plays in a couple of brass bands - actually the same ones as her son as our boys are great friends :)

    Will plays a baritone and has been doing so for about a year - he absolutely loves it.

    My husband plays too (a tuba) and has done so since he was about 10.

    Ever since we've been together I've been to many brass concerts and engagements and I guess I quite like it!

    Grimethorpe are brilliant - saw them several years ago :) You lucky thing :)

  9. first off....I love your greige description, i have vowed to myself that i will never EVER wear beige ...EVER
    the brass band thing isn't really that big here in ireland ,well in the city of dublin i can't really answer that question though i can say that any film with ewan mcgregor is ok with me and surely that in inself might connect with a younger audience
    ps...thanks for your suggestions .i;ve decided to go for the traction!

  10. Hi Wend,
    this sounds wonderful, there is something quite emotional about listening to a brass band. Your description of the men wearing miners helmets reminded me of a scene in the stage version of Billy Elliot which I loved. Have a great rest of the week.
    Ann x

  11. Down in Cornwall we have a marvelous festival called "Brass on Grass" held in late summer, it's brilliant. Brass bands are still big stuff there too!
    I loved the film and I giggled at your description of dress code!

    Sarah x