Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Well the Wynton Marsalis / Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra gig last night was just fantastic. Although I was looking forward to it, I was slightly apprehensive as Wynton can be little bland on record. Well no such problems last night. The 15-piece band was awesome, not much can beat a 12-piece brass section going at it full tilt. When that sort of band swings, it really swings! We had lots of laughs as well. Amongst the generally slick looking band our favourite was a gentleman who looked for all the world as though he had wandered in from Shirehampton working men’s club, slipped into a suit and thought he would take a chance on sitting with the band, hoping that no one would notice an interloper in the ranks! It turned out that as well as playing bass Sax, he could play a mean bass clarinet, but it still looked as though he was nipping off stage for a quick pint or two whenever he got the chance.

I’m currently reading “Stupid White Men” by Michael Moore. It is an often hilarious account of the ills that have been unleashed on the world by the all conquering white man. He has lots of interesting and pertinent points to make. I must admit that I was totally unaware of the funding problems associated with American schools and with books in particular. The representation of schools in the states that we tend to see always look like shining beacons of enlightenment in comparison with our financially embarrassed institutions. In preparation for our forthcoming short trip to France (only about 10 days to go now), I stocked up yesterday on some other reading matter. Bought a couple of novels by writers that are new to me. Nick McDonell is probably new to most people, Twelve is his first book and he is only about 18 years old. I caught the end of programme on Radio 4 on the weekend when 3 people from very different backgrounds were discussing this and a couple of other books. All them were singing the praises of this novel, but for very different reasons. So I figured that there must be lot’s of ideas at work, if can it can touch different people in different ways. The other book I picked up was The Earthquake Bird by another debut novelist Susanna Jones. This was prompted by an article, which she wrote in The Guardian on Saturday, describing the origins of the novel. The book is set in contemporary Tokyo (Nick Mcdonell’s book is set in New York by the way, so as everyone who knows me will tell you, that my two main obsessions taken care of!), and I liked the way she spoke about the mechanics of moving around Tokyo on the excellent rail and underground system and the different atmosphere that each area has, that you feel as soon as you leave a station. The title also had echoes of my favourite author Haruki Murakami, sounds like a mixture between two of his books, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle and After the Quake.


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