Tuesday, May 18, 2004

So yesterday I had to slip into a suit and attend a funeral for the 2nd time this year. Sheila my mum’s friend of nearly 50 years passed away last week. As is often the way with funerals the initial sadness of the event turned into a very pleasant if occasionally sombre occasion as old friends were reunited to share their memories of this lovely lady.

When I was born our family had 2 floors of 4-story house in Redland, Sheila and the rest of her family occupied the other 2 floors. When I was only 18 months old, we left the beauty of Redland for our own house in Fishponds, however we still made very regular visits to see Sheila and family in Redland. These visits obviously made a deep impression on me, as soon Orynthia and I decided to get married and therefore needed to find somewhere to live Redland was always at the top of my shopping list. Luckily we found a lovely flat on Chandos Road (still one of my favourite roads), where I could observe my first home from the kitchen window. When we finally outgrew the flat we moved across Redland Green to other side of Redland, I still love it here, so in addition to the other benefits of knowing Sheila and her family – the fantastic dry sense of humour, complete lack personal vanity, innate common sense and the willingness to do what you want to do rather than what other people think you should do – I’ll always be grateful to them for showing me what brilliant place this is to live in.

Last night we went to St Bonaventure’s to see Sufjan Stevens, Rosie Thomas and Iron and Wine. This was a rather odd quirk of fate as Sheila’s last job in Bristol was working at St Bon’s. My main interest in the gig was the chance to Sufjan Stevens whose Seven Swans album is one of my favourites of the year so far. Before the gig their was lots of discussion about the running order, it turned out that Sufjan was first up, playing a delightful set which was augmented with his entertaining drawings and discussions as he took us on a virtual trip around his home state of Michigan. Next up was Rosie Thomas a hugely entertaining character best described as kookie, her songs were not really to my liking but you could hardly fail to impressed by her witty and warm personality. Finally along came Iron and Wine, now the 2 albums released by Iron and Wine had mainly struck me as pleasant but had not prepared me for the beauty of their performance. A particular highlight of the evening was a great cover version of the Flaming Lips gem “Waiting for Superman” which was just marvellous. Time to listen to the albums a bit more closely I think.


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