Postaday2011: Music and Books.

Also on Dave’s list of subjects to talk about were music and books. Both have featured prominently over my life and I have sought both escapism and comfort in them in my past. Today I just enjoy them for enjoyments sake but best of all, I enjoy them for wonderful memories of different parts of my life.

I’ll start with music which immediately whisks me back to my childhood… Life was pretty uneventful before my Dad left, we didn’t see him much because he expected us in bed before he got home from work. It didn’t matter to us because we lived in what was to us, a huge garden flat and there were  only two rooms which could have been bedrooms but one had been made into a lounge. I never ever remember anyone using it until it was deemed I needed a room of my own. Anyway, I digress, we all slept together in the same room, a bit like a huge dormitory and so bed time was fun anyway, there was always someone to whisper to and we were never alone at bedtime.

Time is immaterial when you are young, even more so in retrospect so I found it weird to discover the one song that reminds me most of my parents was a hit in 1961. Crazy to think it was only eight years before my oldest son was born. I was eight years old and the time I remember this song was one evening my parents had friends, Jack and Betty Norman round and I was allowed to stay up a while. They were drinking and smoking and playing darts in the lounge and listening to the wireless. We never had a TV as kids so the radio was our entertainment. The song was ‘Sailor’ sung by Petula Clarke. Anyone interested in hearing this wonderful song, here’s the link.

http://wn.com/Petula_Clark__Sailor

I remember my Dad singing this to my Mum and thinking they were silly because they were gazing into each other’s eyes. It was such a short time after this that the separated, funny, I thought the song was earlier. Good way of dating things though. I think that is my first recollection of any music. Around the same time a total  ‘ must’ on the radio was ‘Pick of the Pops’ with Alan Freeman. This show began in 1961 but I remember it after my Dad had left so I reckon it must have been 1962. I wouldn’t miss that programme for anything and was often told off for having my ear literally glued to the radio.

Other music featured a lot in my life, I sang with the school choir and I played the violin and one of my secondary school teachers became my biggest influence in developing a love for classical music. I know my school friend Barbara might remember Mrs Blann. She taught us to , not just, listen to music but to hear it. My introductions were The Hall of the Mountain King and Morning Mood from the play Peer Gynt … I learned that there was a story behind the music and as we listened, she told us the story. It made everything come alive for me so from that moment on I loved all music, well Jazz is something I can either love or hate depending on what it is.

Around that time I was also playing in the orchestra and I still remember going on an Easter course where we spent a week learning parts. All the different parts of the orchestra squeaking and screeching out our respective parts in different classrooms and then at the end we performed an evening of music. I will never forget the amazing feeling being a part of that, one small violin and yet together we made beautiful music. That time was sad for me as well as happy. I fell in love that week, more than the little infant school stuff, I felt love for the first time.. his name was Wayne Appleyard and for me it was worth going to just to catch a glimpse of him. We might have kissed a childish peck kind of kiss but at the end of the week, I never saw him again. The sad part was that I felt so proud of what we had achieved and Mrs Blackwell, our conductor, had hyped it up so much and I was longing for someone from my family to come and hear what I had been learning and share what I thought was a wonderful experience. Nobody came for me. I seem to remember a friends Mum came up and spoke to me saying how she enjoyed it but it wasn’t quite the same. I got used to that.

My last ever performance was when Barbara and I played the leading parts in The Merchant of Venice. We’d sewn beads and bits on our costumes and learned all our lines. It was to be performed at The White Rock Pavilion, it was in those days, and my mother and step father had promised faithfully to be there. I gave my best as Portia, Barbara was Bassanio – we went to an all girls school, and I still remember her refusing to kiss my hand, we pulled it off anyway. I felt so proud and knowing my Mum was there was fantastic. We left the stage and someone came backstage asking for me. They gave me a small package and said it had been handed in for me. I opened it up to find a box of chocolates with a note saying, ‘Sorry, we couldn’t make it’. It was so hard not to cry in front of everyone. My acting career was over and although I did dabble a bit as I got much older, I never did act any more. However, I was able to add Shakespeare to the list of something I loved. It wasn’t until I went to University much later in life that I studied Shakespeare and rekindled a love for acting.

Thankfully my children over the years have all done their share of acting and I was able to enjoy it again through all their little plays. I still have the newspaper cutting somewhere of the first ever play I went to where David played Father Christmas and the narrator because of his good speaking voice, at the age of five.

I am so glad that all my children have inherited a love of music or art. Each of them have different gifts and I am so proud of them. I have loved their little plays, their music both at home and at school or college. It is the one thing I miss most, the guitars and singing. I just wished I had, had a set of decent role models that might have stopped me making so many mistakes as a young Mum myself. Wow!  a long post so I will leave books until tomorrow.

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Wow, even though your experiences are so different from mine, it sounds like we have something in common. I also have an extreme love for music, acting AND books.
    I wanted to be a singer since I was little and would sing every chance I had. I went to college to major in Music and started taking Acting classes for fun and to help with my shyness. I discovered I was actually good at Acting and it was fun so I switched my major and I now have an Associate’s Degree in Theatre. I haven’t done any plays in awhile and I really miss it.
    As for books, my husband teases me because I always have a book in my face. He calls me his little bookworm. I just love how a great book takes you away from everything for a bit and to another place.

  2. 2

    Marie Fullerton said,

    Hi Sharon, I never ceased to be amazed at just how many people’s lives are parallel to each other. It’s great to have other people with the same interests. I carried on singing in my 40’s and sang at a wedding and a christening as well in the church choir, we did several special performances but my best ever time was when I sang with the ‘really big chorus’, a charity event, at the Royal Albert Hall in London. We sang Handell’s Messiah and Verdi’s Requiem, such a powerful feeling and a fantastic experience. Not able to sing any more but the memories are fantastic. I do hope you do go back into acting, it’s like a good book, takes you away for a while. Thanks for reading my blog. M

  3. 3

    Barbara said,

    Again what memories! I think our short acting careers are to be treasured. I remember well the ‘kiss’ and also the very fetching tights I had to wear, you had a beautiful dress. I don’t know if you remember but my mother used to teach the piano, my cousin is a professional harpsichord player and both my father and uncle sang in Westminster choir, my Grandaughter sang solo in St Clements Church with Battle Town Band and me, I cant sing in tune or play a single note! Your children have inherited so many of your talents, you should be very proud of them all and that is all down to you and your special gift.

  4. 4

    Marie Fullerton said,

    Hi Barbara, Yes I do remember your Mum being a piano teacher, I longed to play the piano and did get to grade three when I was a older, like in my 30s… I find it strange how talents are passed down but then I suppose I did encourage my lot, and my briothers to satisfy my dreams. Just wish I had kept it all up. I had voice training about ten years ago and trained up to soprano, I loved choral singing and being part of some beautiful stuff. So what are your talents? we all have some.. mind you I could never do your job, so there’s one… xx


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