Archives

My Memoirs – Remembering the fallen of World War 1


Private Harry Davis - died at Flanders in world war 1

My great-uncle, William Harry Davis, was born in 1879 and baptised in 1882 at St. Peter’s, St. Albans. Later on, with the death of his father, the family moved to Hart Hill Lane, Luton, Bedfordshire. On 4th August 1906 Harry (as he was known) married Mary Edridge. There were two children born – Stanley and Gladys.

Harry went to France with the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, but was killed on 16th February 1916 in Flanders. He is buried in the Cambrin Military Cemetary, Pas de Calais, France, grave reference F9.

I have found out this information through family research. I didn’t know the story beforehand. Harry was part of a very large family of Davis’s. There were about thirteen children. My little nanna, Ethel was the youngest and her brother Harry was next but one up the line with Mabel in between.

I didn’t see my dad for a large part of my life because he moved to Australia when I was fifteen. I didn’t see him again until I was thirty-two years old. If I had known my dad better during those years, I expect I would have heard these stories frequently. I do know that my dad, whose middle name was Harry, was named after his Uncle. I know that now but I didn’t know it until I started researching.

When I heard that The Royal British Legion were offering commemoration for the fallen soldiers in World War 1, I decided to remember my great uncle in this way. I am hoping they will put a poppy on his gravestone, since he is fortunate to have one. Not everyone did.

I have no contact with this branch of the family. Does anyone on here know of them? All I know is that Harry and Mary were married in Northwood, Middx. but since he spent a large part of his growing years here in Luton, I felt it appropriate to remember him here.

Who are you going to particularly remember on November 11th?

Oma

My Memoirs – 1997 – a School Panto.


Waulud Panto6

In 1997 I was working as a school secretary at an Infants School. It was decided to put on a pantomime (see below) for the children, who were all between four and seven years old. We did a sort of Cinderella and I was the King. Here I am in my stage clothing with one of the teachers who played the Queen of Hearts.

The children were told that a theatre company was coming to entertain them so they had no idea that the teachers would be performing for their delight. When they realised who they were watching, there was uproar and they absolutely loved it.

The headteacher was a good sport! Here he is as the wicked stepmother:

Waulud Panto

Yvonne was the fairy godmother:

Waulud Panto4

and Dorothy and Karen were buttons and the prince:

Waulud Panto3

but I give the prize for the best costumes to Flo and Jan who made some fantastic wigs, which transformed them into the ugly sisters:

Just look at the work that went into make the wigs from paper ringlets:

Waulud Panto1

At the end of the performance we all danced with the children to the Barbie song. Remember that one?

My days at the school lasted for thirteen years and I loved it until we got a new Headteacher and then it all went pear-shaped!

Have a love Sunday.

from Wikipaedia:

Pantomime (informally panto), is a type of musical comedy stage production, designed for family entertainment. It was developed in England and is generally performed during the Christmas and New Year season. Modern pantomime includes songs, slapstick comedy and dancing, employs gender-crossing actors, and combines topical humour with a story loosely based on a well-known fairy tale.[1] It is a participatory form of theatre, in which the audience is expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers.

Pantomime has a long theatrical history in Western culture dating back to classical theatre, and it developed partly from the 16th-century commedia dell’arte tradition of Italy, as well as other European and British stage traditions, such as 17th-century masques.[1] An important part of the pantomime, until the late 19th century, was theharlequinade. The pantomime is performed today throughout Britain and, to a lesser extent, in other English-speaking countries.

Oma

 

Dylan update – July 2014 and a flash back to the past.


Dylan is spiderman - July 2014

It seems that Dylan’s transformation into Spiderman is complete!

Dylan is now nearly four years old.  His birthday is in October, like mine and so the big 4 is just around the corner. He is a very active little boy who enjoys dressing up and posing for photographs. Whenever I see pictures of him or observe his behaviour when he comes to visit, I can’t help thinking back to my own three little boys when they were the same age. It doesn’t seem so long ago to me, you see; although in reality it is 36 years since my eldest son, Robert, was four years old.

This is Robert, aged 4 and his brother Edward aged 1. David wasn’t born yet. The year is 1977.

Robert (4)Edward(1)

 

The photo was taken by a professional photographer. I know that at the time we could hardly afford it, but I so wanted a nice picture to keep so we stretched ourselves. The days when my children were little were the happiest of my life. It is hard to compare those days with these days when I am almost a different person. I look back and I think, did this really happen? Why did it go so quickly? Looking at the picture above, it would not be long before Robert started school proper and then it would be ‘teacher said this or teacher said that.’ and I would no longer be that most important person in his life. For now he was mine, all mine and we shared everything together. We lived in a happy bubble, not having much money, but having plenty of time.

My grandson, Dylan, has just had his first professional photograph taken at the Nursery where he goes twice a week. I think it turned out very well, don’t you?
Dylan (3)

Have a lovely Sunday all of you. Just want to say a big thank you for following my blog and sharing my life and my memories.

Oma

 

Starlight Promotions – 5, Mangoneworld Records


Univ Misunderstanding If you’ve been following these posts you will know that Starlight Promotions diversified. We added an Indie Record Label to our catalogue and made our first CD: ‘Universal Understanding’ by the band Grief Society.

Once we had the CD at the manufacturers, life got exciting. Just think of the work! The songs had to be written, learned, performed, recorded, set to CD. A barcode had to be found. Barcodes don’t just drop out of the air. There is paperwork!!!! Above is the backside of the CD cover, complete with barcode. The barcode starts with a 5 denoting that it is European. To be sold in the U.S. it would need a different number. If I remember rightly, it is 9. Look at one of your CD’s and see if I’m right (those of you in the U.S.)

Once we had our initial run of CD’s, they needed to be promoted and distributed. We are in the 1990’s  here! One of the ways of doing this was to market them around the record shops.  Record shops? you ask – what are they? At the time there were lots of them and what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than trotting round the town seeing who’s about and what is new. Distribution involved legwork. We managed to get a few copies into some edgy London record stores on a ‘sell or return’ basis.

Of course the band has to play its part.  They have to perform their songs over and over and get their followers to buy a copy of their CD. Everybody gets involved. It’s as successful as the amount of work you put in to it. The design of the CD cover is important. If you hire a designer, it’s expensive. Luckily we knew one – a good one as you can see.

+++

At the time this CD was coming out, people had started downloading music bigtime; so that was another avenue we could explore. We contacted CD Baby in America and sold some through them. They pay in dollars but we soon discovered that once the dollars are converted to our local currency, the profit is lost. Downloading music for free became endemic. I can see how one download hurts nothing. It is a good way of promoting the music but to give away a whole CD’s worth of music, is just not on.

Search engines sprung up, scooping up all the music they could find on the Net and playing it for download and listening all over the world. How did they get paid? Advertising, I suppose. Undaunted I decided to launch another website, just to promote the new bands and to sell their CD’s legitimately. I’ll tell you about that next time.

For now I’ll leave you with the thought:’ Never take your music for granted. It is hard work to produce new music and really does deserve the money you pay for it.

Here’s another track from the CD, it’s called ‘That Girl’. You can still buy the CD from ITunes. Search on ‘Grief Society’.

‘ Oma

In a field near me – July 2014 – these are the plots.


DSCF1972

 

The view above shows the approach to the first of the meadow plots, which has been called ‘A’. From this angle the first plot gives a pleasing view of what may be ‘things to come’.

The ten meadow plots are experimental. They have been sown with a variety of native grasses and flowers, many of which are bi-ennial (i.e. flowering in the second year after planting). If you look back at the pictures I took last year, you will be able to see the difference a year makes.

The plots are part of a major research project into improving urban biodiversity.

Luton Borough Council staff are cultivating a variety of seed mixes at this site and managing the meadows using different mowing frequencies. Researchers from Cranfield, Sheffield and Exeter Universities are monitoring the sites.

Here is the first of the plots up close:

DSCF1973

 

and the second (B). At first siting I didn’t like this one very much. It is brown(ish). After I’d studied it for a while, I decided I did like it after all but I wouldn’t want to see a whole field full of it. Of course that is not the idea. When the designers take over, there will be areas of planting and areas of mown grass because the object of the exercise is to create an urban environment which is beautiful and useful to people, animals and insects alike.

Plot B is mainly grasses, as you can see:

DSCF1977

 

Next is plot C. This looked like a weed patch to me and I wouldn’t want to see more of it. However I’m sure there are plenty of insects who would not agree with me.

One of the considerations being taken into account is whether or not the plots are likely to attract unwelcome wildlife and/or litter. I think this one would welcome litter!

DSCF1978

 

Plot D I thought was very nice. The plants were not too high, lots of variety, colourful and certainly popular with bees and flying insects. So plot D got the thumbs up from me.

DSCF1979

 

Plot E on the other hand, was not attractive. Again it looked like a weed path; bearing in mind that a weed is just a prolific plant in the wrong place. Most of the plants in this plot were going to seed. There wasn’t much colour to be seen and I think litter would easily blow into it.

DSCF1980

 

Plot F was a nothing sort of plot. I don’t know if that was deliberate, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I didn’t think it was an improvement on just mown grass.

DSCF1981

 

Plot G was my favourite. It was bursting with colour and interest. On the downside the plants were big – taller than me, some of them and I’m 5 ft. 6 inches tall. A whole field of this selection would look gorgeous but be totally impractical I think.

DSCF1982

 

Plot H was another no-no to me. Another weed patch in the making although there were some rather attractive field poppies in there. I think they had sown themselves.

DSCF1984When I counted the number of plants in each plot, I found that there were an average of six different varieties in each plot. I don’t know if that was deliberate but it probably was intended.

The intention is to cut all the plots down to ground level at the end of the summer.  This will encourage new and healthy growth to come in the new season.

So there we are. I may take some more pics before the end of the summer, but I doubt if they would be much different. If anything new happens, I’ll let you know.

Enjoy your environment as much as you can for as long as you can.

Oma

 

Starlight Promotions – 4 – My Memoirs – sounds get more selective.


starlight

 

So it’s the mid 90’s; Starlight Promotions is up and running and I’m getting busier and busier. The website is getting a lot of hits and I’m learning about sound recordings. I figured out how to put the sounds on the website and I asked the bands to give me one song that I could use so that the customers could listen. I used the Windows sound recorder to pick a part of the song which best reflected the sound of the band or artist. So most of the clips were 60 seconds long. The trick was choosing which 60 secs to record. Sometimes it was the intro. which was the most interesting and at other times it was the guitar riff in the middle or the fantastic drum solo at the end. Choices, choices!

For the party bands, I had the demos. but it was costly to post them out all the time and sometimes I didn’t get them back so the sound clips became more and more important. The sounds of the party bands needed to show their singing and playing abilities whereas the unique,new,Indie bands needed to show off their particular strengths.

So Starlight was evolving. There were the bread and butter songs and then there were the new bands, looking to be famous. I wanted to promote them more even than I wanted to provide music for weddings and parties. At this point I will say that there wasn’t much money in it! It was more of a hobby and a very interesting one at that.

Together with a friend from one of the bands, who I shall call A, we decided to break off the individual band part and set up a record label with our own name. We thought up a name to suit us both. We called it Mangoneworld. I found out how to get a bar-code for the CD. That also proved to be very interesting. Once we had the name, the business and the bar-code, we made a record and assigned it to our own label.

This is it:

griefani

 

The band is Grief Society and the song below is called ‘Pin Cushion’. You can buy it or the CD on Itunes.com.

 

Can you let me know please, if the sound thingy works? Thank you.

Oma

 

 

 

Starlight Promotions – sounds


This track is a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s song ‘Little Wing’ by the band Flynn who are no longer together.sadly.

It was never sold. This is a demo.

+++

When a potential customer wants to know what a particular band sounds like, they usually ask the agent for a demo. or perhaps a chance to see the band in action. I enjoyed matching the potential customer with the bands. The bands would either send me a demo. cd of their own or a list of where they were playing so that they could be seen. Later on they had their own websites, but at the time I started doing the agency, it was mostly on demos.

As I got further into the agency running I would take samples of their cd’s from their demos and put them on the website. That was fun to do.

I always tried to go and see the bands myself and very often I took a video of them so that I could use some of it for agency purposes. At the time (1990’s) I only had a large video camera, which got heavy to hold after a while. These days all that is so much easier. I now have a small hand-held video camera, which looks like a phone. I can use the videos straight onto my computer, You-tube or wherever. YouTube didn’t exist then.

One of the bands which was busy on the local circuit had a singer who I got to know well. He was one of the ‘good’ band members. He always called me back when he picked up my answer phone messages and always turned up to gigs at the right time. They were reliable. Reliable is a word much prized by entertainment agencies. It’s no good doing all the work to get a band for a customer, only to find at the last minute that they can’t find the venue or they turn up late. After a few times of being let down, I kept a band in reserve. This seemed a good idea and I called upon it once or twice.

The singer I’m talking about, I shall call A. He told me that the band had made a record (CD) with a well-known record company, only to find that it was going to be released in Japan, but not here, not for a while anyway. This was disappointing for the band naturally. We were entering the time of Indie Bands, Indie Record Labels and it was a whole new time.

We decided to set up a record label, YEAH Isn’t that exciting. I’ll tell you about that as we go along, but for now I’ll stay with the agency.

The website was getting more and more hits and often got first placing on Google. That would be very hard to achieve these days!

I found I could see who was visiting the website and get statistics, which were very revealing. From doing that I could see a trend. I began to keep records of the statistics and published them on the site so folk could see.

At around this point I felt that I was doing a lot of work!!! Most of it was in the evenings because I was still doing my day job. It took time to prepare the handouts and keep the website current. I didn’t charge the bands for advertising on my website. That would be illegal. I still think that was unfair but it’s just the way it is. As it happened they were getting free advertising  on a website that was receiving an awful lot of hits, much more than they could hope to get on their own websites.

The way I earned my money was on commission for a sale. Even then sometimes the bands were reluctant to share their earnings. I took 10%. Most agents took 15%. I’m not sure what it is nowadays. I think that with everyone using the Internet so much, there is not much place for agents at all. Perhaps they specialise. I kept only to music, no stripagrams, no jugglers or magicians although later on I did give their names out through other agencies.

to be continued …