Monday, 21 March 2022

On being 68

 It's been lovely to hear from so many friends and colleagues on my birthday - thank you all for your good wishes...

68  years old.  It's an achievement, but the number fills me with trepidation. My stepfather and first jazz (and food) mentor Ron Weldon died at this age. And I learn via Facebook numerologists that the start dates of all world wars, including the current one, add up (with some 'finessing') to 68, that 6+8 =14, 1+4 = 5, and that 5 can be unlucky. In China.

Also, as a keen bus child in London, I confess I never cared for the 68. Yes, in theory, it went all the way from Chalk Farm in the North to Herne Hill in the deep South, and this was exciting. But in reality the Euston to Chalk Farm leg was a despised and neglected outer limb that eventually withered and died.  I liked the 24 well enough, for Pimlico, and also the 31, for Notting Hill, and the 53 (Blackheath to Camden Town) was spectacular, but I went off it one Saturday after they kicked us all off at Oxford Circus, and I had to rollerskate the last few miles home in a heatwave. 

My favourite by far was the 74, which took you from Camden Town, past the Zoo, down through Baker St, Marble Arch, Knightsbridge, Kensington and Fulham, and all the way to Putney, where my real father Colyn Davies lived with his girlfriend Jean and her parents.  I'd get this bus most weekends to go and visit them, and the conductors all knew me and kept an eye out for me, as I was only 8, and travelling alone.

On the other hand, going back to China, 5 is the number of stones in weight I have lost since my BP episodes in 2017 (BP = Blood Pressure AND Bell's Palsy - surely no coincidence!), so maybe 68 (6+8 =14, 1+4 = 5) isn't such a bad age after all. I'd like to go as far as 5.5, but I'll stop before 6, even though this would represent a third of my previous body weight, because this would represent the number 69 (6+9 = 15, 1+5 = 6). My real father Colyn died at that age. I have a vague memory of a trip on a 69 bus, but no strong feelings either way about it.

70, 71 and 72 are unknown quantities, and 73 was always an unremarkable central journey, so I'll be in touch again in 2028, when I shall look forward to being 74.

After Putney Colyn and Jean moved out to Wimbledon, and this meant a change to another bus, so I'll be posting again in 2047. I should be 93 by then.

Monday, 11 January 2016

On Musicians

If you're thinking of acquiring a musician
With whom to kiss, or even settle down
Please peruse this handy information
To save yourself a future sorry frown

Though musos share the guilty look of sound
And may not from afar be told apart
Each instrument attracts a special nature
And you must know which suits your special heart

Music is a window into heaven
Musicians are the ones who clean the glass
Before you let one up inside your jumper
Let me introduce the species brass

The trumpet is the warrior king of gesture
His call to you so loud and strong and bright
A golden coil attached to an intestine
Twisted in the stress of being right

The trombone is an unknown civil servant
Dedicated to an unknown art
No-one ever sees or knows or hears him
Unless he rip his virtuoso fart

The sad ungainly beauty of the tuba
Should you admit and let to chime
Ponderoso, growing old together
You will know the tragedy of time

Tenor horn, euphonium, cornet
These and other brass I've sorely missed
Will be with the others in the boozer
Brutal brusque and blue, and surely pissed

Pianists are busy bods, and brainy
They claim to read your mind with magic braille
Remember, as their fingers play your body
You, for them, are just another funny scale

Organists are truly jugglemeisters
Multitaskers, yes, par excellence
They can take a complex set of actions
And fuck them up completely, all at once

Have you met the grumpy jazz violinist?
He won't play that new electric thing
Believes he's failed because of natural quietness
Instead of lack of natural swing

Guitars are frozen adolescents
Afterimages of mirrors lost
Seek ye bendy wraith seduction
In such burning stringy frost?

Double basses, just like eager housewives
Starting with a keen and willing smile
Change in time as they are held for granted
Now their sweetness turns to raging bile
Now they pull and pluck in mute defiance
Reach for highs when all cry out for lows
Fury at their past submission
Drives the basses ever to oppose

Would you touch the seismic flow of drummers
Would you lead a whole life on the tiles
Know they'll need a practice room and lodging
Know they come in two contrasting styles

One a sister, therapist, inclined by fate
To amplify your every feeling shade
In wispy dreamy brushy sweeps
And clatter shreds, a rhythmic marmalade
In which the soul exposure never ceases
That must be you, those bits and pieces.

Not all drummers are as nice as this
Beware the stern reproachful patriarch
Using all his paradiddle-daddles
Just to show you up, below the mark

The banjo is the sacred instrument
Held aloft by the Lady of the Lake
It was brought from Africa many moons ago
And this was mankind's first mistake

The second was a hybrid made
Of clarinet and ophicleide
This hideous girl, the saxophone
Grew up to live as Satan's bride
If you like to date those 'on the spectrum'
Then saxists must be your first choice
With their weird jazzperger patterns
And their strangled monotone voice
This mutant breed is expressive -
The bark and the howl and the squawk
Are the the closest we'll get, as humans
To hearing the animals talk

We live in a soundtrack of cosmic noise
Of fluttering garbage adrift
The flute has the musak of the spheres
And we are all stuck in the lift

The outlook may seem to be gloomy
But here is a glimmer of light
A singer has recently entered the place
With trousers refreshingly tight
Whose song without complication
Yet explains the meaning of all
And your mind grows dim and your body soft
And you leave your senses and fall
Inside the velvet truthful sound
Where symbols s-shaped shimmer shake and roll
Reveal the the inner science of the soul
And recreate you, brain and face unlined
No singer question in your mind
No thought of choices right and wrong
Your one remaining need to be the song

To be the song

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Driving Me Crazy

Last night I dreamed a wonderful thing. It was good news for musicians. Tucked away in the fine print of the Coalition Budget was innovative Arts and Culture legislation reclassifying the musician as a haulage contractor. Yes! We’ve known it for years and now it’s official. Music is a driving job.

I used to be a bass player, and now I’m a long distance Crotchet haulier. I’m excited just thinking of the service station perks - shower facilities, sleepover parking, meal deals. Mmm, I pondered, as I loaded the music into the Volvo this morning, I’ll definitely have the double gutbuster as a main, but what then? Shall I have the key lime pie, or the hunk of mature cheddar and biscuits, or the hunk of mature hooker in the lorry park?

Golly, look at the time! I wouldn’t be stopping at all if I didn’t get a shift on. So difficult to know what to take on these jobs. A country wedding, I was told, with just two hours on site delivery time, but no tempo variation chart or indication of repertoire was given, so I had no way of predicting what sort of Crotchets I’d need, or how many. In the end I took them all, just to be sure, making room by chucking out all the Quavers I’d already packed. Never much call for them, anyway. At the last minute, on a hunch, I squashed in a box of Minims and then a pair of G Pedals. You could never tell when you might need one of those.

It should have been an easy journey, ninety motorway miles in the middle, with fifteen miles of good A road at either end. But what with the speed restrictions, forty and fifty all the way down the M1 and round the M25, and heat-induced prangs clegging up the roadworks, and all the sat navs conking out in the heat so all the arses in the world were driving round in circles looking for their elbows, it was three and a half hours before I got to the lovely West Sussex barn.

“Where have you been?” shouted the vocalogistics person as I wrung myself out of the car. “Typical of you lot. Moan on and on until I put your money up, then you’re late anyway! I hope you’ve brought the right stuff, at least? Last lot of Crotchets we had were all different sizes. No use to anyone!”

I made some reassuring noises about commitment to vocalist satisfaction, ability to work with other contractors, and Crotchet quality control. “Hmmmph!” he declared. “There are plenty of Bulgarians out there who’ll do twice the Crotchets at half the price. Don’t know why I bother with you lot!”

Someone should tell him that the Bulgarians were cheap for a reason. Their Crotchets were in fact Quavers stuck together, and in odd numbers, to boot. If they set down a load in 13/8 you’d get 6 Crotchets, but you’d keep getting left with a spare Quaver. So it was a false economy, in the long run. Also the Bulgarians sped up uncontrollably, everyone knew that, so even if you thought you were getting twice as many, you were always running out.

Oh no! There was a vehicle I recognised, from a firm I dreaded working with. The lettering on the side said it all.
“Long Distance Piano. No Cluster too small. Specialists in Random Chromatics. Time no object.”

As I watched the bearded grunge unload his stacks of Upper Structures, my heart sank. Where would I put my long fat Crotchets? Then I spotted my old mucker Basher Bates unloading his Paradiddles and Skip Beats and I smiled, because me and Basher always had fun together, whatever interference we got from the piano.

How did the gig go? Well, it went. We all arrived late, but still started on time. There were enough Crotchets to go round, and I used every Minim in the box and both of the G Pedals. No-one seemed to notice the absence of Quavers, the vocalist calmed down, the clients got married and were happy, and we had fun and got paid.

It’s now 9.30 pm. I’m sitting in stationary traffic on the M1, thirty miles from home. How has my first day been, overall, in the haulage industry? Here’s the breakdown:

Crotchet Delivery at Venue...2 hours

Crotchet Loading(either end).2 hours

Time on Road (no stops)......8 hours (still counting)

Total..12 hours

Fuel Costs................. £30

Meal costs (no time to eat)..£0

Car Depreciation

(Vehicle is worth nothing)...£0

Job Fee......................£150


Heck, that’s £10 an hour! Nearly twice the minimum wage. I‘m doing really well. Of course I did have to work continuously for twelve hours with no meals to achieve this privileged rate, and in the Big Account Book in the Sky I’d have to allocate some of this profit to the setup costs, you know, the thousands of hours of training required for basic Crotchet delivery, but down here on the ground things look pretty good.

So I’m chuffed with the Coalition, overall. If my dream is anything to go by, I think they’ll make a real difference to the life of the Artist.

Tell you what, though. Tomorrow I’m leaving twice as early, so I can get some of those haulage perks. Might even leave the night before.

© Nick Weldon June 2010

Posted via email from nick weldon's posterous

Monday, 31 May 2010

Swingin' the Blues

Mainstream Jazz Day with Malcolm Earle Smith was great!  Check out the first video on YouTube -  Swingin' the Blues 

Posted via email from nick weldon's posterous

Monday, 10 May 2010

Greek Song

Check out the video on YouTube!


Amid the global turmoil of the early 21st Century, with the Nations of the World ravaged by War, Famine, Terror and Slump, millions of small personal stories played themselves out to an audience of one. These we are happy to forget.

But let us now begin to remember the strange tale of one Dozee Raasclaat, Poet Laureate of England, just as we have always remembered the apple of Harold’s eye, the arrow falling from the tree, and the wart on Jenkins’ ear.

A culture of drug, alcohol and burger abuse, combined with the softening of the brain synapses from prolonged exposure to pap, had created a huge surge in dementia. We began to be old much younger; so much so, they say, that forty was the new eighty. Care Homes were in crisis. They could not cope with the influx of the new geriatrics, nor with their lifestyle. For this generation of wrinklies had been raised on MDMA, Hip Hop and Vodka Red Bulls, and had little interest in Jigsaw Puzzles, Val Doonican or Horlicks.

Enter Dozee Raasclaat. In an inspired stroke of the turntable, this gifted poet transformed the frenetic hustle of Grime into something sexy and beautiful; a new beat for a new time.
He called his music Dubcrip.

yeah man, slow it down
slow it down
know what I’m sayin’
know what I’m sayin’

Narrow-minded critics and prudes attacked him; he had enemies among the Establishment. But none could stand against the wave of love that flowed towards Dozee Raasclaat, as he worked tirelessly to bring the rhythms of Dubcrip to every Old Peoples Home in the country. Soon the man they called the Jolly Rapper was made Poet Laureate.

As quickly as he rose, he also fell.

Here is how it happened, in his own words....

let’s slow it down, man
let’s slow it down
know what I’m sayin’
know what I’m sayin’

Know what I’m sayin’, know what I’m sayin’
My operation is hip
My name is Dozee Raasclaat
My music is Dubcrip

They’re wiggin’ it and diggin’it
Where the Jolly Rapper roam
Cos it’s slimy and it’s grimy
Like a Old Peoples Home

Me cyaan believe they ‘cuse me
O’ corrup wrinklies wid me rhyme
It’s their last bit o’ sex an’ violence
Before they run out of time

I am the Poet Laureate
Soon I should be knighted
Me cyaan believe that Englan’
Wan let me be extradited

Judges call me evil
And traitor to the Crown
It’s because the lady love Dubcrip
That’s why they wan’ bring me down

They don’ like me rappin’
It goes against their grain
They don’ like sexy music
I know you know what I’m sayin’

Know what I’m sayin’, know what I’m sayin’
I’m sayin’ my operation is hip
I’m saying my name is Dozee Raasclaat
I’m saying my music is Dubcrip, Dubcrip, Dubcrip

All them TV people
Don’ know what they’re talking ‘bout
This is how it happen
Straight from the donkey’s mouth

The Acropolis nightclub
Wan’ me for a guest
To play my Dubcrip music
They know I am the best

So I’m chillin’ and swillin’
With a cold beer and sarnie
The sun is very hot
An’ I fancy some punani

An I’m chattin’ wid a lady
Who wan’ see me decks
An’ I offer her some Es
In return for oral sex

Den her bruvver come at me
Give me grief for a full minute
He cuss me mum and sister
So I cut his head off, innit?

I excape the club security
Like fallin’ off a log
But before I leave the country
I rape the lady’s dog

Payback for her family
For lack of politesse
That’s why I done the poodle
An’ left the bruvver in a mess

But this poodle was a mongrel
An’ a slapper on the sly
She would drop her panties
In the blinkin’ of an eye

An ‘she goes blinkin’ an’ droppin’, droppin’ an’ blinkin’
Over and over again
Now poodles don’ have panties
But I know you know what I’m sayin’

Know what I’m sayin’, know what I’m sayin’
I’m sayin’ my operation is hip
I’m saying my name is Dozee Raasclaat
I’m saying my music is Dubcrip, Dubcrip, Dubcrip

Because o’ my drug history
I ‘ave a bad case o’ HIV
An’ so do all the dogs in Greece
All because o’ me

Now this little nugget here
I ‘ave it from a vet
A junkie dog owner
Share a needle wid his pet

An’ soon in short order time
His Aids become full blown
His Brain Box ‘ave flown open
His brain cell all ‘ave flown

An’ this man go crackers
When an’ where he wan’
But he was a manager
Of a Nuclear Plant

An’ because o’ all the virus
He get from the poodle bitch
The man become confuse
Wid the button an’ the switch

That was one big explosion
Blew Athens into space
Now God and Mister Plato
Are talkin’ face to face

Nuclear conflagration
Is not insured by Lloyds
An’ all them lickle islands
Turn into asteroids

An’ as for Mister Icarus
The one the sun cremates
He’s unexpectedly joined in ash
By millions of his mates

Me I’m back in Blighty now
Me Auntie’s on the phone
She say ‘Turn on the telly
There’s a hole in the Eurozone’

Me legs are all atremble
It’s exactly what I feared
Me turn on the telly
An’ Greece ‘ave disappeared

Rap rap rap at the front door
The pigs wid their mornin’ knock
Babylon arrest me
Put me under key and lock

But me laughin’ in the courtroom
When they call me the next day
For the Greek legal system
Is in the Milky Way

There’s no way they can get me
There’s no-one to complain
I dispose of all the victims
I know you know what I’m sayin’

Know what I’m sayin’, know what I’m sayin’
I’m sayin’ my operation is hip
I’m saying my name is Dozee Raasclaat
I’m saying my music is Dubcrip, Dubcrip, Dubcrip

But by some European pokery
They jigger me right through
International Tribunal
Or some such motley crew

An’ even though I ‘pologise
For the junkie and his pet
An’ though they owe me big time
For clearing the Greek debt

An’ even spite I change my plea
To musical insanity
The court ‘ave found me guilty
O’ crime against Humanity

An’ now they extradite me
I’m sayin’ Toodle Pip
Me gwaan away a lang lang time
All because the lady love Dubcrip

Anyone like sexy music
Get ready for some pain
The state will victimise you
I know you know what I’m sayin’

Know what I’m sayin’, know what I’m sayin’
I’m sayin’ my operation is hip
I’m saying my name is Dozee Raasclaat
I’m saying my music is Dubcrip, Dubcrip, Dubcrip

Know what I’m sayin’, know what I’m sayin’
I’m sayin’ my operation is hip
I’m saying my name is Dozee Raasclaat
I’m saying my music is Dubcrip, Dubcrip, Dubcrip

And so we said goodbye to the Jolly Rapper, the man who gave a whole new generation of geriatrics a whole new beat.

As the remains of Greece finally drifted back to Earth, pieces were collected, collated and
reassembled, this time in the form of a gigantic prison island, the first of the Jumbo Jails with which we are now so familiar.

Fittingly, Dozee Raasclaat was the first, and for many years, the only inmate.

But early onset dementia swept through Europe, and gangs of senile pensioners for a while took control of the shops and shires. Eventually military rule restored order, and Platoville (as it came to be known) became the designated home for the hordes of feral fogies made prisoner in the brutal crackdown.

Global warming cheered everyone up, and in this new relaxed atmosphere, Dozee Raasclaat was appointed Head of Music and Rhyme in the Prison City of Platoville. He spent his last years as happily as his first, once again bringing jolly sexy music to the oldtimers of Europe.

“... Know what I’m sayin’, know what I’m sayin’
I’m sayin’ my operation is hip
I’m saying my name is Dozee Raasclaat
I’m saying my music is Dubcrip, Dubcrip, Dubcrip....”

© Nick Weldon May 2010

Posted via web from nick weldon's posterous

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Election Song

Check out the video on YouTube!

Gordon you cowson
You don’t talk for me
You have no idea
What a working man can be

You and your mate Tony
Have turned a new leaf
Made of the Red Flag
A tart’s handkerchief

Cameron you muppet
You can’t pull the wool
You’re more left than Labour
And that’s a load of bull

You’re all rights and fairness
And sharing out the dosh
If you was back in power
We’d be under the cosh

Apart from Vince Cable
The Liberals are a mess
And he’s a lone teabag
In the wilderness

Conservation people
Get right on me wick
The only time I’m green
Is when I’m being sick

I am a member
Of a Party maligned
By joker journos
Of malignant mind

Who misjudge our actions
And misrepresent
Our national pride
And noble intent

A People’s Party
Sons of honest toil
Scraping out a living
From the meagre soil

Foreigners invade
Rulers for a day
We the true people
Will never go away

We fight in the markets
We fight in the hills
We fight for the right
To live from our skills

We fight for our genes
To keep ourselves pure
We fight for our culture
So she may endure

We fight for children
And mothers and wives
The fight for freedom
Defines our lives

I stand before you
A decided man
Come the May Election
I’m voting Taleban

© Nick Weldon April 2010

Posted via email from nick weldon's posterous