Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Be Aware! The Vikings Are Coming! The Vikings Are Coming!

The Shetlands are quite beautiful. The weather fluctuates often: sunny one hour, rainy the next. And never really warm. They really are just mossy rocks sticking up, out of the ocean. For whatever reason, people felt they should live there. Nature is subtle here.

We saw shetland ponies grazing on flat, green pastures. We drove passed giant sea lions laid out on rocks, getting a little sun, posing for tourists, and gabbing over whether Brangelina should adopt another child so soon. During the weekend, a school of killer whales decided to attend the music festival too. Unfortunately, I missed all the frolicking in the bay cause I was with Andy who was in music promoter mode.
We ended up caravaning and hanging out a bit with one of the acts, The Hazey Janes band, a young, hip group with great harmonies-- an indie rock mixed with a bit of country-folk sound. They gave a great performance Friday night--they only act that evening to incite dancing from the audience. The Hazey Janes--nice kids. Hope to catch a show of theirs again soon. They're extremely good live. I spent a good amount of the time sitting by and watching the scene while Andy talked music shop-talk with other music promoters.

Saturday, we did manage to see the "Vikings" getting ready for their parade. There were loads of them--at least 10 different groups, all in dressed up and no where to plunder. I mistakenly thought that parade meant: colorful cheesy floats, lots of marching bands, girls twirling batons badly, and maybe some fat marshalls waving to the crowds. Hell, there should have been a Ms. Viking in some sequined dress with bleached blonde hair and bad roots!

But alas, the "parade" was the promenating of several dozens of men and boys walking down their street showing off their "I'm going to rape me a whole village of women" outfits. Oh, and can't forget there was a piper band.

After that, we did what everyone else tends to do in the Shetlands--hang out in the pub and drink. Yup. That's it. But let me tell you, the pub was hoppin'! Interesting clientele... for such a small area, I guess there's no need to have age-specific divisions for socializing. The pub had young and old alike, all getting blitz equally.

Even some Viking participants didn't bother to change back into normal garb and got pissed drunk along with everyone else.

Glasgow Jazz Festival
We flew back to Glasgow and stuck around for a couple of days to check out bits of the Glasgow Jazz Festival. Andy, having music connections all over this country, got us to see the "Homegrown Acts" Sunday night at Ramshorn Theatre. No question, all the acts were immensely talented--most of the performers quite young in age. One boy (emphasis on boy--I'm not even sure if his balls have droped yet) fancied himself a crooner. That was fine and well, I suppose, but I don't think children should try and sing songs like "Mr. Bojangles". They just have no idea what the song really means. There's pain there. There's no sound of resignation or bittersweet nostalgia in the kid's voice. But of course, how could there be? He's yet to experience life.
Anyway, groups varied from traditional trio and traditional quartet to singer with trio backup to saxophone quartet. The highlight for me was the performance of the group Trianglehead. The three-man collaboration include keyboard, sax, and lord oh lord, drums. In their own words, they are "a new forum for exciting, innovative music without boundaries that challenges the smug navel-gazing of much contemporary jazz."

In my opinion, they are full of shit. There was one point that the drummer put one end of the drumstick into his mouth and smacked his cheekto make a popping sound!

That was considered an actual note!!!

Can you understand what I'm saying??! Shall I go on? Fine then.
People, their first song from hell was 15 mins long and absolutely ridiculous to call it music. Let me explain what it sounded like. Imagine Charleton Heston, on an acid trip, wandering through the desert of the Forbidden Zone of the Planet of the Apes. Then, out of nowhere, evil flesh-eating dried apricots fall out of the sky like a tempest, descending upon defenseless apes and humans. But low and behold, the manic fruit storm subsided and out comes a young Forest Gump, who forgot to take his Ridlin and also has turrets syndrome--well, he sits out and masturbates to a feverish end with strange climatic noises.

I oscillated between shock/anger and fits of the giggles. I can't believe that actually passes for music.

There was one trio, guitar, 5-string bass, and drums I enjoyed immensely--the Alyn Cosker Trio. How they could swing. They had an interesting look too.Spikey blonde hair with highlights and slicked up shirts and shiny ties. Basically, they look like the products of a love tryst between Kajagoogoo (remember the 80s song "Too Shy") and Duran Duran.
Andy couldn't stand their look. It upset him to know that I found them rather tasty...esp. the 5-string bass player, for which Andy has a deep-seated hatred towards the instrument...though lord knows why.

After the concert, we ran up to the West End of Glasgow (the young, hip area with restaurants, shops, pubs, galleries) for late night drinks with friends. If I could move to Glasgow, I would want to live in this area. It reminds me of the East Village in NY. I definitely feel most at home here.


People, I have finally found a black Brit woman's magazine! (Sidenote: I always wonder which should I emphasize--BLACK British or BRITISH black woman's... you tell me which is better) "Aspire" should be the perfect magazine for me. According to the magazine "Majority (40%) of ASPIRE readers are between 30-39 years of age, but there is a fair representation from the under 30s and the over 40s. Majority are in Middle Management either in the public or private sector. Many are Students, Doctors and Solicitors. 39% are of African heritage and 37% Caribbean. Whilst many of you didn’t like being asked about class, the majority (52%) perceived themselves as Middle Class." I quoted directly from the magazine's website.

One More Thing...
Black History Education in Britain
So, I learned some interesting things over the weekend. The best was that Britain also has a Black History Month celebration. Over here, there can be no joke about getting the shortest month of the year--Black History Month is October! A full 31 days!!!


At Jun 28, 2006, 1:43:00 PM, Blogger Jamie Brandon said...

Lots of great stuff! I love your narritive about the "music" of the Three Man Group...It sounds a bit like a section of a Beat novel...

Good to hear about the Black Brit heritage stuff as well...

Sounds like I woould like the hobbies of the Shetlands (i.e., Viking parades & drinking in pubs)...maybe I should consider a summer home...

Hvae fun & watch out for the flesh-eating apicots...

At Jun 28, 2006, 2:42:00 PM, Blogger girlblue said...

Great pics!
I can't believe that boy sang "Mr. Bojangles." Oh my goonesss.

At Jul 10, 2006, 4:35:00 PM, Anonymous adare golf accommodation said...

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At Jul 22, 2006, 10:42:00 PM, Blogger Carl said...

Here are some Black history resources I found on Independent Race and Refugee news network at http://www.irr.org.uk/history/index.html


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