Saturday, 3 October 2009

Don't know when I'll be back again

Bit of a maverick blog entry this, 2.30am and all the drunken sentimentality that entails. I apologise for none of this.

A couple of weeks ago, I made it along to my very first Bar Wotever. It's moved to Vauxhall now, so convenient for me for a drink on the way home and an early evening of Joe Poppism. I'd never met Joe Pop but had seen his very lovely photos. The man himself lived up to them in every sense, a beardy tattooed music meister, comin' atcha though the cornflakes!

Highlight of the night, for me, was Mr Pop's evocation of Mary Travers, the human-and-recognisable third of Peter, Paul & Mary. Joe P played Leaving On A Jet Plane, which is so wonderful and poignant it just has to be linked here:

I had a very pleasant discussion that night about the significance of Mary in terms of my early childhood. I was born in 1970, to parents who were, to some extent, limited by being the first in their respective families to aspire to a university education, and having both ventured outside the UK to practise their teaching.

I think they were confident professionally but less so in other areas of their lives. They'd have liked to have been hippies, but were too responsible to be properly bohemian. They made an effort, though. I grew up amid brown-painted walls, cane furniture, ostrich and peacock feathers (although this was a fairly brief trend) and my mother wafting around in maxi-dresses, sometimes risking the faintest hint of patchouli. Musically, my abiding memory of long car journeys is a mixed bag: Carpenters, Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, Boney M...

Mary Travers' was the voice of my early life. I described it as a "female Oliver Postgate", and I stand by this. Postgate's was the voice of Bagpuss, the narrator of the Clangers. Hers was a profoundly reassuring tone, somehow pure and airy. And she was such a fabulously good Liberal, her voice seemed imbued humanist values. It really does come with a host of happy associations.

So... nice Wotever, but that's all for now. Later.