Street musician, Lincoln

This cool older guy was at one with his saxophone and lost in his music in Lincoln’s busy highP1010462 street. On a sunny day, there were  plenty of people about and, as someone who has been occasionally visiting Lincoln over the years, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much the city has come on and is more in step with the times.

Lincoln has always been dominated by its huge spectacular cathedral. The ascent up the cobbled and appropriately-named Steep Hill to reach the cathedral on foot is part of the visit. It can be a challenging walk!

It’s a lovely place to visit, especially now it attracts a lot of tourists. When I first went there in the late 60s, it was a bit of a dull and proper city, compared with swinging London, where I grew up.

When the university was set up in the city, it breathed new, young life into the place, making it a livelier destination than it ever was when I first went there.

Costa Rica kitchen

P1020952

We stopped at this roadside cafe and fruit stall while travelling in Costa Rica. We’s seen the strawberries on display and wanted to take some back to the hotel with us as a juicy treat for dessert.

The smiling lady in the kitchen was happy for me to take her photo while she prepared food. Her companion posed obligingly, offering the strawberries. But I have to be honest. Although the strawberries looked delicious, they were not very  tasty, and were a bit of a disappointment. Still, the photos aren’t too bad.

P1020951

Street musicians, New Orleans

P1050016

Oh they were good, this trio, very good, with a nice easy style. They’d gathered quite a crowd around them on this busy Sunday morning and I stood around watching and listening for quite a while.

They deserved every dollar bill and more that was put in the hat out front of their space.

New Orleans – NOLA – what a place, with a special buzz and music at every street corner.

I first featured NOLA in a post a last year, when these musicians made an appearance along with other street scenes.

Albenga

Albenga cafe

A photo from a few years back, taken in a back street of Albenga on the Italian riviera.

It was an interesting city to visit, a bit scruffy and crumbly, its narrow streets hung with washing from balconies, friendly cafe’s, a cathedral and many tall towers.

Exploring the maze of streets we came across this one, a cyclist appearing from around the corner and people meeting for a late afternoon drink.

A football final and 18 songs at the Liverpool Philhamonic

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall; Part of the 300-strong choir

Hanging on to daughter’s arm, enjoying the atmosphere, I made my way through a couple of riotous street parties in Liverpool last Saturday afternoon, en route to the iconic Art Deco Liverpool Philharmonic Hall where I was going to sing in a big Cheshire and Merseyside Rock Choir concert.

I had to arrive early for sound checks (we had a live 5 piece band and very good they were too), line ups and a quick run through of some songs as a warm up. We knew it might be a bit busy in Liverpool as The Reds had reached the final of the European Cup being played in Madrid. Busy and lively it was. Daughter had taken me early, the rest of the family and friends were to follow later.

We parked then linked arms to make sure we stayed together as we walked to the venue. Liverpool was buzzing, the atmosphere was good humoured and boozy. Inhaling the beer we had to laugh and just go with the energy. We stalled at one point in a narrow street, where it was very lively, a red smoke bomb had been let off and the crowds were singing. Stuck in the middle of it, we just joined in with the crowd singing “When the Reds go marching in”. There were smiles all around and high spirits, but at no point did we feel threatened. It was a great warm up to the concert for me and I arrived energised after experiencing a footie crowd in full voice.

While daughter went off to look at Liverpool’s two cathedrals before meeting the rest of my fan club, I did the warm up, line up, got changed, ate a snack, applied the red lipstick and sat with voice part friends (all lower soprano) from my choir.

IMG-20190601-WA0007

We lined up backstage as music from the band played something beaty, the lights swivelled and swirled and the dry ice machine pumped out atmospheric clouds. Then it was time to walk on stage, take our places and perform. No nerves for me, just pure excitement, and knowing that I was perfectly capable of singing all 18 songs we were performing, word, note and moves perfect. I was more than ready.

Our opening song was Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now  – there was no chance of that as the energy was high right from the start! We sang rock, pop and gospel, old songs from the 80s, current pop songs, ballads and the emotional Rock Choir “anthem”, Labbi Sifre’s Something Inside So Strong, a powerful song which brings a tear to a few eyes as we sing it. The concert ended on a high for our final song, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, followed by our encore, The Communard’s Don’t Leave Me This Way.

While I’d been singing my heart out, Liverpool had won the European Cup, so back on the streets it was even rowdier with an even higher charge to the atmosphere. What  a night. More street parties and celebrating happy people. Daughter and I linked arms, said “See you at home” to the rest of our group and went once more into the partying fray to get to the car.

I’d been looking forward to this concert but never imagined it would be partying all the way before and after the performance. It’s an experience that will stay with me for a long time. I’m still glowing now.