Sunday, 28 March 2010

Allow me Lord, to Rock Out…


Music advisory: This post is going to be more about gigs than gardening, so those of a sensitive disposition or seeking horticultural antics and tips on seed sowing please check back in a few days.

Those who have been paying attention, will know that of late I have been organising rock concerts rather than gardening. Live music is a very good thing. And even parents want to go dancing sometimes. Or all the time, in some cases. So I am happy to report that the pioneering family-friendly gig at Ace Space in Newbury last night was a glorious success and complete sell-out.

So thank you to the fantastic bands – Big Hand, The Screenbeats and Brendan Driscoll who stepped in at the last minute with a nicely thought-out blues set. Thanks to everyone who bought tickets (and sorry if you couldn’t get one!). To all the kids (and grownups) playing air guitar (and air trumpet) and power sliding across the dancefloor – good work! Hooray for those people who danced their socks off and Phil from Big Hand who led a ska-conga with his trumpet and carefully explained that Nick Griffin is ‘not a very nice man’ for the benefit of the pre-teens in the intro to their song supporting Love Music Hate Racism. Thanks to Newbury Weekly News for the pre-publicity and a thank you to everyone who had the energy, imagination, generosity and bravery to make it a success – Alex, Adam, Julia, Mel,  Jason on sound, Rick from Sticks and Strings, the folk who ran the bar…you know who you all are.
To those who rocked, we salute you. **

Back, briefly, to gardening. I was telling a new acquaintance about what I do the other day. “Your garden must be lovely!” she sighed, as people do. And then think you are being modest when you disabuse them. Thing is, many people who work in gardening do not have immaculate and enviable gardens. Sure, we know what we should be doing and when; and we spend our days immersed in the fine points of design and botanical beauty, but during peak gardening season we are far more likely to be tearing around the countryside looking at other peoples superior plots than tending our own.

With a few notable exceptions, a horticultural journalist’s garden contains an eclectic selection of prized plants, horticultural experiments, refugees from shows and jobs to do. Botanical dreams and ambitions still to realise and projects yet to complete. It is in equal parts a source of pleasure and of frustration, with the bonus that it can very occasionally be tax deductible (properly apportioned, naturally). But it is home.

For a selection of entirely enviable gardens, check out my garden roundup in the April issue of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life.

The picture above is a Forsythia at Kingston Bagpuize.

Listening to: My new Big Hand CD, clearly. It is called How About It? (for anyone who missed the reference last time!)

*with apologies to the Red Hot Chili Peppers
** with apologies to ACDC

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