Thursday, 1 December 2016

November Reading

Jim Godbolt  All This and 10%  Published in 1976, this is the memoir of jazz fanatic and booking agent Godbolt, who was involved for many years with, amongst others, the careers of George Melly and Mick Mulligan.  Melly's autobiography of life on the road with a jazz band in the 1950s Owning Up is a wonderful book and reminds us that the 'rock'n'roll lifestyle' was being lived well before the 60s.  Godbolt's account offers an interesting sidelight.   He claims to have introduced (via Damon Runyon) the phrase 'hooray Henry' to the lexicon - the female equivalent being a Henrietta and offers some amusing and at times score-settling (although not as vivid as some of Melly's) descriptions of characters on the British jazz scene at the time.  At the end of the book we find Godbolt working for the Gerry Bron organisation (whose most famous act was probably Uriah Heep), but disillusioned with the pop and rock of the early 70s - Alice Cooper and David Bowie are singled out for their depravity.  After retiring from the music business he apparently spent some time as a meter reader for the Electricity Board.   This book was updated in 1986 as All This and Many a Dog: Memoirs of a Loser/Pessimist.  He also wrote a history of jazz.  Looking him up online I found he died fairly recently at an advanced age.  Obituaries here and here.

This inspired me to re-read Owning Up for the umpteenth time - it's stood the test of time and I still found myself laughing out loud at certain passages - it's also very good at evoking the dark dreary towns of the 1950s with their awful 'digs' and drinking cultures as he endlessly traverses the country.

'The flavour of the different regional landscapes was enough: the flat featureless Dutch-like farmland of Lincolnshire; the honey-coloured stone and intimate scale of the West Country; the sprawling suburb of the Midlands; the hunting-print look of Cheshire and Shropshire; the kilns of the Potteries and the chimneys of the industrial north; the wild moors along the Pennines where the sheep are always black with the soot of Lancashire and Yorkshire.' (p.103)

See also here.

Arthur Conan Doyle  The Return of Sherlock Holmes

Jennifer Oldstone-Moore  Understanding Taoism

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