IDEA 371

I have my oxygen rich shower every morning to thank for ‘moments of inspiration’ – that often seem like an idea too far once I’ve had a shave. But then I occasionally end up convincing myself that they really are good ideas and I should take the risk.

So ; idea number 371:

We will stay overnight in Hartlepool next weekend, the reason being so we can go to see the big band rehearsals in the afternoon and film a bit of the activity. They are the musicians who will be playing at the Rink Revival event in June. They’re very good actually from what I’ve seen on YouTube – but not very good at managing their enquiry mail. I have tried four times to get in touch now via websites and facebook but no one replies to me. I’m pretty sure this isn’t a personal sleight though… just a lack of online monitoring on the part of the band. I was hoping to get the thumbs up to film them and perhaps have a bit of a chat with the band leader, but I will have to travel hopefully with that one if they don’t get back to me. I don’t imagine it will be a problem but it’s always better to sort these things in advance. Anyway – that’s not idea number 371 – this is….

…to write a song in the style of the big band era with lyrics that pertain to the Queen’s Rink ballroom and, lyrically, link in some of the memories I have been collecting. Can’t be that hard can it?

I’m pretty confident of my ability to write the song, but not at all confident of my ability to write an arrangement for the song. Then I thought – maybe the band would like to get involved.. or maybe it should just be a piano arrangement.. but I still need a crooning type singer. More things to organise… but it could be fun.

Then the post-shower person in me thinks… is that a bit crass?

I have now wrestled idea number 371 and have to say I am still erring on the side of going for it. It doesn’t on the surface of it sound like art – but then actually to write something in the style of your subject – and then put it through the same process as the rest of the gathered material could add a nice touch. A sort of ‘historical recall re-presented in the style of the period’ approach. It makes me smile anyway.

Betty Brotherstone is a lovely lady who was born and bred in Hartlepool, but spent some time in Japan with her husband. I interview her for a while and she chats away about this and that and I am surprised she didn’t have aspirations to do a little extra with her life. Yes I am aware of the debate about the value of bringing up a family etc.. but I still had the feeling she appeared to have something else about her.

“So you haven’t done anything else apart from that brief period in Japan just after the war?”

“No, no not really”

“Did you see bringing up a family as your main focus?”

“Yes I did I suppose…


.. Oh I was Mayoress of Hartlepool for a few years” she says

“Ah” says I

“that might be something most people would consider mentioning as an event in their lives!”

Turns out she was the reluctant accomplice with her brother the Mayor, who had no wife and needed someone to be the Yin to his Yang. She had no political aspirations but was co-opted into attending the many official occasions that local dignitaries have to attend. I’m sure she did the job well – but it appears not to be something she rated as particularly out of the ordinary.

” Glen Miller’s quicksteps… even now – if the music’s on the radio or on the television or a CD – I could be getting a meal ready and I’m still dancing to it… gets you.. in the mood!… that was my favourite” said Betty.