blues on the downbeat

another saturday to spend milling around in town, stuff to do and places to visit!
as you can see, style birmingham is in full swing(that's victoria square above), with harvey nicholls doing some sort of event from a metal freight container(painted white of course), errr, that was about it, apart from bumping into lots of grumpy, orange-skinned women carrying paperbags and wearing tiny denim jackets, everywhere we went.
there was a facebook-vintage fair on -

which is of course, more my personal idea of style, so we headed to the custard factory.
first i had a look around the cow vintage shop on digbeth high street(slim pickings there, since the last time, when i filled two big yellow bags with pendleton shirt! and i suspect they've got all the good stuff in the great new flagship store a few doors up from the skin-crawlingly odious urban-outfarters).
i love the cow vintage shop though.
always a pleasure going there.
we got to the custard factory eventually...
i was after a dark blue polka-dot shirt to replace a favourite one i'd had for years, and although i was initially sceptical about finding one, we ventured into the new urban village shop(ironically back in the location it used to be in).
this shop has improved in leaps and bounds, there was a real happy soul vibe about the place, and lots of good clothing and retro items to be had... and i even managed to find the exact shirt i was looking for(a pin-sized polka-dot, as opposed to the larger polka-dot garage-punk repro shirts that they do instore).
mods these days, seem to favour large sideburns and lots of loud patterns, kind-of a mix between early skinhead and later 60's mod... much different from my own cleancut jazz stylings(i wanted to be herbie hancock from the 60's bluenote sessions!).
so i was impressed by these people(who were all very cheerfull too, come to mention it! so another bonus!).
onto the regular fleamarket, and H. bought some 1950's doorhandles and some earrings(whilst i stood around loving the old school reggae someone was playing)... then onto the actual vintage fare - which wasn't as busy as last time, less stalls, but easier to move around... didn't find much to buy though as i was only after a long black raincoat.
the great paradox is that the regular custard factory shops, actually have better stuff than the fair that attracts hundreds of people, but the fair brings the people in, and they will visit the regulars, to swell the tills.

did i mention it was style birmingham today(most of this passed us by, despite H. running a successful clothing retail outlet!), we caught a glimpse of some knob wearing a dead animal on his shoulder.
 it would have been tastefull to maybe give it a decent burial, and a nice little headstone, if you ask me.
hardly a fashion-statement, this stuff didn't even look good on the victorians(who's obsession with death is probly the inspiration for wearing old animal pelts).
the vintage community is divided on the opinion regarding old fur(especially obvious old lady tatt like this), some say that the animal was killed many years ago, and that the fur-trade make no money from second-hand stuff, and other people say it is just tasteless, and should be consigned to history where it belongs(safe to say, that back in the day, there wasn't much in the way of humane killing.).

anyhoo... in a bid to escape the melee that is the city on a saturday afternoon, we went to the st martins tearoom for some restfull tea and sandwiches.
actually this proved to be a very good idea, plenty of seats(we commandeered a big sofa and table, unthinkable in the lifestyle cafes, mere yards away!), and had some restorative tea and sandwiches.
after some regular shopping, wondering if we should head home, i read a tweet from catnip about a new cafe that we hadn't heard of called shakes, so we headed off there, before going home!
it was here that some people had convened for ben waddington's invisible architecture tour(i'd contemplated on going to this, but had a back-doctor appointment this morning, which they had conveniently cancelled for me at the last moment!).
but instead i took the opportunity to photograph michael grimes flicking through a copy of heat... ironic, given that he is the most un-heat like person, to be photographed reading said magazine!
onward home then, as i had some piano music to listen to.

i have taken-up playing music again, after a break of a couple of years(spent being busy doing other things, i'm happy to say).
recently i had one of those pivotal moments, watching the martin scorsese blues films, and i thought "i want to get back into this!" whereas before, it was booker t. organ-jazz and herbie hancock all the way... now i'm learning to play blues piano(think pinetop perkins), i have an excellent tutor book, which i am working my way through(in one week, i have learned more than i ever knew, which admittedly was mostly instinctive playing), although knowing my way around the blues scale is helping immensely.
i'm going to work on this book, until i feel happy with mastering the great material in it, then get myself a teacher, once i can break out of my small repetoire of jazz-riffs.
this time, i'm going to concentrate on actually learning songs, whereas before i tended to grab snatches of tunes, and mesh them together(which worked, but meant i never remembered whole songs!).
and by this time next year, i want to be proficient in playing, enough to do a gig... i won't need much, maybe just a drummer and a piano....
but before any music(and writing this), some green+mint tea with home-made cup-cake.
anyway, here's a dude in a good hat playing pinetop's boogie woogie.

one day... right now, i'm working my way through fats domino and mose allison riffs!

1 comment:

Helen Highwater said...

Not sure what was the highlight of the day for me: was it the mad bloke yelling "GOD DAMN YOU!!!!" at the vicar, or was it Michael Grimes reading Heat magazine and not knowing who R-Patz is?

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