Richard Parsons

Finest Hour – Submotion Orchestra

26 September 2018

My second submission, after “Red Dress”, by this Leeds based band featuring the dulcet tones of Ruby Wood, and the lush pseudo-orchestration led by the trumpet of Tommy Evans. This is a seven minute build of electronica/jazz which pretty much sums up the musical style you can expect from each of their four albums…

Chariots – TransGlobal Underground

19 September 2018

Can their album “Psychic Karaoke” really be over twenty years old now? Released in 1996, I heard “Chariots” up first and was absolutely hooked by the depth of sound, the subcontinental/Arabian voice of Natacha Atlas (!) and the changes of rhythm and sounds. The super duper highway indeed!…

Part 41 – Given Circumstances

17 September 2018

Summer term. 1981.

I’m in my study listening to Pat Metheny on the cassette player, holding a letter from The Big Cheese, countersigned by the Bursar confirming a rise in salary next year. “In recognition of your contribution to drama at Fitzrovia.”

It’s warm June sunshine outside with the aroma of fresh mown grass through the open window; a presage to cricket nets in half an hour. At the sound of footsteps in the corridor I thrust the letter into my pocket…

People Make The World Go Round – The Stylistics

11 September 2018

In the early 70’s the sound of Philadelphia was all the rage and along with bands like the O’Jays, The Stylistics were at the forefront. They had a sugary sound that didn’t always appeal to me – songs like “Betcha By Golly Wow” for instance – but I absolutely LOVE this song – this full length version’s great!…

Part 40 – Given Circumstances

11 September 2018

Just before Christmas, “Bouncers” takes place.

‘Ticket sales are picking up,’ says Hovis Hair a few days before performance. ‘A slow burner.’ She purses her lips. ‘A friend tells me it’s quite violent. Bad language.’

‘It’s meant to be a comedy,’ I venture. ‘There’s an edge to it, but essentially it should be funny.’ 

She frowns. ‘My husband and I are coming on the Saturday. Is it suitable for children?’

‘I’d exercise some caution. Teenagers, fine. Younger than that probably not.’…

Part 39 – Given Circumstances

5 September 2018

“…innocence raped with napalm fire, twenty first century schizoid man…”

Next morning I’m in my study, still assimilating how I really feel about the previous evening with Miss Dazzle, when there’s a knock on the door. ‘Come in.’

It’s Fizz; flushed in the face; looks as if she might have been crying. Red eyed. Puffy. She should be in school uniform, ready for Sunday chapel, but isn’t.

What’s going on? I turn down King Crimson…

I Don’t Love You Anymore – The Young Rascals

4 September 2018

Late 60’s I was into The Young Rascals (later, just The Rascals) as they released a succession of singles that caught my attention – they weren’t necessarily hits, although “Groovin’” was a monster – but I enjoyed the philosophical lyrics allied to the sophisticated production elements…

Alone Again Or – Love

28 August 2018

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t have a copy of the seminal psychedelic album, “Forever Changes” released first in 1967? Maybe it’s passed you by; if so, then this song should give you a flavour of what to expect with its gentle guitars, harmonies and orchestration…

Part 38 – Given Circumstances

28 August 2018

The White Horse Hotel, where I’m to meet Miss Dazzle, is on the outskirts of town. It has rooms, and a reputation for decent food. ‘Reassuringly expensive,’ says Biggles.

I’ve taken a ridiculous time getting ready, changing in and out of clothes, staring at myself in the mirror, before getting a grip. Does it matter what I wear? Why not just be myself? Like I said I would be. And just what am I expecting – hoping? – to happen? In truth, I’ve stopped pining for her. Barely give her a thought.

 And yet…over the past few days…

Pinzells – Joan Bibiloni

21 August 2018

Well, I do like a bit of laid-back acoustic guitar and when it’s allied to that oh-so-smooth Balearic background stuff….well, it HAS to make this curation! Don’t be fooled by the spelling of the Christian name – Joan is a guy!…

Part 37 – Given Circumstances

21 August 2018

September 1980.

It’s the start of a brand new academic year. My fourth at Fitzie’s. No more the new boy. Instead there are others who’ve arrived, fresh faced, new shoots, following more pruning by the Big Cheese. Out with the old; in with the new…

Part 36 – Given Circumstances

15 August 2018

 I’m considering tidying my study at the end of that summer term 1980. Three years almost done and dusted, it contains anything of my world that isn’t at Orchard Cottage. The detritus of school admin lies cheek by jowl with correspondence; lesson plans; old essays; class lists; mark books; cricket scorebook; paraphernalia. There are piles of play scripts, scattered across the floor. A box labeled “Mum.”

Simon and Garfunkel play quietly on the cassette…