Tuesday, 30 June 2009

I.K. Dairo & His Blue Spots

Another great West African band from the 70's I would guess - found at Brick Lane flea market in the 80's. I love the jangly guitar sound and the strange loping rhythyms going on here - one track seemlessly seeping into the next.

Wikipedia says-

"I.K. Dairo was born in the town of Offa, located in present day Kwara State; his family was originally from Ijebu-Ijesa before migrating to Offa. He attended a Christian Missionary primary school in Offa, however, he later quit his studies due to a lean year in his family's finances. He left Offa and traveled to Ijebu-Ijesa where he chose to work as a barber. On his journey, he took along with him a drum built by his father when he was seven years old. By the time he was residing in Ijebu Ijesa, he was already an avid fan of drumming. When he was unoccupied with work, he spent time listening to the early pioneers of Juju music in the area and experimented with drumming. His interest in Juju music increased over time, and in 1942, he joined a band led by Taiwo Igese but within a few short years, the band broke up. In 1948, he went to Ede, a town in present day Osun State where he started work there as a pedestrian cloth trader and played music with a local group on the side. One day, while his boss was away traveling, I.K. Dairo decided to join his fellow friends to play at a local ceremony, unknowing to him, his boss was coming back that same day, the boss was furious with the act and he was relieved of his job as a result.

IK Dairo later pursued various manual tasks after his firing and was able to save enough money to move to Ibadan, where Daniel Ojoge, a pioneer Juju musician usually played. He got a break to join a band with Daniel Ojoge and played for a brief period of time before returning to Ijebu-Ijesa."

Friday, 12 June 2009

Game Show Hosts - Michael Miles

Michael John Miles was born in 1919 in Wellington, New Zealand and died, prematurely on – 17 February 1971. I have to say that I never liked the man as he always seemed so rude to contestants of his Take Your Pick show, especially the females. It was this show, along with Hughie Green's Double Your money that sat at the top of the heap as far as game shows went in the sixties and, as much as I disliked his condescending attitude, he was probably a far nicer man than good old Hughie. Michael was an epileptic and was deeply ashamed of his condition and would even hide himself away in his dressing room. He died at the early age of fifty two.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

John Hegley

I never really was much of a poetry lover until I saw John Hegley perfom some of his poetry and songs at Lauderdale House in North London back in the early 90's. John was with a group of other comedians and musicians at the monthly lunchtime "Nuclear Family" gigs. Our neighbour in Lambeth , Keith Moore was a musician and he occasionally played tuba or bass with the Popticians, John's backing band. The two songs " Grandad's Glasses" and "Amoeba" were on one side of an 12" single on the Glass Fish label we bought from John on one of those events. It was produced by Robyn Hitchcock who also did the sleeve art and played bass and piano on it. Also on this record is Sue Norton who plays saxaphone and flute.

I suppose what I love about John Hegley's poems is that they make me laugh. Poetry tends to be very serious and sometimes very pretentious. John's poems are serious too ofcourse and it would be hard to find a more dedicated and passionate performer. Humour is serious stuff! Serious stuff can be very funny! John's poems are about everyday mundane things like glasses, dogs and family. He has also written stories and plays for the radio. His "Hearing With Hegley" series on Radio 4 was a wonderful mixture of poems, songs and music.

I was fortunate to be asked to design a book cover for his slim volume "Beyond Our Kennel" in 1998. Published by Methuen.

John coincidentally is doing a lecture today at the Interactive Arts course at MMU in Manchester which I am missing as I write this! I've been to two previous "lectures" that Hazel(my other half ) organised and they are great fun so I'm rather annoyed that I'm missing this one due to circumstances beyond my control.

Discover more about John Hegley at his official website HERE.

John Hegley & Popticians - Grandad's Glasses/ Amoeba