Thursday, March 25, 2010


Did you watch that Sue Perkins takes on a dying colliery band and makes it good again series?

It was great. You've gotta love Sue. She makes Mrs F-C laugh just to look at her since we met her once. I introduced myself and Mrs F-C getting all starstruck couldn't wait to be introduced by me and said 'and I'm her husband', to which Sue replied, 'Well it is 2002!'.

She's not everyone's cup of tea, but she is funny. She's a hoot in the Supersizers Eat... (I hear that won't be returning, sadly) but I did wonder if transplanting her in the depths of the north to the small town of Dinnington and have her meddling in the traditions of the band might mean she'd go down like a cup of cold sick. But she didn't let such things stand in her way. She got stuck in and she got on with the job. And she was herself. People like that.

Her dedication to dragging that band into the 2010s was admirable, seeing as there were a lot of personalities to deal with and conductors and drummers who kept letting them down. It was a struggle, but in the end she did it, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house as they joined the Grimethorpe Colliery Band (Man Utd to Dinnington's Yeovil Town) on stage to perform the William Tell Overture, conducted by Sue, in Grimethorpe's trademark double-quick time.

It was a delight.

I love brass band music. Silver bands, colliery bands, I can't get enough of them. I think it's since I went out and bought the Floral Dance by the Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band in 1977 I've had a thing. I love that song. I'm dying to DJ and play it a wedding and we could all dance like we worked in the Chigley biscuit factory. Then I'd follow it up with Mike Oldfield's Portsmouth. Expect a full to bursting dancefloor then.

I'm a fan of things like Brassed Off too, the music, always tinged with mournfulness, touches your very soul. But it's somehow uplifting.

I'll stop gushing.

I notice there's a new colliery band CD out which I'm going to have to buy. So while you wait for me to do that, here's something they call Orange Juice. It'll go right through you.


Helen said...

I loved it! I used to find Sue a bit annoying 'till the eating programme which had me crying from laughing and I thought she did a brilliant job on this, obviously very talented. My Grandfather played in a brass band and several cousins followed in his footsteps, too. Thought it was great when they played 'Fire'.
By the way, started on Series 1 of Mad Men last night. Brilliant, couldn't believe it had passed us by.

Clair said...

I am still a sucker for You're A Lady by Peter Skellern; funnily enough I was listening to the Skellern album he made with the Brighouse and Rastrick band, which is super.

Ishouldbeworking said...

Like Welsh male-voice choirs, I find brass bands unbearably sad to listen to. It's the sound of ruined communities, melancholy nostalgia and betrayed working-class dignity. Or am I just reading too much into it?

Sue Perkins, on the other hand, is smashing.

Five-Centres said...

I get all those things from that ISBW. I know exactly where you're coming from. But because they've always sounded like that, we might well be reading too much into it.

I know you're going to be swept away by Mad Men, Hels.

Yes, I'm a fan of that song Clair. The intro gets me every time.

Anonymous said...

My sister plays the euphonium.

Five-Centres said...

I hope she's putting her talents to good use in a band before they all die out then, Anon.

Cocktails said...

There is only so much of a brass band I can take.

Remind me not to ask you to DJ at anything!

Five-Centres said...

Come, come, Cocktails, you and I would be frugging wildly to anything I popped on after a few drinks.

Anonymous said...

Unlikely. She's not very good. Makes a frightful racket.

Cocktails said...

I have to draw the line somewhere FC.

Matthew Rudd said...

I was enjoying it. Then I fell asleep and missed the end.

John Medd said...

Brass bands effect me in the same way young children singing at school concerts - I pretend I've got a bit of grit in my eye, but it's just me getting emotional. Check out The East Yorks Motor Transport Band playing The Beautiful South's Blackbird On The Wire: Paul Heaton put it on the B Side of Dumb.

Five-Centres said...

I think I've got that John, I shall check it out post haste.

Bright Ambassador said...

The Brassed Off tunes good, my dad loved that film (personally I found it a bit worthy and yet more bleeding heart miners, but that's probably because I get called a scab whenever a team from South Yorkshire play ay Forest. I've never been near a mine in my life, besides, the strike ended 25 years ago). "D'Orange Juice."
The rest of it leaves me cold, especially that awful Kasabian thing the Dinnington band did.