Saturday 8 August 2015

Reaching for Someone and Not Finding Anyone There

First of all, a thousand apologies for the two months of radio silence as I rather let things go here at Eclectic Ephemera.  Rest assured I am alive and well, but unfortunately finding many distractions that conspire to keep me away from blogging as often as I would like.  I've always felt it to be an awful cop-out to blame a full-time job for stopping me from writing a blog, since I know so many of my favourite fellow vintage bloggers also have regular paid employment and that doesn't stop them from posting once a week!  But alas I do find myself with less time to spare at the weekends now my weekdays are once again taken up by honest toil - having had every day to myself for so long (albeit enforced through ill-health) it's come as a bit of shock to have to condense all that I would do in a week into the two days of the weekend!  Still, I must have done it before so I'm sure it'll become normal to me again soon.

In the meantime my new plan is to do one post as-and-when (note the deliberate vagueness!), covering two or three vintage-related news articles and/or anything of similar interest that may have happened in my life recently (highly unlikely, that!). Now, let's see if I can remember how to do this...

I picked this tune for a few reasons, not least because it's so toe-tappingly good!  The title somewhat reflects this place for the last couple of months too (!), but it's mainly because I've recently been on something of an early Bing Crosby kick.  For, yes, it is perhaps somewhat little known (and sadly so too) that on a lot of the classic 1920s jazz numbers featuring the noted (and tragic) cornetist Bix Beiderbecke recorded with Paul Whiteman (among others) the vocal accompaniment is performed by none other than a young Bing Crosby.  Often appearing as part of a trio known as "The Rhythm Boys" the twenty-something Bing was soon spotted as an emerging talent and by the beginning of the 1930s was singing solo more often than not, as he started down the path towards greatness.

Bing Crosby with Al Rinker and Harry Barris
as "The Rhythm Boys"

I now have three CDs chronicling these early years of Bing's career - Bix 'n' Bing with The Paul Whiteman Orchestra and The Earliest Bing Crosby Volumes 1 & 2 - and all of them absolute crackers (but not always easy to get hold of - Amazon Marketplace is your friend!).  It's fascinating to hear the genesis of Bing's inimitable voice, particularly in its early stages, in the somewhat unusual setting of 1920s jazz.  It's hard to pick a favourite song, but this is one of the stand-outs in my opinion.  If you're a fan of the 1990s Jeeves & Wooster TV series with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie (and let's be honest, if you're reading this you probably are) you'll recognise more than a couple of tunes.  To complete the Bing-fest I also ended up getting a box set of his films as well!

Oh, and in other news I'm off to Eastbourne in Sussex the week after next (17th) for one week as a birthday treat - my first real holiday in ten years (which is why I'm playing it safe with the south coast)!  I understand the area in and around Eastbourne is something of a vintage hotspot, so I'm hoping for some retro fun, frivolity and maybe a vintage find or two!  Any tips on places to visit, hidden gems etc., please let me know (the De La Warr Pavillion is on the list, I need hardly say)!


Well, I was going to go on to summarise two or three interesting vintage news stories from the last couple of months but looking back at this post I think I've said enough about me (oh, the vanity!) to be going on with for now, so as with all good things (oh, the vanity again!) I'll leave you wanting more (I hope!).

Speaking of good things, let me just end by asking how many of my UK-based readers have been watching and enjoying the B.B.C.'s new adaptation of Agatha Christie's Partner's In Crime stories, starring David Walliams and Jessica Raine as Tommy and Tuppence Beresford?  I was highly sceptical when the series was first announced, since I can't stand Walliams in anything else he's had a hand in and I wasn't too sure about the updated suburban 1950s setting.  I must admit now to having not yet read any of the original books (set at first in the 1920s but unusually for Christie actually progressing in real time, ending in the 1970s with the protagonists in their seventies) so had based my whole outlook on the early 1980s ITV series.  However I will admit I was pleasantly surprised - this is a rip-roaring little series; David Walliams can actually act, Jessica Raine is as lovely as ever and the plot and setting work well (not to mention the outfits - I bet you girls are having a field day!).  I'm looking forward to tomorrow's episode as I type.


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