February 2011

FEBRUARY REPORT

Hintlesham Hall had special rates on lunches and teas for W.I.s in January. Although we were not given much notice we managed to get a group of eighteen together, including one man, our president Iris’s husband (what a brave chap!), to give the lunch a go. It turned out to be a splendid occasion – excellent food and service in a beautiful setting. The general opinion afterwards was, “We must do this again.”

At our February meeting Mr Mackley came to speak about and give us a taster of 1930s and 40s music. Mr Mackley broadcasts on Ipswich Citizens Radio, 105.7 FM on Wednesdays from 2-4pm. His program covers the same fruitful era which he considers to be the golden age of song writing. When you take into account the names involved: such luminaries as George Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart and Johnny Mercer I think it is impossible to disagree. Mr Mackley brought along a keyboard and microphone in order to perform some of the songs for us. When I name them I guarantee you will have the tunes buzzing round in your head for the rest of the day.

He started with Stardust followed by Anything Goes, that witty ditty with words that are still relevant today. ‘In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, now, heaven knows, anything goes. Good authors too who once knew better words, now only use four-letter words, writing prose, anything goes.’ Later came Little Things Mean a Lot. ‘The sigh of midnight trains in empty stations, silk stockings thrown aside, dance invitations…..’ Both these of course were written by Cole Porter. This word-smith came from a wealthy family in Indiana; his grandfather was an industrialist. He and his wife – for although he was gay he had a very happy marriage – lived in an apartment in Paris with platinum wallpaper and zebra skin chair covers.

Another song writer we heard about was Hoagy (christened Hoagland) Carmichael who was responsible for such songs as Georgia on my Mind, Up a Lazy River, The Nearness of You and My Resistance is Low. In the film To Have and Have Not starring Humphrey Bogart and Lorraine Bacall this writer is to be seen singing Hong Kong Blues which contains the line ‘Kicking Ol’ Buddha’s Gong.’ This evidently refers to taking opium.

To cap it all Mr Mackley gave us George Gershwin’s A Foggy Day in London Town – who could ask for anything more! I imagine that in the future these melodies will be the music that will be remembered from the twentieth century and that they will still be being performed long after we are dead and gone.

V E Bines