Just before mid-day the sun finally comes out. Left the house a bit later than hoped (recovery time from Saturday). Hit the Market Square and the place is buzzing. Only just in time to catch a blues-wailing Banjo-ist singing the praises of his Sweet Home Chicago. There seemed to be more cars and people than ever in the Square, in the car park and on the High Street for Stony Stratford’s classic car festival.
I’m not a great enthusiast (hell, I once owned a Lada) and my auto-aesthetic sensibilities are governed by nostalgia and classicism, with a soft-spot for the futurism of the past and a dash of the absurd. So my favourites this year were the Jowetts, a Jag that took me back to the child reading the Eagle comic, the beautiful best-in-show-winner Beemer (resisting the urge to say something about Germany in 1939) and a – ah the UK ’50s car industry! – horrendous Hillman Minx Mark VIII (click to navigate through bigger pics, click again to enlarge individual images):
And so into the Vaults bar for a pint and the delights of “the longest-running ‘open session’ in the country”, including getting my head around a folk song take – played straight, one man, one guitar – on Randy Newman’s Sail away (“In America …”). Weirdly, it worked. “Song about slavery,” he said at the finish.
Then up the hill to picturesque Swinfen Harris Hall to take in some art (including Roddy Clenaghan’s original of this year’s StonyLive programme cover) and discover one of Ian Fremantle’s intriguing wood sculptures in its grounds, on the way up to the Ken Daniels curated Bygone Stony – a pictorial history, which was doing brisk business and from which more might come, in York House.
Home, briefly, where the irises in the pond have never been better, before a little touch of Shakey in the afternoon, the first of a series during the week to come, of the Stony Stratford Theatre Society’s promenade Shakespeare – performances of selected scenes, monologues and sonnets from the pen of the Bard hailing from the Stratford in Warwickshire. A development from something tried last year, it worked brilliantly as the troupe of players and audience wound their way through the town, episodes linked by the suitably dressed concertina-ist playing period tunes.
So much going on, invidious to single out particular episodes and performances, but when the little girl came and sat down next to a cross-legged (poet Danni) Puck in the courtyard of The Cock Hotel, one got insight into the notion of the role model. She had a great time, clapping and dancing along as a song followed. A star is born. Oh, and while that was going on, a couple of fly pasts from a Spitfire in the sky overhead. The excerpt from The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of Macbeth made a nice surprise too. Great job, Caz Tricks.
… and into the Fox & Hounds and a rock band open thingy, there soon to have the Banjo-ist trying to grab the attention and asking questions of someone called Joe, who appears to have a gun in his hand:
Further on up the road to The Old George, for a grand Aortas session, where Dan had us thumping on the table and we had very fine sets indeed from Naomi Rose, Lois Barret and Mark Owen.
And so to bed. (And not a banjo seen all day). Given the Saturday before (which Lillabullero will briefly revisit next time) I had to take a time out on Monday to preserve myself for the rest of the week. StonyLive! hurrah!