Tuesday, 7 June 2011

SketchJam at Fagans: Irish Ballads and Boogie-Woogie

We started our SketchJam experiment in January, with a folk SketchJam. The last time I took part, it was rock music: all headbands and headbanging (have you ever tried to headbang and draw at the same time...).

Last Tuesday, after a false start at the White Lion (we got the wrong night for the live jazz - duh!), we did a quick-change and spent the evening at the famous Fagan's.

Fagan's is no theme pub: it's the real thing and has remained almost unchanged for donkey's years. It's occasionally frequented by Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley, but we were content with John (on fiddle), Old John (93 year old singer) and Jonathon (boogie-woogie piano). No really - they were all called John!!

Addmittedly, there was this man above, playing one of those large, flat drums you tucked into your arm, on it's side: you can just about see the top of the drum on the sketch, before I ran out of paper... We didn't get his name, as he was very quiet (apart from the drum of course), and left early (another reason for the missing drum).

As usual, we were a much smaller band than on the SketchCrawls: just me, Martin and Tim to start with, but our ranks were swelled to 5 when other arty folk in the pub (it's an arty kind of place) borrowed the necessaries from us, and joined in.

I was sitting next to Angela, who I discovered to be a very accomplished artist. She'd designed her own jewelry (which was beautiful) and had various paintings of Fagan's regulars hanging in the pub. She did this great sketch of me (tactfully leaving out the inevitable sketcher's double-chins!). She gave me it as a thank you for lending her a pencil.

Her husband, Mike, sang a song later on, even though he was not called John:

The standard of the music was fantastic. The highlight for me was definitely near the end of the evening, when Jonathon (above) set up a keyboard and began singing to the most astonishing boogie-woogie piano. Boogie-woogie is always rather special for me, as it's what my dad used to play.

He taught himself by ear; he got started as a young man during WW2, memorising chords by peering over the shoulder of a professional pianist he was stationed with in Venice. He taught me a few numbers (a great party-piece when I was still a little girl), but I've not played for years.

My brother Philip carries on the torch though, and is a fantastic self-taught pianist and composer.


Cathy Gatland said...

Terrific people sketches Lynne, I see I'll be seeing you in Lisbon - I don't know who will be teaching who though!!

Lynne Chapman said...

Ha ha - thanks Cathy. Really looking forward to meeting you in Lisbon! x