Wednesday, 17 March 2010


"Coffee, cake and jazz" was a bit of a strange affair at the weekend. First of, it was on Saturday rather than Friday. And second, it was "on the move", sort of, and not all at the same time.
In the car on the way up to Inverness we were reduced to listening to Dale Winton on Radio 2.
From what I can gather Dale picks two years (at random?) and then gives the listener all the fun of pretending to do the "countdown" of the charts of yester-year.

First up was 1972. Great year and some good, solid pop music.

But then, oh lordy, he moved forward to some time in the mid 80's. Now, I've always likened "pop" music of the 80's to the cinematic offerings of Mr Sylvester avoided where possible, but if you are brought into contact with either its best to try and forget the sorry event as soon as possible.
The 80's were, I.M.H.O, a decade best forgotten (musically). Crappy, tinny, electro-synth-pop-dross usually fronted by *ahem* "vocalists" who sound like smurfs in ill-fitting hernia truss belts.

It's called a "piano" - and it dosen't have a plug....
And so I took an executive decision. Radio off - CD of the NDR Big Band featuring Jacky Terrasson on piano doing a tribute to Horace Silver on. Marvelous, big, punchy, pulsing, lush arrangements of some 60's jazz classics. I for one was in my element.
Now the track that I like the most is one called "Peace". A lovely sort of ballad, with a hint of latin America about it. I've got versions by Alan Barnes, Coutrtney Pine, Mark Edwards and now Jack Terrasson... but have I got the original by Horace Silver? No I have not. A gross lapse of effort that will have to be rectified ASAP.
Managed to listen to the entire CD one and a half times before it was brought to my attention that something or other called "Rugby soccer"(?) was starting on the radio.
But what of the cofffee and cake? Well, we stopped off in Pitlochry to break the journey up a wee bit and went into one of the coffee shops there (Cafe Chocolate). Some of the best home made cakes I've seen in a long time! And the cappuccino was excellent to. Shame about the waitress. Bliddy hell - a like-minded person, in as much as the woman was obviously one of life's misanthropes. However, even I know that if that's how you feel about humanity then a job on "front-line" services probably isn't the best career choice. If you've ever seen "Black Books" then you'll know what I mean when I say she was like Bernard Black in a dress. A wee bit pricey but well worth it to see this misanthropic comedy legend reduced to waiting tables!

While we were in Pitlochry I also wanted to find a second hand book shop that had been recommended to me.

The self explanatory titles "Pitlochry Station Bookshop" is, as the name suggests, part of the railway station. Apparently it's part of a scheme started by a scheme proposed by First Scotrail to find uses for empty station premises. It's a charity bookshop staffed by volunteers. It's open six days a week and all money goes to four different charities (so, it's not an Oxfam shop, or a cancer Research shop as such). Very well laid out, well stocked ... and best of all cheap!! 50p a book!

Apparently they've raised £18,000 in 5 years - and no doubt given thousands something to do while they're stuck on one of Scotrails cattle trucks.

Anyway. I spent a couple of quid there and came away with a bundle of books to add to my tower of unread "train-fodder". However, if I'd been a wee bit more careful of what I'd bought I might have realised that one of the books I picked up is in fact part three of a trilogy (have to find the first two now).

If your up there - look in.

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