Sunday, 3 June 2012


It's that time of year again....
The musty bunting is unravelled and hung up. The "burgers" that look, smell (and probably taste) like discs of carpet underlay marinaded in beef dripping are thrown onto a manky grill. And warm fizzy beer is poured into flimsy plastic cups.
No. It's nothing to do with the "jubilee". It's simply that hideous time of year when various hamlets, villages, towns and other settlements "celebrate" their gala days. Images of coconut shys, tea tents, vicars in white linen jackets and straw hats etc. are sadly dashed when you walk in on the reality..
Gala Days are days when well meaning folks who are, probably, already strapped for free time waste their efforts and their valuable time laying on "events" that simply seem to attract a bunch of indifferent, beer swilling dole scum. Plebs who a few hundred years ago would have been enthralled by the antics of a man with a bladder on a stick.
I would avoid these events like the plague....if it wasn't for the fact that many of the best races share calendar space.
And so yesterday we were of to Neilson Park in Haddington. Anne to race the Haddington 10k and me to help out.
A great race. Well organised and well planned out. But it appears to start in a field populated by village oafs and their oafish offspring.
Anyway. Thankfully, not everyone is afflicted by my slightly jaded and less than rosy view of the world.
Good turn out of Dunbar runners and a few good results.

I'd been out earlier in the day for a 7.5 mile off road run, so didn't feel too bad about sitting this one out.
Managed 15 this morning and felt quite good. Off work for another couple of days so I might try a couple of 12+ runs then as well. My left leg has been giving me a bit jip (hamstring), but that seems to have eased off a bit now. However, I'll take it a bit easy for a week or so and see how it goes.

Got some new jazz to acquaint myself with this weekend as well. One of which I'm especially excited about - oh yes. Arild Andersen, Tommy Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra "Celebration" - a recording of a gig they did in October 2010 to celebrate the music of ECM.
The fact that ECM chose Smith and the SNJO to head this tribute to their music over the years is an indication of the standing that Smith and the SNJO have, not only in Europe, but in global jazz circles. At the gig I was ecstatic that they finished with a version of Keith Jarrett's "My Song", so I'm over the moon that it's made it onto this recording. It's one of those songs that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up - I've never (yet) heard a version of it I didn't like.

Sad then that this album should come out at the same time as it's announced that the SNJO are having their funding cut in Scotland.
When Stephen Graham, writing in Jazzwise, likens Tommy Smith to Wynton Marsalis it really isn't an exaggeration.

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