Newsletter (Additional stuff!)

Posted Sep 18, 2013

Newsletter (Additional news)

Here we go again! I said how subdued I was before ... well I thought, as I missed a few things out, I'd better put it right!  I’m sorry too if you got the last one twice or even didn’t get it all! I got into a complete mess with the mailing list plus, the computer wouldn’t send anything for a while. I was going mad and had to stop. Then I couldn’t remember where I’d got up to in the list ….. and so it goes …. I hope this one behaves itself!

I most certainly should have told you about our wonderful Golden Wedding celebration. Katherine (aka Kit) and David and their respective partners and the grandchildren – invited Val and me to a family gathering and lunch at a really nice pub where the young ones could go off and play, should they be bored with us grown-ups.

Val and I were asked to arrive about 12 noon on the 10th August, the date of our wedding fifty years ago in a Newbury Park Registry Office! We arrived at the correct time completely innocent, believing we were in for a family lunch. As we walked from the car we met Katherine and family and in their company, were friends from Denver, Colorado! ‘WOW’ doesn’t get near! Jessica, Adam and daughter Talia walked calmly up and greeted us like it was perfectly normal they should join us on this day! It was a wonderful surprise. We were just recovering from this when about 20 minutes later Vic and Andy Cutting arrived with young Alfie. They were followed by two of our oldest friends from mid Wales, Ed & Marian. And so it went on. Friends from Sheffield were arriving and we were just about managing, when Rina and Leon Rosselson arrived from London. It may not mean anything to you, just take my word for it, it was a huge and happy surprise. I think Leon and Rina are the two friends we have known longest.  Since about 1964 I think? 

By this time Val and I were running out of gasps!

Champagne flowed freely and food was aplenty. We were just about recovering our composure when Martin and Elisa Carthy, together with Elisa’s two children, Florence and Isabella, walked in. This was extraordinary as Martin and the family had been at Sidmouth all week and only got home after an awful and long drive: Sidmouth to Robin Hoods Bay in North Yorkshire. They arrived home around 2am on the 10th August! They had made the supreme effort of getting up and driving down to Sheffield later that same morning. 

We are so lucky and privileged to have such friends.

All this was secretly agreed and arranged by Katherine with David’s support. How it had remained secret is astounding. Both she and David are absolutely fantastic and we both love them ‘to bits’  -   THANK YOU, for a wonderful celebration.

            There is another event I want to tell you about. I have mentioned this before, probably prematurely because the detail had not been decided at that time.  Now we are READY! We recorded the CD of Robb Johnson’s suite of songs in remembrance of his grandfathers “Gentle Men” in Ghent, Flanders. This revised and new programme will be premiered at The Tabernacle music venue in Notting Hill on Thursday, 7th November. This suite, I first heard in 1997. Robb had been invited to write a programme for the Peace Concert in Passendale, Flanders. He wrote this suite and invited me to sing the part of his grandfathers. I thought it then to be a wonderful work and remain committed to his story. He not only tells the story of his grandfathers, he places it all within a context of his deeply held political convictions and opposition to war. The ‘politic’ is there within the story. It’s a great piece. Arguably, in my view the best work he’s done? He has re-visited the programme and written some additional songs. He has also gathered together a new group of wonderful musicians.  He invited me again to represent his grandfathers. I am proud to be associated with the work.  I also get to work with these wonderful people|: Barb Jung (vocals); Jude Abbot (trumpet and backing vocals); John Forester (double bass & backing vocals); Jennifer Carr (piano & backing vocals) and of course, Robb himself (vocals, guitar and occasionally, banjo!) We have just two concerts this year, The Tabernacle (7th Nov) and the Sheffield Library Theatre (Thurs 5th December.) There will be more in April 2014. I hope to see some or indeed, all of you who are in or near London or Sheffield. I’m convinced you will enjoy the show.

            I remain furiously impotent with this cruel and vicious millionaire Government. I say ‘millionaire’ because Cameron, Osborne, Clegg and others in Government are millionaires but more importantly, have no idea that there is a ‘class’ in this country for whom AUSTERITY is NOT some new experience, introduced as a temporary measure to reduce the deficit by a Chancellor. Austerity is a condition in which they spend their lives. This out of touch Government tells us we’re all in it together. They have no idea what they’re talking about! They ADD to the misery and insecurity of the poor and the disadvantaged by either reducing the welfare support available or they make it ever more difficult and confusing to obtain. In addition, anyone claiming welfare is being demonised and categorised as indolent and scroungers. This class should not be included in any of the cuts proposed by this minister (Ian Duncan Smith) or this Government. This class should be excluded altogether 

I don’t know who’s advising Ed Milliband and the Labour elite but if they don’t wake up pretty quick they will be history! Then, maybe, we will need to create a new party to give voice to the millions of people who feel completely disenfranchised by New Labour and its current remnants. I am reminded of something I read a few years ago:


Both induce an initial mild euphoria and a distorted sense of reality.                                           

Both induce a tendency to talk rubbish in a meaningful way.                                                         

What seemed like a good idea turns out to be something you can’t believe you ever took seriously.  

WARNING: Cannabis is widely regarded as harmless but the effects of New Labour may be serious     and lasting."

 I must say I feel better for that. If you consider yourself on the ‘left’ politically, you may disagree with me for even considering the Labour Party in this way. I understand that but I’m afraid that’s where I am and have been for most of the past 60 years – since I was around 17 yrs old. I owe my opportunities in education, my health, my welfare and the social mobility of the last century, to the Labour Party. Institutions and policies created and introduced by a Labour Government when the country really was ‘flat broke.’ Oh for the Spirit of ’45!                                                                       I’ll not abandon the Labour Party because of the “parcel of rogues” who currently lead it! 

 One final comment/promotion/plug:  My birthday concert will be on Tuesday November 19th at The Greystones on Greystones Road, S11 7BS Sheffield.    Tickets will soon be available from I look forward to seeing many of you there, and please, tell everyone you know who might be interested, to join my mailing list. It’s dead easy, just click on the appropriate wording on my web page   Thank you.

I hope I’ve mentioned all I ought? I can’t think of anything else but who knows? I’ll send this and immediately think of something essential I missed! It will have to wait til next time as I can’t face the horrors of actually trying to ‘activate’ the mailing list again - after this time, that is!

 Thank you for bearing with me.  So… be optimistic, this Coalition will pass, as anyone who has suffered Gall Stones will know!

  “That’s all folks”           

 Roy Bailey    -   September 18th 2013