Knock 3 times, poet among musos!
Had a most excellent evening last Friday listening to a Norwegian singer performing live at a grand house overlooking the River Mersey.
I was one of about 40 people gathered at the house of my friend Lulu's mum and dad to hear a concert by Ragnhild Zeigler - a fine women singer also known as 'The Bee's Niece' (Norwegians like to pun in English, apparently).
Ragnhild has an angelic voice and her songs are touching, funny, wry and - in some cases - bittersweet.
There were some young people present at the concert, so Ragnhild sought permission in advance to do a song that contained word beginning with a 'T' that she thought some might find offensive. I couldn't resist asking her if that word was ... 'Tory'. It wasn't!
She also did a song about her time living in England (Manchester), which was funny and not altogether flattering about our creaky old nation, but the number was rendered with charm and contained the redeeming assertion that England was "in desperate need of tender, loving care". Can't argue with that!
Ragnhild was ably assisted by instrumentalist Kay Skogheim. Kay, I should explain, is a man and also Norweigan. Apparently he and Ragnhild are 'an item' - though that is a comparatively recent development. As well as supporting the singer, Kay plays with a group called the Bernard Briiss Band.
I was impressed by the ironic lyrics performed on Friday. It's surprising and commendable that a Norwegian woman can master witty song-writing in the British idiom.
Now, it's a long time since I worked as a music journalist - as editor of the Blue Suede Views on the old ORACLE Teletext service on ITV - but I'd say Ragnhild has the makings of a top quality British indie singer, despite her Norweigan provenance. Also, her singing is slightly larky in tone, and in that sense she reminds me of the American Carole Bayer Sager when she sang 'You're Moving out Today'.
Anyway, thanks to my friends Lulu and Henry for inviting me to the musical soiree, and for the curry too. Also, they put me up for a poetry performance slot after the singer had finished her set.
I did two crowd-pleasing poems. One called 'Follow The Beige Brick Road' about Wallasey and Wigan; and a second one about a woman who once stalked me, called 'Not A Love Poem'. And guess what? They pleased the crowd!
So I used the opportunity to promote the next live poetry night at the Magazine pub in New Brighton. That will take place on Monday 12 November, starting at 8pm. Come along folks! Admission is free, and we are a friendly bunch.
By the way, it was Lulu and Henry who provided another musical highlight of my life back in spring, when, as a birthday present, they bought me a ticket to see Roddy Frame live at the Zanzibar in Liverpool.
I tell you, when Roddy sang 'Hymn to the Grace' that night it was as if he was singing it just for me and for me alone. Fantastic.
I even managed to have a short private chat with Roddy - before the security guards dragged me off him.
Anyway, I can recommend The Bee's Niece. There is certainly a lot more there than the terrible pun of the name suggests. Google that name to find out more and sample the music.
The musical excitement continued this Sunday night. I was out with Ieaun and his partner Miss!, plus my two African friends Jei and The Buddhist, and, from New Brighton, The Quaker.
We were shooting the breeze together in the beer garden at at the Oxton Bar Terrace in Oxton Village (the ONLY posh bit of BirkenVegas) when a young lad did a spontaneous blue-eyed soul number. Great. But wait there is more ...
After returning from Oxton Village to New Brighton the Quaker and I went for a couple of nightcaps in Hell's Waiting Room.
In the back room (the auld curmudgeons' den) they play sixties and seventies pop tunes on a loop - Smokie, Mott the Hoople, Beatles, The Swinging Blue Jeans, all sorts.
Suddenly on came a classic from Tony Orlando and Dawn. Suddenly, I was transported back to my teenage years in Wigan, listening to Fab 208 (Radio Luxembourg) late at night in my bedroom.
I just had to sing along loudly ...."Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me! Twice on pipes, if the answer is 'no'!"Happy daze ...