ArtBeat 2014 – Day 7

Events and activities did not start until this evening but then three different events, each in their different way, turned out to be stimulating and successful.

In a house in Howard Road, 25 people (children and adults) gathered to hear 11 year-old Anna, accompanied by her teacher, play pieces of Bach on the violin. She was joined by Alec on cello and Jonathan on piano. These were examples of music that Anna has learned to play through the Suzuki method and provided a delightful half an hour for listeners on a sunny evening. With the doors and windows open, it was lovely to hear the strains of the great composer wafting through the Clarendon Park air. Well done Anna and thank you!

Bryan Merton & Robert Colls. Meanwhile there was another gathering at St John’s Parish Hall opposite the school at the east end of Clarendon Park Road. Here between 40 and 50 people came to take part in an extended conversation with Rob Colls, Professor of Cultural History at De Montfort University, about his recently published and much acclaimed book George Orwell: English Rebel. It was a fascinating exploration of the many contradictions of this great writer best known for his novel 1984 and political allegory Animal Farm. Yet it became clear that some of his essays written about culture and politics in the 1940s probably represented his best work and have had a great impact on what has now become known as cultural studies. Rob’s detailed and intricate knowledge of Orwell’s life and work captured the attention of all those attending and proved to be a masterly display of public education. What an informative and hugely enjoyable evening.

Then down to The Cradock for an evening of top quality jazz. There were four bands culminating with the Happy Landings. Keyboard player Chris Conway, who seems to be a brilliant exponent of each of the many instruments he plays, said “who’d have thought I could have an audience like this just within walking distance from my house and not need to carry my instruments there”. It was a busy evening in the pub but the place never seems crowded with its many bars and people sitting out in the garden in the warm summer night. But there was a throng round the jazz players and no wonder – the calibre of the playing was very high.