NYCGB Alumni Christmas song

This has been the year for lockdown choirs and following the success of the National Youth Choir alumni’s Shenandoah project in June, we geared up in the autumn to produce something in time for Christmas.

Arranged by Louise Clare Marshall (whom many will have watched bringing in the new year last night on Jools Holland’s Annual Hootenanny), we held sectional rehearsals on Zoom in early November and videos were submitted during the final week of November, leaving about one month for our team of technicians to edit and mix the audio and video.

The video launched on Christmas Eve and, remarkably, we were featured at the end of the BBC News broadcasts that evening!

I’m so proud of what we have achieved. It’s not the same as standing in the same space and making music together but I’ll take it over nothing.

Thank you to all who were involved. To Louise, the section leaders, everyone who got involved, our wonderful team of audio and video engineers, and the rest of the NYCGB Alumni Champions Committee—some of my dearest friends in all the world.

Enjoy! And see if you can spot me on the video.

Run the line

Sometimes the YouTube algorithm gets it right. This video popped up on my suggested list. Runner Beau Miles retraces 43 km of an old Australian railway line in his back yard, searching for the old line, searching for meaning.

These last couple of weeks, I’ve been discovering hidden writings, hidden stories, hidden meanings among Mum’s belongings. My dad loved railways. His mother lived in Australia. I love exploring new places and digging into the history of where I am living (only today I rediscovered a couple of maps from where I lived in Bermondsey, London in 1894 and 1914). Somehow, this video brought these strands together.

Negative Space

This beautiful short film was featured in Documentally‘s last newsletter. It’s definitely worth subscribing to.

I showed this video to my three children a few days ago; they were captivated, laughed at the end and we discussed it over breakfast the following morning. I love little moments like that.

I think about my dad a lot. He taught me a lot about being ordered and considerate in how I do things, the importance of finding a home for everything and putting it back after using it—something that was more important to him once his brain damage dug deeper and dementia started robbing him of his memories. Not surprisingly, he was an engineer. I often wonder what he could teach me now.

Queen—All Dead, All Dead (with Freddie Mercury vocals)

Queen’s News of the World (1977) album turned 40 years old this year. I was five years old when it came out. It would be six or seven years more until Queen were firmly on my radar, and so would begin a lifelong love of the band.

To celebrate the anniversary of the album’s release, Queen are releasing a box set on Friday 17 November that includes a number of recently unearthed out-takes and rarities.

News of the World 40th anniversary box set
News of the World 40th anniversary box set

Among the rarities is this hybrid version of “All Dead, All Dead” (side 1, track 4) featuring alternative lyrics and vocals from Freddie Mercury.

What I didn’t realise, all these years of listening to the song, is that the song was written by Brian May about the death of his childhood cat.

It’s a beautiful song, even if does have the ‘wrong’ lyrics.

The box set is released on Friday 17 November costing £109.99.