At this moment in time all our thoughts are with the people of Sri Lanka, Thailand, The Maldives and India and all those in nearby countries that have been affected by the earthquake in the Indian Ocean and the resultant tsunami. I put Sri Lanka first because I have some wonderful memories of our tours there back in 1983 and 84. The welcome we received wherever we went was wonderful. I can remember the students at the university in Jaffna turning out to give us a demonstration of their dancing and music at midday in the blazing heat. This was completely off the cuff and was certainly beyond the call of duty because they sweated buckets. Also this is Tamil Tiger country and the troubles were just beginning. They had much bigger things to worry about than an itinerant band of Dorset musicians.
Our driver, Pereira, drove our Ford Transit minibus like a Grand Prix car, which was great fun most of the time. There was just the odd elephant in the road he had to dodge around. Well, you might be able to get between their legs in a mini but with a Transit it's not easy. All three of us can do a very good imitation of our other guide who was a very nervous passenger. Her cry was always, 'Slow down Pereira, slow down!' I must admit to feeling very guilty at one time when he managed to clip the side of a fruit stall and scatter it's contents all over the road.
Sri Lanka is a very beautiful island and it is absolutely tragic that its people should have suffered so much for so long. Maybe, just maybe this terrible communal suffering will bring north and south closer together.
Many thanks to those who bought raffle tickets at our New Year Party. We managed to raise £450 for the disaster appeal.
Old Yetties LPs
My stock of these turns over at a high rate of knots and Halsway Manor Library benefits from the cash raised. If you have any you wish to pass on to good homes or would like to purchase some please ring 01935 814611. At this moment in time I have copies of In Concert, Dorset is Beautiful, The Yetties of Yetminster, Dorset Style, The Yetties, Up In Arms, Our Friends The Yetties, All At Sea, The World of The Yetties, Focus On The Yetties (double album), Up Market, A Little Bit of Dorset, The Sound of Cricket (with John Arlott) and A Proper Job. Cynthia and I are spending some time in the library refurbishing the books, putting all the information on computer and generally making the place more user friendly. In the end we hope to have a multi-media library with all the LPs, tapes, CDs etc listed on the computer as well as the books. I think we have an endless task ahead. A chap from Southampton has just pledged us 2000 tapes of folk music in his will. Anyone want a job?
I am repeatedly reminded by customers of our little travelling supermarket that a new CD is long overdue so we will be doing something about this in the spring. As soon as the winter break is over (this means recovering from the excesses of New Year) we will be meeting to discuss songs and music for the recording. If all goes according to plan by mid-summer it should all be finished and on sale. I think I'll adapt 'Dorset is Beautiful' for this one. The words will go something like this:
Pensions are beautiful wherever you go
And heating allowances make yer hands and toes glow
I'm not sure how many long playing recordings we have made in our careers but this one is going to be number 40 something. We have used studios all over the place, particularly when recording for the Decca/Argo set up. One time they shipped us off to the Lake District to The Theatre in The Forest at Grisedale, which was one of our regular venues for concerts at the time. We realised as the weekend rolled on that half Decca were using it as a free couple of days in the countryside. Goodness knows what the bill for the recording was but not long after the company went to the wall. It wasn't our fault, honest. Another time they sent us down to Eastbourne to a Studio that was used mostly by religious groups. There was a swear box on hand for any who used unchristian terminology and all I can say is I hope Pete's donations were put to a good cause. The powers that be from Decca turned up one day to see what we were up to. Well, the answer was we were out on the putting green while our producer, who didn't think we should be too taxed, fiddled about in the studio. We had great fun though. It was the first time we recorded 'The Juggernaut' and I can remember hurtling down this little lane near the studio in our estate car and slamming the brakes on to try to make the tyres squeal in proper car chase style. I can remember thinking then, 'If this is work, I'll take it any time' and I still feel much the same.
Decca, in some ways, were very good to us over the years but they did have some funny ideas. They would release singles of our songs without telling us. Some of them did OK so we did find out when they got radio plays but others obviously sank without trace. When we made the 'All Over Dorset' video we went to the 'Punch & Judy Museum' in Shaftesbury and there, on one of the shelves, much to our surprise, Mac spotted a Decca single of 'The Punch & Judy Man' which they must have sneaked out 25 or so years ago. It's a bit worrying mind you when you find yourselves on display in a museum. I'm not sure I'm quite ready for that yet.
Along The River Frome Part 2
I know this project has taken forever and there are some very frustrated customers out there but if it is frustrating for you just think how we feel. Co-ordinating the filming and the interviews have proved to be a nightmare but we are finally into the editing. In fact we are two-thirds of the way through that. Then comes the script and the finishing touches, printing etc. When the BBC etc. make programmes they write the script first but that limits you. We, being such a small team, can be much more adaptable and change things as we go. Some research is obviously done before the filming but it is amazing what you can find on the spur of the moment. We have the usual mix of interviews, beautiful Dorset countryside, aerial shots, flowers and beasties including conservation minded pike and an enormous salmon.
We have not been completely idle though. Stour 1 and 2 and Frome 1 are now on DVD and, of course, Frome 2 will be on both formats when it is released (hopefully in early spring).
For all you Yetminster Fair addicts tis all very much the same as last year. Sunshine, ice creams, bargains galore and thousands of people descending on the village to create a great atmosphere. Your contact if you wish to find out about camping etc. or to buy tickets for the 8p.m. Yetties concert in the marquee is Derek Mott, Stonechat, High Street, Yetminster, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 6LF. Tel. 01935 872123. The staff of Sherborne Tourist Information are also on hand if you wish to book accommodation in the area. They are always very helpful and can be contacted on 01935 815341.
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