Epics come and epics go, some will stand the test of time and others fall into the trap of becoming side-lined, browning with age, bleached in part by the weather streaming against the frames and forgotten, a dusty reminder of what they once stood for in the pantheon of music.
For many the seaside was not just a place of fun, of rest from the daily grind and the knowledge that for a week or two there would be something other than the feeling of oppression in the factory air, it was a home, it was the place where you could be yourself and see the world with fresh eyes and a clean soul. For the British before the advent of package holidays and the young spending their money on the excitement of going abroad, this was also the time when the family got together, where perhaps the differences between the generations were slowly eroded away and in between bouts of boredom, something magical may happen, something that always ended with the words Wish You Were Here on the back of a set of Postcards from Mabelthorpe.
We are all looking for someone to show us the way, to enrich our lives, perhaps hold our hand when the darkness comes or even that one person who many years after saying goodbye for the final time somehow infuses their thoughts into yours and allows inspiration to strike with the subtly of a flash of lightning as it speeds through the Grand Canyon.
In the world of art, in whatever shape or form it should take, the brave, the courageous and those that dare stare into the face of the oncoming light are always those that should be highly prized. For some, just playing a guitar, penning an verse or putting a half made bed together and throwing a little bit of rubbish into the sleeping arena is enough to constitute a day well spent, that is fine, each to their own but it is like comparing The Orient Express to the coach pulled monstrosities that inhabit the tracks of Britain today, anything can be a train but it takes class and passion to be in a special group of Trains.
There are moments when the world, or at least certain people with decency in their hearts and the courage in their minds, is able to make a huge difference. There are many problems to be discussed, to be addressed and be solved, no matter how far we come as a civilisation, no matter the dizzy heights of industrial might, of reaching out beyond our mortal capability into the stars and the progress of technical know-how, people fall through the gaps. They become unseen, almost invisible, past the point of sight until they blur into their surroundings and whether it is through the actions of someone else or their own misfortune, brought on perhaps by a Government and others that just don’t care, the cracks open up regardless and the streets, the parks and the obscured shadows become the home of the dispossessed and the homeless.
Sometimes a piece of music cannot be contained, it may scream to be allowed out of the mind and into the wide awaiting world and there is nothing that the musician or the audience can do about it, except for sitting back, making sure that all is secure with the area for a while and allowing the sweeping change laid out before them to tactically submit in the shape of a greater force. It is a greater force that comes before the listeners as John Jenkins with Vanessa Murray offers the beautiful yet wistfully dynamic Her Soldier Boy in a unregimented parade of class and vitality.
Paris, the very name just allows the mind to conjure up so many images and perhaps apart from New York City. It is the one place on Earth to which a lot of British minds will wander and project upon as naturally as the vision of artists lining the Seine trying to be inspired by the beauty of Mon Montmartre, the glory of human engineering in the Eiffel Tower and the serenity on which great novels and poems were born and realised all clog the streets and the café’s in which French culture abounds.
No matter how lonely you feel in life, cut off from the day to day and the sensation of being a wreck in your harbour, it arguably cannot compare to the feeling of thoughtful resentment felt by the knights of the sea, the sailors and their muses that keep them sane when the ocean tries to break their spirits. It is a feeling that is perfectly captured by John Jenkins and his debut single, Sweet Delphine.
Manhattan, even the merest taste of it on the tongue is to invite the strangely familiar and yet thoughtfully exotic, especially if of a certain generation or perhaps of a disposition towards the love of the city of New York and its boroughs. It is the thought of the busy, of the cool and aloof, of the sounds, smells and sights of a city that sits so comfortably in the thoughts of many, that to be there is only a film or American television programme away. It is to be in the city that never sleeps, it is not just a Frank Sinatra song framed in the mind, it is a destination that is just keeps on at you to be within, Midnight in Manhattan, to bathe in moonlight of a 77th Street Jazz serenade is to be live.