If you’re reading this post, thank you so much, but I do have a confession to make. This post is not really about Chris de Burgh. It’s about my mum (and her love of Chris de Burgh).
My mum is now 82 years old and in the grip of dementia. It’s early days as far as dementia goes, but bit-by-bit we’re all watching as she goes down a hard, sad road that we can’t go with her on.
My mum has loved Chris de Burgh for as long as I can remember. Buying her birthday and Christmas presents was always the easiest thing in the world when he had a new album out. My mum had an old ghetto blaster that she used to play her huge collection of Chris de Burgh albums on. She’d play them so loud the walls would rattle. The words and the songs seemed to permeate my subconscious by osmosis.
When we were young, our house had always been filled with my mum’s music. There was Neil Diamond, Doris Day, Charlie Rich. There were film soundtracks (a love I still have 40 years on), old Country 78’s and Petula Clark. My mum and my Aunty Pat (not a real aunty; a Scouse aunty) would dress up in fabulously glamorous maxi dresses in the 70s and go to the Wooky Hollow club to see old-school singers like Tony Christie. Music was always a huge part of my mum’s life and loves.
One of the first alarm bells that rang for me when we were going through the “Is it old age or maybe something else?” phase of my mum being assessed for dementia was when she gave me her entire collection of LPs, CDs and cassettes. She’d parcelled up the every last piece of the music that had filled her life for so long and asked me to give them to a charity shop. I begged her to reconsider, but she insisted that she didn’t want them any more. And that was that. From a woman who’s kept every single childhood note, every birthday card, every naff holiday trinket she’s ever been given. A lifetime of music bundled up and given away.
Of course, I didn’t give them to a charity shop and they’re still around the muddle of my house somewhere. And the vast majority of this collection is the work of Chris de Burgh.
And so, we come to Mr de Burgh’s upcoming gig at the Philharmonic this weekend, which I’m taking my mum to see. Well, we will. If you’re still with me so far, indulge me a little longer if you will. This is not the first time me and my mum have seen Chris de Burgh live. We’ve seen him quite a few times over the last twenty-odd years.
The first time I took my mum to see a Chris de Burgh gig, I was going through a full-on late 80s/early 90s acid house phase. My mum had bought two tickets for a de Burgh gig and couldn’t find anyone to go with her for love nor money. Not a soul. And so, with the singular bad grace of a twenty-something dragged from a rave, I said I’d go with her.
That first gig was de Burgh on his own with a guitar doing a one-man show. I grudgingly recognised de Burgh’s musicianship and his vast body of work and happily recognised my mum’s joy that being there.
And so began what was to become one of our “things”. Me and my mum. We’d go to Chris de Burgh gigs; sing along to the old classics and stand, arms waving aloft while belting out “High On Emotion”. I was once asked out on a date by a guy I’d fancied for a while and had to rebuff him with a barely believable, “I can’t see you on Friday, I’m taking my mum to see Chris de Burgh.” The guy never re-scheduled the date and my mum and I kept seeing Chris de Burgh concerts.
Which leads us (finally!) to this Friday. I have no idea when Chris de Burgh might come back to Liverpool after this tour. When he does, it might be too late for my mum. As I watch the person who my mum used to be unravelling like an old jumper as dementia pulls the fabric of her personality apart, I’m painfully aware that this could be the last time we do our “thing” of seeing a Chris de Burgh gig.
I hope that my mum remembers all the songs like she always has. I hope she remembers the gig afterwards for as long as she can. I hope she sends a hand-written thank you note to the Liverpool Echo, as she always has. And I hope that if she does, they print it so that she can cut it out, cover it in Sellotape and keep it with all the other notes and cuttings she never throws out.
I really hope that my mum’s love of music and her love of Chris de Burgh stays with her for as long as possible afterwards. I know that I’ll treasure it always.
Chris de Burgh & Band – The Hands of Man Live 2015 is on at The Philharmonic this Friday, 8 May
Tickets available from the Philharmonic box office and online
The course of true love never did run smooth
We love a bit of Shakespeare and we love outdoor performances of the Bard’s work. And what better than the fabulous romp, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Award winning MATE Productions in partnership with Shakespeare North and the RSC Open Stages programme present this spectacular promenade indoor and outdoor production, premiering in the beautiful 15th century church and woodland gardens of Prescot Parish Church, and touring woodlands and community gardens across Knowsley, Liverpool and Stratford Upon Avon between May – August 2015.
Gaynor La Rocca, Artistic Director of MATE Productions is working with Shakespeare North to develop and lead their community engagement and is launching the programme in the summer of 2015 with this exciting three way partnership between MATE Productions, Shakespeare North and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Over 100 local community actors, dancers, musicians, singers, sewers, crafters and volunteers aged 8 – 79 years have been working for the past 7 months with MATE Productions’ team of professional practitioners; including theatre designer Adele Hayter, winner of the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Design prize 2014, musical directors and composers Aimee and Taran Harris, choreographers Alan Pugh and Rachael Farrell, and practitioners from the Royal Shakespeare Company, to create this magical outdoor promenade performance of Shakespeare’s most loved comedy.
With live musicians and singers, fairy dancers, stunning design and a talented local cast, this production promises to be magical, unique, family-friendly and fully accessible for wheelchairs. Community engagement also includes an exciting programme of free arts and craft workshops in local schools where children will make dream catchers and magical artefacts to hang on the trees and transform the woodlands into a midsummer’s fairyland. Families are encouraged to bring their children to performances dressed as flower fairies or naughty sprites. There will be facepainters before the show and during the interval and children can choose fairy flower designs or the tribal markings of a sprite.
DATES & VENUES
Sat 30th May – 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Sun 31st May – 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Sat 6th June – 7.30pm Prescot Parish Church woodland gardens, Church Street, Prescot, L34 3LA
Sunday 21st June – 2.30pm & 7.30pm St Nicholas Church gardens – Church Road, Halewood, L26 6LA
Sat 11th July – 2.30pm & 7.30pm Calderstones Mansion House gardens, Calderstones Park, L18 3JB
Sunday 2nd August – 12pm The Dell at the RSC in Stratford Upon Avon
Sunday 9th August – 3pm Woodlands Rest Home gardens, Wood Lane, Netherley, L27 4YA
Seating in the woodland in Prescot and Halewood will be on hay bales or bring a blanket. For other venues, please bring a folding garden seat or a blanket to sit on. Don’t forget waterproof clothing in case of rain – please no umbrellas as it will obscure the view for other audience members.
For tickets telephone: 0151 281 8461 or purchase online from: www.mateproductions.co.uk
Bring the Fire Project is coming to Liverpool this May Bank Holiday
Liverpool Fire Arts Festival is the first event in the city dedicated entirely to flow arts and performing with fire.
The festival will take place on Sunday 3rd of May from 12 am till 10 pm at the massive creative warehouse called WARPliverpool, based in the Baltic Triangle, Hurst Street, L1 8DA.
Daytime activities will include various flow arts and movement workshops, lots of music, practise space & open stage, drum circle and the Lemon Caravan. There will be merchandise stalls selling circus equipment, as well as a fire photography exhibition, with food and drinks from Alchemy Cafe.
During the night you’ll be entertained with an unforgettable Fire Gala Show, featuring the most amazing local and international fire artists, light dancers and a virtual projection performance.
The purpose of the festival is to promote and develop flow arts and performing with fire, by supporting creative exploration and collaboration between fire artists, dancers, musicians and physical theatre practitioners.
There are six workshops and performance stages under one roof:
Dance and Movement
Check out the event details on Facebook
Tickets available on Skiddle: