John and I decided to inject a little class into our lives with a trip to St Pauls Church in West Sussex to listen to the Chichester Symphony Orchestra play classical melodies from the likes of Bizet’s opera Carmen and the works of Russian-born composer Tchaikovsky. Did you know that Tchaikovsky’s first known composition was a song written at the age of four. Four! Now that’s talent. So the orchestra are highly regarded amateurs who only perform 3 concerts a year in Chichester and John and I were given special dispensation to attend in order to capture the scene. In other words, it was a freebie, and with a tasty salmon snack at the interval and a soft blanket under the orange hue of a stained-glass window I was one satisfied feline!
At home my ears are often subjected to cheesy sounds from the seventies such as Metallica, Meatloaf, Deep Purple and Dire Straits or endless renditions of Starship’s ‘We Built This City’, Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and Huey Lewis and the News ‘Stuck with You’. This usually results in me curling up under the wardrobe with my paws in my ears or shutting myself in the biscuit cupboard in an attempt to dull the noise. However John sometimes plays one particular CD that is guaranteed to entice me out of my hidey hole – the soothing tones of Josh Groban singing ‘Coffee on the Table’ or ‘Le Temps des Cathedrales’. The rich melodic tones and instrumental brilliance of the Chichester Symphony Orchestra playing with the acoustics of a large 19th century church can now also go on my list of favourites. It was an emotional roller-coaster of gloomy echoes followed by galloping tunes interspersed with thumps from the drums and blasts from the French horn that really made me jump! I felt that the music conveyed the joys and sorrows of life with appeal and integrity. In the end the talented performers led the music into a turbo-charged climax that left me shattered and flabbergasted at how so many instruments, a harp, a giant gong, flutes, violins, cellos, bassoons, a tuba and piccolo, can all be played at the same time in such harmony.
This weekend, the Saga Louts met 5 of their music idols in the zany form of AC/DC at Wembley Stadium. To remind you, the Saga Louts consist of 4 mature men with a talent for music and a passion for rock (not the geological kind)! I wrote about the Saga Louts some time ago when John and I went to see them in concert. By that I mean jammin’ it at one of their gigs in the pub! So John and the Saga Louts invited me to London to hit the curry house and watch one of their favourite heavy metal bands performing on stage. While we waited for the guys to meet us at Kings Cross train station, I amused myself by wondering where platform 9 ¾ might be until the sound of bears bellowing caught my attention. The happy hollering noises came from John and his brother and pals greeting each other warmly and exclaiming their joy at the upcoming show. I hopped back in my basket and we made our way to the hotel for a rest and refreshments. Next stop, Wembley Stadium!
We arrived early and the place was enormous, filled with rows and rows of bandstand seating, a huge stage at one end and a floor for standing in the middle which John referred to jokingly as the ‘mosh pit’. As time went on, more people arrived and after John explained what ‘moshing’ was, I decided this wasn’t my cup of tea, too crowded and noisy. So John put me in a taxi back to the hotel where a nice bowl of fish flakes was waiting for me. He arrived back in the room at 1am looking happy and sweaty! Apparently AC/DC slammed out a relentless celebration of rock and roll while the masses heaved in delight. Fireworks, explosions and confetti accompanied the grand slam of distorted electric guitar and thunderous drums. Despite their age (most of the band members are in their sixties), they strutted up and down the stage, gurning and grinning with their straggly hair stuck to their wet faces, often making a wild noise that seemed to leave the crowd mesmerised. Apparently they came to rock!
I awoke in the morning bright and breezy, unlike John and the rest of the crew who were very tired so after a hearty breakfast to fuel the fires, we headed across to Hyde Park for a leisurely walk. Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London, situated next to Kensington Gardens close to the main entrance to Buckingham Palace and the Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall. Aside from a few joggers and dog walkers, we had the park to ourselves possibly due to the dark clouds and refreshing spots of rain that were starting to fall on us. One hot cup of coffee (and a warm saucer of cat milk for me) later, more hugs and manly taps on the shoulder indicated it was time to go our separate ways. I suspect John’s ears are still ringing from the concert but he would tell you that it was totally worth it.
This is a moment for celebration and I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you lovely readers for your commitment and interest in Shad the Cat’s blog. The reason for celebration is that I’ve had 10,000 views. I love sharing my escapades and reflections with you and I sincerely hope you enjoy reading about them. I do have a tendency to contemplate life and sometimes it’s hard for me as a cat to live in a world I don’t always understand. But I try not to grumble too much despite all the crazy and often unkind things that go on in this beautiful world. I hope to continue spreading a little smile across all your faces in the months to come and give you a few insights into the unique requirements of the feline variety, as well as some other of my other furry, scaly and prickly friends from the animal kingdom.
This music-crazy bunch of over-forties form a band called the Saga Louts and consist of a lead singer (John’s brother) who also plays the harmonica, a lead guitarist, a bass guitarist and a drummer. They played down the pub the other night and I decided to forego my mid-evening nap to tag along with John and see them perform. It was all very rock ‘n roll as they played songs such as Route 66, Summer of ‘69 and Brown Sugar.
It was quite loud but very entertaining and I could see how much the band and the crowd were enjoying themselves. At one point, John’s brother Colin was crooning with all his might, eyes tight shut, lost in his own world, swinging his groove thing and serenading the ladies! I was hoping to catch John having a shake and a shimmy but he’s much too shrewd to get caught doing a ‘Hammer shuffle‘ or a moon-walk so unfortunately I have no embarrassing photos to show you. But here are a few pictures of the Saga Louts doing what they do best.