Living with…John Coltrane…for a week

These are a few of my favourite things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

As we traipsed out in the garden to make the most of the extra hours daylight I asked P, “so what are a few of your favourite things?”

Without hesitation she replied “macaroni cheese” and “trampolining”.

I paused. And then we climbed on to the trampoline.

Fair enough. Whatever she has done or is doing now is her favourite thing. If only everyone else was so simple.

I asked myself.

Funnily enough, macaroni cheese nearly popped up on the list as well, edged out by the slightly more grown up raclette. The comfort of cheese mixed in with picked gherkins and a smattering of being sociable. But still so simple.

The smell of coffee. I love coffee shops and the whiff of coffee creation but it all dates back to walking down George Street in Hove, and the whiff of pure delight that caught you half way down. As kids, we’d run back and do that stretch of pavement again and again until we were shouted at to keep moving. The sound of grinding and that delicious scent definitely a favourite thing.

Standing in the sunshine at the start of a football match with the roar of a football crowd all around and the anticipation of the teams coming on to the field. The back and forth of chants, the hope that today we were going to witness something miraculous.

The sheer mad joy of a last minute goal, or the goal in injury time that clinches the game for my side. If the result is somewhat unfair it almost makes that feeling sweeter. I didn’t say just, I just said favourite.

The feeling that buzzes around a gig audience when the band and audience are one. We’re in it together!

The feeling when you play an album for the first time and you know that it’s one of those ones. One that will stick and you’ll be playing for weeks to come and will return to visit for years to come. That feeling. Only had that once recently – Florence and the Machine’s Ceremonials – but it’s great when it happens.


My favourite things – John Coltrane (1961)

“I prefer Coltrane, less fussy.” Sergeant Brodie on the subject of jazz in Homeland.

I wasn’t expecting the enigmatic Brodie in the brilliant American series Homeland , to provide insight in to John Coltrane this week. But he’s probably right about this particular album from John Coltrane. It’s a simple and unfussy jazz interpretation of some American standards including My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music, Everytime We Say Goodbye and the brilliant Summertime.

I had two brief flirtations with jazz when I was younger. Firstly, just as I was starting college, I went to stay with a friend who I hadn’t seen for some time. We’d grown up with the same probably unadventorous tastes in music – Genesis, Supertramp, nods to AC/DC and other heavier groups – so I was expecting more of the same. Instead as it got later he poured a glass of cider, lit up a small cigar and put on some Thelonious Mark. I took a glass of cider, passed on the cigar and listened in amazement. What had happened to my friend? I gave it a couple of months – bit of Monk, bit of Miles, bit of Coltrane – and then put Breakfast in America back on the turntable.

At university, I returned to the bit of Miles bit of Coltrane and mixed in some Bessie Smith, some Sarah Vaughan, some Ella. But again it all passed within six months like a rite of passage.

So how does it feel to come back to Coltrane? Actually, very good. He always had a pure (I guess Brodie would say less fussy) style to him and it’s as much that simply repetitive piano riff and restrained percussion that make this type of jazz for me. At home in the car or just relaxing of an evening, this is music that gives you space to fill the gaps yourself.

It also has to be said that John Coltrane was also one of the coolest people and names ever to live – so much so that he has his own church – The Church of St John Will-I-am Coltrane.  This is probably based more on his A Love Supreme album with all the spiritual overtones of that.   “…Yes, it is true, Seek and ye shall find. Only through Him can we know the Most Wondrous Bestowals…”.  Not many can say that.

And the clip of the week – My Favourite Things from one of those trendy sort of 60’s programmes:


Return of Twotes of the week

@TheTommyCooper: A cement mixer collided with a prison van. Motorists are asked to be on the lookout for 16 hardened criminals.

@OctoberJones: I’d like a version of Independence Day where, just before the alien craft blows up, a voice says ‘Undentified item in the bagging area’

@madeupstats: Contrary to what you may have been told, there are in fact 6 people with the name Chesney Hawkes.

@TheCrazyPete:After their team failed to score in 5 games,FC Magdeburg fans show their players where the goal is…