If I should die, think only this of me;
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
Rupert Brooke. 1887 – 1915
Blimey! stratobiker.com is 10 years old this weekend! Where did that go?
10 years ago I started this blog while recovering from a bike crash. Little did I know at the time the significant part that would come to play.
I’m gonna chew it over on a bike ride and get back to you later….
Yeah, so 10 years ago I was a hardworking IT contractor. I earned great money, but I hated it. In my spare time I raced my bike and played guitar.
When I crashed my bike it really shook me. I remember the surgeon telling me my shoulder would never be the same again…and he was right! 10 years down the line I can hardly raise my arm high enough to scratch my head. I cannot throw a stone, and I had to give up my dream of becoming a trapeze artist. It still hurts too. Not all the time, and my brain has learned to switch off to it, but from time to time. It get’s very sore after a couple of hours on the bike, but I manage it, usually by putting my hand on my leg and cycling my arm up and down. I’m not complaining, I can still ride my bike, and I can still play my guitar.
Yeah, so 10 years down the line, I live in France, where I’m semi retired. I still ride my bike a lot. I don’t function if I don’t get my exercise fix, and France is such a beautiful country to cycle in. I still play my guitar. I’m in “The Sugaree Band“, playing Rock, Blues, Funk, and anything else that takes our fancy. I started a Jazz club! It’s been going from strength to strength. In fact so many good things have come out of it it deserves a post of it’s own.
When that surgeon told me my shoulder would never be the same again I was gutted, and I didn’t realise the extent of the effect it would have on me. If he’d told me I would move to France and start a jazz club….well…who knows what’s around the next corner eh?
Here’s to the next 10 years. I wish you all well.
I’m taking the Jazz n Blues club on holiday! It’s gorra be done! Fristly because it’s summer, and I want to go to the beach! Secondly, because there is a series of concerts being staged on the streets in Saint Junien during July and August, and I don’t want to detract from them.
In July we’ll be visiting Le Soleil Couchant, right next to one of the Lacs de Charente. There’s beaches, swimming, sailing, and us! Le Soleil Couchant do great Fish’n'Chips btw!!!
In August we’ll be jazzing it up at Golf de Saint Junien. It’s a super posh place, a great venue to play. Yeah, so we’ll be jazzing it up with the swingers!!!
I have a nice string of gigs coming up with my band ‘The Sugaree Band’. As follows…
July 18th – Blues Rock Cafe, Angouleme
July 20th – Soleil Couchant, Plan d’Eau, Verneuil, 16310 Massignac
July 26th – Le Rivage, Exideuil 16150
August 3rd – Santrop, Lac Saint Pardoux.
August 8th – Saint Junien, 87, ‘Comme un Effet de L’Art Scene’
August 10th – Bessines sur Gartempe
August 17th – Soleil Couchant, Plan d’Eau, Verneuil, 16310 Massignac
August 24th – Wedding, Bordeaux
September 8th – Mecaniques Passion, Saint-Mathieu
September 13th – Golf de Saint Junien
We have a bunch of new songs that we’ve been practising, and we are ready to rock! I’m really looking forwards to these.
….and all this on top of the Jazz n Blues club, which by the way is going very strong. More on that soon.
Local musician and writer Tim Bragg has a new album out. Here’s what I made of it….
There is a way, the way of no way, in which all ways are contained, but no way is followed.
What is Crossing Over? A threshold, a transformation, a one way journey that can never be made again? Is it jazz, rock, ambient, happy, sad? Yes, all of those, but none specifically!
Tim Bragg is a talented multi-instrumentalist who sings, composes, and writes books! So, is he like a drummer who plays flute, or a flautist who plays drums? Is he a writer who plays, or a player who writes? Yes he’s all of those, but not one specifically!
In Crossing Over Tim presents us with a dense mesh of musical influences. Here we find him uncoupled from musical trends. There are jazz elements, there are rock elements. Tim teases, pushes, pulls, weaves….It’s a pure sonic experience that takes you through the streets, over the mountains and beyond, towards the light and heavenly plains, and asks whether you’ll be waiting, on the other side. It is a musical journey that can be taken again and again, and the destination will be different.
It’s impossible to pick ‘stand out’ tracks as each one is so rich, and textural. But, if I had to single out a couple I’d choose ‘Streets’, I just love the strong groove on this, and ‘Heavenly Plains’, those opening flute lines just shoot straight through me.
If you are familiar with Tim’s work you will love this album even though it is different from everything that went before. If you’ve never heard Tim before I urge you to take a listen. This is an album that will cast a spell on you, the spell only being broken by the realisation that you were under its spell. Let the master lead you along the way of no way, Crossing Over.
This is the second album I’ve bought of Tim Braggs, the first was “Revamped” , which I love! Crossing Over is brilliant but completely different , it’s relaxing , and totally mood lifting. If you’ve had a bad day this will certainly help. The music equivalent of a great Yoga practice! Love it! ….Roxanne Sutton
Our band, The Sugaree Band, are one of the bands who’ve been selected to play in the series of concerts put on by the town of Saint Junien here in the Haute Vienne. We are really excited about this. It’s been hard work to get this, but at last, we are in with the in crowd.
We had to submit our ‘Press Kit’ months back. We’ve had to fill in endless forms, form an association, register it, provide all sorts of information, who’s shirts we wear, what brand of beer we like!! But we’ve done it! Here’s the proof…8th August…that’s us —>>>
Saint Junien, 87, Comme un Effet de L’Art Scene….Concerts musique, chaque jeudi soir pendant l’été dans le centre ville.
Thursday’s Jazz n Blues club session in St Junien was superb! Possibly the best one yet! We really are starting to gain momentum with this. Players coming from over an hour away to check us out! The place was packed, and there was such a friendly atmosphere. We are also getting a good mix of French and Ex-pats coming together to share and enjoy their music.
There were many high points that night, but one of the best was when a young French lad got up to play drums. He was very nervous, but he carried it off with great style, and encouragement from pro’ drummer Tim Bragg. Other highlights were a jazz version of Hey Joe featuring Tezzah, and dancing! Not the sort of thing you normally associate with a jazz club.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s a short video (more vids here)…
Young Nico makes his jazz debut…
Next meeting will be June 27th. If you are in the Saint Junien area why not come along? If you want to play please contact me first.
The weather here in France this spring has been a “cat’s arse trophy!” (say it quick). It’s been so cold and wet. In fact right now it’s pishing down and only 10 degrees C, and we are almost in June!!!
So I’ve been doing a lot more rock’n'roll that I have cycling. There’s a rampant music scene here in our part of central France, and over the next few months I’d like to share some of it with you.
With that in mind, I’ve changed all my header pictures and installed a calendar plug-in. I’ll try to keep you up-to-date with what’s occurin’….just in case you fancy coming along and checking any of it out.
Next thing for me personally in the Jazz n Blues club in St Junien tonight. It’s been going from strength to strength since we started it in Feb. Tonight promises to be another great night. We are getting a good mix of French and ex-pats coming along. It’s just great to see everyone getting ‘hip’ together and enjoying themselves.
Here’s the poster y’all…
Many more here.
If you want to hear a clip of us playing there’s one on you tube here…