Stuff Of The Day: October 2017. Bananas.

October 31st
Bananas of the Day: the ones in my Banana Fanfare 1, composed in the early 1990s for Dale Irvine and Vocarmony from Queen’s High School in Dunedin, New Zealand. They performed it several times, and I followed it up with Banana Fanfare 2 which has had many more performances throughout the world. Indeed, I’d forgotten about this one until today when I was searching for some music to put with these photos from Edinburgh Botanic Gardens in August. So I’ve cobbled together this recording and made a few improvements to the music in amongst the usual Tuesday over-exertion-induced hangover from choir and the crafting of an exceedingly tasty pork and egg pie thingamy for our lunch. And so, I’m not saying that there won’t be any more bananas this year, because I know there will, but my month of bananas of the day has ended. Thank you so much for all your comments and feedback

October 30th
Banana of the day: the one in The Prune Song by Frank Crumit. Back in August I said to my Dad, “I bet you don’t know a song about prunes!” and he replied, with song, “Oh yes I do!” and launched into this. All the words were lodged correctly in his head, and Mum joined in. This Dad-singing is such a rare and precious occurrence that I determined there and then that we were going to sing it in our fruit concert. Here’s the chorus with the banana in it, from tonight’s rehearsal. You hear me singing along on alto 1 as usual, ruining the tone of the choir as ever. These banana pictures are from Edinburgh, also in August, when I had a day during which people just started eating bananas willy-nilly before my very eyes.

October 29th
Banana Of The Day: surprise banana while reading Jeanette Winterson’s “Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit” in search of a zesty reading for our upcoming fruit concerts:
“‘Here you are,’ said my mother, giving me a sharp dig in the side. ‘Some fruit. You’re rambling in your sleep again.’
It was a bowl of oranges.
I took out the largest and tried to peel it. The skin hung stubborn, and soon I lay panting, angry and defeated. What about grapes or bananas? I did finally pull away the outer shell and, cupping both hands round, tore open the fruit.”

October 28th
Banana Of The Day. In fact there were a few to choose from. Jamie and I took a day off from all work and internet and went to Newcastle and Gateshead. Anticipating bananas, I took photos of yellow things. It turns out that Jamie is as good a yellow thing spotter as me. Album: Yellow Things On Saturday.

1. We arrived in town at 9.30-ish and wandered down past St. Nicholas’ Cathedral to the River.

2. In the double yellow lines v. cobbled streets tussle, cobbles narrowly win.

3. Let this be a warning to you if you’re heading that way tomorrow.

4. Yellow security guards have an excellent viewpoint as they guard the sound equipment for whatever’s closing the bridge tomorrow.  

5. The New Castle on the bridge supports.

6. Graffiti Art near The Sage Gateshead.

7.Grille.

8. Vibrant cherry pickers waiting for something. The grille from earlier was also on the yellow cherry picker. A workman came and asked why I was taking pictures. “I’m taking pictures of yellow things to go with the bananas,” I declared in a windswept manner. He backed off with a nervous smile.

9. Sage crab apples dancing in the mighty wind.

10. Public art at The Baltic in which a spaceman eats a potential banana while tethered to his rocket.

11. Whilst eating our yummy breakfast in the Baltic cafe a woman wearing adornments of teething rings enters. She removes the adornments in order to facilitate the eating of her own yummy breakfast without smearage.

12. Art at the Baltic Centre For Contemporary Art always leaves us with mixed feelings. We are inveterate seekers of the positive, though, and there was a slow violinist playing slow music being encircled by slow camera which I found particularly fascinating. Jamie found it a little too slow. This wall of posters, illustrating in various clever ways the statistics around how different galleries represent male and female artists was another favourite and we both spent quite a time examining it.

13. Bananas Of the Day: One of the art gallery posters in the poster wall amazingly had bananas in it.

14. Level 5 at Baltic Centre For Contemporary Art is yellow! Wheeeeh!

15. A bus passes the Millennium Bridge on the Newcastle side of the Tyne.

16. Bolts and washers. Millennium Bridge. While I took this picture, others took pictures of the Baltic and the Sage and the Tyne and the other bridges in the distance. Only I took pictures of the bolts and washers.

17. Flag and chimneys

18. Decorative fruit tiles on Dean Street.

19. Separatist bananas on the Northumberland Street fruit stall.

20. Paul Nash and Jamie Day at the Laing Art Gallery. In the distance, a sunflower moon. Nearby a yellow box. The pictures in between – no photos allowed.

21. We spot a 1920s yellow jug in the mirrored teapot display.

22. This bus was having to pull out around an ambulance which was tending to an unconscious woman lying in the road. The person she was with was laughing hysterically. A crowd had gathered, but all I had eyes for was the fruity bus shelter.

23. Stained glass at the Tyneside Cinema where we went to the 3 o’clock showing of “The Death Of Stalin”. Hilarious. Our favourite bit: The girl waving on the balcony.

24. Yellow lights overhead.

 

October 27th
Bananas Of The Day: The ones we used to make banana art with on Banana Day.

October 26th
Bananas Of The Day: The ones eaten by Mr. Herbert in One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. “Among those theatrical creatures, wearing riding breeches and leggings, a pitch helmet and steel-rimmed glasses, with topaz eyes and the skin of a thin rooster, there arrived in Macondo on one of so many Wednesdays the chubby and smiling Mr. Herbert, who ate at the house. No one had noticed him at the table until the first bunch of bananas had been eaten…” To find out the rest you’ll have to come to The Bridge Singers’ festive recitals where it will be one of the readings. Also, Jamie’s been away working again and sent photos of the sights!

October 25th
Bananas Of The Day: Alexander The Great’s Bananas. No. 2 in my “Historic Bananas” series for SJV in Brisbane. He ‘conquered lots of other countries in an attempt to outdo his father Philip who also conquered lots of other countries. Alexander decided that the best way to outdo his father was to head further east than any other Westerner had gone. He ended up after several years in India, at the river Indus. It was in India that he and Theophrastus saw the banana tree* – the first Westerners to see and make note of bananas in the east. Theophrastus was a botanist who travelled with Alexander and his army, and made note of many species of plant which were unusual to the Macedonians. He wrote a book about his findings called “Enquiry Into Plants” in which he describes the banana plant as “another tree* which is very large and has a wonderfully sweet and large fruit; it is used for food by the sages of India.’ *We know now, of course that the banana is not really a tree, but we’ll let Theophrastus off. I wrote this song about Alexander for Denise’s class. It doesn’t mention bananas, so I can restrain myself occasionally.

October 24th
Bananas Of The Day: I bought six in Morpeth. Also I have a big box full of the stuff from previous banana phases, which I rifled through. Goodness me!

 

October 23rd
Banana Of The Day: the last three bars of Ooh Ladyfinger as sung by The Bridge Singers in the warm-up of this evening’s rehearsal. Such a lot of cheery progress made tonight – I wonder if it had anything to do with our “less-chat” strategy? You also see three more banana pictures submitted by members of the choir in the last week…by Sue (at Wallington greenhouse), Shirley (on the A19) and Miki (in TKMax at The Metro Centre), who seems to spot them everywhere she goes.

 

October 22nd
Bananas of the day: the ones on the poster. Today there was a list of jobs. The first item on this list took most of the day and it didn’t involve bananas, alas…plums, yes, but bananas, no. Luckily for us all the second item did – get the poster for the “Bananas Are Not The Only Fruit” concerts sorted. Here it is (still to be re-fonted by the official poster vetter, but my part is done!) I find it amusing that I am the principal designer of art work for The Bridge Singers, and that I work in an art gallery, considering my serious lack of enthusiasm and skill in art at school. Interestingly my least favourite subject was Biology and now I spend my days obsessing bananas and am married to a botanist.

October 21st
Bananas Of The Day: I found these two things on my computer from the old, old days when people used to pay me to work in their schools, and combined them in this video. The pictures are some of the winning entries in the Year 2 Banana Sticker Design Competition at St. John Vianney’s School in Brisbane. All entrants received a strip of stickers using their design and the winners probably got a banana too – we had a huge box of bananas donated for prizes on Banana Day. The singing is I think from what used to be Alnwick South First School – the combined Year 3 & 4 classes singing together. No labels on this one. There’s an outside chance it could even be from Grangetown in Sunderland, but I definitely don’t think these children are Australian judging by the way they pronounce “vitamin”! It’s been sung a few times around the world that I know of and when you listen to these delightful singers, you can understand why. It’s a fun-filled song, the “fever” verse being particularly popular. I recall that they gradually “fell asleep” during the last verse, only to wake up with a start for the last “Banana Boy!”

October 20th
Banana of the day: Love is…..when your beloved stops to take and send a photo of a banana skin lying nonchalantly on a park bench outside the Royal College of Anaesthetists just prior to a daunting presentation to the inhabitants of that building. Later, he also took this photo of a leaning K6 phone box. To my eyes it looks like a miniature phone box, but he assures me that it’s full size. I think that street name must be massive and that’s what makes the K6 look so tiny. Also, the angle of the shot is looking down on it, which adds to the illusion, I feel.

October 19th
Banana of the day: the one desired by the tenor’s sweetheart when he heads off to the tropics. This is Lionheart Harmony from this evening’s as-ever merry rehearsal. You can hear Gary, Simon, Gwyn, Sid, Mick and me. Jamie was in London, Nick was in Europe somewhere. The picture is from the “Plant Scenery Of The World” exhibition at Edinburgh Botanic Gardens. You can see coconut palms and banana plants (officially a herb not a tree), and you can still see this exhibition which ends at the end of the month. Go there. The gardens are brilliant.

October 18th
Bananas of the day: the ones that make their way into amusing short poems.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a chair
Eating ripe bananas
Where do you think he put the skins?
Down his new pyjamas!

 

Way down south where bananas grow
A grasshopper stepped on an elephant’s toe.
Elephant said with tears in his eyes:
“Pick on someone your own size.”

A certain young woman named Hannah
Slipped down on a piece of banana;
She shrieked, and oh, my’d!
And more stars she espied
Than belong to the star-spangled banner.

A gentleman sprang to assist her,
And picked up her muff and her wrister.
“Did you fall, ma’am?” he cried,
“Do you think,” she replied,
“I sat down for the fun of it, Mister?”

October 17th
Bananas of the day: the ones that weren’t available during the 2nd World War. In a project in Wakefield once I was asked to teach a class songs from WW2. I taught them Hey Little Hen amongst others. We discussed rationing and I had my Mum’s ration book to show them. Knowing things about bananas as I do, I told them that there were no bananas in Britain during the war because all the bananas were on the other side of the U-boats in the Atlantic. Finding a dearth of songs from WW2 about this shortage of bananas, I wrote one, and composed it to fit precisely with Hey Little Hen as a partner song. Today in my continued saga of sorting out this room, I found Mum’s ration books and it reminded me of this song, which is entitled Boo To My Ration Book.

October 16th
Banana Of The Day: Tudor Banana. When I was doing my term-long banana-related arts project at St. John Vianney’s School in Brisbane, I collected many banana stories for the youngsters to create dramas about. This was one of them. I never did write a song about it, alas. Perhaps I soon will. What I have done today is take another rehearsal of The bridge Singers in which we started The Prune Song, ploughed heavily on with Ego Flos Campi, and got to grips with our inner off-beats in Lemon Tree. Came home unable to sleep, as always on a Monday. Tuesday napping beckons.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/370550.stm

October 15th
Bananas of the day: Autumn Bananas at Wallington……along with all the other fruit and autumn stuff provided a colourful focus for a sunny, walky, laughy day off with Jamie. Wheeeeeh. Album: Autumn Bounty.

Lake nestling

Monet coot

1. Lake Nestling. It was busy at Wallington but not on these outer bits of walk that don’t directly go to a main attraction.

2. Monet Coot. The bird paddling into the floating leaf/reflecting leaf water, along with the prevailing wind created a Monet-ish scene.

pinky red

pinky white

pinky pink

 

 

3,4,5. Berries galore including pinky red, pinky white and pinky pink.

Straggly

Spiky

6, 7. There was also decay including these straggly and spiky ex-flower heads.

8. But the sun shone gloriously and the shadows did form upon the sycamore trunks.

9. And more jewel-like berries glistened with the joy of it.

sycamore shadows

ruby berries

mouldy windy

 

 

 

 

10. While others mouldered in the windy shadows of it.

Constellation

Rowan sparkle

11. Crab apple constellation dancing in the wind.

12. Rowan berries add to the yellowy sparkle.

13. Bark and brick merrily trip a pas de deux on the path to the river….

pas de deux

tasty flowers

14. While a gaudy playmate flutters by.

15. We were joined in the greenhouse by three families all making a merry din, but thankfully there was still some stillness in the air to revel in the presence of fledgling autumn bananas growing in Northumberland.

Yew creature

Bulbous pods

16. Back outside and the yew tree provided an attractive landing port for the creatures.

17. And the fat green seed pods were hanging bulbously out to dry.

Sky Hands

18. Jamie found a conker to carry around and toss playfully from one hand to the other while I noticed the leaf hands made a playful shape against the glorious sky.

Winged Reminder

19. The sycamore wings also played with the sky and reminded me happily of my sycamore obsession from last year.

20, 21. Down by the riverside the tree trunk had a fungus or two, and underneath there were plenty too.

shelf life

munched gills

bridge pose

 

 

22. We were harassed by a stomping, whooping, running into us family on the river walk, but managed to evade them long enough for posing on the bridge. They’re actually in this picture if you look hard enough.

delicate

big house

23. Roaming through the trees the autumn-ness is glorious, yet delicate.

24. Back at the big house the clouds start to gather.

25. We spot some unknown fruit lurking next to the house. I’m thinking quince, but I’m not sure.

26. Rotting tree trunks are strewn about the woodland and beside the paths and the fungus loves them. Here a fungus catches the falling autumn leaves.

drips

27. Jamie spotted this type of tiny, spindly fungus, and it was me who spotted the ones with the drips. What teamwork!

splosh

leaf catcher

28. More drips. This time with splashing and gurgling and a mellow tune.

29. More splashing and gurgling at the leaf catchers in the river. The river was quite high and the stepping stones were underwater.

reaching

fluttering

basking

30-32. There flowers galore. these three caught my attention and the sun.

33. We had a cup of tea or an ice cream sitting on a bench overlooking the stables. There were lots of people (mostly with either pushchairs or walking sticks) having lunch and more clouds gathered greyly.

34. The flag was not fluttering in the wind but gleamed in the last of the sunshine.

pointy flag

one-armed clock

35. The one-armed clock tells us it’s almost one o’clock.

knee banana

36. The blue boy has a banana for lunch, with his brother and the knees of his father looking on.

 

October 14th
Bananas of the day: Other people’s bananas. During this week several people have sent me pictures of their own bananas or those they’ve seen as they go about their business. Also today when I went up to the Village Hall to sing madrigals with Alison she had found a banana song which I had never heard before. This is it, with pictures from Dawn, Claire, Miki, Anne, Penny and Alan, and Sarah, and also one from me of Jamie.

October 13th
Banana of the day: a leaf in Edinburgh with other leaves in shadow. Last night as Jamie, Connor and I drove home from Rock Festival Choir there was a biggish slug on the windscreen. We thought it was a leaf, dark and autumnal as the prevailing conditions were, until it started climbing up the window. It was raining and the wipers were going. It was in the little semicircle at the bottom of the window where no wiper ever goes. It tried to go higher, but was clever enough and slow enough to realise that that was not a wise move, so it headed downwards. We know not where, but probably where it came from. We think it might be living under the bonnet. We might investigate later when it’s light. This picture of the banana leaf from Edinburgh in August, popped into my head when contemplating the leaf-shaped slug. Upon spying the leaf I thought they were slugs on the other side of it, but they in point of fact were slug-shaped leaves. RFC are singing my In The Bleak Midwinter this year for Advent – a safe choice, perhaps, for such an excellently accomplished and fast-learning choir, but lovely to hear it again in its SATB form. I have rehearsed two and sung in two choirs this week. All were joyous.

October 12th
Bananas Of The Day: Busby Berkeley’s Bananas. on a previous occasion when I was going through a banana phase we sang this song in the school I was working in and indeed Denise’s class made up a dance using large bananas (a little smaller, perhaps) inspired by this very clip, which in those days was not available to view online like this.
http://www.criticalcommons.org/Members/kfortmueller/clips/the-gangs-all-here-1943-the-lady-in-the-tutti/view

October 11th
Banana Of The Day: the one I sliced up to use in this video for my Tropical Fruit Song. I ate a big bowl of fruit salad after, because you can’t just cut up fruit for photographs and not eat it, right?

October 10th
Bananas of the Day: Foamy bananas in my song “Chocolate River”. Tuesdays are days when I tend to be a bit droopy on account of choir on a Monday. Today I got up early to take Jamie to the train, then drooped somewhat. It’s supposed to be the start of “Operation Sort-Out-Your-Mess” and there was a bit of that, but at present, the sorting out is proving more messy than the original mess as it involves reconstituting piles of mess into “Sorted” and “Shredding” and is currently incomplete. In other news, members of my choir have contributed their own “banana of the day” scenarios, I have been marketing, views on my seapieparcel channel have slipped over 27,000. This song appears only once in the statistics for the last 1000 views, but interestingly today it was viewed 10 times, which is why I choose it for today’s bananas. In yet further news, Jamie was at 10 Downing Street today, but there were no bananas and no Theresa. Maybe she was away with the bananas.

October 9th
Banana Of The Day: the one you use to treat your verruca. This one was lying on the ground in Selby at the weekend, but last night at the pub, after rehearsing Ooh Ladyfinger and discussing the various benefits of the banana as outlined therein, Penny told us all that a small patch of banana skin taped inside side down onto one’s verruca will, after time, get rid of it. She knows about feet in a professional way, so I believe her. And perhaps one day there’ll be a song to that effect. I also discovered that the plural of verruca can be verrucae, which I like, and a cluster of verrucae is called a rosette.

October 8th
Banana Of The Day: A banana van at the National Railway Museum in York. Steam from the engine was used to ripen green bananas en route from the docks to the shops, you know. Oh yes. The reason we were in York was that we were between trains to and from Selby for the Yorkshire NUM Miners’ Memorial Service in Selby Abbey. And went there because the wonderful Yew Tree Youth Theatre were performing the world premiere of one of my newest songs, Miner’s Hands, as part of their drama presentation. Also there was the exquisite Dodworth Colliery Brass Band, who you can hear here playing the miners’ hymn, Gresford. My song has several verses, most of which were sung by stunningly exceptional soloists in amongst the speaking, and this one sung by the whole cast. They told the story of the Selby mine which closed in 2004 in controversial circumstances, the miners’ strike of the 1980s, and earlier history of mining in the area. We did arrive early in Selby and so roamed freely in the sunshine. We saw two swing bridges open and close, a K6 phone box near the Abbey and lots of twinkling stained glass windows and a lepers’ squint in the Abbey. The thrills did not end there because in York we saw three A4s, The Flying Scotsman, a hospital train and much else in the way of rail excitement. Another brilliant day.

 

October 7th
Banana of the day: the one required by a real man to do his job excellently.

Banana, cup of tea, a book about how to be a man.

Today I went on trains to Carlisle where I met in person lovely Graydon, my up-to-now Twitter penfriend, and several other cheery members of Shrewsbury Morris. They danced in the Market Square along with other Morris and Clogging groups and it was splendid. My favourite thing was the trowel dance, as I suspected it might be (they make a very pleasing clang when struck by the stick), and there was also a very virtuosic clog dancer who did a solo of epic proportions and not only was I impressed, but the assembled dancers expressed their approval at the end with great roaring and nodding of heads. I was chatting extensively to a recently retired-from-Morris-dancing 80-year-old lady from Hexham who gave me all manner of insights into the Morrissing life, tried to recruit me into the Hexhamshire Lasses (alas, the rehearsals are on Mondays which is Bridge Singers night) and agreed with me that the Shropshire groups were extremely impressive with their enthusiastic gusto and the fun they seemed to be having. By the way, I did see a member of Shrewsbury Morris eating a banana, but by the time I spotted him, he was on the last bite and he was too quick for me to photograph. Such a brilliant morning, and as if that weren’t enough, in the evening I met up with the Lionheart Harmony “real men” and we sang in Alnmouth for the assembled guests at Nether Grange. Then home with Jamie for egg on toast and telly. Brilliant day. Album: The things real men need to do their jobs excellently.

Umbrellas

Bells

Green socks

A trowel

Big sticks

A pen behind your ear

A top hat with ribbons

Coloured neckerchiefs

A jester’s hat and a cuddly toy with a K6 phone box in the background!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 6th
Banana Of The Day: Mum’s shopping bag banana.

In other news today, I received the following feedback on Quiet Window from four different people, none of whom I know. They’d listened to the piece on Youtube: “This is the most beautiful thing! Thank you…I have listened several times, Cheryl. It is beyond beautiful!” “’Twas my great pleasure to discover and share your beautiful piece, Cheryl. I hope you have a weekend of blue skies, sunshine and sparkle.” “That’s really beautiful. Congratulations.” “I’m glad I listened. It has a rare peace. Inspirational.” “Heartfelt hats off to you [The Bridge Singers], for so exquisitely doing justice to Cheryl Camm’s ethereal and utterly spellbinding piece.” If you want to read about or hear that piece, click here!

October 5th
Bananas of the day: the ones in my song “I Love Bananas” which is a round for children.

 

 

 

I used it as the soundtrack to a video of yesterday’s mushroom and toadstool pictures from Daneshill Lakes near Retford in Nottinghamshire. It’s difficult to express how thrilling and varied the display was, and the excitement at finding the big red fly agaris as shown in the above photos was way the biggest thrill of the day.

October 4th
Banana Of The Day: After an unsuccessful search for bananas at Daneshill Lakes in Nottinghamshire in the morning, I prowled the platforms of Sheffield Station twixt trains searching for someone eating a banana, but in vain. Instead I spied this poster, which is part of East Midland Trains’ current advertising campaign.

 

October 3rd
Banana Of The Day: The lady opposite me ate one with great aplomb, then tucked the skin behind the laptop. Other pictures and captions from my journey south demonstrate a lucid sunrise, train snarls and two new bus stations.

Morning Tyne Ride. Sitting in the quiet coach. Northern laughter and banter chortling across the river.

I like a crane, me.

Sun’s up over at the copse. Meanwhile the Northern merriment continues as half the carriage realises they’re on the wrong train.

Waiting calmly at York. There are issues on the rails today. I’m glad I’m not in a hurry. Ooh Heck. It’s the points. At Retford it’s the striking.

October 2nd
Bananas of the day: Ladyfingers. They’re short and plump and very, very sweet, and I wrote a song about them which has been performed a few times around the world, and today we started learning it in the Bridge Singers. Here we are on the first appearance of the title phrase.

October 1st
Bananas Of The Day: The Bridge Singers’ Banana Band. Formed at our Singing Day at Howick Village Hall today, we composed an accompaniment to one of our favourite songs “All The Nations Like Bananas” and will be giving it world premiere performances in our festive recitals, “Bananas Are Not The Only Fruit”. A brilliant day all round with much in the way of laughter, singing choruses, plates of delicious food and the wonderful Sarah Gray assisting us with our technique. Here’s a selection of Claire’s photos and the results of our instrumental efforts.

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