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Unread 06-29-2022, 04:42 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
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Default Jake Thackray

News of a book that I was able to contribute to. I provided the authors with some information about his last years, when he lived in Monmouth and we were in a poetry group that, for a while, also had Labi Siffre as a member.
Here you go -

https://www.scratchingshedpublishing...jake-thackray/
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Unread 06-29-2022, 06:16 AM
Joe Crocker Joe Crocker is offline
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That looks to be a good read Ann. He was a wonderful lyricist. My favourite of his was The Brigadier. I remember seeing him at our local folk club. Tiny stage, and the room could hold no more than 50 people I'd guess. Towards the end of his set he announced that "this will be my last song this evening, After it I will hide briefly behind that curtain, come back, and do 3 more".

He was startlingly original but also a man of his time. A fair amount of sexist stereotypes in his lyrics that wouldn't work today. I confess that I have to stifle an explosion of laughter when I hear the opening lines of "On again. On again". Is that just me or men like me of a certain age? Would younger men and women today appreciate him? Do older people still find him funny? Discuss.

Last edited by Joe Crocker; 06-29-2022 at 07:00 AM.
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Unread 06-29-2022, 08:30 AM
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Yes, "On Again!" is a bit near the mark for nowadays, though he puts the word "misogynist" in at just the right moment (when his audience are toying with it in their heads) and thereby says "I know what you're all thinking".

And there are other women in his repertoire who reflect nothing but love and respect. Molly Metcalf? The Widow of Brid.?
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Unread 06-29-2022, 11:04 AM
David Callin David Callin is online now
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Another fan here (as you know, Ann) ... and I think Mark is one too. I saw him live several times, mostly over here but a couple of times in London too. Yes, Joe, I remember him always being very wry and funny about encores (being dragged back on to stage as though they'd just caught up with him at the bus stop saying "come back, they want some more!")

I agree about some of the lyrics having aged badly ... not "Sister Josephine", but certainly "The Bantam Cock" (that last verse, apart from anything else, would definitely have to go). But I agree with you, Ann about the tenderness ... I think of "Lah-di-Dah" and "To Do With You", besides the ones you mention.

But do I still find him funny? Of course I do. The moment in "On Again!" when the Blessed Virgin herself appears is sublime.

I will definitely check the book out.
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Unread 06-29-2022, 11:39 AM
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I keep Jake in the same special headbox as Georges Brassens and Jacques Brel. Jake has a version of Georges' "Gare au Gorille". Not one of his best but it's a revealing homage.

Just heard from author Paul Thompson. He will be taking part in Radio 4's 'Add to Playlist' at 7.15pm this Friday, talking to Cerys Matthews about Jake's writing and life. (A short item at the start of the programme.) The Guardian is also likely to run a piece on Jake in a few weeks.
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Unread 06-29-2022, 03:05 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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I shall be purchasing this, Annie. How wonderful that you're involved with it. I was too young for Jake first time around and really don't remember him growing up but I remember vividly the first time I heard him. It was about 10 years ago, driving home from a caravan holiday (I was in the passenger seat), a Radio 2 folk show played "Leopold Alcocks" and I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever heard. I bought the big "Jake in a Box" set and became a massive fan.

Yes, some of it is "of its time" but I'd echo what you said about Molly Metcalf and the Widow of Bridlington. He can make me laugh and cry. I also think he wrote female characters with as much red-blooded agency as his male characters. I think of the wife in "It was only a Gypsy", or the hilarious, literally diabolical "Castlefield Ladies Magic Circle". And, I'm sorry, but "On Again" is still hilarious. It's the "choirboys passed through puberty" line that always gets me, David. That and "I may just as well have been posting a letter or stirring up the tea". And how many songs start with a Latin pun about the existence of God that's also a joke about bottoms?
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Unread 06-29-2022, 03:21 PM
Joe Crocker Joe Crocker is offline
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Oh good. Just to say, I agree with all of the above.
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Unread 06-29-2022, 03:22 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Quote:
Would younger men and women today appreciate him?
Well, my eldest daughter is a convert, Joe, and she's 28. The first time I played her "The Lodger" she literally spat out her tea at the punchline.

https://youtu.be/7RB9Doq9gPA
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Unread 06-30-2022, 02:03 PM
Joe Crocker Joe Crocker is offline
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Mark, I also have a 28 yr old son. When he was younger, I do remember playing odd bits of Jake in my car and the one he really liked was The Hole. Is this just a man/boy thing? I seem to remember, as a kid, forever getting my finger stuck in beer bottles. I never seemed to learn. My son also remembers with affection Ulysses.. And that is a tender song.
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