Simon Bashford Celebrates

This year Simon reaches forty years in showbiz and John Orchard and Nathan Pascoe have put together a wonderful documentary to celebrate this milestone.

Website Security Upgrade

updated 8th October 2023

SUCCESS!!

Welcome to https://www.thecaa.org

Ultimately my address saving precautions as advised proved unnecessary but, I make no excuse for being cautious. The way is now OPEN for exciting NEW services available directly from the CAA office through this website soon!

——————————–

Although not affecting the website operation or security, post upgrade there are still a couple of unresolved issues. While the office@ email mailbox is clearly working perfectly (Chris Hare and I have QUADRUPLE checked it with Malcolm!) A new mailbox I setup for the upgrade suddenly failed afterwards as did also the FTP (File Transfer Protocol) I use to backup the website regularly.

The NS (Name Servers) ARE now reporting as fully propagated as of last Thursday so I shall be working with my data centre/service provider to wrap up these loose ends  tomorrow Monday 9/10/23.

Meanwhile and as expected readers will see that website loading times are significantly slower! This is a direct result of the data encryption and that the website now relays through a third party’s SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certification server too! 

Slow load speeds impact on search engine ranking SO over time it is essential that I optimize ALL future pages PLUS all top level pages, especially the home page! For this reason and in anticipation, some while back I created a fast link in the main menu to “Latest News.” 

Website editor Chris Hare and I have been in discussion for months now in preparation for this event and as anticipated this website’s home page will serve more strictly with it’s actual purpose as a HUB with links to relevant content on other pages. 

On the home page there will ALWAYS be a link to NEW content in “Latest News,” “Notices” & new content in the “Members Only Area.” BUT, the latter for members only WILL NOT appear in the “Recent Articles & Notices” box despite being linked from the home page. Members should still visit the home page 1st.

Paul Scudder (site admin) 

Sunday Roast

INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE IS OUT OF DATE ~ THE CURRENT SUNDAY ROAST MENU IS HERE

On the first Sunday of every month starting Sunday 3rd September we will be serving traditional Sunday Roast at the Club from 1pm to 5pm.

Roast Beef Dinner
An illustration/decoration NOT an actual example!

Two courses £17.50

Three courses £19.95

The menu will vary slightly each month so please check before you book.

Menu for Sunday 3rd September 2023

Traditional prawn cocktail

Pate and Toast

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding

Roast half Chicken with Stuffing.

Vegetarian Nut Roast (v)

Served with roast potatoes, seasonal veg and gravy

New York Cheesecake

Chocolate Fondant Ice Cream

BOOKING ESSENTIAL Call the office 0207 836 3172

Peter Cliffe

Bravo Shannon!

previously published on the home page

Our deputy Chair Shannon Rewcroft received a well deserved standing ovation at Wimbledon Theatre following a brilliant solo performance in her Build a Rocket Production directed by CAA member Jordan Langford.

Fortunately it was captured on video. Hit the image below to view the short clip.

Shannon Rewcroft taking a bow

Build a Rocket Flyer

For more information on this production and, links to yet more information please visit the CAA Member’s Gig Guide’ archive section here

Any CAA member can use this TOTALLY FREE search engine optimised service to publicise any staged event.

Best of all! After the event the post is archived with all keywords intact! It’s the CAA gift that keeps on giving!!

Chris Hare

Edinburgh Here They Come… With our help

CAA young members Shannon Rewcroft and Jordan Langford are two creatives from Scarborough doing all they can to get their show, Build a Rocket by Christopher York to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August.

They have been offered a week’s run at Just the Tonic, a venue right in the heart of Edinburgh. I’ve seen the show at Wimbledon Theatre and it is a wonderful production with Shannon delivering a superb solo performance. A real tour de force! Shannon and Jordan are passionate about this production but here’s the snag,

Taking a show to Edinburgh is expensive and for young artists it becomes almost impossible financially without back up. So being determined not to let a little thing like money stand in their way, they are asking for our help.

Build a Rocket Banner

Why go to the fringe? They first worked on the piece in 2022 for director Jordan Langford’s MA in Directing at Rose Bruford College. They fell in love with it and feel it is a truly special piece of writing. Having a fully-fledged one-woman show ready to go they were itching to share this story with as many audiences as they could. So they produced it themselves…not an easy task.

The play’s author Christopher York was also born in Scarborough. Working on something that’s set in their hometown, they felt so connected to the characters and the story. They also resonate with the struggles of the play. Yasmin (the central character of Build a Rocket) is defiant to triumph over adversity!

They want to take their bit of Scarborough to as many places as they can, the long-term aim is to have a production company on board so they can take a community production of Build a Rocket around Yorkshire and the UK. To achieve that aim, they need to get Build a Rocket on the map, get people seeing it, talking about it and excited about it. Where better than the biggest fringe festival in the world?

It is also a career-changing opportunity for them. Jordan graduated in October 2022 as a director and having a production up in Edinburgh in the first year of graduating would help his career go from strength to strength. Shannon has been acting since she graduated from Drama Studio London nine years ago but has never had the chance to perform a one-woman play, let alone one that is set in her hometown and lets her use her own voice. This would be an incredible opportunity for both of them.

What is the show about? Build a Rocket is a one-woman play following the defiant and inspiring story of Yasmin, a teenager from Scarborough whose life is not sandcastles, arcades, and donkey rides as she finds herself pregnant and alone in the world. The show follows her story for eighteen years until her son is coming of age. A unique and bold production, Build a Rocket tells an inspiring, whirlwind story while challenging commonly held perceptions of young motherhood.

Christopher York comments, “Teenage pregnancy is so demonized and we’re quick to blame teenagers. There was a girl I was at school with who had a child at 15. I was astounded at her resilience and that she went on to pass her GCSEs, go to college and university, get married, and raise a wonderful human being. She is a phenomenal person. We are still conservative about these topics. If we were more open and Scandinavian about how we tackled sex and sexual health, especially with young people, we may not have the statistics we do.

So far the project has been self-funded with anything Shannon and Jordan could scrape together, which hasn’t been much. All their set/costumes/props have come from charity shops or have been gifted to them or they have painted/created.

Money raised through fund raising will be used for:

Venue Fees, Festival Registration Fees, Brochure fees, Advertising and Marketing,
Accommodation, Travel, PRS License, Accessibility, Per Diems (basically, a posh way of saying money for the day, so we can eat whilst there!)

They currently won’t be taking a fee. If they get to the fringe and happen to make any profit on the tickets they will split that equally but they are not in this for the money, it’s pure passion that is fuelling their drive to get to Edinburgh and beyond.

So let’s help these valued members of our club realise their dream, really get behind them and chip in as much as we can.

The GoFundMe link can be found below.

Chris Hare

Guidance for Artwork Submissions

Foreward…

Nothing in the following post changes anything that is working so very well… Generally members ask the website editor Chris Hare for something, he then does his editor stuff and passes his instructions to me understanding it will be actioned within 72 hours max and usually significantly faster!

Please Note…

All artwork featured on this notice is for upcoming events at time of publishing! In each case, once date expired they are moved to a permanently visible archive for the purpose of keyword retention and general interest, so please include the year in the event date!!!

These brief notes are provided here to help with the faster publishing of members’ artwork.

Increasingly members are creating posters and banners offline for publishing on this website.

Such entirely voluntary member participation is very welcome and greatly encouraged.

Furthermore if the artwork is website ready it can be published faster and with less administration time which can help to keep website costs as low as possible!

Passive Artwork…

The coronation party poster illustrated here is a static or passive image. As an image it cannot be read by search engines! Google for example will index it as “an image on the CAA website”

In most cases the image or banner includes artistes’ names and if an online search for that name produced this image in the results it would be fantastic for the artiste and also help maintain the website’s ranking too.

Coronation Party Poster

The Important Solutions…

Images need to be sent to the website editor in file formats of .jpg .jpeg or .png with a MAXIMUM width of 1024 pixels (I can easily re-size if a problem & height is not important.)

Please also ensure there are no spelling errors since we can’t correct them easily if at all and artwork may be rejected as a result.

“Ease of access” to the internet is considered hugely important in search rankings epecially for sight impaired or blind persons!

Special software can read out a description of the image to the user over their computer or phone. Failure to provide such assistance can lower a web page’s overall score significantly!

To the left (or above on a phone) is a screenshot of the submission made for this poster yesterday.

You will see that I’ve added a description which is much the same as the text on the image. As was in this case the text was provided simultaneously in the same email submission to the editor. Here it was in .pdf format in upper case but, could have been just as easily included into the submission email and case is not important.

It need not be every bit of text in the image but needs to adequately decribe the image to a sight impaired reader, however they come to discover the page.

The text is thus written into the page code and indexed accordingly by all search engines including all relevant details.

Active Artwork…

Alternatively you might want to consider this method for submissions?

Below is an example of active artwork! In this instance I was provided with all the text and the two smaller pictures. I sourced a background without text and published it. Such backgrounds can also be submitted if you have one in mind?

The advantage here is that the text IS readable straight from the banner and any subsequent changes can be made on the fly.

Plus the text adapts actively to the readers’ device regardless of size. In most cases this is how submissions are made for the ‘Members Gig Guide‘ too.

The more observant and regular readers here might have also noticed that for quite a while now, I’ve included the current year within the date stamps? This seemingly superfluous inclusion makes sense only when so much of this website is now being archived and in a digital World could last until the end of time!?

Stop Press!…

Below that further is a repeatable example of a templated banner that ticks all the boxes and includes many valuable keywords! 

I’m only allowed to include this once per page per year so make no excuse for including it on this page. However banners such as these observe special rules outside of the topic of this page… Nonetheless did start the same way at the outset! I had to do it with help from Chris Hare (website editor.) These are probably the only examples where outside artwork is not practical in the grand scheme of things when allowing for future variables?

Well done to those that have already got creative… Thank you and Keep up the good work!

Paul Scudder (Site Admin)

FRIDAY 19th MAY 2023 at 7.30pm

Jazz at the CAA title

 

’OUT OF THIS WORLD’

A wonderful evening celebrating the great lyricist

Johnny Mercer at the Piano

JOHNNY MERCER

SARAH MOULE (Vocals)

SIMON WALLACE (Piano and Musical Director), ALEC DANKWORTH (Bass) KENRICK ROWE (Drums)

Sarah Moule and Simon Wallace

AUTUMN LEAVES, COME RAIN OR COME SHINE, DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES, MOON RIVER and many more Mercer hits.

£20 (Members) £22 (Guests) Call the office 020 7836 3172

Example below of a repeatable templated banner best left to be dealt with in-house!

FRIDAY 16th JUNE 2023 at 7.30pm
 

OPEN MIC NIGHT!

PERFORMERS & AUDIENCE WELCOME!

 

Compere ~ DAVID POWER

Pianist ~ LAURENCE PAYNE

Singers, Dancers, Actors, Magicians, Comedians & Intrumentalists

 

Performers, please bring your own sheet music

£5 entrance fee

 

Finally…

At time of publication these two excellent off-line artwork submissions are also upcoming events! Another is in the Members Gig Guide too.

Welsh Male Voice Choir
Monday May 22nd 2023

Audrey Leybourne 1927 – 2022

AUDREY LEYBOURNE

Much loved CAA Member Audrey Leybourne passed away on 1st December 2022 aged 95. She had been a member of the club since 1991 and was a regular attendee. Audrey was always full of fun and good humour and a great supporter of the Monday Night Shows.

She was born in Cardiff on 19th February 1927. Growing up in 1930s Cardiff she attended the Welsh National College of Music and Drama. It was here she was spotted by Donald Wolfit who offered her a scholarship to tour with his company as an acting A.S.M. In 1953 she rejoined Wolfit’s company for a production of Henry 1V part one at Hammersmith.

Audrey moved to London in the 1960s and in 1967 appeared as Old Sally alongside Barry Humphries as Fagin in a revival of Oliver. She played countless diverse roles on tour as an actor, singer and dancer covering the whole country. Her notable stage credits, which underlines her amazing versatility, include the first stage version of Winnie The Pooh and an acclaimed production of the Amazons at Nottingham Playhouse.

She appeared in The Beggar’s Opera and Black Comedy in Ipswich. Then received rave reviews for appearances in Uncle Vanya and Come Blow Your Horn. She also toured in Noel Coward’s Bitter Sweet with June Bronhill. In 1979 she appeared in a production at the Adelphi with Tony Britton as Higgins.

Other credits are as a dancer in Richard Harris’ comedy Stepping Out; Kath in Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr. Sloane; and Mrs Pugh in the musical Annie which toured abroad and featured Su Pollard who became a personal friend of Audrey.

Audrey Leybourne with Barrie Stacey
Audrey with her great friend Barrie Stacey who also passed away this year at the same age of 95. Let's hope they are reunited now.

Audrey appeared numerous times on TV and films. Her notable credits include; The Wednesday Play (1964), Churchill’s People (1974), The Old Curiosity Shop (1979), The Brack Report (1982), On The Line (1982), Screenplay (1986), Chaplin (1992), County Kilburn (2000), Doctors (2010), Bone China (2013), Stella (2014), Grandma’s Big Schlep (2015) and Carters Get Rich (2017)

She was a member of Les Dawson’s famous dance Troupe The Roly Polys in the 1980s. However it was an appearance on Britain’s Got Talent at the age of 90 that brought her overnight national fame. She sang ‘I Wanna be Loved By You.’ Amanda Holden asked her if she had ever been married. Audrey replied “No, but I have been in love many, many times – 22 Gentlemen!”

She made her panto debut at the age of 90 playing Potty T Potts in Beauty and the Beast and continued working into her 90s doing commercials and the occasional stage role.

Audrey was summed up by her vicar Rev. Simon Grigg. “She was a remarkable person and a real trouper of an actress. A much loved member of St. Pauls. She has a last message to you all. She said to me shortly before she died that if I pop off, tell everyone I don’t regret a thing. I’ve had a wonderful life.”

by Chris Hare

Funeral of Her Majesty The Queen

Her Majesty the Queen

The club is deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty.

A great supporter of the arts and performance generally.  Many of our members have been in her company at Royal shows. The national anthem is still sung after every Monday Show and that tradition will continue. God Save the King!

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT ~ MONDAY 19th SEPTEMBER

THE FUNERAL OF HER MAJESTY THE LATE QUEEN ELIZABETH II

THE CLUB WILL BE CLOSED DURING
THE DAY AND WILL OPEN AT 4.30 pm.

MEALS WILL BE AVAILABLE
BETWEEN 5.00 – 6.30 pm.
BAR OPEN FROM 5.00 – 11.00 pm.
(Last orders 10.30 pm.)

At 8.00 pm. Social Secretary Simon Bashford Presents…

AN EVENING OF MEMBER’S MEMORIES OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II and MUSIC FOR THE OCCASION.

Please see the post below for further information.

Simon Bashfords' "A Handful of Songs"

The Club for Acts & Actors

Patrons ~ Dame Judi Dench ~ Brian May CBE ARCS ~ Su Pollard

A New Book is Published!

Updated 25th April 2023 post book publication

CAA Member Tony Lidington’s book on the history of pierrot troupes and concert parties was published by Routledge at the end of September 2022.

This volume is the first authoritative historical textbook to look at the origins, development and evolution of seaside pierrot troupes and concert parties and their popular performance heritage.

It will provide, for the first time, a definition of the pierrot troupe and its evolution from the roots of European popular traditions such as the commedia dell’arte and minstrelsy, to links between music hall and contemporary popular culture. Tony Lidington will explore how pierrot troupes grew from a single idea into a major international cultural industry and how it boosted morale and national identity during the two World Wars, before sublimating into contemporary pop music and comedy. Tony’s continuing practice as research provides an experiential framework for the historical and ethnographic analysis of the form.

 

Here’s the link where more information can also be found:

https://www.routledge.com/Dont-Forget-The-Pierrots-The-Complete-History-of-British-Pierrot/Lidington/p/book/9780367489182

Tina May 1961-2022

Top English Jazz Vocalist and CAA member Tina May passed away as a result of a brain tumour on 26th March 2022. Her bubbly personality and great humour backed up by a truly brilliant and well informed mind, meant It was always a joy to be in her company.

She was just 60 and was up there with the greatest jazz singers this country has produced. As the Observer critic Dave Gelly wrote in 2014, “Tina can sing a straight melody such as ‘I’m Through With Love’ and make it open like a flower.”

Gloucester born, she was the younger daughter of Daphne, a cosmetics company manager and Harry May, a former professional footballer, who went on to be a Manager in the engineering industry. Both parents were musical and amateur pianists and Tina’s early influence was Fat’s Waller. 

Tina attended Cheltenham Ladies College and went on to study French at University College Cardiff. The course involved Tina spending a year in Paris, where she started singing in Parisian Jazz clubs. In Paris she met Rory Bremner who became a leading impressionist and satirist.

 She formed a performing duo with Rory which saw them appear at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She was also a founding member of the Back Door Theatre Company in Cardiff. Tina sang with a Latin American Band and played the Bath Festival in 1990. 

Tina May
Tina May 1961-2022

She moved to London and quickly became an in demand singer on the jazz scene recording for the Indie 33 Jazz label. In 1992 the first of several albums ‘Never Let Me Go’ was released and she built up a large fan base. 

She was a regular performer at Ronnie Scotts Club. At that time she worked closely with pianist Ray Bryant with whom she recorded and became an accomplished lyricist, writing witty and stylish verses to accompany his brilliant playing. 

Tina later formed a close association with pianist Nikki Iles who regularly played for her. In 2000 she made the acclaimed album ‘Tina May Live in Paris,’ followed by ‘Tina May sings Piaf.’ Tina was fluent in French and made bilingual tours of France. She always showed utmost respect for a lyric, yet interpreted songs in her own unique style to perfection. Her voice literally was another instrument.

A gifted music educator, Tina was widely respected at the Royal Academy of Music, Birmingham Consevatoire and the Royal Welsh College of Music.

In 1989 she married drummer Clark Tracey and they had a son Ben and daughter Gemma. They later divorced and, at the time of her death, Tina’s partner of nearly three years was saxophonist Simon Spillett.

by Chris Hare

Saxophonist Simon Spillett was Tina May’s partner for nearly three years. A month or so after her death he published this so poignant piece which, with his permission, we reproduce here.

Simon Spillett
Simon Spillett

Winchester Services, London-bound, the dying minutes of Friday night. I’m heading back after a lovely gig with my quartet in Poole. For two hours music made sense of things, putting all else on hold. I’m sat here eating an over chilled sandwich  accompanied by the distant noise of Beyonce piped from an overhead speaker and the up close scraping of chairs on the floor of Costa Coffee, as the bored night staff mop and sweep their way into Saturday. Save for them, I’m the only person in the place. It’s hardly ‘One For My Baby’ territory, especially as the thumping, pumping, invasive background music suddenly seems to have made a decibel leap of such exponential levels that I’m beginning to feel as if I’ve been marooned in a dystopian disco.

Time was Winchester distinguished itself by being one of the few service stops which had no canned music. Indeed not so very long ago I remember stopping on a way home from a gig with a band I was in with the late John Critchinson, Dave Green, Henry Lowther and Trevor Tomkins. One by one they appeared through the automatic sliding doors, each of us sharing the same bright idea of coffee and cake. There I sat, awed in such company, listening to jazz folklore being bandied about by those who were there. There was nothing but conversation, laughter and love around the table that night.

But now, amid the combined din of dragged furniture and droning divas, I’m sitting alone, wondering idly how many times I’ve been in this scenario. I daren’t even hazard a guess but I’d imagine it might add up to several thousand hours of killed time, an attrition rate you could measure out in unsuitable food stuffs, coffee of wildly varied quality and melancholy by the mile. I don’t think I’ve ever truly got used to it but now, feeling like I’ve been dunked into cold water after  the reassuring warmth of a genuine home life, there’s something oddly magnetic about it, the sort of ‘better the devil you know’ familiarity you might cling to when all else spirals away out of control.

I think of people like John Critch, with whom I gigged about in all sorts of places as we criss-crossed these islands for thirteen years. We’d sit in countless godforsaken spots like this and share some deep talk, with John usually being the kind of font of wisdom that trickled rather than gushed. And I think of my Dad too, of how I’d tell him the morning after a gig where I’d been and what I’d done. ‘I go to bed and think where are you tonight,’ he used to say. ‘I think of you driving through the night. I don’t know how you do it.’

And tonight, as I sit here, lukewarm coffee and strip-lit ceiling combining to keep me wide awake I think of Tina. How I wish I could go home to her again, even just once. I wouldn’t be lingering here if I could, wouldn’t waste a moment where I needn’t be. I’d know precisely where my heart lay. Still, this is all just late-night rumination, facts and fantasy formulating together to help kill yet another hour. A friend told me I should take things hour by hour, sage advice I know, but some hours are easier to handle than others. Those like tonight seem to stretch on forever. Maybe best to just crack on after all?