REVIEW: JIMMY LEE AND OPEN MIC AT OCTOBER WRITE ANGLE
Jimmy's early experiences, shaped by deprivation and disruption, could have had him turn out any which way, yet his story is one that, whatever the world threw at him, he rose above it and thrived.
He's a great performer - telling Write Angle of the high and low points of his life but his songs tell it all. His lilting, melodious, natural delivery deals equally with hardship, nostalgia and sentiment. He captured all the feelings and wrapped them in tunes and words that had the audience engaged, empathising with each turn of fortune.
Burma Star told of his early childhood memories, full of hardship and change caused by his father's absence in Burma and the soldier's reaction to Jimmy's mother having a child while he was away - 'Never knew what fear or hate was until it came into my home'. In Hard Man, Jimmy finds a box of letters after his father's death and it contrasts the war damaged man with the sensitive youngster he was when he first went to the far east - 'Then I read his letters to his mum and dad from a frightened lonely soldier lad. From a red cross bed written while his wounds were healing'. At nine, Jimmy had an idyllic time with his playmate, Lucy Cartwright, riding with her on the crossbar of his 'bike without a saddle and a bell that did not work.' Only to have his romance come to an end when the Cartwrights suddenly moved away.
Jimmy joined the Navy at fourteen. No Flowers for Geordie tells of the death of his fellow trainee when they were sent to sea in the Suez campaign, and the harsh discipline at HMS Ganges - 'The 'bully boys' came nightly, did things a boy coundn't tell. But they made him write in his letters home: Mamma your boy's doin well'.
He was very well received by the audience, many of whom offered praise when they left. We'll be very keen to have him back. He has a lovely lilting voice- power and emotion with a strong range.
At the Open Mic, Chris Welch, new to Write Angle, read Martha Keys' Seeds of War and Seeds of Peace which talks of hope - 'maybe you could begin to believe peace can be as strong as the killing and the wrong we all have lived and died through'. Then, as a young boy, Colin Eveleigh played on the Portsmouth beach; in Munitions he explained how he collected shells left over from the war and had fun exploding them! - 'We tried to blow up a public toilet...'.
Phyllida Carr took Another Journey on the Bike, telling of riding to East Meon 'when the autumn day turned into night' as hurricane Ophelia came to Hampshire. Your reviewer read his Typhoons and hurricanes, about the 1987 hurricane that struck 'England's green and pleasant land'. Jilly Funnell's poem, Feather, dealt with her enthusiasm for the glamour and sequins of Strictly Come dancing – 'I want a partner called Evan with snow on his shoes. Who'll teach me the steps and the spins to use'. Her You Make Love a Slow Train poignantly told of unrequited love, while All the Way to America told of another enthusiasm.
In Scarsdale Switch, Leah told of commuters bound for the city 'in slim trim pinstriped suits classic skirts and gucci bags....' contrasted with the 'weary faced, bleary eyed, in woolie hats, worn torn coats... maids arriving to clean in 'the big houses hidden in lush greenery'. Then, To those who leave to Find Themselves – 'even artists on the roam from time to time, return to bring their dirty washing home'. And, In Eveready, another tale of unrequited love: 'Maybe there'll be even someone. Almost anyone would do. Someone who is always there. Who wants me just as I want you?'
Jezz played and sang Counting Crows' Gonna Get Back to Bases - 'But we only stay in orbit for a moment of time and then you're everybody's satellite. I wish that you were mine' and Tom Petty's You Don't Know How it Feels - 'There's somewhere I gotta go and you don't know how it feels. No, you don't know how it feels to be me'.
The raffle sponsor was Fez, Petersfield's great Turkish restaurant and a new-comer to Write Angle won the £45 voucher. We hope they'll come back and tell us about their experience.
nd next month, the irresistable Attila the Stockbroker takes to the stage and of course, once again, the Open Mic is there for everyone to take part and share in the entertainment! Every month another star. Always different but always great!