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Saturday, 6 July 2013

Orleans: French Jazz Band celebrates Jack Kerouac's On The Road


One of the highlights of our stay around the French city of Orleans was an open-air jazz concert. Neither of us are particularly interested in jazz, but this was a must-see event. The band call themselves Roads Quartet, and the single piece they were offering – it actually consists of some fourteen parts – is entitled Ridin’ With Jack. Yes, they’re Beat enthusiasts, and this is an attempt to realise, through keyboard, sax, clarinet, bass and percussion, the mood and content of some of Kerouac’s  best known literary works.

I’ve been searching for a website, but haven’t found one. I did note, when I spoke with the band’s main man Antoine Bernollin, after the show, that they all pursue individual careers and only get together occasionally. They're all from the Loire region. The music was terrific: tightly organised, accessible, at times tuneful and at times merely reflective of that agitated mood of excitement and action you associate with Kerouac (the piece entitled ‘Neal’ particularly so).

We bought two copies of the CD: one to bring home and one for Carolyn Cassady.  Bernollin  was quite taken aback when I asked him to write a dedication to her on the case. He didn’t know she was alive.
In case I don’t get back to the French trip, let me add a couple of shots of the odd but splendid cathedral at Limoges - odd because of the main tower, which seems to be a separate entity. Was it added to a previously existing fortification? If our hairdresser wasn’t about to knock on the door for our appointment at 0745h I’d Google it and find out…. 


We’ve now been back home over a week and I’m suddenly immersed in (a) the vegetable garden and (b) this sci-fi novel I am supposed to be re-writing. Re-writing? I think I am about to rip it up and start from scratch. It is so utterly, utterly dire. And preposterous. For reasons that remain unclear, an invading bunch of aliens have managed to give us a constant full moon prior to delivering a drug which enables people to read each other's minds. Yes, fine... and all very thought-provoking; until a random dog swallows said potion and starts rescuing people from all kinds of fixes. Maybe the original author was a Scooby-Doo fan. I'm certainly not.

Oh well, back to that after a weekend in Cumbria. It's a house party to celebrate another sixtieth. It'll be nice to hang out with a few youngsters - and may give me a few ideas as to how to celebrate the arrival of my state pension this time next year.

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