Sunday, June 16, 2024

Singers, Songs and Family

 You can tell my eyes are better, can't you? Here I am again, with more news from Cookman Corner, whether you want it or not.

Yesterday the Eldest Child, Louise, took me with her to her gig. This was a slightly unusual one, as it was part lecture, entitled "Ladies of Swing", at the Jazz Centre UK, in front of an audience of very serious jazz nerds - er - fanatics. You may or may not know, that Lou is a professional singer whose area of choice and expertise is the Big Band and Swing eras.  Louise Cookman Here she is doing her thing in front of the Ronnie Scott's Big Band.

This was a much more restrained affair, with Lou singing songs recorded by the band singers of the late 30s and early forties, with only her mates, Colin and Sam, respectively on piano and bass, as accompaniment. And I'd almost forgotten what an absolutely beautiful voice she has. And she can do restrained. She doesn't often do restrained.

On the way there, I was treated to Lou Warming up. She has various exercises recorded on her phone which she can play through the sound system in the car. This was a revelation to me, as I know very little about her as a singing coach, and I assume (I haven't asked) she uses these in her lessons. I know her sister Phillipa, also a professional singer and teacher, uses something similar because I've heard her on zoom lessons with pupils, but I've never enquired further into her arcane practices, either. Phiily trained at the Royal Academy of Music  - so there's a pretty good voice there, too!

This is Philly in the singer/guitarist mode on tour with The Sound of Springsteen. She has a website for her teaching called The Singing Guitarist - take a look!

You'll have read about second eldest child Miles in last week's post, and his expertise in creating a downstairs shower room and loo - and flash new office. This is him in his real job with the Miles Cookman Band

Lou and I went to see him in a rare solo gig this week, and, of course, he was terrific.

The other family related item this week was youngest child Leo's fifth wedding anniversary with his lovely wife Carrie, and the first they have been able to spend together. To celebrate, he released a song in her honour, and he would love you to listen.  When I get To See You The words say it all - well, they would, wouldn't they?

As a little family adjunct to all this, Lou's gig yesterday was attended by my cousin Penny and her husband John, which was lovely, as we haven't seen one another for a very long time. Of course we went for a drink afterwards, and plans were made for a further meeting with even more members of the family. All in all, a pretty nice day. And today, some of us are celebrating the late Old Man by having lunch in a pub. Very appropriate.

Saturday, June 08, 2024

The Saga of Libby and Lesley

 Well, Hello! Did you wonder where I was? NO? Oh, all right... I'll tell you anyway.

While waiting several weeks for my edits on Libby Sarjeant Book 27, aka Murder and The Crooked Horse, I had re-published my famous (!) Alexandrians trilogy. The Alexandrians Lovely covers are courtesy of the talented Rhoda Baxter.


Just after I'd managed this, with a lot of help from friends, I developed a severe eye infection. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say I lost the sight in my good eye (the other one's already - er - crap) and spent a good deal of time going backwards and forwards, courtesy of daughters Lousie and Phillipa, to the Urgent Eye Treatment Centre at the William Harvey hospital in Ashford, who were brilliant. Anyway, four days after this happened, the edits and the offer of a new contract came in. Timing, eh?

Meanwhile, son Miles had been creating a new shower room and loo downstairs in my little house and was about to move on to the refurbishment of the office. This entailed me sorting through every bit of paper that had accumulated over the 25 years I have lived here. I'm surprised I could actually move in the place! As you can imagine, with compromised eyesight, this was no easy task. I had also had to ask my publishers to wait for both the edits and signature on the contract.

However, there is a happy ending. By last weekend, my eyesight was just about up to the task of the edits, which I completed in a record three days - I may have missed a few things... - and Miles had got the office almost finished. So am now sitting at my new desk, at my beloved old Big Mac, just about ready to finalise Murder and The Crooked Horse and to make a start on Libby Sarjeant Book 27! Yes - publishers Headline have seen fir to ask for two more Libby books, which will take us up to 28 full length stories and 3 novellas. She's been very patient, but oh, how I've missed her. Yes, I know, I'm a sad old bat who lives through my imaginary characters.

So that's where we are at the moment. I wish I could show you a picture of the new cover, but it hasn't appeared yet. I can tell you that Book 27, which I have given the working title of Murder and the Magician's Nephew, is due to be delivered by the end of October, so I have to get my writing muscles primed. Good job it isn't my back, which is killing me - all that heaving boxes and piles of paper around, not to mention the bending, isn't good for a woman of my advanced age. Oh, and if anyone wants a fairly cheerful musician who can create shower rooms and offices, I'll give you his number.

Bye for now,