PROJECT FRONT FOOT: DECEMBER NEWSLETTER

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A message from my friend Vic Mills:

“Hi Stuart,

There’s something of the miraculous about this current project newsletter. As I write, the bottom left corner of my laptop screen appears intent on detaching itself from the whole, while a couple of weeks ago I managed to spill the remains of a bottle of beer over the keyboard. Add in the delayed arrival of our coaches report from Mumbai and this issue has proved, as if the England tail, something of a slog.

However, while the laptop may be struggling this is not the case with either the project or the Dharavi Cricket Academy. Both experienced a busy December with the first matches of the season in Mumbai along with a full coaching schedule. In the UK, meanwhile, PFF turned Secret Santa to deliver surplus clothing and kit for foster homes, and adult clothing to a charity for the homeless. There was also the small matter of booking a February return to Mumbai. So plenty to interest and entice this New Year.

Cheers

Vic”

 

 

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Wine and music: “God Don’t Like It” by Blind Willie McTell

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I have been a fan of the great Georgia bluesman Blind Willie McTell for many years. He is arguably the finest exponent of the 12-string guitar and the syncopated fingerpicking “Piedmont Blues” style.

I cannot recall ever hearing any of his recordings with his wife Kate so it was a pleasure to discover this 1933 God-fearing protest against excessive drinking:

“Some say they done cut whiskey out but you can have a little wine
Most everybody gets on a drunk by drinking this old moonshine

Now God don’t like it and (I don’t either)
Now God don’t like it and (I don’t either)
Now God don’t like it and (I don’t either)
It’s scandalous and a shame”

McTell was always a church-goer. In 1957, he became a preacher at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Atlanta. He died in 1959.

Happy New Year!

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Wine and music: “Bacchanale” by Jacques Ibert

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The French composer Jacques Ibert was commissioned by the BBC for the tenth anniversary of the Third Programme in 1956. He composed this bacchanale – a musical composition that usually is themed around drunkenness.

If I don’t get another opportunity – a merry Christmas to you all.

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Project Front Foot November newsletter

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A message from my friend Vic Mills:

“Hi Stuart,

While not, by some distance, the edition I’d planned, it nevertheless remains Business as Usual on the project front.

The attached November newsletter highlights the start of our NINTH! season in Mumbai with the Dharavi children. Other notable features include: European royalty deputising in PFF’s enforced absence; Kit 4 Croydon via the British Refugee Council; a new academy for our friends at Female Cricket; an insight into cow corner Matunga-style; and a novel approach to physiotherapy.

Cheers

Vic”

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Wine and music: “Wein, Weib und Gesang” (“Wine, Woman, and Song”) by Johann Strauss II

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An E-flat major waltz on a pertinent theme by the younger Strauss, composer of the well-known The Blue Danube.

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Wine and music: “Libiamo ne’ lieti calici” by Verdi

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“Libiamo ne’ lieti calici” (“Let’s drink from the joyful cups”) is a popular brindisi drinking song from Verdi’s La Traviata.

The song is for male tenors – here’s Pavarotti – though there is a recording of Maria Callas performing it.

“Ah! godiamo, la tazza, la tazza e il cantico,
la notte abbella e il riso;
in questo, in questo paradiso ne scopra il nuovo dì”

(“Let’s enjoy the wine and the singing,
the beautiful night, and the laughter.
Let the new day find us in this paradise”)

Sounds like my kind of night out – or in.

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Wine and Cinema: “My Favourite Wife”, starring Cary Grant

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Another recent Saturday morning treat on BBC2 was an obscure Cary Grant screwball comedy. 

In My Favorite Wife, Grant’s character is about to remarry after his first wife is declared dead. It turns out that she was marooned and now returns home. It’s good fun.

The film was remade in 1962 as Something’s Got to Give with Marilyn Monroe but she died before the film was completed. There are still photos of what would have been the first Hollywood motion picture release of the sound era to feature a mainstream star in the nude. Marilyn nude! Swoon…

In 1963 it was remade as Move Over, Darling, starring Doris Day and James Garner. 

There is a scene where Grant, on his honeymoon, is sent a bottle of Mumm 1921 from somebody claiming to be a friend and who knows that it’s his favourite. It’s sent by his now returned first wife, of course.

This is a famously good Champagne vintage, with Pol Roger considered to be the best of them from that year. I’ve never seen any but this wine has a legendary reputation.

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Wine and Music: “La Puerta del Vino” by Claude Debussy

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No lyrics here but a Spanish wine-themed piece by Debussy.

“The Gate of Wine” of the title is the Alhambra Gateway in Granada.

Granada does not produce any wines of distinction, but it’s not a million miles from Jerez and the Sherry country. Yum. 

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PROJECT FRONT FOOT: OCTOBER NEWSLETTER.

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A message from my friend Vic Mills:

“Hi Stuart,

More tales from the far and not so far pavilions with PFF’s October newsletter. I’m just a tad early this month on account of some serious desk-clearing before India.

The plan – on arrival in Mumbai the week after next – is to provide daily Facebook pictures and postings. To follow PFF’s progress simply click on the following link www.facebook.com/projectfrontfoot/.

Cheers

Vic”        

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Wine and Music: “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” by Bessie Smith – and Eric Clapton

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This Blues standard was written by Jimmy Cox in 1923 and popularised by the great Bessie Smith, whose release coincided with the Wall Street Crash in September 1929. The tale of a millionaire losing his wealth struck a chord.

Clapton’s version on “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” is the best-known. It later featured on his “Unplugged” album, too.

It’s a warning about the perils of excessive spending on fine wine: “Bought bootleg whisky, Champagne, and wine”.

Rudy Kurniawan should have listened to it…

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