In August, for my 70th Dad’s birthday, I bought him two tickets to see a performance by Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra at the Mayflower theatre, which had come around and was last night. Dad has loved old Rhythm and Blues music since he was young, so I knew it was something he’s enjoy.
On Saturday evening, after shopping with Jane, I had a bit of a meltdown with Jane and my parents about my health – both physical and mental aspects, and the combination. A testament to my Dad’s kindness was that yesterday afternoon, after seeing how distraught I’d been Saturday evening, he offered me his ticket for the theatre. I couldn’t accept of course, as it had been a gift to him, but I really appreciated the sentiment.
He suggested that he could see if there were any tickets left, so I could go with both my parents. I was unsure as I thought I might have to sit by myself, and there was only a couple of hours for me to mentally prepare myself for going, but with encouragement over the phone from my partner Oblong*, I decided it would be good for me to challenge myself, and I agreed.
I’m ever so glad I did.
My dad managed to get an even better seat than I’d originally bought for them, and he decided he would rather sit there at the front of the circle, and he didn’t mind sitting next to people he didn’t know, so I sat with my mum. We were warmed up by a wonderful singer and musician called Jack Lukeman. I’d recommend a listen. Emotions (positive ones!) began flying all over the place when he started singing an absolutely wonderful rendition of Paul Robeson’s Ol’ Man River (the link is not a recording from last night, but the rendition had similar power, if you can imagine that sound filling a big theatre space):
This was emotionally pertinent: Yesterday (8th November) would have been my Uncle Martin’s birthday, my dad’s brother, who died a couple of years ago. When they were very young – my dad about 10, and Martin 8 – they had been taken by my Nan and their dad to see Paul Robeson sing at the Guildhall in Southampton. My dad still remembers this, despite having many memory problems, and the impact it had on Martin at the time. He had apparently sat agog watching Robeson, entranced by the power of his unamplified voice filling the large hall.
The timely performance drew a tear from all our eyes, not only because of the association, but because Jack’s performance was so powerful.
*Oblong is obviously not her name, but it’s both similar and unrecognisable enough to afford her some privacy while I blog about my life.