Happy All Hallows’ Eve…!

Picturegoer November 11 1950 Hedy Lamarr and George Sanders

Picturegoer November 11 1950 Hedy Lamarr and George Sanders

Here is Hedy Lamarr in November’s issue of Picturegoer  in 1950.

Hugh Cornwell writes a great song about her in The Most Beautiful Girl in Hollywood if not the the brainiest in his excellent new album Monster.  Another great album out this month is The Wanderer by Cat Power.

Here she is with George Sanders who incidentally wrote in his suicide note:

“Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck.”

I saw George Sanders recently in the classic 1960s B Movie Village of the Dammed.  He was a one off with a unique turn of phrase.

Luck found me up at the Royal National Hotel in Bloomsbury on Sunday where I found a great assortment of quirky postcards and ephemera.

Love to Jack from Mother undated to Mr Beaumont 56 Cross Lane Primrose Hill

Love to Jack from Mother undated to Mr Beaumont 56 Cross Lane Primrose Hill

I went round the Ephemera Fair and found very few postcards of Halloween. I feel I am starting to get to know quite a few of the dealers now.  Halloween was never a big thing in this country and it was certainly not so commercial.  In fact the postcards are always American so here’s one I found which I quite like.

Series No 412 Hallowe'en 6 Designs unmarked undated Made in USA

Series No 412 Hallowe’en 6 Designs unmarked undated Made in USA

One of the nice dealers said he couldn’t stop staring at my eyes when I mentioned I couldn’t stop staring at his postcards!  I was very touched!  Am I detecting some kind of frisson at this fair!  It was a pulp and paperback day so I found some great covers:

Special Edition - Murder by Arthur Kent Sexton Blake Library No 381

Special Edition – Murder by Arthur Kent Sexton Blake Library No 381

Flight Into Fear by Peter Saxon Sexton Blake LIbrary No 360 (Published by Amalgamated Press Ltd)

Flight Into Fear by Peter Saxon Sexton Blake Library No 360 (Published by Amalgamated Press Ltd)

Destination Unknown by John Hunter The Sexton Blake LIbrary No 294

Destination Unknown by John Hunter The Sexton Blake Library No 294

Love's Loneliness by F. Seymour The Glamour Library (no date)

Love’s Loneliness by F. Seymour The Glamour Library (no date)

Having not been out to any gigs lately I went to three last week: The mysterious, beautiful and ethereal Erin Lang of Foundling, the extraordinarily underrated and brilliant Sniff ‘n’ Tears with Richard Moore who plays violin with me and the adorable Caitlin Roberts on accordion (check out their band The Lost Revellers too) and the hypnotic and the traversing BCUC which didn’t hit the floor at Camden’s Jazz Café till 1am.  I felt I was in Soweto.   I am continuing my musical escapades to see House of Love in November and Peter Murphy and David J celebrating 40 years of Bauhaus on my Birthday in December in Brixton.

I Married A Star Picturegoer November 26 1955

I Married A Star Picturegoer November 26 1955

Istanbul is a city so extraordinary I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Hagia Sophia October 2018

Hagia Sophia October 2018 by Lettie

Post Card British Made (of the Hippodrome)

Post Card British Made (of the Hippodrome)

Hagia Sophia at night October 2018

Hagia Sophia at night October 2018 by Lettie

I studied Byzantine History as a student at Glasgow and went to try and discover the Byzantine landmarks such as the obvious ones like Hagia Sophia (above) or even fragments of this history hidden in the most obscure places with my friend who is a doctor in the subject and quite a few others.  Photographs could not do justice to what I saw.

On the ceiling of Hagia Sophia (October 2018)

On the ceiling of Hagia Sophia (October 2018) You can probably buy a better postcard! Photography by Lettie

 

A highlight was visiting the Holy Byzantine shrine (one of only three remaining in Istanbul) underneath a carpet shop that was featured on the BBC’s Ancient Invisible Cities which is still available here on the iPlayer.  The carpet shop Kirkit had moved so the building was shut but we found owner Ahmet Diler at his new premises in Mimar Mehmet.  I bought a couple of beautiful carpets from 19th century and 1930 probably my most valued items I have ever bought and he gave us a tour because he still was in possession of a key and so we went underground.  Here is the Virgin Mary – a beautiful mosaic survived hundreds of years – you can just make out her eye (circa 7th century).

The Holy well under the rug shop October 2018

The Holy Byzantine Well that was formerly beneath Kirkit carpet shop but which which has now moved to another premises so this building and mosaics left untended to and empty October 2018 (Photograph by Lettie using Nikon and flash)

Even the Grand Hotel de Londres was quite something.  I adored the two parrots one of which was in the habit of wolf whistling! You would put your hand through the bars of the cage and he would tuck his head into it impressing on you to stroke his head.  The other one photographed here liked to somersault on his trapeze to show off.  It had to be the noisiest hotel in Istanbul but also the most interesting.  Here are some photographs of Dolly having a look around…

 

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So lucky I am to see this Holy well and visit Istanbul. Orhan Pamuk describes it so well in his Istanbul Memories of a City.  I managed to visit his museum The Museum of Innocence.  It’s hard to describe but it benefits from having read the book but having not read that particular book I followed this story that begins in the 70s and spent hours in this museum looking at the beautiful displays set up specifically to tell the story:

From The Museum of Innocence October 2018

From The Museum of Innocence October 2018

Stamboul Golden Horn 'Leonar'

Stamboul Golden Horn ‘Leonar’

Unmarked Galata Bridge Istanbul

Unmarked Galata Bridge Istanbul

Constantinople Vue du Babek au Bosphore Pour Monsieur Frank Behun United States 1 Jun 1922

Constantinople Vue du Babek au Bosphore Pour Monsieur Frank Behun United States 1 Jun 1922

Chora Church (my highlight but covered in scaffolding for restoration) October 2018

Chora Church (my highlight but outside was covered in scaffolding for restoration) contains some of the earliest most intact Byzantine Mosaics in the world October 2018

Carte Postale unmarked

Carte Postale unmarked

Edit J Ludwigsohn, Place Karakeny 21 Constantinople

Edit J Ludwigsohn, Place Karakeny 21 Constantinople

Ruins of the 1610-year-old Byzantine Bukoleon Palace

Ruins of the circa fifth century Byzantine Bukoleon Palace October 2018 which would have been on the shore of the Marmara

Orhan talks about huzun all the time in the book.  It’s a trait that’s unique to the city and really I see it visually as a melancholic cloud hanging over the city.    It is a place of saudade.  It is a place of grandeur and tragedy.  It is East and West.  It was Christian and Muslim.  It was Greek, Roman,  a part of it, where we stayed Genoese, Ottoman, and now a place of anxiety from what I hear from our Turkish companion who was travelling with us.

I will never forget our trip up the Bosporus in a boat looking at one side Asia and other side Europe, the perched Yali houses, the boats further up heading towards the Black Sea, the grey lead sky that reflected deep into that disturbing river.

In another Turkish city Smyrna now Izmir I found this picture:

'Leonar' - would have been given by sailor to someone as news story

Very rare postcard probably would have been given by sailor to someone to spread the news to Europe -The Great Fire of Smyrna in September 1922 – marked the end of the Greek Turkish War and saw four days of fires resulting in 10,000 to 100,000 Greek and Armenian deaths by the Turks. Many refugees died on the banks and later in Anatolia.

Cartolina Postale Rajar

Cartolina Postale Rajar – Very rare postcard showing Armenian massacres in the 1890s

Time….

Yakup 2 (fantastic restaurant in Istanbul)

Yakup 2 (fantastic restaurant in Istanbul) recommended by Mehmet Sander award winning dancer and choreographer who lives in Istanbul

My next album is coming out next year which is exciting and I have done a huge amount of writing lately not always good but I have had a productive year.

Exhausted after two sleepless nights at the Grand Hotel Londres

Exhausted after two sleepless nights at the Grand Hotel de Londres Istanbul which was right next to a Club which opened at 3am and closed at 6am October 2018

 

 

Grand Hotel Londres

Another sleepless night at the Grand Hotel de Londres October 2018

I will have more news in December I am hoping I may even see David Baron soon to finish off my next album …xxx

Alfred Stiebel & Co The Alpha Series Dear George did you catch any crabs in Weymouth...

You can spin the wheel round! Another quirky postcard I found – Alfred Stiebel & Co The Alpha Series Dear George did you catch any crabs in Weymouth…

Grace of Bradford unmarked except British Manufacture Throughout

Grace of Bradford

Grace of Bradford unmarked except British Manufacture Throughout

Posted in Istanbul October 2018, Lettie London, lettiemusic, Music, Postcards | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dog Day afternoons in August

Films and Shooting Magazine August 1973 by Hansom Books Artillery Mansions cover from Visconti's 'Ludwig'

Films and Shooting Magazine August 1973 by Hansom Books Artillery Mansions cover from Visconti’s ‘Ludwig’

Unmarked Post Card

Unmarked Post Card

It’s been a while since I updated on my news.  It does take rather a long time sourcing interesting images and having the time cause this does take time.  Probably too much time but these are all sourced and scanned by myself.  I hope many of these images are unique.  And that’s London Life for you, tiring.  But I’m not tired of life yet Samuel Johnson.  I’m thrilled to have discovered another gem from the past.

Cover of London Life Magazine 31 Craven Street August 1955 A5 size

Cover of London Life Magazine 31 Craven Street August 1955. This magazine was A5 size due to rationing after the war. Apparently it was a precursor to Tatler Magazine. It’s a curious mix of being quite naughty for its time and deadly serious such as a story about suicide in the Thames “A Tragedy of London by Night”, a piece on Karl Marx’s House amongst the strangest of all questions in the back which range from “Who are the Basques” to “Has Brains Trust ever heard of panties being stolen from washing lines?” It became well known for its letters about dress fetishes apparently. Primarily it was a magazine about London published by New Picture Press in Craven Street.

Cover of London Life Magazine August 1952

Cover of London Life Magazine August 1952

 

I wanted to say how grateful I was to everyone who came to the release of If?  It was a magical night I shall never forget.   I have CDs for sale now for £5.  I will try and put a link on my website.  If anyone has bought digitally I will send hardcopy for free.

Double page from August 1955 London Magazine Anna founder of New York's Rockette Chorus

Double page from August 1955 London Magazine Anna founder of New York’s Rockette Chorus

From London Life August 1955 in costume for House of Birds

From London Life August 1955 in costume for House of Birds

Inside cover of London Life Magazine 1952

Even my boss came and proceeded to tell me the next day the Parable of the Talents from the Bible which I took on board!

This High Dive is Strictly on the Level Popperfoto 1970 Sports Sunday

This High Dive is Strictly on the Level Popperfoto 1970 Sports Sunday…We’ve heard of vertical take-off, whoever saw a horizontal dive. Perhaps you’re thinking it’s a trick, that girl never was on that diving board in the first place…that she turned up for a swim not knowing that the pool had been taken over for an illusionists convention. The delegates found her sympathetic subject for the levitation bit and hey presto! up she soared to the four-metre board. But on the level, this is no illusion, no trick, it is the result of doing the right thing at the right place at the right moment. Lesley MacDonald of London was doing her dives at a North London pool yesterday when a cameraman caught her in this unusual pose.

I have uploaded a couple of films of the night on Youtube.  A special thanks to Richard Moore (on violin), Mark Vernon (on Baritone) with whom I recorded the album, James Ussher for his video and beautiful photos, Brian Kavanagh for his stunning photographs and Sam Lowsley-Williams for his photographs and films too.  They all turned up with cameras and videos which I hadn’t really thought about.  I am grateful because I don’t often perform live and it was a one off performance just of the album If? In its entirety.  Also to BJ Cole to Louis Vause and Dave Barbarossa – amazing musicians who were so encouraging and of course the fabulous John Crampton who played one of my favourite Leadbelly songs ‘Pick a bale of cotton’… Oh Lordy pick a bale of cotton, O Lordy pick a bale of hay, Oh Lordy pick a bale of cotton, Oh Lord pick a bale of day…”

Lettie and Richard Moore

Lettie and Richard Moore performing at the Finborough Arms 31 May 2018 photograph by Sam Lowsley-Williams

It’s on a very small scale I’m performing at but all in a grain of sand.

Lettie, Richard & Mark Finborough 31 May 2018

Lettie, Richard Moore and Mark Vernon performing 31 May 2018 at Finborough Theatre (Photograph by Brian Kavanagh)

 

Lettie by Brian Kavanagh at Finborugh Theatre 31 May 2018

Lettie by Brian Kavanagh at Finborugh Theatre 31 May 2018

Lettie at Finborough Arms by Brian Kavanagh 31 May 2018

Lettie at Finborough Arms by Brian Kavanagh 31 May 2018

I have struggled lately with some big acts.  I walked out on David Byrne and felt terrible.

David Byrne at Hammersmith Apollo

David Byrne at Hammersmith Apollo taken on my phone but where’s the band? I went up this close to check- I saw the dancers. I saw someone playing bass. Then I saw him stop and yet the bass carried on and yet he promises there were no backing tracks at all but I couldn’t feel it. I had no emotional response from hearing it which was sad to me as a huge fan.

I also wanted to walk out on Public Service Broadcast and their annoying music put to films about the Welsh Miners (?) but I couldn’t cause I was in Bournemouth although I couldn’t wait to get back to our gorgeous hotel The Norfolk Royale!

Lettie in Bournemouth outside her Godfathers hotel The Royal Norfolk 6 April 2018

Lettie in Bournemouth outside her Godfathers hotel The Royal Norfolk 6 April 2018

My problem is that I don’t like heavy use of backing tracks but according to David Byrne there were none used.  Anyway, whether it’s being really played or not wirelessly through bluetooth it left me cold.  I realise how good Nick Cave was and The Eels are – it is precisely because of this. They use backing sparingly and there’s feedback and nuance and sounds of amps and things.  I personally need this.  I don’t want slick when I see live. I hate digital as it is anyway!

The Eels at Brixton Academy sitting on the bar what a great view!

The Eels at Brixton Academy Monday 2 July sitting on the bar what a great view!

Postcard 'Dear Mother hoping you are well' dated 1924 Miller & Lang Ltd

Postcard ‘Dear Mother hoping you are well’ dated 1924 Miller & Lang Ltd

Anyway, I don’t want to be one of those moaners because nobody else minds and really who am I to say anything at all.  My only reason I do is I feel like it is affecting my experience of live music and will impact what I want to see in the future.   I think it’s interesting to talk about the future of music in these very uncertain times.

The Eternal City Theatre Royal Torque advert Monday April 23 six nights David Allen & Sons

The Eternal City Theatre Royal Torque advert Monday April 23 six nights David Allen & Sons

The dichotomy of this I believe is the future and the future as I see it are these concerts featuring Roy Orbison or David Bowie as a hologram.

Pictorial Post Card David Allen & Sons unmarked

Pictorial Post Card David Allen & Sons unmarked

The difference however is that you have the live orchestra with a ghost!  So the other way round in effect!!  And people will LOVE it!

Unmarked postcard

Unmarked postcard

I went to the Ephemera Fair and could not believe what I found some of it above and below.  My highlight was a charming man in his 80s Julian Dunn who had came up from Surrey (avoiding that nightmare cycle race that put London at a standstill!) who isn’t on the internet.  We chatted at great length about everything (including his love life!) He said I was a rare breed to this game as nobody young is interested.  I’m pretty sure though I spotted Lawrence of Belgravia  (singer of Felt) looking at some old Melody Makers and the guy from Sonic Youth but I could be wrong.  Anyway I thought I should share some with you.  I don’t post these on Facebook because these images are so unique.  As a typist I rather love this one:

Advertising Postcard Underwood Typewriters unmarked post card

Advertising Postcard Underwood Typewriters unmarked post card

Language of Stamps unmarked embossed postcard The Alpha Series Processed in Switzerland

Language of Stamps unmarked embossed postcard The Alpha Series Processed in Switzerland

Here’s a beautiful postcard made out of real stamps below….!!

Stamp Montage postcard 'don't you think these cards are good made of stamps thought the words good ...love Enid' to Tooting Common no date

Stamp Montage postcard ‘don’t you think these cards are good made of stamps thought the words good …love Enid’ to Tooting Common no date

Sago Konstar Stockholm Printed in Sweden unmarked on back

Sago Konstar Stockholm Printed in Sweden unmarked on back – I love this postcard it almost feels hand painted.

In regards to music I have recorded about about eleven new tracks with David Baron  whose career goes from strength to strength from commercial work to composing scores for an extraordinary NY based artist of international acclaim.   Some of this work will be going on Hear & Now Recordings (he has already released one extraordinary instrumental album called Cycles).  I am also working on some music with Tom Ingleby which includes a song about the year 1932 following my visit to the Picasso exhibition Love Fame and Tragedy at the Tate Modern three times!  If you can go I highly recommend it.  It closes on 9 September.

En Tissus New-Flexible unmarked on back

En Tissus New-Flexible unmarked on back

I shall drop In

I shall drop In Copyright Samuels Ltd Strand London unmarked on back

Every morning I wake up the optimistic.  I never give up.  I tend to my terrace and my flowers.

Embossed unmarked postcard Artist Atelia H Guggenham Co Zurich No 6859

Embossed unmarked postcard Artist Atelia H Guggenheim Co Zurich No 6859

I even finished the Sean Hughes song (the lyrics are his poem The beautiful girl stops dancing) which you can hear here:  and also on my news page.  His agent loved it so I’m really happy.   I’m always looking for the turn after the sign post.

Paul Popper Photographic Agency Fleet St copyright Popperfoto

Paul Popper Photographic Agency Fleet St copyright Popperfoto

However it’s impossible to create without time and the dog days of August are perfect.

Hayle Beach July 1971 from unknown photograph album

Hayle Beach July 1971 from unknown photograph album bought at Battersea Car Boot sale

Anyway, I hope something will come of something will come of something will come of something will come of something will come of something will come of something will come of something will come of something….because something at least usually does!

Send me a postcard color by Bunn Yeager unmarked postcard Plasticchrome

Send me a postcard color by Bunn Yeager unmarked postcard Plasticchrome

From sunny England until the next one x x x

Hayle Beach July 1971 unknown photograph album from Battersea Car Boot sale

Hayle Beach July 1971 unknown photograph album from Battersea Car Boot sale

Posted in David Baron, Ephemera, If?, Lettie, Lettie Music, Mark Vernon, Music, Postcards, Singer Songwriter London | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rare performance on Thursday 31 May

I’m very excited to be performing after nearly four years the album If? in it’s entirety on Thursday 31 May 2018 doors are at 7.30pm at the Finborough Arms, 118 Finborough Road,  London SW10 9ED (nearest tubes West Brompton 5 minutes / Earls Court – 7 minutes).

Mark with whom I co-wrote the album and is performing has had a long career in the music business as a manager and managed some of the finest artist I have known including John Cale and the wonderful BJ Cole. Richard an exceptionally talented and versatile violinist and future star in his own right has performed with Nigel Kennedy and does extensive work at Abbey Road along with his own excellent band The Lost Revellers.

This is a one off performance of the album If?  The album tells a story and it covers a period of my life which is now over.  It’s my most personal album and it’s only 30 minutes long.  Amazingly and finally I have some copies of the album for sale!  If anyone has bought one and wants one posted for free please let me know.

I asked John Crampton to headline the night.  Without a doubt he is perhaps the most underrated guitarist performing in the UK right now as well as a terrific blues proponent.  I was looking for Ry Cooder and Davey Graham and I got a little bit of them both in John Crampton.

The night is a night of the blues seeping into indigo it will be a little unusual.

Photo Lettie and John Crampton 31 May 2018

I think it’s going to be busy so get there early.  In the meantime I have some postcards of Earls Court when it hosted The Naval, Shipping and Fisheries Exhibition in Earls Court in 1905 with the Hiram Maxim Captive Flying Machine and  The Imperial Austrian Exhibition in 1906.  It’s amazing to think Earls Court where this gig is being held was host to such marvels xxx

A Fly by Night an Earls Court Exhibition 1904

A Fly by Night an Earls Court Exhibition 1904

Bulgarian Fountain Imperial Court Earls Court Exhibition

Bulgarian Fountain Imperial Court Earls Court Exhibition

Earls Court Exhibition Souvenir of the Russian Liliputians

Earls Court Exhibition Souvenir of the Russian Liliputians

Maxim's Flying Machine Earls Court 1904 Italian Exhibition oldest fairground ride in Europe

Maxim’s Flying Machine Earls Court 1904 Italian Exhibition oldest fairground ride in Europe

The Flying Machine, Earls Court Italian Exhibition 1904

The Flying Machine, Earls Court Italian Exhibition 1904

The Great Wheel, Earls Court London 1906

The Great Wheel, Earls Court London 1906

Topsy Turvy House Earls Court Exhibition 1906

Topsy Turvy House Earls Court Exhibition 1906

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From San Fran to Palm Springs

Music is the journey a part of a path I walk down.  It’s the more exciting part of my life and I hope to continue to do it in whatever way I can.  Last year was a difficult year.  It was like dominos but I’m an optimistic and I will always look forward.  But I was rather numbed and so I couldn’t do much music.

Palm Springs, California Stephen H Willard unmarked

Palm Springs, California Stephen H Willard unmarked

So I don’t want to talk about the frustrations of rehearsing since October 2017 for the gigs that never happened in February (because Peter Murphy who I was supporting never got his visa) but rather speak of the amazing sights and smells and delights of the West Coast of America where I was travelling to anyway.  I told Peter I was not going to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge just yet!

Lettie at dawn at Baker Beach, San Francisco February 2018

Lettie at dawn at Baker Beach, San Francisco February 2018. She told Peter she wasn’t going to throw herself off the bridge over the cancelled gigs. Blame it on Trump!

For me San Francisco has to be one of the most extraordinary cities I have ever had the pleasure of getting lost in.  My legs actually hurt.  I have never had pain from walking so far and for so long and over so many hills!

San Francisco February 2018

Lettie walking around San Francisco where there was the warmest weather in years in February 2018

In addition to aimless walking I met the owner of Lettie.com, Lettie Maguire, who gave me the most amazing tour and background to the city. I also met 86 year old Stan Shaff and his son.  Stan’s Audium piece is performed on every Friday and Saturday and consists of one sitting in the dark and listening to 176 speakers playing out of this world music and every day sounds.

Palm Springs Weekend Cast Oscarcolour unknown date

Palm Springs Weekend Cast Oscarcolour unknown date

I then travelled to Palm Springs early at the weekend.  I suffered extreme culture shock or ‘car’ shock because without one you are stranded but thank god for my friends.  In fact, I was told it was even dangerous to walk.  The Tour de Palm Springs (which consisted of about 40 bicycles that I could see!) had started that week and unfortunately someone had run a pedestrian over.  The community is quite old and apparently despite the wide roads are at times not the safest drivers.  Here are some old postcards:

Greetings from Palm Springs California

The Palm Springs Plaza which is one of the picturesque shopping centres of America’s desert resort (Lower) The illuminated palms and world famous shops along Palm Canyon Drive make a spectacular sight at night

Greetings from Santos Catering and Restaurant published by Milton W. Jones

Greetings from SANTOS CATERING and RESTAURANT At your service on all occasions (Dexter Press NY)

Moorten Botanical Garden Photo Cactus Castle by Paul Pospesil (Dexter Press)

Moorten Botanical Garden Palm Springs Established 1938 – Showplace of desert lore with this resort city. Tree shaded nature trails welcome visitors among a thousand varieties of exotic cactus and other spectacular plants…Historic landmark “Desertland” is a residence of Patricia and “Cactus Slim” Moorten, desert plant specialists Photo:” Cactus Castle” in Palm Oasis

Palm Springs Spa and Mineral Springs Distributed by Mitock & Sons Mar 2 1968

Palm Springs Spa and Mineral Springs Indian Avenue and Tahquitz Drive Palm Springs – the most beautiful spa in the world. Utilizing the centuries of old famous hot natural mineral water springs of the Agua Caliente Indians

Red Skelton's Palm Springs Home

Red Skelton’s Palm Springs Home. This beautiful home faces the Fairways of the Famous Tamarisk Country Club

The beautiful home and swimming pool of Phil Harris and Alice Faye

The beautiful home of Phil Harris and Alice Faye which are so picturesquely situated on the grounds of the Thunderbird Country Club near Palm Springs.

The beautiful pool and luxurious buildings of the fabulous Shadow Mountain Club

Ariel Tramway Palm Springs California This picturesque pool adjoining the Racquet Club enjoys a fantastic view of the Mountains. Marlo Brando is seated on the springboard and Lucy Ball is sipping coffee with friends at the table on the right Color Photo by Gayle

Here is an article I found about Palm Springs and how it sprung up out of the desert not too far from Hollywood:

Whoopee Town from Picturegoer April 16 1955

Whoopee Town from Picturegoer April 16 1955

From Picturegoer April 16 1955

Whoopee Town from Picturegoer April 16 1955

I discovered more about it.  People would go there to get healthy and to cure TB.  The dry air being so good for the health.  Charlie Farrell and his wife Virginia Valli’s star’s of the silent era were no longer working so they decided to spend winters away from Hollywood and established The Raquet Club.  Later Lucille Ball settled there (along with other weekenders such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Red Skelton etc) with her Cuban husband Desi Arnaz who won a plot of land in a poker game.   To this day every other plot of land belongs to the American Indians who set up among other things casinos.  It means that the area is divided up and some plots are left empty.  It is fascinating to see this kind of urban development.  Also there is one swimming pool to every six people so I was very happy.    Apparently it uses up so much water from the Colorado river there are concerns for the future.  Palm Springs uses up more water than any other state in America.

I won’t bore you with all my tales suffice to say James ‘Gypsy’ Haake deserves a mention because at 86 years old he is the oldest cabaret artist in the world (was talent spotted by Mel Brooks in his fifties and when he’s in town always visits Oscar’s) and his show of impersonators was brilliant, funny and at times poignant.  I mean the guy who was Liza Minnelli was also Judy Garland and the performance was enough to make you cry!

Dan Gore's Carnival Cabaret Oscars Palm Springs

Dan Gore’s Carnival Cabaret Oscar’s Palm Springs

Palm Spring's New Hit Dinner Show!

Palm Spring’s New Hit Dinner Show with James GYPSY Haake

Other strange things and wonderful things.  Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideway (which is for sale sadly)…

Elvis Honeymoon Hideway.jpg

…and discovering what a Bear Convergence is but truthfully it was the company of friends who live in Palm Desert that made it the most memorable trip of recent years.

Southern California Sand Dunes color photo by Fred Clatworthy published Ferris H Scott, Santa Ana Calif

Southern California Sand Dunes color photo by Fred Clatworthy published Ferris H Scott, Santa Ana Calif

When I got home I watched a slew of Douglas Sirk films.  It couldn’t have been more appropriate and now I can’t stop dreaming about Rock Hudson.

It was David Baron‘s birthday in February (born on a leap year actually but celebrated on the 28th) so he released a song we found from the archives called ‘Save You‘.   You can buy it here.

I leave you with this video for ‘Save You’.  It was very emotional for me to create this film because it involved opening up old folders of photographs which was at times very upsetting.

I have travelled the world with Dolly inspired by Zena Dare’s The Lonely Doll.  It may sound juvenile and childlike but it gave for me a more interesting angle to thousands of photographs of just landscapes and things. This is in date order and encapsulates over 6 years.  These photographs are so precious to me and end up in Pioneertown, a place where Peter Murphy when he’s in town, plays.  As you can see she’s been slightly damaged along the way but there’s nothing I can do about that.  She’s getting older just like me.

Over and out.

xxx

Posted in David Baron, Lettie, Lettie Music, Postcards | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Christmas…and roll on 2018

This is just to wish you a Happy Christmas and Best wishes for 2018.  I ran out of time this year but what a year it has been.  I can’t wait to turn my back on 2017.

I have written a lot of new material with my writing partner the supremely talented David Baron who is based in America in the last few months or so.  Even reworking some old songs.  I am also in the middle of recording the song for Sean Hughes (based on one of his poems) with Jude Rawlins doing vocals.  I’m very happy that I have been able to record so much in such a short space of time and it is true that in the run up to Christmas I burnt every candle at every end.

I hope that my album If? gets a proper launch next year.  BBC Introducing Cambridgeshire played ‘Walking’ today which is wonderful news.

I will continue to love the artists that have moved me and this year Nick Cave was one.  I went all the way to Rome to see him.

Nick Cave in Rome

Nick Cave at PalaLottomatica, Rome 8 November 2017

Picasso's Parade

Picasso’s Parade at Gallerie Nazionali Barberini Corsini Rome November 2017

Can’t wait till February when I’m supporting Peter Murphy again!

Dolly in Rome

Dolly in Rome (November 2017)

From Suffolk with love …over and out xxx

Lettie on Sizewell Beach

Lettie on Sizewell Beach December 2017

Unmarked card Ges gesche

Posted in David Baron, If?, Lettie, Lettie Music, Postcards, Singer Songwriter London, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘If?’ out now

My album is finally out.  It’s only 30 minutes long.  You can find my home made lo-fi films to all the songs on Youtube.

The first single from it is Walking…I was walking through Worlds End one day and saw this dance class taking place outside the Chelsea Theatre.  It was a beautiful day and it fitted along with a more up to date version of a day in my life as a secretary!

To buy the album CLICK HERE

I hope to have a proper launch sometime in February 2018 when I will perform with Richard Moore, a brilliant violinist and future star, if there’s any justice in this world, who plays on the album.

Unknown loose ephemera November

Unknown loose ephemera November

We are on the cusp of November, and before that Halloween so here are some interesting things I have found.  I went to the Bloomsbury Ephemera Fair this Sunday.  Halloween postcards are extremely rare and therefore expensive and largely American but I did find a couple.  The one below is German.

Pofttarte blank on the back

Pofttarte blank on the back

Unmarked Post Card (USA) Halloween

Unmarked Post Card (USA) Halloween (slightly embossed)

Lancashire Heritage Collectors Postcards published by Photographic Heritage LA-088 Witches Galore

Lancashire Heritage Collectors Postcards published by Photographic Heritage LA-088 Witches Galore

At the end of October is Thanksgiving which is one of the biggest holidays in America.

To Dear Mother Just a card to wish you many Happy Returns 24 Argyle Street Cambridge

To Dear Mother Just a card to wish you many Happy Returns 24 Argyle Street Cambridge

Unmarked Thanksgiving Day postcard

Unmarked Thanksgiving Day postcard

One of my recent highlights was seeing the Moscow State Circus.  What a fantastic show.  It was truly authentic with Russian dolls and Faberge eggs on sale.  The girls could have been stripping in some Las Vegas night club.  One of these performers did the most unbelievable umbrella act I have ever seen!  It was magnificent as well as kitsch.  A far, far cry from Cirque de Soleil.  It was so much better!

The incredible Moscow State Circus

The incredible Moscow State Circus 26 October 2017 at Eel Brook Common

In regards to the rocky ride I’ve been on since last October, the only other thing I wanted to mention was how my grief for Sean Hughes passing away went beyond what most people would consider normal for someone who was just a fan.

I never knew Sean Hughes but it set off like a trigger, a train of memories and emotions that stretched far back to Glasgow and my university days when I went with my then boyfriend to try and interview him with a huge ghetto blaster so I could record it.  He was not keen.  But it did get in the student paper the non-interview. I continued to see him perform numerous times over the years taking my friends.

It was strange that it came two weeks after I had seen Phil Kay performing in London a fantastic show centred around his journey to Australia which had me in pieces especially the panting husky dog trying to cope with the climate of an Australian summer.  My friend and I accidentally found ourselves accompanying Phil to Kings Cross where he was getting the train.

Phil Kay Feels Friday nights at 10.30pm from 18 April

It was a long time since I had seen him and he started out kind of at the same time as Sean Hughes.  I used to live next door to him as a student in Glasgow.  He had a show called Phil Kay Feels which was hilarious a bit like Sean’s Show.  It was the 90s and everything was all a bit darker, less slick then before comedy became comfortable and sold out arenas.  Sometimes I feel like it reflects what’s happened to music.

Anyway, I have decided to turn one of Sean’s poems into a song which nobody will want to listen to except me.  It’s called The beautiful girl stops dancing from his book of poems ‘My Struggle to be decent and Poems of Sadness and Light’.  He signed the book:

Dear Leslie

Lots of Love

From Sean Hughes

It was …dedicated to all i walk among …that’s why I felt I could turn his words to a song.

It didn’t matter he got my name wrong.

I am dreading the winter.  I am so dreading it that I have booked a ticket to Rome for two nights only to see Nick Cave on the credit card.  I can’t wait.

Roma Arco di Setimio Severo (unmarked) Spedisci Qualita

Roma Arco di Setimio Severo (unmarked) Spedisci Qualita

As a footnote, I have to be a bit more resourceful with my ephemera collecting. it genuinely cheers me up no end when I discover not only a photograph like this one not on the internet but also discover something about someone who I have seen in films such as Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945) and The Spiral Staircase (1946) but knew so little about.  This remarkable actress and singer Rhonda Fleming is 94 and still lives in California. Aside from her film career she does a huge amount of charity work .  And she never gave up on marriage marrying six times!  She is known as the ‘Queen of Technicolor’.  This really reminds me of the colours of this time of year.  Hail to this wonderful Queen and philanthropist.

Film Review by F. Maurice Speed 1953-54

Rhonda Fleming ‘Queen of Technicolor’ in Film Review by F. Maurice Speed 1953-54

If you love old films and old film music do check out www.mrdemillefm.com.  It’s addictive listening from Mr Cornwell who sure does know his stuff.

So Happy Halloween….

Lettie with the supremely talented animator Kevin Baldwin

Lettie with the supremely talented animator Kevin Baldwin

Happy Guy Fawkes Night…

Caught In The Act Neal Mistley

Caught In The Act Neal Mistley

Good luck…

March 20 1933 dear Madie I am so sorry I am a day late wishing you many happy returns...

March 20 1933 dear Madie I am so sorry I am a day late wishing you many happy returns…

And the fashion predictions for this season are…

Norman Linton slimosizes 40-60 HIPS Autumn - Winter 1966

Norman Linton slimosizes 40-60 HIPS Autumn – Winter 1966

Here’s Ladder from If?

Until December…

xxx

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If? Coming Soon!

Theme from A Summer Place Music by Max Steiner 1959

Theme from A Summer Place Music by Max Steiner 1959

I will start releasing ‘If?’ in the next few weeks. I will accompany each of the songs with a video.  I have also been doing some writing and vocals for my writing partner in America, David Baron.  One was specifically written in the light of recent tragic events.

Estrella Soler Espana unmarked

Estrella Soler Espana unmarked

These films were filmed everywhere; at work, at my last home, in Spain, Mexico, Italy, Berlin, London and Suffolk.  Also there is some mysterious 16mm home films I got transferred.  I’m always hoping I’m going to find an old Chaplin film that no one has ever seen and make a fortune!

On the back 'Floating Ball Trick'

On the back ‘Floating Ball Trick’

In regards to the stuff I’ve found here’s a photograph I can’t find anywhere.  I try to post only original images that I’ve scanned. Nadia Gray was in La Dolce Vita amongst other things and originally was from Romania.  I think it captures a coquettishness!  Perhaps it captures some of an ‘if’ possibility!

Nadia Gray from Film Review F Maurice Speed 1952.1953

Nadia Gray from Film Review F Maurice Speed 1952.1953

My big trip away so far since Spring was to Liverpool.  I stayed at the Adelphi Hotel the most haunted hotel in Great Britain!

Britannia Adelphi Hotel Lobby Postcard

Britannia Adelphi Hotel Lobby Postcard

I was taking photos in the lobby but I didn’t realise it was until this man came up to me, a Narcotics Anonymous Conference.  The strangest thing happened you see.  This little boy came up to me in this room and kept pointing.  He couldn’t speak very well but it was as though he saw someone there.

When his Dad appeared and I told him this he said that his boy sees his grandmother all the time (he was born 3 days after she passed away).

Side room off the lobby of the Adelphi Hotel

Side room off the lobby of the Adelphi Hotel where little boy saw something

There was something about this hotel and I spoke to an employee and he said they all hear voices and whispers.  It used to be very upmarket and grand and was in Bob Dylan’s film Don’t Look Back.  Roy Rogers and even his horse Trigger stayed there. It’s glory days are quite hard to imagine now!  I love hotels because I used to work in them as a chambermaid.  There’s something so decadent and otherworldly about them.  I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Jean Moreau who was in Bunuel’s film Diary of a Chambermaid.  Not only was she one of my favourite actresses but all the films she appeared in are up there in my top films ever including Lift to the Scaffold and the wonderful Jules et Jim.

Lettie at the Adelphi Hotel

Lettie post gig 3am at the Adelphi Hotel May 2017 trying to catch out a ghost on her camera

Adelphi Hotel Dining Room

Adelphi Hotel Dining Room May 2017

I was there was to see John Cale.

John Cale in Liverpool 26 May 2017

John Cale in Liverpool 26 May 2017

It was a huge deal to meet him afterwards although I couldn’t make any words make sense and mumbled ‘Songs for Drella’ (one of my favourite albums) which was not that cool.  The gig was to honour the Velvet Underground & Nico.  There were lots of great performers that night.  They included The Kills, Nadine Shah, Clinic and Gruff Rhys all of whom I know but couldn’t tell who was on when perhaps because I was too far back. I had to go back to Clarence Dock the next day and took some photographs.  The sheer scale of these buildings was extraordinary.

Down by the docks Liverpool

Down by the docks Liverpool

Old Tabacco factory Liverpool May 2017

Old Tabacco factory Liverpool May 2017

Clarence Dock Liverpool May 2017

Clarence Dock Liverpool May 2017

Back streets of Liverpool

The Old Docks of Liverpool May 2017

Lettie down by Clarence Dock May 2017

Lettie down by Clarence Dock May 2017

 

Liverpool tunnels

Liverpool tunnels

I went down the Williamson Tunnels as soon as I arrived.  A man who couldn’t stop digging tunnels under Liverpool in the early 19th century.  I was taken on a tour all by myself with a hard hat! The entrance is in Edge Hill underneath student halls of residence.

Merseyside Valentine's Post Card G2750

Merseyside Valentine’s Post Card G2750

Apart from tunnels, Liverpool is all about the docks and ships.  You feel it as you walk around.  The ships that brought great wealth, part of an empire that is almost impossible to comprehend….

 

The terrible past as horrifically laid out in the International Slavery Museum.  Freed slaves and sailors actually did settle in Liverpool at the end of the 18th century.  It was the oldest black community in Europe.

Later the ships carried hopes and dreams across to America…

Holidays before planes….

Cunard from the Merseyside Maritime Museum Liverpool May 2017

Cunard from the Merseyside Maritime Museum Liverpool May 2017

Cunard White Star 'Queen Elizabeth'jpeg

Cunard White Star ‘Queen Elizabeth’

Programme for to-day Cunard

Programme for to-day Cunard

Unmarked photograph

Unmarked photograph

I have been thinking about summer holidays and I do wonder whether the weather in Bournemouth was ever this hot because if it is going to be scorchio in August I’m getting out my bikini and heading to the coast!

From Bournemouth the premier resort in the country

From Bournemouth the premier resort in the country

From Bournemouth no publisher the premier resort in the country

From Bournemouth no publisher the premier resort in the country

From Bournemouth Enterintainment section the premier resort in the country

From Bournemouth Entertainment section the premier resort in the country

From Bournemouth Enterintainment the premier resort in the country

I do miss Italy and the sight of the volcanos. This is a postcard (below) that is actually a record but I don’t have a record player.  I think it’s some traditional song from Naples.

Napoli Mergellina Harbour Funiculi Funicula di Turco Denza canta Corrado Lojacono

Napoli Mergellina Harbour Funiculi Funicula di Turco Denza canta Corrado Lojacono

I do hope that the music has an onward journey.   It seems to me that sometimes songs take years and I am very happy that a film called The Victorians are using ‘Hang On’.

x x x

 

'Reconciliation' Catholic Cathedral Liverpool

‘Reconciliation’ Catholic Cathedral Liverpool

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