Wednesday, August 09, 2017

ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN...

Franquin surrounded by his fans

Krupa in full fllght
Rodney on the drums
"The Starbrites"....the band in which Rodney was the drummer

Beautiful though it is, I don’t need to be lulled into unconsciousness by the gentle sounds of your famous “Moonlight Sonata”, Ludwig; then again perhaps I do.   

While making a cup of coffee a moment ago, I knocked the mug with my elbow. Of course, the coffee went off course, going everywhere except where it was meant to go; not a good way to start the day. Uttering an appropriate word or three towards my wayward elbow, my upturned coffee mug and innocent coffee machine to express my annoyance, I mopped up the mess. 

The words helped...Remy and Shama didn’t.  As always they both opened an eye, shrugged their shoulders in unison, and then promptly went back to sleep.

Following my practice run at coffee making, I repeated the exercise minus the coffee spilling, and minus the expressive words.  Once more calm settled over the place as peace descended. 

That is, of course, until milk boiled over on the stove.  The telephone rang.  It was a call coming all the way from The Philippines or somewhere similar, from a long-lost relative who was never on the family tree in the first place; wrong tree; wrong family. The caller rang in the hope of becoming a beneficiary of my non-existent spare funds.   

I gave her short-shift; and not only because the milk was boiling over!  I was about to tell her to call Nigeria, but I had to fly post haste to the stove.  I didn’t cry over spilled milk, though.  It saved me from revealing my true feelings to the caller.  She was let off lightly....this time.  I deserve a commendation for the controlled restraint I employed.

I’ve told few others the following story.  To my own surprise, here I am, rolling over, relating it to the world. Maybe it’s my “Go tell it on the mountain” moment.

After you’ve read the following, please divulge the details to no one. Virtually tear this up, put it in your mouth; chew, and then swallow.  It’s just a passing tale.

When my late brother, Graham and I were kids our Nana took us to see the then highly-acclaimed, entertaining stage hypnotist “Franquin”.  The debonair Franquin, born in 1914, in Christchurch, New Zealand came across The Ditch to settle in this country in the 1950.

Franquin achieved fame in Australia and overseas throughout the Fifties before retiring to Queensland in 1968. It was the first, and probably only time, the renowned hypnotist performed his craft at a Gympie venue.

I was a fairly shy child -some would say that is difficult to believe, I know – I also know me better than anyone else knows me.  However, on that night, to everyone’s amazement, including my own, when the mighty Franquin asked for volunteers, before Nana had time to stop me, up to the stage I scampered without a backward glance; no egging on needed.  

Once under Franquin’s spell, I belted out a silent rhythm on an invisible drum set. Keeping with the beat, others in the makeshift band played their instruments of choice.

I’ve mentioned previously I love drums.  I’ve always loved drums. As a child I had a glossy, black and white photo of the legendary Gene Krupa on my bedroom wall.  

My first massive crush - on a "real" person...not a film or music star - crushed down on me at the tender age of 15.  At the time, I was still a high school student when the crush hit with a bang – and it lasted for a few years.  

The object of my affection and admiration, from afar, was on a young man...a very handsome young man with thick black hair and eyes like Tony Curtis.  Rodney was his name.  Rodney was not only handsome, but he was also a brilliant drummer.  Every time I saw him and when I heard him play the drums, he may not have missed the beat, but my heart certainly did!  

(Just this past week an old friend of mine sent me two CDS she'd burned.  One is a solo drumming performance by Rodney...and the other is of the band in which he was a member back in the early to mid-Sixties - "The Starbrites".   The CDs remind what a brilliant drummer Rodney really was.  And, I don't say this lightly.  Tears filled my eyes and overflowed when I've played them - I' ve played them often since receipt.  I've never denied I'm a softie at heart...and, I'm not ashamed to admit to being so. Of late my emotions have been pretty raw...in more ways than one! Both CDs are reminders of a wonderful time in my life.  Sadly, Rodney passed away in 2002.  Only one member of "The Starbrites" is still alive... he and I are in regular email contact).

Apparently, from my display on the stage of the Soldiers’ Hall in Gympie when I was around the age of 11 years, even under hypnosis I loved drums; a love so true, so real - subconscious and conscious.

On that fateful evening Franquin put us innocents who dared set foot on the stage in a coma with Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” playing in the background.  It was also the melody we heard upon waking. 

I might still be vulnerable.  Slightly nervous, I’m always fearful one day it’ll be background music when I’m out and about.  If I’m spotted waving my hands, arms and head around in an out of control manner when walking along our local supermarket aisles, I hope the other shoppers ignore me. 

I won’t be choking, nor will I be having a fit.  “Moonlight Sonata” most likely will be playing through the store’s system, and I’ve succumbed to the spell once again.

I’ll come out of it...eventually...

Kumara-Feta Rolls: Cut 1kg kumara into 2cm pieces; finely chop 1 onion. Bake separately on lined trays at 180C, 30-40mins until softened; cool. Roast 1/2c walnuts, 5mins; cool; chop. Increase oven to 200C. Lightly crush kumara; add onion, 200g crumbled feta, walnuts, 1/2tsp finely chopped rosemary and pinch of cinnamon. Using 2 sheets just thawed puff pastry, cut sheets in half. Place ¼ of mix in log shape along one long edge; brush opposite edge with lightly beaten egg; roll up to enclose; cut each roll into 3 pieces; place seam-side down on trays; repeat process. Brush pastry with egg; sprinkle with sesame seeds; bake 25-30mins. Serve with garlic yoghurt and/or chilli sauce.

Avocado-Bacon Egg Rolls: Slice 2 large avocados; drizzle with lime/lemon juice; sprinkle with salt. Heat 5cm oil in  pan. Place 1tbs flour in bowl; add water to make watery paste.  Using 12-14 egg roll wrappers, place 1 wrapper on work surface; with one corner pointing towards you, form a diamond; lay ½ a slice of mild cheese in middle; lay 1 slice of avo on top; then 1 slice of cooked bacon; add another avo slice. Fold wrapper over stack; tightly roll up egg roll nearly all the way; dab a bit of flour mixture on corner at top to seal; repeat. Cook in hot oil until golden; drain; serve with dip of choice.

Sweet Sicilian Rolls: Mix 270g flour with 2tbs sugar, 2tsp cocoa and 1 egg; mix by hand. Add 55g softened butter and a little sweet white wine. Knead until a workable dough. Wrap in foil; chill 2hrs. Dust bench with flour; roll out dough. Using a cookie cutter cut out circles in the dough. Brush circles edges with beaten egg white; wrap each circle around a metal cylinder-shaped object brushed with oil. Fry rolls in hot oil until dough is crispy. Or bake at 175C for 15-20mins. Put rolls on a kitchen paper; carefully remove cylinders. Cream: Finely chop 110g candied fruits. Grate 110g cooking chocolate. Beat 455g ricotta or cottage cheese and 270g icing sugar; add candied fruits and chocolate. Put into pastry bag; fill rolls. Decorate with candied orange peels.


28 comments:

  1. So you really believe you were hypnotised? I am guessing Franquin was not his real name, it sounds rather too like Tarquin to me. Moonlight Sonata was the first proper music I learnt to play on the piano, but it too has long being forgotten. Drummers are very important in bands yet they are often stuck at the back.

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    1. Hi Andrew..."Franquin" was born Patrick Francis Quinn. And, yes...as I was the subject in this tale...I do and have always believed I was under hypnosis. Whether you think Franquin was a douche bag or not, really is of no consequence! lol

      I had piano lessons for five years...and at one stage in my life could play the Moonlight Sonata,unaccompanied by drums...I can't multi-task that well....but I can no longer play the piano, the sonata or the drums!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  2. Even my largely non musical self can see/feel/hear the lure of a good strong drum beat.
    I am tired of spam callers. Particularly those where it is obvious that English is not the first language but they tell you their first name is Fred or Jane. I have taken to asking them to put their concerns in writing and hanging up.

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    1. Hey there, EC....I'm not always so polite when I receive such calls! The phone ringing at any given time annoys me...and when one of those clowns are on the other end, I can't be held responsible for my manner! A few times when they've asked me by name, I've told them..."I'm sorry...she passed away a few days ago!" That shuts them up pretty quickly!:)

      Would you believe it? I just received such a call!!!!!!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  3. I'm fairly sure any hypnotist worth his salt wouldn't have left you susceptible to drumming every time you heard that particular music.
    On the other hand, go! Drum!
    Drums are the best, I love them too.
    Like Meatloaf says "let the drummer tell your heart what to do"

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    1. That is true, River...I am jesting. :)

      There's something so very exciting about drums....they get my heart a-pumping!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  4. I'm playing the 'Moonlight' now, are you drumming...?

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    1. I am, Mr. Ad-Man....so you're the who is to blame! I can't stop the beat!

      I don't know whether to thank you or not! :)

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  5. Rodney was a looker! I could see having that crush on he and also Gene Krupa (who I know from old black and white movies.) I could just see you playing the air drums on that stage - good for you for getting up there and doing it!

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    1. Ahh, yes, Lynn...Rodney certainly was a looker. :)

      I laugh every time I remember that night when I was a little kid. I don't know how I gathered the courage to go up on that stage...but there I was! lol

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  6. A hypnotist came to our high school and invited a group to the stage. He told me to go back to my seat because I could not be hypnotized. I've always wondered why he picked me out of everyone else.

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  7. Your rolls look delicious! I'm sure they also taste great, especially to those who don't have to count calories.
    Beethoven and his music are and will always be an inspiration. It goes well with life's reminiscences such as yours: the hypnotist, the drummer, your first crush...

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  8. I tried once to be hypnotized to lose weight - didn't work. I hate days when I spill - seems when I have one spill I have multiple ones. Like the information on the old band. And love the food too! LOve, sandie

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    1. Hey there, Sandie...that was the only time I've been hypnotised...perhaps I was more susceptible because was was a child....I really don't know...but it worked that night!

      Thanks for coming by...it's good to see you, as always. :)

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  9. Rodney on the drums was a 'pretty boy' indeed. Drum on.

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    1. Hi Delores...Rodney certainly was....and he was a lovely fellow, too. We had a crush on each other...love unrequited...love from afar. Dammit!! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  10. I don't know why. when I saw that fourth panel I said to myself "Gene Krupa". I don't remember ever being a fan, only that he was popular and I knew who he was then. Who knows how time and memory work?

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    1. G'day, Goatman...nice to see you...it's been a while! :)

      Krupa was a superb drummer....he was the one who brought everyone's attention to the drums. He was a flamboyant drummer...he was a brilliant drummer. The legendary 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert is part of musical history. Krupa was a member of the Benny Goodman Band. When Goodman swung into "Sing, Sing, Sing" and played his solo with Krupa playing "tom-toms" in the background, the crowd was in awe...and then Jess Stacy took over with his piano solo...and then to really set the set in stone...Krupa broke forth with his own drum solo. "Sing, Sing, Sing" extended to over 12 minutes playing time. The audience went wild...and for the first time ever, they were up dancing in the aisles. Carnegie Hall was never the same again. :)

      I still have the LP of that wonderful 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert by the Benny Goodman Band. The concert may have been a few years before I was born, but I've always loved the music, the jazz of those magical era.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  11. Lee ... I always enjoy your posts, they are such a great mix of things.
    Scam / spam callers are so tiresome ...
    Your recipes read very Yummy! Lots of ingredients I like, thank you.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Hey Jan...I try, usually, to keep my posts on the bright side...where possible. I'm glad you enjoy reading them.

      I hope you enjoy the recipes, too...thanks for coming by. :)

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  12. I have wondered what being hypnotized would be like. Of course, I would believe That it would not really work on me.

    I never answer the phone if I do not recognize the number calling. I am grateful for caller ID.

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    1. Hi Arleen...one never knows how one will react about or to anything until placed in the situation. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  13. nice memories Lee. I used to have a crush on Shirley MacLaine. It's going back a long time. though. When the whole world was in black and white. A golden era sadly no longer with us but it was great reading about it.

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    1. G'day, Treey!

      MacLaine brought a certain cheekiness to her roles...something new to the screen back in those days.

      Coincidentally, I'm in the midst of writing a tale at present - I started writing it yesterday, and haven't gotten far at this point in time - and mention of MacLaine in her role as "Irma La Douce" will be made therein!

      Thanks for coming by. I often wish I had a time machine.I don't dwell on the past, but I sure as hell would enjoy re-visiting it in person once in a while! :)

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  14. if I do not recognize the number calling. I am grateful for caller ID.


    การ์ตูนโป๊, jav

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    1. Annoying calls are very annoying roth! Thanks for coming by. :)

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  15. I don't believe it! I was toying with what to play this morning (on CD I don't have that talent!)and decided against the Moonlight and chose the Appassionata instead.

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    1. Great minds, Graham!! Thanks for coming by. :)

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