30
May

It’s National xxxx Day …

Whilst perusing the internet for hoover reviews, ours is heading for that big dust bowl in the sky, a pop up advert appeared on the screen letting me know that tomorrow is National Water A Flower Day, I’m thinking whilst the one flower you choose would enjoy being picked – no scrub that… would be touched by your thoughtfulness, all the other flowers might be quite irritated not to mention thirsty.

I think it must be an American thing as is National Mint Julep Day (all for that), National Hole In My Bucket Day (not brilliant if you are partaking in Water A Flower Day) May 30th is also National Senior Health and Fitness Day and National Smile Day.

Yesterday was National Paperclip Day, sounds a bit un-necessary however apparently back in 1940, Hitler tried to break past the Allied blockade of Germany by occupying Norway (despite the fact Norway had declared themselves neutral) The Germans did their best to replace Norwegian culture with Nazi ideals.  Students at Oslo University started wearing paperclips on their lapels to symbolise resistance, and sticking together.

May 29th is also National Coq Au Vin Day although in my experience it takes longer than a day as people generally marinade the bird for 24 hours maybe they need to upgrade to a week or a bank holiday weekend.

Friday is not only National Doughnut Day but National Hazelnut Cake Day too (whatever that is) but should you find these sweets sticking in one’s craw, fear not because it’s also National Heimlich Manoeuvre Day – so that’s handy.  If confectionary and abdominal thrusts aren’t your style you could try observing National Go Barefoot Day or National Nail Polish Day or National Leave The Office Early Day presumably more than 5 minutes after you arrive.

There are literally 100’s of US national days in fact more than 1500.  I could think of a few I’d like to introduce whilst waiting for British Pie Week to roll around again next March.   June 10th National Eat An Entire Christmas Pudding With Brandy Butter And Cream On Your Own Day.   July 1st National Force Every Radio Station in the World To Play Jazz and Big Band Records All Day Day.  October 19thNational Go See A Gig With Real Live Musicians Playing Real Live Music Day and finally August 27th National Beer and Crisps Aren’t Actually Fattening And Neither Are Chips Day.

16
May

Leeds Town Hall: 160 years of history

At the end of next month we take our Big Mini Big Band to play at the beautiful town hall in Leeds, it’ll be our first visit since the brilliant culmination concert of the BBC Radio Leeds community Big Band Project back in October 2012 featuring special guests Gregory Porter and Olly Murs.

The plan to construct a large public hall in Leeds was first agreed in July 1850, the council proposed it should be financed by selling shares in the building to the tune of £10, around £1300 in today’s money, but times were tough and little interest was shown.  The decision to fund the build by other means was passed a year later and in 1852 Leeds corporation held an open competition for architects to put forward their designs.

The contract was won by 29 year old Cuthbert Broderick a young chap from Hull who had travelled all over Europe in his early 20’s admiring the architecture whislt enjoying a gap year or two.  Understandably the committee had initial reservations about the capabilities of such a young unknown, so added a clause to his contract stating he wouldn’t receive a penny over the accepted building estimate of £39,000 approx. £5.25 million today.

During it’s troubled construction the design was modified and or altered many times, most controversially by the suggested inclusion of a tower originally costed at an additional £6k.  Those in favour dreamed of the Continental associations of an impressive and grand town hall.  Those against argued that “A tower would cost money and would only be good to look at, not to use.” Maybe the inclusion of the clock and bell helped remedy that argument as few had watches at that time.

As you’d expect plans for the town hall’s opening had to be made well in advance so much so, the clock tower had yet to be completed by the time Queen Victoria and Prince Albert arrived at Leeds station on the 6th September 1858, met by an estimated crowd of half a million plus. They stayed overnight at the mayor’s gaff, he must have put on a nice spread as she knighted him next day on her way to open the Town Hall.

I shall think of this and all the historic events that have taken place within her walls over the last 160 years as we set up for our concert on 30th June.