• Thom Rowlands

Chicken & egg

“è troppo grande!" Said C, a recent arrival at Bridgeside Lodge, in her native Italian. “It’s too big!” Ben Hazleton’s double bass certainly made an entrance to the second floor hallway of BSL on Friday morning. Within a few minutes, carer Gladys had everyone up and dancing as Ben slapped out a funky rhythm on the bass. A real party spirit! Residents M & G chose to watch calmly from the comfort of their armchairs. It’s a real boost for us in our work to have carers who help to get the residents involved with the music and why we consider the bond between The Spitz and the staff of BSL to be so crucial to the success of what we do. “How are you darling?” is such a lovely way to be greeted on a Friday morning and put a smile on my face.

We visited M in her room, she was in some distress but said she’d love to hear some music and asked if Ben knew The Swan from Saint Saens’ Carnival of the Animals. It’s on the list for next time! “Thank you” she said “it distracts me from the pain.” We witness heart-rending interactions like this often at BSL, but thankfully music is often a release, a tonic to so many of life’s physical and mental pains and stresses. Resident G loves to dance in her bed, and to sing along, by way of “La’s, Ah’s & Dah’s” to whatever music is being played. Today she conducted Ben with her voice and her arm, with Ben skilfully mimicking her movement in sound, plucking the strings or bowing, playing high and playing low as the conductor directed. A glorious, wordless collaboration.

On the ground floor we hung out with AK who asked about the history and genesis of the double bass, “why doesn’t it have frets like a guitar?” His son is learning guitar and is discovering classic rock through his lessons, “rather than learning to play songs he knows, like I did as a kid”. An interesting chicken and egg scenario of musical discovery. We visited NJ - BSL’s resident leg drummer. We’re currently recording an album of songs written in collaboration with BSL residents and Ben suggested that perhaps NJ should lay down some percussion on some of the tracks. “What a fine machine!” NJ exclaimed when he saw Ben’s bass, he talked about how it was able to “colour any scenario” such a beautiful way to describe the versatility of the instrument.

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The Spitz Charitable Trust 

Charity Number 1155033