• Ursula Sagar

From the 20s to the 60s!

Musicians: Laurence Corns (guitar and vocals) and Paddy Milner (piano and vocals)

The residents were out in force today as the weather held out for a lovely afternoon of music in the garden of Bridgeside Lodge, with the wonderful Laurence Corns, a regular at Spitz, and the formidable Paddy Milner. Paddy's one of the country's most respected blues and boogie-woogie pianists and leads the house blues band at Ronnie Scott's, as well as playing for Tom Jones, so we knew we were in for a treat!

Laurence kicked us off with a gypsy swing classic he’d appropriately renamed Coffee and Bagels, having just upended his espresso over his otherwise beautifully dapper suit, which raised a lot of laughs. Residents A, H and B were ready and waiting for kick-off, and soon Sh, recently arrived at BSL, joined Tanya for a boogie on the lawn! Hot on their heels came a steady flow of listeners including music-lovers Gerard and Sarah, who told us they were excited to hear the songs they'd composed with Laurence and Arthur in recent months. The boys covered a really wide range of repertoire from ‘20s to ‘60s and everything in between, with Paddy’s sparkling finger-twisters and Laurence’s beautiful singing and scatting rewarded with loud applause from both sides of the canal.

I spent a lovely hour with G, and her son D who told us he'd rarely seen her so animated. G has a speech disorder and it was remarkable to see how her vocabulary had improved as we sang along with the lyrics of a full verse of I Got Rhythm, unthinkable a few months ago. D wrote a series of words in coloured pens for her to copy, and she added one of her own, 'love', which she showed us with a cheeky wink. Residents A and E.J told us how in their twenties they would go dancing every Saturday night at Shoreditch Town Hall to tunes like those playing now. We chatted about A's huge LP collection and I couldn't agree more when he said he believed these songs would last forever – that “it’s music which keeps us all going right now”. Afterwards many of the guests came up to thank the band for their lovely playing, and A told me if he were courting me he’d be doing it to this kind of music. It’s the most romantic thing I’ve heard all year!

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The Spitz Charitable Trust 

Charity Number 1155033