An obvious indicator of getting older is people you know dying.
I realise that’s not a very happy way to start a column, but at a certain time of life - and I think I’m at it now - recognisable faces from throughout your days begin to grow fewer.
In his later years, my father used to ask if particular famous people were alive or dead.
That used to bother me; I always worried it might be a sign of Alzheimer’s. But I needn't have been concerned – it’s just growing older.
Because I now find myself occasionally wondering if someone well known, an actor for instance that I have watched for years, is still alive. Have they just not made a movie recently, or did I miss the obituary?
Therefore, before moving onto some upcoming gigs, I’d like to make quick mention of a couple of people who died this week. Both made a small but indelible impression on me.
Firstly, of course, a big swoop of the cowboy hat to the late, great Peter Posa. What a nice man! I didn't know him but have heard nothing but lovely stories from those who did.
In all honesty, I never really got into his style of guitar. Those bright ringing tones and cheerful melodies were very much of a different, gentler, more innocent time. I've come to appreciate the skill and ground-breaking nature of it now, but at the time I was more enamoured with Billy TK’s Hendrix-inspired improvisations with Human Instinct.
But each to their own.
Peter Posa achieved extraordinary things.
Check out the picture of him in Las Vegas with Frankie and Dino if you doubt it.
The other guy who died this week, who caused me a great deal of pleasure, was Andrew MacLachlan.
I suspect the vast majority of you don’t immediately recognise that name. Andrew MacLachlan was an actor who worked for more than 30 years in British television drama, film and theatre.
Still not ring a bell?
What if I said: “What’s so funny about Biggus Dickus?” That line will be instantly recognisable to lovers of Monty Python, and it was Andrew MacLachlan who played the guard in Life Of Brian, trying not to laugh as Michael Palin's lisping Pontius Pilate argues over “unusual” Roman names with John Cleese’s centurion.
Who would have thought that watching someone try not to laugh would be so funny? I've seen people watch that scene with tears of laughter rolling down their cheeks.
I've been one of them. So thanks, Andrew MacLachlan - laughter is a precious gift.
The Jam Factory
On to those upcoming shows, and I really wanted to mention The Jam Factory, part of arts hub The Incubator at The Historic Village. The Jam Factory is the venue Tauranga didn’t know it needed – respectable, user-friendly and really, really small.
Yes, The Jam Factory only holds 50 people. It’s not Carnegie Hall but, given the sheer number of concerts taking place there, it is exactly what was required.
In the past week alone they have hosted Paul Ubana Jones, harp player Maeve Gilchrist and a night of Indian music. This week there are acts from Wellington and Auckland - one jazz, one folk and both well worthwhile.
Unwind (Thursday, February 14, $20) is a stunning outfit of Wellington jazz royalty led by saxophonist Hayden Chisholm. The group play original jazz with an influence of chamber music, Indian raga and various folk styles.
Alongside Hayden are renowned bassist Paul Dyne, pianist and composer Norman Meehan and percussion master Julien Dyne.
They will most likely be sensational.
The following night (Friday, February 15, $20) things go folky with multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Sam Loveridge and trio Bonnie Strides.
Sam has played mandolin, fiddle and guitar with a ‘who’s who?’ of Auckland bands (Albi and the Wolves, Bernie Griffin, Gitbox et al) and now has a debut album, Clarity. Bonnie Strides’ sound revolves around harmony vocals, and their music has been described as “an intricate, diverse experience, here to take you through traditional-minded folk, Mumford and Sons-inspired indie-folk to something completely new.”
Find more details, check The Incubator website via: www.theincubator.co.nz