Phil Richardson

 

Instrument  Eb Bass
Playing Career
I started my playing career with Amington Band – my home village. I was taught to play by Roland Davis who had played for and conducted the band from the 1920s. Amington had played in the British Open on a number of occasions where they gained third back in 1933.The band always played round the village on Christmas Day and that was an event we anticipated as kids so when the opportunity came in 1960 my sister, brother & I joined the band along with around 60 other youngsters. I started on cornet but within a short time moved to Baritone.

I played through to 2000 with a break in the mid 70s-early 80s for life outside banding. In 1974 we gained 2nd place (4th section) at the Wills finals under Bernard (blow the bungering thing)Springett. I am amazed how expletives could be expressed without using the “F” word in those days – Roland Davis’ favourite was “what are you doing -you fried piecan”.

From 1985 to 1987 we won 4th, 3rd and 2nd section areas in consecutive years under Allan Morris (always in his debt) to land in the Championship Section. Highlight of that period was 4th section finals in the Royal Albert Hall where we got 2nd – it took a week or so to come back down to earth after that. In the same period we qualified each year for Pontins finals with a win in 2nd section qualifier in 1987 and 3rd places in the finals in 1986 – 3rd section and 1987 – 2nd section.

1992/93 we again qualified for finals with a 2nd and a 1st in consecutive areas in 2nd section under Mick Gernon and following that we enjoyed the odd success, particularly in entertainment contests, with Dave Hutchinson. I was sad to leave the band in 2000 to move to a job in Bath.

I joined Bristol East in 2001 until 2006. Some great park jobs including Bath, Bournemouth and Weston Super Mare brought back youthful memories – we could be out every summer weekend at some Midland park in the 1960s and 70s. Places like Wolverhampton and Walsall may not quite conjour up the images of those aforementioned venues – sandy beaches and period architecture apart there is “very little difference”.

I joined Shrewton in 2012 – a true village band. I enjoy the friendly atmosphere and hopefully some of those historic successes will be repeated here.

phil
Favourite Music
Le Corsair – first experience of a real, “hit ‘em between the eyes” performance from City of Coventry in the area contest at de Montfort Hall conducted by Albert Chappell under whom I had the pleasure of playing in 1974 in  3rd section area.I have fond memories of playing Land of the Long White Cloud(Aotearoa) and Variations on the Shining River, a piece which just seemed to end in mid-sentence leaving me wondering why beautiful music had been cut so unkindly short. Was Mr Rubbra told to stop at 9 minutes just as he was getting going? Also Pageantry, A Malvern Suite and Year of the Dragon all provoke wonderful musical memories and Peter Graham’s arrangement of How Great Thou Art is superb.

I enjoy almost all types of music, particularly minimalism – Music for 18 musicians & Clapping Music(Steve Reich), Music for Powaqqatsi(Philip Glass) Nixon in China (John Adams), each of whom I have been able to see in live performance, Tubular bells & Songs of Distant Earth – Mike Oldfield and the gorgeous Speigl im Speigl by Aarvo Part. Apart from anything else these provide ideal rhythms and sensations to distract and complement the loneliness of the long distance runner.  Time after time. Golden Brown, The River Man……….-

A proviso – it is said that every piece of music needs to be “played” but there are some (which shall remain nameless) that make me wonder – “why?”

Other Stuff…
I got hooked on running in my sabbatical from banding and kept it up ever since to a greater or (now) lesser extent and love swimming – to an accountant  – an hour or so of lengths – never boring.

Walking (particularly in the Lake District), Photography, films and live classical concerts are my passions –Pirates of The Caribbean with live orchestra in the Royal Albert Hall, New Year’s day Strauss concert in Poole with the BSO and Taverner in Salisbury Cathedral amongst others – plus Prom concerts of Copland, Shostakovich, Reich, Walton & Vaughan Williams to come.

I support West Bromwich Albion and through the 60s and 70s travelled home and away. I saw a couple of 1966 world cup matches at Villa Park but was banding at a garden fete(2nd Baritone player went to Wembley for all the England matches so I was on my own that day – b****y Villa fan) whilst the final was being played and so missed the 2nd greatest footballing triumph of my time. Fortunately I was at the 1968 cup final to see the 1st.  I guess at some stage however my dad’s words rang in my head – “I’m not going to the Albion any more – they didn’t come to see me when I was bad”.

Bath Rugby sees more of me than the Albion these days.

Random

  • My answer when the question baffles me is “42”.
  • Take a look at YouTube – Lee Marvin & Angie Dickinson in Clapping(should be slapping) Music – I find it demonstrates rhythm and excites humour in equal measure – the ending  is just perfect.

Pet hates – Manchester United and poor parking.

Banding Memories

Apart from the great people, contest successes, super concerts and spine-tingling moments in rehearsal I cannot think of anything else. Except :

In 1966 the band took part in filming overnight from 10 pm to 5 am at Birmingham City’s (Who?) St Andrews – the film was “Privilege” starring Paul Jones and Jean Shrimpton – no one has ever seen or heard of it. It could have been far better had they left in the “Chaplinesque” scene where our bass drummer marching in the centre of two side drummers couldn’t decide which way to split and literally went off the rails – falling head over heels over the mobile camera track – “Take 2”.

I had a great time on a three week trip to China where Jen’s mother sang in a choir which practiced at 5.30(am) every day outside on the local hillside in the open air (it was Summer). When the small group of supporting musicians discovered that I played they found a baritone for me – a couple of weeks of early morning rehearsals certainly start of the day on the right note. I had to work out my notes from the slide positions of the trombone player because there was no music and the songs were traditional Chinese.

Brighouse (always my favourites) winning the National in 1998(again) – I was praying for nothing to go wrong from around 10 minutes into what was to me musical perfection – I couldn’t hold back a few tears at the end.

Brass Summer School at Sedburgh – my idea of heaven – rehearsals morning and evening, hill runs in the afternoon with a swimming pool to cool down and good company in the bar at night.

Along with some of the other band members, I went down the last local coal mine just before it closed on a visit organised by one of our players who worked there. We were a colliery band so it was a great but sobering experience to realise that this was the end of an era and of part of our heritage.

Love the whole day in October at RAH – the early morning train – an Autumn walk from Paddington across Hyde Park, the 8 hours of competition, the anticipation of that one outstanding performance. One downer – the end of day short concert – just seems to detract from the experience.

Best performance and most emotional experience ever at the funeral of our cornet player Brian Goldsmith, a life tragically cut short – ex marine and part of our superb front row – the band excelled on that day.

The few occasions when I have walked off a contest stage knowing that we have given the best performance possible have been few and far between but those are times that have made all the years of banding worthwhile.

PS

I have made (and lost) some good friends in my banding life. I thank them all for the pleasure they have helped me to enjoy.