Sunday, May 14, 2006

green park, elton & yemi 'coltrane' awopetu

Oh, to be in England
When spring is here *

Journeying into work, the change to the Victoria Line at Green Park Station would become impossible on some mornings, due to some problem or other on the London Underground. This would necessitate my coming out onto the street and walking through Green Park, past Buckingham Palace and the hundreds of tourists who seem to get there at the crack of dawn. Green Park itself is a delightful place to walk through - provided the weather's condusive. With the British weather however, this is hardly ever the case, and an unplanned walk through Green Park grappling with the (never big enough) umbrella can be the worst early downer on one's day. Happily, the weather was nice - Spring! - on April 12 when I was forced out of Green Park station yet again for another unscheduled walk. The park was lovely and even at around 9.30am, tourists were already busy photographing themselves. So I got in on the act, and photographed them (above).

Fast forward to Friday 12 May and the weather was hot hot hot! I was walking through narrow Allington Street SW1 at 6.40pm. Wedged between an overfilled pub with drinkers spiling into the street and more people milling opposite outside the Victoria Palace Theatre's Stage Door, it suddenly became quite difficult to pass. The reason? A luxury car had stopped in the middle of the one-way road with such impunity I was beginning to think: ah, when this is not Lagos! 2 double-decker buses were now held at a standstill behind the unhurried car. Then out popped Elton John and his husband David Furnish - the most celebrated 'married' couple in London in recent months - from the back seat. I did not have my camera with me to record the moment. But it wouldn't have helped anyhow, because Elton and spouse disappeared into the theatre faster than you could say: Rocket Man.

My copy of the Evening Standard later informed that it was the one year anniversary of Billy Elliot, the stage adaptation of the film about a boy who wanted to be a ballet dancer - hence Elton John's reason for being at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

Getting onto the platform in Victoria Station, I had to let the first tube train that came along pass on by, even though I was in a hurry to get home. The reason was a big poster ad on the wall facing onto the platform. Had to let the first train go so I could get a good look. Designed like a jazz album sleeve with nostalgic Blue Note tones, it showed a young black man in a pose reminiscent of John Coltrane. The accompanying words astounded me:

16 Years of Age
Yemi Awopetu
Award Winning Saxophonist from St Aloysious RC College, A State School in Islington.

Yemi Awopetu! I was proud.

The poster was in celebration of London's high achieving students. Hopefully, it should remain in situ long enough for me to capture the image with my camera.

* Paraphrasing Browning: Oh, to be in England / Now that April's here - Home Thoughts From Abroad.


Blogger Styl Council said...

Molara...Yes, please it would be great to see the image not being a regular user of the London Underground! How proud his parents must be!! Just the sort of publicity we need to encourage our youth into the less partonised arena of classical/ conduted music!!!

Incidently, my niece Ope, would be even more excited to hear read about Yemi... We were all shocked when she cautiously blurted out that what she wanted the most for her impending 10th birthday was a saxophone!!! I seriously had my doubts and even questioned her mother's generosity when her wish was granted...But 1year on, I can happily say that she's still loving the lessons and punishing our ears, but she's imporving day by day!

3:22 pm, May 15, 2006  
Anonymous mw said...

Football loving Ope and a saxophone! O pari.

3:27 pm, May 15, 2006  
Blogger St Antonym said...

God bless our young Coltranes.

And I love the sound of a little girl also going down that road. Fantastic!

3:38 pm, May 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! I just saw that poster at Victoria, this lunchtime and felt the same pride..and I had a camera on me...damn!...Shall look out for it elsewhere.


2:13 pm, May 23, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here you go


2:16 pm, May 23, 2006  
Anonymous Sam said...

i've seen some of the ads going aobut on the tube recently, but as an avid jazz fan, i found this one most intriguing [spelling?]. anyways here's some links i eventually got round to finding:
link 1 - guardian article
link 2 - DfES news
(hopefully the articles are still there when you are reading this comment)

10:16 pm, May 26, 2006  

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