Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Jimmy Blades

David Hemmings was talking about the first night of Britten's Turn of The Screw, and how it didn't get any better than to be lying in the arms of the principal singer as the percussionist Jimmy Blades wound things up with a whumph whumph on the drums and I thought "Jimmy Blades! He came to our school once and gave a talk!"

It was a fabulous talk. There was something deliciously wicked and conspiratorial about James Blades (I know nothing about his personal life- I'm talking about his manner) and he left such an impression on me that decades later I put him in a poem....



The great percussionist James Blades

Lightly beat  his tiny gong

And the throb went round the panelled hall,

Building up to an all but unbearable

Yeatsian boom. “Now that’s what I did

On the soundtrack for Rank. The gong they show you-

Six foot across- which were it real

Would have had your brain draining out your nose-

Was actually made of papier- mache.”

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