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The last chord... many times over

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Roy Noble Roy Noble | 08:15 UK time, Friday, 29 October 2010

Crotchets and quavers came up in abundance this past week. Music was in the air.

On the radio programme I mentioned that a German sausage producer plays Mozart and Beethoven while the sausages are being made. He swears that because of the lilting and uplifting ambience, the sausages are so much better quality.

Now, I've heard of cows giving more milk to a musical background, chickens laying more eggs and even vines producing better quality wine, but I'm not sure about sausages. Then again, if it works, don't knock it... there's more to heaven and earth than we fully understand.

Boyhood pals Berian Evans and Roy

Boyhood pals: Berian Evans and Roy

We had a visitor at Noble Towers to add interest over the past few days. Berian Evans, a lifelong friend of mine, originally from Brynaman but now of Perth Australia, stayed with us on his tour of relatives and friends in 'the Old Country'.

Berian is a professional musician, still playing the viola for the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra. For many years he was a violin player, of some note may I say. When he was about 12 he was selected as one of the youngest members of the Welsh National Youth Orchestra, and at 16 became one of the youngest leaders.

I remember his early flirtation with the violin. His parents were very strict about his practicing and he was one of the first boys I knew who wore prickly vests. The harsh linen concentrated his mind I suppose, keeping it on the musical straight and narrow, avoiding temptations that weakened the will.

I have always been jealous of musicians. I know I could have done something about it and taken up an instrument and it is never too late, so who knows?

Mind you, things mitigated against me sometimes. In the Brynaman Infants School percussion group, I was never let loose on the drum. It was always the triangle or tambourine for me.

The percussion group at Brynaman Infants School

The percussion group at Brynaman Infants School

Thinking back to the days in school, when they were looking for choir members for the combined schools choir at the National Eisteddfod at Ystradgynlais in the 1950s, it was Berian Evans himself who told the teacher that I got dizzy when I tried to reach high notes.

I was away ill, with measles, so I couldn't tell the teacher that Berian was talking through his knitted balaclava, which was just as prickly as his vest. His assessment was utter musical garbage, but the teacher still put me in the inter-school group recitation troupe instead.

Musical acumen did jump a generation in our family, because Noble Junior, our son Richard, did play the cello and performed in St. David's Hall, Cardiff, with the Mid-Glamorgan County Orchestra. He also went on to form a group, playing a bass guitar and being a lead singer.

So, deep down there must have been something hidden in the blood trying to get out for it does manifest itself in me on occasion. Give me four or five pints and I will give a passable rendering of Don Williams' I Recall A Gipsy Woman. Push me further with a malt whisky and Dean Martin's Little Ole Wine Drinker Me just flows out.


Roy Noble is bringing his famous storytelling skills to a computer near you as part of the BBC First Click Campaign - aimed at encouraging people to take their first steps to getting online. If you know somebody who needs help to get online, call the free BBC First Click advice line on 08000 150950.


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