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16 October 2014

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Anne's Song

By Stephen Lloyd
November 2004, Wrexham
A digital story from Capture Wales

Post war paradise

1950s Wales - Stephen pays homage to his old 78 gramophone and the artist who sang one of his favourite songs.

"Ours was the only house in the village without electricity. The village was called Lodge - a remarkably green place considering it nestled beneath the fiery cauldron of Brymbo Steelworks.

There was very little by way of entertainment in our house - we had a battery-operated wireless for a while; it was second-hand and never worked properly. It died soon after it arrived.

In the early 1950s when I was about ten, we acquired a wind-up gramophone with a broken spring, along with with two records: Nelson Eddy singing "Stout-Hearted Men" and Anne Shelton singing "Begin the Beguine" with Ambrose and His Orchestra, which she recorded when she was only 16.

Not to be beaten by the broken spring, I learned to turn the records with my fingertips, and music would come out of the gramophone's sound-box as I became expert at maintaining a speed of roughly 78 R.P.M. I even gave record recitals at my auntie's house on Saturday nights, until that dreadful day when me and my gramophone were ousted by my cousin's brand new electric record player, which taunted me with its rexine covering and automatic record-changer. It could even play 45s and LPs.

Years later, the fingers that spun the records are holding a drumstick - I have become a good drummer and often work with famous people. I'm on stage with a fine pianist and a double-bass player, and a lady is singing to a large audience - a lovely lady in a long black dress. She is Anne Shelton. When she sings "Begin the Beguine" I'm close to tears. "

Stephen Lloyd

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in a small village near Wrexham, North Wales in 1943. I used to be a professional drummer, and now I have a shop in Chester that sells violins. I feel that my drumming days are almost over, although I still play for lots of amateur stage productions in the Wrexham, Chester and Mold areas. I want to spend the rest of my life being as creative as possible.

What's your story about?
Me - from a time in my life when I was very young and we had very little (not even electricity in my house) to a much later time when I used to play drums with famous people. It focuses on one performer in particular, because there was a special story to tell about how something from my childhood, became a special, treasured moment because of this performer.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
Because of how it links my childhood and adult life in a very special way.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
To see the finished film being something beyond my expectations. This is because every idea I had, was turned into reality by the very clever and helpful 'Capture Wales' team. They were able to take my ideas and take them into another dimension with their expertise and creativity.

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