24th February 2019 (The Wig and Conch)

In 1988 I went to a “Wig” party in North London wearing a lustrous blond creation borrowed from my friend Dave! An impromptu competition spontaneously developed as the night drew on – the hostess started awarding scores to her motley crew of mates for their hairpieces. Realising she needed some prizes, she began plucking random objects from her dad’s well-stocked mantelpiece of ornaments…..I was thrilled to be awarded  2ndprize, and loved my reward of a large and beautiful conch shell.

Fast track forward to 2019 and the conch and me are still together (unlike the bewigged boyfriend in the pic). Imagine my surprise to find my prize shell being featured on the “her& her” recordings this week, after being spotted as by the ever insightful Cydnei B. “Look at that beauty being wasted as a bookend” she exclaimed! We checked out a YouTube tutorial and I was all set to give it a go in the studio! There seems to be no end to it’s versatility,,,… blown with strident multi-phonics as a rousing intro, then bonged and scraped as part of a percussive groove section.

As I listened back to the amazing recording that Richard had captured, the feeling of pleasure suddenly gave way to one of discomfort ….I realised that I all these years I’d never stopped to consider the trauma that Celia’s dad may have experienced, when he realised his lovely seashell was missing!

Hurrah for Cydnei B again – she reminded me he’d been a keen amateur trumpeter (RIP) – and we both sensed he’d have rejoiced in his conch making a break from the dusty shelf and finding a musical purpose!! All was well…..my conch-ience was clear (ouch!)

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