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Sir John Betjeman


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I read his bio by A.N. Wilson, and found out that he had released four albums with him reciting his poetry accompanied by music composed by Jim Parker.

I thought You Tube would never have anything like that, but they had at least three of his records. Initially posted this in the classical section, but it sounds anything but.

It's much more musical than rap, and more fun than anything by the Beats:


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I like these records. Banana Blush particularly. I wouldn't usually go for this kind of thing but they are a lovely mix of his poetry and music. It shouldn't work but it does really well. They take Betjeman towards a prog home on Charisma though the music is neither jazz nor classical nor prog but a whimsical thing that reminds me of an Oliver Postgate animation. Nice radio doc narrated by Jarvis Cocker here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/b04bmtpp?partner=uk.co.bbc&origin=share-mobile


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1 hour ago, sidewinder said:

Always amazed to think that he tolerated his Mrs bringing her horse into the front lounge of the house !

I recall that he lived for many years in the Avebury area - which seems fittingly appropriate, although he died in Cornwall I think.

Yes, Cornwall, because he wanted to die where he came from, with Archibald, his teddy bear lying on his chest.

His son Paul, probably the only person in the UK that despised him, became a jazz tenor sax player, dropping out of Oxford to study jazz at the Berklee School of Music. He taught and was a professional musician for a while, and fell in with some good musicians who happened to be Mormons, and he became a Mormon (which really angered his Anglican father)and studied music history at Brigham Young University in Utah. He wound up in NYC as the head of the music dept. at Riverdale School, and marrying a woman who studied Anglican church music, so maybe he and his father got together again before his father died in 1984.

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16 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Any intersection with the Bonzos at any point? 

Probably Jim Parker might have had something to do with them, based on that great doc fent99 posted, but Betjeman's son became a highly skilled contemporary composer, studying with Stefan Wolpe. He has some of his pieces on You Tube:


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