The Seekers Walk With Me

Perhaps my favourite The Seekers song – lovely melody etched in my head since I was a child and interesting words when God is the recipient  when it is a prayer… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb949fQVY-k

“Walk With Me”

Walk with me through the long and lonely night
Walk with me and my world is filled with light
Here I stand feeling lost and so alone
Take my hand don’t desert me now
Please don’t hurt me now
If you walk with me though’ I know the road is long
I’ll get by with your love to make me strong
More by far than a guiding star above
I long for you
Walk with me oh my love

Somewhere the sunbirds fly
In a clear blue sky
Only you and I there together
Love me now and for ever

Walk with me through the long and lonely night
Walk with me and my world is filled with light
Here I stand feeling lost and so alone
Take my hand don’t desert me now
Please don’t hurt me now
If you walk with me though’ I know the road is long
I’ll get by with your love to make me strong
More by far than a guiding star above
I long for you
Walk with me oh my love
I long for you
Walk with me oh my love

Somewhere the sunbirds fly
In a clear blue sky
Only you and I there together
Love me now and for ever

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The Seekers 50 year concert

Anne and I popped along to listen to The Seekers in Christchurch last night.  It was great – great as in a nostalgia trip, great in that these clever people have been singing together off and on for 50 years and still sounded rather wonderful, great to be sitting next to a woman I knew from Oamaru who was at her first ever concert (and of a similar age to The Seekers), great to be among the youngest people there(!), great that there is a double bass(!) and great that we knew almost all of the songs.  Actually, I knew many of them, Anne knew all of them.  I found out afterwards that Anne spent quite a portion of her childhood wanting to be Judith Durham when she grew up.  Too tall Anne, too tall!
Anne’s parents loved The Seekers and purchased all the albums.  Two seem to have survived…
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For me the iconic Best of The Seekers was pretty much a daily presence in my childhood.  We listened to it many times, but I recall that it seemed to be the LP record that stored at the front of the stereo-gram and therefore part of the lounge furnishings.
seekers
Maybe the link to our childhoods was what was behind both of us feeling quite emotional in the first few songs (we admitted afterwards) – songs seem to link us forever to the feelings and events of our lives…many of The Seekers songs were written and performed when we were in our pre-school years – not much stays in the memory from those years but the songs have remained, and we were privileged to have that window opened last night.

Birthday

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A couple of old lovely gifts today… I’m in a things from yesteryear phase – an old working German coffee grinder, an old pair of shoe maker’s moulds for birthday (thanks Anne, thanks Josh), and an old church earlier in the year.  All fitting in nicely for little old me!

Gibbston Winery Summer Concert

America at Gibbston

America at Gibbston

Bachman & Turner at Gibbston

Bachman & Turner at Gibbston

Neil Giraldo & Pat Benatar at Gibbston

Neil Giraldo & Pat Benatar at Gibbston

the 15,000 strong crowd of people mostly my age at Gibbston

the 15,000 strong crowd of people mostly my age at Gibbston

Anne and I were fortunate enough to join some Dunedin friends for a weekend at Wanaka and share Saturday afternoon with 15,000 others at the Gibbston Valley concert featuring America, Bachman & Turner, and Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo.
Summary:
1. you kind of had to be 50 or thereabouts to have your heart warmed… 15,000 were there and my guess is that 14,900 were within 4-5 years of my age!  Kind of creepy really – we tended to look our ages!
2. the music was great – I mean it… but there is one truth that hadn’t really dawned on me until the musicians came on stage – the musicians were at least 8 years older than me when they were hitting it big in the 70’s.  Actually Pat was 8 years older than me – all the other guys were 15+ years older… and they kind of looked it, their voices were less what they once were, and they had learned to minimise movement in order to last the distance… but they were still wonderful musicians – their playing was exemplary.
3. the crowd were pretty good – maybe they could not move like they once did on dance floors (and honestly, people my age shouldn’t hang out in mosh pits!), but they were happy in a worn down by life kind of way.  It was a good day away from the kids and grandkids.  There might have been a bit too much wine consumed in some quarters, but I guess the heat of the day called for desperate measures!
4. I wondered what rest homes will be like in 30 years… will bands come and play ‘We belong’ ‘Horse with no name’ and ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’ to entertain us?
5. The landscape – wonderful – dry, barren, hard and beautiful.
6. America – first up and the big surprise for me.  They were very very good.  These guys said they have been performing at least 100 concerts a year for over 40 years!  I recognised most of the songs, they had been very much in the background of my youth and not really to my taste – but I was really impressed.  The highlights for me were a few tracks from an album of songs they had released recently from a list of songs they wished they had written (other people’s stuff) – excellently played guys!!  And, the horse still has no name!
7. Bachman + Turner.  They were the reason I organised my mates from Dunedin some time last year.  Mark, Graham and I all had the Not Fragile album in 1974 – our 13-year-old minds being formed by crap lyrics but great guitars, drums and bass.  CF Turner still sounds as gruff as he always did and he looks like he might well have driven long-haul trucks across the prairies, but his bass playing was astounding and he loved his day job!  Randy Bachman was puffing a bit at times and had minimised his movements – not much show but stunning guitar work.  Awesome guys!  Awesome!  Highlights: CF Turner still gruff, and Randy looking like an old man but still working magic with that guitar.
8. Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo – a wee bit too loud, but punchy and energetic.  The classics were fantastic and a whole lot of wahine (women) sang and bopped in a floppy kind of way in the extended mosh area and it was obvious that Pat was big in their early years.  Pat looked great and sang jolly well for a 60-year-old – it was good to be around this couple who have an obviously great and long relationship.  Highlights: We Belong and Heartbreaker with a brilliant version of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire in the middle.
9. Great venue, but absolute rubbish car marshalling at the end – honestly, it was chaos and incompetence mixed with angry and frustrated drivers with carloads of often too much alcohol-filled passengers – I did my bit to help with marshalling and after an hour and ten minutes our cars had still not moved – fortunately we were rescued by the discovery of a back way out of the paddock.  Please, please, please next time charge us $5 more and employ some specialists to come up with a better plan… actually, just come up with a plan because there surely wasn’t a plan that day!  One intimidated, overwhelmed, and incompetent teenager in a fluro-vest is not a plan!
10. Who’s next?  Can I suggest Mark Knopfler and Talking Heads?  Though Hothouse Flowers would be great!

I appear to be 51

That might be me top left!

Jason Goroncy (http://cruciality.wordpress.com/) is a colleague of mine – a cheeky one, who stretches out into dangerous waters with a degree of carelessness that usually warms my heart.  But, on a very wide and mysterious unoffical cyber community we are part of he posted me a birthday poem.  Here it is followed by my miserable not-quite-poetic response…

“Today is Martin Stewart’s birthday. Martin is getting very old. To celebrate, I thought I’d share a poem by one of my favourite poets, R.S. Thomas. The poem is titled ‘Ninetieth Birthday’:

You go up the long track
That will take a car, but is best walked
On slow foot, noting the lichen
That writes history on the page
Of the grey rock. Trees are about you
At first, but yield to the green bracken,
The nightjars house: you can hear it spin
On warm evenings; it is still now
In the noonday heat, only the lesser
Voices sound, blue-fly and gnat
And the stream’s whisper. As the road climbs,
You will pause for breath and the far sea’s
Signal will flash, till you turn again
To the steep track, buttressed with cloud. 

And there at the top that old woman,
Born almost a century back
In that stone farm, awaits your coming;
Waits for the news of the lost village
She thinks she knows, a place that exists
In her memory only.
You bring her greeting
And praise for having lasted so long
With time’s knife shaving the bone.
Yet no bridge joins her own
World with yours, all you can do
Is lean kindly across the abyss
To hear words that were once wise. 

A wee dram will be enjoyed tonight in honour of the birthday boy!”

My response:
There is a bad boy in the church – Goroncy,
a theologian, in his prime.
Should we be asking Mr Baker* to send in a Commission,
or do we leave it alone this time?

If I wasn’t so old, doddery and frail
I’d give Goroncy a little piece of my mind.
But alas ‘little’ is all I have left, and what’s there I’m fast loosing,
(along with my money, my hair, and my time).

So I will suffer in near silence
at the passing of my years
And while envying him that wee dram, (of which I’d like to share!)
I’ll humbly give God thanks, for this life,
and Goroncy’s good cheers.
Mart the Rev