Family life: Grandfather’s big band experience, How Debby Harry won over Dad, and chocolate cake

please note this post is not by Jay Clapp Photography but from the photography news at the guardian for your viewing pleasure please feel free to use the share buttons at the bottom.

Readers’ favourite photographs, songs and recipes

Snapshot: Grandfather’s big band experience

My grandfather, Bill Bolland, was a gifted professional musician who was principal trombonist and musical arranger with the Joe Loss Orchestra. He was also accomplished on the piano, trumpet, cornet and hunting horn. After he retired, he joined the Saturated Seven, a Liverpool band who featured in the 1971 film Gumshoe. This photograph shows Bill in the background on trombone and Albert Finney on the right. (My own band were also in a brief scene, but ended up on the cutting-room floor!)

When I took up music, encouraged by my grandfather, older musicians described me as Bill Bolland’s grandson, rather than the individual I was. This was no problem to me as I carried that badge with pride.

Music was Bill’s life and he took the subject very seriously, expecting and requiring me to do the same. When he was older he could no longer blow so, aged 70, he swapped his trombone for a new instrument – the drums. Though he saw a few shows that I did, it was years later before I became anything like good enough for him to appreciate.

Grandad would take my younger brother and me away on trips in summer when we were children, engaging with us, joking and amusing us. Although he was a dapper, well-dressed man, during the scrapes with us, he would cast off the elegance and muck in with hilarious abandon.

When he was in his late 60s, he and I were out one day, pumping out the bilge on a beached boat for a friend. As he tried to climb off the boat, I was shocked at how frail he had become. During my teens he seemed to have aged.

The greatest shock was when he died when I was 20. Suddenly my mentor – my fount of wisdom – was gone.

To this day, my deepest regret is that I couldn’t have spent longer with him. So many questions I can’t ask, so many stories I didn’t get to hear. Forty-odd years later, I still miss him. Phil Furlong

Playlist: How Debbie Harry won over Dad

Heart of Glass by Blondie

Once I had a love and it was a gas

Soon turned out had a heart of glass Seemed like the real thing, only to find

Mucho mistrust, love’s gone behind

My late parents could never have been described as music fans and were perplexed by their cuckoo in the nest, who commandeered the TV every Thursday evening for Top of the Pops. In an effort to try to understand his youngest offspring’s strange obsession, my father would valiantly sit with me through each weekly instalment in the hope of experiencing a lightbulb moment that would somehow magically forge an understanding between him and this “netherworld”.

Although Dad could never quite comprehend my Bowie obsession, he had a little more time for female singers and once admitted he could just about tolerate Mississippi by Pussycat. The only time he ever sat up and really paid attention was watching Blondie perform Heart of Glass.

For ever after he would talk of it as his favourite song while vehemently denying his interest was in any way connected to the goddess-like beauty of Debbie Harry.

Even after I grew up and left home, dad would still dip in to TOTP from time to time to (as he would say) “see if it’s getting any better”. A retired maths teacher, Dad was fond of analysing everything. One day when he was in his 70s, he said: “Now love, I’m glad you’re here. There’s something I’ve been waiting to ask you.”

Thinking I was in for a heart to heart, I settled down to listen. “Marilyn,” he said, pausing. “Manson. Now the name – I can see what he’s done there. But what I really can’t fathom is why. I mean, what’s the point?”

For once, Dad left me lost for words.

Barbie Wyard

We love to eat: The Chocolate Cake


6oz (170g) plain flour

2½oz (70g) cocoa

4oz (115g) butter

4oz (115g) soft brown sugar

4oz (115g) golden syrup

1 egg

¼pt (568ml) milk

½ tsp of bicarbonate of soda

Sift the flour and cocoa together. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan, then add to the flour mixture. Add the egg. Warm the milk and pour with the bicarbonate of soda into the mixture. Beat well – it will be on the thin side – until stiff and dark. Pour into two greased and floured sandwich tins or one 18x27cm brownie tin. Cook for 30-35 minutes (or slightly longer if you are cooking it in the brownie tin) at 190C/gas mark 5 (test before removing it).

It has been birthday season in our house and the clamour from my now largely adult sons is still for “the chocolate cake”. The original recipe is in my mother’s 1956 recipe book – it is the most used page, and spattered with cake mix.

This is the first recipe I remember helping to make. My mother referred to it as economical as it only uses one egg. I never quite understood this given the amount of cocoa and syrup. As we have our own chickens, I quite like recipes requiring lots of eggs.

Baked as one cake, it has the perfect dimensions for football goals and players, and we have had Noah’s Ark, Star Wars and pirate scenes. For us parents, it lends itself – just – to the increasingly large number of candles.And now our sons’ birthday teas are more sophisticated, beer has replaced squash and fizzy drinks, but the yummy chocolate cake is still the centre piece.

Hilary Gresty

We’d love to hear your stories

We will pay £25 for every Letter to, Playlist, Snapshot or We love to eat we publish. Write to Family Life, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU or email Please include your address and phone number © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

via Art and design: Photography | Thanks for reading Jay


About jayclappphotography

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Posted on June 1, 2013, in Photography News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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