The Gerrard Chronicles 2015

Previous page is the Extended Family Page

Next page is Travellers' Tales

Art Scene


Ken finished his piece of music, "The Mysteries" Opus 36, about half an hour, to celebrate the life of Charlie Brewster & sent a copy to Demian, Charlie's son but did not get any come-back, presumably because stylistically, it might be considered a tough call. Then, he started a fourth String Quartet but broke off, as he was getting nervous about the unprinted scores on a now very old computer & started printing them, quite a pile of paper.

An extraordinary coincidence: Donna the Exterminator who occasionally has to de-mouse some of our flats (largely, the tenants fault for leaving food scraps lying around), was once a carer for Emile Spira, Ken's Music teacher. This was in the eighties when Emile was suffering from Alzheimer's.


Ken was very tempted to point the domain name "" at a porn site but decided that that was piece of revenge too far for his expulsion last year & let the domain lapse.

At London (Hampstead) U3A Ken carried on co-ordinating "Topical Topics" & while the Autumn Term was supposed to be his last, no one wants to take over, saying he was doing a good job. Fine, but one starts to run out of contacts.
However, most of the Spring Term is covered.
Parkinsons UK is now a regular gig. They had "Wagner" from Ken.
Cruise talks. Nothing from the agency & otherwise, all a bit sad. See the Travel Page.
Reuter Society. Ken prepared a talk, "Life after Reuters" which is a lot of fun but no date fixed for it yet.
Royal Academy & Tate. As usual, we went to all the shows & others at the Courtauld (Peter Lanyon) &
British Museum's Print Room plus commercial galleries & local ones. Tate's "Alexander Calder" still on.


Freddie, Jason's elder son, is already becoming a successful actor, to the point he keeps putting off going to university because of getting gigs. He is currently touring in "Lord of the Flies" as Jack, the proto-fascist, about as far away from his real character as you can get but he does a brilliant job as Jack. We went to see it in Cambridge on October 10th in the Corn Exchange, staying overnight in the Arundel House Hotel, good but, spoiler alert, no lift.
As you get this Newsletter, it will be on at the Lowry in Salford but possibly without Freddie, as he is injured.

Cambidge Corn Exchange Theatre

The set (crashed BAC 1-11)


In the Summer of 2014, Theresa came to play at the Claremont, one of the Friday Afternoon students from the Royal College of Music &, after a formidable performance, Ken had the usual chat, talking shop & trading on his Webern connection. (Ken's teacher, Emile Spira, was a Webern pupil in Vienna at the end of the Thirties). Before she came to play on May 15th, she e-mailed me, hoping we would be there, as indeed, we were. So, we became friends (also on Facebook, which was much more active in the Jeremy campaign). She came again on October 30th with yet another very demanding programme. Along with Kzenia Berezina, the violinist, she is the best of the new performers we have had. Still only 19, she has half a lifetime of piano competitions behind her & has applied to take part in one in New York next year, for which Ken gave her a reference, with his Hon. Prof. hat on. A Chinese-Australian, she is a valuable new member of the Extended Family circle, one of our Honorary Grand-daughters (as Ken does not have any).



"Behind the Beautiful Forevers" by David Hare after Katherine Boo
"Game" by Mike Bartlett
"Lord of the Flies" after William Golding
"Little Eyolf" by Henrik Ibsen


"La Traviata" by Giuseppe Verdi
"The Mastersingers" by Richard Wagner
"The Queen of Spades" by Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky
"Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk" by Dmitri Shostakovich
"The Force of Destiny" by Giuseppe Verdi. All at ENO.


"The Theory of Everything" biopic of Stephen Hawking
"Suffragette" About working class suffragettes, mainly

Ken's reading list of books for the year:-

"Playing to the Gallery" by Grayson Perry. Thin book but well worth £15..
“Appassionata” by Jilly Cooper. Avis persuaded me to read this superior piece of chick-lit, nearly 900 pages because it is about a virtuoso & an orchestra. Cardboard characters but a pleasant enough read.
“The Man without Qualities” by Robert Musil. Another one I should have read decades ago. 1130 pages of heavy philosophy, light philosophy & wit, set just before WWI &, apart from a historical reference about halfway through, no mention of the war, except a prediction, not of war but of disorder, a few pages before the end by the ‘hero’.
“The Blue Room” by Georges Simenon. Not a Maigret. A very powerful novel where one does not know what happened, or did it? until the end.
“The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling. Great cops & killers
“Germania” by Stephen Winder. Rather like Danubia, a facetious historical tour of Germany.
“Cameron’s Coup” by Polly Toynbee & David Walker. Devastating analysis of the harm the Tories are doing.
“Mr Hire’s Engagement” By Simenon. Very strange & subtle.
“The Silkworm” by ‘Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling. As good as Cuckoo’s Calling but not better.
“Notes from an Exhibition” by Patrick Gale. Stephen Fry said it is complete perfection. Quite.
“The Madman of Bergerac” by Simenon. Another subtle tale.
“The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher” by Hilary Mantel. Short stories, the last (title) one of which caused outrage in the correct quarters. Just so. We should have been so lucky.
“The Quarry” by Iain Banks. His last effort & a wonderful rant by the ‘hero’s’ father on page 336 (paperback).
“Middlemarch” by George Eliot. Amazing book. Should have read it decades ago. Virginia Woolf said it was a rare book written for adults. Just so.
“The Invasion of Hitler’s Third Reich” By Patrick. Needs a good map to be readable.
“A perfectly good man” by Patrick Gale. Second beautiful book read recently by this insightful writer.
“The Shadow Puppet” by Georges Simenon. Another acute psycho-study.
“The Great Interwar Crisis & the collapse of Globalisation” by Robert Boyce. Fascinating rewriting of the history, with close attention to interaction of economic & political affairs. Full of figures & closely argued over 449 pages, it has taken me about 15 months to read.
“In Montmartre” By Sue Roe. Did not teach me much but I enjoyed the verve with which it was written.
“A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking. Got through it this time, not being fazed by the math. Charlie Brewster had lent me a copy a couple of decades or so ago but I did not finish it then, as could not grasp 'string theory'.
“The Saint-Fiacre Affair” by Georges Simenon. Maigret has practically nothing to do to sort this out.
“Harvest” by Jim Crace. Bought by accident but a remarkable read.
“Liberty Bar” by Georges Simenon. Maigret on the Côte d’Azur. Gets to the truth but does not pursue it.
“Never the Same River” By Antony Wood. Memoir by a guy who gave Topical Topics a talk.
“Maigret” By Georges Simenon. Battle of wills. Curiously, written in 1932 but Maigret has retired (which would have been in about 1956, so the technology is a bit too dated.
“Agincourt” by Ranulph Fiennes. Ill proof-read & not very informative, except he high-lights all his ancestors on both sides who took part. Took to Italy with me.
“The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin” by Georges Simenon. Complicated Maigret set in Brussels.
“1974” by David Peace. Makes most crime noir seem pale grey. Set in a totally corrupt Yorkshire.
Stories by Henry James:-
“The Author of Beltraffio”, “The Lesson of the Master”, “The Private Life”, “The Middle Years”, “The Death of the Lion”,
“The Next Time” “The Pattern in the Carpet”, “John Delavoy”
“The Misty Harbour”
by Georges Simenon. Another very complicated Maigret.
“The Aspern Papers” by Henry James. Serves the anti-hero right!
“The Judge’s House” by Georges Simenon. Also complicated.
“J” by Howard Jacobson. He has excelled himself with this, which should have won the Booker Prize.
“1977” by David Peace. 2nd part of a quartet. Police corruption, dirt, semen, blood, death.
“Jeremy Corbyn - accidental hero” by Stephen Gilbert. Better quality instant biography than usual.
“The Children Act” by Ian McEwen. His best yet. Very moving.
“Lock 12” by Georges Simenon. Weird. Hard man broken by light psychological pressure.

Previous page is the Extended Family Page

Next page is Travellers' Tales

Contact: Ken Baldry or Avis Saltsman, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)020 7359 6294 or e-mail him or her
This page's URL: Last revised 31/12/2015 ©Ken Baldry 2015 All rights reserved but print it off if you want to.