Farewell to a summer of love and music
It’s September and I’m looking back, affectionately, on my summer of love. No, I didn’t Easyjet to the Med and throw myself at a Greek waiter. I’m no Shirley Valentine. I don’t suit hooped earrings. But this summer reminded me of my first Summer of Love, in 1967, when I was a teenager, with music in my heart, flowers in my hair and an engagement ring on my finger.
We didn’t expect a lot of 2018, did we? It was a long, cold winter and a chilly, wet spring – until a ray of sunshine arrived, when Prince Louis was born, in April.
The good times really began to roll in May, with a Royal wedding. The whole country – and the sunshine – came out to celebrate a couple so obviously in love as Harry and Meghan.
When England went off to the World Cup, we weren’t hopeful. But they won matches – and even a penalty shoot out. We loved them when they made it to the semi-finals, even though they lost. But we seriously fell in love with manager Gareth Southgate, who impressed us with his wise words, love for his players and ability to rock a waistcoat.
I re-kindled my passion for Mick Jagger as the Rolling Stones played Twickenham Stadium on one of the first hot nights of the summer. That was the beginning of the heatwave. Commuters and farmers got cross and tetchy, fields, rivers and throats were parched, but in Suffolk, like in ’67, music filled the sunshiny days. Mama Mia, there I went again, bopping along to Dancing Queen, so enthusiastically as I left Leiston Cinema, that I nearly got run over.
Filming began on writer Richard Curtis’ and director, Danny Boyle’s musical comedy (still untitled), about a young singer who, after an accident, wakes up and realises he’s the only person in the world who remembers the Beatles. Cut to lots of music scenes – the most spectacular filmed on Gorleston Beach, where I joined a record 6,000 fans to dance to the Beatles’ Help!
And then, in mid-July, it was wonderful Latitude Festival.
It’s just up the road from me. Admittedly the road is four miles long but oh, how we love Latitude, the multi-generational, easy going, happy warmth of it. We swam in the lake, shopped at the pop-up Co-op and quizzed Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time team, in a retro camper van. Oh, and the music – everything from a gospel choir to Liam Gallagher and headliners The Killers.
Music continued to float in Suffolk’s summer air, this time, from Walberswick based composer – and my fellow sea-swimmer – Denis King. Not content with being in ‘Britain’s first boy band’ (The King Brothers) and composing the timeless theme to Black Beauty, Denis released an album of his own songs, sung by Sarah Eyden, which reflected summer’s theme, Love Is In The Room.
But it wasn’t just about the music. In July, my heart filled with love for the Lancaster bomber (which my dad flew, in the war) as 100 aircraft flew along The Mall, to celebrate the RAF centenary. Many of them mustered over Suffolk.
And for me, this was my summer of love for Suffolk. I moved here six years ago and resolved never to go on ‘holiday’ in the summer , as I realised I was already living in paradise. In `67’s summer of love, I remember saying ‘there’s nowhere else I’d rather be’ than London. Now, as my fellow sea swimmers and I meet on the beach every morning, someone always says, ‘There’s nowhere else I’d rather be than here.’
And my summer of love isn’t over yet. If you’re reading this in August, there’s still our village fete on bank holiday Saturday (August 25).
But soon, the rustle of falling leaves means it’s back to work, and I’m holding a weekend Comedy Writing Course in Halesworth Cut on October 6/7.
So, for me, it’s goodbye to the Summer of Love – but hello to the Autumn of Laughs!
Photo: Permission Jan Etherington ABOVE:Jan braves the ‘paparazzi’ during filming in Gorleston of Danny Boyle’s and Richard Curtis’ new film. Walberswick Village Fete, August 25 opens 1pmDetails of Love is in The Room at deniskingmusic. comJan Etherington Comedy Writing Workshop October 6/7, 10am-4 pm. Limited places. Details: julia@ inkfestival.org