Book launch - Woodstock - 5 / 10 / 2018

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Book launch - Woodstock - 5 / 10 / 2018

Postby keithmeredith » Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:13 pm

When I hear the name Woodstock, I cannot help but visualize Snoopy’s feathered friend in the Peanuts cartoon strip by Charles M. Schulz. When you mention the name to individuals of a certain age, it conjures up images of the momentous 1969 festival of peace, love and music in upstate New York. I have just attended a rather less upscale, but still significant, musical event in the beautiful market town north of Oxford sharing the epithet that, whatever its other claims to history, will always be associated with nearby Blenheim Palace, birthplace of wartime leader Winston Churchill.

Organised by the Woodstock bookshop and held in the intimate back room of the town’s Social Club, some eighty fans and friends gathered to celebrate the launch of Perilous Journey by Steve Pilkington – the authorised account of the life of Gordon Giltrap.

Many had made considerable excursions to attend this historic occasion, not least web-mistress Sue Holton and hubby Mike up from Kent for the weekend – and current musical collaborator Nick Hooper was accompanied by his other half, Judith and their daughter.

In January 2009 – on this forum - I mused that many celebrities had produced biographies/autobiographies and suggested that such a tome from our Troubadour would be of interest to many. I am certainly NOT claiming to have planted the seed for this project, I am merely asserting that its gestation has been lengthy and its delivery long overdue.

When I said to Gordon that I had pre-ordered my copy within an hour of it becoming available and that I was after the de-luxe, morocco leather bound version with the hand tooled spine and gold leaf lettering his reply was something like, “oh bother, we haven’t made any of them.” Guess I’ll have to settle for the regular edition then. (sigh)

Almost bounding onto the stage wearing a singularly appropriate shirt, Gordon looked relaxed and happy and was on top form when he began to play. The music was sublime as usual; the sound system was spot on; and the audience was both knowledgeable and appreciative.

The customary first set featured established favourites, including Angie (played at some pace it seemed), a welcome rendition of the Lord’s Seat, and concluded (of course) with Heartsong complete with Ring of Kerry prelude.

The interval naturally extended itself as a long queue formed of those desiring to have Gordon and Steve personalise their freshly purchased copies of the book.

On his return to the stage, Gordon introduced Classic Rock Society features editor and author of Perilous Journey, Steve Pilkington - and the pair began to recollect the early career of an intense young man with a burning desire to make music. They chatted about cultural as well as musical history and talked about the production of classic albums such as Visionary, Fear of the Dark, Peacock Party, and Troubadour- and G played examples from the different works. Steve was clearly well versed in the factual side of things - the dates and details - and Mr. Giltrap provided the personal recollections and stories - most of them new to me. We heard: Fast Approaching, Lucifer’s Cage (parts 1 & 2), Roots, Isabella’s Wedding and the Dodo’s Dream with historical forewords to each.

It takes a certain level of confidence - bravery even - to face a live interrogation. The closing Q & A session produced answers to such varying posers as: what was Davy Graham like? where does the inspiration for all Gordon’s superb compositions come from? and further occasioned a couple of, unfortunately unfulfillable, requests for individual tunes.

At great risk of causing embarrassment, Gordon spoke warmly from the heart by proclaiming that he would have achieved nothing without the constant support, advice, companionship and love of his wife Hilary. This statement prompted a final two-part question from the floor: what is Hilary’s favourite piece of music, and would Gordon play it? A unique and memorable evening drew to its conclusion as we heard Down the River dedicated to Hilary Giltrap.

This intimate evening celebrated both the launch of G's biography and his fifty odd years in a sometimes volatile and fickle industry. We who frequent this forum are familiar with the music of Gordon Giltrap - this evening’s exclusive performance gave us an insight into the man, his motivations, his passion, his history, his Perilous Journey. Buy the book.

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Roger USA
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Location: North Carolina

Re: Book launch - Woodstock - 5 / 10 / 2018

Postby Roger USA » Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:02 pm

It must have been great to be there for such a memorable occasion.

My signed copy arrived on this side of the Atlantic in good shape and has been a very interesting read so far.

All the Best,


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