The "official" clapping started two weeks earlier. Georgia and I clapped from the front door step the following week, and then I saw a fb video of Avtar playing dhol in his street, and I said I would play every week to thank the frontline till this crisis was over. First week I thought I was playing on my own, till Robin Redbreast swooped down, settled on next door's huge sycamore and joined in with me.
On the 2nd April 2020, the UK followed Spain, and clapped and banged on their pots and pans, a massive public thank you to their health workers. Georgia and I joined them, a very emotional moment. Then I saw that my friend and colleague, Avtar, was out and about playing dhol for the frontline on his street, and so I vowed that I would do the same on steelpans.
First time I played on my own, after that we were a duo, then when the UK clap founder declared clapping would be at an end, I thought, I do get it, but it is not an at end for NHS workers, our frontline, so I decided to continue, made this notice for the front window, and dedicated our panclapping to a different frontline every week. Wanda, who had been playing with her daughter [and sometimes her husband!] outside their house joined me, and give or take flu, Covid or a damaged collarbone, we have been united ever since. Joined regularly by Trish and Milly, and occasionally by Julia, Satinder, Ella, Isha, and once by Adele, Anita, Melita, Julie and Harvey, me and Her Indoors plan to play to say thankyou to all the frontlines until it is over, and until we don't need to remind people that medical workers, bus drivers, shopkeepers, taxi-drivers, tradespeople, school teachers and support workers, care home workers, refuse collectors and all all all all the rest put their lives on the line to keep this country ticking over.
18 March 2021. Sue and I did the slow handclap. Also playing were Milly Trish. Frontline this week are park keepers of Woodhouse Moor, to whom it falls to "tidy up" the park after the entitled ones trash it, as they do the minute the sun also. As the park partygoers don't appear to observe social distancing, clearing up after them must involve personal danger. I think they should not be asked to do this, and the students should have to picnic in their own mess.
11 March 2021. We were me, Sylvia, Wanda, Trish, Milly, Wanda, and our frontline was definitely the nurses. They just saved the whole of the world. They are exhausted; some died; this government offered them 1% payrise. Why this is so insulting is obvious, and obviously they were in our thoughts and we gave the government the slow handclap, and we will go on doing that till the nursews get the recognition they deserve [may be clapping a while!]
5 March 2021 We were me, Sylvia, Julie Trish-Milly-Aurelia. The frontline this week are the hard-working organisers of the TUC Stand Up to Racism conference, and combine that long but inspiring Saturday with the programme on how institutional racism is killing our health workers, introduced by actor, David Harewood, well I wish theybwere both compulsory viewing.
25 February 2021. Me, Sylvia, Trish, Millie, Aurelia, Satinder. Wanda was occupied with dad-minding, Julia said she couldn't get the hang of it; I opined it didn't stop the others! This week our frontline is school secretaries/receptionists, who are, I am afraid the most likely to catch Covid, Enjoy Lili.
Week 46 18 February 2021. Playing for the couriers, whose working conditions, as I heard from people on the ground in York and Sheffield, could be better! Understatement. WE were me, Sue [dancing in the dark], Wanda, Satinder, Milly, Julia, Trish. A smorgasbord od styles and tempi.
Week 45. 11 February 2021. We were me, Milly, Sylvia, Trish, Ella, Julia, and racing in at last minute, Satinder. I wouldn't call these the most seamless of edits! Our frontlines were the usual suspects, keeping on keeping on: NHS workers, teachers and ALL other school workers, bus and taxi drivers, police who are frontline facing, meeting members of the public who may or may not wear masks, self isolate, socially distance . .
Week 44. 4 February.We were me, Wanda, Milly, Ella, Sylvia, Trish, Julia. Our frontline this evening is the Council's Anti-Social Tea, desperately understaffed, considerably the incredible number of student parties that residents are presently having to endure in Leeds 6.
Week 43 28 January 2021. Still separated by New Lockdown, me Trish Wanda Milly still strutting their stuff. Our frontline this week is the teachers, without adequate PPE or any vaccinations yet, in school all week teaching, creating lessons for those at home, and then having to send their own children to another school's frontline.
Week 42 January 21 2021. Sylvia appeared in the front street sans percussion, but didn't realise till I was just about to count in Lol. Back chez eux were Wanda, Satinder and Milly and Trish. This was a very personal frontline dedication. Natalie, Georgia and I were joined by Annette's daughter [and our friend], Claudia to play I Will Always Love You at Annette's funeral at Trinity Church, Harehills. All the tributes confirmed our experience, that all the things that Annette organised, put in place and made us all do were life-changing and life-enhancing. She was kindness and determination personified.
Week 40. January 7th 2021. The new lockdown finds us on the back street, me with neighbours Sylvia, Ursula and Sue. Them Indoors are indoors at home sending over their performances. Played Streets of Laredo cos I just love that tune, amd Marching Through Georgia tothank the voters of that American state for possibly saving the world!
Week 41. January 7 2021. Me and Sylvia rocking Flintstones. our frontline this evening are the "meeja" who went to town exposing the corrupt and greedy outsourced free meal providers. Evidence, methinks, of the downside of capitalism.
Week 38 Christmas Eve 2020. Me, Wanda, Trish, Milly, Julia change to a daytime slot, and as we are playing a double coincidence walks along the road - Maryam, my ex-student/Milly's ex-classmate! Our frontline today are the lorry drivers stuck over Christmas on the A20.
Frontline Frontgarden: Week 37. 17 December 2020. Our frontline this week is Yorkshire Cat Rescue [specifically Keighley branch] who not only rescued this lovely kitten and found it a home [mine], but rescued its new older brother from the sadness of bereavement [and two weeks later Dibble has stopped howling and his fur is softening up again, and little Squeak is being slowly accepted inot the fold]. At a time of increased mental issues pets are more important than ever.
Dcember 10th 2020: Week 36 of Frontline Front Garden: we were me Wanda Trish Millie Julia, and our we dedicated our songs this week to the frontline that is the NEU, my union who nationally is fighting like crazy, as in arguing the case that high schools spread Covid. They argue, we argue that we need more staff to make smaller classes, more buildings to maker less people per class, rotas, compulsory mask wearing etc etc to make schools safer. If nothing else close schools for Christmas. Sadly this apology for a government doesn't experts, and Covid has spread.
December 3rd 2020, and this was Week 35 Pan Clapping for the Frontgarden Frontline.. We were me Wanda Trish and Millie, and it was mighty loud rain, as you can hear.
Frontline Frontgarden Week 34. 26 November 2020. My frontline this week was three small acts of kindness - from Colin who came round and bought Milly's kit off her immedicately that she needed it -from Mig who advised Jackie on the complexity of student loan, in short that the whole system was incompetence itself, and - Milly who stood in very last minute at the Civic Hall when I was forced into a day's isolation.
Week 33. 19th November 2020 Why doesnt a governement listen to the experts in the field! Myself, as a teacher, and an NEU and MU rep, I did think that the NEU’s call for a proper circuit break which close schools for another week after half term would have made sense. But God help this government if they ever took advice from a trades union (who only ever wanted to make things better), so I will continue to take music lessons from behind my weird echoey visor. My frontline this evening: it has to be the mother and daughter combo that is Trish and Millie, for all the emotional, political and moral support that they give me (especially while her indoors is incapacitated), and because, musically they make me sound good! We played one verse of This Train is Bound for Glory, but glory was not what this tune was headed for, so I cut the other verses as we slid out of time with ourselves! Lol. Then we did Frere Jacques.
This Train is Bound for Glory is in Foxwood Songbook, Gospel Collection, and Frere Jacques is in Kids Collection.
Week 32 12 November 2020. This is Victoria, Milly and Trish, and our frontline this evening is NEU, a union for all school staff: teachers, caretakers, TAs, the lot, who are protecting their staff as hard as they can and fighting for safer schools, and/or safer education.
This is our 34th Frontline Frontgarden Pan Clapping. 26 November 2020. We were me Trish and Millie. Wanda was poorly. and it was Bonfire Night so you can hear the fireworks in the background. My front line this evening are Diesel Logic from Garforth who took this injector thingy is from my van, applied sandpaper, or whatever it is they actually do, and made them as good as new, and then A4 at Sheepscar who screwed the injector seal thingies back into the engine, and now it doesn’t smoke anymore when we set off. Two local businesses, not ripping us off, making sure that we keep moving and not polluting Leeds during these difficult times.
Frontline Frontgarden Week 28. 15 October 2020. This is the first time [and I hope the last!] that I forgot to put the video on selfie mode. I found six minutes or so of my hall. So included pics from other Foxwood Panyard's bands' members.
Frontline Frontgarden. Week 27. 8 October 2020. Me [Victoria].Milly and Trish.
Week 24. 17th September 2020. Me and Wanda were joined by Trisha (again!) this evening. I went to Town today for the first time since Lockdown. I was struck by how easily so many people were wearing masks. Thus also shocked by how many weren’t. It being five months since I had last ventured this far south, I had a few things that I needed. I also bought one thing that I didn’t need! Lol! So I dedicate this evening’s tunes to the shopkeepers and shop assistants, who seem to have to put up with a lot, including people who don’t think they need to wear masks, and in particular to Toni at Mx Speilman Kirkgate Market for her patience and determination.
Week 21 27th August 2020. Well Her Indoors is better! Whoop whoop! Toady we are playing Move Over Darling and Sloop John B for the frontline. It rained on the rehearsal and it is raining on our performance. As the plan is never to repeat a tune, we are doing a song about a boat to represent these watery conditions. Dedicating tonight’s performances to all us teachers who have been grappling with more technology than we might have liked in order to teach, and to school workers and students who will be grappling to work with PPE, which I may add will SAVE LIVES! And the question is Why the dressing gowns? Think the parrot is obvious!
Week 20 on the 2oth August. Just had to include Anita and Melita before they hit the homeland of Croatia. It was a lovely day, and I only sobbed a little bit at the end. Her Indoors was poorly today, so had to make do with Millie. Am I am kidding? Seeing MillieS was emotional enough. Am already in tears that Anita and Melita are relocating to Anita’s homeland of Croatia next month, and Wanda hasn’t missed a day since we started, so this evening we are are playing for the Arts Front Line, and for the Friends Frontline. You know that bit when you think: I have shelter, I have food, I have the air that I breathe, so what’s the point? Apart from staying alive for staying alive‘s sake, the arts, and music give us a reason, gives me a reason.￼, and having friends gives me a reason. So here’s to Wanda (hope you better soon), Millie (not seen you since A Christmas Carol in Derby) and Anita and Melita (so gonna miss you, so gonna find a reason to visit Croatia as soon as . . .)
Week 19. 13 August 2020
This crisis is not over and me and ‘er are still amusing the neighbours with our front garden antics. This week we were joined by mother and daughter act: Julia and Ella, and by a masked invader who we believe was Trish. Today we are thinking of the A Level students who were downgraded to suit some bizarre statistic. It was very heartening to note that universities trusted teachers’ grades. Do they think perhaps that teachers know their own students abilities and achievements better than an algorithm? As both an English and then a Music high school teacher, I went to endless moderation meetings with teachers from other schools and within my own department so that we were all agreed on our standards. If you were very unlucky you got sent a whole of assignments from a random school somewhere else in the country and you had to mark them to check we all knew what we were doing. And if you were unlucky enough to be a single parent on a half term camping holiday in Withensea in a howling gale, these exam papers were a burden you could have done without. Anyway welcome to us this evening going west and down under.
Frontline Frontgarden Week 18. 6 August 2020. We were Victoria Wanda Trish, for the rehearsal only, Ashley. I was wondering if Wanda could actually become Pondlady, but sadly [for the sake of the comedy] she recovered herself in time. Lol.
Week 17. 30th July 2020.
So this week me and her (who was nursing a injured clavicle) were joined by Trish. This week we are doing Chariots of Fire for the Olympics, not now, as it now happens, happening in a Japanese town nowhere near you. The Olympics, imperfect as they are do at least start from the basis of friendly competition between countries, so we decided are on balance worth celebrating. And this week we are also remembering that whereas most of us don’t know anyone who died from Covid, it does happen. And so (what is now left of) the Flood is for Brian Pette, and all the others who didn’t survive. It say on my window LEST WE FORGET. Let us not forget.
Week 16. 23rd July 2020. This evening me and her were joined by Harvey and Julie. We are still playing-clapping for the NHS, and really for all those who go on doing their jobs day after day, and somehow are taken for granted. We should also take a moment to consider how black, Asian and ethnic minority NHS workers are at greatest risk of contracting this evil virus, and suffering most from it, and how this incompetent/uncaring government does nothing to help.
Week 15. 16 July 2020. Me and her again. We used a beach windbreak as a back drop for Oh I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside, which had no connection at all with John Brown’s Body. The meter-reading man turned up as we rehearsing, so we dedicate our tunes this week to the frontliners who come into our houses and gardens reading meters not knowing who or what to expect - certainly not a mini-steelband playing seaside songs!
Week 14: 9th July 2020. So bit of a pitch invasion here this evening! One minute it’s me and her quietly irritating the neighbours on our own, reminding them that it’s not all over. Next minute Roundhay moves into Hyde Park! Too exciting. Today we taking our hats off, but keeping the umbrellas up, nearly (!) to the care workers, who left their own families for weeks on end to care for other people people’s parents, only to find that this apology for a human being, let alone a prime minister is now blaming these selfless individuals for his mistakes, and his mistakes with somebody else’s parents’ deaths! The first tune was ruined by my clunking away on the single guitar so I cropped it a bit. Lol!
FRontline Frontgarden: Week 13. 2 July 2020. We did also Can't Get You out of my head, but thankfully we have now!
Frontline Frontgarden: Week 12. 25 June 2020 It is still a crisis. We are still playing what we call “Sight-reading in Public”. It is more of a crisis since Cummings sent himself to Durham in order to sow some seeds of discontent. Here's a homage to B Johnson, Nowhere Man. One local effect of the crisis is that, wot wit clubs being closed, those with the plummy accents have descended on our back street in to order to wreck our night’s sleep for the third time in row. Everybody else is setting the world record for litter on Woodhouse Moor, and wot wit there being no toilets the litter is many and varied. So here’s a shout to those volunteers who brave the virus and litter-pick on the mornings after. If any southern parents are reading this would they mind collecting their spoilt brats as soon as possible, but I would advise wearing visors and masks in the car back home. It’s Covid Central round here.
Frontline Frontgarden: Week 11. 18 June 2020. Me and her Indoors having a bit of laugh here. Our frontline today is the Black Lives Matter. movement. Think some people are still missing the point! We are moving into protest songs now.
Frontline Frontgarden: Week 9. 4 June 2020. The frontline this week is the Black Lives Movement.
Frontline Frontgarden Week 9. 4 June 2020. This week we should have been playing for Beth's wedding, so we played the Wedding March here.
Frontline Frontgarden Week 8. 28 May 2020, just a solo, surprisingly nerve-wracking
Frontline Frontgarden: Week 7. 21 May 2002
Frontline Frontgarden. Week 6. 14 May 2020.
Frontline Frontgarden: Week 5. 7 May 2020 Just me and the robin again.
Frontline Frontgarden: Week 4. 30 April 2020. Victoria and Georgia. Only my fourth attempt at all this videoing and uploading to fb so had ipad and iphone recording us in case one went wrong. Think I had covered the mike for Brown Girl in the Ring, so don't be surprised at the drop in volume!
Frontline Frontgarden Week 3 23 April 2020. We did a mash-up of the songs that various different "interested" bodies were willing the British public to embrace as saccharine for the Frontline. They are all songs I like but I didn't feel we should be told what to play on the day. It was all just a bit too corporate for me, and not really from the heart.
It is Week 2 of the Frontline Frontgarden. Instead of clapping and banging pieces of metal, we are actually playing pieces of metal. This is our public thanks to the Frontline NHS for being there, for doing all they do, for taking all the risks.