ROYSTON’S REPORT Number 102
Greetings to readers worldwide from a weary me, having just travelled to London and back to Sri Lanka in three days.
Discovering Sri Lanka
I was in London to take part in an event at the Royal Geographical Society on “Discovering Sri Lanka.” A full report on that next week.
I carry photographs with me on my travels to remind me of Sri Lanka, and this is a simple one that cheers me up when I contemplate the grey streets, grey skies and grey people of London. Here is purple bougainvillaea, scarlet hibiscus and (look closely) white frangipani, together with concrete ducks (too tough for the snakes to eliminate, as happened with my real ones) in my garden.
Before going to London I checked out the hotel (The Gore in Kensington) where I was to stay and discovered that there are four brand new delicious cocktails on the hotel’s Bar 190 menu this month. The hotel has announced a competition with an award of a £50 bar tab for a self-portrait photograph of a guest drinking one of the new cocktails and posted to the hotel’s facebook or twitter page.
The hotel’s website proclaims that Bar 190 “is a haven in the heart of Central London offering luxurious yet intimate surroundings where guests can unwind with a wide range of signature cocktails, made with home infused spirits to keep them entertained for hours.” I’ll let you know if that’s true in next week’s newsletter.
SAVING THE RHINO
What is that makes a mature and successful literary agent suddenly turn to song, not just writing the music for a very catchy ditty, but also singing it with a lilting Flight of the Conchords’ verve?
Guy Rose has been my occasional literary agent for many years and is still trying hard to get a film made of my historical epic, now known as The Maldives Avenger.
To my bemusement he has taken to championing the cause of the Black Rhino in song. Click on this link to hear something unusual; worrying because of its message, but nevertheless a jolly tune.
High Speed Alert
After months of comparative peace as the railway line that runs alongside my garden was being re-laid, I was rudely awoken from my siesta last Sunday by a loud klaxon and the rushing of an engine with a dozen carriages speeding along the track. The horn was necessary to alert traffic at the level crossing (without a gate as yet) near the house.
How high a speed the high speed train will be able to achieve along a track without fencing or level crossing gates remains to be seen; but at least it’s possible to travel the west coast from Alutgama to Galle by train again.
It takes place on Wednesday 28 March at The Dutch House, high above Galle. The menu will be by Skye Gyngell, the Michelin starred chef from Petersham Nursery in London, who has just closed her restaurant as she finds the Michelin star has brought her more business than she and her restaurant could happily cope with.
After the dinner there will be an auction of donated items to support the charity founded by Sri Lanka’s ace cricketer (and brilliant after dinner speaker) Kumar Sangakarra. Called ‘Bikes for Life’ this is a campaign to raise money to purchase bicycles for children living in the rural areas surrounding Kilinochchi, Mankulam and Mullativu.
I have offered this fascinating chart for the auction. It is in fact two charts on one huge folded sheet (122cm x 100cm). Showing the approach to Galle Harbour, it is based on an original survey by Sea Lark in 1907, first printed 1908, with updates until 1938. Printed January 1973. Uncoloured, it shows all aspects of Galle both inland and at sea from Gintota to Unawatuna. Unframed and rolled up, it’s a fine piece for framing, so I hope someone buys it to sponsor at least one bike.
Andrew, my webmonster (that’s his name for what he does), has started a magazine and website, succinctly called Read Me (www.readme.lk).
Its logo says it’s an ‘Information Technology’ magazine – a pair of words that make the brain of this old poet shrink with trepidation.
Anyway, he has set up a nice office and I wish him and his colleagues the very best with their new venture. If this newsletter, which Andrew designs and circulates every week, is late, ‘read me’ may well become ‘beat me!’
The Big Beat Scene
That’s a cue for me to mention again my book The Big Beat Scene which has a new foreword and afterword added to the text originally published in 1961. It’s available through: http://musicmentor0.tripod.com/book_big_beat_scene.html.
And, yes, read me.
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