The Yetties

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September 2003 - Newsletter 74

Yetties Web Site and On-Line Shop
The Web Site has now been considerably re-vamped. There’s more information, photos etc. and the On-Line Shop will be up and running by the 1st of September. I’ve had a preliminary look at it and it is comprehensive and very easy to use. Perhaps I should be absolutely honest and say I persuaded my son Ben to have a look at it. He often buys DVDs etc. over the net and he assures me that the system is good. Buying from overseas should become a doddle compared with the past. Cashing cheques made out in dollars and rubbles is not cheap and likewise getting cheques made out in sterling in foreign banks is a bit of nightmare and costs an arm and a leg. On-Line buying is all the rage, they tell me, and it will jolly interesting to find out how our friends adapt to it. Of course this will not change the usual postal sales one jot and, naturally, the supermarket will always be with us at concerts etc. I’m not sure if there are any rules about giving away bicycle miles on sales through the net.
(stop press) The on-line shop was opened at 2p.m. on the 23rd of August and the 1st order came through at 4.35p.m. Yippee!!!

Messing About on the River
The new CD actually came out early!!! We have been involved in about 50 LPs/Cassettes/CDs over the years and this is an unheard of phenomina. Congratulations to Bob Barratt and Grasmere Music on this achievement. Could it make the Guinness Book of Records I wonder? I’m delighted to say that many positive comments and no adverse ones have come my way. Maybe you are all too polite and believe in my mother’s philosophy that if you can’t find anything good to say don’t say anything at all.

Old Yetties LPs
My stock of these turns over at a high rate of knots and Halsway Manor Library benefits from the cash raised. If you have any you wish to pass on to good homes or would like to purchase some please ring 01935 814611. At this moment in time I have copies of Dorset is Beautiful, The Yetties of Yetminster, The World of The Yetties and Our Friends The Yetties.

Along the River Frome Video Part II
I’m sorry to say that this project has slowed down somewhat. We are working on it but getting the weather, the camera, someone to work it, me and other parties to interview, etc. in one place at the same time is proving to be a very difficult juggling act. Assuming we can get the filming done, then there’s the editing, the script writing, the design and printing of the sleeve etc. to do. What I’m working up to saying in a very creepy, apologetic manner is that I doubt very much if it will out for Christmas as originally planned. Sorry, but the last time I was in two places at once it hurt.

Look at Thomas Hardy’s Dorset Video
However, to follow on from the above, and to prove I haven’t been completely idle, I have had the pleasure of doing the voice-over for the above video. There has been a great deal of fuss in the press lately because they have discovered that Thomas Hardy used stories from the local papers and included them in his books. He took, sometimes very mundane and everyday occurrences, and dramatised them in his inimitable fashion. He also used locations and houses that he knew in his novels. The house where he was born, for instance, appears as Tranter Dewy’s House in ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ and the Greenwood Tree itself still survives not far away. This video explores these locations. The filming is superb and very evocative of Old Dorset. It is 35 minutes long and costs 12.50 including post and packing.

Song Books
At the moment Yetties Song Book 1 is out of print and the publisher has just sold out to a bigger company so things are rather up in the air. I’ve been assured that supplies of Book 2 will not dry up and I am hoping to persuade the new company to print more Book 1. We might even be able to get a re-print of ‘The Musical Heritage of Thomas Hardy’ tune book. That would be good for all concerned I feel.

Memory Lane (from an article by Susan Elkin in The Times, February 1995)
‘Singing develops not only musical knowledge but also self-confidence, team spirit and physical fitness. Anyone can do it. It’s tremendous fun and very satisfying. So why on earth have we allowed it to slip imperceptibly out of our schools and, by extension, to disappear from our national culture?

My own children learnt many of the songs I was taught in school from records by a folk group, The Yetties. As a family we went to lots of their concerts, which are always informal join-in affairs. The Yetties, of course, would have known The National Song Book in their Dorset schools, and their repertoire happily includes traditional music, music hall songs and war songs.

These days children have nothing in their musical repertoire to get their mouths round. Generally, if they ‘sing’ at all they seem to be limited to pop numbers performed thinly from the throat. Worse, singing becomes ‘naff’ and gets used as a form of stony rebellion in assemblies and the like. Someone plays the piano and the whole school stares silently and insolently into space. Anyone who visits schools will have seen this sad sight. They’re missing so much. It’s an unsung (literally) form of cultural deprivation.’

Sherborne Christmas Concerts (Guest Fred Wedlock) and New Year Ceilidh
Dates for this year are the 12th and 13th of December and, of course, the 31st. All three events are at The Digby Hall, Sherborne and start at 8p.m. If you would like directions to find the hall let me know via the PO Box or e mail and will send you a map.

We will have the usual candelabra competition at New Year. Make your own exotic piece of plumbing and light up our lives. Bring your own food to as well for this one but please don’t bring your own booze. There is a very good bar, which we are likely to lose if you self supply. There can be nothing more infuriating to a bar man than having to clear up bottles and cans that he didn’t sell. Just put yourself in his shoes.

Tickets are available from our PO Box; the Abbey Pharmacy, Cheap Street, Sherborne; The Sweeterie, Middle Street, Yeovil or ring 01935 814611. For the Concerts they cost 6.50 for adults and 5.50 for children and senior citizens. Those for New Year are 12. Cheques payable to ‘The Yetties’ Please.