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Musical Obsessions of 1969 | by raaen99
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Musical Obsessions of 1969

“Oh Robin, darling! Do get us drink!” gasped Penny Ashmore as she, Robin and their friend Freda Dunkley tumbled into Robin’s chic Bloomsbury pied-à-terre laden down with the clothes they had bought from Biba in Kensington’s Abbigdon Road.


“Oh I love what you’ve done with the place!” Freda enthused as she dropped her bags on the floor. She took in the smart red and blue floral wallpaper and red wall-to-wall carpet that decorated the living room with an appreciative eye.


“Well, Robin Charteris, famous composer and amazing tutor to tomorrow’s rising pianists cannot be seen to be living in a slum!” replied Robin dramatically, entering from the kitchenette carrying a bottle of moselle and three glasses.


“Oh,” commented Penny cheekily. “Does another Robin Charteris live here?”


“Oh! Ha! Ha!” replied Robin, opening the bottle and filling the glasses.


“So who paid for the redecoration?” Penny asked as she accepted her proffered glass. “Daddy?”


“Mummy,” Robin replied. “She was an easier target. I waxed lyrical on how shameful it was to teach children who came from smart families in a pied-à-terre that hadn’t seen a decorator since the heyday of Queen Mary. She couldn’t bear that we weren’t keeping up with the Frobishers, the Beauchamps and the Fitzwilliams.”


“Or the Ashmores.”


“Or the Ashmores.” He parroted Penny.


“Smart,” Penny said, cocking her left eyebrow and raising her glass. “Cheers!”


“Cheers,” Robin replied, joining her in the toast.


“Oh!” Freda enthused as she leaned across the piano to take her glass of wine. “Play us something on your mother’s baby grand, Robin!”


“What do you want me to play then?” he asked as she flipped through the mixture of music books and sheet music left atop the piano, which took up most of the living room space.


“Certainly not Sacred Songs of 1969,” she replied, pulling a face and tossing it aside. “Nor Songs to Sing and Play. Aah! Sweet Caroline!”


“You only want Sweet Caroline because you have an obsession with Neil Diamond,” objected Penny.


“Well, what would you prefer?” Robin asked, lighting a cigarette.


Penny fingered Robin’s sheet music. “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head!”


“Oh, you only want that because you’ve seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at the Odeon three times this week,” groaned Freda. “Talk about obsessed!”


“Fine!” said Robin. “I’ll play Silver Threads and Golden Needles then, because I’m obsessed with Linda Ronstadt at the moment!”


They all laughed as he sat down at the piano, put his cigarette onto the lip of his mother’s big Deco silver ashtray and began to play the lively tune.



This year the FFF+ Group have decided to have a monthly challenge called “Freestyle On The Fifth”. A different theme chosen by a member of the group each month, and the image is to be posted on the 5th of the month.


This month the theme, “music of 1969” was chosen by Phunny (phunnyfotos)


‘Sweet Caroline’ was written and performed by American singer Neil Diamond. It was released in May 1969. It reached number 8 on the UK Singles Chart. ‘Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head’ is a song written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach for the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Performed by B. J. Thomas it was released in October 1969 and reached number 38 on the UK Singles Chart. Linda Ronstadt released a cover version of ‘Silver Threads and Golden Needles’, a song written by Elsie Hansen in 1956, on her album ‘Hand Sown… Home Grown’ which was released in March 1969.


Musician Robin Charteris’ chic Bloomsbury pied-à-terre is created using my collection of 1:12 size dollhouse miniatures. Some pieces come from my own childhood including the bookshelf and leather bound books at the rear of the photo and the grand piano in the foreground. The bookshelf I received when I was around seven and the piano when I was about ten. Other items in this tableau I acquired as a teenager and as an adult through specialist doll shops, online dealers and artists who specialise in making 1:12 miniatures. There are also several flea market finds and some items I have made myself especially for this tableaux.


Fun things to look for in this tableaux include:


The music on the piano are all miniature versions of sheet music and music books created by me. The sheet music for ‘Silver Threads and Golden Needles’ sits in the forefront, with sheet music for ‘Sweet Caroline’ behind it and ‘Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head’ behind that. ‘Sacred Songs of 1969’ and ‘Songs to Sing to and Play’ are genuine music books.


The three rather retro elephants on the top of the bookshelf, that just happened to match the shades of the 60s wallpaper, used to be part of a necklace which fell apart long before I bought them. They came in a box of bits I thought would make good miniature editions that I bought at a flea market some fifteen years ago.


The plant in the top right-hand corner sits in a jardiniere made from a brass thimble.


All the glasses, the bottle of Victoria Wines Mozelle and the blue pitcher are all 1:12 miniature artisan pieces which are made from real glass.


The ashtray in the forefront of the picture is also an artisan piece, made of cut clear crystals set in a silver metal frame. The tray has black ash in it, and even came with its own 1:12 cigarette which rests on the lip, just where Robin put it before he started playing the grand piano!

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Taken on May 7, 2020