I’ve just spent a glorious evening at St James’s church, for the final evening of the Bramley and Little London music festival. There’s something magical about sitting in such an ancient, beautiful village church, especially one so familiar and dear to me, with flowers and foliage spilling from every ledge, listening to world-class music.
Tonight it was the turn of jazz pianist Joe Stilgoe, son of Sir Richard Stilgoe, playing a mix of well-known and his own music, all interspersed with witty self-deprecating chat. It was dazzling, especially when he asked for suggestions from the audience for favourite tunes and extemporised a glorious seamless medly of Frère Jacques, Rhaposdy in Blue, Hello Dolly, Someone to Watch Over Me, Well Did You Evah?, and the Dr Who theme.
For his encore (‘I don’t know why they make us walk off and then walk on again like that, wastes everybody’s time’) he played Waterloo Sunset, by Ray Davies. It was a nod, he said, to Little London, and to London itself, which has suffered so dreadfully over the last few weeks.
It was unbearably poignant. And a powerful reminder of the power of art to speak when no words will do.