Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tcha Limberger at the Crooked Billet (1)

Tcha Limberger is something of a one man Hot Club of Paris, having an extraordinary talent with both the violin and guitar, which are a fair approximation of those of gypsy jazz legends Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt respectively.

My father had signed me up for this musical meal some time before I actually showed up in the UK. The proprietor at the ever-wonderful Crooked Billet had enthused on his latest bulletin that the Limberger Family was quite the most mesmerising act ever to have appeared at his venue.

We had a bit of a wait for the music as my father had allowed himself to be persuaded to turn up at seven to permit the meal to be served before the band appeared, but as he suffers from the 'sickness' of allowing too much spare time for any appointment*, we'd been sitting for some time before Tcha took his opening bow. (By which time I'd almost ruined everyone's evening by tipping over a glass of water which landed very close to the double bass lying on the floor beside my father.)

Blind from birth, this obviously gentle-natured young man explained that the absence of his famed father Vivi through a variety of unpleasant ailments, had precipitated a late change in lead guitarist and some minor alterations in the repertoire as well. I suspect that this involved a shift away from the up tempo numbers we had been expecting towards some rather poignant pieces of Russian and Hungarian folk music, to which Tcha added his own soulful vocals on several occasions. The experience was moving as well as thrilling. I have some HD clips which I will upload to YouTube in due course.

I also had the excellent fortune of picking one of the best fish dishes I have ever eaten as my main; a baked slab of succulent cod topped with a tempura prawm and doused in an oriental broth with pak choi and Chinese mushrooms floating at the side:

* My father's former partner Bob Monkhouse used to drive him nuts by turning up bang on time for trains, planes and automobiles. He never missed one, but he never gave himself a cushion either. As I'd taken the car into Reading on Monday afternoon and we were due to set off at 18:10 for the Crooked Billet, I found my father waiting for me by the doorway rather fretfully when I returned at 17:50. After a few years of hora chapina I'm finding it hard to adjust!

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