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  • Martin Castle

"The only thing better than singing is more singing." - Ella Fitzgerald

It's a tough time for musicians at present, and that's especially so of singers - a friend's son has seen all their bookings cancelled or postponed and choirs of all kinds are only able to sing via Zoom or similar. I particulalrly feel for those who sing in our cathedrals who are currently banished from their places of work. If you listen to their recordings on streaming services it does provide them with a little income.

Whilst not a big fan of Facebook, occasionally something catches my eye and one such was a list of things that most of us don't realise have a name. Did you know the “na na na” and “la la la” in song lyrics (that have no meaning ) are called vocables? A day or so later, I watched a documentary about the life and music of Ella Fitzgerald (available on BBC iplayer). Whilst I was aware of her very early work and the performances of her recordings of the Great American Songbook from the mid-50s on, I was unaware of the period after the Second World War where she sang bop - wasn't aware of what that was either! Having fallen out of favour with the end of the Cotton Club era and 'light' hits such as A Tisket, a Tasket with the arrival of the Swing bands of the 1940s such as Glenn Miller, bop was Ella's way back. Pairing with Dizzy Gillespie she sang with an amazing vocal dexterity that brought her to the fore once again.


One of my treasured albums is of Cleo Laine live at Carnegie Hall. With her massive range and scatting, she uses her voice as an instrument to 'solo' alongside more traditional jazz instruments.


Some of the other things with names no-one knows include the following:

The space between your eyebrows is called the glabella.

The day after tomorrow is overmorrow.

The wired cage on a champagne bottle is called an agraffe.

The rumbling in your stomach is a wamble.

The way it smells after rain is called petrichor.

When you combine a question mark and an exclamation mark it is called an interrobang?!

The dot over the letter I or j is a tittle.

The utterly sick feeling you get after eating or drinking too much is called crapulence.

The device used to measure your feet at the shoe shop is called a Brannock device.

The condition of finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning has a name – dysania.


Recipe:

Cromer is just down the road from us and famous for its quality of crabs. The season is in full-swing and when other items were in short supply they have remained available, freshly caught.

Crab Cakes

Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the crab cakes

2cm/1in piece fresh root ginger, peeled

2 red chillies, seeds removed

250g/9oz white crabmeat

1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander

2 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced

2 eggs

7-8 tbsp breadcrumbs

plain flour, for dusting

25ml/1fl oz olive oil


To serve

sweet chilli jam

few handfuls salad leaves

olive oil, for drizzling

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Method:

1. Place the ginger and chilli into a mini food processor and pulse until finely chopped.


2. In a bowl combine the chilli and ginger with the white crabmeat, coriander and spring onions. Crack in one egg and mix well, then stir in 4 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs.


3. Divide the crab cake mixture into 6 equal portions and mould into patties. Place on a tray and chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes before cooking.


4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160◦C Fan/Gas 4.


5. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl with one tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Place some plain flour and the remaining breadcrumbs in separate shallow dishes.


6. Dredge a crab cake in the flour, then dip into the egg and coat in the breadcrumbs. Shake gently to remove any excess breadcrumbs. Repeat with the remaining crab cakes.


7. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the crab cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden-brown all over. Transfer the crab cakes to a baking tray and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until piping hot all the way through.


8. Serve the crab cakes with sweet chilli jam and a mixed leaf salad, lightly dressed with olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Word of the day ...

"Bibliognost" [BIB-lee-uh-nost] A well-read individual; a person with wide knowledge of books; one that has comprehensive knowledge of books and bibliography.

Quotes

"Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less." - Marie Curie
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson


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