On his arrival at Millman Street Centre this morning, your HCA hack was initially startled to see several of our members coating wooden sticks with peanut butter and bird seed. It struck him that a (mercifully deleted) scene from The Wicker Man had somehow come to life when he saw more such sticks hanging, like a bizarre cricket wicket, from a Zimmer frame:
However, accustomed to the slightly surreal edge that permeates Millman Street Centre, the scaredy cat slowly realised that he had stumbled upon another of Alice’s Active Minds workshops. And that our members were once again showing their creativity, continuing last week’s theme of making bird feeders.
Alice explained that lard can also be used to coat bird feeders, though, when asked if lemon curd could also be used, she didn’t hazard a comment. Anyway, our members seemed to enjoy themselves, with David, Rose, Shonni and Helena all working happily away under Alice’s supervision. Once completed, the feeding sticks were hung in the Millman Street garden for the benefit of our feathered pals.
Last week’s Active Minds workshop all but exhausted this reporters supply of bird-related puns and references. This week, he had to work a little harder to flesh out an otherwise threadbare blogpost. And all for, erm, chickenfeed…
It turns out there aren’t that many songs about peanuts and/or peanut butter, so not much of a ‘soundtrack’ this week. Steve recalled that The Police had had a song called Peanuts on one of their albums before Sting left for a solo career. In other media, there was Charles Schultz’s cartoon strip Peanuts (Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the kid who had ‘stink’ lines emanating from him, etc). And former US President Jimmy Carter was sometimes lampooned in peanut-related ways, having been a peanut farmer before taking office. Perhaps hilariously, perhaps not…
All very well, but your befuddled scribe was intent on hunting down the origins of the song The Peanut Vendor, which he deemed the perfect soundtrack for today’s workshop. He dimly recalled that it was largely instrumental, with someone shouting out the word “Peanuts!” now and again.
He discovered that it is probably Cuban in origin, that everyone from Louis Armstrong (1930) through Cary Grant (in the 1939 film Only Angels Have Wings) to Perez Prado and Dean Martin, post-war, had covered the ditty. But he couldn’t find the definitive version, settling (for now) for Al Bowlly’s 1931 rendering.
Anyhoo, Sarah took some photos of today’s Active Minds workshop, which is more relevant. As you’ll surely agree once you’ve viewed the following slideshow:
This reporters own blurry photos weren’t good enough for the slideshow, but might as well appear here to contrast with Sarah’s superior snaps:
Holborn Community Association would like to thank Alice – yet again – for providing our members with another Active Minds session.
Photos by a still-chirpy Sarah; report by the nutty non-professor, Notes Smudger