GFS November 2001

SPECIAL YEAR COMES TO A CLOSE

The fortieth year of the George Formby Society came to a close with the final group 'thrash' on Sunday 25th November 2001. Once again the whole weekend was full of good sounds and fond memories of the great George Formby.

FILMS

Films over the weekend were two of George's best, "Let George Do It" and "Trouble Brewing" plus an extra feature on London member Von Hoffman's fantastic George Formby themed motor-bike. This was well received by all the members who attend the film shows. Some brilliant performances from the stage, especially from John Shreeve who is always a welcome attraction on the stage of the Winter gardens.

MEMORABLE MEETING

The meeting was especially memorable for yours truly when I finally met face to face with a good friend from the States, Eleanor Dugan who has contributed so much to the Society magazine over the last few years, all the way from San Francisco. Eleanor was scheduled to visit us at the September meeting but because of the outrage in New York and at the Pentagon her flight was cancelled and sadly she couldn't be with us. She certainly made up for it in November though and didn't miss one minute of the whole weekend. I know that Eleanor has taken special memories of the people, sites and sounds she experienced over the weekend, back with her to San Francisco but let me invite Eleanor to describe the weekend as she experienced it, over to you Eleanor.

MY FIRST CONVENTION

By Eleanor Dugan, San Francisco Member "Are you having a good time?" everyone kept asking me, sociably but superfluously. A daffy, euphoric grin hadn't left my face since I ascended the stairs and heard the first uke chords coming from all sides. From a staircase, a soul-stirring solo riff, mixing with a heart-pounding sequence of rising chords in another corner and a blast of harmonies from a small group, heads bent together in concentration. Heaven in stereo! My grin didn't fade until the final dying notes of the last thrash on Sunday night. Of course, nothing was quite as I had imagined it would be. Everything was MORE: More talent, more compelling musical moments, more congeniality, more of my favorite offbeat Formby songs, more to talk about with more people, more just plain fun. My immense frustration at missing the September convention (due to theair travel ban in the U.S.) no longer mattered. I have been told that the September conventions are usually the liveliest, but it is hard to imagine a better gathering than the Winter 2001 Convention in Blackpool. The level of individual performances was astounding. The younger members, especially, were terrifyingly talented. They combined technical excellence with enormous charm and stage presence far beyond their years. It was like sitting in on an early jam session of the Beatles. I'm sure I was watching future stars, should they choose show business over chartered accountancy or piloting SSTs. As the member who had come the farthest, I got royal treatment, butI think everyone must have felt equally special in this unique environment. It was great at last to meet the GFS members I've corresponded with over the years. From their photos in the Vellum and on the GFS web site, I felt I already knew them well, but now I was really there! My eternal gratitude to my generous host/chauffeur, Vellum editor Tony Thornton; to President Dennis Taylor for his overwhelming kindness and consideration; and to webmaster Peter Pollard who ran through the rain to greet me, shouting, "Welcome to Blackpool!" They all made an American member feel truly at home.

SPECIAL YEAR COMES TO A CLOSE

The fortieth year of the George Formby Society came to a close with the final group 'thrash' on Sunday 25th November 2001. Once again the whole weekend was full of good sounds and fond memories of the great George Formby.

FILMS

Films over the weekend were two of George's best, "Let George Do It" and "Trouble Brewing" plus an extra feature on London member Von Hoffman's fantastic George Formby themed motor- bike. This was well received by all the members who attend the film shows. Some brilliant performances from the stage, especially from John Shreeve who is always a welcome attraction on the stage of the Winter gardens.

MEMORABLE MEETING

The meeting was especially memorable for yours truly when I finally met face to face with a good friend from the States, Eleanor Dugan who has contributed so much to the Society magazine over the last few years, all the way from San Francisco. Eleanor was scheduled to visit us at the September meeting but because of the outrage in New York and at the Pentagon her flight was cancelled and sadly she couldn't be with us. She certainly made up for it in November though and didn't miss one minute of the whole weekend. I know that Eleanor has taken special memories of the people, sites and sounds she experienced over the weekend, back with her to San Francisco but let me invite Eleanor to describe the weekend as she experienced it, over to you Eleanor.

MY FIRST CONVENTION

By Eleanor Dugan, San Francisco Member "Are you having a good time?" everyone kept asking me, sociably but superfluously. A daffy, euphoric grin hadn't left my face since I ascended the stairs and heard the first uke chords coming from all sides. From a staircase, a soul-stirring solo riff, mixing with a heart-pounding sequence of rising chords in another corner and a blast of harmonies from a small group, heads bent together in concentration. Heaven in stereo! My grin didn't fade until the final dying notes of the last thrash on Sunday night. Of course, nothing was quite as I had imagined it would be. Everything was MORE: More talent, more compelling musical moments, more congeniality, more of my favorite offbeat Formby songs, more to talk about with more people, more just plain fun. My immense frustration at missing the September convention (due to theair travel ban in the U.S.) no longer mattered. I have been told that the September conventions are usually the liveliest, but it is hard to imagine a better gathering than the Winter 2001 Convention in Blackpool. The level of individual performances was astounding. The younger members, especially, were terrifyingly talented. They combined technical excellence with enormous charm and stage presence far beyond their years. It was like sitting in on an early jam session of the Beatles. I'm sure I was watching future stars, should they choose show business over chartered accountancy or piloting SSTs. As the member who had come the farthest, I got royal treatment, butI think everyone must have felt equally special in this unique environment. It was great at last to meet the GFS members I've corresponded with over the years. From their photos in the Vellum and on the GFS web site, I felt I already knew them well, but now I was really there! My eternal gratitude to my generous host/chauffeur, Vellum editor Tony Thornton; to President Dennis Taylor for his overwhelming kindness and consideration; and to webmaster Peter Pollard who ran through the rain to greet me, shouting, "Welcome to Blackpool!" They all made an American member feel truly at home.
GFS September 2001
A disappointment? Well, yes. One. During the screening of Let George Do It, no one stood and cheered when George popped Hitler on the nose. I guess they all knew how World War II turned out. The element of suspense has been lost. "Turned out nice again" as George would say.