Letter from Melbourne - Pinegrove Leather

The Man that Hadn’t Music in Himself

No sooner do I tell you that we have our man Bertie in Melbourne, when he delivers the goods.

Our first piece of intelligence has arrived. Read on, gents:

My dear Tweed

A short note to ask you if you could remember what Shakespeare said about the man that hadn’t music in himself? I can never remember but I think it had something to do with treason.

I reflected heavily on this as it took me the full Twelve Days of Christmas to get the hang of playing In the Bleak Midwinter on the harmonica. While I may never truly master this tiny instrument, I must share with you the wonderful harmonica case (image above) which My Good Lady Wife gave me for Christmas.

Pinegrove Leather Goods

Pinegrove Leather is a hidden gem. It’s run by husband and wife team Rod Boyes and Lou Comerford Boyes who have been crafting for many years before setting up Pinegrove in 2012. They’re based in the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge and the company takes it name from The Pine Grove Blues, a song that Rod used to play when he was with Cajun Aces dance band.

Pinegrove describes their style as 'modern vintage' while avoiding modern style fastenings, preferring the challenge of designing using traditional techniques. All the leather is sourced from the UK, with a preference for leather that is both real and natural.

The leather in my case (in my case) passes the all-important 'smell test', smelling of a good saddle. In fact, the instructions that come with the case recommend using saddle polish on it.

Pinegrove specialises in leather goods for musicians, also making other items for guitar, whistle and drum. As well as their musical line, they also make organisers and notebooks — so there’s everything the organised musician needs.

Is it a harmonica or a mouth organ? It depends if you're a Midnight Cowboy

I understand some readers may have an image in their minds of harmonica players in the rural South of America, sitting on a porch playing a righteous slow blues or an equally riotous spiritual, or even an image of cowboys playing Red River Valley in front of a roaring fire. That image is true, up to a point. But the harmonica — or in British English, the mouth organ — has many traditions, with players across all musical genres from blues to bop, skiffle to ska, reggae to rock, folk to baroque.

In fact, your Correspondent shares Mr Tweed’s fondness for the compositions of John Barry, so when he’s not trying to play Holst on the harp, he’ll chime away at the theme from Midnight Cowboy [Amazon] , played here by Barry himself on a chromatic harmonica:

And in the midnight hour when the Good Lady Wife turns into She Who Must Be Obeyed and gives the order 'Let there be no noise made!' I have somewhere truly wonderful to hide my harmonicas.

Bertie Davies, Melbourne



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