REVIEW: Richard Durrant, Midsummer Celebration, Ropetackle Arts Centre

Richard Durrant on stage at the Ropetackle, including bicycle and prayer blanket
Richard Durrant on stage at the Ropetackle, including bicycle and prayer blanket

A SINGLE bicycle bell began guitarist Richard Durrant’s Midsummer Celebration at the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham.

Quite appropriate, as it was the end of his 51-day, 30-concert tour of England, all done by bicycle.

He and companion Sean Simington pedalled more than 1,500 miles up and down the country, carrying all the tour equipment on two bikes.

Returning home to the expected ‘hero’s welcome’ from his loyal friends and fans on Friday, June 20, he played the instrument he took on tour, his smallest guitar, a super lightweight instrument compared to his usual heavy concert guitar.

He said it had developed all sorts of strange noises during the tour, which was not surprising, considering what it had been through, including water getting in.

During the second half, Stephen Hiscock from British percussion quartet ensemblebash demonstrated how the bicycle music heard on Richard’s Cycling Music album is played live.

The bike Richard had cycled was turned upside down and alongside it were a range of wheels and bells, used to create a delightful background to the guitar music.

Richard spoke of his love of bikes throughout the evening but pointed out the difficulties he faced on the road, including falling off four times. “There were lots of narrow escapes,” he said.

“A lot of drivers don’t like cyclists and they seem to make it their business to overtake as near as possible and honk their horn. The aggression some drivers have for cyclists is quite frightening.”

He carried a prayer blanket everywhere and put it up at every concert.

It was knitted for him by the Church of the Good Shepherd on Shoreham Beach and presented to him before the tour started.

“It has done a good job” he said.

As well as his Cycling Music pieces, Richard played some Spanish music, three works by J.S. Bach and a ‘cheating’ version of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, which cleverly brought in layer upon layer of music, all played by Richard himself.