As I began writing this, Acker Bilk was playing on iTunes.
Years ago I used to think Acker Bilk was dreadfully old. He wasn’t, of course. He was just a little older than the pop stars I admired. He is 80 today, and I admire him more than I do many of those pop stars.
That weird name which used to confuse me turns out to be a nickname. And I was never one for jazz, but after hearing one of his albums at someone’s house, I went out and bought it. Then I bought some more. And more. Acker Bilk on clarinet is very soothing and reliable, when you’re in need. I’m often in need.
The year before last I carted the family off to the Bridgewater Hall to hear him play. It was all under the pretence that the younger generation needed to learn about him, but it was really so that the witch could hear Acker Bilk play live. He was wonderful… I have just checked his tour dates for this year, but he’s not coming this way. Arggh.
Happy 80th, Acker!