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is Jasper really a Jazzper?
Posted by: Jazz_Sue (
Date: March 09, 2007 12:09AM

First off, apologies for NOT remembering the exact name of the jazz pianist Thursday duets with in the hotel bar. this is because I have a rotten memory when it comes to 'standard' names and I am typing this in the middle of nowhere so can't grab my copy of TEF to check facts (okay, I'm actually in a posh estate just west of Horley but it's still a long way from my books - I'm house/child mnding for a big wig in the army and can't escape) anyhow, I usually 'get' the name puns Jasper comes up with - e.g Braxton Hicks (how I suffered!) but I admit to being stumped over this one.I think the jazzer was Holroyd something (Wilson maybe? Embarrassing to admit, but I really can't remember anything past yesterday nowadays) I can't 'get' the pun at all (if there is one) The thing is, it sounds like a 'serious' name and I just wondered - was this character either closely based on, or even the name of an actual, jazzman? The passages come over with a great deal of respect and I feel Thursday is 'speaking' in Jasper's voice. Which brings me to ... is Fforde a jazz loving Jazzper? Don't blame him for that,best music there is (and incidentally if anyone knows a decent jazz pianist in the Surrey area, good sight reading skills preferred, there's a lady vocalist here - terrible memory for lyrics but otherwise not too bad - who sure as hell needs them.)

Re: is Jasper really a Jazzper?
Posted by: PrinzHilde (
Date: March 09, 2007 10:02AM

The name is Holroyd Wilson. There does not seem to be a jazz musician of that name.

I can see two possible relations. First, it could be a combination of writer Colin Wilson and philosopher Stuart Holroyd, which were, together with Bill Hopkins, the existentialist wing of the fifties' "Angry Young Men" writers' group. They also co-authored a book called "Mysteries of the Mind" in 1978.

Or it could refer actually to musicians. After the split of Barcley James Harvest in 1998, bass player Les Holroyd and drummer Mel Pritchard formed a lineup under the name of "Barclay James Harvest Featuring Les Holroyd", which had Ian Wilson on guitar.

Other combinations Google finds include: professional footballers Laurence Wilson and Chris Holroyd of Chester City; a multitude of scholaric papers, for example "Holroyd J and Wilson BJ: Herbicides for the control of Agropyron repens in field beans"; "Holroyd, P.A., G.P. Wilson, and J.H. Hutchison. (d). Temporal changes within the latest Cretaceous turtle community of the Hell Creek Formation in northeastern Montana." and "Geometrical combinatorics (Research notes in mathematics) by F. C. Holroyd and Robin J. Wilson (Paperback - 1984)". And there is a Daniel Wilson Holroyd Memorial Scholarship Fund, dedicated to the education of at-risk teenagers in Massachusetts.

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Re: is Jasper really a Jazzper?
Posted by: Jazz_Sue (
Date: March 09, 2007 01:39PM

Hm - I'm going with the BJH theory, it seems plausible. I reckon JF must have seen a jazz pianist in a hotel bar somewhere, and incorporated the image into his book,using musical names he was familiar with, because what he's written is pretty much a thumbnail sketch of practically every bar-room sessionist I've ever seen! They are always a bit unsteady on their pins, miserable old sods (probably the long-term effects of alcohol, and anyway they take their music far too seriously to ever have fun with it) and aged about a hundred and ninety - but always brilliant musicians. The reason they're so old is cos, unlike these modern young whippersnappers, they learnt their craft 'on the road'the way it should be done, rather than via an arts degree at the guildhall.They will ALWAYS have done at least one residency at Ronnie Scott's (when Ronnie was still alive - and blowing most nights)or the 100 Club (when it was still called the Humphrey Lyttleton and actually FEATURED jazz), They refuse to acknowledge Jamie Cullum (not even to tell the 'slap' keyboard joke - they are the one jazz muso who can always be relied on NOT to joke. About anything. Or smile. Or even talk) This is because JC actually makes money out of it and therefore is most definitely NOT a true jazzman. This, despite the fact they always seem to play from the same 'pad' he does - i.e the one marked mainstream/modern. For this reason (the fact people actually got rich with the likes of Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk, back when the modernist purists were gigging for peanuts at Ronnies) they also refuse to say the words 'Trad' and 'jazz' in the same sentence. They are, however, happy to dep for traditional bands - small capitals - SO LONG AS THERE ARE NO BANJOS. They will say this is because these musicians are keeping the early roots of jazz alive, rather than recreating a pop fad of the early sixties that had no connection with the only truly American art form there has ever beeen. What they don't say is that the UK jazz club scene is dominated by traditional bands the same age as the paying audience. These last two words are important: it's the one other place, outside of hotel bars, where someone who tickles ivories, but who is just a few months short of recieving a telegram from the queen can expect to get paid.They would, of course, rather still be gigging at Ronnie's, but there aren't too many of the 'old' crowd left: the others (mainly the brass and wind blowers) all OD'd on booze, drugs and life working alongside other manic depressives - and died. Years back. You don't tend to get this degree of angst with piano players - not the ones that are left, anyway. I think it's because, when jazz hit a low point in this country - round about the seventies, when acid jazz synth replaced the more traditional keyboard and strings, and anyone playing Thelonius Monk solos on something with a mouthpiece committed suicide - they all got jobs as 'O' level music teachers at secondary schools (pianists are handy for assemblies, see? any other instrumentalists aren't) and after that, anything else didn't seem nearly as bad.
There are modern jazz clubs, but the musicians tend to be modern too - all Cullumesque clones from the Guildhall, providing backing to the likes of Robbie Williams and Tracy Chapman as their 'real' job. And rolling in it as a result. I mean, how can they call themselves REAL jazzmen? And don't even get him started on jazzWOMEN. They should stick to karaoke.

I've actually found some photos I took a while back, featuring a pianist (famous in his youth - can't remember his name) who is the spit of Holroyd! If ever they make the movie, I bags he gets the part. If he's not already dead. I'll try to scan it into the computer, it's a rarity - piano AND banjo. For a short while, anyway. Till the pianist threatened him with it, and he swapped to guitar.

The Google combos made fun reading though! It's got my mind boggling, especially the cretaceous turtles. After all, we've had a Bird who played sax - and if he had lived to the present he'd certainly qualify as a dodo ..

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/2007 01:40PM by Jazz_Sue.

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