DESMOND KELLY

“CRICKETERS PERSONIFIED” – by Des Kelly

Srilanka cricket

Once again, we are faced with coincidences that are almost impossible to imagine, this time, in the

Gentleman’s game of cricket. 

eLanka readers learn of many things as they peruse our regular newsletters, but this, folks, is something entirely different. 

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                 “MATCH EKA” – by Des Kelly

 

Now that Cricket has once again become the flavour of the month, I have decided to bring back memories of how much they think about this game in Sri Lanka, after all, just a few years ago they defeated Australia, supposedly the best in the World, and Arjuna was only narrowly beaten by Gotabaya, for the Presidency of our former homeland.

I have always enjoyed Vinoda Samaya and their natural Comedians, most of whom have now passed on, but to explain this comedy sketch to those who do not know Sinhala, especially some who migrated to Melbourne from SL just before the latest Pandemic, the story goes that this funny, plump guy who cries a lot, has been listening to the wireless, taking in a cricket match being played, has just lost his wife, who has quite probably run away with another man (because she does not like cricket), and Berty’s friend, who is, like everybody else, another fanatic, is trying to convince Berty that a famous Sarsthara-karaya (soothsayer) has just been hired in order to find Berty’s lost wife.

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“SCHWARZENEGGER’S SPEECH” – by Des Kelly

There has been quite an uproar about the happenings in America just recently. The Land, reputed to be the most powerful on Earth has been hit with everything possible, culminating with the brunt of the latest Global Pandemic, resulting in thousands of Americans dying of Covid 19, millions losing their jobs and livelihoods, a Nation that is anything but united, with a President who was stunned by his own election, in the first place, simply because he was a businessman who knew no more about politics than I ever did, which was NOTHING !!. How President Trump ran the Country for the past four years, is anyone’s guess.

Now, on the 21st of January, 2021, he has to hand America over to a former Vice President in Joe Biden who was indeed a fully qualified Politician, but Mr.Trump, even at this late stage of affairs, refuses to concede his election defeat, and will not attend the inauguration of President-elect Biden.

So now, we come to ex Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has decided, at this late stage, to let his feelings be known to all and sundry. Thank you, Max Gerreyn, for sending in this video. You do say that the former heavyweight body building champion may have had to take some speech-making tuition, in order to produce this video, and you did not seem too pleased with the expression on the muscle-man’s face, but, let us agree to disagree on this one. I think that Arnie, as he was referred to, by his friends, not only produced an excellent video, to me, he seems to be genuine in what he says. Anyway, we will let the readers of eLanka decide. To me, Arnold Schwarzenegger seems certain that the new President will bring America back to some form of normalcy, and I believe him. It will quite probably take Joe Biden his full term to accomplish what seems an impossibility, but, do it, he WILL.

Readers of eLanka, please watch this video in full, and make up your own minds. Thank you.

Desmond Kelly.
(Editor-in-Chief)  eLanka. 

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               “A TREASURE-TREE” – by Des Kelly

 

They say that you will never see

          A poem lovely as a tree.

     An old song dedicated naturally to trees everywhere. They are so much more important than most of us imagine. They are indeed the life blood of many animals, an Australian example being the Koala bear. It was under the sacred Bo-tree that Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. Trees are the homes of millions of birds that build their nests in them to raise their babies until they are ready to take wing

and the humble bat finds trees on which they hang upside down all day, waiting for sundown before taking off.

Trees are necessary for our World to exist, but sometimes, unfortunately, they are cut down leaving huge logs that end up as common toothpicks.

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“The beautiful butterfly mountain” – By Des Kelly

Legend has it that it is here, that all these beautiful little winged creatures of Ceylon then, (Sri Lanka now), finally come to rest. In the meantime, gorgeous little butterflies flutter by, here, there, and everywhere, giving us all something pretty to feast our eyes upon. “Samanala Kanda” will therefore make for very interesting reading, in addition to bringing back some wonderful memories to many eLanka readers, some of whom were forced to leave our beautiful homeland for political reasons. Here’s hoping that all Sri Lankans reading this will have good reason to be very proud of our Motherland, it’s natural beauty, the mountains, valleys, hills and dales,  waterfalls, verdant shades of green, all around, it’s flora and fauna, large and small, right down to the little winged butterflies, learn to appreciate all these beauties of nature, and desist from turning large areas of this tiny Country into concrete jungles.

As I have always said (and written), what I will always cherish is the true love of the COUNTRY in which I was born, and I feel certain that, many of you good people reading this, will feel exactly the same as I do. Please read and enjoy.

 Desmond Kelly

          Desmond Kelly.

         (Editor -in- eLanka.

Sri Pada: sublimity of nature – Text & pix by Mahil Wijesinghe

the Sri Pada mountain

Source:Sunday Observer

Sunrise over the Sri Pada mountain range seen through Kelani Ganga at dawn in Hanwella

January is a chilly and refreshing month in most parts of Sri Lanka. In the lowlands it is cool both, day and night. In the Central highlands, especially in Nuwara Eliya and Horton Plains, the temperature averages 57.7F, and at night there may even be frost. January is at the tail-end of the North East Monsoon and therefore very little rain may be experienced. This is the season when pilgrims trek to Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak), which goes on till May.

Sri Pada, Samanala Kanda or Adam’s Peak is venerated as a place of worship due to its association with the Buddha’s visit to the summit in 6th century BC. Sri Pada means sacred footprint at the top of a 7,400 feet high mountain and is considered a unique place of worship the world over. Visitors from all parts of the world visit Sri Pada to ascend the mountain.

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A tribute to my friend Lucien Perera – by Desmond Kelly

My tribute to Lucien Perera.

Desmond Kelly.

        

A tribute to my dear friend Lucien Perera

(1944–2021) Original Lead Guitarist of ‘The Jetliners

by Felix Fernando

 

A tribute to my dear friend Lucien Perera

The Jetliners circa 1963; left to right: Lucien Perera, Ishan Bahar, Harris Jurangpathy, Anton Gunewijeya, Felix Fernando

December 1961, and it was the ‘end of year’ concert at St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena. Students with any kind of talent were invited to get on stage and perform. I decided to form a trio to sing two harmonized songs. Stepping off the stage after our performance I was met by this guy with a home-made guitar (we called it a log-guitar in those days), who introduced himself as Colvin Perera. He requested me to back him on a couple of instrumental numbers – ‘Guitar Boogie’ and ‘Quartermaster’s Store’ – which I gladly agreed to do.

At the end of his performance, Colvin – a former student of St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya – whose other names were Lucien Merle, invited me to join a group he was forming. I accepted his invitation and eventually travelled from my home in Hulftsdorp to Dehiwela, where I was introduced to Anton de Mel who played bass guitar. As time went by I took up playing the bass guitar with Anton Gunewijeya on rhythm guitar and Harris Jurangpathy on drums. Lucien worked tirelessly to get the group as many gigs as possible. Hence the birth of THE JETLINERS. The rest is history.

A tribute to my dear friend Lucien Perera

Lucien Perera (right) with Felix Fernando in Colombo a few years ago

Lucien was a guitarist who would play tunes to perfection. He never missed a note. With Tony Fernando as manager, we were introduced to performing at dances at all the leading hotels in Colombo. Lucien was not in favour of doing late-night gigs, and would often complain that people should spend time at home instead of dancing till the early hours of the morning! At times we would notice Lucien playing with his eyes closed. No, he wasn’t concentrating on the song but actually asleep!

On one occasion the band was playing a tune titled ‘You are my Heart’s Delight’, and when it came to his solo, with eyes shut he played a tune titled ‘Whispering’, which closely resembled the main tune the band was playing. Thus he earned the name ‘Whispering Lucien’!

I always made it a must to visit Lucien whenever I holidayed in Sri Lanka, to show my appreciation to a person who started me off in the music scene. Over a few ‘shots’ of Ceylon Arrack we would reminisce about the good old days, and I never failed to thank him for having faith in me and inviting me to join his group ‘The Jetliners’.

Vale Lucien, my faithful friend.

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   “GREET, HIS LIFE & TIMES” – By Des Kelly

 

Many tributes have already been made, including one from Joe Van Langenberg & “your’s truly”, in Australia

on eLanka. My apologies for naming Tuesday the 29th of December as the day of his passing, it was actually Monday, the 28th, according to a much more reliable source, his son, Steve.

This, together with this main “son re- father” account of his dad’s hectic, wonderful, & remarkable life, in a brief but touching tribute/semi-autobiog.

 

          Chris was a truly multi-talented individual, never satisfied with seeing the world pass by without his involvement in something or the other.

Most times, it was both.

 

         On behalf of eLanka, I would like to say thank you to Stephen Greet for this more in-depth story on the man who was his dad. It’s a great story.

Please read about Greet, his life & times. May he now rest in peace.

 

Desmond Kelly

          Desmond Kelly.

         (Editor -in- Chief)  eLanka.

 

Chris Greet – his son Stephen Thornton-Greet pays tribute to his colourful life

England was home but Sri Lanka was his joy

Well known actor and Radio Ceylon personality of yesteryear Chris Greet died on December 28, in the UK.

Here his son Stephen Thornton-Greet pays tribute to his colourful life

 

Source: Sunday Times 

Chris Greet - his son Stephen Thornton-Greet pays tribute to his colourful life

Chris Greet: A portrait by Dominic Sansoni.

 

Raconteur, actor, announcer, missionary, musician, father, grandfather and other rather more dubious credentials, Dad ended his days, still singing, still laughing, loud and ludicrous. He went quickly and was in no pain.  A blessing.

 

We last saw him on Christmas Eve.  We met through a glass door, the COVID way, to sing carols and say Merry Christmas.  In truth, it seemed to me, as if Dad had decided it was now time to go home.  Lots of family and so many loved ones waiting, such parties to be had.

 

He leaves behind three children – Natalie, Mariko and Stephen and eight grandchildren – Charith, Luke, Chelsea, Gabby, Sam, Emily, Hitoshi and Yukiko.  Getting to see one’s kids grown up and to read stories to your grandkids seems to me, a further blessing.

 

Dad was born to Martin and Ada Greet (nee Paynter,) both of the India Christian Mission.  He was the youngest of four: Aunty Averill, Uncle Noel, Aunty Evangeline and Dad, as pictured below in a painting by their uncle David Paynter. He was educated in India, in Sri Lanka (at S. Thomas’ College) and at a couple of English public schools, one being Berkhamsted Boys.

 

He left England at the age of 18 and spent his formative years in what was then known as Ceylon.  That resplendent isle captured his heart.  England was home but Sri Lanka was his joy.  His greatest friends were those he made in those formative years at Radio Ceylon, bringing jazz to the country, or so the story goes.

Chris Greet - his son Stephen Thornton-Greet pays tribute to his colourful life

The final goodbye: Son Stephen and daughter-in-law Nicky singing Christmas carols the COVID way through a glass door on Christmas Eve in London

 

Dad spent most of his early working life in Colombo, working in Radio, as previously mentioned, in Advertising at Intasel and Grants, on the stage and making movies like Rampage (he won Best Supporting Actor at the first Presidential Awards back in 1979 and Seetha Devi/Reincarnation, with a group of friends I have heard described, as the Ceylon Rat Pack…  You all know who you are!

 

Talie and I fondly recall the times we all spent together: the magical Paynter Homes’ carol service in Nuwara Eliya and the elaborate shows we all put on together in Colombo.  We had little choice but to share our Dad with our friends at the homes.  I like to imagine, we mostly did this graciously.

 

Dad moved back to the UK in the early 80s and enjoyed a varied and eventful career spanning many genres.  He played Gemma Atherton’s uncle, in the Disney movie ‘Prince of Persia’; has many TV credits to his name, including Victoria Woods ‘Dinner Ladies’, Dinotopia, Alice in Wonderland and The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells.  He performed at the British National Opera in ‘Cosi fan tutte’, played Bernard Shaw at the Shaw Society and was even encased naked in a glass box and presented in Regent’s Park as a living sculpture.  As you can imagine I didn’t see that one.

 

Dad had three loves in his life.  Our Mum – Anne Loos (mother of Talie and Steve and Koshi), Aunty Kumiko (Mariko’s mother)  and the lovely Dee Campbell who he married in 1985 and who broke his heart by passing away far too early.

Chris Greet - his son Stephen Thornton-Greet pays tribute to his colourful life

A David Paynter (Uncle David) portrait of the three Greet children

 

Uncle Noel (Dad’s older brother) once said to me that a life well lived was one that leaves the world a better place for one having been through it. If ever there was an example of a life well lived, and time well spent, it was exemplified by Dad.

 

To be honest, he might have been more successful in any of his many endeavours, especially since he started off in one of the most iconic movies ever – The Bridge on the River Kwai. To Dad, however, success seemed to be measured in living in the moment and having as much fun in that moment as is possible.

 

Dad recounted a time when he was on the set of ‘Bridge’ having a drink with Sir Alec Guinness.

Dad: “So… Alec… do you think I should do this for a living?”

AG: “Only if one has a rich uncle dear boy.”

 

Far more amusing and embarrassing stories abound, from all his many friends, now spread across the world.  I trust you all meet and reminisce from time to time, especially seeing as Dad now lives in our memories and through stories.  Many friends have over the years, shared with me what a great source of joy he was to them.  To all his great friends around the world, for those of you who knew and loved him, I would ask you to raise a glass, with us, his family, in wishing him a safe journey home.

 

 

Should you find yourself in Nuwara Eliya – kindly pop in visit and please continue to support the Paynter homes, one of Dad’s great passion projects, and maybe, in a quiet moment, high in those misty hills, you might just sense something of him.  In the place that was… for Dad… forever Christmas.

 

As with everything these days, Dad’s final farewell will be governed by COVID.  That said, the plan is that we have a Thanksgiving and Memorial for him, sometime in the summer.

 

The location?  Two of Dad’s favourite places – Church and then the pub.

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“VALE’ CHRIS GREET” – By Des Kelly

Mr Christopher Greet

It is with great sadness that I inform all members of eLanka of the passing of not just a very good friend, but also of someone who was a true legend of our beautiful Motherland, Sri Lanka. There were only a very few Sri Lankans of this halcyon era in Lanka that that didn’t know Chris, be it even only his dulcet tones on Radio Ceylon, if not personally. The era I write about was during the 1950’s.

We were both young & carefree, Chris, just a few years older than me owned a second-hand Mayflower car, in which he would pick me up in order to attend a few rehearsals of my song Dreamworld, and on the way, the car would inevitably break down, and Chris would then get out, kick the closest tyre and say to me, “don’t worry Desmond, she may flower again”, get back into the car and somehow get it going again. Chris Greet was the Producer of the very first professional recording of my song, and I couldn’t have done it without him.

          My good friend Joe VanLangenberg has also written a recent tribute to Chris Greet, a tribute that is now repeated on eLanka, at my request. Thank you, Joe, and, of course, Neil. It is fully appreciated.

Our condolences go out to the family of this great guy who honoured me by being my Producer and never ever forgetting the song he produced. 

Christopher Greet died of Covid 19 complications in England on 29/12/20, but rest assured my friend, I will never forget you. Sri Lanka has lost yet another REAL LEGEND, and I, a REAL FRIEND. Rest now, in peace, and may God have you in HIS keeping forever.

Desmond Kelly

Desmond Kelly.  

CHRIS GREET, SHOWMAN EXTRAORDINAIRE: By Joe Van Langenberg

Joe Van Langenberg

To the younger generation, the name of Chris Greet may not ring a bell. But to those who were around in the early eightees or thereabouts, they will remember Christopher Arthur Greet, affectionately called & known as Chris, as one of, if not the most respected radio personality; who strode the hallowed corridors of showbiz with aplomb. Chris was the complete package. He was an announcer, who was one of the strongest linchpins of one of the most popular radio stations in South Asia; Radio Ceylon. Among his contemporaries were Jimmy Barucha, Tim Haushington, Livy Wijemanne, Greg Roswoski, Vernon Corea, Wijeya Corea & Leon Belleth, among others. All of the above, were stalwarts in their own right, who brought happiness into the lives of many; with some of them gaining solace, from the music the disc jockeys dished out from their turn tables, at that point in time; as did Chris, who was very much a significant part of the equation. Despite been relatively slightly-built, Chris was packed with energy, not to mention bubbling over with creativity & enthusiasm. Many wannabe announcers & others, keen in making it big in the industry, cut their teeth under the tutelage of this charismatic personality. Chris was never one, who was satisfied in hiding his light under a bushel. Nor did he think twice, before agreeing to impart his valuable know-how to his students; a know-how others yearned to know how. Chris enjoyed iconic status in the Radio Industry. It will be no exaggeration to say, that he was the catalyst for Radio Ceylon becoming the envy of broadcasting, not only in Ceylon ( as it was then known) but in many other countries where Chris excelled & where he was recognised. Deciding to spread his wings, Chris secured employment as an account director at Intisel Advertising, located at 60 Green Path Colombo 7. He later recorded commercials from Sri Lankan advertising agencies back in the 1980’s. Among his earlier roles as an actor, in which he distinguished himself; was portraying the role of a British officer in the unforgettable epic movie “Bridge on the River Kwai”, a timeless classic which has & continues being the envy of many a film producer, or any person associated with the industry. Needless to say, Chris’ dedicated & impeccable performance, proved to be a cut above the rest. He also appeared alongside some of the greatest stage actors, vis-a-vis Lucien de Zoysa, to name just one, among a host of others. Chris was also an accomplished mimic, who imitated the chirping of birds & other animals, in a special programme which was given considerable airplay at the time, to the unrestrained delight of both kids & adults alike. He was also a music director who produced the song “Dreamworld”, a song written by Desmond “Des” Kelly, who happened to be one of Sri Lanka’s most sought-after, multi-talented musicians & one who is still respected & revered. Now in the winter of his life, this once-effervercent showman, spends his days in a nursing home in England; cared for by one of Florence Nightingale’s angels. Albeit ravaged by the debiltating effects of acute dementia; Chris has rare moments of lucidity; in that, he remembers the lyrics of “Dreamworld”. His eyes light up & he comes alive, the moment he listens to the recording. Such is the power of music. And such is the magic of Des Kelly’s voice & the enduring popularity of the song, which has hitherto not lost its lustre! We wish Chris Greet the very best which life can offer!

 

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“VALE’ CHRIS.GREET” – By Des Kelly

Mr Christopher Greet

It is with great sadness that I inform all members of eLanka of the passing of not just a very good friend, but also of someone who was a true legend of our beautiful Motherland, Sri Lanka. There were only a very few Sri Lankans of this halcyon era in Lanka that that didn’t know Chris, be it even only his dulcet tones on Radio Ceylon, if not personally. The era I write about was during the 1950’s.

We were both young & carefree, Chris, just a few years older than me owned a second-hand Mayflower car, in which he would pick me up in order to attend a few rehearsals of my song Dreamworld, and on the way, the car would inevitably break down, and Chris would then get out, kick the closest tyre and say to me, “don’t worry Desmond, she may flower again”, get back into the car and somehow get it going again. Chris Greet was the Producer of the very first professional recording of my song, and I couldn’t have done it without him.

          My good friend Joe VanLangenberg has also written a recent tribute to Chris Greet, a tribute that is now repeated on eLanka, at my request. Thank you, Joe, and, of course, Neil. It is fully appreciated.

Our condolences go out to the family of this great guy who honoured me by being my Producer and never ever forgetting the song he produced. 

Christopher Greet died of Covid 19 complications in England on 29/12/20, but rest assured my friend, I will never forget you. Sri Lanka has lost yet another REAL LEGEND, and I, a REAL FRIEND. Rest now, in peace, and may God have you in HIS keeping forever.

Desmond Kelly

Desmond Kelly.  

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“WELCOME TO 2021” – BY Des Kelly

 

     IT’S BEEN A ROTTEN YEAR,

    LET’S MAKE THAT VERY CLEAR,

         TWELVE MONTHS OF               PANDEMONIUM ARE NOW PAST,

     BUT NOW, HERE’S 2021,

        A NEW YEAR HAS BEGUN,

AND A BRIGHTER FUTURE NOW, IS

                    FORECAST !!,

          And, what better way to begin with, except some beautiful music, a waltz by one of the BEST COMPOSERS

of olden times, Johann Strauss,(Jnr.) himself, accompanied by some of God’s most beautiful creatures like swans, birds of paradise, and others, dancing in cadence to the music.

While thanking our good friend Maxie Gerreyn for sending me this astounding video featuring not just the light classical music I have always preferred, but also these beautiful birds of the feathered variety, who obviously enjoy Johann as I do, I felt that it was necessary to share it with the many thousands of eLanka members, in the hope that many more will join Neil Jayasekera & “your’s truly”during the coming year, to enjoy the variety of on-line entertainment we pride ourselves in offering our members. 

 

          WISHING ALL OF YOU OUT THERE, IN ELANKA-LAND ESPECIALLY,

A VERY HAPPY, PROSPEROUS, BUT ABOVE ALL, A SAFE, SECURE NEW YEAR IN 2021. MAY ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE, WE SAY TO YOU.

Desmond Kelly

          Desmond Kelly

        (Editor-in-Chief.)eLanka.

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