Absent friends

Our gig last month at the Inn on the Green was noticeable by the absence of our regular drummer, Dino Coccia, who as it turned out, was still in Ireland, completely unaware that the gig was on. The confusion may have lain in the unusual occurrence of five Sundays in that particular month. In fact it was quite an unusual month in other ways as there were also five Fridays, five Saturdays and five Sundays in the month, which hasn’t happened for over a hundred years, I’m informed. However, we soldiered on without a drummer. I’ll make sure Dino get’s enough warning about the November gig which is on the 21st.

As a matter of fact I’ve had emails about the gig from a few people who will be coming from overseas at that particular time and are looking forward to the chance to catch the band. One of these mails is from “Chinese Steve” who used to follow the band way back when we had a residency at The Old Swan in Notting Hill. He also followed us when we moved to the Caernarvon Castle in Camden, so it will be great to see him again. I also received an email from another friend in Ireland about the time when he and his mates were squatting in South London and always made the trip over the river to catch the Camden gig each Sunday night. It is really encouraging to hear from people from the old days.

One of the places from the old days, as I mentioned before was the 100 Club which is threatened with closure. This is doubly annoying because my drummer from those days, Mel Wright and I were meeting recently to discuss the release of a live album recorded at the 100 Club twenty years ago. It had former members of my early band, Ron Skinner, and Bruce Langsman as well as Mel and Wolfie Witcher. On it and there was an instrumental track which I’d entitled 100 Club Boogie. This was also the intended title of the forthcoming album subject to getting approval from Jeff Horton who owns the club. I will have to get in touch with him under different circumstances than I’d expected due to the closure problem.

Normally when I meet with Mel, Chris Youlden and Bernie Pallo also come along for the meet, but neither was up to it. Bernie is still having a few problems as a result of his cancer treatment and Chris was actually in hospital having under gone a hernia operation the day before. Chris is now back at home but has an added complication with a throat problem. However he’s on the up again and will almost certainly be back with us soon. We may have to have an early repeat meet; what a chore, hanging around in Soho bars.

Talking of which, by chance I ran into an old acquaintance in a local bar from the days when I played gigs at Reigate Rugby Club. He put me in touch a mutual friend who moved to Cornwall and has bought his local pub. He suggested the possibility of a gig there, so we may be heading down there sometime soon. We’d have to get a few other gigs lined up down that way but who knows? Jimmy Appudurai Chua, who was the magazine photographer when we published British Blues Review and did the cover photo for my Vicksburg’ “Night after Night” vinyl album, also lives down that way and has been trying to encourage me to take the band down there. And finally, talking of that particular album, I think I may be giving away copies at some of my future gigs, so any Vinyl collectors out there, you’re welcome to turn up at the next gig. So is Dino!