That time has come around again when I can do the annual birthday bash with the band. The Union Tavern is a great little pub with craft beers from local breweries and a well-used canalside terrace. The band will be Alan Vincent and Jon t-bone Taylor on guitars, Steve Taylor on Bass and Neil Littman on drums. Afew guests are intending to come along too so it should be birthday business as usual. My only problem is getting my gear there as I got rid of my car a while ago. Fortunately the place is just around the corner.
I hadn’t realised how long it was since I last wrote anything here. Anyway, after the operation for the pacemaker I was able to get to Poland for the wedding which was three days of vodka shots, endless wine and food and continuous dancing, but as I had to restrict my left arm movements for the heart wires to bed in, my one handed dance efforts weren’t too often and not so brilliant,
Back in England the following weekend we travelled to Sevenoaks for another wedding and on the train, some dickhead ex mercenary from the Angola campaign told us all to shut up and threatened Gigi’s ninety two year old woman with his umbrella. Another passenger intervened and eventually the idiot was removed from the train. Who says train guards aren’t needed?
A week or so later, Pete Sargeant asked me to arrange a meet up with Chris, to do a joint interview for Blues Matters Magazine, This we did and had a reasonable enough drink as there was a beer festival on at the local pub. Chris is still having leg problems but is coping okay so that’s good news.
I saw Pete again a week later at the Spice of Life gig which went well. The other performers, Booga Red, a great duo with Steve English on guitar and vocals and pianist Claire Hamlin, were a nice contrast to our set so the evening had plenty to offer. I even sold a few cd’s Could do with more of the same.
The partying had to stop sometime and it did so in the form of my asthma coming back with a vengeance. I met up with Dino Coccia and Ryan Lamb in the Blue Post behind the 100 Club, but the evening was spoiled by a severe asthma hit which caused me to bring up all that hard-earned drink I’d already consumed earlier in Portobello. As I hadn’t eaten anything it could have been worse. In fact it wasn’t helped by me trying to use a redundant inhaler.
The problem got worse over the next week and although Gigi and I went out to the Union on Carnival Sunday, I was in no state to attend the carnival this year, In fact when I finally conceded defeat and made an appointment with the doctor, I brought everything up again at home on Sunday night, and after only one pint. The trouble is I brought up the newly acquired medication too. The result was we didn’t even get to the Union on Monday. Carnival, you bet.
Jon T-bone Taylor is arranging a benefit gig for Henry Gray, after the Louisiana flooding wiped him out possession-wise, As I had the pleasure of working with Henry way back when he was over here, it is a pleasure to help out. The gig will be at the Bull’s Head Barnes on November 7th and is a worthy cause so let’s hope people pitch. Now it’s time to make another doctor appointment for the asthma review. I’m not so sure getting old is quite the fun I thought it was.
I was looking for my driving licence and found my passport, which was due to expire a few days later. As Gigi and I had made plans to go to Poland for a wedding of friends, it meant I had to renew my passport immediately. A week later I attended my appointment at the passport office on the day after the referendum. Business done there, I then decided to drown my sorrows about the leave decision, thoroughly ashamed to be English, so it was obvious that my first port of call was the pub opposite the passport office. How appropriate was that because it’s the St George’s Tavern. Fortunately it was not full of Little Englanders. In fact it was a chance to commiserate with other Remainers. Next stop was The Squirrel and the theme continued. I guess all the Leavers were at home getting their fascist posters ready.
A few days later I was asked to attend my local cardiac clinic for the results of a 24hour ECG monitoring which I’d undergone previously. The news was not so good as it confirmed that my heart was stopping from time to time for five seconds. The solution was an emergency operation for a heart pacemaker. That was carried out successfully,. but the trouble was, that flying to Poland was going to be a problem. I’m going back to the cardiac surgery today to see whether they will allow me to fly so soon after the op. I guess it’s fingers crossed..
I should be fine by the end of the month for the gig at The Spice Of Life and am looking forward to that. The gig is sponsored by Radio Sutch and will be recorded live, so I don’t expect it to be a heart stopper but good fun instead.
The Friday night music at the Squirrel is being curtailed during the summer so the regular first Friday gigs are cancelled for now. As one of my PA speakers got damaged it is no real hassle for me personally.
On a lighter note The Erdington Club Mothers, which ran successfully for a while in the late seventies and early sixties and had a great music scene going with top bands playing there, had a reunion for it’s old fans and musicians who played there in those days. I recorded my first album there for Pye Records and was invited to the re-union.
I travelled down there on Saturday by train and really enjoyed the way the organisers had displayed all those old posters advertising various bands promoted there. In addition there were many stalls with records for sale. There were also a succession of musical performances from bands from those days. The music was great and just proved that that era produced some great musicians and they are still going strong. Music does keep you young.
The next gig at the Squirrel will be on Friday 5th of February as the January one falls on New Year’s day and I don’t wish to be playing to an empty pub. I shall be nursing my hangover somewhere else, probably at home.
I have just realised that the days are getting longer again, although they are still pretty short. That said, the sun is shining outside, but across the street an ambulance is parked and someone is not going to be having such a good Christmas as they might have hoped for.
So for all you hopeless people who will be making new year resolutions only to find them impossible to keep, may I suggest one you should make and keep, is to look forward to each day and enjoy it to the full, whatever sadness it may occasionally bring. Enough of the oracle mischief, seasons greetings to you all.
Yesterday I met up with Chris Youlden and we had a good catch-up accompanied by very cheap beer, £1.99 a pint in a real ale Festival. Chris has just got over a bad cold but is still having problems with his legs so it was good to see him out and about again. However my cough which I’ve had at least three different treatments for, is still hanging on and I am in the middle of my fourth set of medication. So far no good. Actually a whiskey at bedtime did give me a cough-free night, though it was back to normal today.
We had a really enjoyable gig at The Elgin and it was good to see people from the old Station Tavern and Portobello Green days in the audience. They have a good sound engineer for the in-house PA and I really enjoyed the evening. Let’s hope there will be a few more in the future.
We will be back at The Squirrel next Friday so I guess I will have to get on the case to get some support as there wasn’t any live music there this Friday just gone. It will be the usual line-up and time, 8.30pm or so. Meanwhile New Zealand have just scored another try in the 78th minute so I guess the All Blacks are world champions again. Time to shut up shop now.
Lots of birthday wishes thank you all. The birthday bash went well again with plenty of musicians and vocalists to help out. And I needed helping out because I’ve had this cough for months now and though I’ve been to the doctor three times and had God knows how many antibiotic and steroid pills the cough still persists and leaves me short of breath at times. I am now discovering the delights or otherwise of Ventolin inhalers,
A few days later I was in the Grand Union where the Portobello Brewers and Fullers Brewers were jointly sponsoring a charity for the Carnival. They had a raffle for various products, and I won one of 100 specially brewed bottled beers. Obviously I’m not fated to give up drinking yet. The other part of the promotion was a country blues duo who did a really good set. I was going to mention them here and took down their details but in my inimitable fashion managed to lose the information. Apologies to you guys.
This week we’ll be playing at The Elgin on the corner of Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park Road. The band as usual will be Alan Vincent and Jon T-Bone Taylor on guitars, Steve Taylor on bass and Mel Wright on drums. Although I’ve lived around the area for fifty odd years, I’ve never played the Elgin. I’m looking forward to it.
Coming up to the monthly gig at my local, The Squirrel, which happens to coincide with my actual birthday, hence my 78th Birthday Bash will take place there this year. Hope to have a few guests again. The gig actually clashes with the rugby match between Georgia and New Zealand so we’ll kick of briefly during the half-time interval and then we’ll continue after the match ends. We shall know more about the rugby state of play by then and presumably the more experienced teams will have overcome their initial problems against the lesser teams. I wonder if the All Blacks fans will be singing Georgia on my mind by then, or marching though Georgia?.
Two weeks after that we will be at the Elgin on Ladbroke Grove Which is a bit closer to my old haunts Bob’s Goodtime Blues and The Inn on The Green. Maybe we’ll bring out a few of the supporters from those days. We know you’re out there even if we don’t know where you live, we do know where you drink! Well I see enough of you in my carousing on Portobello.
On a more worrying subject, I have been induced to do things I never thought I would be doing, when I actually danced to a duo using a drum machine, one of my pet hates, the machine, not the dancing.. This was at The Squirrel and I must have been drunk. Even worse, I got up, or was rather dragged up, at the Cock in Kilburn one Friday night, to dance to Karaoke. Is this a sign of senility I wonder.
I was able to do penance later by dancing to proper live music when I and Gigi went along to Little George’s surprise 50th birthday party in Dogstar in Coldharbour Lane, Brixton. It was a really great evening of music and dancing I’d seen George a few weeks earlier at The Elgin but wasn’t doing dance penance then. A few days later Gigi and I joined in a friend’s birthday celebration at the Vaults in Waterloo where we were able to catch Errol Linton in action. The penance is now done.