Kent session

A delightful afternoon with producer Greg Fitzgerald and mastering engineer Mike Thorne at the latter’s marvellous rural studio near Sittingbourne. Usefully arranged to complete a final run-through of the files destined for online distribution of both the Waterloo Sunrise set and the refreshed Birdcage album.

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Reeling in the years

Steve at Printstore has kindly prepared a poster based on my records of gig-going and performing over the last five decades. This lists all the artists, venues, studios and events I have particularly enjoyed since 1968. There have been so many, huge numbers of which I have forgotten. However, the particularly memorable moments have certainly been included, from Live Aid onwards.

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Education Expo

I dropped into the Music and Drama Education Expo at the Business Design Centre in Islington this afternoon. Having organised a stand for the MU at this event since its inaugural year in 2012, this was the first time I had been a regular delegate and free to move around the stands and seminars at will with no employee obligations!

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Anniversary mix

I drove down this morning to Greg Fitzgerald’s studio in Canterbury once more, principally to complete the mix of ‘Radio play’ now that we have Ralph and Steve’s marvellous drums and bass parts, plus Greg’s additions of backing vocals, keyboards and percussion.

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St Paulinus

I drove through Crayford in north east Kent this morning, during a trip to Chatham, and took the opportunity to stop off at St Paulinus Church. This was formerly known as Crayford Parish Church and where my great-grandparents Sarah and Thomas Ames married on 16 July 1871.

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Table top clash

A classic thriller at the Hayes Lane Stadium this afternoon, as Julie, Ben and I watched Bromley FC host Chesterfield. The visitors lead the National League by a considerable margin, but Bromley are handily placed in second and the match was always likely to be a close-fought affair.

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Ken at 84

Julie, Ben and I drove down to Bournemouth on Friday to join my elder brother Ken in marking his 84th birthday. He was born in February 1940 and has been a respected jazz musician for the last sixty years in addition to his work as a qualified chiropodist.

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TJ Johnson

My thanks to the charismatic promoter Ray Jones for the VIP invitation to the Crypt in St Martins-in-the-Fields this evening, to enjoy the TJ Johnson band. TJ is widely considered to be one of the UK’s most highly revered jazz, blues and country singers.

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Radio play

I visited Greg Fitzgerald’s studio in rural Kent once more this afternoon. We worked on ‘Radio play’ now that the legendary Ralph Salmins has kindly, and superbly, contributed drums. We also edited the original recording of ‘Cross of gold’ as the coda needed a little polishing.

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Americana UK

I have spent the last two days at the UK Americana Conference in Hackney, hosted once again by the Americana Music Association UK  and led by its acting CEO, Charlie Pierce. The launch party had taken place on Monday evening, however I sadly had to miss this, and I arrived early on Tuesday morning at the main Conference venue, Night Tales in Bohemia Place, to collect my delegate pass.

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Songwriting Academy

An enjoyable and informative meeting with long-term contact Martin Sutton this morning, as he updated me on the developments with his highly successful Songwriting Academy. Martin also outlined the new popular Community App and we put plans in place for a podcast recording next week.

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New Year’s Eve

An exciting and energised New Year’s Eve at the Jolly Farmers in Purley, as Crash ‘n’ Burn delivered a set of rock classics to a lively crowd. Frontman Ian McConnell led the four-piece through songs by AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Blue, Oasis, Bryan Adams, The Who and many more.

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Bromley FC

My son Ben, his friend Austin and I could be found at Bromley FC’s Hayes Lane ground for the National League match versus Altrincham this evening. An absorbing game, in which the home team failed to take advantage of some early chances to take the lead and saw Altrincham leading 1-0 at half time.

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Birdcage revisited

The plan to make my Birdcage album available as a download accompaniment to Waterloo Sunrise gathered pace today, as I motored down to Canterbury in driving rain to Greg Fitzgerald’s studio. We worked on Radio Play, which is the one track in need of revisiting from the original tapes. The legendary Ralph Salmins has kindly agreed to add his drum mastery to this in the coming days.

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