Mercato, Mayfair

During a visit to the West End this afternoon I walked the length of Marylebone High Street, stopping off at several of the area’s independent boutique outlets. I heartily recommend this corner of the city, just yards away from the mainstream bustle of Oxford Street.

Read more

Liverpool

A relaxing few days with Julie and Ben in Liverpool, always a great place to visit. We travelled up from Euston to Lime Street on Wednesday and checked into the Hilton City Centre before heading out to explore the legendary city.

Read more

Mojo

Having absorbed a recent edition of MOJO and a David Bowie related feature, I felt driven to contribute my tuppeny-worth on the great man. So I was taken a little by surprise when I was advised at the UK event that I was the lead letter in their next issue. Thanks John!

Read more

UK Music party

An invigorating evening at the IET London, Savoy Place, WC2, courtesy of UK Music and their annual summer party. So many from the music industry and politics were on hand to network and hear speeches from UK Music Chief Executive Tom Kiehl, UK Music Chair Tom Watson, Culture Minister Chris Bryant and award-winning songwriter Michelle Escoffery.

Read more

QuizWar

A marvellous evening at the Phoenix Arts Club following an introduction to the energised music business event that is Quizwar! Definitely for lovers of a madcap approach to testing your knowledge of pop, rock, and industry insider information. Let alone daring to meet the challenges of the lyric karaoke, Japanese horse racing, and wheel of fortune rounds.

Read more

Special Award

A proud moment last night as Ben received a special presentation from the Mayor of Croydon. 15 cadets from across the Borough and the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and St Johns’ Ambulance, had been selected for the Greater London Cadet/Young People Awards.

Read more

Heart full of songs

Class hit songwriter and musician Graham Gouldman performed in Beckenham last night as part of the annual ‘Arts at St George’s festival. Graham, accompanied by an excellent acoustic trio of Iain Hornal and Keith Hayman, and Dave Cobby, delivered a marvellous set of hits including songs he had written for the Yardbirds (Heart full of soul, For your love), The Hollies (Bus stop, Look through any window), and Herman’s Hermits (No milk today).

Read more

Ben Nevis, Camden

I travelled into town today for lunch at St Pancras with one of my oldest friends, Chris Lawson. I have known Chris since we met at our first day at North London Poly in Holloway Road in September 1977. Having not seen him for some years, it was a pleasure to hear of his respected work in photography and training horses, plus to remind ourselves of our previous adventures sharing flats in the 1970s and 80s!

Read more

Rochester

A very pleasant afternoon visiting Rochester with Julie, Lisa and Ben to mark Father’s Day. We first stopped off for a splendid lunch at The Cheese Room, before strolling around the historic Cathedral. The hugely impressive organ was being played at full volume when we arrived.

Read more

Cherry Lodge

I enjoyed a very pleasant few hours at Cherry Lodge Golf Club in Biggin Hill, as members gathered for the combined Clare Yonge Memorial Golf and Beckenham Sports Club Days. Over fifty players and members of Clare’s family ensured a moving memorial event to our former President and the sun suitably shone throughout the day.

Read more

Test pressings

An important development in the production of my Waterloo Sunrise album today – the vinyl test pressings arrived from Key Production! A pristine five copies for our careful checking on a range of turntables and set ups. Thanks again to Ed and the team at Tileyard for their timely delivery.

Read more

Wickham victory

With the Beckenham CC 4th XI not having a match this weekend, Ben was chosen to play with the 5th XI today at Wickham Park. Captained with verve by Peter Lee, this is always an enjoyable experience, although this particular side have had a difficult start to the season in terms of results.

Read more

Members’ Day

PRS for Music held their annual Members’ Day event at the IET in Savoy Place this afternoon. This enables songwriters, composers and PRS staff to usefully meet and exchange enquiries and experiences. The music copyright collective presents a series of industry seminars specifically designed to assist its members with song registration, understanding their rights, and to discuss contemporary issues such as AI and composition.

Read more

Rome

Julie, Ben and I flew out to Rome from Gatwick last Saturday, 25th May, for a city break to mark my 65th birthday. We stayed for five nights at The Building Hotel in Via Montebello, which proved an ideal base for visiting the numerous world famous landmarks the eternal city has to offer.

Read more

Turning 18

A special moment as our son Ben turns 18. It’s been a long but rewarding journey from Princess Royal, Farnborough, in May 2006 to being an upstanding six foot two corporal in the cadets, student in Public Services at Bromley College, a bowler for Beckenham Cricket Club and a caring and thoughtful young man.

Read more

Key Production

I visited the Tileyard office of Key Production (London) Ltd in Kings Cross today and met Account Manager Ed Cawthorne, who was extremely helpful and informative as we discussed arrangements for the creation of the vinyl run of Waterloo Sunrise. My thanks to Ed and everyone in the supportive Key Production team.

Read more

Veeraswamy

I enjoyed a memorable lunch today with John Smith, former MU General Secretary and currently  Chair of PPL and President of the International Federation of Musicians, at the oldest Indian restaurant in London, the superb Veeraswamy in Regent Street. Many heartfelt thanks to John and PPL as the invitation was an acknowledgement of my work with the leading collecting society during my tenure as an MU official.

Read more

Slinfold Country Club

A very pleasant few hours at Slinfold Golf and Country Club, Horsham, Sussex, in the company of my son Ben and members of the Hayes family. The Four Seasons society was established in 1994 by the late Fred Hayes and is marking its 30th anniversary with a series of quarterly events.

Read more

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, however the memorable moments have certainly been included.

Read more

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!

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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 an influential jazz musician for the last sixty years, in addition to his work as a respected chiropodist.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

On the town

I met up with Mark Batchelor this afternoon in the Royal Opera House bar in Covent Garden, at the start of a relaxed night out in the West End. We first walked across the crowded piazza and along King Street and into New Row, stopping at the Castle Fine Art gallery and appreciating the Bob Dylan prints in the basement.

Read more

Duchess Theatre

An extremely fun evening as Julie, Ben and I enjoyed the rollicking fun that is The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre in Covent Garden. We had superb seats in the back row of the stalls and time flashed by as the cast of nine grappled with the series of dramatic disasters that befall them. Great stuff.

Read more

PR Report

The latest report from the Kindred PR agency arrived this week, highlighting the media coverage on the MU’s activities throughout the late summer and autumn. My thanks to their team for the comprehensive listings and overview of our work.

Read more