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.
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.
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.
I joined a gathering of former MU and Equity Officials, musicians and actors, plus broadcasting representatives at The Lamb in Holborn tonight, to celebrate the life and work of the late Glen Barnham.
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.
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.
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.
My interview with Martin Sutton of the Songwriting Academy is now online in which we discuss various areas of the business and offer advise to musicians, writers, producers and industry representatives.
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.
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.
Born in Strood, Kent, on 11 January 1872, Thomas Ames was the elder brother of my grandfather Herbert. He signed up with the Merchant Navy on his 18th birthday and initially worked aboard ships based at the local Chatham docks.
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.
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.
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.
Julie’s cousin Mark is an amateur boxer and we drove down to Worthing this weekend to offer our support at the Coast to Coast Boxing Club’s ‘Twas The Fight Before Christmas’ event at The Charmandean Centre.
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.
A very pleasant lunch in the Gennaro Room at The Groucho Club in Dean Street, Soho, courtesy of UK Music and their annual December event for music industry communications personnel and name journalists.
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.
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.
The winter edition of The Musician magazine is being distributed to members of the Musicians’ Union this week. This issue is my last as editor and includes a two-page review of my career as an MU Official.
A very enjoyable few hours in Soho courtesy of two invitations. Namely, the annual lunch arranged by magazine publishers Future at the Sanctum, followed by Ian Shaw’s album launch at Gerry’s Bar.
A classic afternoon at The Bedford in Balham as the Vince Dunn Orchestra performed an array of standards and festive hits led by a quarter of vocalists including the multi-talented John Park and rising star Zara McClellan.
I caught the train back from Manchester this morning, in good time to make the legendary annual drinks party hosted by PPL. This year the event found a new home in Park Row, Brewer Street, Soho.
A fun evening in Manchester playing indoor junkyard golf with MU colleagues from across the UK. We played the Bozo course and I completed the gently challenging nine holes in a respectable 23 shots.
Mo Foster was a respected session bass player, author and a true gentleman. He was extremely popular with his peers and this was reflected in the huge turnout for a tribute concert to him at the 229 Club in central London tonight.