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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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.

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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.

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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.

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ENO letters

Officials from the MU joined members of the orchestra of English National Opera at the Coliseum this lunchtime, in delivering over 150 letters from musicians, audiences and public figures urging ENO management to reconsider proposals to axe 19 jobs in the orchestra, and make the orchestra and music staff part-time.

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Masterclass

My son Ben has signed up for a series of cricket masterclasses at the Ames Levett Centre at the Kent County Ground in Canterbury for the next five Wednesday evenings. This involves a fairly lengthy round trip from Beckenham, but is fully worth the commitment.

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Hilton, Liverpool

A day trip with my MU colleague Amy Grimes to Liverpool, specifically to visit the Hilton Hotel with a view to confirm its suitability as a future Delegate Conference venue. My thanks to sales manager Kerry Hughes for a comprehensive guide to the Hotel’s extensive facilities.

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