Mark Batchelor and I met up this afternoon at the Nellie Dean pub in Dean Street, Soho, ahead of attending a superb performance at Ronnie Scott’s by the Stacey Brothers’ Big Band Steel Dan Project: aka the Royal Scammers. The 14 piece band deliver an amazing collective sound and reflect the depth and nuance of their world-renowned inspiration.
An entertaining evening at The Brewery in The Barbican, courtesy of the inaugural Live Awards, which has been established to reward all those organisations, individuals, venues and festivals that give so much to the live music sector.
Julie, Ben and I travelled by train on Friday to north Yorkshire for a long weekend in Richmond and the surrounding countryside. The trip was centred on the wedding of Julie’s nephew Robbie and Ellis at the delightful setting of the Middleton Lodge estate.
An excellent evening at the 229 Club in Great Portland Street, as the efforts to organise a Christmas Party for the Council of Music Makers – at very short notice – all paid off. The Council consists of five music organisations: the MU, the Featured Artists Coalition, The Ivors Academy, the Music Producers’ Guild and the Music Managers’ Forum.
This afternoon I attended that classic start to the party season at 7 St James’s St, the PPL Christmas drinks. As ever, good to catch up with Peter Leathem, John Smith, David Cohen and their colleagues from the collecting society, plus to meet many familiar faces from across the industry.
It has been a busy week, with planning for events during December and the New Year, plus working in PR and other comms for the MU. Tonight, my attention turned to local issues, as I joined the local Labour Party members for a social and fundraising evening with Jess Phillips MP, at the Amber Fort in Elmers End. My thanks to Eileen Welsh for the invitation.
The MU, Equity and Bectu officials and members gathered this morning outside the offices of the DCMS on Whitehall, to voice their anger at the cuts in arts funding for certain organisations announced this month by Arts Council England.
I attended the memorial service for Brian Blain this afternoon at Golders Green Crematorium. Brian was an influential music promoter, editor, writer and MU Official, with a particular love of live jazz.
The world-renowned Brodsky Quartet have been performing at Kings Place in London this weekend, offering a complete Shostakovich Quartet Cycle to mark their 50th anniversary. The group, who started out in Middlesbrough in 1972 as the ‘Cleveland Quartet’, now feature original members Ian Belton (violin)and Jacqueline Thomas (cello) alongside Krysia Osostowicz (violin) and Paul Cassidy (viola).
The annual London International Guitar Show is being held once again at Kempton Race Course this Sunday and I dropped in this afternoon to deliver lanyards and tote bags for distribution to the 150 exhibitors.
I travelled down from Liverpool to Birmingham on Thursday (29th) in advance of the Conservative Conference and the second stage of our representing musicians at the principal party gatherings.