I fully appreciate that it has been a long time since I posted anything current here so allow me to explain.
I have not been entirely idle (which is a change for me) and I have managed to finish off a few series of travelogues which are hopefully “pinned” (as I believe the term is) to the top of the homepage here. I really am not good at this technology thing. Please do have a look at them as all my best stuff is old history and the only way I can keep track is to backdate it which means it all tends to get a bit lost.
So what has been happening? Well, quite a bit actually. I have fallen into the “Broadstairs Triangle” as I call it and which, it must be said, is far more potentially conclusive than it’s Bermuda cousin unless you know what you are about. This is not me trying to make a point but I actually know people here who came for a holiday decades ago and never managed to go home. It really is that kind of place. I know other places like this (Perranporth in Cornwall being a fine example) but this place really sucks people in and it is not hard to see why.
If I was just sitting about festering, now that the unseasonably good late weather has turned nasty (it is Baltic out there and howling a gale as I write) it would be difficult to explain my continued presence here but Broadstairs isn’t like that. I have been playing regularly, guesting at a couple of folk clubs and the icing on the cake came a couple of weeks ago.
My dear friends John and Jo own a tiny (and very good) little gastropub up the road called the Reef Bar which they had to close for a while as the beer cellar had been turned into a paddling pool by yet another failure of the local water company. Without wishing to labour the point, a foreign company (J.P. Morgan to be precise) have bought out a local utility on behalf of their shareholders and screwed what they were supposed to be protecting. That is multi-national corporate business for you. What do American billionaires care about a couple trying so hard to run a good little bar / restaurant. Answer. Square root of nothing. I try not to be too political but I am concerned about this.
Having fought the incompetent utility alleged provider through their insurance company and had to shut their business for about six weeks (a lot in a 30? cover) establishment, my friends are re-opening and, against all logic, they have asked me to play the re-opening night. No pressure then! In truth, I do not really stress about gigs, I just turn up and play behind other people usually but apparently they trust me to actually do the grand re-launch. I mean, come on.
The recently retired artistic Director of the Folk Week would never give me an evening gig as she wasn’t sure of what state I would be in, which is unkind. I was never Jim Morrison or Ozzy or whoever. I wasn’t that lucky. I have to say that I have never missed a gig (barring being a little late one evening when the London Tube broke down in the tunnel) and I have never been too wasted to play. I think people overplay my persona a bit and I certainly do milk it, it’s all part of the scene. I will not ever screw a gig.
I told you previously that this site is going to be brutally honest, which I suppose is only of any value of anyone ever reads it but for whoever may, at some point, here are the memoirs of a guy that could play about four chords and managed to play all over the world with them. Sure, I would have loved to have played like Rory or Gary or Jimi or Steve or whoever but I’ll live with that.
I have roped one great mate (a superb banjo / mandolin player) in and I hope to get a few more mates about me so wish me luck. I am sure it will be grand. If I can manage the technology I shall post here an image of the poster that Jo (by trade a graphic designer) has knocked up for the event. You cannot believe how embarrassed I get walking past a bar (it is on the only road about 400 yards from my door) and seeing my own ugly mug staring out at me in A3 size from both the tiny front windows. It really is bizarre.
When I get that out of the way I shall be back to London to attend the Cenotaph for the Act of Remembrance on the 11th November as I do every year when I am in the country. It is particularly meaningful this year as it is the 100th anniversary of the end of the “War to end all wars”, which apparently was not. Yes, I shall be sad to leave Broadstairs as I always am because it holds a very special place in my heart but I have other things to be doing and I do not want to overstay my welcome.
My next run is back to Sri Lanka. OK, it is a bit earlier than usual in the year (I got down just before Christmas last year and in January the trip before) and I normally only go there every other year but England are playing cricket and I might even get the last Test if I work it right! OK, I’m not English but I do like my cricket albeit never having played a game in my life and I fancy seeing a Test match overseas. I am aiming for Test starting on the 23rd November in Colombo as I can go there on the bus from where I will be staying. Imagine commuting to a Test match every day!
That is the current situation in my life although, having looked at my stats on this page, I am now debating the wisdom of even starting this blog as nobody ever looks at it. I know self-promotion is everything in the 21st century but I am of a generation that was taught that “self-praise is no recommendation”. I am one of the possibly noble or possibly stupid few (possibly both as nobility seems to be a dying art) that have resisted the supposed lure of Fartbook, Instacrap, Twatter and all the rest. I do not wish to add to Steve
FZuckerbergs billions, nor do I want my personal details hacked and sold to Asian crimxinals for the purposes of fraud.
Enough of this. I shall backpost a few bits and pieces of the time that I have been here although being myself they do not amount to much, a few decent gigs, some not so decent gigs, hanging out with great friends and enjoying myself. Really, how bad can life be? I am in a great place (in all senses of the word), plotting my Southern winter migration to another great place (ditto) and I am one happy man. This retirement business is certainly suiting me and I cannot believe that next April I will have been a pensioner for ten years. How old does that make me feel?
When I have rubbed linament on my aching old joints, taken my various medications to try to stave off aging, deleted the various e-mails offering me a stairlift (how do they know I am old?) and all the rest, I’ll be back with another wild meandering idiocy of a post here.
I am now debating which of the many previous rambles that I have managed one way and another to write about and still have saved despite the best efforts of one particular evil corporate entity to destroy (having stolen the content, I use the word advisedly, for their own use). One other website just went down due to lack of interest and that is why I am here. If I can manage it or even find the necessaries in the wreckage that is my computer filing system, I think I might write up a little trip I had to Yorkshire where three friends and I took a canal boat out for a weekend.
I am sure I have mentioned before my love of canals and canal boats and this was a great weekend which I extended at both ends by visiting a part of my country that I knew (and still do) lamentably little about. As and when I get it done, I shall try to “pin” it to the “sticky (get me with all the technology) to the front page here so you can find it. Trust me, I am still really finding my way at this point. Website owner? Me? Are you bloody joking?
Stay tuned, wait for the meat pie episode on the canal and spread the word.