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  • Trombonedaddio

A watery week

A couple of nice gigs and a bit of outdoor activity has certainly lifted my mood this week...

Last Sunday I’d been booked to play a duo at a venue in The City. At the time of booking brass / wind instruments and singing was being discouraged indoors so I’d offered a duo of piano and double bass. By the day of the gig though singing and all instruments were allowed so I brought my valve trombone and chromatic harmonica along with my bass. The congestion charge now applies 7 days a week in London, and the price has increased, so I planned to park outside the zone and catch a bus the remainder of the way. Unfortunately I just missed a bus so ended up walking – bass on a trolley, trombone on my back. It meant I could pull out all my tricks on the gig – hoping to impress and pick up a few more bookings. It was really nice to see the pianist after so many months and have a play. Until the pandemic we used to meet monthly for a gig.

It was touch and go for the Tuesday outing with the Sunshine Kings – at a jazz club putting on an afternoon performance outdoors. The forecast promised rain just when we were due to play and the organiser was wondering whether to postpone it. In the end we went ahead. The band were performing on a covered terrace (of a cricket club) and the audience sat on the grass. Sure enough, five minutes into the show, the heavens opened and it poured. Umbrellas came out though and everyone stayed. Soon the rain stopped, the sun shone and the event was a success, with a big cheer for the band at the end. The new arrangements and compositions worked and everyone went home with a spring in their step.

A stoic audience at The Bay Jazz Club, Enfield

Work-wise, there’s one more outdoor gig on Sunday and I’ve been trying to negotiate another gig for the following Sunday for an 80th Birthday in Bexhill on Sea, playing outside a house. People keep reminding me that ‘it’s a start’. To make ends meet some musicians I know have picked up bar jobs, but even for these there’s a lot of competition - I gather 300 applicants for one job.

In an effort to make good use of the time I’ve been given (and knowing that in years to come I’ll look back and wonder why I didn’t enjoy it and do more), I’ve joined a sailing club at a reservoir in North London. I had bought a windsurfer off Ebay last year and I hope to dust off my windsurfing skills. After a failed outing a couple of weeks ago, when a broken part thwarted me, I set off again on Thursday. The sun was out, the wind agreeable, and after rigging up my slightly dilapidated equipment I was delighted to get out on the water and forget about everything except windsurfing. I didn’t last long before I was tired and my arms ached, and as a result kept falling in, but I’m keen to get back.

On King George's Reservoir (not me!)

Friday today – a day of practising, writing and recording. There’s a storm brewing so I won’t be out windsurfing.

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