A week to celebrate
After a busy weekend gigging and gigs ahead this week it feels, briefly, like what life should be like for me. Not surprisingly my mood has lifted, although having not seen much of my wife all weekend I got home on Sunday evening and her mood was a little low. I know it’s not easy being married to a busy musician – there are often weeks when we barely see each other, and unless we’re on holiday we almost never share a Saturday night together. Obviously that all changed in March and it’s been lovely to spend time together. It does make me wonder if I can change my working habits a little when the gigging business gets up and running again.
I had an impromptu call from a couple of musician friends who had been enjoying a walk nearby on Tuesday and suggested I joined them for a drink in a pub where there was going to be some live jazz. Me and my wife went up and enjoyed a fun night out of music, food and drink. I knew two of the three musicians playing and enjoyed a rare night of listening to rather than playing music. The musician who had called me (Barrington Meyer) would have been on tour in Australia had the virus not struck.
Me and my wife celebrated our wedding anniversary this week by being tourists in our own city - we visited The Tower of London. We were told that daily visitor numbers were in hundreds rather than thousands, so it felt almost like we had the place to ourselves. The sun shone and we had a great day out. A friendly beefeater chatted to us and urged us to tell others about The Tower so I duly popped a post on Facebook.
Early in the week I was emailed to ask if I could provide a band playing in “Bicester Village outlet shopping centre” on Friday afternoon. I’ve organised bands for them on and off for many years but the staff seem to change quite regularly so I feel like I have to start from scratch every time I have an enquiry. We discussed what I could offer, possible band line-ups, fees, timings and such and they said they’d get back. A day later it was agreed, but soon after it was put on hold because of health and safety concerns, then on Thursday it was shelved altogether, but then an hour later it was back in play, plus another booking on the Saturday and Sunday. Public liability certificate and risk assessments were forwarded over, a purchase order was sent to me, and we were all ready to go. The three of us strolled up and down the shopping street playing in different spots, people took photos and videos, toes tapped, people smiled, children danced, door staff thanked us for lightening their day, and we felt good. We felt that we were doing what we were good at, what we had spent years and years learning how to do well, and that we were valued. It didn’t matter to us that we weren’t on a stage.
I had to get to a cocktail bar in London on the Saturday from our gig in Bicester to perform as a duo with a pianist. I knew timings could have been a little tight so I rushed off quickly, hoping that if there was any traffic my sat-nav would know how to avoid it. Unfortunately I didn’t bank on the junction onto the motorway being closed. These situations seem to be part and parcel of my job, so once I eventually managed to get onto the motorway I hared down to London, parked at a tube station (the solid red lines on the map on my phone told me that I wouldn’t get there by car), jumped on a tube and ran to the venue. The pianist started on his own and I joined him half way through his first number. Not the entrance I like to make but sometimes things don’t work out quite right.