Bexhill and back
Through August I’ve had one or two gigs each week. Usually it would be an average of around seven per week, but it’s a start. Currently I've got nothing in my diary for September yet, except for one tomorrow afternoon (1st September) playing outside at ‘The Bay Jazz Club’ in Enfield with The Tony Pitt All Stars. Most musicians I’ve spoken to have had one or two gigs in August. It’s a long way from making a living, but a sign that things may pick up gradually. The OXO tower restaurant is restarting their music in September – nine gigs a week for various jazz duos. I used to do one a month so I’m hoping to be included on the rota again.
Three of us drove down to Bexhill-on-Sea yesterday to play for an 80th birthday party. It was a two hour drive each way, and the fee was half what I’d normally expect, but it was a joy to play with my fellow musicians and friends. Just three of us playing in a garden to about a dozen people. We had a warm greeting and were offered a glass of Champagne. I was reminded how good the musicians I am used to playing with are, despite months away from the gigging circuit. A classic traditional jazz style strolling trio of banjo, clarinet and sousaphone. I brought my trombone along too as an extra, and we sang a few songs.
I had to fill up with petrol driving back, and since I’d forgotten my face mask (which are compulsory in shops now), I had to improvise one out of a yellow car duster, giving me a tramp-like Dick Turpin look.
I’m pleased with my latest composition and recording of “Elephant Strut”. I’m just waiting for the drum part to be recorded before that’s tied up and I move on to something else. My original brief included a video of an elephant in a zoo, with comic music in the background, so I thought it was about time to focus on this brief a little more closely.
Windsurfing is keeping my spirits up – I’ve been repairing the old kit that I bought last autumn. Spending a few hours battling the wind on the water seems to be a great therapy. I also had an afternoon of canoeing on The Thames near Marlow with my wife and friends, and a pub lunch.
I’m getting used to the routine of life as it is at the moment. I feel like I’m becoming very good at doing nothing, although I’m never twiddling my thumbs wondering what to do and always have jobs to get on with. I would like to be proactive in finding work (gigs) as it’s not really in my nature to just sit and wait, but realistically I don’t feel like there is very much I can do. With ‘social distancing’ requirements venues aren’t really looking for live music to bring in more people. Some of the venues I used to play at are putting on solo pianists. But these aren’t really the gigs that would normally be making up the bulk of my income at this time of the year. It’s the private bookings for events through the summer that have all disappeared.
I’m not ready to turn my back on music though. I’ll keep practising so that I’m still in shape when I’m called on to play.