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Hoorah for the sousaphone!

Well October has felt a little more normal for me, and not surprisingly I’m feeling a whole lot more positive about life. One Night Records, “London's first socially distanced Immersive Live Music Event and Venue”, opened this month. Located in a series of connected railway arches, with several stages, impressive scenery and a loose story connecting the stages. Different bands perform music from the 1950’s back to the 1920’s. Groups of people are ushered around the experience, enjoying 15 minutes per stage. I was part of a New Orleans stage for a week with three other friends. I’ve also been performing weekends with a strolling trio outdoors at a designer retail outlet. Thank goodness for my sousaphone – it’s made me a moderately respectable income this month.

New Orleans stage

London has gone into ‘tier 2’ of a new system of three tiers in England. The highest tier resembles a slightly looser lockdown as it was in March. Tier 2 prevents friends visiting each other indoors. The difference now is that everyone is tired and not convinced by the rules so everyone seems to be bending / ignoring the rules. Scientists say they are doubtful that these rules will work but the government are very reluctant to impose anything stricter. In Wales there has been a total lockdown again for two weeks (a ‘circuit breaker’), only allowing essential shopping, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this came our way too.

As a result of the new restrictions a few jazz clubs that were braving the pandemic have closed again, so I’ve scrubbed a few more gigs from my diary. I jokingly asked on Facebook if others found a masochistic pleasure from deleting gigs from their diary due to the pandemic. Most said no! It’s become a way of life now, deleting gigs, so it feels like just a matter of time and almost satisfying when it happens.

Always with a thought for the future I organised a meeting with the fixer for a venue in town. Hoping to become a more regular part of their rosta of musicians and keeping one eye on the future.

I was booked to play for a funeral in Telford (three hours drive north west for me) last Wednesday morning. Me and my wife had been planning to travel from this up to Yorkshire to spend a few days with my sister and her husband at their house, but the new Coronavirus rules again messed up these plans. I played for the funeral (five us, performing acoustically outside the crematorium) and then my wife and I headed to a hotel near to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Telford funeral

The YSP is a special place for us – we’ve been there four times now and we always find it so beautiful and magical. We met my sister and her husband there for a day, to salvage something of the holiday. Luckily for us we picked a window of sunshine in an otherwise wet and windy week for our visit and it didn’t disappoint, with fabulous autumnal colours on top of everything else.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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