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New Orleans in Islington

We’ve passed the mid-summer solstice now, and the weather is currently scorching hot.

My last week was postponed due to poor weather, so instead my first gig in 14 weeks was yesterday. As my last blog explained, we played in the gardens of a care home. It turned out to be a beautiful setting, alongside a canal in Islington, with residents sitting around the garden under sun shades, others on balconies looking out over the garden, and the sun blazing. So much so that if I left my trombone in the sun it was almost too hot to pick up. Dom Pipkin and myself romped through a set of swing, New Orleans rhythm and blues, ballads and rock and roll, taking it in turns to sing. There was also a chorus of Happy Birthday for someone, and a table of cup cakes was brought out (we were told it was ‘Cupcake Day 2020’, although checking that now it appears we were a few days late!).

I had forgotten about all the faff associated with doing even a local gig – planning how to get there, how long it will take, packing your instrument with mouthpiece and any other essentials, dressing properly, bringing a second instrument (I forgot my harmonica), a microphone, lead and amp, percussion (shaker, tambourine?), pad of songs, extension lead, a hat, sun screen… but once we were there and into the swing of things it felt a real privilege and joy to be entertaining people again.

The Spitz charity ran the event: https://www.spitz.org.uk/ - a fabulous organisation bringing live music into care homes.

I also finished my ‘Mitford March’ – I’d been tweaking little corners that had been bugging me but now I’m happy with it, so I’ve sent it off to the agent who wants to mix the tracks himself. A relief to have finished it. I sent off a few other tracks too, and have others in the making for this album of ‘jokey / fun brassy music’ that the production music agent has asked for. They wanted an oompah style number, but I don’t think it’s really my bag, so I’ll write a jolly ska-style song and maybe a charleston instead.

Away from music I’ve continued with the DIY – re-grouting tiles this time.

We’ve also had friends round for pizza in a local park, dropped round to my sister’s back garden for coffee and cake to celebrate her daughter’s birthday, had a walk across Hampstead Heath, and took our inflatable canoe out of hibernation and launched it on a local canal one evening. A perfect way to wind down on a hot summers day.

The final government briefing to the country happened a few days ago, and the threat rating was reduced from 4 to 3. “Socially Distancing” rules are set to be reduced from 2 metres to 1. Many non-essential shops are open and there are plans to open other business that have been affected, although there is no sign of the gigging music business re-starting in earnest any time soon.

I was pleased to be offered a week of work in October though!

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