Saturday, 5 December 2015

Bloc Party

we're here

When Morgan said Bloc Party Manchester 3 December it seemed conveniently the day after the 2 December and the YAMSEN:SpeciallyMusic Leeds Town Hall Concert.

And so I found myself on the train to Picadilly, and then, having unloaded the detritus of bags, en route for Manchester Albert Hall with the (not so) Little One. And this was a proper venue for any rock band let alone and especially an alternative edgy affair such as the Bloc.

not listening to S
The support act was obviously designed to make Bloc Party look good. This was not necessary, and really it was a half-hour endurance test. The barman had said to Morgan, Steve was loud, and so she was-  she was loud, and lacked talent, charisma and and any sort of attempt of audience rapport. I saw this as an opportunity to drink more beer and check out audience behaviour, and the glorious window frames .

At last Kele and the Gang appeared, all lights and no spotlights, new bass player and drummer. I had absolutely loved Matt, but Louise stepped up beautifully. I had last time seen them at the GMEX Manchester, cold and impersonal. The Albert Hall Manchester was so much better. BP mostly played new stuff and it was good, but the old stuff was just lovely.
For the encore the spotlights were less prominent and you got them all in view [but blurred in the picture below].
without spots

Walked home through the roadworks that was and is New Manchester. We bought some merchandise, mugs and bobble hat, called at the supermarket for crackers and porridge and headed back to Asia House, wherein to round off the night with tunes from Bombay Bicycle Club and more BP.
packing away
packing away
the morning after
Let deface architecture with advertising

Friday, 4 December 2015

The London Trip Andy Narrell at the Tabernacle

As soon as I spied that the wonderful Andy Narell was playing at the Tabernacle in London, I booked my ticket, and worked my London weekend around that.
fireworks from kitchen window
at the bus stop
Grafton had made a single second for Charlotte E's player, Tracy, so I took a soft pan case and a trolley with me, in order to pick it up from Charlotte  B's flat. Arrive at Clapham Junction at dinner-time in which a jacket potato is waiting. Yippee! Watch the Battersea fireworks out of the kitchen window, after Skye goes to sleep we put the world to rights with the help of mulled wine.

band at Off the Cuff

Sunday it is two buses with a push chair, carved wooden standard lamp in three pieces,  pan on a trolley, rucksack to Herne Hill South London. This is as awkward as it sounds. It is one thing carrying a soprano (tenor) pan around but a single second is another bunch of geese.

The benefit gig at Herne Hill's Off the Cuff Club is for a family, friends of Charlotte's who have been evicted from their rented house after living there for 21 years! hey Landlordism is alive and well north and south. Charlotte is donating the Indian lamp to the raffle for the family.

In Herne Hill street market is the greatest ever vegetarian roti stall.

In the world.

Next stop is Sheila's house in Waterloo, for tea, buns and more world to rights.  Here Sheila sees and hears for the first time right up close one of Grafton's new pans.  And it is a beaut.

view from the 3rd floor
I take the tube to Paddington. It would have a 12 minute walk to my hotel in the Leinsters in Notting Hill/ Bayswater, had I not initially set off east from the station. One and hour hours later, hopelessly following maps on the phone on which I have 1% charge left  I present myself at the hotel. The friendly concierge doesn't share my amusement at this fact and directs me, the pans and the rucksack to the third floor of his bosses' establishment. Third floor! I can barely move.

me and  Haroun and co
One happy little accident happens however to make the whole getting lost thing serendipitous. A man stops me, and asks - is this a pan I am trolleying and it turns out he too is a pannist. We exchange names (he is known as Ghost, and now I forget his real name), he knows that Andy Narell is on at the Tabernacle. he says he might go.

me[Victoria] and Andy N
I don't even bother with a coat to go to the Tabernacle, and carrying the slightest of bags, I skip along Westbourne and Colville. The Tabernacle is a beautiful venue, Andy and the band is just starting. I spot friend, Haroun and family and friends at the tables and then, here's Ghost.
I have seen and heard Andy twice before. In 2002 he played, standing next to Ellie Manette, at the European Steel Band Event in Sete; then about 8 years ago at Ronnie Scott's, when I had meant to meet Anita, bit she was ill on the day, so I didn't. And Andy is the only solo panniste that I love hearing. I loved the performance this evening; I loved the junior competition winner who played first and then joined him later. Love it all.
Victoria and Ghost

I go say hullo to Haroun and we all pose for each other, then over to Andy to buy a CD and pose with him (shameless). With Morgan and Georgia I had once stayed in Paris with his partner, Anita and her kids. We were all doing some pan masterclasses with Laurent and Calypsociation in this wonderful but cold old cinema in Montmatre.
Andy N and Dudley D

Andy and Dudley
Then have a drink with Ghost, talk also with pan tuner, Dudley Dickson, and then Ghost tells me he was saying hullo to Tony Charles. Aargh!  I missed him. Tony made all the first pans I ever learnt to play on at Foxwood School. Seeing and listening to Andy, meeting all the pan people of London, just so good.

Back at the hotel George Clooney has just shot someone he has just slept with. that's not very nice; the sound works only intermittently on the tele, and offers no other channel but this one. It's Radio 3 on the old iPod for me. Sleep? Not really. An interesting beetle appeared on the covers.

Monday morning. The last lap is Baywater to Edgware to Kings Cross. And then Leeds. Back home Tracy comes to collect her pan, which I know will change her life!
me Tracy and pan