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.
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.
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