WAS IT HOT IN THERE OR WAS IT JUST ME?
October 11th is a day that will live long with me. Of course it was always bound to be special. After some two and a half years of hard work, I was letting go, widening out the focus group, playing my songs to some real folk. I had planned to promote my own show to help publicise the release of my album, 'Cross The Line', the following week. Somewhere close, local, accessible. The Patchworx in Twickenham seemed ideal . A perfect, sized room, vibey, with a management and staff who could not have been more welcoming or helpful. Always a worry, promoting your own gig. It's easy to fall into the mindset, best misquoted from Field of Dreams, “If we build it, will they come?” Sorry Kevin Costner. In any event I arrived at the venue at around 3 o'clock to start the set up. I pottered around for an hour or so, till Dee and Jack the boy turned up to help. Jack is a fully committed helper. He did his best to stay focused until the mics were live. Then, he was singing or nothing. Even at two, Jack knows and sings loads of my songs (Wonder if that's where a future audience lies for me?). Setup done, Jack gone back home to bed, the band started to arrive for a soundcheck. A soundcheck is a very seldom afforded luxury to an artist of my status, so I wanted to be sure to take best advantage. The musicians helping me on the night, are people close to me, friends, brothers, my partner. Dee Jay, Maytreya Jani, Graham Preskett and Adam Philips, prodigious talents in their own right, each bringing more than their immense, musical talents to my aid, but their care, attention, warmth, compassion and, their love. It was at the soundcheck, when I begin to hear my tunes sound like real music, that I start to fully appreciate this last quality. Genuinely moving. People giving of their time and effort, for nothing other than to help me, to give something to me. Not that it stopped there. For me it's not too trite to say that love turned out to be the overwhelming theme of the evening. A full house of optimists packed the room, generosity of spirit palpable. From the first word of the exquisite Odette Michell, (I'm assuming everyone now has her record), to the last chord of our joint encore, the feel in the room was like no other I've experienced anywhere. When we did well, the audience showed and shared their complete joy. If a moment arose where I could have faltered, somehow their collective will caught me, lifted me up, carried me along. I had some good friends and family in that room, others I'd never met. In the way that music can, we were all locked together for a while in an experience that was infinitely greater than the sum of it's parts. Speaking to folk afterwards, it was clear to me that we all felt that very same thing. Even the people who were there to hear me sing My Home Town, accepted graciously my explanation for omitting it. One day I would love to be able to sing it through, just can't yet. My thanks to everyone who gave their all on the night. You made it so much more than I ever could have.