Trip to London town for gigs and a wee break

Added on Wednesday 15 Jul 2009

Photo: What's Cookin' gig in London. We've (i.e., me and Pat) just finished a wee mini-tour of London; playing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week in different venues. The highlight was the gig in What's Cookin' - upstairs at the Sheepwalk in Leytonstone. It is a fantastic venue - made so by Stephen who runs the club. Stephen has really made a big effort; the stage is elaborately decorated (check the photos) - the country and rock 'n' roll sounds from the resident DJs were great; he also does a great job as a compere - setting the friendly upbeat tone.

All that was needed was great live music, which on the night was supplied by The Sounthern Tenant Folk Union; an energetic bluegrass/country band. The place was packed with music lovers, all primed to enjoy good tunes. It was a great crowd to play to; I loved it. One of the very best gigs I've done in my short solo career; I had them singing along at the end. I must have done pretty well myself - as I got calls for an encore - which I duly played.

Great that our friends, Elaine McIntyre and John Ellis, who live in Leytonstone managed along. They are brilliant company and John (ex-Strangler) is a real muso so I enjoyed hearing his take on the night.

The Tuesday and Thursday gigs also had their own character - and I enjoyed both - not least because the other acts were all excellent and also friendly people. At the Icarus club we met with a singer songwriter 'Hortag' from Holland, a local blues player Mississipi Olly McDonald and a five piece band called 'All Things Considered' - playing folky tinged music with a bit of pop thrown in. We had a good chat with Mississipi Olly McDonald and his partner Stephanie, who very kindly gave us a lift home. Great players all.

Andy of The Icarus Club is another brilliant host and I'm was delighted to hear that I will be invited back to play at one of their shows they have three times a year in Blackheath Town Hall. Thanks for the gig Andy.

Thanks to Pat for getting such great gigs; musical adventures and memories to cherish. :-)

A big thanks to Pat's friends Alex and Mary who put us up (and put up with us) while we were in London. They have a beautiful flat in Blackheath - a small characterful part of London - worth the visit on its own. While in London we also did a lot of wandering around and lots of looking at buildings, shops, restaurants and tourist attractions. The trip along the Thames on the boat was particularly memorable.

Songwriting at Friars Carse

Prior to the London trip we had an great weekend at the songwriting workshop at the Friars Carse hotel in the Dumfries and Galloway countryside. The event was run by Martin Stephenson, Helen McCookerybook and Scott MacDonald. The weather was glorious the entire time - which is always a mixed blessing for me as I suffer from hay fever.

I felt humbled by the people there - writing songs directly from personal experiences; the song by Trystan Lewis about his third child was particularly beautiful and moving - a great song.

All the best,
Jim

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