As 2011 draws to a close I look back over the year with some satisfaction. I have had a fantastic time playing the fair days pay for a fair days work gigs and I have met some amazing people. I have enjoyed the public gigs too. I thought it might be a bit of an ask to expect that people would give me their time and lend their ears to yours truly in solo mode, especially after the epic EBB gigs we put on at the end, but that seems a long time ago. I have been very kindly received and made welcome every where I have been. I've done more or less every thing I set out to do including the release of the live solo album By Myself which I believe is a real and honest representation of my year in concert.
The Mickey Jones Memorial double DVD is available now. It is a labour of love and a valuable document of it's time, the music and people who care. It is a testament to what can be done with skill and dedication and few resources. My visit to Wales to play with George and Bob from MAN was such a buzz and it was an honour to be asked to sing one of Mickeys songs. George's choice, the song Shit on the world, seemed entirely appropriate. Lovely people - lovely country.
It was great to meet up with First Supperists on some of the demos of the past year and to find common ground. Right now, in these times of apathy and confusion it would be very easy to dismiss our little band of brothers and sisters but we will grow in number over the next year or so and we will be heard. Arm chair critics rise up and join us or at least be heard on 38 Degrees etc. We won't hold your past reluctance to participate against you.
One of the last gigs of the year was my Beefheartian contribution to Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA Orchestra show at the Barbican. I felt right at home there. Could have lived there or at least have been a well behaved house guest for a while. This was a high light in a year full of them. The lows and glitches of 2011 were tiny and few. The highs were massive and frequent. I loved playing a few gigs with Luke at the start of it all. It just always feels right. I expect there will be more of them next year.
I feel a lot healthier than when the year began and mostly stress free. I am in control and it works for me. I've written a lot of songs and they keep on coming. The solo shows have taught me a lot and I intend to carry on playing them as well as FDPFAFDW shows. Book me now! I think I might be knocking at the door of a new era for me personally. I haven't felt like this about performing, or life in general, for some time. I intend to put a new show together in the new year that really will rock you. It is time to up the stakes and pump up the volume. Time to jam with angels and reprobates to find the new core of a new project that is powerful, positive and NOW! Listen to me eh? The thing is I have written half of the show in my head and I have the scent of the first gig. Wanna COME to the FIRST SUPPER?
I don't know what 2012 will bring but I am completely unafraid and looking forward to it all. I wish you all well. I hope your dreams for yourself and your people all come true but - always be careful what you wish for and don't give up what is real for what is illusory.
Finally my thanks to all who helped and supported me through 2011. Special thanks to John and Val Bradshaw, Shirlok, Ramblin' Mad Dave Randell, and all the hosts of the FDPFAFDW gigs.
It is competition time. We haven't had one for a while so here we go. As you will know by now, the BY MYSELF album is completed and on sale. It is a collection of songs performed through out 2011 and includes songs from Fair Days Pay For A Fair Days Work gigs as well as some performances from public gigs.
It was my intention to capture the atmosphere of the shows as simply as possible and so the audio was all recorded on a small stereo digital recorder and is virtually unprocessed in it's final form. It is as real as it gets.
The above photo was taken by Dave Randell at Glastonbury 2011.
All you have to do is leave an alternative caption for the photo as a comment on here to enter the competition for a signed copy of the album. The usual rules apply so you can make as many entries as you like under different names.
The winning caption will be chosen on Thursday the 15th December.
There will be two albums on offer so the best two captions will get a prize.
If the winners will send mail address details to firstname.lastname@example.org , when the winning entries are announced on here, the albums will be posted to them.
FDPFAFDW hosts who collected cash for charity from their guests have raised £1600 and counting for charities of their choice including NSPCC, the bereaved families of the recent Welsh mining disaster, various hospices and Cancer Research. Fantastic!