Thursday, 6 June 2013

at the monarch

camden lock

Just down the road from Camden lock is a great little pub venue called The Monarch. I played there last night and for me, it was a night out with the young 'uns. Wooden Maria, A Girl Called Ruth and Mia. It was so good to sit and watch these young performers before I took to the little stage by the window where, just outside people passed by in a never ending colourful stream. If you have never been to Camden or Chalk farm this has to be one of the must see destinations in London. Even on a Tuesday evening the place is filled with the young and beautiful and some of the more elderly and interesting. If you like people watching you need look no further, this is the place. People will tell you that Camden is not what it used to be but then no where is. Every thing must change. It is a vital and busy place and a great area for live music. 

The Monarch is a small well appointed venue that serves good food and hot tunes. Lewis Borthwick who runs The Davenport Collection promotes his gigs there once a month. He is a very energetic young guy who is a singer song writer and promoter of slightly off the wall performers. Young Mia is typical of the kind of acts you might see there. Playing a national steel style guitar she oozes the blues in her own style with just a touch of Billie Holiday. The supporting acts were all good and distinctive in their own way and so I only make special mention of Mia because a white, female blues singer of her kind is rare and special.

Brother Steve and his partner Moni came to see me which meant a lot to me. We have been through some thing of a separation since the end of the EBB and I was so very pleased to see them and that they both enjoyed the gig. Steve said they were coming so when he turned up it was very special for me and meant a great deal. That he liked the gig was also very cool and the high light of the evening for me.

I only managed to play about half of my usual set as time was tight but I loved playing there with one of the best onstage sounds for a long time. It makes every thing easy and I admit I took special care to be on my game because Steve was there. Most of you will know what I am up to by now so there is no need for me to run through the songs I played. Suffice to say the mostly young crowd enjoyed it so it was job done. It means a lot to me when the young 'uns get me.

After saying my farewells I walked outside where a bus stop stood and waited for the night bus to take me south via Trafalgar Square. I saw a guy closing up the cafe next door to The Monarch and noticed he had a bright yellow vintage bicycle with an Allin frame. Allin was a Chinese guy who worked for Stan Bates a bike frame builder in Croydon. When World War Two began Stan went off to fight leaving Mr Allin in charge. He obviously did well in Stan's absence and his frames are quite desirable items these days. I have an Allin racing frame that I had painted pink and equipped with modern Campagnolo parts back in the day when I used to ride the odd time trial. Ha ha! Odd was the operative word. There is nothing like the ride of a quality steel frame though now I ride an aluminium frame with carbon forks. Any way we had a good old chat and then my bus came, headed for Pimlico. I usually get a mini cab on my way to London gigs but love getting the night buses home. I am always fascinated by the coming and goings of the night people. I have met some amazing characters in the night, in London.

So another day another dollar and a very satisfying night out in Chalk farm. I will definitely be heading back there if Lewis is kind enough to invite me. He said he will so, here's to it and thanks Lewis.



Anonymous said...

sounds like a great night! would loved to have been there, we drove past Steve's shop a week or two ago and we thought about you both,
hope to get to see you at the Lincolnshire show..careful tho there will be lots of fresh country air and no night buses !

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a great night, pity I missed it, the young un's are great, so full of energy. Came as a bit of a shock to read you had a heart attack, hope you are well now and well on the road to full recovery, don't overwork yourself although I'm sure you will take care, also pleased to see you and Steve are "friends" again, keep it that way, family is precious and life is short.

All the best,