Friday, 31 May 2013


dusk on water = pike

First I must thank every one who has sent kind messages after my last post.
I have been quite busy over the past weeks. Last saturday I played a FDPFAFDW gig in the home of Barry O' Connor and family. The gig was actually part of a birthday surprise for Paul, Barry's best mate. I was told that Paul doesn't like a fuss so the whole thing had to be a top secret so no mention of this was made on this blog prior to the event. Our small party arrived in Liverpool at twenty five past seven. We had been asked by Barry to arrive at seven thirty so that was a great start. We were welcomed warmly and ushered in to the house just as the assembled guests were singing happy birthday. A birthday cake was handed to me and I walked into the room. Paul, in his own words, was stunned.
I chatted with Paul for a while and sang a few songs. Both Paul and Barry had been to the gig at the Wirral in November of 2011. I took a break and we all ate and chatted some more. I sang more songs and  we all chatted some more. It was a very successful evening that according to Barry, had gone  exactly as intended. This is always extremely satisfying for me. Hospitality at the O'Connor house was superb and a good time was had by all so thanks folks. It was special.

Looks like I might be heading for South Africa for some gigs for another Barry, Barry Tocher, in August. That will be very special. I'm playing in Camden on Tuesday next so if you are in London I hope you might come along. See details on the gig page of my web site.

I will be playing some guitar on a track on the new Taurus Trakker album. I met the band at a Mad Pride gig. We jammed a version of Out Demons Out, something that won't happen again with out my own band but it was fun.

The film The Head Of John Hayes that I was involved with back in August last year will be premiered later this year. Some of you might remember the photo of me dressed as an executioner. I also sang a version of Speak Down Wires which is the only music in the film. Looking back over the past couple of years life has been varied and full of exciting adventures and it looks set to continue for some time.

I am feeling very well after my recent health issues and am taking part in a rehab programme at a sports centre in Victoria. My beloved Bianchi bicycle is no longer abandoned and will be playing a large part in my road back to fitness. I am enjoying life very much at this time and looking forward to a better summer than last year. It could hardly be worse.

I am working hard on new music with the aid of my lovely Macbook pro and Logic 9. What an amazing tool that is. Contained within the software is every studio tool I have ever seen and used down the years plus a range of software instruments that covers my every need. So no excuses then. I just have to get on with it all and the music will flow. By the way if any one with an Android or Apple based platform, computer or a tablet wants a very user friendly music toy, check out Node beat. This has a to be one of, if not the best intuitive music software application that anyone can use to make ambient music. It truly rocks and is an astounding, intuitive piece of kit.

Well the sun is shining and I am off to the river bank to chuck a few plastic fish at a hungry pike or two. I will report back about the Camden gig from the Davenport Collection at The Monarch pub on tuesday next.
There are still a few weekend dates  this summer for any one who wants to book a FDPFAFDW show so check out the special offer page at edgar

As you can see from my expression there were no pike for me or my friend today. How ever, it was great to be out in the fresh air though the first of June did not herald the warm weather we are waiting for. In fact as we packed up our gear it was getting very chilly.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

hale and hearty

Some of you will know that I have been ill which is the reason I am citing for my lack of blog posting recently. A couple of weeks ago I had another small heart attack though the term small is academic. In fact each such episode     (sounds better) causes irreparable damage. My first episode was in Newquay, Cornwall many years ago. I shrugged it off and went surfing with my son Luke on the following day.

On November 14th In 1999 I had another episode. This was serious and I went to The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where I was very well looked after. I left after five days and later I had a stent placed in an artery to increase blood flow. Now I have two of them. Almost the full set as there are three arteries. Please don’t take my tone to be flippant. I take this seriously and don’t want to repeat the experience ever again but I won’t be morbidly dour about it.

The reason I write this today is partly due to the ongoing debate around the efficacy and validity of The National Health Service that battles on against all odds and vehement criticism, some of which is obviously well founded.
The last time I was in The Chelsea and Westminster hospital I was there five days followed by a rehab course for one day a week for twelve weeks. This got me back in some sort of viable shape.
My stay at The C and W was sublime. I could easily have stayed there for longer. This time it was not the same. It was only when I asked the ambulance guys who came to take me from the C and W to the Royal Brompton for my stent procedure that I realised I was actually in the same ward as I was in 1999. The difference was, to say the least, extraordinary. The whole place was filled with noise day and night and staff worked round the clock as though it was day time. Last time I could rest and sleep more or less when I liked except for the early morning breakfast which is a completely foreign concept to me. I realise this is not so for the average patient who does not keep the rock n roll hours that I do.

Through the noisy chaos a team of seemingly very young nurses and doctors worked with all the dedication and expertise one would hope for. The nurses who looked after me very well seemed to be around fourteen. Some thing I get used to as I get older, as the young inherit the earth and all it’s problems, medical and otherwise. I cannot complain about the service and care I received. It was perfectly adequate and better than one often hears about these days. There were folk who were much worse off than me and I watched as they were dealt with on an individual basis affording dignity to their situations.

I am happy to tell you I am well if a little chastened by the experience. I no longer smoke tobacco and I am beginning to readjust my life style towards a healthier regime. I am grateful to all of the people who have cared for me and about me and I have made solemn promises not to let them down or to invalidate the sterling work carried out to keep me breathing. Like most of you I have heard about shocking negligence and mal practise in the NHS but I can only speak from personal experience when I tell you,  it is all working very well in some places. I am aware of what is called the post code lottery and all of the variables this seems to bring to an otherwise truly wonderful institution. A couple of days ago I was offered a sixteen week rehab course which I will attend. So top quality service for yours truly from the NHS.

I was supposed to fly to Norway for a Fair days Pay gig but the airlines stipulate a four week gap between surgery and flying. So I am sorry for Gry and all his people who had arranged the gig. I will go there when another date can be arranged. I did manage to play at a 60th birthday bash for Nigel Cross an old friend of the EBB. This took place on the Sunday after I left hospital on the Tuesday. It was held in an upstairs room of a lovely old pub in south London not far from Vauxhall which is also near where I live. The gig was just what I needed and it was lovely to meet up with Pete Frame old campaigner and founder of the magazine ZIG ZAG. John Hurford ( psychedelic artist) who I haven’t seen for many years was also there. He designed the poster for Nigel’ gig. I also met the grandson of the elderly couple on the EBB Inside Out sleeve. Now they are Mr and Mrs Bennett not some anonymous couple which is a nice thought.

Looks like summer is slowly shaping up so why not book me for your own Fair Days Pay For A Fair days Work gig. There are some dates left so now is the time to book one of the summer weekend dates.