'Gigs', I hear you say- 'What gigs?'
Yes, fair comment......
When I stopped regular 'touring' at the end of '89, it was as many will know, to be able to have more time at home and the upshot was that I was playing/singing much less of course. I also stopped hustling for bookings, an aspect of the job I was more than happy to give up as was my long-suffering partner, Pauline, who had been doing so much of the hustling.
As a result of being more home-based, I started to go to a few local jam sessions and singarounds and reminded myself how much I still enjoyed performing music. Another spinoff of this was that I found I was still regularly writing new songs - which has continued to this day. The thing about that though, is that, having written them, you want to go and play them to people- for me, songwriting has always been about communicating thoughts, ideas, stories, feelings. The process is not complete without playing a newly-written song to others. I've now written so many songs that haven't yet made it to a wider audience.
I suppose it was inevitable, after spending nearly ten years 'on the road' so to speak, that some brave person would contact me and ask if I would venture out for a 'gig' for them.
As it turned out, that was Richard Grainger, the organiser of the Ryedale festival. It was my first real gig for nearly 20 years and great fun! Richard then jumped in again and I played Ryedale again the following year, 2011, renewing my enthiasm for playing live.
But I had made myself a promise that I would not do any more hustling for bookings and I've managed to stick to that, so that the gigs I do are only when people are foolhardy enough to invite me.
The inevitable result is of course that this happens only rarely but I suppose that's only to be expected.
One of the most enjoyable bookings I've done in recent times was to play at the Moira Furnace Festival (Leicestershire) in August last year (2013). This enjoyable and friendly festival did me the honour of inviting me back for the 2015 one and I'm looking forward to it- so if you happen to be wondering where I'll be then, you know now.
One of the things I've been wondering about blogging is whether it's a good idea to include the lyrics of a new song in a blog - I'm tempted to but a bit unsure about it because of course lyrics don't include the melody which is the other half of the thing - I wonder what others think?
A 'singaround' session I never miss here in Kendal is a monthly (2nd Wednesday) one at the "Oddfellows Arms" on Windermere Rd, run by Clare Mee, who has an excellent acapella trio called 'Pandora's Handbag', who alone, are worth coming to hear. Clare encourages a high standard and the songclub is always an excellent night. My good friend, singer Chris Stern, loves it so much he travels from Rochdale every month to be there! We'll both be there for December's one on the 10th so if you're around and nearby, we'll see you!