The old man wasn’t there
I had a lovely day in South Shields on Saturday. I was made to feel very welcome and the shows went well. It was my first visit to this corner of the North East and I certainly hope not my last. The small seaside resort town on the south bank of the Tyne estuary is attractive and obviously very busy in summer. It feels a little like some of the North Wales resort towns, fed from the Industrial neighbourhoods of Tyneside. I couldn’t believe it but I counted ten Indian restaurants in a row on Ocean Road. There’s a sign of our times. The way the sun sits on the east coast sea is obviously very different from the west and I am more used to the west coast light but I grew to like it for the time I was there.
The park I played in was tidy, well maintained and the local council who booked me do a lot in the way of events with a full open air music programme throughout the summer. The organisers loved the show and my setup with the theatre and lorry and were warm and welcoming.
I did miss Wimbledon. The misunderstandings which lead to me not being this year there are in the past and I have apologised for my part in those, but I don’t think I will be invited back. On my return I had a phone call from someone who had scoured the Common for my show and was so worried that I was dead, he needed to check it out. We had a very enjoyable chat about the show, this blog and the DVD (which features Wimbledon 2015). I was sorry not to be able to sell it there as I think it would have done well. He said that I had been missed but that the organisers had not replaced me with another act. His German friend who had become another of my Wimbledon fans had texted him after walking around the Common the night before. ‘The old man’s not there’ she had apparently said in the text. She is in her fifties. I laughed at that. Why do we never see ourselves as we really are? In my head I am still twenty something, energetic, good looking. Well thirty… forty?
He was very kind and what he said about my show confirmed that what I am doing this end of my life is somehow right and worthwhile. I know I shouldn’t feel that I need affirmation of that, but I often do, as regular readers of this blog will know. He talked about how the show gave the families, friends and community, old and young something to sit and watch and enjoy on a summer afternoon on the famous London Common. So yes I did miss it, but life and shows come and go.
One old man who wasn’t there at Glastonbury finale was Keith Moon and he was also missed. My first and only encounter with the Who was at the Reading Jazz and Blues Festival in 1960 something. My friend Geoffrey and I had escaped the confines of Christ’s Hospital and made it to Reading to see them. It was the time they had become famous for their finale when they smashed their guitars and everything else on stage. Geoffrey and I managed to go around the stage afterwards (trying doing that at Glastonbury now) and met them. Geoffrey tousled Keith Moon’s famous hair, “Hello Mooney”, he joked. By way of reply Keith Moon clouted him one and a bit of a tussle ensued. Perhaps it is a claim to fame of sorts. A fist fight with the Who.
Anyway for what it’s worth, this old man is still going strong and hopefully will do so for years to come. The season is in full swing now and I always know when Hollowell Steam Fair is next on the list that summer is really here. My favourite steam rally of the year is definitely worth a visit. A spit from Northampton it is set in beautiful surroundings and has a great deal to offer for a day out. If you are anywhere near come and visit. You wont be disappointed, but if you want to see me this year come on the Sunday as I am flying up to Edinburgh for a family wedding on the Saturday and have two friends standing in for me at the stage. I’ve never flown internally in Britain before so it will be an experience. It takes just over the hour to fly from Birmingham to Edinburgh. It will be lovely to look at Britain from that perspective. I do hope it’s a clear day.
So for next Saturday I can say,
All the best from a cloud above you,