I attended a very enjoyable gala dinner last night in aid of the Jimmy Knapp Cancer Fund at Congress Centre in central London. Guest speakers included Lord Prescott and Jo Brand who added their unique and raucously entertaining humour to the event. Proceedings included an auction conducted by Brendan Barber and Frances O’Grady of the TUC, which saw supporters of the Fund collecting signed memorabilia amongst other notable prizes. My colleague Naomi MacDonald, who was there with myself and Fran Hanley from the MU, won signed books by Jo and a collection of wine.
I was delighted to be at last night’s previewing of the Paul Carrack documentary set for broadcast on BBC4 at 9pm on 12 October. Held at the Soho Screening Rooms in D’Arblay St, the gathering included Paul, the superb writer Chris Difford, Dave Robinson of Stiff Records fame, David Stark of Songlink and presenter Simon Bates amongst a select band. The doc covers all of Paul’s inspirational career and is a fitting testament to his talent, musicality, warmth and longevity as a writer, vocalist and session player. My thanks to Gaby at Greengabpr for the invitation and kind hospitality on the night.
The MU presented the benefits of membership to rising stars of the acoustic scene over the weekend at this year’s London Acoustic Guitar Show at Olympia. Numerous musicians and artist representatives visited the stand to discuss industry issues, in particular the implications of the Live Music Act and how it should see a boom in the number of grassroots gigs. Several major names also dropped in, including Sandi Thom who performed on the main stage on Sunday, plus former Wings guitarist and session ace Laurence Juber and blues star Chantel McGregor. A very worthwhile event.
Martin Turner, bass player and founder member of legendary band Wishbone Ash, arranged for a superb evening of classic rock at Liscombe Park Studio in the company of his own first-rate band, plus former Wishbone guitarists Ted Turner and Laurie Wisefield. A further highlight saw original drummer Steve Upton take to the stage to acknowledge the calls of the diehard fans. A significant number of rock industry names were present, including vocalist Debbie Bonham and guitarist /PR maestro Rod Lynton. My thanks to the band’s management, QEDG, who were excellent hosts throughout.
I visited the 606 Club in Chelsea this evening with long-time friend and jazz fan Mark Batchelor, at the kind invitation of owner Steve Rubie, to see special guest Mica Paris performing with the unique London Vocal Project. For one night only, as part of the London 2012 Festival, the British soul legend joined forces with the Project – led by composer/arranger Pete Churchill – to perform a selection of jazz standards. The LVP includes an array of British jazz talent including Andi Hopgood, Fini Bearman and Mishka Adams. Thanks to everyone involved for a special night out.
Sue Harris of Republic Media kindly invited me to The Hospital Club, Covent Garden last night for Dave Stewart presents 24:24 Peace Music Tolerance / Walk a Mile / 2012 Hours Against Hate. This featured a performance by Dave and his band, streamed live online, with special guests Daryl Hall, KT Tunstall, Mike Scott & the Waterboys, Jihae and Candy Dulfer. A highlight was the spirited singing by the Gladesmore School Choir from Tottenham of their own original song, Everybody Dreams. For more on the concert please visit Proper Records.
I took part this afternoon in an enjoyable workshop panel for folk musicians, one of the scheduled seminar and workshop events organised as part of the London Folk Fest at The Bedford venue in Balham. Chaired by MU London Regional Officer Alex Mann, the workshop aimed to be practical and informative by looking at some of the ways independent acoustic, folk and roots musicians can maximise their potential and make the most of new opportunities. The panel also consisted of musician and promoter Sam Lee, Katie Weatherall of British Underground and Sophia Linehan of the EFDSS.
I was invited to the Summer Jazz event in Portcullis House event last night, which featured a performance by saxophonist Yolanda Brown and the presentation of the 2012 Yamaha Scholars in association with Jazzwise and PPL. Staged by the All-Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation group, and specifically Michael Connarty MP and Lord Colwyn, the evening was a celebration of the best of up and coming jazz talent in the UK. Present were a significant number of industry luminaries, including MU General Secretary John Smith, Jazz FM‘s Helen Mayhew and Jazz Services‘ Chris Hodgkins.
The Musician journal was Highly Commended and runner-up in the Best Journal and Magazine category at last night’s TUC Communications Awards held at Congress House in London. The event, sponsored by TU Ink, highlights the work of comms teams across the trade union movement in the last twelve months. The MU’s PLAY newspaper was also Highly Commended in the Best Publication category. As editor, I received the Awards on behalf of the MU from TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber.
I attended the UK Music Summer Reception at the Commonwealth Club in London’s Northumberland Avenue last night on behalf of the MU. Joining the industry’s umbrella organisation were representatives from PPL, PRS for Music, Music Week and other leading business interests. I met Boy George who was great company and was there as Dizzee Rascal received an award from the Official Charts Company. (See Music Week and the Official Charts for more on this).