Normally we go see a band then head off to a pub in Camden where DJ's play interesting retro tunes on their wheels of steel and the place stays open until 1.30am. Then it’s burger time and a walk back to the flat feeling that even though we are middle aged we can still cut it with the young ‘uns.
Simon, Kate and her beau turned up at my flat mid afternoon and we headed off along the canal towpath pointing out sights such as Little Venice and the blue plaque for Guy Gibson of Dambusters fame (they vaguely remembered the film). Also Arthur Lowe. (They remembered "Dads Army"). We stopped off for a pizza then caught the tube down to the Thames embankment and walked across the bridge to the Festival Hall as Travis (for this is his name) wanted to see Big Ben, as this was his first time in the UK.
He knew it was named after the bell and not the tower. He is no stereotypical American tourist and has done his research as well as having a bone-crushing handshake. I remember Kate's mother saying to me years ago that children keep you young. I still feel the opposite as more and more things turn out to be off the radar as they were either eggs at that point in time or just too young to remember. Also I couldn't help feeling that they were: "nice intelligent fun er YOUNG PEOPLE. And a credit to their parents”. Just typing those words and I have grown a long white beard and my hair has turned grey.
Then we walked up through Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, stopping in at a pub where the er "youngsters" opted for a half of Guinness each. Again Travis had done his homework and knew all about it and that it wasn't pronounced "GuyNess" as many of his compatriots did when I had travelled across his country with American Adventure One and Two. Many was the time in a bar in the Midwest when people found out I was from the UK: "Ah you mean England…that is where you have that beer….GuyNess".
Then it was off to the club for Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams. Simon had had a peek at them on YouTube beforehand and the, er, children hadn't heard of them. They were a lot of fun and described their work as Hillbilly or Hippie Pink Floyd. They are going to be doing festivals this summer and hopefully coming over more regularly in the future. They have been booked for Celtic Connections 2010 as well as other gigs over the next two years. Go see them if you get the chance as they are a lot of fun with some unusual instrumentation.
Simon had been dubious but was won over by the performance and the um, kiddiewinks enjoyed them even though they were not sure about their image. They were engagingly scruffy, they thought.
Then it was the tube up to Camden and as the three of them were staying in Balham we asked when the last train went and were told quarter past midnight. That meant either a very swift pint as by now it was quarter to twelve, or a cab back. Into the pub we went and I asked what everyone was having. The youngsters said "Nothing, thank you". So I said to Simon: "Looks like you are on the 12.15 then". Then they were gone. I sat there nursing my pint and thinking: "Wee uns…no stamina".
Next day it was off to Hastings to meet up with my mate Clive who I have known since we were at college together and discovered a mutual interest in sitting in pubs talking rubbish to each other and we have continued pretty much in the same vein ever since. He was off to see a friend of his, Jacqui, perform in the pub. She has a big voice that filled the boozer. All the crowd pleasers and - rare for many pub turns - she had an act. She had banter and could really sell the songs. Here she is midway through "Big Spender". As Clive remarked when he saw the pic: "God, I look a lech".