Eat a mix

Dear all,

It’s been a fun old time since my last blog. I haven’t been hareing around the country as much as normal so I’m not too tired but I have had plenty on and it’s an exciting time for me with my new album coming up and a big tour on both sides of the Atlantic to accompany it! There’s always a lot of planning involved – posters and flyers, publicity, travel plans, visas etc etc yawn yawn! However it’s not been all admin, I’ve been teaching plenty as well as a recording session over at Andrew Curran’s for his new album. As always it was a lot of fun and we always have a good chat about India too!

Then came my first gig of the year and what a night it was. As a bit of a warm up for my tour and to test out my new material from my album in a live setting I played at the Floodgate in Stafford, a wonderful micropub who stage most excellent concerts about six times a year. As the pub looks so nice I decided to get the cameras in too so Kate Gallow of Shoot This Media did a fantastic job of getting some videos together (see photo below). These will be released in due course ahead of the album release. Thanks so much to everyone who came, I had such a wonderful night and it was a really terrific start to the year. There is the added bonus that it’s just across the road!

Next it was over to Church Stretton for an old favourite gig – Housmans. A great little place and a lovely night was had as well as a chance to spend some time with my grandfolks which is always a pleasure of course. Then it was off to the capital for a rehearsal of the Devil’s Violin, a rather nice little project I’ve been asked to be in. The gig is a collaboration between London Sinfonia and myself and fiddler Henry Webster and throws a spotlight on violin music from all over. Copland used many American folk tunes in his work so in the concerts you get to here myself and Henry play them folkily (a word?) and then in the orchestral context as well as a few other surprises. We rehearsed in London then performed in Chelmsford then a week later did two nights at the wonderful Wiltons Music Hall in London (what a venue!!!!). It’s been much fun and I’ve really enjoyed meeting the orchestra and playing with them. It was also a novel experience to read music on stage – first time I’ve done that since the Newcastle University Jazz Orchestra days!

UFQ have also kicked off our year with three splendid rural touring gigs. First it was Nottinghamshire for a couple of nights at Rampton Village Hall and All Hallows Hall in West Bridgeford and then to Lincolnshire for the pick of the three – the wonderful Hemingby Village Hall. We had a most fantastic night at that place with a lovely sell out crowd tightly packed into the hall. Just the right combination of attentive listening, lots of whoops and cheers and a bit of patter too. Bloody marvellous!

Well then my rant for the week – food cancer stare stories. I saw an article posted on facebook the other day about how browned toast and crispy baked potatoes are now a cancer scare. Hot on the heels of the bacon scare stories, it’s rant time. In the last five years I think I’ve read that just about every sodding food can give you cancer, there’ll be nothing bloody left of my diet soon. Except, I bother to read. And if you do read the articles about these various devil foods you will learn that this whole cancer malarkey only applies if you eat nothing else. For example, the bacon article headline was ‘bacon gives you cancer’. The article actually said ‘if you eat a couple of rashers of bacon a couple of times a week you’re probably fine’. Well funnily enough, given that I have an intellect larger than that of a chocolate wrapper I was never actually under the impression that six rashers of bacon a day was particularly good for you. Nor have I ever eaten only bacon funnily enough. So here’s my lesson – eat a bit of everything but not too much and don’t not exercise. There I’ve just saved you reading hundreds of nonsense articles about how every food is the devil.