Monday, March 13, 2006

Theatre 503

Went to Theatre 503 (used to be the Latchmere) in Battersea to see Subverse, with Steve Lawson guesting in the second half. Looked like we might not get in, as it was sold out, then at the last minute, Steve asked me to sit in with him, so they couldn't very well turn us away, and we stood at the back. It's all powerful stuff - fantastic to get a laugh out of some of the things they tackle (Iraq, civil liberties, environmental campaigners, etc). Highly recommended. Looks like they're organising a North London appearance in May, for those of you with in-built geographical aversions to anything with an S in the post code. Steve was playing his unique brand of solobassistry behind three different poems, and got me to duet with Jethro on "The Peace Police". At the last minute, he asked me to come on from behind the audience, meaning I left my pint of water backstage, and then proceeded to completely dry out, and practically come to a spluttering halt. Managed to moisten the reed just enough to coax the last note out. I thought that was it, then he called me on for the last tune, after I'd put away my horn, so had to run through the pub kitchen to put it together again in time to play. Great to get on stage and do a bit of proper playing for the first time since D-day. The sax sling rubs on the catheter that's sticking out a hole in my neck a bit - perhaps that's why it's a bit achy now.

Talking of civil liberties, take a look at - I am becoming increasingly concerned at the direction this government is going with its legislation. This is worth a few minutes of everyone's time. Go to to send an instant letter to your MP. Talking of daft legislation, it seems like the predicted chickens are coming home to roost after the licensing bill came into force last November. I've already heard from Keith Harrison-Broninski down in Nunney, Somerset, that new regulations have pretty much stopped the wonderful Nunney Jazz Cafe that has been a monthly thing in the village hall there on a Sunday afternoon. Now it looks like the gypsy jazz festival L'Esprit Manouche - which I've never seen, but sounds beautiful, is another victim. The organiser Dave Alexander has just written:

"And to help matters along theres the new licensing laws - our entertainments licence used to cost around £350 - new regs mean that it could end up costing in excess of £2000 now! The licensing departments want you to employ solicitors to apply for a licence because its such a mess that no one, (even the people at the licencing department), knows how or what it means!!!!! (If you want music to be allowed in the UK you all better get complaining to your MP etc about this licencing bill!)"

I'm waiting to hear whether the new regs mean that anyone who wants to book a band for a party in their garden needs an entertainments licence. If so, it might be a long dry summer on the work front.


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