Part IV.

Mar. 17th, 2008 01:37 pm
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The figures were that we entertained some 1500-2000 folk in the marquee, plus however many were milling on the pavement side. One wonders will anyone have the sort of money to fund a similar party next year? Actually, I bloody hope so.
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In the empty skeleton of part two (the ontro) I have omitted, in my recounting of the bald facts, how much senseless silly fun was had. Non-threatening, non-rowdy, but loud and large and friendly: carousing was done on a magnificent scale. Girls were kissed in passing, flowers were worn then tossed aside. Frankie strode around Cannes with the largest lily in the buttonhole of his bedraggled tux singing to innocent passers-bye or joining in with the buskers as we meandered about the main drag looking for other places in which to drink.

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So we all get on the 'plane at Gatwick and have a relatively simple journey to Nice, which was nice, as was the CĂ´te d'Azur weather. 

More anent, if anyone wants.
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We travelled as a five piece band. Martin (drums), our leader had gone on a day ahead, and Jane (Female Vox) was driving down with her boyf.
So it was:
Frankie (Male Vox)
Nicki (sax and Female B/V's)
Simon (keys B/V's)
Mark (bass B/V's)
Yours Truly (guitar).

Simon is longest serving member. Nicki has just joined.

Frank is the largest personality I have ever met: he is Sir John Falstaff re-incarnated. Six-three and 280lbs, looking a little like Holbein's portrait of Henry the Eighth, but jollier and more avuncular: he is also the most outrageous party animal imaginable. His enthusiasm and lust for life are infectious, but carousing with him can be bad for ones health. He can polish off a bottle of vodka in an evening without trying. White drugs are not beyond his compass. He has been known to wake up in bed with two women of whose names he was unaware. He will not make old bones, but in his time he will have lived four people's lives and had eight people's fun, so....we all know what will happen when Frankie gets his party hat on. As well as being large and loud and energetic, he is also surprisingly sweet and kind; and is still a well regarded amateur cricketer. He is like some English Dionysus, striding into his forties, ignoring the damage to his system his lifestyle has been doing because he's having too much fun. You know what....good for him.
He can really sing too.
And in his stage performance he can convey just who he is and what he's like to an entire audience within the space of two songs. He brings a party with him. If Papa Hemingway had fronted a wedding band.....

Simon and Mark are like me: good players; solid, professional; and good performers, but perhaps without the size of Frankie's personality (though I'm no slouch in the charisma stakes either, but generally, I suppose, in different arenas: I shine at the dinner table, my dears and am competent and professional onstage).

Young Nicki is very accomplished and scrubs up well, as the phrase is. Also big of personality, though svelte and glamorous of form. She is also somewhat younger than the rest of us, being closer to thirty than forty. The rest of us can only see forty in our rear-view mirrors.

Jane is a very good singer, a pretty lass, and a mother of two teenagers. Her boyf is a nice chap with a thirst, as the Irish say.

Martin, our leader and drummer is also a pretty big personality, liable to fall upon having fun like the Assyrian wolf upon the fold*. 
MIPEM is a week long party for the Building Industries of the world. Cannes is Party Central. I'm sure the close readers amongst you will have realised there are themes developing here. Lines of congruence, even.

So there's the background. You now know the Dramatis Personæ and the setting.

*Gods, I adore mangling Byron.

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I'm back from Cannes in one piece.
Too tired to think.
Gig went pretty well.
Fell slightly in love with our new (female) Sax player, like all the other chaps in the band. Cute and very accomplished and very smart to boot. Has a boyf so completely off limits, ergo: tend to feel parental even though she's in her thirties: If not parental then elder brother proud of especially brilliant younger sister.
Got hog-whimperingly drunk after the gig. Beer, red wine, Whisky. The headache was spectacular.
Met a whole bunch of new folk.
Saw my very first Bugatti Veyron.
Met a nice and witty lady lawyer with a nose piercing and an interest in India....Got her number. She lives about six or seven miles from me in London. Maybe will call her tomorrow.
Ears still fucking popping from the flight. Hate flying: hurts ears too much, though I really love the take-off moment.
No sleep last night due to late double-espresso, not attenuated by jazz cigarette as I will never bring jazz across borders or through customs. 
V tired indeed.
Spent too much money.
Had a total fucking ball, my dears and am considering taking remedial French classes to bring me up to speed, just in case I ever move there (not that unlikely actually, if I can master basic French). Mind you, almost everyone spoke near-perfect English, dammit.
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Will get picked up by Nikki and Mark (sax player and bassist) at 5am, that's nine hours. Setting up my No 2 Strat. Trying to get the intonation right. New strings (+1 spare set + spare top and fourth). Bag packed. Hardshell case for the ax. Remember to detune strings to slack for the flight. Euros....Our Leader (Martin, the drummer) has been doing sterling work organising all of this. We don't appreciate him enough. I have to remember that he does all the admin, poor love. We're lucky to have the gigs, apart from the fact that we're damn good given the limited palette of the form: wedding bands are about getting drunk folk dancing their asses off to recognisable tunes. It's all about groove and vibe.

Fifteen years ago I would have spurned ever doing 'covers' of any kind. I'd teach folk how to play songs, but....'covers' was for folk that couldn't write and couldn't compose and couldn't get on with other people enough to collaborate effectively. Not that I'm being snobbish about it now, though I was at the time.

Now, the most superior person I know, about fifteen years ago too (coincidence or what) suggested that I should concentrate on the 'craft' aspect of what I did, which was not to talk of technique, because although not flawless, my technical abilities are.....I'm pretty accomplished, though I'll never make a first-rank classical or flamenco player: but was about repertoire and the craft of learning.

Performing musicians are like actors: vast chunks of information have to be committed to memory to be regurgitated at the appropriate microsecond in the right way.
Sometimes my brain feels full, and I just can't cram that last (probably vital) bit in.....


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