Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Hyped up, laid back and knocked out.

Monday at the Red Lion www.red-lion.info was always going to be special and I had to get there early to make sure I got a seat. I didn’t want anyone else to know about this one. And it’s been a pig of a week, so this evening was going to have to work hard to make me human again.

Brentford Football Club had hyped up their supporters in a way only ‘the Bees’ can manage. Last week they lost their chance to win the league and get automatic promotion – in the last minute they won a penalty but instead of scoring, (DOH!) they hit the post, the ball bounced back and Doncaster ran with it,  managed to knock it straight into the Bees goal seconds before the final whistle blew (Ouch).

So, they went into the playoffs for the second place going. Today they threw away their 3-1 lead after leading all match – in the last minute of 5 minutes injury time (aaargh). After 30 minutes extra time it was still a draw so they had to take penalty kicks to decide it. I was listening to the local commentary before I went out. They won, just – and are now on to Wembley and the final to decide who goes up. Everywhere was full of shell-shocked Bees fans, and even though the ground is unique in having a pub on each corner, there were still a fair number of Brentford jerseys at this bar, trying to get their blood pressure back down to normal. I’m not really a supporter – but I keep an eye having lived in Brentford for so many years.

It had been a long hot Bank Holiday and the Red Lion had had a Real Ale festival all day – by the time I got there, that crowd was slowing down after a long day of drinking and were getting pretty laid back.

Meanwhile I was looking forward to Art Themen night, which always means a lot to me;

Art Themen was on Treble and Suprano Sax (and he made that sing), Henry Lowther on Trumpet and Flugelhorn, John Horler on keyboards, Tim Wells bass, Trevor Tomkins on Drums.

As the evening wore on, the drinkers got more mellow as the music crowd got sharper. I was never going to be disappointed.

They started off with ‘On Green Dolphin Street’, then Thelonious Monk – ‘Monks Dream’ and Horace Sliver - ‘Gregory’s here’. All class. They finished the first set with ‘Gertrudes bounce’ by Richie Powell, featuring John Horler’s crisp keyboards.

The all-dayers were starting to slump by now, looking frazzled. 

The second half started with Dexter Gordon ‘for regulars only’, which pretty much summed us up – Modern jazz for discerning Mods. ‘Footprints’ showcased Tim Wells bass with piano and drums. But ‘on a street in Singapore’ was a highlight as Trevor Tomkins brought out the smiles amongst the band with his Tom-Tom playing.

I drove back playing a CD I’d bought for a pound a couple of years ago and never played. It was a magazine freebie someone else had thrown away and I was going to throw it away. ‘MOJO’ magazine’s, ‘Mod and Club Party’ wasn’t a title that promised much, so I took it out just to spin through. I expected a muddle of cheap low-rent tracks, pretending to be something better than they were. Nothing you would go out of your way to buy – but they turned out to be great, a dumpster diving pounds worth of forgotten Mod classics for a crisp, cool May night.

I was knocked out and managed to forget everything for an hour or two. Knock out.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)
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