Sunday, 22 September 2013

Woke up it was a Chelsea Morning.

I am so wasted. Just so wasted.

It’s Sunday morning, grey September skies.

Last night I could have been celebrating the Autumn Equinox. Or I could have gone to see the SkaSouls playing at Mr Bumble in Camberley – the best venue, the best band. I felt bad about missing that.

And now here I am, in a wheelchair, covered in a warm blanket, clutching a glass of warm milk. When’s my next pill?

At least I’ve got something to look forward to.

No Way!

I’m back from a great night.  No I think you had better make that a great day and a night out. Everything hurts, I mean really hurts. This time I don’t think anything is ever going to get better.

I’m old, I’m ill, life shouldn’t be this fun.

I made it to The Imperial Wharf Jazz festival. I’ve staggered home with a head full of memories, a camera full of pictures, lost my voice, got ringing ears and did I mention that everything hurts? Even the pain is complaining.

The thing is, it was the Bouncers who forced me to dance……

Woke up it was a Chelsea morning

….. and the first thing that I heard

Was a song outside my window, and the traffic wrote the words

It came a-reeling up like Christmas bells, and rapping up like pipes and drums


Oh, won't you stay

We'll put on the day

And we'll wear it 'till the night comes


Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I saw

Was the sun through yellow curtains, and a rainbow on the wall

Blue, red, green and gold to welcome you, crimson crystal beads to beckon


Oh, won't you stay

We'll put on the day

There's a sun show every second


Now the curtain opens on a portrait of today

And the streets are paved with passersby

And pigeons fly

And papers lie

Waiting to blow away


Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I knew

There was milk and toast and honey and a bowl of oranges, too

And the sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses

Oh, won't you stay

We'll put on the day

And we'll talk in present tenses
Joni Mitchell

I nearly didn’t make it – I’d put together a really good plan and they never work out; do the chores, get to the Chemist, cook lunch, arrange for people to phone my Mum to make sure she’s OK while I’m out, drive up to Clapham Junction to park for free, catch a train just one stop to cross the river…and I’m in Chelsea. None of it worked out – no trains (a suicide), then I found one going my way and it didn’t wait for me.

A limp and a walking stick, 20 platforms and a thousand milling people.

Of course it’s not Chelsea Chelsea, this is a recent development of luxury flats for business people, Bankers and similar villains. Next door is ‘Chelsea Harbour’, built on the site of Fulham Power station and where the ‘New Russians’, the oligarchs and the ‘Thieves in Law’ live. Also some of our very own thieves and celebrities. Underneath it’s all poisoned land – this was an old industrial area, polluted for a hundred years. So they capped it all off with cement and built luxury flats – for some of the people who did all the poisoning.

When I got there the Mercedes and Range Rovers were leaving. There were helicopters overhead. If you ever wondered where the Taxi’s went – they come here.

The four-wheeled drives of the footballers wives.

Here’s the menu;

Saturday 21st September


Congo Faith Healers 1.00 pm


Combining down and dirty swamp infested gypsy blues

with wild savage guitar playing and voodoo vocals.

An intense and utterly compelling live show.


Kairos 4tet 2.30 pm


Best Jazz Act MOBO award winning band Kairos 4tet generate a

captivating blend of melodic beauty and pin sharp improvisation.


Anthony Strong 3.45 pm


Hailed as “England’s next jazz superstar”, he performs

a mix of classic jazz songs and swinging originals.


Stonephace Stabbins Feat. Zoe Rahman 5.00 pm


Working Week’s saxophonist Larry Stabbins brings

a blistering energy to a fiery new quintet that features

MOBO jazz award winner Zoe Rahman.


Zara McFarlane 6.45 pm

Positioned neatly between the twin worlds of modern jazz and

eclectic nu-soul, Zara is a very special young voice on the UK scene.


JTQ 8.30 pm


For a quarter of a century, the James Taylor Quartet has set

the standard for the coolest sounds in funky acid jazz.

From Clapham Junction, West

Brompton or Shepherd’s Bush

take the London Overground train

to Imperial Wharf. Extensive car

parking available.

The Boulevard, Imperial Wharf,

Townmead Road, London SW6 2QD


Book your table now…

Relax in style at one of the exciting restaurants

whilst enjoying mellow and up-beat sound

from some of the world’s finest musicianscians.


But that doesn’t do any of it justice. This was a meeting of the clans. A tribal gathering.

There was a good number of faces I know from the London jazz scene, dotted around. There were the old MODS, that’s me.


There was an obvious presence from the 1980’s Jazz Dance scene. They’d come to see Larry Stabbins. Perhaps a bit older, a bit slower than I remember, but hey, you know what they say – the last thing to go is the punch.


There were a lot of black faces – there was a strong soul/funk element to the day.


Heck, there were even a lot of young people coming in and spoiling it all for us old guys. Mind you, they don’t know how to dress! I must admit I was putting on the style.

Don’t you love this picture of some of the Jazzers arriving?


Cool hats dudes, almost as good as mine.

And this is the first act I saw, The Kaira 4tet, with a special guest vocalist Emilia Martez (and she was good).


Not lively enough for my taste, but nice stuff to start the day off with and to my amazement I ended up with a seat and a view about 25 metres from the stage.


Did I mention there was beer?

 Unfortunately, I have always acted as a magnet for security – and today the Bouncers were buzzing around me like wasps – picking up bottles and cans from the tables around me in case I started a riot, giving me the eye. I was talking to my friend Theo later – we decided that in bouncer school they are given an identikit photo of me, like the FBI shoot at silhouettes of Dillinger on the firing range.


This is Anthony Strong:

 I’d describe it as ‘lounge jazz’, but the best I’ve ever heard. A few original numbers and a lot of cool standards; ‘Steppin’ Out’, ‘Dancin’ Cheek to Cheek’, ‘Luck be a lady’, you get the idea.

I’d say he was trying to be Jamie Cullum without the excitement, but musically – pretty hot stuff.

It was only a trio today (missing a trumpeter and it showed) but the drums, bass and pianist delighted in really tight, really well rehearsed jumps and switches that so impressed me.


Mmmmm, that’s Jazz.

I’m going to split this into another section, I need some coffee now.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)  

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