Friday, 30 May 2014

19000 Thanx.


It’s only a silly Blog, but how cool is that?

I started all this because when I broke my ankle a consultant at the Accident and Emergency Department of St. Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey sent me home for a week because he couldn’t spot a displaced and dramatically broken ankle on my X-Rays. I could when I saw it later.

What a moron.

I could have lost my leg – I was lucky that when I went back, the good surgeons of the Trauma and Orthopaedic units saved it.

My complaint? The hospital delayed, dodged, lied and covered up what happened. It took a year to get a meeting with someone from A and E.

Because the report into the incident was written by another consultant from A and E and because s/he never even spoke to me about it, no one ever listened to what I said and nothing was done about what actually happened.

Back then I was fit enough to cope with the two operations and 6 days in hospital that resulted from their stupid negligence. It may have only been a silly ankle but what made me so angry was that an elderly person would not have survived it.

Now my cancer is that much worse; if it happened now they would have finished me off too.

I’m not about to let them off the hook – people die because of bad treatment, very few people complain and hardly anyone ever makes a real fuss.

So, while I have lots of fun, do music reviews, play out silly stunts - this is a serious Blog, it’s still a health campaign. It matters.

I put the number of page views up when they hit 20.

I celebrated at 400 – that was good.

Thanks to all of you reading it, I will still be here to celebrate 20,000 and that is going to be a lot of fun, I can tell you.

That’s a promise.

And now it’s almost 11 pm on Friday night and I’ve packed all my medication, made my sandwiches, sorted out a million things as a carer, got my walking stick out, rolled up a blanket, shoved my Pork Pie hat on my head, got my Doc Martens on my feet, put my rucksack on my back and I’m all ready to head into town to catch the


Magic Bus!

which is going to take me overnight to;



For the day!

I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to do – I’ve been before and done all the museums and galleries.

Mind you, I found this review of The Cheese Museum on Trip Advisor almost irresistible;

“This isn’t a museum, but a shop. I tried a few cheeses for free because I could. I saw one family eat an entire tray. I’d go back if I was hungry”.

Shakespeare could not improve on that.

Where am I going to find somewhere to do my injection and how outrageous can I make it?

There’s going to be music, beer and I’ve been recommended to try the cakes that A-Dam is famous for.

Oh Jaaaa!  I’m going to be having a lot of fun.

How lucky am I?

Then overnight on the coach again and back home to the real world on Sunday morning.

Stick around for the 20,000 – it’s going to be a hoot.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)
Z doh!


And then there were 11; Stanley Dee at The Farmers Boy.


So anyway group, no one’s perfect – I know I’d been clear 4 months but then I just had to have another fix. I’ve let you all down, I know that but I guess I’m just an…..addict.

You know how it is; you shop, you eat, you look normal, you sound normal but it’s always there somewhere deep inside, eating you away.
Then all it takes is a moment of weakness and it just pulls you back in.

It’s degrading, it’s seedy; will I never escape?


I’ve let myself down……but I’m only…..human!

So I’m driving under the M25 and it’s completely blocked both ways.

I have to pick up Robyn and then go back and then go all the way round the M25 to St. Albans. Yeah, that’s miles and miles and I’m supposed to be having a rest before – the big trip.

But then it is;


That’s right, the fabulous, the one and only;


The Steely Dan tribute band, the only tribute band I have ever seen and will ever see.


Unfortunately, I could only take a picture of 45.46% of them, because The Farmers Boy is only a small pub and this is a 10 piece. No, you’d better  make that an 11 piece band now.


That’s right, to reproduce the unique sound of Steely Dan (session musicians, 24 track, stolen Jazz riffs, the full works) there are now 11 of them;


Four amazing vocalists, Keyboards, Drums (in another room), a three piece brass section, bass and lead guitars.

There’s another Saxophone (More Saxophones, I must have more saxophones!).

And man, that brass section was tight.

Frankly, for us squeezed on the front row, all we needed was a kazoo and we would have been in the band ourselves.

It was packed. So no photos of half the band – if I’d put my giant telephoto lens out I’d have poked them in the eye.

The sound was terrible, the equipment was protesting, there weren’t any acoustics at all. It was great.

Because although it’s meant to be a tribute, it isn’t really.

The songs are all there, they sound just the same as the real thing but there’s something extra – it’s great fun. There’s dancing. There are smiling musicians. People laugh….quite a lot. And when the mikes packed up everyone sang along anyway.


I thought I’d got out but they just pulled me back in.
Anyway, if you got the money or if you don't; you have to see this band. After all, there's another 55% you haven't seen.
Click on a picture for a slideshow.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Thursday, 29 May 2014

My latest selfie.

I've had a few complaints that up to now my self portraits haven't been very good - that you can't make me out.

That's not very complementary so I decided to publish another 'selfie', as I understand it is known. I took it at The Pompidou centre in Paris. 

Unfortunately, it's a rather explicit picture -  I don't know what came over me. It's a bit embarrassing but here it is anyway:


Neil Harris

(a don't stop till you drop production)



Wednesday, 28 May 2014

World Cup Dreams.


I’ve got football on my mind, it’s the World Cup next month. Didn’t think I’d get to see this one, won’t see another.

Do you think I'm looking forward to it? Yeah, I'm going to enjoy it a lot. I need my world cup wall chart, bad.

I saw this in the window of a shop in Chertsey selling executive toys for rich businessmen – Jukeboxes etc. It’s made from old French football tables and I have to admit it is a little cool.

Of course, I’ll be wearing my England shirt – but I’m never going to pay £65 for one. Mine's vintage (repro) – and not from a charity shop either.

If it’s going to be out of date, it has to be really out of date.

If it’s old it doesn't just have to be obscure.

It has to be really obscure.

Mine is the most obscure.




My shirt's from the best ever World Cup – Mexico 1970.

The World Cup with the best team ever – Brazil 70.

The World Cup which had the best game ever – Brasil v England.
That was Pelé vs Moore and Banks.

The World Cup with the best ever England Team (and the worst of its managers) – that’s the team that had a 2 – 0 quarter final lead over the best ever West German team; until the manager threw it away, that is.

So, is it the red of England or the white?

Eh no, it’s Sky Blue; that's the alternate third strip, that’s the one that was only ever used just the once – against Czeckoslovakia in 1970.

Don’t remember it? Not many do.

That’s because it’s really, really obscure.


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A Tarrantino sort of mood.



I haven’t had the best of weeks, and over a rainy, miserable bank holiday, not the best of long weekends.

The artwork comes from a rather strange person who has decided to improve the lot of humanity by designing a font that enables people to reproduce a variety of crime scenes.

It’s a strange world – but then hey, who am I to criticise anyone?

Now where did I leave my machete; I’m in a Tarrantino sort of mood. My Jazz friends will know the reason why.

This is Dave Lewis on tenor Sax, playing in a quartet down at my Jazz Club. When he got a chance he was doing it rather well – ‘Riccardo’s Bossa’ springs to mind, but here he’s giving it some on ‘Tenor Madness’ by Sonny Rollins.

On the right here is the very fine Dave Gorman, playing the jazz organ the way I like it. While it’s not exactly the organ sound of Jimmy McGriff or Mr Hammond himself – it’s still a swingy, bluesy, hammondy kind of sound.

Got some sway into my shoulders anyway.

Trevor Tomkins, on the left there, playing immaculate drums as ever.

In the quiet moments?

I was scheming the kind of thoughts that get you into trouble. So not so bad for the tail end of a grumpy kind of weekend.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)


Monday, 26 May 2014

Sweet A-Dam.


I did it again…


Magic Bus!

Got my ticket, I’m off again! Roadtrip!

Where am I going at midnight on Friday?

It’s wet.

It’s windy (a bit).

It’s cool.

It’s naughty.

They like liquorice but they like it salty.

It’s nice.

You can buy Belgian beer there (Kwak!).

You can eat Chinese and Indonesian.

There’s cool jazz….mmmmmh!

The Police carry machine guns.

They like chips but they don’t call them French Fries.

There are a lot of Diamond geezers.

Pancakes, Neuwe Haring, Amstel Gold, Ajax, art, windmills, cumin, canals, Rembrandt, flea markets, The Zeedijk (eat as much as you like - Zeedijk), Van Gogh, Apple Torte (oh yeah), bicycles, The Nine Little streets, The Pipe, Clogs, Edam, Harlemmerstraat, Centraal Station, IJ, Old Jodenbreestraat, Neuwe Jodenbreestraat, Jordan, Dam, Trams, Damrak, snoepewinkel, gennefer, Leliegracht, did I mention Amstel Gold?


Oh Jaaaa!

Overnight by coach both ways, a day in Amsterdam, all for £39-00p.

And then there’s the little matter of finding somewhere really exciting to do an injection….I wonder where that will be?

I am so excited, to see a dear old friend again.

Sweet A-Dam.

Oh Jaaaa!

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Sunday, 25 May 2014

The Runnymede Ecovillage - a place for a last stand maybe.


A chance meeting in The Hobgoblin last week led me into an adventure on Monday that helped me forget about my coming appointment down at Oncology the next day.


How beautiful is that view? It’s the view from the front door of the house of some new friends and comrades.

It’s also the view from the wooded escarpment that overlooks the ancient meadows of Runnymede by the banks of the River Thames.

That’s near where The Magna Carta was signed after a confrontation between the armies of the Barons and the army of the King – the start of the long battle for the rights we are still trying to win today.

High above, in the treetops are 'The Diggers 2012' – and they have been there, gloriously, for the last two years.

Here’s their communal kitchen by the front door;

Two years ago they marched from London to sieze some of the Queens lands for the people – they didn’t get where they were going because the police stopped them but they set up camp here.

And here they built their homes;

These are some of the terraced beds for vegetables and the beginning of a geodesic dome. Here are some of the well cared for chickens;


There are ducks too, a spring for water and soon a pig.

They are Diggers, inspired by Robert Winstanley who believed that the land was given by god to us all.

These Diggers of 2012 are secular like me - but they are still seizing unused land and protecting it from the rapacious capitalist developers who are all around.

Here’s one of the ecohouses they have built;


And this charming glade is one of the peaceful communal areas where I was welcomed;

Here are just a few of the homes – dappled in sunlight as it drifted through the treetops.

They have been evicted three times – the land 'belongs' to developers who 'bought' it from the University of London - who should never have sold it in the first place.

From the peace and quiet of the camp, you can hear the developers at work nearby;
As the weeks go by you will see more of the camp on this Blog and maybe they will let me be an occasional visitor – I used to love camping in wild places but I can’t get away to do that anymore.

This would be a last chance for me to spend a night or two under the stars and the trees – and also perhaps a chance of a last confrontation with ‘authority’ too – maybe a good place for a last stand. We will see what happens.

Here are Billy Bragg's lyrics to give you a history of The Diggers;

The World Turned Upside Down

In 1649
To St. George's Hill,
A ragged band they
called the Diggers
Came to show the people's will
They defied the landlords
They defied the laws
They were the
dispossessed reclaiming
what was theirs

We come in peace they said
To dig and sow
We come to work the lands in common
And to make the waste ground grow
This earth divided
We will make whole
So it will be
A common treasury for all

The sin of property
We do disdain
No man has any right
to buy and sell
the earth for private gain
By theft and murder
They took the land
Now everywhere the walls
Spring up at their command

They make the laws
to chain us as well

The clergy dazzle us with heaven
or they damn us into hell
We will not worship
The God they serve
The God of greed who feeds the rich

while poor folk starve

We work we eat together
We need no swords
We will not bow to the masters
Or pay rent to the lords
we are free man
Though we are poor
You Diggers all stand up for glory
Stand up now

From the men of property
The orders came
They sent the hired
men and troopers
To wipe out the Diggers' claim
Tear down their cottages
Destroy their corn
They were dispersed
But still the vision lingers on

You poor take courage
You rich take care
This earth was made a
common treasury
For everyone to share
All things in common
All people one
We came in peace
the orders came to cut us down

Original lyrics by Leon Rosselson.
Click on a picture for a slideshow.

Neil Harris
(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Girl in the Garden at The Hobgoblin.

   Girl In The Garden

Friday and I’m back in The Hobgoblin, Staines for the return of Girl in the Garden who are about as local as it gets; all the way from Staines.

They are;

 Jordan Hewett - Vocals, Guitar

 Bo Hawkins - Guitar, Backing vocals

 Jamie Gaywood - Bass

 Connor Hansell - Drums, Backing vocals


They describe their music as ‘Punk/Grunge’…..but its fresh and fun; always worth seeing and not really very grungey.

  Girl In The Garden


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Friday, 23 May 2014

The Disputes and Sweet Johnny at The Cave.

Third time round for me at The Cave, Addlestone. This is the third taster night for The Undercover Festival at Bisley (19th to 21st September). I won’t make it there so these nights are a chance to enjoy some of the punk and alternative acts that will be playing.

Sweet Johnny

This was a melodic punk band (heavy beat, good tunes, lots of life) playing their own material which is on their e.p. as well as Spotify and all the usual outlets.

Then a real bonus for me;

The Disputes


This was a reggae band with a punky vibe thrown in every so often.


Great bass line (especially up by the speakers, I can confirm) and a wild lead guitar. ‘Lost in SoHo’ and ‘Babylon’ were the highlights of the evening for me and I think they have a mini c.d. out - they will also be on YouTube and all the other venues.....check them out.

I didn’t think anyone young bothered with reggae beats any more so I left with a smile and a little bounce in my step, a little reggae bounce.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Gratuitous advertising - well why not?

I think Ive been letting you off far too easily.

Last year I took all the really serious stuff and moved it to another site; after all it wouldnt do to get you all tired out now would it?

If you want some very occasional updates on what they are doing to destroy our NHS and why its not a very good idea, why dont you have a look at;

2000 HITS



T and the Mugs and Second hand citizens at The Cave, Addlestone.

Last Thursday I headed down to The Cave, Addlestone for the third taster night for The Undercover Festival at Bisley (19th to 21st September). I’m not going to be able to go to the festival so I’m seeing some of it this way.

The headline band in black and white are T and the Mugs, who I saw a few weeks ago at The Hobgoblin, Staines.

I like them, old fashioned punks like me although they play their own original stuff;

This was a support act;



They are ‘Secondhand citizens’ up from Portsmouth. Good band, lots of political content which included ‘Stop the War’ and ‘Harry is a nazi ‘ attacking Prince Harry for dressing up in nazi costume for a fancy dress party.

Both songs fairly courageous for Portsmouth.

So another really good evening for me.


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A falcon or two at Charing Cross.


Yesterday I made my monthly visit to Charing Cross hospital for the result of my blood test. Not the happiest of days. It's a bit life and death.

For two years this has been like watching ‘Final Score’ on a rainy Saturday afternoon in the middle of a frantic relegation battle – with me being the hopeless team that’s been losing all season.

Best players sold, manager sacked, ground bought by a property developer. Old men and boys weeping in the stands.

They couldn’t even afford to restock the pies, for chrissakes.

It was good, I got another month!

So, will I be using that month to contemplate my own mortality?

Ponder, ponderously, about my place in the universe?

Eh no, not exactly. I spent the afternoon a bit shell shocked and made lemon ice for the first time.

If I was more up myself I would call it ‘granita’.

It’s midnight now and I’m sat in the kitchen eating the lemon ice I made – thinking about the next four weeks of music, adventures, World cup, surprises, Le Tour de France, stunts, protests, trespasses, over doing things, recipes, beer, a bit more music.

Oh and sticking it to St. Peters as well, I think.

Here’s a photo of the statue in one of the courtyards at Charing Cross Hospital – it’s amazing.

             I can't enlarge it - thanks Blogger - but if you click on it you get a better view.
It’s a horseman charging into the future, on his mighty horse.
In his right hand a hammer and in his left the leash of his falcon, which flies above him. What a sight! I'm thinking norse god here. Why not, it made me feel good.
What a thrill.

I tried to get closer, or at least to find out who did it but I couldn’t. I think this was installed when the hospital was built in the 1960’s after it moved from the actual Charing Cross where it had been for hundreds of years before.

But the hospital always has breathtaking art on its walls.
Last year when I had a bit of radiotherapy, everything was better for the Bridget Riley lithographs on the walls. In the main foyer there are striking works of modern art and they often change them around.

There’s an art committee and the money comes from the friends of the hospital.
Because people care about it, it makes everyone feel just that little bit better.
Like the guy on the counter of the pharmacy who came up and told me that he wished he was serving me a five star French meal rather than the medication they were preparing. How nice is that?

West Mid (less money) has art too, but more modestly. They have David Hockney prints that are just great.
St Peter's and Wexham? No one cares.

Outside in the sun, I was reading the notices; the Peregrine Falcons who live on the building had a baby this spring, due to fledge by the end of the month.

As they tend to have a few failed attempts there is an appeal for anyone to report a crashed falcon!

I’m now about 4 or 5 days behind with this Blog – I will catch up, but this was a fairly good day.

Thanks Dr Feelgood, purveyor of ‘exotic herbs and proscribed chemicals’ (Withnail and I).
Everybody else gave up on me but you.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Tomorrow can wait.

Talking with friends down at my jazz club.

Making impossible plans that might just happen. We’ll have to wait and see.

Tomorrow morning won’t be such fun; meeting up with Dr Feelgood down at Charing Cross......gulp.
But tonight?

Modern Jazz, that’s what and from some of the finest musicians too;


On the left Steve Fishwick on trumpet playing great on one of my favourite jazz pieces; ‘The Duke’.

This came from Dave Brubeck and that’s fine but then there’s the version on the album ‘Miles Ahead’ by Miles Davies which is just perfect.

If you are of a certain age, this is in your blood anyway as it was used as the incidental music in ‘Tomorrow’s World’…every Thursday night, remember?

Here’s Chris Biscoe on Saxophone;

The pair were sharp tonight – complex stuff.

Out of sight from me was Kate Williams on keyboards. Again her part in ‘The Duke’ was a joy.

Trevor Tomkins was on the Drums and Mick Hutton on bass.

A good night – cool jazz after a long, hot day.

Tomorrow can wait.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)
che Says]