Thursday, 31 July 2014

We win!


 
There we were back on the 17th July, mobilised in Egham to demonstrate our opposition to Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s decision to charge disabled badge holders for parking.

iDoh!
This is penalising those who are least able to pay.

After an impressive display of united opposition, the trust agreed to reconsider and some of us turned up today at St. Peter’s to hear what they had to say at the next board meeting.

Here’s some of the opposition;

 
That’s Mick Flannigan on the left, John Greives seated and Caroline Williams on the right.

bTake a bow Caroline Williams, who organised an online petition and gathered over 600 signatures in a very short time.

Most importantly, that produced enough publicity to get the rest of us involved and to mobilise a roomful of courageous disability activists on a sweltering hot Thursday afternoon.

The Board caved in before we were allowed in – right back to where we started; no charges for disabled people visiting the hospitals.

I was surprised and pleased; it just goes to show that public protest can work wonders, especially where the amount of money involved is relatively small and the potential for bad publicity is high.

I stayed on for the rest of the meeting and the questions but as I’ve been having a rough time recently and there’ve been a few too many serious Blogs recently, I think I’ll report on that a bit later and combine it with a profile of the new Chief Executive.

Well done Caroline Williams!
Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

#help me sort out St. Peters!
Home:  helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com

Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Two more deaths caused by Accident and Emergency; the coroners get tough.


 

I’ve been Blogging for the best part of 18 months now because the Accident and Emergency department at St. Peter’s Hospital sent me home with a displaced, broken ankle for a week.

I started the Blog after they delayed sending me the report on their ‘investigation’ and then they covered up what happened. My fear was always that if a consultant was so useless with broken ankles, other patients with more serious and less obvious problems would be killed.

I was right – they have been.

Here are two ‘regulation 28’ notices served on the hospital following two deaths where unacceptably bad treatment played a part in those deaths. 

In each case this prompted the coroner to serve legally binding notices requiring that A and E confirm that its unsafe practises will change in future to prevent further unnecessary deaths.

My condolences to the friends and families of the two deceased.

I feel, as I have done a number of times in the past when this has happened, that I should have done more and fought harder to prevent these deaths from happening.

There are serious problems at the A and E and the time has come for an independent and public enquiry to be held into the way it is run and the treatment that patients receive there.

Here’s the first case;

 

REGULATION 28 REPORT TO PREVENT FUTURE DEATHS

THIS REPORT IS BEING SENT TO:

1.

Chief Executive, Wexham Park Hospital, Slough

2.

Chief Executive, St. Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey, Surrey

1

CORONER

I am Peter James Bedford, senior coroner, for the coroner area of Berkshire

2

CORONER’S LEGAL POWERS

I make this report under paragraph 7, Schedule 5, of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and regulations 28 and 29 of the Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013.

3

INVESTIGATION and INQUEST

On 7th August 2013 I commenced an investigation into the death of Christine Nutbeam, then aged seventy six years. The investigation concluded at the end of the inquest on 16th January 2014. The conclusion of the inquest was a narrative verdict, the medical cause of death being Pneumonia and Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome due to Aspiration during a Debridement Operation for an infected injury to the right leg. A copy of the Narrative Verdict is attached.

4

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE DEATH

1.

Mrs Nutbeam was struck by a car in the car park of Sainsbury’s Supermarket in Cobham, Surrey on 28th June 2013 while a pedestrian. She suffered a degloving injury just above her right ankle but no broken bones. She was treated in St. Peter’s Hospital with a follow up appointment with plastic surgeons at Wexham Park Hospital to treat the leg wound.

2.

On 9th July, Mrs Nutbeam attended St. Peter’s Hospital with abdominal discomfort and vomiting. Staff at St. Peter’s rearranged an appointment that Mrs Nutbeam had for the same day, 9th July, at Wexham Park Hospital, the new appointment being two days later.

3.

Mrs Nutbeam attended Wexham Park Hospital on 11th July and the following day was taken to theatre for a debridement procedure as the leg wound had become infected. Treating Clinicians at Wexham Park Hospital were not made aware of the recent vomiting episodes and treatment at St. Peter’s Hospital on 9th July nor that, after admission to Wexham Park Hospital, she had continued to vomit. There was no record in the nursing notes.

4.

During the surgery at Wexham Park Hospital on 12th July, Mrs Nutbeam vomited and aspirated. Despite subsequent treatment in Intensive Care, she passed away and a post mortem examination revealed pneumonia superimposed on Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome which the Pathologist concluded was a direct consequence of the aspiration following the debridement procedure.

5

CORONER’S CONCERNS

During the course of the inquest the evidence revealed matters giving rise to concern. In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken. In the circumstances it is my statutory duty to report to you.

The MATTERS OF CONCERN are as follows. –

1

2

(1) Staff at St. Peter’s Hospital did not contact Wexham Park Hospital to advise of the recent admission, treatment and symptoms even though they were on notice that Mrs Nutbeam had a follow up appointment at Wexham Park Hospital some two days later because they arranged that appointment. Concern is the apparent lack of any procedure to allow information to be transferred between different Trusts in different Counties. There was no letter given to Mrs Nutbeam to accompany her to the subsequent appointment.

(2) Despite clear evidence from the family that Mrs Nutbeam was vomiting on the ward shortly before her debridement procedure, there is no reference in the nursing notes and this information was not made known to the Anaesthetist nor Surgeon. The fact that she was vomiting prior to a surgical procedure should have been a matter of serious concern.

(3) The evidence given at the Inquest was that if the Anaesthetist/Surgeon had been aware of the vomiting symptoms, the procedure would have been deferred to investigate the cause of the vomiting. This may have prevented aspiration during the surgery.

(4) It was also given in evidence at the Inquest that, when the Anaesthetist visited Mrs Nutbeam prior to the surgery and explained the procedure, the risks and took her consent, he did not ask her if she had vomited within the last twenty four hours. The evidence was that this is not a standard question to ask of patients ahead of surgery.

The question is posed as to whether this should become a standard question that is asked of patients prior to going to procedure as, if it had been asked on this occasion, the lack of information from St. Peter’s Hospital and the absence of any reference to vomiting in the nursing notes would still have come to the attention of the treating Clinicians. Should this become a training issue?

6

ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN

In my opinion urgent action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe your organisation has the power to take such action.

7

YOUR RESPONSE

You are under a duty to respond to this report within 56 days of the date of this report, namely by Wednesday 19th March 2014. I, the coroner, may extend the period.

Your response must contain details of action taken or proposed to be taken, setting out the timetable for action. Otherwise you must explain why no action is proposed.

8

COPIES and PUBLICATION

I have sent a copy of my report to the Chief Coroner and to Mrs Nutbeam’s family.

I am also under a duty to send the Chief Coroner a copy of your response.

The Chief Coroner may publish either or both in a complete or redacted or summary form. He may send a copy of this report to any person who he believes may find it useful or of interest. You may make representations to me, the coroner, at the time of your response, about the release or the publication of your response by the Chief Coroner.

9

21st January 2014

P.J. Bedford

H.M. Senior Coroner for Berkshire

 

This is the second notice, even worse than the first. This is just simple neglect;

REGULATION 28 REPORT TO PREVENT FUTURE DEATHS

THIS REPORT IS BEING SENT TO:

1.

Chief Executive, St Peters and Ashford hospitals Chertsey

1

CORONER

I am Karen HENDERSON, assistant coroner for the coroner area of Surrey

2

CORONER’S LEGAL POWERS

I make this report under paragraph 7, Schedule 5, of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and regulations 28 and 29 of the Coroners (Investigations) Regulations 2013

3

INVESTIGATION and INQUEST

On 18th March 2013 an investigation was commenced into the death of Keith Ronald Martin, 64 years of age. The investigation was concluded at the end of the inquest on 5th February 2014. The medical cause of death given was:

1a. Myocardial infarction

1b.

1c.

2.

My conclusion was: Natural Causes

4

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE DEATH

Mr Martin attended the A&E department of St Peter’s Hospital Chertsey at 2200 hours on March 2013 after complaining of central chest pain and tingling down his left arm from approximately 1600 that day. He was not triaged by an A&E nurse until 2250 hours and did not have an ECG or blood tests until one hour later. His initial ECG showed no significant changes but his troponin level was significantly raised. No treatment was instituted until 0140 hours when he became significantly unwell and further ECG’s showed a significant myocardial infarction requiring emergency transfer to Frimley Park Hospital for angiography and possible recanalization of his coronary blood vessels. This was undertaken but Mr Martin subsequently bled from a cannulation site for attempted introduction of an intra-aortic balloon pump but his myocardial infarction was incompatible with life.

5

CORONER’S CONCERNS

During the course of the inquest the evidence revealed matters giving rise for concern. In my opinion there is a risk that future death will occur unless action is taken. In the circumstances it is my statutory duty to report to you.

The MATTERS OF CONCERN are as follows:

1.

The length of time taken to initially assess Mr Martin in A&E, given his presenting symptoms

2.

The significance of Mr Martin’s symptoms were not appreciated at triage

3.

The length of time taken to undertake an ECG and blood tests after initial triage

4.

The length of time taken to receive the results of these tests

5.

The significance of the rise in troponin was not appreciated or acted upon promptly

6.

The length of time taken for Mr Martin to be reviewed by a senior member of staff

7.

The length of time taken to provide standard pharmacological treatment for chest pain or myocardial infarction

8.

A lack of clarity as to the protocol for the management of chest pain in A&E

9.

An overall lack of effective documentation

RT3872

RT3872

6

ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN

In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you and your organisation: St Peters and Ashford Hospital NHS Trust has the power to take such action.

7

YOUR RESPONSE

You are under a duty to respond to this report within 56 days of the date of this report, namely by 22nd April 2014. I, the coroner, may extend this period.

Your response must contain details of action taken or proposed to be taken, setting out the timetable for action. Otherwise you must explain why no action is proposed.

8

COPIES and PUBLICATION

I have sent a copy of my report to the following Interested Persons: who may find it useful or of interest.

I am also under a duty to send the Chief Coroner a copy of your response.

The Chief Coroner may publish either or both in a complete or redacted or summary form. He may send a copy of this report to any person who he believes may find it useful or of interest You may make representations to me, the coroner, at the time of your response, about the release or the publication of your response by the Chief Coroner.

9

DATE: SIGNED:

This is an absolute disgrace, it doesn’t take a Doctor or a Coroner to know that a heart attack needs treatment as soon as possible.

I would welcome any intelligence about the response from the hospital to these legal requests and any similar situations that haven’t been reported on the web.

Remember;

E

NO GRASSES HERE !

On this Blog there are no Finks, Grasses, Stool pigeons or informers.

If you get in touch, your secrets are safe with me.

Hush, hush.

On the quiet.

 

What can you do?

If you are a Patient; I need case studies of problems with A and E to force the Care Quality Commission to start an investigation.

E-mail me direct.

If you are employed by the Trust;

It’s time to blow the whistle on A and E.

E-mail me direct – privacy guaranteed.

Or you can Post an anonymous comment.

Anybody Else;

read, share, publicise this blog.

 

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com

Contact: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

22000 Thanx


j

22000

I’ve had a really rough week so it’s any excuse for a celebration – a very big thanks to everyone who helped me stagger to 22,000.

This is what started it all,

‘The Ankle Rankle’

 

I’ve got a problem

and it’s really starting to rankle.

You see, I hurt my leg

in fact, I broke my ankle.

 

The problem was my mistake

Oh what would that be?

The ambulance took my break

to St. Peter’s A and E.

 

Because instead of trying

to fix it there and then.

Some idiot, what was he was doing?

Sent me home again.

 

You can mess up a finger

You can bugger up a wrist

but only a consultant at St. Peter’s

would think a break was a twist.

 

I started this Blog when I realised that to the Accident and Emergency department, appallingly bad treatment was just one of those things. It was something that was going to happen once in a while and there wasn’t much to be done about it.

As a patient you should just shrug your shoulders and move on. If you want to, you could always sue (that’s why we have insurance and it’s only public money after all).

Except that when no action was taken against the consultant who was unable to spot a badly displaced and broken ankle on my x-ray, I saw red.

I wasn’t going anywhere.

The hospital’s solution?

To recommend that he take a ‘moments reflection’ and to appoint him to supervise junior doctors training to recognise broken ankles.

He was allowed to blunder on ignorantly through another 3 months in Accident and Emergency, out of his depth and unable to do his job.

Then when his contract ran out, it was not renewed and he quietly left to carry on somewhere else.   

My solution? To shine a spotlight on the hospital and what is going on there.

Because as a result of this Blog I have found that only a tiny minority of patients who have good reason to complain actually do. Most are too scared or too ill to make any kind of fuss.

So, amid all the nonsense you’ll find here, there is a serious purpose to all this.

To remind those who run this NHS Trust that we are watching….

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com

Contact: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Monday, 28 July 2014

Le Tour.


So that’s the end of my last Tour de France – watching the peloton on the TV, roaring around the Champs ElyseĆ© and wishing I was there; especially on the Saturday night before the race finish when the Tour cars are parked all around Paris when they go out for a big meal. Show offs.

“See? Look at us! We made it!”

Watching all the vehicles hooting, especially the trucks, roaring along the Champs before the race gets in. Afterwards, when the cameras are gone, watching the teams cycle round the course in a slow motion lap of honour.

Three weeks ago I was on the road to Paris, standing on the high street at Epping, watching the commisaires setting up the intermediate sprint in the sunshine.


For the last three weeks, I’ve seen their photo finish lorry in every corner of France; the Alps, the Pyrenees, the muddy cobbles of the flatlands of northern France in the rain, the sunny south, and now I saw it on the Champs for the very last time.

What I would have given to have been free to jump on the train and be there for the day, but in April I did just that. I made it to a very wet Paris – just for one day, by coach overnight each way.

There I was, getting off at the Place de la Concorde just where the peloton screams around the corner and onto the Champs.

When I was young, watching Le Tour was an act of rebellion; choosing a continental sport instead of an insular England of isolated bigots. It was a rebellion and an escape; a breath of fresh air, a glimpse of forbidden foreign countries and different languages.

Now millions watched it screech through Yorkshire and down to London.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Sunday, 27 July 2014

One more push? Disabled parking charges at Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals.

The Board of Ashford and St. Peter's NHS Foundation Trust meets again on Thursday 31st July 2014 at 2-00pm, Chertsey House, Ashford Hospital.

This matters because at the last meeting the board decided that disabled people with blue badges would no longer get free parking.

As you'll remember, the Trust held a 'consultation' meeting at The Hythe, Egham after they took that decision and were faced with a hall full of people who came to register their opposition to the change.

I don't believe that many people are inherently bad and as the Chair told us that the board would reconsider the decision in the light of this consultation we will have to take them at their word.

I do believe that sometimes, you have to help people to make the right decision.

So we need to be there, to help the board do the right thing and to bear witness if they do not.

I've got difficulties being there but I'm going to try and I'd urge others to do the same, even though it's a working day.

We'll see what happens!

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

Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me:  neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Funk Foundation.


Funk

You heard me; Funk.

Me and Robin headed out into the outer parts of West London, off the edge of the world to see ‘Funk Foundation’ because this is what they say about themselves;

 

Funk Foundation were formed with one purpose - to bring the wonderful groovy and sophisticated vibes of Soul Funk and Acid Jazz to the live music scene. We're a live 5 piece soul funk band with decades of experience playing, performing and loving the music of artists like Chic, Jamiroquai, The Brand New Heavies, Incognito, Jocelyn Brown and Chaka Khan.

 

Why Soul Funk & Acid Jazz? It's a musican's joy, featuring deep groove, sophisticated arrangements and soulful vocals, all permeated with rhythms, hooks and licks that cause people that love music to spontaneously combust with head nodding, helpless movement and shouts of choooon!

 

Whilst there's a good scene bubbling away in the big cities it's hard to find live bands out in the real world packing their setlists with music this classy. There's lots of brilliant acts covering rock, indie and party tunes but Funk Foundation serve a different, higher purpose: to make you move, to make you feel the bass, live the rhythm, lose yourself in lyrics and most of all, to bring alive our love for this genre and spread the groove far and wide.

 

They’re pretty good, a really great bass player which is the soul of a funk band, excellent lead and synth and two feisty vocalists.

We got a long list of fine soul covers all evening, we’d probably check them out again.
Here's Robyn, checkin' out the vibe;
 

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop  production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Friday, 25 July 2014

Flying fish.


This is the sign outside the fish and chip shop in the village - it's run by a Chinese family and they put these fish outside,

They are like wind socks so they fly in the breeze.

On each one, the owner has written in Biro -"Don't steal" and so far its worked, although I'm not so sure how long they will last.

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

Home:  helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com

Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Great to be back.


I’m having one of those lucky weeks – could it get any better than Monday?

Late Wednesday, me and Robyn took a chance and it worked out for us – we headed here;


Not sure?

Those are the domes suspended from the roof of The Royal Albert Hall to improve the 19th century acoustics.

 
That’s right, we’re queuing up for The Promenade concerts at The Royal Albert Hall.


We’ve become ‘promenaders’, that means we are queuing up for standing tickets for ‘The Proms’, the summer concert season sponsored and broadcast by the BBC.

I’m not a fan of classical music – had a real try but it just didn’t work for me.

But the late night concerts are a different matter; a bit of Jazz, some world music, modern classical (minimalist or atonal, quite like a bit of that) and sometimes something a little more popular.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

This time I was being fairly tough with Robyn – this one was always going to sell out and we had to get there as early as possible, 8pm for a 10 15pm start. We got in easily.

This was to be a night of music by The Pet Shop Boys – Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. They are pioneering exponents of 1980’s electronica, from the world of Disco, big stadiums and festivals.

We started off with an overture to ‘Performance’, written for their 1991 tour but never actually performed live before. As a medley of some of their music performed by the BBC Concert orchestra it was a piece I could take or leave – I’ve never liked orchestrations of popular music. It misses the point and I’ve never been happy that it works.


Chrissie Hynde, now that’s a different matter altogether, she performed 4 Pet Shop Boys songs; 'Vocal', 'Love is a Catastrophe', 'Later Tonight' and 'Rent' set to orchestra by film composer Angelo Badalamenti.

This fantastic picture is by Robyn May using her phone (I stole it, luckily she'll never know!), much better than anything my cheap camera can do;

I’ve seen Chrissie Hynde way back in The Pretenders days – this was very different to that; quiet, thoughtful, romantic and despite the large hall, very vulnerable.

Chrissie and Neil Tennant dueted for us on ‘Rent’, for me the highlight of the evening, I'm quite proud of this one;
 


Then the main piece; a world premiere and something very new;

 “The legendary Pet Shop Boys make their Proms debut in this Late Night Prom, joining the BBC Singers and BBC Concert Orchestra for the world premiere of A Man from the Future, a new piece for electronics, orchestra, choir and narrator.

 

The piece is inspired by the life and work of Alan Turing, who helped break the German Enigma code during the Second World War and formulated the concept of the digital computer, but was prosecuted in 1952 for his homosexuality, receiving a posthumous pardon last year. It comes as a timely homage, 60 years after Turing’s death.”

If it had been rubbish, it would have been worth being there just to hear the BBC Singers combining with the full BBC Concert orchestra conducted by Dominic Wheeler to celebrate the life of a man who was to be hounded to his death by the British Establishment for his sexuality.

This performance from the prestigious Albert Hall was broadcast live on BBC radio 3 and later will be televised, perhaps that goes a little of the way to say sorry to a man who played such a major role in the code breaking of the Enigma machine and laid the basis for modern computing.

It wasn’t rubbish; Juliet Stephenson narrated the story of Turing’s life and the vocals were from Neil Tennant and the BBC Singers.

Meanwhile high up in the hall you could just make out Chris Lowe, in his trade mark baseball cap, an Adidas top and jeans, supervising an array of monitors and laptops which controlled his formidable bank of computing, a billion times more powerful than anything Turing could have imagined.

And I mean a billion times more.

Really, what I would have liked to have done would have been to drag Chris Lowe down from his hidden corner and put him into the front of the hall. He’s been in the background too long; what we didn’t need was an orchestra stealing the sound and filling up the hall.

Just occasionally we got a stretch of electronics and how good it was to hear it there.

This was a missed chance to show just what electronic music can do in a fine setting– a string quartet and the singers would have been enough of an accompaniment.

Oh well, I’m still glad we made it, in the fifth row for ;


Actually, I'm over the moon. The last Prom I made it too was in August 2011. By November 2011 I was dying and that continued for the next two years. There was no way I was going make it standing for over 4 hours.

My doctor fought very hard to win me this little window; it's great to be back while it lasts.

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

Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me:  neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com


 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Corncrockles.


I took this picture of some cornflowers yesterday morning for no particular reason but I'm glad I did now - they've been cut down.

They used to be a weed in cornfields, now they are very rare in this country because farmers use herbicides and as I found out there aren't enough wild places where they can grow.

In France, cornflowers have become the symbol of remembrance for the first world war just like poppies are here.

Unfortunately, everyone seems to like cornflowers; in Europe parties of the left and right have picked the flower as a symbol while in some places its a symbol of military prowess rather than one which reminds us of the waste of war.

They are also called corncrockles by those of us who don't know any better and they always make me think of summer.

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

Home: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Neil plus one; Tony Blackburn at the BBC.


The big secret I’ve been keeping from you?

It doesn’t happen very often but I won tickets to see something special;

{tony_Blackburn}

Yes – the celebration bash BBC London threw to mark his 50 years in broadcasting.

There was an exclusive and secret location – their old studios on Marylebone High Street.

We had to promise not to give it away.

There was a sprinkling of showbix stars;


 
There was music, there was glitter, there was even a proper cake;


 

The message on the photo is from Smoky Robinson who was interviewed last week for the show.
As you’ll know by now this wouldn’t be my kind of thing at all – I’m cynical and I hate all that stuff, but this really was a special night.

And no, I haven't sold out either!

Tony Blackburn has been around as long as anyone can remember – he was the original cheesy, embarrassing DJ of the 1960’s; he invented the whole smaltzy routine.

  J
As he joked he’s about the only one who hasn’t been arrested and some of them are in jail now.
Around 1981, Radio One had had enough of all of them and he got banished to those parts of radio you really don’t want to end up in; BBC Local Radio

It was then that his story starts to get really interesting because London’s local radio is a little bit different. It’s been messed about, cut back, neglected, ignored and had its name changed more times than St Petersburg.

Another week, another image.

But it just can’t help being a big city station all the same; irritating, annoying but sometimes edgy and even risky too.

And Tony Blackburn the original ‘all round entertainer’ could have just carried on doing his same old safe and boring routine until he ended up with Alan Partridge on Radio Haystack.

That didn’t happen, he reinvented himself.

He went back to where it all began – Soul music.

MOTOWNdetroit 

As a result in the 1980’s, his London shows attracted a cult following, an underground movement of soulboys and girls, Mods and groovers attracted by the sound of that sweet soul music.  

HITSVILLE

      U.S.A.

And word got out – there was a scene.

At the time I was working in a record shop and we’d check out his morning soul shows every day to catch the new releases (along with Blues and Soul Magazine and word of mouth) and then we’d get the orders in early so that the people who’d caught the sounds today would find the records already waiting for them tomorrow.

It was cool, I can tell you and we were a chart shop too.

When we sold a record it had an influence on the charts and in those days we played a small part in the resurgence of British Soul.

I could have been cynical about it all and written a sharp and sour piece about last night but it really was a pleasure to be there.

And it was nice, as a Mod, to pay homage to someone who stuck to what he believed in and played some amazing soul music over the years. KTF.

And then there was the music too;


 

Yeah really; me and Robyn in the front row, just by the microphone watching Cy Cranstone and his 7 piece house band. He was playing some of Jackie Wilson’s hits mixed with his own tunes; he’s got an album out and a massive record company plugging him like mad at the moment.



Then we got the cream of British Soul from the 1980’s – these were the acts I sold in our shop; lots of memories for me and some great numbers too.


That’s Jaki Graham blasting it out.

And that was Denise Pearson from 5-Star, really big in the 80’s and frankly, giving it some tonight.

There were some real highlights for us; The greetings from The S.O.S band in the States which made Robyn gasp and I'm guessing that Tony probably quite liked being called "Soul brother No. 1".

We also enjoyed Junior Giscombe (Style Council, Red Wedge, Soul Deep - not forgotten junior); he used a backing track with his duet with the late Tupac Shakur which was a hit for him in America.

Who wouldn’t like that morphing into ‘Mama used to say’ which was a cover hit for him here.


I liked that, but the real highlight for both of us was Leee John of ‘Imagination’;

 

Robyn hadn’t come across ‘Imagination’, they may have been big here but they didn’t cross the water so well.

But we both hate backing tracks and he sang it for real and alone. The pianist he brought with him was something special and Leee had that voice. All the acts should have had the confidence to do it alone too – they’ve got the sound and the soul to carry it off.

And so we drifted away at the end of a really special night.

I was thinking back to all the shows I’d heard coming out of those studios – deserted and abandoned now, come alive again for just one night.

All around us the old monitors and vinyl, the odds and ends of a technology that has been left behind for new sounds and new studios.

BBC London allowed in a small audience of people like us, real fans who’d loved that music over the years.

The kind of people who don’t normally get a glimpse behind the curtain. It was nice.

It was a unique audience too – a good mixture of black and white people who wouldn’t meet up together for any other broadcaster than Tony Blackburn.

And some very special sounds as well.

Thanks for all that.

Oh, by the way you can hear it all yourself (edited version) on all BBC Local radio stations when they all link up together at 7 pm on Friday night. Click on a picture for a slideshow and better quality.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com