Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Home again and miserable…
Both of us wishing we were back in The Gambia.
The weather started changing as soon as we got back.
It’s chilly…
Well, it would be wouldn’t it ?   
It’s March.
And now it’s raining…

My Father is definitely ailing…
We’d sent a card in advance but we’d been away for his 92nd birthday.
It’s that crazy up and down that life throws at you.
Not only that, but a friend had inadvertently sent me a computer virus and knocked the computer for six !
It didn’t seem to want to go, and when I finally got rid of it, the thing jammed up on an uninstalling of the security system !!!
Shit !
Bollocks !!
Fuck It !!!
It’ll have to wait, everybody’s busy right now.
Oh well, we do have a wedding anniversary do to go to.
My mate Grant Meaby from Parnassus Performance and gigs all over the place, had notched up thirty years with his wife Sue, and his daughters had planned a party behind their backs at Springfield House.
Because we’d been away, I’d sorted out our attendance before we’d left and before we knew it, it was time.
So, down to Stevenage Old Town we went.

The girls were already there and so we just grabbed a seat and sat quietly with the other early arrivals.
All Grant and Sue knew was they had to dress up because their girls were taking them out.
And the subterfuge worked…
One of them had gone back when most of us were already there, to pick up their Mum and Dad…

Whose faces were an absolute ‘picture’ when they walked into Springfield House and saw us all sitting there.

Friends, relations, poets, gig-going mates, the girls had thought of the lot and I finally met ‘officially’ for the 

first time, some of Grant’s mates from ‘The Fellowship of the Stick’.

It was a good night.

And if I’m totally honest, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple.

Then it just seemed to hit us...
I bumped into Frank whilst down the town and he asked me if I'd heard about Steve ?
It turns out a mutual friend who had actually lived above one of my old shops had committed suicide.
Steve, being a train fan, had taken his own life by throwing himself under a train.
Train fan ?
It doesn't do him justice.
Biker, gig-goer...
Christ !  I'd been to enough of those with him ?
Aero' nut, music fan, and all round nice bloke.
He'd even given me the title for one of my poems before I'd written it when he and Frank had walked out of the shop, straight into the path of a couple of orange coloured young women who had obviously been at the sun lamp and who were talking about screwing guys in the leisure park bars toilets...
Classic !
And so The Ballad of Bimbo was born...
Well, written anyway.
We had to wait a few weeks for the inquest, but finally the body was released for burial.
The funeral home was packed...
Standing room only, and it was only what he deserved.
As usual at these events, the heavens opened and it poured down.
Meet On The Ledge at Cropredy is going to take on a new significance this year because Annie and Vicky used to work at the same place Steve did.
The wake was held at one of the local pubs...
Part of my life has just gone missing.

The following week we’re visiting my Father in hospital.

He’d picked up a couple of infections, or if truth be told, at least one of which we all suspected had never actually left him.
Everytime we saw him, he was looking weaker, more fragile, and closer to the end.
It was not a happy time for any of us.
The hospital transferred him back to the care home and life seemed to go on until I received the early morning call from my Mother…
One week before Rhythms of the World.

Rhythms had been coming on apace.
I’d managed to finalise my stage within the time constraints given and I was ready to go.
Unfortunately, the same week my Father died, two of my artists had to drop out.
One from a poetry slot, and one from a musical one.
I’m also told that the stage housing has got a bit larger from last year as the powers that be have changed it…
I wish they’d told me that before we’d sized up the backdrop ?
It’s a bummer, but if it occurs you just deal with it.
The poetry slot was easiest to re-fill as three of us would be working at the stage, me, Grant and Sarah, and Graeme we knew was in the audience, so members of Parnassus would re-place the poets and Mark Astronaut and Dom’ could replace the band.
That was that sorted.

And we’d cope with the backdrop…
What else could we do ?
If anybody at Rhythms thought I was going to disappoint any of those kids in The Gambia by not putting it up, then they could think again ?
The funeral of my Father was another matter.
Because he had died in a care home, there was going to have to be an autopsy.
It’s hard enough losing your Father without all the messing about with official channels, but official channels were going to have to be followed nevertheless.
As for us, I'd never lost a parent before, so Haddy took charge of all the little things that go with it.

At one point she even put up a Facebook tribute page for those back home in The Gambia.
Her Father in law had died, and the placing of a photograph with a candle was something that all the locals did back home, so why not use electronic means to get the message across ?
So that's what we did.
Not sure how my Mother is going to feel about that, but it's Haddy's tribute and it's her way of doing things, so there was no way I would have tried to argue her out of it. 

Haddy had previously booked a flight to Glasgow to see her daughter Fatou, who was about to give birth, officially on Rhythms weekend.
She’d booked her flight for the Monday afterwards.
That had to be cancelled.
When could she go ?
After Dad’s funeral which couldn’t be booked until after the autopsy.
Finally it’s all over, and the funeral is booked for the Thursday after Rhythms.
Haddy’s re-scheduled flight is now the day after the funeral…
I wonder if Fatou can hang on for that long ?
I’m flying up to join her two weeks later , but in the meantime I’m doing my best to get back into ‘Rhythms’ mode.
That was easier said than done.
The rain that started back in March has continued into the summer months…
It’s pissing down and with the odd hour's break occasionally, it has been for a couple of months.
The site build for Rhythms is lagging behind because of the rain.
The volunteers don’t want to volunteer and get soaked building the site, and so we have fewer of them.
The Thursday preceeding the opening Saturday, We took a trip to the site…

It’s chaos and it's muddy...                    

Which is what I expected, but because of the rain it would seem I’m only going to have three stage blocks ?
Am I fuck ?
I couldn’t even put a duo on those with any safety, so where are the rest ?
Stolen by others for other things…
The least of which is to make a plynth to put their soundesks on.
Come on guys, use your fucking brains will you, please ?
Stages come before soundesk plynths, so give ‘em back.
No chance.
Possession being a little bit more than nine points of the law.

There is however, a ‘new’ Proscenium Archway down towards the Arcadeclectic Stage that will look really effective with all the decorations on it.
Win some, lose some.
Oh well, I’ll just have to piss off a few people on Facebook…
Which I proceeded to do.
The word incompetence was mentioned a couple of times, which managed to piss off those who had got me the three blocks, but as they would know, because one of them would be playing it on the Sunday, as stage manager I couldn’t sign it off as safe for use…
There really isn’t any point arguing the toss if that’s the case, is there ?
No safe stage so no bands…
Simple enough, isn’t it ?

And so with a little trepidation, Haddy and I drove to the site first thing on the Saturday morning…

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