What a week!

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Wow what a week! Last Saturday saw myself and my two daughters head down the M1 to celebrate my mother’s 94th birthday (of course, like a good son I don’t believe she looks a day over 25) with her and Mike. We had a classic British meal of Takeaway Chinese, a kip in the guest bedroom and a wonderful time looking through old family photos. We headed back home that evening so I could have a good night’s rest before giving my wife a break from cooking the weekly Sunday roast as a Mothering Sunday treat. However, my son (who was visiting for the weekend) manfully wrestled that honour from my hands – okay, I admit it may have been more for his sake to avoid my cooking. Unfortunately, one of my daughters appeared to have picked up the lurgy from her office so celebrations of our mothers, plus my own birthday, were cut short.

Still, thank you all so much for all the lovely birthday wishes I received this week! I was hoping to post a photo of myself in rock god mode, whooping it up with the local glitterati, surrounded by my perfect family. As it was, on the day itself, when Jeremy (JHB, bassist) arrived for rehearsals, I was upstairs hunched over, unshaven, in pyjamas and dressing gown, with a hacking cough. “You look like something out of Steptoe and Son” he said. I quickly realised he was thinking more Wilfred Bramble than Harry H Corbett… So, I’ve decided not to post that particular photo, you’ll be glad to know!

Luckily for me I had two days to pull myself out of the depths of man flu before a weekend of gigs. Friday night saw John Hackett Band head to The Forum Music Centre Darlington, where we were kindly hosted by Mike Prendergast. It was lovely to finally meet Heather Findlay who not only opened the evening but delighted us all by adding her gorgeous voice to our version of I Talk To The Wind. I was still not at my best (though I had ditched the pyjamas and dressing gown by then) but the rest of the band were on great form and the lovely reception from the crowd was a joy to hear! All thanks to Mike and to Phil who did such a great job on sound.

On Saturday I headed over to Barlaston Village Hall for a gig with Beatrix Players. Amanda Lehmann opened the evening with a very warmly received set, including Memory Lane – a personal favourite of mine. Then, I joined Amy and the rest of the gang, who gave a fab performance of the entire Living and Alive album plus some tracks from Magnified. Our sound for the evening was nicely handled by Shaun Beetham. With Amy’s husband Simon at the bar raising funds for Brathay Trust (by serving the drinks, not by being paid to drink them) and seeing the community celebrating such a talented local artist, it was a truly heart-warming experience.

Thanks so much to everyone who came along to the gigs and taking the trouble to tell us how much you enjoyed yourselves. If you want to be one of them yourself, you can catch me with my band:

And with the Beatrix Players: