Cripes, this is getting post-modern. I started this blog post back in 2014 and got about half-way through. Since that time, we’ve had a website facelift (thank you, lovely John at www.multishake.com) and a bespoke, handcrafted logo (thank you, lovely Sasha Silberman-Hanks), and I’ve spent hours fiddling with the photos and trying to get to grips with the new template. I don’t need to tell you the state of the nation or remind you of the madness of humankind – although I will implore you to raise your voice and vote – but I do need to catch up on our band news. So please, read on, bearing in mind that after a few paragraphs I will shed my 2014 skin and jump back to the present:
This post title isn’t a reference to a certain someone’s impending half-century, but rather to the fact that this is the 50th Bluebird Parade post I’ve written. But it may also be the number of weeks since my last post…just about. It has been a while. I could blame it on technological misfortune: the internet was out for a week after someone prodded a telephone pole nearby with the front of their car, I’ve been struggling with formatting the new logo and in so doing accidentally removed the old one from our home page and couldn’t figure out how to replace it; the Gig page is still possessed with a maleficent spirit (help, WordPress??!). However, I won’t, because a more accurate excuse is that deadly combination of busy-ness and inertia that lulls me to sleep each night like a well-shaped pillow. Tonight sees me throwing that proverbial pillow out the window and into cyberspace, because it feels like a good time to take inventory before the shock of 2015. Not backwards this time, not forwards, but randomly then:
No, it wasn’t a fever dream; yes, we did support the Dandy Warhols at the O2 Academy in Leicester on July 3rd. It was great for Jon to see them again, this time on his home turf, and we loved playing at the O2 again. Russ wasn’t able to make the gig – unbelievably, he had to choose between us and Echo and the Bunnymen in Birmingham – but the singularly stellar Su Sax stepped up instead. She was great, and so there was much whispering and plotting afterwards, and eventually we asked her if she would join us as a band member, because the stage has always just felt so small with only six of us, you know? But seriously, a three-piece brass section? The world is our oyster – “Fuck yeah!”, as the Dandys would say. (NB from January: Su has started playing with us and will be on the new recording. We love her, always have.)
Specialized, The Big One 3, Mad Not Cancer, not sure which order those go in either, but it was last weekend in Dorset (NB: clearly not last weekend anymore), and we’re still basking in the shimmering good-will that this project projects. Particular highlights were the new (The Talks on Saturday), the old (Legends of Ska, including Dennis Bovell, Susan Cadogan, Carl St Clair, and the Pressure Tenants on Sunday), the blue (us, duh), and, for me, the domestic pleasure of chatting trumpets and horses with the delightful Alice Williams. Willo, Ruth, Mike, Steve, “the gang” – thank you to all who continue to devote their time, compassion, and energy to this wonderful adventure. Roll on the Jam? the Clash? Curiosity Killed the Cat? for Specialized 4.
Now, back to the present, and I’m just going to blurt the rest of the news out quickly, because if I don’t, you and I will be trapped here forever in the vortex of www.bluebirdparade.co.uk. Well, I will be anyway. It is the Clash, and we’ve scored a coup…but more on that another time. We re-supported The Men They Couldn’t Hang on October 31st at the wonderful Flowerpot in Derby and got some great photos from https://www.facebook.com/haluk.gurer. It was a fantastic gig, and moreover it was strangely gratifying that Swill’s joke about Halloween costumes got the same tumbleweed response that mine did. The music was better-received. Before that however, we had journeyed to Camden for an afternoon bathed in psychedelic colours at Acklam Village Market, courtesy of Hotvox. We loved playing there, but the best thing about that day was the most rock ‘n’ roll acquisition you could hope to go all the way to Camden to find:
I won’t tell you what Will found in the pocket of his other purchase (which was a leather jacket; Styx got one too) and didn’t take in to the police. For shame. But he was duly punished by following charismatic teen heavy-metal sensations Parasight at the Waltham Charter Fair, playing to three of our family members seated on kindergarten chairs and straw bales, and being booed off the stage at Oxjam (not really). We feel fortunate to play in front of any audience, regardless of size or attention span, but more instantly gratifying was our second properly commissioned private gig, a 60th birthday party in Loughborough in October. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, so thank you Paul Goodman for taking a chance on original music, and may your seventh decade be as fulsome and joyous as we hope Jon’s sixth will be.
I guess that’s a decent enough round-up of 2014. Our first gig of 2015 was last weekend at the Musician Pub in Leicester. I think I have glowed enough about that venue in previous posts, so I won’t dwell. The highlight was really the support act: Martha Bean and her string section were absolutely stunning, and we can’t wait for her new album. Please listen – and buy – at www.marthabean.com. After their set, we got to roll out a few songs that we’ve never played in front of an audience before, in preparation for next month’s recording of our second Bluebird Parade album. Working title: Songs from the Headland. We’ll post some song previews when we can; in the meantime, I’m just happy to be semi-caught-up, and to be creating music with our wonderful Bluebird family. World peace can wait – we have a birthday to keep celebrating.