Saturday, 16 April 2011

I'm ready to communicate with you now

Okay.  So, if you've been reading my spoutings for the last few months you might have noticed that I've been alluding to something that I wasn't quite ready to share with you yet.

No, I'm not pregnant, and never gonna be, so you can put that thought of your head right away.

Yes, TLH and I are still together and co-existing relatively happily.

It's not something that's, on the face of it, as monumental as that.  However, to me, it's pretty fucking epic.

Tonight I am playing in my first gig for 23 years.

AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH! (That's the sound of terror, by the way).  And I'm on the Immodium.  And have a bottle of Resue Remedy to hand as back up.

I'll explain....

Way back, over two years ago in fact, I mentioned that I had played in bands in my teens and twenties but I hadn't gone into the full boring detail of my previous musical life.  In about 1986 I formed an all-girl 3-piece sax outfit called 'Casual Sax' with the idea that we would busk but also hire ourselves out as a horn section for any available local bands that wanted us.

(I'm not sure if I've posted this picture before but I don't care if I have because it's one of my favourites)

This was Casual Sax back in about 1987, playing with a student band called Holy Durex where the rest of the band dressed as religious figures - pope, vicar, monk, that sort of thing - so we decided we'd dress up as devils, hence the horns and tails:

In both these pictures, I'm on the right, Bev is in the middle and Chrissie is on the left.  We stayed together for about 18 months but then Chrissie left to work in a hospital after finished her PhD, and also played with Hang Wangford, so she was going more of a country route.  Bev and I carried on for a bit:

But then she joined a 1960s style soul band who got a residency in Portugal and I was left on my own.  The band I was playing mainly with then disbanded in 1988, I packed my saxophone away and never really played it again.

Bev carried on and became very good.  She got work as a proper session musician and played at the 2006 MOBO awards in London behind Sam Moore.   Her life took her to live and work in Cape Verde, just off the coast of Senegal, West Africa for several years, but last November she announced she was coming back to the UK for good and in January 2011, to celebrate her birthday, the soul band she'd played in was reforming and doing a gig at a pub near to me.  I'd not actually seen Bev for about 7 or even 8 years so I dragged TLH along:

She was just as fabulous as always.  I love Bev.

Anyway, the band played, and it was huge fun and then afterwards, Bev and I were chatting and she said that now she was back in England, the band were reforming and asked me if would be interesting in joining her on sax.


I said 'YES'.  In capital letters.

I'd recently been going through a very nostalgic phase of listening to live recordings of my old bands, watching the videos and looking at all the old photos and wishing I hadn't given up playing but, being the age I am now, the fact that I've not played properly in 23 years and - most importantly - I didn't actually know anyone in any local bands meant my visions of returning to the stage were left lying in the gutter.  Until my lovely Bev turned up.

I knew both of us were taking a bit of a risk, as I was bound to be crap after not playing for so long, but she spoke to the rest of the band and said they were keen, and it would be good to have a 2-horn sax back line as it would suit the sort of music, so let's go for it.

She said the next gig would be in April so there was plenty of time for me to learn the songs and stuff.  And that's what I've been doing for the last 3 months.  I dug out my sax from the loft and got it repaired (which is what I was doing last Saturday in London) and started listening to the songs and transcribing the notes, preferably live versions as played by the band (who are 'The Fugitives', by the way) but if I hadn't got a live version, then the originals.  The music is 60s soul and R'n'B and is stuff that absolutely everyone knows.  Think 'The Commitments' and 'The Blues Brothers', that sort of thing.  Very popular with weddings, parties and business conferences.  More likely to get hired for paid gigs than younger rock bands because at least everyone knows the songs.

And the gig is TONIGHT.  Yes, I'm bricking it.  Bev came round this afternoon for a run through and we've discovered, sadly, that there are at least 3 songs in the usual setlist that I've had to learn from the originals which are, in fact, in a different key to the one the band plays in.  Arse.  There's not enough time to relearn them in the new key and I'm not that good at transposing while playing, so I'll either have to not play them, or just pretend or hopefully find one or two notes that are in the right key and just parp and toot those at relevant places until I can learn them properly.

God, there's nothing like being thrown in the deep end.

I've been keeping this under my hat until now in case it all went tits up - and there's still a pretty good chance of that happening - but I'm hopeful that it won't be a massive disaster so am risking telling you all now.

I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes.  Wish me luck.....


peevish said...

Ooh, break all your legs dear, metaphorically of course.
I'm so excited for you. What an adventure!

Exmoorjane said...

OMG! That is just beyond cool. WIll you look at you in those pics? One of the greatest regrets in my life is not playing in a band. I got as far as deciding I wanted to be a mean moody base player but then discovered I had no sense of rhythm. :(
SO hope it goes well....I KNOW it will! Jxxx

Anonymous said...

That is SO exciting! I'm sure you'll have tons of fun, if nothing else. Looking forward to hearing all about the gig!

OmegaMom said...

Oh, how EXCITING! Tell us all about it when you're done!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Very cool, Mrs Jones, ueber cool - Hope you thoroughly enjoy it! What an opportunity!

Fhina xxx

Anonymous said...

Was googling Holy Durex, remember seeing them at guildford Uni - great days

Hope all went well