“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible." T.E. Lawrence; Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Woooooaaaaaa; what a fantastic evening. Just blown away by the great jazz and wonderful relaxed, fun atmosphere. Now my idea of a concert is going to see something like the Trooping of the Colour or anything that begins with, "The Massed Pipes & Drums of the Scottish Division," but last night was up their with "great nights to remember." The chemistry between Lucy and the band was very smooth and because they were so obviously enjoying the evening it was no trouble to sit back, chill and let the music flow over you.
In truth, I miss the smoky, run down atmosphere of the old place but life moves on. It certainly has for my chum who is always ready to rise to the next challenge that life throws his way. Last night he introduced himself to a wicked drink called a rum old fashioned and by the end of the evening I'm certain he was seeing two if not three Lucy's on stage. Lucky him. I daresay the consequences of his actions have left him feeling somewhat contrite this morning. That boy has to stop his ego writing cheques his body can't keep.
A magical evening then............ that was, until we stepped outside. Soho at midnight resembles a Ridley Scott sci-fi movie set that looks and feels like a cross between Middle Earth and Bladerunner. As you step down the street, carefully avoiding the streams of urine trickling down the pavement and the menacing swarthy looking Eastern Europeans who lounge around on every corner, you wonder, just wonder, what in the hell to do if a bad thing happened? With two women, and another middle aged bloke at the wrong end of too many rum old fashioneds, it would be an interesting proposition. Obviously, with all night bars and clubs up and down every street there is clear potential for trouble. "Call a police officer," I hear you cry. Not so easy I'm afraid. In keeping with a seeming apparent policy of surrendering control of London's streets to any element that wishes to take control there wasn't a Bobby in sight. Not one.
Anyone who has been to New York or even further East to the City of London knows that police officers are evident, on foot and in numbers. They call the tune, not the bad guys.
We walked down to St James, that's the place with barely any open bars at that time, little trouble and few people on the street, and there we saw our first police officers of the evening, sitting in their van. Within minutes their sirens were on and off they sped through the empty streets heading toward................ Soho.
If Boris Johnson spent a fraction of the time cleaning up the streets and getting the police out to do the job we pay them to do as he spends on bloody cycle lanes and rent-a-bike schemes, London would be an altogether more amenable and welcoming place.
I bet it's cleaned up in 2012 though; we wouldn't want to upset the Olympic committee now would we.
Time to hire some NYPD guys.......
I'm going for a wander down memory lane tonight at Ronnie Scotts; haven't been there for 25 years. Last time I was there, I stumbled in with some friends after midnight following a workmanlike evening in the pub. We expected to listen to some jazz only to be met with a fog of blue smoke, through which we could barely see the stage, and an ensemble of 24 trumpets and other bits of Cuban brass blaring away over which we could hear nothing else. Why I expected to be entertained with some old time New Orleans trad jazz I don't know but it wasn't quite what I signed up for. Such is life. Still we punched the ticket printed, "Been to Ronnie Scott's," and haven't been back since.
Of passing interest is the chum who will be joining me tonight. He wasn't though, there on that night 25 years ago. He had a completely different experience at Ronnie Scott's. Newly "stepping out," with a girl he was keen to impress he booked dinner and tried to book a table at Ronnie Scott's for the apres' afterward. The chap he spoke to said, "Yes sir, we'll find room for you, don't sweat it." My friend, wanting everything to be perfect, asked for the man's name and wrote to him to confirm the arrangement. On the night, with hot bird in tow, he arrived at Ronnie Scott's with the evening going, so far, swimmingly well. He strode up, with all the assured confidence of a 25 year old on a date to impress, to the large black doorman and said "Hi, my names ............; I've booked, I wrote to confirm." The doorman eyed his new customer and said, "Jim, over here mate; it's him. We've been looking forward to meeting you, you're the first person that's ever written to us, come on in. Have a great time." The hot bird, now his wife of 20 years, will be joining us and blow me, we'll be there to see another hot bird.
We're going to watch a fantastic girl and her band play; stand aside gentlemen for the Lucinda Belle Orchestra. Check her out, great voice, great sound and a record coming out soon that you must buy.............. after all, she's family.