Friday, 8 October 2010

Come Rain, Come Shine

Well, I was looking back through the photos and there we are in June this year at the Bradford Mela. It was Saturday, and the sun, as you can see, is shining. As ever, we had a load of pans to transport from where we parked to where we were to play. But not at all as ever, 1. there was a proper parking place for us, with several passes for all of our cars, and 2. there were these little ace golf buggies to transport us from parking to playing. I was in Mela Pan Heaven. [Whatever happened to, "You can't park here."? Usually it's not really a gig unless you're having a set-to with a security guard.]

Sunday at the Mela, however, it rained. We set up our gazebos and took shelter, as you can see from this picture below.

But it went on raining, and we were now fighting the audience for a place in our own gazebos. Somebody suggested we charged rent, and we'd earned 37p before they started smoking and I pushed them back out into the rain.

Now I know, Debs, you're wondering where did that 37p go, but I can assure you that it was all accounted for.

On the left is a close up of the reality of the rain in a gazebo. These rain capes were courtesy of the festival organisers. And I think you'll agree - very fetching!

The more it rained, the more band members found they had to leave Bradford early. Eventually we persuaded the organisers that, even if we did make from Zone 2 to the now available Children's Tent, we would probably not do justice to our musical abilities again. And, also, who would be left to hear us plod our way through C, G and A minor.

After it was agreed that rain really had stopped play, we waited for the golf buggies to take us away, loaded up the van and the cars, drove to Leeds, unloaded the can and the cars, took all the pans out of all the cases and left everything drying all over the ground floor of my house. The following day, you, Debs would have been doing mock Science with Year; I would have been somewhere in Leeds with the three-chord trick on pans, coming home to the great repacking.

Well, Debs, what changes? The great British weather continues to thwart the best laid plans o' mice and men. The Foxwood Steel Bandits have now bought an events tent big enough to house the band and most of a wet weather audience. I guess the difference between Carriacou and Leeds is, when it's it's wet in the West Indies it's probably still warm.

On the right above is East Steel inside the Lakeside Cafe at Roundhay Park. We were going to play in a marquee in the park for PHAB's 40th Yorkshire birthday while the wheelchair-users and friends ambled round the park. Instead, band members put up half the pans that we had brought in the cafe's conservatory, and took turns playing, alternating this with being photographed with [Sir] Jimmy Saville who had called down himself for a quiet full English [that's breakfast]. The Leeds Lord Mayor was also present, in a you-know-when-you're-getting-old when the lord mayors start to look young!

The local newspaper mentioned the event, the Lord Mayor and the celebrity.

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