Friday, 12 October 2012

Foxwood Steel play Victoria Quarter for Touchstone and Russian Two, and Charlotte sings the Skyrack

Debs, thankfully I did my Russian homework this week, but sadly, when I got to the lesson, and just as I was thinking it wasn't that hard, I find out that this is not the most advanced class! Well, it's a good thing I already teach on Thursday evenings.

After the class I call to see hear Charlotte doing Open Mike at the Skyrack. Wherein I provide her with a nice black pen and a piece of scrap paper. Thus the illustrations for Love and Emotion and Can't Take My Eyes off You. I wouldn't bother if she wasn't the best illustrator I know. The best!

It's Wednesday and Foxwood is to play for Touchstone Mental Health Awareness Day in the Victoria Quarter. I agreed to this event in the first place because it's a cause dear to my heart. Very few of us in Foxwood have been untouched by mental health issues - in ourselves, in our family or in our friends. And you can't open a newspaper without the saddest story.

However, it's Wednesday afternoon at 2pm. When I said yes to  this gig I knew I had me, Katie and Tim; two weeks later I know I have Georgia and Bex; last week Lizzie signs up,  yesterday Natalie comes on board, and with two hours to go, we have Daisy.  It is ever thus.

The Arcade security guy is very concerned that we will be too loud. What, and maybe cause a riot? A sports centre assistant, a dental nurse, a teacher in a Special School, a supply teacher, a barmaid, a Special Needs volunteer worker, a steel pan teacher,and myself: a teacher of Music to children with Special Needs and Steel Pan teacher. Has he been talking to the Leeds West Indian Carnival Committee?

Sadly this is not the first time that security guards in Leeds shopping precincts have tried to stop a pre-arranged steel pan performance. In 2009 the Sparrows were booked to play near a mock beach in the Light, a covered shopping area in Leeds.

The owner of some restaurant near our performance area made a complaint and then the security man came over and told me we would be too loud. I opined that he hadn't heard us play. He said that he didn't need to hear; he could tell by looking; I argued that this band had just won the UK World Music Award and were due to pay the Albert Hall in November. He said he didn't care.

We were banned from playing near the beach, where there was an audience, and eventually stopped from playing further away by the cinema complex, where they was no audience anyway. That was the lowlight of my summer holiday. [And made all the worse because two years previously Sparrows and East Steel were on tele and in papers playing in same place. Ah, nothing like media and the odd celebrity! No, I don't mean that Hilary Been is odd!][I'll add a pic when I resuscitate old computer]

So today Debs, because the affair in the Light still haunts me, for a little set of 25 minutes we played quietly. The security guard seemed okay with us; one shopkeeper closed her door; one event worker texted a picture of us to friends in Trinidad, and Samantha from Touchstone said we were her highlight and for her, we could play all afternoon.  And we were great. Being asked to play quietly was good for our playing. I love that we can do subtle; that we can do massive.  I'll tell you why Katie is a goddess some other time.

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