Phew- it's been a busy few days.
Thursday night was a house concert in Battersea with Martin, a long drive but I did enjoy the gig, which was lovely.
Then Friday, I started worrying like mad about whether everything would be OK for Friday night.
Fin and Lou turned up in Enfield (Martin's percussionist and bass player for the night) and I sent a casual, unflustered text to Alex telling him where we were going to meet. He called from London Bridge to tell me he'd gone down the wrong fork of the Northern Line, but there was enough time to get him a sandwich and a cup of tea in Ray's Jazz Cafe at Foyles before we went down to the Borderline for the soundcheck.
The staff there are really friendly and welcoming and remembered us from last year, and we were done in a trice: the Daintees had already finished. It was nice to see John and Kate (guitar and drums) again.
We had an early start- we were onstage at 8. It worked brilliantly having Alex there; we all made small mistakes, but generally for a band that never plays, I thought the rehearsals paid off and we did pretty well. I heard some little extra tootlings from some quarters, and given a minor dispute about extra tootly bits during one of our rehearsals, I had to comment that the Horns have worked out a way of measuring the quantity of parts they play, and were making adjustments upwards during the gig!
I really enjoyed singing the old stuff again and hats off to the guys, the feeling on stage was great. They have embraced Alex's youth and in turn, he fitted in with them really well, something that is quite hard for a young person to do sometimes. We sang Happy Birthday to him on stage for his 21st birthday and he loved that. This was the first time the Offsprogs had seen us and I was delighted because they were impressed!
The Daintees had a fantastic night too; the audience sang along right from the start. I was going to say 'roaring along' but actually it sounded rather tuneful and good.
This incarnation of the band had not met each other before; the audience probably thought Martin was joking when he introduced them to each other on stage!
There was an electric atmosphere, and it's funny to say that a lot of Helen and the Horns fans became Daintees fans that night, because normally its the other way round!
I do want to say to the people who came to see us, thank you for turning out: we had a really good showing and that made me very happy. And thank you to Martin for sharing his London show with us again this year. Alex loved it and wants to do more Helen and the Horns gigs!
Last night, I was roadying for Martin's wedding gig in Surrey, for a lovely couple called Terri and Graham. Jim the fiddle player came along, and Martin played a load of Daintees favourites with a slightly old-timey flavour. I got up to sing the Charlie Poole Airship Song and noticed Terri singing along so I invited her up- she has a great voice! I dropped Martin off at Luton this morning and now I am slumped in a heap for the rest of the day.
Yesterday, I had a lovely surprise: Martin and the guys met up for a coffee with me and on his back, Martin had a gig bag. He has bought me a Spanish-style guitar to say thank you for the roadying I've been doing. It was a dream come true, because I had to sell mine when I moved house, which was sad even though I liked the young girl I sold it to: she looked arty with a red beret and I told her the guitar was full of songs, because most of Suburban Pastoral was written on that guitar.
So now I have a lovely instrument to get to know!
BTW if anyone filmed the Horns of Friday I would love to see it.
P.S. FOUND ONE! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjCdHazGdxU