Since March 2014 I’ve been performing in the living rooms, kitchens and gardens of Berkshire, Oxfordshire, London, South Wales and Glasgow.
I do it to support dementia research and respite care. Over the last 7 or 8 years we’ve been helped and supported so much by so many people. We live with my wife’s parents. In 2009 we built an annex so Nicky’s mum, who has dementia, and Dad, Paul, could come and live with us. I really don’t know how Paul managed to cope looking after Val, he’s a saint a but it is a terrible illness. Paul watched the person he’s loved and lived with for 50 years failing right in front of him.
About 2 years ago I had a brainwave. My wonderful wife organised a birthday party and it was a beautiful August evening – one of these long warm evenings that’s just perfect for a party and I had friends and a barbecue to look after. As a surprise Nicky invited along a couple of musicians who played Ragtime and Blues – Lisa and Andy, who I think are still going strong. It was fantastic. There is nothing quite like being up close and personal with musicians when they play, that’s what I think anyway.
So now I sing seven songs and play guitar for about 40 minutes in people’s living rooms. I’m available for dinner parties, barbecues, ladies nights, blokes nights, shed events or just instead of an evening in front of the telly. You don’t need to do anything and it could just be one or two of you or a larger gathering – I don’t care. Say the word and I’ll be there – no audience is too small and don’t worry about donations – I’d be delighted if you can contribute anything but I’ve learned that it happens and people give what they can.
I play songs people know but think disco/folk/punk/blues with songs from the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen, Allman Brothers, Dionne Warwick, Bert Janch and The Clash.
Why Alzheimer’s Society? – It’s a terrible disease and we need significantly more research now. It’s massively under-funded at the moment and I’m just playing a tiny tiny part, but everything helps.
I think it important that carers like my wife and, father-in-law, Paul get as much support as possible. The effects of a loved one having dementia has such an impact on a family and on friends too. Here are a couple of facts – please challenge me if you think they are wrong but they are approximately correct.
- For every £1 of cancer research there is 1p of research into Dementia.
- Dementia is now the primary cause of women dying in the UK (more than breast and colon cancer put together).
- Dementia costs the UK economy £26 billion every year and the NHS Social Care spend is about £8.8. The rest is unfunded and paid for by those suffering and their carers because it’s an illness that happens at home for the most part.
I would like to play a part in changing that because in the long run dementia will be the one and only thing that will bankrupt the UK, European and US economies.
Get in touch and let’s arrange a Seven Songs. It’ll be fun and I’ve been practicing.