The Joy of Friends

I’m always surprised how good my friends are to me – it’s not easy hanging out with a bloke who is continually agitating to sing in your living room. Of course, I’d like to think I’m a blessing but recognise I’m probably more down at the ‘trouble’ end of the friend scale.John-Nolan

Take Seven Songs, even when you commit to inviting me to perform in your home you then, have to, actually, listen to me sing – and it doesn’t stop there, the misery continues when I tell all about the awfulness of dementia and how it effects individuals and families. The problem I’ve created with Seven Songs is you can’t just throw some money in a tin and wander off and mind your own business; you’ve got to engage right up until the point you get to give (and that’s only of you want to); frankly it’s exhausting if you’re part of the audience.

NB : Seven Songs performs live music in peoples living rooms (gardens, kitchens, pubs and cafes) and collects for dementia charities instead of charging performance fees… have a listen to Seven Songs on BBC Radio Sheffield.

Of course I thought it was a great idea at the time: I’d give (song) and I get (donations) in return and that is still the basic principle of Seven Songs. I suppose the one saving grace is that the music is getting better from the early multiple car crashes of last year.

So imagine my thrill and delight when my old drinking fSimon-Paulriend Brian suggested we organise a night of song in a local village hall and invite friends to come and listen to me – sing. See what he’s done? He’s engaged the Seven Songs problem head on – what a wonderful thing to do and a wonderful friend to have.

Well I think you can imagine, I said yes straight away, I’m not going to let an opportunity like this slip through these string-picking fingers.

Fortunately three other magical things then followed – here is the good news bit.

colinFirstly, a couple of other friends in the shape of Duncan, Andrew, Jeremy and Rod all signed up to organize. It’s worth noting that these friends have been to more Seven Songs gigs than anyone should bear in a lifetime, so fair play, they are also taking the bull by the horns. Plus they are organised, leadership, entrepreneurial, creative types who understand real success and spit on the specter of failure. This means that Brian’s evening is pretty much guaranteed to be a well-orgaGinnynised success – I’m happy with that – tick.

Next, it seemed only fair to Brian and my chums to get some other proper musicians to join in – let’s face it, an evening of me might not be such a entertaining night out and certainly puts that ‘well organized success’ in a spot of jeopardy.

This is the line up for Seven Songs and Friends in Sonning:-

  • Simon: My talented beekeeping, singing and piano-playing friend.
  • Ginny: My dazzling classically trained piano teaching friend.
  • Harman: My gifted young singer songwriter neighbour and friend.
  • Paul: My virtuoso guitar rock’n’rSimonoll maestro friend.
  • Hannah: My magnificent multi talented, always gigging, musician friend.

Now I think the word ‘musical’ can be added to ‘well organised success’ – that’s good eh? Tick!

The third thing that happened (I hope you are keeping count of the things here) is that my friend Kran from the CookCurry Club and purveyor of exceptional Indian food signed up to cook for us! Actually even if some sort of end of world scenario affects the ‘well organized musical success’ bit, it’s still worth coming just to taste her Aloo Channa Chat, you may have to fight your way through Armageddon, but as I say worth it.Kran

This is all, undoubtedly, very exciting stuff and we can now safely add concepts such as ‘dinning on Ambrosia’ or perhaps just the wordsmouthwatering, heavenly, divine food” to the description of the evening – tick!

The forth of the three things (I thought three things sounded better and might help you stick with it and get to the fourth) is, it turns out, quite important: the sound/noise part of the evening. We can’t just turn up with a couple of random lumps of lacquered wood, electronics, speakers and valves (I actually think Paul’s amp has valves) with the hope of it all sounding magnificent. Thankfully I have another capable friend, Colin. He brings ingenuity and wisdom and he also has a bar/shed/garage heaving with useful tools, gadgets, amps and cables that will help make our noise awesome. Tick!

Like I said at the beginning, I have wonderful friends and if you sign up and come along on Friday the 27th of November at 7.30pm at Pearson Hall in Sonning you will hear them, taste their food, sit and chat with them and enjoy a well-organised magical evening of good company, delicious food and heavenly music.

It might be the most brilliant thing you’ve done with your friends in a long time and I bet you’ll meet some new ones.

Tickets are £12 from Brian Scot ( half goes to food and the hall etc and half goes straight to The Alzheimer’s Society.

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