It’s been such an long time since my last post that you may be wondering about me, my health or my work. At least I hope this is the case. A more probable scenario is that you haven’t noticed and even if you had, are not that bothered. This, I must confess, weighs heavily on me as a man doing his utmost to, you know, do this excellence and immortality thingy.
Last December, I had the pleasure of meeting one Keren Lerner in the Bavarian Tent at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. Keren runs a communications company called Top Left Design and is a whizz at digital marketing strategies. Now there’s something about loud oompah music that doesn’t lend itself well as a backdrop to a discussion of this mysterious topic so we agreed to meet later. The gist of what Keren told me was something that, deep down, I already knew – that is, I need to up my social media game. After a long summer of inertia, as I feel the autumn chill, I’m resuming my blogging habit. Keren also suggested a lot more, including giving away for free our expensively-produced music – now this goes against my professional instincts though I see other bands doing just that. I have yet to decide on this matter but in the meantime you can buy our albums.
But I don’t want this to be post apologising for an absence of posts. So here’s what’s been happening. Chico Chica had a busy summer of shows up until the end of July. This was followed by a series of low-key performances at The Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, London. There we bumped into acquaintances who just happened to be visiting the Hockney exhibition. In recent weeks our attention has been taken up by recording. This week we will start to mix the five tracks. I will write about this music at greater length in a future post.
The summer also gave me the chance to visit Walberswick, Suffolk with friends and family (I wonder why I write all this inane stuff but there you go). My co-writer Barbara Snow also happened to be there with hers. In between the usual holiday stuff I read Robert Graves’ Count Belisarius, a man who tried his very best to reverse the decline of the Roman Empire while Justinian the emperor was too eaten up with jealousy to show any respect, admiration or gratitude.
After my teaching commitments had finished, I established a daily routine of playing (not too hard) classical guitar pieces. This is in accordance with my new principle of Pleasure Practice. I like inventing principles. After this guitar playing I’d go to the Wine Rooms on Hammersmith Grove W6 where I’d order a cappuccino and, after reading a newspaper (mostly about Brexit), I’d write verse in my little blue book – ah, the sweet, simple happiness of routine. By the end of the summer I had five sets of lyrics – the subject matters covered were: white water rafting, finding things on the street, laziness, the night sky and wasps. Though the output was hardly prolific, I do spend time to ensure they are good and I’m proud of what I wrote.
The late summer gave us time for reflection about new material and the next recording session. Later this month, Barbara Snow, Hilary Cameron and I will be going away on a retreat to write, prepare the next recording session and rehearse a show with lots of new material. After we have recorded a song, we tend to drop it from the set so the more we record, the more we need to write, arrange and rehearse.
By clicking ‘Menu and Widgets’ in the top right-hand corner of this site, you will see a list of upcoming shows. These are the essence of Chico Chica’s entire existence so it’s important to check as often as you can. Music brings people together and our shows have a habit of turning into parties because everyone who comes seems so friendly and positive. However, it is the blue ribbon ticketed events which afford the optimum Chico Chica experience. We are essentially a cabaret act with a big emphasis on entertainment and this needs an intimate theatrical environment. For this reason, I’d like you to write the 17th November show at the Bull’s Head in your diary – prominently with a big fat marker pen.
One of the reasons I wasn’t feeling motivated to write is the thought that, judging from the paucity of feedback, few people read it. So if you are one of those kind people who have got this far, do let me know what you think. And I have resolved to post every week. Promise.