I went to Lausanne for a meeting this weekend (lucky me) and took along my ukulele as I often do on trips, hoping for an opportunity to play and sing. It wasn’t to be. But towards the end of my journey back home, in the train to Rotterdam, I gave an impromptu mini-concert, singing the chorus of one of our Two Doors Down songs: “This is for you, this gem of a memory … this is for you to keep” (written on the ukulele, and easy enough to play from memory).
In fact, I got to play the chorus twice. My audience: a lapsed guitar player and two train conductors. I was sitting in a vestibule (I think that’s what you call it) near the door (and the toilet), surrounded by my luggage, and the guy next to me was drawn to my instrument in its mandolin case. So I took it out and we shared a “gem of a memory” right there, together with first one and then a second train conductor doing their rounds, with the sounds of the train and rushing wind as a backdrop to my little song.
I hope I have inspired my travel companion to pick up his guitar again, and/or get himself a ukulele. The few chords he played on my instrument sounded really sweet. And I hope the train conductors also have good memories of our brief encounter.
Margriet and I will be in Edinburgh in August, hosted by a good friend of mine. We’re taking along our instruments, so we can do some busking, on the fringes of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
We did consider the fringe festival busking opportunities, but soon realised our music would be drowned out by all the hustle and bustle on the Royal Mile. Instead we hope to find a listening audience in quieter parts of town, and maybe sell some CDs.
We’ll also be sampling some of what the fringe festival has to offer, and map out a strategy for participating in the festival next year, possibly on a shared bill with some singer-songwriter friends.
Margriet and I spent the evening trawling the Edinburgh Fringe website for Venues where our music might find an appreciative, listening audience. Sent an email to the programmer for one venue. Watch this space …
This song was inspired by a photographic project with nomadic tribes. As their world gets smaller and smaller, the knowledge of how to survive often challenging terrain, passed down from generation to generation, is getting lost, making us all poorer as a result.
About my music teacher at a convent school. She was one of the nuns and the pupils had given her the nickname, “The Dragon”. She had a fierceness about her that warned everyone to keep their distance. Scary stuff. I think she was very unhappy, and not in her element teaching kids. Many years later, when I was inspired to write a song with dragon in the title, she came to mind.
This is us at the head of the queue for the open mic at the Taxi Road Rally in Los Angeles on Saturday, 7 November 2015. Later that evening Jack performed a ukulele solo, Al a guitar solo with effects, Laura a song with piano accompaniment, and Margriet and I sang “This is for you”, with ukulele, recorder and vocals.