I took this picture through the window of a coach, while passing the Railway Station in Tours, France a couple of days ago. It was raining then, as it has been raining all day here in London. Really raining. Pouring. Because it was so grey it seemed to be dark so much earlier. The forecast does not seem to be promising that Indian summer I was banking on. I went to a meeting, got really soaked and then just got depressed about the winter coming as I watched the rain lashing down outside of the window. Ah well!

SONG OF THE DAY – Raining in China -Dear John

That was the name of the band I was in, in 1987. Ah those were the days. I have posted it before, but it is apt again today.

So we were in a band called “Dear John” and had ‘paid to play’ in all the places you ‘paid to play’ in the late 1908’s. We had played for 15 mins. to 3000 people on a saturday night at the Hippodrome, appearing via my first and last stage that rose from the basement…there is a special name for that but I can’t remember it. We played all the venues you were able to get a gig at, and a few you really should not have bothered to play at all. We played at the Mean Fiddler where you had to pay 50 quid to play and you only got it back if hundreds of your friends came with flyers with your bands name on -usually about 3 friends would turn up! We had a demo that was recorded in the middle of the night in a recording studio as it was cheaper then, was it called dead time?( perhaps it should have been called deaf time because by that time of night   the sound engineer usually  deaf, stoned or asleep. As the vocalist I  always got to put my tracks on at the end after the drummer, the bass player any guitarists and keyboard players,  usually in the last hour of the time we had, at about 5 in the morning, once every one else had had a millions times to get their tracks right. ‘How does that sound?’ ‘oh fine’ the band would say , usually cos they were either too drunk, imbibed or tired to notice or care about  the vocals. ha ha ha….

This track, I can’t even remember where we recorded it, but it sounds like I may have got a little bit more time to record my vocal than with some of the other band/demos I did. Oh it might have been in Dagenham.(!) Mickey wrote the song, the rest of the band – well there was Steve(bass) and Grady ( which does not disguise the fact his name was Graham, drums), and the tallest keyboard player in the world  also called Graham ( blimey two Grahams in one band…very slack). Lost touch with them all when the band split (as they usually always do), though I know Graham, keyboard, is in Scarborough. Izzy styled us and Anthony took me round Chinatown with a clockwork old super 8, and Bruno Perosa edited it. It was pre  any home editing suite and I remember us spending hours going through all the shots with a tooth comb, deciding what order they would be in.

We made the video with about three pennies to rub together -so thanks to all those people. We used shopping trollies instead of trackers and demolished Mickey’s flat. We bought a load of old china to throw around and then because of all the incense and bright film lights (borrowed)  in his dark Victorian basement flat, I think some poltergeist decided to finally leave and a huge shelf full of all Mickey’s china came crashing down in the middle of the filming. I had funny false eye lashes and wierd eyebrows but hey…it was the eighties. I should probably think myself lucky to get away with not looking more of a prat…though, what can only be described as a pineapple hairdo almost swung it. I like my high twiddly vocal bits in this. Anyway…I hope you enjoy this little trip down memory lane with me.

SONG OF THE DAY– RAINING IN CHINA -written by Mickey B. Goode. performed by Dear John.

So what is the connection? 1987. I went to my local tapas bar last night. We have not been for about a year. Mr P. does this funny thing, that if we go anywhere ( and you can only do this is if you have the luxury of choice that we do living an a huge metroplis) and the food or the service is a bit shabby, he will go all northern on me and just say ‘we’re not coming  here again!’ -I dunno what happened when we went there last time, someone was having a bad day. But how lovely it was to go back.

I realised when we took some dear friends there, who have lived in the area as long as we have,  but had never been, that we have probably been to this tapas place many times over a 100 !

The chorizo in wine, the bean and chorizo, mushroom creme and spinach, calamaris, mediteranian ( no I cannot spell today!) king-prawns, beef medallions and red peppers, white bait, grilled sardines, tortilla, creme catalan, poached pears in port and ice cream…the list goes on and on…well there really is not anything on the menu that is not totally tasty and so freshly cooked.If you can wait 40 minutes they do paella -I love saying that like this, payeya! One day I shall go in and have it…but you have to arrive before you are famished…

El Molino Holloway Road, has been there since 1987 and I have been going there for 24 years and without doubt have been over 4 times a year- for lunch, tea, dinner, all kinds of celebrations. When people come into London and need a bed for the night, this is the first place we think of taking them to eat. The tapas menu is almost the same as it has been when we first started going there, they have specials every week. It is is 99% tasty, friendly, buzzy and reasonably priced, and a real family run business. Lovely. This not a restaurant review, though if you happen to be passing this way, and need some good food, it’s well worth popping in. I was just amazed when I realised how many times I must have been there, and how time is racing by. So it opened in 1987 …what was the song of that year for me?


AT LAST….A SEGWAY! I can now have a real excuse to put in one of my secretly favourite          ( well obviously no longer) tracks ever.  I love this song, it just makes me brim over with bubbles and love for life!!! Get your best dancing shoes on kids! iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit’s Rick Astley! I am not going to tell you that I went on a couple of dates with one of the writers of this song, as it was a  long long long long time ago, and something I would  rather forget, though the friend who set me up could come out of the woodwork and say sorry and I would forgive her. Oops possibly too much information.