Steve Harley

& Cockney Rebel

DIARY 11/08/16

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Status Quo and my band might seem like odd bedfellows, but there’s something about their fans that I like. And they don’t mind me, it seems. Rochester was good enough, but Caldicot Castle was a real blast. New bass player, Kuma Harada, has boosted the feel of the rhythm section more than somewhat. He is keen to take a solo, too, on Best Years when I throw it into the set. I’ve struggled to get bassists to look like they are enjoying themselves for a lot of years. Billy Dyer does, and now so does Kuma. I like players who like playing, and show it. But he won’t sing. “You won’t like my Japanese accent”, is his excuse. And that’ll do.

All the outdoor events have been special in their own way. Langesund, Norway, was played in a constant downpour, and yet not a soul seemed to care. Several thousand in those plastic poncho hoodies affairs looked a sight. But they sang with me throughout the show, and after almost two hours the rain ceased and so did we. My good friend Finn Bjelke held a Pop Quiz in lieu of a support act. I love Norway and its people. Ryanair are not so bad, after all. Four flights with them recently, and all fine. It seems that once you’ve navigated their complex and difficult ticketing practices, you’re ok. I mean, to arrive at an airport with your ready-made Boarding Pass and hand-luggage only, how good is that! Suits me, for certain.

Brightling Park, in Sussex, is a small affair, but beautifully staged and run by Mel Fordham, a top-flight Racing Photographer in his day job. We talked horses and not music before the show. My loyalties are definitely split! But then once the light hits me, I am taken over by a another persona, and I play for my life. And now the Acoustic Trio dates are getting added. The MonaLisa Twins will join us for the Liverpool show. I miss the girls.

Back at the homestead, there are eaters and cookers ripening in the old orchard, and cherry plums reddening by the thousand. The last crop of birds is here and I am feeding baby Robins, baby Blackbirds, and a pair of beautiful baby Song Thrushes. And a fat rat took a pellet this morning, leapt into the air like an Olympian on the Pummel horse and skulked away to die. Woodpecker on the peanut feeder; Muntjacs nibbling birdseed on the garden lawn; a chiff-chaff, unseen, singing from the Scots pines; a badger coming for the birdseed at night, captured on the Bushnell stealth camera.

And finally I met Stella. Well, we’d met before, but names are difficult for me to remember among crowds at stage doors. This time it was personal, she among a gathering for a Meet ‘n Greet at Brightling Park. And others familiar by their monikers on this website. Never done that before, but it gave me a good feeling. Not sure how Mel Fordham talked me into it, but I am not regretful.

Re-vamped website is due for launching any moment now. Well done, Andy.