Steve Harley

& Cockney Rebel

Diary 29/09/17

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Will sing a couple of tracks with Steve Norman’s band (including my guitarist Paul Cuddeford) at the Holborn Pizza Express on October 7th. Only asked him for a pair of Guest tickets, which he said was no problem – then he talked me into performing. Singing for my supper? Yep. And that’s fine. Steve N is one of the great musicians and people of our business. And he’s my friend.

Just home after watching another mate, Marc Almond, playing a set at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds. Crikey, this was good. Seventeen-piece big band surrounding Marc, who sang as one of the great Crooners through 25+ songs. Marc was on fire and my respect for his singing, his choice of covers and his musicians is total. Another lovely guy, and truly, deeply talented. The set was quietly spectacular – if the tour comes near you and you love big band arrangements of original, new songs, plus classic pop, get along there.

I’ll be at the Holborn venue myself a week after Steve N. For three nights. You see, I am “between agents” and my office and I have been enjoying chewing over the various offers that have come directly to us, and some are so unusual that my attention is grabbed and my imagination starts to whirl. Like Pizza Express -  new venue in London. 130 seats. Why would I? Well, it’s high-spec and intimate and I volunteered a Q & A and a Selfie Session to make it a special night for us all. I feel more relaxed than ever before professionally. I’m guarded enough to know that I’ll be in my hotel room before most have even left the venue, but it all sounds like it has the potential to be magical. We will improvise somewhat, and see how the dice roll.

And then the Chapel in Cardiff – Acapella. Again, three nights sold out. It holds 180, but three times that and we know we are entertaining close to 600 people. And working in a beautiful part of Britain and we will be staying in a place of tranquillity and beauty that comes to touring musicians all too rarely. And I fell for the venue. A deconsecrated chapel, now a recording studio. The sound might be wonderful. James and Barry know, too, the joy of such adventures. We like to play and travel. And explore. Three days/nights in one place gives us that chance. In Cardiff, the castle beckons; in London, the British Museum is around the corner.

All that will come after two nights playing in the most fabulous venue in the world (probably). The Herodotus Odeon sits beneath the Acropolis in Athens and seats close to 5000. We sold out two with the State Orchestra of Athens combined with players form the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. It was magnificent. The setting, the audiences, the organisation were beyond historic. So, even “between agents”, I’m getting on with Live life. And Glasgow is already 45% sold out, after just 48 hours of sales. It will be the last time we’ll produce that particular show in the UK, I believe. But it may have a life abroad.

The Twins (many of you are familiar with Mona and Lisa Wagner) have just released their album “Orange” and it is absolutely brilliant. I love it. The songs, the production, the playing (Lisa is a proper lead guitarist); the Twins have a lot going for them. Give it a listen. Shoot me down if you disagree, but give it a try. I really love it. In my car and on my study hi-fi. Who knew they had it in them? Rudi, their dad, did. And I did. Maybe the girls did, too. But they are too modest ever to admit it.

They will be on stage with my band again in Chesterfield in December. And we’ll be all the better for it.