Friday, 25 December 2009

Among Good People Once Again

A 'thousand' thanks to the many of you who sent your Christmas Wishes to me.
Have a Gud'n!

While Christmas was never going to be a great event for me this year, the saddening news of the death of a dear friend hasn't helped the situation. I heard from Julie (my eldest daughter) that Sam Fowler has lost his battle with leukemia. The name may not be familiar to many of you, but if you live in Dorset and love a good time Sam would have, unknowingly, touched you. The man who single-handed gave birth to the Steering Wheel Clubs in both Weymouth and Dorchester was much, much more than just a club owner. There must be a lot that I don't know about this giant of a man, but his reputation as a perfectionist in the jazz world is renowned. Having played Ronnie Scott's scores of times with such luminaries as Chris Barber, Humphrey Littleton et al his stories very much live with me today. My favorite among them was the night he nearly 'sacked' Pink Floyd! As the very first 'Live Band' Night Club in Great Britain, Sam through his many connections had managed to secure a gig bringing the worlds (now) most famous band to our town. Agreed it was the early days for them, but when Sid Barrett, Nick Mason, Richard Wright and Roger Waters started their usual chemically inspired antics Sam was having none of it. The ultimatum was, as they tried to prepare for the set in the dressing room, usually only known as the toilet, "10 minutes to get on stage or your on your Bike" (and I am not referring to the final track of the Piper's at the Gates of Dawn album). Further to Sam's great accomplishments, Swing in the Park, unarguably the highlight of any Dorchester year, will live on. How many young musicians did he bring on through this medium. This year alone he introduced us to the local youngsters forming the Brazilian Bongo Band, while old stagers The Crack (sorry Ricky I mean that metaphorically) once again delighted a huge crowd., and despite his 80 plus years he was still there directing operation complete with that cheeky smile. On a very personal level, there will be a huge void at a certain dinning table about 4 times a year without you Sam, but you sure as hell won't be forgotten as we celebrate you!!!!! My commiserations go to Camellia and family and of course Anne & Bob, who at this time I hope will take strength by remembering what a GREAT man Sam Fowler is. There will be one hell of - Amen.

On a much lighter note, I'm sure my lady will have no objections if I share some of her Christmas with you all.

Unopened, Ille sticking to the instructions from England - "Not to be Opened Until Christmas".

Relaxing in her Tallinn appartment before the party.

Ille surrounded by her presants and some of her art work.

The view from her window across Tallinn.

Almost as predicted, I arrived Quito at 18-30 and everything from there on in has come up roses. To start with Immigration and Customs were so laid back I almost asked them to fill out the forms which is just before I met Alvera the taxi lady. Good English was a great help as not only did she fix me with good value taxi and hotel, she when on to tell me something about the buses which will be running tomorrow. The taxi ride to the hotel was easily 6 miles and cost $6 (4 quid). As for the hotel, it is run by an Ecuadorian family who made me feel immediately like I was a member. Armando and Jenny are an extremely jolly couple as are 2 close friends plus Jack, a Frenchman, who is also a paying guest. The tariff is just $26 B&B so consider I've fallen pretty much on my feet. I have also been the buses to get me to the villages of Papallacta, Guango etc, which takes about 2 and a half hours, so think I'll do a reci tomorrow before going to stay for a couple of nights.

Armando, Me (unknow name) Jack and Jenny

Haven't got round to finding the names of the 2 right of picture, will update tomorrow.

Me and Jack