Monday, April 24, 2006

In a field in Suffolk surrounded by model airplanes

Well - not the most usual of gigs, but I do seem to end up in this field quite often. Rougham run lots of public events through the year, mostly things like air shows (it's an old WW2 airfield - originally a US base), but also medieval re-enactment and stuff like that.

This week it was 'large model airplanes'. Even a six foot plus long model Concorde! Looked good flying I'm told but I was in my tent. OK - so I've played this field before and it's been fine - but we had a new tent this year. It was not a bad size - 10m x 8m I'd guess, but the worst thing was that the sides were strapped to the poles, so you couldn't lift them so passers by could see us inside. The roof was quite low at the eaves and consequently people would walk by the small door openings, hear the music from outside, and bend down to peep in. Hey - I've played in a peep show!

Even so, a few brave souls ventured in to listen to us whilst sipping tea or quaffing beer. It was very loud in the tent - needed to be so that folks outside could hear. My favourite drummer, Baz, came and joined us for the last half of the afternoon - and so did an ancient, wobbly but enthusiastic clarinet player. So, from a three piece folk band to a jazz quintet... a strange transformation. But fun on the whole (though I was fighting with the clarinettist for the microphone).

Folks came in, listened for a bit until their ears bled, wandered out again. We played some, rested some, but most of all it was easy. Playing in the trio was simple - B would strike up some tune or other and by the time we'd finished 10 minutes later, we'd gone through at least four tunes and about as many different styles. I turned one old barn dance tune into a swing number with the right bass riff and by sending Baz a cue .. love it when we all play off eachother like that and the sound just evolves.

But all good things must come to an end (including the addition of the clarinet) and so about 4.15pm we packed up. Still a few large models flying around. They looked the business - up in the sky with no reference point you couldn't tell what size they really were. What gave it away was the sound. No deep rumble of engines as a WW2 bomber flew by - but an irritating buzz. Ah well. Perhaps we were just an irritating buzz too, in our Saharan fixed sided tent that smelled of damp (not the desert) and reverberated with our trapped music.

Another day in the life .. ..
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