The John Close Songbook
The John Close Songbook

The Result

Wow! What a night! I'm a natural born pessimist with a head full of things that can go wrong but last night has almost converted me to optimism. Thanks to the efforts of a multitude of people  we raised 1,567.30 ( now 1,747.30! )- well over our target of 1000. And money aside what a great gig! Everyone played and sang a treat and I only fumbled two solos - a personal best! And now the gushy thanks - you might want to keep a bucket handy for this bit ...

First a big thanks to our main vocalists. Roddy Clenaghan who was a sensation as a sort of grown-up but still cool Fonz as well as in his more regular role as a sensitive interpreter of songs - Ian Anderson belted them out like a good-un proving that some good things come out of Scotland, as well as slipping in some great harmonies. And Sue Gray! You know what I think of you Sue - X. 

And equally big thanks go to the rest of the band. Chris Jewell - a musical director with a bow of iron and a wealth of talent. Paul Baker who deployed his magnificent organ to good effect - and I loved the accordion - thanks Paul. Phil Paterson on drums and percussion - always prompt - always on the beat - good natured and not TOO LOUD - what more could one ask - look forward to working with you in the future Phil. Well done guys all those weeks in Grafton Regis and all those 50p pieces finally paid off.

If I say "and we'd also like to thank" that sounds like an afterthought. But without these guys help the show would have been a much lesser event if it had happened at all...

  • Our Special Guests - Lesley, Margaret & Peggy as the Bow Belles - think of The Beverley Sisters on speed. Henny Preston - don't know why you were nervous Henny, you were great despite my fumbly finger picking. Sue Malleson - beautifully done Sue - and thanks for all the PR help. 
  • Our Compere - the inimitable ( well why would you? ) Malcolm Jones - half man - half Spanish Fly.
  • Ian Rowe & Pete Jelfs - probably the best sound team on the planet - worked from 2pm to 12.30am with nothing but enthusiasm and not a grumble in sight. Put me down for litter duty at the next Togfest
  • Cris Thomas - ( www.talkinheadz.co.uk ) - also worked a 10-hour shift to produce slick lighting - that's the kind of thing that gives a show it's top coat - thanks Cris
  • Steve & Mary Johnson - who patiently video'd the evening with increasing panic as each set neared the one-hour tape limit. And thanks for the percussion Steve - suggest you start a New Wave Celtic band called Bodhran Bodhran.
  • Audiolab ( www.alab.co.uk ) thanks Nigel & Jamie for all your help with the recording. It was a pleasure for us making the CD and we hope that standing behind Jamie pointing at our watches doesn't affect the rest of his career
  • The Cock Hotel - who gave us the use of the premises for the night and also for a dress rehearsal. The staff were obliging, helpful and polite - even after midnight when they must have been desperate to see the back of us. Thank you!

And finally of course, thanks to all who attended, handed over so much cash, applauded in all the right places and said lovely things to us afterwards. Sometimes audiences forget what sensitive, insecure creatures we artistes are - a few kind words keeps us going to the next gig. Without your presence, encouragement and generosity the show would have been like a broken pencil - pointless.

Last - but mainly first - thanks to JC himself. Writer of great songs,  one of the few people who could make me REALLY laugh, sharer of good times, and finally the bearer of bad times with fortitude and humour that few could muster. Gone but not forgotten...