Annie’s homily 2017 …

Happy New Year!

 Here we go again! Another New Year, another chance to do those things we promised ourselves we’d do last year: practise more/ harder/ smarter, earn more than expenses on gigs, pay tax on our gig earnings … The list would be endless if I could only think of more!

 I start each year looking forward to the first lbBJ of January, having not seen the band for a whole fortnight, and looking forward to the November morning when I open my email to find a message from Jools Holland asking me to front a jam for his Hootenanny! Dreams are at least as important as resolutions! In 2016 we came close; we took the jam to the Museum of London for an installation called Illuminations. House band regulars Casper Hoedemaekers and Gordon Wellard and guest pianist Gabriel Keen provided the bedrock on which Andy Laud, Dave Burns, Jackie ‘Taps’ Perks, John Wallbank, Mike Sands, Paul Kaufman, Peter Sellars and I did our thing to a lovely, appreciative audience. Peter and I had flown in that morning from New York and managed to grab two hours sleep but Dr Theatre, as he so often does, popped in unseen with his little black bag and topped up our metaphorical uppers. The experience was exhilarating and enjoyable for performers and audience. The journey home on the tube was a beast, but that’s true on the Central Line even if you’re not the Walking Snoozing.

 I always wonder whether lbBJ will survive the year. There have been, I must admit, some hairy moments over the years but we’ve always come through. After a slightly shuggly period in the spring of 2016, we found, through the offices of Chris Harper, a new home at The Royal Inn On The Park in Hackney. What a move! Our best yet. The pub is beautiful, the staff welcoming and the regulars just gorgeous. A local portrait-drawing group meets in the pub and often members come to hear the music afterwards. There is a great sense of community. Peter has just finished editing a compilation of performances filmed during the last jam of the year with Gabriel, Casper, David Hawthorn and Phil Collis in the house band, and everything is perfect; the rustle and chatter of the audience, the music, the setting. I feel that if the last nine months are anything to go by, we will be happy there.

 I would like to thank our house band regulars, Phil Mead, Casper Hoedemaekers, Gordon Wellard (since April) and Dave Fowler (before April, and for the last few years); our regular jammers past and present (too numerous to mention, but you know who you are); the staff and customers of TRIOTP and Peter Sellars. Peter would like to thank all the above – except himself – and me!

May 2017 bring you health, friendship and love. And music. Lots of music.

Annie and Peter XXX

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