I get inspired by all kinds of music and one song I really like is by a superb French artist called -M- (Mathieu Chedid in fact, but M for short). This is a great song.
Portobello Market is one of London’s famous Market places where you can find treasure or tat.
The same can be said of the live music they host there. Of which I was one of the acts. I’ll let
you decide whether I was the treasure or the tat! At the Ladbroke Grove end there is an area
called the Acklam Village Market, where there is a large bar, a stage and a huge range of street
food stalls. The stage was large and kitted out with a great PA system, drum kit and even a
sound engineer! On one of many occasions I was playing there. There were two guys who turned up,
who had quite obviously been enjoying the many places to buy alcoholic drinks in Portobello.
Needless to say they were delighted to see they had live entertainment. One of the guys started
shouting at me “OYH MAYTE, DO YOU WANT A DRUMMA?!” Whilst miming playing bongos at
me. I laughed and shook my head, but he’d made his mind up. No sticks? No problem! This guy
(Who was dressed as what I would describe as half hippie and half pirate) clambered onto the
stage and started hitting the drum kit with his hands. Cue the bar manager storming up to his
companion and demanding he get him off the stage. The friend began waving his arms
frantically at my new drummer, pointing at the manager and making the “Cut” gesture. But he
didn’t care. He was Keith Moon, John Bonham AND Buddy Rich. On stage with Elton John as
far as he was concerned. The manager glared at the companion again who after some comedy
style looks back and forth between the stage and the manager. Decided to clamber onto the
stage. He come from behind and physically removed the drummer from the kit, which was still
being waved at in attempts to hit them as he was lifted. It was comedy genius, the likes of
Laurel and Hardy would be applauded for. I was unaware of just how funny it was, that is. Until I
saw the entire scene caught in photos my manager had managed to snap! They surprisingly
weren’t kicked out of the establishment and stayed to watch the rest of my set, dancing and
singing away. I changed many song lyrics around to reflect their drunken state. They didn’t
seem to notice, but the whole fiasco certainly kept everybody entertained. We never worked
You can see the photo series below!
I’ve played many gigs in the past few years in a lot of different types of places. The people and
situations you come across doing so are both life lessons and extremely entertaining. For
example, a lady once came into one venue with bottle quite clearly not containing “Pepsi” as the
label suggested. She proceeded to shout in my face about how I was the worst singer she had
ever heard. Within two songs she was dancing, singing along and blowing me kisses. Takes All
At another gig, just outside Hayes in North West London, there was a guy who all evening had been putting a bit
of a show of himself. So far he had managed to knock a high table over, smashing a pint of
beer in the process. Bump into my Piano so many times I was beginning to think he believed it
was his dance partner. Generally ruining people’s enjoyment by being rude. Finally, the
inevitable happened. He asked the wrong person to dance with him, and was quickly told to
“Fuck off!” Not liking this at all he was ready to be Muhammad Ali. Unfortunately for him,
everyone in the pub was sick of him too! No less than 10 people grabbed him and collectively
piled him outside, after which he had suffered actual broken bones.
It didn’t take long for a large group of police to flock through the door (I was playing ‘Message in
a bottle’ at the time, conincidentally by The Police, hehe). They ordered everybody to stop and leave the premises exactly how it was as
it was now a “Crime scene.” I wasn’t allowed to touch my Piano or go home until CID turned
up. Which was the best part of two hours later, during which time the staff and I had passed the time by
drinking shots in the kitchen. A pair of head officers turned up. I was greeted by them with “Ah,
you’re the piano player! We’re very impressed with you”. I was confused before they explained
“We’ve seen the CCTV, fight going on three feet (1m) from you and you don’t stop!” They were right. I was
quite enjoying my version of ‘Mustang Sally’ as everyone was throwing punches. I showed my
interest by holding the penultimate note long enough to watch everyone clamber out. Only to
finish the song as the door closed behind them! “You were like the band on the Titanic” laughed
one of the officers. “You’re okay to pack your stuff up now.” “Thanks” I sighed. “Do any of you
parties coming up? You know the man for the job!” I joked unplugging the piano.
As I waited for my bus, exhausted. The traffic was getting back to normal after diversions had
been lifted. I noticed a little piece of Police tape had been left attached to the bus stop. “A nice
little Souvenir” I thought. Untying it and taking it home to remember yet another eventful gig.