Updated: 18 Mar 2006
In keeping with the 30's style genre a trip up in a charabanc seemed appropriate for me, whilst Lindsay and Carole decided, rather than horse drawn carriage, a comfortable trip on several Iron horses, was far more likely to get them there on time.
This gig was publicised as a leaving do for Denise after 7 years in this establishment and a slightly belated 50 birthday bash for Sandy (both of Strawbs information service fame).
The night was to bring several surprises, firstly our arrivals within 1 minute of each other despite our differing modes of transport – and on time !!, but more notably, perhaps the appearance in the audience of original Strawb member Tony Hooper, who many of us hadn't seen for a good few years and who was looking rather dapper in his evening suit.
A nice party atmosphere, with much catching up and chat, about things past and present before it took a quick reminder from the host to remind the band that it was 8.45 and time for the evening's musical entertainment.
Some may describe the style as whimsical, even a throwback to days gone by, but its great fun played with style and where harmonies and humour abound. Although Tony remained in the audience if you imagined ever so hard I am sure you could hear him joining in on the choruses, it was not that difficult as he was only sitting just a few feet away.
I never for one moment intended recording for posterity the set list - (should have grabbed it off the floor) but it included :-
A Talk With Your Father
Got To Get Out Of This Rut
Top Hat And Tails
I Can Sing High
Down By The River
I Shouldn't Fall In Love With You
and many, many more.
Unfortunately, with the Iron Horse puffing madly in the station, Carole and Lindsay had to make tracks at the start of the second set, so just time to remember "The Late, Late Train" as another addition, to that set list.
Before her departure, Lindsay was roped in by the band to do some publicity shots, with their own cameras and returned rather snappy happy given the number of times she pressed the button.
By the time I left, it was well after midnight but the party was certainly well in full swing. This would be a fitting send off for Denise and one to really to remember.
I certainly had a spiffing evening in the company of Lady Cooke and Lord Bennetdictus, not to mention Denise and Sandy, and Hud and those other lovely High Society gentlemen. Great fun and a wonderful surprise to have a chat with Tony Hooper - we all eventually agreed that the Queen Elizabeth Hall gig a few years ago must have been the last time (I think that was the final conclusion anyway!).
It was really nice to meet Elaine Charleson too, who sings with Tony in Pitchfork and who very kindly came rushing out with my scarf which I'd left behind, just as Carole and I were hijacking a taxi - bit of confusion as the taxi driver asked Carole if her name was Kevin, but swiftly remedied as the real Kevin turned up and kindly allowed us to share his cab to Uxbridge Station (where he wasn't really going anyway). Kevin divulged that he used to know Keith Moon's mum, an extremely lovely lady apparently, on our journey. You learn something new every day don't you.
Anyway, Dickey Baldwin, High Society's bass player has sent me a photo, which Carole kindly took for us, of me with two of my heroes from those early Strawb-awakening days. I still vividly remember trying to work out which name probably went with which face on the back of the "Antiques and Curios" cover! I shall try and post it now in the photos section if anyone's interested.
Didn't get any actual shots of High Society playing unfortunately as I forgot my camera, but did take several with their cameras at a highly secret location which I think they might use for publicity for an Italian tour in July (if they come out ok).
Definitely worth getting along to a High Society gig if you get the chance - unfortunately not a lot open to the public although there is one on 22nd April in Hillingdon, with details on Strawbsweb and http://www.highsocietyband.co.uk.
Another great night, very much enjoyed by all present.