Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year 2018 - Five reasons to be cheerful for 2019

I'd like to wish all of the readers of the Barnet Eye a very Happy  New Year.

I'm still trying to decide what me New Years resolution will be if any. It will probably involve not drinking and it may involve writing some songs!  Yesterday I listed my fears and worries. Of course even the worst times have good things. Today I list five reasons to be cheerful for 2019.

1. Football. I think that this season is possibly the most interesting for football lovers for many a year, at least since the "Aguerooooooooooooo!!!!" moment. Pep Guardiola and Yurgen Klopp have produced two of the best, most exciting teams for a generation. The negativity of Jose Mourinho at Manchester United has been consigned to the dustbin of history. There are four British teams in the Champions League knockout round. Spurs are about to move to a new stadium. The England team seems to have put decades of blues behind it. As a Manchester City fan, I desperately hope they  thrash Liverpool this Thursday and ignite a proper title  race.

2. The Mill Hill Music Festival. This year will see the bi-annual Mill Hill Music Festival. It promises to be better than ever. Confirmed acts include The BBC Elstree Concert Band performing "A night at The Oscars" -  A selection of great film music. We have the return of Reggae Maestro Joe Angel, playing "Marley and more" at the Adam and Eve. We also have an amazing special treat, 60's megastars The Foundations, performing their hits such as Build me up buttercup. If you've not seen them they are an amazing nine piece band. Jazz legend Alan Barnes will be putting together a very special program and we have the amazing Klezmer sounds of Stewart Curtis and K-Groove at Mill Hill Synagogue. The full programme will be announced soon.

3. Mill Hill Music Complex 40th Anniversary. This year marks the 40th year of my business, we will be announcing some very special events to mark the year. I cannot understate my pride at what we've achieved.  We were the Spiritual Musical home of Amy Winehouse, Amy used to rehearse at our studios 2-3 times a week as she was honing her band. Shortly before she died, she contacted us and asked to book our recording studio. She wanted to write a very paired back album of songs, recorded as she wanted. We were sworn to secrecy about the project. One of the saddest days of my life was tippexing out her sessions in the studio diary after we learned of her passing. She would always rehearse in studio 9 (video footage of this featured in the film). We've had a whole stack of other well known artists. But I'm even more proud of the 1,000 or so musicians a week who pass through the studio. Each one of them is making the world a better place.

4. The False Dots - My band. As with the Complex, it is our 40th Birthday. We will be releasing a retrospective album entitled "Songs of Love and War", featuring songs we've written over our 40 year career, as performed by our current line up. It is rather good, in my humble opinion. The fact that we are still having a blast after 40 years is surely a reason to be cheerful.

5. London. I live in Mill Hill in the London Borough of Barnet. The worlds greatest playground is on my doorstep. In the last year I've been to amazing gigs at The Roundhouse, The Jazz Cafe, Ronnie Scotts, The 100 Club, The Hope and Anchor, The Royal Albert Hall, as well  as a stack of grassroots venues such as The Chandos Arms in Colindale, The Midland Hotel in Hendon etc. I've been to see Premiership football at amazing grounds such as The London Stadium and the Emirates, as well as seeing City win the League Cup and Charity Shield at Wembley Stadium. We have some of the very best restaurants in the world. My favourite is The Bleeding Heart near Farringdon, but there are hundreds. If you want food on the hop, there's Whitecross St Market and Borough Market. London has some of the best pubs, despite the best efforts of developers. A few that are worth checking out are The Betsy Trotwood in Farringdon, The Harp in Covent Garden, The Doric Arch at Euston (worth nipping over to the Euston Tap as well if you are in the area). Finally we have the river Thames. I love getting a boat up and down the River. What is amazing about London is that every year I find something new and amazing about our city. I love the Thameslink Railway (when it is working properly). It can transport you from Mill Hill to central London in 20 mins. There is no other city in the world with a view like this.

Have an amazing new year.

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