A friend of mine had a father who used to take great delight in saying to us when we were kids "Have you ever wondered if none of this was real and in reality you were in a lunatic asylem and this is all a figment of your imagination to escape from the horror of your existence? It never really bothered me but there are times when I have to pinch myself to convince myself he wasn't right.
This year has had an extraordinary number of those moments. Yesterday I was asked to appear on ITV London news speaking about issues related to the worrying events in Brixton, where some concert goers at The Brixton Academy were nearly crushed to death in a stampede of what appears to be ticketless fans, trying to get access to an Afrobeats gig (my contribution is at around 3.45). I was asked to appear as I am involved as a spokesperson for the Save London Music Campaign. Last Saturday, I was invited to appear as a panel member at the launch of a wildlife book that I contributed a chapter to. So let me list a few of them
1. ITV cold calling me to give my views on the Brixton Academy stampede. In truth it's happened a few times, but this was the leading story on the news. It is quite difficult talking to a camera when you can't see the person interviewing you.
2. Aurora Metro cold calling me to contribute a chapter to the West London Wildlife book. They are an excellent publisher and I feel rather proud to be involved.
3. Being at the count in May when the Conservatives got ejected from the Town Hall. On the night it wasn't a shock, but I'd seen a few false dawns. As I'm not a Labour member, it was not my victory. It was a strange night, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't chuffed to see the architects of the Capita fiasco get their just deserts from the electorate. In December 2019, when Boris swept all before him, I could not imaging such a night.
4. Watching Manchester City win the league again in May. I was there for the cold, bleak years, when City were in the third tier, away at York City and in my wildest fantasies, I dreamed that they might one day be a mediocre mid table Prem team that occasionally took a few points from our all conquering neighbours in Salford. I'm really not a fan of the way foreign owners have been allowed to take over the soul of football, but if you have to have foreign owners, I'd rather have ours than the lot who own the rags.
5. The False Dots at The Dublin Castle, Camden Town, 23rd November. This was a magical night. It was great being back with the band in Camden, but even better was seeing a young audience bopping to our music.
6. The Burnt Oak Boogie. When we posted the video and it started getting thousands of views on Youtube. I am amazed at the reaction and all the people telling me how they love the song and the video.
7. The Brit Funk Association at The Mill Hill Music Festival. We took a real punt putting on the festival this year. We were planning it when the Omicron wave hit. We almost pulled the whole thing, as it seemed that lockdown would be a semi permanent feature of life. It is strange to think that the pubs were shut this time last year.
8. The fall of Boris. Boris was elected with an 80 seat majority the day before our last gig with Allen Ashley as a band in 2019. It was a miserable gig for me, it wasn't well attended. The band did a good show, but the mood was very down. It seemed like Boris was unassailable. In truth he probably would have been if he'd simply behaved like a semi decent human being. Given the respective state of Labour and the Tories then and now, this really is one that I have to pinch myself for.
9. The fall of Liz Truss. I think we all had to pinch ourselves at the way the Tories imploded and Truss was despatched. I find it absurd that Rishi Sunak, a man who even his own party members rejected when they were given a vote was made Prime Minister. There is an old saying, Marry in haste, repent at leisure. It seems to me that the Tories were in such a rush to undo the mayhem Truss caused that they forgot to ask themselves why they didn't want Sunak in the first place.
10. And finally, I got myself a Fredom Pass as I reached 60 years of age, which I still find hard to get my hear around.