Tuesday, October 08, 2013

A very special occasion

The first part of the week is always the busiest for me as my two weekly deadlines are on Tuesday (for the Thoroughbred Internet website and for 'Winning Post') and I can't really start writing the articles until the weekend's racing has been run.  So that's about 4,000 words which have to be written in a short period of time.  It always works out OK, but I find myself under a bit of pressure when we have runners on Monday and/or Tuesday. This week has been fine as our only runner is tomorrow (Wednesday) but, even so, I've had to burn the midnight oil a bit.

With Sunday being the wonderful Arc Day, highlighted by the terrific Head-trained relatives Treve and Moonlight Cloud, I didn't end up starting to write anything until Monday.  That's fine, but we're very busy in the stable at present - and then I had an even more important commitment yesterday as I had a lifetime highlight in the evening.  Earlier this year we had Meatloaf playing at the July Course, meaning that I was, after all, able to see one of my all-time favourite singers, having for many years previously assumed that I'd missed that particular boat.

Anyway, I had a second dose of similar joy yesterday as Al Stewart, whose album 'Year of the Cat' ranks as a big part of the sound-track of my adoloscence and is one which I will continue to enjoy regularly as long as I live, played the Corn Exchange in Cambridge.  When I had found this out, I had had to spend all of quarter of a second agonizing over whether I'd be there to see the show.  Anyway, the show was last night, and it was at least as good as I'd dared hope.

He's just as good a singer as he was in the '60s and '70s, his songs are timelessly magical, and he was joined on stage by two other magnificent guitar players, Dave Nachmanoff and Tim Renwick.  The former, who comes from California, often plays with him nowadays (Al Stewart lives in the States nowadays) but Tim had joined him from the show, which was a wonderful bonus: he's from Cambridge, and played the great guitar parts on the original recording of 'Year of the Cat', as well as playing at various times with David Bowie (on Space Oddity, I think) and Pink Floyd.

The result was outstanding.  They played for a good two hours, and the sound was outstanding.  Often one goes to these things and finds the versions of the songs less good than the classic versions one holds in one's head; on this occasion, the music was so good that some of the songs were even better than what one thinks of as the original versions.  Furthermore, Al Stewart is such a great performer that his introductions to each song were a joy - and he did what all performers should do but many don't, ie come out to the foyer afterwards to salute anyone who wants to say 'G'day' and to sign album covers etc.

Anyway, that's put me under a bit of pressure - but, boy, was it worth it!  I'm still on a high.  As if that wasn't enough, we've had some more lovely Indian summer days.  Bliss.  The only way it could get better would be if Frankie (Douchkirk) could salute the judge at Towcester tomorrow.  He'll be our only runner of the week (as we failed once again to dig anything out for the Arc) so that's our only shot at the target.  Fingers crossed, though, it won't be a shot which goes wildly wide.  He hasn't run for five months as he developed a splint after running on atrocious ground at Worcester early in May, but, while he won't be 100% fit, he's doen plenty of work, seems very well, and ought to run respectably.  Here's hoping.


neil kearns said...

Sure you could have found something to go with Treve - if if had joined in three out at full lick - some performance that was until Midnight Cloud last time .I saw anything that mpressive probably Dancing Brave but I may be biased I won a few quid that day

glenn.pennington said...


Shame Al didn't have much in the way of song-writing success in later life