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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The Cat; The [World] Cup; The [Jazz] Caff.

(Report by Lance).
The Cat. Nothing to do with the Jimmy Smith album on Verve but plenty to do with my feline 'friend' Daphne. Yesterday was the day allotted for her annual injections which are reputed to combat everything from Cat Flue to Bubonic Plague. This involves taking her for a pleasant scenic drive to a not too distant vet where needles are stuck into her in a manner reminiscent of a 1950's West Coast jazzman's hotel room.
However, Daphne's no Chet Baker and she resisted all my attempts to entice her into the cat carrier. If I went left, she went right. If I went down, she went up. Furniture was moved, tempting dishes of Gourmet cat food failed to draw her out from beneath the table until, ultimately, I was crawling under the table and Daphne sat proudly defiant above. Vet cancelled - replay on Friday.
The Cup. The O2 Academy in Newcastle was once the Gaumont Cinema and later the Majestic Ballroom where, I think, Harry Bence and his orchestra would swing and sway until ballroom dancing went away and pop groups ruled the day. Beatles, Faces and Manfred Mann were just some of the name groups who appeared there as well as local bands such as The Gamblers, Rue and the Rockets and the still going strong Junco Partners. On rare occasions, there were even Jazz Band Balls.
It then became a Gala Bingo emporium before becoming a rock venue - the O2 Academy - in 2005.
Last night it wasn't a rock gig although it was all very rock 'n' roll inside for the televised England v Columbia World Cup 'game'.
I can't recall ever being in a confined space with over 1000 people around and above me - I usually only go to jazz gigs where there is rarely that many in attendance although a recent jazz festival was reported to have been attended by 70,000 people. However, that was over a period of 11 days and it was in Romania.
The atmosphere inside the Academy was electric and when Harry Kane gave England the lead it erupted. Flares and smoke bombs went off, beers were thrown in the air (not mine, it was too expensive!) and the music blared - inexplicably it was Hey Baby Will You be my Girl? 
Then, just when we thought it was all over, the Columbians equalised.
No flares or smoke bombs went off. No beer was thrown in the air and nobody wanted a sweaty Columbian to be their girl.
Extra time and then penalties. My nails were bitten down to the knuckles, especially when Jordan Henderson failed to score but what did you expect? He's ex-Sunderland. Then the other Jordan [Pickford] made a magnificent save but what did you expect? He's ex-Sunderland. and then it was all over and Harry [Kane], England and St. Jordan [Pickford] had won the day. Celebrations spread out on to the street - I've never been hi-fived so much in all my life!
The Caff. I was swept along with the crowd down Pink Lane to the Jazz Café. Keith Crombie must have been turning in his grave at the sight of so many football fans outside his much-loved habitat. Inside, it was more subdued, tasteful, and a welcome refuge from the mayhem I'd just left.
David 'Showtime' Gray was blowing On Green Dolphin St., John Rowland joined him for St. Thomas, Paul Gowland, on soprano, played Violets For Your Furs and It's You or No One. Abbie Finn was on drums and John Pope on bass. All great stuff on which I won't elaborate further as Russell was patrolling the jazz beat last night - his review will, no doubt, follow shortly.
It had been quite a day!

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