Promises (As The Years Go By)

Posted on 30th January 2011

On the 14th November 1985 I went along to The Marquee on Wardor Street in London to see the first gig by IQ with their new singer. I had been there 4 months earlier to witness Peter's last gig (at the time) with the band, so like everyone else was keen to see what the future held for the band.

Having got to know the band and crew very well, I got there early and was fortunate enough to be in the club helping Lol focus the lamps when Paul Menel appeared. Doubtless all the introductions washed over Paul, but he and the fans got to know each other well over subsequent years. After 2 successful albums,  and bigger success in Europe for IQ, in 1989 Paul decided to move on. After an initial release of 'Freedom', also featuring Tim Esau, things went quite for several years.

Then in 2010 after some chance meetings, Paul started to pull together a new band, and started writing songs that would be recorded for his forthcoming album, Three Sides To Every Story. With John Jowitt and Steve Harris, both recently of arK fame, recruited into the band, they began rehearsals for a short mini tour.

The first gig at The Peel in Kingston upon Thames, took place on 29th January 2011. It was a great night and it was worth the wait to see Paul back on form again. Playing songs from his time with IQ, as well as several new songs, the band were having a great time, as were the audience. Playing for just under 2 hours, the fans were treated to some classic performances, including two versions of Sold On You, after the backing track in Promises played up in the encore. Surprise of the night was the rare performance of Colourflow, complete with a Dancing In The Dark moment of picking the girl from the audience to sing the duet with Paul.

The new songs fit well with the old songs, and several are a natural progression from the days of IQ. Personal favourite of the night, and on the album too, was Little Gorgeous Fool. Don't miss the band live if they're playing near you.

For more my photos of the gig: Paul Menel @ The Peel 29th Jan 2011

File Under: ark / gigs / iq / menel
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The Funeral Party

Posted on 28th January 2011

There is something fascinating about graveyards. Rather than being creepy or eerie, I find them quite peaceful. It can be interesting reading the headstones to see how long ago people were buried and some of the dedications.

Recently Dan and I visited the Warstone Lane Cemetery in the Jewellery Quarter, and previously we've visited John Bonham's grave near Droitwich and Ian Curtis' remembrance stone in Macclesfield Cemetery. I've always wanted to visit Highgate Cemetery in London and Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris too. I'll confess that its partly to see where famous names are buried, but I'm also intrigued to see some of the not so famous gravestones, tombs and memorials too.

While attending a funeral several years ago in Cheltenham, I happened to be looking at the headstones as we walked along the path to the crematorium. One stopped me in my tracks as I wasn't quite sure whether I was seeing the resting place of the person I thought it was. The headstone was for Brian Jones and the dates on the headstone did seem to match.

For those who are music fans of the 60s, you will probably remember that Brian Jones was once the guitarist in The Rolling Stones, who died in 1969. My later investigations revealed that the grave was indeed the final resting place for the Stones guitarist.

It's surprising what little parts of history you can discover wandering through a graveyard.

File Under: life / people / sightseeing
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Empty Spaces

Posted on 19th January 2011

Over the last year or so, my blogging has been a bit haphazard. There are a number of reasons for this, but mostly it has been down to me not having the time to sit and write about what I've been up to. So to rectify that, I'm going to try and post at least once a week about a project I'm working on, or find time to work through an album of photos that I have been amassing and not sorting through for the past 4 or 5 years, and upload them on a more frequent basis.

I have several coding projects currently on the go, several of which are now interconnected by one major project, Labyrinth, of which I'm slowly working through, getting them packaged and released. Releasing Labyrinth has been a long term goal and much of 2010 was spent pulling all the sites that use it together to filter all the fixes into a single codebase. Its been 8 years in the making and was quite a relief to finally make the first Open Source release of the code on 1st January 2011.

Another project that has been put to one side for the moment is my book. As I've mentioned previously I've been writing a book about how to organise a YAPC Conference. That will make it onto GitHub soon, so others can contribute, but I want to work through the feedback I've had so far to update it enough to prepare another draft.

My music life sprang back into action last year with the reformation of Ark or arK as they are now known. I overhauled the Ark Appreciation Pages I created back in 1998, and now have a backlog of photos, videos and reviews from the last few months to get through. It has been incredible to work with the guys again, and having got back in touch with IQ and Paul Menel, thanks to John Jowitt, it also been great to catch up with many old friends.

My family life has also been quite eventful, for all sorts of reasons, though I'll save a couple of the events for future blog posts, so I don't use up all my post in one :)

2011 is currently looking busy, but hopefully I shall keep to my promise and at least blog about it as I go. We shall see!

File Under: life
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