My local watering hole. The Crown Hotel.
Nice, quiet (most of the time), no piped music or juke box. No television in the bar rooms except under exceptional circumstances such as the BBC giving an unbiased report.
For those people who love to visit the Dales so that they can watch the X Factor from a different location, goggleboxes are provided in all rooms.
Good old fashioned conversation.
Good beer, Black Sheep, Old Peculiar and a guest beer from a local micro brewery.
In 2004, we had one of those nights where we always remember how good we were in days gone bye: youth.
We had a Catalonian barman Albert,who was something of an accomplished musician and being late and lubricated
stories were related of of past accomplishments with musical talents from yours truly and Barker, well known for skills
in more serious areas.
We also had a Canadian barman whose name slips my memory at the moment, more of him later.
Memory returns, Ben, sorry Ben.
As the night got later, as nights tend to do, tales of accomplishments turned to binding commitments and unwittingly,
Barker, Freixas and McKay was born, a one night gig with all proceeds going to charities specified by the three musiceers.
This is how I remember it now, these memories certainly bore no resemblance to my waking memories the following morning but
there was a conspiracy to commitment and to save honour and to a greater extent face, a date was set for six weeks hence.
Bearing in mind that I had not played a guitar for approximately fifteen years, Barker probably nearer 20 and Freixas,
although an accomplished musician, could only sing in Catalonian, this was proving to be an amazing feat.
Backing out was not going to be allowed. Although the three musiceers considered the impending night to be a local, quiet
affair, aforesaid Canadian who we shall now remember as Ben (sorry again Ben) had other ideas and the following poster was posted,
unbeknown to the musiceers, over the greater part of the North of England, or so it seemed.
Come the night, six weeks of practicing and the six bluesy/country numbers practiced seemed inadequate and a trip to the
Helwith Bridge for dutch courage seemed an appropriate idea, JCB at £3 something a pint polished off any apprehension.
Still under the apprehension that this was to be a locals night back at the Crown, the place was heaving, the conniving
Canadian had woven his publicity web well.
I cannot say we played well but for some strange reason the later the night went the more the audience seemed to enjoy
our efforts and the six songs gone free for all ensued. I think I was taken home around three in the morning,
We made £140 for charity and the event persuaded me to continue trying to regain a long lost hobby.
Barker, left at the mike, Albert Freixas to the right and yours truly in the middle.
Er... we really were enjoying ourselves, honestly.
Now maybe in the future, Albert may hold dear that old Yorkshire trueism 'them wer't days when we were on neets'. but I
really suspect that Noel and I will be able to say, "Albert Freixas, yep, played wi' 'im" and proudly.
Oh what a night!