What a day! I got up and packed my juggling stuff, balloons and Fiddlesticks costume ready to get to the station to pick Jess up at 10.30... but got a phone call saying she'd just missed that train but would be on the next one. That gave me a little bit more time and although she didn't get off the train I thought she would, I found her wandering in the portico area and we picked up my bike and walked in to El Piano for a cuppa and some lunch.
At about 12.30 we made our way to The Duchess where I was due to compere a ten-hour fundraiser for York and District Mind, called 'Sound Mind'. I got into my Fiddlesticks attire and pretty soon it was time for the first act to be announced, 18 year old Natalie Clarke. She started by singing a version of 'Fever' whilst playing the bass guitar and then did a handful of songs whilst playing an electric piano. Towards the end of her 20 minute spot, it became clear that the next performer hadn't turned up, so she had the opportunity to do an encore, but decided not to. I announced an open mike... and was surprised to see her 10 year old brother, Peter Clarke, come up on stage and play a piece on the piano. What a brilliant start to the day!
Then there was a poet, Laurie Farnell, followed by the wonderful Chechelele Choir who were too numerous to use the stage so they used the centre of the venue and blew us away. Another poet, Brin Price, followed with five very personal poems, and then, for me, one of the highlights of the afternoon, Calabash Drums. This local group, like Chechelele, couldn't use the stage so sat in front of it and did some very clever pieces with just a large number of hand-drums, bongos, Djembes and perhaps one snare drum. Oh, and a pile of pint beer glasses! Awesome!
Then followed Holly Taymar, one of York's favourite singer songwriters, accompanied by Chris Bilton, who played a percussed box called a cajun. Two unaccompanied singers with guitars followed, first Leesa Mae, then Aimee Ryan. Casee Wilson then sang whilst playing her keyboard.
At 6.30, the first of the bands went on, an new outfit called The Dark Roads, who were good and rocking, and then Player 1 whom I recognised from a York Green Festival. Boss Caine followed... as soon as I'd introduced him, Jess, Helen and I popped out to get some food. We went to the nearest Pizza place and had a pizza and salad to take out... and back to the Duchess where we filled our faces. Yummy!
Then there was a comedian, Sean Wilkinson, after which I pulled raffle tickets out of a bucket and a table's worth of goodies was won, bit by bit.
I was absolutely delighted to introduce my favourite York band, The Falling Spikes, who did a storming set, which took me right back to my heyday of musical enjoyment, in the mid 1980s, Spacemen 3. Well, some of the way back, anyway!
Finally, Faces of Dorian played a good set, and whilst this was going on, the money raised was totted up. The Duchess did reduce their surprise fee, which Sound Mind is very grateful for! One performer works for United Utilities, and 'match funded' the event with a donation of £250, which meant that the event raised £650 profit PLUS a single person promising to pay £10 per month as a standing order.
I enjoyed my 10 hours of 'on duty' work, though the work itself was very easy for me. I was really happy to have the company of Maggie, Helen, Charles, Jess, Brin, Mike, Rich, Moz and lots of others.
I cycled home and got in after 11pm exhausted. But I had to do my blog before going to bed!