Pass the Lube; it’s Jazz Time

Apologies for that grinding, squealing noise– it’s just the agonised turning of my rusting gears, protesting after more than a year of neglect. It’s worse than just lack of practice, it’s a soul-deep inertia, my limited life skills desperately longing to remain at rest. But the giant seems to be awakening– I think that explains the low rumble– and a return to some kind of life is again conceivable. I’m sure it feels different wherever you’re standing, but here in New York there’s an easing of the pressure, the weights slowly being lifted from our chests. I fell off a barstool at Smalls Jazz Club the other night for the first time in fourteen months.

 There seem to be gigs and travel in the not too distant future, airports and train stations, hotels and venues, although I don’t fully believe it. These things seem like relics, memories of another time. Do they really still exist? I imagine European train stations to be abandoned crumbling ruins, rusting train cars being reclaimed by nature, mice nesting in the seats, the odd skeleton in a conductor’s hat. Of course, that would be something to see in itself. I could have a new career guiding tours of abandoned jazz clubs, archaeological digs for wide-eyed youngsters, exclaiming as they unearth a battered beret, a twisted pair of dark glasses…

 But I’m cautiously testing the waters, reaching out to the bloated old overlords of our business, poking them gently with a stick, building my strength to engage in the deals and negotiations that come with the territory– “just enough for train fare and a sandwich, m’lord?” The payoff of course is swinging music with lovely people, and strange and wonderful food in far off places, so bring it on. Another email full of grandiose claims and assurances that I really am a commercially viable concern? Send!! Brain-suffocating, life-sapping decisions about bar codes and shrink wrapping? With pleasure!!

As I snap the computer shut, squeezing my way out of the jazz bubble and back to reality for another night, my battered spirit cries out weakly for red wine and pasta, charred bloody racks of lamb, but my unforgiving gig suits hang in judgment, demanding a no-carb diet and vigorous daily exercise. I’ll swing dangerously between these extremes until I can get back on the road where the rules don’t apply, and the clothes always fit, and the club owners pay on time. At least that’s how I remember it…


Thanks for reading! If you dug this, there are a few things you can do… Enter your email below so the next one goes straight to your inbox! Share it with your friends on your social media (share buttons are below– don’t forget to tag me @ NickHemptonBand)! Or even throw a few bucks in the tip jar! https://paypal.me/nickhempton  Cheers, Nick

Artwork by Michaela Chudějová

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s