Monday, February 19, 2007


Well, it's over, we're still talking and the only blot on the horizon is that I've just discovered that the boiler is on the fritz again.

Anyway, the souk was a great success as you can see here, complete with oriental ghosts in the machine.

The fault of my camera, I'm afraid. Nikon COOLPIX 4110 is reasonable for well lighted shots but indoors, the indoors/party mode needs too long an exposure and a tripod and the basic flash mode leaves me staring at something akin to a black cat in an unilluminated wine cellar.

Anyway, half the floorshow and the contents of the trench later and Idris slips into something a little more comfortable for the snake charming act.

A very simple routine involving absolutely no snakes whatsoever and yours truly on north African drum (the Doumbek for those of you who are interested). We bundle Idris into a basket off in the wings and I leave to take centre stage. I play and they drag the basket on from stage right. Sanyi, for it is he, enters stage left playing a very arabic theme on the oboe and begins to circle the basket. Nothing happens. He plays more vigorously. Still nothing happens. He kicks the basket. Nothing happens. He plays on. He kicks the basket again. Idris emerges and begins dancing. Loud cheers. A few twirls later and Sanyi deliberately fucks up the oboe line causing me to lose the rhythm. Idris feigns inordinate anger and whips the oboe off Sanyi. She proceeds to demonstrate to him how it should be played and I regain the rhythm. Sanyi takes over the dancing part of the act to even louder cheers and the whole thing ends when Sanyi climbs into the basket. Star turn. They loved us. Photos to follow if any fucker bothered taking any. Which they did, it must be said. Whether or not they included me in the frame is another question entirely. Watch this space.

And then came the belly dancing. Oh boy. Only two of them and one had to resort to tricks...hopping quickly around on alternate legs to generate the required fluidity of the hips but the other more than made up for it.

A bloody awful photo it is true and one that, although it looked fine in the screen of my Nikon when I took it, had to be digitally enhanced in order for it to achieve the admittedly sorry state you see it in here. But christ, can she move. She is an incredibly intelligent and hardworking single mother of Romany descent and who therefore, should have more than a rudimentary knowledge of these things and yet she was so taken with my playing of the Doumbek that she enquired of the possibility of my accompanying her on future gigs. I am decidedly self deprecatory when it comes to my ability on percussion, African or otherwise but even that would not lead to my turning her down, and I have yet to make up my mind by the way. No, what would really do it is that I am sure I would make a fool of myself, lose the rhythm due to a certain abdominal virtuosity and may even begin to drool and dribble. Kegels? I've shat 'em.

Anyway, Here's the band.

This is included only because I would like to place on record the fact that Csaba, one of the finest jazz drummers it has ever been my pleasure to hear perform, managed to stay awake throughout the entire performance. That's him at the back, behind the drum kit, in auto pilot mode. He also retrieved my congas from out at the vineyard jazz club and tells me, as have so many other percussionists (Danny Cummings for one, whose work on George Michael's 'Careless Whisper' still brings me out in goosebumps) that my Natal instruments have the most unbelievably excellent sound (except when I play them of course) and thus earned my undying admiration as an arbiter of good taste.

I bought 15 raffle tickets for 3000 forints (about 7 pounds 50, left the choice of numbers up to the delightful piano teacher I have lusted after for years and bottle of Chivas Regal 12 years old, base note Laphroaig, one multi media stereo headset, and one Galimard Parfum en 1747. Result.

I also managed to drink 7 litres (roughly 13 pints and, before you scoff, we were there at 18:30 and didn't leave till 04:00) of St Miguel draught beer, 6 honey pálinkas and 2 Johnny Walker Red Labels and remained disgustingly sober. Which only goes to show that, even when it's for charity, Hungarian landlords still water down the draught. Not only that but our 30% cut of the bar takings worked out at just 60 000 Hungarian forints. A hundred and ninety guests with beer at 500 forints a korsó? Yeah right. Wanker.

Anyway, despite his best efforts, we still made half a million forints which is half a million up on last year. We rule.

Ah, yes...and at about 02:00, we were approached by the Director of the music school who, after a few brief skirmishes around various and sundry bushes, asked Idris if she would be so kind as to organise next year's event, too.

Oh well, hey ho!

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