What do I plead? Only that I prefer to post a story with a wet nose, a tummy and a tail; a beginning, a middle and an end, rather than leave you hanging for a conclusion.
But some things just can't be hurried.
Anyway, here's what one wears in the Dog House these days, a "tonic" mohair sharkskin - for that smooth look with bite. Real mussel shell buttons, too. On the right, Anthony's "Alfie" suit:
For our visitor was Dave Swift, Jool's bass player of twenty-five years and counting.
"That's extremely nice of him," we said, "Not least as we haven't made him anything!"
"Well what's he *$%^£* well doing recommending something he hasn't tried?!"
A perfectly reasonable challenge. We managed to persuade him to stay with the help of grappling irons and the net over the door. He couldn't make a speedy escape down the steep stairs of our studio as he had brought along his dog house bass, an upright bespoke made for him by another South London craftsman, Roger Dawson of Deptford. He wanted to demonstrate the scope of movement required when he takes the curvaceous beauty in his arms. http://www.daveswiftbass.com
He must have been at least half happy with his suit as he promptly put in an order for the next one and invited us to see Jools' band at Hampton Court Palace. It was a golden evening in early June, and the open air courtyard glowed in the sunset. I waved to the ghost of Alice, my great grandmother, who had lived in a "grace & favour" apartment under the clock tower.
|My great grandmother Alice lived under the clock which must have been a bit noisy. Anyway there was a joyful racket the night we were there|
Before they went on stage we drank their rider in the house provided for the band, as a mere dressing "room" could not accommodate their number.
|I went dressed as Axl Rose, for no particular reason|
|Bill & Marcela Curbishley, Jools Holland, Mr Wesley and Dave Swift|
Meanwhile some international football tournament came and went, and the poppies opened in the wildflower meadow in the Imperial War Museum, now itself reopened, to inspire a silk / linen jacket for Steve:
http://www.biddlesawyersilks.com), as sensuous as diving into a tub of ice cream. What appears to be frost flakes are, on closer inspection, licentious ladies in the throes of a Busby Berkeley routine:
"I LIKE the crumples," retorted Roger, "I"M a bit crumpled."http://thewho.com
Roger had also fancied the look of the "Clancey" coat that Mr Wesley was wearing when we first met him. Pointing at it, he proclaimed, "I'll have that". So we recreated it in the same Harris Tweed http://www.harristweed.org but custom printed the lining with the help of our pals at Hatley Print, http://www.hatleyprint.co.uk/Hatley_Print_Digital/Hatley_Print.html, to make it very much his own:
But an even bigger cause for celebration is the news that Wilko's original "hopeless" diagnosis may have been mis-delivered. We sincerely hope and pray that is the case and look forward to the follow up release.
|Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey on stage at the Shepherd's Bush Empire|
|Love this photo of Bill Curbishley, Mr Wesley & Norman Watt-Roy, bass legend of the Blockheads and now Wilko|
|When Dylan Howe first turned up at my jam to play he wasn't strictly, in an uptight, legal sense, old enough to be there #proud|
|Wishing a long and happy life to both these gentlemen|
|Mr Wesley chats to Ingmar Patton, our one-time intern, on the driveway of Highclere Castle|
|Ma Butler, me in the new Bedlam tricorn straw hat, and Mr Wesley|
|Tiger Moth engines clattered in sky over the ramparts|
|Tiger Moths dog fighting in the sky|
As we left, Tiger Moth bi-planes did a thrilling demonstration dog fight in the sky but we had to get back... to collect the Puppy of Peace.
|First meeting with Brian - I called his name over the sleeping litter and he opened his eyes, scrambled over the snoring bodies of his siblings and came to me|
|Brought home when he was old enough to leave his mummy & daddy. That's us now.|
A few days after he had joined our household, we received a phone call at 8.00 am on August 8th from Alfred, whom we had met at Regent's Park on Mr Wesley's birthday. He asked if we could make a dinner jacket for Gregory Porter to wear that night at the BBC Proms "Battle of the Big Bands" as he had just got off a plane without his. We regretted that we could not work that fast. They asked if we had a sample in his size - which is as substantial as his talent, at 6'5". I was about to give them a number for Moss Bros when I remembered through the early morning haze that we still had lovely Dolf Sweerts' dinner jacket hanging on the rail. My first call was to him, to ask if we fancied vicariously performing at the Royal Albert Hall that night. With typically generous good humour he said of course, as long as he had it back by Wednesday. And so we delivered Dolf's jacket backstage at the RAH and Gregory looked and sounded magnificent in it.
|Mr Wesley with Gregory Porter, backstage at the Royal Albert Hall|
|Gregory on stage in Dolf's dinner jacket|
|Gregory Porter gets cuddly with Brian the puppy|
|The Puppy Tooth check Gregory chose from the latest J&J Minnis bunch, Worsted Alsport II|
|Brian whispers to Simon; Nile in the background.|
|Nile in his Bedlam "Palio" jeans which we think he's taken off since he received them, but not much! Afterwards he posted, "I've just had a great week recording in Duran Duran's studio. I think we're closer than we've ever been."|
|Really extremely cute. And the puppy's not bad neither.|
|Mr Wesley with Andy & Emma Wilson. We take this memory of him smiling from our last meeting.|