Essential Kit

It's interesting when you get down to figuring  out the little essential things to take with you when you travel, like remembering to buy small travel containers of gel stuff and liquids prior to all that security related kerfuffle we have to all go through at the airport nowadays. It's just so the security folks don't take your precious toothpaste - those gels, those liquids - away from you. I've mentioned this before, I know, but getting it right, actually enhances the journey. I have it down pretty well, making sure I take the computer out before the bag goes through the scanner machine. I don't want to be barked at. The belt comes off, keeping one hand free to hold the pants up. The shoes come off ( thanks Richard Reid ) and speaking of which, the most important bit of kit to enable you to put the shoes back on quickly, as you thread that belt through again, is the shoe horn! Never travel without one. 

Interestingly, I learnt recently from Francis Rossi's ( Status Quo ) tech that the most important piece of kit he always carries with him is not a guitar pick, spare strings or a capo, it's a rubber door wedge like the ones bell hops use in expensive hotels when they bring your luggage to your room. It makes sense; you get to the door, any door - you're always laden down with guitars, bags and so forth. The doors are always annoyingly, on those strong spring, door closers, so the wedge, ( Francis has found out by experience ) keeps the door open while you swan into the nicely prepared hotel room or dressing room, like the cool rock star you are, instead of tumbling in like a fool, with bags crashing around you, pulling at all the sharp looking clothes you decided to wear that day. 

Speaking of hotels; I come down to breakfast at the Ramada Inn in Edmonton this morning and Bob Skeat is standing in the lobby, on the phone as usual. He says, "don't look now, but Mickey Rooney is over there." I'm like thinking Mickey Rourke, figuring a Ramada Inn would somehow fit him and I turn round to see Mickey Rooney - the one and only - the Hollywood star I've seen in all those movies that I watched as a kid. I can't quite believe this, in Edmonton, in a Ramda Inn of all places. Later I go over and shake his hand and Bob even gets a photo taken with Mickey and his wife Jan. Turns out he's in town for an Evening With...type show. Amazingly, he's now 89 and has been in show business for 88 of those years, first on stage at age 2 with his father and starring in his first movie at age 5. He was actually born backstage somewhere, rumor has it. It makes our day, I can tell you - all those movies. 

It reminded me of the time I went into a deli in Manhattan and saw Tony Bennett just sitting there calmly, having a coffee ( and why shouldn't he? ) Anyway, one thing about Mickey's name; he claims that when he met Walt Disney, Walt decided to change the name of this new cartoon character he had created.  Mortimer Mouse would sound much better as Mickey Mouse. I digress, but it's always something special when you meet a star and in this case, a real star. You marvel at what they've seen, the lives they've led. I mean Mickey has been married 8 times. He's done it all and he's still rocking' and rolling, cutting deals, performing, traveling - being Mickey.

By the way, I almost forgot; the show we played up here in Edmonton, Canada at Festival Place, was a lot of fun. The promoter was blown away. He kept saying that our fans were amazing. " It's like a cult." The crew was superb, real pros and I could not believe how many appreciative Brits came by to say 'Hi' at the post show meet & greet. One person I know, came all the way from Vegas, just because we never made it there this year. That's dedication but the winning medal for dedication goes to Muddy Manninen who we now call '7000 mile Muddy'. This could be a record for a one - off show by a Wishbone Ash member.    


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