Elgin Adventures

BarbarossaIt’s striking how one’s whole mood and outlook can change for the better when you just go out and do something. That happened to me just yesterday, a friend suggested going to a pub in Ladbroke Grove where a guy she new from the music business was reading from his book.  I was half interested then I googled the man. Dave Barbarossa, up comes a wikipedia page, he was the Drummer in Adam and the Ants & in Bow Wow Wow. Then I was hooked,  a long long time ago when I was a teenager I would watch Top of the Pops in my little Provincial City and was totally fascinated by and teenage crushed on Annabella Lwin, I thought she was stunning.

So with a head of 80’s nostalgia I headed off to the Pub, The Elgin in Ladbroke Grove. I  order a drink at the bar and glance at the couple standing next to me, the guy is Roland Gift, I think of My beautiful Laundrette, of the Fine Young Cannibals. I want to say hello, say I loved that film, say you made some bloody good records, but in English style of course I pretend I have no idea who he is. The quirkiness off Ladbroke Grove continues when a local loony then wandered into the bar and began to talk to Roland and his companion, the loon was babbling away, God only knows what she was on about, but then out of the blue she just slapped Rolands companion on the back and then wandered off down the bar swearing rather loudly. Roland is calm through the melee and has the nutty Doris ejected from the pub, calm returns.

A few minutes later I am sitting in an oak floored room with a Victorian fireplace, a long table and around thirty other people are waiting to hear Dave Barbarossa read from his new book. The M/C for the Evening, Robert Pereno Due introduced Dave with Literary flourish, managing to quote Shakespeare, Ackroyd, Kureshi and a good few other literary illuminate along the way.

Dave began to read from his book and I was taken back thirty years…………… I will not attempt to retell the tale, if you are interested click on the link and pick up a copy, its a good read.


What I will say though was that I was very taken with Dave, a normal North London guy who’s seen some fascinating sites and met amazing people along the way, now at a little over 50, he still drums, still performs, he’s at the Hammersmith Apollo soon I believe, he confessed himself that he’d had a shit education, but the man is brave enough to write and publish, to put his experiences down on paper and turn them to fiction, I admire that a great deal. It made me realise that we all have a story or two in us, it’s just having the heart and the conviction to bring it out.

I looked around the room as Dave was reading from time to time, at the faces fixed on him, listenting attentively, I wondered what their stories were, what brought them to a pub on a Tuesday night to listen to this man reading.

We are all here in London, because it is alive, it is a breathing pulsating city, big, at times bad, but it feeds us, it gives us the chance to discover ourselves and others, to learn and to explore. When I was in my late teens I listened to Dave and his music 120 miles away from where he made it, in a quiet sleepy corner of England, safe, solid, but oh so quiet, I dreamed of being in London, noise, bright lights and life. Sitting in the room, listening and watching I realised that this was the place I am meant to be right now at fifty, I realised that a life explored and examined, listening to others tell their stories and recounting one’s own is a pretty fabulous thing to be able to do on a chilly March night or on any other night for that matter, London gives you that chance.

“London goes beyond any boundary or convention.It contains every wish or word ever spoken, every action or gesture ever made, every harsh or noble statement ever expressed. It is illimitable. It is Infinite London.”
Peter Ackroyd, London

Thank-you London.


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