There have been a number of Shineback curries, one very memorable The Fierce And The Dead curry (memorable for me not having been invited to it), and now there was to be a curry with Mike Morton and Dave Lloyd of The Gift, to discuss various matters and to have them sign their contract with Bad Elephant Music. David Elliott (and to avoid confusion with the other Dave in room I will refer to Mr Elliott through his stage name of Wilf) had booked us into the Masala on Brick Lane in London for 8 o’clock, because it would accept his Tastecard, and that is the way that BEM rolls.
It promised to be a good evening.
I travelled down by train with Debbie because she had a rehearsal in Mile End for a series of concerts she will be playing in France in July, and as I seem to have been roped into that you are bound to hear more about them in due course. This meant I arrived at Brick Lane about an hour early, so I had some time to wander around the area, and I must say it was very vibrant and energetic, even at this relatively early hour, both down Brick Lane itself, which is largely a succession of curry houses, and through the sidestreets which run off it, which seem to house more artistic endeavours, related to art, fashion and music.
It is clearly a place to be, and here we are with BEM. I had walked past the restaurant earlier and now made my way back, stood across the road from it, reading my book (The Ascent Of Everest by Sir John Hunt), and not before long a taxi pulled up outside. I could not clearly see who was inside it, and wondered if Wilf was using the non-existant expense account again, but when the door opened out stepped Mike Morton, the writer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist from The Gift, who I recognised from when we had met briefly at Celebr8.2. We were early for the booking but we went in anyway, ordered drinks and some poppadoms, and chatted while we waited for the others to arrive. We did not have to wait too long for Wilf to turn up, and very soon after that Dave Lloyd (guitarist from the Gift) completed the party. So we ordered more drinks and more poppadoms.
We decided to deal with the business end of things first, and I am delighted to say all parties now have a fully signed copy of the contract which brings The Gift into the Bad Elephant Music fold. I am less delighted to say that we each made a complete hash of signing in the correct places. I would blame the drink, but I was on Diet Coke.
We ordered our food (I started with paneer tikka, and had a main of murghi masala (“Very special Authentic dish made exclusively by our chef. Tender pieces of strip chicken mixed with mince meat & boiled egg cooked with chefs own seceret receipy a medium hot dish Bhuna style”) with coconut rice, while resisting the urge to have a naan), and then got on to a wide-ranging dicussion of musical matters, which did largely revolve around Prog, but also took in other aspects. So we talked about the 80s Prog scene, and in particular IQ, LaHost and Twelfth Night; ‘old’ and ‘new’ Marillion; Tin Spirits, The Pineapple Thief, The Tangent and Godsticks; Genesis; and the record labels Cyclops and Esoteric Antenna. I am sure we bored Dave silly with all that bloody Prog ! We did also discuss flute repairs, different types of bassoon, and how best to nurture an interest in music.
One matter we did discuss in some detail was Land Of Shadows, the forthcoming new album from The Gift, and we can now reveal that it is being mixed by Simon Godfrey (of Tinyfish and Shineback fame), with a release date in good time for the appearance of The Gift at Danfest on Saturday 23 November 2013. Other parts of that discussion, and a couple of ideas around their debut album, Awake And Dreaming, will have to wait to be revealed for now.
Everyone agreed that the curry had been delicious and we continued our talking while we waited for the bill, eventually leaving the Masala at gone 11, having enjoyed a very interesting, informative, entertaining and stimulating few hours – there were no awkward, silent pauses ! It is safe to say that we are all very excited about the coming together of Bad Elephant Music and The Gift and the next few months are going to be fun. And will most likely involve more curries.
You can see more of my photos from the evening here.