Thursday, 19 March 2015

Gigging In The Caribbean

Saturday 14 February 2015. We are aboard the Thomson Dream which is moored off Roatan, an island about 30 miles off Honduras in the Caribbean.

Towards the end of the afternoon just before we sail we go up onto the rear of Deck 10 where Tomas and Maris are playing.

Now it's not often that this happens, but I had gone prepared with a memory stick with some of my backing tracks from the keyboard so I was happy to be invited up and played a couple of songs, Concrete and Clay and Gerry and the Pacemakers' I Like It. They went down well and Tomas and Maris said they enjoyed how my guitar solos sounded part of the backing (they weren't - I hasten to add...!)

Then it was time to sail away. Tomorrow would be a full day at sea as we crossed the Caribbean from Honduras back to Jamaica. Mahogany Beach, now that all passengers were back on the ship, was deserted and just a few staff could be seen closing the bars and shops.

The tide was in again and the wrecks in the harbour mouth were less in evidence as the water rose. We left Roatan behind and sailed off into the seeming vastness of the Caribbean. Once the ship is moving and at sea there is always a strong wind blowing from in front. In reality those two larking about on the front of Titanic would have been plastered against the superstructure... There's no way Kate Winslet could have dragged herself to the pointy bit with a full skirt acting like a sail...

The following night in the restaurant was the Parade of the Baked Alaska and the chefs traditionally come out of the galley to enjoy their one night a week in the limelight. I have the utmost admiration for any member of ships' crew - they work tremendously hard, all of these people.

And then the waiter brought round the baked alaska, flaming erm... flames... coming from them! This is ice cream baked into a sponge and covered in meringue. The bake is such that the ice cream remains frozen - have a go and watch the liquid ice cream ooze out...

Kahia shows me how to rid myself of unwanted nasal hair!

And then the feats of derring do - one of the waiters balances two bottles together at the neck.

As if this wasn't amazing enough, he prepares to do the same whilst blindfolded!

Success! Cue huge applause which he acknowledges by giving the game away... Cue laughter and more applause!

We make our way to the Tides Bar where Tomas and Maris are starting their first set of the night. Four sets, each 45 minutes every night, seven nights a week which take them to 1:00am.

As their first set finished this trio - Tunesmith - came in. They are an acoustic trio and moved from table to table asking for requests. When they came to our table I said "Let It Be Me" and as the second verse started I joined in with a high third part to the harmony, causing heads nearby to whiz round and the trio's grins got a lot wider! When it came to the middle8, they gestured for me to sing it and we finished with a final flourish to a warm applause!

Tomas and Maris came back for their next set and Tomas whispered that I could do another couple of songs if I wanted.

Unfortunately I left the flash down on the camera and Miss Franny wasn't sure how to turn it on. Someone had asked previously for some rock and roll and whilst I had no rock and roll backing tracks on my memory stick, I played Cliff Richard's Move It whilst accompanying myself on Tomas's guitar - which has a much wider neck than my Fender and caught me out a couple of times with strings being further apart than I was expecting! I also played Joe Brown's Picture of You and came off to a roar of applause and shouts for more! I should do this more often ha ha!

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