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  • Writer's pictureNathaniel Keen

Getting In To The Groove

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

Musicians: Nat Keen (guitar) Ben Hazleton (double bass)

'Lets start at the top and slowly cascade down' was the suggestion from Ben regarding the order of service, a.k.a where to start our visits. This has been the third or fourth time Ben and I have played together and we're getting into the groove (metaphorically and literally). As we ascended the Bridgeside stair mountain we chatted about our love of John Coltrane and decided on playing a mutual favourite of ours entitled 'My One And Only Love'.

Resident GB was our first visit, he seemed to drift in and out of sleep and appeared very comfortable. We invited him to continue relaxing and to allow us to help him drift off again with some calming sounds. Ben began bowing some explorative cadenzas on the double bass and with eyes closed, GB, who was fully reclined joined with a wordless operatic passage. Ben expertly followed his direction, also feeding ideas to GB as he sang freely, soaring in and out of a semi-conscious dream world.

** GB is lying in bed so we've chosen to only include Ben in the video below, but you can hear his powerful singing **

After our earlier Coltrane conversation we then agreed to try out our ballad and by this point GB had drifted off into what looked like a very comfortable slumber. When we quietly slipped out of his room at the end of the song he opened his eyes and gently said 'very charming, tres gentile'.

We were both excited to see JC who without fail lifts the spirits of all who enter his room. The Spitz team had seen JC on Wednesday for the concert in the garden and had invited him to take on the responsibility of being master of ceremonies. With pride he had accepted, grabbed his imaginary microphone and addressed the audience with the title of the next song. We created some new songs with JC today and then finished with his favourite 'No Particular Place To Go'. JC reflected as our session drew to a close....

'This guitar has been a good friend to me'

As we left JC, we could still hear the sonorous tones of GB singing from his room down the hallway.

By the lift area we found resident IF and music enthusiast D who on Wednesday I'd spent a good while getting to know. He'd told me about his previous jet-set life style, working around the globe and making sure he made time to go out and listen to the very best local music. He told me about speaking to Dizzy Gillespie in New York, going to after-hours bars in Soviet Russia and having his drivers take him to all-nighters at Fela Kuti's 'Shrine' music club in 70's Lagos, Nigeria. Such scenes seemed a far cry from rainy Islington so we attempted to bring a slice of Afro Beat to Bridgeside Lodge instead. IF, who had a front row seat view of proceedings contributed some patriotic Scottish rap and suddenly we landed on an interesting genre-bending jam session. At the end D was keen to let us know that due to his Parkinson's, he couldn't clap, but directed us to his feet which he was gently tapping on the floor in appreciation.

On the second floor we hopped on an express flight from Lagos to Athens where we finished the day playing 'Miserlou' (a Greek traditional tune). One carer in particular was very keen on getting everybody moving, residents GH and ML looked entirely not up for it but AK, who loves to dance, represented floor two and made her way onto the dance floor to throw some late afternoon shapes.

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