• Nathaniel Keen

On the tour bus

Tour manager: Nat Keen (guitar)

Any musician who has played at Bridgeside Lodge will have come across our dear JC. His story is often met with amazement and disbelief. JC arrived at Bridgeside Lodge and was given 3 months to live with Vascular Dementia and crippling anxiety, 5 years later, with the love and care of staff members, the gift of a guitar and regular visits from musicians to play with, JC is very much alive and well!

Through playing music JC has been able to regularly interact, express himself, feel a sense of purpose, exercise his body and most importantly make real friends who genuinely care for him. In this supportive environment we've seen his beautiful, infectious personality celebrated not only by us musicians but by the BBC last year who featured him in a piece about the Paul and Nick Harvey Fund (a charitable fund of which The Spitz was a beneficiary).

JC's fame is spreading far and wide. Last week my girlfriend happened to be in a language centre in Croydon at 8am, there was a large TV on the wall and who happened to be in frame? JC! (BBC Breakfast was featuring the publication and launch of Music For Dementia’s “Power Of Music” report and included the visit to Bridgeside Lodge in May 2021. It’s a hugely comprehensive piece of work and well worth a read.

Each week when I visit JC, I take videos of us playing music together for this blog and to keep a record of his progress. Suffice to say, these videos have become legendary amongst my family and friends. They are all drawn to his personality, his positivity and his passion for music. Amongst my many friends who regularly request to see JC is my old school friend Mark McEnnerney who lives in Dorset. These days Mark makes a habit of texting me before I go in on Fridays asking for a video from JC. Mark works as a nurse in Poole hospital and has showed these videos to his colleagues there who have also fallen in love with him.

Recently the idea was floated to me that we could attempt to strengthen this connection with Mark and Poole hospital by taking JC on an adventure to the South Coast, a road trip, a tour! Often when I play guitar with JC, we imagine that we are on a tour of the UK, I ask him to read out a list of all of the venues we will be visiting and he suddenly jumps into the role of lead singer on the microphone, announcing (with a thick Texan accent) all of our upcoming tour dates to the captivated audience.

So, maybe we're not too far from turning imagination into reality. Stage one will perhaps be a more localised tour date in a London park just to check whether JC still enjoys life and long journeys on a tour bus.

Stay tuned for more announcements.....

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