Fun – Community – Inspiration

Our third Dream On Day – Part Two

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It’s now 11am on Saturday 27th April… Time to open the doors of the pub, and let the world in!

We have three table-holders downstairs, nine table-holders upstairs, and four bands eager to perform.  We also have Paul T, Beth and their team ready behind the bar, and our lovely support team (Saunders Family & Co.), so it would be fair to say we’re literally ready to rock and roll!

So, that’s forty people in the pub already; most of whom have never met each other before. The pub has a vibe already; upstairs the table holders are getting on like a house on fire, and the musicians downstairs are sorting out their sound, and the technical bits and bobs.

What was so lovely to see was how everyone involved just started talking to each other, swapping treatments and contact details, and helping each other out. What we were seeing happening before our eyes was quite wonderful; this was the real thing, the Dream On Community in action.

Martha English was rushing around taking photos, so that we and all of the people involved would have a wonderful record of the day. One thing we have learnt is that a few high res photos make all the difference, and are so important to have when approaching magazines, etc!

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The first people to walk through the door were our friends Jamie and Michelle Wood; I was so excited to see them, and I was very proud to take them round and introduce them to everyone.

Jamie and Michelle have been incredibly supportive of us, and our Dream On Days. On the last one; which was in November 2012, Michelle baked some delicious Vegan Christmas cookies. My mouth waters at the memory.

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Dream On Day 2 - no electricity but Dream On still brings a community together

However, let’s get back to the present.

It’s not long before Jamie is talking business with Chris of Flash Accounts, and Michelle is trying out the treatments. I can’t stop smiling.

This is about the time that I started running around like a mad-woman, introducing everyone I knew to everyone else.

women rushing cartoonI had sleepless nights building up to the day, and was really worried that people would not venture upstairs, and find our lovely table-holders.  The flashing fairy light around the door helped attract people I think too.

During the whole day I think that I ran up and down the stairs at least fifty times, taking people around the tables, whilst Paul was busy trying to figure out how to set up the video recorder for the music.

I need not have worried really, because the upstairs room was absolutely fine. It was the downstairs area (round by our table) which was a bit quiet. Next time, I will definitely include that in my grand Dream On Day tour!  There was just so much to show everyone.

At the start of the day, we had a plan that the music would start at 12 midday, with a half-an-hour break in between sets, this way people could explore the pub in between the sets. Like most best laid plans, it did not quite work out that way.  When we got to 12, there were not really enough people downstairs and we wanted our musicians to have a good crowd to watch them perform, so we decided to delay the start of the music to 12:30pm instead.

So, just before 12:30 Paul and I took to the stage.

Getting up on stage and talking in front of everyone, is not our idea of fun! However, when you decide to do something like a Dream On Day, there is no hiding, and there are certain things which you just have to do.

Whose silly idea was this anyway? Oh yes, it was ours…

Paul and I had made a deal; he would tell everyone why they were there and what we want to achieve with Dream On, and then we would alternate with the introducing of the bands.

Here we are on stage in mid-flow (this is probably us at our most nervous on the day!):

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Making sure that the speech was kept to a sensible length, Paul then introduced our first act, Jenny Hallam.  Jenny is a wonderful singer/songwriter who we met over a year ago, through a mutual friend called Brendan, who invited us to go along to Jenny’s album launch.  The album is ‘25,000 Days’ and we have followed her ever since.

The next day, Jenny moved from London, back to Malvern so this was her last London gig before she moved.

Jenny’s signature is a cloths peg with her name and website on.  Before her set started, she was perched at a table painstakingly printing the individual letters onto the pegs, that’s dedication for you!  They are a great idea, and we have a little collection of three pegs in the flat. They always make me smile every time I walk past them:-)

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Jenny’s performance captivated the room; she has great charisma, wonderful storytelling and a great voice, which filled the pub.

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As soon as her set finished there was a flurry for her CD’s, which she was selling.  She was very generous to donate £1 from each sale to our chosen charity, Lifeblood.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Jenny, at the Crown & Anchor, where she gave a great interview; it was so nice to get to know her, and as she says ‘I love to chat’.  The interview will be published soon.

It was great that Jenny, her partner and bass player Hywel, and her friends hung around for the rest of the day, enjoying the people and the atmosphere, which built as the day went on.

It’s absolutely brilliant to see how supportive people are of each other!

Next up was Hayden Prosser and his Jazz trio.  With the delayed start the guys were under a bit of pressure as one of the trio had to shoot off by 3pm, so they were on a tight schedule, and started playing before I could introduce them. However, I managed to grab the microphone between songs to tell everyone about them.

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We met Hayden through Paul T; when he used to perform at the Crown & Anchor for the Sunday Jazz and Joint. He also did the music arrangements, and performed at the Voodoo Vendredi Friday nights at the Crown, putting together a New Orleans Hot Jazz band. It was totally awesome!!!

Hayden and his Jazz mates are very talented musicians, and we count ourselves very lucky to have had them with us on the day.

After the next short break, Aaron John was the next to perform his set.  Normally Aaron performs with his band, Boy of the Afterthought, however on this occasion he agreed to perform a solo set for us, which meant dusting off some of his acoustic numbers.  Aaron’s mix of dry humour and gritty song writing was a great addition to the varying styles of music on offer.

We’ve known Aaron for a while now; we first met him when he worked at Dada Records, which was on the High Street. As we got to know him better, we found out about his band and his music. He gave me a super-inspiring interview for the Dream On blog about six months ago!

You can read the interview here: http://dream-onblog.com/2012/07/24/aaron-john-talks-about-his-band-boy-of-the-after-thought/  his views and outlook to life and music were really refreshing to hear, and I would urge you to have a read of the interview.

Aaron was the first musician to agree to perform at our Dream On Days, and was due to make his Dream On debut back in November; however a power failure meant we had to wait until now to hear him perform.

Aaron is one of the most cool (and talented) dudes we know:-)

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After Aaron’s set, I decided to draw people’s attention to Healthy Planet, who had their table downstairs, next to ours.  On the spur of the moment I suggested that Bradley should stand up in front of everyone, and tell us all about Healthy Planet and the great work they are doing; talk about putting someone on the spot!  He did brilliantly though, and even took questions!  I think he has forgiven me?

I have to take a moment out from all of the music now, and make a comment here about the ingenuity of our upstairs table-holders.  We noticed that people were walking by and looking in, but not entering the pub, possibly thinking it was a private party.  Lucy from Luxe Box came down and asked if they could make a sign to put outside.  I saw no problem with this so, with the help of her sister and Chris (from Flash Accounts) they found a flip chart hidden upstairs, and created a poster.  My Paul wondered what was going on when he saw them sneaking out the side door with the flip chart.  Taking his camera he caught them in the act…..

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The poster worked a treat (mental note for the next day – Board outside.  Always learning) as more people starting coming in from the street.  The best thing is they stayed, and were asking us what the day was about, and one gent even asked if we did Dream On Days every weekend, ‘Hell No’ we replied, it would kill us…… I have to say this made us laugh, and we felt proud that people were enjoying themselves and showing a genuine interest (it does help having the amazingly talented people performing and presenting, makes our job a lot easier).

There was one point when we were a bit worried, my Paul popped upstairs (I think he was after a hand massage) but came down rather quickly and told me that there was a police woman upstairs.  Were we going to have an arrest at the Dream On Day?  The scandal of it…..

The call came from upstairs that the police officer wanted to speak to Sasha Wallace.  Luckily it was one of our local Community Support officers, who was on her break, and had come in to see what was happening, and wanted one of Sasha’s life and health checks; phew!

Ok, time to get back to the music.

****Drum Roll for the rockers of the day****

Let’s hear it for…….Red Rose Empire!!

We first saw Paul, Paul and Rick (too many Pauls at the day) perform at the Oxjam in Chiswick last October. We were mesmerized by the guy’s performance and were so excited when they said yes to performing at the Dream On Day.

Boy oh boy, did they rock, and the crowd just loved them!

There was a lovely moment during their set, when Paul Claxton (the singer) spotted Corbin and Aimee Saunders moshing and clapping in time to the music; it was great to see the kids enjoying themselves as well.

By this stage the pub was crowded and there was a really fun atmosphere.

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Mid way through Red Rose Empire’s set our VIP’s for the day arrived.  Helen Roberts is the Start-Up Britain Champion for the Richmond area; she is an amazing entrepreneur of fifteen years. It was through Helen and her Start-Up Britain community that we met Martha, Maya and Sasha.

Helen shows a true passion and belief in what she is doing, and in helping people to grow and succeed.  Her energy is fathomless (hence why she ran the Brighton Marathon in around 3 hours!).  Personally she has really helped Paul and I to believe in ourselves, in what we are doing, and she really makes us feel that our dream will be a success.

One such example of her support is the lovely tweet she sent after the day, she tweeted, ‘Kim and Paul, it was a wonderful day. A really brilliant event – a massive congratulations!’

I met our second VIP, Lucy Buck through Helen. Lucy is the founder of a charity called Child’s i Foundation who re-home abandoned babies in Uganda. Lucy is another amazing lady and a total inspiration to us all! We were very lucky that Lucy happened to be in London over the Dream On Day, as she spends a lot of her time in Uganda working hard.  It was so wonderful to meet her!

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Our third VIP was our local MP, Mary Macleod.  I met Mary in January this year, when I went to one of her ‘Entrepreneurial Women: Taking the Start-Up Challenge’ meetings in Chiswick. That was quite a day for me because that was also where I met Helen Roberts (just shows how one chance meeting can change your life.)

Paul and I had emailed Mary to see if there was a possibility that she would come along to the Dream On Day. She had a big event that morning out at Heathrow, so she was not sure if she would be there, she would do her best.

We have to say that when she walked through the door, we were totally delighted. We are so thankful to Mary for her support! She has recently been appointed as London’s Small Business Advisor by the government.

With all this excitement, we completely forgot about our guest book; we wanted to get people to leave messages about the day, and their dreams.  To our rescue came Theo Carter-Weber, who volunteered to take the book around, we are so glad he did, we got some lovely messages of support, including this from Mary MacLeod:

‘Fabulous afternoon – an amazing initiative. Well done to everyone involved. I’m really proud of you – helping people to aspire, achieve their dreams, and fulfill their potential. Brilliant! Making the community a better place.’ 

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While Red Rose Empire were on about their fifth encore, The Carnabys and their parents arrived at the pub. As the gig was acoustic, three of the guys, Jack, Ben and Alex came along to rock their stuff.  Mike and Jamie were setting up for their evening gig; boy these guys don’t stop.

We have followed The Carnabys for a while now, as we are sure some of you have noticed, and while the guys strut their stuff on stage, a big part of their success is their parents.  The dad’s are always in attendance, and on this occasion the mum’s too.

As the guys had a gig in the evening we were not sure they would be able to make it to the day, so we were so chuffed when Simon (dad and manager) called us to say they would be there. For us watching The Carnabys is always a special experience and this was no different; each time we see them they get better and better!

Here are some shots of the boys rocking the crowd at the Crown & Anchor:

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During the time around the Dream On Day, The Carnabys were progressing through the Hard Rock Rising, battle of the bands competition. By the time of the Dream On Day, they had won the London leg, and were in serious contention for the final. They needed to get as many votes as possible to climb closer to that winning spot.

Between two songs, Jack started to tell everyone about the competition and how to vote, Mary MacLeod was really enjoying their music so I asked if she would help the guys in their quest to get votes, to which she said yes, so I interrupted Jack in mid flow to make the announcement.  That Monday Mary gave them some valuable tweet support (thank you Mary!)

You may already know, but The Carnabys won the competition!!!!!

They now have a recording contract, a world tour, a spot at Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park in June (supporting Bruce Springsteen) and lots and lots of music equipment!

Congrats to The Carnabys!!! They deserve all of their success now and in the future.

Here is a picture of The Carnabys getting their Hard Rock Rising Trophy:

The Carnabys Hard Rock Winners

With the music over, the day started to draw to a close, and as you can probably imagine, by this stage (after at least one glass of wine) we were starting to feel a bit weary, yet elated!!

Paul and I agreed that the day had exceeded all of our wildest expectations, so thank you to everyone who made that happen.

Tables were cleared and we helped Paul T and Beth get their pub back in some semblance of order, so they could start their dinner service.

We left our boxes of books and other equipment upstairs, walked home, showered, changed and then went back to the pub for dinner and a celebratory glass of wine.  As we sat there, we felt as though the buzz from the day was still present in the pub, as were the beaming smiles we both wore on our faces.

On Sunday we collected our stuff and that was that, everything was packed away…… until……

The next Dream On Day!

We have set the date for the next day, which is Saturday 7th September 2013, and our aim is to make this one better than the last one, we learnt so much in such a short space of time.  The main aim is to get more table holders and a few more people through the door, especially in the morning.

So, here is your invite, please come along, we would love to see you there.

Help Dream On grow by following us on Facebook and subscribing to the Dream On Blog, this way you will be kept up to date on all things Dream On, and things that the Dream On Community are doing.

Also please get behind the musicians and table holders; they need your support too.

Our Dream is to help as many people as possible, but we need your help to do that, so please spread the word for us.

Thank you for reading, and we look forward to seeing you all soon:-)

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