One of the pleasures of being Chairman of the NHL (now HarmonicaUK) for a long time was that I was able to meet and become friends with the international harmonica players who travelled to our annual festivals via London. We live about 30 mins from Heathrow airport so we were able to provide the artists with accommodation for a couple of days to relax and get rid of jet-lag before driving them down to the festival in Bristol. They stayed in our spare bedroom, vacant since our children flew the nest and set up their own homes.
I took all this for granted until this humorous Facebook post by Rob Paparozzi brought it all back.
Many of the other artists who had stayed with us joined in with their comments. How I wish we had kept a visitors’ book, but this was all so informal and unplanned.
Two names missing from this virtual visitors’ book are Greg Szlapcynski (now Greg Zlap), and Rick Epping.
Facebook – Rob Paparozzi – 2018
A mere 242 years after the American Revolution and my poor Heart has been captured under ‘British Rule’ I was forced to stay in the lovely home of Roger & Jo Trobridge and take walks in the stoic and quaint town of Maidenhead then made to eat large hearty and delicious home cooked meals. Forced to sleep in a bed previously shared by other Harmonica slouches like Adam Gussow, Joe Filisko, Antonio Serrano, Will Galison, Peter Madcat Ruth and some tall guy named Howard Levy! Then I had to succumb to and peruse a treasure trove of rare vintage videos, books, LPs amazing Harmonica and eclectic Music Memorabilia in their lovely home compiled by Roger who is one of the FINEST music/art archivists in the world. Even forced to sit down at Jo’s lovely Kawai Grand and play old Randy Newman songs.
Then, shuffled off to the historic town in the Southwest of Britain, Bristol and made to perform with consummate pros and then hang around with the nicest warmest blokes and ladies in the country, while staying at a 5 star hotel.
Finally, having to endure 1st class upgrades and hot roasted nuts while in flight to and from the USA. How much torture can a man endure? Help! I’ve been captured (and I loved it). But I think the Queen has found out about all this mess and has had quite enough of this ‘Paparozzi dude’, so today I will be shipped back to the States.
Kidding aside. Thank You Roger Trobridge, Jo, the National Harmonica League, Ben Hewlett, David Hambley, Dave Taylor, Phil Leiwy, Shirish, oops almost forgot Walter John Davies and all the others I forgot to mention and of course it’s lovely membership and my friend Peter Hewitt for making me feel so at home in the UK and inviting me to share music and SMILES with you all this past week.
until next time … – Rob Paparozzi – (The Italian-American Prisoner of Love)
• Joe Filisko – Slouch I am!
• Robbie Kondor – Well deserved treatment, even as traitors go.
• Tony Perry – The Jersey Boy!
• Mary Ellen O’Neil Davis – Well if anyone can endure such torture you can do it. Glad they got sick of you & sent you back
• Walter John Davies – We can reveal that the NHL is actually funded by the British Secret Service as part of a covert charm offensive against you ungrateful colonials. Didn’t think it strange that we had a trusty American political prisoner working on the reception desk? We’ll get you all back serving the monarch yet.
◦ Rob Paparozzi – it all comes back! Thanks Walter!
• Richard Hunter – Clearly a case for the International Criminal Court. Thank God you were able to survive, escape, and squeeze in a big performance!
• John Posada – You poor guy…I don’t know how you can even stand it.
• Max Morden – That’s awesome…
• Greg Heumann – Sorry for your troubles, Rob. I’m sure things will look up soon.
◦ Rob Paparozzi – Woe is me.
• Nicholas Coppola – I am having them load the plane with cash to pay the ransom….. Don’t worry we will have you out of there soon……lol it sure is beautiful when a plan comes together
• William Galison – to you and Roger & Jo. I found their village and the walks around it, one of the most pleasant moments of my my life. Sorry about the bed I slept in. I hope it had time to air out!
• Peter Madcat Ruth – I was “forced” to stay there too…
◦ Rob Paparozzi – Ahhh I knew I’d forget another Major Dude!,-)
• Howard Levy – England swings like a pendulum do…
• Adam Gussow – I didn’t realize that we’d all shared that same bed, but I’m happy to know that I’m in that sort of elite company! I love Roger and Jo.
• Roger Trobridge – You are making it sound like a house of ill repute – we take in everyone. Antonio Serrano Dalmas also stayed with us. I wish I had taped you all playing in the music room…….
• Houndog Mc Gateley – The playing in the bar at the hotel till the wee small hours on Sunday night was always a treat for me, some great guys and memories. Can’t say I missed it this year, my wife would kill me, we spent the time in a London for our 50th Anniversary!!!
◦ Rob Paparozzi – We missed you Houndog but Family comes 1st and that is a major celebration my friend! Big Congrats and Many more
◦ Houndog Mc Gateley – Rob Paparozzi thanks Rob, next time eh
• Antonio Serrano Dalmas – I remember transcribing Larry´s Gavotte in that room!!
• John Valent – Enjoy the magic!
• Richard Smith – Nice tribute Rob Paparozzi. I think it`s true that Roger is the only member of the NHL who has never played a harmonica….. LOL