Leo Karen’s California View – June 2011

WHAT AN amazing wedding between William and Catherine that turned out to be!! Politicians and warmongers, take note (not that they will) Luv is in the air. Three billion people worldwide turned out to have a good time. Young. Old. Rich. Poor. It galvanized people worldwide and it took ordinary people to make a statement. What is it all about? No, of course it isn’t all that simple, nor is there an easy answer. But we believe what it does show is we care about each other, and we all deserve to share in a bit of happiness. The monarchy is just the catalyst to bring this together. We’re proud to say the Brits do that the best.

Julia Gayle at one of her many interviews during the Royal Wedding.

Covering so much of the wedding scene that was happening last month we were lucky to be able to invest the help of our dear friend British actress and TV presenter, Julia Gayle, who ran all over LA garnering press coverage everywhere she went for the UJ: the White Harte, Cat & Fiddle, and Fox and Hounds, Julia was on NBC, Channels 5 and 9, Extra, and Inside Edition, among others. Well done Julia, you were awesome! You represented us (the UJ), the pubs, and the Brits superbly well. It looked like you were enjoying yourself, too, being right in your element. Thank Anton for all the photos as he did a magnificent job (check out www.ujnews.com under royal news tab).

We barely got through the wedding when the headlines read ‘Obama got Osama’! Not that that wasn’t welcome, just a reminder of all the far off wars we’re still dealing with. So when Scottish Lady MJ Taylor, the Captain’s wife of the Bill of Rights called and said, “ Leo, we need you! We need you.” I said, “Karen, darling, I’m needed! I’m needed! They need me on the helm. Can I go? Please? Pretty please??”

Jessica Sykes and Naomi Wolf of the Bay School.

We sailed out of the Channel Islands Harbor at sunrise (how romantic) to the remote side of Catalina at Twin Harbors. On board two dozen high school girls 15-17 from the Bay School in San Francisco, including Highgate born, 16-year-old Jessica Sykes, whose dad is from Leigh on Sea came over here six years ago. Also on board another exchange student, Naomi Wolf from Heidelberg, Germany.


Capt Michael Barnes hard at work.

We were going to sail north to Santa Rosa Island but ran into 8-10’ seas plus very strong headwinds. So, Capt Stephen Taylor made the call that it would take us just too long and be way too uncomfortable to continue, so we altered course for San Pedro, arriving lunch time the next day, and who was there to greet us and handle dock lines? But long time friend Capt Michael Barnes (how did he know we were coming?), a very popular member of the British Community and patron of the British & Dominion Social Club of Garden Grove (714) 898-6733. He’s had one of the cushiest jobs that California has to offer, having a 60’ luxury yacht entertaining visiting celebrities, politicians, ambassadors, and heads of state visiting Southern California. Wouldn’t surprise me if William and Catherine don’t go aboard as guests of Mayor Villaraigosa when they visit.

Our very competent crew then sailed north to Santa Barbara where Karen and our UJ photographer Victoria Linssen grabbed fish and chips at Liverpudlian’s Mac’s Fish and Chips 503 State St (805) 897-1160 then a pint at the Press Room (805) 963-8121 before descending upon the Granada Theatre for what has to be the thrill of a lifetimeThe Moody Blues.

The Granada is a warm, attractive, and intimate theatre, where we had joined Sir George and Lady Martin in 2009, presenting in his honor his show LoveLoveLove a tribute to him and his work with the Beatles. So it was only fitting to enjoy a special performance by The Moody Blues and the excitement was electric!!

Moody Blues at the Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. What a show!! Photo: Victoria Linssen.

From the moment they walked on stage, standing ovations for every song throughout the performance. What was hugely noticeable (we had orchestra seats courtesy of Nederlander Productions) the Moody’s played like it was their first ever performance. On the song I know You’re Out There Somewhere the audience swayed the entire time, standing up one could help but get caught up in their magic!

Graeme Edge left the drums to talk to us, mentioning they had just had a backstage visit from Herman’s Hermits Peter Noone, Mrs Brown You’ve Got a Lovely (grand) Daughter claimed he had just turned 70, although you wouldn’t have noticed the way he pranced across the stage with his rendition of Higher and Higher. All the greatest hits were played and some new renditions, climaxing with Justin Hayward singing Nights in White Satin. You could hear a pin drop. It was without question one of the most memorable experiences anyone could ever have.

Remember they were different. They were the first to put a full orchestra behind their band. The musicians for the show were equally as talented. The lineup included: Graeme Edge, Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Julie Ragins (keyboard), Norda Mullen (flute), Gordy Marshall (drums), and Alan Hewitt (keyboard). I talked to one chap who stated he saw them in a whole new light as he was stoned back then. One young lady in her 20s, Stephanie, drove her father from Hollywood and said, “Now I understand why my father Steve was such an ardent fan.”

I think it goes beyond being a fan. The Moody’s wrote, sang, and performed some of the greatest music of the last century and I urge anyone who hasn’t experienced them to “live” just once, and go see them! – www.moodybluestoday.com

I looked at the audience and they were smiling, some in tears at times, everyone in the theatre I would like to know. What a nice bunch of people! When you can get that kind of reaction and influence people that much, if that isn’t luv, I don’t know what is?! Thanks Moody Blues, you’ve done more than your fair share to make this a better world to live in.

Birthdays: Michael Palin 68; long time friend Bill Ward 63; Daniel Day-Lewis 54; Rick Wakeman (Yes) 62; Pete Townsend 66; Craig Ferguson 49; Cate Blanchett 42; Eric Burdon 70; Donovan 65; Ian McLagan 66; Steve Winwood 63; Eric Singer (Kiss) 53; Zoe Wanamaker 62; Mary Hopkin 61; Albert Finney 75; Glenda Jackson 75; Englebert Humperdinck 75; David Beckham 36; Pierce Brosnan 58.

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