Gig Buddies celebrate a year together
7 March 2016
Read about Kittie and Dean, Gig Buddies who’ve been together for a year
Sat in the Con Club in Lewes at the recent Gig Buddies social I suddenly realise its March next week. I turn to Dean and say, “Hey Dean, it’s our year anniversary, we met last March!” “Yeah” says Dean, “Lets dance”.
I remember sitting in Dean’s bedroom, meeting for the first time. As Madeline (Gig Buddy Project Manager) attempted to talk to us about the importance of staying safe, Dean went to his drawers and started pulling out his many pairs of Elvis socks. I knew right there and then that this was going to be fun.
Our highlights have been going up to the O2 London to see the Elvis exhibition with Gig Buddies Stuart and Les. “Elvis is my number one, I don’t know why, he’s a good singer. He is dead, burgers and drugs”, says Dean. His favourite Elvis t-shirt usually appears at most of our gigs!
We also loved The Beatles tribute at Eastbourne bandstand. It was perfect weather and a brilliant atmosphere. We danced and sang along with everyone else for the entire show. I always get my exercise when I am out with Dean. I’d never been to see a tribute act before Dean arrived on the scene, but I can highly recommend them, you are surrounded by fans who know all the songs and it makes for a really fun night, we love a bit of communal singing! We always have the best time.
Dean also loved the Eastbourne social that Dan Dan the Puffin man organised. We went for Chinese food and then off to a bar for a few drinks and some karaoke, Dean thought about getting up and singing, he did take the stage, held the mic but then decided to return to his drink. His real passion lies more in his air guitar. He could win any air guitar competition. We hung out with a bunch of buddies and Holly from the team until midnight and then drove home. Dean sat in my car and said over and over how fun it had been and how it was the latest he had stayed out for. Dean will be 57 next month, he loves live music and going out to party, how was this the latest he had ever stayed out?! I was so pleased he had had fun, however, the waking night staff at his service were not so impressed.
That leads me onto some of the challenges we have faced over the last 12 months. Unfortunately challenges have mainly been around staff attitudes and communication. When we first starting gigging together I would need to leave a written note with Dean about the next gig, ring the service, email some members of staff and then call again just to confirm all in the diary! Also the glare we got when we arrived home and rang the bell at 11.30pm-12am always put a bit of a downer on the night. It has taken a lot of conversations with various members of staff, a shirty email to the manager and continued gigging but its got much easier to plan things these days although there is still a way to go and I’m sure that’s the same across the board not just at Deans house.
I always have a twinge of sadness as I leave Dean’s house on our way out to a gig, usually about 6.45pm, the faces of the many others living at the service watching us leave, half green with envy and half with a look of confusion about where someone might be going at this time of night! And we leave them there already bathed and in their dressing gowns for the evening. One day it would be good to see others getting ready for a Friday night out! Gig Buddies invasion required!
I think that the project has really changed Dean, from when we first met his confidence has grown, his understanding of venues, his whole energy is different, He seems more in control. At the start of meeting up he would often say things like, “I’m not always right you know”, “You are in charge, its not up to me”, “I need to do what you say, I don’t know why” and its taken 12 months of saying hey Dean no its completely up to you! Do you wanna stay out? You ready for home or do you want another drink, you decide! Its a much more equal partnership now, he knows he has choice and its made a real difference. We have a good laugh together and I feel like being a part of Gig Buddies has helped not only Dean but me a lot too, my life has completely changed over the last year and the changes started on my Gig Buddy training day 13th December 2014!
Next I think we need another out of the ordinary event to go to! Another Elvis in London moment! So we are on the look out! We still have a lot to explore, a lot more music to listen to, a lot more chatter to have and a ton more dance moves! Dean is king of the dance floor, it has got to the stage where a regular haunt of ours, the Eastbourne Underground Theatre clear away the front row of chairs when they see us coming to provide Dean with a dance floor! And I have a lot more to learn about Dean. The other day he showed me where his folks live and w
e had a good chat about Sundays with the parents, “Mum, Dad, they live with Charlie the cat, they do! He has 4 legs”. As a complete cat lady I am unsure how this is the first time I’ve heard about Charlie! Dean is now opening up and it feels good.
Dean – Guitar Hero, You rule. Thank you for introducing me to tribute band fun, incredible air guitar moves and for letting me be a small part of your life. Here’s to another year!