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Friday, 20 September 2013


Me, circa 1977

I've been clearing out, big-time, preparing for a move next summer.

I found this pic amongst some old paper (letters, job applications and song-lyrics from my old collaborator, Jeff Corker) and thought of a song from my first CD, Daffodils, just called Photograph.


Why can't I look at this photograph; it's just a boy
Looking into the camera with a kind smile?

What is it that disturbs me in this face that's unafraid,
How can this self-possession from the past scare me today?

Can the fallen angel turn his eyes upon the saint?
Can he bear to see what he can never be again?

Some may fear the darkness but they can't stare at the sun:
Who can gaze on innocence when their innocence is gone?

Why can't I look at this photograph; it's just a boy
Looking into the camera with a kind smile?

Life, eh?

Be happy.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

One more for the road...

My bar gig set-up in Die Fabrik looking out onto Schlesische Straße

I did four weekly bar gigs in Die Fabrik - as you'll know if you've been paying attention. They were great and I wanted to say thanks to a bunch of people who helped make them so.

So, thanks to:
Achim (romantically mysterious resident of DF), who proposed the gigs to the charismatic;
Georg (the owner), who said yes and told me that the charming;
Nina (who runs the bar and now makes a very good whisky sour) would look after me - as she royally did along with the splendid;
Anna, Robert and Flo (employees) who helped her.

And, thanks to audience members and new friends:
Andi & Martina (good luck with the shitty landlord!) and
Ian (thanks for the heads up re Rock Steady Records I'll let you know!).

And, sorry Andreas, I was never going to manage Smoke on the Water for you.

And thanks to all those who were part of the audience whose names I didn't get or couldn't remember (especially my new fans from Graz).

And thanks too, to m'lady A. xx

Maybe we'll reconvene...

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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Auf Wiedersehen Die Fabrik

Playing the last of my four bar gigs at Die Fabrik tonight. Looking forward to it.

The last year has been full of stuff (recording CDs with other music projects [as you can see here], organising parties for 35 in Switzerland [as you can see here]) and (places back of hand to forehead with pained artist-like expression) my 'own work' got a bit sidetracked.

My Berlin sojourn (best part of five weeks when m'lady A and I leave tomorrow) has been a great time to catch up with that. There's been a little writing (look out for songs This Hotel, No. 5 Reds and Wem Gehoert Die Stadt?, [Who owns the city?]), and this, along with the four gigs at DF have been a great time to reconnect with all things singer-songwriter-ish.

Been polishing up some mandolin songs for tonight. It'll be bright and bouncy. But a bit sad - 'cos it's me ('stealth misery' Andee P called it).

Thanks to all at the best hotel in Berlin.

See you if you're there.

London tomorrow.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Rock Steady Records

You see, here's the sort of thing that happens if you're a singer and talk to people. And I do, much to the chagrin of my shy mate Stephen who gets embarrassed each time I start a conversation with someone I don't know in a pub.

So, I'm in the Blarney Irish Pub, on Methfesselstrasse, just up the road from where I'm staying in Berlin at the moment. It's the opening match of the Premiership and I'm there to watch Swansea get hammered by Man U. I hear a chap talking English. He's Ian Thoroughgood and he's a Scouser and he's lived in Berlin for decades. And he's a friendly sort.

After we've dispensed with the football talk, we get on to music and it turns out that Ian's a bit of a music fan and he tells me about a record shop in the city where they sell a lot of vinyl and they also put on gigs. He saw one not long ago and the style was similar(ish) to mine. He gives me the details and the next day I wander over to the shop, Rock Steady Records, to introduce myself to Thomas, one of the proprietors, and give him a CD and ask if he'd like me to turn up and play a gig there.

He's going to have a listen and a look at the YouTube channel and all and let me know.

Maybe I'll play there and maybe I won't, but it's all grist to the mill and I love the avenues that can open up when you talk to people.

Thanks Ian.

Friday, 16 August 2013

This Hotel

Two gigs completed in Die Fabrik, my own personal Chelsea Hotel by the Spree.

Have to say I was intimidated by a sparse and incidental audience (not there specifically for the music) into playing mostly standards on night one (8th Aug). But last night I resolved to pull them on to my territory by sticking to the SH songbook and was rewarded by a warm response and the sale of half of my now dwindling stock of CDs.

Achim (see last post) showed up for a while in the second set and I sang the song I wrote about being in Die Fabrik hotel, written in Die Fabrik and entitled This Hotel. You have to, don't you?

Nina and Robert, running the bar, looked after me splendidly, creating the mood with strategically placed candles. An accidental tourist from Graz in Austria (we didn't expect live music!) bought all four available CDs (insisting on paying full price) and I gave a run out to many of my quiet solo numbers that usually only muscle in for one or two slots in a more upbeat set.

The energy of the place began to pick up as I was finishing - Berlin is a late, late city. Perhaps I'll start later next week.

I've long fancied finding a low-key bar with passing trade in which I could, over a year or two, build a following by playing regularly. This would be a great place. Pity it's 600 miles.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

New Berlin Gig

Die Fabrik Cafe Bar

How the wheels of fate turn, dear blogreader.

Thanks to Achim, a Polish exile in Germany of interesting ethnic origins, and the introduction he gave me to Georg, the cool owner of my erstwhile cool hotel retreat (and the place Achim resides), Die Fabrik, I'm gigging on Thursday 8th in the hotel bar.

Soooo, get yourselves down there to Kreuzberg for my inaugural Berlin gig. I'll be singing a song written about and in the place I'm gigging in. Heck!

(Starts 9.00ish, it's in Schlesische Strasse, just east of Schelsisches Tor station)

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Change to announced gig

The gig I mentioned below (Laika, 29th Aug), won't now be taking place.

I'm still looking for somewhere to play in Berlin, though!


Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Active again


I've been absent for some time. Life has its ways of determining these things and the last year has been characterised by a couple of time/energy sponges. One musical (see this blog - the name was Trowbridge's idea, honest) and one not. The latter involved taking 35 people to the Swiss Alps for a party. There was music, of course.

The essential musical me (in a 'Simon Hopper, singer-songwriter' kind of way) is resurfacing, though. I revisited a couple of German friends over the last weekend and played a couple of gigs. Both were in Swabia.

One was a solo effort at An Sibin - the Irish bar in Backnang that is becoming a regular stop-over for me. Claudia and Thanassi, the special hosts of this special venue are always a joy to meet and play for. (Those of you who have 'always wanted to run a bar' should see how hard these two work!)

The second was a house concert in trio form wonderfully hosted by Simone and Ilona in Waiblingen - but brokered by the lovely Norma Huss who herself hosted a house concert for me last year. S&I were fabulous as were the audience. My accompanists were Norma and her guitar/mandocellist partner from her Germano-Scottish folk band Clarsach, Paule Zeyner. It was a pleasure to play with these two. Their experience and musicality allowed us to prepare in double-quick time but with great results.

And I'll be playing again before I leave Germany. If you're reading this in or near Berlin (where I currently am) pop down to see me on 29th August at Laika around 8.00 where Anna has invited me to play. It's a joy in store for me.

Also, I'm currently ensconced in the funky Die Fabrik, a hotel in the equally funky Kreuzberg quarter here (a place that has been mentioned in my songwriting before now). I'm trying to get some writing done in the week or so that I have before m'lady Angelika arrives for our three-week holiday together in the city. (I'm treating it like my own Chelsea Hotel.)

I'm enjoying being a singer-songwriter again.

S. x

Btw, I spent Bitcoin last night for the first time - in Room 77 'the restaurant at the end of capitalism': I'm cutting-edge, I am.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Accompanist Sought

I've played with Andee Price for over six years. She's a great musician and it's been a pleasure to share the stage and record songs with someone who brought such experience and know-how to the party. But things move on and I won't be rehearsing, recording travelling and gigging with her any more. I'm looking for a new accompanist.
Below is the burb I've been circulating. Do you know anyone?
Acoustic/Folk/Singer-Songwriter seeks virtuoso instrumentalist/harmony singer for ongoing gigging and recording in duo/trio/four-piece scenario.
You will be an accomplished player/performer for whom quality of musical experience is paramount. The instrument you play is not as important as your ability to contribute to a classy finished musical offering. If you are a multi-instrumentalist, so much the better. You will be interested in songs, story-telling and the human experience.
I am an experienced writer/singer. I'm a songwriter first, a singer second and a competent guitarist/mandolinist/mandolaist third.
I'll be responsible for paying expenses at all times. I'll book the gigs. We'll split net gig income evenly.
I believe that playing live is the most important thing. I play and have toured recently in England, Scotland, Germany and Sweden. I will be playing regularly over the coming years and am looking for someone who wants the same.
“His songs are topical and intelligent. They don’t pull political punches… they try their damnedest to seek a deeper context or reference point in a quest for understanding.” hifi+ Magazine
Simon’s mastery of language as a beautifully pliable medium makes possible the delivery of dense and profound observations with precision and clarity. Asked about the scope of his subject matter, Simon replies: “Things that happen, things that matter.” The socio-political songs, for instance, jab at contemporary society's political amnesia: “And the weak feel powerless to act / Like a bystander on Kristallnacht…”
The love songs, too, are rarely unequivocal: “And she makes me feel at ease / And she's really keen to please / But it's funny, but it's true / It all makes me think of you…”
Simon Hopper: / 07968 500 161

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Fans' Gig 2013

Hi All,

The annual Simon Hopper Fans' Gig will take place at the usual place (see below) on Saturday 23rd Feb. Kick-off around 8.00.

This year we have special support from a new band Suck The Monkey (see below). One or other member of this band may be familiar to you, but the vibe won't be: sea shanties, pop covers and at least one blues will feature in their set.

I'll be playing a set of Hoppersongs with Leigh and maybe a new trio member. There are new CDs on the way this year, perhaps we'll play some of the new material, maybe some of the old. Send me a message if you have a request!

You know the score - it'll be better if you're there. And so will you.

As ever, entry free with collection.

S. x

Sundridge Park Tennis & Squash Club, Lawn Close, off Garden Rd, Bromley, BR1 3NA
Train to Bromley South, Cab/Walk
Bus No 314

By way of explanation: In the Royal Navy, sucking the monkey, bleeding the monkey, or tapping the admiral was the practice of sucking liquor from a cask through a straw. This usually involved making a small hole with a gimlet in a keg or barrel and using a straw to suck out the contents. It was not unknown for people to die from alcohol poisoning from this practice.