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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Next Song Club East concert

The Details
Date: Wednesday, 14th October, 2015
Venue: St Margaret's House, Bethnal Green E2 9PL
Time: 7.30pm
Entry: £5.00
Travel: Bethnal Green Tube, 254, 388 and others

You'll love it.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

I haven't gone away

Dear loyal follower of this blog,

I feel I've been ignoring you. It's because of Song Club East. She's a needy child and I've been preoccupied. But it's not that I don't love you. And you can come along to see what's going on at said club. In fact, see below. Next concert: 14th October. See

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Stolen items: have you seen them?

The following were stolen from my garage in Bethnal Green last week. Pls let me know if you come across them being sold second hand.

Orange guitar speaker

Peavey practise amp

Bose column PA bass cab

Orange Tiny Terror guitar head

The pics may not be of the precise items, but they're close. If you could put the word out, reTweet, etc, I'd be grateful.

Life, eh?!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

SCE: first gig. Wed, 9th Sept.

The first songwriter circle gig for the new song club is on Wednesday 9th September.

This one will feature Black*Scarr from east London, Gabriel Moreno, the organiser of The Lantern Society in The Betsy Trotwood at Farringdon and yours truly.

The former and second of these are great performers and songwriters. The latter, you'll already have an opinion on.

On its blog, it says that Song Club East (SCE) '... exists to celebrate the craft of song-writing as found in and around east London and to act as a nest of practitioners and enthusiasts to promote this craft through a monthly concert...' so it must be true.

Come along, it'll warm your heart and salve your soul.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Tower Hamlets food bank charity gig

Dear all,

What are you doing on Sunday 20th September? Well, I'll be playing at an event I'm running to raise money for the organisation that runs the Tower Hamlets food bank, The First Love Foundation.

Here's the details:

Event: Multi-Cultural Music Concert
Where: St Margaret's House, Old Ford Rd, Bethnal Green
When: 20th Setpember (could be afternoon, could be evening, TBC)
Line-up: Me plus... see below* (I'm looking for some help, here...)
Entrance: £5.00, plus raffles.

*Thing is, I'm still looking for musos from the Somali and Bangladeshi communities to be involved. These are the two main ethnic minority groups in the borough and I thought it would be a good idea to have this spread of music at the event. Can you put me in touch with players from these groups? Time's a-wastin'!


Saturday, 11 July 2015

In my mind I'm going to California...


What a time I had. Here is a list of highly-deserved thank yous:

Firstly, to Michael Foulkes, whose invitation to stay with him and rekindle our friendship sparked all this. And to his wife Gail who was a lovely hostess to this itinerant musician she hardly knew.

Aqus Cafe, Petaluma

Then, regarding a great full-room gig at Aqus Cafe in Petaluma on Friday 3rd July, the same to John Crowley (founder and co-owner of said establishment) and Lesley McCullaugh its impressively efficient supremo.

Redwood Cafe, Cotati

And more thanks to Michael#2 (McCullaugh - husband to Lesley above), owner and manger of Redwood Cafe in Cotati who hosted my second gig on the Wednesday of the following week - another fine gig. (Michael also brokered my radio interview with Andre de Channes at KRuSH radio - see below.)

Then there's Donny Mederos, the finest bass-player in California. Donny is a real pro, a great player with an even better attitude. It was a pleasure to share the stage with him and I look forward to doing it again. (Donny has the largest tip-jar in the northern hemisphere, which accounted for our generous takings from the gigs we did together. And it was fun to sit in with Donny's bands at the Twin Oaks Tavern at Penngrove*.)

Andre (see above) was a great host and interviewer on my visit to KRuSH radio in Santa Rosa prior to the Redwood Cafe gig. Thanks, Andre, it was fun. Andre let me have a recording of the interview - I'll try to make it available soon.

Apart from the above, I'd also like to thank the good people of Sonoma and Marin counties who made me welcome and came to support my concerts. Proper listeners, they were. Lovely.

Finally, to the Santa Rosa motorcycle guys 'n' gals who took me riding in the Napa Valley on Sunday. It was fast and extremey bracing - and hugely life-affirming. (And thanks again, too, to Michael and Gail F, who suggested the heavenly ride from Bodego Bay to San Francisco along Highway 1 on Sunday.)

Music takes you places. This was a particularly good place with particularly good people. Thanks, all.

(* Even though I proved the truth of the muso's joke: 'Q. How do you know there's a singer at the door? A. Because he can't find the key and doesn't know when to come in.')

Monday, 8 June 2015

Cali-forn-eye-ay here I come!

Thwarted, as I have been in my attempts to find me a permanent home in funky east-London-town, I'm going to distract myself with a trip to California for a couple of gigs early next month.

Thing is, my mentor-from-another-life-and-time Michael Foulkes who lives in Petaluma (half-way between 'Frisco and Santa Rosa) has invited me over and fixed a couple of evenings with friends in the area so I'm a-going trans-Atlantic to sing me songs. It's tough, but someone's got to do it.

It's Aqus Cafe in Petaluma on Friday 3rd July and Redwood Cafe, Cotati on Wednesday 8th.

And it'll be a thrill to play with local bassist and musical impressario Donny Mederos. See his Pro-Jam night at The Tradewinds in Cotati. Looking forward to it, Donny.

So, cold and unforgiving, tattooed, gritty east-London spurns me for the moment, but warm, loving, long-legged, blonde California opens her arms.

Ah, well...

Sunday, 10 May 2015

OK, this time, I promise!

Trowbridge and me, well, we're deffo gonna play a gig at The Approach Tavern, The Approach, E29LY this Thursday (14th May) at 7.45pm.


It'll be a special set concentrating on the stuff that The Trow and I do featuring my songs and vocals and rhythm playing (acoustic guitar and mandolin) and his (electric) guitar work and harmonies, songs like Sweet and Heady, Sight and Feeling and Two In The Margins. You know the kind of thing, melodic, laid back, contemplative...

You'll be welcome.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Approach Tavern gig postponed to 14th May

With apologies for the short notice - but things have been a little stressed lately...

I had a nose job. Well, not in the normal sense of the phrase, but I had an op to facilitate better breathing. I might have told you I was going to. It wasn't fun.

Anyway, they postponed the operation and this meant that my rehabilitation was delayed and this meant that I had a talk with Samuel at The Approach tavern where Trow and I were going to gig on the 7th May (tomorrow as I write!) and this meant that we agreed to put the gig back by a week.

See the original post here.

So now it's happening on 14th.

Do come, we'd love your company - and I'll be singing with added breathing...

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Hoppersongs on SoundCloud: everything I've done...

I'm now an official SoundCloud 'super-user' - or whatever they call it. I'm going to upload all my recorded work there.

The CDs will be a doddle (there's some there now). Isn't technology wonderful? Some of the non-CD recordings present a different challenge, however...

Jeff Corker, my great chum, supporter, erstwhile songwriting collaborator and - on one occasion a long time ago - my sound engineer, will arrange for my pre-digital recordings to be converted to mp3 form. You see, the collector and archivist that he is, he has copies of the work I did with Tim Hornsby back in Scarborough, my rock album with Mere Mortals and the solo recordings I made of songs we'd co-written. He engineered them on an old TEAC four-track in my bedroom in a different life-time in a different world. And now they're going to find their way onto the interweb. Heck.

You can cop a listen here:

Friday, 27 March 2015

John Renbourn dies and I play two gigs...

John Renbourn R.I.P.

John Renbourn
John Renbourn's dead. It's unexpected. I'm listening to him play* as I type and I'm sad. Those who bring beauty and kindness into the world are few. John was one such and we're poorer for his leaving us.

I played support to him four or five times. Once I was accompanied by my eldest, Joe, who had grown listening to my substantial collection of Pentangle albums - all featuring John's playing. Joe had obviously absorbed some of John's licks - as you do. When we finished our support set which, unlike most headline artists, John had listened to he made a point of coming to my then 17-year-old son and telling him how much he liked his playing. He needn't have and it was kind. A lovely musician and a lovely man. (Joe told me today he knew as he played that he was 'ripping off most of Jack Orion'. His source material was well chosen.)

On another occasion John taught me a lesson about the responsibility the artist has to the venue. I was promoting a gig featuring him. The audience was modest that evening. He took me aside and told me that if the door-take didn't match the fee, I needn't pay the full amount. He was a decent chap - but also he understood that the artist has to nurture good gigs.

(*Just click on the link and let it run on - you'll hear beautiful music played by a master.)

Gigging: Germany
And speaking of good gigs, I played my concert in Kernen, near Stuttgart the weekend before last. All good gigs should take place in a wine cellar as this one did. Norma Huss sang and played percussion for me - both beautifully - and we had a great evening. There is a review which I can't read because it's in German. I can see it mentions Richard Thompson and Fairport Convention. It's a comparison that's been made before. I'm not sure, of course, whether it's saying that I'm like them (in a good way), trying to be like them (but failing) or, perhaps, that their fans should give me a wide berth. Who knows? But it does mention them and I'll imagine the most flattering of the possibilities.

Me and Norma gigging in a wine cellar in Germany

Thanks, as on previous occasions, to the Stuttgart crew; Norma and Paul & Uschi Zeyher, my stalwart supporters in Baden-Württemberg. They organised the gig, put me (and m'lady Angelika) up and Paul did the sound, too. Wouldn't let me help him pack up either - because 'there is a system'. A man after my own heart.

Gigging: East London
Eventually, as mentioned in an earlier episode, yea, and it came to pass that stubborn persistence paid off in the form of a gig last night in Troyganic on the Kingsland Road. I played solo**, having put together a set of old-and-rarely-played songs from my back catalogue. You know, Forgive The Child, What's A Boy To Do?, The Crop Circles Song, Olive Tree, Backwards Man, that kind of thing. The vibe was good, Murat (proprietor) looked after me well and, with ears provided by a gaggle of m'lady A's friends and various passing groups of diners and drinkers, a gig took place. I enjoyed it. Some of the above seemed to as well.

I like the place well enough that I'm going to propose to Murat that we try to make a regular gig out of it. Let's see.

**(It was meant to be a duo gig, but Trowbridge, of that ilk, was sadly indisposed with a clutch of broken ribs and a compromised lung courtesy of an out-of-control French lady on the piste in St Anton. We wish him a straightforward recovery.)

It's sad that John's gone, but we must live our lives. He did and he wouldn't begrudge us doing the same. Goodbye John Renbourne, you're not here, but I'll always have So Clear.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

East London Gig #1

Dear afficionados,

First East London gig on Thursday this week. Details as follows:

Simon Hopper Solo Gig*
Thursday 26th March
Troyganic Café Bar
9.00 pm
132 Kingsland Road
London, E2 8DY

Watch this space for more gigs in the area.

*This was to be Hopper/Trowbridge duo gig with Leigh - but the poor chap's currently contending with four broken ribs and a collapsed lung after a collision with a French lady on the piste in St. Anton. Not his fault, he's keen for you to know. We wish him a quick rehabilitation.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

For it is spoken...

The Approach Tavern

New east London Gig:

Thursday 7th May
8.30 pm
The Approach Tavern 
47, Approach Road, E2 9LY
Bethnal Green Tube

Continue to watch this space...

Monday, 9 March 2015

A gig in east London

Troyganic Bar

Laadeez and gen'men...

Undaunted by the slings and arrows of outrageous whatevs, the old singer has pursued his goal of a regular venue in his new environs aaand...

Thursday 26th March
9.00 pm
132 Kingsland Road E2 8DP 

Be there or... well, you know.

(And, and, and... there are other gigs in the offing in the groovy East End. For it is spoken that the prospecting efforts of the righteous will bear fruit. Watch this space.)

Monday, 23 February 2015

People's Park Tavern

The gig at the People's Park Tavern that was due to happen on Tuesday 3rd March won't be happening.

They've had a change of management and are super busy dealing with all sorts of things so we won't be playing there for the moment.

Perhaps the new manager will want to have us.

I'm still looking for venues to play regular gigs in near my very cool new locality.

Watch this space.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

What's happening

1) I can't log in to my website to update it. Don't know why.

2) Tonight I'm going - at M'Lady Angelika's behest - to visit The Loughton Folk Club . And I might even sing a song if Jim lets me.

3) I'll be playing at The People's Park Tavern on Tuesday 3rd March in duo form with Leigh Trowbridge III of that ilk. If John likes us - or even if he doesn't but his regulars do and therefore turn out to listen - I'm hoping that this might develop into a monthly or fortnightly gig.

It'll be fun because it'll be me and the Trow doing our Hopper/Trowbridge thing. You know, two guitars, two voices, maybe the odd egg and mandolin... We recorded our first CD, What's A Boy To Do? in 2005. Ten flippin' years ago. Heck. We might even sing the odd cover or two at the end of the evening.

4) The Annual Fans' Gig will take place as ever in Bromley . From 8.30, be there or be square.

5) I will be playing in Kernen in Germany.

Once upon a time I played the Wee Folk Club in Edinburgh and Paddy Bort (see earlier postings) offered me the chance to play at the Phoenix Folk Club in Lauffen in the Neckar valley near Stuttgart. This lead to me meeting Norma Huss of the folk band Clarsach . She introduced me to Paule Zeyner of the same band and three of us have played together more than once since then. Now Uschi, Paule's wife, has booked me the gig in a wine cellar in Kernen.

That's how it goes. I love being a muso.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

I've been on the move...

You see, when I left my apartment to travel to Gothenburg, I was also leaving my apartment for good.

I've moved from my home of 14 years to live in east London. Funky, ethnically mixed, creative, historic, trendy, poor, dirty, exciting, arty, youthful east London. You can peruse it here.

In the meantime I've spent some time sojourning, in-between-dwellings, with m'lady Angelika (thanks A) and then moved into my new place near Cambridge Heath station just south of the Regent's Canal near Victoria Park and just 20 minutes from Oxford Circus. It's cool, that's what it is.

Since then I've been busy moving in, organising, changing addresses, hosting house-warming dinners... you know, those things you do when you move: finding a doctor, finding a safe place to park my motorcycle, finding a good butcher, a fishmonger, a bakery, a decent grocers...

What I haven't had time for (it always gets left 'til last) is this blog, booking gigs, writing songs and such. But I have played a couple of times.

I played at the wonderful Phoenix Folk Club in Lauffen (near Stuttgart) and, that same weekend, the very charming Winnenden Folk Club run by Walter Erhardt and friends. Two great nights, two great events. Two warm and welcoming audiences. Paule Zehyer and Norma Huss of Clarsach were, once again, my accomplished accompanists - thanks as ever to them.

I played at one of my favourite places, The Wee Folk Club as guest of the magnificently bearded Paddy Bort and, while I was north of the border, popped in to do a session for Celtic Music Radio and Alan Burke as part of the Celtic Connections Festival Fringe (as I've just dubbed it). My cuz, Ian helped me out with that one - you know, shook an egg, sang a harmony. (In fact I was back up in Glasgow the following weekend with Trowbridge and McFarlane playing for CMR again in a different guise!)

So, for the future; there are interesting things on the horizon. There's the Fans' Gig in Bromley on 7th March, another gig in Germany on 13th of the same month and I'm looking for a venue to play a regular bar/café gig near where I'm living. Any ideas?