John Cumming’s estimation of demand for Bruford-Borstlap proves over-optimistic, and May’s tour is no more than a few scattered dates. Earthworks gets a final outing at Ronnie Scott’s in the summer. The increasing effort required to produce a diminishing supply of work gnaws at self-confidence, and somewhere during the year the decision is taken to step down from public performance, after an honourable 41-year innings.
Staying on top of the instrument needs perpetual personal practise and the constant use of the language of music, preferably on a stage. Without it, both vernacular and confidence slip. Further progress would seem also to be on the other side of bits of software – the Mandala drum, Sibelius, and Pro-Tools to think of three – and the hours of heavy labour mastering them are a powerful deterrent.
Late summer and autumn see the production of a Collection CD for both Summerfold and Winterfold, further work on ‘Skin and Wire’ at Brunel University with Colin Riley, and completion of the Autobiography. The book is despatched to the the printers in China on December 1st to much excitement.
Bill’s final gig is played as part of a Radio 3 national broadcast of a programme of Words and Music at St.George’s Hall, Liverpool. Carolyn attends. The last dying notes of the show are provided, appropriately, by Bill’s drums.
He will retire from public performance on January 1st next.